Hikari, Rei and Shirou star in another story! The story is called 'The Spear that guards the Priestess', written by JFai! If interested, go to my favorites or his page and read it!
I thank my awesome Co-Writer, Shadow Ninja Koopa, for all the help he has given me!
Alright time for review replies by ME and Koopa!
JFai: You unfortunately get stuck with me as the answer to your review... Ok, where to start? If I'm right about how Starlight works, Rei should be kinder to some people... For a little while or perhaps longer. The two eidolons is very impressive and yes, it does take a lot of power and the strain is massive. For it to be more effective, she has too charge her mana before a fight for it to be even greater, for several days I believe. Yep, Hikari is taking charge... But for how long? Find out on the next episode of 021! (I'm really lazy and I don't feel like making a Dragon Ball Z joke. Anyway, you keep up your own writing as well (We are both enjoying it)) Thanks for reviewing.
LadyJuxtaposition: Wow you wrote a long one.~ And yes this is a FF story, so there must be FF references! Well if you want he tot save him, you will have to read and find out! Not much to say since I technically did this in your Journal XD
Kiiroi Senko: Why hello there!~ Oh yes…and well let's just say things are gonna take an interesting turn now! Glad to see you liked our Ensemble Darkhorses point of view! Seriously it's always the Tsundere's…XD Yes her Pride is the one thing she has to get past by!
Tsubasa Hikaru: Hey there I was wondering what was happening with you! XD I don't know about true feelings but she is getting there. She has them bottled up tight because of her past, which you get to see in about….7 chapters…maybe….XD In story the EX Modes are not accessible because of one thing; Trust. There are no EX Cores or anything to siphon off of so they need to gain EX Energy through the Summoners, and that can only happen through trust!
Warnings: Blood, death (Manikins…will…die!), OC involvement, maybe some OOC. MAYBE. Still having trouble with some character personalities. ESPECIALLY Kefka...stupid homicidal joker expy!
Disclaimer: NO MORE! I AM SICK OF THESE YOU KNOW THE TRUTH!
Once again I thank my lovely Beta-Reader for taking the time out of her busy schedule to actually look at an amateur's work! T^T I love you girl!
Chapter XXIII: How to Win
In her mind, there was nothing. Darkness was all around as she slept. A blurry image almost as if it was water seemed to form, a kind smile on its face. "Young lady, it's time to get up." It said. Tears began to rain down in the darkness before the world seems to blur and vanish as Rei opened her eyes.
"J-Joseph…" An image began to bend in the small light she saw, but it wasn't the person she was expecting. Instead, it was the worried expression of the blonde priestess.
"Rei-san, are you hurt?" Hikari inquired as the crystal blue eyes opened completely.
"Hey is she up?!" Shirou appeared next to Hikari, the same expression on his face as well.
"Both... Of you...Be quiet." She mumbled as she tried to get up. She hissed in pain as she noticed her arm was wrapped up in bandages. "What..." A yawn escaped her before she could finish.
The two of them looked at each other, worry in their eyes. "Umm... What do you want to know?" Shirou asked.
"Who, what, when, where and why stupid mutt," Rei glared at the black haired male, as if she was expecting him to know what questions to answer.
"Who are you calling a mutt!?" Shirou retaliated.
"This is the most cliché event to occur. The person wakes up in an unknown place surrounded by people she recognizes and you are expecting me to ask questions when you of all people should know what to answer!"
"Well excuse me for not knowing what goes on in your head!"
"Well that's obvious. If you knew what I knew, your mind would end itself!" A giggle stopped the argument dead in its tracks causing the two to turn to Hikari. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing...it's just...when you two fight...you seem rather close," A bright smile was in complete contrast to the mortified looks on the black haired summoners.
"No way!" They shouted before realizing what they did. Shirou began to turn pale as Rei glared at the giggling girl. "Just tell me what happened and where we are, already."
"Okay!" Hikari hiccupped at the jewel summoner's glare. "You see, we were planning on catching up to everyone when we heard an explosion. Chantez and Kanna ran ahead and found you guys fighting. Kanna told me and I came up with a plan to help everyone, but I was too late...I only managed to save you and the other summoners…" The blonde's eyes darkened as she admitted a harsh truth.
"So... Our plan failed then..." Looking down, she frowned deeply. 'Damn it... I knew it; I'm still not in control. Joseph...What would you do?'
"To tell the truth... You were one of the least injured." Shirou revealed. "Yeah your arm was busted but Ace took a sword to the gut, or something. Valon got torn up by that Nero guy," a growl was released from his mouth at the name of his enemy. "Cid got a delayed poison and Kai, guy got lucky, and he barely got hurt just a couple of scratches."
"How was a busted arm least injured!" Rei asked incredulously.
"I was getting to that! We healed it easily then the other damage."
"That's how you deemed my injuries to be 'least'? Dear lord no wonder Hikari hasn't asked you to be her partner," Rei face palmed, looking like she obtained a headache from Shirou's ignorance.
"Is there something you want to say?" Shirou growled.
"Yes, I hereby dub you the moron who can be an idiot at the same time!"
"Look who is calling who an idiot! You used two words that mean the same in the same sentence!"
"That was the purpose to emphasize the fact that you're an idiot," The monotone voice of the girl only infuriated the blue eyed male even more. He was only a few seconds close to retaliating once more before Hikari smacked him on the head.
"Calm down! We can't argue right now! We need to figure out a plan to save the warriors!"
"For once you and I are in agreement Himemiya." Rei groaned as she slowly sat up, the blanket sliding off her to show her white shirt had a few blood stains on it. "Where are the others?"
"In the next room," The female pointed to the open doorway, a small light driving back the darkness. "Remember the hotel we checked into when we first arrived in Miako? I talked to the people and told them we were in hiding, and they gave us the basement to rest, from both our enemies AND the public…" A slight groan of annoyance accompanied the last few words.
"You planned all this?" Rei tilted an eyebrow.
"Not by myself, but the plan to save you and the others yes." Hikari admitted. Rei blinked. Yes Hikari was strong, but to enact such a plan so quickly….wait...now that she was near her, she could feel power coming from her.
"Himemiya...I know better than anyone that you can't get stronger in just a day...and that magic power is based on the user's mentality...so how…"
"I'll explain with the others present." Hikari knew what she meant, and the blonde intended to explain herself, even though she knows what the general reaction would be.
"You better," was all Rei said as she forced herself out of bed, Shirou helping her to their dislike.
"So how are you today, old man?" Chantez asked Cid. Where she got the nurse's cap from he had no idea. He suspected Kanna or that giant...What's his face gave it to her, possibly to annoy the others if Ace's complaints about no real nurses were saying anything.
"I'm fine kiddo, wasn't expecting a slow acting poison spell but, that's the breaks."
"That's good. Kanna told me to say that you were dying and to hand over all you're Gil, though she said to write it in paper form..." Cid's stern gaze made her stop talking. "It was their idea! I didn't want to but Kai made me!"
"You little brat!" Said man was sitting on his bed due to his injuries already being healed. "Don't listen to her Cid!"
A snicker caught the two off guard before Cid burst into laughter. "Hahahaha, you brats...Of course. Kai stop teasing the kid, Chantez, tell whoever put you up to this that they won't get any money."
"I dunno...it will cost you ice cream!" She decided causing the older man to laugh a bit more.
"Deal, as soon as I get out, you get ice cream. Now go annoy Kanna." Getting a small salute, the little girl ran off. As Kai looked at the older man in confusion, he shrugged. "Bribe kids with ice cream and they'll do want you want them to do. Worked wonders when I was on the force."
"What did you do? Bribe kids to keep their mouths shut if they saw something they shouldn't have?" Kai raised an eyebrow.
"Nope, had my wife talk to them."
"You?" The two turned to see Ace who was done looking at a magazine, Lali-Ho or something. "You had a wife!? You have a picture?"
"Of course I do and no you can't look at it. I'm afraid however...She is no longer with us." The swordsman and gunner looked at each other. They knew not to say anything about that. Even if Ace was a lover of ladies, he knew you don't speak ill of the dead. One of those small things you don't do.
Rei rolled her eyes as she watched the spectacle between the nun and the giant before turning to the ninja, who sat next to Hunter and was trying to talk to him. For some reason, this time the streaks in her hair were no longer red, but this time a lighter version of it, pink.
"Embracing your femininity?"
"More like embracing the fact that I wanna be different…" The ninja rolled her eyes at the comment. "Valon does blue, and apparently Hikari's friend is a black and red head, so I decided that I will go with pink. I mean, do YOU know anyone with pink hair? I don't, and I don't see people with pink hair! Which means I came up with the ultimate way of being different with hair color!"
"And your proud of that because?" The jewel summoner muttered.
"Hey! Big-red-stupid-guy-that-looks-like-Santa let me on your shoulders I want an overlooking view!" The childish nun proclaimed as once again she was trying to hop on Gilgamesh's back. And like usual, he was doing his hardest NOT to let the girl use him as a tower.
"Stop climbing on me you stupid girl!"
"Those who call others stupid are stupid! Lady Theodora told me that!"
"Then that means you're stupid for calling me stupid!"
"Will both of you shut up!?" Two pairs of eyes diverted from each other to the red head, moping on a bench as Kanna was looking around.
"Cid said to annoy you by the way Kanna. Your plan failed and he promised me ice cream so," clinging to Gilgamesh's palms, she worked her way upwards. Getting an idea, Gilgamesh picked her up before he chucked her at the ninja.
"Combo: Chantez Fastball!" They called out as Chantez flew towards Kanna, who caught the laughing girl in her arms. "Again! Again Gil!"
"I said; Shut up!" Hunter yelled again at the two. Why couldn't they go elsewhere? How could they be having fun when...When they were losing friends? "Don't you care?!"
"About what?" Chantez tilted her head to the right.
"About what? About Onion Knight, Bartz, the rest of them-don't you care that our enemies have them brainwashed?! Who knows what they could be going through right now!? And you can sit here and play like it doesn't matter?! What's wrong with you!?" Hunter's screams were heard by everyone, including those now walking into the room.
"Hunter, enough" Kanna spoke calmly as she let the kid run back to her meat shield. "I know you are upset but, don't take it out on her. She's a kid, remember that."
"Then she shouldn't be here." The two turned as Kai walked into the room. "She and you kid, are nothing but brats who should leave. Let the older members handle this." A growl from the three younger members in the room did nothing to stop his words.
"I am tired of you calling me a brat! You do nothing but annoy us! When was the last time you did anything helpful?!" A harsh gaze from the swordsman caused Hunter to shiver, but not back down.
"I'm sorry for not being useful but I am more useful than you. From what I heard you practically flipped on the battlefield in that Oasis and decided to get yourself killed!" Kai retorted.
"Why you..." Hunter growled again before a resounding slap caused him to blink.
"Don't you DARE bring that up," Kanna spoke, dark venom in her words as Kai held his face. "Hunter may have injured himself in that fight but at least he doesn't stand around, piss everyone off and wait on the side lines like yourself. So I suggest you actually help in a fight before telling others off." Gilgamesh took several steps back towards a wall, Chantez on his shoulders, shaking in dislike and a bit in fear due to the ninja and swordsman. If a fight was to happen, he was staying out of it this time.
"Cool down guys!" Shirou stood between the two summoners as Hikari rushed to join them.
"Think about the others! We need to work together to save them!"
"That's rich coming from you!" Kanna hissed at the priestess, who did not move or flinch.
"I made mistakes; I'm not going to say I haven't..."
"Glowworm, don't interrupt." A groggy Valon spoke as he appeared on the scene. He was using his weapon as a cane to stop himself from falling over. "This is their argument, let Fashion Ninja kill Rust-a-lot. I'm tired and frustrated. Tidus is gone and I want to finish our argument."
"But Valon..." She tried to say but the boy ignored her as he tried to find a place to sit down.
"Their argument, their rules, their fucking game. After this, I'm leaving for good. I am sick of this shit. I'm going home and playing Blitzball again."
"So you're gonna abandon them too!?" Hunter exclaimed. "I thought you liked Tidus-"
"Get your ears checked red; I don't care about their goddamn war!" Valon's flames reappeared once more. "They brought us into this without our choice; they tried to get us to do what they want without our consent!"
"That's not true they did care about us!" Rei yelled at the blue streaked male. "Firion sacrificed his freedom, HIS LIFE, for my safety! Sure it may not have worked out but the fact that he was willing to do so doesn't mean the others are!"
"Whose side are you even on?!" Valon was in disbelief, earlier the tsundere was against the warriors and now she's all for them!?
"The side that has a conscience!" Rei's answer only flew several more members for a loop.
"You? A conscious? That is ridiculous." Kai said, interfering with another fight. "And you know what, Valon you can leave. We don't need someone who will quit halfway."
"Halfway? Bullshit! I'll leave when we get the others back! Then I'm out, one of you guys can be Tidus' summoner because I have had enough. This quarter is pissing me off way too much, so fuck you!"
"Kai, don't tell Valon to leave!" Kanna yelled. "If he wants too it's his choice, even if he would be better choice to have around then you!"
"Shut up Ninja girl!" Rei roared. "I might dislike Kai but at least he has a conscious unlike you."
"Oh ho so Miss-You-Disagree-With-Me-So-You-Burn is agreeing with the guy who said you don't have a conscious? At least I actually have people who care for me!"
"Are you implying I didn't?!" Rei hissed.
"If the shoe fits!" Kanna yelled in the jewel summoner's face.
"Then speaking of shoes how can you make such tacky ones?!"
"Her fashion sense isn't as horrible as yours TsunderRei!" Valon exclaimed. The sound of a blood vessel popping went off. The air grew colder by the second as Rei lifted her right hand, flames of crimson sprouting from it as ice formed in her left.
"Looks like we're not gonna come to an agreement…" Blue flames and kunai followed, along with a drawn sword. The summoners itching for a fight were drawing weapons and magic into their hands.
"This is bad…." Gilgamesh shuddered, along with the nun on his shoulders. Each of the summoners was ready to go at each other's throats. Chains of silver sprouted from several circles in the air and on the ground, each wrapping around the summoners ready to brawl .Kai turned to the perpetrator, Cid.
"Cool down everyone, we can't start firing spells and whatnot in here!"
"Why not?! If we can't get them to see our way with words then let's use force!" Kanna declared.
"For once we're in agreement!" Valon yelled.
"Seriously guys if you don't calm down I'll put you down!" The eye patched pilot tightened the chains on several of the members, making sure the binds wouldn't be easy to break through.
"No use trying Cid, we're already in this and I don't feel like backing down!" Hunter hissed.
"You guys have to remember!? Hikari's spell won't hold out if we start attacking each other! We'll be easy pickings for them!" Shirou tried to reason. "If Chaos finds us then-"
"Why would they be finding us?! They have the warriors they don't need us!" Blue flames sparked once more, melting the chains that contained him. "And if they DO come after us then I'll just burn them all to hell!" At his declaration, the flames disintegrated the bind spells, a heat wave burning through the metal but amazingly leaving the summoners unscathed. "Now where were we?!"
"About to kick your ass!" Everyone was ready, even Shirou and Cid were ready to attack. That is, until Hikari stepped in front of the large circle of summoners.
"Outta the way Glowworm or you're dead!" Valon's warning fell on deaf ears.
"Stupid…" Her body was slightly trembling; a zaffre blue aura began to outline her body. The air grew thinner in the room, as if the wind was being sucked out.
"Himemiya, move!" Rei ordered, but that too wasn't heeded. Hikari remained where she was. The trembling increased, as did the aura.
"Hikari-" Kanna was going to be the next one, until the blonde lifted her head. Hikari glared at the ninja, glaring at everyone in sight.
"If you want me to move...then make me…" Her voice was deeper than usual, the timid, high pitched tone nowhere in sight. The priestess' sudden change in attitude only created a tiny fragment of curiosity bundled inside anger and rage. Even so, each summoner began chanting magic or readying themselves to cut through the priestess. This anger, it was irrational. Despite their differences it couldn't create an argument such as this, one where they would willingly be ready to attack one another. Hikari narrowed her eyes as she sighed. The anger was deeply rooted. "If that's the way then...I guess I should use force also…"
Bullets of flame came from an arriving Ace. He might have been late but he agreed with the battle. They lost Terra for stupid reason due to... And he hated to admit it, Kai. 'So much for a friend' he guessed as he aimed at Kai. However the bullets found their way to Hikari's hand instead, along with several other flames sent by Rei and Valon. A blade of gravity struck the girl's chest as her legs were damaged by earth magic and Ninjutsu. A small bolt of lightning from Chantez, to Gilgamesh's annoyance, as it got him as well, ended up missing before colliding with a small mirror and hitting her back. As the flames raged on, Hikari looked unamused before the attacks seemed to enter a small vortex of light and wind. The spells flowed around the priestess before vanishing into her clothes. She smiled brightly as blood dripped from her forehead and burn marks on her hands and legs.
"Are we all calm now?"
"What on Mundeus was that?" Cid asked as he tried to figure out what had happened. An absorbing spell of sorts or something altogether new?
"It's... Something I created a long time ago. I never had a chance to test it but... Now was a good time I suppose." A curious Kanna examined the cloth the spells connected with as if trying to find what secrets they held.
"So what is it? Magic absorbing cloth? No it's not that? That's been around for centuries. Oh? Reiki then? Yeah I see. By placing that Reiki stuff around the cloth you can absorb spells and my Ninjutsu and...Restore your reserves?" She looked questionably at the younger girl. This idea she had interested the ninja. If she could figure out a way to replicate it, she figured she could sell it for a good amount in her normal clothes. Helping people and a profit, her two favorite things.
"In a sense," Hikari closed her eyes while placing her hand above the wound, barely touching it as the green aura of Cure began healing the wounded area. "It's called Load Armament. I thought that, if protective clothing can nullify some damage by absorbing it, then would it be possible for the spell to linger if absorbed into the clothing by pacifist means instead of offensive. Basically, I sealed magic spells into my clothing, and I found out that the darker the color the greater the absorption and length of time the spell is sealed. However, I also found out there is a limit to HOW many spells and how long the spell will last while sealed. The longest is ten minutes."
"So..." Valon asked as he hunched over on his weapon. "What happens to the spells that stick if they aren't released?"
"It's... Like a... How to put this? Think of it as a crystal and if it absorbs too much it shatters. Except it does damage to me until I release it as an attack or a healing spell...I'm still working on the last one though."
"So, it's a counter spell." Cid deduced from the info she gave them. "Not bad kiddo, but why stop the angry mob when you could step out of the way?"
The look Hikari gave him was one that questioned his sanity. "Because if I didn't everyone would have been hit and it would cause an even bigger fight. Also...so I could tap into everyone's mana signature." At this Hikari tilted her head, a smile and her eyes closed. "Haven't you guys been feeling better? Didn't the anger wash away?"
Her words struck a chord in everyone. She's right; they didn't feel that deep rage anymore.
"For those that saw it, remember when I used that healing technique on Bartz? It's a technique my family created to calm people down. I used it to appease everyone...though sadly I can only do it on a small scale like this and it is for a limited time….so you might feel angry again but at least you will be able to talk it out...right?" Hikari tried smiling, but with every word she spoke it only lowered her self-esteem.
"Us talk it out?" Kai snarked. "Have you met us...But I suppose we can be good for your sake," he relented while the others just nodded in response. "So anything else important you have to tell us?"
"Then why did you stutter?" Kai raised an eyebrow.
"Because that's me?"
"And now your voice is breaking."
"The better to hear me?"
"You are REALLY bad at lying."
"I know…" Hikari slumped.
"Hikari, just tell us." Shirou said patiently. "Whatever it is it can't be that bad."
"But... Shirou... You aren't going to like it."
"Stop wasting time and tell your friends already!" Gilgamesh shouted. "Just say the important plot point already. The readers are going to get tired of this back and forth!" The group looked at him strangely before shaking their heads.
"I... I made a choice to save everyone and... The only way to do that was...To become the head priestess of Sonaruo." Several hearts stopped at that moment.
"Glowworm...did you really…" Valon was a mix of appalled and transfixed. The nod of the priestess only caused aghast surprise that ran like adrenaline.
"But you're sixteen! The grand rule states no follower under the age of eighteen can be a full priestess let alone a head of a temple!"
"Being the head was the only way for me to obtain the power necessary to help them!"
"I don't believe it...Himemiya broke the one rule that all the gods agreed on…" Rei's comment mimicked the surprise and disbelief in her voice, spoken in such a mull tone that it sounded like her brain was still trying to understand the fact that the priestess said.
"In the dark here," Gilgamesh spoke up.
"Well, Lady Theodora says that the rule was decided on to stop people from taking on power and responsibilities that are too much for them." Chantez explained to her seat. "But she also said any god that takes on a head that isn't of age is... Umm. She used a big word here...Uhh...Stupid! Yeah, that works."
"I... Guess I understand. Don't know why they are stupid if the person is ready but..."
"It's not just that." Valon interrupted. "That rule is an absolute. Anyone who breaks it gets looked down on by the other gods. Gramps said there was a kid that became a head and was killed by the power they were given. The god was chucked out of the pantheon and lost most of their powers. For any god or head that breaks that rule... A curse is placed upon them...According to gramps boring lectures."
"It's kind of true but….Sonaruo didn't seem to care. She accepted it. She said that it's for the good of others, and that is why a Priestess is there to begin with, to act for others and protect others. If the power is used for others than it is all good."
"Then you are naive." Kai said as he leaned against a wall. "Power for good is stupid, if you ask me. Even with that you won't be able to save them when it matters the most. Besides, you are giving up your freedom for a bunch of people you just met. Why would you give up something we all know you cherish?"
"I don't cherish my freedom. I never did. I don't deserve it." Her last words were spoken in a whisper, something that several members were able to catch onto. "I said...horrible things to Light...and because of it...he was captured...I am taking responsibility." She raised her head, her eyes filled with determination, and yet her face portrayed a different emotion, sadness. "During the day I honestly thought we connected, but then he was rendered weak. I think it has something to do with how I summoned him. I know that at certain times he is weaker than usual, and it's not because of the distance between us. I think there is more to all of this...but I don't have any evidence to back up my claim…"
"We will have to ask him when we find him." Cid sighed. "So... I'll guess we are going to work to get them back."
"We have to, all of us. I know we hate working together but they called upon us for a reason. Valon, you and Tidus are really similar same with you, Chantez and Onion. I know we have differences but... Please. We have to save them... They would do the same for us right... Even those that aren't from Mundeus...They are still good people...and we can at least agree whatever they have been through they didn't deserve it right?!" Hikari doubted her words were reaching them, but she spoke with such sincerity that she hoped they would come to understand. "Let's work together, just like when we were saving the children. But this time, let's save the ones that need saving more than anyone! Please!" The female bowed, desperately reaching out for the others.
"Well you know my vote." Shirou stated, stepping forward. "Anyone else?"
"When you make a point, you make a point." Cid walked towards the two. "Last call, brats." The others looked at each other carefully; this was an all or nothing idea they had. One by one the summoners stepped forward along with Chantez riding Gilgamesh. They nodded to Hikari, causing her to give a massive smile to them. She had done it; she was going to save them. All of them, especially him...And maybe the one in her dreams...
"Okay, okay…" Valon sighed heavily. "Dammit Glowworm you really know how to hit a spot…" The boy scratched the back of his head. "Alright...so what's the plan?"
"You DO have a plan...right?" Hikari averted her eyes.
"I...can guarantee we will get out with our lives...but maybe not without a few scratches...maybe some broken bones…" That's it. Everyone with a sensible brain knew what her plan was.
"Drag the Warriors out with the summoners and take them BOTH ON!? THAT'S YOUR PLAN!?" The screech of the female jewel summoner was enough to cause the priestess to cover her ears in panic.
"I like it!" Gilgamesh shouted as the others looked on slack jawed at the priestess idea.
"Hikari, I think we can all agree, as summoners that your plan..." Cid tried to explain before he was interrupted.
"Won't exactly work..." Shirou finished kindly. "Can you think of another or..."
"How about a plan that WON'T get us killed?" Kai's suggestion was met with nods. Hikari scratched her cheek in embarrassment, a pink blush growing on her face.
"T-Then let's all come up with a plan!" Hikari turned towards Cid. "When you guys left Akikaze did you go searching for their base?"
"Yeah but we got leads that were deader than dead." Cid muttered in disgust.
"Nothing in our area and we don't think it's in Australius." Ace spoke up. "That leaves the other areas and I would rather not spend time flying around and missing them."
"Can't we challenge them to a duel or something?" Chantez asked.
"That was my idea!" Gilgamesh yelled at the girl who just kicked him in response.
"Summoners and warriors are only allowed to talk right now. Seats are not allowed to talk."
"I am not a seat I am a warrior-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah shut up chair!" Rei waved her hand as to dismiss him, which only infuriated the red warrior even more.
"Actually we could use Gilgamesh-san's help. If you don't mind?" Hikari asked.
"What do you need? If you need me in a fight, I'm in!"
"Okay...so then that makes eleven of us...still not enough to face off against thirty people!" Ace exclaimed.
"Then we need to plan accordingly; think about their weaknesses, remember what the others said about them, any kind of information we need to pull together now!" Cid spoke.
"Jecht... Tidus didn't really mention the guy, so I know next to nothing about the champ." Valon shrugged. "My partner is fast on his feet and his sword does water damage, oh and he knows time magic... The Summoner I have no idea about."
"So helpful." Rei said as she rolled her eyes. "Firion has limited telekinetic power and is a master of weapons. The Emperor is arrogant but he knows what he is doing. Bastard has a plan for everything." She growled as she remembered what that monster had done to her in the past. "His summoner is known as Sakataki Matsuda..."
"Seriously!?" Shirou shouted. "They let him be a summoner?"
"That was my reaction. He can summon demons but, he is a weakling so simple pickings."
"I take it you know him?" Ace asked as the group looked at the anger that was seen on the Akikaze member's faces...Well Shirou and Rei's faces, Hikari's was worried.
"The guy is a predator and not of the good kind especially to girls." Shirou snarled. "His grandpa has some sway over the cops or something, so no matter what he always gets off with a warning or some bull shit like that."
"He better hope he doesn't meet me then." The group turned to a stern faced Cid. "It will be straight to jail for him. I may be retired but I should be able to convince the force to put him in custody for a while."
"Well... Rei's opponent is even worse than her. What does that say about her?" Kanna joked as she ignored the glare from the jewel summoner. "Zidane is fast but keep him at a distance... He never really said anything about his opponent just that his name was Kuja or something."
"Bartz is..." Hunter began to say before a hand went over his mouth.
"Tough!" Gilgamesh interrupted. "He can copy any technique he sees and will keep the ones he likes the most. He can also use any skill he used from other jobs such as Berserk, Steal or White Magic. His one weakness is heights so if you keep him in the air he will stop fighting." The giant nodded to himself while the others stared at him in amazement. He knew this much about the mime? Just who was he?
"How do you..."
"Simple Kid, I'm his rival! I did my research on him so I could have a nice, clean fight against him!" The team looked at each other before Hunter asked another question.
"What about his opponent? Kanna said he uses Shield Magic and his name was Exdeath." At the name, the warrior shook in fear and anger. He nearly forgot he was here as well. Perhaps it was time to pay him back.
"Exdeath is a powerful warlock. He mastered the Void when he summoned it and is a master of Black Magic. He uses shields to prevent himself from harm and then he counters. He is really slow so best to double team him. But he is mine! I have to pay him back for throwing me into the rift!"
"...ok..." Hunter blinked before frowning. "His summoner is Strengir, a puppeteer... I don't know much other than that... Sorry."
"Don't worry about it kid." Cid said as he lit a cigarette. "He can use Decline spells well and focus on puppets. The brat had me at some points with the four I saw. Anyway, my turn. Squall is a master with his Gunblade but knock it away and he will focus on magic which he is ok at but mostly uses the basic three black magic spells. While her summoner is a mystery, Ultimecia is a time manipulator according to the kid. He said she also uses projectiles mostly so just get close."
"That's what Cecil told me when we met her." The group turned to Shirou frowned. "What? I faced her with Cecil before I met the others. Anyway, Cecil is weak to light and darkness when used against Dark Knight and Paladin. What else... Golbez, his brother, is a long range specialist but his armor looked really deadly if what I was able to see when me and Hikari faced him and," a shiver ran up the punk's back as the image of the mad summoner came to mind. "Nero is vicious; he uses shadows and his Gunblade to attack quickly while making the opponent bleed... I don't know what else to say."
"That's fine," Kai shrugged. "Just blast Cloud with lightning, the sword is basically a conductor. His opponent is a deadly swordsman known as Sephiroth which I swear he is compensating for with the length of that sword and Beriah, the summoner is a bounty hunter known as Bullet Storm. Just get close I suppose. Next."
"That didn't take long..." Kai just ignored Ace's words causing the gunner to blink. "Terra is a magic user and a pretty one at that. Take her down gently, I say, since her defense is lacking. Her opponent is some clown guy, Kefka. I think most of us have seen the guy before but, magic, magic, magic. Oh and the guy is an abuser so get a Terra away from him. You're up Hikari-Chan!"
"Light and Garland... Both are strong and don't like using magic. Try to keep some distance oh and tripping them over might work well. That's not really helpful... Sorry."
"Nah that's more than enough." Cid waved away her apology. "Just means we have to be careful that's all... So what's next?"
"Figuring out a plan of action." Kai suggested. "The problem is (19)tryig to make up for our numbers. This would be a suicide run but in truth I have a feeling several of us haven't been fighting at full strength."
"How did you ever know?~" Kanna's smirk said it all.
"I know Ace deliberately holds back, but you can't keep doing that. Sorry Ace but in times like this, your ability gives us an edge." Kai sighed as he looked onwards at the gunslinger.
"Well it's not like I had a choice. Even then I can't really control it. The lines just stay or flicker." Ace scratched the back of his head, avoiding Kai's glance.
"Hey...you make it sound like he's the strongest of us…." Shirou narrowed his eyes.
"Not the strongest, but definitely the deadliest," The cool gray eyed swordsman replied.
"Hehe deadly but only in the matters of the heart." The gunner winked towards Kanna who blinked in confusion.
"Guess I should also stop holding back then," She said as stretched lightly. "Before you ask, I haven't really had the chance to set something up."
"Not those again," Hunter groaned. He knew what she meant. His pseudo big sister was dangerous when she had time to design her... Monstrosities.
"Yes, those again." She grinned evilly as she began to think about what she should use. Explosive lace or straight up poison needles?
"Uhm...Kanna….you look kinda scary…" Hikari sweatdropped as the gothic fashion ninja began mumbling incoherent words while giggling like a maniac.
"Even with a laid out plan some of them are real soldiers, I would be surprised if not all of them were soldiers in their lives." Rei countered. "We'll need to find some way to catch them off guard, and find a way to free them from the brainwashing."
"If I had the chance to scan them I could come up with an antigen spell rather quickly. Enough to get us to save them one by one." Hikari assured.
"Why one by one?" Valon asked.
"Well it is possible to use one brainwashing spell on a whole bunch of people, but that would drain the user's mana quickly. If they would want to keep the warriors, and given the fact they are from different worlds, the Chaos warrior would have to find a specific wavelength to fit all of them, but that's not possible with the way they are using the warriors from what everyone described. So, this is me being speculative, but Mama told me that it's possible to hold mind control over a large group of people by using a catalyst to strengthen the spell but not have the caster as the one losing mana."
"So what you're saying is…" Shirou was confused, and it was obvious given his facial expressions.
"I think they might be using different wavelengths to control the warriors, through their opponent's wavelengths, and focusing them into one specific spell, the Slave Crest. But to keep that spell in effect they would need something to act as a catalyst. Uh, think of it like a radio. It sends out different signals that the radios can use. And while it appears to be the same frequency, there are several differences, like DNA. I think they might be using a catalyst of sorts to hold those frequencies while the Chaos Warriors fight." Hikari was trying her best to explain but there were still several people confused.
"Basically we find whatever is sending out the frequencies, and destroy it. That will force the Warriors to use their own Mana to control the warriors, but given the fact they were supposed to be protected by Cosmos' power, the spell will weaken and it will be weak enough for them to break and strike back." Cid explained as Hikari nodded.
"Yes. I do believe the Chaos warriors are stronger in terms of using Magic since most are magic users, so people like Ultimecia and Kefka will keep their warriors under control longer, while those like Jecht and Sephiroth will weaken since they sound like they are more physical and less magic."
"Then what we need to do is find whatever is keeping the spell going right? And then we can focus on saving specific warriors, and then go after the rest?" Shirou summarized, which was met with a nod by the blonde priestess.
"Rather clever there little priestess," Kai commented. "You said your mom told you about this?"
"Yes. She told me of a story where there was a magician who tried to take over the world, but failed as his spell didn't match up with everyone's magic circuits. He assumed the spell would work because its magic and magic shouldn't follow rules, but he was stupid enough to believe he could brainwash the entire world without something to spread the frequency around. IF he took over a radio tower he could then use the brainwash spell since brainwashing focuses on connecting to the bio-electric currents in our minds that transmits information through our brains and then rewriting the currents to take over a person's mind." Hikari explained, though once again, several people didn't get it.
"Uh...So then...we have electricity in our heads?" Ace was baffled.
"I thought you knew that? It's how we can listen to music and such through our ears. There are spells in existence, particularly dangerous ones that use that current to injure us. The Church of Donner Kaiser uses Gospels to enact songs and stuff because our brain can perceive it."
"Did you know about this?" Shirou turned to the nun on the giant's shoulders.
"Yep! But Lady Theodora says I'm too young to learn the spells, though Iris translated it as being too stupid! She says I would use the spells to control people just to get them to join the church!" The orange colored head nun crossed her arms and huffed.
'She ain't far off…' Shirou thought.
"Enough with the info dump!" Gilgamesh declared. "We need to prepare for battle!"
"But we only got half a plan figured out. The other half is actually figuring out is how to fight the warriors and find the catalyst!" Hikari commented. "I could try to find it through following the same wavelength as the Chaos Warriors. If anything I can analyze their wavelengths then I could find the similarities and trace those similarities to the catalyst, but I only got a few so far…"
"The Emperor and Kefka is one of them right?" Rei asked, to which Hikari nodded.
"Also Golbez and Garland." Hikari added.
"Uh...that leaves six...how fast are you at scanning?" Valon narrowed his eyes.
"It takes me a minute, maybe less?"
"For each person? That's six minutes we have to stall for time!" Valon shouted.
"Actually...I meant as a whole…" The glances the priestess was receiving were those of surprise, and disbelief.
"You serious? You can scan multiple enemies...in the course of ONE minute?!"
"If we were to add on the summoners for the Chaos side, then a little over a minute but yes. I can scan all of them and gain data as you fight against them, even weaknesses if there are different species among them. For some reason my grimoire lists Nero Adelwolf as a Lycan."
"That's a-" Valon shouted.
"We're getting off topic! Focus people!" Cid exclaimed as everyone nodded. "Alright so Hikari, while we fight you go and find the catalyst, also, scan as many people as you can in the area. What's your scanning range?"
"If you each have a talisman I can scan through that no matter the distance."
"That's a lot of calculating for a human brain…" Cid remarked.
"W-well I'll probably jinx myself for saying this, but I am rather good at numbers."
"I can multiply big numbers in my head, do formulas and matrixes."
"What's 230 times 3,456!?" Chantez exclaimed. She doubted the priestess' ability. Heck throughout this whole time she was with the blonde she dubbed her as such; a blonde, a stupid blonde at that! There was no way she could do it. Cid looked at the child and was ready to scold her.
"794,880." Until he was interrupted by the blonde priestess herself. All eyes fell on her and each were the same emotion, shock.
"I...is she right?" Ace turned to Kai, who for some reason stared blankly at her.
"Yes." Hikari admitted rather quickly.
"Uh…yeah...she is…" Kai had a calculator in his hands, a small pocket one, and on it was her answer.
"Damn…" Cid replied with a rather impressed tone of voice. "Then we don't need to worry."
"I'm rather confident in my algebra."
"That would explain how you broke my sealing spell and all those numbers we had to erase off the walls…"
"And how she easily broke the math puzzle to get to the kid's location…" Valon muttered, though rather intimidated by the girl's prowess.
"Back to the problem at hand!" Rei screamed, catching everyone's attention. "So Himemiya will go and scan the enemies and find the catalyst, or whatever! That leaves us to go fight ten different enemies, and one of us will have to fight off against six enemies, and that includes Garland's master, Garland, and the Warrior of Light! If I had a larger Mana Pool Capacity I could summon multiple Eidolons, but I can barely summon two and keep them active for more than two minutes."
"Whoa did TsunderRei just admit a weakness?!" Valon shouted in surprise.
"I'm being rational here, I don't have a choice. In all, this is looking to be a suicide mission." The realization kicked in. She was right, as it stood, some could barely hold off one of the warriors, even at full power, then add on a Cosmos Warrior plus a Chaos Summoner, and several were beginning to develop grim faces.
"Hey Himemiya...do you got any other spells to help us?" Kai asked.
"What do you mean?"
"You seem to know a lot of support and healing spells, plus a lot of attack and defense right?"
"Just three defense spells sadly." Hikari admitted with an exasperated look on her face. "We never could master defense magic, and my goddess refuses to try and fix that, saying all we need to do is attack like that magical girl who can heal and attack...uhm I think her name was Sailor Moon."
"Okay...now I know why she is the least favorite…" Kai sweatdropped. "Alright, if anything you're our center in an attack force. You can assist and attack at any given range, thus you're the heart of the team. Got anything that could help us? Any new spells?"
"Well through the talismans I COULD dualcast and give some buffs...but that's it, I can only do one per person if I am scanning for enemies and the catalyst, along with avoiding the enemy."
"And they will find out Hikari is off trying to stop them if she isn't fighting," Cid sighed.
"Then we go all out, no more holding back like Kai said earlier!" Shirou declared.
"Shirou….you can't do that now…" Hikari's voice struck a chord in Shirou, something that caused him to think for a moment he was doomed.
"If I could use something to boost my mana, I could summon more Eidolons…"
'But then the side effects would worsen...no can't think of that now!' The black haired jewel summoner shook her head.
"Cloud and that gun toting red won't be an issue if I use Graviga, grounding that silver haired bastard's another thing…" Kai muttered.
"If I use my right eye...I get about five minutes to predict their moves...Ultimecia can alter time though…"
"My fire Reiki is gonna cause damage. I could incinerate this whole town without a limiter."
"Ahah! You all suck! I'm faster than Onion Knight so I can easily take him out in a split second!" Chantez puffed out her chest, crossing her arms.
"You sacrifice defense for speed, couple hits from OK's spells can knock you out!" Valon's words caused the nun to flinch.
"Spells that deal with Defense and status are my forte. I dabble a bit in elemental and time magic but that's about it." Cid assured.
"I only know a bit of magic since I use reinforcement, though I'm getting good with Earth magic and defense." The blue eyed summoner claimed.
"Shotlocks, first tier element magic, defense, time and decline magic for me!" Ace declared with a rather chipper tone. "Plus with my ability, I can easily one shot our opponents!" Kai groaned as he rolled his eyes.
"Amazing how now you speak so high and mighty about it-"
"Wait, if you had an ability like that why didn't you use it earlier!?" Shirou's scream made several summoners plug their ears, including Ace. The gunslinger removed his fingers from his ear holes. His face darkened, not because of the light, but because of his expression. The womanizer's happy grin was replaced with a rather taut frown. His eyes narrowed.
"I don't like killing people…But if I don't this time...then Terra and the others will be under that stupid clown's control...hey you think that clown might be IT?"
"The personification of fear that preys on little children in a horror film, now back to business!" The jewel summoner snapped. "Alright, NINJA, what's your stat?"
"Ugh...Ninjutsu, traps, time and space magic, I'm a weapons expert, all Ninja are." As she spoke, there was something in her tone that caught Hikari's ear. Was it sadness, anger, it sounded like a mix of both…
"So we have a mixture of tanks, glass cannons, fragile speedsters, a jack of all stats, and glaciers, is that right?" Hikari summarized, though once again she was met with confused looks. "I've been watching Mako-chan play video games when she wasn't training…"
"This would be so much easier if SHE were a summoner…" Shirou muttered under his breath.
"Alright, so we know everyone's strengths, and through that got a handle on weaknesses." Cid lifted his suitcase, opening it to reveal the laptop he had buried in it. His fingers danced on the keyboard as he continued talking. "We might have a chance depending on how fast Himemiya can find the catalyst and how long we can hold the guys off. Sadly we'll have to use what we know of our allies against them."
"How come? Why don't we just fight against different warriors?" Kanna asked.
"Because the Chaos' group is sick and would rather have our guys fight us and kill us before they let that happen. They're stuck in this was just like them, and to stave off boredom they decide to torture the hell out of the good guys for shits and grins. And honestly, I think several of us would LOVE to get in one punch in our opposites."
"Pilot, detective, inventor, and psychiatrist. Talk about a resume…" Kai commented.
"More like I've seen the same shit so many times I know what to expect."
"Do you think you can predict where the catalyst might be?" Gilgamesh asked.
"What am I, a psychic?!"
"Well you can see five minutes into the future right?" Hikari tilted her head to the right. The detective groaned loudly, he fell for that one.
"No I can't. The problem with analyzing your opponents is the fact you over think and they outwit you. If anything it might be somewhere close by them, or far away with guards. I can't say if this is good or bad but if Light and Garland are there then that leaves us with two less people to worry about, but two problems for Hikari."
"I can take them." The confidence in the girl's voice was solid.
"Glowworm, sorry but from what I've seen-"
"I am now a full priestess, meaning I can stop holding back also. If worse comes to worse, I'll just use that." Her figure, posture, everything about her was brimming with solid confidence. Some began to question where this came from; others began to think Hikari was in over her head. Sure she maybe a full priestess but that shouldn't give her THAT much of a power boost. "Trust me. I can fight them off."
"Uh...Hikari…" The blonde turned to the male that called out her name. For some strange reason, the boy was trembling. His face paled as his lips quivered. "By that…" The black haired male gulped. "Do you mean…"
"Right…" The trembling increased as Shirou turned away from the female, who only looked at him for a second before averting her gaze to Cid.
"Anyway, I will be able to fight them off. I can't say if I will win or not. It all comes down to whoever can outsmart the other."
"That's the whole battle right there...dammit if only we had a little more help…" Hunter muttered, desperately wanting to help Bartz, but his mind couldn't overcome the fact that this mission wasn't going to turn out right. If there was some way they could get others to help, but they can't. This was a secret war. The only way they could get help was form-
"Cosmos!" Hunter's echo caused several harts to jump.
"What was that kid?"
"The Goddess of Harmony! We could ask for her help!"
"And how do we do that brat?" Kai asked. "We don't know where she is and hell she might not even listen to us."
"... I might have something." Everyone turned to Gilgamesh as he focused his power. A blue crystal like sword appeared in his hands as he turned it around. Hikari's eyes widened as she took in the look of the sword.
"That's... It looks like Light's sword... How?"
"I have defeated many opponents in my life! I don't remember where I had found this blade yet its power... It feels something of holy power. I think if I break it, I might be able to call this Cosmos..." As he finished his sentence he grasped his head in pain. The others looked on in confusion as Chantez watched in worry of her chair/ friend.
'Such an interesting martial artist.' A man dressed in dragon armour jumped towards him.
'There is no name to call me by miss.' A beautiful young lady who punched him in the face.
'You trying to make an opening by making me laugh?' Drinks were had by the giant and a young -or was he old?- man.
'I wouldn't mind being summoned by you!' A young lady stood behind him as he faced an onslaught of enemies.
'Impudent thief! I'll bring you to justice!' A young man being thrown into the ground as he tried to reach for several weapons.
'Quit staring or I'm gonna fall for ya.' A powerful warrior lady chasing after him with a Gunblade.
These images related themselves in Gilgamesh's head again and again. Forgotten memories only trigger by the name of a goddess. With a large yell, the collector snapped the fake sword as holy power flowed out of it. "I, Gilgamesh! Collector of all weapons, call upon the goddess of Harmony! Cosmos!"
The summoners stared, transfixed by the power that flowed from the broken blade as it surrounded them. As it built up, one by one the summoners collapsed, the power far too much for them to handle. Only Gilgamesh stayed awake as he focused on making sure that the plan he came up with five seconds ago worked.
"Well, that worked well!" Gilgamesh shouted as he looked upon the odd landscape. The floor was made of pure water as pieces of marble ruin looked half submerged. Cloudy skies with sunlight breaking through shined down on a throne made from the same marble as the broken pieces. "It's been a long time..." Looking at the knocked out summoners, he decided to help them out. He summoned a trumpet to his hands; a weapon he believed was used by a gunner with an eye patch or something. He didn't know why he used a trumpet but it was a weapon. Blowing into it, he caused an awful sound to flow from the brass instrument causing pain to the unconscious.
"Shut up!" Chantez shouted as she ran to the giant and head butted him in the gut. He groaned in pain as the nun in training began to stomp on the instrument that woke her up. "Stupid, Gil! Why you do that?"
"You were sleeping and you had to wake up. And I'm not stupid!"
"Both of you shut up and take a look at where are we!" Shirou called out as the group woke up groaning. Their eyes widened as they took in the beautiful landscape.
"Order's sanctuary." Was all the giant said as he sat down against one of the ruined marble pillars. "Wake me when it's time to go... I feel sleepy... Zzzzzz." With that the giant began to snore to Chantez's annoyance.
"Does anyone have a marker?" She asked before a stern look from Cid caused her to stop planning her slight revenge.
"Don't. I think he used a lot of energy just to get us here. Now, I guess to the throne?"
"I guess…" Hunter muttered. Several others were a bit weary though. There was no one insight. Nothing but clouds that would release light ever so often, streams of energy in the form of arcs surrounding the place, water beneath them with no source. This place was divine, pure in a way, so pure that it would drive them away. Hikari's eyes fell onto the throne, a figure appearing through her vision. The red violet orbs widen in amazement.
The priestess dashed off towards the throne. The others were in shock yet several followed without regret or disagreement. Eventually the entire team was following the female as they ran to the throne. As they drew closer, they saw someone sitting there.
A woman dressed in an amazing white dress with golden designs and a golden shawl caused Kanna to drool over how well it was made while placing it in her memories. Golden hair as if cut from the source flowed down her back as blue eyes like a clear ocean looked upon them with sorrow and kindness. "I have been waiting, my summoners."
"Cosmos..." They whispered as a faint power drifted off her. The feeling she gave off, one of purity and harmony was intense causing the team to feel almost unworthy to be standing before the goddess.
Hikari gulped before stepping forward. Once she was a few feet in front of the goddess, the female kneeled. "Cosmos, Goddess of Harmony, I'm so sorry. It's my fault that...the Warrior of Light has been taken hostage and forced against his will to fight. I won't make excuses for my failure, nor ask you for forgiveness, but...if you know of a way to save him…" The once bowed head lifted, revealing glistening tears at the corner of her eyes. "Please tell me. I want to help-I want to save him!"
"Please, dry your tears." Cosmos said, her voice containing what was seen in her eyes. "And please don't kneel before me. Do not blame yourself for what has happened."
"Hikari Himemiya. All of the summoners, I have confessions to make, as such I would like to all to listen to me. There is a reason you all were chosen. I must give you the answers to the questions you have before we enact a plan to save the warriors." The soft, sweet voice of the goddess settled the priestess' restless heart. She expected the goddess to be like this, but her expectations were blown out of the water! This goddess was so different from the one she had come to know throughout her life.
And yet...there was a sense of familiarity.
"Alright, if it's Q&A time, here's the one we've all been thinking since day one!" Valon shouted. "Why us?!" His words were a growl. He wasn't happy he was dragged into this by force, and the animosity towards the Goddess was met with justified yet troubled looks. "I don't like being forced into a war we had nothing to do with! Especially by another world's goddess!" The goddess' face softened, her eyes narrowed as they closed, her smile turned to a frown, but it wasn't in anger, it was in sadness. Red violet orbs saw this and felt sympathy for the goddess.
"Valon, please calm down!" Hikari pleaded with the young boy.
"No...he is right….let me explain myself, please." The goddess raised her head. "Just like you, I asked for the warriors to come here, to defend this world from Chaos, the God of Discord. Tell me, how much do you know of this world?" Several eyes narrowed. They were the ones doing the inquiries, not her.
"Well, I was told that this lasted for a long time till they were set freed, but then summoned back and no matter how many times you guys fought it was always the same. Eventually Chaos went mad and slaughtered everyone, till they came back again through a force reviving them and were accompanied by a Moogle to seal away Chaos' power. But they couldn't seal all of it, so they sealed half of it away in the ten crystals they had…" Hikari summarized as she recounted the tale. The rest was something she didn't need to explain, as the end result was the new war they were forced to fight in.
"Correct. Those crystals are why they were taken to begin with. They need them to reawaken Chaos. They attempt to try and control Feral Chaos through your world's means."
"That's impossible!" Rei declared. "Control a GOD of CHAOS!?"
"Uh...they are more knocked in the head than I thought…" Shirou said in exasperation.
"Comes with being in this war for so long." Kai commented.
"In truth, the Warriors were in this war a lot longer than what they can perceive and remember…" The goddess words were echoes to everyone's hearts.
"Wait, you? Summoned them before this?" Hunter asked slightly confused by what she had meant.
"Sounds like she did. So what does that mean exactly? Summoning them means ripping them from their world right?" Kanna asked. "And then what?"
"To summon them, parts of their memories were lost due to the ritual. Every time they were summoned and re summoned memories of the war were lost as parts of what regained."
"So you summoned them, and summoned them again with their memories getting erased?" Cid asked. "No offence but... Why? Why would you continue to summon them if they don't even know why they are fighting? And on that note, what are they fighting for in the first place?"
Cosmos shook her head. "I don't know. I don't even remember the reason WHY I summoned them. I felt guilt, and that guilt piled up once I realized that they were breaking. I tried to hide it, believing I didn't deserve to feel such an emotion, but it was too much. All I could do was watch them forget who they were, forget everything they stood for, and become empty shells. I didn't want to see that. So...I tried to sacrifice myself for them, as penance for my actions. But then I was revived. I want to save them, I want to send them home, but as I am now I can't do it. When I learned the war would take place somewhere new, somewhere with people, I was appalled. Even with the world shattering around us, they all still chose to fight. And now I understand why...they became the empty shells that knew of nothing but fighting….they gave up…" The goddess' voice broke, cracking under the pressure of her own story.
"I learned we couldn't battle unless we compromised with the gods of your world, and so they offered us with the concept of summoning. Using the magic of several magicians they would summon the warriors and continue the battle. They said this was used in another war and it ended with rather positive results. I wanted to believe in this system. And so...I took a gamble…" her head rose once more from its sunken position. Her sky blue eyes glanced over the many summoners present. "I believed that, with your help, if they had contact with people who could share their empathy, if they could connect with others who were just like them, then perhaps, they would recall who they were, and slowly gain back the will to fight for their freedom. In the end, I only caused more suffering by forcing you to accept against your will."
"Dammit. I want to be mad at you." Valon said calmly. "I want to scream and yell and tell you off for involving me and the others... But I can't. I just can't hate you."
"The kid has a point. You wanted to save them anyway you could. I don't agree with involving kids or outsiders in any way but..." Cid stated as he looked at the looks of the other summoners. "I think we all know it was the only way to end this. Even if it was mostly born from your guilt, I think in a way, we can forgive you."
"I guess...in a way you aren't a bad goddess...since you're trying to save others...but that doesn't mean you can't turn out to be evil!" The young girl tried to reason, but failed.
"I know what it feels like to be a tool, a soldier used for massacre. I don't like the fact that I summoned Cloud because of that reason, but in a sense it's what connects me to him. No one should have to go through that. I've already decided from day one I was going to help him. Next time, ask for permission first." Kai remarked. She could barely believe it. All these people, nodding in agreement with Cid, even the young Chantez.
"Cosmos...I need to tell you something." All eyes fell onto the priestess. "When I first met Light, it was the day before I turned sixteen. He saved me from the Emperor. On that night...I found someone I could respect, I could look up to. I was weak, scared, just barely getting by. Light served as a pillar of strength to me, but I never realized what it was he felt. He was so enamored about duty that...I wanted to connect to him. I would say I regret being a part of this, because some of my actions have been less than wise." As she spoke, the memories of the past two weeks came back in full force, each acting as inspiration for her words.
"We fought together, but we never connected. So, when he was angry with me, I saw a part of him that had dislikes. Then he offered to teach me, and I saw the part of him that wanted to help. Through both the bad and good times, I learned more about him. Even the argument that caused all of this showed me a side of him I didn't know about." The memory of their fight played in her head like a bad movie.
"Cosmos, for the one week before I summoned that man, I had dreams of the world, the former world, dying. I saw that all of them were determined to finish this. Despite their determination, I felt like it wasn't their own. Because of that...I wanted to know more about them. I summoned the Warrior on accident, but deep down, I wanted to know more about him; more about this man that would give his all for the Goddess he served. I wasn't forced into this, in a way I chose this. This was the first decision I ever made for myself. Everything was decided for me, and I hated that, but I was too weak to go against the plans, even now. I'm getting off topic…" The blonde's hair waved as she shook her head.
"What I am trying to say is...I want to know more about the Warrior of Light, I want to know more about the other warriors, even you. So...I want to keep helping, even if it's only a little bit."
"... I'm afraid I can't interfere. Though I can bend the rules slightly. Hikari Himemiya, this will require your help..."
Can you hear me…
Silver blue eyes fluttered open. In the little light his eyes were allowed to gaze at, he managed to make out the figure of a friend. It was Firion. A relieved sigh exit the male.
"Thank the goddess you're alright!" The warrior's left hand trailed up to his forehead, feeling something wet. He grasped the item, it being a damp cloth, something like a bandana. "Sorry, that was all we had."
We? Light's eyes trailed around. They were in a dungeon cell of sorts. He was in the same room as Onion Knight and Firion, lying on the ground.
"What happened?" Light grunted as he pulled himself up against the wall.
"Akikaze...They forced you to say where the summoner's were." Onion knight answered. "They used some kind of truth serum on you...Or at least that's what Kefka was gloating about when he threw you in here."
"In other cells, Ultimecia has Squall in a private one while Terra is thankfully with the others. They banned Kefka from his usual doll habits."
"Then we are lucky." Pain rushed through his body as he clutched his stomach. What did they do to him?
"Why….what were they after?"
"The summoners….I don't understand it myself, but they intend to attack them…." Firion bitterly remarked. That was when the words hit him. All of them...were…
"No...All of us were captured?!" Not even a minute into his sentence and his head pounded a mile a minute.
The two looked away confirming the Warriors fears. It was over...they had just lost the war and there was nothing they could do with the slave crests...
'Hikari... I apologize….it's seems...you were right….this was my fault.'
"Wakey, wakey my lovely warriors!" The three warriors in the cell grimaced. They knew the source of that annoying voice.
"Is there anyone in there!?" The three stayed quiet hoping Kefka would leave. "Then I'll huff and I'll puff and... Enter the door!" The mad clown barged into the cell, his demented grin in place. "Good news! You guys are free to leave! And guess where we are going? Akikaze, I hear some summoners are there. So please gentlemen, try to make it a brutal as you can." Silence was all that was heard after Kefka's announcement. "Aww, at least dear Terra said something. You guys are borrrrring!" Slamming the door shut the insane man left while the warriors looked down. They were the weapons this time, it seemed.
"Hey…" The Onion Knight's voice echoed through the cell. "Do you think...they will run?" Firion and the Warrior exchanged glances.
"No...I believe...they will try to save us….and that's when...we'll kill them…." The words were a painful truth….one they would have to accept. This time...there was no hope to save the Summoners….or themselves….
"Well this seems to be just about right." Overlooking Miako were the Warriors of Chaos led by The Emperor. "Tell me are we all ready to begin to put an end to this war?"
"Then you truly don't deserve to be our director for this play." Kuja spoke up. "Have you not noticed that our magic levels have dropped?"
"I'm afraid the toy has a point," Ultimecia shrugged as a glare was sent her way. "Our magic levels have dropped since arriving. Any word on that?"
"Interesting...they are dropping faster as of late….I suppose the preparations to support the Warriors once the summoners are killed have taken their toll. Very well, from what I understand a Lay Line exists here. While I would prefer to place that small village as a base of operations, it would appear that we shall have to sacrifice it."
"Then perhaps we should use our new weapons." Exdeath spoke. Slamming his sword on the ground, a large seal appeared where the sword had struck the ground. As it glowed purple once, the Warriors of Cosmos arose from the seal.
"Cloud, our orders are simple." Sephiroth spoke before pointing to the town. "Kill everything in that village." The eyes of the heroes widened in shock. No...no way were they going to be the cause of a massacre!
"I refuse!" The blonde man shouted as he tried to move towards his foe. Keyword being try.
"Very well," Sephiroth turned Masamune onto Cloud, the intent to impale in his eyes. "Then allow me to end your refusal."
"Enough!" Garland yelled. "Remove your blade Sephiroth. The fact we must even use them bothers me but." Raising his hand upwards, the stalwart focused his power, dark red and black wisps coming off his armor as he focused. "I, Garland command the Warriors of Cosmos to destroy all life in the town of Miako. My order is an absolute!"
Jolts of lightning ran up the chosen of Cosmos' bodies as they fell to their knees. The order ingraining itself in their minds, forcing it to be listened to until the order was complete. The eyes of the Cosmos heroes were slowly turning dark, their minds being devoured in haze. The trembling of resistance halted. Cloud's hand rose forward, the treasured blade forming in his hands. Swinging the blade several times, his body was ready to enact the command.
The various warriors began summoning their weapons.
There's gotta be something I can do!
I gotta stop myself!
I want to refuse...but I can't!
I don't want to kill again!
Is this it?
Another village will burn because of me….
Why can't I do anything!?
Electricity circled around the large group, forcing the combined group of warriors to step back from the current that appeared.
"So this is the power of the seals?" Jecht asked. "So what's the limit?"
"So long as one of us is in range we can control any number of warriors." The Emperor stated. "All orders are absolute and any saying may be used so long as you give a clear order."
"Ok, I gotcha. So what now?" The champ asked as the lightning slowed to an end as the warriors began to walk forward.
"Now? Now is the beginning of the end."
"Yeah, fat chance of that!" Three shuriken landed in front of the Chaos warriors causing their attention to be grabbed. At the top of a nearby tree was Kanna, shuriken in hand as she smirked down at her opponents. And for some damn reason, her hair highlights were no longer pink, but light purple.
"My, my. The little designer desires a place on our stage. Allow me to handle her." Kuja jumped towards the girl and began to glide towards her, magical orbs of holy energy encircling him.
The self-proclaimed star dodged a lightning bolt, looking up to see the familiar nun.
"What!? Another one that looks like a girl!? Why do you guys all look like girls?! Then again," Her eyes trailed to Jecht. "He looks like a normal man! But a lot of our guys look like girls! Cecil could even be a girl!"
Golbez placed a hand over his armor as he tried to stop a chuckle at the small insult to his brother. Jecht however just laughed.
"Hah! You have some fire don't you kid? Shame I don't get to fight you... Ad what are you looking at?" He asked the suddenly wide eyed Kunoichi.
A blush emerged on Kanna's face as she took in Jecht's physical appearance. "W-we have openings if you would to join our team." She said to the champion. "I'll send you a brochure if you're interested."
"Tempting, but fraid I can't little miss. So," the man begun to rotate his shoulder as he prepared for the next fight. "Since I haven't gotten a fight yet. Dibs!"
"Enough Jecht." Ultimecia ordered. "So it is only you two? Not much of a defense, is it not?"
"Then why don't you follow us to see if your right!" At her words the nun vanished as she dashed into the darkness of the forest. Kanna looked back to where she was, then at the champion, then to the spot, then Jecht-
"LETS GO LOLI-GRANDMA NINJA!" The ninja whined as she dashed off.
"This is obviously a trap…" The Emperor announced, rather monotone and unimpressed. "Although...seeing how they would react would be interesting. Let us give them what they desire, a reunion with their warriors."
"Heh, now we are talking!" With that Jecht ran off towards where the girls were headed, the Cosmos warriors behind him. Garland shook his head as he followed, Kuja in the sky above him. The rest teleported to where their opponents laid in wait.
"Did we have to run off?" Kanna asked Chantez. "I was close to getting him on our side."
"Why'd you want him on our side anyway? I don't get it." Was Chantez's answer. He was an enemy right? Then why did Kanna want him on their side, perhaps Rei knew the answer.
"I'll tell you when you get older. Anyway, the meet up point is just ahead. Let's go!" The two began to speed up leaving only small cracks of bark in their place.
As the two reached a large tree, they had to move to the left as several orbs collided and exploded as they struck the ground. "So this is your hiding spot." The effeminate Kuja spoke as he reached them. "Far too crowded for my tastes but we shall see what your plan is won't we." With that said the other Chaos warriors arrived, with Kanna noticing a small amount of sweat on Jecht's chest causing her nose to lightly bleed.
"So, it is only you two." The Emperor said stepping forward. As he did, a smirk appeared on the girls faces as several talismans emerged from the ground as if they were liquid. "And what is this?"
"The thing that is your end. Now!" The talismans glowed a bright blue, enveloping the warriors. Within seconds of the light appearing they were gone, leaving only Kuja and Zidane, who have raised their arms to cover from the light. Kanna chuckled before nodding to Chantez, who instantly bolted from the area. Kuja moved his arms from his face and looked around; they were still in the forest with the ninja in front of them.
Kanna held her large shuriken before breaking the thing into two pieces, creating the twin kama connected by a ribbon. "So, where's the summoners?"
"They will arrive shortly, after all, for this climax all of the players are to appear, sans the two observers in the seats. I had promised one of them a tragedy for she is fond of the theme of death. For my fans sake I shall deliver that promise...by showing her a true tragedy where friends kill one another for the sake of living!" Kuja's declaration was matched with the sudden dash of Zidane charging towards Kanna.
'Alright...time to cut loose!'
The sound of blades colliding echoed through the forest….
Valon was waiting in a large open field, eyes closed and arms crossed, his lance sitting next to him in the ground. The sudden appearance of a blue light brought him out of his daydream. The light vanished, revealing Jecht and a mind controlled Tidus.
"Okay...what the hell was that?"
"A friend's teleport spell." The champion turned around to see Valon walking towards him, dragging his lance. "So you're Jecht huh? Exactly as Tidus described…."
"Oh so you're my kid's summoner. So how do you want to do this?"
"Well I have to take you out someway huh? Glad we aren't in the water though, otherwise..." Valon's lance caught on fire as he held it behind him. Using the jet of blue flames, Valon rushed towards Jecht who backhanded the blade away from him. The younger Blitzballer landed on the ground due the force of Jecht's block.
"You're a Blitzballer right? I've seen a couple of your matches and I've got to say. You have some talent."
"Glad you think so." Was the reply as Valon forced himself upwards.
"But, you're twenty years too early to beat me in either this fight or Blitzball. Want to know why? It's because I'm the best."
"Well the best has to lose eventually!" Valon shouted as his lance caught fire once again. "So get ready to give me that trophy."
"Heh, now we are talking!" The three Blitzballers ran forward ready for their moves to become historic in the eyes of the others.
On a small hill, right near where the moon would shine down at night, Golbez and Cecil emerged from a flash of blue. "About time you made it." Looking behind him, Golbez floated backwards to avoid Shirou's entry punch. "You guys are a bit late."
"So you're still live? That girl's healing magic...is rather impressive." Golbez spoke, but his voice, it sounded slightly relieved to Shirou.
"...You are definitely weird...even last time, unlike your partner…" The memory played out in his mind, forcing Shirou to shake his head. "You don't even wanna fight, and Cecil speaks highly of you. So why are you even…"
"Because I cannot bring myself to abandon them." The sudden increase in the warlock's voice made the back hairs of the black haired summoner's neck stand on end.
'Well shit...so much for talking...'
"Boring...boring, boring, BORING, BORING, BOOOOOORRIIIIIIING!" Chantez was perched on a treetop, her legs swaying in midair with her arms sitting on her legs, and her face encased in her hands.
"So this is where you were hiding." A venomous voice said from behind Chantez causing her to jump to another branch. The Cloud of Darkness floated in place, Onion Knight wrapped up in one of her demonic tentacles.
"Hey! You're here...Can we have Onion back now? We want to play again."
"You dare to mock our speech?" The aspect of the Void asked as she threw Onion Knight to another branch.
"No. We decided it was best to talk this way from now on. We decided and that is what we like." A cheeky grin emerged on the young girl's face before she had to avoid several black orbs. "That wasn't nice!"
"We tire of your babbling. Prepare to be ripped asunder in the depths of the Void."
"So you are to be my opponent?" Exdeath asked Hunter as he and Bartz appeared before the boy. The area was a small rock quarry; boulders of different sizes lined up and ready to be knocked over on a whim. "Another meddling worm to face against. This won't take too long."
"Actually you may just find it might. You see I invited a friend." A small smirk on Hunter's face arose once he realized the Chaos Warrior was paying attention.
"And you believe this person can help you? Then you have just cost them their life."
"Not unless they are stronger than you! Rocket Punch!" As a large fist shot off towards the master of the Void, a translucent shield covered him causing the attack to fail. Turning his head, Exdeath shook it when he recognized just who it was.
"So my general has returned has he? Then perhaps you are more competent than I thought."
"Be quiet Exdeath!" The giant shouted as leapt over to where Hunter was standing. "I hope you are ready to face me once and for all."
"Bartz, I will save you!" Hunter shouted as he prepared his spear.
"This time I will not make the same mistake as I did. Bartz, Destroy them." The mime nodded his head as a large cannon appeared in the mime's hands to the other's shock. "He learnt more moves then I had imagined. I shall make no mistakes in ending your lives."
Cid blew out a small air of smoke before letting the cigarette drop to the ground. The male crushed the lit item with his foot, staring into the blank eyes of his compatriot. The detective adjusted his fedora.
"Well this isn't any different. You rarely talked to me anyway. So then...this is a question for the rather lovely lady behind you." Cid's one eye trailed onto the black and red sorceress behind the SeeD. "Care to tell me where the other summoners are?"
"I thank you for the compliment and as for the others," the witch crossed her arms as she looked at the ex-officer. "They are waiting for their orders. Perhaps you shall see them or perhaps not. Only time will tell."
"And you know what I say? I say, time isn't just on your side," with one hand on his suit case and the other heading towards his eye patch to rip it off at any given moment, Cid prepared himself for a battle for the ages.
"So this is where you were hiding…." The Emperor's voice was directed towards Rei, who was sitting on a rock by a lake, the full moon being reflected in the calm waters.
"Sorry, your majesty, I'm afraid this was all I could afford given the circumstances. How about you give me back Firion as a gift for my generosity for the view?" The view was very beautiful, if anything everything was reflected off the waters, the trees encircled the area around them, a mountain view on all four sides, if anything, this was a small world, an enclosed world for the people within.
"I shall return him, once he offers me your dead body." Firion stepped forward, drawing his sword. The jewel summoner's eyes narrowed, seeing the emptiness of the warrior's eyes made her sick. She grew accustomed to the rather gentlemanly rebel, and not seeing that spark in his eyes made her wonder just HOW far Firion's mind was trapped within.
"I thought you would say that." A dark smirk graced the female's lips. The jewel summoner brought forth two gems, one of green and blue. The Emperor's eyes narrowed. What was she planning? At that instant, a bright, orange glow circled the girl's neck. The light came from a jeweled choker of ruby diamonds. "Did you know Emperor? Jewels aren't just used for summoning Eidolons...they can also be used to store energy! And thanks to the many hours of sealing mana in them, I got more than enough to support two Eidolons!"
A circle of green and ice blue appeared in mid-air. The Emperor awaited as the female chanted her incantation. He was not worried, even with two his victory was assured. He killed god and the devil, what could two Eidolons be to him?
"Shiva! Ramuh!" Out of the circles came the queen of ice and the lord of lightning, the old man and icy maiden floated in front of the female as she panted lightly, a smug smirk on her face.
'Just gotta hold out...for five minutes! Hikari...thanks for the power boost. So long as you do your job, I'll do mine!'
Unbeknown to everyone, a battle had already begun. There was no need for words between the next pair of summoner and warriors. Several trees and rocks were slashed as Kai ran against the nearby river, katana and sheath in hand. Cloud ran next to him, swinging his sword to hit Kai's stomach, the black haired male jumped, dodging the sword like a child would a rope. However that left little to no room for Kai to dodge against the sudden approach of Sephiroth. The male grunted, placing the sheath before him to block Sephiroth's attack. The blow knocked him to the other side of the bank, but quickly regained his footing. Magic charged in the blade, the runes glowing orange.
"Flamestrike!" Kai cried out as he slashed the air, several waves of fire blades charging forth to Cloud. Cloud anticipated the attack, the Buster Blade glowing blue. Using his strength the blond slammed the blade into the ground, a blue beam of light blocking the fire strikes [Blade Beam]. Sephiroth chuckled as he appeared before Kai.
Cloud grey eyes widened in surprise. This was gonna hurt….
"Yohoo! Pathetic little mousey! Where are you!~" Kefka cried out, his hands around his mouth with Terra following behind.
The forest was quiet and dark, only the clown and the half Esper were around. Or that's what Ace wanted them to think. Just one shot, one perfect shot would take out the monster in front of him. Just have to get him in position...
Kefka's ears twitched as he heard the sound of gunshot's in the air. "Found you!~ Get him my doll!" Terra nodded as she flew towards where the bullets came from. As Kefka watched carefully, he blinked as a hand pulled the brainwashed warrior into the bushes. "What the? Oi! Who's cheating?!" The snapping of a twig made the clown throw a pillar of ice in that direction. Seeing nothing happening for a couple of seconds he began to whistle before he felt something punch him in the back of the head.
"Alright! Now I'm mad... Hang on a minute... YOOOUUU!"
"This is boring!" Nero yelled as he could hear the faint sounds of swords clashing and magic being launched in the distance. He was ready to go and blow off heads, until he was told by their so called leader to hold back! What the fuck!? "They get all the fun and what do we get? We have to guard this stupid thing!" Nero's golden eyes were glaring at the object. A large statue, in reality the symbol on their bodies that contracted them to the warriors, was standing there, a black aura evaporating off of it ever so often. In all honestly, Nero would rather be out there killing than here guarding this freaky thing. And for some strange reason….Sakataki was tied to the Stigma, the brown rope encasing him as his head hung low, his skin unusually pale.
The group was surrounded by what looked like ruins of a sort. Pillars, both standing and broken, littered the place of what was possibly once a stone temple. The forest was nearby, along with a cliff with an overlooking view. From that the summoners of Chaos could easily see the battles that have begun, given the flashes of magic that shined every once in a while.
"I agree with you on that!" Beriah said as she chewed on her pocky stick. "I say we launch a sneak attack! The fuckers won't see it coming!"
"How dare you suggest that we go against orders!?" Cassandra glared at the two hotheads with her amber orbs. "Lord Aias ordered us to guard this stigma. His orders must be followed!" Sylphiel just madly laughed as she began to slice several pieces of meat up, giving them to the twins who were having a picnic while holding the others hands. She found the ex-nun to be rather funny in times like this, but then again she could agree with Nero and Beriah. She had this strong urge to fight, to slaughter, to see the forest painted red with blood.
"Lord Aias orders should be followed." Sieglind said, ignoring the shocked looks Beriah and Nero sent her. "However," she said drinking some wine, "That doesn't mean we cannot have some enjoyment, right dearest brother?"
"Of course dear sister," Sigmund agreed, picking up his wine glass. "The book suggests we be classy while being villains, so we shall be."
"You think this is fun and games time brats?" Cassandra glared at them. "Sakataki is doing his job remarkably well...For once and without complaining as well."
"That's because we knocked him out and tied him to the stigma!" Nero said getting laughter from his team. "Best idea you had all day Beriah!"
"He wouldn't shut up. What was I supposed to do?" The redhead asked as her green eyes widen in curiosity.
"Strengir get him down from there." The black haired, dark skinned nun ordered as the puppeteer rose an eyebrow.
"Very well." He replied, pulling out a dagger and slicing the ropes around the teen. After the last rope had been cut Sakataki fell forward and landed with a thud, still in the land of dreams.
"Huh?" Beriah grabbed a stick from the ground nearby. "Least we know what we are going to be doing for the next half an hour." She jabbed the stick into Sakataki's side. "Who's next when I get bored of this?"
Nero's head rose. Slowly a smirk formed on his face. "I didn't think they were that stupid…" Despite his choice of words, the smile on his face told a different story to how he felt. The silver haired man grabbed his gunblade that sat next to him, placing the item on his shoulder as he looked into the forest.
"One of them is nearby?" Strengir asked, to which the silverette nodded.
"About ten meters away, or so says the wolf." The male began trembling. Finally, finally he would be granted his wish! He would be able to fight! Fight and kill, and slaughter and bleed, he could see it now!
The sound of an approaching object made the group look up. They knew that sound, it was an arrow. Sure enough, there was an arrow coming towards them. Nero's shoulders slumped. They were attacking long range?!
"FUCK THIS!" Nero slashed the air, the arrow disintegrating at the attack of a shadow. However, he failed to take notice of something attached to the arrow. Sigmund was drinking wine, until something hit the small picnic basket on his right. The older twin looked down, seeing a small, square piece of paper with an odd symbol on it.
"Dearest sister, what do you suppose this is?" His eyes widen. The moment he looked up, the entire place was snowing. No, not snowing, it was paper, the same paper he was holding in his hand. Nero looked around before a couple fell on him.
"What now-" The paper's glowed one by one. Immediately the male feared the worst.
"OH SHI-" In mere seconds the entire group of summoners was gone. Rustling bushes echoed through the now empty ruin. Slowly, a grunting priestess came out of the darkness of the forest. The blonde looked left, then right. Seeing no one around the priestess smiled.
"VICTORY! The writer's cramp was worth it after all!" Then a thought struck her. "I wonder where they landed...I didn't write a destination symbol on the papers…"
Nero's left eye twitched. Beriah was munching on Pokcy, Strengir at her side. The twins were sitting on the blanket still, both of their eyes widened with Sakataki still passed out beside them. Cassandra and Sylphiel had equally blank faces.
They were in a garbage dump.
And not any garbage dump.
One for animals.
Sadly the animals would not be able to use their favorite place as the incoherent cursing of a certain Chaos Summoner would drive them away and all the nearby wildlife.
They were definitely a good distance from the symbol, but not from the battles.
"Oh well…" The priestess shrugged, managing to convince herself to not worry about it. Her red-violet eyes scanned the Stigma. This was it, the source of the power and the connector of the Slave Crests spells.
"So this is where you went, my lady." Turning around Hikari saw Garland and the Warrior of Light walking towards her. The large man kneeled to her, Light following seconds after. "This place is far too dangerous for you. Come, allow me to escort you away from the battlefield."
"I'm sorry, but you really do have the wrong person." Hikari said as she bowed to the knight who stood up.
"What have they done to you, Serah?" Garland asked as he placed his hands on Hikari's cheeks and looked into her eyes. "Do you not remember me, princess?" The priestess could only pity the warrior before her. Gently, she grasped the large hand of the stalwart knight.
"You still love her, even after all this time….But I'm sorry...I can't be a replacement for her. She is different from me. We may have the same face, even personality traits, but she and I are different. To begin with…" The eyes of the priestess changed. They were no longer a gentle red-violet, rather, they hardened. The knight's eyes widened. Those eyes...were not of the princess he so loved, but rather, of a soldier ready to fight.
"I'm more willing to fight. Garland, return Light to me. If you truly love Serah, then help me break this cycle. What do you know about this war? I've spoken to Cosmos, but she couldn't tell us everything. There are memories lost, she said you might know. If you love Serah, want to return to her, then answer me this, how can we break this cycle so that you, along with everyone, can go home!?"
The knight looked at the girl in front of him...The other Serah. She was not his. His Serah would never fight, a White Mage she may be a pacifist she definitely. "Who...whose sick idea was this!? Who... Cosmos..." The man shook with anger as his golden orbs narrowed. "I apologize for what must happen, but I cannot allow Cosmos exist any longer. When she is gone, I will allow you to exist in another world away from all this madness."
Well that worked. Congratulations Hikari you made him even more unstable…
The female snapped at herself as her face portrayed sadness for a second before going back to the determined look. The female walked backwards, and then dashed towards the relic. Garland unleashed his sword, swinging the blade till it came undone through a large chain. The blade swung down before her, barely nicking her as she fell on her behind.
"I cannot allow you to win...Serah..." Garland was moving closer towards her, the Warrior of Light next to him. Hikari stood up, gazing into the eyes of her former partner. His eyes were blank, or blanker, than usual. There was a glow to them, but now it was gone.
"Light...give me time...I will help you…" Her words were a whisper that was barely audible.
"Garland. I understand you have a summoner, one no one has met before. Tell me, where might he be, if it is a he?"
"My summoner? Why do you wish to speak with him?" Garland questioned.
"Just let me speak to him please." She pleaded as the warriors came closer. The man lowered his blade as he looked at Hikari again.
"Sarah…no that isn't right. Child, my summoner is not one for conversation. Even if I allowed you to speak with him, he may not say a word to you. But I have a question for you. If you were my Sarah, if you were her, would you fight me?"
"I'm not the one you love, so I can't answer that but... I don't think she would. From the way you speak of her, it sounds like you two were really in love with each other."
"Then this proves it. You truly aren't my Sarah. Child, you will be set free from this madness of this forsaken war. But I cannot be the one to end you. Warrior," Garland began to walk away from where the false Sarah and the warrior where. "Knock her out and take her elsewhere." He ordered. The warrior nodded as he approached the girl, his movements heavy as he raised his shield to attack the blonde.
Hikari only blinked as she easily dodged the Warrior's attempt at a blow. The eyes of the warrior shifted, instantly the sword in his hand glowed, digging the blade into the ground to cause a wave of light [Shining Wave]. The priestess dodged to the right, now even farther from the stigma as Garland stood in front of it.
"Well...it looks like I will have to get serious…"
'Mama...I'm sorry...but just this once...'
"As it stands, I will be having trouble taking you both on, and I am running on a clock as it is...so then….NO MORE HOLDING BACK!"
"Who, what, when, where, why and HOW!?" Kefka shouted as he looked upon the intruder.
"Didn't you say that to me before?" The intruder said with a smile on his face, bright light blue eyes flickered with life. "And you haven't changed either." This new person was possibly the same age as Ace, maybe younger than but certainly as tall as the gunslinger. This blonde haired, blue-gray eyed teen wore a loose cropped open vest held together by a pendant over his chest, dark pants were held up by a red ribbon sash belt, and were tucked into a pair of steel boots that come up to his knees.
"I see you two know each other," Ace spoke from the shadows, refusing to show himself. "So, how about you help me get my friend back, Vaan?" The light brownish blonde grinned as he adjusted his gauntlets, summoning a crossbow to his person. Kefka frowned as he remembered how annoying this brat was, him and his stupid no shirt wearing rule. Avoiding the onslaught of arrows, the crazy clown skipped into the trees followed closely by the newcomer.
"Go away and back to wherever you came from!"
"No skies there so I would rather not."
'Okay...I can see why this guy is feared...' Kai's eyebrow twitched as he tried to retain a smirk on his face. This guy, Sephiroth, was ridiculously strong! And then add Cloud on, Kai wasn't sure to begin with if he could take them on by himself, but he was holding his own. With luck and timed attacks he managed to get in some decent attacks, but in the end he was the one that was bleeding, a cut laced up his left arm.
"Sorry for the wait!" A black blur ran past him, slamming into the blond SOLDIER. The warrior raised his blade to shield from the attack, and managed to do so, but this left Sephiroth with curiosity. Who had that much power to make Cloud go flying? The pale green eyes of the fallen hero turned to the source, only for him to be punched to the other side of the bank as well. Kai sighed in relief.
"What took so long?" Through the eyes of the swordsman, the blur that saved him wasn't a man, but a rather tall and curvy woman that was kneeling. Slowly she got up and the entire appearance of the female was revealed to him. Dark-brown hair fell below her waist and was tied at the end in a distinctive dolphin-tail split. She wore a sleeveless white midriff tank top with a black miniskirt and a pair of black suspenders connected to her belt. Fingerless leather gloves, with metal protecting pads over black gloves up to her elbows, covered her hand with similar colored laced boots with black, high top socks. The woman turned on her heals with a rather gentle smile on her face that matched the kind look in the women's maroon eyes.
"Sorry, I was worried about that little nun, but she seems to be doing okay."
"Of course. That brat's power is in her speed. Her weakness is her damn ego though…" Kai groaned as he stood, being a few feet taller than the female. He rotated his shoulders as he glared back at the former hero. Sephiroth paid him no need, as his eyes fell upon the female's form.
"You...isn't this interesting?" A soft chuckled followed his words as the female took a stance. "It would appear this play will end in tragedy."
"Whatever you done to Cloud, we will break it!" The woman's resolution was heard, all to but one. Cloud was stuck, not literally but figuratively. His mind was fighting stronger than ever now. In that one moment, he caught it, the glance of her eyes, her hair, everything. At that instant, time stopped for the SOLDIER. He couldn't fight; his body lost the will to do so. Blue eyes widen with every second, words caught in his throat. Even so, he managed to mutter out a name.
Cid sighed as he avoided the axes Ultimecia kept sending his way. Squall was trapped on the ground due to the detective's binding chain spells. Ultimecia would have suffered the same except her time powers kept her safe from that. The older man rubbed his eyes as he tried to think of a plan. His attacks were not working due to her powers yet his dodging kept the woman's spells at bay.
'Dammit...I can't keep doing this forever!' The bitter thoughts traveled in his brain as the machine gun in the suitcase fired bullets, which were only blocked by the witch's barrier. Ultimecia disappeared, but Cid foresaw where she would appear. His right eye glowed, the male dodging a set of arrows [Knight Blade], that trailed a curved path to where he was.
"I'm too old for this!" Cid exclaimed as he barely ran from the arrows, dashing in zigzag patterns to confuse the witch. Turning on his heel the male hisses a certain phrase, his legs now moving faster than ever. Preparing another bind spell, he was ready to attack.
A flash of light overcame him. The light blocked his vision; all he could see was white.
The visage of a young woman appeared. A white trench coat, black jumpsuit, long, blonde hair, and familiar grey eyes overtook him. His heart beat a mile a minute, increasing with every second. Anxiety washed over him.
"This ends now…" Cid was brought back to reality. The sorceress was behind him, claw at his neck.
"Sorry, you're sorceress-ness but I can't let you do that." Cold metal was placed at the back of the woman. She turned and saw a slightly familiar face. Kind green eyes with a sense of hardness, a kind smile that was not hidden by his long black hair, a blue jacket with rolled up sleeves, over a white shirt covered his upper half. His brown trousers and black boots showed he was ready for a fight. In his gloved hands was a fine, black machine gun. The woman vanished before appearing a few feet away from the two men.
"I remember you. The man who faced the Cloud of Darkness. Laguna, I believe."
"Yep, that's me!" He said with a large grin on his face. "So are you ready Cid!?"
"Uh…Yeah. Sorry. I'm ready."
'A vision of the future? Or did you think I might die and join you? I'm sorry...I want to see you so much...but there's somethin' I gotta do….'
"So, you still want to continue?" Jecht asked. Before him was an injured Valon using his lance as walking stick. He couldn't believe this guy's strength, he really was the champ. "I don't think you can continue... And I would rather not end some good talent." The man scratched the back of his head as he tried to figure out what to do.
"Sorry, but I have to keep going." Valon forced himself upwards, his body falling back slightly. "My friends, they are in danger, especially the ones you kidnapped!" A blue spark flicked on his fingers before flying into the sky. "Now!"
A sharp whistle was heard as Tidus' body shook slightly from the sound. A memory floated in his head of a girl. The one he would give his life for. "Tidus, can you hear me?" A voice asked in the distance.
It was a young girl with short brown hair, one blue eye and one green looking at the three men with kindness in her eyes. A blue, pleated, furisode kimono with a hibiscus floral pattern was her attire. A white sash of material was wrapped over her neck and her chest that's was held up by a yellow patterned obi adorned with hibiscus patterns. Over her arms were long, detached sleeves that hung to her kimono. On her feet were black boots. All in all, she wouldn't seem out of place in Akikaze.
"Yuna?" Jecht asked, shocked by her appearance. She bowed in response to his question.
"It's been a long time hasn't it Sir Jecht. I apologize for this but I cannot hold back."
"Hah! That's my line!"
The priestess was holding her own against the warrior, bow sword in hand as she guarded against the ferocity and strength of the warrior's attacks. Garland remained on the side, watching the other Sarah try her best to defend. Even though she appeared to be weak, Garland could swear he saw contradictions; hints that she wasn't fighting with her true strength and was holding back. Garland felt the grip on his blade tightened. Even if she did possess the same face as Sarah, he wouldn't attack her, but that didn't stop him from feeling enraged. She dare enter a battlefield and NOT fight with everything she got? Was she a fool for believing the fights of war would be so gentle as to let her hold back and not believe she would die?!
"Gah!" The bow sword was knocked out of her hands, the blade landing quite a distance from the girl. She was officially defenseless. With neither her blade nor book, the only thing she could do was a magic defense and a few wind spells. Despite that, the girl's eyes shined with determination to win.
"Garland!" The fake Sarah cried out to him. "Why won't you fight me also?!"
"It doesn't take much to defeat you, and I have no desire to kill you. Though if you keep playing around I might indulge you." Venom was easily recognized in his voice. For whatever reason the Stalwart Knight was angry.
"You purposely limit yourself? Why, out of fear of your skills like that Esper girl?"
"N-No! I don't fear my power at all! I-It's just…"
"HYAA!" Hikari felt her back collide with one of the nearby columns of stone. Distraction proved to her disadvantage as the Warrior slammed his shield into the girl's body. The girl grunted as she felt her behind hit cold stone, her back lying against the wall. Through her vision she could clarify the movements of the Warrior of Light, the silverette moving towards her. The girl saw her bow-sword at the corner of her eye. Her recovery was quick, the girl dashing towards her weapon. The warrior followed, and soon caught up to the girl.
Hikari could feel it, a thousand prickly sensations at the back of her neck. This time...he intended to finish it. The order he was given at the start of this fight.
'No...not now...I still...have to make up...for my actions!'
What just...she didn't...just then...another presence...was it-
Hikari turned around, the sound of metal moving around fresh in her ears. The Warrior grunted in pain, a gun firing as a blast emerged from said gun, causing the warrior to fly backwards, but quickly regained his footing.
Standing in the place of the warrior, was a young woman, not even looking to be in her twenties. Pink hair draped off the right side of her neck. A hip length, sleeveless, thin white overcoat with brown straps around her chest were embodied into the coat along with a light brown pocket, laid over a sleeveless, zip up light brown sweater and hidden a rather short skirt. A green metallic pauldron over her left shoulder bearing yellow stripes, barely touch the upper arm length sleeve, the hand part being hidden by a blue, fingerless, leather glove with gold guards for the knuckles, and gray wristbands, both gloves on each hand. Behind her was a black case which hung off her belt, colliding with a red leg pouch that was wrapped around her leg, similar colored boots as the brown straps on the overcoat with gray buckles littering the boots. A dark red cape that was attached to her left shoulder blade flew in the air circling the female from her attack.
In her hands was a long, metallic gun like weapon. The priestess breathed a sigh of relief at the appearance of the light pink haired woman.
"You say you won't hold back, and here you are doing just that."
"I-I...I told you, there are limitations to what I can do and I have to wait for the right time!" A scoff was the priestess reply. "It's not my fault…"
"Then give that so called "Good God" you serve a talking about it."
"Y-yes…Miss Lightning…" The pink haired woman turned back to her, rather electrifying light blue eyes glaring at the girl. If Hikari felt small when the warrior glared at her, then this woman was able to make her feel ten times smaller. A small whimper erupted from the girl's throat, causing a sigh from the woman.
"This...This can't be! That WOMAN...it's impossible!" Garland's breath was caught. The appearance of the woman stalled his mental process, making him question if this was an illusion created by the void or a tormenting dream. The woman known as Lightning scoffed once more.
"I don't want to be here either, but I wasn't given a damn choice...Since I'm here...I'm going to finish this fast!" Immediately the pink haired woman charged at the Stalwart knight, the man finally understanding what was happening. The woman fired off a barrage of bullets, which barely pierced the massive warrior's armor.
In retaliation, he swung the lance, letting the blade fly off a chain to crush a nearby stone pillar. The pieces flew at the dashing soldier, the woman sliding under a nearby piece, switching the weapon from being a gun to a blade. In a graceful turn and jump, the woman slashed at the knight's armor.
One round had begun.
Hikari stood from her spot, grabbing her bow sword as it reverted back to a book, the bookmark for the bow sword sticking out. The silver haired leader of Cosmos approached her.
"Okay Light...it's you and me…" Blue circuit like lines lit up her arm warmers, skirt, ribbon and boots, each the color black, her right hand replacing the pink ribbon bookmark with a gold ribbon one with odd markings on it. Placing the bookmark in the same position and page, the girl slammed the book shut, the circuits vanishing as the book glowed. The warrior was closing in on the blonde, the priestess not moving an inch. She would wait, wait for the right time. Just when the warrior was to slam the back end of his sword into the girl…
Silver blue eyes widen. The female was still standing in the same position, but her arm was straight up. Her hand was grasping an item that stopped his assault. It was a sheathed blade, a katana from the looks of it, but nothing like the one wielded by Kai, this one was far more traditional. The sheath was pure black, as dark as the night sky without any source of light from the stars or moon, three large metal loops swayed in the incoming breeze. The handle of the blade was actually rather simple; no elegant design, no ribbon to wrap around the Tsuka, it was completely bare; there wasn't even a guard for it.
Even so, it was durable, not even a small nick was present form the blade end of the Warrior of Light's sword.
"Light...I promise...This time...I won't hold you back...or be a nuisance. You accused me of holding back…" The girl swat the warrior's blade away. "You were right. Because I didn't want to rely on a magical ability...I wanted to accomplish something so simple with my own skills...But.." The girl held out her sheathed blade. Holding the sheath firm as pale fingers wrapped around the hilt. "I guess I need to rely on this for a bit longer." The blade was drawn.
Even so, the blade's appearance did not match the shape of the sheath. Two prongs stuck out from the blade itself, giving it the appearance of a willow branch, yet the main blade was curved like a katana. Pressure emanated from the blade, causing air to circle around it.
This blade...it was something holy...divine in nature. The Warrior's instincts told him so. Holding the blade firm in one hand, the girl placed the sheath behind her, nearly holding it as a second blade. The red violet eyes of the female closed. Besides the one fight going on alongside the two, there was silence between the two. The female couldn't help but smile. 'That's right...it was like this too...we barely spoken a word...and when we went to change that...we revealed how we felt…'
'I...want that to happen again...I want to know more about him...so...this time...I know I can use it…'
The air thinned, as if it was being sucked out. No, it was being sucked in. Pressure built up around the priestess. The clouds overhead evaporated, revealing the three moons of the planet. The air reverberated, a slight echo or frequency hissed in the air. The Warrior of Light could see it, in the back of his mind; he saw a change in intensity. The source….all from the girl, the weak girl he saved on his first night in this world.
"Okay Light...this time...I won't hold back…" Air bounced off the girl, the khaki colored cape the warrior wore harshly blew in the wind.
"Limiter Release. Three Moon Count Confirmed. Beginning Set Up of Basic Program. Trace. On. Conditions Realized."
The priestess' voice deepened.
"Stigma of God of Swords, Activate. CODE-"
Through the eyes of the warrior, her appearance was changing. He no longer saw a fragment of Cosmos, or Serah. He was unsure if he even saw a human. The once sun colored hair was pure white, pure and tamed as the color of the moon. The girl's red-violet eyes were closed. Even so, he didn't need to see them to feel the enormous pressure radiating off the girl, or the feeling of animosity. A soft mutter broke the smaller silence.
Three words that made him question one thing…
The eyes of the priestess squinted underneath the folds.
The red-violet eyes of the priestess were no longer present.
The kind, gentle gaze of Hikari Himemiya vanished.
What was left in the place was the deep blue of the girl's magic color.
Was this...still Hikari Himemiya?
CHAPTER 23 END
StarlightAT: BOOYAH! YOU GUYS HAVE NO CLUE HOW FREAKIN LONG I WANTED TO BUST THIS CHAPTER OUT! Well for those that called it, congrats you called it! XD The Duodecim cast is, INDEED, in this fic! Me and my awesome co-writer are Lightning fans so...and it wouldn't feel right without them! XD
Alright so then the next chapter might not be out that soon. I had plans to get it out before the end of this year, to fully finish Arc 1….but thats not gonna happen...so be prepared because next chapter is gonna be a doozy! Ten different fights in the different locations with others coming in, others being taken out, and a big reveal is coming up! You will not expect it! I hope….
You guys got questions that need answering, well they are gonna have to wait...but i can assure you...next chapter is gonna be the LONGEST chapter of this arc! This of it as like a two hour special end of a season because that's what it is! This is my way of making up for the fact that this baby will be out by next year, possibly late January, and then my Co-Writer and i need to do some vacation time and some planning for the next Arc!
Alright thats it unless my co-writer has something else to say!
Shadow_Ninja_Koopa: Co-Writer here. I reall have nothing to say. Umm... Thank you all for reading our fic, Tv Trope page as the boss keeps mentioning needs some love, Check out our other stuff if you have time. And... Hikari dressed as a mini Lightning running around and messing with everyone. That is all. Oh and any questions you have send them in. We shall get through them very soon. (Even if I have to ban the boss from getting the next Final Fantasy game)
Starlight AT: OH HELL NO YOU WON'T O_O XD
Oh and as I stated at the beginning of the Author's notes, a certain reader, JFai, has done a story with Hikari, Shirou and Rei as the main characters called The Spear that guards the Priestess. It is in my favorites if you are curious, and I suggest reading it I swear its good! This brings up something I would like to offer.
IF you would like to use one of my OC's or several in a story, you are allowed to under the conditions!
1.) You have to ask me permission first! Unless that character is Strengir, Shadow owns him so you have to ask Koopa!
2.) All credit for the OC's, goes to me and my partner Shadow Ninja Koopa, unless it's Strengir! Koopa gains FULL CREDIBILITY ON HIM!
3.) Only a total of 5 are permissible….unless I happen to really like you. XD Then we can discuss.
And that ends that!