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Skewed Destinies- The Flames of Origin

By Keko_the_Hybrid

Mystery / Adventure

Matters of the heart

Chapter 35

Matters of the heart

"Uh..well, you see.." Lloyd stuttered on his sentence and stopped to eye the rest of the group cautiously. It was a bit difficult to explain why they wanted to go to the Temple of Lightning to themselves, let alone to a young half-elf sea captain whom they barely knew.

Mithos waited for a time for someone else to continue Lloyd's sentence before finally contributing. "I suppose this kind of thing is to be expected of the Chosen who is apparently a traitor to Tethe'alla." He laughed at their surprised looks and smiled sweetly as he turned his gaze to Yuan. "Everyone in Tethe'alla knows who the Chosen is. Surely you're not surprised."

"Not particularly," Yuan muttered.

Lloyd wondered if he was lying or telling the truth. In a lot of ways, he could see some similarities between Yuan and Kraine. He wondered whether that was why they had never seemed to get on. "I guess it is pretty hard to mistake the blue hair."

Mithos nodded. "The Pope's Papal Knights are looking for you. They have posters of all of you up in Ozette, the village that I came from. Seemed pretty serious." He looked at Yuan closely for a second, then turned away and clasped his hands behind his back to face Gesea. "Don't worry though. I'm not going to turn you all in."

"Oh, good," Lloyd said, breathing a sigh of relief.

"You're not?" Gesea asked. "Why?"

"If I believed everything I heard, it'd be hard being a half-elf," Mithos answered simply, his voice lowering at the half-elf word. A smile crept up on Gesea's face as he said that, like she was only just realising again that she'd met another half-elf her own age. Lloyd couldn't help but feel like he wanted to add something to the conversation but couldn't think of a single thing to say.

Eventually Mithos elaborated even further. "I can't turn in two half-elves and a bunch of humans that actually seem to accept them." He looked at Gesea. "Besides, Gesea's the first half-elf friend that I've had that's my own age." He stuttered when Gesea looked surprised. Even in her surprised state, Lloyd could detect a hint of happiness. "Oh, sorry," Mithos apologised. "We've only just met. It's probably a bit soon to call you my friend isn't it."

"N-no!" Gesea shook her head frantically. "I'm honoured you would call me your friend Mithos. Let's be good friends, okay?"

Mithos looked happy at her response as he pressed a few buttons on the control panel and pulled a lever with a shiny red knob. "We're pretty much smooth sailing until we get to the temple now," he explained. "I'm still curious as to why you're going there though."

Mithos was apparently persistent. Lloyd turned his head to look at Sheelos and she rolled her eyes. "Way to be captain obvious darling. Fine, I'll tell him." She crossed her arms and looked at the boy. "I'm a summoner. That's all you need to know." She spun on her heel and headed out of the cramped control room. Lloyd felt bad. He still hadn't really had much of a chance to talk to her about Volt. Whenever it'd been a good opportunity, the subject had always been magically changed by either Sheelos or Yuan.

"Go talk to her," Yuan said, catching his expression as he watched Sheelos leave and sit on the nailed down lounge suite near the large back window. "I'll keep an eye on things here." He cast a look over Gesea and then at Mithos. Gesea looked offended for a second but her expression quickly faded when Mithos tapped her on the shoulder. He started pointing out the different buttons and levers on the control panel. Lloyd watched with curiosity until Yuan cleared his throat and brought him back to what he was supposed to be doing. "Okay okay, I'm going, I'm going." He turned and headed out to the adjacent room.

Sheelos was petting Noishe on the muzzle. The dog had picked up on her distress pretty quickly. It was no surprise though. Noishe had always been sensitive to strong emotions. Taking a seat next to her, Lloyd gazed around the room for a second. Colette was standing and looking at the locked bookshelves as though they interested her. It was so quiet that he could hear the sail boat groaning and the sound of the sails flapping in the wind. "What's wrong Sheelos?" he asked once he got bored of waiting.

"Heh," Sheelos gave a short, humourless laugh and glanced up at the clock bolted to the wall. "Guess I've got no reason to hide the story from you now, huh."

"We heard a little bit of it from Tiga, but not much. Yuan wouldn't tell us either."

Sheelos stole a quick glance at the half-elf that she could see from her spot, still watching Mithos and Gesea like a hawk. "Guess he's still beating himself up about it too."

"Sheelos," Lloyd said seriously, leaning forward toward her. He saw Colette abruptly turn to them out of the corner of his eye. "Tell me what happened with Volt. It was bad, right?"

Sheelos still looked hesitant. She furrowed her brows but eventually nodded. "Yep, it was bad. Like really bad. I failed at making the pact with Volt, obviously." Her knees quivered together even speaking the name of the summon spirit. "I wasn't a good enough summoner. Volt killed so many from the village that day and scarred a lot of others. The Chief is in a coma right now because of it."

"So that's what happened."

"If we go to Volt again, I might even wind up getting all of you killed too," Sheelos continued.

"No you won't," Lloyd responded quickly.

Sheelos felt taken aback. "What? Why?" He sounded so confident in himself. "How do you know that? I already failed once, and almost got us killed by not making a pact with Undine right away as well. You almost drowned!"

Lloyd didn't even look phased by all her negativity. She was stumped even further when he fervently shook his head. "You won't fail Sheelos. You're going to succeed this time. You've made a pact with two other Summon Spirits now. We have Undine and Gnome by our side."

Sheelos sighed and clasped her hands in front of herself. "I want to believe you when you say that darling. I really do. But-"

"-But nothing." Lloyd cut her off. "You're not the old Sheelos. You'll do great today. I guarantee it. If Volt goes berserk again, I'll cut him down myself."

Sheelos smiled a bit, then suddenly burst out in laughter. "Man! I swear! That fervent enthusiasm of yours could melt all the snow in Flanoir!"

"Flanoir?"

Sheelos caught a sparkle in Lloyd's eyes at the mention of a new place. "It's a snow city up north. I'd rather avoid it if we can though. The place doesn't exactly hold great memories for me."

Before Lloyd could ask her to elaborate, she stood from her spot and headed for the back door that led out to the observation deck. Still feeling his gaze on her when she turned the knob to leave, she cocked her head back to look at him. "Thanks Lloyd. I feel a bit better about it now. I'll try my best." Happy at her own parting words, she let herself out.

The refreshing wind rolling off of the sea buffeted into her face and stung her eyes. Pushing back the thoughts of her mother, those words spoken, and the blood that flowed from her lips as she did so, Sheelos reached into the pocket underneath her sash and pulled out her most treasured item. The small golden bell jingled a bit as she dangled it and two other smaller red and blue baubles from the red plaited wool they'd been threaded through in front of her eyes.

"What's happened to me Corrine? I've made all these friends now and suddenly I'm willing to believe I can do good things. This isn't like me at all." She clutched her friends memento against her heart and sighed deeply. "I can't run away anymore. If Lloyd's going to change things, I need to be a part of that. For my sake, and the sake of my parents."

She stayed outside for the rest of their travel and watched the land come into view. A bit surprised and conflicted that nobody had come out to check on her by the time the sail boat stopped at the small land mass, she headed inside to see Mithos coming out of the bridge with Gesea and a grouchy looking Yuan.

"We're here," Mithos declared, looking around the room casually and stopping on her to smile. Uncomfortable that a secret from her village had been told to an almost complete stranger, Sheelos distracted herself away from the boy to look at the ever amusing Lloyd. He was already raring and ready to go. Noishe had already been let out of the room because he'd started to get excited at the prospect of solid land again. If she listened past the chatter and shuffles of everyone getting ready to disembark, she could hear his excited yips. A smile tugged at her lips.

"I-I suppose I'll see you all when you get back then?" Mithos asked, a disappointed expression plastered on his face as he stood in place and scuffed his feet on the shiny wooden sail boat planks.

Yuan nodded in agreement and waved goodbye, heading toward the door. Feeling the gaze of the other two non-blonde angels in the room on his back however, he turned to see one Gesea with a pleading look on her face. "Can't Mithos come with us?"

"No, absolutely not," he denied quickly. "It is too dangerous and we also barely know him."

Mithos shrunk back a bit and looked at Gesea. "It's okay. My job is to stay here and look after your vessel after all."

"But that makes no sense," Gesea argued. "Nobody is going to steal our boat from here. There are no towns nearby and nobody can start the engine without the keys." She looked at Lloyd this time and Yuan feared for the worst. "Please Lloyd. Let Mithos come?"

"Well.." Lloyd seemed surprisingly.. conflicted about it. Yuan couldn't help but show the surprise playing across his face. It didn't last too long though. Soon Lloyd caved at the puppy-dog eyes Gesea had obviously perfected just for him over their years together and gave a reluctant nod. "Sure he can. The more the merrier." He looked over the half-elf boy. "Do you know how to fight, Mithos?"

"Of course I do," Mithos replied, sounding surprised he'd even asked the question for a minute. "I-I mean, yes. I fight with a short sword usually." A soft glow suddenly emanated from his aura and with a bright golden flash, a sword appeared out of another dimension in front of him. He caught it with his right hand.

"Just like Gesea and Yuan!" Lloyd said with a grin. "Is it a half-elf thing?"

"I think it's just a preference," Gesea said. "My brother never did it. When I asked why, he always said to just call him old fashioned."

"I suppose old fashioned does indeed suit him," Yuan muttered with an amused snort.

Mithos disappeared through the other side of the bridge door and into a small walk-in storage area. He came out quickly enough, wearing a small satchel this time. "Let's anchor the boat and head on to land," he said, heading for the door and past Yuan, a happy bounce in his step.

xxx

Yuan sighed.

Sheelos stopped mid-step through the field at his sigh and dropped back from Lloyd and Colette up the front. Gesea and Mithos passed her quickly to start heading through the gap between the hilly terrain and the sea, deep in conversation about paw pads. Eventually Yuan and Noishe caught up to where she stood waiting for them. Both had equally droopy expressions on their faces. She could understand the reason for Noishe's air of discomfort though. Since Gesea had first mentioned paw pads and how she'd always wanted a dog, both children had set their sights on him. He'd retreated to Yuan's custody before he was outnumbered. He was a very smart ball of fluff.

Yuan on the other hand...

She still didn't know what was wrong with him. He had his gaze set on their young sea captain like he was judging every single action he did. Asking him wasn't going to do any good. All she usually got instead of answers were more questions. "Y'know, keep watching the kid and you're gonna trip and fall," she joked. Yuan didn't seem amused. "What? Not even a smirk? Jeez." She crossed her arms and huffed.

"How do you intend to fight Volt?" Yuan asked out of the blue. "You're aware of the misgivings of last time, correct?"

"Of course. You don't have to remind me." Sheelos habitually reached for the bell in the pocket under her obi sash but thought better of bringing it out. "I have you this time, and Lloyd and Gesea. Even Colette and Mithos." At Yuan's annoyed look, she couldn't decide whether to apologise or be offended. "You need to forgive yourself as well," she decided on saying. "Making the pact was my responsibility. It had nothing to do with you."

Yuan didn't respond but she could see the guilt written all over the pretty-boy face he'd worn since they'd first met. She decided to leave it at that for now and turned her attention to the rest of the group. Lloyd had already stopped Colette from tripping several times so far. She hadn't summoned her wings yet to balance herself out when she fell. Good thing too. Sheelos was sure she wasn't alone in the feeling that they didn't really want to have to explain Sylvarant and Colette's condition to their new edition just yet.

Just as she was pondering how much the posters in Ozette had mentioned, Gesea let out an almost comedic girly scream when she stepped into a larger than normal dip in the ground that by some miracle Lloyd and Colette had managed to avoid completely. Like a Casanova waiting to bloom, the blond babe-to-be dropped the short sword he'd been showing her and caught her with both hands around her waist. He chuckled while she was still in his arms as he set her straight. "Are you alright Gesea?"

"Now I am," she answered back with a giggle in her voice.

Out of the corner of her eye, Sheelos noticed Yuan almost imperceptibly squint his eyes at Mithos. Suddenly it all became clear. She couldn't help but gasp in surprise. Everyone in the group turned their heads. Being distracted for that split second, Lloyd allowed Colette to trip straight into another dip in the uneven ground ahead. He scrambled to help her up and Sheelos let out a quiet sigh of relief, getting away with not having to explain to everyone. She just wanted to tease Yuan.

Nudging into him and unable to help her grin, she leaned closer on one of the nudges and whispered "You're jealous of Mithos!" into his ear. She retreated back, her face stinging from the static electricity he was emitting after apparently being 'sensitive' to the mana in the air. Worth it. At her words, Yuan's aura glowed and he quickly emitted the sound barrier he sometimes used around the two of them. He hadn't done it for a while though; not since the group had found out her true identity. "Aha!" she laughed at him. "I'm RIGHT!"

"Chosen, you are mistaken," Yuan grumbled. "Though I can understand that now you know that mutual attraction does exist in the world that you would be eager to see it wherever you look." Sheelos crossed her arms and went to open her mouth when Yuan held up a hand for her to quieten. "I apologise. That was rude of me, given the circumstances."

Sheelos growled under her breath at him. He was an expert at turning the tables. She really shouldn't have expected any less. "Well two can play at that game." She reached an arm out to him and quickly hesitated back. Under the pressure, she thought she made it look like a regular hands on hips expression pretty well. He didn't even raise an eyebrow. "Tell me why you hate Mithos."

"Hate is a very strong word. I am just weary of him."

"Then tell me why you're 'weary' of him," she tried again, determined to stay on the subject. "Tell me this and I'll drop the subject of where you disappeared last night." That got his attention. The satisfaction she got from getting those reactions out of the cynical Cerberus never ceased.

"Fine. If you must know, I promised someone I would protect the two of them."

"Kraine?" Her head swam with more questions, but she knew they were all pointless to ask.

Yuan gave a brief, uncomfortable nod. "An unknown variable such as Mithos makes me uneasy. That is all." He un-summoned the sound barrier and quickened his pace.

Sheelos looked up at the purple temple, teeming with so much electricity that they could hear a fizzling sound like sausages on a barbecue as they closed in on it. "This is it Corrine," she mumbled, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. "It'll be okay this time. Lloyd promised me. I've gotta remember to trust him."

xxx

The moment they stepped into the temple, Lloyd felt the hairs on his arms underneath his red outfit standing on end. He heard a stifled laugh from Gesea and turned to stare at her. Her pink hair had grown to about three times its usual size. Mithos' hair was frizzing and expanding as well with every second. "Your hair!" he pointed out, bursting out in laughter.

"Yours and Colette's are doing the same," Gesea replied, the laugh from before still shaking her voice. "It must be to do with the static electricity here."

"Yeah," he agreed, looking past them to Yuan and then behind him a bit further as Sheelos entered the building. He could hear Sheelos' loud laughter from all the way back at the door at seeing them all. She'd obviously known this was going to happen. He waited for the group to catch up before looking around at their surroundings. Ahead on the narrow path that stretched out in front of them, he could see some bright white rods connected to some long pipes that disappeared into the haze of purple smoke below them. The ceiling above them reached at least three stories high.

"Be careful," Sheelos said. "Those white rods emit electricity. You have to throw a smoke bomb at them to see it."

Being the ninja that she was, she pulled out a small round black ball from inside the small satchel on her waist. Narrowing her eyes, she aimed and then threw the ball into the middle of the two sets of white rods. Smoke came out of it and filled the area. Lloyd covered his nose when he started to choke on the smell, but watched as light blue jolts of electricity fizzled on and off between each adjacent white rod, just as Sheelos had described.

"That looks like it would have been quite painful," Gesea pointed out, cringing.

Lloyd nodded and looked at Colette. Her hair was so frizzy and big from the static that he could barely see her blue eyes under her fringe. "Will you be alright Colette?" To his surprise, she nodded her head. "H-hey e-everyone! Did you see that?" His stomach filled with butterflies. They nodded.

"Colette! Can you hear me?" Gesea asked, leaning up and waving a hand in front of her. Colette didn't respond though. Gesea sighed and shrugged her shoulders. "I suppose it was worth a shot."

"Definitely looks like she has her preferences," Sheelos said, wiggling her eyebrows. "Can't say I blame her. Not too many girls can say they wouldn't have a connection with a guy after being in their head. Literally."

Gesea rolled her eyes, Yuan copying her a second later. Mithos just looked confused. The blue haired half-elf coughed an order to follow and stepped ahead toward the lightning rods. He weaved quickly in-between the two and out again when the electricity disappeared for about two seconds each time. He stood on a bright purple tile with a white symbol imprinted on to it and waved for them to hurry up. Sheelos made the journey next. She jumped and somersaulted over the electric bolts instead. Lloyd clapped when she landed on the tile next to Yuan but quickly stopped when Gesea slapped her forehead. He was mostly just happy that Sheelos seemed to be feeling a lot better.

Glancing back and forth between the lightning bolts and Colette, he decided to go next. Colette padded closely by his side and didn't stop until he did in the middle between the two sets of rods. Timing the on and off sequence and knowing they needed to act quickly because the smoke bomb Sheelos had used was beginning to fade, he darted through the last hurdle, Colette copying him almost exactly.

After grinning at his friends, he turned on his heel and waited for Gesea and Mithos to join them. They'd already darted through the first junction and were about to attempt the second one when a sword with red eyes in its pommel floated up from the purple abyss below. He let out a loud cry of "Watch out!" with his friends as the two half-elves took steps to attempt the last hurdle to safety. Lloyd pulled his swords out of their sheaths and summoned his wings, but he wasn't quick enough.

The sword thrusted straight toward their unguarded backs. Mithos and Gesea turned their heads but it was Mithos who took action first. He dove at Gesea and pushed her past the barrier of electricity to the rest of them. Lloyd caught her before she tripped, keeping his eyes on Mithos and watching the half-elf summon his short sword. The aura from the summon didn't fade though. It only got wider as he ducked under a spinning and slicing attack and executed his own against the fiend. With a quick backward step and a somersault, he connected a downward slam on the monster and it disintegrated into nothingness. Everyone's mouths dropped.

The fight didn't end there. Two more swords flew up from the abyss. Mithos spun and ducked as they simultaneously sliced at him from both sides. With a battle yell and swing of his sword, he ended their existence with very little resistance.

The young sea captain turned to the party and gave them an embarrassed smile, his aura's glow gradually fading away. Met with only stunned silence, he quickly set about judging the timing for the electricity again and finally made it to safety. Lloyd only remembered he'd drawn his wings to attempt to help when Mithos looked over him, eyes widening. "Y-you have wings, Lloyd?"

"It's a long story," Lloyd sighed, looking to Yuan for help. The ex-professor delivered. "It is not any of your concern, Mithos. How about we don't ask you how you can kill one enemy, let alone three, without batting an eyelid, and in return have you not ask us about Lloyd's wings."

"Yuan!" Gesea snapped. "Is it so hard to believe that Mithos is stronger than he looks?"

Yuan hardened his gaze on Mithos though, ignoring her completely. The blond half-elf nodded in agreement eventually. "Sure. If that's what you want."

"Good."

With just that one word, Yuan turned his back to the group and started up a steep incline of stairs. "Lloyd, keep your wings out. It looks like Colette brought hers out at the same time as you and it would be wise for her to keep them out in case she falls."

Lloyd turned his head to look at Colette as he started up the stairs behind Yuan. Her pink wings were flapping behind her. They could have just flown to the top but considering where they were, flying into the unknown didn't seem like a great idea. They made their way up the stairs and faced a black device with a big silver button on the front. Yuan didn't stop walking though and continued on straight through the door behind it. Sheelos ran past and entered the room ahead of the rest of the group.

Just by the way she lingered at his side, Yuan knew she was going to ask a question. "How do you know where to go?" she asked on cue, looking around the enormous room.

Yuan grimaced to himself and climbed the staircase that led all the way up to the somewhat small top floor, letting the question hang in the air as he did so. Eventually he knew he was going to have to answer, lest be subjected to more nagging. "I thought we had an agreement," he mouthed after a little consideration.

"But that was-" Sheelos stopped, her eyes widening. "But why?" Her voice lowered. "Why is it so important that we do this quickly?" Other questions about how he'd gotten himself there also swam around her brain. She heard the others clambering up the stairs behind her and closed her mouth. Yuan would have time to answer properly later. There was no way he would say anything with the rest of them around and it wasn't a good idea to keep making him summon silence bubbles before a big fight.

The Cerberus and the Chosen reached the peak of the stairs first and looked at what greeted them. The room wasn't isolated. From where they stood, they could see their friends ascending the stairs, as well as the doorway they'd entered from at the bottom. There was another flight of stairs opposite them that led into a dark room, but also up to their location. They'd passed a similar door on the way up their own side.

Sheelos tried not to show that her breath had been caught in her throat at just the sight of the familiar scenery. The walls behind the familiar raised circular platform poking out from the floor in the middle were decorated with the same symbols of Volt that were all the way through the rest of the temple. Not that they'd looked around much.

"This is it," Yuan said, resting a hand on her shoulder and nodding toward the raised purple circular podium that was used to call Volt to them. All she had to do was touch the button on the pedestal in front and raise the lightning rod. Clasping her hands and trying to manage her already shallow breathing, she approached. The rest of the group reached the top and stood with Yuan to watch her hesitantly reach her hand out. The moment her fingers touched the small round button on the pedestal and it clicked into place, she felt a little jolt of static travel through her fingers. She stepped back quickly, knowing what was coming next. A bolt of lightning shot from the roof above them right down to the now raised white rod. The lightning fizzled loudly and the room filled with a bright light.

When the light faded, all that was left was the spherical ball of nightmare fuel Sheelos recognised. Volt. The outer layer of his body was a clear substance that slowly filled with a mass of purple and white energy toward the core. Bright red almond shaped eyes looked over the group and stopped on the summoner-ninja-Chosen.

"It's finally time," Lloyd said, touching his hands on his swords and nodding confidently at her.

"Right," she agreed. She couldn't bring herself to step forward toward Volt though.

"..." The summon spirit made a buzzing sound. The same buzzing sound that had haunted her nightmares for years. She couldn't help her flinch.

"It's just like before!" she said, shaking her head. "What the hell is he saying to me!?" She turned to them all. Lloyd couldn't believe the terrified expression on her face. She was usually so cool and collected. "We have to get out of here before we're all killed!"

"Hold on," Yuan said before he knew Lloyd would tell her that they wouldn't be running away in his usual show of heroics. "I can understand what he's saying. He's speaking an old elven language that I am familiar with."

"R-really?" Sheelos stared at him for a moment. He grimaced and nodded toward Volt. "He's saying 'I am one who is bound to Mithos. Who are you?"

"Mithos again?!" Lloyd looked from Yuan to Volt. "How would he be able to form pacts with summon spirits in both Sylvarant and Tethe'alla?"

"You're right," Gesea agreed, looking perplexed. "Perhaps he also went back and forth between the worlds using a rheaird."

Yuan hushed them before they could continue the conversation and possibly explain to Mithos. He nodded at Sheelos to continue. She stopped twirling her red hair nervously and continued. "I am Sheelos. I ask that thou annulst thy pact with Mithos and establish a new pact... with me."

Volt buzzed and jolted. Everyone looked at Yuan for an explanation. The buzzing seemed to go on forever. "He said that his pact with Mithos is broken and that he no longer desires a pact," Yuan eventually translated.

"What?" Sheelos looked from him to Volt. "Why?!"

Volt buzzed a bit more, sending a wave of static in the air as he did so. Lloyd felt his lips go a bit hard and crispy.

"I will have no more dealings with people," Yuan said. "Therefore I desire no pact." At finishing his sentence, he summoned his butterfly blade. "No. I will not accept this. We need your help."

Sheelos took out her paper seals and readied herself into a battle stance. "That's right!"

Volt didn't agree. Lightning fell around the platform at them. Lloyd dodged one only just barely. The lightning continued to fall. They all backed away slowly as the glorified atom buzzed closer, his red eyes slanting inward a little more than normal. He was definitely angry. Lloyd didn't need Yuan to translate that. The floor rumbled and the sound of thunder crackled from somewhere above. "Jump!" he yelled on instinct alone as he spread his wings.

The group followed his orders and leapt off of the side toward the ground floor. Bursting into action, Lloyd darted around to slow their descents by catching and letting them go. They landed with thuds on the ground, but they quickly moved and raised their heads to show him they were alright. He and Colette descended to the ground quickly and turned to watch Volt lower himself down to their level. The summon spirit disappeared quickly after that.

"No!" Sheelos spun around. "Volt! Come back here!"

A sharp jolt of static electricity hit Lloyd in his left wing. He turned his head in time to see Volt appearing behind them all. "Sheelos!" he yelled as darted for her. Volt's body glowed white and a lightning bolt flew from his body straight for her. The assassin made to dart out of the way, but the lightning was.. as quick as lightning. In his struggle to defend her, Lloyd raised a sword directly at the bolt. Its trajectory changed and the bolt went flying to the roof. He turned on his heel and raised a sword at Volt, only to have him disappear again. More thunder rumbled around the room.

"There's too much mana in the air," Gesea informed. "This is very dangerous!"

Lightning fell from the top level again. One bolt scarred the floor directly in front of Gesea and Mithos, making them jump back in surprise. "Come out and face us Volt!" Lloyd yelled, keeping a keen eye on the roof. He gaped when the whole area above glowed a bright white. "Uh guys..?" He pointed.

"That doesn't look good!" Sheelos said, looking for an area where they could take cover. Unfortunately the room was pretty much open. Even if they did find some cover, she was sure Volt would trap them. The white light from above rapidly grew closer to them, descending the walls. Static crackled through the air and the rumbles of thunder grew louder and louder. Everyone cowered, realising the same thing as her. Just when they were about to be engulfed in white-hot electric plasma, Sheelos felt a warm buzzing sensation coming from the pocket under her obi sash.

"Don't be afraid Sheelos," said a calm, soothing voice inside her head. She thought she recognised it.

The lightning plasma engulfed them and they all let out terrified cries until one by one they realised they were still alive and not fried Chosen's, half-elves, and sail boat captains. Sheelos looked up and gaped at the sight before her with the rest of her friends. A large fox-like creature looked down at her with familiar ruby-red eyes. Multiple green and blue tails flapped around from its rear for a few seconds before settling in a neat curve behind it.

It sat and tilted its head at her. "You can do this Sheelos. Just as Sheena did, you can overcome this obstacle. I know it because it is in your heart."

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