AN: Some of you may be wondering how there is a grand hall, or a structure in general, in the Deep Sea Ruins. Well, if you look as you go down the pathway in the game, there are dozens of buildings stacked vertically around the walkway. Those, not the walkway leading to Ultima Weapon, are the real ruins in this story.
Lilliana stirred in Corin's arms, and she slowly woke. Putting a hand to her head because of a dull ache that accompanied the acquiring of a new summon, she slowly rose up. Corin smiled broadly, and moved in order to let her sit all the way up. Lilliana didn't know how long she had been out of it, but she knew that her new summon would add a great deal of power to the Pack's offense when they would need it. Hopefully, Bahamut would make defeating Virados a great deal easier, but it was far too early to tell for sure. Andraia looked over as she heard movement, and her face immediately broke into a large smile.
She squealed excitedly, "Lily! You're all right!"
The blonde fist fighter only nodded and smiled at the reply, not seeing why Andraia was in such a panic. The nunchaku user herself had gone through the same ordeal as many times as Lilliana had, so why such a fuss over nothing?
Before anyone could say any more, the back door swung open again with great force. Raine and Julia entered, the rest of the Wolves remaining in the back room. There was a look on Raine's face that meant serious business, and all three of the young adults quickly got up. Julia's face was unreadable, or simply just neutral, but they could tell from Raine that something bad had happened, and now they had to assemble and go after the cause.
"Virados is here." Raine said simply, confirming their guesses. "Come on, we have to go after him. Now."
Andraia knew far better to groan in annoyance when Raine had that look on her face. Drawing out their weaponry, and falling into formation behind Raine, they all took back off into the room where the rest of the Wolves waited. Corin looked each one in the face, and either saw fear or disgust from something he and the summoners had yet to see. Just from their looks, he was afraid to go find out.
"To get to the ruins, we have to go down a large amount of floors. They're way down below. Celeste will unlock the way down." Raine informed, then added something darker. "There are a total of six, heavily mauled bodies down below. We didn't go beyond them, so we don't know what else is around."
Andraia gulped, and the other two simply dropped their jaws in shock. Despite this, Raine led them downward, into the dark abyss where the rest had been before. Corin and the women had no choice but to comply, and follow their leader. Still, they couldn't help but wish that they were back home, rather than inside the death-infested Battleship Island. In fact, Raine herself and the others were wishing the same thing at that very moment.
Raine full-well expected the initial shock that the other three gave when they saw the bodies tossed about the room like used playthings that a child had gotten tired of. In fact, one of the bodies was hanging over the terminal needed to open the next doorway. Celeste, far too afraid to do anything to remove the body, simply stood there with worry on her face. Julia sighed, on the other hand. They were moving far too slowly in her opinion. She wanted to get down there and cut off Virados' escape, more than anything else.
Then, to everyone's surprise (even Raine hung her jaw in shock), Julia went over with little to no remorse, and pushed the body off. Raine quickly resigned her alarm. Julia had always held barely any respect for the dead. She didn't believe in the afterlife, and even had a death wish herself. That was what always pushed Heartilly into doing the extreme, even if it endangered her life. That was the whole point. Many a time had Raine witnessed examples of that, be it a high speed car chase, or deliberately causing fights between herself and someone who seemed stronger.
Raine had asked Julia why at some point as a younger teen, but Julia assured Raine that she was not suicidal, she just simply enjoyed the rush of adrenaline when she walked that fine line between living or dieing. Celeste, now that the body was out of the way, slowly went over and exchanged places with Julia, who went back into the middle of the group. Zion's eyes showed shock and fear, but like the others, chose not to say anything in that situation.
Shakily, Celeste entered another code into the computer, and unlocked the staircase to the left of the group. "All right, let's go."
Some of them were still eyeing Julia, and the grenadier shook her head an sighed. She didn't understand why they were getting worked up. It's not like the people were going to come back and beat her up for touching them. She placed the blame for her behavior on her Mysidian heritage. It would explain much of the way she acted. Mysidians were warriors, and bred for fighting. It wasn't a surprise that she didn't hold that much remorse for the fallen. At least, that was what she was forcing herself to believe. Better than to confront a real reason, if there was one.
Edea had lost count of how many levels they had gone down in the past half an hour. Celeste was now so good at opening the locks, that she could do it in about five seconds flat, contrary to her first attempt which had taken her a few minutes. Though, Edea always could see the silver lining around a storm cloud, and the silver lining to their great amount of travel was at least they were going down stairs instead of up. She already dreaded the return to the ship so very far above them. The ocean had turned from a bright cerulean color to a deep navy blue, the only light down at this depth was from lights on the side of the tower, or from the deep sea fish that used it for hunting.
To their surprise, they finally reached a different looking level. This one had an elevator instead of a flight of staircases. Andraia was relieved, but at the same time slightly angered. Now why couldn't they have put that on the first level for goodness sake?! The summoner shook her head, and proceeded to board the lift with the others as Celeste entered another code. There was a ten second delay, so she had plenty of time to reach the lift with the others, and wait for it to go down again. It was odd how ten seconds could seem like an eternity in dead silence in the middle of a death trap.
The lift began to descend again, and the team began to lower into the bottom levels of the fake island. For minutes they went down, and at fairly high speeds at that. So fast, in fact, they almost felt like they were falling with the ramp, rather than standing on it. Below them, they could only see darkness. However, as they neared the bottom, they saw a large machine with cable hooked up to it. A steel door that was clamped tightly shut off towards the right hand side of the room. The elevator began to slow as it neared the floor, and for the first time since its departure from the above levels, their feet seemed to actually set down on the metal instead of feeling like they were hovering slightly above it.
Celeste quickly got off and began to work with the machine in front of them. Andraia, on the other hand, couldn't stand the silence any longer. They had been quiet since Julia pushed the corpse off of the terminal. "Argh! I can't take it any more! Somebody say something!"
Everyone stopped, and looked at her in confusion. Even Celeste stopped her work for a moment to look back at the shaking girl. Raine rolled her eyes, but Epsilon replied for her. "Now what's your problem?"
Edea cut in before she could answer, "You can't stand the silence can you? Why is it that whenever someone doesn't talk for five minutes or more, you start flipping out?"
"I don't know! But... at least you're saying something!" She cried happily, now that the silence had been broken.
Celeste, after a few moments, hit the side of the console she was at, and swore. "Damn it!"
Raine looked over in worry, "What's wrong?"
"I think there isn't enough steam pressure to get this door open." The blonde sighed, "I guess I'll have to open the thing up and re-wire it. Dincht, you're good with this, give me a hand."
Corin nodded, and quickly came over to help. Once there, the two began to tear apart the mechanism's insides, and re-work the wires and programming. Knowing this might take a while, the rest of the Wolves sat down and began to rest. Julia plopped down on the floor next to Raine and Zion, and rested her head against his shoulder. This caused Raine to groan in annoyance, and prompted Julia to reach over and slap her on the shoulder. Zion, not wanting to get into a battle between females, simply leaned back and tried to avoid the whole thing.
After a while, they settled again. Julia once again took rest in Zion's arms, and Raine lay back-down on the floor, awaiting a time when they could venture into the ruins below. Andraia looked at everyone again, "....silence..."
"Okay, already!" Lancer called out, "I'll say something. You, Andraia, are a very, very strange girl. You know that?"
"Yes!" Andraia agreed, "But at least I say things! I can't stand silence the least little bit." Then Andraia picked a subject someone would argue about. " So.... Julia, I think that video games are a bad influence on people."
"You what?!" Julia shouted back. Andraia smirked, her plan was a success. "No, they're not! I own like, every game ever made so far, and am I deranged in any.... never mind. I still don't care!"
"Yes you do."
"Shut up, short people must cease talking at this time."
"Guess that means you too, huh?"
"I'm not short! I'm like as tall as Raine. I'm 5' 7" for crying out loud!"
"Shut up!" Raine yelled out, unable to take it any longer. "We're about to go after a dangerous, life threatening person, and you two are arguing over who's short? Be quiet!"
After a few moments of an uncomfortable silence, Celeste broke it with a triumphant yell as the door slid open to reveal a large area with ancient buildings tinted blue by the surrounding waters. Lights illuminated this area, unlike the rest of the research center, but no industrial lights could be found. Instead, light came from the many crystals placed along the walkways of the ruins.
"Ha, I did it!" Celeste yelled, but was shot a glare from Corin. "I-I mean, we did it."
"Yep, we both did it!"
Julia smirked, thinking of something else that their sentences could mean. "That's not the word around the base, guys."
"What?" Celeste asked in confusion, but quickly understood. "Hey! That is none of your business! Who spreads these rumors?!"
Julia laughed as Celeste's face flushed red, and then even harder when Corin had a look of complete confusion on his face, and it didn't look like he was going to get her joke any time soon. Raine groaned, and told everyone to get ready.
The team got up and began to walk towards the door, but before entering, Celeste called out something else. "And, Navradski. Video games are not bad! Say it again and I'll whip you to death."
They began weave around the unstable looking walkway that led down to the bottom of the ruins. The walkway appeared to have been part of a larger floor that would have been in the very center of the cylinder shaped area where the ruins were, yet the rest of the floor had been worn away with time. The buildings on the side of some invisible barrier, keeping the water from rushing in a crushing the area, were darker, not as lit up as the walkway itself. That was because there were no crystal along the other wall, or at least, there didn't appear to be. Inwardly, Julia wondered what this place looked like when it was in it's prime during the Centran Wars.
They descended down the path, being sure to keep a quiet conversation going as to not anger the brunette summoner again, until they reached a point where they found a single slightly broken bridge leading towards the ruined buildings along the outer wall. Though it looked like it was about to collapse, Raine saw no other choice than to go across it in order to get to the buildings.
Slowly, one by one, the team went across the bridge. Raine was first, and quickly saw that if too many went over, it would collapse. It was already beginning to loose some rubble from underneath as she walked across it. She didn't weigh very much, either. Despite this, even the heavier males went across. True, the stone bridge began to loose larger chunks, like full bricks, but they were still able to make it across. Celeste, when it was her turn, quickly tried to get across without looking down. However, in the very center of the bridge, she did so. She was so up high, she couldn't even seethe bottom. She froze, and refused to go any further. With coaxing from Raine, however, she soon made it across.
Then, came Julia's turn. She was the last across. She slowly went over, and reached the center of the bridge. She then began to move a little quicker, but the stone bridge rumbled and a large crack split down the middle. She began to sprint across, but the stones gave way under her. With the other team members, they had finally gotten to the point where they couldn't support another person. She began to fall, but jumped and grabbed a hold of the other side, where the team was.
Despite her hold, she was slipping, and the team was too far off to reach her. Zion and Raine began to run however, and Zion jumped forwards, and slid to the side to get Julia. He was too late, for she fell out of their sight. Zion was about to slide over, his jump coming too close to the edge, but Raine grabbed him by the foot and hauled him back. He was in too much shock to do anything but stare at where Julia had been a moment before. Raine was in a similar state. The rest ran over, ready to mourn the loss of their friend. No one could survive a fall from that height.
Suddenly, they jumped back in alarm. They fell back at the sight of a great blur of white and dark toned colors rushed upwards. Before them, Julia hovered, her solid white wings flapping in order to keep her afloat before them. The rest of the Pack simply sat there in shock for a moment, but Julia smiled. "Wings finally work." She informed.
Raine tried to speak, but it took her a minute. Seeing Julia there flapping a pair of large wings that were on her back shoulder blades was a sight that left the others in stunned silence. Even Andraia. Still, Raine found words. "Get over here!"
"I dunno," Julia teased, "it's kinda fun. Too bad you can't try it."
Even though she teased, Julia slowly came forward, tilting her wings to make her move toward them. Once over, she dropped, and her wings closed. They disappeared at her will, dissolving into specks of energy behind her. With that out of the way, they continued on, looking through the many rooms that were in the Ocean Temple ruins.
Having no clock or sun to tell them the time, they weren't sure how long they had been inside the ruins, searching for the person who had given them so much strife the last week. Many were getting impatient, and aggravated that they hadn't found anything yet. Raine led them on, despite their lack of morale. But, knowing certain people, they were trying to raise that morale back up again.
"Come on guys, we'll find him!" Andraia cheered, "Be happy. We got him this time. He can't get out without passing us."
"Okay, he can fly, and there is a giant open space in the center of this thing. He can get out." Lancer informed her.
"Well that's what the human fighter plane is for, now that she can fly!" Andraia said, nudging Julia.
Julia groaned in annoyance. "It just started working. It's not like my parents threw me out of a tree when I was three months old like birds do, I don't have practice yet."
Andraia gave up, tilting her head back and sighing. It had been a very long day. Then, Raine stopped them all. There was a loud clank from a floor below them, and Raine immediately set off at a sprint. The other followed suit, but a second behind her. She quickly drew out her Ultima Blade, and descended down a nearby staircase, hoping it would take them to wherever the clank had come from. Rushing down, they reached a larger stone door, with a pair of angel wings, with a sword in the center, the emblem for the ancient Mysidian continent.
Raine tried to push it open, but it wouldn't budge. Corin and Zion came up to help her, but still the door wouldn't move. Edea thought for a moment, while looking at the Mysidian insignia. "Julia... you try it. I think it might be protected so Centrans can't open it."
Julia shrugged, and placed her hand on the door to push it open. As soon as she did, the insignia illuminated, and the door slid open and into the wall. Before them, inside the room, Virados stood before them, a black crystal in his hands. He looked a little shocked to see them, to say the least. He regained his composure quickly, however. Too quick for them to see the shock in his eyes. He quickly put the crystal in the pouch hanging at his side.
"Well, well, well.... I suppose I underestimated Mira's memory. It seems she does remember a thing or two about the ancient civilization. No matter, I have gotten what I came for." He stated, looking to them for a comeback.
Raine delivered it. "Yes, well, you won't get very far this time! What do you need that for anyway?!"
"This, my dear Raine," He began, "Is for the gates. See, we Mysidians can open gates between Gaia and Terra. However, only the powerful ones can, and only for a few seconds. Crystals, which we made long ago, increase magic power. With it, I can create a gate that will open that gap between worlds, and let the armies of Hyne pour in! We are finally taking back the planet, and there is nothing you weaklings can do about it!"
"Not if I have my way, you won't." She replied, holding out Ultima Blade.
Ready to charge, she began to rush towards him. However, he flipped up and extended his wings. He flew behind the group, and disappeared out the door. The Wolves quickly sped towards him, and found him on the main walkway, where they had come down before. He held out his sword, Emerald Blade, with a large smirk.
"You know, these blades have the power to summon the ancient weapons, if we know where they are." He began. "Luckily, I know."
With that, he flew higher, and the jewel on his sword began to glow a bright green. So bright, it blinded the group for a moment. When they could look again, Virados was no where to be found.
"Quick, we -- !" Raine began, but was cut off by a loud rumble from below.
A deep roar followed, and the Wolves grew silent. A loud splash followed by a louder roar caused them to step backwards in fear. All of them drew out their weaponry, afraid of what was coming. A few moments later, Raine spotted a gigantic green object flying upwards towards them. She issued quick orders before it reached them.
"Mages in back, gunners take cover and get ready to fire! Melee users, up close!"
The large shape of Emerald Weapon slowly came to a stop at before them, hovering in mid-air. It's figure was so foreign to them, it was hard to describe. There was a emerald demon like head, that was far too small in contrast with the rest of the body. It shimmered in the crystal light, it having a hard outer skeleton, and scales on other parts of its body. One thing was certain, it wasn't going to let them follow Virados without a fight.
AN: Duh, duh, duh! What is to become of them now? You all remember how bitchy the Emerald Weapon was in FF7, so how in god's name do you think they'll get out of this one?