Meta hung her head. "Well, that's too bad, I suppose." She said in a sad tone. "I mean, had you listened more carefully, you'd know my father is as much as my enemy as he is yours. Too bad an enemy of my enemy is to be the one killing me." She said, making no move to lift her sword or attack.
Kouken & Reckoning were all for taking Meta out. However, when MegaMan Juno stepped out of his tent they turned their eyes to him. "What is the meaning of this?" Juno asked.
"She's Xastra's daughter!" Kouken said loudly.
"How do you know this?"
"I heard her talking with ZetsumeiRyu. From what I heard she's his sister, making Xastra her father." Reckoning answered.
"I see." Said Juno. "So you were going to simply teminate her? Without first finding out why she teamed up with us?" He asked, and said it in a way that kind of made Ryan & Kouken feel foolish. "Rash." He said plainly.
Kouken landed next to Reckoning, who disposed of his weapon.
"Well Meta, we're waiting." Juno said calmly as he stood with his back to his tent.
Meta sighed. It looked like she had to explain it all truthfully. Well, not ALL. Meta thought. "I am indeed Xastra's daughter. However, I don't have a good relationship with him. I hate him." She said, emphasizing "hate". "Thus, I sought out people who hated him, too, to kill him."
Brandon landed with an 'oof'. "You know there's a difference between nobility and stupidity, tubby." Brandon insulted, basicly asking for the worst. Bryant chuckled to Brandon's bravery.
Veronica looked over to the dragons. She shuddered in fear. She laid her head on the dragons back and whispered: "Please...allow me to see my husband one more time." She pleaded as a tear fell down her cheek.
The World Eater let out a tortured screech as the music assaulted its hearing. As blood flowed from the gaping wound in its side, it shook and twitched uncontrollably, its glowing eyes flickering. Pulses of concentrated sound began striking it, knocking it back slightly with each hit.
As Matt rocked out, R.D. lifted his fist in front of him, clenching it tightly and gathering the Second Cipher energy into the Godhand attack. He continued drawing energy into it, using Lumiya's abilities to sense the soundwaves. They were growing more and more powerful as Matt neared the end of his song, and he grinned harshly. Just as the song was reaching its finale, R.D. sprang into action, charging forward at the agonized World Eater. Despite the pain that was assaulting its ears, it saw the boy coming and lashed out with one of its arms.
Unfortunately for the monster, R.D. easily dodged by spinning around, causing the World Eater to miss. "Game over!" R.D. yelled, thrusting his fist out at the demon's eyes just as the final crash of the Platnium Jam hit. The shining fist and the sound pulse struck at the same time, and the combined force punched through the demon's face and crumple it. The force travelled through its body, liquifying its insides and causing the entire abdomen to explode in a shower of gore.
Slowly R.D. retracted his hand from the inside of the spider's head, the energy of Godhand scouring away the bodily fluids of the demon from the hand.
"Back to hell with you," R.D. spat.
The true dragons rallied into a tight cluster opposite of Sheena's wing of Ice Dragons. Bahamut's wings flapped powerfully, keeping him aloft with ease as the Great Dragon glared fiercely at Sheena with golden eyes.
"Belong to you!?" he roared, his voice somehow louder and grander than the Goddess of Ice Dragons, "You, a foul dragon homunculi that should've been stepped on at birth!? You have no right to claim anything but a sharp weapon through your black heart! Dragons have no need to own land, or keep humans as prisoners! But you, a pathetic shell of the Dark Balance would know nothing of that!"
With the King of Dragon's declaration, the tribe of dragons let out a deafening roar of fury and pride.
"WHOOOOOOOOOO!" Matt laughed. "That was KICK ASS!"
"And ridiculously bloody," Hugo deadpanned, walking over to Matt.
"Oh, hey, Hugo!" Matt said. "Where'd you go?"
"Out of the way," the Mettaur answered. "And with good reason, if you two were gonna spill that thing's guts all over the place."
The stone doors suddenly groaned and began their slow ascent back open. "C'mon, let's get out of here," R.D. said. He trotted over to the collapsed Alasea and helped the girl up. Her body trembled as she did so, and once she was up, they exited the room. R.D. threw his hand back over his shoulder, flipping off the corpse of the spider as they did so.
The group found themselves outside of the building upon leaving the room, and evening had set on the world, washing the city in reddish gold. R.D. could feel the weariness bleed into him, finally allowing himself to relax from battle. Alasea stumbled over to the edge of the stairway in front of them, nearly collapsing as she sat down. And with that, she rested her elbows on her knees and covered her face with her hands. Concerned, R.D. walked over to her and knelt down, putting an arm on her shoulders.
The girl looked up at R.D., revealing her tear-streaked face and haunted blue eyes. She suddenly flung her arms around R.D., sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder. Startled, R.D. fell back, causing the girl to collapse slightly on him, and the amnesiac teen awkwardly wrapped his arms around her in a hug.
Matt frowned as he looked over the ruined world before him. That monster's fear effect had affected them all, and while he knew how to deal with it, the others didn't. He could attempt an educated guess at what horrors Helena had witnessed, but really, it was beyond him.
She came up to him now-though she chose to retain her current draconic features in case they would be attacked again so soon, she tightly held a blanket around her shoulders, conjured by Matt to cover herself. "Are you okay, Matt?"
"Yeah. What about you?"
"Good." It probably wasn't true but now wasn't the time to probe. "I hope that was it."
"I hope so, too, cause I hate this place," Hugo muttered.
After several long moments, Alasea's crying finally died down, and she slowly extracted herself from R.D.'s embrace. "Sorry," she murmured, smiling very faintly at the group.
"Think nothing of it," R.D. said, then turning his gaze up the steps. He could feel the strange power that led them here in the first place. And it was close. "Let's go," he said, starting up the steps.
They found themselves on a large plaza balcony overlooking the city, in which they were further in. A memorial had been erected near the edge of the balcony, and a tall man in a black coat stood near it, silhouetted by the setting sun.
R.D.'s eyes narrowed, and he silently drew his Phase Blade, which he had picked up back in the foyer. He took a single step, but that was enough; the tall figure calmly turned around and gazed upon him with observant gray eyes. The gold-colored, six-winged symbol upon his forehead stood out on his black skin. The man clasped his hands behind his back and remained silent, simply watching the group.
R.D.'s eyes widened, and he nearly dropped his Phase Blade.
"Ondal!?" he exclaimed.
"I see." Juno said calmly. "So, who might those others be? The ones you once called your royal guards." He asked.
Hector said nothing, he just went on with his 'work'. He strapped Brandon in, and then looked at Bryant. "You will watch this." He said sternly, and then started to use the lever to stretch Brandon's body a fair deal farther than it should ever be stretched.
"Kujo..." Sheena said as she glared hatefully at Bahamut. "Kill them all," she commanded.
Kujo let out a loud cry, and then the other dragons roared along with him. "No quarter!" He shouted, and then all the ice dragons began attacking.
Some of the ice dragons flew above the other dragons, shooting powerful ice beams down at them. Others charge right into battle, slashing at their foes.
Kujo soared at the dragon that had taken Veronica from her cell, and tried to bite its neck with great force.
"So," Matt said, folding his arms, "this is that Ondal cat you've been talkin' about."
"Yeah," R.D. said neutrally, "Looks like he's the one we felt from afar."
The Artisan nodded. "Indeed," he confirmed, "Welcome to Khalis, young heroes. Have you learned about what happened to this poor world?" he asked.
The dragons roared in fury and flew off in all different directions, returning fire with lethal blasts of flame, and grappling with the ice dragons to slam them into the ground and shatter them. Despite being outnumbered, the dragons were easily a match for their opponents.
Veronica's dragon twisted in midair to avoid the bite and pushed off with its wings, gaining distance from Kujo. As it did, Bahamut swooped in and lashed out with its tail at Kujo's head, followed up with a powerful beam of energy aimed at Kujo's wing joint. As he attacked, he opened up a telepathic link to Veronica's dragon.
Take the woman and go! Find the search parties! he commanded, Once they've found the piece, we leave!
"Some guy was stupid enough to let these monsters on this world and they messed up the place," Matt said. "I think that's the basic gist of it."
"Yeah, that's true." Hugo pointed at Ondal. "But what're you doing here?"
"It is my duty to observe your friend here," Ondal replied, motioning to R.D. "And I came here because something happened. The portal that you came to Khalis with was never supposed to come here. In this place, you would've found no portal to continue on your journey, Matt Willard."
"But perhaps it is wise that you did come here," Ondal continued, turning back to gaze on the ruins of the city, "For this place was destroyed by an entity you have already seen, and one you will encounter again."
Edited by RisingDragon on March 4, 2007 at 11:49:28.
Veronica yelped as she was tossed around while clinging to the dragon. She shuddered a bit in fear, being attacked by dragons in mid-air. Not good.
Bryant nodded slowly as he was commanded to watch. Brandon looked to Bryant and they nodded to eachother. They would bear this pain together, be it physical or not. They would stand together, never to abandon the other.
Brandon began to grunt in pain first, then he groaned then finally yelled. Bryant wanted to look away, however he kept his stare. Brandon felt as if his arms and legs would be ripped out of his body, however they stayed...for now.
"I bet it's Ziatoch," Helena said, with quiet realization.
"Well, this seems up his alley, I think," Matt mused, rubbing his chin. "He's, like, a cosmic-level dick, I think."
Ondal nodded. "Indeed, the Destroyer of Worlds has come and gone, leaving what you see here in His unholy wake. This is a possible fate of your world should He be left to work."
R.D. sighed. "We can't let that happen to our world."
"Indeed. It is a good thing that you're protecting one of the young women needed to stop the destruction."
"Me... right?" Alasea asked tentatively.
Ondal nodded, then turned to look at Matt, Hugo, and Helena. "What say you? Will you stand in the defense of the world when the final battle comes?"
"I've got the best interests of the multiverse on my mind, so I'm in," Matt said.
"And I gotta make sure you don't do anything stupid," Hugo remarked to his companion.
Helena clenched her blanket tightly. "And I said I'd help Matt no matter what."
"Good," Ondal said, smiling. "Because I know of another reason you would fight against Ziatoch for."
R.D. blinked, wondering what thing of Matt's could Ziatoch threaten.
Matt's eyes narrowed-he suddenly felt threatened. "And what's that?"
"Your ultimate goal at this moment is to return the Omega Core to the Eternal Sanctuary," Ondal explained, "Say that you accomplish this goal. Ziatoch flits from world to world, either destroying it or leaving it a spawning ground for monsters. What do you think will happen when Ziatoch reaches the Eternal Sanctuary?"
"I was told that the Eternal Sanctuary could only be breached by the wielder of the Core," Matt said. "Though if he were to get his hands on it, that'd still be pretty bad. I'm sure he'd eventually try to get it from me before I got to the Sanctuary."
"And even if He did not acquire the Core, He would have still found a way into the Sanctuary. He is not one to be deterred for long," Ondal said, sighing, "And should He extend His vile influence to the Sanctuary, the results would be... disasterous."
R.D. felt cold. If a monster like Ziatoch were to find a way into a place as important as Matt made it sound... he felt sick. He shook his head to try and disperse the ill feeling he felt.
"What can we do?" Alasea asked. "Even as powerful as Matt is, and as powerful as R.D. will eventually become, we're only so much. We won't be enough."
"You are correct, my dear," the Artisan replied. "However, there are many who still oppose evil on your world, and there are the Pillars of Dawn. Of all the worlds in the universe, only Earth has the Pillars of Dawn, created specifically to destroy the evil that Ziatoch represents.
"That is why you heroes must help defend your world. Others will help you. MegaMan Juno. The Gods of Fire and War. Various men and women who continue to battle the darkness. They will stand against Ziatoch, while you and your sisters in arms," he spoke, turning to Alasea, "Must pray to the spirits of Dawn and unleash the might of the Pillars. Only then can Ziatoch be vanquished."
The group remained silent for several moments, and Ondal watched them. Finally, he spoke again. "The time has come for you to go. Continue on your journey, young heroes, and remember Khalis. Remember this broken world."
With that, a vortex ripped itself open near the heroes, beckoning them.
"This will lead you back on your destined path," Ondal said, gesturing to the portal, "Be steadfast. The way will come but once."
Serious emotion swelled up within Matt, paving the way to determination. Maybe it wasn't his place to meddle with the affairs of the Multiverse, but dammit, what kind of guy would he be if he had the power and didn't use it for these kinds of things? "All right, kids," he said, sliding a hand in his pocket. "Let's go."
R.D. and Alasea nodded to Matt and bid Ondal farewell. As R.D. neared the portal, he heard the Artisan call out.
R.D. frowned. He was growing to detest that name--he didn't want to be called that so long as he didn't know why he had the title. However, R.D. turned around and looked at Ondal. The man tossed something through the air at him, and the amnesiac teen caught it, surprised. It was a shining green gem, and he could feel a strange, unstable energy practically filling it. He looked up at Ondal questioningly.
"Perhaps that jewel may help you on your quest," Ondal said, "I'm certain its chaotic nature will help you."
"What's it called?" R.D. asked.
"It was given the name of the Chaos Emerald. There are six others just like it," Ondal said, "Be sure to master its powers."
"Right," R.D. said, turning back around and entering the portal with Alasea.
Once the group had left, Ondal resumed his silent vigil as the sun set on the dying world of Khalis.
Matt was the last one to leave, but before he stepped in, he said, "Do you know the Chronomancer?"
"I am sorry, Mr. Willard," Ondal replied, still watching the sunset, "Some things are beyond even myself."