CRYSTAL KIN by Paln
The young girls eyes bulged one last time and then
glazed over as her soul finally slipped away into the
Netherworld. Milon gave her neck one final squeeze just to make
sure the job was completely done before dropping the still corpse
to the floor. The heavily robed creature looked about at his work
with satisfaction; four fresh bodies were ready to be converted
to his legion of the undead. He waved a hand to the waiting ghast
who stood patiently beside him.
"Gather the flesh," he rasped to the rotting, blank
face. "Take them back to Zot and clean them. I will be there
shortly to perform the rites." The undead demon moaned
softly in acknowledgment and shuffled over to the dead peasants.
He watched briefly with great satisfaction. It was by his hand
alone that the undead now walked on this accursed surface once
again. The ghast was one of his oldest creations, made in ages
past before Zemus had awoken. But now in the humans
service, Milon had the means to acquire many more souls, many
He touched the great cloak that covered his twisted form with
contempt. Like his brethren, Milon was once a Lunarian who
traveled through space to find a new home after his home planet
was destroyed. But the power of the crystals had twisted his
form, burned and dug into his flesh until he resembled nothing of
any world. He alone of the Fiends felt resentment for the
transformation, for he had once been hailed and praised for his
handsome features, his strong body. Now he was something even he
could not bear to look at, and so he kept himself concealed in
shrouds. But the payoffs were
delicious. Drawing from the
powers of the Earth crystal and its dark counterpart, he now had
complete power over life and death itself. Who cared if those
days of respect were now gone? Who was a god to reflect on such
The grimy shuffling that so resembled a crocodile marked the
entrance of Cagnazzo. The Fiend of Water gazed distastefully
"Such a lack of finesse
would you ever try to be
subtle in your attacks, Milon?"
Milon turned with a hiss, more in a reflexive attempt to
intimidate his rival then in irritation, and regarded the
creature. Cagnazzo retained the head of a man, but it had grown
feral and monstrous, with protruding teeth and pure, white eyes
that gazed menacingly at everything. The rest of him was even
worse; the body was enormous, well over three times the length of
a man, and encased in a thick blue shell like that of a turtle.
Stumpy legs finished off his figure, an obvious testimony that
Cagnazzo was made to live in the water, not on land. And
despite it all
he could manipulate his form into
that of any creature. Even that of a human. A beautiful human.
Milon quickly brushed away this jealous thought and flipped the
hood of his robe off, revealing his hideous face.
"Much more effective then snooping around a dank castle
all day, posing as a mere
mortal, Cagnazzo. Thanks to my
children we have taken Eblan in a day," he retorted.
Cagnazzo paused to regard his kin disdainfully. Milon was by
far the weakest link of their little "family." The
Fiend of Earth was only useful as a grunt soldier, nothing more.
But Cagnazzo was practical, and knew better then to goad this
pathetic creature any further. Instead, he flashed a bright,
gator smile back and patiently explained to him the finer arts of
war. Not that Milon would understand any of it, of course.
"We cannot destroy Baron because we require their Red
Wings to retrieve the Crystals. Eblan was expendable because it
did not house a crystal and would only prove to be a nuisance in
the long run. Furthermore, it is isolated from the rest of the
world and no one will know about its destruction until it is too
late. My dear Milon, if we attacked Baron, we would destroy it
with your undead, I am certain
but then we shall bring the
wrath of the entire world upon us!"
Milon snorted. "You doubt our combined strength could
overcome these humans? Surely you underestimate our Lord
Not your strength, sneered Cagnazzo, but he continued
pleasantly. "The humans would easily be crushed, but not
before they effectively hid the crystals. As I pose as King
Baron, I control its air force, and with them we shall be able to
quickly strike and retrieve them! We already possess the Water
Crystal, and Master Golbez and I shall acquire the Fire Crystal
soon. This is how we shall fight this war, my dear brother."
"Fire eh? Rubicant will be pleased to hear that,"
muttered Milon. "I suppose youre saving mine for
"Patience, Milon. The nation of Troia is our last target
not to demean you, but because it is the most complicated to
invade." Cagnazzo felt his own patience wearing thin,
counseling Milon as if he was a spoiled child. He is a
child, the Fiend thought silently to himself. The wretched thing
before him, whose face now resembled his own zombie beasts, is
too attached to his previous life. "Let us leave now. The
night carries on." He would have to have a word with Master
The Tower of Zot, so cleverly hidden near Baron, was the base
of operations for Golbez and the Four Fiends. Like an ominous
idol it simply appeared one day, risen with the magic of the
moon, and yet positioned carefully so that no casual observer
would ever find it. On the highest level of the tower, Rubicant
paced nervously. It had been two days since he participated in
the destruction of Eblan, when he single-handedly slew the entire
except for that blasted prince. Rubicant knew
that was a grave error on his part
to allow any drop of
royal blood to remain in a kingdom meant that the kingdom was not
Over the long years since he drew on the power of the Fire
Crystals, Rubicant had managed to retain his humanity. Unlike the
others, who believed themselves to be superior then humankind,
Rubicant was well aware of the power that humans possessed,
especially in times of adversity. It was when humans were most
desperate, in their greatest time of need, when they proved to be
the most dangerous. The Fire Fiend had every reason to believe
that Lord Zemus plan would work, and yet
doubt remained. With Golbez permission, Rubicant would
return to Eblan to hunt this last doubt out.
A rap on his door, and Cagnazzo and Dr. Lugae entered. The
good doctor was a Lunarian as well, although recently awakened by
Zemus, unlike himself. His role in this play would be to
annihilate the underground creatures entirely and thus make the
task of acquiring the dark crystals a simple collection job. As
"Shouldnt you be in Baron posing as their king?
Golbez has informed me that you are to invade Damcyan next."
Rubicant trembled, as he felt the Fire Crystal pulse softly in
the distance. Unlike Milon, who was obsessed with the undead,
unlike Cagnazzo who desired to rule humans, or Valvalis who
simply wished to conquer this planet, Rubicant solely desired the
power of the crystals. His crystals, to be more specific.
The two that reflected his element, the fire crystals. For
Rubicant alone knew the close link that tied the Fiends with the
crystals. They were not simply the link from Lunar to
they were his parents.
Cagnazzo noticed the distant look in Rubicants eyes, but
took it as merely a foppish quality to the Fiend of Fire. While
Rubicant was the most powerful of the Fiends, and thus most
deserving of respect, Cagnazzo noticed his careless attitude. It
was carelessness that allowed one member of the Eblan royal
family to escape, and it will be carelessness that would be his
downfull. This Cagnazzo was sure of.
"It hardly matters. With the Dragoon Captain under our
control, and the former Red Wings Captain gone, nobody is there
to supervise the king. I just tell those pitiful humans that
Im going to inspect the airships." He chuckled softly.
"Golbez has orders for you while we prepare the
Lugae stepped forward. A small, wirey man, the Lunarian
formally known as LanSoPah had defected to Zemus when he realized
that he had no future among the "legitimate" Lunarians.
His creation Balnab, made long before the Lunarians went to
sleep, was proof of that. "You are to supervise the
construction of the cannon in Babel, Rubicant. Will you come
Rubicant sighed softly. It would seem that the reunion with
his "parents" would have to wait. He nodded, frustrated
that he would be confined to work with this shriveled figure. The
day would come, Rubicant vowed, when he would hold the Fire
Crystals in his hand and from their power learn the true nature
of his existence. For in the end, that was all he really cared to
Milon watched Rubicant leave the tower from his own laboratory
on the ninth floor of Zot. Curses, he thought
everyone had a
mission to do but him. Why wasnt Golbez using him for
anything? He turned and irritably smashed one of the ghasts who
were his door guards. The creature moaned slightly and toppled to
the floor. He stared at the crumpled body in distaste, for
himself and for everything. Milon felt completely and utterly
On the twelve floor of Zot, a voluptuous woman in yellow
garbed was lecturing in front of three young girls. Valvalis was
a teacher in her former life, and despite all that had happened
she had not lost her love of lecturing.
"So it came to past, that the Lunarians required a new
planet to live on. Under the supervision of FuSoYa and KluYa,
thousands and thousands of them put themselves under a deep
sleep, and drifted across the galaxy. They found sanctuary on one
of the moons of this very planet that we are on."
"But," piped up Mindy, "The Lunarians were
cruel and unjust in their pickings."
"Correct," smiled Valvalis, as she did a thousand
times before. "KluYa and FuSoYa decided that only a few
should ever awaken from their sleep, and these elite few they
would select as their loyal dogs."
"It was the Crystals that saved us all," smirked
Mandy, the hefty one. "They awoke those that were not
picked, mainly us."
"Yes, it was the Crystals that proved to have justice. In
their unfaltering light they chose Lord Zemus, and myself, and
others such as the other Fiends, Master Golbez, Doctor Lugae, and
you three." Valvalis smiled. "But what happened
"KluYa sealed us away!" squeaked Mindy angrily. She
was the youngest of the three, and the smallest. "He
ambushed Lord Zemus and locked him up in the center of the moon.
Then he went to the Earth and taught the natives things they
should have never known."
"Like airships and guns and magic," murmured Sandy.
The tall, leggy one looked at her mistress with complete
adoration. "So it is our destiny to acquire the Crystals and
conquer the planet as the Lunarians were rightfully intended to
Valvalis nodded. They had learned well. Every day now, she
recited the same worlds to these three young girls, and they
recited them back to her. They were her greatest achievement, the
pinnacle of her lifes work. These three students would
serve to carry on the great work of Lord Zemus, and finally
colonize this planet with Lunarians as originally intended.
The tall blond woman was the Fiend of Air, and Golbez
closest bodyguard. It would not be long before she would no
longer be confined to this tiny tower, but would ride with the
wind that spread so generously across this fair land. Soon the
world will return to the Lunarians.
Cagnazzo watched the eerie ceremony repeat itself for as many
times as since this tower was built. Valvalis would waste her
hours repeating the same lecture to her three brats, and they
would smile adoringly at her. He shuddered as he turned to go.
Sometimes he wondered if he was the only sane Fiend left. As he
moved, his slow lumbering form shifted and reformed into that of
a kingly, regal man. It was time to give an inspirational speech
to the lambs of the Red Wings as they left to bombard Damcyan.
"Yes, you fools," he whispered to himself as he
teleported himself back to the throne room of Baron. "It
will not be long until the entire world knows of the Four
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