Morning would come to welcome Rune-Midgarts once more as the sun began rising over the seas. Two days had passed since White Trinity's party at the Emperium Fortress in commemoration of their victory at the Emperium Pyramid. Their victory struck a decisive blow against the Battle Vixens' morale, sending a succinct message that White Trinity is not to be trifled with.
As the blue skies welcomed the dawn, the four adventurers conducted an overnight journey back to Beacon Island. Ray, Raien, and Thiji pooled their resources together and made negotiations with the Kafra stationed outside of the Pyramid to establish any defenses they could…
Kafra Glaris: Welcome, White Trinity. The Kafra Corporation is here for your adventuring needs. Since you are officially contracted to us, you are granted access to additional features involving the tending of this… "castle." What can I do for you?
Ray: We'd like to invest in some defenses for the Emperium Pyramid, please.
Glaris: Very well. What would you like to do?
Ray: Hm… what are our options?
Kafra Glaris: You are able to construct –
Raien: Additional pylons?
Raien: Sorry. I couldn't resist. Continue, please.
Kafra Glaris: You are able to construct barricades to help defend the pyramid from impending attackers, and serve as a secondary wall in case the Guardian Stones of your castle fall.
Lee: What are "Guardians?"
Kafra Glaris: Guardians are large, enchanted suits of armor whose sole purpose to protect the castle that has been occupied by the guild in which they serve under. They are generated passively via Guardian Stones that are stationed in the outer areas of the castle, and are the first line of defense. The beauty of these is that the barricades are invulnerable to any and all damage while the Guardian Stones remain intact!
Ray: Are we able to rebuild the Guardian Stones?
Kafra Glaris: Yes, actually. However, it will require the items needed to be used in a certain order or else you'll lose risking some of said items, and therefore starting all over again.
Kafra Glaris: Furthermore, a Guardian Stone can only be repaired after five minutes since the time of its destruction.
Ray: I think I got all that… now how about those barricades? What do we need for those?
Kafra Glaris: Let me see…
The employee pulls out a clipboard and straightens her glasses.
Kafra Glaris: You need… thirty trunks; ten bars of steel; ten chunks of emvetarcon and five pieces of oridecon.
Lee: Hm… that sounds like a lot. And we have to create multiple barricades. Do we really have time to gather all those?
Ray: It shouldn't be too hard. I hear the Lucky Dragons are spawning in Payon this time of year. We can get some of the materials there! Would you like to join us, Raien? Thiji?
The Wizard is seen conversing with a girl that presents him with a letter before dashing out of sight. Raien approaches the Wizard and reads the note with him.
Thiji: It appears I am needed elsewhere. I'm afraid it is rather urgent.
Ray: Say no more. Do your thing; we'll take care of the defenses!
Lee: Yeah, Raien can go… do whatever it is that Ninjas do.
Raien, stretching his arms: Well, guess I'm gonna go and find some lovely ladies!
Thiji: Prontera would take nearly a full day's journey; by the time I arrive, it will already be nighttime…
Kafra Glaris: Worry not! Since you own the Emperium Fortress as well, I will be able to send you straight to Prontera City without having to trudge through the dreaded Sograt Desert!
Thiji, taking out a bag of Zeny: Very well, then.
Kafra Glaris: Oh, you don't have to pay me. Teleportation services are free of charge!
Raien: That is cool!
Kafra Glaris: Thank you for using the Kafra Corporation Teleportation Service. Please have a wonderful day!
With a nod, Thiji put away his money and would step into a warp portal placed on the ground beside the Kafra employee, whisking him away to Prontera. Ray and Lee would do the same, followed by Raien. Moments later, they found themselves at the town square of the city, where it was usually bustling with peddlers and clamoring adventurers alike. It was from there that Ray and Lee would find the closest Kafra employee and teleport to Payon. Raien accompanied Thiji out of the city and toward the portal in which they first entered the realm of Rune-Midgarts. As they would approach, a shadowy figure giggling bubbly spied on the two…
"So this is the famous Wizard I keep hearing so much about…? He does not seem to look so very tough. He will soon learn that he should never let his guard down in such an isolated area!" said the mysterious figure.
After a brief incantation, an albino snake slithers out from the shadows and hurriedly speeds up toward the Wizard. As it lunged toward Thiji, opening its maw to bare its fangs with which to bite down upon its unsuspecting victim, the snake would find itself sinking its fangs into a nearby tree that took the place of where Thiji was.
"What the -?! How did they vanish so suddenly?!"
The two escaped danger and they found themselves back in their realm on the other side of the portal.
"Thank you for that, Raien. I was glad that you chose to accompany me on the way back," said the Wizard.
"Anytime, brother. I'm going to do my thing now, so I'll see you back in Rune-Midgarts!" he replied, somersaulting back into the portal. Making his way back into the palace, he found the Snow Flower waiting for him inside the foyer with a smile. He greeted her with a bow and kissed her hand like a gentleman.
Koyuki, happily: Good day to you, Thiji!
Thiji: My lady. *gives a bow*
Koyuki: Your efforts in Rune-Midgarts is going well, I see!
Thiji: Thank you. It was nothing, really. Our main obstacle is a quartet of bloodthirsty warrior women calling themselves the Battle Vixens.
Koyuki: Oh, my…! With a name like that, they must be vicious!
Thiji: You know not the half of it, Your Majesty… *clears throat* Anyway, what did you bring me here for? Your missive seemed urgent.
Koyuki: Yes, it was! Nora had just sent back a detailed report after being away for so long! Would you care to stay a little while for dinner?
Thiji: Some time at home wouldn't hurt. Certainly, my lady.
As they made their way to the dining hall, back in Rune-Midgarts, Ray and Lee were beset by a clutch of small Chinese dragons – the Lucky Dragons they had referred to before had invaded. Although Ray was busy cutting through his few, Lee was seemingly enjoying the whole ordeal as he was riding on top of one for a brief moment…
Ray: Come on, Lee, we're supposed to be fighting these things, not mounting them!
Lee: Hey, we can't have a little fun while we're here? Whoa…
The Lucky Dragon thrashed around and knocked the Monk off of its back, and tackled him in frustration.
Ray, shooting the angry dragon to pieces: I told you these dragons don't take free rides!
Lee (muffled): You didn't say anything like that!
Ray: Get up, man! Here come more! Once we're done with these nuisances, we should have more than enough materials to secure our Pyramid!
Meanwhile, Raien had arrived at the Land of Destiny, Amatsu, greeted by falling petals and pretty women in pink yukatas. The beauty of the land enticed the Ninja into exploring a little too close to a tall, pagoda-esque structure tucked beneath the cherry blossom trees.
"Hm? What's this, I wonder? And why is it so isolated from the rest of the town?" said Raien to himself as he went closer. He would then hear the shouts of females coming from the top floor of the building…
Lupi: Our defeat was unacceptable, sisters! We were beaten so easily because of you! *points a finger at Heal-Do*
It was the Battle Vixens! The Battle Vixens' base of operations is located within Amatsu! This revelation shocked Raien, wondering again why they would be based in such a peaceful land blessed with spring…
Shrugging the thought, he continued listening in to the conversation…
Heal-Do: M-Me?! Why?!
Lupi: You had one job, Heal-Do! You were beaten by a Wizard!
Heal-Do: B-But Big Sister… I needed his help to defeat Amon Ra. It was guarding the Emperium Stone!
Lupi: But you could have destroyed Thiji and landed the killing blow yourself!
Heal-Do: I did!
Lupi: Then how were we beaten!?
Heal-Do: He… I had to team up with him if we wanted to defeat Amon Ra, but when I dealt the finishing blow, he was already within several meters of the Citrine Emperium…
Elua: So he tricked you?! Whoa!
Aege: In Heal-Do's defense, that was actually well-thought out of him.
Lupi, scoffing: Whatever… all I know is that we need to concentrate more on our training while this time of "peace" is still here.
Aege: Now you're talking! That's why you're the Big Sister!
Lupi, sounding somewhat happier: And don't you forget it! Come on, girls. Let's train!
Elua: Join us, Heal-Do!
Heal-Do: Sure… I suppose I could. Even an Assassin must train hard to keep herself in top form.
Looking out the window for a moment, she would notice someone looking up at her from behind the shrubbery…
Elua: What is it, Heal-Do?
Aege: You got something on your mind?
Heal-Do: Is… isn't that that perverted Ninja?
Raien, shouting: If you're going to call me a perverted Ninja, at least add "Lightning" in between; I have some dignity too, you know! (Thinking) Bad move, Raien…
Lupi: What -?!
Elua, drawing her arrow back: He was eavesdropping this entire time, looks like!
Aege: Plant one between his eyes, little sister…
Raien: Oh, shit…
As Elua fired, a smoke cloud appeared around Raien, vanishing out of sight as the arrow pierced the haze.
Aege, shouting: Consider that a warning shot, ya lecher!
Feeling unwelcome, Raien made a retreat journey back to Prontera, hoping to reconvene with his guildmates there. At the Land of Snow, Thiji had just finished his dinner with the Snow Flower…
Thiji: What do you mean by "dark tides?"
Koyuki: Though your struggles against the Battle Vixens have been valiant to this point, there will be even greater challenges as the Emperium Frontier will continue. Perhaps there may even be a new threat on the horizon!
Thiji: I see… and what of Nora's report?
Koyuki: She has informed me that while the Emperium Frontier is situated within Rune-Midgarts, there have been tales of a far greater entity that has caused chaos and destruction in the days of old…
Thiji: Are you implying that the Emperium Frontier was established by the Kafra as a means to unravel the mystery behind this strange entity?
Koyuki: Perhaps. It is all but rumors. We will have to wait it out and find out whatever else we can about this. I also have news regarding the halberd that you wish to wield – Icerend.
Thiji, gasping: Icerend…?
Koyuki: Yes. You saw it before the briefing several months ago. It has a mind of its own. However, you are not yet deemed worthy by the halberd. This may also be true for your other friends as they work to improve in strength as well. But if you keep true to your goals, and work together, then untold power will await you and yours!
Thiji: I understand, my lady. Thank you very much for the meal. Is there anything else you wish for me to do?
Koyuki: No. You are free to return! I shall be watching with great earnest!
They gave their farewells and parted ways. Thiji returned to the portal to Rune-Midgarts and found himself in Prontera field. Shortly after returning, he would hear giggling from within the shadows…
"Show yourself!" declared Thiji, his hand on his staff. It was silent for a moment, and then out from the shadows, a brown serpent lunged at Thiji's neck, baring its fangs at him, but his reflexes activated and ducked to avoid the ambush. Brandishing his staff and assuming a combat stance, his eyes followed the snake slithering up into the arms of a young woman wearing a black kimono and long, off-white hair and a thin brace circlet going around the middle of her forehead.
"Who are you…?" asked the Wizard, squinting his eyes.
"You… You are the fabled Wizard the land has been all abuzz over. I am Tsubaki."
"Did you come out all this way just to find me? My fans don't usually attack me with a large, venomous serpent."
"Intelligent and observant… you've good qualities for a Wizard," Tsubaki complimented.
"You will find that I am full of surprises. But enough about that. What guild do you hail from? Or are you some sort of mercenary hired by the Battle Vixens to do their dirty work for them?" interrogated the Wizard.
"Oh, heavens, no… I would sooner imbibe poison than work for those savages. I hail from a more just guild known as Holy Saviors," the woman explained.
"You sure as hell don't look the part to be considered holy," commented Thiji as he got out of his battle stance, lowering his stave.
"Think what you will. All you should worry about is that this will not be the last you see of me. Farewell…"
Tsubaki is enveloped by a purple fog before vanishing, her presence no longer evident. Pondering over his encounter, Thiji returned to Prontera in about an hour's time, where he would run into Raien at the town square. Ray and Lee teleported in shortly after.
Lee: Oh, there they are! Hey, Thiji! Raien!
Ray: What's up? How'd your time go?
Raien: Not bad… though I ran into the Battle Vixens –
Raien: Well… more like the home of the Battle Vixens –
Ray: You went into Amatsu without backup?! I don't care if you're a Ninja; those women are ruthless, especially considering that we've been a thorn in their side since the Frontier began!
Raien: I know, I know! I was just trying to find some ladies to charm, but then I heard talking from a large house shaped like a pagoda. Turns out it was them!
Thiji: You're fine now. That is all that matters. (To Lee & Ray) How did the town defense go?
Lee: Oh, it went well! We have enough wood and metal to last us months!
Raien: What's up, Thiji? You sound like something's wrong. Someone try assassinating you?
The Wizard takes several paces away from the three.
Thiji: Yes, but that ended in failure… are any of you familiar with the Holy Saviors?
Raien: Holy Saviors…
Lee: Couldn't tell you, really.
Ray: With a name like that, I'd imagine they're based in Prontera somewhere. The Monastery, perhaps? That's where all the Acolytes and Priests train.
Thiji: This woman named Tsubaki warned me that I would see her again, and that I should not forget the name Holy Saviors.
Ray: This Tsubaki person was just probably trying to scare you. Don't worry about it!
Raien: Wait, did she have a snake with her?
Thiji: Yes; it was the very same serpent that attacked us earlier, but it was brown instead of white.
Lee: Am I missing something here?
Raien: Earlier today, while I was roaming the fields with Thiji, this serpent tried to attack us, but I used my illusionary tactics to drive it off.
Lee: Whoa… What the hell? Is she some sort of snake charmer?
Ray: Uh, don't those people usually have turbans on their heads or something?
Thiji: At any rate, she must be trying to convey the message that another guild will soon make itself apparent in this competition. (Thinking) Koyuki was right… the stakes are getting higher. Everything will only become more difficult as time passes. But with the skill we've shown thus far, we should be all right…
Raien: Let's not mull over it. Let's go back to the Emperium Fortress while our defenses are being built!
The four agreed and headed back to their base in Prontera. Within a dark alley, Tsubaki watched as White Trinity strolled along the city streets, petting her serpent…
"Soon, little Wizard, you will face an enemy just as formidable as those savages… perhaps even more formidable…" she whispered, giggling evilly as she retreated into the shadows once more.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, ThijiWrite a Review