First, I would like to apologize for a very long wait. You have all been very patient with me, and I apologize. Taking so long to update without even giving a notice to any of you was unforgivable. Though I do have a few reasons, I'm also sure none of you care about them. So instead, I'm just going to get back into the story, and hope you'll forgive me.
Dart panted lightly as he killed another of those annoying spider urchin. It was bad enough that getting hit by them was painful, if not exactly life threatening, but then they'd put up a physical attack barrier which protected them from all physical damage.
That meant everyone was forced to attack with magic. Kongol, not able to even grasp the idea of how to perform magic outside of his Dragoon form, had been spending nearly the entire time in his Dragoon form, running on the instinctual magic the dragoon form granted him.
It was certainly racking him up experience in how to remain in his Dragoon form outside of battle. So much so, that Dart was contemplating making all of them practice staying in the form, and practising to stay completely calm in it, so that they could use the form at will. Kongol was certainly showing that practice could certainly help in that aspect.
In order to transform into a Dragoon one needed to be feeling the rage of battle. Or simply simulate the rage of battle. In other words rage, or anger, was the key to the transformation. If they could learn to remain completely peaceful in their Dragoon forms, then they could activate the form at will and use next to zero energy on maintaining the form.
Of course, this was all theory, and any training in such a thing would have to be done during their travels.
He did remember however that the last time they went through the valley, there was far less spider urchins, and that the large amount of them this time was certainly contributing to his thought process.
"Hey, Dart!" Lavits called out from a little ahead of him as he stabbed another of those vicious birds, called a roc, through the head. "That statue up above us... that's the virage right? I remember the one we fought in Villude looked similar to that before it came to life."
Dart looked to where he was pointing. It was far above them, but still very much recognizable.
"Yea. That's a virage."
Rose sighed in relief. "I was worried it might have been a Super Virage."
Albert looked at her. "Super Virage?"
She explained. "According to the history books the Winglies experimented on their living weapons, and modified them to be insanely powerful. They look very different from their normal counterparts, being much smaller, or so it's said. But they're supposedly far stronger. Or at least, that's what the humans were told at the end of the war by the dying Diaz. Having met a wingly who wasn't evil, I found that they're merely just a stronger subspecies."
It was true. Sort of. Charle Frahma had told them as many secrets as she had managed to extract before betraying her destructive kin.
"Yea... we'll probably end up fighting two. One was half dead, and died mid-battle from it's previous wounds. The second... well, it was an insane battle, and all of us nearly died at least a dozen times." Dart explained. "This time, I expect us to kill it without much effort, hopefully. But first, this one up here will have to die."
"Be careful, they have a special attack that will kill anything instantly." Rose warned. "It's a beam, and you can see it charge it up. In your Dragoon forms, it will merely knock you out."
The group nodded, with a few swallowing saliva in anticipation. All except Meru. "Wait a second! Rose and I aren't able to turn into Dragoons. And we're supposed to help kill it?"
Dart turned to Meru. "Don't worry, you're a wingly. It probably won't even target you. It didn't last time. Still, it's best if you and Rose stick off to the side for now."
What Dart said was true. Meru had only been hit once last time around, and only because she got in the direct line of fire. Otherwise the Virage ignored her, the winglies magical hold over it lasting still to this day, and protecting her from being attacked by the monstrosity. Of course, she hadn't been flying at the time either, and couldn't evade half as well as she could now.
Meru nodded. "Gotcha, boss!"
Dart sighed. She hadn't ever referred to him as boss last time around, but now she probably wouldn't call him anything else. "Please, just call me Dart."
Meru laughed, and began floating ahead. "No can do, boss! It annoys you, so I'm gonna keep doing it!"
Albert clapped him on the shoulder, giving him a knowing smile. "It's best if we just keep moving."
Dart chuckled as the group pushed forward.
Despite everything, he honestly thought things were much better then last time. The group was joking with each other much more, and things were far less stressful. Of course, he, Albert, Haschel, Rose, and Shana didn't have Lavits' death hanging over them.
Pushing forward, and killing what few monsters entered their path, as few monsters wandered near the Virage, the group finally came upon the Virage statue. From this point they could see where the valley ended, connecting to the path just beyond the Virage.
Dart gave the group a swift pep talk. "Well, this is it, you guys. Rose and I will hang back, as we've had plenty of experience against these things. Meru, if it starts to charge up it's death beam, fall back, just to be safe."
"What?" Lavits sounded confused. "Rose has fought them before?"
"Of course. You didn't think her knowledge was based completely on books? She had the fun part of experiencing things too." Dart told him, easily covering his slip. "Anyways, if things start to turn sour, I'll swoop in and kill it."
Kongol transformed instantly, followed by the others, and led the charge towards it. They hadn't made it halfway to the Virage when it attacked.
From his vantage point, Dart could watch the entire battle.
"How do you think they'll do?" Rose asked.
"They'll be fine." Dart smirked. "So, why not tell me about your allies in the Dragon Campaign? Or some bits about the battles? You know, give me some knowledge from someone who experienced it first hand."
Rose sighed. "Well, your father was our leader. He found me when I was just a little girl, shortly after he became a Dragoon. He was the one who helped me become a Dragoon, and to get my dragon Michael. By the time I turned 20, we had recruited all the others, though Syuveil and Belzac were Dragoons before me. They were the Jade and Golden Dragoons respectively.
"I was here at this valley when this battle took place. We lost Damia here. She was the youngest of us, at 15. I sort of took her in like the daughter I never had. This was her third full scale battle, and she died here. None of us know what happened to her, we just found her dead after the battle ended. There must have been a hundred wingly corpses surrounding her. Her hammer was found stuck in one of them, and water and ice from her magic was everywhere.
"After that we had a few more battles, but nothing overly important happened in them. No big names defeated, and no more deaths on our side. Not until the final battle. Belzac died trying to save Shirley, but she refused to leave his side, and they ended up dying together. Crushed to death."
Dart nodded, listening carefully while watching the others fight the Virage.
It was pitiful really. Last time it seemed so much more difficult, but he had been moving a lot, and hadn't paid attention to the others. This time he was only watching, and they seemed to be having a fun time knocking it about. It's style of fighting was 'kill everything', and tried for little else.
Rose continued. "Kansas, Syuveil, and I fought a Super Virage together, while Zeig went after Melbu Frahma. Syuveil and I were forced back by an attack, and Kansas grabbed it's head. He had recieved a fairly fatal injury and then told it, and I quote 'Not bad. But I'm taking you with me.' and then he released all the built up power of his Dragoon, and exploded.
"Syuveil and I split up after that. He went to go and stop the other Winglies from interfering in Zeig and Melbu's fight, while I went to help Zeig. I got there too late however. Zeig had killed Frahma and Frahma had cursed Zeig to an eternal sleep in stone. Petrification, which has no cure."
Dart nodded, glad to know how his father had ended up in his time period. 11,000 years was a bit too long for a normal human, even if he was a Dragoon, to live. He watched as Meru fired off a massive Fireball knocking the Virage back, and Kongol attacked from above, using the earth magic to increase the size of his axe, allowing him to split the Virage down the middle.
"What about Syuveil?" Dart asked, as he got up to walk over to the others with Rose.
"I found him on earth thousands of miles below the wingly capital. I managed to save his body from being crushed by the falling city. Zeig's had melded to the city, and I was forced to leave his statue behind. I couldn't get to Shirley or Belzac's bodies at all, and Kansas had blown himself up leaving nothing left. I buried Syuveil at Vellweb, next to Damia, and then I left to the only wingly settlement that had stayed out of the war. It was there that I found out everything else, which led me to this point in time. We couldn't find any of their Dragoon spirits after their deaths. Shirley obviously became a ghost and somehow took hers and ran with it."
Dart nodded, looking forward as the Virage, split in half, struggled towards Shana.
"Oh shit." he shouted, running forward, just in case. Rose frowned, catching his hand. "What?"
"We need to do something about her." Rose told him. "We're fine, since we know what she is. We can't become her thralls. The others however, don't know what she is, and will become her thralls over time. Lavits for example is becoming increasingly infatuated with her."
Dart nodded. "We can't kill her. Just trust me on this Rose. I do have a plan. But you do have a point. We need to tell the others what she is, without telling her."
Rose nodded. "Fine. I'll trust you."
As the two ran, the others prepared to attack, while Shana, backing away, no longer in her Dragoon form, let loose a light from her forehead that knocked the Virage back. Both halves fell in different areas. One landed next to Haschel, while the other half fell to whatever was below the valley of corrupted gravity.
Shana grabbed her head, and then fell forwards. Lavits, reacting swiftly, caught her. She had blacked out, that last burst of power probably knocking her unconscious, considering how involved she was in the fight this time compared to last time.
"Is she alright?" Albert asked, worried.
"She's fine." Dart stated. "Is she out cold?"
"Good. I told you all about the Virage Embryo the other day. What I didn't tell you is that Shana is the Moon Child that is supposed to inhabit it. I'm trying to work out something to kill the Virage Embryo and it's spirit, but without killing Shana. Sadly, I'm not having very good luck. You can't tell her about this. I don't know how the spirit of the Virage will react, and I have no idea how she will react."
Lavits swallowed and looked at her, before looking back at Dart. "Alright. If it's to save her I can keep it from her."
Albert nodded too but his curious nature refused to let it stop there. "I have to know, what happens if you can't think of anything?"
"I don't know. If I can't, then, as long as she doesn't get to the Moon That Never Sets it'll be fine. If she does, she won't be Shana anymore. Our target isn't Shana, she's done nothing wrong. Our target is the Virage Embryo once it's born in full." Dart told them.
Meru frowned, being uncharacteristically serious. "Isn't that a bit risky? Wouldn't it... I don't know how to say it, but I guess I'll be blunt, but wouldn't it be better to, you know, do her in, before that happens?"
Rose sighed, and thought up a good excuse without revealing her own past. She wasn't ready yet. "I used to think so, but he raised a good point. One day, the Black Monster could end up dead due to someone else like Dart, but who hasn't learned the truth. If that happens nothing would stop the God of Destruction from destroying us all. It's best that us, Dragoons, the strongest available fighters, attempt to destroy it now, for good. If we fail, then the world ends sooner then it would have. If not, then we've saved it for good. At least, from this threat at any rate."
Haschel nodded. "It's a big risk. But the payout could be huge."
Kongol frowned. "Is like take maybe fatal blow and give maybe fatal blow back?"
Dart nodded. "Exactly like that, Kongol."
Kongol nodded, glad to have understood.
The group agreed that keeping it from her was the best, though Lavits' reasoning did worry Dart a little.
Still, now that he thought about it, the entire thrall thing was probably why the entire village of Seles loved her. Everyone Shana met loved her. There was no exceptions. Dart himself remembered caving in and going against his personal sibling feelings to try for a romantic relationship with Shana because she wanted it.
Surprisingly, knowing she was the Moon Child on his second run through his journey had stopped him from feeling the effects. Probably because he knew about the Moon Child's abilities from Rose, and was prepared to avoid them.
Strangely, the effects had vanished through time travel, which meant the thrall thing was probably connected to the body in some way, as well as the mind, because his younger body had been away from Shana for a long time, and hadn't been under the effects as long as everybody else in the village.
After all, it had taken him 5 years to end up in Seles. Mille Sesseau had differing laws about what age children were considered adults, and that age was 10. and he had left the orphanage then heading south. Once he had ended up in Seles, he had been taken in by Shana's parents, and spent 8 years with them. Most of his time was spent learning the sword from Tasman, while what little free time he had was spent with Shana.
His goal of pursuing the Black Monster had probably kept him from becoming a true thrall of hers, as he had been nursing the idea of revenge long before he met Shana. And then he had left. Upon returning the last time around, he had run straight to find her, and spent a long time around her, solely focused on her, which is probably what had ensnared him the first time.
This time, his focus was on killing the Virage Embryo. The very thing that was trying to ensnare him, which probably was what was helping Shana overcome her feelings for him, as it was doubtful the spirit would want anything to do with a being that desired it's end.
Looking past the Virage, Lavits' walked past him, Shana in his arms. "Lavits?"
"We mustn't stop moving just because Shana is out of it." he said. "She wouldn't want that, though she also wouldn't want to be left behind. This is a solution."
Dart nodded. "Good thinking." Before he could say anything else, a weight appeared on his back.
"Hey, boss! Didja see? I was totally awesome and totally pretty in that fight. Right?" Meru cheerfully asked.
Dart chuckled. Her cheerfulness was certainly contagious. "You bet, although I have to say, Kongol did a little more awesome then you, what with killing it and all. But you definitely have him beat in the pretty department."
Meru grinned. "Well, I hope so. Right Kongol?"
Kongol grunted affirmatively. Dart had agreed after all. Strong people were always right to him, and that meant Dart was always right.
Rose rolled her eyes. "This isn't a game, wingly, stop acting like you're on some childish adventure."
"Come on now, Rose. Cheer up a little." Albert tried. "We will get your Dragoon spirit back, and then everything will be fine."
Rose said nothing. It wasn't just her spirit she was worried about. If the bandits found out about the Choker's abilities to grant eternal life, one might just take it and run. And then she was down her eternal lifespan, and her dragoon spirit. It was unlikely, but it was a risk. A risk she wasn't willing to take, which is why she wanted to get there as fast as she possibly, could.
Dart realized that, in the moment her eyes connected to his. Even last time, all she needed to do was just give him a look and he seemed to know mostly what she meant. It was a strange connection, but it had saved them in a lot of fights where they had used combination tactics to take down their foes.
As he was the leader of their little group, most probably wouldn't begin walking until he gave the okay. "Okay, let's get a move on. Everyone, on the way, I want you all to try walking in your Dragoon forms. Kongol gave me a new idea, and honestly, it's the best idea I've ever had."
As he said this, and began walking after Lavits, he transformed.
"We stay in this form when we don't need to, and try to keep calm and peaceful, while maintaining the form, and eventually, it won't cost us any energy to maintain. I'll have you know, not being able to maintain the form for long periods of time, and exerting too much energy, nearly cost us several battles." (1)
The group nodded, and soon, a group of heavily armoured winged warriors was walking towards the Home of Gigantos. Naturally their was two amongst them who were much less armoured. Rose kept to the center of the group. Looking the least dangerous, she would be the first target. Meru kept flying above them keeping an open for anything that might pose a threat.
~Once More With Changes~
King Zior frowned heavily as the report was finished.
"How did you say they flew again?" he asked for confirmation.
"They wore bulky armour, most of them, and flew on wings similar to a bats, only coloured green, with the top edges being the same as their amour." the soldier told him.
"It isn't winglies. Winglies were said to fly on wings of light. The Dragoons however were said to fly wearing bulky armour." Zior noted to himself. "It must be Dragoons."
The soldier frowned remembering another line in the report. "It wasn't just those kinds either. One was a normal human, being carried in the arms of the biggest of them, and another was a platinum haired girl flying on wings of light, just as you described the winglies used to."
Now Zior frowned for a second time. "If winglies are working with Dragoons, then that means one of three things. One outcome is that the Dragoons of this generation have forsaken humans, another is that that wingly is a rogue wingly. And the last... is that whatever evil the Dragoons are combating this time, it is far more then just winglies and the virage."
A man in a purple robe spoke up. "King Zior... perhaps these people are merely travelling? Perhaps the Dragoons are immortal, and are merely travelling for fun and we are severely overlooking this incident. It is also possible that they're sorting out as many problems as they can, and recently got wind of the Gehrich Gang."
King Zior nodded. "That is also a possibility, but I was taught to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I want the castles defences doubled. There will be no new knights for the next year being stationed in the castle, no matter how swiftly they rise in ranks. They will be put on outpost duty to prevent any infiltration."
"Oi, that's bull. I had a few knights I was looking forward to seeing guarding us on my birthday in a few weeks." Lenus, under the guise of Emile half-shouted.
"Silence Emile." Zior shouted, the situation making him panic and act much differently then he normally would. "I'm glad that you have opened up a lot more, but should you speak to me in such a way again, I will reconsider whether it is you who will be my heir or Lisa."
Lenus schooled her features, not willing to risk not getting the Moon Dagger. Lloyd would be beyond upset with her if that happened.
Zior looked back at the soldier in front of him. "Send word to the others, and send the head knight in on your way out."
As the soldier left, the head knight came in, and knelt. "Yes, my lord?"
"No one is to enter the castle except for Fester. No one. Only the King of Serdio, and the Queen of Mille Sesseau, and only if I alert you that they have sent notice that they are coming." Zior ordered.
Lisa spoke up. "What of the Dragoons? Law states that they are only below the King or Queen in every country. It also states that because they are treated as they highest calibre of Knight in every country, we cannot refuse them access to our castle. Especially so if it interferes with their duties. Isn't that right Fes-"
Emile interrupted. "So remove the damn law! Father said no one, and no one includes the Dragoons."
Zior shook his head. "Even if we wanted to stop the Dragoons, we couldn't. We don't have the power to stop them. They would annihilate us. It's simply better to allow them access, but only if they prove they are Dragoons. All I know is that they're human in appearance normally, but can take on the form of a winged and armoured knight, an armour that is nearly impenetrable. Tell them to take on that form to prove they're a Dragoon. Of course anyone with them is allowed in as well, to avoid angering them, understood Zelgius?"
The head knight, now revealed to be named Zelgius, nodded. "Of course, King Zior, though I do confess to wanting a chance to test a Dragoon in combat. Is that everything?"
"Yes. Thank you, Zelgius. I fear that even your amazing prowess with a blade would be no match for a Dragoon. Perhaps in their human state though..." King Zior left the sentence hanging.
"Of course. Though I will refrain from attacking unless a spar is initiated, or they wish to do harm here."
"Excellent!" Zior nodded. "That is all."
Emile didn't wait for Zelgius to leave, walking right past him as if he didn't exist.
"My lord, one last thing."
Zior held up a hand. "I have heard your worries of my daughter, but I do not share them. Should you prove correct, and I still live, I will never again ignore your advice, Zelgius."
Zelgius sighed. "Very well, though I wish for one of my personal guards to be assigned to Princess Lisa's room, for her safety at least."
Zior nodded, knowing exactly what Zelgius hadn't said. He would have some plan in place to protect Lisa, or get her out of the castle and seeking safety in the south. Albert was a kind man, and would show no hesitation in taking in Princess Lisa. And if that was impossible, then he would at least arrange for her safety elsewhere.
Still, he greatly hoped Zelgius was wrong. If he was right, then that could spell the end of Tiberoa.
Well that's Chapter 13. Hopefully you enjoyed it.
(1) You may have noticed this number in brackets at some point. And that was because I wanted to explain something.
In the game the Dragoon Form time limit was hell annoying. And I'm sure you all would have preferred being able to switch between the two at will, so long as you had the spirit power for a single transformation. Well, as this is a game, and not a story, character don't know how much time they have left in their form, and as such, in the original time line, in this case the games story, I figured that the sudden loss of power would have caused dangerous results.
As such, I began to think. Rose once said that the Dragoon stone harnesses 'the insanity of war'. To me that's rage, or anger. Since humans fight by entering an angering state, essentially a state of insanity, it occurred to me that since the Super Saiyan transformation from DBZ, which is also fuelled by anger, was mastered the way Dart explained earlier, by both Goku and Gohan, that the Dragoon state could also be mastered the same way.
Remaining calm and holding onto reason, while maintaining the form should allow for the form to be utterly mastered, enabling instant transformation between forms without wasting energy on maintaining the state and only burning energy on attacking while in that state.
Anyways, that's just my opinion. If any of you have something better, feel free to explain in a review.
As always, tell me what you thought of the chapter, and notify me of any seriously, story debilitating, mistakes I made.