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Skewed Destinies- The Flames of Origin

By Keko_the_Hybrid

Mystery / Adventure

Prisoner's dilemma

Chapter 57

Prisoners dilemma

"Mm.. D-dad!" Lloyd groaned when he felt a hand shaking him from his slumber. "Just give me five more minutes. The dream I was having was-" He stopped complaining and flung his eyelids open when he realised he had no bedsheets to pull over his head. Bright light and a somewhat familiar shadow greeted him. He shielded his eyes until they adjusted. He first noticed Kraine looking at him from a spot on the floor next to him. The half-elf/seraph/professor had his arms crossed and an actual expression for once. Lloyd blinked to ask something but in that second, the traitors face had returned to its blank state. Well.. almost anyway. He had the expression he usually had worn whenever Lloyd had forgotten something in class. Knowing a lecture was coming, Lloyd steeled himself for it.

"Honestly Lloyd," Kraine started, "how could you think you were peacefully sleeping at a time like this?"

"A time like this?" Lloyd took the time to properly examine his surroundings now. Stark white and silver-blue tiles surrounded him, as did long sturdy looking bars that reached from the roof to the floor. "Where are we?" he asked his former teacher as he tilted his head and tried to remember himself.

"We are in Derris Kharlan," Kraine explained right as the last thing Lloyd could remember hit him like a ton of bricks. He cringed at the memory. The blinding light and the sharp pain coursing through his body brought back some rather painful memories from the Tower of Salvation.

"Derris what?" he asked, only half paying attention. He remembered a little more now. How they had flown through a forest that was full of strange tree stumps and water monsters to end up in Heimdall- the elf village, and how Genis had been called a half-elf and initially banned along with Kraine from the village. Only when they were met by the elder and Kraine had randomly seemed to drop Yuan's name did they get to leave and head toward Torent forest. From what Kraine had been muttering as they followed him through, it was apparently a maze that was rather easy to get lost in. Colette had stayed close to him, probably out of fear that she might lose them.

Thinking about his friends, he realised he'd started zoning out from what Kraine was currently explaining to him about their present location. The last thing he heard was something about Mithos.

"Mithos!"

Hearing that name, he remembered the rest of the situation. He, Colette, Genis and Kraine had been heading toward an area of the forest when suddenly time had stopped again. He remembered seeing Yuan and Mithos in a battle even though everything else, including Martuan and the man Colette had assumed must be Gabriel, was frozen in time.

"Mithos is really Yggdrasil!"

He clenched his fist and thought about Gesea again. She had gotten on so well with him as well, having found another friend her own age that was a half-elf. Soon after thinking about his still-missing best friend, his mind trailed to Genis. His new elven comrade had only been acquainted with Mithos for a short time but had also developed a fast relationship with him. He'd just supposed it was an elf thing until he had seen for himself how the elves in Heimdall seemed to look down and frown upon half-elves. That part still didn't quite make sense.

"You didn't hear a word of what I explained, did you?" Kraine said with a sigh, catching his attention once again and dissolving the thought that he was still forgetting something Mithos might have said to him.

Lloyd guiltily scratched his head for a second before shaking it. "Kraine! Where is everyone?" He jumped to his feet and headed for the bars. He abruptly stopped dead just as he was about to try and touch them and possibly crane his head out to see if he could see anyone else in the vicinity. The buzz of electricity filled his ears and reminded him of the Temple of Volt. Whoever had thrown him and Kraine into the cell really did not want them to get out.

"I'm glad your common sense seems to still be working," Kraine said from behind him. He whirled around and faced the now standing man. Kraine continued. "We are in Derris Kharlan, the base of Cruxis. That much I know. How we ended up waking up here.. well.." He glanced off to the side. "Actually, perhaps I should re-phrase. How you ended up waking here was pretty simple."

Lloyd wondered what that meant and hoped he would continue rather than decide to be his usual self and only give vital information. Kraine seemed to be in the mood for sharing though. "You were not affected by Mithos' time magic and so you fought with him when the rest of us were frozen, so to speak." Kraine looked incredibly curious after finishing his explanation. Lloyd knew he was asking him to elaborate this time. He decided to give the seraph a taste of his own medicine and stay quiet for the moment though.

"You were knocked unconscious by Mithos. You didn't stand a chance. When we arrived in Derris Kharlan.." Kraine trailed off, seeming to physically feel pain at explaining something for once. "I.. saw what he had done to you and-" He stopped meeting his eyes. Lloyd watched the man's fists clenching while he glanced off to the wall to his right and started glaring at it. "I attacked Mithos. I misjudged however and allowed myself to be temporarily distracted."

"So he finished you as well huh," Lloyd ended for him. "That doesn't sound like you at all."

"Hmph," Kraine scowled in response. "You're right. I must have temporarily allowed my emotions to get the best of me."

Though Lloyd would have liked to have taken another dig at him for that, he saw that the seraph was quite obviously distressed by it all. It only raised more questions again, particularly considering the situation that had likely caused Kraine to be distressed seemed to relate to him having been hurt. "Kraine," he started, trying to remain calm. "Just what happened back then?" He didn't have to elaborate any further. Just by the look in the man's eyes, he knew he understood his meaning.

"This is not the time Lloyd," Kraine replied slowly.

At hearing those words again, Lloyd felt his blood starting to run hot and anger welling up. "No! It is the right time! We're in a jail in some place called Derris Kharlan with nobody in sight. We've lost Genis, Gesea, Sheelos and Colette!" His anger briefly dissipated while he wondered what had happened to them. "I have no idea what happened to Gesea, but you do, don't you Kraine!"

"Calm yourself Lloyd," Kraine hissed. "Don't you know by now that sometimes things are not always what they seem?"

"You certainly weren't!" Lloyd spat back, reaching habitually down to his sides for his swords. They weren't there. A brief mental picture of Altessa's bedroom flashed before his minds eye, making him feel like slapping his forehead. Feeling like he needed to do something with his hands, he pointed a finger squarely at the half-elf in front of him. "Do you know how frustrating it is? To want to hate you but not be able to?"

Kraine just watched him patiently like he was just content to let him blow off steam. He obliged. "Say something!" he exclaimed. "I'm sick of feeling like everyone is keeping secrets from me because they think I can't handle it!"

"But can you handle it?" a voice that sent shivers running up his spine asked from behind him. He whirled around to see the him. "Yggdrasil," he snarled before his eyes trailed down to a shorter figure with silver hair. A wave of relief washed over him. "Genis! You're okay!"

Genis smiled briefly in greeting until Yggdrasil spoke. "You really are a simpleton aren't you." He placed a hand on Genis' shoulder. Genis shrunk back at the touch. Lloyd almost touched the bars in frustration at seeing that. "Yggdrasil.. No, Mithos! What have you done to Genis?! Also what about Colette? I swear.. If you've hurt her, I will tear every last one of you Cruxis to pieces!"

"Fighting words from someone who couldn't even stand up to me for a second," Yggdrasil said, sounding so even and almost.. bored.. that Lloyd felt his fury rising higher every second. "And I haven't done anything to either of them," the leader of Cruxis added.

"What do you mean you-" Lloyd glanced from him to Genis. "You've somehow brainwashed him, haven't you!"

Yggdrasil's lip curled slightly in amusement for a second. "Well it seems that you might have more of a brain than I gave you credit for. At least you are overestimating me now." He turned his back to him and started to step away. "Come Genis. We have a few errands to run before things are complete."

Lloyd felt his heart skip a beat. All of a sudden things became a lot clearer. He thought about how Genis had suddenly appeared to them all and how he had that strange crystal on his hand that, upon questioning, he had stated was simply something to do with his elven heritage. The reality of everything making more sense if he thought about it differently stung. He didn't want to believe it.

"Genis," he slowly called when he noticed his friend hadn't followed Yggdrasil out of the room just yet. Genis glanced from the floor he had been glancing down at to slowly meet his eyes. Seeing guilt written all over his face, Lloyd found it difficult to continue. Still.. he had to know. "Is it really true?"

"Is what true?" Genis croaked. "That I lied to you? That I've known Mithos' identity the whole time I have been travelling with you? That I'm an angel of Cruxis?" His body started to quiver and he looked down again. Lloyd saw some droplets fall from his face to the floor. "Or what about the fact that I've been lying to you about who I am?"

Lloyd found himself lost for words. Genis clearly had been lying but was it about everything he had just said? It seemed that way. Watching his friend act clearly distressed and continue to cry in front of their cell, Lloyd took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. "Are you really a full-blooded elf?" was the first real question that came to mind.

Genis stopped quivering for just a second and looked up at him. His eyes were puffy and red. He wiped his eyes but it only made them look worse. "Oh yeah and there's that too." He looked upward. Lloyd guessed he was giving Kraine eye contact. Lloyd waited for a reply that never came. Genis turned away from him. "I'm sorry Lloyd," he said instead and with that scampered away.

When it was just him and Kraine in the room once again, Lloyd sunk to his knees and tried hard to focus on figuring out what had just happened. He shot a glance at Kraine to see he was watching the spot where Genis had been, a hand rubbing his chin calculatively. "Is.. is that how Genis seemed to know you as well? Because he's a member of Cruxis?"

"Hm.." Kraine mumbled, not taking his eyes from the empty spot he was staring at. He seemed to be pretty deep in thought this time. Lloyd waved a hand in front of his face to snap him out of it. If he hadn't had good reflexes, Kraine would have probably caught it and likely hurt him. As it was, he just barely missed a swatting away by him. "That would seem to be the most logical conclusion one would come to under normal circumstances," he said to him, annoyance in his voice that probably stemmed from being made to come out of his ponderings about Martel-knew-what. "I'm afraid you are mistaken this time though Lloyd. It appears Genis is a somewhat recent recruit." The annoyance in his voice changed and Lloyd swore he had heard a growl of anger replace it for a second.

Lloyd turned back to the bars, eyeing them up and down two or three times. "We have to get out of here!"

Without thinking, he went to rattle the bars to test their strength and was quickly rewarded with a sharp impact on the lightest touch that sent him flying backward. Kraine caught him before he flew any further than him and softened his landing. Lloyd thanked him while dizzily getting to his feet and offering his hand. The seraph looked perplexed while he looked at the extended limb. "What?" Lloyd asked. "Oh. Right." He took his hand away but felt a bit guilty about it. "You see what I mean? Even after everything you've done, I find it hard to believe we're really enemies."

"You must stop being naïve," Kraine said harshly. "I am one of the leaders of Cruxis despite the current situation. I have had a hand in many of the Desian operations. Desians tore your family and your life apart Lloyd. You should despise me."

"But I trust how Colette feels as well," Lloyd continued, trying to ignore what he had just said and remain positive. "No matter what, she always seemed to believe that you were good." He laughed a bit at himself. "I guess it is a bit naïve but I think a part of her rubbed off on me. We were one person once after all." He found the strength to ask some new questions all of a sudden. "Why exactly did that happen anyway?" He looked at the exsphere on the top of his hand. "Everyone seems to want my exsphere. Is this what caused what happened at the tower?" He wondered if that had been a part of the journey as well.

About to give up on getting an answer for his previous question, he was a bit stunned when the seraph he had for company cast his eyes on him and began. "Mithos' plans involve the Angelus Project. Your Angelus Project however.." He dropped his eyes onto Lloyd's hand. "It was an unexpected find for Mithos."

"Unexpected? How?"

Kraine opened his mouth but stopped when a blaring alarm filled the room, falling to his knees with his hands over his ears. Lloyd looked around himself for the source, his own legs feeling weak as well. At times like this he was quite thankful that the perks of an angel that he had once had were somewhat lessened now. Kraine seemed to be feeling the full effect of it though.

"You better get up Kraine," called Yggdrasil's voice from somewhere above, temporarily lowering the whooping of the alarm. Lloyd squinted at the roof and all of its corners, but couldn't see anyone. "The Seraphinalia are begging to say hello."

"The-" Kraine got to his feet despite how unsteady he looked. "Mithos! Just what are you planning to do?"

Lloyd couldn't help but wonder where Mithos was and also what Seraphinalia were. Whatever they were, to get Kraine to his feet and sounding quite worried, it must have been bad.

"Answer me Mithos!" Kraine demanded.

Beep BEEP beep BEEEP

A new kind of beep followed shortly by a grinding sound that Lloyd quickly recognised as coming from several doors in the vicinity that seemed to be opening from the floor upward to the roof filled the room. He saw movement underneath the doors and in the gaps as the contraptions slowly rose. As they did, so did the metal bars that had been locking he and Kraine in their small cell. Lloyd watched them keenly, eager to finally get out. The more the bars rose and the more he saw what awaited them on the other side, the more he started to understand Kraine's earlier worries and just what 'Seraphinalia' were.

"Don't die Lloyd," was the response Mithos gave them from above again. "You too Kraine. You're both far too important now to let a few hundred angels kill you."

Kraine stepped to the front of their cage in front of Lloyd. "Stay behind me Lloyd. Is that clear?" Without waiting for an answer, he pulled his sword out and pointed the tip to the ground. Lloyd vaguely recognised the words he was chanting. It all became clear a few moments later when a very familiar blue dome of magic surrounded the two of them. It was some kind of barrier spell. Kraine had used it once before when they had been fighting 'Desians' during their time in the Thoda Geyser cave.

Stubbornness kicking in, Lloyd stepped up to the angels side. "Do you intend to hold them off from us all day?"

The electric bars opened high enough for them to be able to easily step out now. Unfortunately for them though, that also meant that the flocks of angels that had been behind each of the five opening doors that had shimmied open were prepared to charge at them. Some of them flew higher into the air and began to dive right for their location while others skimmed across the ground. Some carried spears, others staves, swords or bows. All of them as far as Lloyd could see had weapons of various sorts. He however had little more than his dwarven fist. He only had one though and by the looks of their weapons, if he were to try using it, he would probably lose it.

Kraine's logic all of a sudden seemed a lot more justified. Still, he doubted even he could hold up a defence barrier indefinitely. "We must try," the older man said. "We are in no shape to fight the Seraphinalia in such an unfair battle."

"Why is Mithos doing this?" he asked. "Does he want my Angelus Project so much that he wants to torture us for it?" Something once again niggled in the back of his mind. Mithos had told him something else but he couldn't quite remember what exactly. Kraine had been frozen in time when it had happened, so there was little point in asking him if he knew.

"There is more to it than that," Kraine mumbled. "I suspect Mithos is not trying to kill us but to actually make us stronger."

"But why would he-" Lloyd was distracted when the first projectile of the Seraphinalia flew at the barrier. It bounced off easily enough but not before making a loud noise. Mere moments later, their assailants were upon them and trying to break into the barrier using various methods. Lloyd glanced between Kraine, the enemy, and all around the barrier, feeling rather useless. If only he'd picked up his swords before he'd left Altessa's and not been in such a rush to follow Yuan.

Kraine remained strong for quite some time; enough time for Lloyd to notice that some angels that had been on the front line of attack were sinking back and letting others take their place. They seemed to be tiring out slowly, but it wasn't going to be enough in order for Kraine to outlast them. He could see sweatdrops pouring from the seraph's face as he concentrated hard on maintaining the magic. He didn't really know how taxing magic was on the body, but considering the fact that mana was the source of all life, it likely took quite the toll.

xxx

"So you knew I was watching the whole time?" Sheelos asked Martuan as she stood with Colette and the two Renegades outside of the Palmacosta base now.

Martuan and Botta gave her a look that said "do we really need to answer that?"

Colette giggled next to her. "It's okay Sheelos. It's understandable that you were surprised." She looked over her with concern. "Are you sure you're okay?"

It was Sheelos' turn to almost give the blond girl a look but she held back. "For the sixth and final time Colette, I'm fine." She frowned. "Just what had you so worried about me anyway?"

Colette inhaled a slight breath, making her ever the more curious. She looked from her to Martuan. "Scratch that. How about telling me just what went on while I was missing from the group?"

"If you're thinking we joined up with your merry group of kids, you are mistaken," Martuan cut in over Colette's soft voice. "We just happen to want the same thing currently."

There it was again. Sheelos grimaced to herself. Botta had been spot on. She and Yuan were so similar at times that it was difficult to comprehend that they weren't related.

"But-" Colette looked a bit confused as she pinned her eyes on Martuan. "You were the one who made the deal with Yuan." She tilted her head. "Right?"

Martuan gave a frustrated sigh at her comment and turned to Botta. "Go back to the base and increase security where available. We must execute damage control and lay low until I give the word otherwise. Cancel all field missions."

Botta bowed his head in understanding. "As you wish Lady Martuan." He looked over Sheelos and then at Colette, nodded to them both and left the area. Sheelos heard the dull rumble of a rheaird taking off.

"Now," Martuan mumbled, shifting her steely green gaze on to her and smiling a bit. "I believe our first destination should be the Triet Ruins to get Efreet?"

Sheelos grimaced. Now that she knew he was involved, finding out that Martuan had suddenly decided to help them seemed actually pretty plausible. She wondered just what the cynical Cerberus had bargained this time. Martuan started ahead of her and toward where Colette had been resting earlier while she talked with Botta.

"Mind telling me what this is all about?" Sheelos asked the Sylvaranti half-Chosen, catching her by the arm before she followed Martuan.

"O-oh." Colette blinked and bowed her head apologetically. "So much happened." A worried glint appeared in her eyes. "I'm not quite sure where to start." She dug her heels into the soft dirt that surrounded them and tugged at the sides of her sleeves while she thought.

"How about telling me what Yuan did," Sheelos said back to make it easier. That was all she really needed to know. Everything led back to Yuan at one point or another.

"W-well-" Colette seemed all of a sudden a lot more nervous. She twisted her head to look toward where they could see the shape of Martuan. The Renegade had her hands on her hips and was tapping her foot. "Come on you two. Time is wasting. We can talk on the way there."

"Okay! Be right there!" Colette nodded and waved to acknowledge her before turning back to Sheelos again. "Um.. well.. Yuan and I came from Torent forest and found Martuan captured by the elves in Heimdall. Then Yuan spoke with her and she made a deal with him to get more information from him if she helped us to get the Summon Spirits."

Colette wasn't giving her the whole story, but Sheelos didn't really have to wonder for too long on why. Yuan had been up to something in Torent forest and Colette knew what. She didn't know too much about the elven village Heimdall, but she knew enough to assume something of worth was in those woods for him to have gone there. Yuan never did things without a reason. "What are Lloyd and the others doing?" she asked then. It sounded odd in itself to hear that just Colette and Yuan had been travelling together.

"I-" Colette raised a hand to her face and dropped to her knees suddenly. Confused, Sheelos dropped down next to her. In the distance over Colette's sobs, she heard a groan from Martuan and her footsteps approaching too. "See what you've done now?" the lady accused.

"What?" she snapped back. "What happened?" She couldn't help but look at the Renegade suspiciously.

Martuan reacted accordingly and frowned. "I didn't do anything, I will have you know."

"It.. it was Mithos," Colette whispered softly. "He's Yggdrasil. He took Lloyd, Kraine and Genis and disappeared. I couldn't do anything."

"Neither could I," Martuan added. She rested a hand on Colette's shoulder and squeezed. "We have no way of knowing where they went."

"Shouldn't we be working out a way to find them?" Sheelos questioned once the picture was clear. Something had happened and Mithos seemed to have actually revealed himself as Yggdrasil to them. It sort of explained why he had taken Genis and Kraine with him wherever he had gone, but not Lloyd. She looked pointedly at Martuan. "Surely you have some idea where they are."

Martuan's eyes narrowed while she avoided giving eye contact. "Even if I did, I am powerless at present to do anything. Our best bet is to stop Mithos before he is able to activate the next step of his plan. To do that, we need to get the rest of the summon spirits."

A pause resounded between the three of them. Sheelos understood what she meant by her cryptic explanation to an extent, but she doubted Colette did. Martuan removed her hand from Colette's shoulder once she had regained some of her composure and looked ready to stand. "I suggest we hurry before it is too late."

Sheelos quietly helped Colette up and shared a brief look with her that she hoped she understood. They would need to talk when Martuan was not present at some stage. At the moment though, the bluenette bombshell knew the most out of all of them. They had no real choice but to follow her and see what happened next.

xxx

Disaster struck when a large burly looking angel approached from the back with a giant axe. Even before he had actually hit the barrier, Lloyd had sensed that things weren't looking good. He had started seeing the barrier flicker with different colours and hearing Kraine's breaths become more and more laboured. Kraine twitched and turned his head to look at him. "Lloyd... I.." His eyes fluttered and he fell to his knees, sword still in his hand.

"Kraine!" Lloyd yelped in panic. He could barely hear his own voice over the overbearing otherworldly yells of the fighter angels when they realised they could charge in unchallenged now.

Kraine summoned his blue seraph wings and stood in front of him. "Lloyd, when I give the signal, run! You need to go and find Genis." A light green barrier appeared around them this time. Even after being newly summoned, it looked like it was already starting to fail.

Barely able to believe his ears, Lloyd shook his head. "No! You know I can't leave you behind."

"There's no time." Kraine didn't seem to be listening to him. "You know that. You're the only one who can save Genis and stop Mithos at the moment."

"No," Lloyd disagreed, grasping the seraph's arm when he collapsed to one side for a second. "What will leaving one friend to save another solve?"

"You don't understand Lloyd!" Kraine barked, barely able to keep the barrier up now. "I…I once wasn't able to protect someone very important to me. So this time, I'm going to succeed. I'm going to protect two others that are also just as important."Lloyd didn't know what to say. He wondered what that was about but just as Kraine had said, there was no time. "You need to focus on saving Genis right now," Kraine added. "Don't get distracted."

With that as apparently his warning, Kraine let their last defence slip and raised his sword. Lloyd dodged a flying projectile and parried off to the side of the enormous group. The exit was on the other side of the room but he would need to be quick to reach it. Even as the thought entered his mind though, he watched as an angel blocked his view and glared down at him. His stomach lurched as he recognised the blond hair and the green outfit. "Remiel!"

Remiel grinned a wide-toothed smile at him. "Don't think I'm going to let you get away this time!" He lunged into a dive right for him, summoning a long blade in the process. Quickly sprouting his wings, Lloyd jumped and dove out of the way, only to knock straight into another angel. She laughed and tried to grasp him in one movement but he managed to elbow her and duck away again as Remiel went in for another stab. Some of the horde that had been heading for Kraine now turning on him, Lloyd started to feel overwhelmed. To top it all off, the exsphere on his hand was burning yet again. He backstepped, wishing for a miracle and maybe to stop time for a few minutes. Of course, the stopping time part didn't want to obey his wishes.

With Remiel leading the bunch of Seraphinalia, Lloyd could see no way out- figuratively and literally. He couldn't even see if Kraine was still fighting from where he stood blocking attacks from all directions and narrowly missing being hit almost all the time. Something sharp swiping long-ways from the base of his spine to his shoulders sent the world spiralling and the sides of his vision darkening. "I have.. to.. find Genis!" he yelled to nobody in particular, digging deep now for strength to stay upright. "I already lost once against Yggdrasil. I won't let him beat me and I won't let him beat Kraine either!"

But even though his mind raced with thoughts, his body didn't want to agree. His back stung, his neck ached and his hand burned. The majority of the Seraphinalia around him backed off strangely when Remiel approached once again, laughing mockingly at him. "Poor little Chosen. Trying your best but having everyone turn on you. How do you even wake up in the morning?"

"And how do you get up in the morning knowing you trick orphaned children into thinking they have met their real parents?" The sentence completed in his mind but his mouth didn't want to work. Laughing at him, Remiel raised his long sword, intent on delivering the final blow. Unable to get his body to move from its standing and doubled-over position, Lloyd found himself beginning to consider the sad truth that was the end to his efforts. Resigning himself to death now felt strange. He'd long ago accepted his fate as a Chosen was to die for the people of Sylvarant.. but now..

"NO!"

The yell of a girls voice he didn't recognise overrode all other voices in the room. He opened his eyes in time to see a flash of pink, black and silver. Remiel, who had been standing with his weapon raised a second ago now stared at him on his way to the floor. Lloyd found himself staring at the enormous and deep looking gash that spread diagonally across his back before looking up at his saviour. A girl with pink hair the same shade as Gesea's smiled down at him. "Are you alright Lloyd?"

Before he could answer, she circled around him and sounded as though she was taking out a few more angels. He heard their yells and saw feathers falling around him. There seemed to also be something happening just a short distance ahead near the doorway. He could see a red-orange glow emanating from between the hordes of angels that currently had their backs turned to him. The girl who hadn't hesitated in slaughtering Remiel ran back into his vision. She rested the large woodcutters axe she'd been fighting with on the ground behind her and seemed content to watch the action surrounding the blaze for a moment.

"Burn! Eruption!"

A voice Lloyd did recognise entered his ears. He heard pained screeches again and watched as the orange and red glow expanded closer to him. Several of the Seraphinalia were knocked back while many more disintegrated into dust particles. In the center of all the chaos stood his new silver haired friend, grinning cattily and poking out his tongue at his enemies. He stopped when he apparently saw them watching and quickly raced over. "Lloyd!" He stopped. "I'm glad you're okay."

"Genis!" Lloyd called, finding himself smiling at the sight of the short elf and somehow some of his energy returning at the same time. The pain in his back actually also seemed to be lessening and the feeling of his right wing touching the wall to the right was starting to return.

Another horde of angels turned their attention on them. Genis raised his kendama and looked to the girl. "Are you ready Presea?"

The girl named Presea nodded and the two charged into the fray once again, leaving Lloyd to watch on the sidelines and wait for an opening. If Kraine was still alive after everything, he was going to need help. Lloyd only wished he knew what he could do and that the still-burning exsphere on his hand would hurry up and do something useful.

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