“We need to travel 2000 years into the past!?” Lily asked in shock at his plan.
“Yeah let’s just fire up a time machine and back to the future our way there.” Gareth said sarcastically; even he thought it was a crazy plan.
“Time machine?” Wendy asked.
“Back to the future?” Sarah said oblivious to his reference and understandably so.
“Gareth nobody knows what you’re talking about.” Alice said giving him a condescending look for referencing something from earth so openly at which he just shrugged.
“I hear sages be wise an worldly. Ye should know we can go back in time.” Brokkr said
“You believe him?” Gareth asked.
“No, it’s just his accent.” Lily pointed out, “When he said ‘can’ he meant ‘can’t.’ ”
“So Sage why did you suggest time travel?” I asked.
“Because it is possible.” He said with a serious look on his face, “I have lived multiple iterations of this life over and over again and each time it seems to stop a few weeks after we encountered the WOLs the universe doesn’t change.” He then raised his staff to the sky and a large screen appeared above him; it showed Kent, Hana, Pent and Sena all meeting with the sages with a confused look on their faces…as I looked I felt my heart sting and a tear fall down my face. We failed to save them and it still hurt to think that they were gone, “This is a universe where the world was peaceful and untouched by the fiends…and yet these four were decked in armor and equipment that had never been made and only made in another universe. They had changed the past of their world and created a new future for themselves; so they were able to get to the past and do something, we just have to figure out what.” It was mostly sound, I could find a few flaws with his explanation but at this point I was willing to believe anything that could save our friends.
“Soren!” Lily said with a look of realization on her face as she tapped on my shoulder; I turned to her and she opened up her map showing me the four points she had marked earlier, she then pointed to where the points met, “I-Isn’t this the Chaos Shrine?” She was right, the points all met at the Chaos Shrine where we faced Garland and more importantly Owen and Damien…or Shifty I suppose; that reminds me…maybe later.
“The Chaos Shrine. Connects the present to the past.” We turned to where the voice was coming from to see the minstrel group sitting at the edge of the ship; how did they get on without anyone noticing?
“Danny, Jon, Jessie?” I said surprised, Jessie giggled and Jon gave a nod, “How did you get on the ship? We took off a few hours ago.”
“A matter we’ll be sure to talk about at a later time but now I believe we were discussing the Chaos Shrine.” Danny said brushing off the conversation.
“Did you say it connects the present to the past?” Alice asked confused by his statement.
“There w-was nothing like that in the books on it.” Lily said flipping through her notes franticly looking for any mention of the connection of the present to the past.
“You wouldn’t find it in any book…after all the Chaos Shrine is an anomaly in this world.”
“An anomaly?” Gareth asked.
“Yes.” Jon said in a monotone voice, “The ruins were discovered 1500 years ago but they could find no record of it.”
“So it doesn’t belong in this time?” Sarah asked and Jessie waved her finger.
“Well I suppose it could but it mysteriously vanished 2000 years ago. The kicker here is that it disappeared off the world…and out of everyone’s memory.”
“What!?” The sage said giving a gasp that surprised all of us as well; we thought he knew everything.
“Yep, it was almost like it was erased from the world…or taken out of the universe.” …
“What do you mean?” I asked slightly worried by what he was saying.
“If you were to remove something from the universe then wouldn’t it be the same as that thing never existing in the first place.” …
“So…what if you add something to the universe?” Lily asked.
“Well if were talking theoretically then I suppose the universe wouldn’t be affected by their addition or removal their after…it would be just like meeting a…traveler.” ! I felt myself back up in surprise as Gareth, Lily and Alice did the same, “Isn’t that right?” Something obviously different about these three and this confirmed it for me…were they also travelers…or something more?
“…Ay is everyone okay?” Brokkr asked.
“Maybe a little disrupted but I’m sure it’ll be okay. They’ve made it this far after all.” With that the tension in the air dissipated again as the three min- no the three…somethings went back to their usual attitude, “Now I have a question for you eight. The Chaos Shrine disappeared 2000 years ago and reappeared as ruins five hundred years later. It disappeared from the universe for five hundred years taking with it the four fiends. The Chaos shrine has only one piece in tact after it came back…what was it?” The most put together piece of the whole thing…
“The orb?” I asked.
“Precisely Soren, that orb is an artifact that’s one of a kind. Only one exists in this world and it disappeared 2000 years ago…so how is it back now?”
“It came back when the shrine came back.” Alice answered.
“That’s right!” Jessie said, “And do you guys know of a spell that can link items?”
“W-We used it on our weapons.” Lily said.
“Well did you know that spell works across time?”
“As long as two items have the same spell cast on them then they stay connected.” Jon said; is that how they connect the past to the present…no…they couldn’t.
“But it’s the same item, even if it’s the same item it doesn’t work that way. If that were the case we could talk to our past selves.” I pointed out.
“True but what if it’s the same item…from a different dimension.” What!?
“So the orb that’s there right now is from a different dimension?” Alice asked surprised at the news.
“It’s the only way, how else would you connect the same object without splitting it in half?”
“W-Wait!” Lily said in a hurry catching everyone by surprise, “I w-was there earlier…before you guys and the orb wasn’t there when we met up with Garland.” So it only showed up after Lily which means someone brought it there.
“So did Owen bring it?” Gareth asked revealing the fact we needed.
“So Owen has been in league with Garland for 2000 years!?” Alice said shocked at the length; no, it can’t be! He couldn’t have been alive for two thousand years; it’s impossible!
“He sure doesn’t look two thousand that’s for sure.” Gareth said crossing his arms.
“B-But if time is flexible when y-you jump from dimension t-to dimension t-then he could have moved to the past by using another dimension as m-middle ground.” Lily pointed out; without any knowledge of how dimensions work I have no way of proving if that’s wrong or not…knowing her it probably is.
“Is that why the fiends are back?” I asked.
“I’m guessing your enemy in the cloak added a link between the fiends and the crystals making it so they come back as long as the crystals exist. It makes it impossible to get rid of them from this time.” So we have to travel into the past to stop them from linking with the crystals so they can’t regenerate in the future and slowly destroy the world; but we can’t just travel 2000 years into the past…even through a linked item.
“So how are we going to get into the past? A link spell only gives items connection.” Sarah asked.
“It is possible to teleport between two linked objects but it takes a lot of magic to open a connection.” Wendy pointed out, “Fairies used it to link us back to the pond before they started drying up. It took ten fairies to open up a portal.”
“So it’s possible but not easy.” I said out loud thinking.
“What if you had a channel to enhance the strength of your magic?” Alice asked, “Remember the rod in Hyrule Soren?” That’s right! Even my miniscule magical ability came out powerful when I used the rod…but any rod or staff we have won’t be strong enough…if we have any; we’ve been using the same weapons we got from Brokkr ever since he made them for us. The only people who used rods were Hana and Sena…damn it stop it Soren!
“What could we use though?” I asked.
“Wait!” Sarah said getting our attention, “Do you still have the lute I gave you?” Gareth pulled it out showing it to her, “This lute has been passed down for 2000 years…maybe it can be used as a channeling item for magic.” I’ve never heard of a loot or music being used to channel magic…wait…damn it Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rock.
“That could work.”
“Really Soren?” Gareth asked surprised, “I’ve never heard of that working before.”
“Trust me, it’s happened before.” I said feeling embarrassed.
“Then let’s get moving.” Danny said confidently.
“But I can’t play it!” Sarah said hastily, “I may have held on to it but I never learned how to play it.”
“Don’t worry.” Jessie said with a wink, “We’ve got it covered!” With an idea of where to go Lily and I began charting our way to the Chaos Shrine and into the past…not a line I thought I’d ever say.
“Um…we might have a problem.” Lily said with a worried look as we moved over the Chaos Shrine; looking over the edge I was shocked to see a sea of monsters covering the entire area around the shrine, looking closer I could see the four fiends as humans at the entrance. We were being blocked from the entrance; they expected us to show up and were ready to stop us from going to the past; we couldn’t fight our way in, even with twelve people it wouldn’t be possible with how many monsters are down there…maybe we could…! Suddenly the ship lurched making everyone fall to the side and Gareth to stain the ship with vomit; getting back up I looked over the side to see bird like creature crashing themselves into the hull of the wooden ship putting holes into it.
“We’re slowly descending!” Alice said in a worried anger, “At this rate we’re going to crash!” What should we do, we’ll be drawn into a fight against monster hoards at this point.
“At least urp-…we’ll take a few of them out…ugh.” Poor Gareth…wait…that’s it!
“Gareth you’re a genius!” I said and he chuckled before vomiting again, “Wendy, into my pocket, Jon grab Gareth and then everyone move to the edge of the ship near the shrine!” Wendy soared into my coat pocket as everyone started moving to the side as we were rammed by bird after bird; I rushed back to the helm and as we fell I tilted the ship towards the shrine and it began to turn on its side.
“Soren you’re going to send us overboard!” Sarah said worried.
“Are ye trying to kill us!?” Brokkr said angrily.
“Grab onto the railing; everyone aim for the entry way and jump on my mark!” I answered as the ship moved on its side sending me into the side railing; grabbing it I shimmied over to the group, looking over I watched as we moved closer and closer to the Chaos Shrine as we descended, “Wait for it…” The ship started to touch the ground skidding across the monster hoard and dirt, “Wait for it…” Closer and closer we came and the fiends got a quizzical look on their faces, “Almost…” As the entry way came closer the fiends got a worried look on their faces; as I was able to see the color of their eyes I reeled back, “NOW!” I leapt forward diving into the door way just above the fiends as everyone followed; rolling into the shrine I heard a loud crash and looked behind to see the remains of the ship blocking the entryway; now they can’t enter for a while. I looked around to see everyone had made it in to my relief; as relief washed over me I felt someone punch me across the head.
“Are you insane!? That was one of your top crazy plans!” Alice said angrily, “Geez, every time I leave you with a plan on the fly it ends up in destruction.”
“What do you mean?” I asked rubbing the back of my head and she pointed to the entrance where our ship was currently stuck in pieces, “We don’t need it anymore, we’ve got to travel to the past and I don’t think we can bring it with us.”
“Fine…but what now?” Standing up and shrugging off the pain from the roll I walked into the center room as everyone followed behind with Wendy sitting on my shoulder; as I approached the dark orb the bats in the room flew around us in a flurry. Touching the orb I felt it pulsate with a dark energy and as I held on that dark energy flowed up my arm causing a small electrical jolt to course through my body at once. This was definitely what we were looking for; backing away I shook my hand hopping to end the numbing feeling from the shock; stepping forward Danny pulled out the princesses’ lute and began to strum it with a beautiful melody. As he played the lute Jessie danced while Jon played his triangle to the music; as they moved in sync a soft glow began to radiate from the orb, looks like the music was working. They continued to play but the glow didn’t intensify anymore; we didn’t have enough magic to open the portal…wait…the energy of the crystals would have the magic we need, even a fraction would work. I pulled out the bag Kent threw me before he died opening it up, it had all four orbs that had absorbed the energy of the crystals; hopefully it had the magic we needed to open the door to the past. Handing an orb to Alice, Lily and Gareth we all held them up to the sky as they gave a bright glow blinding everyone; when it died the crystals were dull and grey, they gave no shine of power any more. There was a gasp and I looked to see a giant portal opening up into a giant temporal vortex; that was our portal to the past and to the root of this evil.
“We’re ready.” Danny said with a chuckle; as we stood there a loud explosion was heard behind us, as I turned I ducked as a board of wood flew over my head disappearing into the portal; looks like the block was short lived.
“Sorry but we won’t let you end our fun.” The Lich said walking forward with the other three fiends behind him; we can’t let them follow us through the portal, if they do then we have to deal with doubles of the fiends!
“Save your fun for the festival when this is all over.” Danny said walking forward and drawing two knives from his cloak, Jessie pulled out a Scimitar and Jon drew a great sword, “You eight head into the portal, we’ll hold these fiends off for you.”
“We can’t leave you!” I said confidently drawing my twin longswords; I wasn’t going to let my friends sacrifice themselves for me again!
“Soren, you have to go. I know you want to keep others from sacrificing themselves but you and your friends need to stop this cycle. Besides, I don’t plan on dying here!” That confident voice…was that-
“Soren, trust them, we have to go before the portal closes.” Alice said pointing to the portal as it grew and shrank trying to contain itself.
“…Fine! Don’t die Danny.” He gave a nod as we entered the portal into the past.
…Ow…hng…where…where am I…why does my stomach feeling like crap…standing up I looked around with hazy vision, taking a deep breath I focused until my vision returned to normal; time travel does hell to the body. I took a look around and was glad to see everyone was also here; the area around was ordained and polished, it was weird to think this was the Chaos Shrine that was decrepit and old…but this was the Shrine from two thousand years earlier, it felt more like a castle than a shrine though and the atmosphere was so divided, one minute I felt tense and the next I felt calm then hot and cold, it definitely felt chaotic.
“Owww…geez.” Gareth said standing up, “We made it? Good…it felt weird going through that portal.”
“Oooh…is it over?” Lily got up wobbling with a sickly look on her face, “A-Are we in the past?”
“Looks like it.” Alice said rubbing her head, “Is everyone okay?” We all gave a nod and I looked over to see Sarah, Brokkr, Wendy and the Sage getting up.
“I’m too old for this.” The sage said taking deep breaths.
“Ay magic is surely powerful.” Brokkr said rubbing his back.
“You never get used to that feeling.” Wendy said floating up wobbling from side to side.
“I never thought I would travel to the past…it’s more exciting than my lessons.” Sarah said getting up slowly with an excited tone in her voice; Miss Princess must have a wild streak as well.
“All right, we’re close to the cause of all this. Is everyone ready?” I asked and they all pulled out a weapon with Sahara pulling out an elegant rapier, Brokkr pulling out the Excalibur blade, Wendy raised her hands with a magical glow and the sage held out his staff with a confident look in his eye; we were all ready!
…be safe minstrel band.
Exploring the interior of the past shrine I noticed that the exits were blocked off by large impassible pillars; seems this was the only piece of the past we would be able to see or experience.
“Alright we’re going to need to be quick.” The sage said, “We’re 2000 years in the past but we don’t know at what point.”
“And?” Gareth asked.
“It means that we don’t know when this place is going to be taken to another dimension.” Alice pointed out.
“Lily do you know if there are any signs that indicate dimension traveling?” I asked Lily.
“W-Well it’ll l-look like a tear in the world b-but other than that I don’t know.” She answered; looking around I wasn’t able to find a window to see outside, we had no way of knowing when this place was going to be in another dimension so we had to find either the main villain or Owen as quickly as possible.
“Let’s get moving, we don’t have time to waste.” As we all rushed to the stairs I found the area to be very empty; not so much in interior décor but in life, there wasn’t a person or monster to be found, it felt wrong and tense. Moving down the stairs I felt a pinching feeling in my chest suddenly and looking around everyone else had that feeling as well; something was at the end of these stairs and it wasn’t something simple.
“So he was right.” At the end of the stairs stood a dirty blond haired boy with a demented smile on his face; it was the Lich, he’s the only one who could give this feeling of death, “Four wannabes and four meddlers, I guess he was talking about you eight. This should be simple though, you can go if you want.” Before I could draw my blade Brokkr and Gareth stepped forward.
“You guys go, we’ll hold him off.” Gareth said.
“Y-You sure you can take him?” Lily asked with a worried tone at which he gave a big grin.
“It’s two against one; I think we can do it.”
“Aye owe him a nice arse kicking for what he did to our home anyway. He ain’t getting me yet.” Brokkr said with a laugh.
“…All right…be careful Gareth.” I said and he nodded back as we moved past them leaving Gareth and Brokkr to handle the fiend of earth.
Soren and the group ran by and the Lich took a turn to throw a spell at them; not on my watch, I moved up and swung knocking him into the wall.
“Oh I’m definitely not missing this.” That voice! From the shadow stood Damien with a sly smile on his face, “Long time no see brute, I see you’re stronger than when we last met but I’m guessing you’re still a fool.”
“Shut it shapeshifter!”
“Oh and still holding that angry attitude from before. I hope you put up more of a fight than last time.”
“Brokkr can you handle Lich?” I asked and he nodded as he ran towards where the Lich crashed leaving me and Damien to fight one on one; he licked his lips as he looked at me and I felt my hands tremble slightly; come one Gareth, you can do this! I stood my ground focusing my defense as he rushed forward with his twin short swords; I’ve practiced against Soren who uses dual blades but he uses longswords, Damien was going to be quicker…but I’m guessing less precise. He slashed and hacked quickly trying to catch me off guard as I quickly blocked each hit I could with a few nicks and cuts along my chest and arms; pushing him back I focused on strength and took a swing at him with everything I had, he backed up dodging my cleave but I quickly switched to speed and swung up cutting along his chest making him stumble backwards.
“That’s better! Show me all of your strength!” He said laughing manically as blood slowly bled from his chest wound; rushing at me he struck me in the face with his hit and sliced up my arm leaving a large gash along it, damn it now I can’t hold my battle axe with both hands! Switching back to strength I held my axe with one hand and swung trying to catch him as he moved around with ease, “Is that it? I take one arm and you become weak? Pitiful.” He thrusted forward and I changed to defense blocking his attack but sending me stumbling backwards; time to change tactics, I switched to speed and dropped the axe confusing him. Charging forward I swung with my good fist as he tried dodging having trouble matching my speed; I knew accuracy fell with speed increase but close range made accuracy unnecessary; as I saw an opening I swung in fast and switched to strength delivering a powerful punch to his cheek sending him tumbling to the ground.
“How…about that you shapeshifting bastard!” I said laughing as he stood up with a serious look on his face.
“Fine let’s kick it up a notch.” As he said that two more arms popped out of his back grabbing his extra blades; he tried this before against us but I wouldn’t let him get me this time! Popping a potion open I poured it onto my arm wound feeling a slight sting as it healed; picking my axe back up I switched back to speed as he rushed at me swinging wildly as I blocked each blade one by one, he sliced along my leg and arms when I blocked one blade; for every two I blocked another two got through, guess I should go on the offensive! Pushing him off I switched back to strength and swung at him as he blocked with all four blades; with all of those blades he could handle me with a strength boost…guess I should put my body into it! Swinging with all my strength his blades flew up leaving his chest open as I took a wide swing slicing directly across his chest leaving a deep wound, “(Cough) Well…didn’t(Hack) expect that to happen. It’s very powerful…this isn’t over Gareth, you may have won this round…but I will come back more powerful…and I will defeat you.”
“I won’t give you the chance!” I yelled rushing at him as he chuckled.
“Don’t forget that this body is Damien’s. You kill me and you kill him.” What? With a stop inches from him I felt a sword go through my chest, “Let your guard down.” I fell backwards and he stood over me, “So you are weak. Here I thought you would have to guts to take me out but you don’t seem to have the strength to do it.”
“I…won’t hurt…someone who is innocent!” I stammered out through the coughing fits of blood, “You control Damien like a puppet and I…won’t hurt him!”
“…That noble spirit doesn’t suit you.” He replied coldly, “You think you can protect someone already lost?”
“Soren and Alice did it…and now Lily is with us. Besides…it’s what heroes do.”
“You aren’t a hero. You’re just a boy who’s in over his head.”
“Maybe but…doesn’t mean I won’t try.” He raised his blade and pulled it up ready to stab; “Besides…I’m not alone.” As if in cue Brokkr rushed stabbing the shapeshifter in the arm knocking him off me.
“I’m getting sick of backstabs! Why won’t you die!?” Shoving an elixir down my throat I felt my body burn as the bitter medicine moved down my throat; standing up I grabbed my axe and pointed it at him.
“There’s too much at stake to just give up now.”
“Ay! An ye won’t stop us here!” Brokkr added; with a scowl on his face the shapeshifter disappeared into the shadow, “I took care of the Lich, he won’t be up again.”
“Good, let’s catch up with the others.” Putting our weapons away we ran towards the stairs.
Descending to the third floor I felt a cold chill make me shiver; this felt familiar…it must be him, coming to the end of the stairs at the end of it was a boy with blue hair and holding a whip.
“I’m not letting you get past me!” He said holding out his whip at us; we couldn’t waste any time with him now…guess it was my best chance to help! I moved in front of the group as the sage did the same.
“W-We’ll handle this guy! Y-You four k-keep going!”
“D-Don’t worry, I’ve got to do this…it’s worth it for my friends who have protected me this far.” With that they gave a nod and rushed past leaving me and the sage to take on Kraken…breath Lily...you have to do this!
“So she did stay, just like boss said.” Where was that voice coming from?
“Yes, he has never led us astray before.” Another voice, suddenly two figures walked out from behind Kraken revealing Denys and Penny the Gemini twins, “The traitor is within our grasp.”
“Then let’s grasp it brother.” It was two on three now; as I backed up scared the sage put his arm on my shoulder.
“I shall handle the Kraken, you deal with those two.”
“A-Are you sure? You’re a healer though.”
“You don’t make it to my age without learning a few moves. I know enough martial arts to handle myself.”
“O-Okay…j-just be careful.”
“Same to you Lily.” Splitting up I dashed forward and slashed down separating the twins and Kraken; pushing my blade I moved the Kraken over to the sage leaving me and the Gemini creatures.
“Seems you think you can take us yourself.” Penny said pulling her javelin out.
“Not very smart considering our last encounter.” Denys said pulling his cleaver out; I had to be careful, they excel at team work; Penny’s javelin made her quicker while Denys’s cleaver made him stronger, they balanced each other out so while one person defends against Penny’s quick attacks Denys can make a strong blow without them noticing. I took my stance and Penny dashed at me swinging her javelin around trying to hit me with both ends as I blocked with my staff like hilt; keeping an eye on Denys was hard with how quickly she kept striking which meant I would have to feel him approaching me...oh no, I’m no good at that! Taking a quick glance backwards I saw Denys approaching as Penny’s javelin struck me on the arm; moving quickly I swung my scythe down touching the end to the ground as I vaulted over them. Once my feet touched the ground I took a swing catching Penny and sending her flying against the wall; Denys reeled back for an attack but I swiftly swung my scythe around and thrusted with the staff end knocking him backwards. Looking at my arm I saw and intense red mark where I was hit; even a glance left me open to her attack, if that had been a stab it would have punctured and made it useless.
“Seems she’s better than we gave her credit for.”
“We’re going to need to change our tactic then.” With that Penny threw her javelin at me and as I dodged it I felt her slam into my back knocking me over and pinning me to the ground; using all my strength I tried to push her off but she had pinned my arms leaving me to only flail as Denys rushed forward. When he came close enough he raised his cleaver to take my head off; what do I do!?
“Why did you betray the boss, he would have given you what you wanted.”
“…But not what I needed.” I replied making her give a quizzical look, “I wanted my brother back but it wouldn’t have helped me…when I met Soren and Alice my world began to change and I went from scared and desperate to strong and with something to protect now! Maybe I’m still meek and scared but I’ll give everything I have to protect those I care about!”
“…Foolish girl…you can never protect what matters…no matter how hard you try.” I can’t reach my weapon and I have no way of defending myself…wait…it’s my best bet right now! I wriggled my right arm free and pulled the glasses off my eyes holding them in front of the cleaver as it crashed down on them stopping as it clashed with the thin metal.
“What!?” With her shocked state I took my chance and kicked her off and rolled out of the way of the cleaver; guess I was right, these glasses were Sena’s spare pair but her first pair didn’t even looked scratched from the combat she faced, they had to be magically protected and lucky for me they were…I feel like I’m going to pass out now…no! Slipping them back on and noticing a small crack in the glass I dashed back and grabbed my scythe swinging it and cutting Denys arm with a deep cut; he won’t be using that cleaver anymore, “You seem to be challenged brother.”
“It would seem so sister…shall we switch?”
“We shall.” What? Handing her javelin to Denys Penny took his cleaver wielding it just as well as Denys had; they were Gemini twins so of course they could use each other’s weapon, Denys moved forward taking Penny’s job and striking quickly as Penny built up her heavy attack. If I was going to survive any longer than I either needed to start dodging or go in the offensive; guess I could go on the offensive…maybe. With his next hit I blocked and swung my dull end of the scythe knocking him in his jaw making his onslaught stopped and I turned to see Penny jumping at me raising her cleaver and I felt time grind to a halt in that instant. My reflexes seemed to heighten in an instant…was this another ability of the reaper; as she slowly descended I reeled back and jumped at her swinging my scythe and landing back on the ground as she crashed to the floor with a large cut along her stomach and blood flowing from it.
“Did we lose sister?”
“No…we have…only been temporarily…stopped.” With that she stood up and Denys grabbed her; they rushed away into the shadows leaving me and the sage alone; looking behind me I noticed the Kraken was gone now, looks like the sage took him out.
“I’m not a sage for nothing you know.” He replied with a chuckle.
“Th-Thank you sir.” I said giving him a bow, “Y-You showed that Kraken who’s boss!”
“Well you lass I couldn’t have done it without you keeping those two off my back so thank you.”
“O-O-Oh it w-was n-nothing…r-r-really.” I replied flustered by his comment; I was never going to get used to it…but I guess I wouldn’t have to after this.
“What are you doing here?” We turned to see Gareth and Brokkr standing there with shocked looks on their faces.
“Gareth! You’re okay!” I said relieved to see him safe at which he gave me a grin.
“Told you I wouldn’t go down easily, especially with this guy backing me up.” He gave Brokkr a noogie at which Brokkr pulled out and chuckled, “We took care of the Lich and the shapeshifter and followed to catch up.”
“Shapeshifter!? Damien was here too?”
“What do you mean ‘too’?”
“The Gemini Twins were with the Kraken.”
“So he wasn’t the only fiend?” With that thought a realization came over me; Soren, Alice, Wendy and Sarah just headed down and the other two fiends are probably there!
“We have to hurry and help the others!” I said and they all nodded in agreement as we rushed for the next stairs down.
Bolting down the stairs the air began to feel hot and musky strangely enough; the area felt well insulated to keep the cold and hot at a constant temperature…which meant that another fiend was just below these stairs and the heat only meant one could be there. Reaching the end we all stopped seeing a girl with bright red hair like fire at the end of the hall; it was Marilith from the castle and fiend of fire, guess it was my turn.
“Yeah we get it.” I said stepping forward with Wendy on my shoulder, “You’re here to stop us but guess what? I’m going to keep you busy while the others get moving.” Before Soren could say anything I put a finger to his lips, “I know you’re going to try to convince me to let you help but I want you to keep moving and if you don’t I’m going to hit you so hard you forget your own name…got it?” He gave a small laugh and smiled as he and Sarah started to move.
“You know me to well Alice.” He said that as he ran passed Marilith leaving me and Wendy to deal with the fiend of fire.
“I guess that makes two of us.” That voice! Suddenly I heard the sound of metal dragging along the ground and out of the corner of the room stood Jarek holding a great sword; his hair was now shorter and groomed and he no longer wore Soren’s signature black coat. He just wore a t-shirt, jeans and fingerless gloves as he lugged the great sword over his shoulders, “Alice it’s good to see you. It seems you’ve been picking up the shattered remains of Soren.” He gave a chuckle and I gripped my katana in anger, “A pointless goal. You think if you keep picking him up you can’t lose him? Well no matter how much you pick him up he’ll keep going into the fight. Do you know why?” Of course I knew why.
“…He’s doing it to protect us.”
“That’s right. He keeps fighting and fighting and fighting…all to protect his friends…which means he’s going to throw himself in dangerous situation after situation. You can’t save him forever.”
“Geez…you’re more of an idiot than Soren.” He gave me a quizzical look as a smiled, “You’ve been with Soren for two adventures and half of this one and you forget one critical thing he has that will make sure he can always come back…us. It may sound cheesy but it’s the truth; it isn’t just us backing him up though, we’re actually going to stand by and fight with him so he’s never fighting alone! We’ll all protect each other which means in order to protect Soren, Gareth and Lily I won’t let you win!”
“…I’m getting sick of you…not only did you stop me two separate times but now you stand in my way and even after all the turmoil and strife Soren has caused, everything he’s done and every tiem he’s hurt you, you still STAND BY HIM!?”
“You hurt me…not him.” He gave a loud scream and charged at me as I gave my blade an earth attribute blocking his heavy attack; with his attack strength I skid back from the force feeling my arms sting slightly, “Wendy I know you’re a fairy but do you think you can handle Marilith?”
“She won’t know what hit her!” Wendy said flying off to face the fire fiend leaving me to take Jarek. He charged again and swung down as I slid to the side and went for a strike as he moved the hilt in his hand catching my blow on it; with a quick push I stumbled back and he swung under my legs sending me to the ground.
“I don’t understand if you wanted to break Soren why are you facing me?” As he stabbed at my face I rolled to the side and slashed sending a fire wave at him at which he jumped over it.
“Even if I were to pound him to dust you would just bring him back up. Owen noticed that nice little fact; no matter how many pieces we take off of him you keep bringing them back together; so to take out the lead thorn we have to take you out!” He pointed his blade at me and a small ball of fire formed from the tip; moving quickly I switched my blade to ice and as the fireball collided with the ice they dissipated.
“But- Soren couldn’t use magic that strong.”
“Who do you think made it that way?”
“You blocked his magic channel?”
“And made my magic all the more powerful. Think you can still take me?” I rushed at him taking swing after swing as he dodged and blocked with ease; it was like he knew each and every technique I had up my sleeve, suddenly I felt a punch to my gut and stopped my assault grabbing my stomach as he reeled back to slash. Ducking down I rolled backwards standing up at the end of it, “I’ve lived in Soren’s body for months watching every technique he and his friends had. Out of everyone in the group though he knows your techniques the most.” Damn it…we’ve been together for three adventures of course Soren knew ever singe technique I had…just like I knew his…and Jareks! Stepping forward I took my defensive stance and he charged forward going for an overhead strike; stepping to the right he took note and quickly swerved to hit my new point…just like I knew he would! Taking a second slide right at the last second the great sword crashed into the ground leaving cracks along the pavement as I swung up catching his chest and upper arm in my attack, “Hng- how the hell?”
“You may be another personality but you’ve been in Soren’s body for years which means the only technique you know is ones Soren has used. The only difference is that they’re slower and since I know every one of Soren’s moves then all I have to do is adjust my plans.”
“Even if the only difference is speed that’s still something big to get used to.”
“Try me.” Changing my blade to wind I jumped and swung down gaining some extra air; facing down I changed to ice and took a swing spraying an area of icicles over Jarek as he blocked with his blade. Suddenly there was a mist and as I fell back down a ball of fire came up hitting me in the left arm, “AH!” Falling down with a crash I slowly got up and when the mist cleared Jarek stood there with a malicious anger in his eyes.
“YOU IGNORANT GIRL!” He swung as I blocked knocking my blade out of my hand, “I’M BETTER THAN THAT FOOL, BETTER THAN ANY OF YOUR STUPID FRIENDS!” Taking another swing he sliced me across the left eye blinding that eye and sending me to the ground, “AND BETTER THAN YOU!” As I looked at him with my left eye my vision was slightly blurred as he raised his blade to thrust into my body. Suddenly a blinding blast of fire shot at Jarek consuming him and as he screamed and put up an ice wall I grabbed my katana and with what vision I had aimed for his chest as I cut across his ribcage making a spray of blood burst, “Agh! Hng…this…isn’t…over!” As he stumbled away I tried to stand back up but fell feeling my head swirl as my vision was now cut in half; with a blink he disappeared and I looked over to see who had saved me to find Wendy floating there.
“W-Wendy? H-How…how did you?” I stammered through feeling the blood loss from my eye begin to make me woozy.
“Let’s get that fixed up first.” Wendy said getting closer and then disappearing behind my left eyes vision, “Full-Life!” Suddenly I felt an intense light surround me and all of my injuries and wound disappeared; even my left eye healed revealing the fairy within its sight, “Not even a scar left, sweet!”
“…You just used a level 8 spell without any problem. How did you do that?” I asked amazed; the last time someone used a level eight spell was when Hana used Flare and…that didn’t end well.
“Fairies are magical creatures, with our magical strength we can pull off the most powerful of spells with ease.” She answered, “I even took out Marilith without a problem thanks to the Flare spell which I used on him but…he seemed to take it just fine.”
“Yeah…he’s not easy to take out.” I replied standing up; hearing footsteps behind me I turned to see the others catching up to me.
“Oh good, Alice is safe.” Gareth said sighing in relief.
“W-We were worried that you might face a-another fiend.” Lily said.
“Well we did…and Jarek.” Gareth and Lily gave a look of surprise.
“You f-faced Jarek?”
“Yeah…he’s more dangerous when he’s angry.”
“Like the hulk?” Gareth asked and I rolled my eyes.
“Let’s hurry guys; Soren went on ahead with Sarah so we should catch up with them quickly.” Sheathing my blade I led the group as we ran towards the stairs that went towards the bottom.
With Sarah following behind I moved down the stairs but as I descended I didn’t feel a weird vibe around me like I did when we descended the last few stairs; I knew who would be at the end of this though…and if they’re hiding their aura then…
“Sarah, grab my hand.” As I extended my hand to her she gave me a quizzical look and the turned red.
“A-Are you c-courting me Soren?”
“What? No. Trust me on this.” I grabbed her hand and picked her up bridal style; coming to the end of the stairs I leapt out of the door way and looked up to see a guillotine crash down, so he tried that again. Putting Sarah down I cut the rope connecting the guillotine to the ceiling and kicked it to the side out of the door way; hearing a sarcastic clap I turned to see a green haired boy standing there; Tiamat.
“Don’t fall for the same tricks twice do you? That’s fine it makes it more fun for me.” I drew my blades as Sarah pulled out her rapier taking up proper stance, “Are you just going to stay on the roof or are you going to help out?” Looking up I saw two giant batwings fly down from the ceiling; when it touched the ground they opened up revealing the succubus…Sukia standing there with a serious look on her face.
“Sukia…” I stepped forward to approach her but she quickly snapped her whip at my feet stopping me in my tracks.
“I told you before Soren, I won’t betray Owen…that means that I have to get rid of you!” She gave me an intense glare telling me she was deathly serious; I guess some people will fight to the end for what they want…that goes the same for me!
“Sarah I need you to take care of Tiamat for me…do you think you can do that?” She swung her rapier around at blinding speed with a smug look on her face.
“I’d feel insulted if someone could match my speed. I’ll keep him, it seems like this is something personal.”
“It kind of is…sorry.”
“It’s okay; it’s personal for me to.” Separating I turned back to Sukia who was still giving me the intense glare; I rushed forward as she snapped her whip trying to catch my feet or arms as I zigzagged not wanting to get caught like Gareth did, once I was close enough I jabbed the hilt into her stomach making her stumble slightly and as I swung with my other blade aiming for her arm; stretching her wings at me I fell backwards and quickly rolled back onto my feet as she extended her nails. She flew forward and swung down as I blocked with my right blade and went in for an upper swing at which she flew up dodging it and as she charged down nails ready to puncture me I rolled to the side as they stuck into the ground.
“Why do you keep fighting like this? You really think you can save your friends who died or even the friends you have now?”
“What do you mean?”
“You heard from the sage yourself, realities upon realities exist, universes don’t reset because the past was changed you can’t bring them back!” Removing her nails she thrusted forward too quick for me to dodge and puncturing my left arm as I skid back; the blood poured from the wound and I pulled out a potion pouring it over the wound…that stings, “And your just causing more problems for your friends now.” What was she talking about?
“I came this far to help them.”
“And you’ve only made more issues! Not only have your friends been pulled into world after world because of you but you’ve made even worse problems for them!” Taking a swing forward she back flipped and I thrusted forward forcing her to block with her wings and I cut along them causing her to shriek in pain, “Alice is totally dependent on you, she can’t handle her own problems and you continue to be her support making her weaker.” Retracting her wings she came at me again swinging her hands wildly trying to catch me as I ducked and weaved trying to avoid each hit with a few marks on my face and arms, “Gareth sees you and the others as not only friends but family. When you finally drift apart you’ll end up making him broken and weaker than before.” As she took a wide swipe I ducked rolling backwards and felt something coil around my foot; looking down I saw her tail and was dragged towards her and spun, when she let go I was slammed against a wall and felt my spine slightly crack, “And Lily, you heard her story and yet you treat her like a friend? You give her hope for the future…but there is no hope for her, when she gets back she will die!” She picked me up with her tail again and proceeded to slam me against the ground, “AND” again, “THERE” again, “IS” again, “NOTHING” again, “YOU” again, “CAN” and again, “DO!!” She let go leaving me in a bruised and battered state as she panted and wheezed from her outburst; I did the same but from the feeling of my body ready to quit…but not yet. Grabbing a phoenix down I chugged it and a hi-potion feeling my body slowly try to recover as I stood up grabbing my blades.
“You’re wrong.” I said and she gave me a wild look of anger, “I refuse to believe I’m weakening my friends!”
“The truth!” I yelled startling her slightly as she launched her tail at me; sheathing my blade and grabbing it quickly I muttered a short strength boost spell and swung her by her tail into the ceiling, “I will not stop standing by Alice in her time of need; I will be there to help her whether she wants it or not and we will both become stronger from the experience!” As she fell back down I sheathed my other blade and spun around giving her a roundhouse kick sending her to the ground, “Gareth won’t ever feel alone or without a family because he IS family. I refuse to just let us drift apart after all we’ve been through and I’ll do everything I can to keep us all together!” As she stood up and took shaky steps towards me I grabbed her pushing her against the wall and plunging my blade into the stone right next to her face, “And that means I’m going to save Lily, she won’t die when she gets back, I’m going to make sure of it! So I know for a fact that the four of us together is the best thing that could happen and I refuse to doubt that ever again!”
“You still can’t erase your past mistakes.”
“…I know…but I refuse to sit back if I can protect the future. I won’t let the fiends or Owen destroy any more worlds. If I can stop it then you better believe that’s what I’m going to do!” With those final words I stepped back sheathing my blade again as she slumped to the floor; she didn’t have the strength to keep fighting.
“…You know we won’t give up…right?”
“I know…and neither will I.” With that she slumped away dragging her foot into the shadow; as she crossed the threshold I felt her aura disappear from the area.
“Um…well that was…interesting.” I turned to see the rest of the group standing there with Gareth and Alice with light blushes on their faces and Lily with a look of shock on here, “Whether I want it or not…you really are an idiot…but thanks.”
“Of course Alice, you know me.”
“I know…but you’re still an idiot…but I guess that makes you my idiot.”
“Stay together huh?” Gareth said with a half-smile.
“To the grave and beyond man.”
“Hahahaha! Works for me!”
“S-Soren…y-y-you r-r-really mean it?”
“Lily I refuse to let you end up dead; if you’ve become a better person and overcome your weakness then you deserve the second chance you were promised. Even more important is that you’re my friend and as long as you’re alive I refuse to just stand by as you accept it. Even if you were fated to die I’m not going to let fate have its way, so I promise that I will save you!”
“Hey don’t think you’re going in alone!” Gareth yelled at me, “I’m not going to let that happen either.”
“Ditto.” Alice added, “If I have to I’ll risk my health to save you Lily.” As we all looked at her she tiered up and threw herself at us hugging all of us tightly.
“I…I don’t want to die…I want to live.” Putting my hand on her head I rubbed her red hair softly.
“And you won’t…I promise.”
With the four fiends out of the way we rushed to the final four and dashed to the center determined to end this quest; slamming the door open I looked at the end to see Owen and…Garland!?
“So you made it…I didn’t expect them to win but I thought at least they would slow you down.” Owen said chuckling, “No matter, we are almost done anyway; once the crystals are linked with the fiends we will be finished.”
“Sorry but your fiends are history…or I guess they aren’t a part of history anymore.” Gareth said sounding snarky.
“Without your fiends you have no control over the crystals!” Alice exclaimed pulling her katana out, “All that’s left is you.”
“You think we need the fiends alive to complete this?” I don’t like the sound of that.
“What do you mean?” I asked slightly worried.
“When you link a dead body to an object then as long as that object lives so does the person. The only difference is a loss of control. Thanks to you we can now control the fiends with ease in the next world!” So we played right into their hands…again, “I don’t even know why you came this far after losing the WOLs without them you can’t stop us.”
“Hey! Don’t use my acronym!”
“It doesn’t matter anyway; they were the only ones who could stop the god of chaos…you already failed…you should have just laid back and died in the world you doomed before!”
“B-But you don’t have the god of chaos with you!” Lily said looking around with a scared look on her face.
“I guess this is where I step in.” Garland stepped forward standing in front of us.
“Garland?” Sarah said confused, “But they killed you.”
“Ay everyone heard about that. Ye shouldn’t be alive.” Brokkr added.
“Garland…so you were the vessel.” The sage said his gaze becoming grimmer, “Every iteration of worlds and you were the one who absorbed the power of the four crystals in each universe.”
“G-Garland? H-He’s appeared in the pool of visions various times but we never knew why.” Wendy said shaking slightly.
“Pool of visions?” I asked.
“A sacred pool that gives a glimpse into future tragedy; when Garland was killed we assumed it had been dealt with.”
“Well you were wrong.” Garland said interrupting our group chat, “For so long I have absorbed the power of the crystals multiple times in order to become stronger; this is not the first world in which has been ravaged for its power. With the help of this man I will become the most powerful being capable of dominating everything.” Pulling my blades out I took a dash forward and sliced at Garland causing a large gash across his armored chest that bled openly; he must have some weak armor.
“We’re not letting it happen!” I said and Owen chuckled.
“You seem determined…let’s see how determined you are when you’re stuck in another universe!” Raising his hand to the sky the ground began to shake and a bright light exploded from Owen’s hand blinding all of us.
As the light died the room around had disappeared and was replaced with empty red space as far as the eye could see; the ground below us was still the same but we definitely weren’t in the same world anymore…if we were in a world at all.
“This is the space between dimensions; an ideal place to show how powerful the go of chaos is and if you die it will be like you never existed.” Chuckling loudly Garland began to twitch as his body expanded growing larger and larger every time until we were small animals compared to him; his body continuously morphed and changed retaining the same shape but not color or aura. There was no way to figure him out; he was the god of chaos in name and form. We stood there trembling slightly in fear at him; pushing that fear aside Gareth, Sarah, Brokkr and I dashed to strike at his leg but as I took a swing his body seemed to morph around the blade making it pass through him without hitting him, when I went in for a second swing the same thing happen and again on the third, fourth and fifth strike. We couldn’t hit him with physical attacks at all. Alice and Lily cast various spells at him but they all seem to dissipate upon contact with him; nothing was working, “You see? the god of chaos can’t be touched by your attacks; you can’t win!” He swung his arm at us knocking us all backwards; as I tried to get up I felt my body resist me as it went mostly numb, even his most basic attacks were way too strong for us to take…damn it…we failed still. As I thought that Sarah, Brokkr, Wendy and the sage all stood up shakily with a determined look on their faces.
“I…will protect my father…and all our subjects in other worlds from you! I don’t…want to watch…them die again!” Sarah exclaimed.
“I still…got blacksmithing to do…for those who…need armor…and weapons…I won’t let you take another world…without a fight!” Brokkr said raising Excalibur.
“The fairies…protected me…and I won’t…let their sacrifice…go in vein…I will protect those in the next world…because the people in this world gave me a chance!” Wendy exclaimed charging up her magic.
“I’ve seen the future…hundreds of time…now I have a chance…to change it…instead of just watch…and I’m going to make sure the prediction I see comes true!” The sage yelled casting a large healing spell over the entire group. Standing up I felt invigorated by their proclamation; they had a reason to fight for the future, they wanted to make a brighter tomorrow. Suddenly the bag of orbs began to glow each with the color of its respective crystal…so that’s how it works…looks like we still had a chance!
“Sorry Chaos but you think just because you took care of the WOLs that you won. Well you’re wrong!” He laughed as I gave a confident stare, “The Warriors of Light aren’t some preordained group of heroes all born to save the world; the Warriors of Light are any group of people willing to fight to the end for their world and even if not their world then for a better future, their light is their courage to fight for what matters. Sarah, Brokkr, Wendy and Sage all fight for a better tomorrow…so as far as I see it they are the Warriors of Light!” He gave me a quizzical look and Owen gave a grimace, “But let’s get a second opinion on this!” Throwing the orbs at the group of four they all held them up; as they held them a bright light shinned from all of the orbs that seemed to scare Chaos and make Owen worried. When the light died we were back in the Chaos Shrine’s fifth bottom floor to the surprise of everyone including Owen and…Garland, stripped of his power.
“NO! My power is gone!” Garland exclaimed in anger.
“I think it’s time we got out of here.” Owen said raising his hand again but as it was raised nothing happened shocking him, “My dimension hopping powers have been blocked!? The crystals affected my power!?”
“There may be no difference between each world but you still have to play by this world’s rules Owen.” I said giving him a confident grin and he gave me an angry look.
“My name?…SOREN!” As he rushed at me with the Master Sword I felt Alice, Gareth and Lily all gather with me; Alice gave my blade a powerful light enchantment as Gareth switched my focus to power and Lily sharpened my focus somehow, as he came closer I muttered a small strength boost spell and swung clashing blades with him. As we both pushed I felt him push me back slowly and his presence begin to overwhelm me; no, I won’t let him; taking a proud stomp forward I put all my strength into pushing him back and as I gave one final push I saw a small crack form on the master sword and took the opportunity swinging with all my strength breaking the blade into two and knocking him backwards into the far wall, “…You…broke the Master Sword.” He stood there in mild shock and then dashed past us and out the doorway; looks like the Master Sword wasn’t the only thing I broke.
“I cannot lose here!” Garland shouting picking up the shattered end of the blade, “I will become a god and you cannot stop me!” With a dash forward Sarah lunged stabbing directly into his heart making him cough slightly before going completely limp.
“That’s for kidnapping me! Hmph!”
As we came back to the present the world was green and vibrant; monsters were no longer plaguing the world and no one had even heard about the four fiends, we had succeeded in saving this world from a grim future. After a bit of asking around we even heard the Kent, Hana, Pent and Sena lived in their peaceful village living simple lives; the peace they fought for would never be forgotten by us though.
“So this is the world we live in now…what should we do?” Sarah asked.
“Ay, I can’t exactly go back to my forge, with two of me there it’ll be strange.” Brokkr said.
“Same for me.” Wendy said sitting on Sarah’s shoulder kicking her feet.
“In this new world we are out of place. We do not belong.” The sage said…but he was wrong.
“You four fought to protect this world from turmoil. Even with Chaos gone it doesn’t mean the world is instantly fixed forever.” They gave me a confused look.
“All kinds of problems are going to arise in this world; how about working to make sure that the problems don’t become world ending like last time.” Alice explained.
“Yeah! You guys are the only WOLs in the whole universe! It’s your job to be heroes!” Gareth said wrapping his hands around each of them.
“T-Technically s-speaking they’re the only Warriors of Light i-in the m-multiverse.” Lily added pushing her glasses back up, “B-But every world n-needs heroes…if you’re up for it.” They all looked at each other giving a nod.
“If it’s a world you love then it’s worth protecting.” I said.
“Then that’s exactly what we’ll do.” Sarah replied, “Because this place is definitely worth protecting…thank you four…for everything you’ve done. For saving me.”
“And me.” Wendy added.
“For bringing me the rare metal.” Brokkr said holding Excalibur proudly.
“For saving an old man like me and showing me a future I’d never see through visions.” The sage said and they all gave a bow.
“And for saving our world.”
“Nope.” I said shocking everyone, “You saved this world, we were just support.” They all chuckled as did the others at what I said, joining in I felt a sensation begin to cover my body; looking down I saw my body begin to fade as well as Gareth, Lily and Alice’s body; I guess we were done, “Looks like we’ve got to go. See you guys!” I gave a wave to them which they returned.
“We will never forget you!” Sarah said and with that my vision turned white as I left the world in good hands.
When my vision returned I looked around shocked to see a giant white room that looked endless; around me stood my friends who all looked equally confused.
“I don’t think this is home.” Gareth said looking around.
“No, it isn’t” A voice said casually and I turned to see a girl about our age with long bright green hair and innocent eyes wearing a long white dress sitting in a chair backwards, “But I believe I owed you some answers.”