"Wanda. Dia." the lofty voice of the Tuaparang Emperor called out.
Two humans clad in full black body armor entered the throne room of the Emperor. Even in full armor you could tell that one was male and the other female. The woman had her armor custom made by the Tuaparang's greatest smiths. Thin armor made for one that favored speed yet still sought the protection of metal armor hugged the woman's body. Dark Psynergy was infused in the the metal giving it the black coloring and offering more protection than the standard Tuaparang armor. She had on a helmet that hid her face only her mouth and eyes visible. Green hair flowed out the back of the helmet the only hint as to the person underneath. On her right shoulder in gold inlay was the symbol of the Club. A bow casing was slung on her back and a quiver sat at her waist filled with green feathered arrows. The man's armor was thick. Black Knight thick. One would think that the man underneath styled his armor after Diaen's famous horseman. It wasn't far from the truth. Dia had admired the Black Knight's strength and once he had learned that they would be facing the Tellians on the battlefield he had the armor crafted to strike fear that the Black Knight had come back from the grave once more. The only difference was the two gold diamonds on that ran up the gauntlets. A copy of the Alondite sat at his waist. He had made sure that everyone would think he was indeed the Black Knight reborn.
"You called sire?" Wanda said kneeling to her Emperor.
"Yes. The pitiful resistance that has mounted here in Weyard is trying to gain access to Mt. Aleph. We can NOT let them reach the inner library. If they found what are true plans are before we are able to capture Yune... well let's just say it'll be bad for all of us." the Emperor said gripping the arms of his chair in anger.
"Do not worry my Emperor." Dia's voice even carried the echoing sound of the Black Knight. "They will not be able to defeat the monster we have placed at the entrance." Dia was the leader of the scientists that were trying to gain control of the monsters of Weyard.
"Your pet will not stop them Dia." Wanda warned. "Do not forget that it is Isaac that leads the group. The Tellian Ike accompanies him. These two together can be a problem on their own. Add in the fact they have laguz and the Jupiter Adept Ivan with them only adds to their strength."
"Fine. I will add more of my pets to the entrance. Hand over the Teleport Lapis Wanda. I will need it to transport so many in the short time we have." Dia commanded.
"Wanda will not hand it over to you Dia. She still has need of it." the Emperor sneered. "Though she will use it's power to move your projects to the entrance. Make sure that Isaac is left alive. Alex tells me that we will need him alive for our plan to work. Do not let your pets eat the Ragnell either."
"As you wish sire. Put your faith in us." Dia said with a bow.
"You are dismissed. Go and carry out your duties."
Wanda followed after Dia as they marched through the palace. Contrary to what you would think the Tuaparang palace would be colored the walls were white. Dia was leading Wanda to the lower levels of the palace. They ran five stories into the ground. It was on the lowest level that Dia kept his monsters or as he called them his pets. Ranging from the normal run of the mill monsters that you would find strolling about Weyard such as a Ghost to the more rare ones like the Wonder Birds. Dia collected them by using his Dark Psynergy to influence their minds into obeying him. He would condition them for months with his power until they would obey him without and Psynergy needing to be used. The scientists that had been defeated at Gaia Rock had attempted to use a collar that would exude the same Psynergy that Dia did. It had worked on a few of the lesser creatures but it seemed that scaling up didn't work as well as they had hoped. The farther down they went through the palace the less people they ran into. No one wanted to be down at the bottom floor in case one of Dia's monsters ever broke free of its control. It was punishment amongst the grunts to be the one sent down to feed the hungry creatures.
Going down five levels worth of stairs they came out to a large metal door reinforced with Psynergy. There was no door handle to be seen. Dia placed his hand on the door and let loose a quick burst of Psynergy into it. With a rumble the door slid upwards. Taking one of the lit torches off the wall Dia lead the way into the room. Snarling monsters with yellow eyes glared at the two humans through the holes in their cages. Each cage was just large enough to house the monster inside offering it no comfort. Dia wanted to make sure that the creatures never lost their rage that made them so effect killing machines. They walked past hundreds of cages till they came to another room with a large steel door similar to the one they had first entered. The only difference that Wanda could see was when it opened. It was at least twice as thick as the previous one. The monsters in this room were much larger. Each one stood at least as tall as Wanda. Not a single one of them tried to reach and out grab the passing woman but Wanda got the feeling that if the cage door opened she would have to fight her way out of the room.
"Alright Wanda. I want you to take the last two cages with us." Dia said pointing to two that were separated from the rest. Wanda couldn't see what was inside the two cages. What appeared to be black cloth in the low light of the torch hung over the cages hiding the monsters inside.
"You have them under your control correct?" Wanda asked skeptically.
"For the most part. They know not to attack me." Dia grinned.
"Transporting the cages will be hard. Matter that had been influenced by Alchemy messes up the Psynergy of the Lapis." Wanda informed Dia.
"Enough excuses Wanda. The Emperor has given you orders to teleport us so you will do it." Dia growled like one of his pets.
"I was just warning you. They might be free when we get there." Wanda produced the Lapis out of a pouch that hung off her waist. Dia, Wanda, and the two cages glowed white with Psynergy as the woman poured her power into it. They dispersed in orbs of multicolored light and floated out of the Tuaparang palace at a blazing speed towards Mt. Aleph.
First thing Sveta noticed when she woke up was that she was in an unfamiliar bed. The scent of it was unfamiliar and yet there was a calming feel to it. In the quiet morning it was easy for Sveta to hear the sounds of someone else in the room asleep. Matthew was the first name that jumped to her mind but the breathing was off and to far away to be him. Whoever it was it must be the owner of the bed Sveta was in because the person had the same smell as the bed. Sitting up Sveta looked at the room she was in. It was small and held only the bare necessities. Spotting a woman sitting in a large chair in the corner of the room Sveta looked her over. She bore a striking resemblance to Rief. With her blue hair, soft face, and white robes styled the same way as Rief's Sveta made the assumption that it was his mother Mia.
Wanting to get out of bed Sveta started to move to the edge but was stopped when she felt a bolt of pain shoot across her back. A sharp cry escaped her lips causing Mia to wake up. The woman was at Sveta's side in less than a second. Blue light emitted from Mia and with it Sveta felt the pain in her back start to subside. Wordlessly Mia scooted Sveta back into the middle of the bed. Mia picked up an empty glass from the bedside table and by the time she handed it to Sveta is was filled with crystal clear water.
"I know it's not the smartest use of Psynergy but you need to drink and I didn't get the chance to refill the buckets last night." Mia smiled as Sveta took the cup. Taking the glass to her lips Sveta drank the cool water and almost spat it back out. Mia frowned at her own forgetfulness. "I should have mentioned the taste."
Sveta was about to agree with Mia when she felt the door burst open to reveal a distressed Matthew. The others were right behind him. Garet had practically run over Matthew to get into the room. Psynergy was gathered around both men and their hands glowed with the power of Djinn ready to be unleashed. They both looked around as if expecting some monster to leap out and attack them. When they didn't spot a threat within the room they let go of their power and sighed in relief.
"We sensed Psynergy." Garet explained to the two women looking at him.
"I filled up a glass of water Garet." Mia pointed to the half filled glass in Sveta's hand. "Someone was so insistent that I go to bed last night I didn't get a chance to refill the barrels last night." Mia had stood up placed both hands on her hips and gotten right up in Garet's face. "Do you really think I wouldn't be able to defend myself if something should come into my room?"
"I-I-I" Garet stammered as Mia backed him up against the wall. "I was just looking out for you Mia."
Mia let out a humph as she turned on her heel. Garet continued to try reasoning with Mia. Sveta looked at Mia and noticed a grin on the Mercury Adept's face. There was a bit of red to her cheeks to. Thankfully for Mia's sake Sveta was the only one paying any attention to her face. While Garet was paying full attention to Mia her back was turned to him so he couldn't see it. Only Matthew was in position to see Mia's grin but he was too focused on Sveta to notice if Mia was on fire let alone a smile.
"Now out all of you." Mia ordered herding both Matthew and Garet to the door. Rief and Reyson had stayed outside the room but both had been ready to leap in. "I need to bandage Sveta's back and I'm sure she doesn't want the eyes of all you men on her."
Matthew was a possible exception to that. Reif was an exception if only due to the fact he would have a completely medical view about it. He'd seen more of Sveta, Karis, and Himi than any of the girls would willingly admit. He sure as hell wasn't going to admit to seeing anything either. He valued life and was sure the girls would kill him if he said anything. Then Matthew and Eoleo would annihilate Rief's corpse once the girls were done. Matthew probably would understand if Rief had a chance to remind him that it was medical but Eoleo was crazy protective of Himi.
Mia closed the door and let out a sigh at the antics of the boys. "I don't really need to bandage your back. Rief and I healed you up nicely, the pain comes from having so much of you body restored at such a fast rate."
"I see." Sveta said gingerly touching the spot where she had felt the pain.
Sveta and Mia got changed before they headed out to the main room of the house. Garet was sitting in front of the fireplace with fire poker lazily shiting the logs. Matthew and Rief were playing a game of cards at the table. Reyson appeared to be reading one of Mia's anatomy books. There wasn't much else to do in the house. Mia didn't spend much time at home and everything that entertained her kids was in their room. Since both kids had taken after their mother they had spent as much time learning from her as they could leaving very little in the house to entertain themselves.
Sveta walked over to Matthew and draped her arms his shoulders. Her back tensed as she leaned forward and rested her head next to his. Being so close to her mate brought a sense of warmth to her. It had been sweet to see him charge in ready to protect her at the drop of a hat. He had a look in his eye that had sent chills down her spine. There had been a bit of feral possession in his eyes that Sveta thought she'd never see in a human. Her heart had sped up when she had seen him with that look and literally glowing with power. Snuggling up closer to Matthew as best she could Sveta felt an overwhelming urge. A part of her knew that it wasn't something that she should do but the urge was greater than her current willpower. Before she knew it Sveta bit Matthew's ear. Not surprisingly he shot up out of shock rather than pain.
Realizing what she had done Sveta quickly did a mental count of how many months it'd been since she'd left Belinsk. It was hard as some of the months had blended together but if she had an accurate count of things than it'd be close to springtime in Morgal. Weyard had once been a world unto itself and the different regions had seasons at different times. After the Golden Sun event though the seasons had slowly grown longer. With each passing year the regions of Weyard were closer to sharing the same seasons. Even though she was currently in Imil which was experiencing winter her body was set to the time of Morgal still. Like her people back home her base desire was starting to come to the forefront. While she wasn't exactly old enough in the eyes of society her body was quite ready for a family. Distancing herself from Matthew she couldn't help but look at him in a different light than before. He looked a lot more toned than normal. His blue eyes with their now purple halo at the outer edge seemed to call to her. Sveta felt her whole body shiver in anticipation.
"Damn. Mia it's spring in Morgal now ain't it?" Garet asked.
"Yes..." Mia answered hesitantly before she grasped at what Garet meant. "Oh boy. Matthew into Rief's room NOW!" Matthew sat in his chair for a few seconds looking at Sveta before he did as instructed. "Garet go explain to Matthew what's happening. He looked confused and could use an ear."
Sveta watched as her mate and Garet disappeared into the other room. Shame overcame Sveta as her rational mind overtook her natural desires. Normally she would have been strong enough to ignore them but after the tiring events of yesterday Sveta wasn't in top shape physically or mentally. Even still she should have kept better track of the passing months and stocked up on the herbs and started introducing them into her system so she wouldn't have to worry. Now she had made an advance on Matthew that neither of them were ready for. It looked like Jenna had been right to worry about her son dating a beastman. Sveta barely acknowledged the words that Rief and Reyson spoke as she stared at the door Matthew had gone through. They lead her to a chair by the fire where they spoke in soft tones trying to reassure her that things were going to be well. She was well now though. The second Matthew had jumped at her bite she'd been control. It had just been a momentary lapse that could now have thrown a wedge in between her and Matthew. Mia appeared with a steaming mug of some concoction that smelled familiar to Sveta. Without any urging Sveta drank from the cup. The hot liquid burned as it went down but Sveta didn't care. It wasn't hard to guess that Mia had made the same tea Sveta would normally have done for herself and she welcomed it even if it hurt a little going down.
Once she had finished the cup after Mia cooled it down with a little Ice Psynergy Sveta pulled her knees up to her chest and stared at the flickering flames of the fire. Without meaning to she would feel her gaze shift to the door that led to Rief's room. A second after realizing where her attention had drifted to she'd snap her head back to looking at the flames. She wasn't looking forward to explaining to Matthew what'd happened. No doubt he would want a full explanation as to why she'd bit him. Pulling her knees closer to her chest Sveta felt another wave of shame wash over her. The worst part of it was how much she had enjoyed the sensation of nibbling on him. Even now she could feel a tingle of excitement at the memory. Heartbreaking would be the only description of her emotions if Matthew looked down on her for what she had done.
Much to her relief and dismay the door to Rief's room opened up and Garet walked out. He went straight to Mia and the two began to whisper quiet enough that Sveta couldn't have heard even if she was bothering to pay attention. Her eyes were trained on the open door. She could see into the room a small flame was casting light over the walls. However Sveta wasn't at the right angle to see where Matthew was seated. Her feet touched the wood floor of the house her claws making a soft clack as them came into contact with the wood. Only her sensitive ears and probably Reyson's could hear them but they sounded as loud as cannon fire to Sveta at the moment. Slowly she got up from her seat and stalked over to the open door. How the others hadn't heard her claws scraping against the wood with every step had been amazing. Looking around she saw that Garet and Mia were still deep in conversation. Rief and Reyson had their backs to her Sveta wasn't sure what they were doing but at least they weren't looking in her direction
Reaching the door Sveta peered into the room. Seeing Rief's bed was empty Sveta kept turning till her gaze landed on Matthew sitting on the foot of Nowel's bed. His head was hung down so he didn't see her as she approach him. Taking advantage of the fact he wasn't looking her way Sveta sat down on the bed next to him and laced her fingers with his before he noticed the weight shift. Happiness shot through her as Matthew squeezed her hand affectionately.
"Matthew." Sveta whispered. She waited to gauge his reaction. When all she got was him running his thumb across the back of her hand she felt the happiness she'd just experienced leave her. "I am sorry. I did not mean to do that to you. Like we said to your mother we are not ready for such a thing. I should have paid more attention to what season it would be in Morgal. If I had known sooner I would been able to prevent..." Sveta was caught off guard as Matthew kissed her. It wasn't fast but she felt a longing feeling come over when he pulled back. The first time Matthew had kissed her was to keep her from talking. What he said next was the only thing that made it sweet.
"There's nothing to apologize for Sveta." Matthew smiled as he let go of her hand and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "You let me know that you would go into heat come spring. I just thought it meant spring where we were at. Not spring according to Morgal. All you did was catch me off guard. It's not everyday I get my ear nipped."
Happiness and rage blended together in Sveta. She was so relieved that Matthew was alright with everything and so angry with him for not setting the record straight the second she had made herself known to him. With a cross between an angry growl and a playful one Sveta shoved Matthew onto his back. It only took him a second to fall but his face displayed so many emotions in that second. Confusion at what'd happened, anger at being caught off guard, happy to see Sveta closer to her normal self, and a tad scared at what to was come next. Sveta followed after Matthew and pinned his arms to the bed. As she went to straddle him to keep him down she felt Matthew push off the floor as his legs still dangled off the edge of the bed. Unprepared for resistance so quickly Sveta soon found herself lying on her back pinned down to the bed. Matthew was faster than she had been, to which she blamed her injury, and was hovering over her looking down at his prize. A cheshire grin on his face Matthew leaned down to kiss her again. Sveta leaned up to meet him but was startled by a knock at the door. Instead of kissing him softly like she'd planned Sveta more slammed her mouth into Matthew's from the shock.
"Mia. Might want to brew some more of that stuff for Matthew!" Garet shouted with laughter from the doorway. "Some might think you're taking advantage of a situation Matthew."
"What?" Matthew asked before figuring out that he was overtop of Sveta in a very compromising position. "Wait! No Garet, it's not what it looks like!" Red bloomed in Matthew's cheeks as he got up and tried to explain to Garet what'd happened.
Sveta giggled as Matthew grew more and more flustered. True she felt her own cheeks turn crimson at being caught as they had been. Watching Matthew though got her over her own embarrassment. It got all the better when Mia came in. She went right to scolding Matthew for doing such things to Sveta right after what had just happened. Mia waved her finger in front of Matthew's face as she scolded him. Garet however just kept teasing the blonde for getting caught. It was almost like watching a normal family only none of them were actually related. Mia was the mother in a state of calm rage at what her adolescent son had done. Garet was the father that was secretly proud of his son for getting into such a position but due to the fact he was the father he had to take on a more parental role and punish his son. Matthew was the the son that really hadn't done anything wrong and was trying to get out of being grounded.
"Mia it is alright. I had pushed Matthew down onto the bed after learning he was fine with what I had done. He had just taken his time in telling me this. I did not expect that he would recover so swiftly and he turned the tables on me." Sveta explained.
"I see. So I'm just scolding him for the wrong reasons then." Mia said putting her finger to her cheek in thought. "Matthew how dare you make Sveta feel bad for no reason!?" Matthew just turned to Sveta and gave her a look that could kill. Even in trying to save him she had thrown him to the dogs.
Isaac looked out from the cliffs surrounding Mt. Aleph. They had spent the night at the cabin he and Garet had built so many years ago. Rested they were all ready to head to the fallen mountain. Ike would be riding with Nasir while Soren would dangle from Janaff's talons. In a rousing game of roshambo Isaac had beaten Ivan and would be the one to take the soarwing. Lethe and Ivan would have to wait until one of the laguz came back with the soarwing before they could join the others.
"Now remember. We're going to try finding an entrance to the mountain and land there. Nasir, Janaff whichever of you two come back you'll have to guide Ivan to our location." Isaac instructed taking on the role of leader. Ike had no problems letting someone else take the role for once. It was nice not having to worry about the plans of what they were doing. All Ike had to do was worry about the dangers that presented themselves.
Strapping the white pair of wings that Ivan had created for this event Isaac faced their destination. After thirty years he would finally be able to return to the place that had started everything. Standing next to him Janaff and Nasir transformed in a burst of light. Ike climbed onto the back of the White Dragon while Soren stuck out his arms waiting for Janaff to take flight and pick him up. With a wave to Ivan and Lethe the blonde Venus Adept leapt off the edge of the cliff. It was exhilarating to feel the wind came rushing up against his face as Isaac feel down to the ground. Angling himself upwards Isaac used his Psynergy to power the soarwing. He didn't know the full inner workings of the wings but from what Ivan said the materials he used to craft one could take the power of an Adept and change it into burst of wind that would keep the person aloft. You could also adjust the speed at which you flew by the amount of power you fed into it. It operated on the same principles as the Hover Jade only it didn't require there to be a Psynergy panel below you to get airborne.
Pulling up to the sky Isaac couldn't help but let out a whoop. He was a Venus Adept flying through the air. Everything about him and his Psynergy shouted that he should stay on the ground but such urges were ignored by the thrill of flight. It took some getting used to having to apply the correct amount of power to stay in the air without shooting off ahead of the others. The angle at which he had the wings affected his flying and Isaac found himself going up when he didn't mean to because he had started to lean upwards. Soren dangling looked a tad green the little tactician not enjoying the thrill of being carried through the air. However if hawks could smile than Janaff certainly was doing it. The brown feathered bird let out a screech of joy at having returned to the air once more. Ike and Nasir looked stoically at their destination. It was a relatively short distance to the base of the mountain. What had stopped Isaac and his friends were the large rocks that formed a natural barrier. Even if they had started the day they arrived at the mountain they would only be about halfway through the large rocks.
All five of them circled around the mountain looking for an entrance in the stone face. It soon became clear that they were going to have a joy in finding a place to land let alone a place that they could enter. It wasn't until they came to the northwestern side of the mountain that they spotted a large clearing right in front of an entrance. It was too good to be true and everyone was on alert. Nature didn't make such perfect clearings, not with all the debris around out. Isaac pointed down towards it though as it was the only place they had found so far and they needed to get out of the air soon. The soarwing was draining more power than Isaac had anticipated. Landing was trickier than he remembered in practice but Isaac did not crash as he landed clumsily on the ground. Large wing beats echoed next to Isaac as the other landed. Soren let out a grunt as he was dropped to the ground while Ike jumped gracefully off Nasir's back. All five looked at the entrance expecting something to come out of the mountain. They weren't disappointed either. A figure walked out wearing a set of purple-blue robes with yellow circles dotting it. His hood which was cone shaped covered his face leaving only his glowing white eyes visible to the world. A white orb with gold rings floated above his outstretched hand.
"The Star Magician but how?" Isaac asked no one in particular. "He's supposed to be guarding the Azul summon tablet."
"I think I can answer that." another two figures walked out of the the cave entrance. The Tellians all took a look at the thick black plated knight that came out on the left of the Magician. Isaac paid attention to both of them not knowing who the knight looked like and seeing only another enemy. "My power has brought this Magician to our cause. Don't worry though. If you beat him I have more of my pets for you to play with."
"How are you still alive?!" Ike shouted at the man. "I watched you die!"
"You cannot kill those truly blessed by the goddess young pup." the man in black armor said. "I have a different master now. The Emperor will gain the power to rule the world including your precious Crimea."
"Ike it's not him. The Black Knight didn't have gold diamonds on his wrists." Soren observed. "I'd wager a guess that this man is an imposter."
"Looks like the Branded found you out Dia. After so much work to get the smiths to make you that armor to." the girl to the other side of the Magician laughed. "I do hope you and your pets are enough to deal with these five. I have duties to attend to." the woman pulled out the Teleport Lapis and vanished in a swirl of lights.
"Teleport?! What have you people done with Sheba?" Isaac yelled pulling out his great sword. Gol energy covered the blade as a Djinn imbued it with Venus energy.
"Beat me and find out." Dia taunted.
"With pleasure." Ike and Isaac said in unison.