A/N I actually got an email about the use of the journal entries to help push the story along. The entries are a way for me to keep track of the story and help fill plot holes. I find them a lot easier to write as well. As for when I'm gonna update next...well...Here's the next round! Enjoy! ~Skygunner
Arcadia is a world that never ceases to amaze me. I already knew of its six moons, but I never knew the effect they had on the world below. The Silver moon, from what I understand, is neutral, with its magic based on life and death. Mid Ocean falls under the light of this moon. There's its like a perpetual springtime, never too hot nor too cold. The Red moon, however, radiates heat like a second sun. The land beneath it, Nasr, is just a massive desert. Now, we are traveling to Valua. Its a land of constant darkness and overcast skies. It also has constant thunderstorms. It makes me very glad I didn't crash there. I've been in a lightning strike before and have no desire to go through that again. In fact, I was very lucky it didn't fry the ejection seat.
While here, I've had the chance to study Arcadian magic. The majority of the people here are non magical. Wait...scratch that. They lack they ability to cast the spells without a focus, like a moonstone. Now, moonstones are unique in that they retain the properties of their source. Aika let me try out her blue moonstone... well... let's just say they won't let me do it again. Blue represents wind and water. I guess, from what she tells me, that I have way too much magic to use the stones properly... Unless mass destruction is my goal. I just about threw everyone on deck overboard. Drachma just had a huge smirk on his face as Vyse picked himself up from the edge of the deck. I swear the old man has a mischievous streak.
Aika continues to surprise me. Its a three week long trip to Valua from Sailor's Isle and only a week has passed. The four of us have meshed pretty well together so far. And, we found a way to fit all of us in here on this tiny ship. Drachma has his own quarters, which is a given. Aika was given the other room, also a given. Vyse set up a cot down in the engine room. He says he likes the heat and the noise. As for me, I'm sleeping on the wing of my valkyrie... Never again will I use an engine housing. Good grief, I keep getting off track. Aika has continued to surprise me as she is constantly trying to learn Hylian magic. And I'll admitthat she managed a small flame once or twice. She may make a promising student for me, and who knows, maybe the closeness we have already started to share will grow. I know I wouldn't mind it at all.
Well, we've entered Valuan airspace. And I've just now caught my first look at a Valuan airship. Looks like the lands of the Yellow moon have a technical advantage over the rest of the world. More powerful, electric engines... Steel hulls... Actual freaking turrets. I was surprised that I didn't see any fighters. But that wasn't the most impressive thing I'd seen. No, it was the entrance to Valua. A massive gate...with a fortress built in. If I had to take an estimate, I'd say from the ground to the top it stood about 2 kilometers high and one wide at the least. Built between two mountains, it was the only way in or out. And the most impressive thing about it was its ability to move. IT MOVES! On one side was a mass of solid armor. From what the old man tells me, it withstood a siege by the entire Nasrian armada... with little to no damage. Then, Valua spun the gate, revealing rows upon rows of cannons that would put even the Frontier's railguns to shame. During the same siege, these cannons routed the enemy forces. I think a battlestar would have trouble cracking that thing. Valua's main city is divided into three sections. There's the Palace section, which holds a massive coliseum. There's the clean and proper Upper City. Then, there's the Lower City... which is where we landed. The place is a dump and reminds of the slums if Dreg Epona. Only its dirtier, smellier, and the people a lot more desperate for coin.
Drachma already told us to find any info we could and to reserve a room somewhere. Meanwhile, he would stay behind and oversee the dock workers fitting his brand new harpoon cannon to the Little Jack. Anyway, as I write this, we've come up with a plan. According to a Lower city youth named Marco, there are catacombs beneath the ground that connect everything. Turns out the Rogues are to be executed in the coliseum tomorrow afternoon. From what I'm understanding, Valuan executions are more like gladiator matches... except the prisoners get nothing to defend themselves with. And whether or not the prisoners are bound is up to the cries of the crowds. Sometimes they like pleading victims, other times they want one that runs for it. These are some sick people here. Anywho, we will be using the catacombs to enter the arena from below. Marco has warned us of some crazy creature the lives over there. Hopefully we don't run into it. The plan is to get in, get the Rogues, find Fina, and get out. Hopefully just another milkrun...
From the Journals of Sora Hyrin
Sora, Vyse, Aika and Marco were all gathered at the entrance to the catacombs trying to figure out the best way through. "Vyse, the fastest route is still the most dangerous. Several sections of the tunnels are open to the skies below and all of it is fragile. This other route add ten minutes, but at least the ground won't collapse under our feet. The problem with that one is that is creature territory." Sora ran a hand through his hair, annoyed that both ways were just as bad. "Marco, which is safer for injured people? Would dealing with that creature be easier for us in the end?"
Marco nodded, "Yes. All Valuans who know of the catacombs know that the critter lives there. They see us going that way, they'll assume we are dinner." Vyse slapped Marco on the back. "Then that's the way we are gonna go. Sora, how are you feeling? You up for another tumble?" Pulling his sabers, he did a small kata. "All ready to go. Let's just hope I don't lose control again, though." Aika reached out and put a hand on his shoulder. "You'll be fine. Just focus on the result. As you told me before, that's all that matters with magic." Sora visibly relaxed and twirled his buster pistol before holstering it. "Then let's rock and roll. The Rogues are counting on us."
Crawling down into the tunnels they all noticed torches on the walls, already lit. Marco simply walked forward stating they were his idea because he lived here. Then, Sora smelled it. The water was off-color and the area smelled like rotting flesh. 'Bloodwater...' ran through his mind as he shook his head. Sticking to the dry sections, Marco led them slowly, but surely, through the tunnels. The lack of anything even remotely like a rodent gave Sora goosebumps. 'Not even the rats go near this thing...' As they moved deeper into the tunnels, the water began receding until they vanished completely, and the smell of decay and death began to stifle the air.
"The creature lives under the arena, hidden in the place where they dump the bodies. It usually doesn't leave so its probably home... and very hungry."
"Any ideas on what it is?"
"All I know is its very large and very fast. Its skin is see-through in some places. I really don't know what it is. One of the guesses in Lower City is that it's one of that crazy admiral's experiments gone bad."
At this, Sora looked at him, "What crazy admiral?"
"Admiral DeLoco of the Fifth Fleet. Looks like a kid in a weird suit with a bubble dome over his head. Smartest inventor we ever saw...but completely off his rocker."
"Great. Mad scientist turned Admiral. Just what the world needs... a walking timebomb." Vyse and Aika both nodded in agreement as Marco suddenly stopped. "I don't think we're alone..."
Drawing weapons, everyone went back to back as a horrifying, gurgling screech tore through the darkness. Then, they saw it. A large, almost blob-lilke creature scuttled toward them, its skin glowing in the dark. As it drew near, they could see into its enormous belly and were horrified at the sight of human skulls bobbing around inside. "We... we kinda were looking for it anyway. Marco, stay back. Everyone else... CHARGE!"
It came as a shock to all of them when the creature fell after only a few blows. Keeping everyone back, Sora went to check on the creature. Thinking it dead, he turned to face the others and everything went dark, followed by an overpowering smell of bile. 'This thing...just swallowed me... oh HELL NO!' Pushing his magic out in waves, pulses of energy exploded around him violently.
Vyse, Aika, and Marco stood in shock as the creature swallowed Sora whole. As it approached them, it stopped and looked at its own belly. They could all see violet light pulsing brightly within and with each pulse, its belly expanded more and more. Finally, in a shower of gore, it exploded, throwing the creature up and back and leaving a pool of bile. And, in the middle of it all, stood Sora, sopping wet and pissed off. "I hate being eaten..."was all he said before pulsing his magic again and throwing the bile and fluid that was on him away. Walking towards them, he continued to wring out his clothes. "I seriously hate being eaten. Let's go...I know this smell isn't going to come out anytime soon." Continuing on, everyone chuckled at Sora's misfortune.
"Well...this is it. The arena entrance."
"Thanks, Marco. we really do appreciate this."
"Just don't die up there."
Dyne looked left and right, seeing his entire crew with hand bounds. Looking at his first mate, he said, "Looks like we may not be getting out of this one, Lukas." "Giving up already, Dyne?" Dyne shrugged. "Only thing getting us out of this is a miracle." Waiting patiently as the sentence was called out to the crowds, he noticed something off behind him.
An explosion of power ripped through the arena as a grate near the executioner's stage was blown off its hinges along with a good sized section of rock. Out of the still smoking hole crawled Vyse, Aika, and to Dyne's surprise, Sora with weapons at the ready. A closer look showed the barrel of Sora's gun smoking slightly.
"ROGUES! RUN FOR IT!"
"Vyse, Aika, keep the small fry off them. I'll take the ugly one."
Holstering his pistol, he drew his sabers and darted forward with a speed that startled even Galcian up in the stands. Watching the boy charge forward, several soldiers fell as the beam blades sliced through them as if the armor they wore wasn't there. "Hmm... an interesting development. May even give me a run for my gold." "What was that, milord?" "Nothing, Ramirez. Take Fina to the train. I'll be along shortly." Walking to the rail overlooking the arena, Galcian removed his cloak and drew a massive sword. Then, taking a breath, he leapt into the arena.
Dyne stayed back until the last Rogue had left and was about to leave himself when he saw Galcian leap into the arena. "Shit... Vyse, everyone! Get out! Galcian is in here, RUN!" As everyone turned and made a break for it, Sora was cut off by the admiral's landing. Vyse grabbed hold of Aika as she tried to go back and she called for him to get out.
"So, you are the one the pirates were talking about back at the rogue village. Play a while, won't you?" Sora looked past Galcian and shouted, "Go, I'll catch up." Dyne was about to protest when Aika interrupted him. "If Sora says he'll catch up, then he will." Turning to Sora, she nodded and mouthed at him to make sure he comes back. Sora nodded once more, then reactivated his sabers as the others dropped into the tunnel.
"I'm surprised you think you can win, boy."
"You haven't done your homework. I think I'm a bit more than you can chew on."
Galcian laughed, "Big words, little man. Let's see you back them up then."
Neither of them realized that Vyse, Aika, and Dyne were peeking up over the edge of the tunnel, watching them closely.
Galcian seemed to blur as he moved forward in a lunge, attempting to run Sora through. Surprise on his face, he barely leapt up and over the edge of the blade. Spinning around, he brought his off-hand saber around to his enemy's head, followed closely by the other. Galcian ducked and rolled away, bringing his own sword up in a guard. "You're very gifted... and those weapons of yours are very unique. I'd like a chance to study them. I'll let you go if you leave one behind." Sora shook his head, "Not a chance. I don't feel like giving ideas to that crazy little mad scientist of yours." Galcian swung again, much faster this time. Bringing up his sabers, Sora was even more surprised when they didn't cut through. Feeling himself getting pushed back, he brought his magic up in an attempt to boost his own strength. But despite the boost, or perhaps because of it, the rock below him cracked and broke as his legs became piledrivers plowing through the ground. All the while, Galcian pushed harder, driving him deeper into the rock. Yet, Sora never faltered, surprising the older man with his strength. 'Not this time, old geezer...' Bringing his magic up to full power, the changes went through his body once more. Violet bolts crackled in the air as his eyes turned red and began to glow. His hair darkened to a blood red and the change in strength was readily apparent. "You lose, old man. Never mess with a Hylian."
With previous unheard of strength, he threw Galcian back and followed up with a bolt of fiery magic. Caught by surprise, the older fighter was hit in the chest and thrown back once more. Galcian charged once again and swung, only to see that the Sora he thought he sliced through was only an image. "I'm behind you... human." Turning around, he only saw a blur and heard echoing laughter. Galcian, bringing his own power to bear, was still only partially able to track him. But, that was enough. Sora was stopped in his tracks as Galcian again brought his blade down. In a violent crash of energy, their blades collided as both fighters blurred back into view. Crash after crash, strike after strike, they continued to attack, defend and parry blows at amazing speeds. Finally though, Sora saw a chance to retreat. "Bye, Old Man. It's been fun." Leaping away, he dove straight into the tunnels and disappeared. Galcian dropped to his knees, winded. "That... was a lot harder than I thought..."
I think I need a vacation...Seriously. No, don't laugh. This shit is gonna kill me someday. I'm gonna underestimate a target and die. That guy, Galcian, is definitely something else. He's gotta be what...50 something. And he was keeping up with me at full power. The good news is that the physical changes have stopped happening and staying...well, any new ones that is. The bad new is that I think I finally understand the magic mumbo-jumbo my aunt was always cramming our heads with about magical limits and walls. She says the body produces an infinite amount of magic. But, our genetics put limits and walls into place to keep us from hurting ourselves. My genetics, from what I had been told, were unique. As I understood it, I have the walls...but no upper limit. That means if I have enough of a desire or need, I may be able to break down a wall and access more magic. I'm just unsure of what that will do to me. I felt that wall today. If I have to face Galcian again... I need that wall to break. Because next time...he'll be ready for me.
Sora hit the ground hard, as shown by the small, spidering cracks around his impact point. Vyse, Aika, and Dyne finished climbing down and checked on him. "Idiot kid, what the hell was he thinking, taking on Galcian by himself! That is something I would expect from you, Vyse. Not a trained military officer."
"In his defense, he did fight him to a stale-mate. Looks like his only injuries are from the landing...which is actually normal for him now that I think about it."
"That's not the point, Vyse. He should have..."
"Done exactly what I did." Everyone looked over to see Sora standing up, albeit very slowly. Then, brushing himself off, he continued. "If I hadn't fought him, he'd have followed us. he'd pick us off one by one until we were all dead. Dyne, you're a great captain that is loved and respected by your crew. Hell, I respect you. But I have a very unique ability to gauge the capabilities of people around me.
"I am potentially stronger than he is. However, he is older and more experienced. That evens us out. I have the ability to wipe out everyone within a thousand kilometers of here. There are spells made to do just that. I needed to gauge my opponent better, so that's what I did. I don't regret it. Right now though... we need to get the hell out of here before that same old fart gets a second wind."
Vyse, however, stopped them. "Where's Fina?" Dyne looked proud. "She's our friend and Rogues don't leave friends behind." "Good answer, son. I heard something abiout a train. Goes from the arena to Upper City and the Grand Fortress. If what I got from Marco is correct, that way," Dyne pointed down another path,"will take you there fast enough to catch them in Upper City." Looking in the direction Dyne pointed, Vyse nodded. "C'mon Aika. We're not leaving her behind." "I'll head back to the Little Jack, guys. We may need the valkyrie to help us make an...explosive getaway." As Vyse and Aika took off down another tunnel, Dyne and the rest moved on back toward Lower City. The trip back didn't take nearly as long as the trip there and, after explaining the situation to Drachma, the Little Jack was airborne.
"So... How do you plan to take off, boy? She's not exactly made of metal."
"No worries, Cap'n. I got it covered. Just worry about Vyse, Aika, and Fina." Drachma nodded and turned to converse with Dyne as Sora made his way below deck to the launch deck.
The Little Jack looked pretty much the same as it always did with one exception. A massive harpoon was mounted to the bow of the tiny vessel. As it moved through the Valuan skies, it ceered off towards Upper City. Off in the background, a small rose-colored Valuan cruiser shadowed them. After a short while, Dyne's lookout spotted Vyse and the rest through a train window, trapped by Valuan troops. Drachma flipped a green light switch, lighting up the green light in the emergency bay. The small door opened, and the valkyrie dropped into free-fall.
"It isn't supposed to fall...is it?"
"Flew last time I saw it."
Suddenly, deafening double-crack split the air as it rocketed straight up into the clouds before diving at the train. "Well...better get ready to pick them up." As quickly as Sora dove, he pulled up in gerwalk and took aim. Firing, he took everyone by surprise as he used the gunpod to saw the train car in half. As the half with the Valuan fell back and slowed down, the Little Jack dropped a ladder and picked up the three teens. Then, it and the valkyrie made a break for the fortress gate. Pulling alongside, Sora popped his canopy.
"Gate's closed and I'm showing multiple contacts closing in on us. Keep the ship moving, fire back if you need to. I'm gonna try and punch a hole or figure out another idea."
As the canopy closed, a high pitched double whine came from the engines as their power output skyrocketed. Then, in a burst of flame, he shot forward towards the fortress. Seeing the rows of cannons on his side zeroing in on him, he rolled to the side as several rounds flew through where he had been. Strafing several cannons, he pulled back and lined up the AGNI. The following explosion rocked the fortress but didn't punch through. The Valuans in the fortress however, didn't care about that. They were wondering what hit them. 'Crap...not working.'
"Little Jack, this is Hyrin. Plan A isn't working. Brace yourselves, I've got a Plan B but your not gonna like it."
"Whats your plan, boy?"
"I drag the Little Jack into Upper Sky and over the wall."
"You're right. I don't like it. But it doesn't look like we have another choice. They look like they mean business."
"Brace yourselves." Switching to battroid mode, he dug into the lower hull and locked into it.
Several additional vents opened up in the mechs legs, allowing more air to be forced into the engine. And with that, the engines roared, pushing the ship up faster and faster. Lightning flashed around them as they climbed through the clouds. Finally, when the Rogues thought it wouldn't stop, the clouds broke revealing blue sky and no wall. Setting course, he towed the Little Jack back to Pirate Isle.
I will admit that was not my first idea. Towing the Little Jack through Upper Sky put a massive strain on my engines. Though the people of Pirate Isle were very happy to see us again, Drachma was anxious to leave. We stayed long enough to repair any damage to the Little Jack, eat a meal at Vyse's house, then took off for Nasr. Fina finally told us why she was here. She is one of the last survivors of the ancient Silver Civilization. She was sent to recover a series of special Moon Crystals before the Valuans could find them. From what I understand, they can call forth some sort of massive beast that is pretty much immortal. I think there is something moore to it. Fina may not know of it, but its just a feeling that the crystals do a lot more than that. And...if I'm right, we are all neck deep in keese shit.
From the journals of Sora Hyrin