Lethe slammed into Dia with all the force she could muster. Even armored so heavily Dia staggered backwards creating an opening for Garet to bring his axe down. The black armor of their foe didn't give way under either of the blows dealt to it. Sounds of Reyson's Galdr echoed off the walls, keeping not only Lethe but Janaff, filled with energy to sustain their transformation. Without having to worry about wasting energy, Janaff flew down at top speed towards Dia. A pair of talons took a hold of the gauntlet of his free hand. With the Hawk so close, it was impossible for Dia to swing the Gurgurant effectively at the laguz.
Pitch black spheres appeared in the air around Janaff before converging on the laguz. Both the formation and the attack itself were so fast that there was no chance for escape. Mia wasn't a slacker though, already she was finishing the spell for her Ply Well. the little fairy, that only the Adepts could see, flew around the Hawk healing his wounds. Quick on the draw as she was to heal him, Janaff was still forced to let go of Dia.
Rushing in Garet's axe glowed red hot. The distance between him and Dia was greater than the reach of his weapon, so when he swung the axe Dia was caught off guard a bit. It wasn't until the blast of hot air hit him did he realize that Garet had used the Mars Psynergy, Heat Wave. This Psynergy spell did nothing more than generate heat in the direction the Adept wanted, the intensity of that heat was the problem.
Standing in such heavy armor was generating enough heat for Dia as is, add the increase in temperature from Garet's Heat Wave into the mix and it was a recipe for heat exhaustion. The ebony armor continued to grow hotter as Garet kept the spell going. Keeping a Psynergy spell going like he was, Garet was quickly draining the Psynergy he had on hand. The Mars Adept's plan had worked, the armor had started to glow from the heat.
"Glacier!" Mia finished the chant for the high level ice spell. As the Heat Wave's effects started to dissipate, the cold freezing air of the Mercury Psynergy started to take effect. Frost started to appear on the ground and rapidly turned into ice that crept upwards before fully encasing the Umbra Adept in a large chunk of ice. Even Psynergy enhanced metals had a hard time switching between such extremes without any effects.
Dia broke free of the ice in no time but the damage to his armor had already been done. Chinks now lined the dark surface of the metal, with large cracks near the joints. Together the two Adepts had created a weak point in their opponent's armor. A screech cut through the silence as Janaff moved to make use of what had just happened. Distracted by the Hawk's battle cry the armored foe didn't notice the orange blur racing towards him. Goddess blessed claws slashed into the cracked metal, the force of the laguz's paw was more than enough to cause the ebony armor to break. Chunks of Dia's leggings fell to the ground revealing cloth covered tree trunk sized legs underneath. Hawk talons soon shattered the shoulders the caused a chain reaction leaving Dia with just his helmet.
"I congratulate you on breaking my armor." Tossing his last remaining piece of prized protection Dia revealed his face. A scruffy red beard covered a strong jaw, a mess of curly red hair sat atop the warrior's head. Cold, uncaring, green eyes gazed almost lifelessly at the group. "Seems only Gurgurant was able to come away unscathed. Guess the ancients knew what they were doing."
Under his armor he'd been wearing, Dia wore a simple set of black clothes. The man was huge, his armor hadn't been just an intimidation tactic, it had been forged to fit the man. His muscles surpassed even Ike's in size, giving Dia another form of intimidation, he looked like he could wrestle with Skrimir and easily come out victorious. Swing the Gurgurant so easily now made sense to the heroes.
"Now the real fun begins." Dashing forward Dia moved with speed that threw the group off. Without his armor weighing him down he was quite fast. Reyson had been unprepared for the wave of energy from the sword to come hurtling towards him. The Heron had been staying in the air away from the battle. So when he was caught off guard by the attack, he was a ways away from the rest of the group. Hit by the sudden attack he now plummeted to the ground. Janaff tried to fly to the Reyson's aid before Dia could reach him but the Umbra Adept had a significant head start.
Poised and ready, Dia moved to run Reyson through but was stopped by a well timed lance. Holding the weapon was none other than Gatrie. With a roar the Marshall pushed Dia back, protecting the frial Heron. Two sets of Dragon Fumes barreled through the air at the Umbra Adept. Black orbs spawned in front of the fire, causing them to detonate early. The pristine white orbs of Ellight gathered above Dia before the came crashing down on him. After the light had cleared away they could see a black aura covering Dia. Seemingly this aura had protected him from Rhys' attack as he had no visible signs of damage. An electrically charged arrow pierced the aura and Dia's shoulder, Artemis was standing next to the Saint with her bow in hand. Boyd and Lucia came charging at Dia without hesitation, faster than her Reaver ally, Lucia was the first to reach her for, not before Dia was able to remove the arrow.
Blocking Lucia's thin sword with the monster of a blade he was wielding, Dia held the Trueblade back. Rushing in with a side swipe Boyd's axe met with a blade of energy. Tendrils of black energy radiated off of Dia causing the three fighters to move back out of range. In the assault the had happened, Janaff had been able to get Reyson away from the battlefield. The dark tentacles lashed out at the nearest fighter, Boyd, who was barely able to keep them at bay with his axe as he moved away.
"Glad we made it in time," Artemis sighed in relief.
"Any later and we would have had an angry Bird King to deal with back home," Boyd chuckled lightly at his own attempt at a joke. Had Reyson died, Tibarn would have surely sought retribution and not necessarily against only those who had killed the White Prince.
"Where are Isaac and Matthew?" Jenna's worry for her husband and son was openly displayed on her face.
"They went ahead with the others to stop Alex," Garet answered his childhood friend. Nodding to show her understanding, Jenna moved towards the exit to follow after her family.
Dia wasn't about to just let the female Mars Adept just pass him by though. once Jenna was within range of the tentacles, they moved straight for her. Anticipating this, Jenna had cast Flare Storm to block the attack. When the dark Psynergy passed unhindered by the fire, Jenna had no choice but to start retreating away from Dia. As she put some distance between her and the Umbra Adept, Gatrie appeared with his shield raised to halt the energy assault. Everyone held their breath not knowing if the Marshall would be able to take the attack or not. When the shield held strong the owner laughed.
"I can't let you harm a beauty such as this," Gatrie proclaimed as he stood between Jenna and Dia. Not a soul thought it out of place that womanizer was hitting on a married woman in the midst of a battle. A boisterous laugh thrown in and Gatire started to walk around Dia, granting protection for Jenna until she reached the other side.
Having gotten to her destination without injury thanks to Gatrie, Jenna thanked him for the help before she ran down the tunnel without looking back. With his protection detail finished the heavily armored spear wielder was all alone on the other side of the stationary Umbra Adept. Strangely the large man hadn't budged an inch since he had called up the black tentacles.
"We need to figure out how to get past the defense of his," Lucia spoke as she and the others gathered together.
"It passed through Jenna's Flare Storm like it was nothing," Eoleo pointed out, "and she's not a third rate Adept either."
"Boyd was able to beat back the tendrils and Gatrie was able to block them with his shield," Janaff countered. Knowing that Reyson was now safely tucked away the Hawk was ready to fight once more. A question popped into everyone's mind, how were those two able to block the attacks?
"Why isn't he attacking?" Evidently Boyd's mind thought differently.
"Because he knows we can't beat him as he is right now." Glaring at her opponent Lucia pondered how she was going to obtain victory. Geoffery might have been the general but that didn't mean Lucia had no experience leading a group of warriors.
"Won't he run out of power just waiting like that?" Rhys, as a magic user, understood the power it took to cast a spell. For a Saint such as himself, who used tomes and staves to cast magic, one would think that such magic wasn't draining. Those were only tools of the trade, able to act as a catalyst for his own magic.
"He won't run out of Psynergy at this rate," Mia was the one to answer. "Mt. Aleph is the greatest source of Alchemy. All the elements gather here and are supplying Dia with near limitless Psyenrgy. Garet nodded in agreement with his friend. Familiar with the sensation of limitless Psynergy from their time atop the Elemental Lighthouses, the two Adepts had figured out how Dia was able to keep up a barrier that constantly drained him. "Hardy as an Adept is though," Mia continued, "it can't withstand the strain of so much power coursing through it for a long time."
"That's why Mia and I aren't using our Psynergy really, too tempting to just keep casting." Looking at Garet it was easy to tell that he was still drained physically from yesterday, it wasn't much of a stretch to think that it'd affect his ability to use Psynergy.
"Just waiting this out won't solve a thing," Lethe argued the point before a debate on the matter could even start. She was right though, they needed to quickly beat Dia so they could go and aid in the fight against Alex.
"I have a plan," while she had listened to Mia's explanation on what was going on with Dia, Lucia had formulated an attack plan she felt would let them find out the extent of their opponent's power. "Boyd and Garet, I want you two to figure out the range of his attacks. Janaff, Lethe, and I will try to get to Gatrie then switch to helping you. Eoleo and Artemis, you both use your Psynergy to try and find any weakness in his defense. Rhys and Mia, keep an eye on things and let us know if you spot anything while making sure we don't get too injured." As far as plans went, it was pretty basic, test the enemy's limits while keeping yourself in fighting shape.
The attack team rushed in ready to jump back out of reach the second one of the tentacles came at them. Flying high into the air Janaff flew over Dia to make his way over to Gatrie. Lucia and Lethe ran on opposite sides of the Adept, making sure not to get in the way of the others. Seeing what Boyd and Garet were doing, Gatrie followed suit, moving forward with his shield high to see the extent of the range his opponent could reach.
Red beams of raw heat would periodically fire from the Hull Reaver's hand only to dissipate when it reached the dark powers covering Dia. Artemis' lightning wasn't faring any better as she let loose her own Psynergy. Looking out for their allies while keeping an eye on the battle had quite honestly left the Saint and Angel with little to do. They weren't learning much just by watching and so far there hadn't been a dire need for healing.
Mia was getting overwhelmed from the amount of Psynergy flowing into her just by being in the area. The battle hadn't even started before she had fully recovered her Psynergy reserves, by now she was overflowing with power. Knowing that it was no surprise to her that it was getting harder to keep track of the Psynergy she was sensing. Eoleo and Artemis, who were close by, were easy enough to keep track of. Dia on the other hand seemed to be moving around even though she could plainly see that he was as unmoving as before.
That's when it hit Mia.
Dia wasn't standing still, nor was her ability to sense Psynergy skewed. She had been told that Umbra Adepts were the best at messing with a person's mind. Everything they were seeing was an illusion created by the Psynergy.
"I hope this works," Mia whispered to herself. "Tonic, help us out." Appearing above Mia, the Mercury Djinn drizzled his Adept with a bit of cleansing water before moving to the others. Tonic was a Djinn capable of removing things such as poison and Psynergy seals, Mia was hoping that his power would also be able to remove the influence they were under.
As the water dripped down her hair Mia felt as if a veil was lifted from her mind. The image of Dia standing amidst a swarm of tentacles vanished before everyone's eyes and was replaced by the fully armored body of Dia, the whole fight so far had been a sham.
"It was an illusion?!" Garet and Boyd raged in unison as they noticed that their axes were striking the back of Dia's armor rather than the dark energy they had believed they'd been fighting.
"Watching you all waste your stamina was quite amusing," the echoing laugh of Dia sounded even harsher than it had previously.
"Should have known that you'd pull something like this," artemis cursed herself for not having realized that Dia would use illusions to fight.
"Now the fight begins in earnest," Dia hefted up the giant blade to his shoulder and assumed a ready stance.
"I agree," Garet grinned as he raised a hand above his head. Without missing a beat, four blue crystals came soaring through the air. Expertly catching them, Garet started to glow red as his nine Mars Djinn turned into crystals. Nine Mars and four Mercury Djinn ready and crystallized now rested in Garet's clenched fist.
"Away from Dia!" Eoleo shouted knowing full well what Garet planned to do with that combination of elementals. Hesitant at first the group took their time backing away until they could feel the power radiating off the Mars Adept. Dia, who had enslaved the Dullahan, had only a small inkling of what was about to happen
"Oh Goddess of the Rainbows, I beseech you. My friends are injured, my foe powerful, hope shines dimly on this field of battle. I offer you the powers of fire and water, please grace this mortal with your presence and banish my foe to the depths of space. IRIS!" The thirteen Djinn crystals went up to the sky and vanished.
The Tellians gasped as Dia vanished upon the end of Garet's chant. Currently he was in the realm that the simmons resided in, having a nice meeting with a ball of fire not unlike the sun. While Dia was currently being hurled into said ball of flames, waves of energy patched up any wounds the group had along with soothing a small portion of their fatigue. Reappearing before them, the Umbra Adept now lacked his armor and parts of his hair had been singed away. No chance to blink was given to the armorless warrior as sword, lance, and axe all threatened to end his life.
"I yield," Dia surrendered. As Lucia pulled her sword away to fetch some rope to tie the Adept up with, a single arrow pierced his heart. All eyes turned to Artemis, the only archer among them.
"You cannot trust that he wouldn't use Psynergy to escape. Dia was powerful enough to fool us all into fighting an illusion." Dropping her bow Artemis said nothing more in her own defense, she simply waited for everyone to process the information.
"Let's go help the others," Lucia said to the group, having come to terms with the sudden death of an enemy. Killing was not something any of them were unused to, but that didn't make the taking of a life any easier. With a silent acknowledgement of the now dead Adept the group headed further into Mt. Aleph to bring an end to the man who had caused all of this.
"I see you were courageous enough to come along Isaac." With a smile on his face Alex glanced down at his prey.
"Alex!" Felix shouted while he gripped the Sol Blade tightly.
"What have you done with Yune?!" Ike added on.
"I used the Medallion to seal her and the siphoned that energy into the sword that she and her sister had blessed. Both Ragnell and Alondite carry the blessing of Ashunera, a full Goddess, therefore they have the ability to house either Yune or Ashera." Floating down to solid ground Alex placed the Alondite in the ground. Even in the weak crust that had formed the sword didn't sink through under its own weight, something was keeping it afloat.
"You have Yune, why do you need the power of the Mars Star?" Isaac stepped forward ready to fight even without a weapon. Powers like his Quake Sphere Psynergy would be a bit more dangerous with the current state of the floor.
"They are both but a stepping stone to something much greater." Turning his back on the group Alex faced the pool of lava that he had just been hovering over. "Did you ever wonder why Weyard was in the sky? How did we get up there, even the power of Alchemy can't lift an entire section of the world into the sky. So what did? This question plagued me after I obtained the near limitless power granted to be by Alchemy's release. After the Wise One imprisoned me under the mountain I found the library left by our ancestors."
"And what did you find there?" Ivan was curious to know what the ancients had left behind in the archives hidden in Mt. Aleph.
"God," was the single word answer that Alex gave. This would have been much more shocking to the group had they not gotten to meet the Goddess of Chaos and befriend her. "Just like how the Tellians were blessed with the ability to change into animals or given the ability to cast magic by their goddess, we were given the power of Alchemy by our god. It is because of him that we were spared by the flood that sank the rest of the world. When the ancients sealed Alchemy away they also sealed the source of that power, Namax."
"Then why, when the Warriors of Vale released Alchemy, wasn't this god released?" Soren questioned.
"Because Alchemy's power wasn't fully restored, without the full return of the Mars Star Namax won't be able to fully awaken."
"And how do you plan to take it?" Standing his ground Isaac prepared for the fight he could sense was about to happen.
Not one to disappoint Alex conjured up a small storm and sent it at the group. The whipping winds forced them to scatter lest they be tossed apart. Casting a whirlwind of his own Soren was the first to recover and retaliate. Lightning streaked through the air from the top of Ivan's staff while ice rained down from the sky courtesy of Rief. All three attacks were met with a purple sphere of Psynergy. They were all able to recognize it as the Ward Psynergy, just far more powerful than anything that even Ivan could muster.
Dashing forward with her stolen sword Mia cut through the barrier with ease, Ward doing nothing to stop physical attacks. A short sword of ice appeared in Alex's hand that broke as he knocked Mia's attack away. Not one to be deterred by the sudden appearance and disappearance of a weapon, Mia kept her attack going only to have Alex generate another weapon to block her attack. Each time the Trueblade tried to land a blow on the Adept he would create another weapon just strong enough to deflect her attack.
Sadly for Alex, Mia wasn't the only swordsman around. Ike and Felix weren't far behind with their larger swords. With one last deflection of Mia's sword Alex created yet another barrier, this one red in coloration. Much like with his Ward Psynergy, the Guard Psynergy was able to fully protect Alex from the strikes of even Ike and Felix. However, both Slayer and Vanguard had more tricks up their sleeves than simple sword attacks. Ragnell glowed with its purple energy as the Sol Blade glowed a bright red. Ike shot off one of Ragnell's beams as Felix unleashed Radiant Fire on Alex's Guard. The fusion of the attacks, both in strength and in magic, shattered the barrier that Alex had crafted to protect himself.
Jumping over the two men Sveta attempted to slam the Umbra Knuckle into Alex's face. A geyser of steaming hot water shot up in front of Alex and straight into Sveta, knocking the beastgirl out of the air before she could land her attack. Falling to the ground Sveta picked herself back up and spotted the Alondite still sitting in place right behind Alex. Knowing that the weapon was integral to Alex's plan she ran straight for it. Smart enough to realize that someone would go for Alondite at some point in the battle Alex had been ready to defend the sword from falling into anyone else's hands. Turning around Alex sent a plethora of fireballs in the direction of the approaching girl. Two Wards appeared to cover Sveta, one from Ivan and the other from Matthew who was still sporting Jupiter Djinn. Even with such protection offered the Inferno that came her way hit Sveta with enough force to knock her back.
"Did you think I'd let you get the Alondite so easily?" With a chuckle Alex returned his attention to the three warriors in front of him. A purple aura coated the weapons of the three facing Alex as Ivan powered them up with his High Impact, much like he had done for the dragons they had faced yesterday. "Such tricks won't do you any good against me."
With a wave of his hand the aura that had appeared over the swords vanished just as quickly. Alex had been a Mercury Adept at the start of things, casting Break to remove the effect of the High Impact was child's play for him. Flashing quickly with the light of Psynergy the blue haired man sent out a wave of more fireballs. The trio tried to dodge the incoming fire but there were too many for them to be able to dodge them all. Blue energy poured in from the air into the warriors as Rief used Pure Wish to counter some of the damage they had just taken.
Before they could recover Alex caused the ground to rumble as he cast Earthquake outward from himself. The ground shook and cracked revealing more of the lava underneath. A tornado slammed into Alex, the first real attack that had been able to connect was a spell done by Soren. Without Alex supplying power the earthquake had stopped creating a safe battlefield once more.
Not wanting to lose the momentum that Soren's attack could give them, Matthew and Isaac both sent out a Stone Spire, Matthew having put all of his Djinn on standby to access the Psynergy. Many of the stones missed their target but a satisfying number of them hit Alex. White hot plasma fell from above right next to Alex, Ivan's aim off a little, and exploded forcing the former Mercury Adept to Warp away to safety. Ike, who had managed to recover, ran right for Alondite to try and get it away from their foe. The ground underneath the blade opened up and lava gushed out, the Volcano Psynergy more powerful simply due to their location.
Using Warp again Alex appeared next to the white blade that he had left in the ground and pulled it out. Tossing the sword straight upwards Alex cast Pyroclasm to form a makeshift barrier as he moved to catch the Alondite in the air. Once more hovering above everyone else Alex kept himself out of the reach of Mia and Ike, though the later could at least shoot lasers.
Alondite in hand Alex swung the blessed weapon sending a wave of blue flames at the heroes. No heat came from the flames as they blasted into the ground and warriors. Cracks ran across the already broken ground causing pieces to sink into the lake underneath.
"I think this has gone on long enough." Raising the Alondite high the flames covering the pristine white blade grew. Another horizontal wave of blue fire was sent down from above, this time the group was ready for it. Stones, winds, ice, and purple energy raced from the warriors hands and weapons as they tried to block the incoming attack with their own powers. While successful in preventing the fire from reaching them, an explosion occurred as a result of the conflicting powers.
Forced to cover their eyes as a side effect of the explosion the gang wasn't prepared for what happened next. Alex appeared in the ground in front of the supporting members. Isaac was quick enough to recover that he saw the white blade of Alondite coming straight for him. Taking a step back Isaac was able to avoid the tip of the sword, Alex clearly not used to wielding something of such weight. Unfamiliar as he was with using a physical weapon Alex was close enough that escape was hard for Isaac. Having trained with a sword for most of his life Isaac knew a good number of attacks and how to avoid them, it also helped that he had studied up a bit on hand to hand combat.
Dodging every attack that Alex was able to throw his way, the weaponless Isaac kept sending out small attacks with Psynergy. A Spire here or there with a Gaia to try and throw his foe off enough that he could make a retreat. Everyone was trying their best to help the Venus Adept get away from the sword swinging madman but their attacks were met with Wards and Guards, only a few attacks able to get through and hit Alex. Those blows that connected did appeared to injure him and give Isaac an opportunity to escape but with his Warp ability Alex would keep reappearing next to Isaac.
"Why are you doing this Alex?" Isaac panted, growing tired from his constant fleeing.
"Because I'm worthy of the power," smug as can be Alex didn't look any worse for the wear despite being hit with various attacks and fighting a running man. "I was able to piece together how to obtain the Golden Sun, I was able to find the location of our lost god, I was able to find his seal and devise a way to free him. I alone was smart enough to do all these things, I have the right to divine power."
"You plan to absorb the god?" Ivan asked in shock as Alex let slip the full extent of his plan.
Alex stopped in his onslaught against Isaac realizing that he had told them more than he had planned. "Yes Ivan, when Namax awakens he'll be in a temporary weakened state. With the power of the Golden Sun flowing through me I'll have enough strength to take his power from him in his weakened form."
"I won't let you!" Isaac yelled taking the chance to cast Odyssey. Two white swords of pure Psynergy skewered Alex pinning him down. Psynergy gathered above Isaac as the third, and largest sword, of the Odyssey spell came into existence. Running towards Alex, Isaac slammed his fist into the man's chest, the Psynergy forged blade following suit.
A smirk appeared on Alex's face as he stood there. So close to Isaac the villain had no problems ramming the Alondite through Isaac's abdomen. He had been waiting for the Slayer to get close enough to him. Faster than they had formed the swords of Odyssey vanished in the blink of an eye as the caster lost his focus.
"DAD!" Matthew shouted at the sight that lie before him. Charging forward Matthew called out Bolt's name, unleashing the Djinn. Lightning crackled over Matthew's longsword, imbued with the power of the Elemental. Alex ripped Alondite out of Isaac in time to block the Djinn powered attack.
Red energy poured out of Isaac's wound and into the air above him, slowly crystallizing into a sphere the size of a marble. Snatching the small Mars Star out of the air Alex held it aloft for everyone to see. After thirty years of waiting Alex had finally gotten the last part of the Golden Sun he sought after. As easily as it had formed the small Mars Star returned back to energy and poured itself into Alex.
His victory was short lived when a large dragon headed pillar of fire rammed itself into him. Standing at the entrance to the room was Jenna, the top of her staff smoking from the heat it had just released into the world. A fire roared in her wet eyes as she looked on at both Alex and the mortally wounded Isaac. Red light surrounded Isaac's body as Jenna hastily applied her Aura Psynergy. In addition the fairy of Pure Ply was floating above the wound doing its best to patch up anything it could to stop the bleeding.
Everyone unleashed their full power on Alex in retaliation at what had just happened. The largest tornados that Soran, Ivan, and Sveta could conjure ripped through the air on their way to Alex, while pillars of stone fell down from Felix's Granite Spire Psynergy. As soon as the magic was gone Mia and Ike were there with their swords ready to slash Alex to pieces. However, the blue haired man was nowhere to be found.
"Pathetic," Alex's voice called out to them. Heads swiveled to the location of the voice, directly above the lava just like he had been when they first found him. There was no physical indication that anything within Alex had changed but he gave off the feeling of someone more powerful than what they had just been fighting. "I do regret having to kill Isaac, he was a useful pawn. If it wasn't for him and his son none of this would have come to pass in my lifetime." Glancing down at the Alondite still in his hand, stained with the blood of Isaac, Alex smiled softly. "But now it's time for me to gain my divinity."
Isaac's blood vanished from the Alondite as the blue flames that clung to the sword started to burn with an intensity that hadn't been seen, the sword underneath being completely obscured by the fire. With his free hand Alex sent a wave after wave of high pressurized water at the lava below him causing it to hiss as it solidified before breaking apart under the strength of the next blast. When the clear barrier of Namax was visible through the steam Alex tossed Alondite straight at it. The blue fire poured off the sword and onto the barrier as Yune's power was forced out. Cracks formed down the blessed blade under the pressure it was experiencing.
"We have to get out of here!" Soren shouted at everyone.
"No!" Felix yelled back. "If we don't stop him here and now we won't have a stand a chance later!"
"Rief!" Jenna called out for the Angel who was already on his way to her and Isaac. Matthew and Sveta both were shortly behind the robbed Adept. "Can you do anything for him?" Without a reply Reif set about applying a more thorough healing, paying attention to what the biggest problem areas were and patching them up as best he could.
"I can't do it," Rief sighed as he kept up his Pure Ply. "There's too much damage done. Mom might be able to do something but she's too far away. By the time we got to her Isaac would be…" trailing off Rief didn't want to say what was going to happen to Isaac. Both mother and son ignored Rief's diagnosis as they applied their meager healing skills to Isaac's dying body.
"Save your strength," Isaac coughed, not fully out just yet.
"Isaac!" Jenna cried as she grasped her husband's hand. "Don't you give up on me."
"I won't, but you need to stop Alex." Holding Jenna's hand as tightly as he could Isaac tried to assure his wife that he wasn't going to simply roll over and die. "You and Matthew trying to heal me will do nothing but waste your power, let Rief do what he can." Jenna shook her head, denying that there was nothing she could do to help Isaac out in his time of need. On the other hand Matthew grasped the hilt of his dad's sword, his knuckles turning white under his gloves.
"You can count on me Dad," Matthew told his father. "Rief… do what you can." Had this happened before the events of the Grave Eclipse Matthew would have been right there with his mother, refusing to leave Isaac's side. After seeing all the pain that Alex's ambition had caused first hand and seeing so many people on death's door because of it, Matthew was ready to stop the egomaniac for his father.
"Matthew," placing her hand on his shoulder Sveta confirmed that she was by his side, ready to fight alongside him. Without another word the beastgirl's body fell limp as he soul transferred over to Matthew's body. Ditching the normal longsword that his dad had lent him Matthew took the Umbra Knuckles off of Sveta's lifeless body. They were the one piece of the Umbra Gear that any of them had been able to put on, a lack of knowledge on how to use them the only thing preventing the kids from wielding them before.
"Jenna, can you take my body to the other side of the portal please?" Sveta spoke through Matthew as the two stood there getting used to the feeling of each other.
"What?" Jenna was confused as to what was going on having never seen the soul transfer before.
"Rief, explain it to my mom please. I have to help the others." Purple eyes glared up at Alex who was still floating above the flames.
"Matthew. Sveta. Be careful," was all the Mercury Adept got out before MAtthew and Sveta ran off to fight Alex.
As the blue flames continued to pour out of Alondite the sword and barrier both showed signs of breaking. It was all the heroes could do to get to the edge of the floor before the heat from the lava and the intense flames caused them to step back lest they risk injury. A blast of white light was the sign that the barrier had finally given way under the power of the twice blessed Alondite. Even those blessings wasn't enough to save the sword from destruction, at the same time as the barrier broke, the sword shattered releasing the remains of Yune's power. Barely flickering a few of the flames gathered together to form the same fire form that the Goddess of Chaos had taken when she had assisted Ike in defeating Ashera.
"I'm sorry guys," Yune apologized as she floated closer to the group. "I tried to hold back but Namax's barrier drained my power." Hanging her head the girl of fire regretted that she had been used in such a way. "I'm not done just yet though! I got enough power that I can help you guys out if even just a bit."
Losing the form of a girl the fire split into three balls of fire. One of the orbs flew straight into the Sol Blade which glowed for a brief second. Another went into the Ragnell causing the sword to once again burst into blue flames, the same that had given Ike his title. Finally the last orb split into two smaller ones and made their way to the Umbra Knuckles as Matthew and Sveta reached the group.
While Yune apologized to the group for what she believed to be her failings, Alex Warped down to the area where Namax's body rested. Asleep on the ground was the God of Alchemy, Namax, completely unaware of what was going on around him as he started to wake. His black hair was clean cut despite a few thousand years of never cutting it. He wore a simple brown vest over a grey shirt. His red eyes snapped open as Alex drew closer.
"You shouldn't have kept the Golden Sun from me 'Wise One'," Alex told the god before he started to syphon off his power. All Alex was doing was using a stronger version of a Psynergy spell, Psy Drain. Currently weak Namax was unable to resist the power of the Golden Sun enhanced Psynergy. "If you wanted to prevent humans from gaining the power of the Golden Sun, the power to rise to godhood, you should have let us drown along with the rest of the world." Namax's eyes narrowed as his body dissolved into Alex's.
"You used my sister's power to break my barrier," Namax observed before he was fully swallowed.
"Yes, Yune was instrumental to my plan. Now lie there in silence and accept your defeat, I have bested you." Anything that the god had been about to say was cut off as he was fully absorbed by Alex.
The power of the God of Alchemy flowing through him Alex's body started to change. His light blue hair turned jet black, the same color that Namax's had been. His blue eyes turned to red under the same divine influence. An aura of power could be seen around him as his body adjusted to the influx of power that he had just gained. Spellbound by the strength that flowed through him Alex took a moment to appreciate all that had gone into getting this power. All those years of planning at first to get the Golden Sun and then the years of biding his time trying to figure out how to get to the source of that same power had finally paid off.
Flexing their hand Matthew and Sveta could feel the power Yune had given them coursing through their entire body. Only the Ragnell had caught fire like the Alondite had, but there was no denying that the Umbra Knuckles now packed a greater punch, literally. Watching Felix twirl the Sol Blade in his hands they could tell that he too felt a difference of power in the weapon. Ike was the only one of them that was unaffected by the change granted by Yune, having already experienced it once. The only difference the spirit couple had was that they were currently sporting eighteen Djinn, Sveta having taken the ones she had with her when her spirit entered Matthew's body.
Just as they were all getting used to the change Alex came bursting out of the whole, complete with the changes of absorbing Namax. A sense of raw potential emitted from the man turned god that anyone could sense and it had nothing to do with Psynergy. The aura of strength that Alex had around him was enough that it would have cause lesser men to run in terror. Having already been tested against three headed dragons, and a goddess for some, no one felt the need to run. This wasn't to say they didn't feel fear at the feeling Alex gave off, they just knew that running would be pointless with the amount of power he was wielding.
"Those that didn't receive Yune's blessing, retreat!" Ike ordered. He got the feeling that this battle was going to be much like the one in the Tower of Guidance and that only blessed weapons would be able to hurt Alex this time around.
"Not a chance Boss," Mia told Ike as she came to stand between him and Felix.
"Yune might not have blessed our weapons but that doesn't mean we can't serve as a distraction," Soren offered as he held onto his Tornado tome.
"At the very least I can still support you guys," Ivan began the chant for the Resist Psynergy so that he could try to weaken the damage that Alex would cause.
"Idiots," calling down to the group Alex appeared standing on top of the flowing lava. "I have absorbed Namax and have all of his abilities, do you think that you can slay me?"
"Slayed a god before," Ike commented nonchalantly. "You just have a bigger ego."
In response to Ike's statement Alex gathered energy and sent a series of gold colored blasts at the Vanguard. The eyes of the Adepts opened wide as they recognized just what it was that Alex had done. Gold blasts of energy like that was exactly like what happened when they used the Venus summon. Last anyone had known, Alex had no Djinn on him. For him to be able to perform even a low level summon such as Venus could spell trouble for them.
"How…" Ivan voiced at the sight of the no Djinn summon.
"What part of god didn't you understand?" Alex scoffed at Ivan's question. "I have gained power that surpasses Alchemy. All of your Psynergy is but a byproduct of the power granted by Namax to our ancestors. Now that I have Namax's skills under my control, using Djinn summons that you so favored is a simple matter."
"Be careful everyone," taking a defensive stance Felix cautioned the others. "If he can summon something like Iris we'll be in trouble."
"We can't just stand here though," Matthew stepped forward and raised his fists. With strength beyond what he normally had thanks to both Sveta and the Djinn Matthew was able to send out a large Sonic Slash. With Alex standing on lava it wasn't like they could reach him on foot so the duo had to rely on their Psynergy to attack.
Instead of making contact with Alex the wind blades met with an invisible shield of some sort. All three Tellians were able to make out what it was that was surrounding Alex. Ashera had an aura that had protected her from attacks just like that barrier was doing for their current opponent. Ike warned them of the functions of the aura, such as being able to reflect a person's attacks back at them if they weren't careful.
Lucky for the group Alex was confident in his new power. As he overheard Ike explain about the aura that surrounded him he flew forward and landed on solid ground. The group noticed the arrival of their opponent and prepared for their fight against him. Fireballs and lightning flew from Alex's hands as he sent out far more powerful versions of Psynergy at them, shattering the protection that Ivan had thrown up for them.
"Steel!" Matthew unleashed the Venus Djinn on the aura stealing some power from it even as it sent the power of his own attack back at him. The healing factor of the Djinn helped offset some of the damage that Matthew and Sveta took from the counter but didn't protect them from its full effects.
Ike brought Ragnell down on the aura right next to where Matthew had struck, a blue aura of his own protecting Ike from the negative effects. Nihil was a skill that very few people had been granted the blessing of, it was a power that would negate the effects of another's skills. In this case it meant that the aura's effect of countering any attack it received was void against Ike.
"With that aura of his this is going to be hard," Sveta muttered to Matthew.
Yeah, he agreed. Even if we keep using Steel to heal us it's going to take a lot to break through.
"Any thoughts on how to get rid of that aura?" Felix questioned Ike.
"Only the obvious," the Vanguard replied implying that they should just hammer away. Ashera's aura had fallen after they had hit it enough, they had little else to go on for how to deal with Alex's similar barrier.
Alex laughed from behind his defenses. Having obtained the power of a god and watching the group try to beat him was no doubt funny to him. "Do you truly think that you can defeat me? Humans can't kill the Gods. Even Ashera simply rests after having been bested by you."
"Felix, Sveta," Ike spoke not knowing that Matthew's spirit resided in the girl's body. "Yune gave us her power, let's use it. Attack at the same time."
All three stood ready to fight Alex, who had moved closer, and destroy that protective aura one way or another. Mia, Soren, and Ivan moved forward ready to lean aid having already made up their minds about taking part in this fight. All of them had been through hell and back, Alex gaining more power wasn't enough to stop them from jumping in.
That was until Jenna let out a scream that sent chills down the spines of all who heard it. nine orbs of gold energy, Isaac's Djinn, flew into Sveta's body. Jenna's cry combined with Matthew gaining his father's elementals told the teen that his father was dead. Anger and grief welled up inside him, he wanted to take revenge against Alex for killing his dad. Jenna beat him to it.
Five dragon heads made of fire converged on Alex's protective aura. Large amounts of energy were sent back at Jenna causing her to stagger backwards. Consumed by the same grief and rage as Matthew, Jenna cast Psynergy spell after spell as she advanced towards Alex. In the very heart of Mt. Aleph the enraged Adept truly had a limitless supply of Psynergy to call upon.
"Ivan stop her!" Felix shouted as he ran to his sister. Coming out of the daze that Isaac's death had thrown him in, Ivan used a spell unique to the Jupiter element, Sleep.
Fueled by emotion as she was, Jenna was unaffected by Ivan and his attempts to stop her. However, she was affected by the tackle that Felix gave her. Pinning his sister to the ground Felix stopped her from foolishing attacking Alex. Battered and bruised from the retaliation of the barrier, Jenna's struggle to break free from Felix's grasp was weak.
"He can't be dead," she cried out as she still tried to worm her way free. "How am I suppose to face this ageless life without him?" No one could even speculate on how old those that had been exposed to the power of the Golden Sun would live till, immortality was a very real possibility. In the face of this even having her son still alive Jenna would more than likely live longer than him, her comfort had been that Isaac would be there alongside her through the years.
"Jenna," Felix whispered, angry that he couldn't do anything to help her or have been able to help Isaac.
"I commend him for being able to hold on for as long as he did," Alex congratulated the dead Adept, reminding everyone who was at fault for Isaac's demise. "He was an unknowing pawn but he always served his role nicely."
"ALEX!" Matthew raged through Sveta. Hearing his father called a simple pawn was a tipping point for the young adult.
Both of Sveta's hands glowed gold with the power of Venus Djinn. Taking complete control of the beastgirl's body Matthew surged forward unleashing first his father's Djinn Sap followed by his own Steel, both drained life out of their opponent. Unused to fighting with his fists Matthew had a hard time controlling the body he was in and getting the full strength out of each attack. This unfamiliarity wasn't stopping him from doing the same thing that his mother had been doing either. Having her body suddenly overtaken had threw Sveta off and unable to wrest control back from the emotionally driven spirit that she was currently sharing residence with.
Matthew, Sveta spoke inwardly to the bundle of rage that was currently Matthew's soul. Please calm yourself. I know that losing your father is tragic but you cannot attack Alex without reason guiding your actions. When my brother died I felt what you are feeling now, an emptiness that threatens to swallow you if you do not take some action.
Giving no response to her her words Matthew kept assaulting the aura that was protecting Isaac's murder. The fact that he was continuously using Sap, Steel, and his own healing Psynergy to patch up the body he was sharing showed that he wasn't so far gone that he was willing to risk everything for revenge. Even still, Sveta's body was taking a beating and she knew that if they kept at it her body would succumb to the the fatigue that was accumulating. Her wounds might get patched up but the energy it took to do that combined with Matthew's ineptitude to extract the full strength out of each attack would wear their body out before they could even reach Alex.
During the barrage of attacks that Matthew was unleashing Sveta could catch glimpses of both Ike and Mia giving it their all to break the same barrier that was preventing them from harming the new god. Ike's goddess granted protection was serving him well, letting the warrior get off powerful attacks without fear of retaliation. Mia on the other hand was alternating between quick attacks, that would have done little more than shallow cuts on a body, and blows that could cleave a head from shoulders.
At this rate we will not be able to take much more damage, you need to stop if you want to fight Alex. Sveta tried to appeal to Matthew's sense of vengeance that was currently fueling him.
Sveta, Matthew finally replied though he still kept up his attacks on the aura. I'm sorry for putting you through this, truly I am. Regret filled the Venus Adept's spiritual voice. He knew that what he was doing was causing both him and the girl that he loved harm but he couldn't think of anything else to do with the emotion that was flowing through him. This is something I need to do. I understand if you want to retreat, I'll return to my own body if need be and do whatever I can to get rid of this aura and put a stop to Alex.
There was no spite in Matthew's voice which shocked Sveta. While his voice was calm and it sounded like his mind was fully functioning, she could still feel his rampaging feelings. Letting you go at it alone would be sending you off to your death. We are strong together. Preparing herself Sveta calmed her mind then used all her mental might to push Matthew back and regain control of her own body. But only if we work together.
Once again in full control Sveta distanced them from the aura and checked her body over to see what damage she had taken. Matthew's Potent Cures that he had been using had done well at restoring their body to a fighting condition but there were still cuts that were too deep for the Venus Psynergy to heal. Casting a quick Vital Boon the remaining injuries patched themselves up enough that they wouldn't cause too many problems.
"You okay?" Ike asked when he noticed that Sveta had stopped attacking the aura. Worrying about the state of his allies was trademark Ike.
"Yes," Sveta answered when she was sure that Matthew wasn't going to try to take over again.
"I'd say take a break to regain your strength but we need all the help we can get right now." A grim expression crossed the mercenary's face when he glanced back at the man smiling smugly behind the aura.
"He's not even striking back at us," Felix noted as he came to stand next to Sveta and Ike. "He's content with letting us wear ourselves out against that aura of his. I'd summon Haures if I thought I could handle the recoil from the aura."
"Wait, doesn't Haures take Mars also?" Sveta and Matthew questioned, their voices overlapping now that they were returning to a synced state.
"Took Jenna's Djinn before I had Rief escort her out of here." Red spheres appeared around Felix to show that he wasn't lying about having a few Mars Djinn on hand now. "Time to end this, Reflux," circling Felix the Mars Djinn was ready to unleash its effect, "Echo." Glowing with the light of the Venus Djinn the Sol Blade was imbued with earthen energy.
Sveta watched as Felix swung the Sol Blade into the aura with all his might, a golden aura following the same path seconds later, Echo's ability kicking in. Expectedly the aura lashed out at Felix which triggered the Mars Djinn that the Adept had invoked. Since he was hit by both attacks, Reflux did a counter itself for the two blows. Alex's aura didn't seem to recognize the Djinn's assault as attacks as it didn't strike back.
Not one to sit back and do nothing, Ike was right there next to Felix hitting the aura with his Ragnell, Ashera's Nihil protection preventing him from taking an of the barrier's attacks. Mia appeared with her stolen sword in hand, the blade was near ruin from the damage it was taking from the attacks the Trueblade was unleashing. Lightning and wind pounded against the invisible wall as Ivan and Soren added their strength to the mix.
Taking a breath to get in sync with one another Sveta and Matthew each called up a Djinn to use. Venus energy glowed around Sveta's right hand as Matthew invoked Sap to help them. Purple Jupiter power wrapped itself around the beastgirl's other hand as Bolt's power coursed through the Umbra Knuckles. Unleashing the Jupiter Djinn on the aura first they braced for the impact of the retaliation, once they felt that force collide with them they used Sap to drain some energy from the barrier to help weaken the blow they were dealt again. Using another one of his father's Djinn, Matthew unleashed Crystal to help everyone regain some strength they had lost.
Two whirlwinds combined as the wind mages standing in the background worked together. They fused power created a wind strong enough that it could have lifted a boat out of the water. Gale force winds slammed into the aura causing cracks to appear in the air that marked the distance of the protective barrier. Seeing the weakness in the defense of their foe the rest of the group focused their efforts on the cracks, trying to break through all the way.
Ike was the one to break through the aura, causing all of it to shatter into pieces that fell down like the Vanguard had broken a glass dome. Standing inside with a small amount of disbelief that they had gotten through was Alex. Unarmed as he was standing there they all knew that he was going to be more than a match for them if they weren't careful. Not only was he able to practically toy with them before, now he had the powers of a god on his side.
"So you were able to break through, guess I'll have to deal with you all myself then. First things first then, those that Yune gave her powers to, I'll dispose of you now." Alex started to turn into white orbs and vanish. At first they thought that he was going to warp to them like he had done before. When Felix, Ika, and Sveta started turning into orbs too, they started to worry about what was really going to happen.
All four that had turned into orbs appeared on the top of Mt. Aleph, the same place that Alex had climbed to gain the power of the Golden Sun. It was a small little area that would make physical fighting a challenge with all the bodies there. The sun was still raising in the sky, showing that they hadn't spent very long underground since the start of the day.
"Once I kill you three there will be no one to resist me, none have the power that can stand up to a God. Still, Yune should have picked one of you to give her powers to if she wanted me to really worry. Splitting what little strength she had left between you was a foolish choice." Floating in the air above them Alex literally looked down at the trio that he had taken with him with a look of utter disgust.
"I believe that Yune picked us for a reason. Together we can win." Without wasting another breath on the subject Ike tossed Ragnell up into the air. Leaping up after it he grabbed the spinning blade and moved to bring it down on Alex. A metal blade appeared in Alex's hand as he blocked the start of Ike's Aether.
"Much more refined than the blades I was able to create before isn't it?" Alex held the blade outwards for the fighters to see what he had crafted. "Truly the powers I have obtained are great. To be able to forge a sword in a matter of seconds with little effort is no small feat."
While Alex was busy admiring his handiwork Ike prepared for another attack, his standard laser. The blue flames from Yune's blessing shot towards Alex, growing larger the farther they traveled from Ike. By the time they reached the hovering former Adept they hide the trio below. From out of the fire came Ike and Felix. Alex met their swords with his own newly crafted one, the three of them trading blows at high speeds. Without care for the weapons he created Alex would create different blades with each attack he sent towards the two men in front of him.
Down on the ground Sveta and Matthew waited for their chance to join in the fight. Gravity would soon take effect on the dueling swordsmen and they'd be open to a strong counterattack by Alex. Atop the fallen mountain there was little more than rocks around them to use as leverage to get into the air. Both debated launching a Psynergy attack at Alex but with the other two so close to him they wouldn't be able to get off a clear shot, even Odyssey could possibly pierce on of them.
Their time was up as Felix and Ike landed on the ground next to the dual spirit body. Alex had stayed in the air, taking full advantage the height gave him, yet staying low enough that they could reach him if they jumped high enough. With limited ways to reach the floating adversary they would need to come up with a plan quickly if they were to succeed. Alex, sure of his victory, was quite content to let them stew down on the ground. Still, just waiting around during the middle of a fight was a boring thing to do.
"Permit me to make the next move," vanishing in a rush of lights Alex appeared in front of Ike, a thin rapier style sword in hand. Thrusting the weapon at the arms of the mercenary Ike had only years of battle experience to thank for the reaction time that saved him from getting skewered through the heart.
Just as fast as he had appeared, Alex vanished once more. When he came back he was floating in front of Felix with a copy of the Sol Blade in his hand. The ornate sword clashed with the real thing by sheer luck. Had Felix not been raising his sword into a ready position he would have been cut in two by the second sun themed sword.
Again and again Alex would warp around and around, going from one of the trio to another attacking them at random. Ike was able to deflect one of the blows that was sent his way from his time spent in war his senses had developed enough to take a good guess at where Alex would next appear. Blue flames lept from Ragnell towards Felix who managed to duck out of the way in time for Alex to appear and get a face full of the divine flames.
"It seems you aren't meant to be trifled with." Keeping his distance once more Alex raised his mock blade up to the air. "Saddly for you I don't need Djinn to perform summons anymore. The Jealous One, she who is the cause of Envy, use your power to blast my foe away. Megaera, appear!"
A red whirlwind came into existence above the heroes. From inside the winds two blades appeared, one sword with the center of blade missing, the other with a cross pattern running of the blade. Two sets of red wings emerged from the whirlwind, beating once they dispelled the winds to reveal the summon within. Megaera was a woman with short cropped brown hair and red eyes. She wore a black overcoat with a blue streak down the middle and red lining. She wore a pair of metallic knee high boots over black leggings.
"You offer Namax's power to summon me?" Megaera turned her swords on Alex. "I'd notice his energy anywhere, this land thrives on it."
"If you know I have his power, than a lesser god such as yourself would do well to aid me." Alex chided the Fury.
"Right," she huffed, "and if you could control that power to a tenth of the degree he had you'd be an actual threat. I won't fight your battles for you godling, I'm actually inclined to help out the mortals. You summoned me Alex, but do you know what I do as a goddess? I avenge against crimes against family. Last I checked, the only one here that has hurt their family has been YOU!"
The same red whirlwind that she appeared in surrounded the heroes and Alex. When their vision was restored they were all standing back at the entrance to Mt. Aleph, the signs of combat from the battle earlier still fresh on the land. Most obviously Alex was no longer floating in the air, the only one whose feet weren't touching the ground was Megaera.
"Done you a service mortals," the Fury stated as her wings beat to keep her in the air. "His connection to Namax is strong still but you should find the battle a bit more level now." Pointing one of her blades at Felix she caused two lights to appear from his chest, one gold and the other red. "I'm taking my price though." When the lights touched her sword she took to the sky and left the group grounded to deal with the one that had summoned her.
Felix felt his whole body weaken as the power of two Djinn were stripped from him by the goddess. The Sol Blade in his hands became slightly heavier and he felt his Psynergy reserves deplete ever so slightly from the loss. He was willing to bet though that for the cost of only the Djinn, Megaera had indeed done something to help them.
"I see, she removed my Warp Psynergy." Glancing over himself to check for any damage Alex stated his loss. "No matter, once I gain full control over Namax's power I'll simply take it back from her and show her just what it means to mess with those who are stronger."
"She really did level the playing field," Ike commented as he stepped forward to face the godling. "Without the ability to teleport out of the way of our attacks, are you truly going to be able to keep up with the three of us?"
Not waiting for an answer, Ike charged towards the former Adept and brought Ragnell down on the fake Sol Blade. Blue flames erupted from the golden blade as it clashed with the sun sword, threatening to burn the pale face of the wannabe god. Felix caught onto Ike's plan and came running in with the real Sol Blade to attempt another strike. Alex wasn't a stranger to such tactics and created a wall of ice to stop Felix in his tracks. Instead a beam of purple energy collided with the ice causing it to shatter before Felix could even slow down. Standing off to the side was Sveta, the Umbra Knuckles still smoking from the Unleash of the Shadow Cannon.
Wide open from trying to hold back the brute force of Ike, Alex could do nothing as Felix stabbed him in the side. Rather than pierce flesh though, the alchemic forged weapon was met with the solid barrier of Guard Psynergy. A grin on his face that'd make even the god of the underworld proud, Alex sent out a wave of pressurized wind to blow back the two men.
"We need to finish this now," standing his ground against the hurricane that was starting to form around Alex, Ike took a ready stance. "I'll create an opening and you two finish him. It'll take all of Yune's strength to do it, but we need to put a stop to him now. Ashera might have turned the people to Tellius to stone, but even she wasn't this crazy."
"I'll do it," Sveta said as she ran up to the two. "He killed Dad, I can't forgive him for that."
"Sveta?" Felix questioned, not knowing that his nephew was accompanying the girl spiritually.
"I'll explain it all later, just know that Matthew is here with me," the beastgirl told him.
"Let's get this done then." Shifting his weight, Ike walked into the gale that had formed around Alex. It showed that a great deal of effort was needed to move against the wind but the mercenary showed no signs of slowing as he marched on. The remains of his cape whipped in the winds as he had to hold up one hand to protect his eyes from the force that was being exerted on his body. Halfway to Alex, Ike thrust Ragnell into the ground causing it to break and spew flames as the goddess charged sword sent its power into the ground.
The breaking ground went straight to Alex and the shifting was enough to make him lose concentration on the tornado that he was using to protect himself. As soon as the wind was gone Ike was running. Using all the strength he could muster Ike rained down blows on Alex, while they weren't fast, the force behind each strike was enough to cause Alex to stagger. One particular blow broke the weapon Alex had so desperately clung to while under assault.
Charging in surrounded by a purple aura thanks to the effects of a speed boosting Djinn, Sveta was there in a split second. The same blue flames that coated Ragnell now covered the fists of the joint spirit warrior. In answer to the charged power of Yune, Ragnell and the Sol Blade also erupted in blue flames that made their way to the Umbra Knuckles.
"Feral Rush," was all Sveta and Matthew said before they unleashed the collected power Yune had given them on Alex's body. Pulling back their hand for one last blow, the flames covering it roared into an inferno before it connected with Alex. While he wasn't a true god, his body was able to withstand the attack fairly well, however, much like how Ike had "killed" Ashera with Yune's power, the attack that Sveta and Matthew had used only expelled the power of Namax from Alex. A bright white light shot out of the man as the power of a god was literally punched out of him by the combined might of two souls and the blessing of the Goddess of Chaos.
"It's not over yet!" Felix shouted. With a single thrust from behind, the Venus Adept pierced Alex's heart. "Not giving the bastard any more chances to mess with us." Just like the light of a god had left his body, the light of life slowly drained from Alex's eyes as his body came to the conclusion that its time was done, the life inside was extinguished.
"And I thought Dullahan was hard," Matthew spoke through Sveta as they collapsed to the ground.
"From what Karis told me you kids had it easy," Felix joked as he to fell onto his butt from exhaustion. "Back in my day he didn't rotate through skills, he was a true beast and guardian."
"You guys didn't have to face Dheginsea, that dragon just didn't know when to call it quits. Took three of us to bring him down." Falling to his knees Ike was panting for breath as he spoke. "For a guy that lived over a thousand he was sure sprightly."
"We need to let the others know what happened," raising his hand Felix caused Echo to appear in front of him. "Do you mind fetching everyone?"
Everyone had gathered at the cabin that Isaac and Garet had used to keep a watch on Mt. Aleph. It had taken a few trips due to the lack of collective Psynergy between the Adepts, but through the use of the Teleport Lapis they had been able to retreat to a place of some comfort. Victory over Alex was bittersweet given what it had cost them. A small gravestone sat outside the cabin, marking the burial spot of one of the most beloved Adepts, Isaac. Jenna and Matthew, back in his own body, stood at the grave and looked down at the headstone. While they had triumphed over Alex, they had done so at a great price.
Everyone else was spread throughout the cabin trying to find someplace comfortable to rest and regain the energy they had lost the last few days. All the beds but one had been taken as some of the more tired members drifted to sleep from sheer exhaustion.
"Are they going to be okay?" Sveta asked as she looked out at her boyfriend and his mother.
"It's painful to lose those close to us," Rhys said as he placed a hand on the young girl's shoulder. "We are never truly ready for it and when it happens it comes as a shock to us. I can't speak for them, but it may be best to give them some time alone and to let them mourn in their own way." True to his class, Rhys was acting much the saint, trying to help those he could with words of comfort, as little of use as they might have been, he wanted to do his part.
"If I had been there, I could have helped him," Garet cursed as he leaned back in his chair. "So I'd like to think. That Dia was a handful, I'm just sorry that I wasn't the one that got to put an end to Alex, would have liked to give him a taste of what he put us through."
"Garet," Mia placed her hand on his arm as she sat next to him, "there was nothing you could have done. If anything-"
"Don't say it Mia, Rief did a good job patching him up to a degree that I was astonished by, if you two couldn't heal him then it was his time." Ivan interrupted as he took a seat next to his old friends.
Collectively the Adepts felt the loss more than the Tellians, who hadn't spent much time with Isaac, but even still they could mourn the loss of what was clearly a great man. Reyson had even sung a Gladr as they had buried Isaac to ease the hearts of those there at the makeshift funeral. Powerful as his songs were, they could do nothing to ease the pain of the loss.
"What are you guys going to do now?" Felix asked Ike who was sitting up against a wall.
"We'll return to Tellius as soon as Artemis is able to take us back and make sure that everything went well over there." He stated as he shifted Ragnell off his back. "I need to know that the Tuaparang have been driven out."
"I think it's safe to say that everyone did fine over there." Mia told her former boss from her spot on the couch. "They have Tibarn to deal with after all."
"Skrimir no doubt charged headfirst into enemy lines," Lethe sighed at the thought of her king needlessly risking his life for battle.
"And in the process wiped out half their forces," Ike reminded her as he recalled just how strong the Lion had been when he had last seen him fight. A forced smile appeared on the faces of the Tellians as they tried to think of the good that was waiting for them back home.
Outside though, sorrow permeated the air around Jenna and Matthew. Her eyes still red with tears Jenna looked at the grave like it was going to vanish just like the man buried below had. Next to her Matthew took his mother's hand to give her some reassurance that she wasn't alone. While he wanted to scream and shout at the loss of his dad he knew that he had to be strong, if only for a while, to help his mom. He wanted to stay strong but he couldn't keep the farce up for long as tears streamed down his face.
"Oh Isaac, what am I going to do without you?" Jenna cried as she asked the grave her question. "Our lives have just started, our boy has grown into a fine young man and you leave us. Felix had just come back and my entire family was with me again, I was so happy. Now you're gone. I'm going to have to raise this rowdy boy you brought up by myself."
"Mom," Matthew whispered as he squeezed her hand."
"I know Matthew, you're dad wouldn't want us to mourn like this. He'd want us to continue on with our heads held high. How I want to be able to do that for you right now, to be a rock for you."
"You don't have to!" Nearly shouting it out Matthew startled his mom with his conviction. "You loved him just as much as I did, you married him and had me. I.. I can't understand how much you loved him." Hugging his mom and hiding his face in her shoulder while he cried he pleaded with her. "Please Mom, don't try to hold it in for my sake, cry for him as much as you want."
"Look at you," stroking her son's hair that looked so much like his dad's at that age Jenna had a soft smile as she held her son. "Being strong like that. You're right, I'll do as suggest Matthew, we'll help each other through this." Together mother and son held each other and cried out their anguish at the their shared loss. While Isaac was gone, they would mourn him in their own ways and help each other through the pain.
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