And I'm back. I know it's really, really late, almost a year since I said I would update but at least I got it done right? I'll say more at the bottom I'll just let you go on and read shall I?
A small change from last chapter though, I actually do own something now! A PlayStation 3 and a copy of White Knight Chronicles 2! Yay! All other disclaimers still apply though.
"For some dancing is life, it is what they were meant to do. For others, it is just a hobby, something insignificant to fill their time with, ready to stop their dance at anytime and never pick it up. It is them, and them alone, that I truly pity." - Paresse, one of the seven Sin's Tempations dancers, 5255 ADW (After Dogma War)
He remembered the first and only time he ever danced alone…
"Get away from her!"
Caesar had been close, so close he could almost touch her, when a bright almost demonic light began to appear from the ark and began to envelop Shapur and Kara, its resulting explosion when he had gotten too close throwing him back to Leonard's feet. He numbly felt the pain when he landed with his back on the hard stone floor but ignored it, the blinding image of the Farian's evil smile clouding any rationality.
The light began to grow brighter and larger until it seemed to envelop the entire building. Caesar reluctantly covered his eyes, not willing to look away from the transformation before him. He dimly heard Yulie gasp sharply when he removed his hand and looked up in shock and awe at the Knight in front of him.
Eldore gave an inaudible swear. "The Black Usurper, it's truly exists. I thought it only a myth."
I don't care if it's the freaking Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny's love child! Kara is inside that thing and we have to help her!
Frantically, he fumbled for his ark, the words not coming out completely at all for the first few seconds.
"Caesar no! Stop!"
He ignored Leonard's warnings. He didn't care if most of his Knight's power was used up from his short battle, more mental than anything though, with Kara. That thing standing in front of them had Kara trapped inside and the Farian snake was stealing her power as they spoke as she lay possibly dying from her wounds. Never before had he wanted to kill a man so much.
"O Larvayne, vermillion drake, leveler of ancient lands, grant me you power."
Hold on just for a few more minutes Kara, I'm coming.
Caesar waited impatiently for the transformation to done, noticing as he slowly became much larger how colossal the Usurper really was. While with the Knight's large size they had barely been scraping the ceiling with their helmets, this demonic Black Knight had literally made half the room vanish to the point where the floor was only up to his waist, the upper body easily rising above the ceiling a few thousand feet.
Inside the safety of his armour, Caesar actually snarled as he ran foreword to attack the Usurper, idly noticing that even in his Knight that he only barely stood up to the Black Knight's elbow, feeling almost small and useless, like an ant when it found a piece of food too large for it to even lift. He wondered in the back of his mind of this was how Yulie and the others normally felt when he and Leonard had transformed.
That wasn't important right now though, saving Kara was what was important and nothing else.
Caesar ran forward, thrusting Larvaint into the dark black armour of the Usurper only to for it to raise one of its gauntleted giant fists and swat him back into the wall as one would a troublesome fly. He slammed into the stone wall, cracking foundations thousands of years old as he felt pain ripple up his back but ignored it.
Slightly dazed from the impact, he struggled to stand only to fall back to his knees, vaguely aware that Leonard had at some point transformed into his own White Knight and stood out sharply from the Usurpers own colossal black armour. Yulie, now only a minuscule speck compared to the three goliaths around her, was raining various arrows onto the thick armour of twisted Black Knight but it was for naught, the Usurper was paying the arrows about as much attention as one would a flea, an annoyance perhaps but nothing more and Eldore was over continuing his constant thread of healing towards the still unconscious princess. The mystery member to the group was not to be seen, most likely darting in and out of danger as they valiantly struck where ever they could.
The demonic red light that shone through the cracks and crevices of the Knight's armour glowed brightly as the Usurper moved in place, the soft yet brilliant light reminding Caesar of a dancer's skirt as she moved to a heavy beat in a bar. Waiting for the dizziness to wear off, the young lord watched the giant move slowly as it tried to swat the others from its path, it slowness a by-product of either its gargantuan size or that deep inside the armoured body, Kara was fighting Shapur for control of the ark.
Despite the sluggishness of its movement, Caesar noticed that although the smaller knight figure atop the body was not able to reach its attackers, it would defend the great pulsating blue orb in the middle of its chest from Yulie's sharpshooting, the only attacker able to reach it.
A battle plan forming inside his head, Caesar shook the clouds from his head and ran forward to continue the battle, he would have time to fall unconscious later, after Kara was saved and the Farian snake defeated.
Caesar ran blindly towards the colossal enemy, ignoring the shouts of his friends and companions as he rushed forward, his three-pronged spear at the ready.
Please Kara, hold on for just a little longer.
He dismissed the large bursts of wind that the deadly wings sent his way, most likely sent in hope that the gusts of air would knock the still dizzy Dragon Knight over. Instead Caesar let the armoured wings shelter his body, effectively blocking the wind from sending the Dragon Knight careening backwards. The wings soon unfurled and Caesar was back on course, never slowing down even as the lower set of arms tried valiantly to swat him back, now that it realized what it truly was that the ark bearer had in mind.
Darting in and out of danger, Caesar finally placed his move, a killing stroke for either him or the Usurper depending on how well it was executed. Even one tiny degree off and one of the powerful arms would send him off into the blood red abyss behind the demon and death claiming him as it should have ten thousand years ago, but if it worked, then the Black Usurper would fall and Kara saved. And if Shapur died in the battle for dominance, well, that would only be a bonus.
So placing his trust and life into the battle instincts of Larvayne, he thrust Larvaint into the small pulsating blue light, letting his hatred and everything that had happened in that span of one short week enter his strike and was rewarded when it was struck true. The spear sunk into the chest plate until half of the trident was aglow in bright blue light as he harshly withdrew the spear with a sickening lurch and jumped back to the avoid what he hoped would be the giant falling dead to the floor.
That's for trying to kill Kara and stealing the Knight you creep!
He was rewarded with the scream of pain and rage as they beast did fall forward, but not to the floor like Caesar had hoped. Instead it simple fell below the small portion of floor that was left, allowing the top of the Knight to simply be within striking range and making it all the more deadly now that its long sword would be able to reach the others without any problem.
Oh come on! That is so not fair! Just die already!
No, I don't think I shall.
Caesar felt his blood boil at the words, his rage ready to bubble over at any moment. It was coming from her ark, but it wasn't her voice. Her voice was smooth, with hints of an Albanian accent colouring her words and an almost sardonic tone accompanying every breath. Her voice had made the hairs of on the back of Caesar's neck stand on end, thoughts of her giving images that he would never reveal to anyone, no matter the price.
The voice that instead flowed from the twisted ark was like that of a snake, each word revulsion and condescending, as if believing that nothing and no one was better than him. It was sickening to hear that voice coming from the ark that belonged to her, would always be hers.
Shapur was contaminating Dinivas' ark, Kara's ark, and nothing would ever forgive him of that one grievous sin. Not as long as Caesar stood.
I must say though that this is a surprise. Who would have thought that such a little man like yourself would have already unlocked this much of the Knight's potential.
It truly is a travesty to the good name of Larvayne that you would be the one chosen to wield such an awesome power.
If Shapur had been trying to send Caesar over the edge than he more than succeeded, for at this moment Caesar wanted nothing more than to completely destroy and utterly demolish the sick Farian inside until nothing would be to kill. He wanted the man to lie on the ground in a broken and bruised heap on the floor.
Inside Caesar knew that this wasn't like him, none of these thoughts were. It was the demonic aura of the Usurper affecting him and the battle experience of the Dragon Ark clouding his mind. Still he didn't care, there was a small part of him inside that wanted this and Caesar was more than ready to give in.
Let it go Shapur, you can't win.
The sound of laughter, twisted with power undeserved, swirled around inside his head, rebounding off the inner walls of his mind. The sound made Caesar sick.
But don't you see? I've already won. I am almost in complete control now, next to me the traitor is already knocking on death's door, she barely has enough power to sneeze, much less fight back. Such is the fate of one who abandon's their lord and master.
Just like that, Caesar felt the urge to fight leave his body. He couldn't be too late, and yet he knew he was. He had taken too long, too long to save her and it was all his fault. He should have seen Shapur behind Kara, instead he was too focused on his elation that she had agreed to fight with him and not against him that he had turned blind. It was a mistake that could never be undone and now Caesar would deal with it for the rest of his life, that the almighty Dragon Knight wasn't able to save a single person that mattered to him, not his mother, not his father, and not Kara. He was a failure that didn't deserve the power that the Dragon Matriarch had bequeathed to him.
"Caesar, what are you doing? We have to stop Shapur or the ark will be his. Get back into the game!"
With newly formed righteous anger and conviction, Caesar resumed his attack against the Usurper with new vigor, but it was in less response to Leonard's words, of which he only barely acknowledged, and more to the single one that had escaped the corrupted ark.
That had been Kara's voice that had reverberated in his mind, her sweet and sultry voice. She was still there and fighting, but had he not been so desperate to see or hear anything that proved it, he would have missed it completely. Her voice was quiet, weak, a small whisper amongst a vulgar crowd.
Kara didn't have much time left, any second could be her last breath but Caesar ignored that fact and instead centered on the realization that she still had time, that he still had time, and not the ever dwindling miniscule amount that remained.
Kara! I will get you out of there I swear it, just keep on fighting just a bit longer!
Caesar ignored her words heatedly; there was no way that she deserved something, anything, like this. No one did. After being stabbed in the back by one she once considered comrade, that same person was now trying to steal her ark, and she was fighting back with everything she had despite her already weakened state and the steadily decreasing amount of strength of will that still remained.
In that single moment, with that single word, Caesar felt his boiling blood that once boiled in hot, unbridled rage, freeze over and run cold. She was quickly running out of time, of strength, of will-power; that single spoken word hadn't even been a whisper and had he not been grasping for any words for her, would have brushed past unheard.
Don't you dare Kara, don't you dare do this. You will keep on fighting him; you never back down, ever. Who else is gonna be able to kick my butt and keep me in line if you stop?
With fear for the dancer inside the black and twisted armour, Caesar hurriedly caught the sword's downward strike on the shaft of his spear and made a quick counter attack, hoping once again to hit the odd blue light and end this once and for all. The Usurper was able to redirect the thrust along the side of his sword, letting it pass by him harmlessly before any sound came.
Well, that was unexpected I must say, she had more fight in her than I thought, but no matter. Speaking like that seemed to have wiped out the remaining amount of fight that remained.
No, you're wrong. Kara would never give up like that, ever.
Shapur seemed to sense the hostility and new maliciousness that appeared when he spoke instead of Kara. He didn't even reply as he almost seemed to consider what that meant. A few moments later he replied in a tone of incredulity.
Don't tell me, you actually fell for her "charms"? I found it rather odd that you, any of you actually, would still be fighting for her. She was nothing but a traitor, a double agent with the mission to kill all of you. She was too soft, had begun to think all of you as friends and that was her downfall.
The amount of disgust and horror that came with the word earned the Black Knight a hurried slash as he flew back a bit to escape the twisted blade's deadly reach. But before he could reply, Shapur had begun to speak again, voice a corrosive poison that burned his ears.
When she betrayed all of you, you had all rights to want to kill her, for betraying your trust and what not. And yet here you are, fighting a battle you possibly can't win for someone whose nature is to stab everyone in the back again and again, except your different aren't you. The others, I can sense that although they want to save their little friend, they only want the person they knew, one of the many masks that the actress has donned for her part. They will never truly trust her again and so should you.
Caesar felt Larvaint shake in his hands, as he gazed upon the corrupted knight in vehemence at her words.
And you, with the powers of insight that Larvayne has granted to her pactmaker, the powers a little man like you will never full realize, you know what she's truly done don't you? All of the horrors and crimes she's ever committed, all the deaths she's caused and yet you still fight for her.
You fight because somewhere along the line, you unbelievably fell in love with her. A truly little man fell in love with the woman who has never stopped acting since the day she was born.
Even if my some small miracle you do save her, you know what will happen don't you little man? No one will trust her again, she'll be ostracized from the world for the crimes she committed as General Dragias and from your little friends for the fact that she was sent to kill all of you. It is in her nature to act, to deceive everyone around her, and eventually she will betray you little man as well.
More than just the spear had begun to shake, his whole body had begun to quake in contained fury, rage that demanded to be let out, to strike out against the person who was killing Kara. Shapur may have known Kara, but he didn't know the real Kara like Caesar did. He knew that despite her cold and abrasive manner all she wanted was to be accepted and in company of people she loved and who loved her. Knew that although she acted like trust and friendship were nothing but a means to the end, that she believed nothing to be higher and worth more.
That beneath the woman's proud and unmoving dance that conveyed nothing but confidence, that a broken and shattered woman lay below it, waiting for someone to pick up the pieces and put her together again. And by the gods if Caesar wasn't willing and ready to do it.
I'm going to try and hold off Shapur and I want you Leonard to finish this bastard off while I have him distracted.
As Caesar desperately fended off the Knight's blows, he saw out of the corner of his eye the White Knight nod in understanding, ready to attack and finish this battle once and for all.
"I got it Caesar."
"Leonard, snap out of it, Caesar hasn't said anything this whole fight! Eldore, we have to help him, I think something's wrong!"
At any other time, Yulie's words would have confused Caesar but right now wasn't the time or place to dwell on what she said. The slithering words of the Farian snake allowing him to focus on nothing else.
Whatever you're planning, it won't work. All you're doing is fighting a losing battle, a fight that I've already won. Why can't you see that?
You truly are nothing but a little man, undeserving of the powers you have and the pitiful emotions that run your life.
The cold, patronizing laughter of the Farian echoed deep inside Caesar's head, setting him even further off the edge than he already was. Clenching his jaw, Caesar leapt forward with renewed vigor and deflected the Usurper's downward strike expertly.
It was time to take this bastard down once and for all.
Caesar fought on silently, not make a sound towards the man he now hated with every fiber of his being and blocking every strike, thrust, and slice that was sent his way. The tantalizing blue light embedded in the twisted Knight's chest emitting all the hope that lay in ending this fighting with every pulse.
Finally, Caesar spotted exactly what he was looking for, with every downward strike that was sent his way, the black armoured hand that held the corrupted blade's hilt tightened so that when the hit either hit home or was blocked, the sword would not slip from his grasp and after every strike the hand once again loosened its hold on the blade. It was a tactic used by seasoned soldiers to avoid a tense and stiff hand that came after a fight from holding a blade too long, but it was unneeded when fighting in the Knight's bodies. You felt understandable exhaustion from controlling a giant magic suit of armour and soreness from where some hits connected but nothing else. The tightened grip all throughout the battle would have no bearing after the battle was finished, but the act, the simple move, was habit bred in by years of training. By now the move was about as natural as breathing, unnoticed by the Farian fighting but caught by Caesar who was frantically looking for some opening, any opening, that would end this battle.
And he intended to use this small, insignificant detail to his advantage.
The moment the blade came rushing down to meet his head and split both skull and helmet clean open, Caesar dropped the Dragon Knight's spear to the stone ground. For a split second he felt a multitude of sensations exit the Usurper: confusion, incredulity, wonder, surprise, shock and two other emotions, so weak that they were almost completely buried underneath the stronger senses, fear and hope. Fear that Caesar was going crazy and would not survive the blow, and hope that he actually knew what he was doing and that it would all end soon.
As weak as they were, Caesar latched desperately onto the two, scared that they might be the last two things he might ever feel from her again.
Trusting the battle experience that the Dragon Knight gained from over ten millennia of fighting, Caesar deftly caught the falling sword in his hands, stopping the blade only inches from his face. He had only a moment to do this, a split second of time to act or else he would most likely be dead or worse in the next few seconds.
Whether in surprise or habit, Caesar would never know, but he felt it through the lessening of the swords weight, Shapur had loosened his hold on the hilt once again. Using that split second of chance he had, Caesar twisted the sword and ripped it from Shapur's grasp, sending the giant blade flying harmlessly to the other side of the room.
Caesar did not need his DragonSight to sense the complete surprise and befuddlement that came the moment the tossed the sword aside.
With not even a second of waiting, Caesar reached forward and grabbed the two wrists of the Knight, preventing any other form of attack. Strengthening his stance, he braced himself against the thrashing of the Usurper trying to break free and against the strong gusts of wind that Shapur had begun to create with his wings in an attempt to put Caesar of balance.
"Leonard! Do it now!"
Praying that Leonard understood what he was supposed to do and that he wouldn't accidentally stab him as well, he saw the White Knight hurry beside him and with a yell thrust Talion into Shapur's armoured chest, completely engulfing the sword up to its hilt in the magical blue light.
For a moment, nothing happened and Caesar began to panic, wondering if they were too late when the light began to flash brightly. In shock Leonard and Caesar jumped back to where Yulie and Eldore stood waiting, both remembering to grab their weapons from the Knight's chest and the floor respectively, entranced with the spectacle before them, the princess now healed and being supported on Eldore's shoulder, her face still a pale white.
They all watching in amazement as blue cracks began to form along the Usurper's armoured shell and he began to glow brightly in the brilliant blue light. Vaguely, Caesar hoped that there wasn't simply another Knight underneath the armour that they would be forced to fight and watched triumphantly as the Usurper seemed to explode, sending rays of light around them as it fell lifeless to the floor.
But instead of the Knight crashing to the floor it was Kara who did, unmoving as Shapur shakily picked himself up and stumbled backwards. He glanced at the ark in his hands, the ark that now rightfully belonged to him, before looking up at Caesar, whom had already transformed back the moment Kara hit the cold, stone floor, and laughed at him. With a knowing evil glint in his lone eye, as he turned and ran to where his master, his lord, Grazel, and vanished what seemed like years before.
Panicking, Caesar ran towards Kara's unmoving body as Shapur disappeared deeper into the temple. To his short lived relief he heard her give a short gasp of pain as he pulled her into his lap to hold her closer, careful not to let the deadly spikes on her shoulder's run him through. With shaking hands he brushed a stand of blonde hair from her sweat soaked face, not believing the sight before him. Blood from the wound Shapur had given her dripping from the cracks in her black armour and into his lap, staining him with brilliant red but right now he didn't both notice or care.
He knew that if the wound didn't kill her than the exhaustion from fighting Shapur for control certainly would.
Gods please, no. Please no.
Kara, hang in there. Kara!"
With a great struggle she opening her eyes, once clear violet now clouded as the gazed at him with difficulty.
She let a straggled breath escape before speaking Caesar's name with great effort. It was becoming quickly apparent that it was getting harder and harder for her to breathe. Her breathing was already coming in irregular intervals as well as in short, difficult breaths.
"I-I'm so glad I… that I met you. Caesar, you…you were my friend, weren't you?"
Oh gods, please, please, please.
"Kara, don't please don't. We can, we can make this right again, I promise. Kara!"
Kara let out a short cough before continuing, blood speckling her lips. Somewhere, he heard Yulie cry out but ignored her. Caesar was already searching for any scrap of magic he had left, anything that could help her but found nothing. The consecutive battles in the Dragon Knight draining him of any magic power he had dry. He was empty as he knew Leonard would be too. Yulie had been training in the art of Healing Magic but just like him, she would have used all of her spells against the colossal Usurper, likewise so would have their more secluded comrade. He glanced at Eldore, not saying anything, his expression and eyes asking for him. To his horror, Eldore bowed his head in sorrow and shook it sadly, he had used every scrap of reserve Healing Magic he had on Princess Cisna.
This can't be happening. This can't be happening!
"I-I messed up, but, but I-I hope you can still think of me as a friend."
By now Caesar was fighting hard to control the tears that were threatening to escape. He would not show her any tears, he didn't deserve to let her see them. Still, he had to steady his voice before speaking.
"Kara, you were much more than that. Don't you know, to me, you were so much more?"
Kara smiled up at him, a smile filled with so much sadness, so much pain that it hurt. In numbed shock, he watched a lone tear fall from her eyes as he carefully wiped it away, feeling the fevered heat beneath her skin. It was painful knowing that he had only seen her shed tears twice, and both of those times he caused them.
And just like both times, there was nothing he could do to stop them from falling.
With that one last breath, she closed her brilliant violet eyes to the world as let her head fall lifeless into the crook of his arm, now forever cast in a perpetual slumber.
Kara was dead, and he didn't need his DragonSight to confirm that.
NO NO NO NO NO NO!
He let her name escape his mouth in a soft breath as he tried to hold he closer, tilting and letting his forehead touch hers as silent tears fell from his tightly closed eyes and onto her peaceful face, still warm to the touch.
There was no time to mourn though, for soon after the temple began to shake, the foundations finally collapsing from the strain of holding five Incorruptus as they fought above. Dust and stones began to fall all around them as intricately decorated pillars began to crack under the pressure. Caesar ignored them, wanting to hold onto Kara just a little longer. A part of him still refused to believe that she was dead, that she really was gone.
Dimly, he heard Leonard tell him that it was time, that they had to leave now.
With the carefulness that one would use for putting a loved one to bed, Caesar carefully rested her on the quickly collapsing stone floor, brushing a strand of hair off her face one final time.
Quickly, he ran to where Cisna and the others were waiting, an airship not unlike the one Grazel used waiting for him and Leonard to board with the others. As he ran towards the ship, ancient debris falling all around them he had one last glance over his shoulder, as if hoping that it was all a dream and that was standing there glaring at him and demanding to know why he left her standing there alone as a building fell apart around them. Yet, there she lay unmoving even as the world fell apart around them.
Unable to take anymore he cried her name, letting the sound that the collapsing walls last hear be the sound of pain, sorrow, and desperation as yelled her name.
He numbly boarded the ship, Shagna as Cisna would later tell him it was called, looking out the window as the temple, Kara's final resting place, fall into ruins, collapsing into the Dogma Rift with her body, never to be seen again.
He remembered promising that never would he dance again.
And done. Finally. Yeah, so, any tomatoes or rotten fruit you want to sling I will endure graciously because I deserve them. As for excuses on where this was, I have none, just that it got really difficult to write about halfway through so I kept putting it off. It is here though finally so tada! Also if I made anyone cry, if only because I actually updated or from the ending, bonus! Completely unintentional.
So constructive critism people! I want to know what you thought, any mistakes I made or things you think could have been better. And no flames, unless its about my updating cause I totally deserve those.
Also, if anyone's interested I have another WKC story in the works, check out my profile for more details, and if I get enough requests I might add a coulple of chapters on here, that is scenes from WKC2.
So see ya next time! Chow!
-Volvochick (aka, the author who can't keep a scheduale to save her life)