"Spread out!" Isaac commanded as he charged the Star Magician his great sword glowing brightly as Bane coated the steel blade in golden energy. Bringing the Djinn imbued blade down in an arc Isaac attempted to deliver a poisoning blow to the monster only to be met with a green colored barrier. From out of the cave floated four orbs of different colors blue, red, green, and purple; one for each of the four elements. Other than the color difference there was no real distinction between them and the orb that that the Star Magician held. Isaac mentally groaned at his own forgetfulness, the Star Magician didn't fight alone. Each of the four orbs had special properties, the green Guardian Ball could generate a protective barrier over the Star Magician with incredible speed and there was very little time between how often it could erect the shield.
Leaping away from the Star Magician Isaac looked at the monsters again. Thirty years ago this monster had posed quite a challenge. While it wasn't the strongest foe out there the four Ball monsters made the battle aggravating. Guardian Ball protected the Star Magician while the blue Refresh Ball would heal any damage that the eight Adepts had inflicted. While those two Balls were defensive the purple Thunder Ball could use mid level Jupiter Psynergy and the red Anger Ball would use an explosive kamikaze attack. Like the monster that they fought with the four Ball monsters weren't powerful, what made them so hard to kill was the Star Magician's ability to summon more of them. Four Balls was the max amount he could have out at one time and there never seem to be any rhyme or reason to the Ball that he summoned, they could easily wind up facing three Refresh Balls and a Guardian one.
"We need to get rid of the Balls first, concentrate on the green and blue ones but watch out for the other's attacks!" Isaac ordered. Following his own instructions Isaac let loose a high powered Ragnarok on the Guardian Ball. With the giant energy blade pinning down the Ball it was a much easier target for the heroes. Green blades of Wind Magic met with the White Breath of Nasir the two powers disintegrating the Guardian Ball. Janaff and Ike had seen the others focus on the green monster and went after the Refresh Ball as per Isaac's orders. Blessed talons and a twice blessed blade cut the Refresh Ball into ribbons with barely any effort.
This is too easy, why would they bring Star Magician to fight us? They have to know that I've already beat him thirty years ago. Isaac stared at the man in black armor that had caused his allies to tense up. Even though Isaac couldn't see the man beneath the armor he stood there to calmly as his monster was being beaten. Even without Psynergy the Tellians are formidable allies, they'd have to figure out his weakness but after that they wouldn't have any problems. So what does this Dia have up his sleeve that makes him so calm?
An explosion off to his right made Isaac take his eyes off of Dia to see Janaff slam into a large boulder. Seeing only the Thunder Ball left it wasn't much of a guess to figure that the Angry Ball had used its Angry Mine ability sacrificing itself to create a powerful explosion. Ike lie on the ground, his clothes stained black having been slightly charred from the fiery blast. Both Hawk and Vanguard were up in enough time that Isaac wasn't worried about their condition. Energy whipped off of Ragnell as Ike swung the might blade with ease in the direction of the Star Magician. Without the Guardian Ball there to protect it Ike's attack made contact with the robed monster. Nasir let out another breath of white energy this time the beam hitting the Thunder Ball which let out a Flash Bolt in retaliation as it clung to life. Electrical energy hit the White Dragon square in the gut sending a wave of pain over Nasir's body. A blur of brown flew over the Thunder Ball leaving a large gash in the top before it vanished into nothing. Janaff let out a cry of victory before he turned to make his way back to the Star Magician.
Holding out its white gloved hand the Star Magician used its Mystic Call ability to bring forth a copy of one of the lost monsters. Out of the ground came another Guardian Ball ready to protect its summoner. Much to Isaac's shock another Ball monster answered the call of the Magician. This one wasn't like the original four that Isaac's group had faced before, it was colored black with green rings around it rather than the white coloring the others had. Unsure of the new Ball's power Isaac concentrated on the Guardian Ball while keeping an eye trained on the new version of the creature. Spears of ice jutted up out of the ground as Isaac attempted to get closer to the green orb, the Star Magician had used its Megacool Psynergy. Sounds of ice breaking behind him caught Isaac's attention he turned to see what had caused the noise. Only a foot or two away from him was one of the Megacool spears cut cleanly near the tip. Off to his left Isaac spotted Ike's Ragnell, faint trails of energy coming off it the mercenary had a faint grin on his face. Nodding his appreciation Isaac cast a small Quake to shatter the ice in front of him clearing a path to the Guardian Ball.
Again the Magician used its Mystic Call to bring back an Anger Ball this time. Like before another black ball came with it, this time though the rings were red rather than green like the first one. Good news was that the Magician had his max number of minions once again and there wasn't a single Refresh Ball among them meaning any damage they managed to inflict on the Magician would stay there. All they had to do was kill the Guardian Ball and hope that another Anger Ball or Thunder Ball came to take its place. With that setup the Star Magician would fall fast having no way to heal or protect itself. Sadly the Anger Ball wasn't back for long, it started to glow a brilliant red as it headed towards Soren. Jumping backwards the Arch Sage unleashed Elwind after Elwind as quickly as he could, trying to destroy the monster before it could deliver its payload. No matter how nimble he was Soren couldn't manage to get away from the Anger Ball in time to dodge the explosion. Fiery energy erupted from within the Anger Ball blasting the Arch Sage down onto the ground. From out of the center of the explosion that black ball that had come with the Anger Ball appeared. Like the Anger Ball it was glowing red only its light was tainted with black energy. Ike was next to his fallen friend as fast as his legs would carry him. In a sweeping motion the muscled mercenary slammed the flat side of Ragnell into the ball sending it back a few feet. It wasn't far enough though as black flames ripped out of the ball's center and enveloped both Ike and Soren.
As he stabbed his great sword through the Guardian Ball into the ground destroying it Isaac felt the abnormally large explosion ripple through the air. He caught a glimpse of Ike standing in front of a knocked out Soren before black fire washed over them. Pulling his sword out of the ground Isaac rushed over to see how badly the two Tellians had been damaged. Springing up in front of the Venus Adept was a large dark green barrier Isaac had just enough time to stop himself before he slammed into it. Looking around for the source of the barrier Isaac spotted the black orb that had popped up with the Guardian Ball, it was emitting an energy pulse just like the Guardian Ball did when creating shield for the Star Magician. Isaac lashed out with a Mother Gaia underneath the black ball expecting it to at least drop the shield. Instead the Black Guardian took the Gaia full force without the barrier so much as wavering. Nasir and Janaff both were able to get to their friends the latter changing back into his humanoid form and producing a Tellian Elixir. Uncorking the blue bottle the Hawk poured half the contents down the throats of Ike and Soren. Even drinking half of the medicine the effects of the elixir was strong enough to bring the two back to the world of the waking and repair their bodies a little.
"Do you like the modifications we have made to the Star Magician? It's amazing what you can do with a Psynergy Crystal imbued with the power of Umbra." Dia chuckled.
"What do you mean?" Isaac turned his attention to the black armored man that still stood in the cave entrance. Dia stood his hands resting in front of him atop the Alondite copy like it was a simple gentleman's cane.
"Sorry am I speaking of things the great Isaac doesn't know about? Surely you know of the Umbra Adepts by now. My cohorts Blados and Chalice revealed the secret to your son and his friends. I find it hard to believe he didn't mention it to his father." Laughter echoed from within the black armor as Dia spoke.
"I know about Dark Psynergy, what did you do to the Star Magician?" Isaac spat his question at the Umbra Adept.
"Simply added a bit of Dark Psynergy to his system, monsters take to it quite well with surprising results." Dia was bragging now, a sense of pride was clear in his voice.
"The new monsters," Isaac gasped, "they're the result of Dark Psynergy."
"Precisely. Can you and your friends handle this Isaac? I don't see a Mercury Adept amongst your group. Your Venus powers may grant you minor healing power but you lack the strength to heal any major wounds." Dia let out a laugh at the predicament that his opponents were in. Isaac grimaced as he looked over at Ike and Soren as they got up, burns as clear as day on their bodies. The elixir had been enough to get them back to fighting strength but they would still have a hard time fighting.
"We can still win or did you forget about the fact my son's beaten your kind before?" Isaac said assuring himself that it was going to work out in the end. "You see Ivan and Soren thought that there might be something here preventing us from getting in." Isaac unleashed Crystal sending out healing energy to his allies and putting another Djinn on standby. Following the first unleash was Ground to hold the Dark Guardian Ball in place preventing it from creating another shield. With the path open Isaac was free to rush over to the others.
"Took you long enough," Ike said to the approaching Adept.
"He had to find out what those monsters were made out of Ike," Soren rationalized mostly uncaring that he'd taken so much pain for something so simple.
"And what does that tell us?" Janaff was still in his human form and able to voice his curiosity.
"It tells us that the Tuaparang have far more at their disposal than just their normal troops," Soren explained. "If they can control something that's apparently quite powerful, they should have no troubles controlling the smaller monsters that plague Weyard."
"They'll side with monsters just to achieve their goal? Wish I could say this was something new." Ike looked at the Star Magician as he spoke. Some of the Begnion noblemen and the people they hired could easily be classified as monsters for the things they had done.
"Soren we need to use those Djinn that Ivan gave you." Isaac held out his hand for two of the four Jupiter Djinn crystals that Soren had on him. Ivan had theorized that since Soren's tomes were wind based that any Jupiter Djinn added to Soren would be able to increase the damage of the spells. With each Tornado Soren had cast a Djinn was put on standby rather than a power being taken from the tome. Nodding his head in agreement Soren and Isaac exchanged one Venus crystal for two Jupiter ones. Adding his second standby Djinn to the mix Isaac had enough to summon a useful enough spirit.
"Flora!" Both Isaac and Soren said as they tossed the crystallized Djinn into the air.
The goddess of flowers and spring appeared in the sky above Mt. Aleph. Her appearance was that of a young girl clad in pink with short purple hair. Flora raised both of her hands and sent out a wave of flower petals twice the normal size at the Star Magician and his minions. What Isaac was hoping for was that the effect Flora had would kick in rather than kill the Ball monsters. If they were all asleep they wouldn't be able to defend the Magician. While there was only the Dark Guardian at the moment they needed it out of the picture if they were going to be able to fight the Star Magician on a more even ground. Flora hadn't been the only summon Soren had learned, Ivan had instructed the Arch Sage on how to call all the summons possible with the four Jupiter Djinn he leant out. They didn't need Thor's damage at the moment though. With the combined strength of the two summons the Dark Guardian Ball collapsed down to the ground and rolled a few feet before stopping. Flora had been able to but the little thing to sleep no problems it looked like.
"NOW!" Isaac needlessly shouted as Ike was already charging at the defenseless Star Magician. White energy and green Wind Magic converged on the Star Magician dissipating in time for Ike's Ragnell to make contact with the Magician. Psynergy enhanced robes absorbed most of the power behind Ike's attack but the human powerhouse known as Ike didn't stop at one swing. When he noticed that his sword wasn't cutting through the cloth like it should be, he delivered an uppercut sending the possessed monster into the air like a rag doll. Talons tore at the Magician as Janaff attacked the airborne monster. Still the blessed laguz was unable to do much damage to the Star Magician. Before it fell to far down Soren sent a Tornado at it spiraling it back up into the sky. Nasir flew up and grabbed the Magician in a bear, err dragon, hug. Flying high into the sky Nasir turned and started heading back down at top speed. When he got close to the ground he threw the monster with all his might at the ground as he veered upwards to prevent colliding with the earth himself.
Black energy came out of the creator that Nasir had created. As the Star Magician stood up the group could see black smoke rising out of the stars on the monster's robes. Rather than dissipating in the air, the black smoke started to wrap itself around the Magician creating a cocoon of energy. With no one around the Magician, Isaac let out a Grand Gaia underneath the cocoon trying to put a stop to whatever was happening. From the look on Soren's face on of the Djinn had reset and was allowing him to sense the Psynergy coming off the Magician as it underwent whatever it was going on within its bubble. All the warriors stood ready, Isaac releasing Crystal again after it had reset to keep them in fighting shape. They tensed as the black energy started to fade away. Standing where the Star Magician had been before was a new monster. It had the same basic look to it but even without the ability to sense its change in power they all could tell it was a new creature. Unoriginally the blue robes had been replaced with a black set, the yellow stars now white. Gone was the orb floating in the Magician's hand, the silver rings of the ball now floating in an X shape around the torso of the creature. Reaching out with its white gloved hand the Magician called forth a staff with a diminutive Anger Ball resting on the top.
Ike and Isaac took a quick glance at each other and with a quick nod they blitz rushed the monster as the last of the cocoon vanished. Two greatswords collided with the staff of the new Star Magician. Isaac felt the power gather at the top of the staff and watched as a Dragon Fume launched off the top and towards him and Ike. The Fume was large enough that it would be able to engulf the both of them. As the flames started to arch downward it was cut into pieces by green wind blades courtesy of Soren. The tactician stood there with very small smirk on his face, the corner of his mouth turned up just enough for it to be called a smirk. With the Dragon Fume gone the red ball on top of the staff shifted to a purple color. Ike and Isaac both twisted around attempting to cut the Magician in two. Their blades connected with a resounding thud, it was like hitting a mountain. The Magician moved backwards out of range looking no worse for the ware. Pointing the top of its staff at both Isaac and Ike it let loose a Shine Plasma. A barrier of golden energy appeared between the Psynergy and its targets. Granite's barrier took the brunt of the attack but wasn't able to block all of the power behind the plasma. Both swordsmen braced themselves as they were hit with the remaining force.
"Well Isaac any ideas?" Ike asked as he shook off the Shine Plasma.
"Hit it head on and don't give it a chance to attack back sounds like a good idea right about now," Isaac answered.
"Brute force approach, sounds easy enough."
"Then what are we waiting for?"
Again the two human warriors charged forth with their blade ready to bite into the robes of the Magician. Ragnell was the first to make contact with the black robes again, like before Ike felt like he was hitting something far larger than the creature he could see. Isaac thrust his sword right into the back of the Magician, the blade bouncing off harmlessly. The battle continued this way for some time. Ike and Isaac on the front lines trying to pierce the robes, Janaff waiting for an opening to swoop in with his talons, Nasir and Soren on the sidelines using their magic and breath attacks to help create openings for the melee fighters. All throughout the fight Soren was watching the Magician to see if he could spot any weakness in the monsters defenses. It was during this observation that he spotted a pattern to the Magician's attacks. After each Psynergy spell the orb on top of his staff would change color and there was a cycle to it. It would always go red and he would cast a Fire Psynergy spell, next was purple and Wind Psynergy, this was followed by blue and Water Psynergy, last was green and Earth Psynergy before it's start again at red. While it wasn't a weakness they could exploit, it was something they could use. Knowing what element was going to be sent their way meant that they could better ready themselves.
When Soren passed on the information to the others Isaac was struck with an idea. If the Star Magician was switching elements for attack it was possible he was switching his own element at the same time to better cast. With that in mind all Isaac had to do was wait for the top of the staff to turn purple again. Of course they were on blue at the moment so they would have to go through the other three colors. The Star Magician was nice enough to cast Ice Missile, spears of ice rained down on the fighters. Janaff who was currently flying had the hardest time dodging the magically created shards. One clipped his wing and caused him to spiral for a few seconds before he was able to right himself. A Wild Growth was next, the vines easily chopped in two as they came out of the ground. Inferno was the Fire Psynergy the Magician used, orbs of fire rained down on the heroes and try as they might they couldn't dodge every single fireball. Coming out with a few burns Isaac watched as the orb on the staff turned purple.
"Hope I'm right about this, Grand Gaia!" Yellow energy erupted out from the earth under the Star Magician. They all noticed how the monster seemed to actually feel the blow that had been dealt to it rather than shrug off their attacks like it was nothing. Soren had been wrong; spotting the elemental shifts was a weakness. Whenever the Star Magician was powered by Jupiter Psynergy Isaac would cast all the Venus power he could, even breaking out a Judgment to inflict massive amounts of damage and power up his own Psynergy. When the Magician changed to Venus Psynergy they would all move out of the way letting Soren send out a barrage of Wind spells and Jupiter summons.
The battle had turned into a waiting game, they only seemed to be able to injure the Magician with his elemental weakness. Ike, Nasir, and Janaff felt a little useless, they turned themselves into human shields to make sure that Isaac and Soren were in the clear to cast when their turn came up. After a ferocious Glacier that nearly froze Ike and Isaac together, Soren let out a Tornado that hit the Star Magician square in the face. They all watched in triumph as the Star Magician turned into ash before their very eyes with Soren's last blow.
"Looks like you managed to defeat him," Dia observed from his spot at the entrance to the cave. "Too bad for you he's not the only defense I have around this place." Snapping his fingers Dia caused the shadows in the cave to move away letting light shine on two large crates both covered with tarps. If there had been a wind Isaac would have said that it caused the traps to fall off revealing the monsters within, there was no wind to be spoken of. The covered crates turned out to be cages. Iron bars the only thing standing between the gang and the two new monsters. "I know what you're thinking, you've already beat a three-headed dragon. What problem is facing two two-headed dragons going to be? The question you should be asking is, who are they?"
Alex's airship hovered over the city of Nevassa. Even without the Adept within the building using Psynergy, Alex could sense him. It was an effect from the Golden Sun, he could tell an Adept was around without even trying by feeling their power. After years of honing the ability he was able to tell what element the Adept was and in some cases who even. Smiling Alex ordered the ship to land outside the city gates, he had an old friend that he wanted to visit. While it was against his orders it was in his own interests to go and see Felix. No doubt the Venus Adept already knew of their plans to capture Yune, what he didn't know was that they had the Medallion ready to capture the Chaos Goddess. What Alex really wanted was to tell Felix how long they had Sheba under their control. She had been working for them for the past year. Alex needed Felix enraged enough that he would abandon his post on Tellius and head back to Weyard. A few of his spies had alerted Alex to the fact that the little goddess seemed to be attached to the Adept. If they wanted to easily capture the little girl than all they had to do was bring Felix back to their home turf where setting up a trap would be easy. If Felix was taken aback by force then Yune would do her best to sneak him out rather than just follow after him, he needed to come back of his own volition.
Making sure that the airship was far enough away from the city Alex gave the order to land. Heading out of the ship Alex walked across the open fields of Daein right up to the gates of the city. His men stayed back with the airship to make sure that no one spotted it and to kill anyone that did happen upon it. Couldn't have it getting around that a Tuaparang airship was spotted in the vicinity before Alex was able to get his message delivered. The guards let Alex into the city with no problems. Since he wasn't wearing Tuaparang armor they didn't think him suspicious in the least. They trusted everyone that seemed like a normal person, it was no wonder his spies had infiltrated the castle without any problems. Making his way through the streets Alex got to the castle as easily as he had gotten into the town. Here the guards actually seemed to be patrolling the area and making sure no one that wasn't welcome got in. At least they were protecting their King and Queen with the smarter soldiers. Using his Warp Psynergy Alex made quick work out of the obstacle know as a wall. Appearing on the other side without being spotted he made his way into the keep. Unless Felix was preoccupied with something he would have felt that display of Psynergy. Since it was Felix he was looking for Alex kept sending out waves of Psynergy, never really doing anything just sending out his power so his target would come to him.
As Alex continued through the halls of the Keep sending out his signal he walked towards the concentration of power that he knew to be Felix. What Alex hadn't expected was for a blue haired girl dressed in orange wielding the Gaia Blade to step out of a room. From the look on her face she was able to sense his power. It was odd as he couldn't feel any power radiating from her. The mystery was solved when one of the little elemental Djinn appeared on her shoulder. If Alex could remember correctly, oh who was he kidding, of course he remembered, that little Djinn was Echo the first Djinn Felix had obtained. For him to have given this girl his personal Djinn would mean that there was a connection between the two of them. Adepts grew attached to their Djinn and were reluctant to let just anyone use them. Battles and war no doubt affected how often Djinn changed hands, but for Felix to give out his first Djinn was the only clue that Alex needed.
"Come girl, what do you hope to do you have to fight me with a blade you can't even use properly?" Alex questioned the swordswoman.
"Mia that's Alex!" Echo stated, bouncing up and down on the girl's shoulder.
"Wait, you mean the one that betrayed them all in hopes to gain the power of the Golden Sun?" Mia looked at the elemental in shock. It was clear as day on her face that she was hoping it was nothing more than a case of mistaken identity.
"The same," Alex answered for Echo. "Now if you wouldn't mind dropping your sword I have a few things I'd like to take care of in this castle."
"What do you want?!" Echo shouted. "You already have more power than you know what to do with."
"Oh do shut up Echo," Alex sighed, "I do not have the power that I should have rightfully obtained and I seek to correct that grievous mistake."
"Really Alex?" Felix's asked as he came into the hall. "Had Matthew not told me you were alive I would have thought you were still buried under Mt. Aleph. If you don't mind I'd like to but you back 100,000 miles under ground."
"Typical Felix, making threats that you can't back up." Alex flicked his wrist in Felix's direction sending a gust of wind stronger than anything Felix had seen Sheba or Ivan whip up. As Felix slammed into the wall behind him Alex's mind hatched a new idea on how to get Felix to come after him. Casting Sleep on the girl swordsman Alex caught her as she started to fall. Vines grew out of the stone as Echo tried to stop Alex from taking her, fire washed outwards from Alex in waves burning the vines before they had grown more than a few inches. "You know Felix, I wonder how important this woman is to you. Will you come back to Mt. Aleph in an attempt to get her or will you stay here and protect a nation of people from the Tuaparang?"
Felix got up and glared at Alex who had slung Mia over his shoulder. "Alex you bastard, leave her alone! If you want me then come and get me."
"Think Felix, when have I ever taken the direct approach? Watching you try to decide what's more important is far more fun." Alex smiled as he watched Felix's in turmoil. He really was letting this "Mia" get to him. If he didn't need her to lure Felix in, she would make a great Umbra Puppet like Sheba had been. "I'll send my companion Wanda to the desert in the east. She'll be there to teleport you to Mt. Aleph in three days time Felix. For the girl's sake I hope you show up." Alex used his own Warp Psynergy to vanish. He headed out of the castle on his own two feet running around like a commoner. He couldn't use his Warp power in rapid succession without draining himself. He would need his power if he was to run into any guards.
He had a few close calls to being caught, when he was carrying a woman over his shoulder it seemed that the soldier would actually start to do their jobs. A display of Psynergy didn't scare them off so he had to resort to warping and attacking with his natural Mercury powers in order to get out of the town without injury. When he got to his airship he handed Mia to one of the crew and told him to put the girl in his bedroom. They all boarded the airship and took off long before any soldiers were able to make it to them. Rising out of the city was a group of wyvern riders. They were no match for the speed of the sleek aircraft though and were left in the dust as Alex made his get away with the girl that seemed to have captured young Felix's heart.
"I wonder if you are as important as I think you are," Alex wondered aloud as he thought about the girl lying in his bed.