Ike was sitting down at the table in Daein Keep's dining room. Felix was to his right explaining to everyone where he had come from. Micaiah and Sothe seemed to be listening very intently taking in everything like the rulers they were. The two young members of Micaiah's group seemed to be listening just as closely has the royals but they had the "oh-my-god-none-of-this-can-be-real-but-I-hope-it-is" look on their faces. The older man Nolan who had sat in between the two kids simply nodded his head from time to time. Then there was Mia. She was staring at Felix. Ike could not for the life of him tell exactly what the look was for. There were so many feeling being conveyed in the gaze Ike wasn't sure how someone could feel that much that so intensely that it showed on your face. To name a few of the feelings behind Mia's gaze there was anger. Wasn't hard to figure out where that came from. Excitement, admiration, bewilderment, something Ike couldn't place, and many others.
Felix ended his story to which Ike added. "I believe him. We've been traveling together for the past three years and he hasn't given me any reason to doubt him."
"So you age slowly like I do?" Micaiah asked him.
"Not even sure I age anymore. Other than having to cut my hair I haven't changed in twenty years." Felix said solemnly.
"Well I don't know how to tell you guys this put I have no clue where Yune is right now." Micaiah told them. "As a Goddess of Chaos though she seems to be attracted to danger. It wouldn't hurt to go look in Begnion. Sanaki has sent letters telling of fights on near the coast." Without the return of her soldiers the Queen didn't know what she was sending her friends into.
"Guess we'll be heading there then." Ike looked at Felix to see what his companion thought. Felix just gave a nod.
"Hope you aren't planning on an all guys trip" Mia told them with a devilish grin. "No way am I letting Felix out of my sight. Not till I've beaten him at least. No powers in our next match though!"
Without even looking at the Adept Ike could tell he rolled his eyes. Volug offered to accompany them. They accepted knowing how helpful the senses of a laguz would be on the journey south.
Even after traveling with the laguz for so long Felix couldn't help but think of the werewolves of Garoh. That brought back memories he rather not deal with. A time when he was hunted by old friends as he tried to save both the world and his parents.
"I'll make sure Micaiah sends Sanaki a letter letting her know to expect you on the field." Sothe informed the small group standing outside of Daein Keep. The Queen had been detained having to deal with the politics of being a ruler. Instead the King along with the other members of the Dawn Brigade had come to see old friends off. "That way you won't cause too much of a shock when you appear."
Ike rubbed the back of his head and muttered something about being a hero. It sounded very much like "I didn't ask for this" but no one could really tell. The four set off with the morning light Ike leading the way. Volug was shifted acting as a dog once again. Felix strode alongside the shifted man with Mia behind him. Felix felt like a rabbit being hunted by a wolf. The she-wolf behind him wouldn't give up stalking her prey until she had the chance to bring it down.
Days passed as they walked through the country of Daein into the Begnion Empire. The only thing that offered amusement for the group was that every so often once they had camp set up Mia would challenge Felix to another duel. Each time he'd refuse until she drew her blade and gave him no choice. With each loss Mia would sit down and Felix would use his Psynergy to heal the wounds he inflicted. Even if it was her fault for attacking him Felix couldn't let her stand there bleeding. With each cut of her skin he inwardly flinched. She was a companion, a strange one, and he didn't want to hurt her. Ike though was just happy it wasn't him the female warrior wanted to challenge continuously.
After three days after crossing the border into the Empire they ran into a small group of Begnion soldiers. The leader immediately recognized Ike. He had fought under him during the Mad King's War. Being famous did have some downsides. The group of soldiers as it was called since it was only about six people in size demanded that they be allowed to accompany the hero to the battlefield. No argument would deter them it seemed until Volug shifted back into human and for some reason they left immediately after. This caused both Ike's and Mia's moods to sour. It seemed Begnion's people weren't getting along with the laguz as well as hoped.
As the sun set a town came into view. Deciding they wanted to sleep on a real bed this once they headed towards it in hopes of finding a decent priced inn. The Silver Cat Paw is where the four ended up staying. What surprised the two beorcs, Felix was hesitant to count himself as a normal human, was the fact the inn was run by a cat laguz. The town was just under two days travel from Gallia. While there might still be prejudice against laguz in some parts of Tellius it seems other parts were integrating just fine. Ike paid for two rooms and a large meal for each them. Eating fully prepared food wasn't something you normally got on the road. Once the waitress, a blonde beorc, brought the food to the table it was devoured in mere minutes. Mia and Felix being the more civil ones at the table were the last to finish.
"Well I'm stuffed." Mia said. "Guess you get off easy tonight Felix. I'm too stuffed to fight."
At that instance a young man with dark red hair walked into the building. He was wearing an orange cape and with a green shirt, gloves, and headband. He was also sporting a pair of brown shorts and normal tan boots. Behind was a tall man wearing a white bandana green hair sticking out from underneath along with two triangular ears. He had on a simple blue shirt and black pants with a green tail sticking out of it. A youngish looking girl came in after the man. She had brownish black hair wore a red halter top and a pair of light blue pants. Black wings were her defining feature.
"Hey Badr got two rooms open?" the fiery youth asked.
"Sorry Tormod just gave the last two to that group over there. If I knew you were coming I would have saved them." Badr said pointing to Felix's table. The youth, Tormod, turned to look in the direction Badr was pointing.
"Wait is that Ike?!" Tormod shouted. He ran over to the table and stared at the blue haired man. "When did you get back? It's been what three years since you left."
Ike got up and faced Tormod. The height difference was great. Tormod came halfway up Ike's chest. If Ike was female Tormod would have a great view. "Yes it's been three years Tormod." Then Ike walked over to the two laguz. "It's good to see you Muarim and you to Vika."
"Hello Ike" the tailed man said in a deep voice. "You seem to have gotten stronger."
"Hi." Was all the raven said.
"Well invite them to sit Ike" Mia shouted at him. Ike did so and the three sat down around the table. Introductions were made for Felix. Muarim was a tiger laguz and Vika was of the Bird Tribe the black wings signifying she was a raven.
"So what are you doing here in Begnion? I thought you left to explore the world leaving us here to clean up after the Goddess War."
"We're going to see the group that's attacking in the south."
"You mean those guys calling themselves the Tuaparang?" Tormod asked.
Felix tensed at the name. The Zenith Tribe was here in Tellius. Before he had fallen off of Weyard there were rumors that the Tuaparang were starting wars. How did they manage to come to Begnion though? Even with their technology how would they know about the world below? The only way Felix could think of was that Weyard had returned to the surface. He now had a way home. Felix couldn't leave Ike and the residence of Tellius to deal with the Tuaparang on their own though.
"Ike we need to leave now." He told the blue haired man. "The Tuaparang are from Weyard and their technology is more advanced than any other land we've been to." Felix's voice carried a sense of both worry and dread.
Ike nodded his head. "Sorry Tormod, Muarim, Vika. Looks like we have to leave."
"We're coming with you then. Seems like you guys need some magical support. I've been practicing and I've gotten pretty good with Wind Magic like to see those Thunder Mages come at me now."
"No. You need to get the Greil Mercenaries and bring them to the sight. If Felix is right we're going to need some stronger allies." Ike told the young Fire Sage his voice carrying authority.
"Alright. I'm coming with them though. No way am I missing out on a chance to show you just how strong I've gotten."
Ike, Volug, Felix and Mia got up from the table and left the inn heading south once again. Tormod, Muarim, and Vika took their rooms and left the next day with the rising sun.
"Halt" a Begnion guard said to the approaching travelers. Felix followed the command. It had taken two days to reach the edge of the army camp. In the back of his mind Felix wanted nothing more than to cause a quake and proceed past the army straight towards the Tuaparang. The only thing it would accomplish though would be to piss off the Begnion army. Felix needed allies not more foes.
"Let us past. Don't you know who we are?" Mia asked in an annoyed tone. They hadn't gotten much sleep during the two days and it affected the Trueblade's mood in a very negative way. Felix had used his Psynergy to keep his body going. Physically he was fine but his mind still craved sleep. Both the wolf laguz and Ike didn't seem to be affected at all. Truly they were made a strong stuff.
"And who would you be miss?" the guard responded in an equally annoyed tone.
"I'm Mia and this" she pointed to Ike "is a very famous fellow by the name of IKE!" she shouted his name.
The guard scoffed. "Lady do you know how many guys come here claiming to be the legendary hero? Just this week I've turned down seven 'Ikes' and they didn't get through just like you four won't."
Felix was losing his patience which is saying something. As a Venus Adept having patience was key in using the powers of Earth. Between his lack of sleep, the idiot guard, and urgency of his mission casting Ragnarok on this guard was starting to sound like a good idea. If only he still had Echo he'd have enough Djinn for Odyssey. How Felix wished that for once Ike's status as a celebrity wouldn't hinder their travels through Tellius.
"Listen you're going to let us through so we can talk to you commanding officer." Ike told the guard. Even if the man didn't believe them about Ike being Ike he was still big and ripped.
The flapping of wings could be heard above the group. Felix looked up towards the sound and he could make out two figures in the sky. Two wyverns were heading away from the army one black the other a dark green. A man in black armor with an eye patch sat asleep on the black wyvern. On the back of the green wyvern was a girl in red armor with long red hair put up in a ponytail.
"Hey Haar wake up" the girl yelled over the wind towards the sleeping man.
"Wazzat?" Haar mumbled as a response. His wyvern gave him a quick shake causing him to wake up fully. "Hey I just fell asleep why'd you wake me?" Haar asked his wyvern.
The girl came up next to Haar and pointed to the ground ahead of them. "Isn't that Ike down there?"
Haar looked to where the girl was pointing. Sure enough Ike was standing talking to some soldier.
"Good eye Jill" he told the girl. Without instructions their mounts landed on the ground near their riders' friend.
"Haar! Jill! Maybe you can tell this idiot who we are!" Mia exclaimed as she ran up to the two dismounting riders. Mia pulled them both towards the guard saying they weren't moving fast enough. As she dragged them she told them about how the guard didn't believe her when she told them who Ike was.
When Haar and Jill came up to the guard he saluted. "Sir Haar, Miss Jill what bring you here?"
Rubbing his eye Haar looked at the two others traveling with Ike then back at the guard. "Listen this guy is actually Ike. If he wants in I'd let him. We all know the army could use his help."
Upon hearing this the guards face paled. "Sorry Sir Ike. Of course you and your friends are welcome."
"There you go Mia now can I get back to sleep?" Haar asked already heading back to his wyvern.
"Wait where you two headed?" Ike asked Jill seeing as how Haar was still halfway asleep.
"Back to Daein. Micaiah sent us down to figure out what was going on. Doesn't look too good down there. Whoever these guys are they have some weird but powerful weapons. Some of them have crossbows that can shot ten bolts in succession before they have to reload. The Pegasus Knights are having a hard time it's mostly ground troops fighting."
"I want you to tell Micaiah to send some troops down here then. If there giving Begnion so much trouble it'll only be a matter of time before they move on to Daein or one of the other countries. I already have Tormod getting the Mercenaries."
"Alright I'll tell her. If the Greil Mercenaries are joining the fight then it has to be serious." Jill slightly joked. She ran over to Haar's wyvern patting it's side telling it to take to the air and follow her. A rush of wind signaled their takeoff. Now knowing who stood before him the guard had no problems letting them pass. The four went into the army camp and headed for the commander's tent.
Matthew and his friends had traveled for four days before they had reached the army camp. Their little guards hadn't harassed them since they had met. Instead they were completely ignored. This suited the Adepts just fine. Udaya however was a chatter box. She sat with them every night when they stopped for rest. Whenever she had the chance she would ask the world's most random questions about Weyard. These ranged from what the countries were like to what flowers there were. Rief was the one who answered her questions.
Once they had gotten into the camp their guard dispersed leaving Udaya to lead them to the Captain's Quarters. When they got to the tent a guard told them they'd have to wait the Captain was already meeting with a group of four who were looking to join. He seemed very happy and Udaya asked him why.
"One of them is Ike of the Greil Mercenaries." He informed her.
Well that opened the fan girl flood gates. Instantly Udaya became very giddy at the fact that Ike was just beyond the tent flap. She turned and launched into story mode about how he had saved Tellius from the Mad King Ashnard and from everyone being turned by the Goddess of Order. While she never served under him during the Mad King's War she had seen him in action while he was with the Laguz Alliance. Apparently he was a great big man with blue hair and the brightest blue eyes that made you want to stare into them for hours. He could swing giant two-handed swords with only one hand he was soooo strong. After her unbiased explanation of Ike the tent flap opened up revealing said hero. Along with a man who was slightly familiar to Matthew.
The familiar looking man spoke up. "Isaac what are you doing here? Didn't you have a beard last I saw you? Did Jenna threaten to singe it off if you didn't shave it?"
Matthew was dumbstruck. Who was this man and how did he know his parents? Wait brown hair in ponytail, brown eyes, solemn look. This man was looked exactly like his uncle Felix did in the painting of the Warriors of Vale that was hanging up in the palace in Kalay.
"Uncle Felix?" Matthew asked slowly.
This time it was Felix who was dumbstruck. "Matthew? Gods you're the spitting image of Isaac. I've been away for a while haven't I?"
"Wait this is Jenna's brother Felix?" Tyrell questioned.
"Yep. It's been thirty years since I last saw him but he looks exactly the same." Eoleo confirmed the identity of the man.
"This isn't the place for a reunion Felix" Ike told him.
"Right we should find somewhere to sit first."
"We have to meet with the guy in charge though." Tyrell said.
"Oh don't worry about that guys. I'm sure the captain won't mind if a few of you are missing. We really only need one of you to meet him." Udaya informed the Adepts she knew. Her hand quickly latched onto Rief and pulled him into the tent.
"Well looks like someone has a girlfriend" Eoleo chuckled.
Ike motioned for everyone to follow him. No one objected because he was one of the only people who had actually been in an army camp. The Vanguard led them to out of the main camp to a clearing. Felix, Himi, and Matthew used their powers over Earth to generate makeshift seats.
"So Matthew why are you and your friends here?" Felix asked as they all sat down.
"We followed the Tuaparang here. After the Grave Eclipse…"
"The what? Maybe you should explain that first."
Matthew launched into the story about the Psynergy Vortex's and how Tyrell had broken the Soarwing causing the start of the adventure. Introductions were made as each person joined the party in the story. The story didn't stop with the ending of the Grave Eclipse though. Matthew continued and told Felix about Ivan's vision of the Tuaparang flying over the seas followed by a group of eight people on a ship. Matthew did happen to leave out the fact his spirit accompanied Sveta on her attempt to use the Apollo Lens.
"You guys went through a lot didn't you?" Mia said being the first to recover from the story. The seven shook their heads in agreement. Rief was still back at the tent with the captain and Udaya. It was quite the tale. Everyone sitting in the makeshift earthen seats had done great things.
"So you guys have actually dealt with the Tuaparang before." Ike observed. "I take it that's why you were brought here."
"Yes after we landed Rief told Udaya our story and she decided to bring us here." Karis confirmed. "Now you have some explaining to do to your nephew. My dad said that you disappeared about twenty years ago to find some adventure. He also told me that you never wrote Jenna." As Karis spoke her tone changed to a very angry one and she stood up so she could look down on Felix.
"Is your mother a Mars Adept?" Felix questioned.
"What does that have to do with anything?!" Karis replied confused.
"Ivan was always very calm. It's odd to see his daughter with such a fiery personality."
Even though no one else had ever said anything those who traveled with Karis always did wonder where she got her spirit from.
"No she wasn't. Now where were you?!"
"Doing exactly what your father said. I was looking for something. What that is doesn't concern you though. I never wrote Jenna because I never had the time or when I did think about it I didn't have the means. Does that satisfy you?"
"You still could have come home at least once." Matthew said quietly. "Mom was always worried about you. She wouldn't let me or dad see but when she thought no one was looking she'd cry and look up at the sky asking where her brother was!" as Matthew spoke his voice rose to he ended up yelling. The young Venus Adept got up off his seat and walked off into the surrounding woods. It shocked his friends that Matthew yelled. He was always the calm one who had led them through the trials that the Tuaparang threw at them.
Sveta watched the retreating figure disappear into the woods. She glared at Felix then took off after Matthew before anyone could stop her. She had a feeling in the back of her mind that told her to follow him. Matthew was in a sad state and she had to help him. After the death of Volechek he had helped her. Now it was her turn to help her friend.
It wasn't hard to track him down. She had his scent mesmerized. The smell of oak and dirt mixed in with the smell of human cities and a slight flowery fragrance. In the foreign woods full of unfamiliar smells his stood out like a fire against the night sky. Following the smell she found him sitting with his back against a tree. He was staring up at the leaves. Quietly she approached him.
He turned his gaze towards her. There were traces of water in his clear blue eyes. It was obvious he was trying not to cry. Sveta sat down next to him her back against the tree. She put an arm around his shoulder like he had done for her before. A ghost of a smile touched his face.
"He just left my mom all those years ago Sveta." He explained his voice strained. "He's her brother and yet he stayed away for twenty years. I've never even met my own uncle till today. I was happy when I first saw him and as I told him about our adventure." Matthew leaned back into the tree. "Then Karis had to question him about where he'd been. I wanted to know too but I was afraid of the answer. Did he not want to be part of our family? Did he not approve of my dad marrying his sister?"
"I do not know the answer to your questions Matthew. Only Felix would know them." Sveta said in a comforting voice. "When you are ready to ask him these questions I'm sure he will answer you. If you want I will, I mean, our friends will be there to back you up."
Matthew went back to staring at the leaves above them. He did scoot closer to Sveta though.
He is just looking for comfort. Sveta told herself. He would move closer to Karis if it was her here instead of me. How I wish I could read his mind right now. If I knew what was going on in there maybe I could cheer him up.
A bush rustling a few feet from them snapped Sveta out of her thoughts. At first Sveta thought it was just an animal passing by them. At least until another bush made noise off to her right followed by even more on her left. Three animals slowly came out of the brush. One was a giant orange cat with a green collar that had two ribbons coming off it ending with bells. The cat had to have moved very slowly since Sveta had never heard the bells make a single sound. Another cat came out and it too was covered in orange fur with a collar. The last was a tiger looking animal. It had large fangs and bandages wrapped around its front two legs just above the paws.
The cat with the green collar started to glow and stand on two legs. When the light was gone the cat was replaced by a woman. She wore dark green shorts and a light green top her collar was still on. Her hair was the same color as her fur. Two cat ears stuck out from the top of her head and she had an orange tail. Purple eyes stared at Sveta and Matthew.
"Who are you?" the woman hissed.