Cursing herself Mia sat in her cell with her arms tied behind her back. Her captors had learned the hard way that just because she didn't have a sword on her didn't mean that she was any less dangerous. They had made the mistake of leaving her alone in the room with a single soldier after Alex had dropped her off in the cell. When the lone guy had come in to bring her food, a stupid mistake coming INTO the cell, Mia had charged him and managed to wrestle the crossbow that hung at his waist off of him. Being made for simple use by even the most idiotic person Mia was quickly able to fire a bolt into the man and try to make her escape. It was short lived escape, before she had even made it out of the dungeon she had run into a group of Tuaparang with crossbows trained on her. Defeated Mia left them lead her back to the cell with the addition of iron manacles.
Mia's cell was a simple one as you would expect from the Tuaparang. A small cot sat in the corner of the stone room, a bucket was on the other side of the cell, and most importantly there was no window to look out of. A lantern sat in the middle of the floor, it had been left as the only light source in the cell casting a faint glow over the small room. A wooden door reinforced with steel bands was the only thing that stood between Mia and her freedom. The entire cell looked like a room that had been recently carved out of solid stone giving Mia the impression that she wasn't in a building but rather an improvised location.
"There doesn't seem to be anyone around Echo," Mia whispered. Really she didn't need to verbally let the Djinn know, it was just habit to speak aloud rather than mentally. Echo had managed to sink back into Mia when Alex had taken her from Daein Keep. Slowly the golden energy of a Venus Djinn leaked out of Mia onto the floor in front of her. While it was a small amount, Echo's manifesting did send out a wave of Psynergy that could be detected by a passing Umbra Adept, so he went about it slowly to minimize the amount of Psynergy he sent out.
Fully formed and sitting in front of Mia was the little elemental Echo. Closing his eyes in deep concentration the Djinn sat there for a few seconds before nodding. Turning around Mia presented the iron manacles to Echo. A Spire grew out of the ground into the chains with intense speed breaking both metal and stone. Movement of her arms restored Mia stretched them out a bit before she stood back up. Both her and Echo stood ready waiting to see if anyone had heard the iron breaking or felt the power of Echo's Spire. After waiting for a few painstakingly long minutes with no one coming Mia let out her breath.
"Are you sure about this?" Echo questioned unsure if what they were about to do was the sane thing.
"We can't just sit here and wait for rescue." Mia was certain that what she was doing was going to get her out of the dungeon at least. After that she would need to find a weapon and make her way out of wherever she was trapped.
"Let's get this show on the road then. I'll return to you after I've broken open the gate, I won't have enough Psynergy left to be of much use after this." That was the plain to get out of the cell this time, have Echo rip apart the door with a Stone Spire. While the reinforced door would be able to stand up to any assault Mia launched at it she doubted it would be the force of the Psynergy. After all she wasn't an Adept so they probably didn't feel the need to put her in a cell that could withstand the strength of an Adept's Psynergy.
Mia felt the hairs on the back of neck stand up before the ground reformed itself into spears of earth that slammed into the door. Each of the spires took out a large chunk of the door before breaking up into stone leaving a hole where the door had once been. Having no time to question what that feeling was Mia started running and made her way out of the new opening. Echo had returned to her by the time she had made her way out of the door, there was no need to worry about doing it quickly with the display of Psynergy Echo had just unleashed.
As expected, the blasting of the door had managed to get the attention of a few soldiers, two to be precise. Both of the Tuaparang troops had their crossbows ready and trained on Mia as she made her way down the corridor that she had found herself in. Luckily for her that the two soldiers were on the same side of the hall giving her a very easy option of which direction to head. Dashing down the rocky hall Mia made her escape by running away from the soldiers, she didn't stand a chance against them without something to defend herself with.
Hearing the sounds of the crossbow bolts hitting the rocks around her Mia picked up speed. Better able to take in her surroundings now Mia noticed that wherever she was underground, the stone walls and path before her were filled with rubble. Boulders still dotted the hall giving the place a cave-like feel to it as she ran. Torches hanging on the wall just close enough together to leave little patches of blackness only served to father the feel of a cave prison. Cave or not her destination was the same, outside and away from the Tuaparang. However, a cave would add to the fact that she might have to head upwards and pass through a few more Tuaparang filled levels than she originally planned.
After years on the battlefield Mia, like most soldiers, had developed a sort of sixth sense for danger and so when something in her gut told her to drop to her knees she did so. Feeling the force of an object cutting through the air where her head had once been Mia quickly got up and turned to face her attacker. It wasn't the normal Tuaparang soldier with armor and a crossbow that Mia found looking back at her. Instead it was a man about her size with a light sword in his hand, there was nothing remarkable about the sword, it looked like something that anyone could find at the local smithy. To further differentiate from the normal Tuaparang this guy wore very little armor over his body, a thin black chest plate being the only metal covering his body.
"So, the little girl has managed to escape her confines once more," the guy spoke as he moved into a ready position.
"Little girl?" Mia questioned offended at being called little by someone of the same height and who looked to be about the same age as her.
Ignoring her, the man charged forward and made to slice Mia in two. Quickly dodging the attack Mia danced back and forth avoiding the sword. Twice she had backed into the wall and got a shallow cut as a result. Whoever this guy was he was on the same level as a Tellian Trueblade when it came to speed so Mia was having problems avoiding his attacks actually. Ducking a slash that had been meant for her head Mia took the opportunity to launch an attack of her own. It wasn't the nicest attack she could do but, getting out alive was her plan. Mia's clenched fist connected with the man's family jewels. Scrawny looking as she was Mia had a lot of strength, she had used Alondite before and that took strength to swing, so suffice to say that when her fist connected the man dropped down to his knees rather quickly.
The clattering of metal on rock helped Mia quickly locate the man's dropped sword. Picking up the weapon Mia found that the sword wasn't balanced correctly, the blade was too heavy, she would have to take that into account when she went to use it or she'd end up possibly hurting herself more than her enemy. Not taking chances that she'd be followed Mia whacked the guy on the head with the hilt of the sword to knock him out cold, it also saved him from enduring the fiery pain that was burning between his legs.
"Alright Echo, any ideas where we should go from here?" Mia asked even if she didn't expect a response. Asking the question aloud just gave her something to focus on now that she had found a weapon, albeit a crappy one. Heading down the corridor Mia came to the first intersection. One headed to the left and there were no markings telling what may lie in that direction. On the right the path seemed to curve upwards. Figuring that she was underground Mia picked the path that lead up and hopefully out of the place.
"Alex, what news do you bring that could not wait until the marrow?" The Empyror of the Tuaparang asked the man that strolled into his audience chamber.
"Apologies," Alex responded coldly as he bowed to the man sitting before him. While his face was down and hidden from the Empyror Alex let a smile dance across his face before looking back up. "Dia has unleashed the Chaos Dragons upon Isaac and his companions. Soon they will tire and the Goddess Yune will appear to save her heroes. As expected Wanda, or Artemis as she is truly called, has returned to her family and fights against the Dragons."
"I still do not understand why you wanted her promoted to the rank of general Alex." Drumming his fingers on the arm of his chair the Empyror clearly expected an answer from Alex. For years Alex had been his advisor and for those years everything had worked out in favor of the Tuaparang but purposefully having a known traitor in such a high ranked place had been the most troubling request that the former Mercury Adept had made.
"Simple, I needed someone to blame for certain events." Alex raised his hand and an orb of each of Weyard's four basic elements appeared around the Adept. The Mercury orb slowly shifted between water and ice as it hung in the air near Alex's right shoulder. Across from that was the Venus orb, a solid rock with thorny vines wrapped around it. By his feet sat a sphere of Jupiter Psynergy, wind swirled around with lightning crackling within. Last, and certainly least, was the Mars Psynergy orb, its flames were clearly smaller than the other three orbs that Alex had crafted out of thin air.
"What is the meaning of this Alex, you know Psynergy is not allowed in my presence." It was something the Empyror despised. Even those his generals were all Adepts of varying strength he himself had no Psynergy to call his own. What power the man did have was granted to him by items such as the Cloak Ball and Halt Gem, weak utility Psynergy that even non-Adepts could use.
"How you managed to become a leader of the Tuaparang is beyond me. A coward such as yourself who hides in the shadows while his men do all the work, you have no desire to work for what you want." Some might say that Alex himself didn't do any work and simply had let Felix and the others cause the Golden Sun event. However, he had put effort into getting his goal done, a simple push or pull in key spots and he'd been able to get what he wanted done, for the most part. "So I plan to remove the weight that is dragging the Tuaparang down and dear Artemis is the perfect scapegoat. It is widely known that she holds the Teleport Lapis and can come here in an instant to kill you and be gone before anyone is the wiser."
"You cannot think I would not have taken precautions against such things," the Empyror grinned at Alex. "Guards, come and defend me! Protect your leader!" When there were no sounds of clanking armor rushing in to guard him the Empyror had a sinking feeling in his stomach.
"Do you realize now that you have been nothing more than a figurehead these past twelve years?" Alex dismissed all of the Psynergy orbs save the Jupiter one. "The few soldiers that I don't have on my side will rally under me once 'Wanda' kills you. We will continue your goal of unearthing that which lies below Mt. Aleph and use it to bring Weyard under our rule, after crushing the traitor Wanda of course." With a wave of an arm Alex caused the wind to whip into a frenzy and lightning to form. Blades of wind slashed at the figure of the Empyror as the lightning charred his body with its intense heat. Making sure that the body would still be recognized Alex stopped his attack before vanishing from the room.
Now all he would have to do would be wait until a few of the men he had control over found the body and would swear that it had been the general Wanda that had killed the Empyror. Taking over an entire country was easy, Alex simply had to find the one that fit his ideals and could be easily manipulated into doing his bidding. The Empyror had served his purpose well in creating a great military nation with technology far more advanced than what the rest of Weyard had seen. All of their airship designs, weapons, and even the Psynergy Vortex generators had come from Alex and what he had learned from the texts hidden within Mt. Aleph. Alex had just needed a man idiotic enough to allow him to roam free while the country worked on the seal for him.
Appearing in his room Alex picked up a tome that he had kept hidden from all others. It was a white book with the symbols of the four elements on it, the same ones that sat on the wall of Mars Lighthouse. A human to represent Venus, fish for Mercury, a bird for Jupiter, and dragons for the accursed power of Mars. Even these thirty years later Alex had gained more control of Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter that other Adepts could only dream of. His Mars power was weak though, Jenna and Garet had more power over the element of Fire than he did. It was all because of the Wise One transferring some Mars Star's power to Isaac.
Cracking open the book to the place that he had marked Alex made sure that he would have everything he would need in order to gain what had been stolen from him. The seal that sat at the very bottom of the mountain that Alex had been trapped under could only be undone by the powers of a god, for a god had made the seal. The book that Alex had in his hands told of the god of Weyard, the deity which all Alchemy and Psynergy came from. Without this creature the people of Weyard would have no power, they would be simple humans rolling in the mud still trying to figure out how to make tools. Namax, God of Alchemy, had locked himself below Mt. Aleph after tossing Weyard into the sky to protect his people from Yune's, fit. Even now he still slept there, the Wise One a simple manifestation of the sleeping God's subconscious trying to protect his people.
Yune would soon be trapped back in her Medallion, or at least a replica that Alex had managed to make with bronze, orihalcon, and a mixture of all four elements. After that he would need to procure either the Alondite or Ragnell, preferably the Ragnell, as they both carried strong blessings by a god. Either weapon would be able to channel Yune's power into a form that Alex could work with to bring down the barrier. First though, Alex would need to reclaim his missing power from Isaac. Death was the quickest way for Alex to take back the power, of course he couldn't simply just kill Isaac and take the power. He needed the boy to enter the Inner Sanctum where the Mars Star had once sat. If Isaac died there the power would return in the shape of the Mars Star for Alex to take for himself.
Simply taking the power of Mars from Isaac wasn't enough though, after finding out about the existence of Namax Alex had set his sights higher. Why simply control the elements granted to him by a god when there was ever the possibility that he could take the god's power for himself? He would again need Yune's power to kill Namax, humans couldn't take down a god without assistance, Ike had been proof of that when he faced Ashera. She had even been weakened having been Ashunera at one point the goddess had split herself, and therefore her power, into two entities. It was safe to say that Ashera and Yune were something akin to a half god, certainly stronger than anything humans could be alone, but weaker than a true god like Namax.
"Namax will be at his weakest once the seal breaks. He will have to awaken before he can use his full powers, it is then that I'll have to strike." Alex closed the book and placed it down on the table in front of him. "Now, it's time to go and collect the first piece of the puzzle."
Matthew jogged over to Sveta, still holding his dad's great sword, and looked up at the remaining Chaos Dragon that loomed over the group. What his dad and Ike had done was amazing to say the least, Matthew had no clue that the Sol Blade could unleash such power. Truly the simple fact that they had managed to incapacitate the dragon without killing it was the amazing feat. Having traveled with them before Matthew could see the toll the fight had taken on Sveta and Reif, they were both running low on power. Feeling that his own strength was failing Matthew did what he could to heft the heavy metal sword and stand ready with his friends and family to put a stop to another Chaos Dragon.
I don't know how we're going to do it. Surely Dad and Ike can't do that again so quickly. Stealing a glance at the two warriors Matthew could see that they were in worse shape than he was. Both were still near the last dragon on their knees, unable to get up from the amount of energy they had spent. Mia was there next to them but she wasn't healing them, there was no Psynergy glow around her. From the worried look on her face Ike and Isaac didn't want Mia wasting her power on them, it wasn't just injuries holding them back.
"About time you guys made it," Janaff said to the group as he landed next to them in his human form. It was hard to miss just how tired the Hawk was from flying around the dragon trying to annoy it and not get blasted out of the sky. "Just go to catch my breath a little and then I'll be back in." No one could fault the man for needing to catch his breath, they all needed it and they had been fighting in a much larger group.
No longer waiting for its prey to come to it the Chaos Dragon let out roar and started to move in the direction of the group. Black energy gathered in its maw as it readied to launch its breath attack at them. Instinctively Matthew wanted to unleash Chasm to protect them from the attack but he was still using Sveta's Djinn so the little elemental was with her.
Chasm wasn't need however as a young girl appeared in front of the group. Flicking one hand she caused a blue barrier to appear and absorb the attack of the Chaos Dragon. Her orange dress and red hair didn't even blow back from the shockwave of the breath hitting the shield. Waving the same hand in a sweeping motion three beams of blue energy blasted the dragon backwards. More importantly the scales weren't healing over like they did when one of the group attacked the dragon. Where the beams had touched the dragon blue flames stuck burning away more than the initial blasts had done.
"Yune!" Matthew heard Ike shut from behind him, the Tellian having recognized the girl as the goddess. "Don't kill it." Already the goddess had been readying another attack but halted when she heard Ike.
"Why not?" Yune asked looking back at Ike and seeing him kneeling. Her normally happy face had a dark mask of emotion placed over it giving the young girl a look that went beyond her years. This wasn't the goddess they were used to, one that happily bounced around causing a little mischief from time to time, this was a wrathful god.
"The dragon is made up of people, the Tuaparang are making them fight against their will." Ike told the Goddess of Chaos. Yune turned back to face the dragon that she had blasted. Having been hit so hard the Chaos Dragon didn't know what to think of the small creature in front of it.
"What have you done Brother? To allow such monstrosities to run across your land unchecked." Blue flames gathered around Yune as she looked up at the monster before her. No one knew what she was going to do to the dragon but they didn't think getting her way would be the right thing to do. Without any motion of her body the goddess sent the flames directly at the dragon. Combing with the fire that was still stuck to the dragon the additional flames engulfed the creature. Pained roars could be heard over the crackling inferno that Yune had unleashed on the dragon. Without hesitation Yune gathered more fire and sent it to the fallen dragon that joined its brother in deafening the heroes.
All anyone could do was cover their ears and watch as the flames shrunk. It took a while for him to see it but Matthew noticed that the flames weren't getting smaller, rather the dragon was. Already it had gone back to the size of a normal Fusion Dragon rather than the giant size they had been facing. Still the blue flames caused the twin dragons to shrink even farther down, down to the size and shape of humans. Yune had managed to cleanse them all of the taint that had turned them into monsters. Seeing two human forms lying down in front of them the group ran over to check on just who had been forced into fighting. Ike, Isaac, and Mia checked the first dragon as they were closer to it.
First person that Matthew saw caused him to do a double take. The white hair and brown robes were a dead giveaway to which one of the people that made up the dragon was, Kraden. He knew that Rief had left the old scholar safe in town, there was no stopping him from exploring after all. Being all alone Kraden had probably been an easy target for them to get. Looking over at Rief, Matthew could tell that his friend was beating himself up for leaving the man alone and open. With nothing to say Matthew stood there understanding Rief's pain.
The other body was one that Matthew didn't recognize right away. It was woman, she was lying on her back so Matthew was able to see her face. Purple hair with a few gray strands went down to just above her shoulders in the front and a braid in the back. Around her neck was a bronze medallion that was glowing with the blue flames that Yune had sent at it. It wasn't until Ivan ran over and fell to his knees lifting the woman up, hugging her close to him, that Matthew remembered who the woman was. It was Hama, Ivan's older sister, a powerful Jupiter Adept that had helped his dad thirty years ago. Unlike her brother Hama hadn't been blessed by the Golden Sun event and her body had aged normally.
"Why's Lehran's Medallion around her neck?" Reyson asked noticing the flaming item sitting on Hama's chest. Those who knew what the medallion was rushed over to check and see if Reyson was right. Matthew hadn't seen the medallion before but he'd heard tale of how it glowed blue with the flames of war when Yune had been imprisoned inside. Sure enough the bronze item that hung around Hama's neck was set aflame.
"More importantly, why's it glowing?" Lethe reached for the medallion. Reyson grabbed her hand before she was able to touch it. Slowly the Heron shook his head back and forth. Not understanding why she was being stopped Lethe had the sense not to question why. When it came to the Medallion, the Herons were the most knowledgeable.
"Who do we have over there?" Garet shouted at the three that had gathered around the other bodies.
Ike turned and faced them with a grim look on his face. "It's Tormod and Vika. Haven't seen them since I got back to Tellius. Tormod has a medallion on his jacket, looks just like Yune's." Last time any of them had seen the Fire Sage had been when Ike sent him to get the Greil Mercenaries. He had gotten to the mercenaries but no one had paid it any mind that the Sage had gone missing after that.
"It's worse than it looks," Mia called out to everyone who was worried about the four unconscious people. "They're fine, just drained." It was a load off of everyone's minds when they heard those words. Yune had been able to turn them all back to human, and laguz, without killing them. Something that no one had really known how to do when they had started the fight.
"I… don't feel so good." Yune plopped facedown into the ground. Felix rushed over to the fallen girl and picked her up in his arms. Debating whether or not it'd work with a goddess or not Felix ripped a glove off with his teeth and placed the back of his hand against Yune's forehead. If she was a human Felix would have said that she had a fever she was burning so hot. She'd brushed up against him often enough that he knew she'd never felt this hot before.
"Heh. Never thought that Alex's plan would work so well," Dia chuckled as he came into view. Everyone had been wrapped up in checking the injured to hear the armor clanking. "They aren't REAL medallions of course, just duplicates we were able make. Thing was we had to lure the little goddess here for them to work."
"What are you talking about Dia?" Artemis asked readying her bow, lightning crackling around the arrow she'd leveled at Dia's head. Her scowl one that Matthew had seen many times before, just with violet eyes rather than blue, it was the same angry look Karis had. A furrowed brow, eyes that seemed to crackle with rage, and lips pressed together so hard they started to turn white. "Just what have and Alex been doing in the background?! Surely the High Empyror has kept a tight rein on you and your experiments."
"Are you kidding me Wanda, or should I call you Artemis now? Either way, the Empyror knows exactly what I've been up to. He's the one who financed this little piece." With his armor covering his face there was no way to tell what emotion Dia was feeling. No expression to give it away and the helmet distorted his voice enough that no one could tell. Artemis however didn't have a helmet and so it showed on her face that she was shocked, by both the Empyror having a hand in the creation of the fake medallion and that Dia knew her real name. "And now, say goodbye to your precious goddess."
Having Yune in his arms Felix was the first to notice just what was going on. All over the girl little patches of blue fire started to appear. It was over in a matter of seconds, the flames covered Yune and turned her body into fire. The medallions lifted up off of Hama and Tormod before flying through the air into Dia's outstretched palms. Taking the two bronze items Dia joined them together causing them to suck in the fire that Yune had become.
"What, just happened?" Rief asked as he looked at the medallion that now floated in front of Dia. The flames started to dissipate leaving the medallion pulsing with a faint blue light.
"Our victory," another voice echoed through the area, this one familiar to many. Three white rings appeared next to Dia. Light filled the rings and soon took the shape of a human. When the light and rings vanished, standing in their place was Alex, who looked rather pleased with himself.
"Alex," Felix growled for more than one reason. He hadn't forgotten that the man had taken Mia right out from under his nose. Now Yune was taken from him too, because Alex had figured out a way to make a duplicate of Lehran's Medallion.
"Good to see you made your way here Felix, you've done such excellent work." Alex looked over the group and spotted Artemis standing among the lot of them. "Ah dear Artemis. I must say it's about time that you've shown your true colors. If it wasn't for you Felix wouldn't have made it here in time for little Yune to fall into our trap."
"You knew," Ivan stated rather than asked. "You knew Artemis was working for the Tuaparang!"
"Of course. A Jupiter Adept with green hair isn't exactly common place. It took only a few days to figure out that she was your wife." Alex was smug at having found this information out a long time ago. Dia on the other hand turned and looked at the blue haired Adept and even though there was a helmet blocking his face, you could just get the sense that he too was surprised at having learned this. "I didn't expose her too soon in case I had need of her, and I did. She made an excellent delivery girl. I had counted on Yune following after Felix once she found out that he'd be leaving Tellius, which was a paramount to our plans."
"And what plans are those?" Ike questioned as he made his way over to the main group with Ike and Mia in tow. The Angle had both Tormod slung on her back while Ike was carrying the Raven girl.
Alex glared at Isaac while he spoke, "To break through the seal at the bottom of Mt. Aleph and claim what was denied to me thirty years ago."