"Dragon Fume!" Eoleo shouted as he thrust his hand into the air. Flames in the shape of a dragon's head erupted out from his palm and flew through the air to crash into a small green ogre. Flames still licked the green skin of the monster when a sword blade bit into the ogre's arm. Lucia had cut it close but timed her attack well so she wouldn't be hit by Eoleo's Psynergy. While they were preoccupied with the smallest of the Ogre Titans, Boyd and Jenna were fighting off the largest of the three they were currently facing, which was a faded blue color and about twice the size of the green one. Gatrie, with support from Rhys, was taking the copper colored Ogre Titan which was the middle sized member of the group.
The five heroes had headed out to sea after hearing tales of an island that no sailor dare approach for any ship that passed by would find itself sinking to the bottom of the sea. Not liking the sounds of such a dangerous place they had headed out immediately. It had taken some time to find the correct island but when they did they had come under attack by rocks. Boulders the size of horses, at the smallest, were flying through the sky at the ship. Jenna and Rhys were able to keep the ship from being turned into splinters with a few Fumes and Light spells.
Upon landing at the island the group had found a few dozen dead Tuaparang scattered about the beach. Their armor had done nothing to protect them from whatever monster lived on the island. More than a few had their arms or legs ripped off or bent in a direction that wasn't humanly possible. What few Tuaparang that weren't broken, were crushed under large rocks like the ones that had been sent at the ship. Whatever monster was living here was strong and didn't want anyone disturbing its home. The question on everyone's mind was what could possibly have done such a thing? They had headed inland on full alert waiting for any sign that they were being watched. They had managed to traverse the densely wooded island until they found a large hole in the ground. Reaching the gaping hole they found it to be manmade, evident by the stairs leading down into the earth.
As they progressed underground and went deeper and deeper into the cave they noticed odd machines. When Jenna inspected one of them she found a large cluster of Psynergy stones inside, they seemed to be what allowed the machine to run. All it took was a touch from her hand to cause the stone to shatter as the remaining Psynergy escaped out into the air. No one had a clue what the machines were used for but they knew for certain that the Tuaparang had been working on something here. Hours passed as they explored the cave and the rooms that had been carved out, a few were simple living quarters but the ones on the deepest level, they sent chills down the spines of the group. More bodies lie dead on the ground, much like the Tuaparang soldiers on the beach, only these seemed to be regular villagers. Many were able bodied men and were tanned like they had spent many days out in the sun. From their garb they appeared to be seafaring folk, most likely pirates. Not all were men though, a few were women and there were more dead children than there ever should be. The sight was so brutal that even those who had seen war were appalled by the gore that lined the floor.
Heading up to get away from the death the group had found that the floor two levels above the dead was much larger than they had originally explored. Rhys had been drawing a crude map to keep track of their whereabouts and when they came to what was a dead end before now lead to a large open room. It was in this room that they found the three Ogre Titans waiting for them. A trap had been set and they had walked right into it. By either the Ogres themselves or some Tuaparang machine the wall behind them slid shut trapping the group in with the Titans. It seemed that the two largest were waiting to see if they would be needed before jumping into the battle as they stood off to the sides with their axes in hand.
"Eoleo," Lucia said as she came to stand next to him, "didn't you say you had beaten these guys before?"
"Yeah, got a summon for our efforts to. Daedalus." Eoleo leapt forward and with a swing of his Herculean Axe he cut the smallest Ogre. Enraged at being hit again the little guy charged forward and swung his own axe, the blade made of stone, at its two opponents. Lucia batted the stone weapon away with her finely crafted Tisiphone Edge leaving the Ogre open to another attack by Eoleo.
"Next time can you make sure they stay dead?!" Boyd yelled over as he crossed axes with the blue Titan.
"Hey! They were charred, frozen, electrocuted, crushed, sliced, while bleeding on the ground. MOTIONLESS! That's dead in my book," Eoleo called back.
"Apparently not," Gatrie commented as he blocked an attack with his shield. The lowly Ogre's axe bounced off the Marshall's shield without so much as leaving a scratch. Light magic pelleted the Ogre as Rhys let off an Ellight.
"Now we know what those Tuaparang machines were used for," Jenna stated as raised her staff in the air. Red orbs gathered around the humans before making their way into their bodies. Cool Aura was, a weak group heal, while also being the strongest Jenna could perform, but they weren't in any real danger of being hurt. This was a long battle though and having even their small wounds healed in the early run would help them be prepared for the fight against the other two Titans.
"They can bring creatures back to life?" Rhys asked appalled at the thought.
"Doubt it," Jenna responded. "Matthew told me they face both Dullahan and the Star Magician before. Thirty years ago my friends and I dispatched those same monsters. I think they regenerate on their own and the Tuaparang have found a way to speed up the process."
"Good enough for me." Boyd stepped in front of Jenna and blocked an attack from their Titan saving the Mars Adept from having her head lopped off. In return Jenna sent out a Flare Wall driving the monster back giving Boyd some breathing room.
Lucia stepped forward as her Ogre jumped away in an attempt to get some distance between him and his opponents. Going after the creature with Trueblade speed Lucia found red spheres gather around her before forming a shield of the same color in front of her. She appreciated the Guard Psynergy as the Ogre's axe bounced off of the red shield creating an opening for her to exploit. Her Tisiphone Edge cut clean through the monster killing off the first of the five Ogre Titans.
"One down," Eoleo stated the obvious.
"You sure it's dead?!" Gatrie laughed as he and Rhys finished off their Titan with a lance through the face and an Ellight all over.
"Boyd, out of the way." Jenna held her staff close and, while only Eoleo could see it, red energy gathered around the older Mars Adept. Heeding her command Boyd smacked the Titan one last time and moved far away from the monster. No one was entirely sure what Jenna had in store but it seemed to be big. Footsteps from the Ogre caused the ground near Jenna to tremble as it drew closer to her. Pointing her staff out towards the monster two words left Jenna's mouth.
From the top of her staff five dragon heads leapt out. Two of the heads grabbed the arms of the blue Ogre Titan and lifted him high into the air. Another head flew up from underneath and went through the monster, the fourth Fume went into the chest. With its serpent body the fifth Fume wrapped itself around the Ogre and then with the two Fumes holding the creature in the air, all three exploded. A severely charred Ogre fell to the ground. Seeing that the last of the trio had fallen the remaining two Titans stepped onto the battlefield ready to avenge their brothers.
"Just two more," Lucia sighed as she stood ready to take them on.
Sitting at the table Sveta took a long draft of her tea. It had become part of her morning ritual ever since she had gone after Matthew and was as horrible tasting as she remembered it being. Thankfully the herbs used to make the tea were able to grow even in the winters of Imil and Mia had enough stocked away that Sveta wouldn't need to worry about it so long as she was with the Mercury Adept. They had spent three days in Imil as Sveta recovered from her wounds. While she felt fine and told Mia so the older woman wouldn't let her travel, telling Sveta that she needed to make sure that she gained her energy back before letting her travel once again.
Right now there was no one in the room. Rief and Matthew were fast asleep while the adults were out shopping. Mia may be a kind woman but she was a slave driver with Garet. She had him cutting firewood, rearranging the furniture, and generally helping her with anything that took physical strength. Reyson had accompanied the two so he could figure out if there vegetables similar to what was on Tellius. For a person who was able to sense another's emotions he sure was dense, even Sveta understood what Mia was doing by dragging Garet shopping. The boys however were all clueless.
Being kind Sveta headed over to the sink and washed her cup in the clean water. Looking out the window Sveta caught a glimpse of her reflection in the glass. Over the course of her adventures with Matthew and the others a few small scars had been added to her face, there was a small one under her left eye. That one had been a close call, had she been slower the scar would be across her eye instead. Sveta hadn't really taken the time to look at her reflection so she had missed the most recent development, like Matthew her eyes had a ring of purple along the edges. When she had first seen the purple in Matthew's normally blue eyes she had thought it a trick of the light. Over the three days they had spent in Mia's house she kept noticing the ring around his iris and knew that it had nothing to do with lighting. Now seeing the same phenomenon in her own eyes Sveta was able to put the pieces together. Their spirits had shared a single body twice now and it was starting to show. Eyes are a window to your soul after all and Sveta's soul had touched and blended with Matthew's. Green and blue mixed together to make purple so it explained the new coloration they had both developed.
knock knock knock
Sveta had been staring at the faint reflection and had gotten absorbed in her thoughts so when the sounds of someone knocking at the door reached her ears she jumped a few inches off the ground. Collecting herself Sveta wandered over to the door. It couldn't be Mia and the others, they would have just walked in. Sveta supposed they could have possibly bought enough that they couldn't open the door, however, that didn't seem likely. Figuring that it might be someone wishing to talk with Mia about any patients in the clinic Sveta opened the door to tell them that Mia was out at the moment. Opening the door Sveta wasn't prepared for who was standing there. It was Felix and he seemed to be shivering a bit, as he rightly should considering he wasn't dressed for the cold. Sveta could feel a trace amount of rage boil up inside of her even though she had no reason to be mad at Felix.
"Sveta?" Felix asked as he looked at her with an eyebrow raised.
"Felix?" She asked right back even though she knew it was him. Wherever the anger was coming from it was affecting Sveta's mind and she didn't like it. She didn't mean to be so sarcastic to him but there was something inside of her that had caused her to act that way.
"What are you doing here?" Felix questioned either missing the sarcasm completely or just letting it go.
"To meet with Mia and try to convince her to help against the Tuaparang," Sveta informed him as she regained control of her emotions. It was then that Sveta noticed someone else standing next to Felix, someone who was dressed up in Tuaparang armor.
"It's alright Sveta," Felix told her noticing where the teen's eyes were looking. "Artemis is on our side, she's Karis' mother."
"Really Felix? Is that how you're going to introduce me to everyone we meet?" Artemis teased as she pushed past him and Sveta to enter the house. Looking around the room for a few seconds Artemis headed over to the chairs by the fireplace and collapsed into the chair. The logs had yet to be lit, the air inside had been warm enough that it wasn't warranted. Now that the door had been left wide open and let the freezing morning air in it was more than cold enough to light the logs. "Where's Garet when I need him?" Artemis groaned when she realized there were no flames.
"Some things never change," Felix sighed as he too walked into the house.
"If you do not mind me asking Felix, what are you and Artemis doing here?" Sveta asked the Venus Adept.
"Same thing you are sweety," Artemis answered instead. "We need the Warriors of Vale to help stop one of the more dangerous things out there. Mia's healing skills will be beyond helpful. I don't doubt her son's ability or even Piers' ability, but Mia's a first class healer."
"What about Isaac, Jenna, and I?" Felix questioned.
"Please," Artemis laughed, "Venus and Mars have nothing compared to Mercury. You guys are good for cuts and bruises. Mia can mend bone and still have power left over to keep healing."
Sveta had the feeling that she was being ignored. The two seemed to be catching up rather than actually worried about what was going on around them. She wanted to ask what they needed the Warriors of Vale for but the chances of getting an answer appeared to be dwindling the longer Artemis and Felix conversed. Figuring that it wouldn't be too much longer before everyone came home Sveta walked over to the door to Rief's room and knocked loudly on it to wake the sleeping boys on the other side.
"Who else is here Sveta?" Felix asked at the sounds of her knocking.
"Matthew and Rief," she answered politely. Felix nodded his head in understanding. He proceeded to talk with Artemis about various things that he had missed during his time away from Weyard. Felix seemed too relaxed for someone that was participating in a war. Shaking her head Sveta headed to the room she shared with Mia to gather her belongings, she had the funny feeling they wouldn't be here for much longer. The door had been left open and Sveta could hear the two adults talking, only now their voices had become serious.
"Are we going to have time to collect Piers even?" Sveta heard Felix ask.
"Doubt it, we're wasting too much time here waiting for Mia and Garet. If I knew where they were I'd go and get them right now but our best option is waiting for them to come back." Artemis' voice was heavy with emotion. Sveta could tell that something was wrong and they didn't want to worry her for some reason.
"What about my sister?" Felix continued.
"They've run into a few snags," Artemis sighed. "Last our intelligence had to offer, she and her group were underground fighting off another one of Dai's pets. It'd take hours to reach them."
"If what you said was true then we need to hurry. There's a reason making a Fusion Dragon is a last resort, it's a hail marry of a move that can cause more than a few problems for all involved." Sveta's ears twitched at the words "Fusion Dragon". Racking her brain she couldn't remember what a Fusion Dragon was but the name sent a chill down her spine.
"Believe it or not Felix, I was against the creation of them from the start. Fusion Dragons retain very little sense of self and would go on a rampage if it wasn't for Umbra Psynergy controlling them." Artemis sounded angry and worried about what was going on.
"We're back!" Garet's voice yelled from outside the house. The door swung open and Garet walked in carrying a few bags in his arms. Mia and Reyson followed behind each with a single bag under their arms. When the fiery haired Mars Adept spotted Felix he just about dropped his bags on the floor. "Felix? What are you doing here?"
The door to the boys' room flew open the second Garet stopped talking. Matthew walked out of his room with a shocked look on his face. Last he knew his uncle was on a whole other continent which meant he should be nowhere near the living room in Mia's house. His eyes grew even wider when he saw Artemis sitting in the chair decked out in Tuaparang gear still. Unlike Felix, Matthew didn't recognize her right away and his hand went for the Sol Blade. His sword however, wasn't there for him to grab thus giving him enough time to actually see who it was sitting in the chair.
"Hello Matthew," Artemis grinned. "Next time make sure your sword's on you back when you go to draw it."
"This everyone?" Felix asked turning his attention to Mia. The Mercury Adept nodded her head in confirmation even if she didn't know why he was asking. Both Mia and Garet who had worked with Felix before could sense the aura around him and it told them that he meant business and short answers were best. "Get ready then, Isaac and the others are in danger."
"Dad's in trouble?" Matthew stood with his shoulders squared and looked directly at Felix waiting for an answer.
"Matthew. I want you, Rief, and Sveta to go and find Piers." Felix returned his nephew's stare. Cold brown eyes looked down at the younger Venus Adept. Slowly Matthew shook his head.
"If Dad's in trouble then what would getting Piers accomplish? Even if we were to find him, how would we be able to get to you guys? In fact how do you even plan to get to Dad?" Matthew remained calm even though Sveta could tell that he wanted to erupt but was holding back trying to keep from yelling and acting the child.
"Teleport." Artemis held out the Lapis to show everyone that she had the Psynergy granting item. "With this we can easily get to Mt. Aleph in a matter of seconds. It's how the Warriors of Vale could travel the world so quickly and how the Tuaparang infiltrated Tellius in such numbers."
Sveta came out of the room with her back slung over her shoulder. Walking over to Matthew she stood next to him and looked Felix directly in the eyes. She didn't know if it was going to help but she sure wasn't going to try and let Felix talk them into having them stay behind to perform a mission that served no real purpose. It was times like this that she wish Matthew had her Spirit Sense so he could read her mind to learn what Felix and Artemis had been talking about without anyone overhearing her tell Matthew.
"My son's coming with me," Mia told Felix sternly. "If Isaac and his group are in trouble then we are going to need as many fighters as we can muster Felix. I can understand wanting to spare them from danger but they can hold their own."
"We'll be facing two Fusion Dragons," Felix stated. Both Garet and Mia took a step back at the information that was just thrown at them. They had faced the original Fusion Dragon atop Venus Lighthouse. That one had been composed of Saturos and Menardi and it hadn't gone down easy, to be facing two such creatures would be a challenge. More importantly though and the question that plagued the Warrior's minds was, what unfortunate souls were turned into such a beast?
"All the more reason to bring them along." Garet turned and faced the younger generation that was standing together. "Mia won't be able to heal them all alone and it's asking too much of her to do so. Rief can help out. Beside your nephew and his girlfriend picked up-" Mia's elbow collided with Garets side and she looked up at him with an expression that told him to shut up. "Right, just saying that they work great together." The red mustached man laughed awkwardly as he tried to move past the fact he was about to share Matthew and Sveta's little spirit sharing ability. Mia wanted to keep it a secret until they could figure out how such a thing was possible. Matthew and Sveta had no objections to Mia's wish.
"Well enough talking, everyone get your things ready or we won't get there till after the battle." Artemis hopped up out of the chair and placed her helmet back over her head completely hiding her face once more. "I for one want my husband and friends to live through this." Matthew and Rief ducked back into their shared room to get ready. Mia instructed Reyson to gather a few of the potions she kept around the house while she headed to her room to gather her belongings.
When they had all gathered what they wanted to take the huddled around Artemis. Mia had made sure to grab her Clotho's Distaff, a red Ankh with the ability to heal like a Pure Ply without the cost of Psynergy. Artemis asked if they were all ready and she got her answer by the group nodding their head with determination in their eyes. Purple energy swirled around Artemis and into the Teleport Lapis as she used a larger amount of Psynergy to transport the group. Light shone from out of the lapis and into the people gathered around turning them into orbs of multicolor light before whisking them out of the house and towards Mt. Aleph.
Ivan stared in the direction that he felt the burst of Psynergy coming from. He had expected there to be some resistance at the base of the mountain. If the Tuaparang had flying ships then there was nothing stopping them from making their way to the area. Anyone that study Alchemy knew of the mountain and its importance and there was no doubt the Tuaparang would search there looking for power. There was a reason that the Ivan and the others wanted to get into the mountain and look around. Many things had changed in the last thirty years thanks to the events of the Golden Sun and release of Alchemy upon the world. Being the center of that power Mt. Aleph had to hold secrets still yet undiscovered. The prolonged life that the Warriors now experience, did it pass on naturally, could it be passed, over generations would the people of Weyard start to age slower? Those were questions that just ONE aspect of Alchemy's return that plagued Ivan's thoughts as he continually felt Psynergy being unleashed.
Next to him, and taking it nowhere near as well, was Lethe. She had debated out loud if she should try transforming and making her way across towards the mountain. While she couldn't sense Psynergy, the prolonged absence of the others made it apparent that something was going on and she was stuck here doing nothing. Ivan had been able to talk her out of such drastic measures by pointing out that even if she did make it she would have no clue where to start and by the time she made it to them she would be too exhausted to be of any help. It hadn't sat well with Lethe but she had agreed with Ivan's point, no need to be a hindrance.
When they both noticed dark energy blasting from the base of the mountain they had gotten truly worried about their friends. Ivan had yet to see Umbra Psynergy but he was certain that what he was witnessing was the Psynergy of the Dark element. Whoever they were facing was powerful. Glaring at where he had seen the black energy Ivan tried to calm his mind. He hadn't perfected it over such long distances but he could sense the difference in elemental Psynergy. Others like Jenna who fought with their Psynergy rather than physical strength had found they could tell the difference between each. Searching for the familiar feel of Isaac's Venus Psynergy Ivan tried to separate it from the other power he was feeling. If he could figure out Venus from this distance it would be a matter of memory to separate the other elements away from Venus. Each Adept had their own unique feel, no matter what element they were using, and so did each of the four elements.
"What's going on down there Ivan?" Lethe asked impatiently, breaking the Jupiter Adept's concentration. Ivan groaned as he lost all progress he had made towards honing in on Isaac's power.
"Lethe!" Ivan yelled letting out his anger on the laguz. "I can't concentrate if you interrupt me like that." A purple light appeared on Ivan's shoulder and soon took the shape of a Jupiter Djinn. Flying around the Djinn made sure it had his Adept's attention before landing on his shoulder again and whispering in his ear. "Good idea Brise." Quickly shaking his head Brise leapt off of Ivan's shoulder and flew at top speed towards the battle site. They would have to wait a bit while the little Djinn took a look at what was happening but at least they would soon know what was going on.
By the time that Brise came back Ivan could no longer feel any Psynergy being tossed around. He would have had to be a normal human to have missed the vast amount of power that could have only been Isaac's Grand Gaia. It had been large enough that he could feel that it was indeed his old friend who had been the one to unleash such power on the enemy. Brise reported that Isaac and the others had dispatched a creature that looked a lot like the Star Magician but they were now facing two, two-headed dragons. Keeping his anger in check Ivan relayed the information to Lethe who didn't understand just what the dragons meant. Ivan did explain that they were nothing like the Dragon Laguz and just how powerful they were.
Ivan had enough time to look back out towards the mountain when he could feel a large amount of Psynergy making its way to him and Lethe. Drawing his sword he put the Cat Laguz on edge as he waited to see just what the source of the power was. His unease wasn't pacified when he noticed multicolored lights gathering in front of him, he had no clue who was Teleporting themselves to the spot in front of them. All of his worrying was for nothing though as soon his wife, Felix, and Garet's group materialized. Even with Artemis dressed in her full Tuaparang armor he could tell it was her by the green hair protruding out the back and the club symbol on her armor.
"All aboard!" Garet yelled as he fully formed. "Next stop is the base of Mt. Aleph where we'll get to see a yellow haired guy in a trench coat beat a dragon senseless."
"Not the time for jokes," Ivan and Mia echoed.
"What's going on?" Lethe asked as she glared daggers at Artemis.
"We're going to help the others. Artemis will be able to teleport us to them." That was all the explanation that Lethe needed. Both Ivan and Lethe joined the group and once again Artemis poured her power into the lapis in order to move the group of people from the cabin lookout to the base of Mt. Aleph, where the start of the end was happening.