Quest 1.3

To End the Rapture

Three Jabberwocks crumbled in defeat by the weight of Rezxy's mighty Schivarliere Slayer. Four more Jabberwocks vaulted towards the heavy-armoured warrior.

"Slaughter!" in a blink of an eye Rezxy delivered four quick consecutive slashes with his great sword, splitting the four Jabberwocks' bodies into clean pieces. "Ultimate Dash!" Rezxy made a forceful forward charge and swept away five Jabberwocks in front of him.

"Dancing Revolvers!" a few afterimages of Vexen were formed as he unleashed a frenzy of graceful shots at the swarm of Jabberwocks in front of him while moving sideways at a very fast speed. Ten Jabberwocks were killed in the onslaught. A dozen of Evil Priests took the chance to attack Vexen from above.

"Circle Penetration!" Vexen fired a series of rapid shots in succession to the Evil Priests encircling him, killing the wraiths before they even had the chance to attack him. Surprisingly, instead of falling to the ground, the Evil Priests burst into purple flames in mid-air when killed.

"They're just sprits!" shouted Athena, while firing continuous of precise shots at the airborne Evil Priests. Bullet by bullet belched out from her Aquarius Tempest, and not a single one missed its target.

"You don't have to tell me that!" replied Celeste, while shooting down a bunch of Evil Priests with her Revolver of Justice. While she was busy with the flying enemies, seven Jabberwocks made a charge towards her.

"Assassinate!" with her lightning-fast speed, Celeste had confused the Jabberwocks. After delivering countless of swift pierces with her Acuben's Will, she finished off with a single critical slash that brought down all of the seven Jabberwocks instantly.

"Too easy." Celeste spat at one of the Jabberwock, not realizing that a line of three Evil Priests were closing in on her.

"Penetration Shot!" Athena took aim and released a single bullet from her rifle, immediately taking down the line of airborne Evil Priests that were going to attack Celeste. Celeste was taken aback when the bullet flew past her head earlier and she was later relieved when knowing that her friend has just saved her life.

"Pheww. Thanks, Athena."

"Guess now you owe me one, right?" Athena said while smiling. Then suddenly Celeste dashed towards Athena, her sabre was ready to swing.

"Drive Spear!" Celeste drove herself pass a dozen of Jabberwocks, which were about to strike Athena on her blind spot, while cutting them all down with her sabre. She then spun around her heel and attacks the dozen of Evil Priests, which were floating above Athena's head with her pistol.

"And that makes us even then." said Celeste with a playful grin.

"You sneak…" Athena sneered, smiling with irritation that her glory saving Celeste had just melted away.

Fye was now standing at the edge of the stone bridge, surrounded by twenty three numbers of Jabberwocks that were pacing slowly towards him.

"Now now, boys. No need to act all hasty and push me down. Maybe we should talk about this peacefully." Fye stammered nervously while pointing his Control of Ophiucus around at the group of Jabberwocks.

Obviously, the Jabberwocks didn't understand what Fye had said to them, though it did aroused the creatures to sprint towards him. Together, the Jabberwocks shoved Fye off the bridge, sending him into the fiery pit below along with a few of the Jabberwocks which had accidentally slipped from the edge of the bridge in their attempt to push the young man down.

The remaining Jabberwocks scanned below the bridge for their victim, but Fye was nowhere to be seen. Probably he was already swallowed down by the pot of lava.

"Hey duckheads!" a voice came from above the Jabberwocks. They lifted their heads up, only to see that Fye was harmlessly floating himself in mid-air by a disc of energy under his feet. Not a single scratch was laid on him or his white Clara Mago coat.

"Did you guys miss me?" Fye queried in a taunting manner. The monsters only provided angry snarls in respond. "I'm going to take that as a yes." he smiled mischievously.

Just when Fye was safe from the Jabberwocks, a group of Evil Priests launched dozens of balls of lightning towards the airborne wizard.

"Hey, that's not fair! Protection Field!"

Before the lightning balls could hit him, Fye conjured a wide sphere of magical energy to encase himself with. The spherical barrier then absorbed all of the Evil Priests attacks with ease without even faltering under the rain of lightning blows. The barrier then disappeared once the onslaught of lightning balls had ceased completely.

"Elemental Magic? Huh, boring." Fye slurred. His entire body began to emit a radiant glow. "Let's see how you like my magic trick."

"Photon Splash!" Fye released a series of psychokinetic spheres from his body which blasted out all of the Evil Priests and Jabberwocks that were within his range.

"These pesky ghosts are seriously getting on my nerves." Fye said while turning his at the half-a-hundreds of Evil Priests were flying around the Altar of Despair. "I can't attack all of them at once, but I perhaps I could hold them down for a short while."

Fye's Control of Ophiucus produced a yellowish glow; he then swung the rod in a horizontal motion.

"Web!"

All of the Evil Priests in the Altar of Despair suddenly froze themselves in mid-air, as they were being held down by the powerful force of Fye's magic.

"Vexen, Athena, Celeste! Now's your chance to take them out! Hurry!" Fye bellowed with a voice full of strain.

"It's time to send these spirits back to their grave." Vexen said while taking aim at the static Evil Priests alongside Celeste and Athena.

"Yeah!" both of the women nodded.

The three of them fired their guns in resonance, filling the bridge with the staccato noise of gunshots. Bullets scattered throughout the air and all of the Evil Priests were all massacred in a deadly rain of lead.

After the Evil Priests were all defeated, Fye descended back onto the Altar of Despair. He was then gasping heavily, not for oxygen but for energy. The Web magic he casted had consumed nearly all of his magical energy.

Vexen, Athena and Celeste rushed quickly to his side.

"Are you okay, Fye?" asked Athena with concern.

"I'll be fine. I just need to gather back my energy, that's all." Fye answered while chuckling. "Those spooks are nothing comparing to the Great Magic Master, Fye Vynette." he boasted in addition.

"Well then, O'Great Magic Master. You better gather up your strength back quick..." Vexen said as he turned to face the horde of Jabberwocks that were heading for them. "…Because this battle is not done yet."

The four of them then resumed their assault on the large numbers of monsters.

"Come on, you insects! Make it a challenge for me!" Rezxy shouted while slicing and dicing through the lines of Jabberwocks around him

Out of the blue, an echo of loud snarls came from the end of the bridge. A dozen of new type monsters had just entered the Altar of Despair via the entrance to the Morghus. These new enemies were also covered in dull armours made of entirely metal. But unlike the Jabberwocks, their armours were thicker and duller. Also, these creatures had their entire body covered by their armours without exposing a single inch of their skin. They were slightly taller than the Jabberwocks, and had grotesque two armoured heads that seemed to look as if a single that was split into two. All of the monsters were armed with a blunt short sword and a large octagon shield in their hands.

Leading the pack of these twin-headed monsters was a larger variation of their species. This one stood two times higher than an average human being, and instead of carrying a sword, it wielded a menacing double-edged tomahawk, its blade was nearly as large as a person's body.

"A Dragon Head, and his puny Twin Head underlings… At last, a worthy opponent." Rezxy beamed. He fought passed the Jabberwock mobs as he made his way towards the large Dragon Head and its minions.

The Twin Heads then formed a defensive perimeter in front of their leader to barricade Rezxy's path.

"Carnage!" swinging his Schivarliere Slayer downwards to the ground, Rezxy had sent forth a strong vertical sword wave towards the Dragon Heads. The wave had created a rush of rubbles as it dragged against the stone floor of the bridge. All of the Twin Heads and Jabberwocks that were caught in the wave were minced into pieces mercilessly, a few that survived were thrown off the bridge by the powerful shockwave.

As the sword wave reached its target, the Dragon Head protected itself using its large octagon shield. The wave rammed hard against its shield, the Dragon Head was pushed back a metre backwards before the sword wave had disappeared completely.

"You're too slow, old Dragon Head!" Rezxy shouted while sprinting towards the Dragon Head with his great sword in one hand. As the man was within its reach, the Dragon Head swung its axe at Rezxy's legs. Rezxy jumped high into the air, the steel blade of the tomahawk whistled beneath his feet.

"Try blocking this! Volition!" while still airborne, Rezxy plunged his Schivarliere Slayer down against the Dragon Head's shield. This time, the attack was too strong for the shield to withstand. The shield broke into pieces by the impact of the Schivarliere Slayer. The massive blade then buried itself between the Dragon's Head's two heads.

Rezxy forced the blade down with his might. The Dragon Head was chopped in half from top to bottom. Blood sprayed across the floor as the creature came tumbling down in two separate pieces.

"Rezxy is sure cleaning up the floor out there." Fye commented after witnessing the Thunderspring Squad captain's victory over the large Dragon Head. At the same time, Fye was throwing a few psychokinetic spheres at the Jabberwocks near him.

"Well, that's what makes him our captain." Athena added while she was busy taking down the Jabberwocks with her Aquarius Tempest. "In fact, I never anyone whose as strong as him when I was in Vespanola."

"Indeed he is the strongest Pioneer of his generation." Vexen said, while firing his Serpent Revolvers beside Athena.

"Not to mention…"Celeste paused for a moment as she struck down a Jabberwock with her Acuben's Will. "…that he was the disciple of the legendary Queen of Pioneers. He's the person who could bring down even the largest of beasts;"

"The King of Predators, Rezxy Lycis."

"So who's next, huh?" Rezxy yelled, swinging his great sword at the remaining Jabberwocks that stood against him. His strength was indeed remarkably powerful that the blades of the Jabberwocks' curved sword snapped apart upon colliding with his Schivarliere Slayer.

The battle was quite close to its conclusion. With around forty or so of Jabberwocks left, Rezxy and his Thunderspring Squad gathered together once more as they made their last attempt to defeat the monsters for good.

But before the Thunderspring Squad could proceed with their last assault, the Jabberwocks backed away from them. The monsters snarled furiously altogether and retreated slowly into the Morghus doors.

The Altar of Despair was now a graveyard of monsters, blood and corpses of the Jabberwocks scattered throughout the area.

"What a bunch of cowards." Celeste said while sticking her tongue out at the retreating Jabberwocks.

"I'm glad that's over with." Fye breathed out in relief.

"No." Rezxy cut out. "They'll be back; with even larger numbers I'm afraid. We have to hurry. We need to find this artefact soon and get out of here."

"Easier said than done, we don't even know where this basement is anyway." Athena said.

"That is why we should split up and search for it." Rezxy stated. "Fye. You and Vex will go up to the Gehenna Bridge. I'm sure you'll be able to levitate an extra person without a problem right?"

"I guess so. It's just a couple of floors up." Fye replied as he craned his head up to get a better look at the long bridge above the Altar of Despair. "At least it's not as bad as the Torture Chamber." he added nervously.

"Athena, Celeste and I will go to the Torture Chamber from here. If you find the artefact, retrieve it and leave this place immediately. Whatever happens, all of us must be outside before dawn. And one more thing, please stay alive. I can't afford to lose any one of you guys just for some old artefact. You hear me?"

"Clear as crystal, Rezxy." Fye said while saluting to the captain.

"And be careful. From what we've encountered just now, this prison might be crawling with monsters all over." Rezxy reminded them.

"You watch yourself too, Rex." Vexen smirked. He then went to stand beside Fye. "Let's go, Magic Master Fye."

Fye chuckled in exaggeration. "Better not get airsick while we're up." a transparent disc formed itself underneath both of their feet. They were then lifted up from the ground. "Next stop, Gehenna Bridge." Fye pointed the tip of his Control of Ophiucus up into the sky. The two of the started to levitate towards the Gehenna Bridge at an average speed.

"Let's go." Rezxy signalled to Athena and Celeste.

The three of them spun around on their heels and walked towards the entrance to the Torture Chamber. Without realizing it, they were being watched from the distance by a mysterious figure in black.

"Looks like the Doctor have some visitors. This is going to be interesting." the stranger chuckled fiendishly.

x*x*x

Vexen and Fye had landed safely on the Gehenna Bridge. Fortunately for them, not a single monster was seen anywhere around the long and wide bridge.

"That's odd. Where're all the monsters?" Fye questioned curiously.

"I was thinking of the same thing. This place is totally abandoned. But why exactly?" Vexen said as his eyes patrolled the area for anything suspicious.

"Well I'm glad that it is." Fye beamed. "So Vexen, where should we go now?"

Vexen remained oblivious to Fye's question, his eyes continued to scan the Gehenna Bridge.

"It's quiet here. Too quiet…" Vexen muttered.

All of a sudden, Vexen leaped for Fye and pushed both of them away. They staggered together to the floor just a couple of split seconds before the ground behind them exploded, sending rubbles all over the place.

"What's that? An explosion?" Fye exclaimed.

"No…It's worse." Vexen cursed under his breath.

Vexen and Fye widened their eyes in surprise when a towering giant suddenly materialized itself in front of them. With bright purple coloured body that stood two stories tall, the giant had a frightening face which had a broad mouth with no visible eyes. Packed with a pair of boulder-sized fists covered in metal gauntlets, the monster was the one responsible for blowing the ground where the two mercenaries had stood earlier.

"What is that thing?" Fye yelped.

"No idea, I've never seen anything like it before." Vexen replied in a whispering tone.

"Intruders…All intruders must die!" roared the giant, throwing down one of its boulder fists down towards them.

Vexen and Fye rolled sideways in separate directions. The giant's fist smashed against the floor in a thundering explosion as it missed its target. The blow had formed a crater into the concrete floor of the Gehenna Bridge.

"It just talked!" Fye exclaimed in disbelief.

"All intruders who interfere with Dr. Fran's work shall perish! Gerrero must exterminate all intruders of Dr. Fran!" the giant bellowed.

Fye didn't have the chance to recover onto his feet when the giant Gerrero once again hauled it enormous fist at him.

"Protection Field!" Fye casted a dome of energy around himself. The Gerrero's fist immediately bounced off upon contact with the dome's surface. Even so, Fye's barrier had vibrated heavily under the attack. Another attack like that would surely cause his Protection Field to collapse.

"I'll kill you, puny intruder!" the Gerrero roared with anger. It sent another punch against the barrier, but failed to hit it when a couple of bullets came raining down on its side, causing the giant to flinch aside.

"Fye, get out of here now! Leave him to me, you go and look for the artefact!" Vexen shouted, as he continued to shoot the Gerrero in order to draw its attention.

"But Vexen, you can't fight this thing all by yourself!" Fye stammered in hesitation.

"I'll be okay. Just go, now!" Vexen barked.

The Gerrero now drew its attention towards Vexen after receiving dozens of shots on its body. "Perish, intruder!" the behemoth hurled out its massive fist forward. Vexen evaded with a fast sideway dash, and countered with a series of shots directly onto the Gerrero's face.

Turning himself away, Fye sprinted for the hanging bridge that lead to the small entrance above the Gehenna Bridge. He could still hear the Gerrero's fist smashing the floor and Vexen's pistol firing rapidly behind him. He could only hope that Vexen would stand a chance against the giant all by himself.

"I'll do my best, Vexen. I won't fail you, I won't fail all of you!" he shouted courageously as he made his way across the hanging bridge towards the small entrance.

x*x*x

"First the Jabberwocks, and now this!?" Celeste furiously cursed as she was hacking and shooting at the group of black-armoured humanoid figures in front of her.

When Rezxy, Athena and Celeste first arrived at the Torture Chamber of Prison de Joaquin, they were ambushed at its corridor by a troop of black armoured soldiers which Rezxy had identified as the Eigleschvarlier; lifeless beings which existed only as hollow black armours without any form underneath their shells. They were also the origin of his Schivarlier Slayer, as the blade of the great sword was said to be made out of the Eigleschvarliers' spirit.

"This is really slowing us down." Athena said while firing her rifle at a few Einschivarlieres that were trying to shoot her with their own guns.

"Athena, watch out behind you!" cried Celeste in alarm.

A single Eigleschvarlier was about to thrust it's sword into Athena's spine from her back. Out of Celeste's warning, Athena managed to spin around and avoided contact with the blade. She then slammed the monster's head with the butt of her Aquarius Tempest, and released a shot to the Eigleschvarlier's head right after it staggered to the floor.

"Thanks, Celeste."

"Guess it's you who owes me now." Celeste grinned.

"This things… It's as if they wouldn't want us to advance any further." Rezxy grunted, striking down three Einschivarlieres in a single horizontal sweep.

The Eigleschvarliers may be stronger than the Jabberwocks, but they were still no match for the combined power of the three Thunderspring Squad members. After a couple of minutes, Rezxy, Athena and Celeste finally cleaned off the mobs that had tried to ambush them.

"Could it be that they were guarding the basement?" Celeste wondered.

"If that's the case, then there's got to be a mastermind that is manipulating their strings." Athena said.

"Guess this artefact is really no ordinary artefact." Rezxy admitted. "So this is why you had us doing this work. Isn't that right, Zero." he muttered in his thoughts.

Just when the Eigleschvarliers weren't enough already, a new enemy entered the corridor. Clad in heavy metal armour and armed with two long great swords, a knight riding on a heavily armoured horse galloped passed the three mercenaries. One of its great swords clashed with Rezxy's as it tried to behead him while passing by him.

The knight stopped a few metres in front of them. The horse spun around and the knight now locked eyes with Rezxy and his comrades. The three of them then noticed something shocking regarding their new opponent. Despite looking rather human-like in appearance, the knight's had no legs underneath his body. Its upper body seemed to have fused together with his horse. The two were actually the same entity.

"I am the Fallen Champion, guardian of Prison de Joaquin. Identify yourself, intruder." The knight seethed while pointing one of its great swords towards Rezxy.

Rezxy was about to open his mouth and replied, until Celeste came to stand in his way.

"Vier of the Thunderspring Squad, Celeste Midnightmoon." Celeste introduced herself with a delightful smile. "And you must be my knight in shining armour for today."

"Celeste, what are you doing?" Rezxy queried.

Celeste sheathed her Revolver of Justice and waved her hand dismissively. "Leave this one to me, cap. You need to save your strength for the rest of the journey." she then pointed accusingly at Athena. "And don't get any ideas of shooting him on the head. This Prince Charming is mine."

"Foolish insects! You shall all perish under my swords!" roared the Fallen Champion, while striding in a direct line towards Celest at an incredible speed.

"You're fast, but for how long?" Celeste smiled faintly, as the colour of her right eye changed into light purple.

The Fallen Champion swung its right great sword for Celeste's waist. The woman only stood calmly still as her mouth chanted softly under her breath.

"Moonlight Memories."

x*x*x

"The Dragon Head has fallen." mumbled Dr. Fran Mothein, a tall and muscular gentleman in his late fifties, with a head that was bald in the middle due to ageing and a pale grey skin that appeared to be rotten to the flesh.

"The Fallen Champion and the Gerrero have encountered the intruders… I never thought that this day would come… The Viscount will not be pleased at this." The old Dr Fran continued mumbling to himself as he walked down the stairways of the vast chamber of the Corridor of Assize.

"It's time for you to rise, my precious Chrysalis." croaked Dr Fran in a rasping voice, as he was now standing before a giant cocoon of where one of his most strongest creation now slumbered. Behind him stood hundreds of pale humanoid creatures; their yellow eyes staring eagerly at the doctor and his towering cocoon.

"Rise, my creations! Destroy those intruders!"