GROWLANSER

THE DUAL OF DARKNESS

Slayn: Main character. Leader of Darkness group

Hugh: No.1 contender for the wind conter leader, Hugh

Zion: Lord of Darkness

Dillan: Right hand of Zion, son of Dillah

Dillah: Left hand of Zion, mother to Dillan

Annete: Daughter of Xironian president, in charge of the army also

Vladmir: Scientist, helped biuld the space time fusion

Yatsubana: Brother to Dillah, moon group best archer

Michelle: Featherion, helped the group to get to space time fusion

Turalyon: Lieutenant-general of Deicester, best freind to his right hand, Battusai

Battusai: Right hand of Turalyon, and one of the best swordesmen of Deicester

Deez: Little fairy

Nadz: Sister of Battusai, lives in the village of Tanx

Alanil: Commander of Rocher city army

Felix: Loyal Dark Conter member

Harlian: Son of Deicester president, Water Conter member

Tanx: A small village.

Rohania: A deserted city where the space-time fusion is taking place.

Xironia: City of mass Food Productions.
Aggresival: Army in war with Xironia.
Rocher: City that helps Xironia.

Cop Bay: A town that has a myesterios way gate and part of Rocher City.

Antholme: A city between Xironia and Rocher.

Deicester: A neutral nation.

Burnstein city: City close to the famous temple of Mortati.


1

It was in a village, in a wooden cottage located near Xironia. Xironia is one of the richest food producing cities among the continent, and its profit were very great due to its export for food. In the cottage, was the daughter of the Xironian president, sitting on a stool chair. She is also the commander of the army, and has earned lots of respect from every city whether they have met her or not. She was young, only twenty five years old. She was wearing a brightly coloured dress, with a broadsword next to her right leg, her long black hair tied till its shoulder. She was Annete. She was watching over a man that she found wounded on a field. The stranger was obviously unconcious when she walked near him, and she quickly brought him here in this village. One of her best warriors, Matthew helped her bring this stranger and laying him on the bed. It has been 2 days, and she hasn't kept her eye off of him. She was dozing off when there was a knock on the door. "Come in,"

The door opened, and Annete turned to see that it was Matthew. He bowed to her, then walked towards the bed. he looked at the sleeping stranger, "You should getsomerest, Annete."

She looked at him, then gave him a tired smile, "I guess you're right... Thank you for your concern."

"It is my job to care for you."

He left the the cottage a few minutes later. Annete lighted a fire, and sat on the stool for another few minutes. Her eyes were getting heavy, and this man still showed no sign if he was alive, but his heart beat and pulse beat is strong. At last, with the warmth of the fire, she finally drifted to sleep.

It was raining a few hours later, and when the rain poured heavily, Annete finally awoke. She looked to her right and saw that the fire she lighted earlier had been put out. She turned back, only to find that the man that was lying on bed no longer there. She blinked to make sure,that she was not hallucinating. She immediately stood up, and made her way to the door, only to find that the stranger was on the dining table, eating a piece of chicken. "Ah, finally," She said in relief, "You are awake. you have been asleep for 2 days!" The stranger however ignored what she said. He took another piece of chicken, and devoured as fast as a wolf would. "Well, can you at least tell me your name?" Annete demanded.

"I am... Slayn."

A smile grew from the commander army of Xironia, and she nodded. She went out of the cottage, and she left the man alone. He finished his meal, and looked at his surroundings. There were two chairs, a table, and a fireplace. Other then his bed, he saw nothing else to do but sleep. He lay down, and looked at the ceiling. His soon drifted to sleep, hoping he would wake up the next day and not another two days sleep.

The sun had risen, and the stranger raised himself up from his sleep. He looked at the familiar cottage, and took a big yawn. He went out of the small cottage, and his eyes met something that was very unusual. All the townsfolk were gone, only a few warriors were left. Slayn didn't know what was going on, and went to the only guard he knew, and that was Matthew. "Where is Annete? And where are all the people here?"

"We have bad news, and I think you should join the townsfolk... A few hours ago, our scouts spotted a vast army of Aggresival soldiers, and they were headed for this village. We don't know why... Annete went back to Xironia to gather some knights for this invasion, and I hope she makes it in time."

Slayn's eyes were wide open, and now knew why the warriors were armed and prepared. But still, if an army was coming, these warriors will not stand a chance. As he headed back to his cottage, a soldier shouted in pain as an arrow was plunged deep in to his right ribs. Immediately, all the guards took out their swords and shields. They closed the gates and all the archers went up to the guard towers to defend the village. This would slow them down for some time since they would have to break down the gate first while the archers slay them, unless they were killed first. "Get into the cottage!" Matthew shouted to the stranger.

Slayn followed his orders obedientely, but as he ran to shelter, a ring he was wearing began to glow. "What the?"

Before the owner even know it, the ring turned into a brightly yellow sword, But Slayn's attention turned to the gates of the village, as it broke down, and soldiers rushed in. As Slayn ran to shelter, a battle had just begun. He looked at the battle and decided to help, even though he knew it was suicide, as they were outnumbered... It was obvious, as its an army fighting against just a few warriors... Most were even just normal unexperienced soldiers, or villagers that volunteered to help. As Slayn ran forward to an Aggresival warrior, he was tackled by the knee from behind. He stumbled to the muddy ground, his face now covered with mud.

The person who tackled him was a big burly axe soldier, and as Slayn looked at his enemies eye, he knew his time was done when the burly warrior raised his axe for the final blow. Thinking quickly, Slayn grabbed his sword and plunged it deep into the axe man's chest. The burly warrior's mouth began to cough blood, and slowly, he dropped his axe and tumbled to the bloody ground.

The battle raged for fifteen minutes, and Slayn had been a great help to Matthew, but still to no aveil. The more they slayed, the more fresh warriors rushed in from the gates. It wasn't long until Slayn and Matthew were left, fighting like trapped rats. Slayn's face covered with a mixture of his enemies blood and mud. He held his sword tightly, and looked at his enemies, like angry lions ready to pound. As for Matthew, he knew his life as a warrior would one day come to an end, his shoulder cut by a spear, and an arrow plunged deep into his right knee. As the two last guardians of the village were surrounded, the leader of this invasion walked past his warriors to the two guardians. Slayn and Matthew looked at him, eyes sweating. He smiled arrogantly, around his 40's, wearing a green general uniform. "You two were marvelous warriors," He commented, "But, unfortunately, you joined sides with the wrong side... Any last words?"

"Why are you doing this? This village was defenseless!" Matthew shouted.

The Aggresival leader smiled, "Only for one simple reason. Aggresival right now is suffering a sort of a food shortage, and we asked Xironia to deliver us some food supplies in exchange of our Holy waters." Then, he looked down on the floor, "Unfortunately, Xironia refused our offers. We simply cannot allow our army and people to starve to death, so we took action."

"By attacking a harmless village?!?"

The leader of the army just looked at them, and went back to his horse. As he looked at the two warriors left, he gave his army a sign to finish them off. Knowing that those two were going to be dead, there was no need for him to stay any longer and left. Slayn looked at his enemies, closing in. He held his yellow sword tighter now, his palms sweating.

2

A hundred miles from Xironia, two warriors that fought against Aggresival forces lives were coming to an end. Matthew smiled, his back against Slayn's back. "I never taught my days as a Sergeant to Xironia army would end like this... Its been great fighting with you, Slayn." The stranger looked back, and smiled. As the army closed in, to their west was a legion of knights, and a female leader charging in. It was Annete.

"Charge my warriors!"

Slayn and Matthew turned to their right, and as they saw their allies coming in, knew that defeat was far from over.

All of a sudden, knights and foot soldiers were clashing against each other, fighting for victory. Slayn was stunned, he looked at the knights of Xironia slaying the Aggresival soldiers. They don't stand a chance against Xironia's fresh warriors. As Slayn watched, there was a sudden pain in his head. It wasn't a headache, it was worse. It pounded in his head, like people punching his head like a punching bag. He dropped to his knees, holding his head. He was sweating in an instant, and looked at his sword. He wanted to kill himself, as the pain was unbearable. But, he never made it. He looked up, and to his surprise, he wasn't in a battle anymore.

3

It was a dark night, even though it was on a full moon. On the high cliff, which was a view of Xironia city, two assasins that were given the same job, were battling against each other. Slayn watched the two men in a bush, fighting like they never fought before. Though both were skillfull, Slayn could tell who was going to achieve victory in this fight. A dark-skinned man, his hair as long as he had ever seen, was gaining an advantage over the other, as the more he attacked, the more he forced his opponent to move back to the edge of the cliff. When the losing enemy finally reached his last step, he attacked one last time, but to no aveil. The dark-skinned man blocked the blade, a brightly yellow blade, and in an instant, slahed the sword out of his opponents hand.

The sword slidded across the grass, and reached the feet of Slayn. Slayn looked at the blade, and strangely, it looked familiar. But Slayn's attention quickly changed to the fight, as the enemy that lost was now hanging on the edge of the cliff. Below him, was nothing but pitch darkness, as it was too high to see the ground. The dark-skinned man smiled, and bent down, his hand reaching for his enemies hand. But he wasn't saving him, he reached for a ring on his forefinger.

He grinned, "What's this? A growlanser? This is rare, only a few could carry this ring... A ring that can summon a weapon in a time of need."

"Give it back!" Shouted the other assasin.

He ignored him though, trying the ring for himself. It fitted perfectly, and waited for some magic to happen. Silence... Now, he was angry. He looked at his helpless opponent, "You want this back?"

"Of course! Only I can use it!"

"I guess that would be your last request. I don't need it, but I guess I could do this little deed to a helpless man."

As the dark-skinned assasin slid the ring back to its rightful place, he stood up. He looked at his enemy one last time, then he took the kill. He stepped on his enemy's fingers, with anger in his eyes.

The brightly yellow was back in its place, and the assasin smiled. Although he was able to take the pain, he let go of his hand and fell into the darkness of the night.

In an instant, Slayn was no longer at the cliff. He was suddenly transported to another unfamiliar area, this time in a sort of a meeting room. His surroundings were brown walls, pictures of some kind of devils and demon. The room was bright, with the help of some litted fire, and he soon realized that this was a meeting room with a long table and a few seats. Slayn wondered why he was here, but it was no matter. He stood up, and cleaned his shirt from the dirt and dust. man, don't they clean this place up? Slayn thought. When he looked in front of him, he now knew he was not alone. A black haired man, wearing a black kind of sweater and grey shirt was looking straight at him.

Slayn waited for the man to speak, but after a few seconds, Slayn realized the man haven't blink or move a muscle. Slayn narrowed his eyes, "Hello?"

There was no respond. The man just sat there, looking at Slayn, his eyes never blinking. After another few seconds later, Slayn approached the unmoving man, and when he reached him, he realized that the man was like a statue. Slayn turned to his left, to see what the man was looking at. His eyes met another man that is wearing white suit. His hair white, carrying a kind of wizard stick. The man looked as if he was having a quarrel with the other sitting on the chair, with a woman and a small child next to him. As Slayn exitted the room, he was transported to another area. This time, it was a field, with wooden houses around him, dead soldiers lying near him.

"Slayn!! Get up!"

Slayn was back where he was. He blinked twice, and shook his head to clear his mind from the bizzare nightmare. As he looked to his back, he saw Matthew shouting something to him, but it was not clear enough. The battle was too loud, swords clashing against each other, men shouting and some screaming as cold blade enter their body. As Slayn turned back to his front, a swordsman came running to him, shouting a battle cry. Slayn quickly stood up, and quickly tried to grab his sword.

As he stood up, his hand never found the sword. He looked down on the ground, and it was no where to be found. Obviously, the sword returned back to his golden ring, a ring that looked like someone's ring. Still he had no time to think, as the swordsman raised his sword, ready to slash Slayn's neck. Just right before the man reached Slayn's neck, it was blocked by something else.

Slayn was alive, still safe and unharmed by the swordesman. As Slayn looked at the swordesman, he was already down on the ground, suffering a cut near his abdomen. Below Slayn, on his feet lies Matthew, injured from a slash at his chest, and was having a difficulty of breathing. It was obvious that Matthew saved Slayn's life, but it also seems that his lungs must have got cut by the blade, and was now suffering. Slayn cursed, and knew that because of him, this brave warrior had fallen. Slayn couldn't take it any longer, and fall to the bloody ground, and after that, completely blank.

4

In Xironia, a city which had never suffered war or anything that harms the innocent people of Xironians. But this is all about to change, as the following last two months, Xironian villages had beed razed and attacked by Aggresival forces. In the Xironian president's mansion, in the guest room, Slayn was sound asleep. Following the death of Matthew, Slayn couldn't stop blaming himself of his death, and vowed he would do anything to stop this war to repay the sacrifice made by him. Now, sound asleep, was awaken by Annete.

He rose himself, and looked at Annete, her face full of kindness. He blinked the light, and stretched himself. "My father is home," She told him, "We all are waiting for you."

Slayn gave Annete a confused look, "Waiting? For what?"

"You forgot? We arranged a meeting today to solve the current situation with Aggresival. Hurry now."

She left the room, closing the door behind her. Slayn yawned, and made his way to the meeting room. As he reached for the knob on his door, there was a paper on his desk he had never seen before. I guess it wouldn't take too long to read this short paper, he thought. He took a stool and sat behind his desk and began reading the paper.

"Darkness is spreading through this land. This world is no longer safe, war is breaking out, disease spreading, and the sun has faded, leaving this world to darkness. But still, there is hope for survival as the Featherian has started the Space-Time Project, a project that could transport half of the population to a new world!" Slayn read it twice, and wondered who sent him this letter. However, there was no name or address of the sender. He ignored it, and quickly proceeded to his destination.

The mansion of the Xironian president is located on the highest hills of Xironia and the only way to get there is to climb the great stairs and there would be a golden gate at the entrance. Inside the mansion, Slayn was walking to the meeting room and when he reached it, he took a deep breath before going into the room. He opened the large door, and there was an oval table, the Xironian president, name Gambit, met his eyes first. Surrounding the table were Annete, Brock, captain of squad 3 of the Xironian army and other high ranked officials. Slayn bowed, and searched for his empty seat. He walked to it, and sat down.

"As many of you all know," The president began, "We are now in a war with Aggresival. We are a peaceful country, and after the attack on the village of Hearthglen, which took the life of many of our knights and also Matthew," Slayn looked down on the floor, tears coming to his eyes. "We finally agreed to the terms Aggresival wanted. Unfortunately, Aggresival then rejected our offers, claiming that they have set out to conquer Xironia so that we can become their collony and deliver them food to them for free. So, I've come to terms with the city of Rocher. We agreed that we will deliver food to them while they protect Xironia from invasion."

Annete then interrupted her father, "Let me guess... That's where we come in."

Gambit smiled, "Yes... You see, though Rocher is able to help us, we still need a signed agreement from their queen. So I've written this letter to be delivered to her. Annete and Slayn will be incharge of this letter."

Gambit then turned to Slayn, who was still looking on the ground. He sighed heavily, "Slayn, since you once said that you would do anything to end this war, this is your chance. Do this for Matthew!"

Slayn raised his head, his eyes full of determination. He rose up from his seat, "Thank you sir! I will not disappoint you!"

Everyone in the meeting room stared at Slayn, and they all shared the same determination as he did.

The next day, Slayn woke up with no Troubled dream about Matthew's death. He yawned, and rose himself. The room was already tidyed up. He walked to the bathroom and rinsed his face with cool refreshing water. Today was a special day for him, a day that could stop blaming himself for Matthew's death. He grabbed his ring, the ring that saved his life, and walked out of his room. He went downstairs and decided to skip breakfast. Though the maids adviced him to, he refused. This man has a goal to complete. He walked out of the mansion to find Annete and the Cochon Brigade waiting for him. The Cochon Brigade was made up of 3 archers, 2 spearman, 5 swordsman, and their leader, Bosch. Bosch looked at Slayn, then said, "Ready to go lad?"

"Of course... The sooner the better."

A few seconds later, the Cochon Brigade was already leaving the gates of Xironia.

5

A small squad advances thorugh the dense forest of Acrataz. Legends once said that a great battle once took place here, battle between a dark lord and a chosen one. Now, this forest is normally used by traders. The Cochon Brigade was to pass this forest and to rest at a nearby city called Antholme. On the way, Slayn tries to gather the rest of his memories and the bizzare images he faced at the battle where Matthew died. What was the vision on the cliff all about? And the meeting room?

"Are you alright?" Annete interrupted.

Slayn turned to her, "I'm alright, just doing some thinking."

The sun was going down, and before they realized, night time finally came. Orders were that the Cochon Brigade to stop once nightfall arrives, and Bosch gave the orders to set up camp. Slayn sat on a rock, still thinking. Annete and the others were setting up a fire, and were taking out their dinner. "Want some?"

Slayn was startled. it was Bosch, holding a plate of meat and a few veggies. "No thanks..."

"I know it's hard for you lad," Bosch sat wit him, "But you must put your mind on the mission. This is an important part we're playing."

Slayn just simply nodded. After the dinner, everyone drifted to sleep, needing fresh enerygy for the morning. Outside the camp, however, a scout found what he was looking for, and immediately went to tell his leader about his discovery.

The moon was up high in the sky, and several archers carrying a pot of fire for their attack ready themselves. After some time, they put their arrows on fire, and fired it at the camp, aiming the tents. The night was then filled with flaming arrows, most of them hitting the tents. Bosch came running out, shouting, "It's an ambush! My warriors, get your swords!" Every member of the Brigade came running out, the archers only with knives. The swordsman immediately went to the closest enemy. Slayn woke up from the scream of a man. Realizing that his tent was on fire, he took his ring and immediately went out of the tent, and saw Aggresival and the Cochon Brigade fighting one another. Annete was next to her uncle, with the letter in her hand. Slayn went to Bosch to receive instructions. "Listen closely my friend," Shouted Bosch, "We're outnumbered here, but we can all buy you time to escape! Annete's survival is more important than us soldiers!"

"I can fight with you," Slayn replied, covering his head as another wave of arrow were released.

"That is impressive lad, but we have no time for heroics! You are to make sure Annete is safe! Don't worry about us, Go!"

Annete grabbed a sword and turned to Slayn, "We have to go..."

Slayn looked at Bosch, then turned to Annete and nodded in agreement. They ran to the west, since that the bridge to Antholme was there. Once there, they would be safe from Aggresival forces.

The general of Aggresival saw the two of them fleeing, and summoned his commanding officer.

"Get 2 swordmen to follow them. And tell them not to engage them. I want to finish each and every one of this pathetic wretches!" As Bosch watched Slayn and Annete head off to the west, a spearman plunged the end of the spear deep in to his left chest, puncturing his left lung. Slowly, dropping on his right knee, he knew his time was coming. The next moment, Bosch soon finds himself laying on the floor, dying. His enemy is down on the ground, dead, but for the expense, his left lung is punctured, and the end of the spear deep inside, near his stomach. He looked at his other warriors. Each of them were slayed from their enemies, his most trusted Elite guards has fallen from the might of the Aggresival. The Cochon Brigade, my team... is finally gone! Bosch thought to himself. He looked up into the eye of his enemy, the leader most likely. He could tell that the general was filled with disgust, but it didn't matter. The general gave the order, and Bosch looked up at a swordesman, raising his sword aiming his damaged broad chest. The sword went in directly into his body, and Bosch breath out his last remaining breath and after that... Peace...

The sound of a scream was heard from two runners heading to Antholme. Annete could tell that scream was from his uncle, tears filling up her eyes. She looked back, and the sky was filled with smoke, reddish smoke, from the camp that was burned to ashes. "We have to go," Slayn told her, startling her. She wiped her tears, and nodded. From the far end, two swordsman were spying on the two travellers, having the urge to take off their sword and do what they were born to do. But their orders were not to do so, and as stealthy as a cat, they moved.

"Annete, go on to the bridge at Antholme, I'll meet you there. I've got something to do." Slayn told her, using his eyes to signal to her that someone or something is following them. Annete, as a soldier, knew that she had to pretend like nothing happened, and moved on.

Slayn stood tall, and summoned his Golden sword from his ring. He held it with pride, "Come you Aggresivals! Come and taste the might of the Growlanser!" Slayn was stunned at wat he just said, it was like somthing commanded him to say that.

Like lions, two Aggresival warriors came out of their hiding place. The 1st one spoke, "The Growlanser... Hmph, I thought it was just a myth, but come! You might have the sword, but we Aggresivals have been trained not to be killed by a bunch of soldiers serving a farming city!" As for the other warrior, he just stood there, holding his sword in a shaky position. Slayn snickered at the second man, and paid attention to the much more enthusiastic warrior. Slayn got into his fighting stance, as the swordesman came running to him, his sword raised above his head, screaming a battle cry. His armour made a loud noise, scaring animals in the area. Slayn looked at his enemy, and quickly, ran forward, his opponent aimed for his head, but Slayn, with the speed that no one has seen, quickly ducked to his left, kicking the enemy near his left kneecap. Since the armor was quite thin at that area, the swordesman dropped on his right knee, screaming at the pain. Slayn immediately used his sword to hit away his enemy's weapon away, flying through the night and landing in the darkness, far from the owner. The Aggresival warrior looked straight at Slayn's eyes, feeling the warmth of the brightly golden sword next to his neck. But the warmth was gone, and the warrior then fell, his body collapsing on his right as his head was cut from Slayn.

Slayn, still looking at his enemy's dead body, suddenly turned to his other opponent. His eyes intimidated the rookie Aggresival. Shouting for help, the rookie ran away, throwing his sword into the air and running away as far as he can. Slayn just smiled, and he raised his sword above his head. "Grant me this power to slay my enemy as Xironia depends on me greatly." Suddenly, his sword released a brightly white coloured light, heading towards the sky. Slayn looked at his enemy, and out of nowhere, a flash of lightning appeared from the sky, frying the rookie. Shouts of aggony were heard, as he burned for his last few seconds of life. Slayn pittied him, but it had to be done. Once his enemies were slayed, Slayn continued on his journey, looking for the person he has to protect. He hoped Annete was not ambushed from Aggresivals but doubted it, as those two Aggresival warrios were scouts.

After walking for about fifteen minutes, Slayn's eyes were greeted by two spearman near a bridge.

"What business do you have here?" The 1st spearman asked, Slayn unable to place the accent, Arabic perhaps.

"I am supposed to meet a young woman here, around her mid twenties."

"Oh, you mean Annete, general of the Xironian army?" The 2nd spearman answered much more friendly than the 1st.

"You know of her?" Slayn asked, wondering.

"Of course! She is a well respected general all across the land. If you're looking for her, she is at a nearby inn to its left once you cross the bridge. You can't miss it."

Slayn thanked the man and proceeded to find the person whom is currently the most important person to him in Xironia right now. The 1st spearman looked at Slayn suspiciously, like as if Slayn was an old friend to him he can't place his name, but it didn't matter anyway. After a few walking distance, Slayn found the inn he was looking for, and went inside. The inn was like any other inn, infront of him was a counter with the emplyee working for the inn. To his left was a plant used for decoration and a bench. The room was quite cool, and bright. He saw Annete on his right, sitting on a wooden chair. She saw him and immediately went to him.

"Are you okay?" She sounded worried, but was relieved at the same time.

"I am okay. The Aggresivals won't be following us, unless they are looking for a war for attacking Antholme just for us."

"I know. I already booked for us a room, seperate rooms of course."

He smiled, "Of course. I will going to my room soon, but I need somtime alone. After I killed the Aggresivals, something went wrong. I can't explain."

"Alright," She said, her smile was magic, "If that's what you want. I'll be heading back to my room now, goodnight."

She gave a big yawn, and went her way. Slayn looked at Annete until she disappeared from sight. He sighed, and went out of the inn and wondered what would happen in the night.

It was a full moon that night, as Slayn walked out of the inn, and saw the moon was high in the sky. He had to relax and tonight was perfect, the whole place was silent, only the sound of his breath were heard. Slayn looked at his ring, a strange thought was circling through his mind, but just ignored it. As he walked around the deserted streets of Antholme, he wondered how it would be tommorow, when the whole city would be full of people. He was happy for no reason, and after about walking and clearing his mind from stress and thoughts that he didn't need, he decided to walk back to the inn. Half way on his short journey, he heard voices that wasn't suppose to be heard. His curiosity soon made him followed the voices until he finally reached an alley. He hid behind a dumpster, and thanks to the bright moon light, Slayn was able to see a man, wearing a brown cloak, around his twenties with blonde hair.

"I must give this letter to her," The man said. Slayn thought this was weird for a man talking to no one when he heard another voice.

"I know you must, but if you don't go back to the cycle, that will cause problems to the dark side." On the man's left shoulder, was a tiny little black spot. Finally, Slayn realized that spot was actually a fairy, which surprised him greatly.

"I know that my young friend, but I must give this letter to warn her," The man's voice was getting desperate.

"I would like to help you, but I'm too small, and very few people can see me. I feel so sorry for you."

Slayn felt sorry when suddenly, a little rat startled him and he dropped to the floor, making a loud crash. Quickly, he got back to his feet, and saw the man looking at him. Strangely, the man act as if he didn't care on Slayn eavesdropping, and was curious, "I'm sorry sir, I didn't mean to..."

"Wait," The man interrupted Slayn before he could finish, "You can see me?"

"Yes, of course!"

"Oh good! You see, I'm right now a spirit, and very few can see me. I'm greatful if you could help me deliver this letter to Marry. She lives in Rocher city, and she lives at 1302 Brooke street. Please, it will mean so much to me..."

Slayn at first hesitated, as he had an important duty, but since this Mary person lives in Rocher, he can do that at least. He took the letter from his hand and he looked back at the man. The young man smiled, and a few seconds later, he faded into the thin air. Slayn put the letter into his pocket, and walked back into the inn. "Hei, wait for me!"

"Wha..!" Slayn looked behind him, and realized that the little fairy was following him. He stopped to wait for her until she finally reached him. Slayn was puzzled, but just ignored her.

"My name is Deeyana, and I will follow to make sure you hand in the letter to the right person." She gave Slayn a grin. After a few minutes, finally, Slayn reached the inn. He gave a tired smile to the person behind the counter, and asked where his room is. After he was given the information he wanted to know, he continued on, thanking the woman. His room was at the end of the corridor, and he inserted the key into the doorknob, and turned it to its left. The moment he unlocked the door, he went inside and closed the door, and he had only one thing in mind. Rest. After just a few seconds on laying his head on the pillow, he was finally earning the rest he earned.

6

The sun finally rised from its slumber and gave light to a room. This light made a young man blinked and after a few minutes, raised himself from his sleep. He gave a big yawn and made sure a golden ring on his finger was still there. Dragging his feet to the toilet, he switched on the tap and grabbed a handful of water and splashed his face with it. Now, Slayn was ready for his journey to Rocher city with the person he has to protect, the general of Xironia, Annete. "You're finally awake!"

"Who's that?" Slayn asked, after searching his empty room.

"Its me, Deez! You forgot?"

Slayn didnt answer, and forgot that the little fairy was going to follow him for a a while now. "Also," The little fairy added, "Remember that very little people can see me, so do try to talk to me when you're alone, or people might think you are crazy!" Slayn nodded, not paying any attention to the little annoying fairy. He walked out of the his room and made his way to Annete's room. The sound of her door was knocked by Slayn, every five seconds. After the fourth time he knocked her door, a woman walked to him. "Is there something wrong, sir?"

Slayn looked at the woman, "I'm trying to open this door. Annete's inside."

The woman smiled, her face with kindness, "Sir, Annete left us a message. She told us to tell you that she will be waiting for you at the south gate of Antholme. You'd better hurry sir."

In an instant, Slayn headed for the door, and the moment he opened the door, his ears were filled with noise from the people in Antholme. I never thought Antholme would be THIS busy, he thought to himself. He quickly made his way to the south gate, passing through merchants trying to persuade him to buy a few items, but Slayn simply ignored them. In a moment, he saw a familiar person at the gates, it was Annete. He smiled, and quickly made his way to her. She was quite furious at him, but was glad he finally made it. "Well, we had better be on our way."

Slayn nodded, and started walking when the little fairy asked Slayn, "Who is this? Your girlfriend?"

Slayn laughed, and shook his head, "Oh no. She is just a friend, I have to look over her,` Deez."

Annete turned to Slayn, her eyes worried. She put her palm on his forehead and after a few seconds, she asked, "Are you okay, Abdul? Who were you talking to? Trying to gather back your memories?"

"Er... no, not really. Sorry."

He looked at the little fairy, in which she was now shaking her head, giggling, "I tried to warn you. Only very few people can see me Slayn. Do try to remember that fact." Slayn realized he was blushing, and this time he will be more careful. Now, Annete and Slayn continued their journey to the city of Rocher, leaving the south gate of Antholme.

Every person that wants to travel to the city of Rocher from Antholme has to pass through a valley, a valley that was famous of great battles that normally ends in sorrow. In the war of the conter, in which is a legend, was a war that was made up of two sides. The Dark and the Wind Conter were allies, and defeated the Moon Conter. This valley was used as a place for major battles. Now, the Conter are just legends, some say they never existed. Now, this valley is now just used by traders, some even set up their stalls in the valley, as some travellers would stop by and buy at least one item. Now, Annete and Slayn were passing through the lonely valley. Somehow, this valley, Slayn feels like as if there is a feeling he can't place. Could it a past memory that he had forgotten? Or is it there are a few of his dead ancestors that once fought on this very land. He doesn't know for sure, but he just couldn't shake that feeling. "Is something wrong?" Deez asked. Slayn shooked his head, but he was already sweating. It wasn't long until the sun went down, and the sky grew almost dark. Annete, getting concerned of the journey to Rocher turned to Slayn, "Should we set up camp here?"

"Err.... yes, I guess so." Slayn answered, still unable to think properly.

The choice was made, and the two were busy setting up the tent and building a fire. At least Slayn had the little fairy as a companion, though she would sometimes be quite annoying, but it didn't matter. After the incident on The Cochon Brigade, Slayn and Annete were not fully protected. Though both were skillfull, the two won't stand a chance against a team, brigade or any army. A half and hour later, the two were already cooking their dinner, just a few hot dogs tide to a stick. Annete seem to not have an appetite, she simply looked at the fire, until her food was overcooked. "Annete," Slayn finally said, "Are you alright?"

The question startled Annete, and she just sighed heavily. She looked up to Slayn, "I'm alright, thank you for the concern. It's just that, I can't stop thinking about my uncle. He meant a lot to me. I..." She never got to finish her sentence, since tears finally came down her cheeks, and she was already in sobs. Slayn couldn't do anything to comfort her. "Sad, isn't it?" Deez asked Slayn.

Slayn nodded, feeling a little guilt. After Annete was done with her sorrows, she wiped away her tears, "If you don't mind, I'm going to sleep now." She rose herself from her seat, and proceeded into the tent. before she entered, she asked, "Are you coming?"

"Not yet... I will retire in a few minutes." She looked at him for a while, and went in her tent. Slayn now could think in peace, wondering about his past, about the feelings he felt during the journey at the valley. Was I involved in a battle? Was I a warrior once? He thought to himself, but he had no answers. But, suddenly, in a flash, his head was disturbed by a tremendous headache, a headache he had once felt. A feeling he had two months ago. He couldn't take the pain and was soon on the ground, trying to take the pain. He tried to shout, but no one could hear him, or no sound came out. Luckily, the pain just lasted a few seconds, but when he opened his eyes, his eyes were looking not at a valley, but a familiar place.

"What's this? A growlanser? This is rare, only a few could carry this ring... A ring that can summon a weapon in a time of need."

"Give it back!" Shouted the other.

He ignored him though, trying the ring for himself. It fitted perfectly, and waited for some magic to happen. Silence... Now, he was angry. He looked at his helpless opponent, "You want this back?"

"Of course! Only I can use it!"

"I guess that would be your last request. I don't need it, but I guess I could do this little deed to a helpless man."

As the dark-skinned assasin slid the ring back to its rightful place, he stood up. He looked at his enemy one last time, then he took the kill. He stepped on his enemy's fingers, with anger in his eyes.

The brightly yellow sword was back in its place, and the assasin smiled. Although he was able to take the pain, he let go of his hand and fell into the darkness of the night. It was the same fight and place Slayn seen before, but it didn't end. Slayn stood up from his hiding place, and walked to the assasin. The other assasin that fell was never heard, and Slayn knew he could not help the man, but could maybe get a few answers. "Who are you?" Slayn asked the man, but he simply ignored. He was wearing the same clothes also, carrying a large black blade. "Who are you!?" Slayn repeated the question, louder this time. At last, the man turned, his eyes closed. He opened his mouth, but Slayn couldn't hear what he said. He took a step closer, and the man suddenly ran to Slayn, his blade aimed at Slayn belly. This caught Slayn by surprise, and he tried to summon his golden sword, but it never came out. The man was too fast, the blade closing in. Slayn knew it was too late as his eyes met the man's eyes and waited for the pain to come. When Slayn opened his eyes, the man was gone.

"Slayn, wake up! You're having a bad dream!" Slayn's eyes was opened, seeing Deez's face. He blinked twice, trying to wonder that happened. "Are you okay?" Deez asked again, concerned.

"Yes, I'm alright." Slayn explained to the little fairy, about the headache, about the repeated flashback or dream and the assasin. Deez just stared back at him, but didn't know what to do. Before she could reply, another voice came out, "You're up early today, Slayn." He looked at the opening of the tent, and saw Annete coming out, with her hair tied up properly and her broadsword to her right leg. "I was disturbed by a dream, Annete. The same dream I had in the village where Matthew died."

"Slayn, these things happens. It seems that your subsconsious just seem to pick up memories that you've lost. Tell me, what was the dream about."

Slayn hesitated to answer, and just told her a lie that he dreamt he fell from a cliff and that was all. The rest of the morning, the two cleared the tent, and packed up everything. At noon, they continued on their journey, which wasn't very far. After an hour of walking they reached a wooden sign that says, "Rocher city, 3 KM". Both of them were happy and excited at the same time, and started to walk faster. Just after another two minutes of walking, they could see the gates of Rocher city. From the outside, they could see buildings, magnificent watch towers, knights patrolling the nearby area. Wow, this is a tremendous city! Slayn thought. He turned to Annete, who was still looking at the biuldings in awe. Annete turned to Slayn, "I don't know about you, but for me, this is my first time coming to this city."

"You.... never been here?" Slayn asked.

She shook her head, "No. I too, don't know why I never took time to visit this place."

The two walked into Rocher city, the city well known for its strength and wonderful queen. Though the two were still enjoying the sights in Rocher, they had to get serious. Every second counts. After about an hour of walking, they found a huge castle to the east of them. "That has to be it," Slayn said first.

Annete smiled, and grabbed Slayn's hand and ran to their destination. Though Annete was in excitement, she suddenly stopped, causing Slayn to nearly fall on his feet. He turned to Annete, confused, "Why are we stopping?"

Annete turned to the confused Slayn, "I can't go and see the queen like this!" She showed him her dress, a normal red dress. Slayn frowned, it wasn't that bad. But the choice was made, and they went to a nearby inn to just change her clothes. Annete went to a room where she could change, while Slayn waited outside at the lobby, impatiently. He rested his chin on his palm, trying to make the time go faster. It has been already preciesly eight minutes, what could be taking Annete so long just to change her dress into a better dress for the queen?

"I hate waiting for people," Deez complained.

Slayn didn't say anything, what could whining or complaining do? Nothing! He looked out of the window to his left in the inn, people walking past by him. Happy families passing through, having a wonderful time. Do I have a family? Slayn thought. Even if he did, how is he going to find them? He let out a big sighed, when he heard the sound of footsteps coming from the hallway. He looked up, and saw a lady with a white dress, her hair loose, and was beautiful than ever. She walked straight to Slayn, and he could feel his heart beating with excitement. "Don't you recognize me?" The woman asked when she reached him.

Slayn felt his jaw open, shocked, "Annete?"

She smiled, most likely laughing, "What do you think?"

Slayn didn't answer immediately, he looked at her from head to toe. "You look absolutely stunning!"

"Thank you for the complement. Now, lets get going."

They both left the inn, and headed to the castle, which wasn't very far. Upon reaching the main gate, two spearman stepped in their way. Slayn took out his ring from his pocket, and was ready to summon its presence, but Annete stopped him. She looked at the two spearman, "I am Annete, general of the Xironian army, and is here to hand in this letter to her royal Highness."

"Only the messenger may enter!" The two spearman said in unison.

Annete looked at the two spearman's faces to find any humor, but found none. She looked back at Slayn, "I'm sorry, but you heard what they said. Why don't you walk around town or something? We'll meet back at the inn." Slayn glared back at the spearman, and knew there is nothing for him to do. He left Annete behind, watching her entering the castle until she was gone. "Now what?" He asked Deez.

The little fairy was caught by surprise, as this was the first time Slayn talked to her first. She took some time to think when, "I know! Why not hand in that letter my friend gave you?"

Slayn gave a confused look, but after a few seconds, he remembered back. He quickly looked for the letter in his pocket, and found it. He looked at the letter, and was a little different than normal ones. It was greyish, and the address that were written were quite blurry, but readable. "It was written by a spirit, so he used a special kind of note."

"So I see. Let's look for this Mary person then."

The two went around the city, looking for 1302 Brooke street. It wasn't easy, almost everywhere they looked were names of streets. Slayn sighed, knowing this was going to be a long day. Finally, the sun was high in the sky, when they finally came upon 1302 Brooke street. After careful examination, the letter said to look for a large, blue rooftop. It didn't take them very long, and walked to the doorstep. Slayn hesitated, his finger was just a few inches from the bell, but just didn't press it. "What are you waiting for?" Deez asked, her voice impatient.

Slayn did it, pressing the doorbell. They heard footsteps coming their way, getting louder and closer every moment. The doorknob turned, and there, a young beautiful woman opened the door.

"Yes?" The woman asked, her voice sweet.

"I don't know how to quite explain this," Slayn started, "But, this guy gave me a letter to give it to you. I believe you're Mary?" Slayn said, handing in the letter to her hands.

The woman didn't reply, probably surprised by what Slayn told her. She took the letter and began to read. Slayn looked at Deez, who was looking at Mary, awaiting what her expressions were going to be. The more she read, the more her face turned into sadness, eyes being filled with tears. The woman looked up at Slayn, her eyes full of tears, but also, somehow with gratitude, "Thank you young man! Thank you! Please," She begged, "Could you please spread the news about this. About what he wrote in the letter. It... would mean so much to me."

Slayn wanted to protest, but he never had the chance. The woman, Mary, closed the door. What was that all about? Slayn thought. He walked out of the woman's compund, taking out the letter. He read it, which said, 'Mary, this is your beloved John. I have some bad news. I am no longer in the mortal world, and have left for good. Though I never got to be together with you, know that I will always look out for you... Which is why I have good news! You should know that now, this world is dying. Plague, darkness, lack of food and etc. Everyone is in danger, but if you've heard, the Featherians have started the Space-Time project to the south-east of Rohania. Please, Mary, do this for me. Your beloved, John."

Slayn finished the letter, and read it twice. That was odd, where have he heard of the space-time project before? He tried to remember hard, but was never able to recall it back. He turned to Deez, who was smiling for no reason, "Hei, Deez, aren't you suppose to leave me once I deliver this letter?"

The little fairy looked back at Slayn, smiling even more, "I've decided to follow you on your journeys. Besides, I won't be much of a trouble."

Slayn gave a heavy sigh. Just when he thought that the fairy would finally leave him in peace, she gives an excuse and he might never be able to get rid of her. But, then again, having a fairy as a companion wouldn't be that bad, besides, if he was ever alone, he could always talk to her. The two of them browsed through the city a little more longer, when evening time finally came. Deez turned to Slayn, and Slayn looked back. From the looks on her face, Slayn knew what she was trying to say. It was time to head back to the inn, which none of them had any arguements. It has been a long day, and they needed a peaceful night's rest. After another ten minutes of walking, they reached the inn. Slayn pushed the door open, only to find Annete waiting for him, her eyes filled with anger.

"Where have you been?? I've been waiting for an hour for you! We were supposed to meet at the inn before night fall!"

Slayn walked to her, using his hands to tell her to calm down, "Let me explain," And Slayn did just that. He told her everything he knew, about Mary and the letter, space-time fusion and everything. Except saying that Deez was with him all along. After he was done explaining, Annete's jaw was left hanging open. She mumbled a reply he could not place. She mumbled something again, but this time, his curiosity was at its maximum and he had to asked her, "What did you say?"

"Space-time project... Give me that letter!" She demanded, her hand already open.

Slayn shrugged, and looked for the letter. It wasn't in his left pocket, and let his other hand search for the right pocket. He felt the paper, and pulled it out, already cumpled, but was still clear enough to be read. He handed it to Annete, who took it quickly. She read quickly, like a cartoon reading a piece of paper so fast, that her eyeball just kep turning from left to right, like a typewritter. It didn't take long until she was finished reading. She looked up at Slayn, who was waiting for her reaction. "This letter... what do you think Slayn?" She asked, her expression filled with confusement and excitement.

"How should I know? I was just suppose to hand in this letter to that Mary person."

Annete glared at him, "Then there is only one thing left to do."

"What?" Slayn asked quickly, as he wanted to get it on fast.

"We go to Rohania to see this Space-Time project. If it could really save us all, we can bring almost all Xironia residents to save them from Aggresival!"

Slayn didn't answer, as he thought. From what he had learned, Rohania is a great distance away if they were to use the long cut, as it would take months! He complained to Annete that it was too long to walk there, but she argued, "We could use the shortcut... Through the mines!"

"Mines??" This shocked Slayn, "Wasn't the mines closed for quite some time! How the hell are we going to open that mine, we would be arrested or something."

A smile grew from Annete's face, and Slayn knew that she has a plan up her sleeve. Before Slayn could ask, she already started walking. She was fast, taking big footsteps and in order Slayn had to catch up with her, he had to jog, but a short one. Once he caught up to her, he placed his arm on her shoulder, "What's the rush?"

She didn't stop to explain, but continued on walking and explain, "We can use the shortcut. Before you say anything, the mines are closed under the orders of the president of Deicester. The president is an old friend of mine, and I'm sure he would allow me to pass for a reason. Which is why if we leave now, we could spend the night in a camp and head to Deicester city." She finished her explaining, and looked at Slayn, awaiting his response to her idea.

Slayn gave her a serious look, "I just got two words for you... Let's go!"

In a few moments, the two people were living the city of Rocher.

7

After a few hours of walking in the wilds, the sun was replaced by the moon and the two travellers stopped until there. The two set up camp, of course, Slayn did most of the work while Annete sat down. Slayn was already getting the hand of it, so he was able to set up camp faster than last night. After the camp was set, they both looked for firewoods, which wasn't hard to find in the darkness. They set it up and immediately cooked their dinner, their stomachs grumbling for food. The two sat at small chunks of rocks and ate in silent, but looked at each other in the night. Finally, it was Annete who started, "Have you recovered any memories?"

Slayn shurrged, "I'm not too sure actually. I've been having weird dreams, but I couldn't understand its meaning."

"What did you dream?"

Slayn hesitated, "Err... Its better that I keep it for myself for the time being."

Annete protested, "If you don't tell me, how am I to help you?"

"Its something I would rather not discuss... Sorry"

Annete nodded, guessing that its better not to pressure him with this. After all, its none of her problem anyway. "We should reach Deicester city tommorw afternoon if we go in the morning." Annete informed Slayn.

"Is it possible we could just go and see the president without an appointment?"

"If possible, I don't really need to meet him. I just need a permission for us to pass through the mine."

Slayn then looked down at his food, and finished his remains. He put the tray down and lay down on the floor, looking up at the night's sky. How relaxing that was. When he sat up back, Annete was gone, and heard some noise in the tent. She must be in the tent, and decided he should retire too. He went into the tent without making a single noise, and it ay down on the mat. He closed his eyes and this time, he sleep was not disturbed by trobling dreams.

The next morning, the sky was a sunny day, but was later blocked by the clouds. The two travellers of Xironia took this opportunity to get the journey started to Deicester city. It wasn't very far, and was happy about it. As they were getting nearer to Deicester, oddly, the path was muddy. It didn't matter, and soon, the great wall that was covered in grey was seen. Deicester was known for its walls, as its the only city that was always used as a stand-point on a war. Because of its great wall, most nations used Desicester as a primary defense city. Slayn and Annete entered the fair city, even the roads were made out of bricks with the same colour as their famous wall. People were walking by, business-men, traders and families walked through the streets. As for the two new Xironian travellers, they had no time to do some sight seeing, as they headed for the president of Deicester.

It didn't take very long to find the the mansion, since it was the biggest building in the center. They moved quickly, and finally, they were standing infront of the gates of the mansion. Infront of them was a fountain, a beautiful fountain with colourful fish inside, swimming happily. They proceeded to the gates, in which they saw a butler, argueing with a well suited man, wearing a green coat.

"I really need to enter the library! Please grant me that permission," The man in the green suit said.

"Sir," The butler said, his voice rising, "Even if I could grant you access, the top floor is a restricted area, even if the president allows you to do so!"

"Come on," The guy said, "No one will have to know right? I just need to take a quick look."

Slayn and Annete waited for them to finish, which lasted another five minutes. Finally, the man furiously gave up. He walked to the fountain, looking into the refreshing water, mumbling. Slayn looked at the man, and somehow, felt something special, but couldn't quite place it. Annete walked to the butler, Slayn behind her. The butler, who had just came off a fight, was smiling, "How may I be of service?" The butler said, his accent in a very thick english.

Slayn nudged her arm, making sure that she do all the talking, "Yes. We're travellers from Xironia, and I would like to speak with the president of Deicester. He is a personal friend of mine though I know we do not have an appointment, but we just need access to the abandoned mines that cuts through the mountains and straight to Rohania.

The butler, who was smiling, shooked his head, "I'm sorry, but if you must know, the president in the last couple of weeks is not feeling well. I'm not so sure if he will be able to help."

Annete's eyes were now wide open, "The president is sick?"

"Yes. We are not so sure what the sickness is, but he has been in bed for quite some time."

The butler looked at Annete, who was already quite depressed. He turned to Slayn, who just looked back and shurgged. The butler let out a sigh, and felt pity for the woman.

Slayn, who was watching the whole thing, turned to Deez, "Hei, Deez, do you know anything about this disease he spoke of?"

The little dark fairy thought, and gave the answer, "Yes... But, if you're planning to help the president, I'm afraid I cannot tell you the cure. This disease might be set from the Dark Conter, and it means that the president's death is already set."

"Dark Conter?" Slayn asked, scrathching his head, "What's a Conter?"

Deez, the little fairy just stared at Slayn, then finally said, "It's quite hard to say, but this is what I know. A Conter is something like an organization that has a specific task. They select their members from secrecy and must never be revealed. But now, the Conter's are so secretive that people no longer believe in them. The Conter's are made up of four groups, Darkness, Wind, Water and Moon. I only know the Darkness conter's info, as their job is to set up people's fates, continue what happen in the afterlife. Anything that has to do with death is the Dark Conter's job."

Slayn was astonished on what Deez just told her. Responsible for the after life? Other Conters? Slayn thought. Though he is now filled with curiousity, Slayn can't just walk up to a person and ask about it. They might think he is crazy! As Slayn thought of it, the butler suddenly intervened his thoughts, "Perhaps I could help you..."

This brought Annete back to life, who was already looking at him. "Well," The butler continued, "I could send a runner to order the soldiers guarding the mines to allow you in. The runner would reach them in a day, so take your time."

"Thank you! You won't forget this!" Annete said, kissing the butler's cheek. This caught the man by surprise, who was already wiping it with his handkerchief. Annete grabbed Slayn's hand and ran out. As they passed the fountain, they were stopped by the green suit man.

"What are you doing?" Annete screeched.

"So sorry," The man apologized, "But I just couldn't help hearing your conversation. Is it true that I hear you people are travelling past the mines and on to Rohania?"

Annete didn't answer the man, but Slayn did. "Yes, as a matter of fact, you did."

"Then if you don't mind, I myself was thinking of going to Rohania myself. If you don't mind, would you like if I join you two?"

"NO!!" Annete answered, rudely.

This caught the man by surprise, but Slayn apologized on behalf of her, "Sorry, she's always like this,"

Hearing this, Annete kicked Slayn's left leg, but he continued, "Well, we wouldn't mind you joining us! The more the better right?"

The man was laughing, "Ahaha, that is correct. If you must know, my name is Hughlah, but you can just call me Hugh. I'm a Lion knight on vacation."

Slayn turned to the man, and on his right was a sword. He looked at the man, who had long brownish hair, and he had to admit, was quite handsome. Slayn showed his hand, to shake hands. Hugh smiled, and the two shook hands. Annete looked in disgust, as she didn't really agree with this man joining them. The trio walked to the main gate, and head to the wilds and into the mines. Before they did, Hugh asked, "May I know first, why are you all headed to Xironia?"

Annete turned to Slayn, but didn't answer. Fine, I'll answer. She thought. She turned to Hugh, "We are going to see the Space-Time project."

Hugh's eyes were opened wide, "Space-Time you say? The ones that the featherians are doing?"

Slayn and Annete nodded in unison. Then, Hugh laughed, "You don't say? I know a featherian friend of mine that knows more of the project than any of us!"

Now, Annete smiled, and immediately asked, "Where does she live?"

"Luckily for you two," Hugh said, grinning, "She lives in the village of Tanx. It's on the way to the mines, and we may as well go to her village and spend the night there. Then, we can head off with her, no?"

Slayn agreed, and soon, the trio were leaving the gates of Deicester.

8

The village of Tanx wasn't a very large village, and also not fairly known. The sun was going down already, when the trio of travellers approached Tanx. Oddly, the moment they entered the village, there was silence. This silence was not normal, as it was still too early for the residents of Tanx to retire. Hugh, aware of this, took out his sword from its sheath slowly and silently, "What are you doing?" Annete asked, her eyes angry.

But Hugh just silence her by using his finger crossing over his mouth. In a low voice, he explains, "This is not normal. I come to this village quite often, and believe me, the villagers enter their homes once the sun is fully gone."

The three of them went behind a house, when all three of them saw one similiar scene. A few soldiers were gathered at the center of the village, carrying away boxes. Inside the boxes were valuables, jewels and others. "What the hell are those soldiers doing? Aren't they suppose to guard the village instead of stealing people's belongings?" Slayn said.

Hugh took another peek again, taking a careful inspection, "Most likely, these soldiers are from Deicester. Corrupted soldiers I might add..."

There were around four soldiers, some with spears, while the others carry swords. The leader was infront of all the soldiers, having an extra armor, with a broadsword. "What say we get this started?" Hugh finally said, smiling.

"Now you're speaking my language!" Slayn said, with a grin.

But, Annete came infront of the two, "Now hold on. You guys are not thinking..." But she never got to finish, as the two of them raised up and ran forward. Slayn summoned his ring and backstabbed a spearman, blood splurting out. He died instantly, a quick death. Now, all the attention has been drawn, and they quickly grabbed their weapons. The leader relaxely said, "How foolish! Slay them all!"

Annete, realizing that she had to do this, took out her sword calmly, and walked to the battlefield. It seems that Slayn has improved quite a lot, fighting a two on one. He blocked a cut to his rear, and did a counter-attack, slashing the his enemy's lower chest. This disabled one of his attackers, and looked to his left. A spearman nearly did a blow to Slayn's left rib, but quickly, Slayn moved back, and kicked him in the gut, making him fall. Thinking quickly, Slayn stood tall on top of him, raised his golden sword, and did the finishing blow. The spearman splurted blood, and was gone. Behind him, the wounded warrior, grabbed his swoard and silently came behind Slayn, ready for a sneaky kill. Slayn, sensing this, turned behind and quickly slashed his neck. The warrior looked at Slayn, his sword above him, and slowly fall, and Slayn smiled.

Hugh, facing an oversize axe warrior, had to use the advantage of speed. As fast as lightning, once the axe warrior missed a strike, Hugh was behind him, ready to plunge in his sword deep behind him. Though he was slow, he had the strength, using his own hand to whip Hugh's hand, his sword flying above the sky and landing in a muddy puddle. Hugh, now knowing he had to do something, took a step back. As the axe soldier, smiled, he knew he was going to win. He walked slowly to Hugh, arrogantly. "Rule number three," Hugh said suddenly, "Never be over confident," As he said that, he took out a small dagger, and threw it to the head. No matter how powerful he was, he slowly went to the ground, and now, Hugh walked to the dead warrior and took out his secondary weapon from the enemy's head.

Annete was having a hard time, never having the advantage against her enemy. It seems that this guy knows how to use speed attacks, and this was something Annete was not good at. Suddenly, Annete seized an opportunity, a free space to the ribs, but as her enemy planned, kicked her to the ground and was already ready for the final blow. Somehow, he never made it, as Annete saw a little dagger in the forehead. She looked to Hugh, who was already waving back, smiling. She thanked him, and Annete cleaned herself. Now, all three of them were looking straight into the enemy leader, who was still relaxing.

Oddly, he was clapping, "That was fantastic! You three were marvelous, but you still haven't face my second wave."

Slayn, who was already smelling victory froze in shock, "Second wave?"

The leader just smiled, and waved his hand behind the trio. Even in the darkness, they were able to see people emerging from behind trees or houses. Hugh looked at their surroundings, "We're surrounded."

Now, slowly, like a pack of lions, the new warriors walked closer, carefully and slowly. Hugh, as an experience lion knight, looked at Annete and Slayn, "Prepare yourselves for some heavy shit!"

Slayn held his sword, ready for battle, looking at their backs. Annete moved back, eyeing each and every one of them. Soon, the trio finds themselves at each other backs, working together. The leader of this Deicester soldiers walked in, "This is what happens to fools like..." Suddenly, he looked behind them. He was no longer paying any attention to the three brave warriors. Behind them, at the entrance of Tanx, was a man. He was wearing a white tunic, and a general robe, having brown hair and tied with a pony tail from the length of his hair. He carried two kind of swords, that looks like a katana, with a red sheath.

"Who goes there?!?" The leader demanded, his hands ready to take out his sword.

The man took a step closer, and once he got a clear view, he spoke, "I am the second-in command of the Deicester army, Battusai! and from the looks of it, you all are under the Deicester army!!"

The leader, now looked serious, his eyes now concentrated on the newcomer, "Well, I'll be damned! I've always hated your arrogant look and skill! I've waited long for this day..."

The new comer, Battusai, just laughed. He walked towards them, "And now you all dare to kill innocents? These three brave heroes? Its a shame you were once a part of the Deicester army!"

The leader spit on the ground, throwing the Deicester marker on the ground, and took out his sword. All the other warrios just looked at the general, until one of them ran to Battusai. Battusai, still as calm as he entered the battle, just looked at the incoming enemy. As the swordsman raised his sword for the kill, he suddenly stopped. He was shaking, and between his legs, blood were dripping already. Once he has fallen, Battusai was only holding his sword in its sheath. This stunned Annete, Could he have used his sword so fast that we didn't even notice? This caught the attention of everyone. Slayn and Hugh looked at each other, and nodded to each other. Slayn summoned his sword and Hugh threw another dagger which hit a swordsman shoulder, while he ran to pick up his sword.

Still walking, Battusai was confronted by the leader, where they met in a singles combat.

Slayn fought with a warrior using a long sword, in which the opponent has the upper hand. Slayn tried to confuse the enemy by doing a few zig zag moves, but to no aveil. While he was running, he tried to push his enemy down by using his sword and hitting his opponent sword with a strong force. The enemy, knowing this, already put his stance in a defensive form, and easily pushed Slayn to the ground. As Slayn looked at his enemy, who had the advantage, quickly, he used his sword to slash his knee. His enemy fell to his right, his left knee bleeding. When the longsword man finally realizied a shadow looming over him, he knew his life was at an end. He closed his eyes, and soon, Slayn chopped of his head.

Hugh and Annete were fighting against just one warrior, a swordsman with a shield. This soldier was challenging, as he used his shield for defense a lot and was good at counter-attacks. Annete ran forward and cleaved his shield, and seizing the opportunity, the enemy used his shield to push Annete away, leaving Hugh alone. Running now, Hugh had no choice but to throw his sword to threaten his opponent. Sensing this, he used his shield to throw away the sword, landing next to Annete. He raised his sword, and quickly now, Hugh threw another dagger, but his attacker moved to the left, missing. Now, ready for the kill, he was knew this man was done. Though he was just a few inches from Hugh, he looked down, and realized a silverish sword was plunged in deeply. He looked behind, and saw the woman, Annete smiling. It was Hugh's sword that was plunged in him, and he fell a few seconds later.

The leader of this raze looked at his fallen warriors, when Battusai gave him a chance, "Leave now, or you won't be seing the light again."

Now, his mind was filled with anger. He looked at Battusai, who was still standing calmly, and turned to the trio that finished his team. "You bastards!" He shouted, "You sanctimonious bastards!" As he finished his sentence, he ran to Battusai, ready for battle. Battusai took out one of his katana, and blocked a broadsword that was aimed for his shoulder. He looked at the leader, and spat at him. As the leader used all his might to try and break Battusai sword, it was already too late. Another sword was in his stomach, and it went through his back. The sword came from Battusai, who was still holding it, his eyes never blinking. Slayn, who was watching the whole thing, thought, When did he do that? It was too fast, that no one saw it.

The leader, dying, finally said, "I guess... This is why you are known as the 'Yellow Flash' of Deicester.. Now, I know what everybody meant..." Battusai, slowly took out his other sword from his enemy's body and put both of his sword back into its sheath. The leader, falling to the ground, let out his last breath and he was gone. Now, after the battle was over, Battusai looked at the three warriors, and ever since he got here, smiled for the first time.

The battle was over, and it wasn't long until the villagers came out of their houses. Almost everyone thanked them, and each offered to allow the travellers to spend the night at their house, but refused. Battusai, who was helping the villagers cleaning up the mess and mostly, bodies and weapons. After that was done, Battusai, general of the Deicester army approached the three heroes earlier. He talked to Hugh first, "Well, if it ain't Hugh, the lion knight? It's been a long time since I've seen you."

Annete, who was hearing the whole thing, asked, "You know Hugh?"

"Yes, of course," He said, cheerfully, "The three of us joined the Deicester army way back. Since childhood, we were all skillfull and played a lot of sword fighting, which is why we are all now high ranks."

Slayn, looked at Hugh, who was just whistling away, "What you mean by the 'three of us'?"

Battusai now gave a confuse look, "Hugh, how could you? Didn't he tell you that Turalyon, the commander of the Deicester army was also our childhood friend?"

Annete and Slayn looked at Hugh, who was giving a dumbfounded look. They sighed, but it didn't matter anyway, until Annete wondered about one thing. "By the way, what brings you here Battusai?"

"I visit my sick sister, Nadz everyday. I won't really say sick, but she is having a kind of disease that does not allow her to the outside world. She is now kept in that house," Pointing at a brown house, with a geneator at the back, "That generator over there is to prevent any dust or anything expose to her. Even a little flu could kill her, and..." All of a sudden, Battusai stopped talking. He dropped to his knees, coughing badly. Slayn, now concerned bent down asking, "Are you alright?"

Battusai couldn't answer, his cough was still there. After continuously, he began to cough blood, but the coughing stopped there. Hugh, watching the whole thing, told the others, "Battusai here is also having a disease, but not as serious as his sister. We all don't know what the causes are."

Battusai, rose up, his eyes red and was now breathing harder, "If you.... would excuse me, I must.... go back to Deicester now."

"Are you sure," Annete asked, concerned, "Its quite a distance from here to Deicester."

Battusai just nodded, and quickly moved out of the village. All three of them just watched him till he finally disappeared. All of them looked at each other, not knowing what to do. Finally, Hugh started, "We had better find Michelle first. That was the reason why we came here anyway."

Annete and Slayn looked at each other, and turned to Slayn, and agreed at the same time. They walked in the night, exshausted from the battle. They had to pass through a stable, where most of the horses were sleeping, until they reached a small little hut. Hugh stopped there, and turned to his two new friends, "This is it."

Slayn looked at the little hut, the roof covered with straws, then looked back at Hugh, "Well, you do the talking."

Hugh sighed, guessing that was what was going to say. He approached the door and knocked it three times, waiting patiently. A few seconds later, the door opened, and a featherian, wearing a white long sleeve shirt, appeared.

It took some time for her to speak, when she finally realized who it was, "Hugh, what brings you here at this hour?"

"Michelle, its been a long time. You see, a couple of my friends here are planning to go and see the Space-Time project. Since you yourself contributed a little on it, we were hoping you would lead us there?"

Michelle, still not fully awake yet, looked at the two new guests, and nodded, "You may spend the night here. We'll leave in the morning.

Annete, knowing her manners, walked to the front porch, "Thank you. My name is Annete," And then pointed to Slayn, "He is Slayn."

She smiled, and led the three of them in. After giving them easy instructions where their rooms were, everyone was sound asleep, and the village of Tanx was finally resting peacefully.

9

It was a long night, and finally, the sun rose and it awoke all of its residents in Tanx. All the farmers went to their fields, while the women took care of the household. Slayn, awoke from his sleep, without any trobling and looked at his surroundings. The window was shining through, from the brightness of the sun. He raised himself and walked out of his room, and went down the stairs, to find his friends already eating breakfast. Hugh, seeing him at the stairs waved at him and asked him to sit, in which he does. Infront of him, were just a loaf of bread with some eggs and a glass of milk. Annete, who ate her breakfast fast, was already getting ready for the journey, tying her sword to her thigh. Hugh, aware of this, said, "Slow down man! Don't get so excited."

"Oh, just shut up and eat your food!"

Michelle came from the toilet, wearing a white coat, her hair tied properly and wearing a cap. She smiled at her guests and said, "I'll be waiting for you all outside."

All three of them just watched her leave, as she closed the door behind her. Slayn just shrugged, and continued eating. It didn't take them long, and all of them gathered their belongings and left the hut. Michelle, who was waiting patiently, turned, "Alright. We can go using the mines right?"

Slayn nodded, "Yes. We had better hurry, not good to make those soldiers wait for us right?"

All of them agreed, and left the village of Tanx, unaware whether they will see it ever again. They left the village at noon, and travelled south, as the mines were located in that direction. Though neither of the trio have been to the mines, it seems that Michelle knew of it perfectly. While they were on the journey, Annete's curiousity reached at her maximum and she had to ask the featherian, "How is it you know where the mines are located?"

Though she didn't turn back, she continued walking, but at the same time, snaswered her question, "The mines were part of out history. Its a complicated thing, but all featherians know of it."

Annete nodded, and after hours of walking, they reached upon a mine, where two Desicester soldiers were waiting at the entrance. They saw the coming travellers and when they tried to enter the mines, they blocked their path, "I'm sorry, but the mines are a restricted area."

Slayn walked infront of the two soldiers and snickered, "We have been granted permission to use this mines to cross to Rohania."

"Ah, yes," The guard said, kindly, "The runner told us about it. We just didn't know who they were. Now, move along now." As he finished his sentence, the two of them went back to their posts. The four of them entered the mines, and the sight that greeted them were not pleasant. There were skeletons all over the place, most were all packed together in boxes, some scattered all over the floor. "What happened here?" Annete said, fearful that this was a set up.

Michelle now shook her head, "This was what I meant. Decades ago, when the featherians had an arguement with all human governments, they were all axecuted. Only few survived, and were thrown here. Others, were thrown in this mine to starve to death, but after the humans seen their cruelty, stopped the purging."

For a moment there, Annete thought she saw some emotions in the eyes of the featherian, but when she noticed Annete was observing, smiled back. Hugh explored the entrance, looking at the minerals and walls with awe. Though he was interest in all this, he noticed Slayn looking at something else, but didn't bother. "It's sad. Some of these featherians's spirits are still in these mines, never wanting to die." Deez said.

Slayn looked at her, and nodded. That explains why he is able to see people here. Some were looking at the walls, others looking at the entrance of the mine. After some time, they disappeared. This startled Slayn, but after that was done, he told the group to move on. There were no arguements, and they continued on, heading in an east direction. As they passed by, there still were skeletons, most likely these dead featherians must have searched for an escape, but failed to do so. After hours of walking and exploring, they finally saw some light. They headed towards it, and as they expected it, a signboard sais, 'Rohania'. "Finally," Michelle said, relieved from the tiresome walk.

Hugh, scratching his head now, asked, "So where is the Space-Time project?" Turning to Michelle.

"It's to the south east. We had better hurry now."

Slayn looked at Annete, and she looked at him. Somehow, Slayn felt a little relieved she was with him, and feeling some kind of affection he could not place, but he had no time to answer that feeling. They continued on, resting on the way, as Annete complained her feet was numb from the walking, and Michelle could not agree more. Hugh, now alone with Slayn, asked, "What was it you saw in that mine?"

Slayn stopped, and hesitated to answer. After a few seconds, he lied, "Nothing really. Just a few rats that I've never seen before."

"Really now? I somehow doubt it, but we can discuss this another time. When there is no one to bother us."

"Why not now?" Slayn asked, until he saw the two girls walking to them. He turned to Hugh, who was looking back at him. Fine, another time., Slayn said to himself. The journey before them was still far, and finally, upon reaching night time have they finally sighted civilization. It was like a base, with a rocket in the middle. There were search lights everywhere, and though the travellers were still quite far, they could spot soldiers patroling the area. "This," Michelle said, "Is the Space-Time project. Its better that we spend the night there once we reach the base, then we can discuss about the project tommorow."

The surroundings of the base were mostly man-made, nothing there were natural. No trees, with the exeption of the river, as they needed water. They followed the pathway, and after fifteen minutes of walking, they reached a metalic gate which was closed tight. Michelle turned to the others, and showed a sign to wait for a minute. She leaned over the metalic door and said, "Michelle here, and I would like to come in."

As she finished her sentence, the door began to open, and inside was all high-tech computers, and featherians that greeted them. Though Michelle were greeted warmly, the others didn't. Most of the featherians whispered to each other or just stared at them as they walked by. Though this wasn't the right time, all of a sudden, the whole room were sounded by an alarm system, the room turning red. "This isn't the welcoming commity that I had hoped." Hugh said.

It isn't," One of the guards said, "It's an alarm! Something is wrong at the Space-Time rock fusion!"

"What?" All of the three shouted.

"To power up this rocket," Michelle explained, "The featherians used this Space-Time rock to use it as a kind of fuel! That is why its called the Space-Time project! It seems something is goin on at the chamber..!"

Slayn turned to Hugh, and they were already reading each other's mind. "How do we get to the chamber?" Slayn asked, shouting in the process because of the alarm.

Michelle pointed to a teleportaion device, and they got it. "I and Michelle will stay here," Annete said, "I would like to know more about this project, so you guys go first."

They nodded, and like kids getting excited, Slayn and Hugh ran to the teleportation, awaiting what was to happen next.

In a room, a woman wearing a red dress, with some kind of device at her back, was surrounded by soldiers. She was holding a wand, and was trying to steal a silverish kind of rock that was in a glass.

The leader of the soldiers took a step forward, "Lady, if you truly don't want to die, I suggest you step away from the Space-Time rock!"

The woman, now enraged at what he said, shouted, "You dare say that to me?!? Now, you will pay!" As she said that, she raised her arm above her head and chanted some words. The whole room was filled with darkness and it didn't last long. When it was finished, she looked at the leader, "Now, what was it you were saying?"

The leader, his eyes stunned, as if possesed, looked at her and said, "Let me help you take the rock, mistress Dillah."

She smiled, "That's better." She moved aside, and let the leader take the rock, and once that was done, he gave it to her receiving arms. Now, as if she was a queen, was escorted by two guards, heading for a teleportation device. Out of nowhere, from another teleportation device, two men were transported out of nowhere. They looked at the woman, holding the rock, and she looked back. "Put that back!" Slayn and Hugh shouted at the same time.

Now, she hissed, "Finish them off!"

All of the guards looked at them, and slowly took out their swords. Slayn, now knowing they had no choice but to kill these innocent warriors, summoned his golden weapon. Hugh looked at his partner, then took out his broadsword. From the looks of it, there are altogether seven soldiers including the leader, who was still escorting the woman out to safety. "Please hurry mistress. We'll take care of these brats ourselves." He then took out his longsowrd, and put on his helmet to ready himself for battle. Slayn shooked his head, and ran to the nearest soldier, plunging his sword deep into his stomach. The warrior shouted, taking the pain and bent forward, looking at the sword that was in him right now. Hugh, taking the opportunity, ran forward and jumped on the back of the soldier that was bending, and jumped, gaining extra height. Now, he aimed at a soldier in the middle, who was most likely the toughest among them, slashing through his armor. The warrior looked at Hugh, shaking from the wound. He took out his weapon, but it was too late, as Hugh used his sword to do the finishing blow, his sword entering his chest cleanly.

The woman, realizing that these two warriors were too good for the pathetic soldiers she just possesed, quickly moved to the teleportation device. Slayn, just finish chopping the head off his enemy, realized the woman was escaping, shouted to Hugh, "Hugh, get that woman!"

Now, Hugh took out his dagger and immediately threw it to the person he was instucted to, but unfortunately, it never made it. As the dagger soared through the room, the woman vanished and the dagger hit the wall, missing. Hugh cursed, and knew that the woman has escaped. "Wha... What happen?" The leader of the soldiers suddenly said.

The confused Slayn asked, "You don't remember anything?"

Now, trying to gather back his thoughts, replied, "The last thing I remember was trying to stop a woman... what's her name.... Dillah I think... From taking the rock for the Space-Time fusion. That was all."

Slayn turned to Hugh, who was helping the other soldiers up. "I must report this to the leader of the featherian." The leader told them, making his way to the teleportation device. Slayn and Hugh followed him obediently.

This time, Slayn and Hugh was transported to a room with a few people, and noticed the leader that they followed were talking to a woman. Surpringly, they saw Annete and Michelle, who was listening to the conversation. The leader, after he was done, left the room and got transported somewhere else. Now, the woman whom the leader just spoke to, thanked them, "I, leader of the featherian would like to thank you two for trying to stop the thief, but to no aveil."

Hugh and Slayn bowed, and was pleased with the complement.

"So does this mean that the project is a failure?" Annete intervened.

The leader looked at her, and shook her head, "Yes and no. Without the original Space-Time Fusion rock, the rocket cannot transport anybody now. But, there is a gemstone to the north east of our location in a cave, works something like the rock of the Space-Time fusion. If you could help us get it, we can still be transported to a new world, but not as much... Around five hundred, compared to the original rock."

Michelle looked at Slayn, "Please, can you help us? It would mean so much to all of us."

Slayn, unaware on what to say, whispered to Hugh, "What do you think?"

"I think it would be an excellent choice."

Slayn, after receiving the advice, looked at Michelle, then turned to the leader of the featherians, "Fine. We'll do it. But, we need our rest, so we will leave tommorow for our task."

The leader, now smiling, said, "Thank you again. Though I musn't take all the credit. If it wasn't for Vladmir, this project never could have been known."

Behind her, a man, around his fifties, emerged, "I'd be that guy. My name is Vladmir, founder of the project. Now, if you could be getting the gemstone, I can get the project working again."

After their farewells, the foursome left the room, and searched for their rooms where they could rest for the night.

In a distant place, in a room, three people were discussing about their current situations and plans. Among them, was the woman, placing the Space-Time fusion rock on the table, "Here it is. Now, we just need the other two, and it will be complete!"

In the opposite of her, a man, wearing a black cloak with a kind of sunglasses, with grey hair, replied, "Yes mother, though I must admit, you were in a rush to get back here."

"There was trouble that I didn't expect of."

The unkwon stranger laughed, "Is this what I'm hearing? I thought you like'd troubles?"

"Not this kind. The two were excellent warriors, especially the one with silver hair."

"So I see. Now, if it is correct, they would be headed to the cave for the gemstone, yes?"

The woman, hesitated, then looked in the eye of the stranger, "Yes, my son. That is what I know, but it doesn't really matter."

The stranger smiled, an arrogant smile, "Now, I'll complete the job, unlike you! They shouldn't prove too difficult."

The woman, now angered, rose up from her seat, "How dare you! Do you know who..."

She never finished her line, as the third person sitting at the far end suddenly shouted, "Dillah! Take your sit please..."

She looked to her right, where a man, wearing a white coat was seated. Obediently, she sat down. "And," The man continued, "As for you Dillan, you will go to the cave and make sure they never leave the cave, do I make myself clear?"

The stranger simply nodded, not wanting to answer to anger the person. "As for me, I myself will head to the project, and destroy their generator..."

Now, it was the woman who opposed of the idea, "But master, you are not strong enough yet. You need the other two rocks in order for you to have your original potential again."

The man, sitting in the shadow leaned forward, but still unable to see his figure, "This Space-Time fusion would be enough and I will admit that without the two gemstone, I am not that powerful but I'm far more powerful compared to other warriors. Now, this meeting is over!"

The other two, stood up, "Yes, lord Zion..."

10

Rohania, the most undeveloped side of all the continents. This was why the featherians chose this land to start their project, as it needed a large amount of space. Unfortunately, the Space-Time fusion project was a failure, due to the attack of a woman, stealing the Space-Time fusion rock. Though all hopes are lost, a gemstone, located in a cave to the north east may be able to change all that, as it can also work like the original Space-Time rock, but not as good as it is. Four travellers now have voluntered to get the gemstone, as they left the base the moment the sun rose and its light replaced the darkness. After an hour of walking, a tired Annete asked, her voice desperate, "Is there any civilization around here?"

Slayn, who was also getting tired, looked at Hugh. He looked back at Slayn, who just simply shrugged. Michelle, taking out her map, reported, "There is an abandoned mining town near the cave we're supposed to go to. If we could reach there, maybe there's an inn we could spend the afternoon there." That brought a smile to the daughter of the president of Xironia. Hugh snickered, whispering to Slayn, "And here I thought she was a trained general? She can't even last an hour of walking?"

Slayn smiled, but then said, "That's true. But the two of us have been travelling from Xironia to Rocher then to Deicester and now this? Surely her legs have tire from all of this."

Still, Hugh thought that all soldiers must suffer from anything, and walking was the least. The four travellers walked past through swamps, pass muddy roads and everything. Because of avoiding some quicksand and not taking the risks, Michelle suggested that they pass through a mountain, which took hours to pass. From Michelle's estimation, she was very wrong. They arrived at the abandoned mining town entrance, a signboard trashed from the howling winds that said, 'Mining town of Alcetraz'. They walked in, looking at the old and rusty biuldings, most were either bars to entertain the miners, or houses. "This is a light forsaken place isn't it?" Deez said, feeling the chills.

Slayn, looking at his friends, just nodded, not wantind to answer to show his new friends he was insane. "Hei," Hugh suddenly shouted, "I think I see an inn. Abandoned of course."

This brought joy to the tiresome Annete, who was the first to reach Hugh. "Where is it?" As Hugh pointed the direction, the others reached Hugh. Annete went in to the inn, and from her view, it didn't seem to be a nice inn. Her face was filled with disgust. Now, the other three entered the inn, and now they knew why Annete didn't like the inn. It was filled with cob webs, and dust were everywhere, cockroaches passing by them. Slayn walked pass them as they all looked in horror at the inn, and walked to the hallway, where the rooms are located. he opened the doorknob, and the sight that greeted him wasn't that bad. Strangely though, the room has been cleaned recently, the beds all neatly tidyed up. "Hei," Slayn called, "This room isn't that bad!"

Annete came running, followed by the others, and this brought a smile for the first time since they entered the mining town. "I'm not too sure about the other rooms, but we can all stay here right? You ladies sleep on the two bed, we can bring in the chairs from the lobby and sleep using it."

Michelle and Annete were happy about Slayn's suggestion, while Hugh looked at him, "You are one gentleman are you now?"

Slayn laughed, "Jealous?"

"Hell yes! You getting the attention from the ladies!"

Now, everybody laughed, but after a long day of walking through the wilds and climbing through the mountains, everyone slept. They were to get the gemstone the first thing tommorow and return by night time. Though the women were sleeping, as was Hugh, Slayn lay awake, looking at the ceiling. A heavy rain was occuring outside the abandoned inn, and Slayn was grateful Hugh found the inn. He woke up, walking to the lobby. It was deserted, as he remembered, cobwebs everywhere. Still, the rain was beating heavily, which brought a calm kind of feeling to Slayn, resting on a chair, and it was comfortable. He rested, and the only sound that was heard were the rain and his breathing. Deez, now sighing, "The only ones that would be happy about the rain would be the water fairies."

"Yeah? I guess you're right."

There was silence in the next several minutes, when the two of them heard footsteps coming from the hallway. Slayn turned, and from the looks of it, it was Hugh. Slayn waved his hand, asking him to sit down. He did so, taking a wooden chair and put it next to his friend.

"So," Hugh said, turning to face Slayn, "What have you and Deez been talking about?"

This caught Slayn by surprise, almost jerking his neck out, "You know?"

"Know?" Hugh snickered, "I see her right now!"

"You can see Deez?" She asked.

"Of course I can. I just pretended I couldn't when the others were around."

Now, Slayn and Annete know something new about this lion knight. They sat for another minute, when Hugh suddenly looked serious, "Actually, I came out here not to tell you guys that. Slayn, I, as a member of the Wind Conter sense you're from the Dark Conter?"

"Er... What?"

"You playing games with me?"

"No," Deez said, saying it for Slayn, "It seems that Slayn lost his memory.

Hugh looked at Deez, trying to find any trace of joke, but there was none. He continued, "Anyway, I don't know how, but I feel tremendous power coming from you. Is there by any chance you are a contender for becoming the dark lord for the Dark Conter?"

"I really don't remember. Sorry, but..."

Slayn was cut off by another voice that was coming from the hallway, "Hei!"

The two men turned, and it was Annete, her eyes still sleepy, "What you two doing here in the middle of the night?"

Slayn, now swallowing hard. Was Annete listening to the whole thing? He was already sweating, until Annete noticed, "Is there something you guys are not telling?"

Slayn looked at Hugh, who was just staring at her, until he said, "Fine. We were talking about men stuff. You know? Women and how hot you are! Stuff like that."

Hugh was now smiling, showing his teeth. The next thing that happened was Annete leaving a slap on Hugh left cheek. She left the lobby and Hugh touched his cheek while Slayn snickered at what happened. Hugh, now looking serious again, "I had to lie. This Conter thing is serious," He rose himself and walked to the hallway, yawning, "We'll talk about it some other time. For now, I need to have some rest."

Slayn, realizing it was getting late, followed him and the travellers had a night of relaxation.

11

The abandoned mining town was occupied last night, by four travellers. Though it was occupied, it just lasted one night, and when Slayn awoke, he realized he was the only one left in the whole inn. He ran outside, his heart beating from the surprise of his friends leaving him alone. "Slow down," Deez said, catching up, "Don't have to be afraid. I'm with you!"

"Sorry," He said, gasping for air now, "Its just that... I don't like being left out."

They walked out of the town now, finding the path to the cave. After a few minutes, he found the path and followed it as obediently a dog would follow his master. There were several signboards on the way, but it didn't matter, he knew where to go. On the way, he realized the road was muddy, from the rain last night most likely and was full of footprints, heading the same direction he was. Obviously, it was his friends who left him in the inn, so now Slayn was more relieved he was on the right track. After fifteen minutes of walking, a gigantic cave was before him. It was big, and even from the distance, though marshy the path was, still able to hear its echo.

"Shall we?" He asked Deez.

Deez didn't answer. He turned to her, who was looking behind him, and from the look in her face, it seems she was too shock to talk. He looked behind, and after what he saw, now he was sharing the same shock, his mouth hanging open. There, Annete and the others were coming. Slayn just looked at them until they finally reached him, looking confused at his look. "Are you alright?" Michelle asked.

"I.... thought..." Slayn couldn't answer.

Now, Annete noticing that Slayn must have seen something odd. "What happened? Did you see Aggresival soldiers or what?"

Slayn, his voice finally coming back to him, answered, "No... But... I saw footprints heading into the cave. I thought you guys already went in?"

Everyone now exchanged looks, both worried and suspicious. "Still, we must move on," Slayn started, feeling confidence, "Whatever those footprints are, we'll find out sooner or later." Though Annete thought it would be best that they just forget the whole thing, the others pressured her that nothing would go wrong. Finally, they went into the cave to retrieve the gemstone that the featherians needed. In the cave, was nothing but pitch darkness, and as they went in deeper, the light from the entrance was also disappearing. The floor of the cave was muddy, and it made echoes with every step they made. Michelle, realizing that none of them could see each other from the darkness took out a special kind of torch device, lighting it up. Now, the cave was filled with light, bringing a smile to Hugh's face, "That's better!"

The four of them continued on, until they reached upon a mining facility. There were shovels everywhere, abandoned of course. The walls were lighted up with torches of fire. "This must be it," Slayn said, "Let's split up. I and Hugh will look for the gemstone over there, while you guys head over there." Pointing to the left. The two women agreed, splitting up. The mines were still dark despite being lighted by torches. It was very hard to see, and there were many rocks around them. All they have to find is a specific green gemstone, and is in a diamond shape. The two women looked from rock by rock, until they finally came to a chamber. Without even thinking on what might happen, they went into the chamber, and the scene that greeted that was delightful. There, in a special case just for a stone, was a green colour gemstone. "We found it!" Annete said, hugging Michelle.

Michelle, pushing her away, replied, "Yeah. We had better get it and get out of these mines."

Annete didn't argue, opening the case. As she did so, somehow, she felt chills. It felt as if someone was watching them, and finally asked Michelle, "Do you feel anything?"

"Yeah.. Kinda... Hurry now, I don't want to wait and find out."

Annete took the gemstone and placed it in her bag and quickly took off. Just as they stepped out of the chamber, daggers and spears came coming out of nowhere. "Duck!" Annete shouted, jumping to Michelle.

She made in time, saving Michelle's life as when they landed, the daggers and spears reached the wall, some stones falling off from the impact. "Splendid. I never thought you would dogde my most trusted spear throwers."

The two of them looked up, and there, they saw a man wearing a black cloak, with some kind of black sunglasses and to his left and right, were soldiers with full battle gear, on their thigs were a kind of bag where they keep their spears. His voice was a little unsual, as if it was suppose to be rough but it was not to be. "I see you have the gemstone. But I'm afraid this is as far as you are going to go!"

"Who are you?" Annete demanded, "What do you from us?"

"Even I cannot answer that question, but my task from lord Zion is to make sure you never make it out alive, and I always complete them."

"Lord Zion? Who's that?"

"That is someone you never know." He took out two swords, both of them blend at the edges, "And I have my trusty kamigas to get the job done!"

Michelle looked in shock, "Kamigas?!? But... Only the featherians and the Commander of Deicester holds that weapon."

The man smiled, "Sorry to disappoint you then." He ordered his men to attack. Obediently, they took out their spears and took aim, and threw with precise speed and power. In just a blink of an eye, one spear was already next to Annete's head, close to her neck. That is impossible! She thought. The speed was fast, and it was just one throw. The second spear thrower took out another one, this time smiling confidently. He was looking at Michelle, no doubt already found the target. Annete looked at Michelle, who was looking at her enemy in fear, trembling. The spear was thrown, and as it soared through the air at high speed, Annete jumped to save an innocent life.

"This has gone far enough!" The man in the black cloak said, his voice filled with anger, "I want you two to finish them now! No more fooling around!"

Annete suffered a cut to her left shoulder, her wound not very major but the injury would cost her life since that she is in no condition for battle. Now, the spear throwers took out their spears, ready for the final blow, this time knowing there would be no escape.

"Nooooo!!"

Michelle now looked at the spear throwers, now falling to the muddy ground with the rocks. From behind, two daggers were thrown at their heads, killing them instantly. There, stood Hugh and Slayn, standing tall. "Slayn! Hugh!" Michelle's voice were filled with joy.

Slayn, his anger flowing through him. He looked at the wounded Annete, the person whom he had sworn to protect was now on the ground because of him not making it in time. He turned to Hugh, who seemed to put his concentration on the stranger.

"Long time no see... Hugh." The man said.

Now, Hugh smiled, "You are still the same after all these years. Its time we finish it."

"I'm afraid that it is I who will finish you. If you remember, while in the days in the Wind Con..."

"Shut it!" Hugh cut him off, "There is no need for unnecessary mention of the secrets, not here, Dillan."

Slayn looked at Hugh, thinking, You know this guy? Still, the battle was the top priority now. He took out his ring, ready to summon his weapon. "Slayn," Hugh said, his eyes never taking off the man, "Take Annete and Michelle out of the cave. I'll meet you there."

"Are you sure?"

He smiled, a smile that was filled with confidence, "You can trust me."

Slayn looked at Hugh for a while, and walked to his friends. As he passed the so-called Dillan, it seemed this Dillan was eager to slay him off, but didn't do so. He walked to Annete, and carried her in his arms, feeling the weight. "Is there anyway to help her?" He whispered to Michelle.

"Yes. I have a technique that was taught by my brother for healing, but I need time."

"Fine. Outside of the cave, while we wait for Hugh, you will do what you must."

She nodded, and they both took off, leaving Hugh and Dillan alone.

In the mines, somehow, the wind spirits were gathered along the battle, as Hugh and Dillan ready themselves for battle. Taking out his sword, Hugh knew he was in a disadvantage challenging a person who carries the Kamigas, a sword that was able to give them either speed or the power they need at one time. Hugh, now in an attacking stance, took a step forward, sweat dropping down his face. The man, Dillan, for the first time, took out his sunglasses, obviously to concentrate for the upcoming battle. After they looked in the eye, the two ran to each other, swords clashing against each other.

Hugh, being a little more quicker, rolled to his left and tried to use his sword to slash his enemies ribs, but was able to block the attempt. Dillan smiled, and used his ability, to quicken himself up, trying to cut off Hugh's neck. Knowing this, Hugh kicked Dillan in the foot, making him fall. Trying to get the height advantage, Hugh stood up quickly, and ran to his opponent. Dillan, still on the ground, raised two of his feet and placed it on the oncoming Hugh's chest, throwing him in the air. Hugh crashed on a pile of rocks, hurting his back badly, but luckily for him, he was at the entrance. He smiled, and put his sword back into its sheath.
"What are you doing?" Dillan shouted, wanting more action.

"This battle is over!"

"Coward!"

"I never intended this to be a long battle. I just need to get away, so say what you want!" Hugh shouted back, raising his two arms and chanting some words.

After he was finished, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a tornado, a small type came from Hugh. Dillan looked in shock and knew what he was doing. The tornado made all the rocks collapse for the path on the entrance of the mines, and leaving Dillan trapped in it for the rest of his life. Hugh smiled, as the last remaining rock was covered and only hears the scream of curses from his enemy. "Now, we are equal." As he said that, he walked out, finding his companions.

Slayn was walking, awaiting the results of Michelle trying to cure Annete. It has been ten minutes since she started treating Annete's injured shoulder, and though she was still able to walk by herself, was in no condition to walk to the Space-Time fusion project for medical attention. Michelle, looked up at Slayn, "I'm done. She should be fine, and once we meet up with Hugh, we can continue with the journey back to the base."

Slayn nodded, and looked at Annete's face, feeling guilt for not being there. It was his own carelessness that Matthew had fallen, and if Annete falls, he would never stop blaming himself. He put his hand in her pocket, and took out the gemstone, knowing it would be safer if he kept it. Though he could not see, somehow, he sensed a presence of someone coming out of the cave. Not knowing what to do, he got ready his ring, just in case if it is an enemy. When the person finally reached the light from the sun rays, Slayn and Michelle were relieved. It seems that Hugh beat his opponent, just as he promised he would come. The moment he reached them, he looked at their wounded ally, and then turned his attention to Michelle, "What's wrong with her?"

"It seems that she is resting from the medicine I just gave her. The injury from the wound in her shoulder was quite serious."

Slayn now jumped in, "But... It was just a normaly cut by a spear."

She shook her head, "It seems that there is a poison flowing through her veins but she should be alright. We should rest at the inn, and we'll depart once she is okay."

Slayn bent down to pick Annete up again, but before he could reach for her, a gentle hand tapped his shoulder. He looked back, to see a smiling Hugh, and was offering to carry Annete to the town. "I don't know," Exclaimed Slayn, "You are pretty tired from the fight, why not I carry?"

Hugh just shook his head, his hair moving from the howling wind, "It's alright. Please. I will do this simple task."

Abdulla finally agreed, and followed the path back to the town, Michelle guiding the way and Hugh right behind them. After a tireing day of searching for a gemstone and fighting unexpected strangers, they reached the town and headed for the inn. Michelle stopped at the door, turning back at them, "Hei, its been a long day. Even though, I admit its still around three in the afternoon, I think I'm gonna retire for the whole day."

"Yeah, me too." Hugh said, walking in the inn with Annete. "You coming Abdul?"

He was walking in another direction, "Later," He shouted back, never looking back. Hugh just went in, and closed the door behind him. Slayn walked alone, Deez behind him. "I can see spirits in their houses. It seems that this town was slaughtered in a raid or something."

"So I see."

He passed by the houses, and knew Deez was right, as some of the spirits were walking in their houses, some were just sitting at their doorstep. Slayn ignored them, and after an hour of exploration, he walked back to the inn, ready to leave this dreadful town.

12

It was dark, the walls on top of the man were wet, droplets of water dripping down on the ground. He walked to the blockade, and knew not even any of his powers were able to blow the rocks through. He cursed, and used his Kamigas to slash through the rocks in anger, but no matter how strong the weapon was, it was no use. Only little rocks dropped from the impact. He sighed, knowing that he just had to wait for her, and knew his reputation was going to be dropping. He sat down on a pile of rubble, putting his weapon back in its sheath, and communed with the Wind spirits to report to him of the outside world, but was unable to do so as there were not enough spirits and he lacked the power from using up his energies from the battle.

He closed his eyes, and somehow, he sensed another kind of force coming. From the senses, he was able to tell that Dillah was coming by using her magic to teleport here. He slowly stood up, and awaited for her arrival. As he expected, a beam of light emerged right before him, and a woman came in place, taking out her hand to grab him. He grumbeled because the moment he hold her hand, he was able to tell that she was probably laughing, since that he, too failed to finish them off.

Moments later, Dillan and Dillah arrived back where they belong, in a meeting room. At the far end, sitted a man in the shadows, his arms on the handles of the chair. Dillan sensed his master anger growing, and went down on his knees, "Please Lord Zion, I wasn't prepared... I underestimated them. I..."

The man just silenced him, and rested his chin on his palms, it seems thinking of something. The two just waited for him to say something, Dillan slowly rising to his feet. At last, he spoke, his voice rough, "We shall continue our plans. I alone shall attack the Space-Time project, while you two move in the sacred library."

"Yes, master, but..." Dillan protested.

"I said it once, we SHALL do what we have planned!"

This time, Dillan kept his mouth shut, which was a wise choice. Dillah took a step forward, "May I speak?"

The man allowed her to do so, ready for either bad news or good news. Dillah spoke, "You know we both failed to stop the man with silver hair. Though he seems weak, I sense tremendous secrets about him. I rarely say this master, but..."

"Yes," He said, finishing her sentence, "I too have felt someone holding that power. If it was him, he shall be a trouble to us. Never mind, I myself shall finish him. Now, the meeting is finished!"

The two of them bowed, and left the room, leaving the man alone, and he stood up. As he emerged from the shadows, he took out a golden weapon from a ring, wearing a white suit.

13

Though the sun haven't risen, four travellers awoke early, leaving an abadoned mining town behind them, and proceeded with a gemstone they must deliver. They had three hours before sunrise, and it was Annete who pressured the others in leaving early, since she had an early rest. Though it was early, there were no arguements from the others, as they didn't want to stay in that town any longer. They took the similar path, passing through the mountains, but it was easier this time as they were still full of energies, unlike when they first arrived, when they were exhausted from the trip. Luckily, Michelle still had her torch, and it seems it was a natural element. Hugh, while they were passing through the mountains, asked, "Michelle, how do you come with the potion to cure Annete?"

"It wasn't a potion. I used magic, which was taught by my brother. I can use any natural element and turn it in to something useful, like this torch," She raised it so that he could see, "I used the sunlight energies, and since that its unlimited, it never runs out."

"I see."

There was silence during the rest of the journey, and after hours of walking, the sun finally was rising up again, which means that dawn was over. At the same time, they saw from the distance, a rocket. It was no doubt, that they finally reached the base of the Space-Time project. Though they were all eager to get into the base and finish it, they were quite exhausted from a three hour journey. They continued walking until they reached the entrance, the guards giving them a warm welcome. Though most of the guards were anxious about their journey to the mining town of Alcetraz, they knew they were in a hurry. The four of them walked into the teleportation device, where they were transported to the leader of the featherian, who was very relieved that they returned safely.

"I must say," The leader started, "You all look exhausted. I know the journey is tirering, but what took you all long?"

Slayn walked toward her, giving her the gemstone, "We had trouble in the mines. Some weirdo was trying to stop us from getting the gemstone."

"What did you do him?"

Slayn turned to Hugh, who stepped forward, "I trapped him in the mines by making the rocks collapse, blocking the entrance. It seems he posseses the Kamigas."

The fetherian was silent, obviously either knowing the answer, or didn't want to say it. "Mistress," Michelle spoke, "Isn't the Kamigas the featherians weapon?"

She sighed, "The Kamigas is indeed the weapon of the featherians. Only Josias, commander of the Deicester army posseses it since he helped us once. The other one was once belonged to our greatest champion."

"What happened to him?" Michelle asked, though knowing the answer.

"He died when a stranger challenged him to a duel. We didn't know what happened to that man."

Just then, an alarmed was sounded.

"Don't tell me another problem with the chamber for the gemstone?"

"No," Vladmir said, coming out of nowhere, "It seems that there is a problem at the generator controlling the Space-Time power."

Quick as a flash, for an old man, he was already walking to the teleportation, in a hurry to the scene. Without even thinking, All three followed the scientist, going to the teleportation device one by one. Slayn looked, and felt regret on what was happening. He really wanted to go to the new world, but it seems fate didn't allow them to do so. He was looked at the featherian leader, "Leave this place the moment we have that generator fix!"

"Of course," She replied, not even caring about the lives of Slayn, which he didn't blame her, "Sorry for not being able to follow us."

Slayn ran to the device, and got teleported to the ground floor, and it was empty. Seems that most of the guards went to the generator, risking their lives just for their leaders sake. Though he didn't know where the generator was, all he had to follow the tracks on the pathway, but was slower of course.

Hugh used all his might, his sword cutting through a man, whose armor was the thickest he had ever seen, but he prevailed, killing the man. More warriors came out of nowhere, targetting the generator. Annete, running to a light axe man, escaped a blow to her neck, and countered him by slashing her enemy's body in half. Michelle, who was unarmed, just took out a book, and looked at three foolish spearman, ready to destroy the generator like vandals. All of a sudden, the three men were pushed away by a force, coming from Michelle. The three fell to the ground, and were startled at what happened. They rose up slowly, but Michelle didn't allow them to do so, as she began chanting some words, and three fireballs came out of nowhere, burning her enemies. They screamed in agony, rolling to the floor, but never made it to put out the fire, as they were lifeless a few seconds later.

Hugh, searching the area, saw no warriors coming, "Alright Vladmir, get it fix!"

"Be patient," Vladmir said, getting out another tool, "This generator not like fixing a doll. You just defend me, this will take some time."

Hugh sighed, knowing there was no point in argueing. Like his old man, as they get older, they just seem to get pissed easily. Hugh, spotting movements coming from some bushes, pointed to Michelle, saying in a whisper, "Why don't you try cooking something in that bush?"

She smiled, and chanted the same words. This time, four fireballs came out, and the moment they burned the bush, two archers were screaming. Hugh snickered, and turned to Annete, "Is this all they can offer?"

"I know," She said, putting her sword back in its sheath, "This is like practice."

Though they were laughing, a step from the woods stopped them from enjoying themselves. A man came out of the shadows, wearing a kind of coat, with silver hair. He stood infront of the three, "Over confidence, I see. Now, I shall get the job done, see to it that you try and stop me."

"Who are you?" Hugh spoke, his voice with curiousity.

"I am Zion, lord of Darkness."

"You!" Michelle suddenly interrupted, "It was you that man spoke of. What do you want from this Space-Time project?"

The man just stood there, never answering her question. Michelle, thinking that the man was quite a distance from her, slowly took out her spellbook, finding the assaultive spells. "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

The voice was coming from behind her, and there, the man was there, smiling. Her eyes were filled with fear, and knew what was going to happen, but she was wrong. The man took out a golden ring, and summoned a metalic stick, and knocked it behind her, making her pass out. She fell to the ground, unconscious.

"Michelle!" Hugh shouted, running to her.

The man smiled, coming face to face with Hugh, "She's alive. This stick, follows what my orders are, I can either command it to kill whatever it touch, or do tremendoues damage. For now, your friend has passed out."

"You bastard!"

Hugh tried to slash the man, but missed. He disappeared, out of the thin air. Hugh, now staring to his left and right saw no trace of the man. "Hugh," Annete shrieked, "Behind you!"

Hugh turned, only to see the man smiling at him. Hugh was sweating now, and tried to slay his enemy's neck, but he blocked it, and suddenly, his stick already was at Hugh's belly. Hugh coughed out blood, dropping to his knees, and fall face first to the ground, uncounscious. "I thought you said you wanted a challenge?" The man said, looking at his fallen opponent. He now eyed the woman, who has already taken out her sheath, shaking. The new comer looked at the shaking woman, and smiled arrogantly, "Tsk tsk. Is this the future general of the Xironian army?"

"You know who I am?"

"From what I just answered," He replied, suddenly looking serious, and disappeared. Annete looked to her left and right, but he was not there. She then knew where has, and quickly turned to her back, only to find the man, saying, "You should already know my answer!" He continued what he said, and used his weapon and hit her ribs, making her fall on one knee. She couged out blood, holding her pain, then looked up at her attacker. She was losing conscious, when the the man again hit her, this time on her back. This time, she fell on the floor, uncounscious. The stranger looked at his fallen enemies, and then decided to finish them off now, while they are still in a faint. He slowly walked to the first woman he defeated, looking at her. He shooked his head, and raised his weapon, ready for the kill.

"Don't you dare!" A voice said, coming from the woods.

The man stopped, his weapon stopping a few inches from Michelle's neck. He turned and saw a man with silver hair, wearing a white tunic with a kind of like a black jacket or something like that. The man was still walking, taking out a golden ring from his pocket, and put it in his finger, "Why don't you fight someone your own size?"

The man, Zion, looked at the newcomer, his eyes filled with suspicion, but then shook his head, "Another person added to my list," Though he said it with confidence, he then eyed him again, "But then again... You.... are different."

"Yes... Right now, you are going to suffer the feeling of death!" The newcomer shouted, which was Slayn. He summoned his golden weapon. Zion looked shocked, and knew it was a battle he had not expect. He immediately summoned his weapon, also golden in colour, but was a stick. "Let's see who kills who." Zion said, taking a step closer.

Now, an elderly scientist trying to fix a generator, and his success would change the fate of the featherians. Though he has been working hard, it seems that a newcomer was there to destroy the generator, wiping out everyone in its path, exept for one person that just arrived to help. Now, Slayn came face to face with Zion, who was already running to him. Slayn watched his movements, and thought the man would try to confuse him with his speed. Strangely, the man just came running to him, coming right infront of him, holding his metalic stick tightly. Slayn now used his anger, trying to stop the oncoming enemy, but was blocked by him, with just one hand, able to stand Slayn's strength. The sound of blade clashing against each other echoed in the woods, though the other wasn't a blade at all. Seeing the opportunity, Zion kicked Slayn in the gut, making him move backwards, holding the pain. Quickly, Zion came again, doing a zig zag movement, Slayn's eyeball following his movements. Knowing where he is, he blocked his right rib, and was correct, as the stick was aimed there. Though he blocked it, Zion was fast, immediately moving his weapon back, and aiming for his neck. Slayn couldn't avoid that, and was hit on his right side, falling to the ground on the impact.

Now, Slayn was face to face with his enemy, Zion standing with his foot on Slayn's chest, as if taunting him. Slayn planned this, smiling back up to his enemy. Zion looked at his fallen opponent, giving a confused look. Slayn used his leg to drag his enemy down to the ground fast, catching his opponent by surprise. Unlike his enemy, he quickly went for the kill, plunging his sword deep in his chest, right where the heart should be. Zion, feeling the sword entering his flesh, let out a scream of agony, and fell dead. Slayn took out his sword, then looked at the dead Zion, "Send my regards to hell!"

"Me or you?" A voice came from behind.

The voice was behind Slayn, and the moment he turned, there was Zion, smiling. Slayn turned to the person he just plunged his sword, but saw nothing. It was gone, only the grass that was there. "That," Zion continued, "Was an illusion."

Slayn tried to attack him, but it was too late, as Zion already used his weapon to hit Slaynlah's chin, making him soar through the air, blood splurting out of his mouth in the process. He landed on the plain grass, feeling pain on his back. He opened his eyes, only to find the similar smile coming from the face of Zion, who was raising his stick. Slayn searched for his weapon, but it was nowhere to be found. He looked to his left, and realized that the sword has returned back to its ring. "In case you're wondering," The man said, catching Slayn's attention, "I, too posses the Growlanser. I won't kill you yet, not that you can stop my plans. But this should teach you a lesson from you always intefering with Dillah and Dillan."

As he finished his sentence, he hit Slayn on the chest, blood coming out slowly from his mouth, and then passed out. Zion looked at his uncounscious opponent, and slowly walked away. His stick automatically returned to his ring, and he put it back in to his pocket. Zion looked at the scientist, Vladmir, who suddenly shouted, "It is fix! It is fix!" He turned, unaware that Zion was staring back at him. The two looked at each other, Vladmir sweating on his forehead. From behind them, a rocket blasted off, going to a new world. The two who were staring at each other were now looking at the rocket, which when it reached to a certain height, disappeared out of the thin air. Zion shook his head, then turned back to Vladmir. Vladmir wasn't even shaking, but was trying to say something, but couldn't get the words out. Zion smiled at what Vladmir was trying to do, then left the area, leaving the scientist alone with four unconsious warriors. Zion left, leaving a trail of his footsteps, and headed of to the darkness of the woods.

As Vladmir watched the man until he was out of sight, he heard groans. It was coming from Michelle, followed by Annete and Hugh. It seems they were awaking from their injuries, and only Slayn was still unconscious. They searched for the man that defeated them all, but was gone. They then awaited for Slayn to awake, so that they can continue on their journey.

14

The sun was setting, and the base that host the Space-Time project was back to its normal use, a research facility. The project was a success, and once the rocket disappeared, it meant that the rocket was in a new world now, and no one knows where or when they will reach its destination. Vladmir led the group to an inn in the base, and he paid the bills, all on him to show his appreciation on helping him make the Space-Time fusion project a success. Hugh carried the unconsious Slayn, wondering if he was dead, but it was not to be, as his heartbeat was still strong. Michelle and Annete rested early, now in their room, while Hugh was reading some kind of notebook, while waiting for Slayn to awake. While he was half way reading his notebook, there was a knock on the door. He sighed, and walked to the door and turned the doorknob. It was Vladmir, carrying a backpack with him.

"I hope I am not disturbing you?" Vladmir said, apologizing.

"Oh no, is there something I can do for you?"

"As a matter of fact," Vladmir replied, rubbing his chin, "There is something I would like to discuss, if you're not busy?"

Hugh looked at Slayn, who was still resting soundly, then turned back, "Sure. But, I would prefer we discuss at the restaurant inn. I still haven't eaten anything."

Vladmir nodded, leaving his bag in their room. Hugh closed the door behind him, and walked through the hallway Vladmir following behind. They reached in the restaurant, and sat on a table with just two seats. The room was brown, and quite cooling. A waitress came to them with a menu, and passed one to Hugh. She gave to Vladmir, who refused, saying that he was already full. The waitress waited for the man to order, and after Hugh was done making his decision, he told the waitress what it were, and she left. Hugh then turned his attention back to Vladmir, who was waiting for him patiently. "So," Hugh started, "What was it you want to discuss about?"

Vladmir nodded, clearing his throat first before continueing, "Yes. You see, after years of being a scientist in this research facility in Rohania, I'm bored as there is nothing new to study about. Now, I hear that Annete, the daughter of the Xironian president was headed back to Xironia tommorow. If she doesn't mind, I would like to follow her back."

Hugh shrugged, "Actually, we all are headed there. Besides, you have my permission to follow us, I don't think they would disagree."

"True," Vladmir said, nodding, "But, I hear she is one kind of a fussy woman. I hope that she wouldn't make such a fuss about it."

Hugh laughed, tears nearly coming out from his laughter, "You sure know how to make me laugh. By the way," Hugh said, changing the subject and turning serious, "How is it that you avoided that man... Zion... I mean, if Slayn was defeated at last, why didn't he come after you?"

Sweat dropped from Vladmir's forehead, hesitating to answer, "Err... I fixed the generator on time. It seems that it was pointless for him to try and stop me, so he left."

Hugh leaned his head to his left, as if someone was whispering into his ear. After a few seconds, he then eyed Vladmir, who was awaiting his answer, nervous, "Are you sure? From my feelings, its as if you know that guy..."

"No.. He just went off like that, how could I know him?"

Hugh searched the expression of Vladmir, but couldn't find any trace of lies. Again, he leaned his head to his left, and whispered something. Just as he finished his whispering, the same waitress brought his food,some fish and a few chips on the side, veggies also there. Hugh ate it quitely, but fast also. It didn't take him too long to finish his meal, and after about five minutes, he was already cleaning his mouth with a tissue. He looked back at Vladmir, who was watching him the whole time. He looked at his empty plate, then sighed, "Its better we all rest for tommorow's journey. We'll be stopping at the village of Tanx to drop of Michelle, then we would be headed to Xironia."

Vladmir nodded, just following what he has to say, "That'd be fine. We be passing through the mines, yes?"

Hugh rose up from his chair, stretching himself. He then looked at the scientist, waiting for an answer. Hugh ignored him, then walked out of the door. He turned, "Yes," He said, while walking.

Hugh didn't know what the scientist did then, but all he knew was that he is going to sleep and wonder what was going to happen tommorow. He reached his room and opened it, and only to find Slayn no longer asleep. He was already awake, enjoying the views from the inn to some mountains and a long stretching river that was passing through it. Slayn turned, seeing Hugh walking to a desk. He sat on the chair behind the desk, turning the chair to face Slayn, "So what happened?"

"What do you mean?" Slayn replied, giving a dumbfounded look.

Hugh looked at Slayn, "You should know what I am talking about."

Slayn scratched his head, then let out a breath of air, "Fine... So what is it you want to know?"

"Everything," Hugh responded in unison.

Slayn walked to the bed, sitting down, facing Hugh, "I just fought that... What was his name? Zion. He was quite skillful and had magnificent speed. I thought I defeated him, but it seems he knows how to use illusions, which was how I was defeated. Strange thing is, I don't know why he didn't kill us and it seems he too, posses the Growlanser."

"Do you know this man?"

Slayn was now scratching his neck again, "That's the strange part. I think I remember seing him in my dreams, but... I don't remember where."

Hugh was now yawning, "Fine. Its better we all rest now. We can discuss this some other time."

Slayn agreed, and the both of them laid themselves on their on beds, and drifted of to sleep.

15

The research base in Rohania was a place that hosted the successful Space-Time fusion project, and now, most scientists left the base for other research or because they just wanted on some knowledge on the project. Since it is gone, most left the base. Even Vladmir, the top scientist that was the founder of the project, was leaving with four travellers. Vladmir packed up all his things, and met them at the entrance of the base, waiting for him. He walked to them apologizing, "Sorry for being late," He apologized, turning to Annete, "You don't mind me following you all?"

"Of course," Annete said, shaking his hand, "You see, I also wanted to ask you to follow us back to Xironia. As you know, Xironia gets its income from food, and now that darkness is spreading and the sun fading, I was wondering if you could do some research and maybe find a way to make plants continue growing without the sunlight."

Vladmir was rubbing his chin now, thinking, "That would be a challenge. I'll get right on it once we get to Xironia."

Annete thanked Vladmir again, and joined the group. All five of them left the base, and walked in a north west direction to get into the mines. Luckily for them, it wasn't raining, since most of them were tired from walking here and there these few days, and if it did rain, they would be in really bad shape. The path was clear, and they all followed it and stopped to look at signs, to make sure they weren't lost. After two hours of walking and following signs, they reached the entrance of the mines. Slayn looked at Deez, who was sleeping on his shoulder. Luckily she was quite weightless and it didn't really burden him with her weight. All five of them entered the mines, the same familiar mines. Annete looked at Michelle, watching her to see if she held any emotions about this place, where the featherians were left for dead, but there was none.

It didn't take them very long to locate the exit, and the moment they stepped out, it seems that the sun just rose. It was already in the afternoon for Rohania, but here its like as if its still early. "Strange," Hugh muttered.

"Not strange. Its just that between Rohania and Deicester, there is a kind of time vortex in the mines. So as you can see, for Rohania, its already mid afternoon." Vladmir explained.

They continued on, passing pass a camp from the Deicester army. The camp was most likely to guard the mines, as it hold secrets that very few knew about. It didn't matter, and now, the travellers top priority is to return Michelle back to the village of Tanx. It was still quite a distance from the mines, but now that they all are used in walking, it seems that some long journey are quite short now. Long or short, they reached the village of Tanx at precisely lunch time, and to their surprise, most of the villagers were no where to be seen. "No surprise," Michelle stated, "The villagers of Tanx are very obedient. They eat when it is time, and work at their time."

Slayn didn't seem to agree about Michell's point, "I somehow doubt what you just said."

Michelle looked at Slayn, as if stating Slayn was ridicolous, "I live here Abdul. I know what they do."

"No," Annete said, agreeing with Slayn, "I think Slayn is right. Look over there." She pointed infront of them, a dead body of a villager, her body full of scars from blades. Hugh walked ahead of them, the others following him. He bend down, inspecting the body, "It seems... That whoever did this are still here."

Vladmir walked to Hugh, and grabbed a sample of blood. He took out a solution from his backpack, and poured the blood with his solution. He then put it into his watch, and looked at the results, "Yes. He is correct. It seems the attackers should still be here, the blood here has been on the ground for about four minutes ago."

Slayn and Hugh looked at his watch, their jaws open, "That's a cool watch." They both said at the same time.

Vladmir smiled, taking the complement. Unfortunately, they had to move fast, as an explosion was heard not far. It was in the village, and they could see smoke rising. In an instant, all of them ran to the scene, and they watched in horror. Michelle reached them, and was even more shocked then any of her friends.

"My house!!" She screamed.

The scream brought swordsman and spears to them, and their leader. Slayn quickly summoned his golden weapon, Hugh taking out his sword. Annete counted them, while taking her sword. There were about seven swordsmen and six spearmen, and it seems that they were all bandits. The leader, a dark skinned man wearing a black shirt stepped forward, looking at the new arrivals. He smiled, and then put his attention on Slayn, "Long time no see... Slayn."

"Slayn? Who's Slayn?" Slayn asked, full of confusion.

The leader grinned, "Playing dumb with me now. It will not matter, it will be your last!" As he said that, he took out a unique weapon. It was a double sided silver axe, mostly used for the big soldiers as they can stand the weight. Though the leader didn't give any orders to his men, it seems that they knew by instinct, running forward to their enemies. Slayn went to a defensive stance, as a swordsman aimed for his knee. Slayn moved back, escaping. The swordsman smiled, Slayn wondering why. He looked behind, to find a spearman trying to plunge in his weapon into his back. Slayn seeing he couldn't block it, moved to his right, but was quick enough. The spear slashed through right rib, a minor injury. Slayn rolled through the ground, knowing this wouldn't be easy. He turned to his left, to find another swordsman aiming for his neck. Slayn watched in horror, his death coming. Luckily, Hugh pushed the man, jumping forward to throw the attacker away with him.

Annete was also having a hard time, a spearman almost got to her forehead. Seeing this, she ducked, only to find another swordsman trying to cut her shoulder. She blocked it at the nick of time, her blade and her enemy's blade inches from her shoulder. She pushed it away, and the same spearman again attacked, cutting her right knee, blood splurting out a little. She moved back, until she reached a wall, and was cornered. Michelle, trying to find the right spell, finally decided she had no choice to use another alternative. She raised both of her arm, and out of nowhere, two little stones, came to her hands, and she changed it into three knives from each stone. She had to be fast, throwing six of the knives at Michelle's enemy. The knives soared through the air, two missed, but the others hit her enemy. The spearman fell dead, but the swordsman just got a knife stuck into his shoulder, and was still able to continue. Michelle, seeing the advantage, used the wall to jump forward, gaining speed. She aimed for the chest, plunging her sword deep into the heart, making the swordsman fall. She took out her weapon, and thanked Michelle.

Michelle waved back, until two spearmen came running to her. She was unarmed, and wasn't going to make it in time to cast a spell or summon knives. She dropped, screaming. The two spearmen smiled, and was ready to slay her. Out of nowhere, the two exploded into pieces. She turned, to find Vladmir carying a kind of weapon. He was smiling, and shouted, "It is a device that shoots out bombs! This must be used carefully though!" He laughed, until he attracted two swordsmen. They came running, raising their swords, Vladmir, realizing this, quickly took another shot, but this time missed, causing a massive explosion. He was sweating, and quickly reload. He looked at them, and they were getting nearer. He was not going to make it, but one of the swordmen fell dead suddenly, suffering from a dagger in his head. When the warrior dropped, behind him was Hugh, who was now fighting with another swordsman. Vladmir had no time to thank him, as the other swordsman was already at him, trying to cut off Vladmir's head. It didn't make the kill though, as Slayn blocked it from the side, catching the swordsman by surprise. He used his elbow to knock the man, causing some teeth to fall out. The swordsman hold his mouth, blood coming out. Slayn continued on, slashing the man's chest, more blood splurting out like cutting a bucket of water. The swordsman dropped, looking right into Slayn, only to feel the blade slicing cleanly through his neck, killing him instantly. The leader, realizing he was losing, took the opportunity to flee. They were all busy fighting, and nearly escaped the battle until a new arrival arrived.

"Another battle?"

Annete turned, to find Battusai blocking the leader's path from escape. The leader looked in shock, "The 'Yellow Flash Of Deicester'!" He took out his axe, shivering from the presence of Battusai. Hugh was on the ground, about to receive a blow to his neck. He summoned a kind of wind, pushing his enemy back, making fall on the ground. The spearman looked in shock, wondering how Hugh did that. Hugh smiled, throwing a dagger at his opponent. Seeing this, he escaped, jumping to the ground face first, closing his eyes to avoid mud from entering his eyes. He looked at the dagger, stuck at a barrel, and looked up, to find Hugh looking down on him. He looked in horror, but his fear was gone as Hugh's blade finished him off by plunging his back. He fell dead, the last of the bandit. Hugh joined the others, to find them watching Battusai fighting the leader. They wanted to help Battusai, but Battusai told them to stay back, meaning that it was his battle.

The leader was now sweating, holding his axe. As for Battusai, he just looked at his pathetic enemy, not even ready to take out his Katana from its sheath. The leader know the reason, and knew he was going to die. He ran forward, trying to slash his chest, but from an openly free spot to slash, was suddenly blocked by a blade. The leader now tried to push off the sword from Battusai, who was only holding it with a single hand. "You are pathetic," He said, putting his other hand to his katana, ready to take it out. The leader know of this, but what can he do. If he let go of the push, he will now have two swords open, which would be an end of him. He tried to move back, but was too slow, as he was already spitting out blood, a katana deep in his gut. The five travellers looked in shock, never even noticing the blade coming out from its sheath. The Yellow Flash Of Deicester... So I see... Slayn thought. The leader now pushed himself away, holding his axe and his wound at his gut. He was already running out of energy, from the blood coming out. He looked at Battusai, slowly coming toward him. The leader tried once more, running. Battusai saw the kill already, raising his two swords. All of a sudden, a cough came to him. The leader stopped, then looked at Battusai, coughing badly, dropping his sword and Katana. He was coughing out blood, and he couldn't continue the battle. "This is the end of The Yellow Flash Of Deicester!!" Shouted the leader, raising his axe, going to cut off his head, his voice filled with triumph. Slayn and Hugh tried to help, but they were too far, Annete and the others were too shocked to move a muscle. Slayn cursed, knowing that a legendary hero was going to be finished. Just as the axe almost reached its target, it was blocked by a white blade, full of speed. The leader looked up, then let his jaw open, too shocked. Another new comer, wearing a white commander suit, having long black hair and he too holds two swords. Michelle looked closely, and she realized the newcomer was holding the weapon known as the Kamigas. The leader now lost his balance, "The.... The..." He couldn't get the words out.

The newcomer helped Battusai, letting him rest at a shade. He then turned his attention to his enemy, never blinking. "The 'White Fang Of Deicester', Turalyon!!Two legendary generals are here..." The leader said, his voice shivering.

"This is the end for you..." He said calmly.

He raised his sword, and said something to the sword. He was ready to cut off the enemy in half, starting from his head. The leader raised his axe, trying to block it, but to aveil, as the Kamigas broke the axe in half. After that, it cut the enemy easily, like slicing through a cake. The leader stood there, then slowly, his body was seperated, blood splurting out a lot. Turalyon looked at the person he just slayed, then proceeded to Battusai. The five travellers followed him, and watched Turalyon tend to the wounded Battusai. After he was done, he then turned to all of them, "I thank you for helping this village. You should know that Battusai sister here is living here, so he comes here everyday."

Slayn smiled, "We thank you too... Er, Turalyon..."

Battusai rose himself, "We've met each other twice now. I would like to stay, but I am sick, and I need to get back to Deicester for my medication." He thanked them, and picked up his sword and katana. Turalyon helped Battusai walk, and they both soon disappeared from sight.

"Man," Annete suddenly said, "That Turalyon sure is one hunk!"

Vladmir looked at her, then said proudly, "I used to be like that you know?"

Michelle and Annete looked at him, who was still standing proud, then broke out in laughter. Vladmir, realizing that they were laughing about him, now felt embarassed. Hugh and Slayn were away from them, and had their own conversation.

"What's the matter Hugh?" Slayn asked, noticing Hugh depressed.

"Nothing actually. Its just that I used to be a close friend to both Battusai and Turalyon. Now, Turalyon don't even rememer me."

Slayn patted Hugh's back, "Forget about them for now. We have more pressing issues to do."

The two of them walked back to the other three, who were discussing about something. Annete looked at them, then said, "Its already quite late in the afternoon. We should move on to Antholme and spend the night there, then we continue on to Xironia the next day."

Hugh looked at Michelle, "What about Michelle?"

"She will be following us to Xironia. I think she can live with us in the mansion, along with you and Slayn."

"Hei," Vladmir jumped in, "What about me?"

Joann turned to the scientist, "You will be staying in a lab. It won't be in the mansion, but it will do."

Vladmir grumbeled, not liking the decision, but since he is following the group, he can't argue. Before they left, Michelle took out her spellbook, healing the wound on Slayn's back and Annete. After that was done, It was decided then, all of them walked out of the village of Tanx, and proceeded to Antholme.

16

The travellers left Tanx when the sun was high in the sky, but to reach Antholme, time travelled fast. None of them even noticed it, but when they reached the south gate of Antholme, they realized it was already evening, the sun almost setting. All five of them looked for an inn, but Slayn and Vladmir argued, saying that they have missed lunch and their stomachs were asking for food. Luckily for them, they found a nearby restaurant and stopped there. Each of them ordered their meals, and fifteen minutes later, were off. While they were walking, a man that was following them approached them, "Hei you..."

Michelle turned, looking at the man. He had long brown hair, tied up neatly, carrying a bow, and a stack of arrows at the back, wearing a white kind of traditional Japanese attire. The man repeated, "The man with the green suit?"

Hugh, the only one wearing a green suit, knew he was called. He looked at the man, "Yes?"

"You are Hugh right? The Wind Conter member and..."

Immediately, Hugh ran to the man, trying to stop him from finishing his sentence, "Hei, long time no see! Look, let's discuss this somewhere else..."

The man seemed to argue at first, wondering about Hugh's strange behaviour. Annete turned to Slayn, "Do you know that man?"

Slayn shrugged, then turned to Deez, whispering, "What about you?"

"I don't know actually... Though he seems to be the kind of person that would be able to see me. I just feel it." Vladmir sighed, leaning on a wall and playing with a coin, making it fly through the air and then catch it. It wasn't long until Hugh and the stranger appeared. Michelle didn't look ammuse, "What took you? Will you please explain who this is?"

Hugh apologized, "Sorry. He's a cousin of mine, Yatsubana. He here can help Slayn get back his memories of the past."

Yatsubana bowed, showing respect in meeting new people, "Sorry for the intrusion on your journey, but I might be able to help Slayn. I cannot guarantee it, but I could help."

Annete was now smiling with joy, "Good. Let's get started then."

"I'm sorry," Yatsubana responded, "But I cannot perform it here. If you don't mind, we will do this in an inn, where I can be alone with Slayn?"

Annete nodded, and all five of them searched for an inn. A few minutes later, they passed by an inn, which was quite a low class kind, but it didn't matter. All these travellers need is a place to stay and a place in which Yatsubana needs to recover his memories. Annete and Michelle went to the cashier, where they were telling them how long they were staying and asking the price. Slayn sat on a sofa, along with Hugh and Vladmir. As for Yatsubana, he was just looking around the surroundings of the inn, as if he never been into an inn before. Annete then walked to Hugh, telling him, "I have settled for the bills already. You guys share one room, while I and Michelle share the other..."

Hugh looked shock, "You want me to share with three guys in one room?" He then looked at the other guys.

"Sorry," Annete apologized, then she turned, walking to the hallway, "But I don't have enough money to spend on one room for each of you."

Yatsubana ignored the problem and walked to Slayn, "We can begin now,"

"I be sorry," Vladmir apologized, "But I have to do some research outside of Antholme. I will see you all later, yes?"

The three of them agreed, and went to find their rooms. Once it was found, they went inside, there were two beds, and the room was damp and small. Yatsubana placed his bow and then looked out at the window. Hugh, looking at Yatsubana said, "You should be careful when you use the word Conter. I mean, why did you call me a Wind Conter infront of my friends?"

Yatsubana turned, then bowed, "A thousand apologies, but I wasn't aware they didn't know."

Hugh let out a sigh, "Fine. Anyway, we can get this started right?"

Yatsubana nodded, the turned to Slayn, telling him to sit himself on the bed. Slayn did so, then Yatsubana walked infront of him, "Now, just close your eyes, while I commune with the Moon Spirits..."

Slayn looked at Yatsubana, "Moon?"

Hugh answered his question, while Yatsubana was communing, "Yes. Yatsubana here is a Moon Conter, and Moon's job are to make sure about all these rotation of the planets and anything to do with time, though they can't answer why the sun is fading."

Yatsubana then put his arms down, and looked at Slayn, "Yes. Since we Moon Conter control time, I can go back to your past and we may be able to know about your past."

Slayn nodded, though he still didn't really understand it at all. He closed his eyes, and Yatsubana began the procedure. He waved his arms above Slayn's head, the room suddenly turning into darkness. However, Hugh was still relaxed, it seems he knew about what will happen. Yatsubana, then finally put both of his hands on Slayn's forehead, and now able to enter into his past, Hugh able to see the images.

They were now in a room, surrounding them were potraits of demons, the room litted by fire torches. Hugh could see that it was a meeting room, with a man sitted in one place with a woman next to him. The woman was beautiful, with a child next to her. It seems this man was a father, wearing a black suit. It seems this couple couldn't see Hugh or Yatsubana, when suddenly a door burst open. There, a man wearing a white coat was pointing at the man, with a golden ring. It was Zion. Hugh looked at Zion in shock and wanted to attack him, but Yatsubana stopped him from doing so, blocking his path, "You cannot interfere with his memories. Even if you do attack, it will appear that he is just like a hologram."

Hugh clenched his fists, then relaxed, looking back at the scene. Zion was now filled with anger in his eyes, "You shall pay for this!"

The man just sat there, relax, "I won the competition fair and square Zion. There is nothing you can do about that."

Zion now smiled, "That is one thing. But for you to get the position and not wanting to use it's power is truly a waste."

Now, the man was enraged, he stood up, "I am not like you! You craze for power, but I will hold my responsible as the leader here! Get out of here, you devil!"

Zion now broke out in laughter, an evil laugh, "So be it... If you do not want to use the powers that you can summon, then perhaps I will, Slayn!"

Hugh now was surprised and was in shock. He turned to the man, and thought to himself, Slayn? He doesn't even look like Slayn!

Zion then summoned his weapon from his ring, and then stood there, "It's really sad, but I'm afraid that this is how Slayn shall fall!"

Slayn immediately took out a plain sword, a demonic kind, the blade surrounded by green fire. Zion chanted some words, and the whole room was now turned into darkness. Slayn's hair was already moving from the magic that was being summoned, then from Zion's body, demons came out. Slayn was now in shock, "Impossible! The legendary Demonic summon? How is it even possible! No one know's about this magic but the leaders!"

Zion didn't answer, his eyes concentrating on the target. One of the demons flew at the woman, passing through her. When the demon passed through her, it seems that the demon took out her soul, killing her instantly. Slayn was now looking at the dead woman, crying. He looked at Zion, "What the hell have you done? You bastard!"

Zion now smiled, then concentrated on Slayn. The two demons were now headed to Slayn. Slayn watched in horror as the demons were about to enter his body. Thinking quickly, he chanted some words, and as the demons went into him, it seems his soul escaped. Zion looked at the soul, then mumbled, "So, you have learned the body switching technique. Only leaders for this Conter knows this magic, but I doubt you will find a body for your survival."

Zion walked out of the room, the demons going back to him. As he went out, he shouted, "Now, the pillaging of this land.... begins!!"

The flashback ended right there, and now Yatsubana and Hugh was back in the inn. Slayn opened his eyes, his eyes drowzy. He looked up at Yatsubana, next to him was Hugh, both of them looking back at Slayn, worried. Yatsubana then spoke, "Does any of those memories mean anything to you?" Slayn thought for a second, then he shook his head. Hugh cursed, then looked back at Slayn, "That's alright then. But Slayn, remember this. Never tell anyone about who we are."

Slayn gave a confused look, "What do you mean?"

Hugh sighed, then turned to Yatsubana. Yatsubana looked back, then nodded, meaning that Hugh should tell, "The truth is, I am a Wind Conter, and our responsibility is to control wind movements, direction and moonsoons and all. As for Yatsubana, he is a Moon Conter, and we have already explained to you about Moon Conter responsibilty. As for you, I and Yatsubana think that you might be in the Dark Conter, responsible in death and what happens in the afterlife."

Slayn nodded slowly, as he couldn't believe what he just heard, "So what do you want me to do?" He asked, his voice shaking.

Yatsubana sighed, then replied, "Do not tell about your true identity and ours."

Slayn agreed to that, then he yawned. Hugh yawned also, then said, "I think we all had better get some rest."

Yatsubana agreed, and they all drifted to sleep, awaiting for the sun to take the moon's place.

17

Antholme was now bright again, the morning sun rising. The moment the sun reached Slayn's eyes, he awoke. He rose himself, only to find Hugh sitting on a chair, facing him. He turned to his left, to find Vladmir asleep, but Yatsubana was nowhere in sight. Hugh spoke, "Yatsubana left early. He said he had to look for his sister that ran away."

Slayn rubbed his eyes, then shook Vladmir, who was snoring loudly. He slowly woke up also, and without even talking, went to the bathroom to take a bath. Slayn stretched himself, and looked at Hugh, "So, where to now?"

"I believe," Hugh answered softly, "That's a question meant for Annete."

Slayn smiled, agreeing. Vladmir came out a moment later, "Sorry for the rude waking up. I never talk until I have my bath."

"That's alright," Hugh answered, "We had better get out of here and meet up with Annete and Michelle."

All three of them agreed, Vladmir picking up his bag and all three of them went out of their rooms, and walked to the lobby. They found Annete and Michelle outside, waiting for them patiently. Annete looked at all three of them, and asked, "Where is you friend Hugh? What's his name.. Yatsubana?"

Slayn stepped forward and answered for him, "He left early."

Annete just nodded and all five of them left the inn. They ate their breakfast at a restaurant, and after about ten minutes, they left the north gate of Antholme. They had to pass the forest of Alcatraz first, the forest in which they passed when they left Xironia. As they were walking, they passed by a camp that seemed to be burnt badly. Annete looked at it, then her tears rolled down her cheek. Slayn walked beside her, patting her shoulder, "We did what was best for Xironia."

She nodded, wiping away her tears. The five travellers passed through the abandonned camp, swords left on the ground. It seems that the death of Bosch and the destruction of the Cochon Brigade was never noticed. The five wanderers finally sighted civilization after a two hours walk, and it wasn't long until the gate of Xironia was sighted. It was different when Slayn and Annete first left Xironia for their mission. Now, here they are, with three new friends they made on their journey, and without them, they might have never returned here alive. They stepped into Xironia's gate and the moment they entered, the guards that were guarding the entrance immediately they were relieved in seeing Annete, "Am I glad to see you, mistress... Frankly, we all thought you have fallen."

Annete put her arms on the soldier, "I would have, if it weren't for these brave warriors."

The guard looked at them, and bowed, showing his thanks. They then made their way to the mansion, passing through the streets. After five minutes of walking, they reached the gates of the mansion, but was opened immediately the moment the guards saw Annete. They walked in, and the whole mansion was still the same. The lights were switched off, and most of the chairs and sofa's were the very comfortable kinds. Hugh walked to the chair and sat on one of the sofa, resting comfortably. The maids walked to him, then just shook their head. If he wasn't a friend of Annete, he would have been kicked out. Annete then excused herself, "I'll have to see my father first. Why don't you all relax or explore the mansion?"

As she walked up the stairs, Vladmir called, "If you don't mind, where is the lab? I would like to get started on your problem?"

Annete stopped halfway and thought for a moment. After a few seconds, she remembered, then pointed, "Just follow this hallway. It's to your left, and then go down the stairs."

Vladmir thanked Annete, who then continued climbing up the stairs. Vladmir left the other three in the living room while he searched for his lab to begin his work. Hugh was now resting his head at the end of the sofa, trying to get some sleep. Michelle looked at him, "You aren't going to sleep are you?"

Hugh looked at her, "Why not?"

"It's still in the morning! It's too early..."

Hugh rose himself, and then took a seat next to Slayn. Hugh leaned next to Slayn, then whispered, "That is why I hate women sometimes."

Slayn snickered then turned to Michelle, who was looking at them suspiciosly, wondering what Hugh's whispered to Slayn. The three of them waited for Annete, sitting patiently. Michelle was reading a magazine that was about women and stuff like that. Slayn turned to Hugh, who was already asleep, drooling. Slayn snickered, if only he could take a picture of Hugh like that. Just as he was about to nudge Hugh, a maid appeared infront of Slayn. Michelle, noticing the maid, put her magazine next to her. The maid then started, "The president and his daughter, miss Annete is awaiting for you three in the meeting room."

"Thank you. We'll be on our way." Slayn answered politely.

The maid smiled, then went away. Slayn raised himself from his seat, Michelle following. Slayn went up the stairs when Michelle called, "Shouldn't we wake up Hugh?"

Slayn looked at her, then turned to Hugh, "You are nearer aren't you? You do it."

Michelle looked at Hugh, who was drooling like a dog. She was looking at him in disgust, and thought of an idea to wake Hugh up. She took out her spell book, and went to the water magic section. There, she found a specific spell, then mumbled some words. After a moment, Slayn could see water above Hugh. Then, Michelle made her hand fall, and the water also fell. It splashed through Hugh, who was now already awake, taking in large amount of air. He looked at his soaked suit. Slayn was now laughing, then Michelle chanted some other words, and in a flash, Hugh's suit was dry. He looked miserably at Slayn, who was lying on the stairs laughing like a maniac. Michelle was serious though, "Now, we had better get to the meeting room."

The three of them walked to their destination, and luckily for them, Slayn knows where it is, since he's been here before. Slayn showed his friends where it is, then opened the doors, and there was the president and Annete sitting and were waiting for them. The president waved his hands, telling them to take a seat. They did so, and after that was done, the president began, "While you were at the Space-Time fusion Project, the city of Rocher has finally agreed to help us as long as we deliver food to them,"

"Wait," Hugh suddenly questioned, "How did you know we were at the Space-Time project?"

"My daughter told me," He said, pointing at Annete.

Annete nodded, and the president continued, "Now, in order for Rocher city to send their soldiers to Xironia, we must first deliver them food supplies first. So, I've arranged the food caravans to be delivered by tommorow."

"Who's going to protect the food caravan on the journey?" Annete asked, hoping the answer was not going to be what she guessed.

The president looked at Annete, then sighed, "Sorry Annete, but you and your friends are the best Xironia got right now. I mean, thedefeat of the Cochon Brigade was a mighty blow to us all. It's all up to you." As he said that, he walked to his daughter and put his hand on her shoulder. Annete looked up, to find her father's smile, and knew that it was up to them to make sure that Aggresival forces not conquer Xironia. She nodded, and her father was a happy man. He sat back at his seat, then said, "Now, if you don't mind, why don't you show your friends to their rooms?"

"Yes, of course."

The four of them raised themself from their seats, then left the room, leaving the president alone. Annete lead her friends to their rooms, and were now in a hallway. They continued on until Annete stopped, then opened a door to her right. She turned to Michelle, "This is your room."

Michelle walked in, and looked at her room in amazement. She was already jumping, as the room was beautiful, and the bed was large enough for her. She thanked Annete and they closed the door, leaving the joyfull Michelle alone. Annete then looked at the males, then stated, "Slayn," Catching Slayn's attention, "I believe you can share your room with Hugh?"

Slayn protested, "Why is it that we always have to share rooms?"

Joann gave a lazy smile, "That's because I'm too lazy to show Hugh to a new room."

Hugh felt insulted by that remark, but didn't care. That's what mostly women says to him. Slayn lead Hugh the way, walking down the stairs and then passing the kitchen. They continued on, until they reached a room and opened it. They reached Slayn's room, and they went in. It was still the same old room, the desk, bed and then a toilet with one sofa. Hugh walked to the bed, and sat on it, his legs crossing, "If you don't mind, I need to commune with the Wind Spirits, so please lock the door?"

Slayn did just that obediently, then sat on the sofa, and wondered about his memories. Do I know Zion? And was that my former self? He thought. He spent the whole day and evening thinking about it, exept at lunch time, but no matter how hard he tried to find a conclusion, there was no answer, and maybe never answered. Hugh then sat next to him, then asked, "So, what have you been doing? Lying on the sofa all day?"

Slayn looked at him, suspiciously, "I thought you have been communing with the spirits?"

"I have," He answered, "I asked the spirits to also tell me of my surroundings, and they told me you were just on the couch, lying down. Also, the spirits have told me that it would be faster that we pass through a valley north west of here to reach Rocher city faster. We don't need to pass through Antholme."

Slayn rubbed his chin, then agreed, "Good idea. Still, it's getting late, we had all get some sleep."

Slayn raised himself, then stopped him, making Slayn sit a little longer, "There is one question I would like to ask you though."

"And what is that?" He said, yawning.

"I heard you had flashbacks about two assasins fighting? And that one of the assasins is the one Turalyon killed?"

"Yea," Slayn replied, nodding.

"Why did he call you Slayn? Is Slayn Slayn your full name?"

Slayn thought about, then shook his head, "No, I perfectly remember my name is Slayn only. Nothing else."

Hugh looked at Slayn, then shrugged. Both of them rose themself from the couch, then Slayn laid on the bed, Hugh looking at him. There was no room for two people on the bed, so Hugh slept on the couch, and the journey to Rocher tommorow will begin.

18

The city of Xironia fomous for it's crops, now in war with one of the mightiest city's ever, Aggresival. Xironia does not have many warriors, but right now, they hold the best known soldier, Annete. Though a woman, she is well heard of and respected from other cities, even from Aggresival itself. As the sun rose, Xironia now had to send food caravans to the city of Rocher, the third strongest city of the continent. The food caravans were all ready, the only thing that they haven't move is because the four who were chosen to guard the caravans were not there yet. Slayn and Hugh were still sleeping, soundly, until a loud knock on their door woke them up, making Hugh to drop from the couch. Slayn woke up slowly, disturbed by the sound. Lazily, Hugh dragged hsi legs to the door, and opened it. It was Michelle who was knocking the door, "Are you guys ready?"

Slayn was now behind Hugh, "Ready? For what?"

"We're suppose to be the protectors about the food caravans that are to be transfered to Rocher city?"

upon hearing this, Slayn and Hugh raced for the toilet to take their bath to freshen them up. It didn't take very long, and just under five minutes, they were already out, their hair all neatly combed and their shirts clean. Michelle lead them to where they were meeting, walking out of the mansion, the two of them following her obediently. They passed through the streets and there were about six donkeys carrying two heavy boxes on their backs. Each donkey were tied to each other, so that it is easier for them to keep the animals in line. The president was also there, with his daughter talking with her. Slayn and Hugh went to the animals, and awaited Annete's orders, while Michelle was at their back, to protect the animals from running or any enemy attacks from behind. Five minutes later, the father left Annete, and she looked at all three of them, "We are to protect these animals until they make it to Rocher city. We are to pass through a Xironia outpost, where we can feed the animals, and we can continue our journey."

"And just where is the outpost?" Hugh asked.

Joann thought for a moment, then replied, "It should be around twenty kilometres north. We shall than travel north west to pass through the valley then we follow the river southwards."

After it was discussed, the four travellers left the gates of Xironia, with thunderous people shouting to them for a safe journey.

They were travelling north, the animals slow but at least calm and steady. They were travelling in a line, passing through forests and paths. As they were walking through a cliff, Annete turned to Slayn, "If you remember, this is where I found you, where I thought you were dead."

Slayn asked, curious, "Was there any sign of an attacker? Or how I got there?"

Annete shook her head, and didn't answer. They continued on for silence, until they saw two watch towers. The two archers, noticing that they are from Xironia, didn't fire any arrows or alert the guards. They looked at the travellers and the donkeys, and knew the fate of Xironia are in their hands. They stopped there, and let the guards at the outpost over there to feed the animals and give them plenty of rest. Hugh looked at Michelle's watch, then asked, "What time is it?"

Michelle looked at her watch, answering, "It's precisely nine in the morning," She then looked at Annete, who was resting on a chair, "What time do we continue on our journey?"

"Once it reaches mid-noon," She gave a direct answer.

After two hours of resting, the travellers ate their lunch first, just a portion of some brocolli and a piece of beef, but if was considered good compared to soldiers in a war. After that was done, they left the outpost, the guards wishing them goodluck and a safe journey. Although some of them offered to help, but Annete refused their offers, as if to many of them follow, the more Troublesome it will get, since that there might be a risk of casualties during the journey. They left the outpost, with the animals carrying the food on their backs. After an hour of walking through the forest paths, they came upon a valley.

The valley had cliffs that were tall, a good spot for archers to fire at unsuspecting enemies. Hugh warned them, "Be on the lookout you guys. This cliffs are perfect for an ambush."

Annete, looked at Hugh, "I am a general here. I know what to do, so shut up!"

Hugh looked at Annete, and when Annete turned back, he looked at her lower part. He then whispered to Slayn, "She may have a hot temper, but she does a nice butt eh?"

Slayn laughed so loud, that there were echoes throughout the valley, causing Annete to turn back at the two males, anger filled her eyes. Slayn and Hugh looked down, shame faced, only to hear Michelle giggling. They continued walking through the valley until they finally came upon some biuldings and a wall, made from wood. The travellers and the caravan stopped. "What's that?" Michelle asked.

Annete, after checking her map, shrugged, "It isn't listed in the map."

Slayn was looking at something, his jaw open. Annete, noticing this, nudged her hand on his shoulder, but didn't seem to notice. Michelle looked at where he was looking, and when she saw a flag on top of a pole, she gulped hard. She asked Annete, "You are in war with Aggresival right?"

Annete, not knowing why she would ask, nodded, "Yes, why do you ask?"

Hugh answered for Michelle, pointing at the flag, "That's why,"

Annete gave a confused look, then turned to where Hugh was pointing. What she saw was truly shocking, as the flag was an aggresival flag, and in the walls was a fortress and several watch towers surrounding it. All four of them looked at the fortress, in the center of the walls with guards patroling the area. "Well," Hugh said, "Now what?"

Neither of them could answer, until Annete finally turned, "We definitely cannot pass a fortress."

"So what are you suggesting?" Michelle asked.

"What about we use the way from Antholme?" Hugh asked.

Annete shook her head, "We can't. Rocher expects the food caravan to arrive tommorow or else, they won't help us."

"Then," Michelle said, "What about we try to pass through the fortress undetected?"

Hugh and Annete shook their head, Hugh then answering, "Absolutely not. A fortress like that unable to spot us is impossible! There are watch towers everywhere, they will spot us the moment we pass through these rocks."

Slayn, who hasn't said a word, then tried his plan, "What about we set the walls on fire? It will cause the guards to put their attention in putting the fire out."

The three of them looked at him for a moment, then Hugh happily agreed, "Brilliant! That is the perfect diversion we need!"

Michelle was doubtful though, giving the negative thoughts, "But at this kind of area, there is no wind to make the fire grow any larger. By then, the fire would have been put out, and I have no magics to summon wind weak enough to let the fire grow."

Slayn smiled, then looking at Hugh, "I think there will be a strong wind today."

Michelle wanted to argue, but Hugh interrupted her before she could say anything, "Don't worry. I feel that there might be a wind blowing soon, so we had better act fast."

Annete looked at the two, then sighed, "We have no other choice do we? We might as well take the risks."

Slayn brought the animals to a rock nearby and tied the first donkey to the rock, tieing it to the rock, and the others followed. Slayn then joined the others, and listened to Annete's plan, "Alright guys. Slayn, Hugh and me will begin the surprise attack once Michelle lights up the first fire on the west wall. Once that is done, all three of us will distract the others while Michelle again light up another fire to the east wall, causing the fire to spread from both areas. Any questions?"

They shook their heads, and so, they began their plan. Michelle went alone first, while Annete and the other two hid themselves behind a tree near the main entrance, where the guards will come out first. Michelle, slowly proceeding to her destination. Not noticing that there was a guard coming her way, blocking her path to the place where she needs to burn, Michelle took out her book. She turned to the Earth page, and once she found her spell, chated some words, and all of a sudden, the soldier was suddenly devoured by the ground beneath him. This caught the enemy by surprise, and it was too quick that he never had time to shout for help. This time, the path was clear, and she walked to the wall, then bent down, reading out a spell, and it wasn't long until the wall was engulfed in flames.

The fire didn't grow yet, but it was burning the wall was good enough. Hugh looked at the archers watching the watch towers, and it seems that they haven't noticed about the smoke rising. Annete, peeped at Michelle, who was awaiting orders on what to do next. Annete then showed her to burn the next wall, but the moment she took one step, she accidentally stepped on a wooden branch, causing an echo to be heard throughout the valley.

Immediately, the archers turned at the direction from where it came from, but it wasn't Michelle that caught their attention, the smoke did. "Hei," One of the archers yelled, "There's a fire building up!"

Like rats coming for their food, soldiers came out of the fortress to inspect the fire, only to find three Xironian warriors awaiting them. One swordsman, holding his sword, yelled in disgust, "What is this? Is Xironia mocking us now? Sending just three soldiers to destroy the new Aggresival fortress?"

Annete looked at the man, targeting him for the insult made on Xironia, giving a killing intention smile, "It seems that Aggresival's arrogance blinds you all."

Slayn and Annete charged at the enemies, Hugh looked at Michelle, telling her to do what she was told, and joined the fight. Annete was now challenging the swordsman dat just insulted her home city, as she blocks an uppercut from her enemy. The enemy was fast, immediately trying to wound her right hand. Unable to block it in time, Annete moved back, sweat dropping from her forehead. The man charged again, this time with great speed, but Annete countered him, kicking him in the face, making him fall to the ground. As he fell, he dropped his sword, and was now looking for it, but was too late, Annete's blade at his neck. He slowly looked at her, and she gave a smile, "Never insult Xironia again!" As she said that, she slashed his neck, killing him.

Hugh was in a three on one situation, only able to defend himself, unable to do any attacks. He had to keep moving back, blocking at the same time. Just as a spearman nearly got his abdomen, Hugh rolled to his left, only to encounter an axe man, smashing his axe to the ground, but missed. Hugh was now in a kneeling position, looking at his three enemies. As they approaced slowly, Hugh had no choice, summoning a small typhoon, pushing them to the ground. It caught them by surprise, but the axe man being the toughest woke up instantly, only to see a dagger plunged in deeply into his forehead, making him fall back to the ground. The two spearmen looked at their fallen comrade, then put their attention to Hugh. Hugh, now suddenly running towards them, was going on a suicide. Seing that he has no time to stop, the two spearmen aimed for his chest and the other on his gut, but Hugh knew what was coming, quickly rolling forward, the second spear missing by an inch. After he was rolling, he kneeled right in front of the two of them, and he cut off one the spearman's head, slaying him. The second guy looked in shock and immediately ran back to the fortress. Hugh smiled, grabbed the dagger from the forehead of the dagger, and threw it at the fleeing enemy, the dagger plunged in deeply in the back of the neck. Though Hugh would have time to celebrate, it was not so, as another swordsman was confronting him.

Slayn slayed every enemy he encountered, until he came to the gates of the walls, not daring to enter. Unknown to him, an enemy he thought he slayed after he slashed his chest and his left knee, arose slowly, injured badly. He slowly went behind Slayn, but like instinct, Slayn used his golden sword to do a unique back attack, putting his sword right below his right arm pit, makes it look like he did a suicide, but killed the enemy behind. The wounded swordsman looked at the golden sword, deep in his gut, then blurted out blood. Slowly, he fell down back where he started. The archers at the watch towers noticed this, and loosed their arrows at Slayn. Slayn watched in horror as the arrows came above him, but suddenly, was blocked by an invicible foce field. Slayn turned to see where to field was coming from, and was from Michelle. He thanked her, then whispered to Deez, "We need to take care of those archers."

She nodded, then as part of the Dark Conter's fairy, she taught him a new trick. He was surprised, but then, aimed his sword at one archer, then chanted words Deez just taught him. All of a sudden, Slayn's sword turned black for a moment, then from the tip of it, a demon came out, flying towards the archer. The archer unable to avoid it, just accepted whatever was going to happen. Not knowing what would happen, as the demon passed through his body, a gigantic hole was left from it's path, blood immediately flowing out. Abdulla's jaws were open, didn't expect any of that to happen. Deez was giggling right now, and the archers from other watch towers looked at what Slayn just did to one of their fellow companions. Slayn didn't care, and summoned more demons, finishing of the disturbing archers. Once that was done, he now paid attention to the ground fighters.

Annete was now on the ground, after she was knocked down by the elbow from a burly soldier, fat too. He was using a large hammer, and just one hit could break your face. She looked at the man, feeling the pain after he hit her on the face. She went backward as the man approached her, holding the hammer tightly. Annete tried to get up as quick as she could, but no matter how slow her enemy is, he kicked her back to the ground on her attempt. Now, she felt the dirty boot of the man on her neck, stepping hardly as he could. She struggled to free herself, but the couldn't even move an inch. As she felt her soul start to leave, the man suddenly loosened his grip, then fell sideways. Hugh plunged the man on the side of his neck, saving Annete. She was gasping for air, when Hugh showed his hand, helping her to raise herself. She accepted the offer, getting pulled up quickly.

As Hugh helped Annete, he realized that Slayn was fighting the last soldier, as he kicks his enemy in the face, then using his sword to enter the man's chest, killing him. Slayn looked at the entrance, and the surroundings. It seems that all the Aggresivals were defeated. Michelle walked to the last area, but the moment she took out her spell book, an Aggresival spearman, wounded in the chest and a hole at his gut, tried to backstab her. Michelle was quick though, moving her head to her left. The spear missed, getting it stuck at the gate. The warrior now, trying to get the spear out, but didn't have the amount of energy left to do so. He took out a dagger he kept at his right knee, trying to slash Michelle's face. Michelle backed away, summoning rocks to her hands, then it changed to knives. She threw two of it at him, and it was all over. She kept the other four with her, and started the burning of the walls.

Hugh and the other two were resting at a pile of rocks, awaiting Michelle to return. All of a sudde, an arrow came out of nowhere, missing Slayn's neck by an inch, feeling the wind pass. They all looked where it came from, and to their surprise, fresh Aggresival warriors came from the entrance. "Damn," Slayn cursed, "Someone must have alerted the inside guards,"

Quickly, Annete and Hugh picked up their swords, Slayn summoning his ring. They were about to charge at them, but another wave of arrows stopped them from doing so, forcing them to take cover behind boulders. Annete, feeling it's safe to come out, took a little peep, but to find a sword hitting the rock, nearly slaying her. She looked at the blade, just a few inches from her face, then countered back, slashing the man's right ribs, then kicked her enemy to the ground to remove her sword. Slayn knew the archers had to be killed, and wanted to use the same trick, but Deez prevented him from doing so, "You can't use that spell too much. It uses too much of your capacity, as it drains part of your energy."

Slayn looked at the archers, as they ready for the next wave. Before that, Slayn ran to the nearest warrior, slashing his neck, slaying him. Though he did that, an axe man came out of nowhere, cutting through the air. It missed Slayn, and as a spearman aimed for Slayn's legs, he jumped, and did a split jump kick, kicking both of his enemies. Slayn moved back, only to reach Hugh's back, their back facing each other. "There are too many," Hugh blocked an attempt to slash his shoulder, then summoned another wind push to push his enemy. While they were fighting, Michelle waved at them, trying to get their attention. It seems that she had done her job, and is now going to the redenzvous point. Acknowledging this, the three of them ran along, defending at the same time. Due to the large number of Aggresival's, they had to stop and fight them off first, the archers ready for a wave of shots. Michelle was there already and saw the archers, placing their arrows at a shooting position. She took out her four knives and threw one at each watch tower. Amazingly, each one of them reached it's target, killing the archers. Annete slashed a man,s broad shoulder and continued running back, followed by Slayn and Hugh. "We're gonna be overrun if the fire doesn't distract them!" Annete shouted, still running.

Hugh didn't care, but while he was runnning, he chanted some words, and from the whole valley, everyone could hear a big howl of wind arriving. The wind reached all of them, blowing everything in it's path, and soon, the fire of the wall at the fortress began to grow. It was big enough to catch the persueing Aggresival's, the captain of them instructing, "Get back to the fortress! We have to put the fire out!"

All of them went back, some running and dropping their weapons. Slayn smiled at this, and went to the animals to untie them, pulling the first donkey with him, followed by the others. Hugh smiled, saying, "I told you guys there will be a heavy wind."

Annete nodded, smiling, "You were right. We had better get moving now, and get to Rocher city fast before Aggresival's put out that fire."

The four of them didn't need another order for that, walking past the walls with their caravans. As they pass the valley, they now come upon an open field with a path they had to follow. Michelle, checking her map, told them, "We won't be able to reach Rocher city tonight. We will have to camp out here then continue on tommorow."

Slayn shurgged, "So what are we suppose to do once we get there?"

"We are to meet Alanil," Annete explained, "He is the the commander of Rocher city army. He will bring his Brigade to protect Xironia, and we're to continue sending them food while they protect us."

"Alanil?" Hugh asked.

Annete nodded, turning to Hugh, "Why do you ask?"

Hugh was laughing now, catching his breath, "Well I'll be. We haven't seen each other since military academy, he studied with Battusai, Turalyon and me." Hugh was sighing, probably lost in his past memories.

Hours of following the path, they finally came upon a sign which reads 'Rocher city, seven kilometres'. Though they could have continued on, they were all exhausted from the battle in the afternoon, luckily no one injured. It was nightfall by the time they set up camp and lighted a fire in the centre of their tents. After their dinner, they tied the caravans by a tree, allowing the animals to eat the grass there. Slayn was on the ground, looking up at the sky, wondering what nature is hiding from him. "Hei," Michelle started, asking Hugh, "Curious here, but how did you know that there would be a wind blowing at the fortress at that time? I couldn't summon a perfect at that level to allow the fire to grow."

Hugh hesitated, turning to Annete, who was also sitting by a pile of rocks, demanding an answer. He let out his breath, then answered calmly, "Just a lucky guess. Besides, that was our only choice right? We were already over run, and could have been dead by now."

Slayn sat up, joining in the conversation, until Deez warned him, "Remember Abdul, you are not to mention about the 'Demon attack' I taught you."

"Of course!"

"What of course?" Annete asked, looking at Slayn weirdly.

Slayn eyed Annete, and then Michelle. He was now blushing, Hugh shaking his head in disbelief, "Err... Nothing. Just wanted to get some shut eye?"

"It is getting pretty late," Hugh said, supporting Slayn.

Annete looked at the animals, then went in her tent. Slowly, everyone was in their tents now, awaiting for the sun to rise so that they can continue on their journey.

19

Dawn arrived quickly, the clouds parting away to allow the sun to shine through the land that is overwhelmed with the darkness. The camp fire has been put out, leaving only ashes behind, very little smoke rising now. Michelle came out of her tent and stretched herself, there she see's Slayn with Hugh talking. She approached the two, but somehow, it seems they sensed her presence, slowly turning, facing her. Hugh leaned on Slayn's shoulder, "We can discuss it another time now."

Michelle moaned, "Why is it you guys always whisper to each other? Is there something I should know about?"

Slayn shook his head, "You are just like Annete aren't you? We're men here, so we talk about women and all. Especially Hugh here, he knows a LOT about them."

Michelle sighed, walking away from them. After waiting for another quarter of an hour, Annete arose, immediately telling Hugh to bring the caravan so that they can move on. Hugh did just that, and the four of them continued on the path. Though they were a few kilometres away, ever since travelling almost everyday recently, it seems that they have increases their movement speed. Just about a half an hour later, they arrived the gates of Rocher city. As they entered, two Rocher city guards questioned them, blocking their path, "What business do you have here?"

"I am Annete," She said, "General of the Xironian army and daughter of the president. I come here with these people to protect the caravans and am supposed to meet commander Alanil."

The two of them moved sideways, allowing them to pass, "Commander Alanil is at the castle. He is expecting you."

They walked pass the guards and conitnued on to the castle. As they pass through the streets, people were staring at them. It seems they think that Slayn and the others are merchants, but it didn't matter what they think. Just to walk to the castle takes a long time, about two kilometres. Finally, upon reaching the entrance, the guards made way for them to pass. It seems that they got the word the the caravans from Xironia has arrived. Annete led them in, since she's been inside before. The castle was like any other castle, grey walls with statues and swords, and there were guards about almost everywhere. They walked up a few stairs, handing the animals to a captain that told them the animals were to be given to him, and to see Alanil on the first floor. There, to their left and passed through a hallway, was no doubt, a door with a name that says 'Commander Alanil'. They knocked the door, and a voice was heard from the other wall, "Come in."

Hugh opened the door, there, a man quite plump sitting on his chair with a desk infront of him was waiting for them. He showed them to their seats, saying, "I presume you are the protecters of the caravan from Xironia?"

"Yes," Annete spoke, "You are correct. We have done part of our treaty, and now I think it is time for you to do what the treaty states."

Alanil sat on his chair, relaxing. He lighted up a ciggar, smoking infront of them. He put the ciggar in his mouth, leaving the tip outside, "Yes, of course. My brigade is all packed up and have just left Rocher city. We too, should leave immediately, yes?"

Annete stood up, the others following her, "Yes. The sooner the better."

He smiled, and showed her the way out. Before he closed the door, he told them, "Be at the entrance of Rocher city in five minutes. I'll see you there."

As he finished his sentence, he slammed the door behind him. Whether it was the wind or he was just having a bad mood, it didn't matter. They left the castle, Slayn suggesting that they take a light breakfast before they head to their destination. Michelle, knowing Rocher city quite well, insisted they try a particular restaurant, which was near where they needed to go. It took them four minutes to get there, taking a table for them. The place was decent, the food exellent for a reasonable price. Hugh paid for all of them, since he was unexpectedly loaded with money. Curious, Michelle asked, "Where do you get all that money?"

Hugh looked at her, surprised, "You didn't expect a Lion knight go on vacation without money did you?"

"The way I see it," Slayn joined in, "It hasn't been a vacation so far has it?"

He shrugged, "That depends actually. I mean, though I have to mess up my hair and beat a few warriors, I was able to travel right?"

"Hmm.... Good point."

After Hugh paid to the waiter, they left and went to the entrance of Rocher city. They found Alanil waiting for them, and from the looks of it, he didn't like to wait. The moment he saw them, he shouted to Annete, "Where were you?!?"

Annete didn't like the tone of her voice, answering calmly, "You didn't expect us to go back to Xironia hungry did you?"

Alanil did not like the remark from Annete but decided not to continue the short quarell and change topic to cool things down.

"Fine, let's get this started then. We are to go to pass through Antholme to reach Xironia, correct?"

Slayn nodded, answering for Annete so that she could at least cool down, "Indeed. How long would you think to get there?"

He rubbed his chin, thinking, "If I'm not mistaken, if we leave now, we should reach Antholme at around evening time, and leave so that we could reach Xironia by night time."

"Well," Hugh replied, "We had better move now then."

"Just like the old Hugh I know," Alanil said, smiling for the first time.

They left the gates of Rocher city, heading in a north east direction. Alanil, being a plump man, surprised most of the travellers exept Hugh, as he didn't even stop to rest. While they were travelling, it seems Hugh and Alanil were talking about old times, until Annete had to ask a question, "Sir, if you're friends of Hugh, indeed you're the friend of Turalyon and Battusai right?"

"Indeed," He replied, hating the question.

"Then why is it that you are all seperated from each other."

Alanil hesitated to answer, and turned to Hugh. Hugh sighed, then looked at Annete, answering for Alanil, "You see, Turalyon since in the military academy was an arrogant man. Yes, he was an excellent soldier, but his arrogance were a little beat too much, only hanging around with Battusai, who was also an excellent soldier. Though Battusai was with Turalyon, he respected others, especially to the hard work of Alanil, but Turalyon hated anyone below the rank of excellence."

"Too bad for a hunk," Annete responded, remembering back on Turalyon's face.

There was silence on the rest of the journey as they passed through the field used in the battle of the Conter's. As Hugh passed, he communicated with the dead former Wind Conter members when no one was looking. Slayn, seeing the spirits, didn't know what to do, some of them even bowing to him. It seems that the former Dark Conter members are putting their respect to him, though he don't know why. As they passed through the open field, they sighted Antholme from a distance, and it seems that the village is in a red alert, as there are are Deicester soldiers outside the town, knights patroling the south gates and they could see archers on the towers. They continued on walking until they reached the south gate of Antholme, the soldiers walking towards them, "You all had better get into the city fast."

"And why is that? Is there something wrong?" Annete asked in a concerned voice.

"Aggresival forces seems to target Antholme to show it's frustration on a few Xironia forces that destroyed their new outpost. So we are in a high alert to bring in any travellers or villagers in here where they would be safe."

Annete argued, "We can't stay in Antholme! I need to get back to Xironia fast!"

"I'm sorry, but we soldiers are trained to just follow orders, not debate them."

Annete was about to continue the arguement, but Hugh hold her hand. She looked at him, and from the looks of her face, she knew that there was no point in wasting breath. They all went into the village, but Alanil stayed for a moment, asking the guard, "Who's incharge of this campaign?"

Slayn and the others waited for Alanil, and it seems that there was a fight among them, as Alanil was in rage, cursing. He walked to his group, his mood now foul. Since there was nothing they could do, with the sun setting, they sat by a park bench, where Michelle got up her courage and asked Alanil, "So what made you so upset about?"

Alanil turned to Michelle, then answered after a moment of silence, "It seems that the Commander of Deicester, Turalyon is leading this defense here, and he plans not to let anyone leave until further notice, minimum of around three days."

"What?!?" Annete shouted, shocked.

Alanil nodded, "It's true. We can't do anything for now, but wait until Aggresival either attacks or doesn't appear in three days."

Annete slapped her forehead, unable to believe she has to wait for another three days or less. They sat there for a while longer, until Hugh finally spoke to his old friend, "Alanil, haven't you been raised here in Antholme?"

"Yes, you of all people should know that." He replied.

"Well, then surely you know another way out of here. I mean, other than the gates."

After some thinking, he smiled, "Yes. A garbage dump near the walls are full, and when I was a kid, I would normally use the dump to climb the walls at night for some sight-seeing. What are you suggesting?"

"Why not we use the garbage dump to get out of here? Do you remember where it is?"

Before he could answer, Slayn stepped in, advicing, "Before that, I think it would be better we use the wall once it's dark enough. That way, we have a better chance to sneak out undetected."

Alanil shook his head, "I'm sorry, but almost all Deicester warriors are trained to spot anything in the darkness, no matter how dark it is. That is why Deicester has never fallen, as they can perform an early defense system."

Hugh agreed, knowing Deicester quite well. Annete, now desperate, tried to convince Alanil by telling him, "It's worth a shot right? I mean, your brigade will be wondering what ever happened to you, and soon, the whole treaty will be aborted, and the blame would be on you."

Alanil fell silent, then answered, "Fine. We escape Antholme at midnight."

The discussion was over, and it was strange as it seems the sun took some time to be replaced by the moon, but when they were discussing, the sun moved fast.

It was a full moon, the clouds parted away, allowing the moon to shine brightly, and from the darkness, five shadows moved cautiously through the night. They walked to the north gate, to find two Deicester swordsmen guarding the entrance. Alanil lead the way, pointing to his right to tell his comrades where to move without making a single noise. They went to their right, and moved in a straight line, and it wasn't long until they sighted the garbage dump. "Alright," Hugh whispered, "The women climb the wall first, followed by Slayn, me then Alanil last, since he knows how to climb these walls without help since he was young, right?"

Alanil looked at Hugh dumbfounded, but nodded. They did just that, Michelle going up first so that she could clear any enemies with killing them silently with spells. Once she was dropped on the other side and it was all clear, Annete was next. Slayn helped her up, and when she was standing on his shoulder, Slayn accidentally peeked inside Annete's skirt. The moment she was dropped on the other side, Hugh hit Slayn on the shoulder, "Lucky devil! How come you always get to be so lucky?"

Slayn snickered, but Alanil silent them. Slayn went up next, Hugh helping him up. He was quick, taking him just five seconds for him to do so. "My turn," Hugh said, walking to the garbage dump, but was stopped by Alanil, his hand infront of him to stop him. "I'm sorry Hugh, but you see, I can't climb on my own. I've gained weight these past few years, and..."

"It seems you can't climb the wall anymore?" Hugh said, finishing the sentence for him.

Alanil was blushing, but Hugh was a good friend, agreeing to help him up. Hugh put his hands together, allowing Alanil to put his foot on it to get the first step up. The moment he stepped on Hugh's hands, Hugh almost lost his balance, but was able to control it. Once he was on his shoulder, it was a little easy, climbing up and landing on the other side. Hugh now tried to climb on his own, but it seems that it was too high. Knowing that this might happen, and since no one was looking, he summoned the Wind Spirits to help him raise up to the edge of the wall, so that his friends won't see him flying around. He was dropped at the edge where he climbed himself and then, he jumped to the other side. "So," Annete asked Alanil, "What's the plan?"

"Get out of here? What else?"

Annete didn't answer back, and they all walked slowly trying to be in the darkness. Right above them, were archers. They were all on watch, not a single one of them were even yawning. They then walked to the bridge, using the shadows as their best friend, but the moment they reached the bridge, someone shouted from the gates, "Hei! You there! What do you think you're doing?"

"They spotted us!" Hugh yelled, "Run to the forest!"

Immediately, all five of them started running to the other end of the bridge where they could be safe. The archers, noticing this, put their arrows in a pot of fire and released their arrows at the skies. It was like a flare, and Alanil was nervous. Slayn, noticing this, asked, "What's wrong?"

Still running, he responded, "That flare was to alert every Deicester warrior about us! We could be surrounded in seconds!"

"How do you know?"

"Slayn," Hugh yelled, "He studied in the military academy of Deicester! He knows everything!"

Michelle, trying to cheer them up, told them, "But we can't be surrounded! The moment we reach the end of the bridge, we..."

She never got to finish her sentence. Even from the darkness, they could see horsemen wielding blades at the edge of the bridge, blocking their path. Annete turned back, there to find a few soldiers heading this way. "We have no choice but to slay them all!" Hugh informed his friends.

"Michelle," Slayn said, "Do a spell to knock of those riders on the horse! We need every advantage we could get, not disadvantage."

Michelle nodded, taking out her spellbook and reaching to a certain page. Annete and Hugh were facing the horsemen, awaiting them to arrive in a defensive stance. Slayn and Alanil faced the incoming enemy from Antholme, ready for battle. The horsemen with their great speed, charged at them quickly. They were fast, but Michelle realized this and picked a spell, reading up some words. As the horsemen drew nearer, Michelle pointed something at their path, and out of nowhere, a great blazing wall of fire was summoned infront of the horsemen. Scaring the horse, they stopped suddenly from such a great speed, causing the riders to fall of their horses. The three riders were now facing the feet of Annete and Hugh. They looked up, and were now facing them eye to eye. It didn't last long, as they killed them instantly, cutting off their neck. "Come on," Hugh shouted, waving, "We can get out of here now!"

Alanil ran immediately, but Slayn was fighting of a swordman, turning his wrist to confuse his enemy, then slashing his chest, making him fall from the impact. Slayn also ran now, but the archers notice this again, threw a second wave of flare. From the gates, they could see man with a commander suit in white, wielding two swords known as the Kamigas, having long black hair. Annete could see from the distance, whispering to herself, "Turalyon..."

Alanil's jaw was open, and yelled to Slayn, "Get out of there! The 'White Fang Of Deicester' has arrived! Get out!"

Slayn didn't wait for a second invitation, running away from his enemies. Turalyon, seeing this, smiled, "Well I'll be. Alanil, the useless military leader. Bring in the mages!"

From the entrance, two men dressed in robes came, Turalyon explaining to them what to do. After he was done, they nodded and chanted some words without the use of any book of what sort. In a matter of seconds, just when Alanil and the two women reached to the other side, there earth was shaking. Hugh and Slayn, still running, stopped from the shakes, losing their balance. Just as they have already crossed three quarters of the bridge, the rest of it was destroyed by gigantic boulders, breaking the bridge. Slayn looked at the boulders in disbelief, and turned back to find Turalyon and two soldiers coming to them. Somehow, on the way, Turalyon stopped them, telling them to go back. Now, standing tall and clearly seen in the darkness, Slayn and Hugh ready themselves, Slayn summoning his Growlanser and Hugh going into a defensive stance. Turalyon smiled, unable to believe he is fighting the very same person he had once saved. He reached them, full of confidence, not even preparing to take out his weapon. He looked at Hugh, and after looking at him fully, he smiled, "If it isn't Hugh, my old friend. It's strange why you never chose to become a general for the Deicester army."

Hugh grinned, taking the complement, "By the gods, you finally recognized me. In pure daylight you couldn't but now... And I had no choice but to decline that position old friend."

Turalyon looked at the ground, filled with regret, "It's really sad you know? I don't like to do this, but you have gone against the order. I told my soldiers to kill anybody escaping."

Slayn, angry asked, "Why kill when you're supposed to protect these people?"

He laughed now, his eyes were with disgust, "People who go against the law are worse than trash! The army or government set up the rules and regulations not for us to break them! So it's better they are killed, just like trash are disposed off."

Hugh sighed, turning to Slayn, "I forgot to mention, but Turalyon here is a rule freak!"

"Enough small talk!" He shouted, not liking what he just said, charging at them, revealing the magnificent sword known as the Kamigas. Using two swords, Turalyon was able to fight with them equally, as he blocked a golden blade from Slayn close to his head, then used his right hand to counter attack to Slayn's left ribs. Hugh, being quick, blocked it for Slayn, turning to Turalyon. The two looked eye to eye, then concentrated in the battle. By using force, Turalyon pushed himself away, his feet dragging him, a little dust parting away from his path. This time, Slayn and Hugh ran to Turalyon, with full speed. Turalyon ready himself, and seeing they both are fast, he ordered the kamigas to increase his speed, and instantly, he now has equal speed as them. Slayn tried to plunge his sword into his gut, but Turalyon intercepted it, moving to his right, only to find a dagger aiming for his chest. From experience, he was able to calculate where the dagger would reach impact, and he blocked it on time. Now, he was out of balance, his right foot left to balance all of his entire body. Slayn and Hugh turned to each other, and nodded at each other, both of them ran to him and both kicked him in the chest.

Upon impact, Turalyon flew across the air, landing on the ground, dropping one of his sword, holding his chest that was kicked. Unable to raise himself from the pain, he used the sword to help him up, still holding his sword. Though he was kicked, he still reached out his hand, and told them to come, showing that he still take a few more hits. Slayn and Hugh hesitated, but then ran to him. Hugh charged first, trying to slash Turalyon right broad shoulder, but Turalyon was quick, blockig it then quick as lightning, countered, trying to slash Hugh's neck. Luckily for the Wind Conter, he was quick, stopping the blade before it reached him. Still, he continued the pressure, taking his sword then ready to plunge it deep in Hugh's gut, but no matter how fast he was, Hugh avoided it, but a cut was made near his left abdomen. A little blood came off from the impact, making Hugh fall. Slayn, sensing Hugh's defeat already, ran to Turalyon.

Turalyon was expecting this, putting his attention to Slayn now. Slayn, not as fast as Hugh, tried to cut Turalyon's knee, planning to keep Turalyon wounded long enough to make a run for it. Turalyon just made a little jump, and with a free spot, he kicked Slayn's chin in an upward direction, making Slayn fly through the air. No blood came out, but he landed hardly on the bridge's hard cement. The time he opened his eyes, he couldn't see the moon, as Turalyon blocked it, since he was in the air now, raising his sword ready to cut Slayn into half. Slayn, took his sword them just waited for the impact. Turalyon, laughing at how foolish Slayn is, shouted, "It's no use! You cannot survive this!"

Slayn knows this, ever since he sliced the assasin in half so easily, but he had to take the chance. He had no time to avoid it, taking the risk of injuring him. As the Kamigas neared him, Slayn could feel the breath of Turalyon near him, and waited to feel the blade slicing him. Unfortunately, he never felt the blade entering him, but was only hearing the sound of blade clashing against each other. He opened his eyes, only to see Turalyon staring at Slayn's sword in disbelief. He opened his mouth, mumbling, "This is impossible!"

Now, Slayn smiled, Turalyon still wondering what happened, "Anything is possible!"

Slayn raised both of his feet and placed them on his chest and kicked him away. Turalyon skidded through the ground, the back of his white commander suit were now coloured brown. He was now grinning his teeth, unable to believe what has happened still. Hugh, now next to Slayn, said, "We can't go on like this, we will eventually lose. We need a distraction."

"What can we do?" Slayn asked, facing Hugh.

Hugh, realizing he could use a wind push, but he needed help. He looked at Deez and asked, "Deez, you as a Dark Conter fairy should be taught two or three spells, is that not true?"

This caught the little fairy by surprise, but answered, "Yeah,"

"Then if I am correct, teach him the pit of hell spell!"

"How did you..." Deez sputtered.

"Just teach him!"

Deez obeyed, whispering something to Slayn's ear. Hugh didn't have time to watch, as Turalyon was already charged at him, as fast as lightning. Luckily for Hugh, he was able to block it on time, the kamigas close to his neck. He pushed it away, then again Turalyon kicked Hugh in the chest, causing the exhausted old friend of his to again fall to the ground. Turalyon smiled, then turned his attention to the smiling Slayn. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing," Slayn said, his voice filled with confidence, "The funny part is that you lose!"

Turalyon gave a confused look, when Slayn pointed his sword, pointing to the ground, just right behind him. "The pit of hell!"

The growlanser then just right behind Turalyon, a black hole was summoned, and from the looks of it, they could see souls trying to drag anybody near there. "What the?" Turalyon cried, as a soul brought him in the hole. Hugh raised himself, Slayn helping him up. They then put their attention to Turalyon, who was almost dragged by the soul's, but luckily, his hands are still on the bridge, trying to raise himself, but the number of souls that were dragging him were too great. Slayn and Hugh made their run, climbing the boulders. They could see that a few Deicester warriors came running to the pit, trying to save their commander, but the moment they reached there, they were dragged to the pit, only hearing the screams as they fell in. They continued escaping, until they finally arrived at the end of the bridge, and Hugh then raised his hands, and all of a sudden, Turalyon was seen floating. Turalyon, shocked was moving uncontrolably, until Hugh dropped him, landing on the ground hard.

Slayn asked, "Why'd you save him?"

"He may have tried to kill us, but he doesn't deserve to die yet."

They then made their way to Xironia, walking slowly, Slayn helping Hugh to walk since that Hugh was quite injured. Turalyon looked at the departure of the two warriors he lost to, and behind him, the pit was shut tight. He picked up two of his Kamigas, then headed his way back into the gates of Antholme. The guards and Deicester swordsmen watched their commander moving in, unable to believe he allowed the two of them to escape. However, as Turalyon walked in, he held the respect on Hugh's sword skill, giving a smile, and turned back at the shadows where Hugh left. "You have improved," He whispered to himself, and he walked to his inn.

20

In Xironia, a few guards were put on watch to see if any two wanderers came by. One was wearing a ring with silver hair, the other, having long brown hair with a green suit, most likely from Antholme were expected to arrive, but it was now in the morning. Annete and Michelle awaited for them to return, when they should have been asleep. It has been hours, until the captain of Xironia approached Annete, "We have some good news milady,"

"What?" Annete and Michelle exclaimed.

"We have found Slayn and Hugh just outside of the gates of Xironia. It seems that they have been exhausted from travelling and from the fight. My men are bringing them in now."

Michelle breath a sigh of relief after hearing the good news. Annete, being more concerned of their well being, ran off to the gates, only to find Slayn with a Xironian guard helping Hugh to walk. Slayn smiled, waving to Annete. Annete waved back, and upon seeing Hugh's condition, she called Michelle, coming immediately. They gently put Hugh on the ground, where Michelle began her inspection. Slayn and Annete waited patiently for Michelle to cure Hugh if he was injured. It didn't take her very long, as she turned back to them with a smile in her face, "He's alright. He just passed out from exhaustion and from blood loss on his left abdomen, but I think he will be alright,"

"Well, that's good news then," Slayn said.

"Indeed. Now, we had better bring him back to your house Annete, where he can rest much better."

Annete agreed, leading her group the way. They walked pass the same street with passing pedestrians, until Slayn realized something was missing, asking Annete, "Where's Alanil by the way?"

"He's still discussing about the current situation in the meeting room with my father."

"And the brigade he was supposed to bring?" He asked, grunting as he carried the unconscious Hugh.

"They're in the barracks with the rest of the Xironian army."

Slayn nodded, stopping for a while so that he could put Hugh in a better position to carry. They continued on, walking, until they finally reached the mansion. The maids opened the door the moment they saw Annete, allowing her to enter without knocking or opening the door herself. They walked in, Michelle being polite, thanked the maid. Slayn snickered, catching Michelle's attention, "What's so funny?"

"Why did you have to thank them? I mean, it's their job to open the door and so on."

"And being polite doesn't kill does it?" She remarked sarcastically.

Slayn gave a dumbfounded look, shaking his head. Joann climbed the stairs, motioning for the two to join them. Slayn argued though, "What about Hugh?"

Before Annete could answer, Hugh suddenly answered, "What about me? Am I too hot hot?"

This shocked Slayn for a moment, looking at Hugh. Slayn was too shock to say something, but was able to understand at what Hugh said, "Put me down, if you don't mind?"

Slayn slowly put him down, Hugh thanking him. They then turned to Annete, who was glad to see Hugh awake. "Anyway," She continued, "We had better get to the meeting room. My father must have finished the discussion with commander Alanil."

Without futher questions, they went up the stairs and walked to the meeting room, Annete opening the grand doors for her friends. There, they could see the president and Alanil sitting there. Delighted to see his daughter, and the people responsible to deliver the caravans, he told them, "Ah, we were just about to call you to join this meeting. Please, sit."

They did just that, taking their seats and awaited what the president of Xironia has to say. He cleared his throat, and he started, "I and Commander Alanil have come to terms and that Rocher city will continue sending army to aid Xironia as long as we deliver them food. Right now, the brigade that is sent won't be enough to stand agaisnt a mighty Aggresival army, but if we send an even larger caravan to Rocher city, they will send a quarter of the army to aid us. As many of you all know, Rocher city is known for it's large army, so a quarter is more then enough to aid Xironia."

"So," Slayn asked, "You want us to again protect the caravan?"

Alanil answered before the president could, "Yes, indeed. I have heard that the four of you took out a fortress that belonged to the new Aggresival outpost?"

"Yes," Annete replied, "The rumours are indeed correct."

"Then the four of you are more than enough!"

Hugh waved to get their attention, "When do we leave?"

Alanil thought of that for a moment, thinking hard. He looked at Hugh and Slayn, and knew the answer, "The way I see it, you all can leave tommorow, since you and Slayn are not in the condition for travelling today."

Hugh nodded, "I was hoping you would say that."

Alanil smiled, "I myself was once a soldier you know? So I know how soldiers feel when they are exhausted."

"Alright then," The president finally said in conclusion, "It's decided. Annete, you and your friends will again protect the caravan on it's journey, and we'll leave Xironia first thing in the morning."

The meeting was over, and they all left and made their way to the living room. While they were resting, Hugh wondered where a certain person is, "By the way, where is Vladmir?" He asked Annete.

"Vladmir? Why do you ask?"

"Is there any reason why I can't?"

Annete felt insulted by that, but still she answered, "It's in the hallway, continue on walking and it's to your left. Then, go down the stairs and there will be a door, and he's right there."

Hugh nodded, then made his way, Slayn following him from behind. They followed Annete's insturctions, now walking down the stairs and finally came upon a brown door. Hugh tried to open the doorknob, but it was lock. From there, they could here some kind of laser like sound from the other side, so Hugh knocked on the door loudly. No reply, this time he knocked even harder, a voice coming out, "Who is it?"

"It's me, Hugh." Hugh shouted to make sure Vladmir heard him.

A few seconds later, the sound ended, and sound of footsteps were heard. The door opened, and Vladmir appeared, wearing a kind of goggles. "Come on in, my friends." He invited.

The two of them stepped inside, and they were in awe. The whole lab were full of scientific stuff, full of test tubes, some were being boiled with a few plants or vegetables. Slayn wondering this was weird, asked, "So, what have you been working on?"

Vladmir grinned, then took a moment to look at his experiments that he has been doing, then explained, "As you should know, Xironia income comes from their food. Now that the sun has not been shining much, Annete has given me this task to find a way to make plants grow without the help of the sunlight."

Slayn rubed his chin, "And?"

"And what?" Vladmir asked, confused.

Slayn's jaw were open, unable to believe he didn't know what he was talking about. Hugh, realizing Slayn is too shocked, he spoke for him, "Any results or whatsoever?"

"Oh," Vladmir said, laughing, "So far, I getting good progress. Weird part is, I found a way for a plant to grow healthily without water, but that is not what Annete needs right? I'm working hard, but I need to understand first why the plants need light in order to survive."

"Alright then," Hugh replied, leaving the lab with Slayn.

"Good luck for tommorow!" Vladmir shouted from the lab, wishing them best of luck. Though Slayn wanted to thank him, but he was too lazy to walk back to the lab just to do that.

After a few hours, the people that had a task which is to escort a bunch of animals to Rocher city were now eating their dinner, filling their hungry stomachs with food. The food were scrumptious, Alanil keep refilling his plate. "The army don't serve you well?" Michelle asked, after Alanil refilled his plate for the fourth time.

He sat back down, then shook his head, "Sadly, no. Can't blame them, you can't expect to let the whole army eat good food when the expenses will be high right?"

They continued on, until everyone was done. There was silence after that, everyone getting an early rest so that they could get a headstart for tommorow. Hugh retired early, Slayn followed after that, resting their eyes for the big day.

It was midnight now, the clouds parting away to allow the full moon to shine in the darkness of the Xironian streets. In the mansion of the president of Xironia, a man awoke, dragging his tired feet through the room. Making sure that the person was still sleeping, he silently opened the door and closed it behind him. He wore a golden ring, and even in the dark of the living room, the ring still shined in the darkness of the night. He walked to the main door, and went out of the mansion, and took a midnight stroll. He didn't leave the gates though, but just took his time walking at the gardens, examining the area.

"What are you doing?" A voice asked.

The man, turning his back saw a man wearing a green suit, and for the first time, his hair was loose, brown in colour. The man, defending himself, summoned a golden ring, ready to fight him. "Easy pal," The man calmed him down, taking a step closer, his whole face now revealed by the moon's light, "I mean you no harm."

"What do you want?" The man asked, his voice aggresive, not trusting the man.

"Listen, from what I see, you aren't Slayn are you?"

The man didn't answer, until the man, Hugh repeated his question, "Are you?"

The man sighed, his sword went back into the ring. He approaced the man, and explained his story, "I am actually Slayn Wilder, working as an assasin and a long time friend of Annete, daughter of the Xironian president."

"Whoa," Hugh questioned, startled, "You a friend? How come she doesn't recognized you?"

"I was a childhood friend of hers, and lots of people thought that I died a few years back when I fell off a cliff when I was little during my time in the orphanage. I somehow survived, and worked as an assasin. I was once given a job to assasinate the president of Xironia by the general of Aggresival, but knowing my connection between me and the president, he hired another assasin to finish my target. Knowing this, I went head on in singles combat with the assasin himself, but I was defeated."

"Then?" Hugh asked, wondering about Slayn.

"That's the strange part. I'm actually dead, but in a dream, a guy named Slayn told me that if I want to live for a few more days, he can allow it to happen as long as his soul uses my body as a host. I can sometime control my old body though, but it's difficult to do so."

"Then how come tonight you fully control your old self again?"

Hugh noticed tears came down his cheek, and he told Hugh, "Slayn told me that my time is up, and today would be my last day before my soul is fully removed and he takes my body, and I will have a new life. I wanted to tell Annete I loved her, which was why sometimes during the journey to the Space-Time fusion project, I made Slayn have feelings for her."

Hugh felt sorry for the man, then patted him on the shoulder, "I'm sorry about you Slayn, but know that everyone dies. Please, enjoy your last few moments here, I'm going back and take a nap."

Slayn thanked the man he just befriended, and sat on the grass and looked in the moon. Knowing his life was finished, he thought about his old memories, and the moment he looked at the moon, he could have sworn he seen Annete's face on it.

21

The night in Xironia was over, dawn replaced the night, and the moment the light shined even a single piece of Xironia, it's farmers awoke and went to the fields to either water their crops and plant other harvested crops, or the other farmers feed the livestock. Those are what the farmers do, but for four people, it's different, as they have to escort a few animal carrying food to Rocher city. In the president's mansion, they awoke, and after they were done brushing their teeth and everything that they needed to prepare, they ate their breakfast. None of them spoke, as if they had no mood to interact with one another. Once that was done, they went out of the mansion as the maids took their plates and cleaned it up. Vladmir said his goodbyes, then they went to the gates of Xironia, where a bunch of soldiers were waiting for them, making sure the caravans didn't escape. Annete talked to the guard for a while, the others just waited for her. While she was talking, Hugh turned to Slayn, "Do you remember anything about walking to the garden yesterday?"

Slayn looked at Hugh, then answered, "Well, yeah. It was in a dream, I was walking in the garden of the mansion, and then you came along. I don't really remember what we talked about, but..."

"Never mind. I was just asking," He smiled, but he was thinking about what Slayn just said. So the body Slayn is in now is an old friend of Annete, he thought.

"Hei guys," Annete suddenly appeared, disturbing Hugh's thoughts, "You guys ready?"

"Yeah, I guess." Slayn answered.

"Alright then, we'll leave now. We shall past the same outpost like we did the first time, then we pass the Aggresival outpost. Don't worry, word is that the fortress is completely burnt, so there shouldn't be any Troubles." They left Xironia with the animal caravans, passing through familiar roads, but still they were on guard on any attacks. As expected, after walking about thirty minutes, they reached the outpost, and they still were able to continue on without resting. Though they could have continued, they let the caravans to rest, though it was a short journey, they have been carrying a load of boxes. They let the guards took care of the animals, Slayn and Hugh continued talking with each other on where they left of, "Do you remember what happened in your dream after I was done talking?" Hugh asked.

"Well, after you left, I walked to the edge of the mansion, where there was a cliff. I don't know what happened, I tried to commit suicide, but something told me not to do so, as if I had a job to do before I died. I'm not really sure what the dream meant."

Hugh looked at the mountains from the outpost, and nodded on what Slayn told him. It seems that Slayn wanted to kill his miserable self, but Slayn's soul prevented him in doing so. Sadly, Slayn doesn't remember a thing. If he did, that would give them a great help and to learn more about Slayn. After about an hour, Annete told the group that it was time to move out, to reach Rocher city as soon as possible. Again, they began walking through the pathway, planning to use the valley to get to Rocher city, but there would be no risk in a battle, as it was impossible for Aggresival to get a new outpost in just three days. The valley was lonely, their steps echoing throughout the area. It didn't take them long till they finally saw a wall that was badly burnt. There, they could see from the distance is, that the fortress was as black as coal, destroyed by just four people. Annete stopped the group, making an announcement, "Let's search the fortress for any information we could use."

"The fortress?" Michelle asked, her voice incredulous, "Everything is probably burnt by now!"

"We could use a shot?"

"I doubt we would find nothing but burnt furnitures and weapons," She said.

Still, the search was on, the three of them went in the fortress, leaving Michelle outside to make sure the caravan do not get away. Annete went to the higher level, hoping to find the room of the general or any high rank room, then she could find some information that might interest her. Slayn and Hugh searched on ground level, Hugh checking the armory and Slayn in the men resting room. Hugh, summoned the Wind's spirit to search for him. Slayn went into the resting room, and there, he could again see the spirit of the warriors he slayed. Some of them just stared at him, others waved, even bowed to show their respect. "I wonder why?" Deez said.

"Yeah. Are they respecting me for destroying the fortress?" He replied.

Slayn went out of that room, only to find Hugh standing outside, leaning against the wall. "Anything?" Slayn asked.

He shook his head, "No, the wind spirits searched the whole place. This place is deserted, no one escaped alive."

They then waited for Annete to appear, leaning against the burnt wall in silence. A few moments later, footsteps were heard from the stairs, and Annete appeared empty handed. They didn't need to ask Annete anything, obvious she got nothing, and they just walked out of the destroyed fortress. Michelle was waiting for them, sitting on a pile of rocks and somehow summoned a little wind to fan her from the heat. "So, can we continue?" Michelle asked, happy that she prooved Annete that there was nothing in the burnt fortress.

"Yeah, let's continue."

The group continued their journey, leaving the abandoned settlement behind them. Finally leaving the valley, they reached they reached the open field again, the path which would lead them to Rocher city. Though this time they didn't have any Trouble's at the valley, it seems that they wasted too much time at the fortress as the sun began to set. Slayn sighed, "Should we set up camp now?"

Annete looked at the setting sun, and shook her head, "Not yet. I think we could walk a little longer,"

Slayn shrugged, walking, until Hugh protested, "Oh come on! Once it's dark, it will be too dark to set up the camp and find any firewood,"

Annete stopped after what Hugh said, then calmly said, "Fine. We'll set up camp now. We aren't too far from Rocher city anyway, are we now?"

Michelle checked her map, then nodded, "Yes, we're quite near Rocher city. We won't make it though even if we continued our journey."

"Alright then, we'll set up camp," She said, then turned to Hugh, "You had better tie the caravans in a safe place!" Poiting to a tree.

Hugh obeyed, grumbling on the way. After he tied it up, each one of them gathered some fire wood to cook for their dinner. Finally, the night finally came, the only light that was provided was from the camp fire. Dinner was over, and Slayn was looking at the night sky, and for the first time, felt he was free from something that controlled him a little sometimes. He didn't know what, but it was gone, and Slayn was now able to control his full self. Annete walked to him, lying right beside him, "You really like to stare at the night's sky do you?"

He smiled, "Yeah, It's wonderful to look at the stars and the moon."

"Any memories you have got back after all this time?"

He shooked his head, "Not really. Just some strange dreams that have occured to me,"

"I see... Sometimes, I wonder what ever happened to my old friend, Slayn."

"Slayn?" Slayn asked, having heard that name before.

"Yes," She answered, turning to Slayn, looking at him in the eye, "His parents were murdered by an assasin, and many people thought of him to have died when he fell from a cliff, but I believe he's still alive though."

She then looked at Slayn's silver hair, and continued, "Sometimes, the way I see it, you look much like him."

Slayn slowly smiled, then looked at the sky, until Hugh came to him, "Come on, we had better sleep now. We got a long day tommorow,"

Slayn and Annete raised their bodies, then went to their own tents, where they slept peacefully. Hugh, next to Slayn's sleeping bag, wondered about his past life. He wanted to know more about Zion and the memories of their encounter, but he somehow didn't know what to think. Finally he fell asleep, and in the darkness, a soul that was about to have a new life was now looking at his last friend that he would like to remember. The soul smiled, and hoped that she would know that her long time friend, Slayn Wilder was there.

22

The camp fire was gone, put out when the fire has used up all of the wood to burn, and now in the morning was left nothing but ash. Michelle went out of the tent and looked at the wonderful surroundings which was full of light. She stretched herself until Slayn and Hugh came out of their tent, and was surprised to find Michelle awake. "My," Hugh greeted her, "You're awake early."

"Well, you guys were normally the first to wake up. Thought it would be nice if it changed for a while."

"And so it has," He said, turning to Slayn, "Should we wake up Annete?"

"You do it," He replied, walking to the animal carrying the food, "I need to untie the animals. They must be bored just standing there the whole night doing nothing,"

Hugh groaned the moment he looked at Annete's tent. If he woke her up, she would think that Hugh was trying to be a pervert and take a peek. Not wanting that to happen, he realized the only way to wake her is by causing a small breeze to blow her face to wake her up. He did so, summoning a few Wind spirits to blow her hair and eyes. He just told the spirits to blow her face for about seven seconds, then leave the place. At a precise eleven second, she came out of her tent, yawning. Ignoring Hugh, she shouted at Michelle to catch her attention from her stretching, "Hei, it seems we have a hole in our tent!"

Michelle, hearing this, walked to Annete, "What makes you say that?"

"Some wind blew my face and woke me up. Strange though, the way I see it, there's no hole anywhere."

"Maybe the wind got in from the entrance?"

Annete shurgged, and didn't care. Slayn came with the animals, and saw Annete awake, he asked, "Are we leaving now?"

"After we pack our camp first, Slayn." Annete told him.

Slayn waited for the three of them to pack everything, since he was holding the animals. After waiting patiently for about four minutes, the group were ready to move. The sun had just risen, and the group were happy about this, since they could already see Rocher city's walls from a distance. The caravans, though seem to be tired, getting slower and slower by the minute, but luckily, civilization was near. They followed the path, which lead them to the entrance of the fair city, and the archers from the watch towers watched them, and seeing that they're from Xironia, didn't fire at them or stop them. One swordsman stopped the group, but upon seeing Annete, he smiled, "Sending those caravans for Rocher city right?"

She nodded, smiling, "Yup. Since Commander Alanil isn't here, what do we do now?"

"Follow me," He instructed them, leading the way.

All four of them followed the guard, the guard telling the busy street to make way for the incoming Xironian soldiers with the caravan. Unlike last time, it was easier for them to travel with the citizens moving away. They were faster, reaching the castle in just a few minutes. Oddly though, there was a huge crown gathered at the front entrance of the castle, with mages in the front, chanting some words. The guard seem to have forgotten about this, telling Annete, "I think it would better that I take it from here?"

"Yes," She agreed, handing him the caravans.

The soldier smiled, then walked with the caravans heading to the castle. Soon, he disappeared because of the crowd. Slayn thinking this is strange for something like this to happen, asked a nearby citizen, "What's going on?"

The person turned, and explained, Slayn and the others listening, "As you all should know, Rocher city since allied with Xironia, is now in war with Aggresival. Aggresival, being the mightiest nation of all, could strike at Rocher city anytime, so it's been a legend in Rocher city that whenever we are in trouble, we pray to a black gemstone, known as the 'Dark Stone'. This legendary gemstone was able to summon an army of fallen knights of Rocher city. This gemstone was only used once, and it's been centuries since we used it. Now, we are all praying for the kngiths to help us."

Hugh, looking around his area, asks, "I don't see any gemstone."

The man, quite annoyed by this, pointed upwards at a balcony, where the queen and a few mages were located, "In the center of that balcony, lies the gemstone of the 'Dark Stone'."

Slayn watched the crowd praying at a gemstone and finds it ridicolous, but if it helped them once, guess it must have worked. "Lets go," Annete instructed, leaving already, "We have no business here anyway."

Hugh and Michelle followed her, Slayn following last from his curiousity of the gemstone. Suddenly, Deez told Slayn, "I have a bad feeling about this..."

"What?"

"I don't know," She said, "Just a feeling,"

The four of them left the area, hoping to reach the main gate as soon as possible. It seems that most of the crowds were heading to the castle, obviously to either pray or witness the whole thing. It was harder and slower to pass through the streets this time since everyone was heading the other direction. Finally, after exuastive of passing through the streets, they could see the gate, the two watch towers guarding the entrance. They headed to the gate, but stopped suddenly as the sky suddenly grew dark, the clouds parting away. Michelle, thinking this was weird, asked, "What's happening? The end of days?"

Slayn feeling some kind of tremendous power around him, said, "I doubt it," Turning to Hugh, "Do you feel the power?"

He nodded, turning serious, "It seems that something is being summoned, someone with strong magical powers."

Out of nowhere, a citizen came out of the house smiling. Annete noticed this, and wondered what was so happy till he finally shouted, "It worked!! The gemstone actually worked!!!"

The man screamed at the top of his lungs, celebrating. Annete, delighted to hear that, told the group, "Well, at least Rocher city will be protected."

Hugh, feeling trouble in the spirit world didn't agree, taking out his sword. He looked at Slayn in the eye, whispering to him in the ear, "You had better get ready your sword. I sense something is going to happen and..."

Unfortunately for him, he was unable to finish his sentence as some kind of marching were heard from the entrance of Rocher city. Slowly, they could see that an army of knights, wearing black thick armour with their helmets, carrying their swords in a straight line emerged, walking straight to the castle. The two guards which guarded the entrance, were celebrating, happy to see the knights. It seems there were altogether twelve knights, three knights in each row to make four rows. As the battlelion passed through them, the third row suddenly stopped and looked at the guards. The soldier, still happy and celebrating was stopped, as one of the knight killed him, his gigantic sword deep in the gut.

The soldier, blood coming out of his mouth, looked at the gigantic knight in disbelief, falling to the ground, still holding his wound. The other guy, shocked, looked at the knight that was standing tall, facing him, "What is happening? You knights should be protecting us!"

The knight seem not to listen, raising his mighty sword, and in a matter seconds, the guy's head was chopped of from the neck, flying on to a rooftop. The people, shocked in seeing this, screamed at the top of their lungs, running for their life. Annete, also shocked, looked at her companions, "What the hell do we do? What's happening?"

Hugh wasn't listening, already expecting something like this to happen, his sword drawn out and ready for battle, as Michelle summoned a few knives and her spells memorized. Annete just looked at them, then realized she had no choice, taking out her broadsword. Slayn however, haven't even summoned his unique weapon, staring at something near the watch tower. Hugh noticing this, shouted, "Slayn, I told you to prepare yourself! What the hell are you looking at?"

"That," He said, pointing at someone on the watch towers.

The three of them left their jaws open, as on top of the watch towers was a woman carrying a black gemstone, and was somehow controlling the knights. The woman, wearing a familiar red dress with an unknown device, held the gemstone, and it was clearly known that Dillah has stolen another legendary artefact. From the watch tower, she ordered the knights, "Go and destroy everything in your path mighty ones," Then, noticing the four people that nearly killed her, she pointed at them, "Especially those four warriors that plans to dispose you!"

The knights turned at the four of them, and slowly marched at them like marching to a war in a field. Michelle, feeling angry at this, casted a fireball to Dillah. Unfortunately, she, being a master's in magic, countered it with a water wave, neutralising it. "I bid you all farewell! I got one last gemstone to steal!"

Annete looked at her, casting on herself some kind of light, and in an instant, she was gone. "Damn," Slayn cursed, "She escaped again!"

Hugh looked at Slayn, then told him, "We got our own problems here... We are against three knights for each of us here!"

Even not even seeing them, he could here the footsteps getting closer, the horror of dead knights that once served Rocher city. Only this time, they have a thicker armor and a stronger sword. Slayn summoned his ring, and moved into a defensive stance. The knights, not showing any sign of fear, continued on, then suddenly seperated to attack each of their enemy. Michelle, seeing that she has the distance advantage, threw her knives at one of the knights, but their armor repelled easily, bouncing off. She looked in shock, moving back, then casted a whirpool on the ground. The knight, not even stopping, walked right into the twisting water. After that, Michelle immediately dispelled that spell, leaving that knight stuck forever in an unknown world. She smiled, when suddenly, she felt a metalic boot kicked on her back, falling to the ground. She coughed out blood from the impact, and turned to see a knight behind her. Slayn, sensing Michelle in Trouble, plunged his sword into the knight's chest, and surprisingly, it sent through cleanly, killing the knight.

Running to aid his friend, Slayn went to Michelle, who was about to receive a sword deep in her gut, was able to stop him by pushing the knight to the ground. Though this stopped him, it caused a throbbing pain to Slayn's shoulder. He raised himself, using his sword to help him from the pain of his shoulder, but the knight was quick, grabbing Slayn in the shirt, raising him in the air, with his sword in the other hand, ready to slay Slayn. Michelle, quickly grabbed her spell book and read up a spell, casting a spell on the knight. Out of nowhere, a powerful wind pushed the knight away, the knight losing the grip on Slayn. Slayn dropped on the ground, and thanked Michelle. Knowing that the knight's will be quite difficult to beat, he used the 'Demon Attack' on the knight. From his sword, came a demon, heading straight to the knight that fell. It went through it, leaving a big hole in it. The knight looked at the hole, then fell to the ground, landing loudly.

Hugh, having trouble with two knights knew he had to use a few of his Wind Conter's spell. Though they were big, they had the speed, which was a huge advantage. As Hugh tried to slash the knight's broad chest armor, it was easily blocked by his opponent, pushing Hugh's sword away. The two attacked him immediately, Hugh able to block the attempt on his neck, but received a cut to his left knee. Hugh injured, was now kneeling and moved away from his Troublesome opponents, and when they got closer, he summoned a powerful Wind Conter spell, casting some wind Spirits to his sword, making it more powerful. The knights walked to the kneeling Hugh, and was ready to cut his neck off, but now, Hugh was quick. Jumping all of a sudden, with the Wind Spirit helping him, he went through the thick armor easily, penetrating to the chest cleanly, coming out from the other side. Hugh landed safely on the ground, a few metal plates from the armor came splattering all over the ground. The knight slowly fell to te ground, dead. The other knight immediately charged against Hugh, eager to take revenge. The knight aimed for Hugh's injured knee, but knowing this, Hugh jumped and as he soared through the air, he attempted to try and slice the knight in half. Though he failed to do so, thanks to the strong wind, was able to defeat the knight, the knight crashing in to the ground. Hugh, not knowing his own strength, inspected where the knight was. In the hole, the armor and everything was broken, but nobody was in it. It seems that the spirit has left, since it was defeated.

Annete though fighting in a one on one, only attacked once, but the slash to the ribs was useless, just leaving a scar. Now, she was only able to block each and every attack that was made. Michelle realizing that Annete will lose in a matter of minutes, summoned a shield on Annete, and at the precise moment. The knight, seeing an open spot, attempted to cut Annete in half from the ribs, but was somehow blocked by an invisible force. Annete, surprised on the attempt, didn't even know the knight could have killed her. She thanked Michelle, and it seems the knight still feeling surprised, Annete took the oportunity to cut of the head, and was successfull, the helmet of the knight landed next to the body, falling dead.

Slayn and Hugh were now facing each other as eight more knights were still coming. Slayn, sweating and exhausted from using up most of his enerygy just to break through their armor, asked, "Is there any skills you got to beat them all up?"

Hugh wiped a sweat from his forehead, then replied, "I do, but I don't have enough enerygy to do so."

As they were talking, a knight had somehow sneaked up behind them, ready to do a double kill. Hugh smiled at this stupidity, kicking the knight in the knees, making him fall on his one knee. Slayn saw the opportunity, then using his golden sword, sliced through the neck, killing the knight. Though killing just one for this was easy, the other seven were still fresh, and are already marching this way, their swords raised, prepared for battle.

"Slayn," Hugh asked, "Can you cast the pit's hell again?"

"Yeah," He replied, breathing heavily, "But I need time, and the way I see it, you are in no condition to cover me."

Hugh nodded, and he turned to Annete, who was also tired, realizing that she have suffered a small cut near her abdomen. Somehow, Michelle was still quite fresh, and he called her, "Michelle, I need you to distract them for a while!"

"Why?"

"Just do it!" He shouted, as their enemies drew closer.

As they marched closer, suddenly, a wave of fire blasted out of the ground, burning them. They stopped for a moment, waiting for the fire to stop the burns on their armor. When it was finally gone, the only thing the fire affected was the change of colourss, from a white shiny armor to a dull kind. Unfortunately for them, it was all the time Slayn needed, he pointed his sword right below them, "The pit of hell!"

As they were marching, the floor suddenly began to split open. There, thousands of souls appeared, dragging every single night they encountered. Slayn let out a sign of relief, dropping on the floor from exhaustion, along with Hugh. They watched the souls grabbing each and every knight, bringing them into the darkness. Annete, unable to believe what she was seeing, turned to Slayn, "Since when you learn that?"

Slayn grinned, but too tired to shout, asked Annete to walk to them for some conversation. Michelle helped Annete up, and walked to the guys. Hugh put his hand on Slayn's shoulder, "I'm proud of you!"

Confused, Slayn asked, "What do you mean?"

"You asked the ladies to come here, that's very ungentleman like."

They both laughed at that, Annete finally arrived. They rested on the floor, while Michelle treated Hugh and Annete's wound and curing them from the exaustion. While she was doing that, Michelle asked Slayn, "Where did you learn a spell like that just now?"

Slayn first hesistated, but then answered, "Just a little spell I remember,"

It took all of them about an hout just to be healed, and the exhaustion to disappear. When they were cured, they stood up and made it's way for the entrace of Rocher city. On the way, most of the citizens thanked them, unable to believe their own creation would summon such beasts. They continued on, and when they reached the gates of Rocher city, someone was walking in. A man in traditional Japanese clothing, approached them, greeting them, "We meet again, yes?"

"Yatsubana!" Slayn said, recognizing him, "What brings you here?"

"Not much, just came here to search for a certain someone,"

Annete stepped up, looking at his bow and arrow, "If only you came here earlier though."

"What do you mean?" Yatsubana asked, giving a confused look.

"We were attacked by a group of fallen knights of Rocher city that was suppose to protect this city!"

He shook his head, then replied, "Then I apologise I wasn't in assistance."

Hugh, now wondering about what Yatsubana just said, asked, "Who was it you were looking for?"

Yatsubana turned to Hugh, scrathched his head, then he answered, "A run away member. She is my sister, and she stole a powerful device that belonged to us all. Also, I have heard she is trying to get three gemstone for her master. Her name is Dillah."

The moment Yatsubana mentioned the name, all of them were shocked. Yatsubana, seeing that it is strange for this to happen asked, "What's wrong?"

No one was able to say anything, until Hugh finally spoke up, "We just saw Dillah. She got the Dark gemstone and used it against us!"

Yatsubana listened, but didn't say anything. He let out a breath, "Then I only got one last shot. She is now after the Water crystal, but I'm not really sure where though."

Annete, seems familiar with the word, asked, "Water crystal you say?"

Yatsubana nodded, then Annete was now shivering. Michelle, feeling her tremble, asked, "What's wrong?"

"The... Water Crystal is located in my house! It's been with us for generations. My father keeps it in his study room."

Yatsubana, now hearing on what she said, immediately suggested, "Then we had better get going!"

The five of them left Rocher city in a hurry, leaving the great city unprotected. The sun was high in the sky, but nothing was going to stop them, especially for Slayn, since he knows exactly where Zion's ally are going to be.

22

In a hurry to return home, which was in danger, they continued running through the path that would lead them to the valley and to the Xironian outpost. Luckily for most of the five, they have been trained to have high stamina, jogging often without stopping. Still, they had their limits, stopping by a tree and resting. If the water crystal was stolen, who knows what would happen. They continued on, finally reaching the valley where the Aggresival outpost was destroyed. As they passed it, Yatsubana wondered, "What ever happened here? I heard Aggresival's newest outpost was located here."

Hugh, the closest to him, answered his question, "Yes, indeed. At least, it was..."

"Was?"

Hugh, still jogging with Yatsubana, "Yes, we sorta destroyed it when we needed to pass this area. We just wanted to cause a fire for a distraction, I guess we burned it all instead."

Yatsubana, impressed by this, turned at Slayn, who was trying to catch up behind them, "Any improvements on his memory?"

Hugh shook his head, "Sadly no. But I do know this, he is a Dark Conter memer, and probably in a high rank."

Yatsubana, hardly able to hear what he just heard, repeated what Hugh said, "A high rank? That is quite rare in this part of the continent."

Hugh nodded, "Indeed. We can talk about this some other time,"Looking back as they were catching up, "Right now, we have to concentrate on what's ahead of us."

Annete, breathing heavily, asked, "So, Yatsubana, tell us about your sister..."

"Well," He answered, thinking while jogging, his bow and arrow behind him, "She is around my age, late fourties I might add. Also, she is a high rank of my group and has stolen a device quite dear to us. The leader of my group has asked me to get that device and Dillah back at all costs."

"And now, she is after three gemstones?" Michelle asked.

"Yes. I just found out about it when the Space-Time fusion was stolen, and I knew that she must be after the other three, though I am not sure of her intentions."

They continued the journey silently, the sun shining high above them. Though they were suffering from the heat and exhaustion, they kept on running, trying to reach Xironia as soon as they could and try to stop Dillah from doing so. No matter how fast they ran, they already wasted time at Rocher city fighting the knights. Now, they arrived at the Xironian outpost, only to find slaughtered Xironian soldiers. Annete inspected every surrounding area, but didn't find a single survivor. "So much death," She said

No one could say anything. Each one of them walked around the area, inspecting the signs of battles. Yatsubana, able to tell time, felt Moon Spirit around him, telling him that the battle was just recently. Annete, feeling enraged, "We should go to Xironia now! We could still make it!"

"No, not yet." A voice was heard.

All four of them turned to see Yatsubana sitting down on a pile of rocks patiently. It seems he was going to wait there until he felt the time was right. Annete, walked to him and shouted, "My city is in danger! I don't care what you say! Give me one reason why we shouldn't go!"

He looked up at the face of Annete, her eyes glaring at his, "I know my sister too well. She won't attack at this time of day, trust me."

Annete feeling frustrated with this newcomer, "We just know you, and we allowed you to join us! Now, you are telling us what to do when you don't even know the situation!"

Yatsubana, now a little insulted, glared at her, "I know my sister very well. The reason I went to Rocher city was of because of her attention, and all of her attacks are made in the day. So I know, besides, if we go now in the night, we might get caught by them, and we would end up dead before tommorow."

Annete, still not convinced, was about to say something until Slayn cut her off, "Annete, he's right. He's got a point."

Annete turned to Slayn, and then to Yatsubana. She raised her hands to show that she gives up, and went to a fire that was left. Slayn walked to Yatsubana, sitting next to him, "Sorry about that."

He smiled, "Not to worry. She reminds me of my sister in some sort of way."

They talked for a while, the moon soon in the middle of the sky. They checked their surroundings, but no one was to be found. It seems they had all fallen asleep, Slayn then said, "Perhaps we too should sleep?"

Yatsubana nodded, "Indeed. We're to rise early to prepare for the invasion."

They raised themselves, and went into their tent, and they rested their eyes. Knowing what was to happen tommorow, they slept with their weapons next to them.

It was midnight, but two high rank generals were in the oval office, discussing about the current situation on the war. They were well known generals, both skillfull and are close friends with one another. One of them, wearing a white commander suit, with long black hair, sat on the chair, "What's the current situation?"

The other general with a white tunic and brown hair, his hair loose, spoke, "It seems that Aggresival is still suffering from famine, and Xironia has allied with Rocher city."

"Rocher?" Turalyon said, "So that was why Alanil was with the other Xironian people."

"Alanil? What do you mean?"

Turalyon looked in the eyes of Battusai, "When I was sent to guard Antholme and were ordered not to allow anybody out of the city, Alanil and four other people, one of them Hugh, escaped out of the city."

"Escaped?" Battusai asked, quite shocked, "How? I mean, you yourself were there right?"

Turalyon smiled, "A stranger and Hugh beaten me, fair and square. I will say that."

Battusai laughed, thinking back about old times, "You know, Hugh has..."

Battusai didn't finish his sentence, as a man emerged from the shadows. The man, wearing a white suit with silverish hair, approaced the two of them. Turalyon, seeing the man, asked, "Who are you?"

The man did not response. He just sat on the other end of the table, and not revealing his face. Turalyon, feeling quite angry, repeated the question, a little louder this time, "I asked who are you!"

The man still did not response, but he slowly raised his face. His front hair was covering his eyes, exept for his left eye. Battusai, not knowing the man, told him, "If you're not part of this meeting, then you are to get out of here."

The man still did not response, just looking up at Battusai in the eye. Turalyon, could no longer take it, raised himself from his seat and took out two of his kamigas, then gave him a warning, "Do not make me do this the hard way."

The man scoffed at the remark, finally saying, "Do what you want, Turalyon..."

This shocked Turalyon a bit, but feeling insulted, ran to the man, raising his Kamigas. As Turalyon was ready to slash the man's head off, it was blocked by a golden metalic stick, blocking it at the nick of time. Turalyon continued the attack, both of his sword getting blocked at the same time, until he used one of his weapon to aim for the man's chest, making the stranger to jump from his seat, holding his golden weapon. Battusai, now knowing it's a fight, decided to help his friend, taking out his sword from it's sheath, looking in the eye of the man. Being the 'Yellow Flash Of Deicester' Battusai suddenly ran infront, going to plunge in deep into the man's gut, but was blocked. Battusai, shocked, "Impossible! How were you able to block that?"

Battusai sword, near to the gut of his enemy, when the man smiled, "Not bad. Your speed is impressive,"

Turalyon, seeing the opportunity, ran to the man, seeing that his stick blocking Battusai stick, making him an open blow. The man know of this, and used his other hand to point at Turalyon, and all of a sudden, swarm of bats came out of nowhere, dragging Turalyon's arm and legs. He landed straight to the wall, the bats bit near his arm to make him not able to move. He then put his attention to Battusai, who was still trying to fight of the stick. Being fast, Battusai took out his other sword, ready to cut the man's shoulder, but his attempt was blocked by the white suit man, even faster than Battusai. Battusai was shocked, not believing his speed, but before he knew it, he received a kick in the gut, falling to the floor right next to Turalyon. The man looked at his two opponets, than spoke, "The reason I came here, was to inform you to ally with the Xironian federation. Defeat Aggresival, and all your problems will be solved."

Turalyon, not trusting the man, "Who are you to offer us advice!?!"

The man looked at Turalyon, then turned his back, leaving the room. Before he left, he repeated, "Trust me, it's best for all of your cities to remain safe. If not, war will break out among the whole city, and deliverence day will be near. Your president should know what to do."

The unknown man left, leaving both legendary general and commander, stunned, until the bats also released Turalyon, dropping him to the ground.

23

An abandoned outpost that belonged to Xironia was occupied by five travellers. The moment the sun risen everyone awoke, especially a woman who so happen to be the daughter of the Xironian president. Knowing her home city is in danger, she got all of her equipment ready and went out of her tent. To her surprise, everyone of her friends, was already outside waiting for her. Yatsubana was collecting any arrows he could find then looked at Annete and nodded, telling her that it was time.

Without wasting time they left the outpost, Annete saying to Yatsubana, "I hope you're right about staying a night at the outpost."

He smiled, and again told her, "Trust me,"

They began jogging again, following the path that would lead right to Xironia. The sun was shining brightly, revealing every inch of the forest that they were crossing through. Annete, though ready for the upcoming battle was worried about her homeland and was already sweating. Not from the jog but from her worries on her father and her city. As she jogged by, she felt a hand and she turned to find Michelle next to her saying, "Don't worry," Trying to cheer her up, "I'm sure they are alright."

Annete gave her a smile but from the smile, Michelle could tell she was still worried. As they drew closer to Xironia, Hugh spottes something that would bring some interest. Stopping the group, which Annete didn't agree on, he inspected the ground. "How long is this going to take?" Annete asked, frustrated.

Hugh ignored her, and asked the Wind Spirit to locate what he needed to know. After a few seconds, the wind blew and there they were, footprints. The footprints were headed to Xironia, but surprisingly, there weren't many of them. Michelle walked to Hugh, asking, "What's your point of doing this?"

He looked at her, then explained, "We have to make sure that there isn't any ambush up ahead. If we were ambush, who is gona save us?"

The others were silent, until Slayn spoke up, "True. That is why you're the leader of this group!"

Hugh not expecting to hear that, gave Slayn a dumbfound look, "Just since when..."

Yatsubana, suddenly ran to Hugh, then put his hand on Hugh's head and made him drop down. Hugh, feeling strange, looked at Yatsubana, only to find Yatsubana telling him to be quiet. Hugh did so, the others stunned, when Yatsubana slowly walked forward silently, then took out his bow and placed his arrow and targeted on a branch on a tree. Annete, seeing nothing to aim, just watched what was he about to do. As he pulled the arrow for power, there were some rustling sound coming from the branches. As he released it, it hit a target, and from the branches, a man, wearing a black uniform dropped dead as he suffered an arrow deep in his chest. Yatsubana walked to the man, and looked down at him. He then turned to his companions, "He's dead."

Annete, now holding a little respect for Yatsubana, asked, "How did you know the man was there?"

Yatsubana stared at Annete, hesitating to answer. He turned to Hugh, and Hugh, knowing why he can't tell, answered for him, "Sorry Annete, but an archer never reveals his secrets."

Annete thought that was ridicolous, but it didn't matter. They moved on, this time more careful to reach Xironia. A few minuts later, when they finally reached the edge of the forest and could see Xironian gates, Annete was shocked, along with the others. The archers at the watch tower of Xironia has been killed, and the gates opened. Slayn also couldn't believe his eyes, blood all over the watch tower. Still, they wasted no time, when a scream was heard frm the inside of Xironia. Yatsubana looked at Annete, "I was right, my sister has begun the attack."

Slayn, now feeling anger burning up, he shouted, "Then what are we waiting for? Let's go and do what we can!"

He ran inside the gates, the others following behind him. Summoning his golden ring, he was eager to slay everybody he could get his hands on.

At the Xironian mansion, the president, along with a commander and a scientist were fighting for their lives, while other Xironian forces fought with this organization or army. The woman, in charge of the operation, wearing a mechanical device, ordered the president, "I give you one last warning," She said, turning to the battle that was raging, "You see those pathetic warriors of yours? They don't stand a chance against my trusted warriors! Now, give me the crystal and we shall leave in peace."

The president, feeling scorned, "I already told you, lady, that crystal has been with Xironia for generations and I will not give it to you even if it costs my life!"

All of a sudden, two soldiers came charging at the president, their swords ready to finish the president of. Alanil, the commander next to the president, reacted quick, blocking the blade, then in a quick counter attack, slit the enemy's throat. The other guy, still in a distance, was coming quick. Vladmir, grabbed a weapon, and aimed it at the man. He pressed the shot, and from his weapon, a red laser came out, piercing through the skin easily, killing him. Dillah, impressed at this, smiled. Alanil, knowing she is confident, told the president, "You had better get into the mansion sir. We won't be able to concentrate in the battle worrying about your safety."

The president agreed, moving in. As he opened the door, there was a shadow that followed him inside, and when he was in the mansion, Dillah smiled. Vladmir, knowing the woman has to die, changed his shot into an explosion, firing at her. Dillah, knowing the shot was powerful, casted a shield around her. At the nick of time, it exploded by an invisible force.

Vladmir cursed, and proceeded to reload. A spearman, noticed that Vladmir was defenseless, charged at him with his spear infront of him. Vladmir was now sweating, getting fearful. As the spearman neared him, Alanil blocked the spear for him, then slashed the man's chest, blood splurting out upon impact. The man, now suffering with a cut on his chest, was screaming in agony. Alanil walked to the man, and used his blade to finish him cleanly, the blade piercing through the heart. Alanil looked at the battle raging below the stairs from the gates of the mansion, and knows that the Xironian forces are losing badly. Dillah laughed, "Now do you see how foolish all of you all are? It is too late to go back, so pray for your last minutes of life!"

"And this time, you had better not run from us!" A voice shouted.

Not coming from Vladmir or Alanil, there, below, was Slayn and the others. Dillah, unable to believe her eyes, shouted, "Not you all again! Why must all of you always interfere with my plans and..." As she looked at everyone, one person caught her attention, a person with the bow and arrow, "What are you doing here???"

Yatsubana smiled, taking his bow ready for battle, "The same reason you are, sister. I'm here to stop you and bring you and that device back to the Moon Conter!"

"Never!" She screamed, chanting some words.

Yatsubana, somehow familiar on what she saw doing, quickly shouted, "Fast time!"

Suddenly, Yatsubana took out his bow and arrow faster than anybody. Like lightning, in just a second, he already took out his arrow, and aimed so fast, he shot it at his sister. Dillah, almost completing the spell, and seeing the arrow, jumped to her right, the arrow scaring her left shoulder. She landed on the ground and rolled back to her feet, holding her wound, "You bastard!"

The warrios of Dillah, realizing that challengers arrived, put their attention on the new comers. Slayn faced an axe man, as Slayn moved to him slowly. All of a sudden, the man attacked, but Slayn blocked it close to his ribs, then Slayn bent and did a slide kick on both of the axe man's feet, causing him to fall. The axe fell from the man's hands, and Slayn landed his foot on the man's chest, keeping him still and went for the kill, his sword entering the man's neck. Slayn took out his sword, leaving the man dead. From behind, a swordman came running to him. Slayn, too slow to defend himself, was prepared to feel the pain, but luckily for him, Hugh jumped and pushed the man away, stopping the man.

Slayn thanked Hugh, as Hugh finished the man off, and immediately blocked a sword near his gut. Being quick, Hugh moved back, and the man attacked again, but Hugh, instead of blocking, rolled to his right, stopped, then while still on his knees, plunged his sword deep into the man's ribs, causing him to fall on one knee. Hugh was about to finish the man off, but an archer aimed his arrow at him. Hugh know this, and threw his dagger at the archer, and the dagger reached its destination, the dagger stuck in the forehead. As the archer fell, Hugh looked at the man who was still on his knees, and Hugh plunged his sword into the chest, and when he took it out, the life was gone, falling slowly.

Annete, fighting against an axe man, which was her weakness against the powerful kinds. Though the man was extremely slow, just one strike and that would be the end of her. The man swung his weapon at Annete, moving sideways, and immediately attacked the man in the ribs, making a cut. The man didn't even yell from the pain, but just took one glance at the wound, then attacked Annete's gut. Annete blocked it, but the force was too strong and she dropped her sword, then the man kicked her in the gut, making her fall. The man walked forward and looked downwards, facing Annete. Annete's broadsword was just next to her, but seeing the man, any attempt to grab the sword would end up getting her hand cut off. The axe man raised his axe, ready to use full strength to finish Annete. This was when the opportunity arose, taking her sword, and just as he was going to slash Annete in half, Annete's broadsword was deep in his neck, blood splurting out. The man seems to be stunned, and then, slowly falling backwards.

Annete raised herself slowly, but when she was halfway rising, a man wielding two light axes came running forward. Annete, grabbing her sword as quickly as possible was ready for him. Out of nowhere, Slayn was in the air, jumping, and he was heading for the running axe man. Still not knowing Slayn's presence, Slayn took an easy kill, slicing the man's neck and was too strong, the head falling out. Slayn landed hard, and was right below Annete. She smiled, "I owe you one,"

As she said that, an archer from the distance, loosed it's arrow, aimed for the unsuspecting Slayn who was already standing up. Annete, not even warning Slayn of her intention, jumping at him, making him fall as the arrow passed through them. Slayn saw the arrow, then turned to Annete, "Didn't expect you pay back so fast."

As the archer took out his second arrow, this time aiming Annete since Slayn won't be able to save her with him facing his back. Still, just right after Michelle burnt three warrios who was attacking Yatsubana, she saw the intention of the archer, and began chanting some words. The archer, now about to loose the arrow aiming Annete's head, was shocked to see a wave of water coming towards him. There was no time to escape, as it splashed on him, and it was strong enough to break through a wall with the archer, uncounscious.

Michelle was using too much spells though, making her tired and exhausted. Knowing she won't last long casting powerful spells, she could now just use the knife spell, summoning two bricks, turning them into knives. While she raised her arms to bring the two bricks, two wounded swordsmen realized she was vulnerable, running to her.

Yatsubana, seeing Michelle in Trouble, took out two arrows and carefully aimed at the two opponents. From the looks of it, the two were the last of their enemy, and Yatsubana may as well finish them. He loosed his arrows, and with such skill as an archer, slowly, the arrows went in a seperate direction, and it passed through Michelle left and right ear, feeling the wind. The two swordsmen saw the arrows, and it was too fast, not even making it to scream for the last time.

As the two bodies landed on the floor dead, Dillah watched the whole battle in horror. She screamed, "How can five people eliminate all of my best warriors?!!"

The others, now climbing the stairs, cornering Dillah. Yatsubana smiled, "Easy sister. We're here to stop you, and your plans, once and for all."

Dillah, moving back and holding her wound earlier, knew she was cornered. All of a sudden, the door from the mansion busted open, and a man, with white long hair with sunglasses came out, wearing long black shirt, "Come mother, I got the Water crystal!"

"Excellent!"

They ran back, and Dillah began chanting some words. Slayn and Hugh, being the most alert, ran after them, "Come back here!"

Dillan, knowing that his mother will not make it on time to finish the spell, took out his Kamigas and asked for speed increase. Slayn summoned his ring, and immediately tried to plunge his sword, but Dillan avoided it, only to find Hugh aiming for his chest. He moved back, but also blocked it for being too slow. Slayn kicked Dillan, forcing him to move back next to Dillah, holding the pain. Dillah laughed, "We'll meet again fools!"

All of a sudden, there was a flash of light, and a blast. It was too bright, making Slayn and Hugh to cover their Hugh was able to open his eyes again, they were gone, leaving nothing but ash. The other three came but were too slow. They just looked at the ash, and Yatsubana cursed. From behind them, they heard a shout, "The water Crystal is gone! The crystal is gone! Everyone, come to the room at once, I need to discuss about this!" It was Annete's father.

Annete, hearing her father's call, told her companions, "We had better go," before she went off, she then said, looking serious, "And I demand an explanation on all these mysterious spells you have summoned. I've heard one of your conversations saying you were part of a Conter, and trust me, I use to study about these legendary Conter's when I was young."

As she walked, Slayn, Hugh and Yatsubana were shocked, unable to move from what they just heard from the lips of Annete. Slowly, they walked, and knew that their secret was about to be unfold.

24

In the mansion of the president of Xironia, something that was very dear to every citizens in Xironia, especially to the president, was stolen from them. It was a crystall, and not just any kind, as it has the power to bring in water from anywhere. When Xironia faced drought, they could summon a light rain to water their crops and also to allow their livestock to drink. Five travellers, now climbing the stairs of the mansion, and were walking to a meeting room. As Annete pushed the door open, three people were already sitted, the president in the middle, with Alanil and Vladmir on each of the president's sides.

Annete took a sit, Michelle next to her. The other three male took their seats slowly, still quite shocked. The president, cleared his throat, sip a glass of water, then began, "First of all, I would like to thank all five of you for defeating and defending Xironia. Though I must admit, you were all unsuccessful in stopping them taking the water crystal."

"But sir," Slayn asked, "Where were the other Xironian soldiers? Impossible for just a bunch of warriors to wipe out the army, right?"

Alanil answered that question, "True, but we're at war now. We have dispatched the army to a few areas where a battle is raging right now as we speak. So, though we were defenseless, we still left some soldiers here."

"Anyway," The president continued, "That for now does not interest me. What interests me right now is what I heard from my daughter, Annete, about you three," He said, looking at Yatsubana and the other two male.

Hugh remained silent, and then turned to Slayn. Slayn, looking back, "Don't look at me, I don't even know what I am right now."

Yatsubana let out a breath, then started, "Fine, I'll explain to you all about what we are."

"First of all, let me introduce to you all what does a Conter do. A Conter, is a secret organization that has its specific tasks with a leader, and they choose their members secretly and discreetly. There are four types of Conter, which are The Wind, Dark, Water and lastly, Moon."

Vladmir, anxious, took a sip of water, then continued to listen, "The Moon Conter has the responsibility to control within space and time. As for the Wind, they control how strong, when, which direction should a wind be at. Dark has the responsibilty for death and the afterlife. Lastly, Water just control wave movements and any whirpool they wish to do."

Annete, still quite puzzled, asked, "What about the battle of Conter that was thought to be a myth. Has it really happened?"

Yatsubana, hearing that, wasn't quite familiar with that, apologized, "I'm sorry, but even I myself has never heard about a Conter battle."

Hugh now rose from his seat, asking Yatsubana to sit down, "Let me explain this part. You see, the battle of the Conter was between the Moon Conter that fought against the Dark and Wind Conter. We are not exactly sure why the war started, but we do know this. The Wind and Dark Conter won, and both came to agree for peace."

The president was in awe, unable to speak. Finally, after finding his voice, he said, "So, right now, the three of you are members from different Conter, correct?"

Yatsubana nodded, and the president continued, "Then, the war is in favor for us! We can still beat Aggresival!"

Every one was happy hearing that news, but out all of them, Hugh was depressed, as if he regreted something. Yatsubana, noticing this, nudged him, "What's wrong?"

He shook his head, "It's just that, I've revealed the secret about the Conter. Now, I can no longer compete to be the leader of the Wind Conter."

Yatsubana, now shocked, felt sorry, "Forgive me Hugh. I did not know you were a contender for the position of the Wind Conter leader."

Hugh smiled, looking at Yatsubana, "Don't worry, if I didn't want to tell the secret, I could have stopped you from explanation. I chose my path, so it's no one fault."

As they were all celebrating, Slayn stopped the celebration, and wanted to tell the president something, which he gave a confuse look, "I'm sorry sir, but the reason Yatsubana followed us was not to stop the war. The woman dressed in red, Dillah, is Yatsubana's sister, and we're not sure about this, but they seem to have got three legendary gemstones for a reason, and we need to stop them at all cost!"

The president was silent, turning to Yatsubana. The war was not Yatsubana's problem, and he nodded, "I see. Then it's alright, with commander Alanil, we have already got the help we needed. I thank you four for that, but now, you five must stop her yourselves. I simply cannot spare any men for you." He finished his drink, and he raised himself from his seat, announcing, "This meeting is over. You can all leave."

All of them raised themself slowly, and bowed. They exit the room, and Yatsubana cursed, "We really need to find some information on their intention with the legendary gemstones."

Michelle, not saying anything, said, "Where can we find information about it?"

"I think I would know where," A voice came.

They turned behind them, to find Vladmir, holding a large backpack. He approached them, then told them his idea, "I think Deicester sacred library holds every information on this continent since the beginning of time, no?"

Annete now gave a wide smile, "Yes, you're right! The sacred library of Deicester!"

Hugh though, argued, "If you all remember, I had an arguement with the butler when I met you two? I was trying to get permission to enter that library, and I doubt they will give you admitance."

Slayn smiled, walking out of the mansion. The four of them, confused on this bizzare behaviour, walked out, and Annete asked him, "What so funny?"

"I know how to get in," He replied.

"How?" They all asked at the same time.

"Simple," He replied cooly, "We are all in a war right now. In this kind of condition, I doubt that Deicester would have time to guard a library right? They would most likely pull out all of their men,"

"That's a pretty good idea," Hugh said, rubbing his chin, "But it is risky."

Annete laughed, "Hell, everything we have been doing was risky, but we're still alive right?"

They all laughed after that. It was true that they have passed almost everything that seemed impossible, and it was thanks to three members of a Conter. They passed the streets of Xironia, making prepeparation on how to enter the library. After they finally agreed to Slayn's plans, and were ready to leave Xironia as soon as possible. Vladmir, not yet ready, said, "If you could wait at the gate of Xironia, I will meet you guys there. I need to take a few stuff for the journey."

As he went jogging, Annete called him, catching his attention. He turned back, his heavy brown backpack making sloutch a bit. Annete shouted, asking, "How is the experiment going? About the plants growing without sunlight?"

He gave a thumb's up, shouting back, "I have good results so far. I'm getting near to success, but I still need time!"

He then jogged back to the mansion, and for a fifty year old man, he was quite fast and has the stamina since he was carrying a large backpack.

The five of them walked slowly to the gates, talking about their experiences throughout the whole time. As they reached the gates, they all waited for Vladmir. Getting bored, Hugh summoned a Wind spirit to tell him about the results in the Wind Conter. The Wind spirit reported that Hugh's challenger to become the Wind Conter leader has heard the news, and was coming to find him. Since Yatsubana and Slayn are members, they heard the conversation. Yatsubana looked at Hugh, "The guy coming to find you huh? Probably going to boast about his win."

Hugh slowly nodded, turning to the sky, "Yeah, I guess."

They waited for a couple of minutes, and from the distance, they could see Vladmir coming, his backpack still on his back. Finally, he reached them, Slayn asked, "You ready?"

Vladmir, from his expression on his face, seems to be excited, nodded, "Yes! Let's go now!"

As he started to exit the gates of Xironia, Hugh stepped in his path, making him stop. Vladmir, looking at Hugh, said, "What are you doing?"

"What's the hurry? And excitement?"

Vladmir, still having the excitement, explained, "It's just that I've always wanted to enter the great library of Deicester. I've been waiting for years now, so I would like to get there as fast as we can."

With that, Vladmir pushed Hugh aside, Hugh surprised at his strength for an old man. He was walking alone, and he was moving quite fast. Hugh turned to Yatsubana, "For an old man, he sure moves fast."

Yatsubana snickered, his bow almost dropping. He grabbed it and put it back in position, "Well, let's get moving."

The five of them left the gates of Xironia, trying to catch up with Vladmir. Trying to get information on why Dillah and Dillan stole the three gemstones, only the sacred library of Deicester holds that information, and that was their destination. Unknown to them, the world that was being consumed by the darkness are actually in their hands.

25

The sun was high in the sky, and it was lunch time. The forest were filled with animals, most of them now living near the abandoned camp of the Cochon Brigade that were completely destroyed by Aggresival's ambush. As they passed it, even after all these time, Annete seems to still hold emotions for this place. Slayn sighed, unable to believe he was actually there, when he could have helped them. Still, he was weak at that time, and was still suffering from Amnesia, and still is, but is recovering slowly. Hugh, now knowing that they can use their magics any time they want, since that they know about their secrets. He leaned over Yatsubana, "So tell me Yatsubana, what position are you in the Moon Conter?"

Yatsubana, feeling embarassed to talk about it, replied, "Just a normal archer. Not even in the high rank category."

Hugh patted his shoulder, making one arrow to fall out. Hugh stopped to pick it up, while the others continued on walking. After he picked it up and returned it to Yatsubana, he told Yatsubana, "You're lying. I don't think that the Moon Conter would give you such an important task when you are not even a high rank."

Yatsubana, listening to that, turned to Hugh, "Let's keep that to ourselves."

They continued walking, finally catching up with Vladmir. He was slowing down, obviously tired from walking with the huge backpack. It seems that he was still having that excitement, and Slayn, the first person to reach him, saw Vladmir sweating, his face red. Vladmir turned, breathing fast, "You guys finally caught up huh?"

Slayn scratched his head, feeling the heat from the sun. He looked at Vladmir, "Aren't you tired?" As the others now caught up with them, following Vladmir. Hugh, also sensing Vladmir's stamina running low, pointed to a tree, "I think we should rest there," He told the group, pointing at a tree.

They all agreed to that, walking to the tree where it can provide them with shade from the heat of the sunlight. It seems the clouds were quite seperated, and was not blocking the sun much. Vladmir finally let go of his backpack, letting it lie on the grass. Hugh, curious, opened his bag and began searching in the bag. Finding no interesting device he wanted, he sat next to Slayn, resting on a tree bark. Yatsubana took out his bow and arrow, and began aiming at another tree, shooting at the tree, all of the arrows hitting at one spot. Annete asked Yatsubana, "Why are you wasting your arrows?"

"I'm not," He said, concentrating on his next shot, aiming, "I can take those arrows back from the tree you know."

"Yeah, but the tree is so far away. It would waste time just to walk there and pluck it out. Also, the arrows are stuck inside the tree tight, it would waste your energy to struggle to take them out."

Yatsubana shot his arrow and it hit a tree branch, causing a few leaves to fall out. He smiled, placing his bow on his back, turning to Annete, "I have a different way of taking them back."

Yatsubana looked at the arrows, then began whispering a few words that Annete couldn't hear. Still, she could see even from the distance, that the arrows begin to shake, as if someone was trying to pluck the arrows out. All at the same time, the arrows came off and headed to Yatsubana and one by one, the arrows were put back into where it belongs. Annete looked impressed, and Yatsubana explained, "Know that I'm a Moon Conter, able to control space and time. I was able to control the arrows to come back to me without any help."

Slayn sat there, watching Vladmir still sweating. Though he looks like he was ready to go, Slayn waited for another few more minutes, until a growling sound was heard. It wasn't coming from anybody and he realized he was hungry. I haven't eaten anything for breakfast, he told himself. "Alright," Slayn said, standing up, "We had better get going."

Vladmir grabbed his backpack, placing it on his shoulders. Yatsubana and Annete were now standing up, ready to go. Hugh, next to Slayn, then gave a sign to tell everybody to start walking. Antholme wasn't very far now, but still, the beating sun was taking out the best of everybody. Finally, half way through, the clouds finally blocked the sun, allowing the six travellers to not get burned in the heat. Luckily for them, the bridge of Antholme was in sight, and it seems when they came last here, the bridge which was destroyed by the mages Turalyon summoned seemed to be fix. Hugh said, "This bridge sure brings back memories."

Slayn nodded, "Yeah, the day I learned the pit of hell."

They walked on the bridge, slowly and tiredly. It has been days and it seems that these travellers have no rest, always walking here and there, their destinations always changing from time to time. "It seems," Michelle said, "That Deicester no longer controls Antholme since Aggresival never attacked."

Yatsubana, not knowing this, turned behind, facing Michelle, "They tried to attack Antholme?"

"Yeah, well... Sort of. Deicester controlled Antholme for a few days, hearing that Aggresival was about to attack Antholme. Why do you ask?"

He shook his head, never answering to her question. After some questions from the guards at the bridge of Antholme, they were allowed to pass. The moment they entered, Slayn's stomach growled again, "I need to eat,"

"Yeah, me too," Hugh offered.

Even Vladmir himself complained that he was hungry. Annete, being the leader of the group, chose to eat at a restaurant close to the east gate, since it was the nearest to the east gate that would lead to Deicester faster. They passed through the markets of Antholme, where traders were making either profitable or loss in their business. The village were crowded, especially at this time, during the peak hours. Yatsubana, finding the restaurant, told them to eat there. Having no arguement, they took a table and each individual seats, and were given a menu each.

It didn't take them too long, ordering each seperate dishes, and finishing them at record time. The sun was already getting lower, and Vladmir, noticing this, informed the group, "We had better get going."

"Yeah," Slayn nodding, "The gates of Deicester waits for no one."

Annete paid the bills, then went outside of the place, where they were waiting for her. They then proceeded to the east gate, which was quite near. They walked pass the streets, the clouds still covering the sun, Vladmir hoping it would stay that way after how much he suffered during the walk from Xironia. Finally, sighting the east gate, two guards standing at their post, guarding the gate. They walked to the gates, and exit Antholme, leaving the village. They walked into the forest, hoping to reach Deicester as soon as possible. While they were walking through the forest, the clouds parted, allowing the sun to shine brightly on the wanderers. Vladmir, now feeling the heat, said, "I think the sun wants to suffer me to death."

"Anyway," Annete said, "Vladmir, what got you so interested in the library of Deicester?"

He turned back, the backpack blocking his view, "The books of Deicester. The books that I've been dying to read."

"What so nice about some silly old books?"

He now looked furious, his eyebrow stretched, "It's not just any books. It's the sacred book that holds history of this ancient land and it's histories. It probably holds information on the Conter that we just found out."

Annete, sensing the old scientist getting mad, she raised both of her arm, showing that she will keep quiet. Vladmir, satisfied with that, put his backpack in a better position, as it was falling from the weight. The six of them continued walking in the heat, but also, as the sun went down, it wasn't as hot as before. When the sky was already changing it's colour from normal daylight to reddish sky. It was already in the evening, and it was at that time that they sighted the great walls of Deicester. Michelle, exhausted, was relieved, "Finally, we finally reached Deicester city."

Vladmir told Michelle, still not getting his eyes away from Deicester, "Don't be too happy yet, Michelle. We are going straight to the library, which is about four stories high, and the highest floor is our destination."

Michelle moaned, dragging her feet against the muddy soil. At last, entering the great city of Deicester, the six of them continued walking on, never resting after their tiresome journey of hours of walking. Vladmir, now walking fast to reach the library, despite the heavy backpack he was carrying. Vladmir finally was gone from their sight, and now have to find the library themselves. Luckily for them, Hugh knew the way, now leading the group to their destination. It didn't take them long, until they finally sighed a tall tower, like a watch tower, and on the entrance of the library, was Vladmir waiting for the group. "What are you doing? Get in there," Slayn said to Vladmir."

Vladmir, who was now in a foul mood, replied, "You think I would wait for you people if I could enter? It seems that the door is lock from the inside."

Yatsubana looked quite disappointed, now wondering, "Now what? I definitely have no spell to unlock a door."

Hugh shrugged, "Neither do I."

Michelle now grinned, until Vladmir noticed her big grin, "What you so happy about?"

She smiled, then told them, "I think I have a spell that could break down this door."

Vladmir, who sitting on the steps disappointed suddenly was on his feet, grabbing Michelle, demanding, "How? Do it now!"

"Calm down old man," She said, giggling.

The others around her were smiling, and awaited for her results. She took out her spellbook, and when she found a specific spell, began chanting some words. The library door slowly opened, and finally, the library was opened, darkness greeting them first. Vladmir's jaw were open, and proceeded to walk in, even in the darkness. He was trembling as he entered, mumbling, "I can't believe I'm actually in here..."

Slayn and the others followed Vladmir, Yatsubana switching on the lights while he was walking in. Hugh admired his surroundings, checking out the cupboards full of books. "Alright guys," Slayn announced, "We came here for only one reason, and that's to find out about the gemstones."

Yatsubana nodded, "Yeah, but where to find that specific information with all these books."

Vladmir walked to a hallway, then told them, "It's most likely on the top floor, where all secret books are kept. Come, we go up now."

Annete went to the hallway, but Vladmir disappeared. She sighed, and told the others to follow Vladmir. As they went in the hallway and walked up the stairs, Slayn called up to him, "Hei, we're here for a job, not for your scientific research or whatever!"

Vladmir looked down at them, shouting back, "I know that!"

As the others climbed the stairs, Hugh realized the stairs were filled with dust, as they took each step, dust flew around. On top of them, the ceiling were filled with cobwebs, spiders found at each web. Yatsubana at the back of the group could see the top floor, as they have already climbed three floors, Michelle already getting tired from walking. When they reached the top floor, there was only one room, and it seems Vladmir already entered the room, since the place was filled with light. Slayn walked in, the others following him.

The room was now filled with books and the carpet on the floor was as if it was brand new, and was able to tell it was the expensive type. Vladmir was looking through the books on the cupboard, smiling widely. Yatsubana, the moment he entered the room, announced, "Alright, we should get started. Search for the book that could tell us where to find the information we need."

Slayn and Hugh nodded, but the other two women were still startled at the almost brand new surroundings. Vladmir's backpack was set on the table. Vladmir picked a book, and sat down on a chair and began reading. Annete, went behind Vladmir and read it also, and the moment she read the title, she said in disgust, "A book on how old men can be attracted to the ladies?"

Vladmir, quite shock that Annete was actually reading it, looked at her, then pointed to some bookshelves, "Go and find your book!" He then put the book in his bag, and began to look for another book that might interest him. Still, Hugh noticed what Vladmir did while he was searching for a specific book. He called to Vladmir, "Hei, you can't take that book out the library without any permission."

Vladmir turned, another book from his hand. He walked to the table where his bag is located, then he explained, "Even if I did ask for permission, I doubt they would allow me to borrow any book."

Hugh just stared at Vladmir as he placed another book into his big yellow bag. Vladmir has a point, and he continued on searching for a book. Michelle and Annete searched at the end of the corner, where most of the books were filled with dust. Michelle, quite disgusted at the dirt, asked, "Why do we have to search at this end of the area? I mean, these books were probably never read before."

"Exactly," Annete answered as her eyes searched at the top shelves, not even looking at Michelle, "Most likely books about history were never opened or even read before, since history is one of the most boring subjects of all."

Michelle nodded, now searching at the books filled with dust, "Good point."

Slayn searched alongside Yatsubana, as he took out a book that was shiny and black. Seeing that the book was most likely always cleaned, he took it out. The title of the book shows 'The history of Dark Conter.' Slayn, now anxious, opened the book, and in the book, shows histories and jobs of the Dark Conter. It wasn't a very thick book, and he could even finish the book right now.

Hugh, being too lazy to take out a book one by one, just used the Wind Spirit to take it for him, let him read the title, and if the title of the book sounds convincing, he would read it. Yatsubana, placing his bow and arrow on the table, next to Vladmir's bag since it was a burden to him, noticed Hugh using the spirit to help him. Yatsubana asked, "Why so lazy to take out the book yourself?"

Hugh, tiredly turned to Yatsubana, then yawned, "I don't know. I just feel tired after the walk, and besides," He said, looking out the window, "It's already night time. I mean, we had a battle this morning, and then left Xironia and got here in just one day. I'm dead tired."

Yatsubana nodded, "Yeah, I know what you mean. I've been searching for my sister, and I'm this close to capturing her. She..."

Yatsubana never got to finish his sentence though, as Annete called all of them to her position, her voice filled with excitement. Like dogs being called by their master for their earned dinner, everyone came running to Annete and Michelle, exept for Vladmir, placing another book about plants, then slowly walking to Annete. Hugh was the first to reach her, despite being the furthest from her position. Still, he was also the fastest person among the group. Yatsubana, upon reaching her, asked Annete, breathless, "What have you got?"

She showed them the book she found. Slayn read it easily, the words being in bold and big, which shows, 'Legendary gemstones.'

Annete saw the expressions on their faces, Hugh amazed. Yatsubana pointed at the book, "Read the book, see what you can find. With the information, we just might find out where or what my sister is up to."

Annete nodded, opening the book. She began reading the contents, finding the chapter that might relate on why Dillah stole the gemstones. Michelle, being next to Annete, pointed out at a word, "What about this?"

Annete looked at where Michelle was pointing, and it reads 'Legendary gemstones combined.'

"This is perfect Michelle." Annete said happily.

Michelle smiled, and Annete flipped through the pages, and after a few seconds, she finally came to that page, reading it aloud so that the others could hear, clearing her throat at first.

"The legendary gemstones, all three altogether, are special stones created by the founder of the four Conters, Mortati. The Space-Time fusion gemstone, was created when Mortati founded the Moon Conter Conter and has the ability to teleport anything to another place or even world. The second gemstone, created when Mortati founded the Dark Conter is the Dark Stone, able to summon dead warriors to fight for whoever the summoner orders them to. The last gemstone, which is the Water crystal is created when Mortati founded the Water Conter, which was able to summon either destructive forces of water or useful kinds like rain. The three gemstones were given to cities, except for the Space-Time fusion stone as it was given to the featherians. Though these gemstones are currently seperated, when joined together can be united as a special gemstone which holds enormous powers. Though joined, they can only be united at the tomb of Mortati, the leader that created the gemstones for each Conter. His tomb is located to the south of Rocher city"

Annete finished reading, and turned the next page, but was empty. She looked up, now facing the others. It seems they were expecting more, but Annete told them, "That's all."

Yatsubana, quite surprised, repeated, "That's all?"

She nodded, closing the book, dusts coming out of the book. Michelle sneezed since the dust went to her nose. Yatsubana shurgged, then made his way to the table where he placed his weapon. He took it and placed the bow on his back, the arrows on his left shoulder. Slayn called to him, "So where do you think you're going?"

Yatsubana walked to the door, then turned his face back while his body was still facing the door, "Out. I want to get to that tomb as soon as possible."

Slayn ran to him, stopping him by placing his arm on Yatsubana's shoulder, Yatsubana still trying to move, "Hei, you yourself said that your own sister wouldn't attack anything during night time."

Yatsubana now didn't struggle, but just stood there. It seems what Slayn said was true, "You're right."

Slayn smiled, and the two of them waited by the doorway as the others packed their things. Vladmir placed three more books into his large backpack, increasing the weight of the bag as he put it on his shoulders. Hugh, walking to the doorway, called to Vladmir, "How many books did you take?"

Vladmir stood there, the bag causing him to sloutch, calculating the books. After waiting for a while, then looked at Hugh, still waiting. Vladmir just shurgged, "I lost count."

Hugh slapped his forehead in disbelief, "Man, if the Deicester government finds out, you're going to find a huge line of lawyers on your doorstep."

"I'll take that as a complement," Vladmir replied, making his way to the doorway. Now, finally got the information they needed and regrouped, they made their way down the stairs of the library. They passed through the familiar steps, causing echoes this time since they walked down together, unlike the first time since Vladmir went to the top floor fast. Annete, somehow felt there was something strange compared to the first time when they climbed the stairs, like as if a group of people await them. Unable to take it, she asked Hugh, "Do you feel anything weird?"

Hugh shook his head, following Slayn to the door they broke down. Slayn walked out, but stopped as if someone forced him to do so. The others followed, but the moment they stepped outside, now they were shocked as Slayn. From the bright moonlight, the six of them were surrounded by a brigade of the Deicester army. Infront of them, two commander and general they know so well. Battusai and Turalyon awaited them, smiling. Slayn looked at the Deicester army, ready to slay them. "This was not the welcome I expected," Slayn said.

Turalyon smiled, walking to Slayn, followed by Battusai. Turalyon placed his arm on Slayn's shoulder, "Don't worry, the president's son of Deicester, Harlian, would like to see you."

Hugh didn't like the sound of that, asked the departing Battusai as he followed his commander, "Why does he want to see us?"

Battusai stopped, then continued walking. While he walked away, he answered, "That is something you will find out soon enough."

He walked away, and the Deicester army brought the six of them to the president's mansion, the six of them not trying to fight away from their captors.

26

In the night, a brigade of the Deicester army holds six travellers that just infiltrated their most sacred libraries. They walked through the abandoned streets of Deicester, the citizens peeked through their windows as their loyal army passed through them with six convicts. Vladmir, getting tired of carrying his backpack, and also is legs were failing from the long walk from one city to another. A guard opened Vladmir's bag, rummaging through his things. Vladmir, quite angry at this, asked rudely, "Hei, what are you doing?"

The guard did not answer, and continued searching through the bag. After frantic searching, the man took out a book, a book that Vladmir took from the library, "And what are you doing with this?" The guard ask, his eyes never blinking.

Battusai turned and looked at the guilty Vladmir, but just shook his head, not saying anything. They continued on walking until they finally reached the gates of the president's mansion. Two soldiers behind the gates looked at the brigade, with Turalyon and Battusai infront of them. The two guards went to the gates, each at each side of the gate, opening the gate to allow the brigade in. Slayn and the others went in, the guards that opened the gates looked at them suspiciously and with disgust. Hugh leaned on Slayn, "I don't like the looks of it,"

Before Slayn could answer, Hugh felt a poke from behind. A spearman was looking at them, giving them a warning not to whisper or talk to each other. They all continued on walking until they finally reached the mansion's door. Turalyon went to the porch and knocked on the door, Battusai waiting behind Turalyon. There was no answer, and Turalyon knocked again, this time harder and knocked it three times, until he heard footsteps. Slowly, the doorknob was unlocked and the door opened, revealing the same butler Annete remembers.

The butler, with his hair messed up and his eyes still quite drowsy, quite obviously just awoke from his sleep, "How may I help you Turalyon?" He asked.

"I hear that Harlian wants to see these gentlemen?"

The man took a peek and saw Slayn, then nodded, "Yes, but how did you find them that fast?"

Battusai winked, answering for Turalyon, "Let's just say we heard a disturbance from our sacred library, and guess who we found?"

The butler smiled, then opened the door, making the door wider so that they could enter. Turalyon and Battusai thanked the man, taking off their shoes and entered. The other six people that broke into the library went in, followed by the brigade, but the butler stopped them, "I'm sorry, but you cannot enter the mansion."

The leader of the brigade, who was a tall man, wearing a helm, havcing thick mustache, spoke, "Why is that?"

The butler was not intimidated, looking at the tall man's eyes, "Harlian, son of the president has ordered that."

The man didn't speak, nor did he blink. He slowly turned away, passing through his men, then followed him as he walked pass through them. The butler watched them walk away until they finally disappeared from sight, closing the door shut.

Turalyon and Battusai lead the six men to their destination, passing through the living room. The place was magnificent, the chairs were beautiful, and most of the tables were either made of golden or diamond. Hugh turned to Annete, "This guy is richer than you Annete."

Annete, feeling insulted by that remark didn't respond. Yatsubana shook his head, then told Hugh, "You really don't understand the female heart do you?"

He shook his head, laughing after that. Vladmir was checking his bag, quite worried after the guard checked his bag which were filled with books that he took from the library. It seems all of the books were there, exept for one particular book, which was about how a man could be attracted by ladies. He groaned, feeling disappointed. Turalyon stopped, then moved to his left, looking at Slayn, "Go up the stairs and Harlian is waiting for you in a room to your left."

Slayn nodded, walking up the stairs. They all climbed the stairs, Annete stopped before climbing, asking Turalyon, "Aren't you coming?"

Turalyon shooked his head, "No. Our orders were to just escort the six of you back to this mansion. Seeing that this is done, I see no reason on why we should stay here any longer."

He walked away, quite frustrated on Annete's question. Battusai looked at his friend, then apologised to Annete who was still looking at Turalyon walking away, "I'm sorry miss, but my commander holds a grudge against your friend, Hugh and Slayn since the fight in Antholme bridge."

"What do you mean?"

"Slayn and Hugh beat him in the battle. No one has ever beaten him before, though even I have never fought him. He felt frustrated by that, which was why he voluntereered to escort the six of you, since those two were among your group." He then started to walk away, "I too should get going."

Annete just stood there, then slowly climbed the stairs and went to the room that she was told to find. Oddly, the group haven't even entered the room, as Annete found them waiting for her behind the door. Quite surprised, she asked, "What are you doing here?"

"Waiting for you," All of them answered together, as if they were practising for that routine.

She sighed, moving to the front of the group, then knocked on the door. The door was thick, wondering if anybody could listen from the other side of the room. There was no answer, and Annete knocked on the door again, louder this time. "Come in," A voice answered.

Annete turned the doorknob, then pushed the door. When she opened the door, the sight that greeted them made everyone open their jaws. The room was filled with golden walls, the table made out of diamond, and most of the items in the room were antique's. A man was sitted at the end of the table, wearing a white robe with blue stripes, having an average length of hair. None of them spoke to him, until Slayn took a step forward, sitting on the table, "You wanted to see us sir?" Slayn asked.

"Indeed," He answered, having thick british accent, "Please, sit down."

Everyone immediately went to take a seat, Slayn between Yatsubana and Hugh. Harlian then moved front a little, looking at his guests, "Anyone would like a drink?"

Yatsubana was feeling thirsty and answered, "Yes. Water would be good."

Harlian nodded and waved infront of him like as if he was a magician. From the empty cups provided, each glass was suddenly provided with fresh refreshing water out of nowhere. This surprised Annete and Michelle exept for the other Conter members. Oddly, Harlian was looking at Yatsubana hiding a smile. Yatsubana ignored this and looked at the water properly. Not liking the glass, he used 'levitation' to raise the water, and it was revealed, a little lizard at the bottom of the glass.

Harlian then burst into laughter, catching everybody by surprise, causing Vladmir to spill his drink on his pants. Harlian continued on laughing, tears coming out his eyes from laughing. Yatsubana just grinned, waiting for Harlian to stop with his laughter. When he was done and wiped his tears, he then said, "I thought you were the same like last time Yatsubana."

"I changed Harlian. I won't always remain a fool you know?"

The two of them stood up and walked to each other. They shook hands, then laughed on the practical joke Harlian just did. Annete's jaw were open, unable to say a word. Finally, she said, "You guys know each other?"

"Know?" Harlian said, still having a little laughter in his voice, "We are like brothers!"

"Since when?"

"When we were kids," Yatsubana explained, his arm around Harlian shoulder, "We were good friends despite being from different Conter's. Still, we hanged out a lot, and if you must know, I've always been tricked by Harlian from jokes and everything. Placing a worm in my sandwich, even made me look like a fool at the anual meeting for the Conter's."

Harlian laughed once again, but was a short laugh, "Don't remind me man."

The two of them started talking about old times, when Michelle tried to stop them from their conversation.

He then began, "Now, I know Xironia is now in war with the Aggresival army. Now, Xironia has allied with Rocher city by sending food supplies, am I correct?"

"Yes sir," Annete answered, since it was related to Xironia's problems.

"You see, a few days ago, my two commander, were adviced to ally with you Xironians along with Rocher city to destroy the Aggresival army together. Turalyon didn't give me full details on how he got this advice, but claims it was in his dream and was told to do just that."

"So," Annete said, "What's your point?"

"My point, is that Turalyon is my top commander and he knows what's best. I'm asking that we are to ally with you Xironians and Rocher so that we can crush Aggresival together!"

Hugh, feeling suspicious, "And why crush Aggresival so badly?"

"I too am not sure," Harlian answered, "But Turalyon added that the person in his dream ordered him to allign with you all so that Aggresival is defeated much more easily. Also, he said that the more people die in this war, the better."

There was silence in the meeting room, Annete looked at Harlian seriously. No one spoke, but Harlian then asked, "What do you think?" He said, facing Hugh, "After all, you're the challenger for the position of the Wind Conter leader ,are you not?"

Everyone now exhanged looks, shocked and also surprised. Hugh's jaw were open, and tried to say something, but no sound or voice were heard. Somehow, Yatsubana smiled, not even shocked. Harlian noticed this, and he too gave a grin, "So you found out?"

Yatsubana nodded, not answering. Harlian calmly stood up, then announced, "Don't worry Hugh," He said to the shocked Hugh, "I know of this because I too am a Conter member. I belong to the Water Conter, and I have heard the news of your loss because of your secret revealed. Sadly, it was not a fair match, but it was your choice, right?"

Hugh didn't answer, but just looked down on the ground, feeling ashamed of himself. Harlian now put his attention to Annete, "Now, do you agree with being allies with Deicester city?"

Annete looked at the son of the president dead in the eye, Harlian. She hesitated to answer, looking at everyone around her. She let out a sigh, "Look sir, we're in a hurry to a tomb and we must go. Give me a few days and I will answer your question by then."

Harlian nodded slowly, and realized a man wearing a red shirt, reading a book from Deicester's sacred library. Vladmir was busy reading a scientific book. Harlian shooked his head, then looked at Slayn, "You are a Dark Conter, yes?"

Slayn shurgged, "I guess so, I think..."

Harlian sat down, looking at Slayn suspiciously, "You think?"

"I sort of lost my memory sir,"

"Oh? Lost your memory eh? But you do know your powers you hold?"

"A little I should say. I learned a few tricks thanks to Deez."

Harlian looked around, "I already memorized everyone's names here, and I haven't heard of Deez. May I know who that person might be?"

"ME!" Someone shouted, causing Harlian to startle, falling back in his chair.

Harlian still quite confused and not seeing anyone, asked Slayn, "Where the hell did that voice come from?"

Slayn sighed, and walked to Harlian, "See the little fairy?"

Harlian took a closer look on Slayn's shoulder, and there it was, a little girl with a black dress. Harlian, impressed, laughed, "I never noticed the little fairy!"

Deez wasn't looking at Harlian, obviously angry on not noticing her. Harlian apologised, "My apologies little fairy, but my eyesight is failing me these few days,"

Harlian sat on his chair, and took an empty glass, and looked at it. He chanted a short word, and from his fingers, water came out from it. Harlian then drank it all in just on gulp and wiped the water stain from his mouth, "It's refreshing."

Yatsubana, getting quite impatient and can't wait to catch his sister, asked Harlian kindly, "So not being rude here sir, but what else do you want?"

He looked at the Moon Conter, with his bow and arrow, "Nothing else. Come back next time and I'll have a letter that needs it to be given to the president of Xironia."

"Nothing else sir?" Annete asked.

He nodded, "Yes. Go and do what you must, but be back here in three days, and everything will be sorted out."

Like instinct, they all stood up from their chairs, and started to leave the room. Slayn bowed, and since he was the last to go out, he closed shut the door behind him. Harlian watched Slayn, then summoned a Water spirit. It didn't take very long, and when it appeared, Harlian ordered it, "I want you to find some information on a Dark Conter member known as Slayn. He seems strong in his spirit, but somehow is not revealing his full potential, though I don't know why."

The Water spirit agreed, and it went off to do some research. Harlian raised himself from his seat, and switched off the lights. He then walked out of the meeting room, and closed the door behind him. He then preceeded to his own bedroom, and the only one thing left for him to do was to get a goodnight's sleep, as he has more work to do tommorow.

The six travellers were just walking out of the mansion, tired and all they needed was a night's rest. As the guards opened the gates for them to walk out, it seems that the two guards held disgust in them, hating them for infiltrating their library. Michelle could feel the hate flow, then whispered to Annete, "It's their own fault for not guarding their library."

"Yeah, but it's also our fault for entering their library by breaking down their door."

The only destination that lies before them is the Deicester inn. They passed through the same street when they were first sent to the mansion. All the buildings around them were dark, no lights. Only one building revealed some light, and it was the inn. Happy to find the inn, they walked towards the inn, trying to walk as fast as they can, but was unable to do so from exhaustion. When they entered the inn, the person behind the counter saw the guests, and immediately raised himself up, seeing that six customers have arrived.

"You do the arranging, Annete." Hugh said, insisting.

Annete agreed tiredly, knowing that it was best she do the talking since she is used in all this kind of situations. Slayn sat on a stool, closing his eyes to rest. Vladmir, on the other hand, was still fresh, reading a book he had stolen. Hugh and Yatsubana, despite being tired, were talking to their own Conter spirits. It was natural that each member train themselves when not doing anything. Annete paid the innkeeper an amount, and took three keys from the person. "Alright people," She said, "I and Michelle will be sharing a room. Yatsubana and Vladmir will share the second room, while Slayn and Hugh shares the last room."

Michelle walked to Annete and the two of them went to their specific room. Vladmir, still reading his book, took the key and went off to find his room with Yatsubana. Slayn, with tired eyes, went to the hallway with Hugh to find their room. Hugh snickered, "Yatsubana is gonna have a hard time sleeping tonight."

"Why is that?" Slayn asked, still tired.

"Obviously, Vladmir is going to read that book even if his eyes told him to shut his eyes. He's probably going to read througout the night!"

Slayn laughed, and they continued on walking through the silence of the hallway. When they found their room, Hugh unlocked the door, and Slayn went in quickly. The first thing he looked was his bed, and when he found it despite the darkness, he immdiately fell on the pillow and fall asleep.

Hugh shooked his head, placed his sword on the table. He looked at the window, revealing a building belonging to the government of Deicester. Soon, a Wind spirit approached him and whispered something in his ears. He nodded, and thanked the spirit, which then went off after that. Hugh then went to bed, whispering to himself, "So the winner to become the Wind Conter leader is looking for me? Well, guess I had better get ready to see him in a few days time."

He then fell asleep, with no disturbing dreams of his past mysterious life.

27

The moon was replaced with the sun, as the darkness on the streets of Deicester was replaced with light. The moment the light reached the room of a Moon Conter member, he sat up on his bed. He yawned, and next to him was Vladmir, with a book covering his face. It seems Vladmir slept while still reading the book. Yatsubana dragged his feet to the toilet, and went to take a shower. It was a quick shower, knowing that he has to reach the tomb of Mortati before his sister uses the three gemstones to combine into something that no one knows what powers would be unleashed. Yatsubana wiped his wet body with a towel, and then wore his same robes. He walked out of the toilet, only to find Vladmir already awake, reading the book again.

"Since when you woke up?"

Vladmir not turning away from the book, responded, "The moment you went to take a bath."

"A light sleeper are you now?"

Vladmir just simply nodded, not wanting to answer. Yatsubana stretched himself, then picked up his bow and arrow from the floor. Vladmir was still concentrating on his book, and Yatsubana sighed. He went out of the room and went to the lobby to wait for the others to arrive and meet him. He didn't wait too long until he heard footsteps. Slowly, one by one, his friends arrived, Slayn and Hugh arrived first. After that, the two females met up with them, and all that was left was Vladmir. They waited for him patiently until they could wait no longer. Yatsubana went back to the hallway and went in. There was Vladmir, still sitting on the couch reading his book with excitement. Yatsubana walked to Vladmir and stood next to Vladmir. Vladmir just stared at Yatsubana's angry face, then continued reading. Yatsubana, quite frustrated, took the book from Vladmir's hands. Vladmir immediately stood up and was now face to face with Yatsubana. Yatsubana, not wanting to pick a fight, used the Moon's spell known as 'levitation.' All of a sudden, Vladmir was starting to float in the air. Quite shocked and frightened by this, Vladmir began shouting as he was already at the ceiling. This caught the attention of almost everyone, and the first one to reach there was Hugh.

Hugh, the moment he saw Vladmir in midair fell to the ground laughing hard. Slayn was the second to reach the room, crossing over Hugh who was still laughing. Yatsubana noticed the crowd he had attracted, including his friends and a few inn guests. He slowly let the old man down, then walked out of the room. Vladmir quite shocked by the spell quickly packed his bag and walked to the door, where the crowd were going back to their rooms. Vladmir passed the laughing Hugh and disappeared from the hallway. Hugh finally stopped laughing, wiping his tears away. Slayn waited for Hugh to gather back himself since he was still in a laughing mood. Once that was done, they went off to meet with the group.

When they reached the lobby, Vladmir was seen sitting on a stool, probably still quite shaken up from the levitation. Slayn pitied the old man, and went to Yatsubana, "Did you have to scare him like that?"

Yatsubana just shurgged, not even feeling a little guilt, "I had to do what I had to do."

Slayn sighed, and waited by the doorway of the inn. Annete and Michelle were making sure they have everything packed, wasting time. That was why Hugh hated women most of the time, since they waste precious time. Once everything was checked, they walked out of the inn. The streets of Deicester were busy as usual with traders and the customers. Vladmir walked behind the group, trying to avoid Yatsubana at all costs. Yatsubana noticing this, turned to the frightened old man, "Will you calm down already? I did that trick just now was to scare you to stop reading that stupid book."

"It is not stupid," Vladmir argued, "And also, you could have given me a heart attack!"

Michelle supporting Vladmir, said, "It's true. Old men like him have a fifty percent chance having a heart attack from scary things they never experience at all."

Yatsubana didn't reply, ignoring what Michelle just said. Once they reached the gates of Deicester army, the guards, who were from the brigade from the night before that caught them stopped the group, "Where do you all think you're going?"

Slayn took the lead this time, not Annete, "Somewhere that does not concern you."

"Is that so?" The other guard said, looking at Slayn's after the sarcastic remark.

"Yeah, so if you would excuse please, we would be on our way."

"Well, word is that you are not to leave Deicester city at all costs."

Hugh now thinking this is a waste of time stepped forward next to Slayn, "Would you guys just please get out of our way?"

The guard ignored him, still standing still and blocking their paths. The six of them just stood there, frustrated.

"What's going on here?" A voice came, rough and powerful.

The guards looked behind the group, and the sight of him brought fear to them. Slayn looked back, to find a man wearing a general suit with two red blades, like a katana, walking towards them. When he reached them, he questioned the guards, "What's going on here?"

The guards were too afraid to answer, their legs shaking. Annete, seeing this as an opportunity, said, "These two fellows wouldn't allow us to pass. Said it was an order."

Battusai then turned to the guard that was to his left, "Is that true?"

"We're sorry sir," They apologised, "We didn't know what we were doing and..."

Battusai cut them off, "I've heard enough. Your duty is over, change shift with the next shift."

One of them tried to argue, but was stopped by the second guy. They ran off, passing through the group. Battusai apologised, "Please, accept my apologies. These days, even the Deicester army are getting corrupted easily."

"We thank you sir, but we must be on our way," Annete said.

Battusai nodded, and the group left the gates of Deicester. It was still early in the morning, and they just needed to pass through Antholme bridge and then head off to the south of Rocher city. The group had to suffer through the heat of the blazing sun, but luckily for them, the weather was quite cooling since the clouds blocked the sun most of the time. They were also suffering from boredom, as they had to pass through the same old familiar path. Vladmir, also getting bored, took out a book and started reading. Sweat dropped through the face of almost everyone, exept for Hugh since he was able to control the wind to blow it to him to cool his entire body. Still, boredom was a problem, and Hugh turned to see Vladmir reading the book in an interesting way. Taking up the courage to ask the old man, he asked, "Borrow me a book will ya? I need something to do something other than walking throughout this entire journey."

Vladmir looked at Hugh, and took his backpack. Still reading, he searched through his bag and found a book. Not even looking at the title, he threw the book to Hugh, and put his bag to his back again. Hugh opened the book and began reading. He read for a few minutes, when he finally closed it with disgust, "This book is even more boring than this walk."

He then turned to Vladmir, then threw it to him. Catching Vladmir off guard, the book landed on the ground. Not even caring about the book, Vladmir simply picked it up and then put it back in his bag. Vladmir ignored him and the six of them continued on with the journey, not even resting just for a little bit. It was about to be lunch time when they sighted the village of Antholme. Since the time was just right, they agreed to stop by to have their lunch, but then continue on their journey. The east gate of Antholme greeted the six travellers, one of the guards calling Annete, "Nice to see you Annete."

Annete waved at the guard who called her, but had no time to stay and chat. They found the same old restaurant that they stayed to have breakfast. This time, it was for their lunch, as they sat at a table and ordered each individual dishes for themselves. A few minutes later, after eating their lunch, the bill was placed before each and everyone of them. "Don't look at me," Annete said, "It was all on me the last time we came here."

Everyone exchanged looks, as no one were either willing to pay or had no money with them. Slayn looked at Hugh, "Hei Hugh, I thought you were a lion knight on a holiday?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Well," Slayn replied, now smiling, "If you're on a holiday, you certainly must have money right?"

Hugh slapped his forehead, falling to the trick question of Slayn. Now, having no choice, he took out his wallet and looked at the bill. After calculating the exact amount he has to pay, he then counted the amount he needed. Michelle took a quick glance at his wallet, and after seeing the amount he has, she went back to her sit, covering her mouth in shock as most women do, "You have five thousand dollars with you?"

Hugh laughed, not answering Michelle's question. Obviously, being a lion knight receives a high amount of pay, so it was no surprise for a man to take out that much of money for his holiday. Hugh paid the cashier and made his way back to his group. After talking for a while, Yatsubana made the call, "Alright, we had better get going."

Michelle checked her time, and then nodded, "Yeah. We have spent almost about thirty minutes here."

As the five of them raised themselves up from their seat, Vladmir pleaded, "Can we not stay for a few minutes?"

"Why?" Yatsubana asked, not looking happy.

He showed his book to Yatsubana, then explained, "I'm just getting to the good part."

"Tell you what," Yatsubana said, raising his arms, "I would give you five seconds to get your ass out of that seat before I draw another crowd just like at the inn in Deicester."

Immediately, Vladmir put the book in its bag and ran to the group. Yatsubana smiled, and the group went off. They walked across the busy streets of Antholme, moving in a south direction. Though being a small village, with the crowds being so many, it was time consuming just for them to reach the south gate. It has been an hour since they arrived at Antholme, and now, here they are at the south gate and ready to leave the village already. Slayn turned to Annete, and jokingly asked, "How many times have been into this village already?"

She shurgged, "I lost count."

They laughed at that, as this was the first place where the two reached after the Cochon Brigade was ambushed and fully destroyed, Annete's uncle being part of it. After preparing everything and made sure they left no one or anything behind, they left Antholme, trying to reach the tomb of Mortati quickly, before the sister of Yatsubana gets there. Now, passing through the forest, which protected them from the heat of the sun, made the travellers a little bit more relieved. Most of the animals were looking at the strangers to their home, but ignored them since they were not hunters. Still, after hours of walking through the thick forest, they finally came upon the open field, where again the sun began the torment on the tireless wanderers. Vladmir continued on concentrating with his science book, the others were preparing themselves on what's to come. Yatsubana, a few times while walking, practised shooting by aiming at a few trees. Most were precise hit, and once he neared the arrows, he used 'levitation' to take back his arrows. The sun at last begin to set, dropping to the west, the sky turning red. Michelle, seeing that they have travelled quite a distance, checked her map. They saw a sign that reads, "Rocher city, fifty kilometres."

Knowing that they are near Rocher city, Michelle told them, "We should start moving in a south direction right here. The tomb or Mortati is directly in the south area."

The group turned south, Yatsubana called Michelle, "Any idea how far it is to the tomb?"

She shook her head, "Didn't say in the map. We should be able to find and tell how it would look like."

Yatsubana nodded, and followed Slayn's path. It seems that they are close, Yatsubana sensing the presence of another Moon Conter member. He took out his bow, but not arrow. He just needed to get ready for anything, Hugh asking a Wind Conter to scout on what's ahead of them. The sun finally set fully, the moon taking it's place. It wasn't a full moon, like most nights. Though it was dark, they could still see through the dark parts being used to travel during the night now. The Wind spirit returned, reporting something to Hugh. Hugh thanked the spirit, then announced, "We're close to the tomb already. According from what I heard, it says it's like a pyramid shape, and follow through the door and go into the tomb. It is there we shall find Dillah, where we can finally settle everything."

Slayn had to ask, "And how exactly close are we?"

"I think that should answer your question," Hugh replied, pointing infront of Slayn. Slayn turned, and from the thick brances he could see a little bit of light. It seems they were torches placed on a stick, and from the light, it shows that the torches were to brighten up the pathway.

Slayn turned to the group, all of them already took out their weapons with the exception of Vladmir. Vladmir just took a peep at them, then continued reading, not even caring about what lies ahead. Hugh, not happy with this, used the Wind spirit to snatch the book from him. The book suddenly loosened from Vladmir's grip, catching Vladmir by surprise. He jumped for it, but missed it, as the book went straight to the palm of Hugh, "If you want to see this book again, stick with us."

"Give it back," He said, turning from Hugh to Slayn, "Give me that book!"

Yatsubana, no longer able to hold his patience, went straight to Vladmir, grabbing Vladmir's collar tightly, their eyes meeting each other. Vladmir swallowed hard, as Yatsubana took out his arrow, close to his neck, "I've just had enough about your annoying love for that damn book! You should have never followed us in the beginning. All you've done was nothing but waste our time!"

"Hei Yatsubana," Annete intervened, placing her arm to break the distance between the two, "Calm down. He might be useless, but his weapons could be a great help to us all," She then turned to Vladmir, "As for you Vladmir, focus here! You can read the book once this is all over, okay?"

Vladmir, never taking his eyes off from Yatsubana, slowly nodding as a sweat dropped from his forehead. Yatsubana placed his arrow back, and put his attention back to the tomb. Slayn snickered, "Glad Vladmir finally stopped reading that book."

"Yeah," Hugh agreed, "I was getting sick of him reading the book."

The six of them approached the light, and when they finally could see the pathway, the pathway leads to a builing shaped like a pyramid. It was orange in colours as the flame revealed the shape, and a few ancient inscriptions written on every end of the pyramid. Slayn was ready to walk to the pyramid, getting sick of playing stealth, when someone pulled him back in, landing on some bushes, causing some rustling sound upon impact. "Not so fast," A voice adviced Slayn. Slayn turned, and Yatsubana was the one who pulled him, "What do you mean?"

Not answering his question, he pointed at the opposite of the pyramid, where a swordsman and an archer were standing guard. "That shouldn't be too hard to beat right?"

"Not so," Hugh said, emerging out of nowhere, "I sense a few more guards are around here, these two being the kind of decoy."

Annete then joined them, hearing their conversation, "So, what's our plan?"

There was silence among them, thinking of either a diversion or an attack that could wipe them all out, Michelle joining them to think of a solution. Michelle then suggested, "What about I summon 'Ice particles' to blast anyone near the pyramid, killing everyone?"

Yatsubana shook his head, "No, then Dillah and the others will know of our presence. We need this to be a silent attack."

Michelle thought of it, and it made sense. They began thinking again, the sound of crickets were high above their heads. After some time thinking, Slayn thought of an idea, and told the group of his idea, "Why not I ask Deez to spy for us?"

"Deez?" Annete asked, her attention now towards him, "Who's Deez?"

Slayn turned to Annete, her face cleary seen in the dark. Slayn exclaimed, "You don't know?"

She shook her head, and Slayn sighed, "She's a little fairy on my shoulder right now. You most likely can't see her, just like many others. This way, she can spy for us and inform us on every location of the hidden soldiers."

They all looked at Slayn, then Hugh slapped Slayn's back, "That's a brilliant idea!" He then turned to Deez, "Can you do this little favor?"

She thought of it for a moment, then shurgged, "I guess so, besides, I have not being anything these few days."

So it was agreed, Vladmir watched Hugh talking nothing but to the shoulder of Slayn. "Man, how can there be spirits in this world? It's just some kind of spell that they have, not spirits."

Yatsubana ignored the remark, as it didn't bother him. So the old man doesn't believe in all this is his problem anyway. Deez flew to the swordsman, and she searched the whole area. Slayn watched Deez fly from a few places, from bushes, tree branches, behind the pyramid. They waited five whole minutes as Deez did her job, and when she was sure that she searched the whole area, she flew to Slayn to give him the report, "There are two archers on the tree branches," As she said that, she pointed to the swordsman, then it was a little to the right. Slayn nodded, and asked, "What else?"

She continued, "Also, another two spearmen hides behind the pyramid. That's about it."

Slayn turned to Hugh, who was rubbing his chin, thinking of a plan. Since he was a lion knight, he knew how to create an ambush without having one of his companions even scratched. After a few minutes, he smiled, "Alright, here's what we'll do." Hugh then looked at Yatsubana, "Alright Yatsubana, I need you to shoot both the swordman and the archer at the same time. After that, I want you Michelle, to kill the archers on the tree branches and also the spearmen."

Michelle and Yatsubana nodded, and the two of them moved forward, ready for the attack. Annete crouched next to Hugh, then asked in a low voice, "Are you sure about this?"

He gave a grin which was full of confidence, "They didn't give me te rank of the lion knight for shaking my leg you know?"

Yatsubana, hiding in a bush watched his prey. Seeing that the two of them far apart, he knew he would need a Moon Conter spell. Being able to control time, he knew that he needed the arrow to be fast as possible. He took out two arrows, and took careful aim on the two of them. As he was about to release the arrow, he whispered, "Arrow of the Moon,"

He let go of the arrow, and the arrows soared through the air. As it was released, it cause some rustling sound frim the bush. The swordman heard this, and turned around, only to find an arrow deep in his chest. He was trembling, not from fear, but from shock. He couldn't even shout for help, the arrow plunged in so deep that the arrow came off from his back. He slowly turned to his partner, only to find the archer already dead on the ground. He turned back, dropping to his knees. Now, he could see a woman dressed in white, wielding a spell book. He could see her chanting some words, and with his dying breath, he shouted with all the energies he had left, "Ambush!!"

He then fall to the ancient ground, dead. Still, his voice was heard from his comrades, two archers emerging from the tree branches, and the spearmen immediately came to aid him. Michelle smiled, knowing they were too late. The two archers aimed at Michelle, but all of a sudden, they suddenly felt chills. They were freezing, and to their surprise, they realized the spearmen were in a running stance, but were not moving. They too were unable to shoot at Michelle, and finally found out that they were frozen solid. Though frozen, their teeths were chattering from the cold. Michelle grinned, and turned back to her group, "Alright guys, it's safe."

Hugh emerged first from the darkness of the forest. He was laughing, saying, "I knew my plan would work, I knew it!"

"Fine," Annete said, sighing, "I just..."

From the back of Michelle, a man arose, his sword ready to slice through her neck. Annete unable to finish her sentence, shouted, pointing behind Michelle, "Michelle! Behind you!"

Michelle gave a confuse look and turned behind, but was too late. The man was already swinging his sword, aiming for her neck. Slayn, thinking quickly, pointed his sword and the man and shouted, "Demon attack!"

The golden sword turned black, as a black demon came out of the sword, heading straight to the swordsman. Michelle, seeing the demon coming, and the sword inches from her neck, jumped to her left. The sword missed, almost reaching Michelle's neck, but the swordsman watched in horror as the black figure was heading right for him. Moments later, it passed through the swordsman cleanly, a hole was left in the path of the demon. The black figure was gone, but the swordsman was dead on the ground. No blood spills, just a hole. Michelle, still quite shocked , looked at Slayn. She was panting, and Slayn walked to her, and showed his hand, offering to help her up. She held his hand, and with great strength, pulled her to her feet.

"Sorry about that," He apologized.

Yatsubana was now at the pyramid, inspecting every inch of the area. As for the other five, they rested on a rock, waiting for Yatsubana to tell them of the results. Yatsubana, not finding anything, realized that the two soldiers he killed earlier, were guarding a pathway, and he looked at the path, which somehow, went through the wall. Yatsubana thought that it was just his imagination, until he saw something on the pathway that gave him second thoughts. Unable to confirm that there could be a way in from the pathway, he turned to Vladmir, who was sitted on the rocks, "Hei Vladmir, do you have any device that could see through walls or anything?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Just give an answer will you?" Yatsubana shouted back, his voice impatient.

Vladmir searched through his bag, grunting as there were too many books inside. After some frantic search, he smiled and took out a device. Still, Yatsubana could not see the device from the distance, and waited patiently. He then placed the the device on his eyes and strapped it. From the looks of it, it was like a goggle, and then Vladmir placed his hand on the left side of the goggle, and switched it on. Now, the goggle turned into a redish colours, and he looked at Annete. He stared at her for quite a long time, drooling, until Annete asked, "What are you looking at?"

Vladmir could barely say it out, but after sometime, he said, "Nice bra,"

The next thing the old man knew was a tremendous slap that was delivered to him from Annete. He rubbed it, feeling the burn. "Will you hurry it up?" Yatsubana shouted, getting impatient.

Vladmir then looked at Yatsubana, and at the pathway. The pathway leads to the wall, but thanks to the device, it was revealed that there was another room beyond the wall. He nodded, taking off his goggles, "Yeah, there's a room right behind you."

"Alright then," Yatsubana thanked Vladmir, "Do you have any other device to blow the wall?"

"Yeah, my main weapon."

He took it out, and then walked to where Yatsubana was standing, the weapon on his right shoulder. Yatsubana walked to Slayn, who asked, "How did you know about the room Yatsubana?

"Simple," He responded with a smile, "I saw footprints that went through the wall. Also, the swordsman and archer seem to guard that path, so I knew there has got to be a room."

Yatsubana turned to Vladmir, who was aiming at the wall. Hugh was quiet as he sensed a Wind Conter member nearby, a familiar amount of spirits. From the distance, a flash of light that was so bright, made all of them to cover their eyes. The next thing they know, they heard an explosion, rubbles landing on their heads. When it was all over, Slayn saw the wall destoryed, revealing another room. Vladmir was still standing tall, as he placed his device back to the backpack.

"What the hell was that?" Michelle asked him."

"Just the same shot. Only this time I switched it to maximum mode."

"That explains it," Michelle remarked.

Yatsubana walked to the entrance, taking out his bow. He knew that a battle lies ahead of them. The others followed, and Annete announced, "Remember, we are to stop Dillah from doing whatever she plans to do with the gemstones."

All of them nodded, as the further they went in, the darker it got. Michelle then summonded a small fireball, and placed it just a little above her palm. Yatsubana realized the light was coming from her, and he invited her, "You should walk infront."

She did so, the others moving to the side to allow her to pass. Now, it was easier for them to find their way, Michelle walking slowly infront. On the walls, were many ancient inscriptions, none of them knew what it meant. Deez, who was floating by, read a sentence, and then whispered to Slayn, "I know what that sentence said."

"What?" Slayn asked.

"It said the legendary gemstones were meant to be together, though I don't know why would it suddenly said like that on the wall."

As they were passing through the narrow path, ahead of them, they could see a light coming from a room. It was still quite a distance, but still, the light told them they were in the right path. Hugh then took out his sword, and then told the others, "You guys had better get ready on what's about to come."

Slayn immediately summoned his weapon, a golden flash appeared before the sword was summoned. Yatsubana took out his bow and placed an arrow on the arrow, ready to fire anything that came upon him. Finally reaching the room, they entered together in a defensive stance. They were all greeted by the same sight, as the room seems to be like a summoning room. Everywhere were inscriptions, on the ceiling and on the walls. Ahead of them, were three swordsmen and two mages, their backs facing them. Slayn whispered to Annete, "Good, they haven't seen us."

It seems that they were waiting for a ritual, and as they approaced closer, there was a staircase. Below the stairs, were a man and a woman. The man, wearing a black cloak, with a sword in it's sheath, was standing to the left side of the steps. As for the woman, dressed in a red dress with a strange mechanical device on her back, was standing on the right side of the steps. Above the stairs, blinding flash light were seen, as a man in white suit and white hair, held two gemstones. It seems that there was a bowl in front of him, one gemstone, being blue in colours with yellow lines around it was placed in the bowl. The man turned around and stared at Slayn, who was wielding his growlanser tightly. He smiled, then finally said, "I had a feeling you would come... Slayn!"

28

Inside a tomb that was long forgotten, a ritual was taking place. Several warriors were guarding the man who was doing this ritual, have now taken out their weapons as intruders have come to stop their plans. The man, standing tall on top of the stairs smiled at the newcomers, "It's been some time, hasn't it, Vladmir?"

This startled everyone, the guards and of course, the group that just arrived. Hugh turned to Vladmir, "You know this guy?"

Vladmir hesitated, sweating already. Annete asked again, this time louder, "Do you know this insane man?!?" She shouted, pointing to Zion.

Vladmir still did not answer and Zion laughed, answering, "Of course he does! He used to work for me. He was the reason Dillah was able to steal the Space-Time gemstone easily. He spied for me and after he told of your plans on trying to help the featherians, he warned me and that was how Dillan was able to track them down!"

Dillan was laughing now, his Kamigas shining brightly. Vladmir looked down to the ground, and admited, "It's true that I once worked for that man, but the reason for that is because he promised me to give me scientific answers that I've yearned for decades now. After I fixed the generator when you were all uncounscious, I stared at him, waiting for my reward. Instead, he just walked away and I knew that he no longer needed me."

"You bastard!" Slayn shouted, pushing Vladmir to the wall, then placed his sword close to Vladmir's neck, "You lied to us!"

Zion was now laughing harder, as he placed the second gemstone, dark in colours into the bowl, "You can't blame him Slayn, he is one crazy scientific man that only cares for knowledge."

Slayn turned slowly, his eyes meeting Zion's. Unable to take his anger any longer, he ran straight to the stairs. Dillah, seeing that Slayn was threatening the master, summoned a fissure. The ground trembled, and as Slayn stepped on the floor, it suddenly shooked and flew up, Slayn with it. Still in mid-air, Dillan immediately jumped forward, and then did a mid-air kick to Slayn, causing him to drop his growlanser. He landed back to his group, his sword skidding next to him. He was breathing hard, still holding the pain on where he was assaulted by Dillan. Zion shooked his head on how foolish his enemies are, and was ready to place the last gemstone, being blue in colours and looks like a crystal.

Yatsubana thinking quickly, took aim and shot at Zion. The arrow flew past everyone, heading right to Zion. Zion just looked at the arrow, and moved his head back, feeling the arrow a little. It plunged into the wall, causing some rubble to fall off from the impact. Zion smiled, looking at Yatsubana, "Not bad," He then put his attention on the Moon Conter, "You have the same temper as your sister here."

He then turned serious, looking at Yatsubana, who was placing another arrow, "Now it's my turn,"

From the ground, a black demon suddenly appeared, grasping Yatsubana's cloth, pulling him into the ground. Yatsubana looked in horror, and tried to push the demon away, but it was holding onto him tightly. Knowing Yatsubana needs help, Hugh summoned a weak tornado to bring Yatsubana up, and it worked. Yatsubana flew through the air, and then landed on the ground. Hugh then pointed at the demon, who was looking at him, ready to pull him down. Unfortunately for it, Hugh shouted, "Spiralling sphere!"

From his sword, a blue substance was spinning quickly and it went straight to the demon. Upon touching it, the demon started to turn in a circle like crazy, and a few seconds later was gone from the thin air. Slayn, now raising himself, asked, "What did you do?"

Hugh never taking his eyes from his enemies, explained, "I just summoned a wind powerful enough to bring any living thing to another dimension."

"Slayn," Zion said suddenly, still holding the crystal ball, "You remind me of your old self."

"What old self?" He asked, his voice filled with anger.

"You still haven't recovered from your own spell have you? No matter, let's just say you and I once fought, and you were so naive at that time. You had the powers to rule the universe, but instead, you sticked to the rules. Because of that, you caused the life of your wife to die."

Slayn's jaw dropped open, shocked, "I had a wife?"

Zion shooked his head in disbelief, still smiling, "Indeed. It's better I do not tell you the memories you need, but I defeated you easily, as if you were a begginer to the Dark Conter. But now, even you cannot stop me!"

Zion then placed the crystal ball into the bowl, along with the other gemstones. Now, the bowl began to shake wildly, and then, the whole room turned into darkness. Slayn could see Zion still standing there, awaiting what was about to happen. In an instant, when the blinding flash was gone, the group opened their eyes. Zion stood with a single gemstone, being blue in colours, with yellow lines protecting the outer part, and on the surface of the gemstone, lies a skull. Zion smiled, raising the gemstone above him, "With these, the pillaging on this lands will begin soon."

"Not if I have anything to say about it!" Slayn shouted, ready to do battle.

Zion shooked his head, "I'm afraid you won't be meeting me anymore. I've got to get ready for the ritual."

Hugh angered, told him, "You are going to have to pass us first to do so."

Dillah laughed, then replied, "Actually, the Dark Lord doesn't need to pass you pathetic wretches. We can just teleport out of here!"

She then started to say some words that no one could understand. Dillan stepped forward, his guards standing close to him, "We'll meet again, Hugh."

The leader of the guards then asked, "What are we to do with them once you are gone, lord Dillan?"

Dillan started to walk away and when he reached the steps, he stopped, "Get rid of them!"

The guard smiled, drawing a double sided axe, "With pleasure."

Zion slowly descended from the stairs, then stood between Dillan and Dillah, with Dillan on his right. He placed the gemstone into his pocket, and then, Dillah, finishing chanting her spell, made a blast. Again, the room was brightened up with light, followed by a tremendous sound that could erupt the ear drums. When Slayn opened his eyes, they were gone, only three swordsmen with their leader, and two mages.

Slayn cursed, but still, got ready for the upcoming battle. The leader then gave a confident smile, and assured his warriors, "Don't worry, they don't stand a chance against us."

"We'll just see about that," Yatsubana said suddenly. He then turned to Vladmir, "Now!"

Vladmir took out the same kind of weapon that he used to open the entrance. He aimed on the ground, and then he shot it. The swordsmen, seeing the shot coming towards them, jumped in all directions. The blast was still effective, causing one of the men to fly forward, dropping his weapon. Yatsubana aimed at the man who was still in the air, and shot it with precise aim. It went through the heart cleanly, not even a single blood came out from him. "Easy kill," Yatsubana said with a smile.

Slayn ran forward, fighting in a one on one combat with a swordsman. As he ran there, the swordsman immediately attacked Slayn, his blade shining. Slayn saw the blade, and blocked it close to his shoulder, and did a counter attack, kicking his enemy in the gut, causing him to move back. The swordsman grind his teeth, anger flowing through him. Slayn was not intimidated, and now went to a defensive stance. The swordsman attacked once more, running and screaming a battle cry. While running, he looked at the back of Slayn, which was a wall. He smiled, and he twisted his wrist, trying to confuse Slayn. Slayn watched closely, and was able to block the attempt, close to his left knee. The swordsman was quick, raising his sword then attempting to cut off Slayn's neck, but again, Slayn blocked it in a vertical way, and then pushed his enemy's sword away. Again, he striked, and Slayn moved sideways, the sword plunging straight to the wall. Slayn watched the sword deep in the wall, and knew the swordsman were elite kind, being fast. The swordsman smiled, as if he planned Slayn to move away. Using the wall as an advantage, he suddenly puhsed the sword, with the help of the wall, moving sideways fast. Slayn was caught by surprise, and as quick as possible, dropped down.

Being a little slow, he felt the blade touched his neck. He reached for the wound, and felt a liquid on the right side of his neck. He looked at it, and it was blood, from the scratched of his enemy's blade. He looked up at his enemy, and the swordsman was already attempting for the final blow, his sword high above his head. He then went for the blow, his blade soaring, past the air and attempted to slay Slayn.

Slayn raised his sword to block the attempt, and made it on time, the sound of two blades clashing against each other. Slayn's sword was right above him, his enemy's blade clashed with his, and felt the push from his enemy. Slayn, in a disadvantage since his enemy has the higher ground. Knowing he won't last long as his enemy's push was stronger, he kicked the man's legs, causing him to fall to the ground. Slayn immediately raised himself, standing up, his enemy doing the same thing. Slayn was once again, face to face. Thinking quickly, he lunged forward, aiming the swordsman's chest, but he moved away, now his Slayn showing his back. The swordsman kicked Slayn's back, landing face first to the dusty ground. He turned around, only to find his enemy running, his sword high above him. Slayn raised both of his legs, and when his opponent almost reached him, he used his legs to kick him in the stomach, making him fall backward.

Slayn ran forward, as his enemy was now on his knees, raising himself. Seeing Slayn, he knew he had to block whatever Slayn planned to do. Slayn tried to slice his enemy's neck, moving his sword from his right and attempted to cut the man from right to left. Unfortunately, he was able to block Slayn's golden weapon, his arms feeling tired as the growlanser was a large weapon, using most of his strength just to keep hold of his blade. Slayn know his stamina was low, and kicked the man in the chin, causing the man to fall perfectly. He dropped his sword, and made no attempt to grab it. Slayn placed his foot on his chest, and Slayn looked at him dead in the eye. He then plunged his sword deep into his chest, and the man let out his final breath, and he was gone.

Slayn wiped his sweat, and thought, "These men are skillfull. No wonder the Xironian warrios fall to them easily."

Yatsubana, being an archer, was still an excellent warrior in melee combat. Carrying a bow, with a small version kind for a sword, he knew if he was to fight in a battle, he couldn't depend on his archer skills only. Seeing a mage ready to cast his spell, and knowing that spells cause tremendous damage, he immediate aimed the mage and shot his arrow. He made a perfect shot, the arrow deep in the mage's chest, killing him instantly. Yatsubana readied another arrow, and saw a swordsman coming right to him. Being a range person, he had the advantage, shooting his arrow. This caught the swordsman by surprise, and the arrow was too quick to avoid it. It sent straight into the man's gut, the swordsman falling to his knees, holding the pain. He tried to take off the arrow, but he couldn't even pull it a little. Knowing his efforts won't make much of a difference, he ran to Yatsubana again, the arrow still in it's stomach. Yatsubana placed his bow back, then took out his sword. It was more of a dagger, but a little longer and sharper. His enemy went trying to slash Yatsubana's head, but Yatsubana ducked. Yatsubana, thinking quickly, went straight for the wounded gut, trying to cause much more injury in that area. The swordsman moved, and used all his might and kicked Yatsubana in the chin, causing Yatsubana to fly up in the air, blood coming out of his mouth.

Yatsubana landed on the floor, dust parting away. Yatsubana raised himself slowly, using his dagger to help him up. He was not surprised that the man didn't come running to him. He was running out of energy, the wound also getting painer and painer. All of a sudden, the man ran to Yatsubana, his other hand holding at the arrow. Yatsubana watched his every move, and anticipated it, doing a small cut on the man's shoulder, causing a few blood to splurt out. He ignored the injury, and did a swing. Yatsubana thought the cut would stop him, and was too late to move out of the way. The slash was bad, his white robe now had blood on his chest, Yatsubana now falling to the ground. He dropped his dagger, and the swordsman smiled as his weapon was at his feet. He picked it up and placed it on his hips, and as he approaced Yatsubana, who was now on his knees, he kicked Yatsubana in the gut. The kick was powerful, causing him to soar through the air once more, hitting the ceiling, feeling the pain on his back. Yatsubana knew he won't last long with an opponent who was skillfull with his blade, so he quickly used a spell only Moon Conter knew. He chanted a few words as quick as he could, and he feet was then stuck onto the ceiling. Being able to control Space, he was able to place some gravity to the ceiling, therefore, making him stand upside down. The soldier looked in disbelief, his counscious losing. Yatsubana placed to arrows, and shot it without even aiming.

The arrows were shot, and like as if the arrows have a mind of it's own, it went straight to the swordsman, one went deep in his left arm and the other in his chest. The man felt his flesh being penetrated by a sharp object, and knew his life was fading. He collapsed to the ground, blood splurting out from his mouth. Yatsubana slowly walked to the man, then looked down on the man, who was also looking back at him. Yatsubana raised his dagger, then said to him, "You'll thank me for ending your torment, warrior."

The soldier was losing focus, but heard what Yatsubana had said. He then looked back on the ground, and he felt a cold blade slicing through his chest cleanly, and he could feel his soul drifting away from him, then, he was gone. Yatsubana placed his dagger back, and knew he had to help others.

Hugh was having a hard time with one of the elite swordsman, using every move that Deicester has taught him, all to no aveil. Growing desperate, he tried a move that he had practiced for years, and was never able to make a perfect move, but he tried it. As his enemy draw close, twisting his wrist, Hugh quickly moved back, then he jumped to the wall behind him, and used the wall as an object to boost his speed. He jumped to the wall, and using both of his feet, he moved forward with full speed. This caught the man by surprise, and quickly tried to move out of the way. He was too late, Hugh slashing the man on the ribs, causing him to fall upon impact. He felt the blade pass through him, and he was screaming in pain. Hugh dropped to the floor, and rolled over. He saw his enemy dying, and walked to the dying man, ready to end it. Just then, all of a sudden, a lightning bolt flashed right infront of Hugh, almost killing him. He turned, and saw the mage was the one who casted the spell. Hugh then turned to Michelle, "Take care of him!"

"Consider it done!"

Michelle took out her spellbook, and found a particular spell that might be useful. She watched the mage, but saw another lightning bolt coming right to her. She immediately casted a shield around her, and was right on time, the bolt touching the shield. She could have been killed, and immediately summoned sands surrounding the mage. The mage looked at the sand around him, and scorned, "What are you goin to do with that?"

Michelle smiled, and clenched her fist, "This."

All of a sudden, the sand went straight to the mage, and the mage was like a prisoner, the sand not even letting go of him. Michelle then raised her hand, then once more, clenced her fist, shouting, "Desert coffin!"

The sand then crushed the mage, not even having time to scream from the pain. Blood was seen coming out from the sand, but there was no sign of the mage. It seems that the sand completely crushed him. Hugh almost finished his opponent, but it seems that the wound on his ribs was going to stop him. Hugh blocked the longsword close to his right knee, but the man was fast, immediately planning to slash Hugh's chest. Hugh realizing he was in trouble, summoned a weak wind to push his enemy away. It worked, landing on the ground softly. He looked back at Hugh, who was now running to him. Hugh, like the time when he fought the dead knights, summoned all the wind elements to surround his sword, and then jumped into the air, his sword aiming for the chest. The swordsman raised his sword, both of his arm wielding it to try and block the incoming warrior. Hugh laughed, knowing his enemy was foolish, as the sword broke the swordsman sword easily, and it went cleanly into the chest. The ground broke, causing a hole beneath the swordsman. The swordsman was dead, but it seems he died in shock, as he his mouth was still open, his eyes still open. Hugh shooked his head, and took out his sword and thanking the wind for his help.

The leader of Zion's elite guards was left, and looked at every one of them. Slayn, still filling the pain on his neck, was ready for battle. The leader frowned, "I guess this is the end for me, but not without a fight."

Slayn gave a confident smile, "That's what they all say."

The leader felt insulted and ran forward to the wounded Slayn. Vladmir, noticing this, aimed his weapon and blasted it a little infront of the leader. The explosion was powerful, and though the leader never got hit, the explosion hit him, causing him to fly backwards, landing on the floor loudly. The leader grind his teeth, trying to fight the pain. Yatsubana ran forward, and shot an arrow at the leader as the leader slowly climbed to his feet. He saw the incoming arrow, but made no effort to move out of the way. The arrow hit the target through the shoulder, the leader felt his flesh flowing with a red liquid. Annete, neevr even had a fight, ran and tried to cut the man's head. The leader, though knowing his time would end, blocked the attempt, Annete's eyes looking at him. The leader, with blood coming out from his mouth, said in disgust, "I might die, but I would never want to die with my head cut from my body."

While he was blocking the attempt from Annete, he felt another arrow deep in the left spot close to his chest. He dropped to the ground, having difficulty of breathing. Yatsubana walked to the dying man, and the leader looked at the archer. He smiled, "You punctured my left lung. I've always had respect for the archers."

Slayn and Hugh was now next to Yatsubana, looking at the dying leader. Hugh sighed, "This man deserves a clean death. No suffocation, just kill him Michelle, and make it quick."

Michelle nodded, and stood next to the dying leader. She summoned a unique spear and grasped it. She then explained, "This spear is a unique spear. It can kill anything without even feeling the spear entering his flesh."

"Then make it fast," Hugh said, walking away.

Michelle raised the spear, as the leader looked back at Michelle, and closed his eyes, ready for his death to come to him. Michelle closed her eyes and plunged it in the man's chest, and took it out, not even a sign of blood on the end of the spear. She placed the spear on the ground which disappeared all of a sudden. She walked back to her group, who were all resting on the floor sitted.

"So," Annete started, "Now what? We failed to stop Dillah again."

Yatsubana was quiet, not wanting to answer anything related to his sister. Hugh sighed, wiping his sweat, "We may as well head back to Deicester and see if the alliance treaty has been confirmed."

"Good idea." Annete said with a smile.

Slayn rested on the floor now, feeling sleep coming soon. Yatsubana lay next to him and asked, "Seems we need to find out more about your life huh?"

Slayn nodded, looking at the ceiling, "I want to know what my reason for living is. I mean, who am I? What is my past life all about?"

"I'm sure we will find out soon."

"Still, we must try to stop that bastard Zion and your sister." Slayn remarked.

"Indeed. Though we don't know what their plans are, but we will have to make it fast."

Hugh now joined in, informing them, "A Wind spirit just told me some news. Seems that Harlian has found out some information about you Slayn."

"Really? But I thought he was a Water Conter?" Slayn asked, sounding confused.

"True, but just because he is from a Water Conter doesn't mean he is not welcome by the other Conter's."

After talking about other stuff, everyone soon fall to sleep. Slayn felt someone watching him, and thought it was just his imagination, but he thought never to underestimate his position as a Dark Conter, being able to see dead spirits.

29

In the depth of the sacred tomb, six wanderers that failed to stop another group were asleep. Outside the tomb, the sun had risen, and the animals arose with the sun. Yatsubana woke up first, yawning. He did not want to wake up his other friends, allowing them to rest fully after the previous night. He picked up his bow and arrow, and looked around his surroundings. The dead bodies were still lying there, some of his arrows were either in a dead corpse or on the walls. He sighed, and too lazy to pick it himself, he used the Moon spell to pick back the arrows for him. Like as if there was someone picking it, the arrows went back to his grasp. "What are we going to do with the bodies?" A voice said.

Yatsubana jumped, and turned back, aiming his bow at Hugh. Hugh raised his arms, showing that it was him, "Calm down man. I know you are pretty upset about last night, but calm down."

He smiled, "Sorry," He then watched at the dead bodies, then turned back to Hugh, "What about we dig them a grave?"

Hugh shurgged, and went to each of the corpse and gathered them. After that was done, he placed it on Yatsubana's feet and awaited his orders. Yatsubana said nothing, and started chanting a few words. Then, the he looked at one area of the ground, and then told Hugh, "Would you be so kind to place the bodies there?"

"Where?"

Yatsubana pointed at one direction, and Hugh saw a hole on the floor. Hugh was impressed, for he never even noticed Yatsubana destroyed the floor. He summoned the Wind spirits to do his job, picking each one of them and placing them in the hole. He then walked back to Yatsubana, using body language to tell him to cover the grave. He nodded, and did so, placing the soil he had opened the hole to cover the corpse.

Hugh then sat at a corner, communing with the other Wind spirits. Yatsubana informed Hugh, "Once the others wake up, tell them I'll be on the surface, practising."

Hugh didn't answer, but Yatsubana knew Hugh heard what he said. He expected Hugh not to answer his question, since communing with one's spirits must never be disturbed. After Hugh was done, he lie on the ground once again, trying to rest for a few more hours. Unfortunately, after about five minutes, he heard someone groanning. He sat up and saw that Slayn and Vladmir were already awake, Vladmir scratching his gray hair. Slayn was fresh, and when he saw Hugh, he smiled, "When did you wake up?"

"About an hour ago?"

Slayn then turned left and right, looking for something. After not being able to find what he was looking for, he asked Hugh, "Where's Yatsubana?"

Hugh being a little lazy to answer, just pointed above him. Slayn nodded, understood on where Yatsubana is. Michelle and Annete were still asleep, soundly. Vladmir shook his head, "If we want to reach Deicester my nightfall, we must leave now."

"Well," Hugh replied cooly, standing up, "You have the honours of waking them up."

Vladmir at first hesitated, but then gave a smile. He walked to Annete, and began shaking her shoulder softly, not being rude to wake up a lady. When she started to flutter open her eyes, he moved on to Michelle. He shaked her shoulder a few times with no response, and this time shaked her harder. Finally she woke up slowly and began rubbing her eyes. Vladmir let out a sigh of relief and walked back to his friends. Slayn and Hugh were busy talking with each other leaving Vladmir out of the topic. Vladmir ignored them and sat in one corner and took out a book, reading it instantly. Annete then informed, "If you guys don't mind, we would like to freshen up first."

Slayn nodded, "Go ahead,"

Annete and Michelle went to one corner and began washing their faces with a kind of liquid. Most likely something to make their face look much better but it didn't matter since they always have battles to dirty their face again. Slayn chuckled, "I wonder why they bother washing up their faces when it's gona get messed sooner or later."

Hugh shrugged, giving a grin, "Beats me. But they look hot with those cream."

"You really like women don't you?"

"Like them?" Hugh said in a sarcastic way, "I love them!"

They both laughed at that, disturbing Vladmir reading his book. Despite being disturbed he continued on reading with enthusiasm, until Michelle stepped forward, "Alright, we can go now."

The three of them immediately stood up and went to the exit. They had to climbed the similar stairs, the inscriptions easier to read this time, but it was no use. Zion and his team has done what they tried to stop. The exit was seen and Slayn stepped out first. Slayn stepped on the green grass, breathing in the fresh air only to find the dead bodies still lying around. When he looked infront of him, an arrow was headed right for him, fast as the wind. Thinking quickly, Slayn ducked, the arrow passing through his hair, dirt hitting his face when he landed. Hugh saw Slayn lying on the ground, and snickered, "Glad to see you escaped the arrow."

"Escaped?" Slayn asked sounding angry, cleaning his face and shirt from the dirt, "What do you mean?"

He pointed behind him, and there was Yatsubana emerging from the bushes. Yatsubana apologised, "Sorry Slayn, but it was part of a reaction test. Guess you are quick."

Slayn was not amused, asking angrily, "And if I was not quick enough?"

"Then," Hugh answered from behind, "I will use the Wind Spirit to stop the arrow. We both ahd it planned Slayn so we were just testing you."

Annete and Michelle joined them after that, waiting for Vladmir. After waiting for a few minutes, their patience got the better of them, Yatsubana going into the tomb to look for the slow man. The moment Yatsubana stepped into the entrance, there he was, carrying his large backpack. Yatsubana asked, "Where the hell have you been?"

"Just packing up my stuff. Can't you youngsters be patient for once?"

"We waited for ten whole minutes old man."

"And that's the whole point," Vladmir exploded, walking pass him, "I am old!"

Yatsubana wanted to continue the arguement, but because of being on a tight schedule, he decided to let Vladmir go this time. When everyone was gathered, Slayn asked, "Ready to go?"

Everyone nodded, and they left the tomb of Mortati, the person who created the legeandary gemstones. The path was muddy, most likely because the night was rainy while everyone was asleep. Their shoes sinking into the cold soil with squishing sounds. Once they were out of the forest, they had to take the path to their right, which would lead them to the village of Antholme. To their left is the city which Xironia alligned with, which is the city of Rocher. When they walked on the pathway, they had to cross the familiar field. The field in which the battle of the Conter was held, but no one really knew if the battle actually happened. Slayn knew it happened, being able to see so many spirits at once. Hugh noticing Slayn was waving at no one, he nudged him, "What are you doing?"

This startled Slayn, trying to focus. When he got back, he just shook his head, "Nothing."

Though Hugh suspected something, he just decided to let it go. Finally passing through the field, Antholme was just a few miles away. The sun was already high above them, making almost everyone in the whole group sweat, with the exception of Vladmir. He was using a device that was cooling him off, a little fan strapped onto his arm. Annete groanned, feeling faint. Luckily for her, the village of Antholme was sighted after walking for about a half and hour, and the group started to walk faster despite their exhaustion. The guards greeted them, "Good afternoon to you all."

"How do you recognize us?" Michelle asked in unison.

"Simple," The guard replied, "You guys are the only group that keep on coming in and out of Antholme ever since the war between Xironia and Aggresival. Hell, even the other guys from different shift knows you all."

Michelle frowned hating being known. Michelle was the kind to be isolated. Though eager to continue on their journey, all of their stomachs told them that it was empty and needed some food. Hugh then suggested, "What about the same restaurant we always go?"

"Why not? They probably recognize us anyway," Slayn jokingly said.

The restaurant was close to the east gate of Antholme where they can easily move on faster. Like the guard said, being regulars in Antholme, they even know where the place was located, finding the place in just a matter of minutes. Slayn and Yatsubana walked in first, the others following them. The waitress greeted them and showed them to their seats. Vladmir had to place his backpack on the floor being too large and bulky. Once everyone was sitted the waitress then asked, "Your usuals?"

Instantly, everyone glared at Slayn. Slayn too was surprised, and just gave an awkward smile, "I guess they do know us."

It didn't take them very long to order and finish their meals. Still, though finishing their meals fast, they decided to talk for a while, except for Vladmir reading his science book. Time flied fast for them, with the sun slowly moving to the west. Annete noticed this and immediately alerted the others, "We're getting late. We should go now."

"Wait," Slayn stopped Annete from getting up from her seat, "Who's gonna pay the bills?"

Annete sat back on her seat, and checked her wallet. Revealing to everyone that she was empty, they stared at Hugh the same way they stared at Slayn earlier. Hugh raised his arms up innocently, "What?"

"You know what!" Annete declared.

Hugh sighed and took out his wallet. Though Hugh's wallet was black on the outside, but when he opened it, the inside were filled with green colour. He summoned the waitress and paid the amount that was needed to pay. Once that was done, the group headed to the east gate with every second wasted. The guards on the east gate greeted them, "Heading to Deicester city?"

Slayn nodded, followed by the others. The guard gave a wide grin, and gave the order to allow them a pass. Once the drawbridge was dropped, they crossed the bridge and thanked the guards. Though it was quite stupid to thank them since it was their jobs but not being rude, they had to do so. The sun's heat were now reduced thanks to the clouds blocking it's path. With nothing but silence throughout the whole journey, it seems that the whole journey was a little faster than usual with the wind blowing with them. Hugh after walking for an hour, demanded a Wind spirit to head to Deicester and then report back to him on how far they are from Deicester. It didn't take very long for the spirit to come back with results, telling Hugh that they just needed to travel another ten miles to reach Deicester. Hugh looked up at the sky and the sky was already red in colour since the sun was setting.

Just like the spirit reported, it was right. After a few miles of walking, they came upon Deicester, which was famous for it's great walls. The watch towers spotted the group headed to their city and ordered the gates to open for them. When they went into the city, the guards stopped them, informing the exhausted Annete, "I'm sorry miss Annete, but Harlian, the son of the president of Deicester would like to see you."

Annete glared at the guard, "If you must know, we were headed right to his mansion right now."

The guard bowed to excuse himself, moving away to allow them to pass through. They had to walk pass the familiar streets of Deicester and they passed the sacred library. The library was closed with the doors this time used as a metalic door. Vladmir sighed, "Now how am I going to get more books?"

"You don't need to." Yatsubana answered, "With your growing age, by the time you finish that book, you're dead already."

Vladmir looked back with anger in his eyes from that insult. He wanted to argue, but Slayn then moved in between them to stop the fight. Vladmir looked at Yatsubana in the eye, but then decided to stop. Slayn then lead the group to the mansion, but upon reaching the gates, the gates were shut tight. The guards behind the gates saw them, and walked out to question them, "What business do you have here?"

Annete walked infront of them since she was the most well known among the group, "We're here to see Harlian, son of the president of Deicester."

The guards looked at her suspiciously, "Really? What proof do you have?"

"You can ask him yourself."

The guards looked at each other, discussing something among the two of them. Annete walked back to her companions, waiting for the guards to make their decision. Finally, when nightfall finally arrived, one of them said, "Fine. You guys can enter, but make it fast."

The two of them opened the gigantic gates, most likely made out of pure diamond since not only was diamond precious but it is one of the hardest substance in the universe. Hugh walked in first while the others walked in behind him. One of the guard, having a thick mustache looked suspiciously at Vladmir's backpack, causing Vladmir to feel uneasy. After walking through the pathway, they reached the door which was opened immediately by the sane old butler. He gave a tired smile, allowing them to enter, "Welcome,"

The moment they entered the mansion, and though they have been in the mansion before, they were still in awe once again with the beauty of the room. Diamond and gold were almost everywhere. Annete felt a little jealous but it was a fact that Deicester city is richer compared to Xironia. Yatsubana being the first time inside the mansion just looked around the surroundings and was impressed but not surprised. The butler then spoke to catch their attention, "You are all here to see Harlian, am I correct?"

"Yes," Hugh answered, "Are we to enter the same room like last time?"

The butler nodded slowly, revealing a bald spot at the back of his head, "Indeed. Then I guess I can retire for now."

Vladmir checked his time then declared, "But it's just seven thirty! Why sleep so early?"

"Though I retire early, I wake up early and have many chores to attend for the house hold matter. So please, if there is nothing for me to assist you all, I will be going now."

Vladmir felt a little dumb there for the first time. Yatsubana followed the group up the stairs and felt the presence of a Water Conter member. It was a familiar presence, but when he heard Harlian and now feeling a Water Conter spirit, he knew that he was not mistaken. It has been a long time since he visited Harlian, since childhood.

Annete and Michelle were walking ahead this time, moving through the hallway fast. Hugh realizing that the women were normally the slow type, he asked Slayn in a whisper, "Do you know why they are in a rush?"

Slayn gave Hugh a dumbfounded look, "Do you think I always hang around with them to know all this?"

"Well, you have always been a lucky bastard. Like when climbing the walls of Antholme. Hell, even Vladmir was able to see Annete's bra!"

Slayn chuckled, "Guess we are much more good looking eh?"

Hugh gave a disgusted remark, "Oh come on! Everybody knows I'm much better looking than you. Besides, are you trying to say Vladmir is also good looking?"

Slayn was silenced after that, knowing that Hugh was right. When they finally caught up with the women, they were already at the door, their arms placed close to their breasts to show that they have been waiting for them. Annete then exclaimed, "What took you guys so long? You know how long we had to wait here?"

Yatsubana frowned, knowing that these type of women were the sarcastic type, "A few seconds?"

Annete glared at Yatsubana, her brown eyes not happy with that remark. Michelle then stopped Annete, whispering something in her ear. After that, Annete knocked on the door, expecting a voice to be heard. As she predicted, a voice said, "Come in,"

Annete and Michelle opened the diamond door and it was just like the same old room when they met Harlian for the first time. Harlian rose from his seat, wearing a blue robe with a tie. He showed his guests to their seats, and all six of them took their individual sits. Harlian then also sat down on his chair. There were empty glasses for each one of them, and Harlian noticed that they were all wondering why the glasses were empty. He asked, hiding a smie, "Refreshments?

"Yes, water would be good." Vladmir said politely.

Harlian nodded, and waved his hands just slightly above his head. He then pointed at each of their glasses and all of the glasses were filled with refreshing water instantly. Slayn took a sip of the water and felt as if his soul has been replenished, Slayn's face filled with wonder. Hugh too drank but didn't react like Slayn, instead it was like as if he expected it. Harlian then slouched forward, "Right then, let's get to business shall we?"

30

The village was empty, all of the villagers were most likely sound asleep. Everyone exept one house, where a woman had a terrible problem with her life. The village of Tanx was deserted, and Battusai and Turalyon were talking to a woman with beautiful brown hair. She was one of the most beautiful woman in the continent, but sadly, with her weak immune system, she was to never marry. Battusai's sister suffer this condition, which was why he was there right now, though late, he always visits her everyday.

Like an animal, she is kept in a special containment like animals kept in cages. She was to never receive a disease, which was why a generator outside her house fuctions everyday. Battusai was sitted behind the glass, his hands on the glass trying to reach out for hers. Nadz did the same, her hand trying to hold his. Battusai tears were dripping from his eyes, "Why must you have this condition, my sister? Why?"

Nadz though did not cry, knowing her brother having a soft and kind heart. She just looked down, feeling sorrow in her heart, "It's okay Battusai. At least we can still be together?"

Battusai was having difficulty to talk from crying, then he looked at her, "What you say is true, but you cannot see the outside world? Since when you were young you were trapped in this place..."

"At least I'm alive. I would rather live with this problem than die, since we only can live once."

Battusai was silent after that. Turalyon didn't like listening to what they talked, since normally he too would feel pity for them. As a commander, he had to remail strong and not let feelings distract him. The rules were there, and feelings and emotions are to never interfere with the mission. It was already late, and still Battusai was talking to his sister.

Finally, Nadz felt tired, yawning every few seconds. Battusai then declared, "You had better get some rest Nadz. I will see you tommorow."

"Alright Battusai," She replied, walking to her bed. She lied down, placing her blankets and then drifted to sleep. Battusai switched off the lights and walked out of the house and into the night of Tanx. Turalyon was waiting for him, and a dead body close to his feet. Battusai sighed, "Another assasin?"

"Yeah. These assasins gets suckier everyday."

Battusai snickered, "Probably hired from Aggresival again. We had better head home now."

"Agreed, besides, we are late already."

Battusai started walking pass him, trying to hide emotions that he still held in his heart. Though Turalyon knew about this, he ignored it, respecting Battusai wishes. As they were walking pass through the forest, the full moon shined on them, cleary seen like as if it was in the day. Turalyon then asked, "You said you're always going to visit your sister right?"

"Yeah," Battusai replied, nodding his head, "Why do you ask?"

"You do know that Cop Bay has been attacked by Aggresival these few days? And Deicester has sent the two of us to reinforce the situation since that Cop Bay is Rocher city dock and Xironia ally."

Battusai didn't say anything, then looked at Turalyon's eyes, who was waiting for his answer. He sighed, then answered, "I guess I won't be able to keep my promise on seeing her tommorow. But the moment Cop Bay is saved, I will immediately head back to the village of Tanx."

"Immediately?"

"Yes. Nadz is the only reason for me to live Turalyon. If she dies too, my life will mean nothing. I ceast to exist without her. If she dies, I have no reason to live anymore."

Turalyon then patted his back, "Don't worry Battusai. She won't die, I promise you that." Unfortunately, not all promises can be kept fully.

In the night of Deicester, the streets were dark and silent, not even a rat was passing by in the abandoned streets. All of the residents in Deicester were asleep, exept for the person that lives in a mansion. With war now in hand in the neighbouring cities, everywhere is now put at red alert for the watch towers and patrolling scouts to watch for enemy attacks. Harlian now has six guests in his meeting room, one of them being the daughter of the president of Xironia. "Now then," Harlian began, taking out a note, "It has been confirmed that Xironia has just accept our terms to be allies with both Xironia and Rocher city."

"But what does this benefits Deicester city?" Annete asked.

Harlian then smiled, reading near the bottom of the letter, "In return for our military support, Xironia will also send food supplies to Deicester city. Together, we can all crush Aggresival easier, not only do we have one of the best generals of Xironia," Harlian looked at Annete, who was blushing, "But we have Alanil, commander of Rocher city and two of our legendary generals of Deicester city."

Annete was already smiling, happy that her city will now remain safe from Aggresival. Hugh and Yatsubana weren't listening, since it does not concern them. The whole meeting room were filled with all spirits now, Water, Dark, Moon and Wind. It was when a Water Spirit whispered something into Harlian ear, then Harlian became serious. He placed both of his arms infront of his face, looking at Slayn seriously, like as if a father demanding an answer from his son.

Michelle noticed this, and asked, "What's wrong?"

Harlian did not answer, nor did he blink or move anything. Finally, he informed everyone, "I've found out a little about Slayn's past memories."

Both Yatsubana and Hugh immediately looked at Harlian then turned to Slayn, who was still relaxing. Apparently, Abdllah did not really care, and Harlian continued, "From what I could dig up, it seems that Slayn here is an important and most valuable member of the Dark Conter. I do not know why he is like an outcast or abandoned or how he lost his memories, but when I reached the Dark Conter, Felix, being the most loyal member to the Dark Conter immediately demanded that you all bring him to the Dark Conter immediately."

It was now that Slayn brought his attention to what Harlian just told him, asking, "I'm to go to the Dark Conter?"

Harlian nodded, and then again explained, "You all are to accompany him also. Hugh and Yatsubana, you being Conter's should know how to get there, am I correct?"

Hugh did not answer, feeling a little depressed to answer. Yatsubana looked at Hugh, and when he felt a presence that was approaching, he understood why, and answered Harlian question, "Indeed. It's located at Cop Bay, if I'm correct."

Harlian then grinned, "You are familiar I see. Anyway, once you're done with the Dark Conter, report back to me and tell me what you have got back for you memories." Harlian then turned to the confuse Slayn, his eyes demanding an explanation, "Slayn, once you've got back your memories, we can then hunt down Zion easier since you know his plans, right? Now then, this meeting is over."

Vladmir stood up upon hearing that, as if he was hoping the meeting would have ended sooner just now. Vladmir walked out of the meeting room, while the others raised from their seats slowly, and then thanked Harlian, who was smiling, drinking his glass of water. Slayn was the last to leave from the room, closing the door behind him. It was already past midnight, with most of them yawning already.

They walked down the stairs of the grand mansion, making their way out of the mansion to get some well earned rest that they needed for the journey to Cop Bay the next day, which lies to the south of Rocher city. When they walked out of the mansion, the wind blew on their faces, giving them a night breeze. The breeze was like no ordinary breeze, with a little more powerful than usual. Annete's skirt was flying, and she placed it down, with the wind still blowing against them. Yatsubana stood there, feeling the Wind and then said to Hugh, "He's close huh?"

Hugh simply nodded, not liking to hear what Yatsubana just said. Slayn was confused, and asked Yatsubana, "Who's close?"

Yatsubana hesitated, but since Slayn was a Dark Conter, he told him, "A person Hugh would not want to meet."

Slayn didn't really understand what he said, and simply ignored it. All six of them walked through the night of the pathway, walking to the closed gates of the mansion. The two familiar guards saw them and opened for them quickly, and without even saying goodbye, they closed the door the moment Vladmir walked out of the gates. Annete then turned to the others, "So which inn to spend the night at?"

Nobody answered her question, either nobody cares or no one knew the area. Michelle declared, "Why not in the same usual inn we always go?"

"Since they all have no arguements, why not?"

The two females walked happily infront of the others. Vladmir didn't know where he was or what he was doing, but he knew he was happily reading the book, following the two women. Slayn followed, while Yatsubana waited for Hugh to follow. He knew the reason why he was depressed, but he couldn't do anything. The moon was also going down, the sun will soon take it's place in a matter of hours now. Finally, upon reaching the inn, the person behind the counter greeted them, Annete discussing with the person about the rooms available and the fees. Hugh took a sit on a bench, looking at the lonely streets outside through the window, the gust of wind touching his face. Yatsubana sat next to him, advicing him, "Don't worry, he's jsut probably going to say nice duel or something."

He shook his head, "I doubt it. This guy has always wanted to beat me, and now, I lose easily just like that. I am going to be humiliated."

"Don't jump to conclusions Hugh. That's what my sister used to teach me."

Slayn heard about that, and then walked to Yatsubana, "Do you love your sister?"

Yatsubana turned to Slayn, looking at Slayn. He know realized that Slayn had blue eyes, "Never knew you had blue eyes."

Slayn just sighed, knowing that Yatsubana doesn't want to talk about it. Vladmir then threw Slayn a key, and since he caught Slayn unexpected, it fell to his feet. Slayn picked them up, the keys jingling against one another. He gave Vladmir an odd look, and Vladmir let out a breath, "It's for your room stupid!"

Slayn gave a dumbfounded look and frowned. He passed one of the keys to Yatsubana, and Yatsubana went off. Before he walked to the hallway, Yatsubana whispered to Hugh, "That guy would come around an hour or so."

Slayn shrugged, and Yatsubana disappeared into the hallway. Hugh raised himself from the feet and walked to Slayn, offering a smile that Slayn hasn't seen since visiting Harlian. The two of them walked pass through the lobby, with each doors on each side of the wall. When they found their room, Slayn took the key and unlocked the door, opening it. The room was pitch dark, even the light from the lobby not revealing anything. Hugh walked in and switched on the lights, finally showing the room with two beds with one couch. A window revealed the outside streets of Deicester, with a few pictures on the wall. Hugh instantly walked to the bed and then laid down, yawning. He looked at Slayn, who was still standing at the door, "Aren't you gonna sleep?"

Slayn's eyes blinked, and then looked at Hugh blurry. It seems Slayn wasn't listening to him the whole time, and just nodded, switching off the lights. Though it was dark, it seems Slayn was able to find his way to his own bed without bumping into any of the objects in the dark. Hugh expected it, since every Dark Conter had a speciality to see through the dark cleary, while Wind being able to see through sandy winds or whatsoever. They soon drifted to sleep, Hugh not wanting to wake up from any disturbance, but unfortunately, it was not to be.

It was in the dead of night, when not even a soul was alive. A stranger walked into an inn, wearing a cloak, not even revealing his eyes. The person incharged of the inn was already drooling away, which brought the delight for him. Silently like a cat, he searched through the book for the guest's name, and after some frantic search, he found the name he was looking for. He then looked at the room number, and with a smile, made his way to find the person he was looking for. The lobby was deserted, the only sound he could hear were his footsteps. Looking for the specific room, he increased his pace, growing impatient with every step he took. Also, he was angered at the same time. Finally, he found the room he was looking for, and wanted to open the door by using the Spirits of his Conter, but then decided not to do so. He began banging loudly on the door, using the Wind spirits to make sure the sound waves do not travel to the neighbouring rooms.

In the other side of the room, two people were awaken from the knock. It was pitch dark when a man with brown hair opened his eyes. Slayn was also awake now, rubbing his eyes. Hugh groaned, "He's here already. Open the door please, Slayn."

Slayn was confused, not knowing what to expect next, he raised himself from the bed and walked through the darkness of the room. He switched on the lights first, but the person outside was getting impatient, knocking even harder now. Slayn turned the doorknob and opened the door, revealing the same man, wearing a cloak. He walked in the room, placing attention at Hugh. Hugh now sat at the edge of the bed, yawning. Slowly, the man was slowly opening his cloak, and his blonde hair showed first. He dropped his cloak to the ground, his eyes never letting go from Hugh. "So," Hugh started in a sleepy voice, "What do you want?"

The man did not answer, looking at Slayn. Hugh then assured the man, "Don't worry, he belongs to the Dark Conter, he will know what we're talking about."

"Then," The man answered, sounding angry, which surprised Hugh, "Can you explain yourself why the hell did you walk out of the contendership on being the Wind Conter next leader?"

"Wait wait wait." Hugh said in a confused voice, "Aren't you gonna boast about your win? Knowing you, you're that type."

"I would have," The man replied in a stern voice, "Only for unimportant competitions! But you walked out of the most important fight for me against you, the leadership, and you walked out of it just like that. I wanted to proove to everyone that I'm the better man, and this is how the proof is? You simply walked out of the competition."

Slayn could not wait any longer, asking Hugh, "Hugh, just who the hell is this guy?"

Hugh turned to Slayn, who was now standing next to his challenger. Hugh then explained in a troubled voice, "He is the person that is another contender for the Wind Conter next leader. You do know that I was elected as a contender for the leadership for the Wind Conter right?"

Slayn nodded, "Yeah, I found that out when Yatsubana also found out in Xironia."

"Yes, now this man," Hugh now pointed at the man, who was still looking at Hugh, his eyes never blinking, "He is my challenger. He was an old rival of mine, always competing against me in almost everything. Now, we're again competing against each other in this position to become the Wind Conter's leader."

"And now you completely destroyed my opportunity!" He was shouting now.

"Not quite, old friend. You see, we can settle the dispute between us now, to see who deserves to be the leader for the Wind Conter."

"And how do you suggest to this?"

Hugh now grinned, standing up now, face to face with his rival. He opened the palm of his hand, and then waited for a moment. Finally, a Wind spirit appeared in his hand, then Hugh explained, "Here's what we're gonna do. This room lacks the number of Wind spirits and will have difficulty to summon or bring them here. All we have to do is see who can bring in the most Wind spirits in this room will proove who is the better man."

Hugh then extanded his hand, waiting for his approval. The stranger was thinking, then shook Hugh's hand, now even closer to each other, their breath feeling each other's breath, "You're on!"

The two of them then took a moment of silence, closing their eyes to concentrate. Then, slowly, they opened their eyes and began chanting a few words. The room was silent, Slayn sat on the couch to watch the whole show, yawning randomly. Then, from out of nowhere, one Wind Conter appeared, and it went straight to the stranger, which brought delight to him. Hugh was not intimidated, just because he has the first spirit does not mean he has been defeated. His opponent just has the upperhand right now. Once again, another spirit appeared from the wall, and this time, it belonged to Hugh as it stopped just right next to him.

Slayn witnessed the fight between two of the high ranks of the Wind Conter, as three spirits appeared. Two went to Hugh and one went to the man. Seeing Hugh getting the advantage, the man now began chanting more words, but the room was silent. Not much spirit could be found in the area, especially in this kind of room. Finally, five spirits appeared, three went to the man, and the other two went to Hugh. The two were already up to their limits, unable to find anymore Wind spirits. They counted and to their amazement, they each had five and five for each other. Hugh smiled, "Guess we're equal huh?"

"I'm out of juice to use any spells or tricks to compete."

"So then we're equal? None of us deserve to be the Wind Conter leader."

The man then shook his head, giving a smile that was somehow recognizable as a proud smile, "Actually, the reason I came searching for you is that the Wind Conter has already chosen you as their leader."

"Wha...?" Hugh was startled, absolutely confused.

The man then explained, feeling disappointed to tell, "You see, when I was told about you telling the secrets of yourself and the Conter, I was overjoyed, knowing that you have failed to gain the title Wind Conter leader. Unfortunately, a meeting was held, and seeing the current situation with this Zion, they realized you sacrifsed your position to try and stop him. So, as I'm speaking to right now, despite breaking the rules, you've been elected as the Wind Conter leader."

Hugh wasn't overjoyed upon hearing his title. Instead, he asked his question further, "What I don't understand is, if the election was already elected, why you still went on searching for me?"

"I had to. I was sent by the Wind Conter to congratulate you. Also, this competition, I just wanted to add it up to see who is the better Conter. Seems we're the same, but you carry much more responsibility, which I must say, envy you for that."

Hugh slowly nodded, smiling. The man then said, "Now, I must go back to the Wind Conter. Till me meet again, we will wait for your arrival, my lord."

Hugh didn't answer, but Slayn then sounded surprised, asking, "Lord? What's with the respect?"

The man was quite shocked on why Slayn didn't know. He was a Dark Conter, and turned to Hugh. Hugh was smiling and knowing Hugh, he's always right, so he just explained, "That's what we all do. To show respect to our leader and..."

"Please," Hugh cut him off, "I'm not used to that Wind Conter leader thing. Until I return, I put my title to you for the time being."

"What??" The man was shocked by Hugh's choice.

"Please, that's my order. Now please," Hugh walked to the door, "I need my rest."

The man understood, disturbing Hugh's rest in the middle of the night. He walked to the door, but before he went out, he extended his hand to Hugh. Hugh looked down, and then, he too shook his hand. They gave each other a smile, then he walked out. Slayn was still sitting on the couch as Hugh shut the door. "Well," Hugh said in a happy voice, "We should be resting now."

"I guess. You seem to be in a happy mood."

"What can I say? I'm the Wind Conter leader despite the rules I broke."

Hugh laid down, placing the blanket up to his chest. Slayn went to switch off the lights, and just right before he switched off the lights, his finger on the switch, he said, "Hugh, sometimes, some rules are meant to be broken for the better."

The room then went dark, and Hugh knew Slayn was right. He could hear Slayn landing on his mattress, and all was silent. Hugh have misjudged his old rival, and he never thought he could come all the way to congratulate him. Sometimes, people can change, and now, hearing Slayn already sleeping peacefully, he too knew he needed to rest. After all, even newly elected Wind Conter leader are also humans.

31

Hours after the encounter with an old friend, the sun finally arrived. It shined through the streets of Deicester, and every household's doors were opening, mostly people that had to go to either work on the farms or other services. The inn's person also woke up, wiping off her mouth from drooling last night. She checked the register book, and it seemed that someone has opened it the night before, but it didn't matter since whoever checked it didn't do any damage. Annete and Michelle awoke already, their long hair messed up. The two of them then took turns on using the toilet, Annete using the toilet first. After all, women must look good, and must not have their hair messed up. Yatsubana awoke from his sleep, feeling refreshed from his rest from the previous night. He turned to Vladmir who was resting on the other bed, snoring with his book covering his face.

Yatsubana forgotten that the previous night, Vladmir refused to sleep, saying that he's already half way through the book. Seems that Vladmir too has it's limits, falling asleep while reading the book. Yatsubana searched his bow and arrow under his bed, and then made his way to the toilet to refresh himself. Somehow, he felt that somewhere nearby, a person now held a powerful presence, having the possibility of the Wind Conter leader. Impossible, Yatsubana thought while washing his face, The Wind Conter leader could not be here. It's impossible unless he came to visit Hugh. Yatsubana ignored the feeling first as he walked out of the toilet, seeing Vladmir awake already, reading the book. "You sure are a light sleeper aren't you?" Yatsubana commented.

Vladmir turned away from his book, "Is that a crime?"

"The way you always read your book, I think it should be a crime."

Vladmir ignored him after that, continueing to read his book. Yatsubana sighed, and looked out at the busy streets of Deicester. He walked out of the room and decided to wait for the others outside at the lobby. Slayn and Hugh were already awake, Slayn stretching himself while Hugh was on the floor, communing with the Wind Spirits. Slayn then picked up his golden ring from the table he put on yesterday and slid it back into his finger. He was already all stretched out, ready for the day to begin. He then turned to Hugh, who was still concentrating with his meditating, until Slayn interrupted it, "Do you always have to commune with them spirits?"

Hugh slowly opened his eyes, the Wind Spirits moving away, "Yes. But for your information, I was not communing with it, I was asking them to give me the list of spells from the Wind Conter."

"I thought you already have the spells that you need."

"This spells are not the normal spells that the Wind Conter's were taught. You see," Hugh explained slower now, excited, "These spells that I asked the spirits to get me are only taught to the Wind Conter leader. There are altogether three spells, each spell for surviving, instant kill or devasting damage in an area."

Slayn listened, but didn't really care. He was not very interested in this spirits things. Hugh raised himself from his sitting position then headed for the door, "Let's go."

"Thought you never ask."

The two of them were now walking through the hallway, most of the rooms were still locked and shut tight. Since most of them can sleep longer, but not them. They had to get to Cop Bay and get to the Dark Conter before Zion unleases whatever he plans to do with his gemstones. They reached the lobby, finding Yatsubana waiting for them on a stool. Annete and Michelle weren't there yet, and Hugh noticed someone was missing. He asked, "Where's the old fart?"

Yatsubana sighed, looking back at the hallway, "His usual thing."

Hugh then shook his head, "It's like pulling tooth just to get that guy to stop reading that damn book."

Yatsubana then pointed to Hugh happily, "My point exactly."

"What point?" A voice asked from the hallway.

All three of them turned to find Annete and Michelle already there, listening to the whole conversation. Annete's hair was a little different from her usual, a little more fashionable. Michelle was the same though.

Slayn explained, "We were talking about Vladmir. He just can't stop reading that book and it's difficult to get him out of the room."

From behind the two female, a figure appeared, slightly taller than the two of them. He carried a large backpack, and it was, without a doubt, Vladmir. He didn't say anything, and Yatsubana stood up from his seat. He then said, "Well, let's go."

There were no arguements for that, as they walked out of the inn. The inn person watched each one of them leave, and then proceeded to count the amount of money she earned from the previous night. The streets of Deicester were a little more busy than usual. People passing by or passing through were like as if they were in a hurry or something. When the six of them reached the gate, there was a commotion at the gate. Slayn was the first to force his legs to run to the scene with the others following. The crowd were gathered in a circle, and Slayn knew it was impossible to push them apart. Hugh reached behind them and used the Wind Spirit to push the crowds to clear him a path, causing some fright among the citizens. Slayn and Hugh walked in only to find a wounded warrior, a slash to his chest. Two medic men were placing him on a stretcher when Slayn asked the man, "What happen to you soldier?"

He was having difficulty of breathing, coughing as he tried to speak. One of the medic person tried to stop him from doing so, but he stubbornly refused. He then gestured for Slayn to lean closer, Slayn doing so. In a low whisper, he said, "Cop Bay is under heavy Siege by Aggresival forces. Rocher's soldiers won't last long, and Deicester reinforcements won't really help much."

The two medic men then took him away, leaving Slayn standing there. Hugh then asked him, "What did he say?"

Before Slayn could answer, the others finally came up to Slayn, asking the same question. Slayn didn't know who to explain to first, as each one of them were asking like fans asking for an autograph. He raised his hands to tell them to be quiet, in order for him to answer their questions. They stopped. Slayn then answered, "He just said that Cop Bay is under attack by Aggresival. Rocher's forces won't last against them, and Deicester didn't send in enough reinforcements to stop them."

They were all silent for a moment, then Annete suggested, "Maybe we should help them?"

"Are you crazy?" Vladmir protested while still reading the book, "Have you not hear what Slayn just said. If we're to get to Cop Bay, it's like we're against an army."

Michelle agreed, "Besides, we have got to get back Slayn's memories, not join the war."

"Isn't the way to the Dark Conter located at Cop Bay?" Annete asked.

Yatsubana nodded, causing the dismay of Vladmir. Annete then smiled, finally saying, "Then it's settled. We're to get to Cop Bay and assist with reinforcements first. Then, we head to the Dark Conter."

They then walked pass through the guards guarding the gate. Their main destination was Cop Bay, and it would take out a day or two to get there. Cop Bay was famous for it's fish, and since it belongs to Rocher city, one of it's main income comes from Cop Bay. It seems that Aggresival's target is to destroy not only Rocher city income, but their food supply too. Annete knew that their mission has got nothing to do with the war, but why not help when she is in the area. Besides, all of her companions are highly skilled, they should proof to be useful.

The sun was changing, from the moment it rised, and it was now rising even higher. It wasn't lunch time, but it was a sunny day, with no clouds, causing the sun's rays to fully burn up the group. Still, even though the sun's ray were not much noticeable, since they have been used to travel in these conditions, not even breaking up a sweat. It would take them a day to reach Cop Bay if they do not stop to rest, but still, they have their limits, when the sun was finally high in the sky.

They sighted Antholme, and seeing that it's lunchtime, they all decided to rest and take their lunch before continueing their journey. The gates of Antholme were opened, with the guards welcoming the familiar group. Nothing unsual happened in Antholme, just people going by doing their business, looking to make the maximum profit. Annete's stomach was already grumbling for food, and then she suggested, "So, what say we go and eat first?"

"Why not? It is lunchtime." Vladmir said.

"Alright. Same place?"

Yatsubana shook his head, his face filled with disgust, "Nah. I'm bored of the place. Since we're headed to Cop Bay, we should eat somewhere close to the south gate of Antholme."

Annete didn't really like the idea of going to a new place, since she liked the regular restaurant, but sometimes, you never know new one's unless you try them. She asked Yatsubana, "Any place you have in mind?"

"Yeah, a place my friend owns. It isn't really far from here, nor is it far from the south gate."

"Guess we should check it out," Hugh said, supporting Yatsubana's idea.

It was agreed, as they went to look for that particular place. The sun was no longer in the centre of the blue sky, but it was still shining brighter than ever. Vladmir though, had bumped into about three people while walking with the group, which brought frustration from the business men, and it was all just because of a book that he could not take his eyes off.

Finally, they reached the place, and it was like any ordinary restaurant, some people eating while others were chatting. Yatsubana walked in first, since he knew the place better than everyone else. The others followed, looking at the surroundings. It was like any normal restaurant, but Slayn felt the area a little more unsual. He couldn't explain it, but Hugh and the others were fine. He placed his hands in his pockets, trying to comfort himself. They found Yatsubana sitted at the end of the place, where there was a round table with five seats surrounding it, in the middle of the table were a few tissues and spices. Each one of them took an individual seat and waited for the waitress. No one talked, since there was nothing to talk about, and the waitress soon arrived with a bunch of menu's. Each one of them took it and began flipping through the pages.

When they made their choice and told the waitress of their decisions, she took the menu's and went to the chef to tell him of the order. Annete and Michelle were busy talking with each other, complaining bitterly that the restaurant was hot. Yatsubana ignored the comments or remarks. Vladmir was busy reading his book, while Slayn asked Hugh, "I don't know about you, but I feel the presence of something I can't explain what it is. Do you feel it?"

Hugh smiled, as if scoffing on what Slayn asked, "Feel it? I can see it. Hell, I even know what you're feeling right now."

"Then you wouldn't mind telling me, would you now?"

"Why not? After all, you are a Conter. This restaurant here is a gathering for member of different Conter's. Dark, Water, Wind and Moon are all over this place. This was why Yatsubana knew of this place, even I myself know, but it's been sometime since I visited this place."

"So, the people beside us are also from a Conter?" Slayn asked, pointing to his right.

"Indeed. From their presence, I can tell the two of them are Water Conter."

The waitress interrupted their conversation, placing each of their food infront of them. Slayn didn't even wait, and immediately began eating his food. The others also began eating, with the exception of Vladmir. Michelle then asked Vladmir in an angry voice, "You do know the food waits for no one?"

Vladmir was surprised by what Michelle said, then in amazement, he said, "My god! I never even realized the food was here."

Yatsubana sighed, sarcastically saying, "Why am I not surprised?"

They all started eating, their plates slowly becoming empty on their speed of eating. They were fast until Slayn heard something that caught his attention, "Have you heard about the battle at Cop Bay?"

Slayn turned to his right. Two men, in which Hugh said they were Water Conter, were talking quite loud. The second guy replied, "Yeah, seems that Rocher City was able to fend off against Aggresival first attack. It was all thanks to Deicester reinforcements though. Hell, I even heard that 'The White Fang Of Deicester' and 'The Yellow Flash Of Deicester' are assisting the defense."

"Bloody hell! That way, Aggresival won't really stand a chance now, would they?"

The second guy shook his head, "We're not too sure mate. No matter how powerful they are, they have their limits. I heard a second wave is heading to Cop Bay one last time. Heard they concentrating on the Siege this time, to damage the units inside the city and no other cities are able to send in warriors. The only way for the Trebuchets to be out of function is to be attacked by the back."

Annete then turned to the man, "What about Xironia? Aren't they part of the war?"

The second man, having a thick mustache, answered, "Haven't ye heard? Xironia was attacked just two days ago, commander Alanil now heading off to attack Aggresival as a counter attack."

"They were attacked?"

"Indeed. A heavy attack I might add. Lots of wounded soldiers, but it will suffice for the attack. You really should get updated you know?"

Annete gave a wryly smile, then continued on eating her lunch. Hugh stopped eating and pushed his plates away, nudging Slayn. Slayn coughed out his food, and looked angrily at Hugh. Hugh then apologized, then whispered, "Looks like we need to pass through Aggresival forces to get to Cop Bay."

"Yeah. And they are attacking tommorow, we had better get moving fast."

Hugh nodded, calling the waitress so that he could pay the bill. The waitress understood this, and went to talk to the cashier, which he gave her a small yellow paper. She then walked to Hugh, and handed him the paper, which was the receipt of the food and drinks. Hugh took a glance at the price and took out his wallet. Slowly, he counted his money then gave the waitress, which she took it. She calcuated the amount, and she wanted to say something, but Hugh cut her off, "Keep the change."

The waitress smiled and walked to the cashier. Annete was impressed, "That was generous of you."

"I didn't give her extra change because I wanted too. It's because it would waste time for her to get the change. We had better leave now."

"What's the rush?" Vladmir asked, never taking his eyes off the book.

Yatsubana was angered by this, and slammed the his fist on the table, shaking the table badly, "Have you not heard anything those two people said?" He pointed to the two men, who were a little shocked, "We have to get to Cop Bay as soon as possible!"

Vladmir sighed, placing his book in his bag. He raised himself from his seat then walked out of the place. Almost everybody were looking at them, and some whispered about the presence of Hugh. Slayn then suggested, "I think we had better go now."

Nobody waited for a second invitation, and they walked out of the place, as they passed through the tables, people were whispering about a Wind Conter leader. Though it was obvious that they were talking about the presence of Hugh, they all simply ignored it, exept for Annete and Michelle, who not only did not understand what they were talking about, but also that Hugh is a Wind Conter leader now. When they walked out of the restaurant, Vladmir and Yatsubana were again argueing about something, but when saw their companions coming out, they were silent, not looking at each other. Annete then walked infront of the group, "Shall we?" She said, showing them the path to the south gate.

Yatsubana walked front now, increasing his pace with every second they have wasted. He knew that they won't stand a chance against Zion and his sister with not only their manpower, but also that Slayn is in a weakened state if it was compared to his original form. His sister was bringing shame to his Conter, and he knew that he needed to put a stop to this since that Dillah has contirbuted many things in helping Zion's plans. They reached the south gate, but was closed. Yatsubana walked up to one of the guards, "We need to get to Cop Bay, so if you don't mind, we need this gate open."

The guard was fierce, and told Yatsubana off, "Not unless if you have special permission or someone in your group that we could identify. We have orders to see that Antholme stays safe from any part of the war."

"We need to reinforce Cop Bay! Don't you know they are under heavy Siege?"

"First of all, how can six people reinforce an army? And secondly, I don't give a damn on which city needs help!"

Yatsubana shook his head and cursed. He then walked to Annete and said something to her. Annete then walked to the guard, sighing, "Listen soldier. I'm Annete, general..."

"Of the Xironian army, am I correct?" The soldier said, finishing her sentence for her.

"Not bad, you know me, and since you do, you should let me pass. Anyway, what my friend says is true that we indeed need to get to Cop Bay. So, if you please, we need to get there as soon as possible."

The guard bowed, and gave an order to an archer on a watch tower. The archer saluted, and went inside a room to do something. A few seconds later, the gates were opening, and Annete thanked the man. Once they were out of Antholme, the gates were closed tight, which left them to only one place left to go, Cop Bay. Still, though they had been walking fast since morning, they wasted a lot of time at Antholme. Like this, they would need a day to reach Cop Bay, which was about three hundred kilometres away, and the nearest city was Rocher city, about two hundred kilometres from where they stand. They all continued on their journey, but the beating sun was too much for them. Michelle too felt the growing heat, and summoned the clouds to cover the heat above them.

Minutes turned into hours, and before they know it, they were passing through the wonderful city of Rocher city. The sky was already red, not because of any Dark summoning or anything that has got to do with that, but it was already getting late, with just an hour before the sky would grow completely dark. Vladmir was already complaining that his backpack was killing him, and suggested a halt. Slayn looked at the skies above him, and supported Vladmir's idea, "I think Vladmir is right. We should stop now, get some early rest then we can head off to Cop Bay early in the morning. After all, we are near Rocher city."

"Though near a city," Hugh chimmed in, "I think it would be best we camp out of the city premises. I'd rather spend a night in a camp rather than spend the hustle with some guards. They're getting on my nerves."

"It's decided then. We had better get started."

All four males had to do the work, setting up the camp and everything. Vladmir went off to get some firewood, and returned just a few minutes after he went off. Hugh and Slayn set up the camp while Yatsubana just prepared their dinner. Night time finally came, and the only thing that were giving them light was the full moon and from the firewood that was at the centre of the camp. They finished their dinner, and Michelle said she was going off to sleep, followed by Annete. Vladmir and Yatsubana went into their tents a few minutes later, leaving Slayn and Hugh alone. Slayn turned to Hugh, who was silent, his eyes closed, "Communing with Wind Spirits huh?"

Hugh smiled, "Yeah. How did you know?"

"Simple. For the fact that you're silent and that I could see a few Wind Spirits hanging around here is pretty obvious."

"Well, they have gathered for me the required skills that every Wind Conter leader needs, exept for the ultimate weapon. Even the Wind Spirits are not allowed to get it for me, only I, in person must read it myself."

"And you think you might never see it?"

Hugh was silent, and forced a sad smile, "Yeah. This position I'm in now is once in a lifetime opportunity you know? I learned two skills, you wanna see?"

Slayn shrugged, "Why not?"

Hugh then placed both of his arms infront of him, his hands as if grabbing two balls infront of him. Then, he chated a few spells, then he raised his left arm at the sky, while his right arm turned in a circle. He then said, "Do this for your leader!"

All of a sudden, the wind around them got stronger all of a sudden. The clouds blocked the moon, and just like what Hugh did with his hands, about five tornadoes appeared from the sky, circling around just like what Hugh did with his right arm. Slayn shouted, "Are you crazy? You're gonna wake up the others!"

"Don't worry. I cast a kind of shield that allows the sound waves and the wind to be felt around us and not breach against them."

Slayn then remembered on Hugh's rival who knocked on their door at the inn so loud but did not disturb the others. While the tornadoes circled around, it suddenly went to the centre of the circle and caused a massive explosion. Then, nothing was there.

"What they did," Hugh explained to the shocked Slayn, "Was that the tornadoes would circle a target, then it would squeeze the person so tight that it turns them into little particles. Very dangerous though."

Slayn was amazed, but Hugh was already tired, and he yawned, "I think we should also get some rest."

Slayn nodded, and the two of them went into their tents to await for the sun to arise. The battle at Cop Bay tommorow was not going to be easy, although they have both Battusai and Turalyon.

In the darkness, three people with just five warriors awaited outside the village. The leader of this group, was wearing a white suit, and though it was dark, his golden ring shinned in the darkness. The woman to his left was already complaining, "My lord, with all due respect, what are we doing here? Not only will this raid be useless in our plan, my mechanical device on my back is killing me!"

Zion did not answer, he only concentrated on his target. It seems that as if a brigade of Deicester soldiers are here, and he knew what they were protecting. Or should he say, who they were protecting. Dillan hissed, "Silent mother! This raid would indeed be beneficial in the long run. After all, her brother skill is highly quick, quicker than me. Unfortunately for him, if he does fight me in a one on one combat, I would beat him."

"With your Wind spells of course!"

Dillan was insulted, and he was almost about to shout until Zion silent the two of them. Sick of hiding in the bushes, he stood, the others followed. Zion then informed the group, "Alright! We all know what to do! Kill all the guards and destroy the generator, that's our main aim. After all, I want her to die slowly."

Dillan nodded, revealing two shiny silverish blades that was known as the Kamigas. Zion then turned to Dillah, "Do what you have to do. This ambush will have to be quick."

She nodded, and began chanting a few words to alter a spell. Zion knew if this raid was successfull, his plan would definitely be perfect. He summoned his golden metalic stick, and was ready for battle. Infront of his eyes, was the village of Tanx.

32

The sun was about to rise in the next hour but in the wilds, the group could not wait any longer. The archer of that group woke up first, as he usually does, followed by his frustrating friend, Vladmir. Though they slept in a sleeping bag, Vladmir took up most of the space, which Yatsubana ignored the little space that was given to him. He walked out of the tent, leaving the old man reading his book with the lantern giving him light. The place was still dark, like as if it was still night time, but he could sense that it was a little brighter than the hours ago. He stretched, and decided to do a little shooting practise. He took out his bow and placed an arrow on the string, and then quickly, turned to his back, aiming. A man, unable to identify him in the dark, raised his arms, "Hei, careful with that." The voice was familiar, and it was Hugh.

Yatsubana lowered his weapon, then asked, "What you doing up so early?"

"Same question to you."

"Doing a little practise, that's what I always do."

Yatsubana nodded, then walked away. Slayn was also already awake, showing himself after Hugh talked with Yatsubana. Slayn then explained, "He was just showing me a few tricks he just learned. Yesterday, he showed me a spell known as 'The unforgiving winds' and then just now, a powerful spell that uses a special wind element. It surrounds the sword or whatever weapon, and it can damage the person on the inside. Nerves, liver, heart, so it is quite powerful, is it not?"

"What's the spell called?"

"If I'm not mistaken, it was called 'Wind chaos.'"

Yatsubana nodded, and reseumed with his training. Slayn laid down on the plain grass, and rested his head covered with his two arms as if it was a pillow. He knew that his past life was going to be revealed soon, and he couldn't wait for that moment. Vladmir came out of his tent, complaining bitterly that the lantern was blow out, stopping him from reading his book. He sat down on a pile of rocks, looking at his friends, exept at Yatsubana.

A few minutes later, Annete came out, yawning. She was surprised to find them waiting for her and Michelle, and went back in. They could hear Annete say something to Michelle, and the two began packing their things. Soon, they were out, Annete placing her sword next to her right leg. Yatsubana shot an arrow to a tree, and used his Moon spirit to bring it back. Once it was returned, he placed it back with the rest of his arrows, then turned to his group. He turned from Slayn, to Annete and so on. Then, he said, "Alright then, let's get going."

They packed up their things and the tent was placed in Vladmir's backpack. The sky has grown a little bit brighter, and they could see the pathway, one leads to Rocher city and the other would most likely lead to Cop Bay. They followed the second path, which was a little bit muddy compared to the other. About a half an hour later, after crossing about a few kilometres, the sun rose, and their whole surrounding was bright. Still, though it brought delight to everyone since they could see clearer, there were no clouds in the sky which heated them up. Slayn sighed, feeling the heat flowing through his body. Hours passed, and still no sign of Cop Bay, but when it was noon, they saw a sign that said, 'Cop Bay, seven kilometres.' Michelle was relieved, "I thought I would never see that sign."

Hugh lead on the group, increasing his walking speed. He could feel something going on a few distance ahead. Vladmir, though old with a huge backpack that was causing him a huge burden to him, was able to follow the group. It didn't take them very long to see the walls of Cop Bay. To their horror, as Hugh expected, the walls were badly damaged, some were in flame, but it was just a small flame. Still, they couldn't believe their eyes, even the entrace to the gates were destroyed. The gates being made of wood, were splattered all over. Yatsubana then muttered, "The Siege has begun."

Hugh was still shocked, despite knowing the Siege has already started. The buildings were on fire, and smoke were rising to the skies. Michelle asked Yatsubana, "How do you know? Maybe the Siege has ended!"

Yatsubana pointed at a distance infront of them. There, they could see about five Trebuchet a few hundred metres outside of the city walls. They were still laying Siege, and about five brigades were ready to enter once it has really destroyed almost everything. Hugh slowly turned at the Siege weapons, then said, "We must destroy those Siege weapons."

Before anyone could protest, two Aggresival soldiers, probably patrolling the area, spotted them. They shouted, "Hei, what are you people doing?"

Annete was surprised, and drew her sword from her right leg, going in a defensive stance. The two of them were not intimidated despite being outnumbered, and ran towards them. Yatsubana shooked his head at their stupidity, and took two arrows and aimed. He shot it, and with precise aim, released the two arrows. It soared perfectly, and the two soldiers were caught by surprise, one of the arrow plunged in deeply into the neck, killing him instantly. The second arrow went through the gut of the second swordsman, certainly should have killed him. He dropped to the grass and dropped his sword. He knew he was going to die, and wanted to call for reinforcements, but never made it. From out of nowhere, an ice block freezed him, and after two seconds, it blew up, the body parts flying everywhere. Michelle casted that spell, and everyone was looking at her.

Slayn smiled, then looked at the Trebuchets, "It's time for a counter attack!"

In the city, fire and smoke was everywhere. Dead bodies were lying everywhere, blood and their swords, spears were on the bloody floor. The buildings were all badly damaged from the Siege of the Trebuchet, killing most of the men that were inside resting. Turalyon was leaning on a wall, feeling his flesh on his left shoulder cut by an arrow when Aggresival launched five waves of arrows. If it wasn't for Battusai jumping to him, he would have probably six or more arrows in his body. Battusai was also leaning on the wall but sitting down, placing both of his katana's on the ground. He was waiting for the Siege to end and then fight to the death with about five brigades of Aggresival army.

Turalyon searched around, but the only soldiers that were still alive, or wounded but able to fight, were just three swordsmen and an archer. It wasn't going to help them, and there weren't going to be reinforcements since commander Alanil is doing battle in the northern area of Xironia. He dropped to the floor, his two Kamigas echoing through the tunnel. Battusai turned to his best friend, "So, what are going to do?"

"Good question, but one I have no answer."

"I expected that."

Turalyon shook his head, placing his hand on his forehead, "I never thought I might say this, but this just might be the end of us."

"Don't give your hopes up. We are skillful, we can outlast at least two brigades until we run out of energy to go on."

"And then what? Wait for our enemies to look at us in the eye and slay us just like that."

Battusai sighed, unable to think of any other solutions. It's true that they won't last long, since they are outnumbered by a great number. All their mages were killed, and they just need at least even one brigade to assist them just might turn the odds. "Well," Battusai said, picking up his weapons, "At least I know that my promise is kept."

Turalyon gave a confused look on Battusai, "What promise? You never promised me anything."

"Not to you, old friend. To myself."

"And do you mind sharing me that promise?"

Battusai smiled and watched as another wave of arrows flew through the streets and hit the walls, one of the arrows landing next to Turalyon feet almost hitting him. He let out a breath, "I've promised myself that I will never die by any other ways other than my enemy's sword. Arrows, spells, axe is not going to stop me from fighting."

"So I see..."

Turalyon picked up his Kamigas, then gave Battusai a smile that without telling him, was to show that it was time to do what they were supposed to do. Battusai also picked up his katana, one of his sword he placed it to his left hip for his secondary weapon, and the other katana, he took it out from it's sheath, revealing it's silverish colour from the sunlight. Turalyon didn't need a secondary weapon, he was going to need to use two of his weapons at once. He leaned to his right, peeking through the wall, only to find about three brigades marching into the city's gate, filled with confidence. He leaned back to his original position, and nodded to Battusai. Battusai got the message and now crouced against the wall, holding his katana tightly. They could hear the footsteps getting closer, as if they already knew any resistance left weren't enough to stop them. Battusai now stood, so did Turalyon, sweat dropping from their foreheads.

Suddenly, they could hear the marching sound from normal speed to running speed. It's as if there was an emergency, and the strange part is, the sound was getting further and further. Still, Turalyon thought of it as a trap, probably to persuade him to come out of his hiding place to attack. He did not do so, until a swordsman came running to them. The swordsman seemed happy, he bowed then informed the two generals, "Sir, there seems to be an ambush on the Aggresival army. The three brigades that were marching in ran back to their group, and their Trebuchets have been destroyed."

"All six of the Trebuchets?" Battusai asked, his voice filled with joy.

The soldier nodded, looking above the walls and could see no sign of the Trebuchets, "Yes sir! It's confirmed. Reinforcements has arrived!"

Turalyon was suspicious though, not liking the sound of it. Turalyon now walked to the centre of the streets, and it was true. The Trebuchets were large and could be seen from behind the walls, but there was no sign of it anywhere. The Aggresival soldiers were already in a mess, battling with other warriors, though could see from the distance, but were unable to identify them. Then, they heard a shout, "Everyone! Fall back! Six warriors have ambushed us, counter-attack!"

Another Aggresival soldier shouted back, "Six? Why the hell do we have to fall back!?!"

"They are slaughtering our men you idiot! They are highly skilled!"

Battusai, hearing just the six people, he already knew who they were. When he sighted someone wielding a golden sword, he confirmed it. He turned to Turalyon, who was still in shock, "Turalyon, Hugh and his friends have come to aid us. They are skillfull, and they need help. It's time we return a little favour."

Battusai ran to the gates, and having the nickname 'The Yellow Flash Of Deicester' he was extremely fast. He ran with great speed, leaving his friend Turalyon behind. In no time, Battusai was already jumping in the air, slashing an Aggresival in the neck, killing him instantly. An Aggresival soldier looked back, then shouted, "My god, we're attacked by two sides. Move into defensive stance!"

Battusai got into trouble by jumping into battle, as he took out his sword from the neck and immediately block a blade that almost hit his ribs. Being fast, he countered that man immediately, using his other hand to take out his other katana and plunge it deep into the man's chest, making him cough out blood. He kicked the man to the ground, allowing him to take out his katana, and moved back as an axe man nearly got his shoulders. He moved his eyes quick, analyzing the battlefield. Two soldiers, one wielding a spear, and a big man with a double sided silver axe. He smiled, and waited for them to attack. The spearman moved first, using his spear forward to threaten Battusai to avoid it. It worked, Battusai moved to his right, and the big man came out of nowhere, attempting to cut Battusai head off. Battusai quickly blocked it for being fast. If it were normal soldiers, they would probably be dead by now. Still, the impact was too great, causing Battusai to let go of his katana. The man raised his axe for an instant kill, but by the time he was lowering his axe, he felt a gushing of blood. He looked down, only to find Battusai other katana plunged in deep in to his gut, and before he could react, Battusai already did a second slash to his neck. He tried to stop the blood, but the pain was excruciating and he fell dead, dropping his large axe. The spearman, seeing Battusai in a bad balance area, attempted to attack Battusai legs to incapitate him, but he forgot why he was known as the fastest man in an army. Before he knew it, Battusai was already infront of him, his spear broken in half and Battusai weapon deep in his abdomen. He looked at Battusai in the eye, then he fell, as his soul was gone. Battusai pulled his sword out, and turned back. A swordsman aimed for his neck, and Battusai was caught by surprise, and knew he would be too late. All of a sudden, the man stopped, and Battusai saw a white blade deep in his chest and it was plunged in deep from the back, strong enough to go through. The man behind him threw the swordsman to the ground and helped his friend up. Battusai thanked him, who was wearing a white commander suit, known as the 'White Fang Of Deicester.' Turalyon smiled, "What are friends for?"

Slayn saw Turalyon and Battusai and he knew that though outnumbered, the battle was going to be won. He was fighting two swordsman, but he knew he can't just focus fighting the two of them, everywhere were Aggresival soldiers. Still, though many were fighting, he could see Battusai and Turalyon killing most of them. Slayn rolled to the front and did a fast cut to both the man's knees, causing him to fall since he lost his balance. Slayn then concentrated on the other guy, who ran to him and tried to slash Slayn's chest, but Slayn blocked it, only to find a spearman appearing out of nowhere. He tried to avoid the cut, but was a little too slow, a small cut caused on his right cheek. Blood came out of the scar. Slayn felt the flow of the liquid and then ignored it. He swung his sword to show his opponents that he was just getting warm up and the spearman felt insulted. He ran forward, pushing an Aggresival soldier out of the way after Yatsubana's arrow was in his neck. Placing the spear infront of him, making it as an advantage since he has the length advantage. Slayn analyzed this and widened his legs. Just right before the edge of the spear hit him, he moved out of the way to his left. Now, seeing the guy with an open blow to his right ribs, he used his feet to rush forward, having the speed with his sword infront of him. It went in cleanly to the ribs, the man shouting from the pain. He dropped sideways to his left, holding the wound as blood came gushing out. Slayn saw his sword filled with blood, but didn't care. One of the swordsman, sneaking from behind tried a backstab, only to find a sword deep in his gut. He looked down and he could see Slayn's growlanser in him, but Slayn was not looking at him, it's as if Slayn had eyes behind him. Slayn took it out, turned around and sliced his neck, and he fell dead.

Yatsubana, being the far range can kill his enemies easily from a distance, while Hugh fought the front lines. Hugh, having speed had ease as he fought a swordsman. He blocked a longsword aimed for his right elbow and did a counter slash to his enemy on the left shoulder. Though he planned to slay him at once, he had to stop when he noticed an archer aiming him. Thinking quickly, he grabbed his enemy and brought him infront of him and at the nick of time, the arrow hit the guy's back. He dropped the man to the floor, and used his hand and pushed forward aiming at the archer. The archer noticed this, but ignored it, but to his surprise, he suddenly felt a push by an invisible force, causing him to soar surprisingly high. Yatsubana saw this and quickly took the free kill. It pierced through the archer and he fell down dead. Hugh then found himself surrounded by Aggresival soldiers and knew no Wind spell could outwit all of them. Yatsubana saw this and knew Hugh needed help. Knowing he would waste his arrows on them, he summoned the levitation spell and used it on Hugh. Hugh slowly rise up and he was away from harm. Seeing this, Hugh summoned a tornado at the centre, and like a magnet, it attracted a few soldiers into the tornado, twisting around and throwing the soldiers like a bunch of toys. Some died when they landed, others were incapitated from the fall.

Hugh, still levitating, turned to Yatsubana and nodded, telling him to drop him off. Yatsubana did so and concentrated on the battle, releasing an arrow at an archer. Hugh, now falling, summoned the Wind spirits to surround his sword, turning his sword white with high amount of power. He then summoned a weak wind to blow him a little forward, and now, falling into the centre of the Aggresival soldiers. The Aggresival soldiers saw him, and just waited for him to fall, waiting like hungry lions. Hugh laughed at their foolishness, and when he saw the time was right, he went straight down, slamming his sword to the ground. Just like what he did when he fought with the dead knights in Rocher city, the impact was great, causing the ground around it to crack, causing some of the soldiers to fall in it, while others were wounded. Hugh was now in a bit of exhaustion, but he knew he had to fight on.

Annete also didn't expect her to last long fighting an army of Aggresival forces with just about eight people in total. Annete using a broadsword was a big help in blocking, but she cannot put her stance in just the defense only. Annete is known for her excellent defensive skills since she was taught mostly in that stance. Right now, in the battle, all she has been doing was avoiding and blocking all of the attempts made by her opponent. Unable to find a perfect counter attack, she has just been moving backward from blocking, until she was fed up, suddenly twisting her wrist and ducked, trying to slay her enemy by slashing his neck. Seeing this, he moved away, and felt Annete's blade cutting a small cut to his neck. It wasn't severe, and he kicked her to the ground, and was ready for the final blow. Michelle, seeing this, chanted a spell, which suddenly, the soldier was engulfed in flames, causing him to run like a mad man. An axe man appeared, prepared to finish what his partner failed to do so, but Annete took her sword and plunged it deep into his throat. The man couldn't do anything, and he fell down, dead. Michelle, seeing that there is still a large number of Aggresival soldiers, summoned a tidal wave to wipe them all out without killing her teammates. The wave appeared from the left side of the battleside, swamping the Aggresival forces out of the way, pushing them away. Michelle, knowing the costs, made her tired as it drains a lot of energy. She was already on the floor, needed of some rest.

Slayn and Hugh were now guarding each other's back. After the tidal wave, the Aggresival forces were not much already, most of them killed from the tidal wave. Hugh attacked a swordsman, wounding him by the left area of the chest, and he went forward. Slayn was getting desperate, using a 'demon attack' on a line of enemies, the demon penetrating through each and everyone of them. Slayn was growing weaker, needing to rest. Still, there about just two brigades left, but with their stamina were growing low, and they won't last long. Hugh was already slouching, which he does not do often. He was also tired, as five soldiers came rushing to him. He concentrated on them, wielding his sword infront of him to show his enemies he was not going to give up. They scoffed at Hugh and ran forward. Hugh knew he could not fight all in one, and he went backwards, but they pressed on the attack, Hugh blocking two attempts, one close to his neck and the other at his chest. An axe man, kicked him to the ground, and tried to finish him off, but Hugh rolled over, feeling a slash to his left ribs. His green suit was cut, blood coming off from the wound. He looked up, only to find the same axe man appearing, prepared to kill him. Slayn saw this and jumped to the axe man, causing him to fall to the ground. Slayn was now standing infront of Hugh, defending him.

The soldiers smiled, and rushed forward. While they were running, suddenly, out of the four of them, three went down dead, revealing an arrow on their back. Yatsubana was smiling, Slayn thanking him. Yatsubana was also running out of arrows, counting that he only had about four more shots. With two brigades to eliminate, and Slayn and Hugh growing low in their stamina, his arrows won't proove much of a help.

Michelle, still exhausted from using the previous tidalwave, regained back her energy, getting a pile of rocks and then she created them into four knives from the palm of her hand. She was also having difficulty of breathing, but it was normal when a mage uses an excess number of spells as it passes your limits. A wounded spearman, thought to have been dead, woke up from the ground, revealing a slash to his chest with an arrow to his right shoulder. Unable to find his spear, he picked up a sword, and slowly walked to Michelle. Michelle threw on of the knife, hitting him by the chest, and he dropped dead. She turned back, and was shocked to find a two handed swordsman come running to her. She threw one of her three knives at him, and it hit his left arm, but ignored the wound, still running to her. Knowing she can't stop him, she created a shield spell at the nick of time, the shielf stopping the sword from wounding her. The swordsman's eyes met Michelle's, glaring back at her angrily, but his anger was replaced by dead eyes when a beam of light penetrated him from the back, oddly, not a single spill of blood came out.

It killed the swordsman instantly, and Michelle saw the beam of light coming from Vladmir's gun. Vladmir waved and shot another laser shot at a wounded archer, this time, making sure he was dead. Vladmir was having fun with his weapon, laughing, until he got kicked from the back, dropping face first to the muddy ground. He turned back, finding a swordsman with his raised sword, his eye filled with killing intention. Michelle quickly acted on this, throwing two of her knives with accuracy. As it soared through the battlefield, one of the knives hit the swordsman right arm, causing him to drop his sword in pain, the sword landing next to Vladmir, and the other knife went into his gut. Vladmir took the opportunity to pick up his weapon and brought to his chest, aiming at the man. The man was still screaming from the pain, and when he looked down at Vladmir, his face grew pale. The next thing he knew, the laser passed through his neck, and he could feel nothing, but only his soul has left him. Vladmir shouted, "Thanks!"

Michelle smiled and rested on the ground, trying to regain back her energy. Vladmir was in no state to protect Michelle, but he is the only person that was fresh in the battle since he uses his attacks all from his scientific weapons.

Turalyon swung his great blade, blood splurting out of the soldier as his neck was cut. Having great strength, he was easily killing his enemies one by one, the blood landing on his face after each slash because of his amount of strength he uses from each slash he does. Most of the soldiers he faced were easy kill, just either attacking two time would finish them off, as he now faced a two on one. He knew it was useless no matter how much number they ganged up on him, and the two if them were already shivering from his presence. Turalyon ran forward, running with his sword close to the ground at the back, and when he got close, he sees his enemy try to do an immediate counter-attack, but Turalyon intepreted it, rolling to the ground, dirtying his white commander suit, then he plunged in his Kamigas deep into the man's left chest, disabling him, as if he was incapitated. A spearman appeared from behind, and he whispered to the Kamigas to grant him an increase in his speed, which was given. He moved to his left, the spear entering into his own comrade, killing him. He kicked the spearman and used his other hand to take out his other Kamigas and while the spearman was still falling, he slayed his neck before he reached the ground with great speed.

Battusai was fast, moving in a zig zag area, killing his enemies as he pass them. Most of the soldiers never even realized he passed through them, but only find a cut to their body only do they know the presence of Battusai. Still, Battusai running around reaches his limits, finally having to use his attacking speed now, and looking back, he used his sword to go right below his arm pits and it pierced through an Aggresival soldiers close to the guts, the soldier losing blood from his mouth. From the front, another Aggresival soldiers advances, but this time wielding a shield and his other with a sword. Battusai moved fast, using his blade to attempt to slice the ribs, but was blocked by the shield and commenced a counter attack, Battusai jumped to his right and found an open spot, slashing his enemy's left arm to make him drop his shield. It worked, and he now only wielded his sword, and tried to attack Battusai, but being too fast, Battusai was already behind him, and the moment he turned back, he was already slashed at the neck. He dropped dead, and Battusai looked at the battlefield. He could see Turalyon handling well, Slayn and Hugh, though tired, were fighting well, Hugh slashing his opponent knee. Michelle being protected by Vladmir, while Annete fought against a spearman. He searched the area, and the three soldiers earlier with him and Turalyon were already dead. He lost his concentration in the battlefield, and when he looked back, he saw an archer aimed at him, releasing his arrow.

Catching him off guard, the arrow got a direct hit, going into Battusai left shoulder, Battusai grinding his teeth against the pain. The archer was already taking out another arrow, aiming Battusai once more. Battusai, taking the pain, moved quickly to make sure the archer does not get him for a second time. The archer released his shot, but thanks to Battusai intense speed, he dodged it easily, and the moment he reached the archer, he swung his katana at the neck, slicing through with blood splurting out of it. The archer landed on the grass dead. Battusai looked down at him, and tried to take off the arrow, but was unable to do so. Realizing there's a battle going on, he decided to leave it there and fight on.

Hugh wondered how long this battle was going to last, with Michelle down, Yatsubana already using his some sort of dagger to fight instead of arrows, and he too was nearing his limit. Hugh moved to his wounded opponent, who has a cut to his chest and a hole close to his gut, most likely a sword has done that to him. Hugh, though tired, was still quick, as he rolled to the floor and tried to plunge in his sword to the man's chest, but the man moved backwards and when Hugh commenced his plan, the swordsman swung his great blade, causing Hugh to lose grip of his sword, the sword landing a few metres away. The soldier, though his mouth filled with blood, looked at the unarmed Hugh. He moved in closer, wielding his sword tiredly. Hugh did not give hope, and he took out a dagger from his leg and threw it at him. Catching him by surprise, he had no time to dodge it, and found the blade in his chest, but he could not feel any life source, and he realized why. The dagger had most likely pierced through his heard, killing him as he droped to the bloody ground. Hugh turned to his left, and sees Slayn swinging his blade to cut off the head of an axe man. A spearman emerged from Slayn's right, but Slayn kicked the man back, and he killed the man by using his growlanser to plunge into the stomach.

Slayn continued on fighting, and he somehow had a feeling he learned something new out of nowhere. Not knowing what to do, he pointed at a man, most likely one of the leaders of this attack as his right arm had three stars. Slayn then started chanting some words, but he himself don't know where he learned what he was saying, pointing at the leader. Just like the 'Demon attack,' a demon came out of the sword, but a little smaller in size. Slayn was quite shocked at the spell he just did, and the leader, not being able to see the demon, continued giving commands to his troop. The demon entered the man's head, and all of a sudden, the man was holding his head, his head revealing the nerves. The pain was excruciating, even holding his head could not stand the pain, and finally, unable to take the pain any longer, he picked up his sword and placed deep into his gut, commiting suicide. Deez's jaw was open, then she asked in a stuttered voice, "Where did you learn that?"

Slayn shurgged, "I'm not too sure myself."

Hugh and Yatsubana witnessed the whole thing, and Hugh got an idea. Running to Slayn to tell him of his plan, he was defenseless since he was without any sword. A hoplite, noticing this, ran to take the kill on the defenseless man, swinging his blade forward to damage Hugh's shoulder. Hugh lunged forward, missing the spear just by a little, but the hoplite reacted quick, seeing that Hugh was on the ground trying to get up. The hoplite attacked again, but before he reached Hugh, he dropped dead when an arrow was hit at his throat, the arrow from Yatsubana, leaving him with just three arrows. Hugh approached Slayn, who just finished slaying an Aggresival warrior. Hugh then said, "Hei, Slayn, I've got a plan that just might stop the battle in one go."

"Yeah? What is it?"

"You got enough energy for 'Hell's pit?'"

"I guess, why?"

Hugh then pointed at the Aggresival warrios, then stated, "Summon your pits hell at the centre, as it will suck most of the Aggresival soldiers. This way, the other remaining Aggresival soldiers will definitely retreat."

Slayn agreed to the plan, gathering back his energies, he pointed at the centre of the Aggresival army, but since he was tired, it took him some time to recharge. Annete blocks a blade, and kicks the man back, and seeing that Slayn was gathering for a spell, she moved away, knowing that she would not want to be involved in what ever he was going to do. Battusai and Turalyon were still fighting well, not even a single sign of exchaustion. Turalyon, with his great strength, and blood all over his face, he slays a swordsman, and as a wounded soldier tried to run, he did not spare his life, jumping forward and plunged in his sword deep into his back. An archer aimed for Turalyon's head, and Turalyon was too slow to avoid the attack, and the archer was about to release the arrow when suddenly, Battusai appeared out of nowhere, killing the archer. Turalyon thanked Battusai, and they continued on fighting.

Slayn got back his energy, and then shouted, "The pit of hell!"

Just like last time, in the centre, a great black hole appeared, with souls dragging everything that was near them. Most of the Aggresival soldiers were terrified, running for their lives. Some never even noticed, and before they know it, a soul dragged them into the pit, where they shall suffer for all eternity. Slayn concentrated on the spell, not moving. One of the Aggresival soldiers, realizing that the spell was coming from Slayn, ran to him. Hugh was not in the condition to defend Slayn, but he was able to delay him, using every amount of energy he had left to summon a Wind spell to push him away. He fell back, but quickly ran back to Slayn. As he was running, a great beam of light pierced through him from his left, cutting him apart from hsi body and his legs. Hugh turned to find Vladmir with the gun, standing infront of Michelle, protecting her.

The souls were still grabbing each Aggresival soldiers, most of them screaming as they enter the unknown pit. Turalyon and Battusai moved back to the city gates, watching the whole thing. Battusai sat on the floor, placing his katana right next to him, still feeling the pain of the arrow. Turalyon remembered this spell, the spell that had defeated him at the battle of Antholme. He placed his Kamigas back into it's sheath, but was still prepared for anything. All of the Aggresival soldiers were panicked, until one of them shouted, "Retreat! This Siege is over, we're defeated!"

Though that person was not the leader, everyone that heard him were running away in different directions, no discussions on where to regroup or whatsoever. Slayn released the spell, and because of excess spells, he fell to the floor, gasping for air. Hugh sat next to him, feeling happy that the battle was finally over. Vladmir carried Michelle, and placed his gun into his backpack, and proceeded to Slayn and Michelle. Annete and Yatsubana also walked there, exhausted, dirty but at the same time, grateful and unable to believe that a Siege that could be called an army, was defeated by just eight people, not counting the Deicester soldiers. Slayn was smiling, and he looked at his growlanser, a golden sword that was filled with blood. The sword then returned back to his ring.

One Aggresival soldier, a swordsman that did not flee with the group, was too panicked to decide what to do. Getting too scared and wanting to just die rather than suffer in the wilds without any supervision from a leader, shouted a battlecry and ran to Battusai and Turalyon. Turalyon turned at the warrior, and sighed. Battusai snickered, and raised himself. Battusai ran forward, and with great speed, reached the swordsman first, slicing the man's shoulder, but the man was too scared to feel the pain, and countered immediately, trying to slash Battusai's neck. Battusai ducked, and used both of his feet to toss him behind him. The man landed face first, his face bleeding. He opened his eyes, and saw Turalyon feet. He looked up, and seeing Turalyon, he knew his time was over, and waited the time to come. Turalyon didn't hesitate, ending the man's torment.

Annete, upon reaching Slayn, asked, "You alright?"

Slayn nodded weakly, "Yeah, tired though," He then looked at Turalyon and Battusai, who were sitting at the city gates, "Should we walk to them?"

They were all silent for a moment, not knowing whether they should do so. It is unknown whether Turalyon still holds a grudge against them or if he has accepted that he lost at the fight in Antholme. Slayn turned to the little fairy, "What do you think?"

"How should I know? I'm just a fairy, not whatever you might think I am."

Slayn then turned to Hugh, "Should we?"

"Better than sit here and suffer from the heat. We also have got to get some update of the current situation."

Yatsubana agreed, "Yeah, we also need a place to stay. We won't be able to get to the Dark Conter place with our low stamina capacity, so we need a night's rest."

Slayn didn't need any points and started to stand on his two feet, the others followed. Vladmir took some time to follow the group since he carried his backpack. They had to pass the dead bodies though, slowing them down since none of them would want to accidentaly trip and fall to a dead person. While passing through, Yatsubana used his Moon spirits to help him gather some of the arrows that the archers have not used, giving him extra arrows. Trudging through the field took them some time, but they finally reached the gates, the destroyed gates of Cop Bay where Turalyon and Battusai were also picked up a sword he found and then asked Michelle to summon for him three daggers which she did so. Slayn though out of energy, was the first to reach them, and the two of them were just sitting there both of them looking at Slayn. . Hugh reached them, then Yatsubana and the others at the same time. All six of them looked at the two generals, and they looked back, their eyes having no expression and did not even blink once. Turalyon then looked down to the floor. Battusai long hair, tied up flew as the wind passed through them, dust passing through the abandoned streets. Then, Turalyon started first, "Well, what took you guys so long to get here?" After he said that, he raised his head, giving them a smile.

Annete let out a breath of relief, knowing that they were on the same team.

33

The village was completely destroyed, most of the Deicester soldiers were on the ground, dead. Some were still breathing, crawling to escape the raid or just wanting to get their swords to end the pain they are suffering now. The raid was a success, their main target will die sooner or later. The citizens were extra kills, to convince that this was a raid and not for their specific target. It would be too obvious for them, especially for that person, since he was the target. Still, though the three of them were powerful, the leader of this raid's right hand suffered a minor cut to his left ribs, from an archer that almost hit his chest. Luckily for him, he moved fast. Now, the village was completely abandoned, their five warriors were all killed during the early part of the battle.

Zion placed his weapon back into his ring, then he just walked past his loyal followers, inspecting every inch of the village. Dillan, not liking the feeling of his wound complained bitterly, "I did not deserve this damn cut! Where the hell are those guards when they were supposed to protect us."

His mother, right next to him, scolded, "When can you learn to shut up? Who asked you not to pay attention in the battle?"

"I was! It's just that most of them targeted me, while you were at the back doing some useless magic."

"If it wasn't for me, it would take you hours to slay those Deicester soldiers."

"Still," Dillan continued, "Me and Lord Zion can handle those guys, you were just causing trouble to us."

Zion turned around, suddenly his metalic stick out of his ring, "You two had better shut up!!"

His weapon swung right infront of their faces. Zion then shoved his stick right to Dillan's neck, Dillan gulping, "And you had better not make me lose my patience."

He then brought back his weapon, Dillan rubbing his neck from the pain. Zion continued walking, leaving the other two behind. He knew the day for the summoning would be soon, at about just one more week, and with him on Zion's side, the summoning is already considered done. Besides, he just fought a bunch of Deicester soldiers an hour ago and they were considered not even soldiers. Making sure that the whole attack was to make sure that it looked like a raid, he finally walked back to his two followers. He found them at a shed, Dillah treating Dillan's wound that was scarred by the Deicester archer. He walked to them and when he reached them, Dillah finished healing Dillan's wounds. He waited for them to gather back their energy and weapons. Once that was done, he said, "We should get going."

"Is the whole village secured?"

"Yeah. Everyone's dead, and I made sure most of the belongings in the house were thrown, to make it look like as if a raid had taken place."

Dillah took her mechanical device from the ground and placed it on her back. She turned to his son, who was picking up his swords. Zion walked out of the shade, it was already in the afternoon with the sun high in the sky. He wished the days could go by faster since he had already planned everything. He took out the crystal ball in which he got at the tomb of Mortati and looked at it. With this crystal ball, he can now summon the demons that Mortati had once feared. Mortati, one of the greatest Conter leaders fell because of these demons and if he can summon them, nothing can stop him.

Dillan approached his master, "Lord, we're ready to move out."

Zion nodded and walked to the gates with the others following. He turned to Dillah, "Teleport us out of here."

Dillah nodded and began chanting some spell. Dillan awaited for the moment to come while Zion looked at the village he destroyed. This was just the beginning. Once the demons have been unleased, the world will be just like what it is at Tanx. When Dillah already wield the spell to teleport, Zion muttered to himself, "Don't worry Battusai. Soon, you will be mine."

Then, the three of them disappeared from the gates of Tanx.

Cop Bay, completely destroyed but it contained survivors. This city is controlled and used by Rocher city as one of their main food supply since the bay is rich in fish. Unfortunately, the Siege of Aggresival made on Cop Bay completely destroyed Cop Bay, along with all the soldiers with it. Only the two generals of Deicester that were sent there were still alive and if it was not for the group that ambushed the Aggresival forces from behind, they would have fallen with their comrades. Turalyon lead them all including Battusai to an inn, though destroyed but could still be used. They walked through the deserted streets of Cop Bay, all of the soldiers were lying on the floor dead. Slayn while passing through the streets, noticed that the shopts around them were mostly selling fish. Even though this city was famous for it's rich resources of fish, it still needed other products but could not see any other shops that were selling other goods other than fish. They then arrived at the inn.

Turalyon opened the door and even inside the inn were dead soldiers scattered around the floor. All of them walked in only to find the same scene that greeted Turalyon. Slayn walked to the hallway to check the rooms out, while the others stayed with the two superior generals of the Deicester army. The place was a mess, swords and spears were scattered almost everywhere, some of the building blocks were on the floor from the Siege.

"Well," Battusai said, "At least Cop Bay still stands. We have helped Rocher City in a huge deed."

"At what cost?" Turalyon said, his voice angry, "We have sacrificed many of our warriors and if these people never arrived, we were probably dead by now."

Battusai fell silent. Annete sat on a stool while the others went to the hallway, exept for Michelle who went to the desk and took a few keys. They then went to the hallway since all of them needed their rests from exhaustion. Annete followed Michelle and the two of them disappeared from sight. Battusai then walked out of the inn, Turalyon followed him. Battusai walked to a bench and sat there, placing both of his katana next to him. He rested there and faced the sky. The clouds were moving because of the wind pushing it. He sighed, wishing how he could be like the clouds being so free and moving only when something pushes it. He has been a general at such an early age because of his tremendous sword fighting skill and has rarely got a break.

Turalyon sat next to him, his Kamigas left at the inn. He sees that Battusai didn't even realize he was there since he was daydreaming. Turalyon looked at the gates that were destroyed and felt bad since he had promised Rocher City that Cop Bay shall not only fall, but also not even be destroyed badly. He was wrong, underestimating the Aggresival army. Finally, he turned to Battusai, "Battusai, sorry I was angry at you earlier."

Battusai was startled from his daydreaming and turned to his best friend. He smiled, "Don't worry about it. I know you're also under pressure about this war and being in charge of the Deicester army. The two of us at this age shouldn't even be put at such great responsibilities, but what can we say?"

"You indeed are a good friend."

"And so are you."

Turalyon looked at Battusai wounded shoulder, seeing the arrow still in his shoulder, "Aren't you going to take that out?"

"I tried but it's too deep. It would cause too much pain. It's better I wait for more professional help."

"Well, Rocher city did say they would send in reinforcements today."

"Besides," Battusai snickered, "I won't fall that easily just because of some archer. I always said to myself I shall not die by any other weapons like axe, arrows, Trebuchets exept for one weapon."

"Which is?"

"My enemy's sword. No one or nothing but my enemy's sword."

Turalyon laughed, hitting Battusai back, "You of all people know that would not happen. After all, you are the 'Yellow Flash Of Deicester.'"

Battusai shook his head with a smile on his face. The two of them sat on the bench awaiting for the Rocher City army to arrive, besides, someone need to watch the gate for any attacks. They could at least alert Slayn and the others to help them defend the area, though Turalyon doubted it since they were all too exhausted from the battle that just occured and he don't blame them. They were all just a bunch of wanderers with high sword fighting skill without a purpose that they know of. Battusai watched as the sun begin to set with the sky growing red the more the sun fell. It was at this time, when the two generals sighted a horseman coming to them, followed by other knights and footman. Rocher City's reinforcements has arrived.

Turalyon and Battusai raised themselves from their seat. Battusai picked up his swords and followed Turalyon who had a head start from him. The army marched into the city slowly and upon seeing Turalyon and Battusai walking to them, they quickened their pace. Battusai realized that out of all of the horseman, two knights were not from Rocher City but from Deicester city. Turalyon however, did not notice about this. Finally they reached each other and no one knew what to say at first.

"So," Turalyon said, starting the conversation with the leader of the army, "What brings you all to this desolated place?"

The leader, a man with shining armor and a thick flowing mustache smiled, "What brings us here you ask? Well, we came to make sure that you have not let this city fall. Also, you promised you will not allow the Aggresival bastards to even scratch one bloody building."

"I never promised that!"

"Fine, whatever you promised." He then turned to Battusai, "As for you, I never thought that the fastest swordsman in this land would suffer a wound from a mere Aggresival archer."

Battusai was scorned and looked directly into the eye of the leader, "The two of us had to actually fight five bloody Aggresival brigades by ourselves and actully defeated all of them in which you all might have died doing so!"

"The two of you only?"

"Well," Turalyon answered, "If you must know, six other wanderers came out of nowhere and helped us beat them."

"Are they still here?" He asked.

Battusai nodded.

"Bring them to me." He demanded, his voice commanding.

Turalyon and Battusai walked back from where they came from while the leader ordered his army to get to their positions and pack the things up. He then followed Battusai and Turalyon. While they were walking, two of the Deicester knights ran forward and stopped right next to Battusai, "Sir, we've got something to report to you."

"Tell me whatever you need to tell me after we show this man the people we need to introduce."

The knights hesitated and watched as Battusai and the two leaders begin to drift apart. One of the knights know Battusai has his limits, but knowing this was important, he kicked the horse into a gallop and caught up with Battusai, "Sir, this report is about your sister."

Battusai stopped. He could feel his heart start to beat faster upon hearing those words. My sister? He thought to himself. Turalyon turned to Battusai, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. You go on ahead, I'll catch up with you later."

Turalyon nodded and walked with the man. Battusai can now put full attention to the two knights. They continued, "We have even provided you a horse for the journey sir. It's better we get to Tanx village quickly."

"What do you mean? Can we not discuss it here?"

The knights looked at each other, thinking on what to response. One of them looked at Battusai who was still demanding an answer, "Well, the village... We received a report that the village of Tanx has been raided by bandits. Also, your sister generator is badly damaged and your sister life might be in danger. We have already dispatched some medical team to the village with a brigade to guard the village. Everyone there is dead, but your sister health is gradually falling."

Battusai dreaded something like this might happen. He reached for his forehead in disbelief. He was sweating and he could feel tears coming out from his eyes. "No," He muttered, "This cannot happen. We must leave immediately!"

"Sir, I must protest," He pointed to the arrow on Battusai shoulder, "We must first remove that arrow from your shoulder before we can proceed. Who knows what that arrow might do harm to your body."

"Then let's do this fast."

The knights nodded and ordered from a distance for someone to come over. Sure enough, two medic men arrived with a little box containing items for medication or cure. They ordered Battusai to lie on a bench. Battusai did so. They then proceeded with the removal of the arrow. They first placed an oinment to the arrow and close to the wound. Slowly, one of the medic man took out a tool that looked like a special kind of scissors and grabbed the body of the arrow and they pulled it out in one go. Oddly, it caused no pain to Battusai and it just felt like something pulled it out. He raised himself and thanked the medic men. "Alright then," One of the knights said, "Let's get going."

One of the knight ran back to the stables while Battusai and the other knight waited. A few minutes later, the knight came running back with another horse. Battusai did not have any time to lose and he raised himself and sat on the horse. He placed both of his swords behind him this time not wanting to lose the swords. When the moon finally arrived to replace the sun, the three of them on their horses slighlt kicked their horse to their side which caused the horses to go into a gallop. Just a few seconds they were out of the gates of Cop bay and were running into the darkness.

34

Inside the inn, Slayn and Hugh were sharing the same room. Though the room was quite a mess from the Siege earlier, they easily packed things up nicely in a couple of minutes. Hugh was sitted on the couch, resting his soar bones on the comfortable couch. Slayn rested himself on the bed and stared at the plain ceiling. How he wished the day could travel faster since tommorow is the day they would go to the Dark Conter. Harlian did inform them to seach for a Dark Conter member known as Felix. Yatsubana also told him earlier that the teleporter to get them to the Dark Conter was situated at the far end of Cop Bay where they are suppose to walk to the shore where there would be a large boulder of rock with a secret entrace. Slayn looked at his ring. His golden ring that had helped him after all this time. Hugh was about to commune with the spirits until a knock on the door disturbed him.

Hugh groaned and walked to the door and opened it. It was Vladmir, "Hei, what brings you here?"

"Come on you two. Turalyon and some guy wants to meet us."

"Meet us?" Hugh asked with a confused look, "Who?"

Vladmir was already on the way walking away but stopped when he heard Hugh words. Not wanting to waste his time he just told him, "Just get your ass to the lobby will you?"

Vladmir disappeared after that, leaving Hugh standing at the doorway like an idiot. After a few seconds he closed the door. He placed his sword on the desk and his three daggers in the second drawer to hide his weapons just in case if it would be stolen. He then motioned Slayn to follow. Slayn grumbeled and raised his tired body and walked to the door. Hugh walked out of the door after Slayn walked out and he locked the door behind him. Even though the inn was most likely deserted, nobody wants to take risks. The two of them then walked through the silent hallway. Hugh could feel the Wind spirits around him as he passed through them. After all, he is the Leader of the Wind Conter. Slayn not knowing why, could see a few dead souls wandering around him. Some of them were peeking through the doorway while others just walked pass by.

Finally they reached the lobby with the rest of their companions. The only ones that were a stranger to them was Turalyon and a big man with a thick mustache. Slayn hid his ring in his pocket not knowing why. Slayn stood next to Vladmir while the others were in a line like as if it was a roll call. Turalyon walked infront of them and cleared his throat, "Sorry for disturbing you all after what you have all helped me and Battusai, but the leader of the Rocher army would like to see all six of you."

"The leader? Isn't the leader of the Rocher army commander Alanil?" Annete asked.

"What he means," The big man said, "Is that the army that has just arrived to reinforce this city."

Annete nodded slowly and looked at the big man. Hugh looked at the man, not liking the tone of his voice. The man noticed this and slowly walked to Hugh making his eyes look big to intimidate Hugh. Hugh just stared at the man face to face totally relaxed. The man then walked to Yatsubana and sees Yatsubana's bow to his right thigh, "So you're the fine archer Turalyon mentioned?"

"And what if I'm not?"

"Nothing. Still, we could use an archer of your skills in the army."

Yatsubana scoffed on his offer, "I and my friends have a greater task to complete than this war."

The man shrugged then whispered something to Turalyon. Turalyon simply nodded and after a few more whispering he left the inn. Turalyon shooked his head and was about to leave the inn also when Annete asked, "What did he ask?"

Turalyon stopped, "Nothing really. He just wanted to know if all six of you could join Rocher army."

"And what did you tell him?"

"Not much. Just told him that even if you guys really did want to join the army, you guys won't join with a crappy general like him."

All of them laughed after that. The inn was filled with the voice of laughter and since a few hours ago in the afternoon, the inn was totally silent. Turalyon swung his head to make his hair go back behind his neck since he was too lazy to fix his hair. Vladmir not saying a word suddenly left the lobby and proceeded to the hallway and back to his room. "Where's he going?" Turalyon asked.

Everyone shrugged but Yatsubana answered his question with a smile, "Probably going to read the book he stole."

Turalyon's smile faded upon hearing those words. He was now serious, his eyes never blinking as he stared at each and everyone of them. He then started, "The book he stole from the Deicester library?"

No one answered, but Michelle slowly nodded. Turalyon was now angry as if wanting to say somethign but could not take the words out. All of a sudden, he gave a grin, "If you guys never helped me today, I would have either arrested you or demanded the book back, but..." He never finished his sentence but he extended his hand. Everyone stared at him, surprised by his actions. "Thank you." Turalyon finally got the words from his mouth.

Slayn walked forward and claimed the gratitude. He placed his hand into Turalyon hand and Turalyon held his arm tightly. He then let go and again thanked all of them for their help since that without them, he and Battusai could have died that morning. Turalyon pushed open the door and was halfway out of the inn but he stopped right there, turning to his left and then to his right. Spending a few seconds there, he turned back, "Have any of you seen Battusai? He was suppose to follow us just now."

"Nope," Hugh answered first, "Strange though. He normally follows you around no matter where he goes."

"Don't worry," Slayn assured, "He is probably busy since this Rocher army arrived."

Turalyon gave a wryly smile and walked out of the inn. Somehow, he doubted what Slayn just told him. He walked through the streets of Deicester and ever since the siege this morning the streets and buildings were completely deserted but now, they were crowded by the military. As he strolls through the streets, he decided in order to locate Battusai position, he's going to need to go to the command center which is now located at the police station of Cop Bay. Knowing that his destination was quite far, he quickened his pace to get there faster. Still, it took him sometime to get there since he had to push his way from several soldiers that blocked his path and when he reached the station, several guards stopped him from entering. When the guards realized who he was, they moved to their sides to allow Turalyon to pass.

He continued on walking and he asked the receptionist where the head of the army leader was. Gathering all of the information he needed, he jogged up the stairs since the leader was on the highest floor. He increased his speed with every step he took until he finally reached the office. He knocked on the door and he heard the words he needed to hear, "Come in."

He opened the door and the room that he sees was nightly decorated despite the siege earlier. There was a desk and a few flowers with posters around him. The big man was looking out the window and turned with a glass of wine in his hand, "Ah, commander Turalyon. What brings you to this... desolated place?"

"Where have I heard that before? And if you consider this desolated, I wouldn't mind changing office with you."

The man snickered and took a sip of his wine. He then asked Turalyon to take a sit infront of his desk, which Turalyon accepted. Turalyon sat down, placing both of his Kamigas on the floor right next to him. The man took his seat and placed his wine to his left, "So, what is it you come here for?"

"You should know that Battusai was suppose to escort you to meet with the six people you wanted to meet earlier. Well, I couldn't find Battusai anywhere. Is there any way that you gave him a duty or whatsoever?"

The big man now pushed slightly back between himself and his desk. His face turned gloomy as if he dreaded for Turalyon asking that particular question. He let out a sigh and looked straight into the eyes of Turalyon, "Of all the bloody questions you could ask, why ask about the whereabouts of Battusai?"

Turalyon though was in a good mood, suddenly lunged forward and grabbed the man's collar, dragging him right infront of him face to face. The man gulped, feeling the hot air that Turalyon was breathing out. Turalyon hissed, "He may be a just a friend from your point of view, but to me, he's like my own brother. So watch your mouth!"

Turalyon pushed him away after delivering his words, causing him to almost fall off his chair. He regained his balance and was shocked by Turalyon's actions. Turalyon was already sitting calmly with anger still in his eyes. "Fine," The man was finally able to say, "If you really want to know, Battusai left Cop Bay about a half an hour ago because of a certain reason."

"Did he say why?"

The leader leaned forward, "Family matters. He left with the two Deicester knights and would probably reach the village of Tanx by morning if they do not stop to rest of course."

Turalyon was stunned, wondering to himself why Battusai would want to get to Tanx at a time like this. It's true that he has not seen Nadz for a couple of days now, but the defense of Cop Bay is more important than his sister. He picked up his sword and slowly made his way to the exit. Just right before he exits the room he says, "Thank you for your time sir."

The man however, was pleased that Turalyon was leaving, not wanting to have any more troubles. As he walks out of the station, he knew that Battusai left for a good reason though he don't know why. Normally Battusai would put his job first, but this is once in a while, so Turalyon accepted it. He then made his way to the barracks, wanting to see what the men are doing. He looks up to the sky, hoping that Battusai journey would be a safe journey.

Inside the room, Hugh was once again communing with the Wind spirits that surrounds him. Strangely though, the room here were filled with the Wind spirits, unlike the time when he challenged his old rival where it was difficult to summon each Wind spirits. As he sat on the ground in the corner as if he was a monk meditating, Slayn was looking out the window at the streets of Cop Bay. He had a big day tommorow since he and his friends were to get to the Dark Conter. Yatsubana did mention earlier that they had to go near an abandoned fishing resort where there would be a cave. Slayn walked to the bed and laid down to rest and looked up on the ceiling. He was about to drift to sleep but Hugh stopped him when he noisily rose from the corner. Slayn turned to him lazily, "Finish your meditating?"

Hugh sighed, "I was not meditating. I was merely..."

"Communing with the spirits." Slayn finished it for him. Slayn shooked his head, "I just don't know what's so fun about sitting at just one particular place and spend for about thirty minutes talking with some spirits that you can't even see."

"Hei! If you don't like all this spirits, you shouldn't even have learned those demon attack and other craps. Hell, if you can't stop complaining, you may as well stop being a Dark Conter."

Slayn rolled his eyes. He ignored what he said not liking what Hugh just said to him. He liad back to rest and not even realizing how tired he was, drifted to sleep at a blink of an eye. Hugh smiled because it was him, summoning the Wind spirits to use a special kind of wind that would cool a person off so good, that they would not even realize that their energy was drained. Hugh sat on the couch for a few more minutes trying to relax himself. He could still his neck and shoulders were in pain from excessive sword fighting and over use of Wind spells that morning. Of course, he asked the Wind spirits to heal his wounds.

Finally, feeling sleepy from a comfortable relaxation, he almost dozed off while sitting on the couch. He shook his head, trying to focus. He stood up and walked to the other unoccupied bed and he laid there. He could feel sleep coming to him and he shut his eyes. Finally he was asleep, but though he is asleep, he could still feel the Wind spirits that surrounds him.

35

Morning came fast, bringing light to the sieged city of Cop Bay. Attacked by Aggresival the day before, Cop Bay was lucky to be still standing tall from one of the most large numbers of Trebuchets that were used to attack the city. Luckily for them, Rocher City has sent an army to aid and reinforce the city and though the siege was over, at least the city was still in Rocher City's hands. As the sun gave light to the city, the guards that stayed awake for their duty finally changed their shift with the others.

The city was now filled with noise as a few villagers that went into hiding came back after they heard the news that Cop Bay was still owned by Rocher city and not by the Aggresival army. Most of the villagers went to do their daily routine while others went to sea to fish.

Yatsubana, normally to wake up first among his group raised himself from his bed. His long black hair was all messed up. He moved to the side of the bed and stayed there, trying to get back his energies. He walked to the toilet to wash up his face and then he tied up his hair. He walked out of the toilet feeling much more refreshed now and as he expected, he saw Vladmir reading his favourite book. Yatsubana ignored the old man and looked out the window with his bow in his right hand. Vladmir turned to him, "How come you don't ask why I'm awake so early?"

Yatsubana snickered, "You are to easy to get used to."

Vladmir shrugged and continued on reading his book. Yatsubana sighed looking as the soldiers passed by his window. He somehow had a feeling that the next encounter he is going to meet with Dillah would be his last. Still, no matter how his sister treats him or tries to kill him, he knows one thing that is certain. He will always love her. He walked pass Vladmir and walked out of the room. Just like what he always do, he went to the lobby and when he reached there, he was relieved that the dead bodies there were no longer there anymore.

Annete and Michelle awoke at the same time like as if they were woken up by someone. They looked at each other and then of course, their primary concern was that their hair were all messed up. Annete went into the bathroom first, making her hair which took her about five minutes. It was Michelle turn which didn't take very long since her hair is shorter compared to Annete's hair. The two women then packed up their belongings and got out of the room. Michelle almost forgot her spellbook though, but luckily remembered. She then locked the door and went to the lobby where they found Yatsubana sitted on a bench, waiting for them. Before they could say something, they heard footsteps coming from the hallway. They waited and it was Vladmir who appeared, his face covered because of his book.

"Well, this is a first." Yatsubana commented.

"First?" Vladmir asked giving a confused look.

"Well, compared to the usual times, this is the first time you came out of your room before Slayn and Hugh."

Vladmir smiled and after that continued reading his book. "Speaking of Slayn," Michelle said, "Where are they?"

Yatsubana shrugged, "Just be patient, they should come in a couple more minutes."

In the room, Slayn was still yawning from not having enough rest the previous night. It seems that the battle that they fought on the outskirts of Cop Bay really took Slayn, almost all of his bones and muscles soar. He was having difficulty of moving and complained bitterly about it. Hugh was somehow perfectly fine, still communing with the Wind spirits. Hugh somehow used the Wind spirits to heal his muscles though it would be better if the body recovered the pain by itself without any help. "Are you done yet?" Slayn said in a harsh voice.

Hugh who was silent opened his eyes and glared at Slayn angrily, "Will you have some patience? It's good enough that I have not abandoned you guys for my important position. This is why I always need to communte with the Wind spirits to give me an update on the current situation on the Wind Conter."

"But can't you hurry it up?"

"Patience my friend."

Slayn moaned. He knew that it was going to take some time before Hugh was going to be finished with this so called communing. He waited for a while longer, sitting on the couch facing the ceiling, waiting patiently for Hugh to be finished. Finally, after waiting about a full five minutes, Hugh raised himself from the corner and walked to Slayn. Strangely though, Slayn was not moving and when Hugh reached him, he knew why. Slayn was already sound asleep. Hugh sighed, not knowing that Slayn was so damn tired.

Hugh shook Slayn's body slowly and though he looked like his sleep was going to be a long one, Slayn fluttered one of his eyes. Seeing Hugh's face right infront of him, Slayn lazily raised himself up. "You finally done huh?"

Hugh simply nodded and Slayn was happy with that. The two of them cleaned the room and packed up their things and in just a few minutes, they were walking out of their rooms and their destination is to the Dark Conter. As they passed through the hallway, Hugh warned, "I forgot to tell you Slayn. Once we are teleported to the realm of the Dark Conter, time will fly fast in this world. One day we spend there is equal to about three days over here."

Slayn did not answer. The two of them continued on walking when they finally saw Vladmir from a distant and then they knew that they have reached the lobby. When they reached them, everybody was silent. Slayn looked at Yatsubana and then turned to Vladmir who was reading his book. Only then Annete asked, "Should we move out?"

Yatsubana responded, "Indeed. We should get going. The trip is going to take sometime to get to the Dark Conter."

"Sometime? I thought you said the teleporter was just right here at Cop Bay." Slayn said, his voice impatient.

"What I said is true, but the teleporter will just teleport us to a random area and from there, we will have to set out to find the Dark Conter. This finding thing is used by the Dark Conter to determine whether a fellow new member is worthy to sense the presence of the Dark Conter and thereby, able to find it's way to his destination."

"One more question," Annete asked catching Yatsubana's attention, "What if the guy is unable to find his destination."

Yatsubana shrugged, "Nothing actually. He is given a day to do so and if he is unable to find his way, he will be then chosen as a member. That is of course, he survives."

"Survives?"

"It is rumoured that the land around the Dark Conter are packed with lost souls and demons. These demons attack anything they see except for Dark Conters or other Conter member with a good reason of his coming."

Annete swallowed hard, not liking the idea. Yatsubana pushed open the door of the inn and allowed the bright sunlight to enter the inn. Slayn and Hugh walked right behind Yatsubana to show that they are ready to do what must be done. Slayn leaned against Hugh, "How come Yatsubana knows so much about the Dark Conter?"

"Yatsubana here is a Conter that studies each and every Conter's customs. This way he can easily keep track and update his Moon Conter about the other Conter's."

After packing up with supplies and food for their trip, they were off. They walked past the Rocher City soldiers as they do their duty. The streets were packed with nothing but soldiers, very few villagers are seen. Most of them were most likely fishing. They had to get to the harbour to get to their tracks and luckily for them that Yatsubana was familiar on which way to go. When they reached the harbour, they could see a few patroling battleships sailing around in case Aggresival attacks by sea.

Yatsubana felt the wind pass through him and then turned to his right. The others just followed his every move and before they know it, they were already out of the city but still close to the coast. Oddly though, before they entered Cop Bay, they had to pass through a forest but now, it's like as if they are now in a canyon of whatsoever. The ground was now hard and they normally had to step on the hard rocks, causing pain to their feet. Vladmir for the first time had to give up reading the book because of continously falling down from tripping.

The sun was luckily covered by the clouds above and Hugh summoned the Wind to give them some cool air. After about an hour of walking, Yatsubana stopped. "What's wrong?" Michelle asked.

Yatsubana did not answer but simply walked forward. After about a few metres, he turned to his right and went into some sort of cave. The others did not follow, not knowing what to do. To their surprise, Yatsubana stuck his head out, "Well, what are you all waiting for?"

Hugh's eyes were wide open, "You mean we're here already?"

"Yeah. Don't tell me you forgot?"

"I don't always come here you know."

Yatsubana rolled his eyes. Hugh knew that Yatsubana thinks that he is a complete idiot not knowing where the entrace to the Dark Conter realm. Slayn having lost his memory and the others not being a Conter member, he should know. They walked in to the cave and Michelle was already prepared to use a spell to cast some light into the cave. It seems that the surprise was still more to come because though the cave looked dark from the outside, when they walked in, the cave was as bright like as if it was the outside. Vladmir was also quite surprised and was about to say something until Yatsubana said something first, "You are all probably thinking why you guys can see so clearly in here right?"

"Yeah," Slayn replied, "I mean, from the outside, it looked completely dark."

Yatsubana grinned and looked at Hugh, "Hugh, I'm sure you know the answer to this right?"

Hugh nodded, "Guess so. The reason for this bizzare thing is to disguise this cave so that people think it was just like any normal cave. It's a Dark Conter technique called 'The uniform darkness.' The Dark Conter normally uses this spell to hide from others either escaping from something or like this cave, to hide a pathway."

"But how come we can see so brightly in here?" Annete asked.

"As I said just now, Dark Conter uses it only to hide pathways. This spell can easily be dispelled as long as you know that 'The uniform darkness' spell is being used. This way, the spell will be useless and the darkness shall be gone."

Vladmir raised his hand, "So does this mean that the cave is bright without this spell."

"Indeed. As you can see, there are torches around the cave walls but you probably did not realize it."

Vladmir was fascinated and then they all followed Yatsubana as he walked deeper into the cave. As they walked more deeper into the cave, they realized that there were more and more pictures about the demons and other demonic stuff. They ignored the pictures at first and continued on walking until five rows of pictures that caught their eye, even for Yatsubana who was in a hurry. From the first to the fifth pictures were titled above all five of them are 'The Leaders of the Dark Conter.'

The first Dark Conter leader was a tall man and slightly plump and he had a small little beard. The second picture reveals a man with almost the same height wearing a black armour and he was in an attacking stance. He was qutie handsome and he had long brown hair. The next two were twins, having the same face and hair colour. They all had the same features exept that they wore different outfit. The third was wearing a kind of shirt with demonic writings on it. The fourth leader was wearing a shiny armour and he has a long sword in it's sheath. When they moved on to the fifth leader, there was no picture of it. It was like as if some one torn it out. Nothing was there exept one little piece of paper that was stuck onto the potrait. The picture was torn but not completely. The remaining paper revealed the man's hand with a golden ring. It was a familiar ring but no one could place their finger on it.

"Come on," Slayn said, stratling everybody, "We are wasting precious time here."

Vladmir checked his watch and nodded, turning to the others, "He's right. We have wasted about fifteen minutes watching on these old pictures."

Yatsubana was surprised by the time they wasted but made no comments. Once again, he lead the group to where they needed to go. The cave was longer than they expected but it didn't take them very long, reaching the end of the cave with a machine. It was brownish in colour and the machine was like a large bellshape used in churches but has a doorway. It was mostly covered in dust and cobwebs but there was no time to clean it up. They all stepped in it and Yatsubana said aloud, "Destination to the Dark Conter realm!"

The machine started making some loud noises and was also annoying them. There were few flashes inside the machine and a beam of light aimed at all of them. Knowing that they were about to be transfered, the machine suddenly stopped. The lights and sound were gone. "What happened?" Slayn asked in a confused voice.

Yatsubana was also confused, not expecting this kind of things to happen. He walked out of the teleporter and inspected the whole area. When he came back to them, they all looked at him as if children that waited for their parents. He scratched his head, "This rarely happens. Hell, for all my years as a Moon Conter, I've never encountered this kind of problem."

"Can't you fix it?" Michelle asked, her voice more of impatience rather than concern.

"How can I fix something when I never have this problem. Besides, I am not a mechanic."

"So," Slayn interrupted, "Does this mean we can never get to the Dark Conter realm?"

Yatsubana did not respond. He also did not know what to say or what to think. He was now having a large problem. Not only can he not get to the Dark Conter realm, he can and other Conter members return to their own specific Conters. The others walked out of the machine and sat on the pile of rocks not very far. As he began walking to them, Vladmir called Yatsubana from the inside of the machine. Apparently, Vladmir was still inspecting the insde of the device and he explained, "Maybe I can fix this piece of crap. When the lights flashed on us, a piece was probably loose. If not, I think I can find other sources to fix this."

Yatsubana was glad to hear that and wanted to tell the others the good news but he had one last question which stopped him in his tracks. "Just how long will this take?"

Vladmir was already busy taking out his tools and stopped, estimating, "If I was correct about the light thing, should be just about an hour. If it's other sources, I can't tell."

Yatsubana sighed and walked to the others. He told them of the situation and Hugh, knowing the only possible way to pass the time is by communing with the Wind spirits. Yatsubana was not into that communing thing and decided that he was going to practise his shooting with his arrows. Slayn was thinking on what was he going to do in the next few hours. Just sitting on the pile of rocks were bad enough with spiders around the walls.

Luckily for Michelle, she was practising and trying to sharpen her spells. Ever since memorizing most of the spells that she used, the spellbook was already getting old. As for Annete, she had nothing to do so she just began exploring the cave and see what tresures she could possibly find. It was a useless attempt though because this cave was not a pirates cove but a place to hide the teleportation device.

Slayn walked out of the cave from boredome, only to find Yatsubana aimed right straight at him. He released the arrow but luckily, Slayn's reflexes were quick. At the nick of time, the arrow missed Slayn just by a few inches and ended up stuck onto the cave wall to his right. Slayn was shocked, "What are you? Crazy?" Slayn shouted to Yatsubana.

Yatsubana was also quite worried, his arms raised and walking slowly towards Slayn to show that he didn't mean it. Slayn was still quite angry despite Yatsubana apologizing, saying, "Do you know what could have happened if that damn arrow of yours precisely hit me?"

"I know," Yatsubana said with a sarcastic voice, "You would probably be dead on the floor right now."

"Damn right!"

"Just calm down. How should I know that you would come out of that cave at that time? I was aiming at that little bug over there."

Slayn's expression now changed from angry to confused, "What bug?"

Yatsubana simply pointed at his direction but just slightly a little more to the left which was for Slayn, the right side. There on the cave wall was an adult beetle but compared from Yatsubana's distance, it was indeed small and his aim was definitely good. "Let's just get into that bloody cave before you shoot someone that might later come out of the cave." Slayn said.

"Fine." Yatsubana replied and summoned a few Moon spirits to grab back his arrows.

The two of them walked back into the cave, passing through the same old pictures that they had passed through earlier. When they passed through the pictures that shows the former leaders of the Dark Conter Yatsubana pointed at one particular picture and asked, "Who the hell do you think that guy is?"

Slayn looked at where he was pointing and it was pointed to the torn picture that only shows the man's hands and a golden ring in his finger. Slayn looked at his ring and looks almost like his growlanser but it was not because his ring had more inscriptions compared to the one with his ring.

"Let's just move on." Slayn said.

Yatsubana shrugged, thinking Slayn probably know the man or something. The two of them continued on until they reached the teleporter. The others were no longer sitted at the rocks but were all standing near the teleporter. Vladmir was placing his wrench in his bag and noticed that Slayn and Yatsubana arrived, "Ah, good timing lads. I just fixed the machine and was about to use it."

"Are you trying to say you were going to teleport without us?" Slayn asked in an angry voice.

"Of course not. What I meant was that we were about to call you to get back here."

Yatsubana somehow doubted it but didn't bother to ask. The two of them walked to the machine with the others and Hugh went in first. The others followed. Vladmir after inspecting the surrounding areas, making sure that everywhere was secured and then finally walked in with them. They all waited and with nothing happening turned to Yatsubana.

Yatsubana sighed and then said in a loud voice, "Destination to the Dark Conter realm!"

Just like before, there were some strange noises that annoyed them and was followed by a few flashes inside. Finally from above, a beam of light aimed at all of them as if inspecting each and everyone of them. This time, after the beam of light inspected each of them from head to toe disappeared and the machine began to rattle. Michelle began to panic but she felt someone touched her. She turned and realized that it was Yatsubana. She knew that Yatsubana was trying to tell her it was alright. After a few seconds they all disappeared from the machine and landed elsewhere but everyone lost counscious.

Vladmir was the first to regain counsciousness and realized he was on a wet soil. He opened his eyes and could not see anything but a thick fog. His bag was still with him and though the fog prevented him from seeing anything near him, he could see that his friends were still with him. All of a sudden, he felt someone touched him and scared him, causing him to scream at the top of his lungs. "Calm down." A voice assured him.

He turned and realized that it was Yatsubana. "You really got to stop scaring me like that."

"I never intended to do so."

Then they could hear moans behind them. It seems that Slayn and the others were waking up already. They waited for them to clear their minds and Slayn was quite surprised at his surroundings. Hugh was rubbing his head as if he awoke after someone had knocked him out. "Where are we?" Annete asked.

Nobody answered her question as they were all too stunned exept for Yatsubana and Hugh. Finally after a few seconds of silence, Yatsubana said, "We are in the realm of the Dark Conter."

After riding for a day, the two riders finally reached their destination. The village was already filled with Deicester soldiers but the buildings were all completely destroyed or burnt. When a few soldiers guarding the entrance saw who was coming their way, they quickly moved to the sides allowing the general to come through. His face was filled with anger but also at the same time full of sadness that no one could place.

The other horse rider went to the stables to place his horse. As Battusai tied up his horse to a tree, he continued on walking to his sister's house, Nadz. Somehow though, the house was completely intact and not even a single part of the house was either destroyed or burnt. He went to the doorway but before he entered, he asked a guard, "Why have I been told there's an emergency about my sister's life when everything is still perfectly normal about the house?"

"Sir, the house is normal. But the generator is not."

Battusai eyes were now wide open and immediately burst into the house. Once again, there were a few other Deicester soldiers inside and were surprised to see Battusai. Knowing that he has come for his sister, they all quietly left the house exept for the doctors who were treating her. Battusai found her lying on her bed, already sick. "How is she?" Battusai asked one of the doctors.

The doctor shook his head, "I'm sorry sir, but she cannot live very long. She probably only got a few hours to live."

"There must be something you can do!"

"I'm sorry sir, but we all tried the best we could do to treat her but her immune system is too weak."

Battusai already started crying and could feel his tears rolling down his cheeks. He walked and took a sit next to his sister's bed. She was sound asleep but the moment she heard Battusai pulling a chair to sit next to her, her eyes fluttered open. Battusai held her hand in his, "Are you alright?"

She smiled, "What do you think?"

Battusai cleared his eyes from his tears, "Did you see who did this?"

"I'm not really sure." She coughed for a while, blood being spat out which brought the concern of Battusai, "All I saw was about eight men attacked the village. Five of them were killed easily but the other three destroyed the entire brigade of the Deicester forces that was protecting this village."

"Were you able to see their faces?"

She shook her head and coughed again, "But I saw one of them wield a golden metalic stick though. He was wearing a white suit."

Battusai nodded and was now filled with rage, "I swear that I will destroy that man!"

She wanted to tell him something and tried to raise her head from the pillow but the effort was too great and she fell back to her bed uncounscious. Battusai allowed her to rest and hoped that she will be better than ever. Unfortunately, this was not to be as the generator was impossible to repair. Battusai sat by his sister bedside day and night and most of the doctors insisted that he took some time to rest but he refused. On the fourth day, she awoke with her energy greatly weakened.

She tried to say something but no voice was heard. It was nothing but a low whisper. Knowing that his own sister wants to tell him something, he leaned to her closer, "What is it?"

"My brother, my life is coming to an end and..."

She started to cough again which lasted a few seconds. She had to rest for a while and once again, called Battusai to lean. He did so.

"Though I'm dying, I just have one request. Even though the person that's responsible for my death might be found, I do not want you to have only revenge in your heart."

Battusai nodded sadly as he cried now. He could feel her pulse start to beat slowly now and her body was getting cold. Just when he thought she was dead, she whispered once more, "Battusai... I love you..."

After she said that, her lips spread with a smile and her eyes slowly closed forever. Everything was silent for a moment and all Battusai did was watch at Nadz, absolutely stunned. He felt as if his life had no more meaning already since his sister is now dead. He would do anything to kill the man but he recalled what his sister said, "I do not want you to have only revenge in your heart."

He slowly walked out of the house shakily and knew he does not want to live anymore. Suicide was a good choice but he did not want to do so. That was when he got an idea that would not only take his life but a fight between him and his closest friend.

36

The whole area was filled with fog and the ground was soft with mud. The wind was cold as it blew across their faces from head to toe. The sky was gray and they were surrounded by mountains. The mountains were like volcanoes that erupted years ago with ash all around them. They could barely see anything in the fog but strangely the mountains were able to be seen. There was no pathway that they could follow though.

Yatsubana needed some kind of scout since he was the archer. Most of the archers were scouts but still, he did not want to take the risk to get lost in this wilderness. All six of them just sat on the wet muddy ground, waiting for a solution. Exept for Hugh, he was meditating and asking the Wind spirits for a solution. "Now what?" Vladmir asked.

"I have no idea." Yatsubana said.

"Does this mean we're stuck in this dimension?"

Yatsubana was fustrated with this fog, "I remember there was a trick to this. This whole fog... I remember the last time I came here, I easily passed through this fog."

Vladmir cursed silently to himself, not liking what he just heard. He sighed heavily and took a seat on the ground, dirtying his pants. He had no choice though, the whole area was muddy and there were no rocks to seat. He took out his favourite book from his backback and flipped it open to the page where he last read. "Well, at least Vladmir got something to do while we are sitted here doing nothing." Annete muttered.

They waited for an hour and there was still no solution to their problems. Everyone was already growing restless exept for Hugh and Vladmir. It was at that moment when Hugh realized the solution to their problems. He opened his eyes and looked at Slayn, "Slayn, I need you to do me a little favour. Hell, its a favour for us actually."

Slayn turned, "Yeah? What is it?"

"I need you to stand up and shout 'Dispell!'"

"Why?"

"Just do it!"

Slayn shrugged and stood up to do what he was told. Michelle walked to where Hugh was and asked him, "Why are you asking him to do this."

"Remember what Yatsubana told us earlier in the cave? The Dark Conter made the cave dark so that some travellers will not suspect anything."

Michelle scratched her head trying to remember. She nodded, "Yeah, why?"

"Well, while I've been communing with some of the Wind spirits, I asked them on how to solve this problem. They told me that the Dark Conter placed this kind of mist technique to test a new Dark Conter member as his first test. The problem is that only a Dark Conter member is allowed to dispell this test and since Slayn is a Dark Conter, he has the honour of helping us out."

Everyone were surprised and did not actually believe that the fog was just actually a Dark Conter spell. As they watched Slayn stand up and shouted, "Dispell!"

A few seconds later just like Hugh explained, the fog around them began to disappear. It was like as if something was sucking the fog slowly but whatever the explanation was, Hugh was right. It was working well and in just a matter of seconds, the whole area was clear. They could see a pathway but was still dirty and wet with mud. Surrounding them were the volcanoes or mountains. "Alright then," Yatsubana said first and turned to the rest of them, "Let's get going."

Everyone agreed and Vladmir placed his precious book back into the bag. Just as they were about to move out, Annete spotted something that was never seen in the other world from a distance that was headed their way. "What's that?" She asked, pointing at the dark figure walking towards them with two wings and a horn. It's legs were scratched and it had claws instead of fingers.

"That," Yatsubana explained, "Is the demon that I said earlier would attack a new Dark Conter member as a test. Of course we could explain to that demon about our objective but for once, I would like to test how strong this demon is."

"What are you suggesting?" Hugh asked, already knowing what Yatsubana's intentions are.

Yatsubana just gave a smile as he took out his bow and then placed an arrow and took aim. The demon upon seeing Yatsubana with his bow suddenly disappeared. "What happened?" Michelle asked.

"Calm down. The demon is still there. The demon though invisible to your eyes, we can still see it. The reason for this is that the demon makes sure that we are Conter so our eyes are able to see this demon."

Michelle nodded slowly, still quite confused. Yatsubana was not even listening to the whole thing as he aims the demon and making sure that he will kill it with just one shot. As the demon approaches, he releases his arrow hoping the shot would be precise. As it soars through the wind, the arrow stopped all of a sudden and out of nowhere, the demon was revealed.

Suffering with an arrow right in it's chest, it slowly sank to the muddy ground. Vladmir was startled to see the demon appear out of nowhere. It was hideous, having brown skin and around six eyes placed in random areas of its face. The horns were not very long as expected and most of the claws were covered with blood. Though it was struggling for dear life, it seems satisfied that Yatsubana was a Conter member. Vladmir was the first to walk towards it and bend down to take a closer look. The demon was already dead by the time he reach it and Vladmir took out Yatsubana's arrow and tossed it to the floor.

The others just watched Vladmir from the distance, not wanting to know what he was going to do. Instead, they just packed up their belongings and were ready to head to the Dark Conter. Vladmir took a sample of the demons blood which was mixed with green and red colour. Vladmir knew that this sample of blood would proove to be a challenge in his experiments to find out what kind of creature it was. When he was finished, he followed the others that are walking away, following the path way.

None of them really knew the way to the Dark Conter and though they have been walking for hours, the sky never grew any brighter nor darker. Travelling in the abandoned pathway for hours gave everyone the chills, having the feelings like as if someone or something was watching them. Behind them, the wind howled softly as dust particles were swept away. They finally left the mountain or volcanic areas and enter an area where there is nothing but an enourmous field with absolutely nothing.

The grass was dead and the sky were this time darker with no clouds. They continued walking straight even though the pathway disappeared a long time ago. The group rested for a while after walking for hours, setting up a camp fire to scare off any demons that were nearby. "It's almost midnight in the real world. We have been travelling for almost twelve hours straight! We should get some rest." Vladmir suggested.

"How do you know?" Michelle asked him.

"I got a watch. I ain't smart for nothing you know."

The others snickered on what he just said. He was right though because Yatsubana yawned, feeling his life enerygy running low. Yatsubana rubbed his eyes and told the others that he was going off to sleep. He placed his bow next to his tent and went in and everything was silent. The only thing that they could all hear was the sparkling flame. The fire was like as if it was dancing. The other two women went to sleep a few minutes later, yawning a couple of times until they finally realized that they had to rest their tired eyes.

Vladmir was reading his book but from the look of his eyes, he was tired. As he continued on reading the book fighting his heavy eyes, Slayn and Hugh were talking. "How long is the journey to the Dark Conter?" Slayn asked.

"It shouldn't be very far," Hugh said, "We should be able to reach it by tommorow morning."

"Thank goodness for that. I'm getting sick and tired of this world. There's nothing here but an empty space and the whole area is dark."

Hugh snickered, lying down with his arms used as a pillow for his head, "I remember when I was a normal man going for my training to be a Wind Conter."

Slayn was surprised since he never heard Hugh saying this, "Was the training similiar to this?"

Hugh thought for a while trying to gather back his memories. He smiled, "I would say almost the same. For Wind Conter, the test was to first find a specific wind direction and follow the wind to guide us. Like you Dark Conter demons, we have to survive any sandstorms or anything. Once we reach the Wind Conter, we pass the test."

Slayn nodded and turned to Vladmir who was already sleepng soundly with his book covering his old tired face. The fire was still strong as the wind howled around them. Slayn yawned, "I think I would get to sleep now."

"Me too. We got a long day tommorow."

The two raised themselves from their seats and headed for the tent. Slayn was struggling to get into his sleeping bag while Hugh easily slipped into his own. They left Vladmir outside sleeping, not wanting to disturb his sleep and complained not to disturb them. They slept soundly as the whole area was silent with nothing disturbing them. Strangely though, Slayn could have sworn he was dreaming but he thought he just heard someone call his name...

The fire had been out after it has finished burning all the firewood it needed to burn until they all woke up. Vladmir was the first one to wake up, feeling his own saliva on his face due to his drooling with the book on his face, causing it to smug everywhere on his face. He pushed the book away and cleaned his face up. After that was done, he took his backpack and put his book into his backpack and waited for the others to wake up.

He waited patiently for twenty minutes doing absolutely nothing. He looked at the burnt out branches and wondered if demons were really afraid of fire. He heard some moans coming from Yatsubana's tent and knew that he was waking up. Yatsubana always made some noises when he awoke. Yatsubana slowly came out of tent, his eyes still yearning for some sleep. He had his bow and his arrows on his back and he sat next to Vladmir, trying to have a little nap. Vladmir took out his book and began reading to pass the time while the two of them wait for the others to wake up from their sleep. Just as Yatsubana was about to doze off, the rest of the group were awake.

The sky was still the same, grey with no sun to shine on them. Slayn now wished that he could feel the beating sun when they have been travelling from city to city in the other world. Here, the whole place is deserted with no life source exept for the first demon that they encountered. As all of them regained their strength and cleaned up the area, all six of them continued on their journey to the Dark Conter.

After about two hours of walking endlessly in the dead lands, the group sighted something that they were looking for since the day they arrived in this forsaken land. There was a large greyish building right infront of them with a large door. "That is the Dark Conter." Hugh said.

"That's it?" Slayn asked, pointing to the building.

Yatsubana nodded, "That's it alright."

Slayn looked at the structure. From his point of view, the whole building was not in a very stable state, most of it's walls were cracked and the upper windows were filled with cobwebs which could be seen from such a distance away. As all of them approached the building, a man wearing a black robe with long black hair came out of the doorway. The man was bending and was somehow expecting their arrival. Hugh concentrated at the man and when he saw the man's features, he knew that man was the guy that Harlian was talking about. Sensing that Hugh already knew him, the man weakly nodded and walked back inside.

"Hei," Annete said, "Where's he going?"

"The man is probably getting ready for our coming or something." Vladmir guessed.

Annete looked at the old man ridiculously. "Oh come on. These people are living in this forsaken world and do you actually think that they have all these parties that we do?"

"Who said anything about parties?"

"My point is, that they aren't going to have any parties or any welcoming commitee's."

Slayn now felt a feeling he has once felt a few times in the other world. The inside of him is burning with energy but he don't know why. They entered the building and inside, there were a fleet of steps heading down. All six of them continued on walking, torches of fire were hanged by the walls to give the place some light. Slayn now remembered in his flashbacks where he was in the meeting room. There were paintings and torches of fire by the walls in the meeting room. Sadly, because of his memories during the battle, Matthew died to save Slayn's life.

After a few seconds of walking down from the stairs, Yatsubana saw a room and he could see a few shadow standing which means that a few people were waiting for them. He turned to Hugh and then to Slayn, his eyes telling them about what he saw. Hugh nodded and tried to bring in a few Wind spirits around him. Slayn was blank though.

As they entered the room, the sight before them was not what they expected. It was enormous and strangely, the room was bright even though there were no fires or anything that was suppose to somehow lighten up the room. Slayn saw the same man earlier in the robe with two other man behind on his left and right side. Now they were able to see more of his features. A man around his fifties with his long black hair, he had a thick mustache and could not detect any wrinkles. Perhaps he wasn't that old, Slayn thought to himself.

The men just looked at Slayn, ignoring the others. They seemed to be waiting for Slayn to respond or at least say something. Hugh nudged Slayn. "Err... Hei?"

The man in the centre gave a confused look. "What is wrong with you, milord?" He asked.

"Milord?"

"Do you not remember who you are?"

Slayn was lost. Hugh waled infront of Slayn to take his place, "He still does not have his full memory but I assure you, he has learnt a few Dark Conter spells that he should at least know."

"And you are?" The man asked in a demanding voice.

"I am Hugh from the Wind Conter."

The man was impressed, nodding with a smile, "So you're the new Wind Conter leader that I've heard."

Yatsubana's jaw dropped, "Wind Conter leader? Since when?"

Hugh sighed, "A few days ago. I didn't tell anybody but I was elected the leader because of a reason that I think you should know yourself."

"Enough..." The man intervened, "This is not what you have all come to discuss about."

All of them then kept their mouths shut. The man continued, "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Felix and currently the Dark Conter leader in Slayn's absence."

Yatsubana now lurched forward, "Dark Conter leader in Slayn's absence? You mean he is the Dark Conter leader??"

The man nodded and he turned his back on them and started to walk away. The other two followed him and then only the man turned, "Come, we have a lot to discuss. Standing here will be too long for all of us to endure."

As the man walked away, the others followed, not knowing what else to expect in the forsaken world.

It's been three days now as he strives from city to city looking for that particular man. His heart and soul has been filled with vengeance as he swore to himself to slay that very person. After gathering the information that he needed for the last two days, it was worth it. Thanks to all the information he has gathered, here he was now in the city of Burnstein, one of the most sacred city of all the continents. As Battusai now walks alone with his trusted red katana, he wonders where this person could be at this hour.

The moonlight shines on his shoulders on the silent streets of Burnstein city. The temple of Mortati is even located here which makes the city quite well known and has never suffered an attack from any other cities during a war. As he walks alone in the night's street, he hears some footsteps which he could tell were definitely not his. He stopped for a few seconds and he still heard the footsteps about one second longer. He now confirmed that he was being followed. Being an experienced soldier, he knew that the best thing he should do right now is to pretend that he doesn't know about that man's presence. He placed his arm at his katana and was ready to finish that man off. Battusai stopped and turned around quickly, taking his katana out. Battusai came into an offensive stance and he could see the man's shadow. "Come on out! I know you're there."

Silence.

The man didn't answer. Battusai took one step closer and upon hearing Battusai footsteps, the shadow leaped forward. Battusai saw this and immediately jumped out of the way, feeling a small slash to his left ribs. He rolled around the hard ground and looked back at his enemy, his sword now drawn out. From what he could see in the darkness, his attacker was wearing some kind of black suit with plenty of buttons around his suit. He was wearing a black sunglasses, shaped with a circle and his hair was white and messy. "What are you? Some kind of mental patient?" Battusai said.

The man smiled, wielding a silver blade that shinned in the darkness of the moonlight. "You are Battusai, general of the Deicester army, are you not?"

Battusai stood up with his sword by his side, "How do you know of me?"

The man shrugged, "I personally don't know you but my master is searching for you. He said he has a proposal for you and is interested with your abilities."

Battusai shooked his head, telling the man that he was not interested. The man though did not like the respond and was ready to protest. Before he could utter a word, Battusai was already behind him, his katana close to the man's neck, threatening him, "Who are you?"

"So your abilities are exactly what my master said. My name is Dillan and I am here to give you a proposal from Zion, the lord of darkness."

Battusai went silent now. He have heard of that man's name, the man that Hugh and his companions were hunting. It seems that this guy was working for him and if he could make this man talk and find out of Zion's location, he could pay the debt he owed to Hugh for saving his life at Cop Bay. "Where is Zion now?"

Dillan did not answer but instead gave a smile, "Look behind you."

Battusai followed what the man said and even from the darkness, he could see a man leaning against a wall. Feeling Battusai gaze upon him, he walked out of the shadows. The moment Battusai saw his true features, his jaw dropped wide open. This was the same man that attacked him and Turalyon at their meeting room, the man that convinced the two of them to help both Xironia and Rocher city to crush Aggresival. You bastard, Battusai could hear him saying that word, but his lips just couldn't utter the words. He could feel himself tremble, not knowing why.

The newcomer smiled as he reveals his weapon, a golden metalic kind of stick. "Battusai, the right hand of Turalyon and second in command of the Deicester army. Are you shaking in fear? Or maybe excitement?"

Battusai let go of Dillan, not realizing that he did. He almost dropped his katana but somehow managed to get back to his senses. "What do you want from me?"

"Nothing specific. Just join me and all is said and done."

"You do know that Hugh and the others are after you?"

Zion laughed. "Do you think I am afraid of them? I have met them twice now. On our first encounter, I've beaten all four of them single handedly and they couldn't even stop me on our second encounter. Do you really think that they can beat me?"

"Then why do you need me?"

"Well, its your choice anyway. If you join me, I will make sure the demons spare you during the invasion but if you don't... Well, you should know."

Battusai now moved into an offensive stance, trying to threaten Zion but knew it was useless when Zion just returned with a smile. Battusai relaxed his shoulders, "You do know that I would never betray Deicester."

Zion shrugged, "I thought you would say that."

Zion started to walk away, Dillan following him from behind, placing his katanainto its sheath. Battusai saw the sword and he now knows who was the other person that posesses the weapon. In this world, only two people Kamigas were created by the featherians and were given to their strongest warriors. During the purge of the featherians, one of the champions gave the Kamigas to Turalyon while the other champion was killed by an unknown person. Dillan looked back, knowing what Battusai was thinking. Zion suddenly stopped, "Before I leave Battusai..."

This caught Battusai attention, glaring back at the white suited man. Zion, knowing caught his attention continued, "I saw the fear when I could have killed your sister but I let her suffer and destroyed the generator. What was her name? Nadz right?"

Battusai could not have believed his ears. He could feel his soul burning inside him, rage growing inside him. He took out his sword and shouted, "You killed my sister?!?"

Zion now laughed, looking at Battusai eyes demanding an answer. Zion didn't need to answer him since the answer was already mentioned. Battusai could not take it any longer and ran forward with his katana above his eyes.

Dillan, protecting his master quickly took out his Kamigas and knowing that Battusai was in an offensive state, moved to a defensive state. Battusai looked at Dillan's eyes, though blocked by his sunglasses shouted, "Get the hell out of my way!"

Dillan did not even move a muscle. Battusai didn't care and sprang forward with unmatchable speed. Even for a Wind Conter like Dillan, being naturally fast could not even match with 'The Yellow Flash of Deicester.' Dillan tried to block the attack but failed to do so, able to feel steel cutting through his left rib. Dillan jumped back and then kneeled, placing his arm on his wound. He could feel his blood from the cut. Battusai now stood tall infront of Dillan, telling him not to underestimate him. Dillan slowly raised himself and asked the Kamigas to grant him extra speed.

Battusai scoffed at what Dillan was trying to do. His friend also posesses the Kamigas so he knew what Dillan asked. "Do you really think the Kamigas can grant you enough speed to match with mine?"

Dillan looked at Battusai eyes and his eyes were confident. He has never fought anyone with such extreme speed and sword fighting skills. Dillan looked at Zion who was also watching the fight. Now I know why you have chose him to join us, Dillan thought to himself. He looked back at his opponent only to find Battusai running towards him, his sword at his side, showing that he was trying to probably cut him in half.

Dillan with now some extra speed moved back to at least get some space to block the attack. Battusai saw his move and now started to use his speed and ran in a zig-zag movement to confuse his enemy. Dillan's eyes were watching his movements but the speed were too great and used his other option. He placed his arm infront of him with an open palm and then chanted a word. Battusai ignored this and continued moving in a zig-zag movement. All of a sudden, Battusai was pushed by an invisible force but was able to tell that it was by a powerful kind of wind. Dillan smiled, watching Battusai fall to the ground with surprise.

Battusai dropped his katana and watched as Dillan relaxing himself. He picked up his katana and didn't care, running to him again. Dillan laughed, "I realize that the only for me to beat you is to be a far range attacker."

As Battusai now tries to increase his speed to reach him, Dillan this time waved his hand sideways. As Battusai nears his enemy, a gust of wind blew him away but the winds were like as if they were guided by knives as there were a few scratches made to his arms. He fell to the ground again, scars everywhere. His general suit has never been this damaged before.

Dillan smiled, "Do you think you can beat a far and melee enemy? Battusai?"

Battusai now started sweating, knowing that Dillan was not an enemy he can defeat easily. He raised himself slowly, his scars causing pain everywhere around his body. Even his katana has some of his blood on it. Battusai now gave Dillan a cold stare, "I've never been this serious since the war fifteen years ago."

Dillan laughed, "Are you threatening me? Yellow Flash?"

Battusai just gave a smile of confidence and as fast as lightning, he dashed to his opponent directly. Dillan laughed, "Are you underestimating me? Heading head on to me?"

Battusai ignored the insult and continued running with his great speed, holding his sword at the back of his hand. Dillan waved sideways again, the same spell that he used earlier. Battusai thought so and jumped sideways, escaping the spell. Dillan was shocked as Battusai was right infront of him now, ready to slice his throat. Dillan immediately took out his Kamigas and blocked the impact on time, causing him to move backwards from the impact of Battusai speed.

Battusai continued on, jumping forward and was able to slice Dillan at his left part of his chest, blood splurting out. Dillan was losing now and as he sees Battusai prepare for another attack, Dillan quickly summoned a minor cyclone on Battusai, giving him enough time to get back his energy to fight him. Battusai was now spinning around but when the cyclone stopped, Battusai was ready for the attack. Dillan was still wounded, now on the ground. As Battusai slowly walk to his wounded opponent, Dillan crawled away slowly, "Please, spare me."

Battusai ignored the plea, his sword above him, ready to slay Dillan. Dillan could finish Battusai off with a powerful Wind Conter spell but he was told not to do so. As Battusai reached him and his sword raised, Zion started clapping. This caught Battusai attention, stopping the kill and turning to Zion.

Zion smiled, "You are indeed powerful."

"I sure would like to spill your blood with my sword right now!"

Zion shrugged, "Go ahead and try."

"This is for my sister!" He shouted.

Battusai with nothing but rage in his soul immediately ran to the man who was responsible in his sister's death. As Battusai reached him, a black demon appeared out of nowhere, going through Battusai body and when it came out, it was gone. Battusai felt as if his life was taken away, as he stood right infront of Zion in shock, like as if he was a madman. He dropped his katana and he went down to his knees, having difficulty of breathing. Dillan was now standing next to Zion and he turned to his master, asking, "Did you really have to use 'The demon soul' on him?"

"I'm afraid so. He's a stuborn man and this Dark Conter spell was perfect for him."

"And you didn't even move a muscle to beat him."

Zion laughed, patting Dillan's back, "Too easy. I've beaten him and his friend Turalyon once at their meeting room once."

Battusai though struggling with every ounce of breath, asked, "What the hell did you do to me?"

Zion bent down, face to face with Battusai, "Nothing. The demon merely sucked out about ninety percent of your energy and if you still do not want to join me, you will be breaking your promise to your sister?"

"What promise?" Battusai asked with confusion.

Zion sighed, "If I'm not mistaken, she told you not to have revenge in your heart and I also know that now your sister is dead, you have nothing left in this forsaken world. So why not serve me?"

Battusai could feel his life going away but what this man said was true. Zion raised himself up and said something to Dillan. Dillan nodded and went somewhere else. Battusai eyes were already getting heavy and though he knows that he could be betraying Deicester, he thinks that he no longer serve them since they failed in protecting his sister. Right before he went to a faint, he could feel someone picking him up and carrying him away.

37

As they travel along the corridor, Slayn wondered what secrets would be revealed to him in just a few minutes. Still, though he was excited, he could feel as if Zion has just acquired a new recruit that could be troublesome in their final meeting. As Felix guided the group to where they could discuss about the past on Slayn's life and also what Zion's true intentions are, Slayn asked Felix, "So who is the leader of the Dark Conter currently?"

Felix turned back, "Currently, I hold that position.

Slayn was not surprised, seeing that Felix was a loyal member to the Dark Conter. Hugh was quite fascinated with the surroundings of the Dark Conter. There were lots of pictures about the demons and how the Dark Conter were in charge of death and other things related to it. The place was getting quite dark as there getting fewer and fewer of the fire torches by the walls. "How far is this room?" Annete asked.

Felix did not answer. It was like as if he had never heard Annete asking him the question. She was about to repeat the question when she felt a pull by her shoulder. It was Yatsubana. He whispered to her, "I'm sorry to say this but most Conter members do not talk to anybody out of the Conter."

"What about you and Hugh? How come you guys talk to other normal people."

"I haven't explain to you about the two types of members in each and every Conters. In a Conter, if you're the active member, which means you go to the other world like yours, we are allowed to talk and do whatever we want. We are the warriors of our Conter."

Annete nodded, looking back at Felix.

Yatsubana continued, "As for others, like him, they are the thinking kind of members. They are the far more wiser kinds and will stay here at their Conter to update the warriors on any kind of emergency."

Now Annete understood a little bit of the Conter's rules. This probably means that Felix has lived quite a boring life with the others. She was lucky she did not have to endure any kind of boredome like that in her world.

As they continued on walking for another few more minutes, they approached a door with the doorknobs that looks like a demons head. Felix turned the demon knob and went into the room. As he entered the room and Yatsubana walking in, Felix warned, "Tell your friends not to touch the demon knob. Anybody that does not belong to a Conter, the demon head shall bite it and drain all of its blood till its dead."

Yatsubana nodded and turned to the others. Looking at their reactions, he could tell that they heard what Felix said. Annete was beginning to regret following them here. It was like anybody that does not belong to a Conter is not being treated fairly. Inside the room, Slayn was quite surprised about the room. The room was the same meeting room he had once forseen in one of his flashbacks. Felix took a seat, waiting for them to find a seat. Of course, it didn't take them very long to find one.

"No chance of a water?" Vladmir asked jokingly.

Felix seriousness in his face embarrased Vladmir, scratching his head. Knowing that this meeting isn't going to have any relations with him, he took out his favourite book from his backpack and started reading.

Slayn waited for Felix to start with his explanation as he rests his chin on his palms. He knows he has to hurry to stop Zion from whatever he was going to do. Felix started, "As you should all know, Slayn was and should be the original Dark Conter leader but he lost his position after he was killed.."

Hugh intervened, "And the person who did it was Zion, right?"

Felix smiled for once, turning to Hugh, "That is to be expected from the Wind Conter leader."

Yatsubana scoffed, "Yeah right! I was the one that tried to get Abdulah's memories at Antholme and he so happened got to see one of the memories in Slayn."

"Seriously, I already knew that it was Zion."

Felix stopped the two of them, "We really need to hurry. There is no time for the two of you to debate whether who knew first."

Yatsubana nodded and apologised, fixing his chair to sit more comfortably. Hugh rolled his eyes and summoned a wind to blow towards him, feeling the heat in the meeting room.

Slayn now questioned Felix, "So how was I killed?"

Felix seems to be interested in Slayn's question, respecting the Dark Conter leader, "Yes lord. You were elected a Dark Conter leader because of your sword fighting skills and your knowledge of the Dark skills. Zion, the other competitor that could have been elected to be Dark Conter leader was angered by this decision. When you were in this meeting room with your wife and your only child, Zion came in here and killed you with a special spell known as 'The Demon scythe'. It is a spell that only Dark Conter leader's should know as an instant kill spell."

"Instant kill spell?"

Felix turned to Hugh, his hands on his chest listening to the conversation between the two patiently. "Perhaps the Wind Conter leader could explain this?"

Hugh sighed, Slayn putting his atention on his close friend, "Slayn, you remember the time I showed you the spell in which I explained that the tornadoes were so powerful that they could turn my enemy into tiny particles?"

Slayn nodded.

"Well, that was an instant kill spell for the Wind Conter leader. There are three unique spells for each Conter's leader that only the leader knows. One is to kill instantly, the other is to fatally wound an enemy and the other is the ultimate spell, though I haven't learnt it."

Slayn nodded, then turned to Felix, "So you're saying that Zion somehow was able to learn this spell that only a leader should know?"
Felix nodded, "He killed you in an instant. Your wife was killed before you died but your son was saved after we teleported him to somewhere safe."

"And how is it that I'm still alive right here right now?"

"Well, the Dark Conter's leader ultimate spell is to survive death. We think that before the demon went through you and took your soul, you used your ultimate spell. Your soul left your body and hunted for another body that 'died' at the same moment you left your body. Luckily for you, someone really did die at that time and you survived your fate."

"And Zion does not know about this?"

Felix nodded. Slayn was in awe, not knowing what to think. While he was still confused about his life, he suddenly remembered about the pictures of the previously Dark Conter leaders. He asked, "Who was the fifth Dark Conter leader by the way?"

"That's you my lord."

Now everyone exchanged looks. They all looked at Slayn who was also confused, with the exeption of Felix who already knows about this.

"Are you telling me that I posess the growlanser when I was still alive?"

Felix was quite surprised about what his lord has just said. He have heard of the growlanser before, a legendary weapon that could be summoned when needed, but there only exists three. "My lord, you gave your growlanser to your son as a gift."

Slayn gave a confused look, so did the others. "If Slayn gave the ring to his son, whose growlanser is the one he has now?" Annete said.

Felix was now confused more than ever. He looked at Slayn and asked, "My lord, are you sure you have the ring?

Slayn simply nodded.

"From what I know, there exists only three growlanser rings that exists in this world." Felix then looked at Slayn's ring, "Is your weapon a scythe?"

"No. Mine is a sword."

Felix was silent now. He didn't know what to think or say as things were just getting too confusing. Yatsubana interrupted, "Enough of this. It doesn't really matter whether he has a sword or not, we came here to find out about Slayn's past so that he can be at his full potential."

Felix agreed and was about to say something but Slayn stopped him, "Just one last question. Where is my son now? His exact location."

"After your presumed death, we teleported your son to some kind of project that the featherians were building to take some of the population to a new world. We sent your son to be one of them and he's probably safe with them."

Slayn was stunned. He was at the Space-Time project and his son was actually there. How could he have not seen him or sense him. For the first time after all these months, Slayn shed some tears from his eyes. Felix watched as his lord cries but there is nothing he could do to comfort him. Yatsubana asked once more, "So what do you know of that bastard Zion's plan?"

Felix placed his attention to Yatsubana now, clearing his throat, "As you all should know, the outside world is right now having a war against Aggresival. We believe that in order for Zion to carry out his plan, he is going to need to collect precisely twenty thousand souls."

"Twenty thousand souls?"

"Yes. It is stated by Mortati, the founder of all the four Conter's, after he created the three most powerful gemstone, one of them being the Dark crystal and if they were to be reunited to form the ultimate gemstone, they can commence the summoning."

"What summoning?" Annete asked.

Though Felix didn't want to answer her question, he knew that these non-Conter's were going to be involved in this part so he knew he has to break the rule. Right before he could answer her question, Vladmir interrupted, "Is it the 'Summoning of judgement'?"

Felix turned to the middle-aged scientist, impressed, "You have heard of it?"

Vladmir smiled, putting his book on the table, "I've read about all these kind of craps. The 'Summoning of judgement' is a summoning that were to be commenced by either all four of the Conter's leaders or the gemstone. The gemstone that Zion got at the temple of Mortati after combining all three gemstones. With this gemstone, they just need a leader of any kind of Conter to commence the summoning of the demons."

"What demons?" Slayn asked, his voice filled with concern. Demons were the last thing he would like to fight as he does not like to look at their eyes when fighting them.

"These demons were said to be the creatures to destroy this world at judgement day. Although they can be summoned anytime as explained by Vladmir earlier, they will appear at judgement day."

"Then why the hell is Zion trying to summon them?"

"Most likely, he wants the demons to co-operate with him to either destroy or rule this world. The demons aren't very bright and would do anything to be summoned as soon as possible."

Everyone around the table was silent after hearing Felix explanation of the 'Summoning of judgement'. The demons were said to be so powerful that it could just one of it can take out five brigades with just one swipe of its attack. If they are talking about an invasion, this world is already destroyed even if all the Conter and armies united together. From what they could remember, it took both Turalyon and Battusai with the six of them to take out five brigades which almost killed them. This means that their numbers are just the strength of one of the demons. For the first time since arriving here, Slayn could feel himself shivering from fear.

Hugh protested, "But Zion's not even a leader! He can't be able to summon the demon himself even with the gemstone's help!"

"Unfortunately," Felix explained with bad news in his voice, "After Zion killed Slayn in the fight, we had no choice but to make Zion the Dark Conter leader since he was the other candidate for the position."

"So does that mean he is currently the Dark Conter leader?" Annete asked.

Felix shook his head to Annete's surprise. "I already said earlier that I am the Dark Conter in Slayn's absence."

"But I thought you said..."

Felix stopped Annete from finishing her sentence. "Allow me to finish my explanation. After Slayn was killed, Zion was selected as the Dark Conter leader although most of us refused to accept him as a leader. Also, Zion became a leader not because he wants to lead us or any other things that leaders would do but to gain the knowledge of certain spells and that is where he found out about the secret about the gemstone. After finding out about this information, he left the Dark Conter. He obviously wanted to start this conquest. So he still has the position as a Dark Conter leader if he returns which means that the Dark Conter actually currently presently three leaders including me."

Slayn was surprised about Felix explanation. After just listening Felix of his explanation, he voiced out, "I thought everyone that belongs to a Conter would know about the gemstone?"

"Not all." Hugh answered for Felix, pitying him for doing all the talking since they got here. "Only high ranks of every Conter knows about this information. For the Dark Conter, only leaders were to know about this. As for the Wind Conter, the contestant for the leader position and the leader knows of this." Hugh then faced Yatsubana who getting bored of the whole conversation, "If I'm not mistaken, only the Moon Conter and three high rank Moon Conter members were allowed for this information right?"

Yatsubana simply nodded.

Slayn now understood some of the things he wanted to know and asked another question and a question which was for Felix, "What about the twenty thousand souls you mentioned earlier?"

"What about it?"

"Just how the hell does he collect the souls?"

"That is what the gemstone is for. To collect souls and as a source of power for the user."

"And why the hell does he need that much amount of souls?"

"Right. I forgot to explain to you about that. Although Mortati did state that either having the Conter's leader to commence the summoning or by the gemstone. If the summoning were to be commenced by using the gemstone, the demons would need an amount of twenty thousand souls, and with the war going from the other world, it does seem possible to collect that amount in a short time."

Annete's jaws were now wide open, "Now I know why Deicester city has agreed to ally with Xironia to defeat Aggresival. With the entrance of Deicester into the war, this would ensure more deaths as more battles will occur!"

Yatsubana turned to Annete with a disgraced look, "Are you saying that Deicester was working with Zion? Harlian would do no such thing!"

"We have no time for this!" Felix stood up and shouted, silencing the two of them. he took a deep breath and took his back his seat calmly. He was now more serious than ever. "I now realize that our situation is becoming worse. From the fairy that is hanging around Slayn, I can tell that is a Dark Conter fairy, are you not?"

Deez was surprised that Felix would put any attention at a mere fairy. Slayn turned to his little friend and smiled, "Yeah, she has been a great help towards me. Taught me a few spells that I needed to overcome some battles."

Felix nodded slowly then said, "Alright. I'm going to have to give you all your past memories and the spells only the Dark Conter should know. With the memories, you will get back the experience of your previous life and with the experience you have gained from the battles you have passed through. With this, you will be more powerful than ever."

Yatsubana finally gave a smile since the start. He was starting to wonder when Felix was going to get it started. Yatsubana fixed his chair so that he could listen on what Felix has to say for the training. Felix cleared his throat, "I must warn you lord Slayn, that this test might endanger your life. To put it straight, your life is at stake. I'm not sure if the experience in battles would be enough compared to your previous life but we don't have much time."

Slayn nodded. "I'm ready for the test Felix. I would like to take it even right now."

Felix liked the enthusiasm that Slayn showed but declared another problem, "There is one little string attatched though."

Everyone looked at him, not liking what he might say. "We need to know how much souls that Zion currently has. If he is close, we have no choice but to send you guys to go first and stop him while Slayn finish his test. This way..."

"Perhaps my scientific knowledge might be useful here?" Vladmir interrupted Felix talking.

"What do you mean?"

"If you could tell me some useful information about the souls, I might be able to create a device that could tell how much souls the gemstone currently carries. I just need a few information from you regarding the gemstone and about souls and I will be able to create the device and hope that it works."

Felix was speechless. He never thought that these people that aren't even a Conter just might be useful. He gave a smile to the old man, "It would be an honour for me to tell you every bit of information that you need."

After everything was settled, they all walked out of the meeting room. With Slayn ready to take the test in which he needs, Vladmir is off to construct a device that might tilt the scales of the fate of the world. As Slayn passed pushed open the door of the meeting room, his ring begins to glow from the lack of light. Slayn notices this and knows that a battle was going to come to him.

38

They all had no time to lose. One day for them in this world would actually be three days in the other world. As they walk pass through the corridor, some of the Dark Conter were whispering amongst each other, probably about the return of their former leader. Slayn wondered how difficult the test would be. Some part of him was filled with excitement while the other feeling was fear. Fear of what might happen to him if he fails. Felix stated earlier that his life will be at stake if he fail. Vladmir was the only non-Conter person that has earned the respect from Felix since he just might be able to help the Dark Conter with the device.

Slayn was now in a gigantic hall now, sitted on a wooden chair. This was the place where he was supposed to wait before the test can begin. For a moment, he remembered what he said to Felix when he decided to take the test.

There he was, walking along the hallway with Felix when he suddenly said, "I would like to take the test now."

Felix was somehow expecting Slayn to say something like that. He turned to him and nodded, "Do you have enough knowlege of the Dark Conter to enter this test?"

"What kind of knowledge do I need?"

"Just spells."

"Well, I know a few I guess. 'Demon attack, 'The pit of hell' and one kind of spell I don't know the name. It just goes inside a person's head and drove that guy insane."

Felix thought about that then he found out, "Ah, that spell. It's called 'The exorcism.'"

Slayn didn't really cared about the name of the spell. He just wanted to finish his battle with Zion and to stop whatever he plans to do. They have failed two attempts to stop him and he knows that the third time might be their last. The demons that he was going to summon were ten times stronger when compared to himself alone and he isn't going to allow them to come by the summoning, let them come when judgement day arrives.

"So when can I begin the test?"

"Right now if you're really convinced that you're ready. You only got one shot so please take your..."

"I'm ready."

Felix looked at Slayn straight in the eye. He did not want to object Slayn's decision but he also had his doubts. Still, Slayn needs to hurry to stop Zion so Felix had actually no choice. He sighed, "Fine. Go into that hall," Felix told Slayn while pointing the way.

Slayn nodded and headed straight to where Felix told him to go. Felix watched as his leader heads for the test that he once took. For a moment there, Felix could see the old Slayn when he walked into the hall for the test the first time. Felix has been a loyal follower of the Dark Conter and a long member at the same time. He is one of the most valued members for the Dark Conter and was actually elected the leader in Slayn and Zion's absence.

After Slayn disappeared from his sight, he started walking away in the opposite direction from where he came from earlier. His head was cramed with stuff that he could not sort them out. With Zion's betrayal a few months before really brought the reputation of the Dark Conter really low and pressured him a lot as the temporary leader. Many leader's from all three Conter's blamed him for bad leadership and Felix just took those in. He couldn't tell the truth that their original leader was killed by their present leader that was now on the run. At least now that Slayn has returned, he will take back his rightful position.

Still, Slayn was going to need to pass the test to get back his memories and to also gain back his true potential as a Dark Conter leader. Felix walked back to his room where he could at least relax. His bones have aching these past few days. He knows that he has lived for quite a long life and his time could come at any moment, but he hoped it would not be now. This is a very crucial time for him. Felix wondered if he should warn the other Conter's about the summoning that Zion was going to do. "What's the use anyway? They are probably going to just yell and discriminate the Dark Conter and not help us in the end." Felix said to himself. His voice echoed in his room.

Felix sat himself on the edge of the bed and looked around him. Felix was too messed up to even think or do anything. He looked around him room and at the cold walls. He could feel his energy going away and realized he needed some shut eye. He laid on his bed and closed his eyes. He should be at the hall with Slayn right now but he didn't want to be more stressed than what he's already having right now. He plans to just wake up the next day and ask the other members for either good news or bad news. Just as he was about to doze off, a knock on his door startled him.

"Lord Felix?"

Felix groaned. He could tell whose voice that belongs to and he just wanted to ignore him. There were two knocks this time and it was louder than before. "Lord Felix?"

"What is it Schneider?"

"Apologies lord. But there is a woman here that wants to ask you a question."

Felix listened carefully and thought there should be no harm done if a woman wants to ask him a question. Probably some new member that needs instructions or guidance. "Send her in."

Felix listens as his door creeked open and he raised himself up, lazily. When he saw the woman, his mood changed almost instantly. The woman was obviously not a Dark Conter and does not even belong to any other Conter that he knows of. Annete wasn't alone, Michelle behind her. Now he regretted allowing these two women into his room. Not just that but why the hell did Schneider said that only one woman was coming to see him when he sees two of them right in front of him. He sighed and though he doesn't really likes then, he can't be rude. He raised his old body up from the bed and extended his hands to show them two seats for them.

The two women, Annete and Michelle nodded and walked to their seats. He wondered what do they want from him when he clearly stated that he cannot talk to outsiders unless they belong to a certain Conter. "Felix," Annete started, "I just need a little favour from you."

Felix was silent.

Michelle spoke, "We are aware that you are suppose not to communicate with outsiders but there has to be some situations where you have to break the rules."

Felix listened to every word she said and though it made sense, he was reluctant to do so. Why does he have to break the rules when there are no obvious reasons for him to do so. Annete continued, "Whether you will tell us or not, I just have one little request."

Felix simply nodded, probably accepting the little request.

"Whose body is Slayn currently in right now?" Her voice demanding.

Felix was quite surprised by the question. He himself never thought of that kind of question but the reason was probably because it wouldn't lead to any benefits that he would need. He looked at the two women who were still looking at him, waiting for an answer.

Felix knew he had no choice for these women aren't going to leave him alone until they get what they want. He sighed, "Fine, give me a few minutes."

Felix walked out of his room, leaving two of his guests in his room. He had to walk to the archives where he could get a list of souls that passed away and then he will have to find the precise moment that Slayn and the other body passed at the same time. The archives were two floors up and in his sleepy state, he walked in a slow pace. The stairway was darker and even the fires on the wall to give light weren't enough. The stairway was always lonely, his footsteps echoing throughout the whole way. Upon reaching the door to the archives, he reached for his pocket to locate the keys. The were two keys tied together, one for the store room and one for the archives. He tried the silver key first. He placed the key into the keyhole but it was jammed, and Felix sighed. He thought that the silver key was the key to the archives but it seems that his memory is already starting to fail him.

He now used the brown key and placed it into the keyhole and turned it, opening the door to the archives. The room was dark and there were several cobwebs hanging on the edges of the corners and some spiders crawling on the ceiling.

I'm going have to remember to tell someone to clean this place up, he thought to himself.

He walked into the dark room and the first thing he did was light up a torch. Immediately there was some light in the room and Felix began his search for the death records. Death shouldn't be too hard to find since death is a main part of the Dark Conter's job and should be in the biggest section of the archives. After a few minutes of searching, he found the death section and looked for the specific death date. There were many files to search for but luckily since Slayn is in a high position, Felix just has to look for the death of the Dark Conter leader. He took out the file and opened it which showed that he died about three months ago. Felix then placed the file back and searched for deaths that occured three months ago and then the precise time in which the two of them died. Felix wasn't really able to read in the dark and took the file outside to the door where it is brighter. He then read to himself, "Slayn Wilder, killed by falling off a cliff. Occupation is an assasin and posesses the legendary weapon known as the Growlanser. Born in Xironia."

Felix nodded and took the specific file with him. He put out the torches and locked the door behind him. He walked down the stairs and thought of how rare this person could somehow posess the growlanser too. This explains why Slayn still has a growlanser since he transfered to a person that has the same weapon. He almost tripped from the stairs from the thinking and decided to focus on where he is walking. He just needed to show Annete the file and he is done. He's tired and his eyes yearns for some peaceful sleep as he drags his lazy feet. He reached his room and opened the door where the two women are waiting patiently for him, still sitted on their chairs. He was surprised and he thought that they were probably walking around his room while waiting for him. "Sorry that I took some time but I had difficulties in locating the files you needed."

"Not a problem," Annete said gently, "It is I that should be sorry for taking your time."

"Here's the body that Slayn is currently in... And I must confess that the body he is in is almost similar to the previous original body of his."

"Slayn Wilder you say?" Annete asked.

"Yes, why?"

"No wonder Slayn looks familiar. Slayn Wilder, my old childhood friend. His parents were killed by an assasin and he was orphaned. I didn't know what happened to him then but some say he died when he fell off a cliff during his time in the orphanage but I heard he too became an assasin himself so that he could somehow find the person that murdered his parents."

Tears rolled down Annete's cheeks as she remembered her past. Michelle comforted her and offered her shoulder to cry on to. Felix watched the two women and sighed. Realizing that the only thing that could make her happy is to do what he has the power to do. He cleared his throat and asked Michelle to tell Annete that he wants to tell her something. Michelle nodded and whispered something and Annete turned to Felix.

"Do you have feelings for him?" Felix asked with sympathy in his voice.

"I did, but I don't know if he does."

Felix was silent but then rose from his bed and placed his arm on her shoulder, "Would you like to see him again?"

Annete looked at Felix's eyes and his eyes were filled with kindness. She knew that he was trying to help her and she simply nodded. Felix closed his eyes and walked towards the door. The two women followed him. Felix lead the way, walking through the hallway and then walked to a locked door. The second floor would lead to the archive and the other Dark Conter's information but the first floor was fully occupied for just one purpose and it was to store souls for those who have passed away or died.

He unlocked the door and went into the room. Annete and Michelle walked in and they stopped there. The room was greyish in colour and there was a large glass infront of them with souls floating around. It seems that like as if they are trapped in it and have no choice but to live in that container. Felix was standing straight with his hands at the back, looking at the souls floating around. "This glass here is to stop the souls from breaking through and entering into our world. This is one of the most important job of the Dark Conter and occupies this whole floor. These souls are to be kept here in the afterlife and would remain here until their turn arrives. This container is called the Soul Cube."

"Turn? What do you mean?" Michelle asked.

"Apologies," Felix turned to them, "But I haven't explain to you all. After a soul is contained in here for a few days or so, the souls will have a new life and would no longer remain here. To put it straight, they are a new born baby to some couple. Their past life will be forgotten and everything for them will be brand new."

"And those that were previous Dark Conters?" Michelle asked again with curiousity.

"Like I said, everything will be new. They are no longer a Dark Conter member unless that person somehow is able to proove himself worthy to join our organization though this has never happened before in Dark Conter history or any other Conters."

"Is Slayn here?" Annete asked.

Felix now placed his attention to Annete. He looked back at the Soul Cube and then walked to the glass. He closed his eyes and whispered some words that Michelle nor Annete understood. After a few seconds, Felix opened his eyes as if he just awoke from his sleep. Annete was waiting for his response and when Felix looked at her and gave her a smile, she knew the answer. "I will leave the two of you alone."

Annete looked at the souls and when one of the souls appeared on the glass, Annete thought it was Slayn but she remembered that Slayn was using Slayn's body. Slayn placed his hand on the glass, trying to reach out to her but was unable to do so. Annete couldn't believe her eyes and again, tears rolled down her cheeks. Felix watched as she slowly walk to Slayn and he knew that deep down, she loves this man. She led Michelle out of the room where they will wait for her.

"Slayn, is that.... Really you?"

Slayn was overjoyed in seeing her, "Annete, it's been so long since I heard your voice. I would have walked barefooted on hot coal just to hear from you."

"I've really missed you Slayn. What happened to you?"

"Obviously, I'm dead just as my heart is dead."

Annete was crying again, and Slayn too shed tears. He reached for her and as shock as he was, he was able to touch her chin and carry her face to meet his eyes. Somehow in his heart, he knew that Felix was doing this. After all, Felix is the only high rank Dark Conter that gives many priviledges as long as it is right. Slayn wiped the tears off, "After all these years apart from you Annete, I've always... Loved you."

Annete looked into the eyes of Slayn and was speechless.

"I don't know why after all these years not hearing from you," Annete said, as she brought her face closer to his, "I suddenly remembered about you and missed you."

The two were silent for a moment when he asked, "Do you love me?"

The question stunned Annete. This was a question he did not expect from him. After all, Slayn is just nothing but a soul and this reunion is just temporary, "I don't whether I love you Slayn. I mean, I..."

Before she could finish, Slayn took the move and brought his face out of the soul cube and kissed her in the lips. Annete was shocked and did not know what to do but the feeling was a little bit special. Slayn always dreamed of this and today was his day as he could feel the flow. He moved back and Annete looked at his eyes. They were silent and the two of them now know that they do indeed love each other.

Sadly, Felix opened the door and apologized, "I'm sorry but your time is up. If the higher superior finds out, we could be dead. Hurry now."

Annete looked at Slayn and reluctantly walked away, their hands slowly getting farther. Felix led Annete out and Felix looked at Slayn who was still looking at Annete. He sighed and then said, "I'm sorry Slayn but you do know that your turn is next. Your memories will all be forgotten after this."

Slayn nodded, "I know Felix and thank you."

Felix smiled and closed the door. After Slayn hear Felix locking the door he went to the far end of the Soul Cube. It was here that he shall get a new life and regretted that his turn had come. He looked up and somehow, he could tell Annete had always loved him after all this time. He closed his eyes and a flash of light appeared and after a few enchantments, he disappeared from the Soul Cube and is now in a new body with a new life with no memories of what just happened.

39

His time is almost here as he awaits for his training to commence. Slayn knew that this test just might be his last but nervous as he was, he knew that he won't fail that easily. While waiting in the hall, Hugh walked into the hall, sitting next to Slayn. Slayn looked at Hugh, "What brings you here?"

"I want to watch how you're going to do in your test. After all, it might be the last time I am going to see you."

Slayn chuckled, "You know it won't be."

Hugh now turned serious in which Slayn stopped laughing for a while. "Don't underestimate the test Slayn. It's going to be way harder than you think it is."

Slayn nodded and the two were silent after that. Slayn raised his fist and look at his golden ring, the ring that helped him survive in a few battles thanks to the advantages it gave him. Felix warned Slayn that the test is just fighting with a demon in a one on one combat. Slayn closed his eyes and decided he had better rest his mind while waiting but the hall suddenly began shaking. Hugh raised himself calmly and stretched himself but Slayn was worried, "What's happening?"

Hugh was quite surprised that Slayn doesn't know what is happening. "Felix didn't explain it to you?"

"No!"

Hugh begin walking out of the hall, leaving Slayn behind, "Your test is about to begin! I'll be watching you from above."

Hugh was pointing at a direction and Slayn looked at where he was pointing. There was a window and it seems that it is like an examination room where they can watch what he's doing the whole time. Slayn nodded and watch until Hugh walked out of the hall, closing the great doors behind him. Slayn immediately summoned his growlanser, the sword appearing as soon as it was summoned. Slayn was now just waiting for something to happen but nothing. The whole room is still the same.

Slayn was not in a relaxed state when the whole room suddenly grew dark, only his growlanser giving him the light he needed. Slayn quickly got into a defensive stance, preparing on whatever might attack him. After a few seconds, the torches on the wall in the hall suddenly light up, preparing like an ancient arena. Slayn was now more nervous. Suddenly, a beam of light appeared before him in a circle shape like a warp portal. Slayn did not let his guard down and waited for at least something to happen. Then, a demon walked out of the portal, the same demon Yatsubana shot during the journey to the Dark Conter. The demon looked at Slayn and suddenly, went down on all fours.

Slayn watch on as the demon look at Slayn on the ground. The demon suddenly used its legs to leap to Slayn, surprising him. Slayn quickly jumped back and the demon could have pierced through him. The demon immediately stand up and attempted to slash Slayn. Slayn moved back once more and quickly pointed his sword to it and used 'Demon attack'. The demon quickly moved out of its way, going on all fours and leaping to its left. Slayn analyzed this and thought to himself, "So, this demon needs to go on all fours to leap or jump. This is a high advantage in speed." After analyzing this, Slayn smiled.

Hugh and Yatsubana were watching from above. Hugh was happy that Slayn now knows that the demon needs to gain speed by leaping on all fours. Yatsubana was however not very happy and wished that Slayn would finish this quickly. He just wants Slayn to get back to his full potential and help him stop Zion's plan. Better said, to stop his sister. Hugh nudged Yatsubana, "What do you think of the battle?"

"It's a waste of time for Slayn. Slayn is way better than this creature but I don't know why he is not going into the offense. He should finish this by now."

Hugh shrugged, "He's probably giving it a chance to entertain him."

"An opponent is to never be given a chance. The longer the battle is, the easier he is to analyze your movements and skills."

"So to put it, do not underestimate your enemy?"

"Something like that."

Slayn placed his sword infront of him, ready to block any attack. It seems that the demon uses claws to attack and this means that he is a melee and also because of his leaping attacks, it would also make it a range opponent. The demon now stood straight, shouting with its razor sharp teeth shouting. The demon is most likely upset that Slayn is stalling him. The demon then moved his left hand back as if trying to grab something. Then, out of nowhere, its left hand got a fireball in it and threw it to Slayn as if it was a ball. Slayn quickly jumped to his right, rolling across the floor then quickly standing up. When he got up, the demon was out of sight and Slayn wondered where it could have gone.

However, when your eyes could not detect your enemy, your ears can. Slayn heard some hissing sound from behind and without even thinking his next move, turned and placed his growlanser infront of him. The hall echoes with the sound of the claws clashing with the growlanser. The demon quickly attacked, aiming for Slayn's neck. Slayn duck and then went for the kill. The sword went through the demons gut, and the demon was stunned, not even trying to pull the sword out. The demon slowly turned down, and looked at Slayn in the eyes. Slayn continue the pressure, plunging the sword deeper in it. The demon yelled in pain and it tried to quickly slash Slayn's head off. Slayn took out his sword and was able to block the attempt but the demon was quick, using its other hand to attack. Slayn moved his face back and then quickly cut the demons hand off. The demon was now more in pain, unable to bear on what just happened. The demons hand dropped on the ground and while the demon was off guard, Slayn quickly stood up and sliced its head off powerfully. The demons head was flying across the hall and bounced twice on the ground before it finally came to a rest.

Slayn let out a sign of relief and sat on the floor. He wondered why the demon was so easily defeated and if this was the test he was suppose to take, he never thought it to be this easy. He looked at Hugh and gave a thumbs up. Hugh nodded and gave back his thumbs up. Slayn allowed his weapon to return to its ring and was walking out of the door. Yatsubana scoffed, "The test is not over."

Hugh nodded but did not seem to care. He wanted to see what Slayn was going to do.

While Slayn was walking, the same thing is happening before. The beam of light appeared and Slayn, off guard immediately summoned his weapon. After a few seconds, another demon appeared out of the portal, but a little different then the previous demon. This demon seems to be bending and its two hands seems to be two scythes. Slayn just got ready for the battle when suddenly, the demon bent down a little and quickly ran towards him. Slayn was surprised by the speed and the demon used its head to tackle Slayn, causing him to drop his sword. Slayn was on the ground now and is still not aware on what happened because of the speed. Before he knew it, the demon was on him and was about to slice his head in half. At the nick of time, Slayn moved his head to the right, the demons right scythe blasting through the ground. The impact was a bit too powerful and it seemed to be stuck in the ground. Slayn quickly used both of his feet and kicked the demon in the chest to throw the demon over him. While the demon was away, Slayn quickly went for his sword and moved to the defensive stance.

Just as he went to that stance, the demon quickly attacked Slayn, much to Slayn's surprise. He just kicked the demon off and a second later, already began attacking him. The demon is obviously in the agility side, much to Slayn's weakness. The demon then attacked Slayn's left shoulder but is blocked by the sword and then tried to slash his chest. Barely making it, Slayn blocks it once more but the next strike wasn't so lucky. The demon was able to slash Slayn's right arm, causing some of his blood to spill with a scar on it. Slayn moved back, clutching his wound. However, the demon was not giving him a chance, quickly attacking Slayn again. Just as the demon raised its right scythe, Slayn quickly gave a kick to it in the face, causing the demon to fly back. The demon was in pain, and raised itself up slowly. Slayn now smiled, knowing that the demon absolutely cannot withstand physical damage and Slayn quickly ran to it with his sword raised. The demon, seeing Slayn aiming for the tip of its head, uses both of its hands to block it. The sword and the scythes clashed against each other and now, Slayn trying to break the scythes and go for the kill while the demon is trying to push away the great sword.

Slayn seeing an opening, kicked the demon in the gut once more, causing the demon to fly back and upon landing, skidded on the ground for a few seconds before coming to a stop. Slayn now walked slowly to the injured demon and once he reached there, Slayn finished the demon off by plunging his sword deep into its chest. Blood splurting out and some even landing on Slayn's face.

Once it was done, Slayn sat on the floor again and wiped his face. This time however, he held onto his sword, not wanting it to return to its ring yet. Another demon could appear at any time and waited for anything to happen. The two demons he faced were almost the same level, only that the second demon was faster and a little harder for Slayn to kill compared to the first. Once again, a few seconds later, the same process occured. Slayn raised himself up and waited for another demon to appear. Within a few seconds, out stepped the final demon for the test. Slayn's jaw dropped open when he laid eyes on the demon.

The demon was deeply black in colour and has no eyes, its body scaly and has one huge mouth, revealing razor sharp teeth. The demon has claws and huge arms, most likely using brute strenght to finish its enemies. Slayn watch as the demon appeared and is about ten metres tall. He mutters to himself, "Oh, shit!"

The demon looked at Slayn and not waiting for him to strike, raised both of its arms and clenched it to fists. After a two seconds stall, it slammed its fists to the ground, causing masive damage around it. It missed Slayn but the impact was so great that Slayn was soaring through the hall and had his back hit by the wall. Slayn is now stuck in the crack of the wall from the impact and is defenseless. The demon is now taunting Slayn is took huge heavy steps to Slayn, ready to finish him off. Slayn is now fearful and tries desperately to get out of the crack but his attempts were useless and at last, the demon reached him and grabbed Slayn. Slayn is helpless and the demon is like holding a toy in its hand. Out of nowhere, Slayn suddenly is able to know a certain spell and though he is in a bad position, Slayn took out his right hand and pointed his hand at the demons head and shouted, "The possession!"

A black demon came out of the sword and went into the demons head. The demon, noticing what just happened quickly let go of Slayn. Slayn dropped to the ground and quickly moved back and when he is in a safe distance, kneeled on one leg, trying to recover. The demon is worried and is quickly trying to get the demon out but was too late. After a few seconds, the demon stopped at the demons right arm and then the demon exploded, causing the demon to lose its right arm. Slayn watched in horror and is quite surprised on how he suddenly learned this spell. The demon just looked on and was somehow not really shocked. Instead, it continued the attack on Slayn without its right arm. Slayn seeing that the demon coming, raised himself up and waited for the demon to attack. Upon reaching Slayn, the demon raised its left foot and is ready to squash Slayn. Slayn immediately ran forward and was a few inches from being squashed but the impact was too great, causing Slayn to soar through the air. Thinking quickly, as he passes through the demons right leg, Slayn quickly made a quick slash to it and rolled on the ground and was back to his feet. The demon yelled in pain, its eyes now more filled with killing intention. The demons voice was so loud that it almost took Slayn off his feet.

The demon now moved its left hand to the back and reached out for something. Slayn was familiar with this move and did not know what to do. The demon could just wipe him out with one swipe of its hand. The demon now has a fireball in its hand and then threw it to Slayn. Slayn ran and jumped to his right, the explosion of the fireball nearly hitting him but this was all the demons plan. The demon immediately summoned another fireball and since Slayn has nowhere to run since he's still in mid-air, threw another fireball at Slayn. Slayn just watched in horror and did his only option and isn't even sure if it will work. The fireball exploded upon impact, causing the walls in the surrounding to get on fire. Hugh and Yatsubana watched on, not worried whether Slayn survived. After all, if he is to be a Dark Conter leader, he must survive that attack.

The demon was already confident that Slayn is dead. No living being could survive the fireball blast and was summoned the great portal that brought him here. Just as the demon was about to enter it, a voice was heard, "Hei you demon! This battle is not over yet!"

The demon turned to find Slayn still standing there, his growlanser was infront of him at it somehow blocked the blast with the sword. However, the blast was so powerful that Slayn's shirt was burnt off and a few black spots were revealed on Slayn's body. The demon then walked towards Slayn and placed its left hand in the ground just when it neared him. Slayn prepared on what it was gonna do and when the demons hand is still in the ground, it suddenly took it out with great force. This force caused the ground to erupt upwards in a straight line, the ground was heading to Slayn. Slayn rolled to his right but when he stood up, the demon was suddenly infront of him and used its left hand to slash Slayn in his chest, Slayn too slow to block it. There were three scars revealed upon the slash with blood flowing on his chest. Slayn backed up but the demon isn't going to give Slayn a break. It attacks again, but luckily this time Slayn's able to block it. The demon then suddenly backed away, gathering up all the strength it lost, or so it seemed. The demon got another fireball but this time the fireball is brighter and more red. Slayn knew this is not going to be good and quickly jumped to his right. The demon took a quick aim and threw the fireball at him and this time, the fireball's speed is faster than the previous that it even left a kind of pathway.

A massive explosion followed when the fireball reached its target and the demon gave a broad smile, revealing its razor teeth. There is no doubt that his opponent is dead. When the smoke finally disappeared, Slayn is now on his knees, his left arm filled with blood and hanging uselessly. Slayn cursed, knowing that his other arm has been damaged permanently and the battle just might end with him defeated. Slayn looked at the demons eyes and he could that the demon is feeling triumphant.

In the higher view of the battle, Hugh and Yatsubana watch on as Slayn is now on his knees. Hugh is now on his feet, watching as the demon walks to Slayn triumphantly. "Relax." A voice assured him.

Hugh turned to his back and Yatsubana is still on the chair watching, not even worrying a little bit. "I don't think Slayn would give up this easily."

"Look at him, he's on his knees! He's already giving up."

Yatsubana looked down to the ground with a smile and then shook his head. "What?" Hugh asked.

"You've known Slayn far longer than me but it seems that you underestimate his abilities. After all, he has been using some Dark Conter's magic in which he never learned."

"What's your point?"

"My point, is that he will beat this demon."

Hugh looked at Yatsubana for any hint of lie but it seems that Yatsubana is telling the truth and turned back to the battle below, seeing whether Yatsubana is right. Slayn is still on his knees with blood flowing down his mouth from the blast he received on his arm earlier. He is now only able to use his right hand, holding his sword and his dried blood on his chest from the slash of the demon. The demon reached at the defeated Slayn and raised its right leg, ready to squish Slayn like a little bug. Slayn just looked at the demon and then as if he gave up, looked down on the ground, accepting his defeat. It took just a few seconds, the demon squishing Slayn, blood splurting all over the floor and on the demons feet.

Hugh's jaw dropped, unable to believe his eyes. He thought Slayn would suddenly make a counter attack when the demon was about to squish him but he was wrong. Slayn is dead and the demon stands in the empty hall, triumphant. Hugh walked back to his seat next to Yatsubana, speechless. Yatsubana was still relaxing, however and seems not to care about the death of Slayn. After a seconds of silence, Hugh slowly turned to Yatsubana, "Slayn's dead. He... failed the test."

Yatsubana smiled and turned to face the shocked Hugh, "You really underestimate him, don't you?"

"Underestimate him? I think you're overestimating him! Did you not see what just happened?"

"He's alive."

Hugh was unsatisfied with Yatsubana. He looked back at the hall where the demon is now staring down at the dead corpse, but from the way the demon is looking at the corpse, it is somehow not satisfied. The body doesn't really look real and after a few seconds, the body turned into smoke, surprising the demon. The blood also disappeared which means that Slayn has used a fake clone. Hugh's eyes are now wide open and turned to Yatsubana, who was now smiling.

The demon is now somehow afraid since Slayn is still alive and from behind, the demon heard a scream. There he was, Slayn shouting with his sword raised above his head, blood flying around the air from his left arm. The demon had no time to react from the scock and Slayn plunged his sword deep in to the demons neck, making the demon fall to the ground, shaking on the impact. The demon is now desperate, trying to grab Slayn but due to the injury, it could not locate him and Slayn took out his sword from the demons scaly neck and jumped back to the ground and running far from the demon. The demon looks at Slayn in the eye and tries to get back to his feet but Slayn gave a smile, letting the demon know that he isn't going to make it. Slayn placed his sword infront of him and shouted, "The pit of hell!"

The demon's eyes were now filled with fear and as the hole below him starts to appear, it desperately tries to escape but the souls from the pit were grabbing its entire body and other body parts, making sure it does not escape. Slayn now summons back his sword to his ring, confident that the demon has been defeated. The demon let out an desperate scream and tries to fight off the demon but the numbers were far superior and as it drags the unwilling demon into the pit, the demon cast out a 'Demon attack' on Slayn, but Slayn easily avoided it. Once the pit closed, Slayn let out a breath of relief and dropped to the floor, exhausted but happy that he's still alive.

The door of the halls burst open and Slayn saw two familiar faces. It was Hugh and Yatsubana. Hugh came in clapping, proud of Slayn's efforts on not giving up while Yatsubana simply walked with arms crossed but at least smiling. Slayn gave a thumbs up and waited as the two of them approaches him. When they reached him, Yatsubana offered a his hand and Slayn accepted it, pulling him up. Just as Hugh was about to say something, Slayn heard a clap coming from the end of the hall. There, Slayn saw Dark Conter members clapping and others coming in to clap, proud of his efforts. Slayn was overwhelmed and the Dark Conters approaced him in a circle, continueing the applause with Hugh and Yatsubana also clapping. From there, Felix approached Slayn with a smile and placed his arm on Slayn's shoulder, "Welcome back, Lord Slayn."

40

The test was over and Slayn has earned the rights to not only become the Dark Conter's leader once more but to also get back his memories. With his memories, he skills in the present will be added up with his past which will make him more powerful much to Yatsubana's desire. It has been two days since they spent in the Dark Conter which means that in the normal world, six days has passed and it won't be long until Zion gets his number of souls. Annete wonders what is happening to Xironia and the war and also what Slayn is doing right now. Now that Slayn is the Dark Conter leader, she could probably ask him to revive Slayn for her.

For now, every Dark Conter member that is present and Slayn's companions are gathered in a large room where Slayn is standing in the centre of everyone in a green circle and there are altogether six candles around the circle. Behind each of the candles were Dark Conter mages but unfortunately, due to the lack of mages for the Dark Conter, Michelle took one of the mages place. Everything was in place and the ritual to give Slayn's memories back are about to take place. Hugh and Yatsubana were at the far end of the room and Hugh asked, "Do you really think Slayn getting back his memories will help us defeat Zion?"

"It's not much since the two of us know how much the gemstone can increase the power of thr user but it's the only shot we've got."

"And Dillah?"

"What about her?"

"Are you going to take her back to the Moon Conter or..."

Hugh didn't want to finish the sentence but Yatsubana knows what he is trying to say. He simply sighs and says, "Frankly, there isn't much I can do with her. Most likely, I'm going to have to finish my own flesh and blood."

Hugh nodded and watched as Slayn stands nervously in the centre. Felix walked into the room and now the ritual can begin since it is Felix that is going to start the ritual by some secret sayings or code. Felix walked to his lord and carried a dark bowl and grabbed something black in colour and placed it on Slayn's forehead. Then, Felix walked back a little and sat down on the floor, infront of Slayn, chanting some words that Slayn couldn't understand. The whole room grew dark and Slayn was suddenly levitating. Annete was impressed but for the others were just watching it normally since they are part of a Conter. Even Michelle is not as surprised probably because she has to concentrate on the ritual.

After Felix was done with his part of the ritual, he stood up while the other mages continued on their chanting. Felix walked to Hugh and Yatsubana, where Yatsubana asks, "How long will this take?"

"Depends on how much memory he has lost."

The three of them were silent after that until Annete approached them. "Is it possible for me to see Slayn again?" She asked Felix.

Felix looked at hopes in her eyes and does not want to be the person to tell her the bad news. He gave a weak smile, "Not now I'm afraid. Today is a very busy day for all of us. Lord Slayn is the Dark Conter leader, you can ask him after this thing."

"Hell no," Yatsubana interuppted, "We have no time to waste Annete. It has been six days in the normal world and we currently have no information whether Zion has collected his number of souls."

Hugh could see how much Yatsubana's words has offended Annete but he is not the kind of guy that is good in comforting someone. Also, he's surprised that she finally found out about Slayn but he has no time to find out for now. At that moment, the door opened suddenly, surprising almost everyone exept for the mages. It was Vladmir and he was carrying a strange device. He had a big smile on his face and his eyes seem to not have enough rest. The device is black in colour with two little skulls on both sides and in the middle is a digital number which reads '17,352' Vladmir approaced Felix and showed the three of them the device and was hoping for someone to thank him.

Felix gave an odd look and just looked at Vladmir and then turned to Hugh, hoping that he would know what the device was. Hugh shrugged and then he turned to Yatsubana who just shook his head. Felix then turned back to Vladmir and asked, "What's this?"

"This is the device that shows how much souls Zion has already collected."

"You were actually able to create the device?" All three of them asked in unison.

"Of course. Why the hell do you think the featherians be asking me to help in the Space-Time project?"

"So," Hugh took the device from Felix hands and read the numbers, "Zion has seventeen thousand and three hundred and fifty two souls. We still got time hopefully."

Vladmir nodded and took back his creation and placed back into his backpack, "Tell me when the ritual is done and we are going back. I'm going to need some shut eye."

Hugh gave a thumbs up and Vladmir left the room. They all concentrated back to Slayn and by now, Slayn's eyes were all white already and here, he will get back his memories.

Slayn was now in a meeting room with a woman and little boy. Not knowing how he got here since the last place he remembered was being in the ritual but here he is with a woman, so beautiful that he thought no woman could possess such beauty. The child has black hair and is playing with its toy and thats when the woman said, "So what do you think?"

"I'm not sure Samantha. I mean, I would like my son to become the new leader after me." He replied, not knowing how he came up with the words and even worse, how he knows the woman name.

The woman sighed, her long wavy hair behind her neck, "But its best for the family, you know that? Would you rather let our son die in this land or have a better life in the future. Even the Dark Conter states that the world that you will be sending him for the training is rotting."

"I know that," Slayn said, placing his hand with hers, "But its just that it would be nice for a son to continue where his father left off. But what you say is true."

She smiled and the two of them look at the little boy playing playfully with its toy. Slayn however, though he seems happy, he also at the same time does not know what is going on. He is unable to control his speech or his movements but just his heart and thoughts. At that moment, there was a knock on the door and Slayn asked the person to identify himself.

"It is I, Felix."

"Ah, come in."

The door opened and there he was, Felix and came walking straight to Slayn. Felix greeted Samantha warmly and walked straight to his lord in which he bowed before him. "So," Slayn started, "What brings you here?"

"Sorry to disturb you my lord but Zion, the candidate you beat for this position has requested a meeting with you on your free time."

Slayn chuckled and rose from his seat, "Felix, first of all, you're one of my close friends, you do not have to always refer to me as a lord. Though I am the Dark Conter leader, I would also ask that my friends refer to my name as they always have in the past."

"We know that but it is just respect. If that is your wish, then it will be done my old friend."

Slayn gave a satisfying smile and asked Felix to take a seat to which Felix refused, stating that he was there to just pass a message. "Tell Zion that I'm quite free right now." Slayn finally gave his answer.

"It will be done."

With that, Felix walked out of the room and Slayn continued on talking with his beloved wife. Still, Slayn also wondered why Zion would want to meet him. After all, when Slayn beated Zion in the test, Zion was outraged and had even threatened to kill him but perhaps Zion's heart has changed. Samantha then said something and the two of them continued talking about their family plans.

Felix still has a task to do and went off to find Zion. No one has ever spoken to that man for a week ever since the test and he now rarely comes out of his room and doesn't even allow anybody into his room. Felix waved to a few of his fellow members and they waved back, one even warned him about Zion and told him to be careful. Felix knows what they mean. Zion is one of the most skilled warriors for the Dark Conter and if it wasn't for his foul temper, he would have been a great asset for the Dark Conter. As he pass through the hallway where every room of Dark Conter members are, his heart begins to beat harder. Zion's room is at the far end of the hallway and took up all the courage to do what he has to do. After all, it was Zion who summoned him to ask about Slayn's free time. Once he reached the door, he knocked on the door twice. There was no answer and knocked harder this time to make sure Zion heard him but still there was no answer.

Knowing that there is one option but an option he might regret, he opened the door knob and entered his room. The room was so dark that Felix thought he had used the Dark spell just as the Dark Conter uses the spell to make the cave dark before entering the Dark Conter realm. However, when he tried to disable the spell, it was useless and now he knows that this darkness is real. There was no light at all and Felix had to grab a torch from the hallway and there, he now knows why Zion has not allowed anyone into his room.

The room is filled with top secret documents from the Dark Conter archives. A few of them are so precious that only the Dark Conter himself is allowed to access these documents and next to these documents are spells that only Dark Conters are permitted to learn. This means that Zion has already learnt all these spells but the question is why. Felix now walked to the table where the documents are and took a closer look. Here, his jaw dropped open. Zion has even stolen the documents of the legendary three gemstones and the secret of the Tomb of Mortati. Still, Felix has no idea why he would want to steal all these spell documents and the gemstones and when he was walking out of the room, he stepped on a piece of paper. He looked down and picked up the paper and tried to read it. Due to the darkness, Felix was only able to read the title and when he read it, his jaw dropped open and now knows what Zion's true intentions are. Dropping the torch, he ran out of the room, shouting, "Lord Slayn! You're in danger!"

The torch burned a few of the documents, But Felix did not care. He had to reach Slayn first. He can't believe the title that he read, which says, "The Summoning of judgement."

Slayn wonders what would happen next. Samantha is watching their son playing around and everything seems to be in order but he just can't shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Things are quiet in the room that he could the his own heart beat until footsteps were heard coming from the outside. Someone was walking this way and Slayn prepared his growlanser but he could not find it. He searched on both of his hands but they aren't there.

The door burst open and a tall man appeared. Slayn looked at the man and immediately recognized him. It was Zion. Slayn kicked his chair behind and looked at him in the eyes, somehow prepared to take out an item but not sure what it was. Samantha is frightened and quickly called her son to her. Zion looked at her then to Slayn, "So, is this your free time?" Zion said, offering a smile.

Slayn relaxed a bit, seeing that Zion doesn't seem to have any killing intention, "Yeah. What is it you want?"

Zion slowly walked to the end of the table, placing both of his hands on the table as if demanding something. He looked at Slayn eye to eye, "I just wanted to congratulate you for beating me."

"That's... very thoughtful of you... I guess."

"Then again, everyone knows that I deserve to be the Dark Conter leader."

Slayn chuckled and was about to give a response when Zion continued, "Do you even know at what you're missing?"

"What do you mean?"

Zion shooked his head in disbelief and now approached Slayn, "Have you ever heard of Mortati?"

"Who hasn't? It's part of every Conter's history."

"Enlighten me."

Slayn shrugged, "Mortati, the founder of all four Conters and is also the creator of the three legendary gemstones which are the Space-Time gemstone, which represents the Moon Conter. The Water crystal which represents the Water Conter and of course, the Dark stone which represents us. Mortati was burried in his own tomb and is sometime considered as the founder of a kind of religion in the early stages of the world and built a temple known as the temple of Mortati in the city of Burnstein."

"You're wrong at one part." Zion said.

Slayn was surprised by Zion's answer. There was no way he could have got that wrong. Mortati is a topic that no one should even forget about a single detail. "Which part?"

"About the tomb of Mortati. He isn't burried at the tomb of Mortati, as many thought. He's burried some where else."

"And how do you know that?" Slayn said jokingly.

"The previous leader told me that. That information is classified to only leaders of the Conters. He told me though."

Slayn just stared at Zion. He never knew that. He had always thought that Mortati was burried in his tomb but it seems he is wrong. Zion looked at Slayn and then walked back to his original position at the end of the table, Samantha looking carefully at Zion's actions. "Have you not read the sacred documents that only the Dark Conter leader is allowed to?" Zion asked.

"I'm afraid not. I was just elected a few days ago, there is no need to rush into things."

"Then you don't know about what might happen if all of the three gemstones are united, do you?"

Slayn now looked serious, Samantha trying to calm her husband down but he told her not to worry. Zion continued, "It is stated by one of those sacred documents by Mortati that when all three gemstones are reunited, it can form into a powerful gemstone that can summon the demons that were supposed to appear at 'The Summoning Of Judgement.'"

"What?" Slayn shouted, now knowing what he's trying to say, "Where the hell did you get that information? And besides, there is no way I as a Dark Conter leader would do! You are suppose to lead its members, not take advantage of the position and use every privilege is has!"

Zion is now walking back to the door from where he come from then turned serious. "I'm afraid that means you haven't learn any of the Dark Conter's leader spells, have you?"

Slayn was stunned upon hearing that and from Zion's eyes, he knew that Zion has stolen the documents. Knowing what is about to happen, Slayn turned to Samantha and then to his son. Samantha looked into her husband's eyes and know too, know what Zion is plotting and grabbed her son and quickly backed away. Zion summoned his weapon from a golden ring, pointing to her and shouted, "Demon attack!"

Slayn was too slow and quickly took out the Dark Conter's leader weapon, a black sword that is covered with black flames. He tried to block the demon but was too slow as the demon passed him and as it pierced through Samantha, she fell to the floor, causing their son to fall also, scratching his forehead.

"Samantha!"

Slayn was unable to believe at what he saw and immediately ran towards her, carrying her in his arms. While she appeared to be only asleep, her cold, stiff body confirmed that she was dead and Slayn could feel the anger in his body growing and looked deadly in the eyes of Zion. Zion was laughing at his loss and Slayn took out his weapon, a black blade covered in flames. Zion was impressed at his weapon for he has never seen the Dark Conter weapon. Wein was now crying uncontrolably on his mother and Slayn told him to get behind him.

"That would be unwise to ask your son to stand behind you."

"He would be safer behind me. I can protect him."

"I have no plans to hurt an innocent child."

"Shut your mouth and strike me with whatever you can! After that, expect no mercy from me."

Zion shrugged and aimed his stick at him with Slayn prepared to take whatever blow Zion's about to give him. At that moment, Felix came rushing into the room, screaming, "Lord Slayn, get out of the way!"

He was too late as Zion has already shouted the name of the spell, "The demon's scythe!"

The demon that came out of the stick was enormous and was carrying a large scythe. Slayn was shocked and the demon leaped at him, giving Slayn no time to avoid it and no time to even feel fear. As for Felix, the moment he warned Slayn, he dashed into the room and jumped to Wein, grabbing with him and avoiding the demon. The demon's scythe slashed through Slayn's belly and although the scythe does no damage on the surface, the scythe has grabbed Slayn's soul and as the demon disappeared out of thin air, Slayn was breathless and looked at Zion, who was smiling. Slayn, slowly, dropped to the floor and his eyes closed forever.

Slayn left his body and expected to get back to the present world but somehow the ritual has not yet ended. He still in this room and does not know what to do and just watch on.

Felix was speechless as he is now looking at Slayn's dead body. He has lost both a Dark Conter leader and an old friend. Zion then walked to him, offering him a hand but Felix is still unable to react. After a few seconds of silence, Felix slowly raised himself up and Wein walked to his father, shaking him, hoping that his father is still alive. Zion was however relaxing on the chair and Felix finally asked, "Why did you do it?"

Zion just stared at Felix for a few seconds then sighed, "You know me, Felix? I have always sought power all my life and..."

"And you had to kill our leader just for that?!?" Felix shouted, pointing to his dead friend, "He has beaten you fairly in the test and now you just killed him with the Dark Conter leader's spell! He beat the ultimate demon in the test in record time, which means he is going to be the best leader of the other previous leaders!"

"If he was that great, why did he offer me a chance to strike him Felix?" Zion replied calmly, "Every single warrior should know that they are to never underestimate their opponent or offer them mercy."

"Then why did you have to kill him?" Felix then reached into his pocket and grabbed a paper, "And how the hell were you able to get access to our most secret documents?"

Zion's eyes bulge open when he saw the paper in his hands, "When did you enter my room?"

"Obviously when Slayn gave me permission to invite you to his free time."

"And you took the document with you?"

"I wanted to proove to Slayn that you were up to something but I guess I'm too late. But why? Why did you kill him?"

Zion looked at Felix eyes and then he explained, "You and every Dark Conter member should know that I've always sought power. You don't really think I was hard working for the Dark Conter just because I want to, did you? No. My dream was to have power beyond anyone and when I learned of this summoning of judgement when I was still a beginner, I asked our previous Dark Conter leader about it. It was his mistake on telling me about the other three gemstones created from Mortati and what would happen if I combine it."

"Impossible. The fourth Dark Conter leader couldn't have told you about it. He was the most loyal..."

"You must have forgotten that he liked me for my loyalty to the Dark Conter."

Wein now ran to Felix, sobbing but Felix could not do anything to calm him down and continued looking at Zion. Zion was now walking out of the room then turned, "Perhaps no one knows about this but the previous leader made me his student for your information."

Felix's jaw dropped. Now it is not surprising why Zion is excellent in a few skills that no one is able to go against. The fourth Dark Conter is one the most gifted swordsman and the other Conter's were both fearful and jealous that the Dark Conter possess a person with such skill. "But then you have humiliated your master!" Felix shouted, surprising Zion by Felix raising his voice all of a sudden. "What do you mean?"

"Your master, the fourth Dark Conter leader despises anybody who would betray or destroy the Dark Conter's repuation. What you have just done is a disgrace and therefore..."

"Felix," Zion replied before Felix could finish, "Do you remember how our fourth leader died?"

Felix thought of it for a while then answered, "Yeah, he was poisoned by something. No one knows but it was probably someone that hated him or someone from another Conter poisoned him from fear of his skills."

"Felix, you are the wisest member in this Conter and do you still not see?"

Felix at first did not understand what Zion was trying to tell him but when Felix looked at Zion's eyes just like when he slayed Slayn, Felix now know what Zion meant. Felix legs suddenly grew weak and he could not utter a single word. Finally taking up all the energy, he blurted out, "You... you killed... him?"

Zion gave a hard smile and headed towards the door. Felix dropped to his knees in disbelief and Wein does not know what's happening and was about to cry again. As Zion almost walked out, he turned to Felix, "By the way, you should next time show some respect to your new Dark Conter leader."

Felix looked at Zion with a confused look, "New Dark Conter leader?"

"It is stated in the rules that if the newly elected leader died before he even ruled for a year, the contender for the leader shall be selected to be the leader."

"Impossible!" Felix shouted, "We will never choose you as a leader!"

Zion ignored him and walked out of the room and just gave a simple wave. As he walked out and pass through the main hall, three Dark Conter warriors stopped infront of him, their swords armed. Zion stood there and heard some footsteps coming the way he just come from. It was Felix. Zion turned and his eyes demanded an explanation.

"You should know," Felix said, his face without any expression, "I cannot let you leave this place just like that."

"Where's Wein?"

"You don't have to worry about him. He's now in a safe place."

"How safe?"

Felix scoffed at Zion's attempt, "Do not try to change the subject. You have killed our leader and now you plan to unite the three gemstones to make it into the ultimate gemstone and summon the demons."

"As usual, you always figure things out fast."

The three Dark Conter warriors quickly took the advantage, running to Zion and the first one made the first move, trying to slash Zion's right shoulder but Zion blocked it and made a return hit to the man's chest, wounding him badly. The second warrior took a much more careful approach, waiting for Zion to make the move. Zion is however, taunting him by simply moving around left and right and the second warrior smiled. Zion gave a confused look and from behind, the third warrior did a backstab, stabbing Zion at the back with all his might, plunging it deeper to cause more damage to him. Zion coughed blood and dropped to the floor, dying and the second warrior was ready to make the finishing blow. "Behind you!" Felix shouted.

The two warriors looked behind and there was Zion, and the two quickly moved back. Zion just looked at the two of them when all of a sudden, a black demon appeared from the floor out of nowhere, grabbing the third warrior. "Shit!" The second shouted, "When did he cast 'Demon's pet?'"

Zion just smiled and Felix was watching in disbelief. Now he knew the rumours about Zion's incredible speed are true. Some said he could match 'The Yellow Flash Of Deicester' but the two has never met and Battusai does not know about Zion's existence. The second warrior is still unable to believe that Zion was able to use the 'Demon's pet' so fast that they did not even see him casting it. Zion just stood there and smiled and as the warrior prepared for his attack, a voice from behind him stopped him.

"You're taking too much time."

He turned back and saw Zion smiling and before he knew it, he was smacked on the chin causing the last warrior to soar through the air and hit the floor, uncounscious. After his deed was done, Zion's weapon disappeared back into his ring and slowly and calmly, he looked at Felix. After a few seconds of staring at each other cold in the eyes, Zion turned and started to walk out of the Dark Conter building and out into the wilderness. Felix watched as their new Dark Conter leader leave them until he disappeared of the darkness.

"This is not good for all Conters." Felix muttered.

Slayn's eyes opened and he could see he was back at the present, everybody looking at him and when the enchanters realized that he has got back what he needed, they stopped the ritual. Slayn dropped to the ground on his knees and he was looking on the ground. Hugh and Yatsubana ran to Slayn, helping him up. Slayn seems to be uncounscious but then he opened his eyes, still dizzy. A small crowd was gathered and Annete and Michelle were behind the crowd, trying to see what's happening. It seems that Vladmir is still sleeping and nobody would blame him. He has been working from day to night just to complete his device.

As Felix bent down, he asked him, "Are you alright, my lord?"

Slayn at first did not respond as he was still dizzy but just as Felix was about to repeat his question, Slayn looked at Felix and then gave a weak smile, "Felix, did I not tell you that you do not have to refer to me as a lord despite being the Dark Conter leader?"

Felix was first stunned but after remembering about the meeting, he raised himself, "Lord Slayn is back to his old self."

With that, Hugh and Yatsubana looked on as Slayn placed both of his arms on their back, needing their support. The crowd then applauded on the return of their fifth Dark Conter leader and Yatsubana knew that there is still a chance to stop his sister.

41

Commander Alanil watched on as the battle raged on for almost an hour. The mixed army of both Xironian and Rocher City forces were against Aggresival forces. Despite outnumbering their units, Alanil knows that a battle cannot only depend on superior numbers but also on the soldiers abilities and also the general's ability to command the units and their strategies that they possess. Right now, the battle is taking place at the valley where Slayn and his companions took to deliver Rocher city the food supplies. Aggresival forces has the advantage since their archers are perched on top of the cliff and this is wounding and killing the Xironian and Rocher troops.

Alanil gave orders to his knights to crash into the front lines of the Aggresival forces but also to retreat once the spearmen comes fourth, knowing that knights and any other troops on stallions would lose to them due to the long spears. The leader of the knights obeyed the order, crashing into the front lines and giving the units of both Xironia and Rocher to push forward. Alanil now felt the urge to fight alongside his men. It will be heroic, but unfortunately, the enemy will rejoice for it is folly. That was what the academy taught him. As he thought about it, he remebered that topic in his class, precisely twenty three years ago.

"Now, practical exam number twenty five will be tested on Turalyon and Alanil. Next would be Paulinius and Hugh. Report to room three in five minutes and do not be late or you will fail."

Alanil was nervous as his name was called out but as usual, Turalyon was calm. Alanil respected Turalyon sword fighting skills during the practical exam, using sticks of course, against another student named Thuro. Turalyon beat Thuro when Turalyon swung on his heels and faked an attack which caused Thuro to jump. Once Thuro was in midair, there was nowhere to run and Turalyon swung his weapon on to Thuro's ribs and the exam was over. Now, here he is taking his exam with Turalyon and the two of them knocked on the door and a voice from within told them to come in. The two took their seats. The examiner was not a very tall man and his face was thin and angular, his blue eyes set close together.

The examiner looked at the two of them and then explained the rules, "Now, before I ask you two the question, here are some things you should know for this specific question. You are given only two minutes to think and in a real scenario, probably not even a minute is given. Whoever answers it first gets five marks, while the other gets none unless he is either able to counter the answer given with a logical reason. Is that clear?"

"Sir, yes sir!" The two of them responded together.

"Alright then. Here is the question. You are a commander of an army and the battle has raged on for hours without any sign of them winning. Your enemy's commander is giving orders and is seen that he is not much of a warrior and you are both a careful strategist but the enemy's commander is a far better strategist compared to you and you as a warrior commander could change the tides of battle. What do you do? Do you enter the battlefield or not?"

The two of them started thinking but after a few seconds, Alanil was the first to come up with an answer, shocking Turalyon. The teachers eyes opened and asked for the answer. "From what I see, this is a trick question. This would all depend on the battlefield. From my opinion, I will think it is heroic but my enemy will rejoice for it is folly. As the long day wears on, all enemy eyes will be on me and their attackes will be aimed at me, and therefore, would not be wise to enter the battle. But coming back to the question, I would continue giving orders until when the enemy's men are losing morale and then I will join the battle as it will increase my men's morale and would win the battle.

The examiner thought of the answer and after thinking for a while, he smiled, "Actually, your earlier explanation does not relate to the question but when you explained about the morale part, that is the correct answer. Then again, your explanation earlier does make sense and you deserve some bonus mark."

The two of them walked out, Alanil jumped into the air punching his fist onto the air for not only answering it correctly, but also beating Turalyon. Turalyon simply scoffed, "So what if you are a careful commader you nerd? It's the skills that counts."

"You're just jealous Turalyon."

"Jealous? If we were to meet in a battlefield with an army, I will crush each and every of your men despite your strategies and I shall proove to you that skill is more important."

Alanil was silent and the two went their seperate ways.

Now, Alanil was back to the present as he watch on as the knights continue the push but sees that the spearmen are coming forward knowing of the knights presence. Knowing their orders, the knights retreated but Alanil gave a signal to continue the push. The leader was quite surprised but obeyed them. Alanil then ordered his archers to aim their shafts to the sky and fire when the spearmen are halfway nearing the knights. Once they reached their destination, the archers released their arrows and he was right as most of the spearmen were killed and they retreated. Now they can continue on the push and the enemy's commander have ordered the archers on the cliff to get down and support the battle. This was perfect since it would take some time for the archers to climb down the cliff and he ordered his men to continue forward and unable to just watch them fight, he drew out a gladius and charged into the battlefield. All his men continued fighting and when he passed them, they all shouted a battlecry, knowing their leader is fighting amongst them and some of the troops of Aggresival even retreated, dropping their weapons.

Alanil walked to the front of the line and did a quick cut to a man wielding an axe on the throat, killing him. He then blocked a blade close to his belly and kicked the man to the ground with his boots and then finished the man with a murderous cut to the man's chest. When the general of the Aggresival troops gave the signal to retreat, he raised his sword, "My brothers, let the swords drink one last time!"

The men's morale were restored as they slew every Aggresival troops that stood on their way, pushing all they way. Most of them fled and did not care about the rest which was a huge mistake when an army is retreating. Alanil ordered his army to finish any man they can find since Aggresival's front line are fleeing in panic. Without the front lines to block the advancing Xironian and Rocher troops, the whole army are having heavy casualties. Once the men of the Aggresival troops have finally disappeared from sight, Alanil went straight to the front and raised his sword, "Rejoice men, we have won!"

His men were screaming in joy since they won the battle. The few weeks that past, most of the battle that commenced were Aggresival's victory due to lack of troops or organized planning. But with Commander Alanil, the battle on this valley was a success. Aggresival's plan were to capture Xironia's outpost at the end of the valley where they could have a nearer attack to Xironia. As Alanil and his troops were heading back, sounds of drums and thundering footsteps were head from behind. Alanil turned to find a fresher Aggresival army heading their way, their army three times bigger than before. However, Alanil gave a smile and turned to his men, "This was part of the plan men. Now that the main army of Aggresival is to engage us, they have left their capital defenseless. Deicester army and another legion of Rocher army will need to know that our plan has worked."

He then called out his runner to alert the Deicester and Rocher army to attack the Aggresival capital while Alanil's army will try to buy them some time. After the runner has disappeared from sight, Alanil went straight to the front lines and waited for the Aggresival troops to arrive. This could be his last battle and knows that it is a suicide mission but some causes are worth dying for. He turned back to his army and could see that some were afraid, tired and lack of morale. He didn't blame them. No one was going to survive this battle but then as a commander, he placed his sword back into his sheath as the Aggresival army closes in.

"Men," Alanil started, "We all know what these bastard Aggresivals has done to one of our beloved city known as Cop Bay. That attack showed their power on military and I will tell you all this. These bastards will continue to push on and if they conquer Xironia, they will soon come and take Rocher city, our home. These bastards will continue on to take everything that we have, but there is one thing that they will never take. Our freedom!"

The men of both Xironia and Rocher stared at their commander in awe and after a few seconds, their lust for battle were replenished and instead, they were the ones to charge at the enemy, screaming at the top of their lungs. The Aggresival troops were surprised and had no time to take out their weapons as the Xironian's long sword men slew the front lines, causing the Aggresival army to panic but order was restored quickly and the battle took place. Alanil watched from behind, commanding his archers to support their front lines by killing Aggresival's horsemen.

They are outnumbered three to one and Alanil prayed that their plan would work or his death would be meaningless.

Felix gave a small potion to Slayn, stating that it would help him in his fight against Zion. He thanked him and the six of them left the Dark Conter, knowing that they are the only ones to stop Zion's plan. Also, Felix informed them that the ritual Zion can only be done at the temple of Mortati at Burnstein, so that is where they are headed. Yatsubana and Hugh are glad that Slayn has gained back his memories and know that with Slayn's knowledge of the Dark Conter spells, there might be a chance to stop Zion once and for all. It is going to take a whole day to the teleportation device but thanks to Felix, they can take a short cut instead of passing through the deserted mountains. They were to head out straight and when they come sight of a well, t hey are to turn to their right and walk three meters away. There, they should fine a large boulder and an underground passage that would just take three hours to get to their destination.

While they were walking to the well, Hugh have been troubled by something. Yatsubana sensed this but ignored it, thinking that Hugh is stressed up with either the upcoming battle or his responsibilties as the Wind Conter leader. Michelle however, asked Hugh, "What's wrong?"

"I'm not really sure," He said, still trying to concentrate on something, "I've been trying to commune with any Wind spirits that I could find but none are present. Also, the Wind Conter has made no response when I tried to contact them and this is very unlikely."

"You are probably in the Dark Conter realm and can't get any Wind Conter's here."

"Probably and I hope you're right."

Slayn listened and knew that something was not right. However, there was nothing much he can do anyway and they continued on and about thirty minutes later, they came upon the well that Felix spoke of. They looked to their right and indeed there is a large boulder. They walked there and Slayn and Hugh tried to move it away but it wouldn't even budge. Their second attempt was the same result and Yatsubana used his levitating spell to make things easy. After that was done, Hugh simply nudged him and said, "Why the hell didn't you do that earlier?"

Yatsubana gave a smile and Slayn lead the way. The underground passage was as dark as the night and Michelle simply opened her palm and muttered a few words, casting a small fireball to give them light. The passage walls were dusty and the ceiling were mostly covered with cobwebs. Some of the spiders were even dangling around, Annete shrieking most of the time. This upsetted Vladmir due to his old age and the two kept argueing on the way. After about two hours of walking and silence, Annete took up the courage and asked Slayn if she could ask a question.

He looked at her then shrugged, "Sure, I guess."

"You are now the Dark Conter leader and I need a favour from you."

"A favour?" Slayn thought about it and Annete bit her lower lip. After a few seconds, he smiled, his eyes gleaming from the torch of the fireball, "Well, I guess I do owe you one since you saved my life once."

"Well, do you know of a person known as Slayn Wilder?"

"No, can't say that I do."

This brought disappointment to Annete. "I do," A voice said and Annete turned to see Hugh. "I kinda met him when we returned from Rohania during midnight. Slayn, or should I say Slayn said that Slayn took over Slayn's body when he died after he fell from a cliff or something like that."

"Slayn was in Slayn's body?"

"No, no no. Slayn's in Slayn body."

Annete was now confused, "But I just saw Slayn in a chamber when Slayn took the test."

"Well," Hugh explained, "Slayn did tell me something about his last day he is able to remain in his body."

"So," Slayn interrupted the two, "What was the favour you wanted? I doubt you just wanted to ask about this Slayn."

"I was just wondering if you could revive him from the dead? I mean, you are the Dark Conter leader and can do anything."

Slayn was silent for a while and they continued on walking. After a few seconds, Slayn stopped in his tracks and turned to Annete, "Indeed I am the current Dark Conter leader. From the way you asked, there is something about death that you need me to do, is it?"

"Something like that." Annete said coolly.

"Then tell me what is it you want me to do?"

"Is it possible for you to revive Slayn?"

"Slayn?"

She nodded. Slayn stared at her for a few seconds and motioned the others to continue on and that they will catch up with them. They walked ahead and disappeared in the darkness. Slayn took out his hand and opened his palm and though invisible in the eyes of Annete, Slayn has actually summoned a Dark Conter spirit to gather some information about Slayn. The spirit disappeared in obedience from the orders of its lord. Slayn then told Annete to wait for a few minutes which she had no arguements, leaning against the wall. Slayn wished Deez did not stay at the Dark Conter since he could have used her help now but it was her choice. After all, she already helped him with a few things that a fairy would not dare to do. Now Deez is probably hanging around with Felix just like she used to with him.

The Dark Conter spirit returned after waiting for a full two minutes and whispered something to Slayn's ears. Although Annete is unable to see anything, she could tell that Slayn has got something that she might want to know. Slayn was asking the spirit whether the information was accurate to confirm whether this was what he asked for. Finally, he turned sadly to Annete and Annete's hopes began to grow thin. "Annete, Slayn is..." He hesitated, "Slayn is no longer in the Dark Conter."

Annete was stunned by his words and she couldn't understand why Slayn is telling her this. She just saw Slayn yesterday, why would Slayn be no longer in the Dark Conter? "What do you mean?" She asked, her voice almost like crying.

"I'm afraid that explaining it would be wasting precious time when we should be walking Annete. I'm sorry but I can't revive a soul when he is no longer in the Soul Cube."

Annete was too devastated to give a response. Soul cube? Was that the place where I saw Slayn? Tears were rolling down her cheeks and Slayn offered his shoulder to cry on. She accepted it and Slayn hugged her as if he was the father. Slowly, Slayn raised her chin, looking into her eyes, "Annete, I know its hard for you. It's hard for me too, believe me but we have to move on. People die. Everything dies and it is something that you have to get used to it."

She wiped her tears and looked into his eyes and his eyes were that of Slayn's. Annete wiped her tears and followed Slayn.

Hugh and the others were way ahead from Slayn and it was Yatsubana who suggested them to stop in order to wait for them, which they agreed. Vladmir took out his favourite book and despite the low light, was able to read. Yatsubana could see that he was finishing his book since he has about only twenty pages left and he nudged Vladmir, causing Vladmir to lose his centre of gravity. Yatsubana was surprised by his strength and quickly grabbed Vladmir, pulling back and gaining back his balance. Vladmir then shoved his arm away, shouting, "What the hell you do that for?" His words echoing throughout the tunnel.

"Sorry old timer, just wanted to ask what you were gonna do after you finish reading this book. Just didn't know my own strength."

"Well, watch who the hell you pushing kid 'cause I ain't someone you can just shove around."

Yatsubana looked scornful, "Will you just calm down? I'm sorry alright?"

"Sorry? Is that all you have to..."

"Will the two of you shut the hell up?" Michelle interjected.

The two of them stopped and turned to Michelle, "Why the hell are you two always argueing? Can't you guys just for at least one day know peace between the two of you?"

Hugh was smiling and the two of them kept their mouths shut after that. Vladmir placed his book back to his backpack and sat on the floor like a beggar. Not very long, Slayn emerged from the darkness with Annete not very far behind, waving. Michelle was the first to notice and waved back, catching the others attention. When Slayn reached them, all six of them continued on their journey in the ruins of the tunnel. As they neared the end of the tunnel after walking for three hours, the torches on the walls were not lighted up and Michelle was forced to cast a small fireball on the palm of her hand to give the group some light. Just a few minutes later, they saw an opening at the far end where wind was blowing into the tunnel, blowing Michelle's fireball out. That didn't matter however since that the wind entering the tunnel means that they have reached the end of the tunnel.

They walked out of the underground passage where Hugh was relieved to breath in fresh air, not that anyone blamed him since he is a Wind Conter leader. The passage had lead them to the deserted mountains, close to the portal that brought them here. Unfortunately for them, no one recognized the place and had no idea which direction to take to get to the portal. "Great," Vladmir said, his arms on his hips, "Now we're lost. We took a shortcut but this might end up a longcut since we don't know where the hell we are!"

"Calm down, Vladmir." Annete said, trying to cool him.

"Calm down? How can you expect me to calm down? Look at this place! We have nowhere else to go and..."

"She said calm down!" Slayn interjected, his voice a little higher that he expected.

This caught Vladmir by surprise by the volume of Slayn's voice and he kept quiet after that. Slayn exhaled three times to calm his mind and after that, begins thinking of a way out of the wilderness. After all, why would Felix tell them to use the underground tunnel to get lost. Hugh was also trying to think of something while Yatsubana sat on the floor patiently, waiting for someone to come up with something. Then it was Michelle that spoke, "I think I know how to get us out of here."

"How?" Slayn asked, walking towards her.

"Just give me a few minutes. I remember a certain spell in my spellbook but I forgot which page it was. Give me some time."

"Fine," Slayn said, "Take your time as long as it can get us out of this place."

Michelle took out her spellbook and started from the first page. She looked from top to bottom and not finding her spell, she flipped to the next page. Yatsubana watched in silence and knew that this was going to take a while. The book was the thickest book he has ever seen and if she is going to start from the beginning, it could probably take an hour. Annete sat on a rock while Slayn and Hugh sat next to each other, silent. They were obviously communing with the spirits, after all, they are the leader of their Conter. Yatsubana chuckled to himself, unable to believe that Slayn is finally communing with the spirits when he used to hate it when Hugh does so. Michelle gone through about half of the book and still haven't found her spell and Slayn raised himself from his seat and stared out into the wilderness.

At the last few pages of the book, Michelle finally found her spell which reads 'Path Of Destiny.' "I found it you guys." She said excitedly.

Upon hearing this, all of them immediately surrounded her, asking how she was going to get them out. Michelle silenced them by calmly grabbing a handful of dirt from the ground. Slayn wondered why on earth she was doing so but let her be. She then proceeded to chant something to the dirt and after a while, allowed the wind to blow the dirt from her hand. The dirt at first just soar ahead of them but then changed its direction to the left and disappeared out of thin air. Michelle smiled, "That is where we're headed."

"You sure?" Annete asked.

"Positive. It's impossible for the spell to be wrong."

"Then lets go."

They followed where the dirt disappeared and walked in a steady pace through the mountains. Just like when the first time they arrived in this forsaken land, the sky was grey and the fog was disturbing their line of sight. However, they somehow recognized the way and had no problem walking without worrying of getting lost. The mud was also a nuisance to them, sometimes causing someone to fall into the marshy ground which makes their lower parts dirty but they ignored it. Annete was complaining though, not liking the mud at all. Michelle shooked her head when Annete kept complaining, wondering if she could survive a day in her village. Annete is after all, used in the high life.

Surprisingly, just after twenty minutes of walking, they sighted something that brought a great relief to everyone of the group. They finally came upon the teleportal that brought them here and Vladmir, despite his heavy backpack, ran to the machine, glad that he was getting out of this place. Vladmir immediately made the preparations, pressing some stuff to the teleporter and the teleporter grew to life when the machine started with a beam of light appearing. Vladmir motioned to the others to hurry up but they took their time. After all, what was an old man going to do to them? There were five of them and he is only one. Knowing that they were going to keep him waiting, he took out a familiar device that Yatsubana and Hugh saw at the Dark Conter. Vladmir pressed a few buttons onto it and read something. He seemed to be unable to believe what he saw and read it again.

He glanced up and shouted, "Hurry up! Zion has already collected eighteen thousand souls!"

The news immediately caught their attention and all of them broke into a jog, running towards Vladmir. Hugh was the first to reach, Slayn reaching next. The two ladies arrived at the same time, Annete immediately ordering Vladmir to start up the machine. Vladmir was however smiling and from the looks on his face, he was trying to stop from laughing.

"What's so funny?" Michelle asked.

Vladmir finally roared in laughter, breaking into tears, "You guys actually believed me that Zion has that amount of souls already?"

"What do you mean?"

"I lied to you assholes so that you guys would pick up the pace. He only has seventeen thousand and eight hundred souls." He continued laughing again, pointing at each and everyone of them.

"That's close enough you moron!" Yatsubana answered back, going eye to eye with him, "The war is still going on in the other world and what is two thousand seven hundred souls in a war? Nothing!"

Vladmir rolled his eyes but he did not argue. He knew it was not his lucky day, being yelled at three times in the last few hours. He wondered what could probably go worse and hoped that this was his last. After all, it might be his last in the next few days when they would come face to face with Zion. Yatsubana walked back to his original position and Vladmir pressed a button to commence the teleportation. Instantly, the machine began making some loud noises and from above, a great beam of light lighted all of them and a few seconds later, they were no longer in the realm of the Dark Conter.

The cave was dark. No one has ever dared to enter the cave, some said that there were demons present in the cave. However, this was just a story to scare off any intruders, to make sure that no outsider would dare enter and use the teleportation device. Still, there was more than meets the eye since from the outside, the cave looked dark but thanks to the spell of the Dark Conter, it was just a deception. Inside the cave, it was as bright as the outside. Annete was the first to gain consciousness and everything seemed to be a blur. Her head also hurts and it seems like as if she is having a bad headache but she knew the pain would pass. She heard groans coming from behind her and turned to find Hugh and Yatsubana, rubbing their heads. Now everything was coming back and the pain on her head was going away.

Hugh was trying to concentrate on what's going on and the first thing he saw was Annete, looking at him. "Whoa," he thought to himself, "Is Annete finally having feelings for me? This is great!" Despite the pain in his head, he gave a weak smile and Annete looked at him in confusion and now Hugh knew that Annete was looking at him to see if he was alright, not that she liked him. This does not affect him anyway. Hugh tried to stand up but his body is stil unable to function properly yet from the teleportation and he fell back to the ground. Yatsubana is also trying to climb back to his feet and took some time to do so but his legs were shaky. It was like as if he was shivering from fear. At last, his legs fail him and he fell his right, landing hard on the cave wall, some small rocks falling upon impact.

Slayn and the others then started moaning at the same time, suffering the same things that occured to the other three that arose first. Slayn shook his head, trying to gather his thoughts. He turned to his left to find Yatsubana slumped on a wall, rubbing his forehead. Slayn could also feel the pain but he knew that he could take it. He sat on the ground, and looked at his ring. The ring seems to never get dirty even when he fell on mud or whatever and not even a single scratch. Still, there was no time to waste and got to his feet and though having shaky legs, he was able to stand tall. He turned to Hugh and offered his hand. Hugh smiled and grabbed Slayn's hand. Slayn pulled him up easily, and the two were standing tall together.

Yatsubana was the third to stand with them. They waited for four minutes when the rest finally were able to stand up without falling and Slayn motioned for them to move. They all continued on walking when they pass the five pictures of the previous Dark Conter leaders. Now Slayn knows who the fifth leader is and why he has seen that golden ring before. It was the ring that he gave to his son, and he stopped there, watching. The others continued and Yatsubana turned to Slayn, "Come on, we got no time to waste."

Slayn turned to Yatsubana and he could tell in his eyes that Yatsubana is eager to get to Burnstein and he for one don't blame him. He walked and joined them and walked out of the caves, feeling the sunlight touch onto their skin. It was a feeling that they have not felt for two days and what a wonderful feeling it was. Slayn wondered how Felix is able to stay at the Dark Conter for years. Then again, it's probably not that long since in the real world, three days is equivalent to one day there so it isn't that long.

They followed the pathway that would take them to Cop Bay. The group could see that there were a few fishing boats close to shore, minding their own business. It surprises Annete that these people don't know whats happening that there just might be a chance that the demons were about to be summoned into this world and destroy everything and these people don't know anything about it. Still, they probably have seen enough violence since the siege at Cop Bay that occured recently, destroying their city. She wondered which side was winning the war, knowing that her reputation is going to fall since she is not even involved in the war when she should be, as the general of the Xironian army.

Cop Bay wasn't very far but still, it will take a few minutes to get there. Vladmir as usual, took out his favourite book and started reading, close to the ending page. Yatsubana smiled and did not comment on anything, after all, the book was about to be finished, Vladmir will finally put an end to his annoying obsession with the book. It just took him four minutes to finish when he placed his book back. Yatsubana turned with a grin, "Finally finish with the book?"

Vladmir nodded, not wanting to say anything.

"So now you can concentrate on the matters ahead of us, right?"

"Indeed. Those bastards are no match for my weapons anyway."

"Glad to hear it." Yatsubana said, turning back and facing forward.

After a few seconds of silence, Michelle commented with a smile, "Now, that's a little better than you two always argueing."

This brought a chuckle from Annete. Still, it is true, she would prefer them to have a light conversation that an arguement. It normally caused headaches. Annete asked Vladmir for the time and he told her that it just past nine in the morning, still early. Still, the jorney to Burnstein could take up to two days the most, and that is something that they just don't have. They are going to have discuss about it once they have arrived at Cop Bay. As they walked along the pathway, a few that were fishing along the shore waved at them, some even offering to thank them for saving their city. It surprises Annete that they were able to remember their faces. Then again, how can you forget the people that saved your home?

Slayn wondered how many souls Zion has already collected. He knows that once Zion has collected the souls and the summoning is commenced, the whole world is doomed. He felt a tightening in his gut, since the fate of the world are actually resting on his shoulders.Actually, it rests on him and his friends shoulders. Without them, he would have never been able to get this far and get back his past memories. Slayn now quicken the pace, the others followed without questioning. They too knew that time was short.

Not very long, they finally came sight of Cop Bay's walls, and the walls here are at least is repaired. After all, it was the main gate there that suffered the most damage, so the repair on the back gate shouldn't take very long. As they entered the city, almost everywhere people are busy with either selling goods or repairing the damaged buildings. Hugh remembers that Turalyon and Battusai should still be around in Cop Bay, and they could proove to be one hell of an ally. Once they are in the city, Yatsubana was the first to speak, "Let's grab something to eat."

It was a good suggestion since they need to fill their empty stomachs but also to get some food supplies for their journey. Hugh suggested a nearby restaurant that is close to the office of the Rocher army. That should be the one place where Turalyon and Battusai should be found.

They walked into the restaurant and when the people saw who walked in, everyone fell silent. The group just stood there, wondering what they were thinking until an old man with a thick beard raised his mug, yelling, "Thank ye! How can we ever thank ye?"

The whole place immediately started applauding them, some even shouting that they were treating the group. Slayn simply smiled and looked for a place to seat where they could discuss their plans, Hugh and Yatsubana agreeing. Michelle pointed at the far end of the place where a table with six seats are available. They walked there with great difficulty, people either standing in their path and thanking them one by one. They all could only smile. Still, despite being heroes, Annete and Michelle did not like the stares on them, one even took the courage of grabbing Annete's thigh. Before Annete could react to even grab her sword, Vladmir, as fluid as a cat grabbed a kind of pen from his pocket and threatened the man.

The man chuckled to himself seeing Vladmir's weapon and instantly, Vladmir pressed a small button on his pen and a blade came out at the end, and the man immediately kept quiet, swallowing hard. Yatsubana grabbed Vladmir's pen and Vladmir looked at him. Yatsubana just shook his head, and Vladmir knew that killing him would bring them no benefit. Vladmir placed his pen back into his pocket and walked to their table. They took their seat and were each given a free drink by the waitress. They thanked her and Annete was the first to speak. "So what do we do?" Her voice concerned, "It will take us at least two days to reach Burnstein city, and thats even if we don't stop for the first day. We definitely don't have that kind of time."

"We could jog and walk during the journey." Yatsubana suggested, "That should speed things up."

"Impossible!" Vladmir said, not liking the suggestion, "We don't have that amount of stamina like you. And also, you are just looking at the view of getting there, but if we do that for one whole day, we would be exhausted by the time we get there and I doubt Zion and his lackeys are going to wait until we're fresh."

"Vladmir's right," Annete added, "We must be both quick and also be fresh for Zion."

Yatsubana cursed softly but knew that they had a point. At that moment, the same waitress brought them some food to eat, and Slayn ate it verociously. He was definitely hungry. After taking the test and immediately taking the ritual has tired him out but he is still moving. The food was not much but at least it was free and it would give them enough energy for the journey. "What about we use horses?" Hugh said suddenly, "We could borrow horses from the stables."

"Borrow?" Annete replied in a hushed tone, "How can you expect to borrow horses from the stables? Those horses are for the army!"

"Well, desperate times call for desperate measure."

"I think they definitely need more horses than us."

Hugh snickered in a sarcastic manner, "They need it? If you see it properly, the army are actually helping Zion's maniac plans! Killing each soldier is just adding souls to Zion's gemstone."

Annete at first wanted to say something, but thought better of it and remained silent. "By the way," Hugh continued, now facing Vladmir, "How much souls does he have now?"

Vladmir swallowed his food and took a sip from his drink to help swallow the food faster. He then picked up the same black device with two little skulls on each side. At the middle of the device which has some numbers and Vladmir read it. He read it again and he looked up back to Hugh, "Zion has already collected eighteen thousand five hundred souls. He just needs another one and a half thousand."

"This war is defintely in Zion's favour." He then turned back to Annete, whom is also quite shocked from the number of souls Vladmir mentioned, "Annete, I'm telling you we need to borrow those horses. Steal them even if we have to."

Annete just stared at Hugh and then nodded weakly. Hugh seems pleased with the answer and continued back to his food. Slayn was the first to finish his food, drinking his drink all in one gulp. Michelle stopped eating and asked, "Are you really that hungry?''

"If you are to fight three demons and then immediately get to a ritual that drains your energy, you will know how I feel right now."

"What's your wife's name again?"

Slayn stopped there, staring at her, his eyes never blinking and not even moving a muscle. Michelle was now nervous, wondering if this was one of the questions she should never have asked. Slayn then looked down and for the first time since the death of Matthew, he cried. Yatsubana being next to him placed his hand on his shoulder, trying to at least comfort him. He cried for a short while only and without looking up, he answered, "Her name... is Samantha."

They all ate in silence after that, finishing their food and drinks. After they made sure they left nothing behind, they walked out of the restaurant and were again relieved to feel the sun shine on them. It is really a great feeling that they all can't place. Their next stop was to get to the stables and at least try to get six horses for them. Even three would be good enough, where one horse will have to carry two people. The stable was at the far end, near to the front gates. Hugh wanted to ask the person in charge of the Rocher army here about Turalyon and Battusai whereabouts but he knew that time was short. Even if they were still here, he would have to try and talk them into joining them though he doubt it. They are both the men in charge of the Deicester army and have no time to be helping them. It seems that the fate of this land rests on them, six people that were once strangers. As they were about to reach the stables, they caught sight of something that just changed their plan on borrowing the six horses.

As Slayn walked with his friends, he felt something that he has never felt before. He could not place this feeling but knew that something is horribly wrong with the spirit world. He turned to Yatsubana who also has the same feeling but the two did not discuss anything about it.

Infront of the stable were four horses tied together as a team and behind them, is a coach. The man in charge of the coach was man in his early sixties and is a miserable sight. He wore a coat that had torn patches and has a bottle of whisky in one of the pockets. His beard was messy and they could see that he had some missing teeth. He has a light brown hair but even his hair was as messy as his beard. Hugh approached the man, telling his companions to stand behind him. The man noticed Hugh and looked down at him.

"Excuse me sir," Hugh started, "Is it by any chance that you're headed to Burnstein city?"

"I would go anywhere as long as there's money involved mate." He replied.

"Oh well, then that shouldn't prove to be much of a problem." He turned back, telling them to get into the coach.

"Whoa whoa whoa!" The man suddenly said, stopping Vladmir from going in. "We aren't finish with the financial agreement."

"Oh right, how simple of me." Hugh said, slapping his forehead. He took out his wallet and counted his money. After counting, he asked, "So how much do you need?"

"Three thousand." The man answered instantly without thinking for a second.

"What!" Hugh said, his eyes unable to believe the answer. He looked at the man in the eyes to try and find for any sign of lies but found none. The man grinned, revealing his teeth. "How the hell can you put at a price like that?"

"Well, I would normally charge at least two hundred dollars but after I saw your friends, I don't have much interest on your money anymore."

Hugh turned back, looking even more confused. Yatsubana now stepped front, taking Hugh's place, "What is it that interests you?"

The man grinned and looked at Slayn. "You." The man answered, pointing at Slayn.

"Me?" Slayn pointing at himself to make sure the man was not drunk.

"Not you, the woman behind you."

Slayn turned and realize that it was Annete. Slayn now know what the man wanted and turned back to the man, "You can't be serious!"

"I'm dead serious. Just give me an hour with her, unless you're willing to pay three thousand dollars."

Yatsubana has now already taken out his bow and notched his arrow, aiming at the man's forehead. The man however doesn't seem to show any fear and Yatsubana draw his arrow back, ready to loose it at anytime. "Yatsubana," Hugh said, stopping him, "You kill him and you're helping Zion."

"Hugh!" Annete said, almost screaming, "You can't be agreeing with the man."

"I never said that."

A crowd was already gathering around them, whispering to each other. Slayn hated this kinds of situation and walked to the man, close to eye level. The man's breath was disgusting, and Slayn went back slightly to keep his distance. "Look sir, we are in a hurry and we're willing to pay you at a logical amount of money. Also, that woman is not to be treated as a tool of pleasure and..."

The man took one deep breath and spat at Slayn's shoe. Slayn looked at his shoe and stared at it for a few seconds. He looked back up at the man who was now grinning widely. Swallowing his anger, he motioned Yatsubana to do something. Yatsubana nodded and placed his bow and arrow back and pointed at the man with his finger. The man wondered what he was doing. All of a sudden, the man was floating, and the man was now shouting for help. Yatsubana continued the spell until the man was at roof level and turned to Michelle, "Michelle, throw a knife will ya?"

"Sure. At least it could help me on my accuracy."

She turned back and using an invisible force, took a brick at the opposite end of the road and turned it into a knife. Grabbing the knife, she threw it at the man and the man's eyes were wide. The knife hit its mark and plunged deep into the wall. The man is now hanging at the building, with the knife on his left collar. He couldn't get down and was going to be stuck there for a while.

"Alright," Slayn said, stepping into the coach, "Vladmir, Michelle and Annete will drive the coach. The three of us will be in the coach."

"How come we drive?" Vladmir asked.

"Because the three of us belong to the Conters. We have some things to discuss."

There were no arguements and all six of them took their places. Vladmir grabbed the whip and hit it on the horses, while Michelle held the leash to manuever the horses. The horse immediately got into a gallop and was racing on the streets of Cop Bay. Luckily for them, the gates are open and they just passed through, despite warning from the guards guarding the entrance. They were now in the wilds, racing against time.

Hugh looked out at the coach and though they were fast, he knew that their speed isn't fast enough. Closing his eyes and concentrating, he summoned wind spirits to help push the coach and the horses to increase their speed. Indeed, the speed increase and now that it is mid afternoon, they should reach outside Antholme by night fall. Slayn smiled to Hugh, thanking him. Then, turning serious all of a sudden, he asked Yatsubana, "Surely you have realized by now?"

He nodded and Hugh smile. He was finally one of them. "It seems that Zion has destroyed all three of them. I can't sense any of the members anymore. They're all dead."

"Not all of them," Hugh added, "Some have joined Zion and helped him destroyed the rest."

"If this is what they plan, it means the ones still loyal will be hunted down and killed."

"Do we know anybody that might be still loyal to their own?"

They were silent for a while then the realization struck Slayn first. "Harlian," He answered in a whisper.

Hugh and Yatsubana first stared at Slayn and knew that he was right. "Once we have come to a stop by nightfall, we will have to discuss this information with the rest." Slayn said.

The two had to agree.

42

The place was a mess. The guards were all killed and only two stood in his way. One was badly wounded on his left knee and one right below his rib cage. The other soldier was trembling in fear, unable to hold his sword properly. The wounded one was his senior and he did not blame the trembling man. He was new here and it was just his first week here and now this man comes here and starts slaughtering everyone that stood in his path. He could not understand why. This man was loyal to the Deicester army, to be precise, he is one of the man in charge of the army. The moment he saw a man wearing a white tunic with his famous two red katana, he knew he won't survive long.

Battusai looked at the two man and almost laughed aloud just looking at the last two guards. In this great temple, he actually expected more priests than guards but he was wrong. Still, the guards were not even close to the elite level and they are killed easily by his katana. When he first entered the temple, the temple though slightly larger than the rest of the other temples in the city, the inside was however, surprisingly quite small. Just a large statue of Mortati and other small statues of him, the rest of temple seems normal. However, his new master did inform him about one secret passage that would lead them to the older part of the temple, an ancient part that would be used in his grand plan.

Battusai just followed his orders and here he is, killing each and every one of the temple guards. Battusai placed his left hand on the katana's sheath, placing his thumb on the enge of the handle of the katana. He then used his thumb to hit the handle of the katana, making his weapon to come out slightly. The wounded warrior quickly ran forward, leaving the other nervous man alone to fend for himself. Battusai smiled and quickly took out his weapon fully now, grasping it tightly with both of his hands and raised the sword just a little to his right, in an attacking stance. Once his enemy was near him, Battusai placed his right foot slightly back from the other and instantly, used his right leg to push himself forward. The guard couldn't even see where Battusai was but once he felt an iron blade deep inside him, he knew it was over. He looked down and could see a red katana deep in his gut. Blood was dripping from his mouth and he finally dropped his weapon to the floor, clattering loudly. Battusai was looking at the man eye to eye, and without even a slight hint of pity, he took out his weapon harsly, and the man slowly fell to his back, dead.

Battusai katana still has some of the stains of the blood from the man he just killed and now put his attention to the younger and unexperienced man. The man looks like as if he was trying to run away but his legs just wouldn't cooperate with him. Battusai looked at him dead in the eye and without breaking eye contact, burst forward. Just as he was about to finish the man by slashing the man's neck, the man suddenly, made a counter attack, swinging his sword from his right to his left. Battusai however, was quick enough to avoid it, rolling forward, feeling the blade just above him and Battusai stopped right infront of the man on one knee and aimed at the man's wrist. Battusai knew that his weapon made contact on his enemy, the red salty liquid hitting on his face as the man shouted in agony from his missing wrist. It dropped right next to Battusai, still wielding the man's sword. The man could not believe what is happening but Battusai ended it. With a quick cut to the man's chest and using his free hand to grab his secondary katana and immediately attacked on the man's left shoulder, the man dropped on the pavement, mortally wounded.

Battusai, standing up on both of his feet, placed both of his weapon back to it's sheath. He closed his eyes to picture every warrior he just killed in the temple. He then wiped his face from his enemy's blood on his face and turned back where he could several dead bodies lying on the floor. Blood was everywhere but Battusai merely smiled, happy that his task is completed. Precisely as his master said, just after he finished each and every other man that stood on his path, Battusai heard footsteps heading his way. He could tell that there were several footsteps since the echo were random. As the man emerged from the darkness, he is accompanied by two other people, one a man with one crazy kind of hair and a woman, a bit more older than the man. Battusai dropped on one knee and bowed his head, "I've done as you requested master."

The man with silver hair had a grin on his face and stopped infront of Battusai. Battusai slowly looked up and the man offered his hand. Battusai accepted it and the man pulled Battusai to his feet. "You have done well, Battusai."

"It was an honour to do what you command, my master."

"Do not call me master, Battusai. You can call me by my name."

Battusai nodded and gave a quick bow. Dillan hissed, "How come he can call you by your name lord?"

"Keep your tongue still!" Dillah said to Dillan angrily.

Zion turned back to his trusted two trusted followers, "I allow him to do so because he helped me clear this temple, while you two refused."

"But we are your earlier followers."

"I would prefer obedience than followers like you."

Dillah bowed low. "I apologise my lord. Forgive my son for he is a person that has no brain."

Zion grinned then nodded and walked ahead of the other three. Battusai and the other followed close behind. Battusai felt a sharp iron jabbing his back and heard a whisper, "Careful on how you act or I will kill you." It was Dillan.

Battusai snickered at the remark, replying, "It is I that should be saying that."

Dillan was about to rake out his Kamigas but Dillah stopped him by casting a quick binding spell on Dillan's wrists. Dillan glared at his mother angrily but he then again, the way he has been acting against Battusai would is definitely causing Zion to lose his patience. Zion now quickened his pace, eager to reach to his destination. The temple now was somehow getting old, cobwebs everywhere and some of the bricks on the floor are either removed or in bad condition.

Battusai remembered the night he came to Burnstein searching for this one man he intended to kill. Now he is serving him. It is strange why they had to wait for a few days to attack this temple when they could have attacked it when he recovered from the attack. Zion just stated that it wasn't time yet, and no one argued.

Dillah's shoulders ached as they walked through the deserted tunnel, the machine one her back tiring her out. She remembered when she first worn the device after she stole it from the Moon Conter. She could barely stand the weight and if it wasn't for her teleportation spell, she would have been caught easily. But it was worth it. Thanks to this device, it not only gives her the ability to use certain spells but it also increases her normal spells by almost ten times. Until now, she has never reached the situation when she really needed to use the device to the full power to increase her spell.

Dillan walked with his lord to the right being the right hand. He wondered if he was still the right hand. If it was in a one on one against Battusai, he would most likely lose even if he was to increase his speed with the Kamigas help. Despite Dillan's warning to his lord about Battusai likely betrayal, Zion still went ahead with his plan. Battusai may still be loyal to him, but what if this was all part of Battusai plan? He could have just follow Zion as if he was really a great ally, but once he finds out where the ritual is taking place for 'The Summoning Of Judgement,' Battusai would then probably betray Zion and report to the Deicester army of their whereabouts. Fighting the army wouldn't be a problem but fighting both Battusai, Turalyon and the army will definitely be the problem.

"So, where are the guards?" A voice said, causing Dillan to stop his thoughts. It was Battusai.

Zion continued on his walk and seemed not to hear, but he answered anyway. "They are outside the temple. They're to keep watch just in case any sort of threat are seen."

"Are twenty five warriors enough?"

"They are at elite level," Dillan answered and Battusai turned to him, his eyes wondering why Dillan answered for Zion. "They are the best of the best. I personally trained each and every one of them."

"Impressive. Still, I doubt twenty five could stop an army if they are to arrive?" Battusai stopped there and Dillan's heart instantly started beating faster. Why would Battusai say that? Dillan's suspicion was now higher than ever."Or even worse," Battusai continued, "If Hugh and his friends arrived. I doubt they can stop them."

"Don't be ridiculous!" Dillan hissed, "They do not know of our plan with the gemstone that lord Zion possesses. Even if they do, they're too late. We just need a thousand or more souls to go."

"Fine, but..."

"Silence!" Zion said, his voice echoing across the tunnel.

Battusai and Dillan stopped, looking at Zion.

Zion did not even look at them, only his back. He stopped not because of their arguement but it's because Zion has reached a path he now has to choose. Right infront of them, there were two tunnels for them to choose to go, one to the left and one to the right. The one to the left was dead dark, not even a single light could be seen. To the right seemed to be a better choice, torches were lit on the walls. Zion placed his right arm on his chin and was rubbing it, trying to think on which way to choose. Not being able to make a choice, he took out a gemstone from one of his pockets. The gemstone is blue in colours, with yellow lines protecting the outer part, and on the surface of the gemstone, lies a skull. Dillah looked at the gemstone and remembered when they first created it at the temple of Mortati, where his brother tried to stop her lord.

Zion looked at the artefact he is now holding and then, placed the skull to the his right. There was no reaction or anything out of the ordinary and Zion sighed. Battusai wondered if Zion was wrong about the temple and hoped not. It took them a full day to get to this sacred city and it would be a waste of time if he was wrong. After a few seconds, Zion moved his hand that holds the gemstone to his left and instantly, on the surface of the gemstone, the skull's eyes began to glow. Zion, without any reaction just placed the artefact back to his pocket and ordered his loyal followers to move into the darkness. Dillah, without needing orders casted a small fireball infront of her and summoned a weak wind to push the fireball forward to guide their path.

The tunnel was not a very long walk, even from the weak light from the fireball they could see a dead end. Battusai wondered why they were walking to a dead end and turned to Dillah but she simply pointed to look forward, and Battusai obeyed. It seems that Battusai has much to learn from all of this. When they reached the end of the tunnel, a great wall with a few ancient inscription was written on it. Zion placed both of his hands on the wall and began moving his hands in random directions, trying to locate something. Not being able to find what he was looking for, he turned to Dillan, "Dillan, if you please?"

Dillan nodded and pointed his left hand to the wall, and a great gush of wind came out of the wall. Battusai hair flew back from the wind and as the wind got stronger, Battusai had to take out his weapon and plunged it to the floor to retain his position. Even Dillah had to cast some kind of tree roots to her feet to keep her from falling. Zion just leaned to his left on the wall, using his right hand to cover his eyes from dirt and dust. Finally, Dillan stopped his spell and everything was back to normal. Battusai wondered why Zion ordered Dillan to do so, but when he looked back at the wall, there was one piece of brick that has dropped from the wall. In the hole, was a kind of place to fit in an item, the shape that Battusai just saw just now. Now Battusai knows why Zion needed the gemstone. The gemstone is needed to unlock something and as Battusai guessed, Zion took out the strange gemstone and placed the gemstone at its rightful place. The gemstone has a number on it which reads '1,492.'

Once this was done, the whole place began to shake wildly. Battusai immediately feared what was happening. The tunnel was about to cave in and almost get away but Zion and the other two were calm and seemed to be waiting for something. Battusai calmed himself and waited with them. After about a minute of shaking and rumbling, the wall that Battusai thought was a dead end began to break down. Battusai was in awe. The bricks were dropping to the ground one by one and finally, all of it were destroyed at once and another room was revealed. Zion anxiously took back his gemstone and held it in his left hand. Zion for no reason, summoned his weapon to his right hand, the metalic stick that Battusai knew well. The Growlanser.

Zion and the others walked into the room. The room had four pillars, forming a square. There was a kind of tomb in the centre of the pillars. The tomb had some kind of story of a man that founded four secret societies but from what Battusai can tell, this man was either killed and buried here so that no one will know where he is, or that it is for respect so that the body can rest peacefully. Battusai however, knew that none of them were the answer. It was strange though, since that if the tomb of Mortati is actually here, what is the tomb of Mortati south or Rocher city for? Infront of them, were a flight of steps. The stairs lead to another floor where there was a circle engraved in stones and bones. It seems that the circle is meant for someone to stand on it. Zion slowly climbed the stairs, the others following him. When Battusai reached the second floor, he realized that it was more of a large hall than a room, the second floor having more ancient inscriptions on the walls, and from the way it is, the whole hall is in a square shape. But Battusai just stared in awe. Even Dillan and Dillah could not believe their eyes but Zion was trembling. Not from fear, but from excitement. At last, he said one simple sentence, "At last, the summoning shall soon commence."

Hundred of miles away from Burnstein city, a battle is still raging on. Despite being outnumbered and most of his soldiers are tired and lack of morale, Commander Alanil did not give the order to retreat. Instead, he ordered his men to continue to push forward, but to no aveil. The front lines are being broken down by the Aggresival forces, slaying each of his men. Alanil was worried and he too is wounded when he was fighting in the front lines with an arrow deep in his right knee. Even though his forces have the advantage by placing the javeliners on top of the cliffs, the Aggresival army is far too much for the javeliners to slay enough. His horsemen and knights are reduced by half, and his swordsmen are mostly wounded.

His men were originally about three thousand is now reduced to a thousand and a half. Realizing that the front lines are being broken through, he shouted to his army, "Alba formation!"

The archers all understood this formation and immediately moved to the front of the battles, just right behind the front lines. The front lines, mostly comprised of swordsmen with shields, immediately retreated for a moment to shield themselves, like a turtle formation. When the Aggresivals army tried to break the turtle formation, the swordsmen gave way for at least two archers to shoot their arrows at the advancing enemy, and after the archers loosed their arrows, the swordsmen shield themselves again. They would repeat this routine, killing the Aggresival men one by one. Alanil watched his defensive formation and it seemed to be working. He could see that now the Aggresival army seems to be fearful and does not seem to want to attack. Alanil knew that this was his moment and shouted to his horsemen to push forward while the javeliners on the cliffs will cover them.

The horsemen rushed forward and when they reached the frontlines of the Aggresival army, they smashed the men, some of them losing their weapons while others were knocked back. The Aggresival army were now in a mess, and have lost their formation. Alanil's army now continued the push and Alanil grabbed his sword and walked to the front lines. His men watched as he joined them in the fight, and continued on the push. Alanil walked to a spearman and gave a gruesome cut to the man's face, slashing out his eyes. The man dropped to the floor and Alanil concentrated on his next opponent. This time he was against a mere swordsman, with an arrow deep in his left foot. Alanil advanced and his blade made contact with his enemy, but noticing the arrow on the man's foot, he stepped on the man's weakness and the man fell back and due to his clumsiness, he dropped back. Alanil, without a moment of hesitation, plunged his sword deep into the man's chest.

When he took out his sword, he forgot to pay attention to his surroundings. A javeliner threw his spear at Alanil and Alanil tried to avoid it, and though he made it, the spear made a clean cut at Alanil's left shoulder, close to his neck. Alanil instantly went back to his army and realized its best he gave orders from here.

Alanil watch on as the battle continued, at last all of his knights has fallen. Most of the horsemen died but some of them that just lost their horses were still fighting with their gladius. Alanil could see that his archers were finishing their arrows fast, and once they have used it all up, they have no choice but to pick up any weapons they can find and just fight to the death. Alanil now felt responsible for the lives of these people, knowing that they will never see their homes now.

After an hour, Alanil's army of both Xironians and Rocher were finally coming to an end. With no less than five hundred men, were now in a circle formation. Each guarding their own area, as the Aggresival army surrounds them. The battle has stopped, and Alanil's army knew that it is now up to Alanil to decide what to do. The Aggresival commander appeared from the army with two swordsmen, and Alanil walked to him alone. The man was quite short for a commander, just about five feet. Alanil reached the man, and the two stared eye to eye. "I see you have enjoyed the battle?" The man remarked.

"What do you think?"

The man smiled and looked at Alanil's army behind him. "Your men are in no condition to do battle. Surrender, and I will spare your lives. But you're to serve under the Aggresival army then."

"I would rather die than join your army."

"It would be a waste for a person with your commanding talent to go to waste."

"Why do you want me to join Aggresival?" Alanil said, his tone hardening. "Is it that Aggresival lacks strategist commanders?"

The man's eyes narrowed, "Do not mock Aggresival. As you can see, Aggresival is now against three cities in a war and still, no attempt has been made to destroy our capital. Do you know why?"

"Why?" Alanil asked, reaching the man's eye level.

"Because they're afraid to set foot near our capital. Everyone knows that Aggresival has the mightiest warriors!"

Alanil was silent after this. He looked at the man's army around him and nodded. Alanil knew that the men will finish his army in minutes and with this, gave the man a cold stare and walked back to his army. The Aggresival commander watch on as Alanil walked back to his army and gave a remark, "You have made your choice, and throughout the whole battle, this is the biggest mistake."

Alanil's men gave way for him and Alanil could see in their eyes that they were proud to fight to the death with him. Alanil looked at the sky, and prayed that the whole plan would work. A man of his talents should be remembered in the history books. All of his men went into a defensive stance and after a few moments of silence throughout the valley, the Aggresival commander gave the order. Alanil watch on as the forces of the Aggresival screamed at the top of their lungs as they charged forward.

At that instant, when the Aggresival army were halfway to Alanil's army, something stopped them in their tracks. Another marching sound was heard and it came from all directions. Alanil too also heard this and both army stopped. None of them did battle. From the distance, they could see an army emerging from the distance and they carried a kind of banner that Alanil recognized immediately. It was the banner of Deicester!

The army was about eight thousand as it slowly surrounds the Aggresival army, all of them staring at the new enemy. The Deicester commander stepped forward and shouted, "Aggresivals! You are now outnumbered greatly and we give you a chance to surrender! If you do not, then you will all die, and that is something I would like to do!"

Once that instruction was given, instantly all of the Aggresival army dropped their weapons, despite their commander's orders not to do so. Alanil was dumbstruck. He knew why they had come. It was discussed that if the attack on the Aggresival capital would be too easy, they would send a quarter of their main army to aid Alanil. He knew that the plan has worked. He walked to the frontlines and the Deicester leader waved. Alanil turned back to his men, and shouted the same line, "Rejoice men! We have won once again!"

The whole valley echoed from cheers of men that had fought two battles and survived. Alanil had tears rolling down his cheeks, unable to believe that he actually made it through. The new arrival quickly grabbed all the shafts from the Aggresival archers and gave them to Alanil's archers. With that done, and everything is settled, both the new Deicester army and Alanil's army got into their places and formation. Alanil, being the higher rank than the Deicester leader, stepped infront all of them, and gave them the signal to march on to Aggresival army. The Aggresival army that surrended also joined them for sparing their lives. As they march on, Alanil had only one thing in mind: The fall of Aggresival.

Turalyon walked with two of his most loyal swordsmen on his sides. He knew that he had to at least inform him before he go on his search. When he reached Tanx, the Deicester army reported that Battusai immediately left the village after the death of his sister. He wondered where Battusai would have went, but he is sure that Harlian should know. Turalyon was now in the mansion of the president of Deicester, trying to find Harlian. He heard that Battusai went to Harlian and asked permission to go somewhere, and Turalyon knew that wherever Battusai was, Battusai is still in that area. Turalyon also felt bad for not being in the siege of Aggresival when he should be, but his care Battusai were far greater than a war.

Here he is now in the president's mansion with his two swordsmen. When they entered the living room, he ordered his men to wait for him here, and they obeyed. They sat on a couch and placed their swords on a table. Turalyon made sure they are sitted and left them. Turalyon now walked alone in the silent hallway, trying to find the meeting room that the butler had told Turalyon where Harlian would be. He opened the door to his left, and Harlian bedroom was empty. He cursed softly, and continued on down the hallway. If Harlian was not in his bedroom, Harlian would most likely be in the meeting room where he spends his free time there. It's strange why a man of his status spends his time in a room alone. Turalyon once accidentally barged into his room and saw Harlian with a handful of water in his hand. Harlian upon seeing Turalyon immediately made the water disappear instantly. Turalyon never bothered to ask though.

At last when he finally reached the meeting room, he knocked on the door twice. Instantly, a voice commanded him to come in. He turned the doorknob and opened the great door. Indeed, there was Harlian sitting down, directly facing him. Next to him was a glass of water. It was like as if he was waiting for Turalyon. Turalyon bowed, "Sir, I'm sorry to disturb you on your free time, but I have a request to make."

Harlian at first just stared at Turalyon. Turalyon now felt tense, but once Harlian broke into a gentle smile, Turalyon relaxed. "Please," Harlian finally said, asking Turalyon to sit on the opposite end of him. "Sit down. Then tell me what is it that you want or need."

Turalyon thanked him. Turalyon always had a great respect for this man. He was humble and never showed any sign of anger. He knew that he would be a fine successor after his father. Turalyon sat.

"Sir, I was informed that Battusai came to you after the death of his sister?"

Harlian merely nodded.

"Well, did he say anything where he was going?"

"Is there a problem between the two of you?"

"No sir. It's just that after the siege on Cop Bay, he left in such a hurry that I never spoke to him ever since. I'm getting worried with his condition, I mean, the death of his sister is something that I doubt he can accept."

Harlian listened patiently and drank his glass of water after Turalyon finished his explanation. "Well," Harlian said after his drink, "If there isn't any problem between the two of you, I could reveal to you his location. Because if there is a fight between you two, I would not risk losing two of my best generals in a fight. Anyway, Battusai did inform me about going to Burnstein city, to look for someone."

"Burnstein city?"

"Yes. It is indeed strange for him to go there. I mean, Burnstein has nothing much to offer other than temples of the great Mortati. I just guessed he probably wanted to pray for peace for his sister."

Turalyon now wondered why would he go to Burnstein himself. In all his life with Battusai, Battusai has never once thought about going to this great city. "So," Harlian said suddenly, "What is this request you want?"

"Ah yes." He hesitated for a moment, but took the courage to ask, "Is it alright if I head to Burnstein to look for Battusai?"

Harlian was quite surprised by Turalyon request. He looked deep into Turalyon's eyes and could find nothing but determination. He understood how Turalyon felt. After all, he also knows some history between the two. They have been best friends since they started the academy. Harlian thought about this request for a moment, resting his chin on his palm. Asking Turalyon to leave Deicester would be dangerous, almost all of the Deicester army are on the attack of Aggresival capital, and with Battusai gone, it would be leaving Deicester in a dangerous position. Still, with Aggresival occupied, there shouldn't be much to worry. Finally, he gave his answer. "You've been the best soldier that Deicester city has ever produced, and after all the things that you've done for us, it is time I give you something in return. That return, is the permission to leave Deicester to find Battusai."

Turalyon at first simply stared at Harlian but then, almost burst out in joy. He stood up and thanked hi, even wanting to shake his hand but Harlian refused, walking to Turalyon and placed his arm on his shoulder. Turalyon was surprised by the strength on his grip. "Find Battusai in Burnstein city and bring him back quickly. I do not know why, but I sense danger might come into this city soon."

Turalyon nodded, "Don't worry sir. You have my word."

With this, Turalyon gave a salute and left the room. Harlian watch on as the commander of the Deicester army left his room. He regretted letting Turalyon go, sensing something is coming to Deicester. He wondered what it was. Seeing Turalyon out of the room and sensing danger, he walked out of the room and went to his left, walking to a dead end. Checking behind him that no one is there, he casted a simple spell on himself, causing his body to become a liquid. At that instant, he walked through the wall. He is now in a room that he has not come for quite some time, almost everywhere were dusty. It has been some time since he read any of the books here, but ever since his father illness, it is impossible to read these books without giving away his identity. He only came here for one specific reason. He searched for the trunk and found it between two large boxes, wondering what's inside the boxes. It didn't matter, and opening the trunk, he found what he was looking for. He grabbed the item and took it out, revealing a unique kind of lance. It was blue in colour, about fifteen inches and it is as light as a feather. Harlian smiled, and prepared himself.

Turalyon left the hallway and called his two elite guards to follow him. They grabbed their weapons and followed him by his sides like bodyguards. Turalyon estimated that if they left now, and slept at night, they should reach Burnstein city by the mid-afternoon. It took them about fifteen minutes to reach the great gates of Deicester and as he stood there with his two guards, he took one long moment looking back at this great city. This magnificent city, in which he has served from a normal soldier to the leader of its army. He wondered if he was ever going to see it again. Pushing all negative thoughts from his head, he headed on his journey.

43

It was night time when they finally came to a stop. They had not stop since they left Cop Bay, not even stopping for a second. They knew that time was something that they don't have. Now it was at night and they stopped right outside of Antholme, setting up a small camp. Vladmir has already set up a fire while the others ate their oats. It wasn't very delicious, but it did not matter. They made good progress reaching Antholme at night time. It would probably actually take a day or so. After setting up the fire, Vladmir took out four pills from his backpack, and gave them to the horses. The animals at first did not seem interested but after a few seconds, they ate it. Vladmir returned to the group, who were already done with their meals. "What was that you gave them?" Yatsubana asked.

"Animals pills," Vladmir answered, still looking at the horses, "They are unique pills that I invented while I was in Xironia, when I was trying to help Annete with a certain project."

"What's so unique about them?"

Vladmir now faced Yatsubana, "They are pills that has every nutrients required for an animal. Any animal actually, to refresh it's energy. Perfect to let them try."

"Wait," Annete now asked, joining the conversation, "You never tested them?"

"Well, I never had the chance. Don't worry. Even if it fails, it won't kill them. Just won't give them the required amount of energy, that's all."

"You sure?" Yatsubana asked, not trusting Vladmir.

"Are you underestimating me? I mean, I was the head scientist of the Space-Time project!"

"All right, calm down." Annete said, handing Vladmir a plate of oats. Vladmir gave a smile of thanks and took his dinner. He ate it quickly and placed his plate where the others did. All six of them stared into the fire, all of them lost in thought. Hugh wondered if they fail, will the world end up in fire? That was a thought he did not like, shaking his head. He glared at Slayn, who seemed not to notice. He nudged him, catching his attention, "Should we tell them?"

Slayn stayed silent. He too was wondering about that, not knowing what to do. This information is supposed to be only for the four Conter, but the again, they have actually been to the Dark Conter and learn some of it's history, what else is there that shouldn't know? Slayn sighed, "They have the right to know." Slayn answered in a whisper.

Yatsubana joined in now, "Who wants to tell them?"

"All three of us should." Hugh answered, checking the two reactions. Slayn glared at Hugh and nodded.

"All right!" Yatsubana said suddenly, his voice high, "We've got some information that you all should know."

This caught the three non-Conter's attention, facing them now. "What is it?" Michelle simply said.

"Around the time when we left Cop Bay, me and Hugh received an urgent message from our specific spirits to return to out Conter immediately. Slayn also sensed it. It seems that Zion has actually become more dangerous than we thought. He has recruited allies from the three Conters, Wind, Moon and also Water. We're not sure about the Dark Conter. Our home Conter has been attacked and it seems that those that wants their lives have pledged their lives to Zion, while those who were against it were killed."

"You mean to say that the three Conter's that you just named were actually defeated?" Michelle asked, her voice trembling from fear.

Yatsubana nodded.

"That is bad." Annete said, despite not being in a Conter, she knows how they feel.

"We're not finished," Hugh said now, replacing Yatsubana, "After the attack on our home Conters, the ones that are now under Zion's command are on a hunt on any survivors that are still loyal to their specific Conters. We aren't sure if they have hunted all, but we are now going to have to save one member that is still loyal to the Water Conter."

"Water Conter?" Michelle said, sounding incredulous, "But none of you belong to that part."

"It isn't us," Hugh replied, "Harlian."

At first, the answer did not seem to register to the three. After a few seconds, their expressions changed, as if each of them were punched in the gut. "The son of the president of Deicester?" Annete said, her voice shivering.

Hugh nodded, turning more serious now, "If we can make it on time, we could save him and ask of his assistance. Harlian is an important member of the Water Conter, one of it's top warriors. We must help him."

"But we got more important matters ahead of us!" Vladmir argued, not liking their idea.

"True." Slayn answered now, "But Harlian is not just against one Conter, he is against three. Could be even four! Harlian might not be a person we know very well, but he must be saved." Slayn now put his attention to Vladmir, "After all Vladmir, the books you have in your bag are from his city's library! I'm sure you must pay your debt to him."

Vladmir was quite surprised by the answer. He had forgotten about the books and he looked down to the ground. He felt guilty and looked back to Slayn, "Alright. He will be the sole person that I'm going to protect."

"When do we leave?" Michelle asked.

"First thing in the morning." Hugh and Yatsubana answered in unison.

"Remember," Slayn said, his voice like that of a leader, "We're against all three or four Conters here. They're warriors that probably are skilled as us, and are outnumbered. They have unique magics that could kill us in one blow and I will say this. Now that they are teamed up, their magic combination once combined, will be a great disadvantage to us all."

They all fell silent. Hugh looked at Slayn and was cleary proud of him. He can't believe this was the guy he had first met at Deicester city, a person that did not care about all this spirits. Now he is the leader of the group and is probably the only one that can go against Zion. "But my concern," Slayn continued, turning to Annete, Michelle and Vladmir, "Are you three. The three of you are normal people. You have no magics against this people. Well, I mean Michelle has, but they have both skills and magic, and the three of you lack one of it. Also, we will be busy with our own fights, so can you all take care of yourselves?"

They were silent. Annete stared at Yatsubana then to Hugh. She could see in their eyes that they were fully prepared on what's coming, their eyes filled with the urge for a battle. Yatsubana being an excellent support with his arrows and with Hugh's speed, he is able to quickly kill his enemies and aid his friends. When she turned to Slayn, Slayn was relaxed, waiting for their answer. His eyes of that of Slayn. Slayn's ring was glowing in the moonlight, and since the start of the war, Annete has always been at Slayn's side and so has he. He has been a wise leader. "With three of the best warrios from the three Conter, we can definitely beat them too." Annete finally answered.

Slayn turned to her, smiling, "That was the answer I would expect from the general army of Xironia."

"Look, we have been through almost everything." Vladmir said, "We defeated an army that was meant to take over Cop Bay but we defeated them. What more could these bastards do? I am a person that does not fight in close combat, Michelle is a caster." He turned to Annete, then turned back, "Annete has enough experience from seeing you guys use your Conter spells. We're ready for them."

Hugh looked at Vladmir and though he was happy that Vladmir shared the same enthusiasm like him, he was still worried about him. He was also worried about Annete since she is a close range. As for Michelle he wasn't that worried since she is a caster. She can easily kill any normal Conter with her spells and would be one deadly foe. Hugh sighed, "But you're against men that have the advantage!"

"Hugh," It was Yatsubana, "You've always underestimated your friends. You've underestimated Slayn in the test also. I'm sure they will be alright."

"But..."

"Yatsubana is right," Michelle suddenly said, "We've fought alongside the three of you. We can take care of ourselves as much as you guys can take care of yourselves. We're more that meets the eye."

"But it will take about half a day to get there." Hugh protested.

"Not really," Michelle answered coolly, "I can cast on the mountains to make a path for us. That should save us some time to Deicester city."

Hugh wasn't sure on what else is there to think. Vladmir and Michelle seems to be confident in their opponents tommorow and Yatsubana trusts their fighting skill. Then again, he has underestimated Slayn, perhaps Yatsubana is right after all. Maybe they can take care of themselves.

"Alright," Hugh finally said, regretting his words, "I trust what you have said. You should all get some rest." Hugh said to the three that do not belong to any Conter, "We got a big day tommorow. Enjoy your sleep too. It might the last time we will all have some sleep."

Vladmir yawned and nodded, rising by himself and walking to his tent. Vladmir stopped halfway, turned back and gave a tired smile, and then disappeared in his tent. Michelle followed, walking to her own tent and Annete followed. Just as Annete entered, she took her head out, "What about you guys?"

"Don't worry about us," Yatsubana assured her, "We'll be sleeping soon."

Annete stared at all three of them and smiled. She looked at Slayn and Slayn looked back, wondering why she was looking at him. Annete then went into the tent and laid down. She hoped Xironia was okay, leaving her home city in the hands of commander Alanil. As she closed her eyes, thought of Slayn, and at the same time of Slayn. The two of them were one and the same. She smiled, and finally drifted to sleep.

Yatsubana watch on as the entered their tents. Hugh then summoned a Wind spirit to check up on them. When it returned, it gave Hugh what he wanted to know. Hugh then turned to Slayn and nodded. Slayn understood, "So," He started, "What are we up against?"

"We're in a bad situation, Slayn. We are six, and only three of us are from three Conter. From what the Moon spirit has told me, there are probably altogether around thirty people from all three Conter that joined Zion."

"It's just thirty?" Slayn asked, scoffing at the numbers.

"You make it sound like it's easy, well, it's not! With thirty from different Conters, they can use spells that complement each other, and if used perfectly, can kill us in an instant!"

"Indeed," Hugh said, "We might not even survive fighting all three of them. It's a suicide!"

"Hugh," Slayn replied, his voice angry, "You're the Wind Conter leader! That is not the kind of saying I expected from you of all people. We can beat them if we try. Harlian will be there, plus there are also a number of Deicester soldiers. I'm sure we still have a chance."

Hugh knew that there is some sort of logic in his arguement but Hugh remembered one particular topic, the battle of his Conter with the Dark Conter is something that will disagree with Slayn's point of view. He looked into Slayn's eyes, "The one reason I as a Wind Conter leader said that is not because I am afraid of a fight. I know that we cannot win, and throwing away our lives needlessly is a waste. We're the only ones that is capable of stopping Zion!"

Just as Slayn was about to say something, Yatsubana interjected, "Hugh is right. If you know the history of the battle of the Conter, between Wind and Dark Conter against the Moon Conter, you just might agree with us."

"What happened?" Slayn asked, now curious.

"The war ended in just one week. Not because that the Moon surrendered from fear, but the loss of it's members. In the biggest battle, known simply as 'The Battle of the Conter' was a battle that just lasted a half an hour. The Wind and Dark Conter had great teamwork, using spells that quickly defeated them. The Moon Conter then gave up." Yatsubana stopped and took some breaths, "That is why we disagree with fighting three Conter, even if there is only thirty of them."

Slayn listened and looked at the sky. Tommorow is the day that he will face Zion again, but he knew he has to help Harlian. He was a friend, and it's because of his five friends that he has made it this far. He wonders if Hugh and Yatsubana know of the importance of friendship? Actually, it's because of friendship that their group is so strong, to defeat an army of Aggresival. Slayn grinned, puzzling both Hugh and Yatsubana.

"Teamwork you said?" His voice confident. "Let me ask you two this. Don't we have teamwork? Just because we defeated an army that knows no magic does not mean that the thirty people that we're facing tommorow are better than them. They just met! They have no idea of their spells and lack what I just said... Teamwork! I'm sure we can beat them, if we try. If we never try, we never know. Just like when I took the test. Felix warned me that it will threaten my life and should train more, but I did it didn't I? Without any further training!"

Yatsubana listened and rubbed his chin. After some thinking, he answered, "You're right my friend. Maybe we can, maybe we can't. But Harlian is an old friend of mine." He now stood up, looking up at the stars, then looked to Slayn, seeing the determination in his eyes, "I, Yatsubana, shall fight alongside with you. And I am proud to fight alongside the Dark Conter leader."

Hugh glared at Yatsubana. Yatsubana looked at him then blushed slightly, "And the Wind Conter leader."

Hugh now smiled. "So it's settled then." Slayn said confidently, "Tommorow, we shall go to Deicester city and slay anyone that stands on our way. Even if it's our own former members."

Hugh and Yatsubana nodded, knowing that with their teamwork, nothing can stop them. The fire was growing low, running out of substance to burn. Yatsubana then without saying a word stood up and walked to his tent, yawning on the way. He is obviously sleepy, not that the two of them blame him. It is now left to Slayn and Hugh, Hugh looking at the fire as it seems to dance while it burns. Slayn on the other hand, is lost deep in thought. "So," Hugh said suddenly, startling Slayn, "What's up with you?"

The question caught Slayn by surprise, Slayn having no idea on what he's talking about. "What do you mean?"

"You seem to regret something."

Slayn took a deep breath, but said nothing. He did not seem a bit interest on the topic, but Hugh pressed on, "Was it because when Michelle asked about your wife's name?"

Slayn ignored Hugh, picking up a small stick and dropped it into the burning fire. He then looked up at Hugh. It seems that no matter what, Hugh is a person that can tell when he has problems. He just can't seem to hide anything from him. "You're right. I do have a regret, but a regret that can never disappear."

"What is it?" Hugh asked, his voice compassionate.

"Samantha... my wife. It's just that... I don't seem to feel any remorse on her death. I saw how Zion killed her in my memories, but I just don't have any feelings for her anymore. I want to know the feeling Hugh." Slayn shed some tears as he said them. Hugh is surprised. He has never, or at least rarely seen him cry on anything. Slayn wiped them, his eyes gleaming in by the fire.

"Listen," Hugh said, trying to at least comfort him, "I'm not good in trying to make someone feel better on whatever their problems are. But, one of the reason is that the ritual was to only gain back your memories, no feelings whatsoever. Also, you are currently in your second life. Your first life is all gone. Only your history. You are in a new life now."

"I wish I could know the feeling of love... Now, I have no feelings of it. The only thing I enjoy now most is fighting with my sword, though my it endangers my life."

Hugh chuckled, "Not really Slayn. You did obtain one kind of relationship."

"And what is that?" Slayn said, wondering the answer.

"Friendship."

Slayn looked at Hugh in the eye and he was smiling. Slayn felt something he has never felt before for this man. He has been with him since the first time they met at Deicester city, telling Slayn everything he needed to know about the Dark Conter. From a stranger to a great companion. "Thank you." Slayn chocked on his words.

Hugh placed his hand on Slayn, "It's what we Conters have been told to do. We are a family."

"If we're a family," Slayn said, "Then why did we have a war against the Moon Conter?"

Hugh smiled at the question, "Even some families have a quarell. But despite all that, we'll all be united once more."

"Come on," A voice said, startling Slayn and Hugh, "We got a big day tommorow." It was Yatsubana.

"You heard the whole conversation?" Hugh asked Yatsubana, his tone high.

"That is something for me to know and for you to find out. You guys need some rest. It might your one and last time you get a good rest."

"Yatsubana's right, Hugh." Slayn urged, "We've got to get some sleep."

Hugh nodded and raised himself from his seat. Slayn took out his arm, telling Hugh to help him up, which he did. Pulling him up, Hugh summoned a gust of wind to put out the fire. Once that was done, they walked back to their respective tents, saying their goodnights. The moment Hugh rested his head on the ground, he could feel sleep coming to him already. He was dead tired, travelling from Cop Bay to the outside of Antholme in a day. Tommorow Michelle will make a passage through the mountains to save them some time, and time is something they need the most right now. Hugh thought of the day he joined the Wind Conter, what a great day that was. At that moment, Hugh was a boy again, remembering about his past.

He was just a normal boy, working on his father's field. He was sixteen at the time and his father had been sick for two days now, and his chance of living is slim. His father had told him that if was gone, Hugh is the one in charge of his family. That is a great deal of responsibility but Hugh accepted it anyway. On the third day, a man came to him. Hugh has never met the man before, and continued on working on the fields. The man picked up a stone, and for no reason, threw it to Hugh. Hugh luckily witnessed the whole thing and quickly moved his head back, having to bend his body backwards, the stone sailing past through him.

When Hugh looked back at the man, the man was right infront of him. Hugh's anger disappeared from shock by the man's speed. Hugh tried to say something, but his words were stuck in his throat. The man placed his arm on Hugh's head, "You have good reflexes." The man complemented him, his voice like that of a lion.

"Who are you?" Hugh asked in a trembling voice.

"Here," The man produced a small bottle from his pocket, handing it to Hugh, "Give this to your father now. It will heal his sickness, and once that is done, come back to me. I will be right here waiting."

Hugh did not know what else to think. Following the man's instructions, he ran to his family's farm house, rushing into his parents bedroom. The mother was surprised and angry at Hugh for rushing into their room without even knocking, but Hugh did not care. He gave the bottle to her and explained what happened earlier. She at first did not seem the bit interested but after Hugh just does not seem to take no for an answer. She opened the bottle and poured the strange orange liquid in one of the spoons. She then fed to her husband, though he was reluctant, he swallowed the medicine.

At first, there was nothing, and Hugh's hopes were thinning. Just when Hugh was slowly walking out of the room, his father slowly raised himself, blinking twice. His wife tried to stop him from forcing himself, but assured her that he was fine. He had never been so healthy in his life. Hugh himself is unable to believe his eyes. The father looked at his two palms, and touched his face. They are no longer cold. He is back at his body temperature and then, burst into tears, hugging his wife, and then to Hugh. Hugh couldn't remember the last time his father hugged him like this, but it was an experience that he would remember.

After a few minutes, when his father needed to rest, Hugh went out of the farmhouse to find the man. Just like what he said before Hugh left, the man waited patiently at the field, standing cooly. Hugh approaced the man, "I'm back, sir."

"How is your father?"

"He is healthy again." Hugh hesitated, "But tell me sir, what was that you gave him?"

"Have you ever heard of the Wind Conter?" The man answered, avoiding Hugh's question.

"Can't say that I have."

The man sighed, turning away. "I'm not surprised. The world has forgotten who we are. We used to be so important to them, but now, they don't even remember us. Know us even."

Hugh was now getting scared, thinking the man is insane. He wanted to walk away, but his legs wouldn't budge. "What are you talking about?" Hugh asked.

"Come with me. You have been chosen to join us. Your reflexes are good, perhaps you might even be a valuable member to us."

After Hugh finally agreed to go with the stranger, his whole life changed. He was of course, first told what is a Conter and the functions of the Wind Conter. After that, he took the test to become a Wind Conter member and passed easily. Now, he is the Wind Conter leader after serving it loyally for almost fifteen years. As he lay in his tent, he wondered if he is going to be the shortest reign for a Wind Conter leader. He hoped not. He closed his eyes and drifted to sleep without any disturbing dreams.

Slayn was not sleeping yet. He sat on the ground, staring at the plastic walls of his tent. Not that he find the tent fascinating, but he is worried. It takes a lot to make him worried, and this is it. Facing against thirty members from different Conter is one thing, but against a man that he once fought that defeated him in less than thirty seconds! Zion. He had seen him only twice, and that scares him. He is now the Dark Conter leader, but it just might last for a day. Slayn then summoned a Dark Conter spirit in his palm, giving it orders. After it received it's orders, it disappeared out of thin air.

Slayn then just sat there, looking at his ring. His golden ring. This ring has helped him a lot, saving him when he fought Turalyon from being split in half when they escaped from Antholme. Felix has said that there are only three Growlansers that exist in this world, and he can't believe that he is able to use the two of them, though the first one he never remembered using it. When the spirit returned to him two minutes later, Slayn smiled. It was just like he requested. He thanked the spirit and it disappeared once more.

Slayn is right now holding the sacred documents of the spells that only the Dark Conter leader possesses. He wondered why normal Dark Conter members just ask a spirit to steal it for them, but maybe the spirit knows who is the leader and who's not. Slayn looked through all of the spells, one of them being 'The Demon's Scythe,' the spell that killed him once. Slayn hoped it will not happen again. He read through the names and then summoned another Dark Conter spirit to return the document back. Once that was done, Slayn laid down to get some sleep. He has travelled from Cop Bay to the outside of Antholme all in a day, no wonder he's dead tired.

Slayn turned to his right side, thinking what is he to do once he reaches Deicester City. What if he is too late? He hoped not. Erasing any ill thoughts from his mind, he closed his eyes and drifted to sleep peacefully.

44

Dawn took place quickly, bringing light to the land. They only were able to get six hours of sleep but now, all of them arose at the same time. It is as if they had an alarm, but they all knew why they woke up. The day has arrived. As Michelle got out of her tent and looked at the rising sun from the mountains. Slayn and Hugh came out their tent next, Slayn yawning as he got out. He could barely open his eyes. Everyone were sleepy but they had no time to think about going back to bed. They all gathered and sat in a circle just like last night, but no one spoke.

All of them just stared into the ashes of the fire. Hugh could not believe that his life just might come to an end. He stared at Slayn, and Slayn could feel his stare. He knew what he was thinking, and Slayn himself deaded the idea. They were not hungry, though they know they should eat something, but no one said a word. Vladmir took out his device, read the number. "Zion has already collected precisely ninetheen six hundred souls!" He informed them.

"So he just needs another four hundred." Annete added in softly.

"Well, no use sitting here," Yatsubana said, rising up, "We should get going."

"You want to die early?" Michelle asked.

"We all will eventually," Yatsubana replied, "It's just when will we die. So come on, make a path through the mountains."

Michelle turned to Hugh, then to each and every one of them. They gave no response, but Slayn gave her the signal. She raised herself and started waving her hands in a circle at the mountain. The earth around the campsite began to tremble, and then, the tremors stopped. It now began shaking at one area of the mountain, and rocks began falling from the tremors. It took almost four minutes when the whole thing ended, the dust from the mountains blocking their view of the results. They had to wait another two minutes when their view were clear. The mountain now had a hole, like a cave which stretched completely into the darkness. Michelle walked back to the group.

"Alright, I'll get our horses." Yatsubana said, walking to the horses.

They said nothing, not knowing what to say. Slayn looked at the sun, rising from the horizon. It's still so early in the morning. He would normally still be sleeping at this time. Hugh nudged Slayn, "Why the long face?"

Slayn looked at Hugh, seeing him smile. Slayn tried to smile, but just can't do so, "You know why."

Hugh sighed, "I know. Look, we are the only ones that can stop him, and being gloomy about it ain't gonna help. If you don't have the right mood, we're all gonna die."

"What is one person gonna do to the rest of you?" Slayn challenged.

"We are a team. One of us lose, we all lose. I'm not saying we should be cheerful, but we need to be focused.

"I am focused!" Slayn argued.

"Slayn, look at your self. You defintely don't look focused at all. I know it's hard when we might actually meet our death in two hours or so, but we might have a slight chance in winning."

Slayn looked away. Hugh had a point. He had been like a leader throughout their journey, or even if not a leader, the person that they needed. He is the one that after all helped beat the Aggresival army at Cop Bay using the 'Pit of hell.' "You're right Hugh." Slayn admitted, "There's always a hope."

"It's ironic you know?"

"What do you mean?"

"Last night you were telling us that we can beat the thirty men and now, you are afraid."

Slayn simply gave a smile and nodded.

Hugh smiled and pointed at Yatsubana, bringing in the horses with the coach behind us, "Looks like our ride is here."

Slayn nodded and looked at the rest of his companions. They are staring at the horses also, watching Yatsubana steer all six of them to where they waited. When Yatsubana reached them, he held the reins on his left hand, "So, who's going to steer these horses?"

There was silence. Yatsubana couldn't blame them though. They are to get to Deicester from Antholme and by the time they do reach there, one of them would be out from using some of their energies here. None were going to volunteer but someone finally broke the silence, "None of us have to." It was Vladmir.

"What do you mean?" Yatsubana asked.

Vladmir grunted as he raised himself and walked to the horses. The others watched on as he took out a strage device and placed it on one of the horses. It was like a mask and once that was done, Vladmir took out a small remote control and pressed a button. The horse wearing Vladmir's device immediately stood rigid still and did not move. Vladmir smiled to himself and announced, "Let's get going."

"We still don't know who's going to steer the horses." Hugh said, his voice raised.

"Don't need anyone." Vladmir assured him, climbing into the coach, "With this remote and with that horse wearing my device, I can control it from here."

"Alright then," Yatsubana said, climbing into the coach, "Let's get going."

Hugh and Slayn glared at each other and Slayn shrugged. Hugh knew what Slayn is saying and the two proceeded to the coach. "Hei," Annete called out, "We still need someone to know where we're going. The horses are being controlled by you, they just might bring us somewhere."

Vladmir laughed, "Don't any of you trust me? Just get in, we have to get to Deicester as soon as possible."

Annete first hesitated but then walked to the coach and took a seat. Michelle followed suit. Once they were all in, Vladmir moved the joystick on his remote control and the coach started moving. Indeed, the horse is following his every command and soon, the coach gained speed. When they were in total darkness, Michelle had to cast a very small fireball, the flame the size of a candle. It at least brought in some light. "How the hell are those horses gonna see in the dark?" Michelle asked Vladmir, having to raised her voice from the horses galloping.

"That's okay! They can see!"

"So," Slayn suddenly said, "Are we all ready?"

All five of them stared at him, and it was Hugh who nodded first, the others following. Slayn smiled and looked at his golden ring. The Growlanser. He rested his back on his seat, staring out into the darkness.

"So, how long till we get there?" Yatsubana asked.

"From the speed, in an hour!" Vladmir replied his answer.

Yatsubana nodded. Finally, before they can stop Zion, they're going to have to stop at Deicester to save an old friend from falling into the darkness.

Harlian was walking in the streets of Deicester with two swordsmen as his bodyguards. It is rare for the son of the prime minister to leave his quarters. Even more surprising is, he was armed, and his weapon was unique that they doubted it was crafted by an ordinary blacksmith. Harlian waved at some of the shop keepers that recognized him, even stopping for a while and asked them how their business were. Despite his tries on trying to pretend everything was normal, his guards knew that something was going happen. He kept on turning to his left and right every few seconds and this made them more cautious.

Harlian has heard news that the decoy to lure out the Aggresival army was successful thanks to Commander Alanil's strategy. He was able to give the Deicester army to attack Aggresival's capital without much resistance and not only that, they had time to split the army and aid Alanil with still some survivors. He wonders what was happening now. Now that the war is about to come to an end, he wished it ended earlier so that the army could get back. At least if they are back, then can help defend the city from the bastards that are going to terorize it.

As he walked to the market area, that's when he finally felt shivers flowing down his spine. He could feel a presence that he knew shouldn't be there. He continued on walking, and now felt about three more presence. With this, he whispered to his guards, "Be on your guard. We're being followed."

The two guards did not nod their head but looked at Harlian. If they did nod, whoever that was following them will know that they are aware of their presence. They placed their hands on the handle of their sword, prepared. Harlian could feel that there altogether thirty of them, but only five of them are close. He knew that the two of his body guards are excellent swordsmen, both personally trained by Turalyon. It is rare Turalyon would train a soldier, unless if he has either respect or impressed with their skills. As they continued on walking, they reached an open area. A great fountain with a large statue of a man in the middle. Not much is known about the man, but many regard him as a prophet. Harlian however, knew of the man's history. How could he not? The man is Mortati himself.

The place is deserted. It was quiet that the only sound is coming from the fountain, the peaceful water. Harlian prepared himself and turned back to his guards. They looked at the son of the prime minister and understood, taking out their weapons. Harlian did the same. When he took out his weapon, the two of them are stunned by the beauty of the sword. It was like water and Harlian held it with ease.

Just then, out of nowhere, three men emerged from the back. Harlian felt their presence and could tell that two of them are Moon Conter members and the other is a Wind Conter member. "So you've come?" Harlian said cooly.

They did not answer. One of the Moon Conter revealed his lance while the other took out his bow. "Can we not talk about this?"

"If you join us, then we will spare you." The Wind member said, looking at Harlian in the eye.

"I'd rather die then join you. You've all corrupted your purpose."

"Then, your choice is made."

Swift as the wind, he appeared behind Harlian, drawing out his weapon. Harlian quickly summoned a weak liquid on his enemy's hand, slowing down it's speed, giving Harlian enough time to back away. Harlian then drew out his marvelous weapon and ordered his guards to attack the Wind Conter while he handle the other two. The Wind Conter enemy quickly dispelled the spell placed on him and went forward, easily slashing the man to his right on the chest, damaging his lungs and wounding him. The second guy was much more skilled, blocking the thrust. The Wind Conter was fast though, immediately attacking again, but the Deicester warrior was not to be underestimated, dropping to the floor and kicking his enemy by the legs, dropping him. He then quickly kicked his enemy's sword away. As he placed his foot on the Wind Conter's chest and positioned his sword, the Wind Conter quickly summoned a gust of wind to push him off, causing him to crash against a wall. The Wind Conter quickly grabbed his sword but from behind, he felt a cold blade piercing through his body, blood dripping to the floor. Slowly turning to his back, he realized it was the man he wounded earlier that is about to take his life. The wounded Deicester warrior took out his sword and dropped to the floor, gasping for air.

Harlian smiled at the efforts of his men and looked at the two Moon Conters. Their teamwork will be a problem since one is a melee while the other is a ranged enemy. The man with the lance charged forward, his blade clashing with Harlian. Harlian sword however is unique, being made of water, he is able to go through his enemy's sword, finishing his enemy by cutting the man's head. The bowman did not hesitate, releasing his arrow aimed at Harlian. Harlian immediately summoned a large drop of water the size of a human being and when the arrow passed through the droplet, it refracted to the right, missing him. Harlian quickly ran forward, his eyes concentrating on the bow man. The bow man quickly took out another shaft, sweating as he sees Harlian running to him, and shooting without even aiming. Harlian did not even have to give any effort to dodge the second attack, jst moving to his right easily and when he came face to face with the Moon Conter, Harlian finished him with his sword plunged in deep into his belly. The blade did not even have a drop of blood and when Harlian took out his sword, the man fell dead. The blade is indeed a unique weapon, only found in the Water Conter and only given to the top five warriors.

The first wave is over, but it was just three men. Harlian knew that there are about thirty or so, now they are down to twenty seven and the next wave will not be as easy. His two body guards are at least still alive, but one is critically wounded. His lungs has been punctured, and he will not last very long. The other is still alive and is okay. Harlian approached the dying Deicester soldier, kneeling next to him, "Are you okay?"

"I'm sorry Harlian." He said, coughing out blood, "I'm sorry we almost failed you."

Harlian shooked his head, "No, what you did was good enough, using your last amount of energy to finish that man off. You went against a man that was able to beat the two of you and you beat him. You deserve this compliment at least."

The man smiled, losing his consciousness, "Before I go... tell me sir, what... is that blade?"

"This," Harlian said, showing his great liquid blade, "Is the blade of Totsuka. A legendary blade that only five people is able to carry it. I am one of them. This blade is like water, being able to go through a blade, like I did just now. It works in both ways. It is able to block a blade and at the same time, pierce through it like water. It is a very unique weapon."

The man did not say anything and could hardly believe his ears. Just as Harlian finished explaining, his eyes lost his sparkle and his eyes closed forever. The other Deicester soldier approached Harlian, looking at his fallen comrade. They were silent for a while, then Harlian broke the silence, "We had better alert the citizens that they are in danger. We need to alert any Deicester soldiers to protect this city. Come on!"

"Sir?" The guard was confused, following Harlian who is already running back to the town square. "Sir, where are we going?"

"To the tower." Harlian replied, not turning back.

"What tower?"

"The tower at the centre of Deicester."

The guard looked at the tower they were headed and now knew what Harlian meant. The tower that Harlian meant is one of the famous buildings in Deicester City. A tower with a large bell and the function of this bell is to alert the entire city forces to arm themselves. Throughout the years, it was only used twice, both during the first war. Luckily for the city, it's walls were able to fend off the attackers and Deicester has never fallen to enemy hands. Now, Harlian is about to use the bell, making this the third time. At this moment, he knew that whatever is making Harlian to do this, is definitely dangerous to Deicester city. They continued running, pushing some of the citizens out of the way. When they reached the entrance to the tower, Harlian stopped and turned to his loyal guard, "You cover me. The bell has to be rung to save this city."

The guard looked to his left and then to his right, "Cover you? I don't see anyone that is suspicous. Do we really need..."

"Trust me, they're here." With that, Harlian disappeared, ascending the steps to the top of the tower.

The bodyguard stood there, watching every citizen that passed by. He really could not think of any invasion that might occur and even if there is, how could Harlian have known? Still, with doubts in his mind, he did not even for one second let his guard down. That is one reason why Turalyon personally trained him. He had discipline and his sword fighting skills are also excellent. He could hear Harlian footsteps getting softer now, and he estimated that he is halfway to the bell. Despite his alertness, out of nowhere, he felt a blade slashing his back, causing him to scream in pain and rolling forward, drawing out his weapon.

Infront of him were about eight men, one of them has his weapon drawn out, wielding two daggers and also having a bow with shafts. "You guys get him. I'll handle this guy."

The rest nodded and went into the tower, climbing the stairs. The Deicester warrior could tell that this man is highly skilled but he could not get his thought out of his mind on how eight people were able to sneak up behind him. Strangely though, he could see that his body was like in a liquid shape. With pain shooting up his back, he could hardly stand still and his enemy took a step forward, his two daggers shining in the sunlight. Just as he expected it, the man ran forward, using his left dagger to attack, aiming his chest. He quickly moved back but his enemy is quick, using his free hand to slash his left arm. Though he was able to dodge it, he received a small cut, blood seeping on his elbow. He desperately needs to find an opening.

The enemy, a Water Conter moved back and for no apparent reason, waved his hand. Out of nowhere, a blast of water came from above, pinning him down. The Deicester warrior is almost out of energy, losing his will to continue the fight. He can't believe that he lost, being a student of the great general. As he thought of his past life, he remembered what Turalyon always said to him, "A man is never beaten until he has lost his last drop of blood."

Gaining back his confidence, he shakily woke up, much to his opponent's surprise. "Not bad. You actually survived the water blast. Some have died, but no matter. I will finish this fight with my daggers."

Once again, running forward with his arms at the back, he prepared his attacks. The Deicester soldier, bleeding badly, also ran forward, attacking first when they reached each other, but the Water Conter saw it coming. Being agile, the Water Conter ducked and made a quick attack, cutting the Deicester's clothes, but not hitting the target. He used his other free arm and it plunged it deep into the Deicester's belly, and once it was in, he pressured him, thrusting it deeper. The Deicester warrior was losing, coughing out blood. Still, he continued on, kicking the man away and immediately fell to his knees, needing his sword to keep him balanced. He could barely focus. He touched his belly and there was blood all over his hand. The Water Conter smiled and threw his dagger at him, and the target hit home, right on his chest. Losing all his energy, he dropped on his back, more blood coming out of his mouth. His enemy walked to the fallen Deicester man and with no pity, took out his dagger roughly, but the Deicester warrior had no energy to even scream in pain. He looked at his enemy and now knew that he has been beaten. The Water Conter placed his arm infront of him like he is offering him help to get up, but it was not to be. The Deicester warrior's head is now in water, and the water is only covering his head, his entire body remain dry. He now know what he is doing. He is killing him by drowning him in this bubble of water. The Water Conter smiled at the Deicester soldier as he tries to gasp for air but it is impossible to get out of the water and it is here where he shall die. This spell is rarely used, and is normally used for interrogation to make the person to tell them what they need to know, but this is to finish him off. After a few seconds of suffocating, the man's body stopped and it was over. He looked back to the tower and went to finish his target, a person from the same Conter as he.

Harlian reached his destination, finding the rope to pull the bell. Once he alerts the soldiers of Deicester, he could at least try and defend it for as long as he can. He can't picture the humiliation of Deicester falling to just thirty men. Once he found the rope, he immediately grabbed it but never got to pull it. The rope was too slippery to pull it, losing grip. Harlian cursed, knowing this as a Water Conter spell. He looked down the stairs and finds seven men climbing the stairs, getting nearer. About three of them were Moon Conter and the rest are Wind Conter. He tried to pull the rope once more but it was useless. He failed to do what he has came to do and now he is trapped in this tower. He looked down and finds his bodyguard dead, with two blood spots, one on his belly and the other on his chest. He turned back to find seven men glaring at him, all of their weapons drawn. Harlian drew out his weapon and their expressions were now fearful. At least they know of this blade.

"What brings you all here?" Harlian said.

"We can spare your life Harlian," The Wind Conter to the right said, taking a step forward.

"Spare me?"

"If you join us with lord Zion, we can let you live. That is the purpose of us coming here, to offer you a chance to join us. Once the demons has been summoned, this world shall burn!"

"How naive can you people be? Do you really think that maniac needs your help? Once the demons has been summoned, he doesn't need any of you. He probably gathered all of you to finish all of you off!"

No one answered his statement but they gave their answer. "You have made your choice. You shall die here."

Harlian stiffened and went to a defensive stance. It was no use in trying to talk some sense into these people. They've been corrupted by Zion and they shall die in the wrong paths. A Wind Conter wielding a gladius stepped forward followed by an archer from a Moon Conter. When the Wind Conter took another step, Harlian made his move. He raised his blade and plunged it deep into the ground, shouting, "Liquid glue field!"

From his blade, a large amount of water came out, heading towards them covering the room all but Harlian. The six that are not fighting jumped back, going back to the stairways while the others stayed in the room. The Moon Conter archer is somehow aware of the spell and jumped on time but the Wind Conter doesn't seem to know the spell. The moment the water touched the Wind Conter's feet, it turned into ice, causing him to be unable to move. The Moon Conter cursed and still in mid air, he took a shaft and shot it at Harlian. Now being in a one on one combat, Harlian dodged it easily and with his lone opponent in mid air, he charged forward, ready to finish him off. Just as he was about to make the finishing blow, the disabled Wind Conter placed a wind spell on Harlian blade, pushing his weapon away. Harlian losing his grip of his sword, fell down the tower. Harlian watched the sword as his weapon fell down, exclaiming, "Shit!"

With his 'Liquid Glue Field' finally over, the Wind Conter and the rest joined in the battle. Without his sword, Harlian is like a sheep surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves. Harlian took a step back and his enemies toop a step forward. They continued on this fashion until Harlian realized he has taken his last step. He is at the edge of the tower and his enemies were getting closer. "Come with us," They all said in unison, "We shall spare you."

Harlian looked at all of them then below where his weapon is. Turning back to them, he smiled, "I already gave you my answer."

With that, he jumped down. His enemies were shocked and ran to the edge of the tower, watching Harlian falling to his death. However, Harlian has also planned this, summoning a wave of water to blast against him. It was like a volcano erupting and the water saved him from breaking his bones. He grabbed his sword and looked up at his enemies and taunted them. However, they calmly disappeared and when Harlian looked around at ground level, he lost his hopes. He is surrounded by all nineteen enemies all from different Conter. Harlian looked at all of them one by one and sighing, he prepared for his final battle. One Water Conter stepped forward, revealing a large spear with a shield. Harlian accepted the challenge by concentrating on him and despite the weight of the weapon, he is incredibly fast. The moment he reached Harlian, he used his shield to block Harlian view. Knowing that Harlian can't see, he attacked with his axe, nearly splicing Harlian but Harlian was also quick. Harlian moved back and summoned a walls of water to surround the man. The man chuckled. He knew this spell. It is great to ambush an enemy by using this spell but he showed no fear.

Harlian however knew what the man was thinking. It was taught by the Wind Conter to use this spell to surprise an enemy by attacking him anywhere but Harlian has a different plan. Summoning a small palm of water in his hand, he chanted another spell, a combo and the water turned to purple. Now all Harlian has to do is open a wound. With the water still in his hand, he charged forward. However, the man is alert and when Harlian charged pass the wall of water, he grabbed Harlian by the neck and attacked immediately, slashing Harlian left arm. Screaming in pain, Harlian kicked the man in the belly and made a small cut to the man's left shoulder. Without a moment of hesitation, he threw the water he had created earlier into the man's wound and it entered perfectly. However, his opponent did not seem to notice. Looking at his wound, he glared back at Harlian in anger and with just one swipe of his shield, Harlian went blasting through the wall of water, landing hard on the cement floor. As the big man emerged from the wall of water, he seemed dizzy. He could barely walk in a straight line, his eyeballs were going upwards. He took two more steps towards but then, he dropped to his knees and dropped his weapon. With his last gasp of air, he fell, dead.

Harlian breath a sigh of relief and lost his guard. Forgetting that he is against twenty six of them, one of them took the advantage. A Moon Conter summoned around Harlian the gravity to increase, pulling Harlian to the ground and unable to move. Now the Wind Conter immediately summoned a cyclone while one Water Conter summoned a wave of water to the cyclone, causing the cyclone mixed with water to be destructive. With the gravity pull still placed on Harlian, Harlian is unable to escape. Soon, the Moon Conter released the gravity pull but Harlian is now pulled into the cyclone, unable to breath in the water. He is spinning in the cyclone and he was about to lose consciousness when another Wind Conter stopped the cyclone. Now Harlian is in mid air but they are not going to let him go. The Water Conter then summoned one of their famous known spells, called, 'Water Shark Missile.' The blast is so powerful that it damages the lungs and with Harlian running low on his energy, the blast hit him directly, blasting him until he slammed onto a brick wall. Once the blast has finished, an archer from the Wind Conter released his shaft, and to make it worse, he casted a Wind spell on the arrow, increasing it's speed that no one saw the arrow from it's incredible speed. It pierced right through Harlian as Harlian falls to the ground, he is bleeding from his mouth. His lungs has been damaged with an arrow deep in his left shoulder.

Now, they will finish him. Three Water Conter shall finish their own brother, walking slowly to their defeated target. As they reached him, they prepared for the finishing blow. Out of nowhere, three firebolts came through the walls, catching them in surprise. One of them blasted on the Water Conter but it was not that harmful. It just caused them to go back. The attack continued, with a large demon appearing before them, one of them going through the body of the Water Conter and came out from the back, killing him and leaving a large hole in the body. The two Water Conter were shocked and out of nowhere, a portal appeared before them followed by a powerful wind to push them into the portal. Slowly, they entered through it and the portal closed, locking them in the unknown dimension. All of the twenty four remaining betrayals just stared at the newcomers, realizing they have new enemies to deal with. There were six of them and out of the six, two of them are the leaders for their Conter. Harlian looked at the archer and smiled, "You came?"

Yatsubana did not answer, concentrating at his enemies infront of him. This is a battle that they are not going to forget.

Slayn and the rest of his friends looked at each and every one of their enemies. There are twenty four of them, and Harlian has already single handedly defeated six of them. Summong the Growlanser, he readied himself for battle. "Who are you people?" One of the Moon Conter asked.

Yatsubana feeling the hatred of the betrayal of his people immediately shot an arrow at him, catching him off guard. Almost reaching his head, a Wind Conter summoned all the wind on the arrow, the friction so great that it caused it to stop in mid air. The arrow dropped just like that. Yatsubana knew that this isn't going to be an easy battle. These bastards are protecting one another. Hugh turned to Slayn then turned to the others. "Let's do this."

They all nodded. Hugh took one step forward and said, "This is for Harlian!"

Not knowing what he was going to do, Hugh summoned a powerful wind at the centre of all of them and the wind is attracting all of them. Since that they are all stuck, the six of them quickly took the advantage, charging forward. The spell however was just to disable them for a few seconds, and the spell soon ended. Slayn was the first to reach a Moon Conter, slashing the man in the arm. A Water Conter attacked Slayn from behind, but Slayn was able to dodge it and immediately kicking him away. Summoning a small demon to grab the man, Slayn concentrated on the Moon Conter. Despite the injury on his arm, he attacked Slayn but it met Slayn's golden blade. Slayn then used strength to beat him. With both of their swords clashed against each other, Slayn pushed the sword away and the Moon Conter's weapon went flying away. Slayn then plunged his sword into the Moon Conter's belly, and when he was sure that should have killed him, he kicked him away skidding across the floor, dead.

The Water Conter was still trapped by the demon that Slayn summoned. As Slayn slowly walked to him to finish him off, he quickly summoned a wall of water that should distract Slayn. It backfired as Slayn just casted 'Demon attack' to finish the man off. Slayn finished two of them and continued on fighting, blocking a blade close to his shoulder. He was worried of Annete and the others that do not belong to any Conter, but his instincts told him that they could take care of themselves.

Hugh blocked a dagger from a Water Conter and quickly tried to slash the man's chest, but the man was also able to block it. This man is also a Wind Conter and the two of them relies on speed. Hugh attacked once more, swinging his sword to slash the man's neck but he the attemp was blocked by his dagger and the man having such a small weapon is faster. Hugh. Hugh is in a bad situation however, having to concentrate more than one opponent. A Moon Conter fired his arrow aimed at Hugh but Hugh dodged it easily but at the same time, he had to block the dagger from cutting his shoulder. Needing a time to attack, he summoned a gust of wind to push the Water Conter back, but the Moon Conter shoots once more, giving a small cut to Hugh's right arm. Ignoring the pain, he used 'Wind Travels' which allows him somehow teleport to an area where there are a large amount of Wind spirits and luckily for Hugh, there are a large amount near the Moon Conter. Catching the Moon Conter by surprise. Dropping to the floor from shock, Hugh ended it quickly, cutting the man in the neck, his head falling off his shoulder.

After finishing off the man, Hugh concentrated back to his previous opponent. The Water Conter summoned a gush of water to pin Harlian on the floor. It was like a cement wall on him and he looked up at his enemy. He knew this was it and he was unable to cast any spell. As he was about to take the kill, something stopped him in his tracks. With his dagger still in his hand, he slowly dropped to the floor next to Hugh, dead with an arrow at his back. He looked at saw that Yatsubana was looking at him to show that Yatsubana helped him. Hugh thanked him and concentrated in his fight, assisting Slayn against a Wind Conter. Slayn blocked the Wind Conter's blade and attacked but the man dodged it and kicked Slayn in the knees, causing him to fall. Taking the opportunity, he tried to cut Slayn in the neck but Slayn on his knees rolled back. With the man facing his back, Hugh plunged his sword deep into the man's back. Seizing the chance, Slayn ran forward and jumped into the air and finished the man off with a murderous cut to the man's neck. With the man dead, the two leader of different Conter's continued on the battle.

Yatsubana aimed his shaft to a Moon Conter and released his arrow. However he saw the shaft coming towards him and tried to avoid it but was a little to late, the arrow hitting the man's belly near the right hips. Yatsubana was quick, taking two shafts and aimed at the injured Moon Conter. He released the first arrow aimed at him and he easily avoided by rolling to his right but that was what Yatsubana planned. When he stopped rolling and stood on his feet, he lost his life. An arrow has punctured his left lung, blood flowing out of the wound. He then dropped on his back still breathing but Yatsubana knew that he will die sooner or later. Checking on the battlefield, he spotted Annete having some trouble fending off two Wind Conter. Yatsubana aimed one of them and released his arrow, killing the man with the arrow in his head.

Annete slashed the other Wind Conter on the right arm with such a force that the arm fell off. Blood was all over, the man screaming in pain. Annete unable to bear watching the blood, kicked the man away, dying a few seconds later from blood loss. Annete thanked Yatsubana earlier for the help. There weren't much left, about only seven enemies left. Annete continued on, running to an injured Moon Conter with burns on his chest. Annete smiled, knowing that Michelle must have burnt him. Spotting Annete running to him, he grabbed his bow and aimed it at Annete. He was unable to aim perfectly and just released with luck, the arrow went straight for Annete. Michelle was quick however, casting fire to surround the shaft. Within seconds, the fire burnt the shaft and Annete is free from any threats. Plunging her sword into the Moon Conter's belly, she took his life. Releasing her sword, out of nowhere, a man grabbed her from behind and threw her to a wall, causing her to drop her sword. It was a large man, from the Water Conter. With no weapon to defend herself, she stood there in fear.

Slayn seeing that Annete is in danger but too far from her to protect her casted a demon to be attacked insteand of her. This could buy her some time but Slayn has to concentrate back to his own fight. The large Water Conter tried to cut Annete in half with his axe but instead destroyed the demon. The demon disappeared but it caused him greatly. The axe was heavy and he had to raise it once more but he was too late. He looked down and saw that there was a hole in his body and then stared at Annete. It wasn't her that killed him, as she is still without a weapon. He turned back to find Vladmir with a device aimed at him. Unable to believe he was defeated by a non-Conter, he collapsed to the floor, dead.

Hugh saw only five of them left, and it is now them that is in fear. Hugh felt no pity for any of them, instead they are trash. They have betrayed their own Conter and they shall be punished after death. Pulling out his sword from a dead Wind Conter, Hugh heard some steps coming from behind him. Turning quickly, he found a Water Conter in the air with his gladius raised. Hugh quickly jumped back and he was on time, almost killing him. The Water Conter is quick though, the moment he missed Hugh, he leaped to him, causing Hugh to block his attempt. Hugh was in a bad situation, he has no time to think of a move as he continues the attack, Hugh blocking three attempts on his neck. Knowing he has to do something, the Water Conter quickly leaped forward and Hugh moved to his right, the Water Conter missing him. Hugh is now free and he quickly summoned a cyclone from the ground to push the Water Conter up into the air. Hugh then stopped the spell and the Water Conter crashed on the floor, breaking some of his bones. Even if he survived the fall, he will die after this fight.

Slayn is now against a Moon Conter wielding two lances. Slayn ran towards him, his sword on his right. The Moon Conter quickly attacked when Slayn reached him, using two of his lance to attack in an 'X' shape and it sliced Slayn into half. Unable to believe Slayn's stupidity, he just stood there with his two lances. "You didn't think I was that stupid did you?" A voice said.

The Moon Conter quickly turned back but was too late, a golden sword deep in him. He looked into the eyes of his slayer and it was Slayn. This did not make sense to him and he turned back. The person he slayed was gone and then Slayn whispered to him, "It's a clone."

Turning back to Slayn, he was shaking. Not from fear, but from the pain. He could barely tell what is going on and he lost control of his body. Dropping both of his lances, Slayn harshly took out his weapon and the Moon Conter dropped on his back, coughing out blood. Slayn was above him and being the Dark Conter leader, he finished the man off by using a simple spell and taking out the soul. This spell is only used on the weak.

Annete knew that the battle is about to be over. With just three left, she went against a Wind Conter. Using her sword, she tried to cut the man in half at his lower body but the man jumped up, kicking Annete in the chin. Dropping to the ground and dropping her sword, she quickly tried to escape the man. The Wind Conter was quick, using a Wind spell to push away her weapon. Annete is once again defenseless but she is a general and she is not to be underestimated. The Wind Conter approached her slowly, and out of nowhere, Annete sprung forward, spearing him to the ground. He too now has dropped his weapon and she is now on him, punching him twice on the face to slow him down from getting up, blood coming out of mouth. Rising quickly, she jumped forward and grabbed a gladius nearby then rolled back up, moving into a defensive stance. The Wind Conter without a weapon, prepared a killing spell. However, he never completed it. An arrow pierced through his shoulder, causing him to stop his spell from the pain. Looking at his discolated shoulder, he pulled it out without any hesitation. When he looked back to Annete, it was over. Annete ran forward and he quickly summoned a gust of wind. She was smart though, jumping to her left then she dropped and rolled forward. When she reached him on her knees, she plunged her weapon deep into his chest, near to his heart. He coughed out more blood, almost losing his life. Annete showed no mercy, taking out her sword and then chopping off the head.

When the body dropped, Annete saw Yatsubana behind him. It seems Yatsubana is always there to lend some help. Yatsubana spotted two Water Conter, trying to escape the city. Michelle turned to Hugh and they nodded. Hugh used 'Wind travels' and appeared infront one of the Water Conter. Taken by surprise, the Water Conter stopped in his tracks but Hugh gave him no time, slashing the man on his chest and immediately made a quick cut to his right shoulder. Eliminating him, he moved to his next opponent. This Water Conter is prepared, using a defensive spell called 'Water field.' A circle of water surrounds his area, and Hugh know this spell well. It is burning hot!

The closer he gets to Hugh, the more dangerous it is. The water is said that it can melt someone even though the water looks normal. Hugh smiled when the man kept staring at him, until he asked, "What's so funny?"

"I am not your only enemy now."

Before he could even react to Hugh's answer, he was blasted forward, landing face first on the ground. Hugh looked at the back of the Water Conter and his shirt at his back has been burnt. It was Michelle, casting one of her fireball spells. Hugh chuckled to himself. He can't believe that these former Conters were so easy to be defeated. Hugh started to walk back to the group but Michelle hasn't finished. Casting an earth spell, the ground around the Water Conter started to surround him and in just a split second, crushed the body into pieces. Hugh was stunned at how Michelle could be so violent.

The attack on Deicester City is over. Though the attack was just by around twenty to thirty men, it wasn't easy to defend it due to the fact that they are from different Conters and have special abilities. Surprisingly, when the battle took place, no civilians were in their way, there were not a single one of them there. However, defending this city cost each and everyone of them greatly. Slayn and the rest of them were exhausted, exept for Vladmir and Yatsubana. Yatsubana just had to support his group from the distance and didn't really use much energy or spells and Vladmir just used his weapon to shoot anyone he wanted to. When Hugh reached them, all of them ran to Harlian. He was injured, badly. Yatsubana was the first to reach him, kneeling next to him and grabbing his hand.

"Harlian, are you alright?"

Harlian looked at Yatsubana, his eyes drowzy, "Yeah.. I guess." The moment Slayn and the others reached him, he put his attention to Slayn, "You are a Dark Conter leader now huh?"

Slayn wasn't surprised on how Harlian knew. He probably sensed it, after all, they did see him before they set off to the Dark Conter realm. Slayn nodded.

"Thought so. Why did you guys come here? You should be at Burnstein... To stop that maniac."

"We wanted to," Yatsubana answered, "But we thought you could have helped us. But when we felt that our Conter has been destroyed, we knew that they were targeting you so we came here to save you at the same time."

Harlian smiled, couging out some blood, "You can see that now I cannot join you all to beat him."

Yatsubana nodded sadly, "I'm afraid that is true."

"Come on," Hugh said suddenly, "We have to go. We have no time to waste. We came to save Harlian and we did that."

Vladmir taking out his creation and read the information he needed than supported Hugh, "He's right. Zion just needs to collect three hundred and ninety more souls."

Yatsubana raised himself, letting the grip go from his close friend. Harlian and Yatsubana were childhood friends and Here Harlian is dying. Harlian sensing Yatsubana's sadness gave a weak smile, even chuckling a little, "What, you want to cry? Come on man, I won't die like this. I just suffered from an arrow, that's all. Well, and the 'Water Shark Missile' spell, but I'll live."

Yatsubana smiled from that. Taking a deep breath, he turned back to his group of friends, "Let's go."

"What's the point?" Annete said, trying to catch her breath, "We're all exhausted. We used up almost all of our energies here, how the hell are we going to beat Zion?"

"Perhaps I can help you all before you leave," Harlian said, trying to get up but the effort was too great and he collapsed on the floor once again. Annete then asked, "What do you mean? How can you help us?"

Harlian not answering her question, took his great sword and smashed the ground next to him on his right, causing a small hole. Then, placing his hand into the hole, he said some words that were too soft to hear. Then from his fingertips, water appeared. It filled the hole until some of them spilled to the ground. Finishing what he just did, he said to them, "Here, each of you take a sip from this small pool. It shall replenish your lost energies."

Not wasting any time, they took a sip and immediately, they could feel something moving into their souls. They regained every amount of energy and it even healed Hugh's small wounds. Harlian sighed, "That is a once in a lifetime spell. It can only be used once by a Water Conter, but this is worth it."

Yatsubana looked at his friend, "Thank you."

"No, thank you..."

With those words passed, the six of them ran to the gates of Deicester City. Running out of the walled city and finding their coach, all of them went in with VladmirGa steering the horses. Slayn placed his Growlanser back into his ring and the others also placed their swords into their sheaths, with the exeption of Yatsubana and Michelle. The coach started moving and Michelle looked outside the window and summoned three rocks to the palm of her hand. Changing them into knives, she went back into the coach and placed the knives in her pockets. Slayn and Hugh could sense that they were all ready. Annete knew that the fate of her city is now in her hands. If she and all of her comrades fail, this world along with her homeland shall burn.

Slayn took a deep breath, getting ready for his fight. He was however not feeling any sign of fear. He was indeed ready. He has met that maniac twice, one in which they actually fought and he lost badly, but this time, his skills has improved greatly. This will be a battle that the world shall not forget. The battle between two people that own the Growlanser and the two people that are currently the Dark Conter leader. This, will be the Dual Of Darkness.

45

The city was quiet. Too Quiet. They reached this great city about five minutes ago and there were normally priests everywhere, but not this time. Turalyon and his two most trusted Deicester warriors continue on walking into the city. The temples were all empty, and Turalyon grew more concerned when he found a few dead priests in the first temple he walked in. When they reached the pathway that lead to the main temple, Turalyon was unable to believe what he saw.

There were dead bodies everywhere with blood on the walls and on the street. All the guards were killed, even some citizens of Burnstein. Turalyon approached one of the dead guards, kneeling and examining the wounds. He looked at the cuts on the man's shoulder and then his blood. It has been dried for some time.

"What have you got sir?" One of the guards asked.

Josai shooked his head, "Not good. Whoever did this was good. He attacked this person with a great amount of agility."

"How can you tell?"

Standing up and facing the guards, he explained, "The cuts are small. If it was someone that did this was slow, the cuts would be more severe but here, they are small. Also," He pointed at the massacre, "I'm quite sure that he was against all of these people. So he had to be fast to beat each and every one of them."

The soldier swallowed hard, "So who or what do you think we're up against?"

"I'm not too sure myself. But I'm not sure that whoever did this is still here. The blood is dry, this attack was probably a few days ago."

"Should we report to Deicester?"

Turalyon shook his head, "No. We continue on. Even if he is still here, we can take care of him."

He nodded and they continued on. They had trouble walking though, trying to avoid from stepping on the bodies. Turalyon with his two Kamigas took out one of it, holding it in his right hand tightly. The guards also unsheated their swords, walking behind the great commander. Finally reaching the end of the street, they saw the great temple. It was huge, just like what the rumours said. There were a great flight of steps to enter the great temple, statues of Mortati on the walls of the temple. However, the sight wasn't great as there were dead priests on the steps. Turalyon did not know what to do. What kind of monster would do this? They were religious people.

It is impossible that one man could have killed everyone in this city. Looking back at the top of the stairs, Turalyon's jaw dropped open. He could not believe what he was seeing. His two men looked at what he was looking at, and when they saw what their commander saw, they too cannot believe their eyes. On the very top of the stairs was a man with long brown hair, wielding two red katanas. Turalyon could recognize the two weapons anywhere. Surprisingly, he was with five other men armed with weapons. It was Battusai.

Turalyon did not know what to say or do. Battusai made the first move, slowly descending from the steps with his men. Turalyon at first just stared at him but gaining back his senses, he grabbed his other Kamigas and moving into a defensive stance. Upon reaching the same level as Turalyon, Battusai smiled, "Turalyon, I thought you would come."

Turalyon could not say a word but one of his man did, "General Battusai, what is the meaning of this? Were you sent here to eliminate the person that killed all of these priests?"

"Eliminate the person? Battusai said, laughing, "I am the one that killed all of them!"

Turalyon first could not believe what he saw, now he can barely believe what he is hearing. Has he gone complete insane? Battusai was still his old cheerful self, but he killed innocent people. This does not make sense. Turalyon's legs were shaking and he could barely hold his Kamigas. His guards could not believe what they're seeing. Battusai took out one his katana slowly as if savouring the moment. "Battusai," Turalyon said in a shaky voice, "What the hell are you doing?"

"Eliminating the threat of my master."

"What threat?"

Moses revealed his sword infront of them then met Turalyon's eyes, "You are."

"Battusai!" One of the guards shouted, "Who the hell is your master?"

Battusai did not break eye contact with Turalyon but he answered plainly, "Zion."

The guards did not know the name but the name brought fear to Turalyon. He shooked his head to concentrate on the situation. Is this happening? Has his good friend betrayed Deicester City? "Battusai, what are you saying? Why would you betray your city? Why would you betray me?"

"I have no longer a life Turalyon," Battusai answered, pain in his voice, "My sister is dead. Did you know that? Deicester City failed to protect my sister! Without her, my heart is empty, my purpose of living is gone. I want to die, but like I once said, I want to die by my enemy's sword. Not just a normal person to kill me, but I want from someone honourable to do it." He stopped, giving a smile and looking into his best friend's eyes, "You, Turalyon."

"Battusai," Turalyon said, almost crying now, desperate, "I am not your enemy!"

"To me, you are."

With that said, Battusai disappeared from their sight. It was a split second and before they knew it, Battusai has killed one of Turalyon's best guards. With the sword deep into his belly, he quickly took out his other katana with his free hand, dealing a small cut to his left hand and then using both swords, he slashed his chest, killing him. Turalyon could not believe what he saw, nor his speed. Unable to react, his other guard tried to attack but Battusai appeared before him and chopped off his head easily, killing the two of them in just three seconds. Turalyon could not believe it. They were personally trained by him and Battusai. How? They were the best of the best.

Turalyon did not know what he did next, his hands reacted on his own, attack Battusai but he knew it was useless. He blocked it with speed and kicked Turalyon in the chest. The impact was so great that Turalyon flew backwards crashing onto a wall. Turalyon dropped both of his Kamigas and dropped face first. Turalyon looked at his best friend in disbelief, tears in his eyes. He slowly raised himself and picking his weapons. Battusai seeing that Turalyon has picked up his weapons, began walking to him slowly. Turalyon knew that this was not the Battusai he had befriended. Erasing all those memories and killing his emotions, he was ready to face 'The Yellow Flash Of Deicester.'

"So it has come to this," Turalyon said, his weapon shining from the sunlight. The two stood at their places, looking at each other in a distance. It was quiet in the city as the two great leaders of the Deicester army prepared for their showdown. The men behind Battusai backed up, knowing that this battle is going to be destructive. Battusai was waiting for the right moment to strike. A few seconds later, he saw the opportunity and took it.

When Turalyon just took a blink, Battusai used that as his advantage. Bursting forward with speed, he was prepared to end his best friend's life. Turalyon luckily expected that and although he could not see Battusai's blade, he blocked it right on time. The sound of the two blades clashing against each other echoed throughout the city. Battusai with his blade clashed with the legendary Kamigas. He tried to use force to continue the push against Turalyon but Turalyon has more strength and Battusai is instead being pushed back. As Battusai's own blade gets closer to his throat, he jumped back and continued the pressure.

Turalyon was already sweating. He knew that he was no match for Battusai. If the fight continues on like this, he will lose due to the lack of speed. The attack that Battusai made was already unseen by his eyes, how can he beat him if he attacks continuesly. Battusai sensed Turalyon's fear and took the advantage. Sprinting forward again once more, at the last minute, he side stepped to trick him but Turalyon, knowing Battusai read his thoughts and used his right Kamigas to attack Battusai. Battusai blocked it. With the two once again locked in this method, Turalyon quickly took his other Kamigas and attempted to finish Battusai off by slicing him in half, from the head. Battusai is quick however, blocking the attack from Turalyon and with speed, Battusai used that as his advantage. With two of their weapons both locked in contact with the other, Battusai backed one of his weapon back and made a quick cut, aiming at Turalyon's ribs. Turalyon was able to back up on time, but it scratched his uniform off, but missed his body.

Battusai however gave Turalyon no time to recover. He continued on the pressure, sprinting forward and attacking. Turalyon was able to block the attempt on his ribs, and he quickly tried to counter him by trying to slash Battusai's neck. Battusai avoided it by kneeling and he quickly kicked turalyon in the gut, causing him to move backwards. Using incredible speed, he disappeared and appeared behind Turalyon, attempting to plunge his katana in his back. Thinking quickly, Turalyon jumped to his left but felt the sharp cold blade, a small cut to his right thigh. However, Turalyon while still in the air and Battusai just went pass him after the attack, he was able to slash Battusai on his back, a big cut on his back and blood immediately seeped onto his white uniform. Battusai fell down on the impact and screamed in agony. He felt for his back and could see his own blood. Looking at his former best friend, he felt the rage growing inside him.

Turalyon watch on as Battusai slowly climbed back on his feet. He saw the damage he has done, the blood on the back of Battusai. He looked at his Kamigas, the blood of Battusai on it but he felt no pity. This is not his best friend anymore. Battusai may have scratched him a little on his right and got his uniform, but just one swipe with his weapon and Battusai received a fatal blow. Gaining back his confidence, he said to Battusai, "I can still spare your life if you stop this madness now. There is still time."

"Shut your mouth!" Battusai yelled at him, rage in his voice, "Just because you were able to lay your hand on me doesn't mean that you will win. It was just a fluke."

"Battusai, you are to confident on your speed. I thought you were really fast, but it seems that my eyes are able to see you."

Battusai chuckled, "So you think you are the best swordsman do you? I never even used my full speed just now, I was merely testing your skill." Battusai then grew serious, "And you're not even close to beat me."

The words didn't seem to register into Turalyon. Turalyon at first smiled, thinking that Battusai was just lying, trying to scare him, but when Battusai went into his attacking stance, Turalyon stopped smiling. He took out both of his Kamigas and prepared on whatever Battusai has in store for him.

With just a blink of an eye, Battusai disappeared and appeared infront of Turalyon, kicking him backwards and sprinting forward and attacked Turalyon. Turalyon is able to block the blade close to his right shoulder but Battusai planned that, kicking one of his Kamigas off his grip. He then immediately tried to cut Turalyon's left arm off but Turalyon ducked but with two katana against one sword, Battusai has the upper hand. He was able to slash Turalyon's left shoulder, blood seeping on Turalyon's uniform. Standing against the pain, he jumped backwards to gain some time to recover, but Battusai gave him none, suddenly appearing right infron of Turalyon and giving a small cut to Turalyon's face with his right katana and immediately using his other free hand to slash Turalyon's upper left right arm. Turalyon could hardly concentrate. Battusai's speed was too fast and Turalyon is receiving cuts after cuts. Battusai then jumped into the air and kicked Turalyon in the chin, the impact so great that Turalyon dropped to the floor and lost his grip on his Kamigas, falling right next to him.

Turalyon is feeling the pain of his wounds, with his left shoulder and left arm wounded, he can only use his right arm. He also can't really avoid much due to the earlier scratch on his right body and he is bleeding from his mouth from the kick he received. Still lying on the hard floor, he looked up at the sky and see Battusai in the air, with his weapon high above his head, ready to deliver the finishing blow. Turalyon was lucky though, grabbing the Kamigas, he was able to block the blow, looking at Battusai in the eyes. The Kamigas and Battusai's blade were just inches away from his face. Seeing that Battusai is still on top of him, he used both of his legs to push Battusai away, giving him some time to stand up. Battusai landed on two feet and it was all as planned. Landing right next to the other Kamigas that Turalyon dropped earlier, he placed his katana into his sheath, grabbed the Kamigas and threw it to Turalyon.

Turalyon saw the blade soaring, aimed at him but his reactions were too slow. The next moment, he screamed in agony as his own weapon plunged right into his left shoulder, causing his left arm to be now completely useless. Blood began flowing down from the would and Turalyon dropped on his knees, more blood dropping down his shoulder and his mouth. He looked at the Kamigas in his shoulder and then to Battusai. He is outmatched. Battusai's speed is too great to keep up. Battusai, now confident, slowly began walking to Turalyon.

Ignoring all pain that will happen, Turalyon grabbed the Kamigas, pulled it out and stood back up on his feet. He now retained two weapons. Battusai smiled, "It's useless old friend. Your left hand can barely move, you can only use your right hand."

Turalyon knew that he was right, and he dropped the Kamigas. With only one Kamigas to use, he prepared for the next assault. Battusai stopped at his tracks, then disappeared out of thin air. Turalyon turned behind but he wasn't there. He looked to his left and right but found nothing. With all three directions in error, he was left with one conclusion. He looked up and found Battusai in the air and Turalyon was able to block the attack on time. Upon the impact, Battusai used the force to jump back. Turalyon quickly attacked, aiming for his left shoulder but Battusai ducked and tried to counter the attack by trying to plunge his katana into Turalyon's neck from below. Turalyon reacted fast, moving his body back with his legs not moving back. Battusai used his other free hand to slash Turalyon's left knee and it hit the target. Turalyon felt the pain in it but asking the Kamigas to grant him extra strength, he slammed his blade to the ground, splitting the ground. To avoid impact, Battusai jumped into the air. From above, he scanned the battle arena from above but found no trace of Turalyon. "I'm behind you." A voice said.

Battusai did not know if it was his own reaction or just basic instinct, he turned behind to find Turalyon right there in the air with him. Catching him off guard, Turalyon tried to slash Battusai's chest but Battusai blocked it. Using every amount of energy, Turalyon broke through the block and was able to slash Battusai's chest. Battusai screamed in pain but Turalyon showed no mercy. Now falling down from the air and Battusai falling face first, Turalyon kicked Battusai in the back, right on the spot where his big scratch was made earlier, damaging it more and inflicting more pain. The two then dropped back down, Turalyon on his feet and on the ground, injured.

Battusai felt pain all over his body due to the fall. He even felt a sharp pain on his back, feeling more wet liquid pouring out on his clothing. He slowly raised himself up, and looked at his front uniform. It was scratched at the chest, with one line scratched from the left to the right. Battusai, in his anger, tore of his uniform, revealing his bare chest, blood flowing slowly down his chest. Just as Battusai was about to attack once more, his guards approached him, armed. "I don't need your help!" He yelled at them.

"It's not that we want to help you sir," One of the said, "We are trying to stop them from interfering your fight."

Battusai turned to his right to find Slayn and the rest of his companions with their weapons armed. Turalyon was relieved to see them, smiling with his bloodied mouth, "You guys came. This is the second time I am glade to see you."

"Sorry, but we're not here to help you in your fight." Slayn said, "We've come to stop Zion."

"Get them!" Battusai yelled, "I'll take care of Turalyon."

The guards followed his orders immediately, drawing their swords and going head on with their enemy. Turalyon took the opportunity and ran forward, scratching Battusai's uniform but that was all he got as Battusai was too fast, jumping up in the air. This caught Turalyon by surprise and Battusai quickly kicked Turalyon on his left in the face, causing Turalyon to spin in the air and fall on the ground, face first. Coughing out blood, Turalyon quickly got back up on his feet only to find Battusai on the attack, nearly finishing him off by slicing him in the neck but Turalyon was once again able to block the attack. Battusai continued on the attack, but all his attempts were blocked by Turalyon. As he raised his weapon for an attack, the pain on his back got worse, stopping him and falling on one of his knees.

Turalyon saw the opportunity and just as he was about to finish Battusai off, he stopped. The vision before him is Battusai smiling at him, his best friend. Turalyon just stopped there, unable to do the blow. Battusai glanced back up at Turalyon, seeing him unable to do the blow, he striked. Battusai finally found his mark, plunging his sword deep into Turalyon's gut. Turalyon grabbed the katana but Battusai held it tight, blood slowly coming out of Turalyon's mouth. He knew that his time was almost over. Battusai felt no pity however and plunged in his katana deeper.

Turalyon felt his life seeping away and could not even think of an attack. Battusai pulled his weapon out harshly and used his other free hand with his secondary weapon to slash Turalyon on his shoulder and immediately kicked Turalyon with all his might, causing him to crash onto a wall and slowly dropped on his back on the ground. Turalyon could barely see what is going on, his left shoulder is bleeding badly, he is wounded badly in the gut. Battusai walked to Turalyon like a lion would walk to a fallen prey. Turalyon tried to get up but the effort was too great as he collapsed back to the floor. Battusai was now on top of Turalyon with his swords raised, ready to do the finishing blow.

Slayn and Hugh slashed the last of their opponents and checked their surroundings. Yatsubana killed two men but Slayn did not know how much the rest did. He looked at Battusai's fight and looked at Turalyon who has been defeated. "Turalyon!" Slayn shouted, running to him.

Battusai ignored Slayn's voice for it was too late to help Turalyon. The blow will finish his friend and as he stared into Turalyon's eyes, he smiled.

Turalyon could barely see or hear what was happening and despite that, he could clearly see Battusai's eyes. His old, kind eyes. It is as if he was crying, tears that could not come to his eyes. "I'm sorry my friend." Battusai said. With his, he raised his sword.

Turalyon did not know what happened. It was just simply instinct or his own reactions. The moment Battusai raised his sword above his head, Turalyon took the opportunity to plunge in his Kamigas into Battusai's chest to the right. It punctured his right lung and Battusai did not react. He couldn't. He looked at the white legendary blade in him, blood slowly seeping from his mouth. Turalyon could not believe what he just did. He killed his own best friend!

Battusai dropped his weapon above his head, the sound echoing noisily across the empty city. Battusai smiled once again and finally fell backwards. Still with the smile on his face, he knew that this is the fall of 'The Yellow Flash Of Deicester.'

46

Turalyon, despite his wounds was now with his friend, holding on to his hand, "Hang on Battusai, you'll be alright."

Battusai coughed blood, gasping for air, "No," He said, shaking his head, "It is over for me."

Turalyon had tears rolling down his cheek. It pained him to see his friend in this condition with nothing that he can do to ease the pain. The attack on his back earlier became worse, blood already visible on the floor. "Turalyon," Battusai said, holding his hand tighter now, gasping for air, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what I did, now and in the past. I'm so very sorry."

Turalyon shook his head, unable to find his voice, "You have always been a fine friend. The greatest I've ever had."

Slayn was the first to reach Turalyon, placing his hand on his shoulder. Turalyon however did not realize. Michelle and the rest reached him at the same time. "There is a slim chance of survival," Michelle said, "I cannot do much to save his life, but maybe I can ease his pain."

"No," Battusai said slowly and softly, "This is the punishment I probably deserve. I no longer have the will to live without my sister."

Turalyon swore under his breath, "If it wasn't for that Zion, none of this would have happened!"

"Zion!" Hugh said, remembering why they were here, "We've got to stop him."

Hugh ran to the temple first, and the rest followed. Slayn stopped though and turned back to Turalyon and Battusai. Then, he followed.

"I shouldn't have hurt you," Turalyon said, looking into his friend's eyes, "Shouldn't even have come here."

"Turalyon," Battusai said, "It's alright. It was never your fault." Battusai then smiled, "I'm afraid I never got to fulfill my promise."

"What promise?"

"To die by my enemy's sword. You have always... been my friend." Battusai let out his final breath, gripped onto his best friend's shoulder and then, with his last gentle smile, he was gone. Turalyon gripped his hand tigher, "Battusai, please. Don't go to a place where I can't follow."

He knew it was no use and carried Battusai's face to his heart, crying uncontrollably. Turalyon has seen many death in his career and many of them were his comrades and friends but out of all of the hundreds of his friends, never has Turalyon shed so many tears for a friend.

Battusai's eyes were still open and Turalyon, wiping away his tears closed his friend's eyes shut, allowing Battusai to rest in peace. He then took the katana of Battusai and placed it on his friend's chest, and then placed his Battusai's cold hands on the katana, to show that Battusai died as a warrior clutching his sword. Turalyon smiled at the sight.

'You died for your home,' Turalyon thought, getting up to his feet, 'And I shall now avenge you.'

Elsewhere, six people continue their run to try and stop Zion from completeting the ritual from summoning the demons that would come in the end of days. All of them are filled with determination, knowing that this will be the last encounter between them and Zion.

Slayn and the other two Conter members continued running in front of the others, not even a sign of fatigue shown. Hugh and Yatsubana can see that the new Dark Conter leader is stronger than ever, but the thought that they can't seem to push away is whether it is enough to beat Zion?

Suddenly, in front of them, a large wave of water is coming right at them. Without saying a word, Michelle quickly starts chanting some words that could not be heard. Then, a wall emerged from the ground and blocked the water from crashing onto them.

"Good job!" Hugh complimented his comrade.

"It's her." Yatsubana said to no one in particular.

They know what he mean. There is no one among Zion's men that use high level spells like that other than his very own sister.

"So what do we do?" Vladmir asked, rubbing his chin.

"We have to continue on," Slayn said, taking a peek from the wall, "We don't have time to deal with Dillah right now."

"I will distract her." Yatsubana said, taking out an arrow and preparing to fire, "You guys go on ahead without me."

"No," Michelle interjected, "I am the one that should fight her. I have spells that can counter her."

Yatsubana shook his head, "You will be more useful when facing Zion. And that machine on her back not only helps increase the power of her spells but it helps her use less energy when using spells. You will be tired soon and will lose easily."

Yatsubana sighed, looking at Slayn in the eye, "After all, I am her brother and the two of us are Moon Conters. I think that this is something that should be settled between members of the same Conter and siblings."

Everyone glared at Slaynlah, awaiting his decision. Finally, Slayn nodded, "Do what you can."

Yatsubana smirked and without a word, stepped out of his hiding place and took aim in the darkness of the hallways. Unable to find his target in the darkness, Yatsubana simply aimed at the wall and released his arrow. The moment he released it, Yatsubana quickly chanted words.

"Gravity walls."

The arrow hit a wall and then bounced back, hitting the walls of the hall randomly. The spell that Yatsubana used caused the walls to decrease it's gravity and caused the arrow to bounce back upon hitting it. This way, the arrow will continue shooting everywhere and just like Yatsubana planned, revealed his sister's hiding place.

She jumped out of the shadows, landing on her feet. The two siblings continue to stare at each other in the eyes. Yatsubana already has an arrow prepared to fire at her while Dillah simply as her staff raised.

Slayn and his companions took this time to continue on their search for Zion. They ran from their hiding place, and continued down the hallway. Dillah did not even try to stop them.

"This ends here!" Yatsubana said loudly, his words echoing throughout the empty halls.

Dillah simply gave an evil smile, "Indeed it ends here," She took a step forward, "And it will end with your death, brother!"

Dillah threw a fireball at Yatsubana which shocked the Moon Conter member due to the fireball's size and speed. Yatsubana barely dodged the attack, rolling to his right. Yatsubana quickly got back to his feet, aimed his arrow from where Dillah was standing but he could not even find her.

"What's the matter?" Dillah taunted, "Can't find me?"

"Hiding won't stop me from killing you!" Yatsubana yelled.

Suddenly, the ground below Yatsubana engulfed in a wall of flame, causing Yatsubana to jump back, the front of his shirt burnt. Yatsubana landed on his back, feeling the heat of the fire on his chest. Luckily he did not feel the full power of the flames and Yatsubana tore off his shirt since it was already useless.

Yatsubana quickly chanted a few words.

"Reverse levitation!"

The hall's gravity increased greatly, causing Yatsubana to fall to his knees due to the force of the gravity. However, Dillah, being the weaker one in physical strength, dropped to the ground hard. That allowed Yatsubana to find her location and Yatsubana quickly released his spell.

He took out two arrows and aimed at Dillah, who was still on the ground. He knew that if he shot now, Dillah will easily avoid it by using a spell but he was a Moon Conter, a member that can control gravity or time. Yatsubana released his two arrows.

"Time increase!"

This spell allowed his arrows to still travel in normal time while the surroundings, including Yatsubana were slowed down. Yatsubana never even saw the arrows coming at her as it reached her. One of the arrows was plunged deep into her left thigh while the other one was burried deep into her gut.

Dillah stumbled back from the impact, coughing out blood. Dillah could feel the pain shooting in her body but she will not give up this easily. Since she has already failed stopping her brother's companions, she must at least try and stop her brother from proceeding.