As you all have noticed, the updates are getting pretty irregular. That's because I am working on my final paper on college, so I need to concentrate on that, which means updates will get thrown off schedule as my writing time is cut off by a significant amount.

Anyways...

WARNING: Main characters were harmed and possibly scarred for life in the making of this chapter.


Chapter 50

Revelation by Blood

The travel back to the Twilight Palace was a silent affair. Regal and Presea carried their unconscious companions, while Sheena did the same for Lloyd.

Ratatosk had retreated, not talking to anybody and only saying they should leave, stopping to pick Verius' bell and clutching it in his hand. Aster could still feel the crushing pain and guilt radiating from his other half.

Marta kept looking at Emil, completely at loss on what to do. She knew Ratatosk wasn't in any condition to speak right now, so she decided it was for the best to leave him be.

When they arrived at the entrance, Emil opened the path back and the group passed through another spiral of multicolored particles to find themselves back at the petrified Torrent Forest.

"Big brother! Your b… what happened?" Seles asked, her expression of joy soon turning into one of worry at seeing the somber faces and heavy atmosphere around the group.

"Seles, you… didn't feel anything?" Zelos asked.

"Felt what?"

"Maybe it didn't work on ghosts," Sheena suggested.

Sensing this wasn't the time or place to talk about it, Zelos promised he would tell Seles what happened as soon as they were back at the Renegade Base. The spirit of the little girl nodded and together they parted on foot.

The forest was just as silent as them. So silent one could even hear the waterfalls ahead and…

Is that humming? Marta thought and looked where the sound was coming from to find some kind of red, glowing orb in the middle of… "DUCK!"

The group took a second to process that, but months of being exposed to these situations kicked in and they all went to the ground as several crimson beams passed through the air where their heads had been. The beams cut through trees and rock alike, leaving red-hot rails where they hit. As the flora fell, the group could see their attackers.

Big, metallic, with a serpent's body, a circular mouth that covered all of its head and a single eyeball inside. The things' appearance rattled the party as they looked at them.

"Observers…" Emil muttered as he recognized the abominations, whose eyes started to glow red once more. "Run!"

The group did just that as more beams were shot. They could have just stopped and tried to kill the things, but to do that they would need to leave their unconscious friends out in the open, something they refused to do. So the best option was to run away.

Fortunately, Emil was able to help them navigate through the forest's paths, however more Observers appeared at some corners forcing Marta and Colette to defend them and attack the demons at distance, although they couldn't stop to see if the attacks connected. They couldn't lose their speed, for they still felt tired form the battle with Verius, which was evidenced when Colette and Marta felt the shields of their defensive Artes cracking as the beams of the demons hit them.

Soon enough, they arrived at what looked like a ghost village; buildings empty, nobody in the streets and an atmosphere of abandonment.

Heimdall. Emil absentmindedly noted.

That was when an arrow hit him in the leg, making he tumble and scream in pain as his leg bled. The group stopped and Colette summoned two walls of stone around them as arrows rained down upon the party, coming from the abandoned homes.

Marta ran to Emil and examined it, recognizing the bone arrow lodged in his leg:

"Bone Archers."

"This is an ambush," Regal grumbled.

Then one of the walls of a hut exploded in flames and a fiery red figure charged at them.

Zelos launched an ice typhoon at her, but it didn't slow the new combatant down in the least. Regal had to drop Kratos and use his bracelet to stop a wicked-looking, flaming blade.

"Rahishi!" he spoke the name of the demoness attacking him.

"Then that means…" Marta started, but was interrupted as the other wall exploded to reveal an Air Blade spell coming at her. Marta got up and blocked it, only for a Dark Sphere spell to hit her, followed by an Explosion that launched part of the group away.

The reincarnated Summon Spirits entered in Spirit Form, only to have to raise barriers against the arrows raining down on them. Zelos got tired of that and charged a spell.

"Sublime Breath!" he spun on his place with his hand stretched, launching a gale of freezing winds that immediately turned the entire scenario into an icy landscape, the winds going through the cracked windows and open doors and freezing even the demons inside. Rahishi and the rest of the party were the only ones not affected by it.

Soon the Observers were back and the group had to jump back to avoid their beams. Marta and Colette put up their defenses once more told them to leave their unconscious friends at their care and the group had no option, but to comply. The Centurions appeared and Emil summoned monsters to help them combat the demons, all the while searching for Genis with his eyes.

As the group engaged, Presea and Regal made short work of the Observers as Sheena and Zelos repelled Rahishi, who went on the defensive as they attacked. Marta and Emil looked between themselves and found all of that very wrong. Why were the demons only defending now?

The monsters joined the combat and the couple's sensation that something was suspicious only got bigger as the monsters easily tore through the pack of Observers. A Steel Golem even managed to sneak behind Rahishi and ram into her back, bringing the demoness to the ground.

"Hey. They look pretty weak," Ignis commented as she and Centurions had helped Marta and Colette to drag the others near a frozen building. The servants of Ratatosk formed a ring around their Lord and his friends.

Bird monsters dive-bombed on the Observers, which tried to shoot them down without success.

"Yes and that is what is wrong in this scenario," Solum spoke.

"I hear something..." Glacius said.

Zelos saw his chance and attacked Rahishi, charging his blade of frigid metal with his power, aiming for her heart… and suddenly his weapons and form dispelled and reverted back to human in a flash, causing him to fall into Rahishi, who grabbed him in a bear hug and turned up the heat in her aura, burning him.

"GAAAAAHHHHH!" Zelos never felt such pain in his life as his skin was literally boiling from being so close to the fire demoness.

Glacius came to his rescue by sending two ice frog monsters, which belly-tackled Rahishi, despite the burns received by the contact. That was enough for a fire dragon to drop off and take Zelos as the two frogs breathed ice on the demoness to distract her before she cut them in two.

Sheena looked at in surprise at the entire exchanged, but that proved to be a mistake as in that moment that felt a hand go through her stomach. She looked below and saw a straightened seal card poking out of her belly as her form flickered between her human and Spirit one and blood came from the wound and the corner of her mouth. The voluptuous ninja slowly looked back to see the smiling face of Reriki.

"Goodness, you look horrible," she piped up in a sweet voice. "Better put you to rest," she added, her smile becoming vicious as she took her hand out and now Sheena felt the pain. "Pulse Seal," a seal card floated near Sheena's back and unleashed an impact wave that threw her into the wall of one of the abandoned houses, making a hole in it.

"SHEENA!" Colette called out in fear.

And just like that, more demons poured into the village. Collapsers and Savage Slashers appeared and started to tear the monsters apart as Presea and Regal got overwhelmed and tried to rejoin the group, just to see their path blocked by an onslaught of enemies.

Zelos struggled to get up as Marta healed his injured and burnt body. He saw the group getting overwhelmed by the demons and tried to enter in Spirit Form, but to no avail.

Dammit! Why is this happening again?! Zelos thought.

"Big brother, watch out!" Seles warned, right in time for Zelos to see earth lances coming from the ground and aiming for his head. The dragon that had protect him till now got in front of the red head managing to stop the lances with its body, although that resulted in severe wounds to the monster.

The Centurions tried summoning more monsters as Solum and Ventus sent other creatures to scout and find Genis. The silver haired Desian had to be around somewhere. Aqua summoned a Siren and a frog monster to relieve Marta from her duty, since her healing spells weren't having much effect on treating the burns of the Knight of the Frigid Glory. The brunette nodded to the Centurion of water, got up and casted a healing spell on Emil. The wound of the blonde patched up, but he barely had the chance to catch a breath as Rahishi appeared before him in a whirlwind of fire and tried to decapitate the Lord of the Monsters.

"Raining Delude!" Emil jumped back right on time and launched a water sphere, which evaporated upon contact with Rahishi's fiery aura.

"Cyclone!" Marta cast a wind spell upon Rahishi. Although the giant cyclone of wind blades hit her dead on, it didn't seem to have any effect on the demoness.

"Please..." a known voice said. The two turned and were met with Genis flanked by two Observers and a battered and beaten Regal in human form being held by a Savage Slasher. Looking to the side, they saw Presea on the floor as a Gravity Well spell dissipated, holding her down. "Do you really think something of that level could hurt Rahishi?"

The party scowled as Genis levitated his water orb to near Regal's head, conjuring a water sphere around his head as the demons let go of the man while he tried to dissipate the sphere, but to not avail.

"Now drop your weapons, unless you want him to die like this."

Emil, Marta and the others scowled. They knew Genis would kill them regardless, so they tried to think on something. That was when the sphere of water on Regal's face was hit by a blast of ice and frozen, allowing him to break it and breath once more.

Genis simply looked at Zelos, who had his hand stretched and his burnt face set on a stern expression as Glacius and Aqua flanked his sides. His body was dripping of an ointment the Siren extracted from the toad to help him with the burns. Zelos still hurt all over, but at least he could stand now.

Genis sighed and shrugged.

"C'mon... if you want so badly to go first."

Zelos casted a quick glance at Marta, who nodded and charged a spell while Zelos prepared an ice spell. The silver haired Desian smiled and simply called Reriki. The demoness teleported and extended her gloved hand... making Seles appear right in front of her as the Knight of the Frigid Glory finished his casting, a Frost Lancer, summoning several ice blades that flew towards the surprised face of his baby sister.

Marta saw that and teleported herself to block the blades with her defensive Arte, which left her wide open for Genis:

"Star Burst!" the orbs aligned around Marta and when the shield dropped they rammed into her from all directions. Reriki moved Seles aside with a wave of her sleeved hand and pointed the same hand to the Whirlwind Rider.

"Final Bind!" the demoness shot a green-poison sphere from her hand, which upon contact with Marta, bound her inside a runic circle of the same color, attacking her with chaos energies.

Reriki then moved her arm, the runic circle accompanying her movement, before bashing the girl inside it into the ground, bringing her up and expelling her in an explosion of chaos energy. Genis could only smile as the brunette skid along the ground until she stopped near where the Centurions, Colette and Zelos were guarding their unconscious friends.

"Well, well. I knew she would be useful in the end," Genis said with a smile. "After all, what is family for?"

The warlock looked at the unconscious Raine as he said that. Colette and Emil noticed what the General was alluding to, but that only made Colette very confused:

"You... knew it. But... but..."

"What?" Genis snickered at her expression. "You thought that this changes anything? That I'll join with the enemy? Please... Lord Nebilim is the one that I serve. He showed me what the world truly is. What the humans did to our people. If anything, I should ask why is she helping this filth instead of our own race? But, what can I say... it's not like I can blame her for being too weak and seeking acceptance from anywhere it would come from, even if it is false.

"True, he told me she was dead, but, looking now at her, seeing how pathetic she turned out... it was probably for the best I didn't know she was alive. She can't even bring herself to face the enemy when he is of her own family and she actually wants to record the world's mysteries and its knowledge? Don't make me laugh."

Colette's eyes widened. How could somebody so casually throw his own sister, who had been looking for him for years, aside like that? Didn't he see how Raine was when she met him for the first time?

Genis could easily read Colette's expression and sighed at that in exasperation. Really, it was hard to believe that after everything, they still thought like humans, even though all evidence repeatedly presented to them showed they were far above those vermin.

"And one would think you Summon Spirits would grow out of this illusion..." he said, looking up and back down at her. "Seems not even another Summon Spirit could convince you from letting go of your misguided conceptions."

"Another... wait, how do you... ?!" Emil started, realizing the General was referring to Verius.

To that, Genis only pointed to Seles. The ghost of Zelos' little sister was scared and called her big brother's name.

"Tell me, Wilder..." Genis started, looking to Zelos, his grin a predatory one that definitely didn't belong in a fourteen-year old face. "Haven't you ever wondered how your sister managed to find you in that Temple on Flanoir? How come she arrived at the right time to save you from your incapability of facing your fears? No, of course not. You wouldn't even think on looking at the 'why's or the 'how's. You just care about the present fact. A very... human behavior."

"Wait, are you saying... ?" Colette asked.

"I'll tell you a little tale. Picture it, if you will; the soul of a little girl, lost in the scary and dark realm of Niflheim," Genis put his hand on his chest, his tone one of fake pity. "She is so scared, calling for her big brother. Asking for him to protect her from the monsters, from the darkness. But he never comes. He won't come. So desperate she is... so scared out of her sanity that she would take anything, agree to any terms, as long at it took her from that horrible place.

"And then... one day... a benefactor appears before her. Actually, why don't you tell them that part Reriki?" he looked at his dark haired aide.

"Of course, Master Genis. Ahem!" Reriki then passed her free hand over her face and it changed to that of a blonde haired woman with brown eyes. Even her robes became blue and her aura suddenly seemed to become so pure. Even her voice changed, her tone maternal and soothing. "The woman looks at the child and says: little one, don't be scared of the dark. I've heard your plead and I can take you back to your brother. But be warned, nothing will come for free. Like you, I also desire to be close to someone," Reriki then passed her hand again over her face and her appearance and tone became normal, as she cheerfully said. "And then they make a contract!"

Seles looked shocked when she saw that transformation as a look of recognition passed on her eyes, which neither Zelos nor the others missed. Genis continued from there:

"The terms of the contract were simple. She would reunite with her dear brother in exchange for information. She would tell her benefactor what she experienced that day, what happened around her and where she was. And, really, why would that be a problem?" he shrugged as he smiled. "I mean, the nice, angelic lady saved her. She couldn't be bad. Right, Seles?"

"You mean..." Zelos said, trembling in anger. "You... used my sister... as a spy... this entire time!"

"The best spies are those that don't even realize they are actually passing information to you," Genis said in an almost didactic tone. "How else do you think I knew how to convince Verius to go from a simple observer to the almost-destroyer of all hearts on Aselia?"

"Wait. You were responsible for that?!" Emil exclaimed.

"I simply gave her... a little push, if you will. Verius was an unknown variable and I don't like unknowns. Originally, I intended for her to destroy the Renegades for me, but it seems she simply couldn't resist dragging you all out here and then try to destroy every living thing on Aselia!" Genis sighed, calming himself down. "Oh well, at least she softened you up and you all eliminated her for me. By the way, thanks for that," he said with a smile.

Zelos and Emil had heard enough and the blonde charged at the grinning General, ignoring Marta's call. Only one thought was dominating his mind at the moment:

Make. The. Bastard. PAY!

"Reriki," Genis simply said. His aide moved aside, allowing for the blonde to take a swing at him. Zelos would have charged too, had Glacius and Aqua not restrained him, since the Knight of the Frigid Glory was more likely to kill himself in that state.

Emil attacked Genis with his bare fists and even summoned monster swords to use as weapons, since his had been destroyed. However, trying to charge his spiritual power through them made the monsters flinch in pain and dispel the energy gathered.

"C'mon… no need to be like that, Ratatosk," the silver haired Desian taunted.

"Shut up!" Emil replied, blinded by a rage he couldn't comprehend.

"Besides, don't you think you should thank me? You and that perverted failure got to see your sisters in the end. Or didn't you enjoy your little reunion?"

"Shut up!"

"By the way…" he stepped aside as a newly healed Regal came in with a punch that would have sent him rocketing towards one of the dilapidated buildings of the old village. "You should have stayed down! Flare Beam!" the fire orb aligned with Genis' open palm and a superheated, fire beam shot from it as Regal crossed his arms and put them up, using his defensive Arte to shield himself and Aster.

From his position, Zelos charged a spell, aiming for the young looking half-elf again. That is, until Seles was materialized between him the half-elf once more, acting as a human shield. Zelos gritted his teeth in anger, but stopped his casting, not wanting to hit his sister.

Regal attacked Genis, the blue haired man's bracelets humming with energy as the Desian General put forth his lightning orb and blocked the potent punch, which sent an impact wave coupled by electricity in the air. Genis and his aides then felt a release of darkness and knew Presea had finally managed to free herself from the gravitational bind. The confirmation came with the sound of demons being slaughtered.

Reriki teleported to near him and took Genis away from Regal and onto a rooftop. He looked around and saw Ratatosk fighting against Rahishi who was being assaulted by stalagmites, metal lances and saws coming from the earth. He looked and saw Colette chanting in deep concentration.

Looking again, Genis saw Presea going after him as Regal attacked the demons that tried to jump on his injured friends. The Desian General smiled as he turned to Colette and aligned his orbs in a circle above him. Presea noticed it too and "dived" into the ground, arriving right on time in front of Colette to block Genis' Elementum Cannon, although she noticed there wasn't much power behind it. Like…

She widened her eyes as she felt Genis' aura spike, his clothes flapping as he gathered power. Presea turned to Colette and brandished her hand ax, creating a wave of darkness that pushed the blonde and her unconscious friends away right on time.

"Now, feel true, magical power!" a massive blade of light fell on Presea, not affecting her physical body, but trapping her in place. Then several smaller blades rained upon the Warrior of the Deep Abyss in the form of lightning. The ground beneath her cracked open and several metal spears impaled Presea, now affecting her physically, which was followed by fire swords rising from the cracks and passing by the pink haired girl, burning her so strongly she let out screams of pain.

Water lances came from the cracks too, spearing through Presea before the water started to float around, as if taken by a strong wind. Air Blades crossed over the reincarnated Shadow's body as the metal lances retreated and she fell to the ground. Presea tried to get up, but the light was still burning her aura and preventing her from teleporting away. The water crystallized and several ice spears rained upon her for all directions, sticking on her body like a pin cushion, and spheres of light and dark materialized in the air shooting smaller blades on her from all sides.

Finally, a massive blade made out of pure, raw magic with the same signature as Genis' aura slammed down on Presea, piercing almost her entire midsection. The damage finally broke through her defenses and she was forced back into her human form. Lances of molten lava and metal impaled Presea's wrists, neck, legs, and most vital point in her body, making her scream in mute pain. The lances and the sword then hummed and glowed as power started to accumulate on them.

Colette could only look in shock as Presea was battered, speared, slashed and impaled by all manners of elemental blades. When the massive sword descended and she saw blood splatter on the floor as her friend reverted back to normal, Colette got up and started to run, intending to save her friend and amorous interest as she heard the blades humming. The pink haired girl looked at the blonde with wide eyes, trying to tell Colette to "look away" or to "stay back".

Genis pronounced the name of the Mystic Arte with a wide, maniacal smile:

"SACRED BLADES!"

The humming stopped and in an instant, the blades exploded.

Colette stopped. Her entire world stopped, as all she could do was look as Presea's body was blown up. Blood flew everywhere, some splattering on her face, as all she could see was Presea's head being separated from her disfigured and broken body. It fell and rolled in her direction, stopping with Presea's face stuck in an eternally surprised expression.

The entire battle practically stopped as the party heard the unmistakable sound of blood and gore splattering on the ground. Sheena finally managed to apply some healing items to herself enough to stop the bleeding and get out of the rubble and see that everybody stopped fighting. When she looked and saw Presea's body's state, she felt nauseated and horrified in equal measures.

Oh... no... was all the Radiant Maiden could think.

Colette only looked at the head of pink, hair, which fell out of its customary spiky, twin tails. She took a small step forward, refusing to look at the body and... the blood. And entrails... they were everywhere.

No... don't think that... it's Presea. Presea's strong. She... she can't be dead.

The blonde took another small step towards the only thing that remained in-

No! Stop thinking that!

"P... Prese-a... ?" she asked aloud as she looked at the head. "Presea... you're... okay, right? It's... it's only a joke... right?" she exhibited a nervous smile. A smile that indicated she could crack at any moment.

That was a joke. It had to be a joke! Because Presea, most certainly, could. not. be. dead.

"Elementum Cannon!"

"Colette!" Zelos threw himself in front of her, conjuring an ice shield the size of his body, which was quickly broken and an explosion threw him away. The red head blacked out before he even hit the ground.

Colette could only look and see him there, his form smoking and looking like it was barely breathing.

Li... Maki...

A thought started to echo in Colette's head as she looked back to Presea's head. Her smile dropped and her eyes started to moisten.

"Colette!" Marta called out as she blocked an attack from Rahishi's flame sword.

... Like Maki...

The blonde continued to slowly drag herself towards those widened, unblinking eyes. Tears started to fall, but her expression didn't change.

"Snap out of it!" Emil and Regal attacked Genis and Reriki with long-range, magical attacks, but the two just teleported out of reach and Reriki summoned a serpent dragon that breathed scorching flames on the two.

Just like Maki...

She fell to her knees and slowly, hands trembling, reached for the decapitated head. She grabbed it and brought it up to her eyes.

"YOU BASTARD!" Sheena entered in Spirit Form again, despite any pain or injuries, and attacked a grinning Genis, who countered with:

"Blacklight Spiral!" his darkness and light orb came to his open palm and started to spin in synchrony. Two streams of light and shadow came from them, widening around Sheena, enveloping her flight in a circling cage of light and dark. It closed upon her like chains the attacks burning and draining her energies.

A wail of agony sounded in the ruined village as the entire earth shook violently.

Once more the group had to stop as stalagmites and even metal spires were sprouting everywhere. And those were mainly aiming for the remaining demons. Some got swallowed up by fissures that then closed right after, crunching their bodies into a fine paste, even if it didn't take their whole body. The reincarnated Summon Spirits could only fight not to lose their balance.

In the midst of it all, Colette was kneeling and cradling Presea's decapitated head in her arms while letting out what had to be the most heartbreaking cry of sadness anyone had ever heard. She was immediately surrounded by tall stalagmites.

Genis had to jump off the building he had been in and Reriki summoned a great, nine-headed dragon for her master to land on. He was almost thrown out when the beast had to dodge metal lances and saws that shot from the ground in their direction.

"Master Genis. I think we've upset her," Reriki said, still making light of the situation as Colette's loud cries and waves of attacks never ceased. Soon the entirety of Heimdall was razed to the ground, half its structures swallowed by the earth.

"Yes, we did," Genis said, still smiling. He commanded his orbs once more as they aligned in circle above him. "One down..." Rahishi avoided the rampaging earth and extended her burning blade, swinging it on the stalagmites protecting Colette, leaving a wide trail of flames behind, managing to melt a wide opening in the protective ring, giving her General a clear view to the heartbroken Keeper of Terra's Oath. "One more to go..."

It didn't matter if she managed to unconsciously summon a barrier against him. Rahishi would attack in unison with Genis and the two would finish another Summon Spirit.

"Collie, LOOK OUT!" Sheena screamed from somewhere, but Colette either wasn't paying attention, or couldn't hear her over the sound of her own cries and earth crumbling everywhere.

"Elementum..." Genis started, only to be stopped as he felt an incredible aura of power coming in high speeds.

In the next instant, a sphere of multicolored energy passed by Genis at the speed of a shooting star and slammed on the earth, creating a shockwave so potent that it destroyed all the magically controlled, rock formations.

Even Colette stopped at sensing the new power right near her. The sphere floating just above the ground as it seemed to suck the light around and explode in a flash, forcing her to look away.

When the party could look again, a figure with three pairs of ethereal, multicolored wings was in the place of the sphere. His metallic silver hair and Cruxis tattoo on his forehead made the group immediately recognize him:

"Gaelius," Regal exclaimed.

"Cruxis? What are they doing here?" Rahishi let out.

Genis only growled at this interference.

Gaelius fixed his eyes on Colette, who flinched, remembering the Seraphim had almost killed Presea. The Seraphim of Justice started to walk in her direction. Panicking, the blonde used her powers to make two stone slabs rise on Gaelius' sides and slam on him, intending to crush the angel. The two slabs broke upon contact and Gaelius didn't even flinch.

"As the Faith states: 'Thou shall not listen the faithless and heretics, for they will try and misguide thy path'," Gaelius spoke in his deep voice as he seemed to preach.

"Get away!" Colette said. Trying to raise metal lances from the ground to impale the angel, who simply waved his sword in their direction, shattering them and not even slowing down.

"'Those that spread lies and conflict shall be struck by the lightning of judgment...'"

"I said GET AWAY!" Colette raised a tall wall this time. The sound of a blade cutting through stone was heard and the wall was reduced to pebbles as the Seraphim of Judgment advanced.

"'And their souls burnt by the purging flames... Do not listen to their misleading words, child, and thy soul shall not stray from the righteous path'," Gaelius continued, now a few feet away from Colette, who had tears of grief in her eyes mixed with those of fear as she still clutched Presea's head with one hand.

"Leave us ALONE!" Colette touched the ground and her hand was enveloped by metal, forming a gauntlet with thick, jagged claws. She rose to quickly attack the angel.

Gaelius simply backhanded Colette, the force of the blow enough to rip her head off should she have received it in human form. As she was, her head was thrown to the side as Colette lost consciousness before she even hit the floor. Presea's head escaped her grip, rolling away while leaving a trail of blood as it stopped.

Gaelius approached Presea's body and pointed his Runeblade to it.

"Thou was judged, sinner. And found guilty," a thin, crimson beam emanated from his sword and the corpse was immediately ignited.

"NO! You monster!" Sheena tried to charge at him, but several light spheres started to descend around the village, materializing into angels sporting lances, maces, claymores and hammers.

"By the will of the heavens and the justice of the Holy Ones... you are all under arrest," Gaelius said in his tone of finality as he handed the sentence, behind him, the flames hit a nearby shack, which quickly ignited. In seconds the nearby, abandoned buildings were on fire, making Gaelius look positively frightening as his tall and austere frame stood against the flaming backdrop.

Meanwhile, Rahishi quickly slipped out of view and jumped on the great dragon as it rose to the skies, staying relatively out of sight as its riders let the scene below them play out. The two aides felt quite nervous as they observed Cruxis quickly subdue the members of the party who tried to fight them off.

Genis' scowl didn't drop as he observed what should have been his victory being stolen from him by the arrival of the angels. Deciding to salvage at least part of the situation, he looked at where Colette's unconscious form was, but quickly became confused as he looked around her.

"Where is the head?"

"My General?" Rahishi called his attention. "What should we do?" Reriki also looked at him, nervous by all that happened and waiting for some order from her "Master".

Genis sighed in exasperation, knowing the situation was unsalvageable as of now.

"Let's leave. There's nothing else we can do."

With that final edict, his aides nodded and the dragon turned to take them out of the ghost (and now burning) town of Heimdall. Genis' only consolation was that he at least eliminated the biggest threat in the group and thanks to his little informant he could now quickly mount an assault on the Renegades' headquarters and take credit for eliminating them.

However, there was still one thing bothering him:

What is Mithos thinking?


Yes, I know what you are all thinking:

OMG! HE KILLED PRESEA! YOU BASTARD, SHE WAS SUCH A GREAT CHARACTER!

Hold your horses people! And pitchforks... and swords... and rocket launchers...

Um...

Here's a skit! Latter!

(Genis, Reriki, Rahishi and Seles)

Brothers and Sisters 1

Reriki: So, that half-elf Undine is really your sister, Master Genis?

Genis: Yeah, she is. I didn't really want to give it much attention at first, but can't argue with the evidence.

Rahishi: Then... shouldn't we do something about it, my General?

Genis: What do you suggest Rahishi?

Rahishi: Well... to be honest I don't know. We demons don't have what mortals call a blood-related family. The closest thing we have is the notion of brotherhood hailing from the fact we are all creations of the Great Lords and work to further their goals.

Genis: So, you would say your duty comes first than your concept of "brotherhood", right?

Rahishi: Yes.

Genis *shrugging*: Same thing for me. I mean, that woman could be a nice addition to the Desians, but she is Undine, our sworn enemy. Plus, I can't stand that.

Reriki: What?

Genis: The way she acts. From the profile, she was a student of Lord Nebilim when he was still alive and now that he came back, what does she do? Shun him! He, who effectively stopped the war and has charged me with keeping the elven culture and magical lore alive! Yet, she refuses all the knowledge that he would have to impart, as well as his efforts to keep things on track and the humans in their just place. She says she's a scholar, but she's nothing more than a hypocrite!

Seles: I just think you're a bad brother!

Genis: What?! Where did you... ?!

Seles: I heard from big brother about you. How can you treat your own big sister like that when she misses you so much?!

Genis: Reriki. What is she doing here?

Reriki: Um... she tagged along when we left. I think she doesn't want to go back and risk her brother's safety anymore.

Seles: It's all your fault my brother was hurt! I hate you!

Genis *twisted smile*: Heh. Please girl, people more powerful and influential then you have despised me. So get in the end of line, 'cause you're nothing to me.

Seles: Meany. Meany. Meany. Meany. Meany. Meany. Meany.

Rahishi *frowning*: Urgh! Reriki, can't you send her back to Niflheim or something. She's giving me a migraine.

Reriki *sweatdrop*: Yeah... about that...

Rahishi *confused*: What?

Reriki: I never did establish a termination clause to our contract or duration for that matter, so...

Genis: Wait. You mean we're stuck with this brat?

Seles: Look who's talking; the shorty.

Genis *angry*: I'm not short! My body just stopped aging!

Seles: Whatever! You're still almost as tall as me. Shorty!

Rahishi: Argh! Reriki, how do you forget something as fundamental as a termination clause?! What are we going to do with here now?!

Reriki: Train for parenthood?

Rahishi, Genis & Seles: WHAT?!

Reriki *nervous smile*: Just kidding. You don't need to act like that.

Genis: Ugh...

Rahishi: I hate children.

Seriously. Don't kill me till the next chapter! You'll have a surprise there. However, don't expect just good things to come out of it as I intend for this to become a turning point for Presea's personality.