myOtaku.com: Razing Phoenix
Monday, July 21, 2008
Chapters Thirty Seven-Fourty Three
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Storm of Elements
They only had one last Spirit to find. Blaire steered the Apocalypse into the proper direction, north. The Continent of Emorian was six hours away. The ship was now on the water; the next Spirit was Prodigis, the Spirit of Light. According to the map, the Shrine was at the most northern part of Emorian. Blaire heard a loud noise outside. She looked out the window and saw that the sky had turned to the colors of black and grey. Lightning lit the sky, and strong winds blew. Snow started falling, too! As she looked further up ahead, a giant wave was forming.
Blaire told another crewman to take the helm as she ran outside. The others were there, too, staring at what the weather was bringing them: chaos. Blaire ran over to Zach and tied a rope around his waist and tied the other end to the rail.
“What are you doing?” Zach asked, shouting over the wind.
“It’s for your own good,” Blaire replied as she did the same to the others.
She went back into the cabin and took the helm back. Zach looked up ahead. The tidal wave was coming closer.
“Brace yourself!” Zach shouted at the others as he held Miranda close to him.
Crash! The wave collapsed onto the Apocalypse, soaking everyone and everything. Eyms and Lucario were having trouble keeping the rope tied. The end of Eyms’s rope was beginning to be cut by the sharp wind. Snap! The rope snapped and Eyms shouted as he was lifted into the air by the wind and fell over the rail.
“Eyms, where are you?” Lucario shouted out. He couldn’t see because of the wind and fierce rain.
He didn’t hear a reply. Lucario looked over the rail and saw Eyms’s hair above the aggressive waves and water. He remembered the deal about protecting each other. He cut his own rope and skillfully dived into the water below. Lucario’s body became one with the water, and he could breathe under it. He opened his eyes and looked around for Eyms.
Eyms, meanwhile, was fighting the underwater currents. He was drowning, and he knew it. He was not the best when it came to water. Air was escaping him, and he panicked. He was going to die drowning! He suddenly remembered his home, his Uncle. He promised he’d return to him, alive. And it all came to this? Eyms also remembered when he became… blind. It was horrible. He couldn’t see anything the others could; he could only see shapes; hear sounds. It was the poison… and the fire that killed his father. Eyms remembered the suffocating feeling the smoke and poison gave him.
It took away his sight, but he gained his Incarnian abilities in return. He couldn’t use them in water, though. He was doomed, done for. What’s been done is done…but what about the Journey? He thought. Eyms was seeing images in his mind, of his father, when he was little. It was before the war; before his father refused to fight, and they killed him for that. They called him a lazy traitor of their Continent, but Eyms knew why he wanted to stay. His father loved his family, and practically obsessed over them. Eyms had no brothers or sisters, but he still had fun with his parents and childhood friends. And when his father passed away, his mother became depressed, and solaced herself in her solitude.
As Eyms remembered his past, he suddenly felt himself rising out of the water! Slippery hands grabbed him around his waist and pulled him up to the surface. He lost his consciousness as Lucario treaded through the rough water and climbed back onto the Apocalypse. Lucario laid Eyms on the floor and felt his pulse. Eyms was still breathing, but he had blacked out before they had reached the surface. Everyone looked at Lucario and Eyms, unaware of what had happened just moments before.
“Come on, Eyms, wake up.” Lucario said, shaking Eyms. “Wake up, damn it!”
Eyms didn’t wake up; he just lay there… motionless, wet, and cold. Everyone looked, hoping he would wake up.
“I said wake up! I didn’t save you for nothing!” Lucario shouted, his blond hair dripping wet.
Lucario gave up. He turned away and held his head in his hands.
“Then why the hell did you save me?” Eyms asked, spluttering out water.
Lucario lifted his head. He was alive!
“Why didn’t you just swim? Remember what we agreed on? We need each other to win this battle!” Lucario yelled.
“Duh, I remember. Would you quit yelling at me? I can hear you, you know.” Eyms asked softly.
Lucario gave a frustrated sigh.
“Just don’t expect me to save you again.” Lucario said, helping Eyms sit up.
Blaire rushed over to them, forgetting the storm. She stood over them, holding out her hands to help them stand up. Lucario was about to take her hand when the rain stopped. Sunlight streamed out of the departing clouds, and a rainbow appeared. Lucario looked up at the clear sky.
“Hey, the storm…” Eyms said.
Blaire turned around and looked up at the sky. She smiled. Zach and Miranda untied themselves and walked over to Eyms, who was wringing out his clothes.
“You know, the thing I hate most about rain is that you get really wet.” He remarked.
“Heh, well, the rain is water, so go figure.” Lucario said sarcastically.
“Okay, one more smart remark from you, and you’ll wish you never saved me!” Eyms said, pointing an angry finger at Lucario.
Neil put his hands in his pockets. “Tch, here they go again.” he said, annoyed.
Melody was at Neil’s side. She stomped her foot and folded her arms.
“Don’t fight! Stand up and shake hands!” she shouted, pointing at them.
“Jeez, don’t get too excited.” Neil said sarcastically, looking at Melody.
“Okay, fine.” Eyms said, shrugging his shoulders.
“You two should get along! Seriously, grow up!” Melody exclaimed.
Eyms stood up and faced Lucario. He held out his hand, waiting for Lucario to do the same. Lucario reluctantly reached for Eyms’s hand and shook it.
“I’ll try not to regret saving you.” Lucario said through gritted teeth.
They were squeezing each others’ hands, seeing who will let go first. Eyms chuckled through gritted teeth.
“C’mon, guys!” Zach said, “All you two do is fight.”
“Him first,” Lucario said, looking at Eyms with a toothy smile.
“We’ll be here all day.” Blaire said, staring at them in disbelief.
“So, the sky is pretty now…” Miranda remarked, trying to change the subject.
“Sure, Miranda. Anyway, they can fight all week if they wanted to. Blaire, are we still on the right course?” Zach asked, looking at Blaire.
Blaire looked around the sky, and pulled out the map to examine it.
“I believe so. The Shrine should be at least six hours away from Emorian’s coast, so we should be there by the late evening.” Blaire supposed.
“That’s great; we’ll make up more time.” Zach told her.
“I thought you weren’t for sure if you had a set time?” Sol Genova asked him.
“Oh yeah, that. I don’t feel rushed anymore since the Synagods kind of… you know.” Zach explained.
Sol Genova nodded and asked, “Then what will happen when Miranda gets to the last Shrine?”
“She’ll release all the Spirits to Saskae, and he’ll do his part… At least, that’s what I think will happen.” Zach said. Or at least, I hope it will… He thought.
“Hey, I have a question, too. If the Spirits are released into the Spirit World, would the Incarnian lose their Synergy abilities?” Asch asked.
“Good question. But to tell you the truth, I don’t think that’ll affect them.” Zach said.
“How do you know this stuff?” Neil asked.
Zach was about to speak, but Eyms spoke for him.
“He was the apprentice of Spirit Saskae when he was little.” Eyms said quickly.
“…Really? How does that happen?” Neil asked.
“He found me, offered me a home, and trained me as a swordsman.” Zach explained.
“I see,” Neil said, “So, do you know how to use Incarnian abilities?”
Miranda and the others looked at him, curious.
“I know a little. Look, I’ve already explained this to Miranda and Eyms, so ask them; I’ve got a major headache.” Zach said.
Zach rubbed his head.
“I’m going to take a nap, okay?” Zach told them as he walked into his cabin.
Miranda watched him as he shut the door behind him. Zach didn’t usually snap at them like that. And, he never complained. Something was definitely wrong. She decided to talk to the others for their opinion, and to pass the time.
Meanwhile, in his small cabin, Zach laid there, staring up at the ceiling in the dark. His headache started right after the storm, but he didn’t tell anyone. What was going on? He had a suddenly had a strange feeling that the Synagods were alive. But no one could have survived that explosion, right? It was official. Zach considered himself crazy.
And that was when he felt a jolt of pain channel through his upper left shoulder. Under his shirt was a piece of white paper attached to a sharp, long needle.
“Damn it,” Zach whispered.
Zach reached for it. He held his hand over it. Maybe he could do what Sol Genova did? After all, he could use the Incarnian’s abilities too. As Zach concentrated, a soft light appeared from his hand. It was working! The tag was slowly being pulled out. The only thing Zach didn’t know how to do was restore his Synergy. After the tag was out, he felt weaker. But he held the tag in his hand, curious.
Instead of the strange symbols on it, there was a note.
Zach read it aloud to himself, “We are alive, and don’t you dare doubt that. Remember that we’ll be following you.”
Zach let himself fall backwards onto the bed.
“Great,” Zach said miserably, putting his arm over his face. “No more dreams, please…” He was getting weaker and weaker quickly. Zach slowly closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Sixth Shrine
The Apocalypse was steered onto a sandy beach. Blaire walked out of her cabin and gathered up everyone. She noticed that Zach was missing. Earlier he said he had a headache. She wondered if Zach was okay and walked over to his cabin. Blaire quietly opened the door. A crack of light dimly lit the dark room. She saw a figure on the bed.
“Zach…?” Blaire called.
He didn’t answer for a few moments. Blaire looked at him, waiting for him to answer.
Finally, Zach said, “What?”
Blaire’s brow wrinkled; she was concerned, and confused.
“Are you all right, sir?” Blaire asked.
“If I knew, I’d tell you.” Zach told her.
Blaire walked over to him and felt his forehead with her hand.
“What happened? You’re burning up.” Blaire said.
“Don’t tell the others, okay?” Zach asked, curling himself up.
Reluctantly, Blaire nodded.
Zach sighed and said, “They’re alive, Blaire. And now they’re out to get me.”
“Alive? You don’t mean the Synagods? But how did they do this to you?” Blaire questioned.
Zach held up the Spirit Tag.
“Another one…? Zach, they’re really trying to kill you.” Blaire remarked.
“Go figure; I blew up their hideout, released all of King Divine’s prisoners, and if that weren’t reason enough, I refused to join them in their sick quest.” Zach explained.
“You can’t fight in your condition; you need more protection. You’ll have to stay behind.” Blaire told him firmly.
“But what about being in a team?” Zach snapped.
“No! You’ve lost too much strength. I’ll stay behind with you on the Apocalypse.” Blaire said with authority.
“Fine… I can’t get up anyway.” Zach grumbled.
Sol Genova walked in, overhearing them.
“Is Zach all right?” he asked, concerned.
Blaire shook her head. She walked to Sol Genova and pushed him out.
“He’s not fighting the Spirit.” Blaire remarked.
Sol Genova stared at her. It looked almost as if there were flames blazing in her eyes. Then Sol Genova looked at Zach over Blaire’s shoulder, worried. He didn’t know if he should be sorry for Blaire staying with Zach, or worried that he was injured more. But he had to let Zach know that they could make to the Shrine and have a reason to make it back in one piece… Then an idea struck upon him.
“I have an idea. The last Spirit is Prodigis, the Spirit of healing and light. When Miranda catches it, she can summon it, and use it to heal him.” Sol Genova said quickly, scratching the back of his head nervously. The moment froze in suspense. Blaire finally, yet reluctantly, nodded in agreement. Zach glared at Sol Genova as he left the room.
Unenthusiastically, Sol Genova left with Miranda and the others.
“But why isn’t Zach coming?” Miranda complained.
“Zach doesn’t feel well.” Sol Genova said, grinding his teeth.
“That doesn’t make any sense. How…?” Lucario asked.
“It was one of those forsaken Spirit Tags again.” He answered.
“But then, that must mean…” Eyms said.
“Yes. They… are still alive.” Sol Genova told them.
Miranda blinked in astonishment. Eyms froze. Lucario stared at Sol Genova with tensed eyes.
“But Zach blew them up! No one could have survived that, right?” she asked.
“I don’t think fire and explosions could stop them, Miranda.” Sol Genova told her.
Miranda sighed and looked back at the Apocalypse, thinking about Zach. He was probably going crazy, not being able to fight the Spirit with them. Miranda sighed and unwillingly looked ahead. They were walking on a sandy beach. Many sea shells lay about, scattered. A salty breeze blew, picking up sand as it went. The Shrine was not very far; she could see it clearly. Rays of sunlight shined down on it, illuminating the white stone it was made out of.
There were also strange pedestals that lined the path to the entrance. The tops of the pedestals were rounded, and had a strange orb inside of them. When they approached the first pair of pedestals, the orbs gave off a bright, radiant glow. Everyone except Asch stopped; he kept on walking. When he reached the pedestals… zap! Asch was shocked by a jolt of lightning! He fell down, and crawled in pain away from the pedestals, waves of electricity moving around him.
“Ow! Why do- I -always have- to be the -one to… get hurt? Oowwww…” Asch asked.
“Because you’re the only one who doesn’t pay any attention,” Sol Genova told him.
“Whatever,” Asch groaned, standing up.
“Are you okay, Asch?” Miranda asked.
“Yeah, actually, I feel pretty good considering I just got the hell shocked out of me.” Asch said.
“Oh,” Miranda said.
Sol Genova examined the pedestals. Melody also studied them, with her hands on her small hips.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Sol Genova asked her, resting his chin on his hand.
She smiled and looked up at him.
“We’ve got to reflect the lightning to reverse the effect, right?” Melody suggested.
“Exactly, and I know just how to do it.” Sol Genova said.
“What you have to do is use your Light Incarnian abilities to reflect the opposing light, sort of like a prism.” Sol Genova explained.
“Huh? A prism…?” Asch repeated.
“Don’t repeat me, Asch! She’ll use a prism to catch the light, and contain it until all of us reach the door. Simple as that,” Sol Genova told Asch.
“Oh,” Asch said. “Damn it; if Zach were here we would’ve busted our way through another way.”
“But Zach isn’t here right now!” Sol Genova told him. He gestured to Melody.
Melody nodded and stood near the pedestals. She spread her arms out, and closed her eyes. A soft light appeared in the palms of her hands. Miranda glanced at the pedestals. The orbs inside them were glowing fiercely. The light grew so bright; she had to shield her eyes. Eyms and Lucario stood behind Miranda, Lucario also shielding his eyes.
“Is it working?” Eyms asked impatiently.
“Yeah, I think so. All of the orbs are glowing.” Lucario told him.
Melody’s hands began to vibrate; golden Synergy particles were flying everywhere. Each bolt of light that zapped out of the pedestal bounced off and landed in her hands. Melody opened her eyes and focused on the center above the path. All of the light Synergy was transferred into a prism-like figure in the center, shining fiercely above them.
“Quickly, she won’t be able to hold it much longer.” Neil said quietly, covering his eyes.
Sol Genova, Asch, Miranda, Lucario, Eyms, and Neil all rushed across the path and reached the entrance. Neil looked at Melody and waved. His pale hand sparkled in the bright golden light.
“Okay, Melody, come on!” He shouted.
Melody clenched her little fists and skillfully threw the light back into the orbs. She ran to Neil.
“Did I do a good job, Neil? Tell me.” Melody said to him.
“You did great, Melody. Don’t you think so, Miranda?” Neil said.
“You did an incredible job, Melody!” Miranda told her.
“Thank you,” Melody said, smiling just as brightly as the prism of light.
“Alright, enough idle chitchat; we’ve got to get that Spirit for Zach, remember?” Sol Genova said.
“Yeah,” Miranda said.
Inside the Shrine was surprisingly calm and cool. The interior was made of pure white stone. In the center of the main room was a decorative symbol that represented the sun. Other symbols that represented light also surrounded it. A pedestal stood on the right side of another doorway; it was sealed shut. Sol Genova silently examined it. There was nothing there but a door and a small pedestal that looked like the ones from outside.
Finally after a long moment of silence, he said, “There’s an engraving of a handprint. Miranda, place your hand on this pedestal.”
Miranda did as she was told. She placed her right hand on the engraving. Light shined between her fingers, and the stone door began to rise up. Beyond the doorway… was an illuminated, bright room.
“It opened!” Miranda exclaimed.
Sol Genova nodded. “The Spirit is just up ahead; c’mon.” He said, walking ahead.
“Yeah, I can feel it.” Eyms agreed.
As they walked in, a white light appeared. Fine particles of dust stirred around the floor, forming into some kind of a creature. There was a flash of light. Then, there was a figure of a human; the skin was gold, and it had long, white, feathery wings like those of an angel. Each of its eyes was like a small, hollow abyss of white light. The Spirit wore a glimmering white robe. The light reflected off the white walls, making it almost impossible to see the Spirit clearly. It appeared almost as though it were an illusion. Despite the rousing of bright lights, the Spirit looked down on the group with interested, yet hollow eyes.
“So, it is as it was foretold…? Lord Kekerath was correct?” the Spirit said calmly.
“Lord Kekerath? What’s he talking about?” Asch asked Sol Genova.
Sol Genova narrowed his eyes. Lord Kekerath… He’d heard of him before.
“Prodigis, we are in the presence of the Spirit Summoner, and she has come from far away; Miranda was sent by Spirit Saskae himself.” Sol Genova told the Spirit, ignoring Asch.
“I see… Then we must battle, for the sake of your worthiness.” Prodigis said.
Instantly, Prodigis raised his hands. Rays of light rained down on them. Melody stepped forward and reflected them with her Incarnian abilities. The rays of light bounced back at Prodigis, striking him. He silently bent over in pain. Sol Genova held out his hand with the Palm Saiga right side up. An ominous grey light appeared around Prodigis. The grey light encircled Prodigis and exploded as it wrapped around him in a spiraling veil of darkness. Then Prodigis flew above them. Without warning, a circle of light appeared beneath their feet.
“Melody,” Neil called.
“I got it, Neil!” Melody cried.
She reflected it again, but this time Prodigis’s light gave off waves of stunning heat. Melody gasped as she held back and stopped. She screamed as Prodigis hovered over her.
“That’s it,” Neil said, apparently ticked off.
Neil took out his staff and tapped its end on the ground with it. A dark circle with symbols in it appeared under him. The room became dark, and Prodigis froze. It was actually slowing the Spirit down! The Spirit craned its neck over to look at Neil. Shadow Geysers emerged from the ground, erupting steaming pillars of darkness. Each geyser hit Prodigis, causing him to fall to the ground in agony.
Miranda quickly took out the Spirit’s card out and held it out towards Prodigis. Prodigis began to dissolve into golden particles of Synergy. Its Synergy disintegrated into the card’s symbol and Prodigis disappeared within the card. When the particles vanished, everything was quiet, and the light dimmed.
Everyone exchanged nervous looks. Miranda sighed. That was the last Spirit she had to catch. Now she could go and heal Zach.
“It’s over.” Asch remarked.
Sol Genova glanced at him.
“We have yet to release the Spirits to Saskae,” he snapped, “What exactly is over?”
“Well, the Journey is, isn’t it?” Asch asked.
“In a way… part of it is over.” Eyms said.
“But Sol Genova’s right, we still have to go back to Manndette.” Miranda said.
Sol Genova nodded, and then looked over to Neil and Melody. Neil knelt down next to her. She was sitting on the floor, looking at her hands, which had small red burns on them. Sol Genova walked over to them.
“Can you help?” Neil asked.
Sol Genova examined Melody’s hands. He didn’t want Miranda to summon Prodigis just yet; not if he could help.
“These are only minor burns; yes, indeed I can help.” He replied.
Lucario and Miranda watched as Sol Genova used his Palm Saiga to heal Melody’s hands. In a second, the burns were gone. Neil looked up at Sol Genova.
“Thank you,” he said.
Sol Genova nodded and stood up.
“We should get back to the Apocalypse…” he said as he began to walk out of the room.
Chapter Forty: Zach, Captured
When they got back to the Apocalypse, Miranda saw Blaire standing there, holding a rail. She looked down on them, her eyes steady and impatient. As soon as they walked onto the ship, Blaire walked up to them and saluted.
“It’s Zach,” Blaire said, “He’s not getting any better.”
“What?” Miranda gasped.
“He can’t move his arms.” Blaire said quickly.
Suddenly, they heard the shattering of glass. Miranda instantly ran into Zach’s cabin, followed by the others. When she stepped into the room, the window’s glass was gone. Zach wasn’t inside. She ran over to the window and looked out. Instead, he was being held over the water by a pair of cold hands.
“Shuda…?” Sol Genova exasperated.
“I don’t think you’ll mind me taking him off your hands, now do you?” Shuda asked.
Shuda was standing on a small flying machine. Its platform was only three feet long, and three feet wide. Tall rails supported a miniature steering wheel. On each side had thin wings that were flapping up and down faster than the speed of light; the engine was in the back.
Shuda held Zach out to them, as if he would throw him back. Zach looked like he was in pain, considering he could not move his arms, and was being dangled over water by them.
“Miranda,” Zach said, looking at Miranda.
“Zach!” Miranda exclaimed. She looked at the others and said, “Someone do something!”
“Shuda, let him go,” Sol Genova ordered.
Shuda looked at them angrily, and then smiled. Shuda loosened his grip, letting Zach slip.
“Uh-oh, what now..?” Shuda asked, leaning over to them.
Shuda laughed and shook Zach at them.
“Miranda, don’t follow me! Go to Saskae!” Zach shouted to her.
“But, they’ll…” Miranda began.
“Forget about me, okay? Focus on the real thing!” Zach said.
“No…” Miranda sobbed.
“Yes! Miranda, listen to me,” Zach whispered.
“Just don’t die, okay?” Miranda said.
“I’ll… try not to.” Zach said as he closed his eyes in defeat.
“Okay, Zachary; it’s high time you pay us back for what you’ve done.” Shuda remarked.
Shuda steered the machine away from Miranda, who was still reaching for him. When Zach opened his eyes, they were far away from them. They were flying over a vast ocean, and he could feel the wind was whipping in his face.
“Shuda, what do you want?” Zach asked, looking up at him.
“Well, it’s simple, really...” Shuda told him.
“Exactly what is?” Zach asked.
“Do you know why I need you and you alone?” Shuda asked Zach, looking down at him.
“No idea,” Zach remarked.
“It’s because we need enough Synergy to obtain and control the Six Elemental Spirit’s Synergy, but with only the three of us, it’s not enough. We need four. And since Sol Genova betrayed us, we have to improvise.” Shuda began.
“Then why don’t you make him do it?” Zach asked.
“He wouldn’t; he’s not strong enough anyway. So we need to use you instead. You see, with you we have a leverage. If you don’t cooperate, we’ll kill all of you little friends.” Shuda explained.
“But I still don’t understand what you need me to do.” Zach said.
“The Spirit and Underworld are merely connected by two other worlds. Actually, they block each other, disabling us to be aware of their existence.” Shuda said.
“Two other worlds…? But why would you care about them in the first place?” Zach asked.
“For more power,” Shuda answered.
“You’re crazy; Saskae will never let you do this.” Zach remarked.
“Never say never,” Shuda said, “Who do you think is behind all of this- the weather conditions; the Spirit’s powers; the Incarnian; the Old War?” Shuda asked.
“That doesn’t make any sense! Why would he…” Zach began.
“He wants his old life back! Do you think he chose to be the Spirit Guide? He’s recruited us ever since we learned our Synergy abilities. Doesn’t that explain why Sol Genova sent you that letter?” Shuda said, “And, what’s more interesting, do you know who else is involved in all of this?”
“Tell me,” Zach demanded.
“Lucas Laverne,” Shuda said.
“…Laverne?” Zach repeated.
“Yes,” Shuda said.
“You don’t mean General Laverne? Miranda’s…” Zach stopped short.
“Father,” Shuda finished for him.
Zach leaned against the rail to support himself. Why would Miranda’s father be involved in this? Unless he was the one who started it by entering the forbidden Shrine of Saskae… Everything seemed unrealistic; there had to be another explanation.
“But, how is he involved?” Zach asked, confused.
“Why don’t you speak about what you think? You’re correct; he is the one who stepped into the forbidden Shrine of The Great Spirit.” Shuda said.
Zach’s eyes widened. This was yet another painful realization. LucasLorenawas the one who started this. Lucas Laverne, a general who had disappeared before the war began. He was one of the reasons why Zach founded the Leauge; so that there would be no stray soldiers, lost without a way home.
“So it was all… for nothing?” Zach asked.
“Perhaps you could say that. However, on the contrary, the Journey itself, and what you have accomplished for us was very helpful.” Shuda told him.
“And what did we accomplish for you?” Zach asked.
“You’ve gathered all of the Spirits in one place for us. We also have bait for them to come for, and leverage. It’s perfect…” Shuda said.
Zach felt anger surge inside him. He wanted to attack Shuda, and tell him that they would not help them. He tried to move his arms, but it only made him writher and grunt in pain.
“I know what you’re thinking now; you want to rip me to shreds, don’t you? Well, I’m afraid that’ll have to wait.” Shuda said as he steered the small machine towards a tower.
The tower was black, with many narrow windows. It stood on a plateau. The land around it was barren. Shuda skillfully landed the machine on a large balcony. Already waiting for them was Halla, Test, and King Divine. Behind them was Remiel, whose hands were tied up.
“Remiel…? What are you doing here?” Zach asked him.
Remiel looked at him.
“I’m sorry I failed,” he said, “I told them you were Saskae’s apprentice once…”
“Shut up, assassin,” King Divine ordered.
Remiel backed away silently as King Divine examined Zach. He gave a satisfying smile. But then he saw Zach’s temporarily useless arms hanging at his sides, and frowned with utter displeasure.
“What happened?” he demanded.
“The Spirit Tag, Your Majesty.” Shuda explained.
“He was supposed to be in perfect condition. Without the use of his arms he might not be able to survive in the other world.” King Divine said angrily.
“Other world…?” Zach repeated. “Hold on, what the hell is going on here!”
King Divine looked at Zach.
“We’ll explain that once we get inside, I promise. Just cooperate and everything will be fine.” He said.
“Like I’m going to believe that,” Zach told him.
“You’d better if you want to live another day.” Shuda whispered to Zach.
“Whatever. As long as you don’t hurt Miranda and the others, I’ll cooperate.” Zach said, reluctantly.
“Very good,” King Divine said, “I knew you would see it my way.”
Zach followed King Divine and the others into a large, narrow room. On the other end, there were four Syn Machines positioned in a circle. They were tall enough to reach the ceiling, which was open. Rain fell through the whole, and evaporated before it reached them, like there was an invisible force field beneath it. In the circle, there were markings that represented every element. Part of the floor was cut out, allowing them to see far below the tower; all of the stairs were destroyed.
“What is this?” Zach asked, looking up at the whole in the ceiling.
“Oh, that. We needed to conceal this from other eyes; incase someone found us. But we also needed an opening for the portal.” King Divine explained.
Zach examined the four Syn Machines.
“But how will I be able to activate it if I don’t have a Palm Saiga like Sol Genova?” Zach asked.
He was trying to gather all of the information he could; maybe he could think of a way out of this, and reverse it.
“That’s why we needed you, Zachary. You have more than enough Synergy to activate it without a pitiful amplifier.” King Divine said.
“Okay, there’s just one other thing I don’t understand.” Zach said.
“Hmm…?” King Divine looked at him eagerly.
“You don’t use Synergy to fight. How do you know all of this? How do you know about the Three Worlds; the Spirits, and the Incarnian?” Zach questioned.
“You’re assuming I do?” King Divine said.
“You can’t just guess on all of this! You’d have to know I was Saskae’s apprentice, therefore I’m able to learn the Incarnian stuff because I’ve been in the Spirit World!” Zach said.
Then he regretted saying that.
“What?” King Divine muttered.
“Divine, we don’t have much time before those brat friends of his find us; we’ve got to hurry.” Shuda remarked.
“You’re absolutely right,” King Divine said.
Chapter Forty-One: Entering the Spirit World
Meanwhile, Miranda and the others where looking for Zach. They were following their instincts because those were the only leads they had for him.
“Why did we have to leave him behind before? If we didn’t leave him, he’d still be here!” Miranda exclaimed. A tear streaked down her cheek.
Sol Genova put a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him.
“Miranda, it’s not your fault. I should have said something.” He told her.
“No,” Blaire said.
Sol Genova and Miranda looked at her.
“It’s my fault. I should have protected him.” Blaire admitted.
“What do you mean?” Miranda asked.
“If someone has to take the blame, it might as well be me; that’s what I mean.” She remarked.
“No, not you, Blaire…” Miranda said softly.
Sol Genova shook his head, ashamed at himself.
Asch walked over to them. “Would you all just shut up…? Instead of standing here pointing fingers, we should be looking for my brother!” he shouted.
Neil, Melody, Eyms, and Lucario looked over and walked over to them.
“For once, he’s got a point,” Lucario said mockingly, putting his hands in his pockets.
“Enough smart remarks; now’s not the time, Lucario!” Eyms told him.
Melody sighed and scanned the area around them. Then she gasped and went over to the rails to look at something. Then, she saw it; a tall black tower.
“Hey,” Melody said.
Everyone continued fighting, ignoring her.
“Hey!” Melody shouted, so severely that everyone stopped and flinched. “Stop fighting and look!”
Everyone stopped and looked. Melody pointed to the tower.
“A black tower,” Miranda remarked.
“Yeah,” Neil said, nodding.
Lucario examined the tower that was on an island. Then he saw a small machine on a balcony.
“There!” he said, pointing at it, “The machine Shuda used.”
“Are you sure?” Blaire asked.
“Positive,” Lucario answered, nodding his head.
“Then full speed ahead,” Blaire said darkly.
Back at the tower, Zach stood by one of the Syn Machines. While the Synagods stood next to there’s, King Divine placed Zach’s hands onto the mat of the Syn Machine. The orbs inside the Syn Machines started glowing, along with the sketched circle beneath them. Another circle appeared at the hole, also glowing. Zach tried to move his hands, but he couldn’t move them no matter how hard he tried. Zach shouted as he too began to glow. He looked at the other Synagods; they weren’t glowing.
As the Syn Machines were activated, one of the walls was blown out. Smoke and rocks rained down on them. Walking through the thick smoke was Miranda and the others. Zach looked at Miranda.
“Miranda!” he yelled.
“Zach, hold on!” Miranda shouted.
“I can’t!” Zach shouted at her.
Miranda looked at King Divine.
“What are you doing to him?” she asked as she ran over to him.
King Divine looked at her.
“Don’t touch him!” King Divine told her.
It was too late. Miranda grabbed Zach’s arm. She started glowing too. Zach looked at her, horrified.
“Zach, Miranda!” Blaire shouted.
Blaire was about to attack, but Sol Genova stepped in front of her.
“Whatever you’re doing King Divine, it won’t work. Now, let them go! Tell them to stop!” he demanded.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen, Sol Genova… Not after everything I’ve done to get here.” King Divine said.
As soon as the Synagods stepped away from the Syn Machines, Zach and Miranda… disappeared.
“No!!” Sol Genova yelled in anguish.
Zach opened his eyes. Everything seemed to have stopped. But where was he? He saw Miranda lying next to him. Could this all have been a dream?
“Zach?” Miranda said, sitting up, “Where are we?”
“I don’t know…” Zach began. But then he remembered. “It can’t be,”
“What?” Miranda asked, frightened.
“They sent us to the Spirit World!” Zach shouted, standing up. “When I get my hands on them, I’ll…”
“Zachary? Is that really you?” a familiar voice asked.
Zach spun around. It couldn’t be…
“Spirit Saskae,” Zach said.
Spirit Saskae stood there, wearing his golden robe and silver hair. He was as calm and elegant as ever.
“What happened, Saskae? Why did you let this happen?” Zach questioned.
“I was about to ask you the same thing, Zachary.” Saskae remarked.
“Huh?” Zach muttered.
“It’s sad… Ever since I let you go, you’ve become so… naïve.” He said.
“What are you talking about?” Zach asked.
“Saskae… I thought you were on our side?” Miranda asked, clinging to Zach.
“There never were any ‘sides’, Miranda.” Saskae said, “All you had to do was gather the Six Elemental Spirits and give them to me.”
Zach clenched his fists. The whole Journey was a set up all along. It all added up, Zach thought. The Synagods wanted them to do the work for them, so they lied and said that the Journey would help Memoria. Instead they were going to forge the Spirits into their own source of power, and take over the other worlds.
“No,” Zach said, “It was all a lie, wasn’t it? I, being your apprentice, Miranda’s father, needing me to protect her, Sol Genova quitting you… all of it was a total lie.”
“Sol Genova? Oh, yes, that’s right… your father, who abandoned you for a better life. I admired him so much.” Saskae said.
“A better life… That’s what you want too, isn’t it? Well, news flash, killing people for power’s sake isn’t going to get you what you want.” Zach told him.
“Then… you were right.” Miranda said.
Saskae and Zach looked at her.
“Back in the beginning, you said that you feared the governments would become corrupted… Is that because you were the one pulling the strings? If that’s true, then you must know where my father is?” Miranda said.
“You mean Lucas? Oh, he’s in Evangelion, waiting for you.” Saskae explained.
“He’s on Evangelion? Where’s that?” Miranda asked.
“It’s another one of the Three Worlds.” Saskae told her.
“Miranda,” Zach said.
Miranda looked at him.
“Don’t listen to him. We have to get back to the others, and get rid of King Divine and the Three Synagods once and for all!” Zach told her.
While Zach wasn’t looking, Saskae quickly waved his hand towards Miranda. Miranda fell to her knees. Zach moved for her, but Saskae stopped him.
“What did you do?” Zach demanded.
“Nothing serious; I just slowed her down long enough to get this,” Saskae said, holding out the Spirit Catching device.
Zach stared at Saskae and frowned. He stood up, and realized something. He could use his arms!
“You know something? I had my doubts about the Journey. But Miranda, she was so damn committed to it… So full of hope and innocence, and you dragged her into this chaos. How do you feel now that you’ve hurt her? No; how do you feel about what you’ve done to everyone? I’m here to tell you that all of those people who have suffered from the Old War… are still suffering today. Pain doesn’t cover its tracks. It leaves them behind, never looking back, visible for every traveler to see.” Zach said.
As he finished those last few words, he pulled out his two swords. Miranda looked up at him; Zach was staring straight at Saskae, pointing his swords at him menacingly.
“Zachary, you know perfectly well that you can’t kill me.” Saskae told him.
“No, but I can still make you let us go.” Zach said.
Zach charged at Saskae.
Chapter Forty-Two Fight for Survival
Meanwhile, Blaire created a fiery vortex that engulfed Halla and Shuda. She gasped when they simply whipped it away with their hands. They were about to attack her, but Sol Genova stepped in. He thrust out the hand with his Palm Saiga. A golden dust circle formed around Halla and Shuda. They stared at it, and then, boom! The dust wrapped around them and exploded. Sol Genova stood there for a second, and Shuda came running out of the smoke that was left behind.
Sol Genova took out his six foot sword, and Shuda took out his. They began sword playing, fighting till the death.
“Prepare to die, you traitor!” Shuda shouted.
“Zach!” Miranda shouted as she finally stood up.
Zach was fighting Saskae while trying to take the Spirit Catching device away from him. Saskae snapped his fingers. Instantly, bolts of lightning surrounded Zach. The lightning was about to electrify him, but Zach used the Earth Incarnian abilities to form a fortress around him, protecting him. The lightning reflected off of it.
“I just don’t get it,” Zach said as the earthen fortress retracted back into the ground, “Why you caused that war in the first place? Did you know that the war has caused countless people pain? It’s even made some forget love, others courage, even happiness? It’s awful, the way you took away those emotions and lives from them like it meant nothing to you. And yet the only thing that still binds us all… is the commitment we make for a better place to live.”
“Wars that don’t have a clear reason to rise up usually have a larger meaning to it than common people think.” Saskae said as he summoned a long sword.
“Don’t pull that crap on me,” Zach said, crossing his blades, “I know it first hand now; I know the truth!”
“Damn right you do; which is why I have to kill you!” Saskae agreed.
“NO! You’ll send Miranda back,” Zach demanded, “Or else,”
“Or else you’ll do what, Zachary?” Saskae asked.
Zach ran to Saskae and put his swords up to his throat.
“Or else you won’t live to see another day.” Zach threatened.
Lucario’s hands began to turn into liquid. He morphed them into ropes of water and thrashed them at Jade, who was charging at him. The water hit him at high speed, knocking Jade over on his back and slam into a wall.
“Where are they?” Lucario demanded as he put his foot up to Jade’s throat.
Jade looked up at him and started laughing.
“It’s too late now, silly water boy.” He seethed.
“Tell me!” Lucario shouted.
Chuckling, Jade said, “You’d have to open the portals; only one human can come through at a time.”
“What’ll happen if two humans come through at once?” Lucario asked.
“The portal would crumble and collapse, trapping them for eternity!” Jade said, laughing.
Lucario jumped off of Jade and ran to Sol Genova who was still fighting Shuda.
“Sol Genova!” Lucario called.
“Yes!” Sol Genova shouted back, blocking Shuda’s blow with his sword.
“We’ve go to open the portal!” Lucario said.
“But you need me, don’t you?” Sol Genova asked.
“Please!” Lucario shouted.
“Fine,” Sol Genova said as he ran away from Shuda.
“Come back, you coward!” Shuda shouted.
Sol Genova and Lucario ran over to a Syn Machine.
“I’ll have to use all of my Synergy to open it, you know.” He said miserably.
“Can’t you get it back?” Lucario asked.
“Slowly, over time,” Sol Genova said.
“Then do it, now!” Lucario told him, “We need Zach and Miranda back!”
“Gather the Synagods into that circle, hurry!” Sol Genova ordered.
Lucario told the others and surrounded the Synagods into the circle. Sol Genova placed his hands onto the mat. Instantly, the circle began to glow, and the Synagods froze.
Meanwhile, Zach was fighting Saskae. He looked over him and saw a circle that was on the ground, glowing.
“Miranda,” Zach called to her.
“Zach!” she replied.
“Go into that circle, now!” Zach said as he threw the Spirit Summoning card case to her.
Miranda caught it.
“Please, come back!” she said.
“I will,” Zach said, “I promise.”
Knowing that he would not, tears fell down her cheeks as the circle glowed and transported Miranda to Memoria. Zach wanted to go too, but he knew what would happen if he did. The portal would collapse, completely erasing the bridge between the worlds forever, only because two humans had broken the laws of the Spirits.
“What now, Zachary?” Saskae asked, amused.
Zach stood up.
“Tell me… What have you done to the other worlds, Saskae?” he asked, not looking at Saskae.
“Nothing yet,” Saskae replied. “But with the Master Swordsman at my side, I will do great things.”
“No you won’t- I won’t be your body guard.” Zach refused.
“But Zachary, why do you think I trained you? I could have chosen anyone, but it was you.” Saskae said.
“You’re not making any sense!” Zach shouted. “How do you know about the other worlds, anyway?”
“Where do you think I came from? And how else do we know all of this about the portals?” Saskae explained, “Thanks to all of you, the governments here have been weakened and infiltrated... I was born in Armestris, and now I’m going to conquer Evangelion, to avenge my people-the Fairr Folk who were tarnished with unjustly discrimination!”
“I never did take you one for revenge, Saskae.” Zach said.
“Never judge a book by its cover.” Saskae remarked.
Zach looked at him in disgust. He was mocking Lucario, the one who was writing a book about everything that had happened on the Journey.
“So is that where General Laverne- Evangelion?” Zach asked.
“Yes,” Saskae said while opening another portal. “Now, only one can leave at a time.”
As Saskae said this, Zach sprinted for the portal. He had to get in it before Saskae did. Saskae watched him, horrified.
“NOOOoooo!” he shouted.
Zach landed in the circle, and it began to glow fiercely. The ground began to shake violently. Saskae watched as Zach disappeared. Zach felt himself rise up. He knew he would be in Evangelion; he just didn’t know how. When the glowing stopped, Zach found himself free falling out of the sky! He screamed as he fell towards a forest of tall pine trees. Zach smacked into each branch of a particularly tall tree. He hit about twenty branches and thought he’d never reach the ground. He finally landed with a sickening thud.
He lay there for several minutes, wondering if he could even move. It turned out that he didn’t even have a scratch; his back just hurt really badly. Then an aching sensation sprouted through his spine. Zach slowly sat up, looked around, and rubbed his head.
“Why is it always the trees?” he asked himself, looking at the branches that broke.
Zach looked around him.
“What the hell?” Zach asked himself.
Chapter Forty-Three: Don’t Look Back
Back at the tower, Miranda had returned. She ran to Sol Genova.
“Miranda,” he said. “Where is Zach?”
Miranda shook her head. Tears fell from her eyes and streamed down her face.
“He won’t come back,” she sobbed.
“But…” Sol Genova began.
The others walked over to them.
“Where is Zach?” Eyms asked.
“Oh, Eyms,” Miranda said as she wrapped her arms around him.
“Uh, Miranda, what the heck is going on?” he asked.
“I- I think he’s going to a place called… Evangelion,” She sobbed.
“You mean- he’s not coming back?” Melody asked.
Sol Genova bowed his head.
“Why! Why did he stay there? He could have escaped!” Sol Genova shouted, falling to his knees. He could barely keep himself standing.
Blaire also bowed her head.
Saluting, Blaire said, “We won’t give up,”
“Huh?” Miranda looked at her.
“We will find him. We will… We will not waste this opportunity. He wanted us to help people after the Journey. It’s what he would want, anyway. While we are restoring Memoria, we will find a way to bring him back.” Blaire announced.
“That’s right,” Asch agreed. “He’s my brother, and he should be my responsibility. I realize that now.”
“But what can we do without him?” Miranda asked.
“Everything we can,” Blaire told her, “Because if he won’t come back himself, we’ll find a way to get him back our way.”
“The Synagods are gone for good. At least, they disappeared.” Sol Genova said.
“Then it wasn’t wasted. The Journey was still good. It was just the outcome they wanted.” Blaire said.
“Yes, because I still have these,” Miranda said, holding out the Spirit Summoning cards.
“Alright, we will get him back no matter what. If it weren’t for Zach, none of us might still be here. He was the one who fought Saskae, after all.” Asch said.
“Excuse me, but we need to be rational about this. What if it’s exactly what Saskae wants? What if Saskae wants us to go get Zach and trap us in that other world, so that he doesn’t have to worry about us here?” Lucario suggested.
“What if, what if… that’s all you’re saying, right? And what if it’s vice versa?” Eyms asked him.
Sol Genova shook his head and stood up.
“Then we have to separate, if that’s the case.” he said.
“What?” Blaire asked, horrified.
“If we don’t want Saskae capturing all of us at once, we must separate.” Sol Genova explained.
“Right,” Miranda said. “Hold on; what if something happens on Memoria? Will it affect the other worlds too? So then, what if the portal opens there too, and it gets all messed up even more?”
“Argh; there are way too many ‘what ifs’! Just be quiet and listen! We have to separate. That way, not all of us will be pulled into that other world at once. Then most of us could stay on Memoria. We can communicate through your telepathic summoning.” Sol Genova said.
Miranda closed her eyes.
“But we’ve been… together this whole time. Where will we go? And how will we get there?” she asked.
“I’ll get you off of this island. You all can start off from the mainland from there.” Blaire said gloomily. For once, her shoulders slumped.
With that, everyone went back to the Apocalypse. Miranda sat down on the bench next to Eyms.
“Zach would hate this; that we’re splitting up. I thought we were supposed to be a team?” Miranda said.
“We are a team. Don’t ever forget that. Splitting up is for the best.” Eyms said.
Miranda gave a sad sigh.
“But I really hate this, too.” Eyms whispered.
Miranda gave him a small smile, even though he couldn’t see it.
Several hours later, they had made it to the continent of Emorian. When everyone got off the ship, they stood in a circle.
“If we need each other, we will find everyone.” Blaire said with authority.
“But right now, we need to make Memoria stronger, our own ways.” Eyms alleged.
“Yes,” Sol Genova agreed.
Miranda held her hand out. She looked at the others expectantly. They put a hand on top of hers.
“Together, when we find a way, the right way, we will find him, and make the Three Worlds stronger than ever.” Miranda said.
They slowly lifted their hands away and stepped back from each other. This was for the best, to make Memoria stronger, to replace the fallen governments, to help the people who were injured by the Synagods’s corruption. Miranda bowed her head silently and whispered, “This for Zach, and the better world to come; I know it must be the right thing to do.”
They turned, and began to walk in separate paths, all eight of them. Blaire went back to the Apocalypse, and the others walked away with heavy hearts, each trying not looking back.
With the bonds between their hearts, the close friends separated. They knew it was the right thing to do until they discovered a way to bring back Zachary Voda… But in the meantime, they must maintain the balance of ever-sustaining life, and reshape the way of the governments. So, while Blaire Bellefire secured the oceans, fishing ports, and lighthouses, Melody Bellefire and Neil Blackwood headed for Cyrus to claim Melody’s place as the queen, with Neil as her body guard.
Sol Genova and Asch Voda dedicated their time to reconstructing the military and government on Manndette, while Lucario Hakashi committed his talents as a philosopher and professor in a museum at Emorian. Eyms went back to his Uncle just as he had promised, and helped with the farming and food trade.
Miranda Laverne, on the other hand, tried to figure out who her family was, and where her father disappeared to, knowing that he was alive out there somewhere. With the stakes of ever-sustaining life and balance at risk, they all pondered on the fact of time, and if they had enough of it to preserve the Three Worlds, and prevent the alleged Collision.
The First Book of Devotion and Friendship