Ashe and Ariel were scouting ahead, at the quarry, near the new settlement, which was their destination. Ariel tied a rope around an old piece of mining equipment, and they both made their way down into the quarry.
"This place creeps me out..." Ashe said in a hushed tone.
"It should... this is where they put the Hubun villagers to work, finding the minerals that laid below their own lands" Ariel explained as she looked around.
"The Empire... why were they so cruel to the Hubun people?" Ashe asked. Ariel sighed and kicked a stone on the ground.
"They saw them as lesser than human, and they'd laid claim to these lands, in their minds. The Hubun people disagreed, they'd always lived here after all, the Araneian's only showed up centuries later" Ariel replied.
"Did... you ever think like that?" Ashe asked, as she held Ariel's hand. Ariel frowned, she couldn't look Ashe in the eyes.
"I did" Ariel sighed deeply. "I'd love to say I didn't, but I was once as ignorant as the other people in my homeland. I held some of those view right up until I met Dex" Ariel frowned. Ashe hugged Ariel tightly.
"Just because that is what you once believed, it doesn't define who you are, Ariel. You didn't remain ignorant, and you took a stand against what you once stood for. You're brave, braver than me" Ashe smiled. Ariel smiled slightly too.
"Thank you, Ashe" Ariel said, as she hugged Ashe. As she did, a loud squawking noise echoed through the quarry. Ashe and Ariel summoned their Celestial Weapons and scanned the area around them.
"A fiend?" Ashe asked.
"Sounds like one... a big one too" Ariel nodded. Ashe pulled out her comms device and contacted Roisin.
"Sounds like we've got company here, a huge fiend" Ashe explained.
"We'll be with you soon, be careful" Roisin replied.
"We will, don't worry about us" Ashe smiled, before putting the comms device away. Across from them, in the centre of the quarry, the fiend landed, it was almost as tall as the quarry walls, towing above Ashe and Ariel.
"How'd it get so big?" Ashe asked.
"The majority of the crystals have fallen, the wildlife has begun to seriously mutate on this continent" Ariel explained. The creature stared at Ashe, but did not move.
"Don't make the first move, be defensive" Ariel said quietly. Ashe nodded slowly, remaining in a defensive stance. The bird fiend squawked before charging, as it was about to reach Ashe, a loud bang echoed across the quarry and the fiend fell to the ground.
"Wha...?" Ashe gasped, she looked up to see a huge cannon, and a young man with black hair looking down, it was Syl.
"You two okay down there?" Syl asked.
"Uh yeah, thank you" Ashe called back up. Syl nodded and climbed down.
"What are you two doing out here alone? Are you from Aranei?" Syl asked.
"We're not here alone, we're making out way to the new settlement, we're... travellers, I guess?" Ariel replied.
"Hmm, nice to meet you, I'm Syl, I help out at the settlement" Syl smiled.
"Wait, Syl?" Ashe gasped.
"Syl Luna?" Ariel asked, surprised.
"Uh, yeah, that's me" Syl laughed.
"Roisin's brother?" Ashe asked. Syl looked at both Ashe and Ariel.
"Wait... are you Ashe and Ariel?" Syl asked, as his eyes widened. "Is Roisin here?!" He asked, excitedly.
"Yeah, that's us" Ashe nodded.
"Roisin is actually on her way here right now with the others" Ariel smiled.
Syl cheered with excitement.
"It's been so long since I last saw her..." He smiled.
"She's missed you, both you and Atlas" Ashe nodded. "Is he with you?" She asked as she looked up at where Syl had jumped down from.
"He's back at the settlement, he'll be glad to see you both safe, he told me all about you" Syl smiled.
"It's good to finally have some good news" Ashe said, as she rested against the quarry wall, her Celestial Weapon fading away. Ariel nodded, and her weapon faded away too.
Roisin and the others reached the quarry's edge and looked down to see the fallen fiend.
"Could have saved some for us!" Wes called down, Ashe, Ariel and Syl looked up, Roisin looked down and spotted Syl, their eyes meeting for the first time in so many years.
"Syl?" Roisin said, her eyes widening. She jumped down to the quarry below and ran toward Syl, Syl ran towards Roisin, and they hugged each other tightly.
"I've missed you" Syl smiled.
"I'm so glad you're safe... and back to how you was" Roisin cried.
"Yeah, it's been quite the journey" Syl chuckled.
"You came back" Roisin smiled through the tears.
"I promised, didn't I?" He smiled back.