“So let me get this straight…” Kent started as we all sat on the deck of the airship, “You four are from a different world and came to stop those guys and the cloaked guy from stopping us from saving this world?”
“Yes.” Alice said nodding.
“Not only that.” Pent began, “You’ve been to two worlds before this and stopped them in those worlds?”
“Well…one for me.” Gareth specified.
“But that’s not all.” Sena said, “Lily was an enemy before coming to this world and held the soul of a succubus until it was ripped out in this world?”
“Y-Yeah…” Lily said looking away embarrassed.
“And you four are doppelgangers from an alternate world where magic and monsters don’t exist.” Hana said.
“That’s about it.” I said closing it up.
“Felt like we spent time on exposition.” Alice said with a sigh.
“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” Kent asked.
“We…we didn’t want to seem skeptical, telling people your from another world doesn’t exactly make them say it’s possible.” I explained and Sena gave a nod pushing up her glasses.
“Statistically speaking the likelihood of someone coming from another world is two million seven hundred and ninety four thousand eight hundred and fifty three to one and there are four people from another meaning you have to multiply by four making it-”
“I think we get it.” Gareth said stopping her, “It’s a big number.”
“Statistics only measure the possibility of something to happen but not when it will happen.” Pent said giving another proverb, “How did you come to this world though?”
“Well Lily had her boss bring her here but…we were brought by some sort of entity, we don’t know who she is but by the end of this we’ll have a chance to find out.” I explained.
“So you fight for the truth?” Kent asked.
“No, we fight because we don’t want others to suffer more than we have…and maybe we can’t stop the small problems but we won’t let world destruction be a part of it!” Gareth gave a hearty laugh as Alice rolled her eyes with a smile and Lily giggled, “Something funny guys?”
“No. Just funny how predictable you can be.” Alice said and I felt Gareth slap me on the back still laughing, “That’s good though, it lets us know that you’re okay.”
“That’s your tell man.” Gareth said, “We can read you like a book. Unlike me.”
“Really mister toothy grin?” I said and he went silent; whenever he was feeling especially happy he would get this big grin on his face that he couldn’t control, it made card games against him a piece of cake because he couldn’t bluff.
“Yeah you stink at poker because of that.” Alice said chuckling.
“I don’t think you have room to talk miss red face.” Gareth said with a chuckle; Alice’s tell was that anytime she would tell a lie her face would turn slightly redder, whenever we played Town of Salem together and she was mafia of serial killer her face would turn redder every time she had to lie to the rest of the group.
“That was one time.”
“Not one time.” I said and she hit me on the head.
“Can we move on?” Alice said in a huff; guess it was time to keep going.
With everything resolved we loaded up the ship with nearby water for the shower and headed for Melmond; with the Rosetta Stone Sena had us going to Melmond to give it to a scripter; she found out about him before leaving to fight Garland and heard he had hints on figuring out the language of Lufenias who had a secret to get to the wind temple in the sky. Stepping off the ship we entered the town and were amazed to see the land turning green and vibrant and in the center was the traveling band from the elf kingdom.
“Thank you for joining us today in the revival of the earth of Melmond, we’ve come here to perform the song of the earth to bring this town back from the brink.” Danny said with an invigorated attitude as Jessie began to dance and Jon shook his tambourine, Danny pulled out his guitar beginning to play as everyone in the town began to dance with renewed energy. We walked up to the band as they played and they gave a nod at us as they continued to play, “It’s good to see you again my young friends, it has been too long since we’ve seen each other, how has your quest faired?”
“We’ve been doing well; three of the four crystals have been restored so far.” I answered and he gave a big smile.
“Then I’m glad to hear this world will soon be restored after two thousand years.”
“Two thousand years!?” Gareth yelled in shock and Jon nodded as he shook the tambourine.
“This land first lost the wind crystal when the Lufenians’ flying fortress was taken over by Tiamat; he blackened the wind crystal halting the winds of the land as Kraken headed to the bottom of the sea and darkened the water crystal turning the oceans rank and foul, we were no longer able to travel the ocean. As they ravaged the elements of air and water the Lich and Marilith ravaged our earth and volcanoes turning the earth brown and volcanoes dormant.”
“Wouldn’t the volcanoes being dormant be a good thing?” Alice asked and Jon shook his head.
“In this world the volcanoes affect the climate of the world and keep us from freezing over.”
“A few more years and we would have had a whole new ice age on our hands.” Jessie said as she twirled around to the music, “Thanks for that guys. Can’t dance in freezing cold…wouldn’t stop me from trying though. Hehehe.”
“So you have the wind crystal left?”
“Yep, once we return that one to normal then the world will be set right.” Kent said confidently and the other warriors as well as we gave a nod.
“…Are you sure about that?” Danny said and I felt a sense of seriousness emanate from him, “For two thousand years the land and its people suffered; thousands have died and the land has been decimated by the monsters that now roam as well as the people who have turned to crime in order to survive.”
“What are you trying to say?” Pent asked picking up on his sudden serious tone as well.
“The present can only go so far when the mistakes of our past continue to affect our present.”
“But w-we’re working to stop the effects.” Sena said getting slightly defensive.
“Try as you will it may already be too late.” There was dead silence among the group as the people danced; it felt like we were stuck in time as everyone continued to dance and the music played…despite the fact that Danny and Jon stopped playing their instruments and Jessie stopped dancing…who were they really? Something about them made me feel like these three were more than just a traveling band; after all they did give us the dust needed to reveal Astos in his true form, where did they something like that?
“But for now let us just enjoy the earth revival festival.” Suddenly the hostility and seriousness in the air dissipated and when I blinked they were back to playing their instruments and dancing as if the whole situation didn’t even happen.
“L-Let’s keep moving…I d-don’t like the feeling I’m g-getting.” Lily said slightly more worried than she normally was; she could feel it to, something was definitely more than meets the eye with those three.
“The scripter should be up here.” Sena said leading us to a small graveyard in the back of town, sitting amongst the graves was a young man who seemed absorbed in his work as he scribbled on every piece of paper that was around him.
“No no no no no! That’s not the right dialect either…what could they possibly use!?” He scratched his head in frustration as he scratched out lines of scribbles and chicken scratch from various papers, “Maybe it’s harmonic? Scrambled text? Ancient tounge?”
“Excuse me sir.” Sena said tapping him on the shoulder; when he turned his head to us he gave us all a shock; he looked ragged and tired, his eyes were wide and bloodshot while his face was covered by a long beard and hair that made him look like a wild animal.
“Gah! Is he feral?” Hana said slightly afraid of his looks, “Does he have rabies?”
“Hana. Is something wrong sir?” Kent asked and he grumbled returning to his work ignoring our intrusion.
“Hey we’re trying to help you!” Alice said pissed at his sudden brush off of us.
“I’m very busy if you don’t mind! Besides unless you can help me in ancient Lufenia language I would like to get back to my work!” He replied getting in her face, Alice’s face scrunched up as she backed up from him.
“Oh, you seriously need to do something about that body odor.” Alice said waving away the stink in front of her face.
“We wanted to give you this.” Kent said stepping forward and holding out the Rosetta Stone; the mans’ eyes lit up as he looked at it and a smile came to his face as he grabbed the stone from Kent’s hands.
“This is the language breaker! The key item to break any language code! It’s the find of the century!” As he raved he sat back down returning to his chicken scratch and talking to himself in language after language with some crossing other…oh it’s making my head spin just listening to him.
“Anyone have any idea what he’s speaking?” Hana asked.
“Elivish, Dwarven, a little spell tongue and pieces of something even I don’t know.” Sena said as we waited for him to finish his work; he had this fire in his eyes as he continued to write with no signs of slowing down.
“…Tiamat.” Huh? Kent had a pensive look on his face as we waited and I looked to see the other warriors all had varying faces of worry or sadness; was there something about Tiamat that had them frazzled?
“I’ve done it!” The man shouted bringing all of our focus on him as he held up the stone and a handful of paper, “I have deciphered the Lufenia language down to its most basic level! It’s just a simple matter of-”
“H-Hang on!” Lily said stopping him as she pulled out her journal, “Okay ready!”
“You’re really going to write down his explanation of how to speak Lufenia?” Hana asked amazed at her dedication.
“Yep, we’re going to need to study up on the language if we’re going there.” Lily explained.
“I think you’re forgetting about the human elephant over here.” Kent said patting Sena on the head.
“I-I still think it’s good to get notes down on it, y-you never know how handy they could be.”
“May I start?” The man asked and Lily returned her gaze to him.
“Please do.” Lily replied with baited breath at his next words, she was definitely and info geek.
With only two of us able to understand the language we decided to leave the town of Lufenia to Sena who had a better understanding of it than any of us; as we waited for her to return Alice, Gareth, Lily and I decided to get some training done as a group. A quick three hit combo, block, switch with Gareth; he makes a heavy hit that takes it out and Alice moves in to take out the one closing in on his left while Lily kept the rear clear and applied healing when needed.
“Gah!” I heard Gareth give a grunt and turned to see he caught a hit from the right, moving in I lopped off the monsters head and pushed the torso away so it wouldn’t clutter our fighting space, the last thing we want is to trip over an already defeated enemy.
“Watch all your sides Gareth!” Alice yelled as she sent out an ice wave, “You may have the best defense but that doesn’t make you invincible!”
“Right!” Gareth replied as he scanned around him for incoming monsters; I heard a slight rustling and turned around to see a wolf pouncing at me; muttering a small accuracy boost spell I thrusted into the falling wolf plunging directly into its mouth as a spray of monster blood covered my hilt, hand, glove and coat arm. Swinging the creature off my blade it fell limp back into the bushes it jumped out of; Alice coated her blade in a gravity enchantment and took a long swing hitting a group of monsters and sending them crashing to the ground. Sending a haste spell Alice’s way she dashed forward and hacked away the immobile creatures; when she finished a spray of blood came out of all of them at once as she gave a huff. Lily stood her ground as a group of imps moved in to attack and as they came within range she gave a long horizontal reaping slice removing their heads from their bodies; moving her scythe backwards she vaulted backwards moving back into formation with us. As we all took a breather I heard a loud thump of a footstep and turned my head to Gareth’s view to see a giant moving out of the forest towards us. Gareth rushed forward taking a swing making the giant stagger as he used the momentum to take another swing, and another and another and another until he was a flurry of heavy blows; it was his signature whirlwind maneuver! Suddenly the giant took a large swing knocking Gareth back but suddenly Gareth got back on his feet and rushed in moving at the same speed as the whirlwind but wasn’t a flurry, he knew every strike he was making. With one motion he swung up with enough strength to lift himself into the air and he used that to swing down cleaving the giant in two.
“Whoa.” I said without thinking amazed at his sudden ability.
“So that’s what it is!” Lily said confusing all of us, “I k-knew there had t-to be more to Gareth’s upgrade then just attack and d-defense. During combat the more he hits the faster he gets, the effect lasts until the end of the battle but he has a huge boost in speed if the enemy c-can take a lot of hits.”
“Wow, that’s actually impressive.” Alice said in genuine appreciation at his new found skill.
“If we pair that up with a haste spell then he could turn into a flurry of powerful hits.” I said out loud thinking up new strategies.
“Only if he can control those hits.” Lily said making us turn our attention to her, “W-W-What I mean is th-that Gareth has powerful attack and defense and now speed b-but no control, he swings it around w-wildly when he gets fast enough meaning he has no accuracy.” I thought back to when he was hacking the giant he used his momentum meaning he let the swings go where they would without thinking about it; she was right, he could get fast but he loses accuracy in the process. Alice, Lily and I are balanced with magic to help us while Gareth must have a trade of system…like Shulk from Xenoblade.
“What if it’s a tradeoff system? If he focuses then maybe he can boost his accuracy in sacrifice of his speed and trade his defense for attack.” I suggested and Gareth’s face lit up.
“So I do have magic! Seems strange though.”
“Not magic, body channeling.” We all turned to see Pent approaching us.
“It’s a skill that those who can’t use magic can utilize to become a powerful force. Body channeling lets you become a force on the battle field if you use it correctly.”
“So what can I do with it?”
“With concentration you can change the quality of your body; as much as I would love to run a practice match Sena will be back soon so I’ll keep it to the points. Physical strength for magic strength, magic attack for physical strength, physical defense for magic defense, magic defense for physical defense, speed for accuracy, and accuracy for speed.”
“Why would I need magic attack?”
“What if I use my enchanting on your axe?” Alice chimed in, “Then you would need magical attack.”
“Those who do not use all at their disposal will forever be at the worst disadvantage.” Pent said in his usual proverb advice.
“Why do you always try to say something profound?” Lily asked Pent.
“Well as a monk I was taught to not only stay balanced in body and mind but also pass on my knowledge to those in need of it. So far my counterpart seems in need of it most.”
“Hey I’m not that stupid!” Gareth yelled feeling insulted.
“Gareth…come on.” Alice said implying what we all knew and Gareth sighed.
“Y-You’re still th-the strongest of us?” Lily said trying to cheer him up and he gave a small chuckle.
“Yeah, I guess…thanks.”
“What’s happening here?” I turned to see Kent and Hana standing near us with a smirk on Kent’s face and Hana giggling.
“Just figuring some new things out.” Alice replied sheathing her Katana.
“Well after this our quest will be over, I suppose there won’t many opportunities to learn new things when there’s no need to.” Kent said leaning against the nearby tree.
“…Hey I have a question.” Hana said, “If you guys are from another world does that mean after all of this is over that you’ll head back to your world?”
“Well…so far that’s how it’s been; we’ve helped save the world and then we got transported back to our world…as if it never happened.”
“So we’ll…go home…” Lily said looking down and shaking…that’s right, she was transported before her dad attacked her…she wasn’t going back to an ideal situation.
“You can’t stay here?” Hana asked sounding sad, “It’s kind of sad to think we’ll never see you again after this is over.”
“We all have places where we belong Hana, but that doesn’t mean we will never see them again.” Pent said trying to cheer her up.
“I guess…but I’ll still feel sad when they’re gone.” Suddenly Hana jumped forward wrapping her hands around my waist and knocking me over with her, “I don’t want them to go!”
“Hana!? Please stop squirming so much it feels…weird.”
“Get off him you hussy!”
“A little jealous Alice?”
“Shut it Gareth! Lily help me pry her off.”
“O-Okay.” As they pulled she held on tighter and I could feel her chest-! Down libido down!
“Getting a little excited Soren?” Hana teased making me turn red.
“Damnit Soren stop thinking with your second head!”
“I’m trying but blood travels its own way.”
“Keep thinking that way and your blood won’t move at all when I’m done!” Nearby I could hear Kent, Pent and Gareth all laughing heartily at what was happening and even Lily was giggling at me, great friends I have right now…eh, they’re still awesome, “And what are you laughing at Soren!!” Oh crap.
Sena eventually came back and we all entered the airship; when we came over the desert we scoured the area looking for a clear area to land, finding a small patch of green we landed and headed into the sandstorm ravaged dessert. It felt like the wind and sand was trying to whip us around and stop us from reaching the center; as we approached the center a tall tower came into my vision, was that the mirage tower? Approaching the tower it began to fade and as we came up to it the tower was completely gone; Sena pulled out a small bell and rung it three times, on the third ring a giant whirlwind whipped up directly in front of us blinding me. When it disappeared the tower was standing tall in front of us; the tower was made of sand but it didn’t fade when I touched it even though the sand looked dry and unpacked.
“Let’s head in, we’re almost there.” Kent said confidently as we all followed into the tower; the inside was lined with stone and granite completely making the outside a façade, looking outside would make you think it was like a child’s sand castle with a sand interior…but true to its name the outside was just a mirage while the inside held the truth. As we traveled up monsters attacked us in organized large groups and played working together instead of just attacking us all at once; whoever was in charge of these monsters was on an entirely different level than any of the other fiends. Luckily we were strong enough to take on any challenge that was thrown at us; as a group we couldn’t be taken down and they weren’t expecting eight people. Eventually we made it to the third floor and found ourselves in the center room, within the center of that room I see a glowing bad with a steel robot creature standing next to it…something wasn’t right though…it felt too easy.
“Watch out! I felt someone suddenly push me and as I fell to the floor I looked behind me to see Pent had taken the blow from a blue dragon, “Gah!”
“Pent!” Kent yelled and Pent turned around punching the dragon directly in the faceand climbing on top of it; we moved in to help him but suddenly the dragon rose to the ceiling and shook Pent off making him fall and as we moved to catch him the dragon suddenly whipped its tail around and pierced Pent’s heart…! We all stood there frozen as the look of pain and shock washed over his face and his blood dripped to the floor.
“PENT!!!” Sena screamed loudly and then Pent threw something at us which Kent caught and Pent grabbed at the tail piercing him and pulled himself punching the dragon over and over again as it bit into him in response
“Go!” He yelled at us and I felt Kent grab me as we all moved onto the pad, he held up the cube and a light enveloped us; the last thing I saw was Pent and the dragon crashing to the ground both…dead.
“No! We have to go back for him! I can save him!” Sena said as Kent and Hana held her back from the portal; the rest of us were currently too much in shock to even move, Pent was dead from saving us from the blue dragon that was hidden in the room. He took the hit so we could keep moving…but in that moment we lost a friend…damn it! I hit the ground with my fist in anger and Alice gave me a sad look and nod; we have to keep moving. Once Sena was calmed down we headed out to examine the sky fortress; there were enemies on the ship as well but we were able to take them; the only problem was that now that Pent was-…it was harder to fight without him in our group. The tension was much more apparent with the loss of Pent and even with Gareth trying to cheer us up you could feel something was just…off. On the second floor I was able to find adamantite; the black smith needed this to craft the ultimate weapon, guess I could finally make his dream come true. The third floor had an orb in the center of them room; inside was a view of the entire world, it showed a wide map of the area more accurate than any map we could create. The weirdest part was the four points on the map that seemed to all converge on one point and glow brightly at that point they met; Lily quickly pulled out her map and started drawing most likely getting the point they met at. As we came to the fifth floor I looked around only to see it was a long hallway leading to a room at the end of the hall; the fiend must be beyond that doorway at the end. We walked in silence to the end of the hall and as we reached the end I heard the whirling of gears and the sound of something walking towards us; I stopped everyone and turned around to see a strange metal thing walking towards us. Suddenly it shot at me and in response I pulled my blade out blocking his bullet as it fell to the ground; whatever it was, it wasn’t friendly. I dashed forward and swung at the machine but my blade just clanged against the machine bouncing off it; my physical attacks weren’t going to do anything to it. Alice moved forward and slashed waves of magic at him hitting him with fire ice and lighting; it shook it off as though nothing happened surprising Alice as well as the rest of us.
“Nothing’s working against him!” Gareth said getting worried as was the rest of us; how could we take this thing out?
“I…I know what to do!” Hana said stepping in front of me with a serious face that I didn’t like; what was she planning!?
“Hana?” I said worried and she turned around smiling.
“I guess I don’t get to see you guys leave after all.”
“Hana don’t, we’ll figure something out!” Kent said with a voice of panic as Hana tossed him something.
“Kent…even I know that the more time we waste the more we’ll all get hurt…I…I don’t want to just stand by as that happens…I will protect you guys…so please…trust me.” I heard Kent begin to sniffle and he once again pulled me back as I watched Hana raise her arms as a ball of white burning light formed in her hands, “Flare!!” As the door closed behind me as I could hear was a loud explosion and feel the rumbling under my butt; when it stopped there was another moment of silence, I touched the door but it didn’t open; I’m guessing it wasn’t going to open ever again…and Hana wasn’t going to move again.
“So you made it. Here I thought you would be dead by now.” We turned to the direction of the voice to see a multi-headed dragon looming over us; this was Tiamat, the fiend of wind and our final enemy.
“It’s sad to see that Hana and Pent couldn’t make it here, they were always the ones with the most moral.”
“SHUT UP!” Kent yelled fuming; there was an anger in his eyes that was filled with loss and pain, “How dare you talk about them like they were your friends!”
“But Kent they were my friends…as were you.” What was Tiamat talking about…wait…he was Ventus!?
“…You used us…and betrayed us…and now…you’ve killed two of my best friends, I’ll be damned if you hurt anyone else!”
“That’s right!” Sena said stepping forward, “We came this far and we can mourn when it’s over…but for now we will fight and save everyone else!” They stood against Tiamat ready to fight and the rest of us joined them and stood ready.
“You really want to try this again…you couldn’t beat me the first time and it won’t change this time!” He shot a blast of concentrated air at us knocking us all apart; Gareth dug his axe into the ground and grabbed my hand as I soared by him, when the air blast finished I stood back up and watched as Kent dashed in jumping on Tiamat and slicing off one of the heads and jumping down regrouping with us.
“NullAll!” Sena shouted as a protective barrier surrounded each of us; this should help us keep defended, “We can do this!” I looked back at Tiamat to see the neck flail without its head and then suddenly explode into a new head.
“This might be a bit tougher than we thought it would be.” Kent said swiping the blood off his blade, “We’re just going to have to hit it with all we’ve got!”
“Haste!” I cried as everyone’s weapons started to glow with the speed spell cast on them; Gareth and Kent sped forward at the fiend began to cast various wind spells at them; as they pushed through the spells being cast at them Lily and Sena cast healing spells after each hit to keep them strong. When they came up to the creature it slammed its tail down as they both dodged and climbed onto the tail; as the heads flailed trying to grab Gareth and Kent Alice, Lily and I rushed in moving up the body and positioned ourselves each near a head as Kent and Gareth did the same. With a nod from Kent we all swung with all our strength cleaving off all five heads at once; we jumped off and the body fell to the ground limp.
“That’s it?” Alice said surprised, “It feels sort of anticlimactic.” She was right; even with how strong we were now it still feels like it should have been a tougher fight.
“…Well, let’s get the wind crystal activated.” Kent said as we all approached the crystal; he held up the crystal and it shinned; when the light died I could feel the wind begin to blow for the first time in weeks…it felt nice.
“AHH!!” What!? We turned around and were shocked to see that Tiamat had gotten back up and all of his heads were back…and in his center head he was clutching a bleeding Sena between his jaws.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Kent screeched pulling his sword out and stabbed Tiamat in the stomach making it fall over still clutching Sena, “Sena I’ll get you out!” As Kent approached he was swatted away by a tail and Tiamat laughed with one of its other heads.
“You cannot defeat me Kent, I will come back over and over again to kill you!” As he laughed Kent went silent and rushed forward grabbing something from Sena’s body and digging into his pocket pulling something out.
“Fine…then it’s just you and me.” He backed up and rushed over to me pushing a small bag into my bag and pushing all of us behind the crystal towards a green pad; “Guys…get out of here.”
“What!? Are you crazy?” I asked unable to believe what he was saying, “You can’t take him on alone!”
“No…but I can take him with me.”
“N-No! Y-You can’t die!” Lily said starting to tear up.
“Listen guys…before I met you guys I was content just letting the other warriors be my only friends…but you guy stood by me even after everything I tried to do to you…even after finding everyone I was glad to see you guys stood by you…this is my way of repaying you for standing by me…so run…run and live!”
“Like hell!” Gareth yelled.
“We won’t let you sacrifice yourself, we came this far to stop you from dying! We won’t let this happen!” I said.
“…Sorry Soren…for every time I tried to hurt you.” With those words he pushed all of us back into the pad and the last thing I saw was Kent walking away with his sword and shield brandished as Tiamat roared at him.
We fell into sand suddenly and I stood up in a panic looking around to find out where we were; we were back in the mirage dessert in front of the mirage tower…where was the mirage tower!?
“What happened? Where did they go?!” Gareth said also in a blind panic looking for Kent; Alice and Lily looked up at the sky with a look of horror; Gareth and I looked up at the sky at what they were so shocked at. In the distance we could see a large explosion from high in the sky…the sky fortress was no more…and neither was Kent or Sena…the Warriors of Light were dead…and we had failed.