Mana Knights Anonymous
Once many years ago....
....Mana, The ultimate power of life, fell into danger.....
....The Goddess of Mana struggled to protect it from the Nine God-Beasts.......
.....Eventually a warrior wielding the Ultimate Weapon, The Sword of Mana, stepped forth.......
.....With it he felled the Nine God-Beasts and saved the world......
.....The Goddess Prophesied to him that someday Mana would need a new hero......
.....And that he must teach that hero......
......So the warrior and his Grand City sealed themselves away until Mana needed them again....
......Our story begins at the end of their slumber.......
Awaken Spencer, Hero of the Sword!
"Yarh! I said 'tis time for ye to be awakinin' Spenc-ARH!" A familiar voice called. Spencer opened his eyes and gazed about the room. The time chamber was virtually the same as it had been when he went to sleep, except that there were less people in the room. As a matter of fact, he and the old voice were the only ones there. "Well?” The voice continued. The voice was attached to an old sailor who had more hair on his face than on top of his head. The sailor smiled at him and helped pull him out of the bed.
"Thanks Marcon." Spencer replied. Though Spencer was more or less lean he had a reputation of being very strong, and very smart. "Where is everyone Marcon? I wouldst liketh to seeth them very much."
"Yarh, they be at the town meetin' waitin to discuss a...very important....subject." Marcon said. Spencer found the sober mood of the old sailor to be rather unnerving in comparison with his usually jubilant disposition. The sailor seemed to be hiding something but Spencer could not discern what it was. Was Marcon, his old friend, hiding something? If so what? And why?
"I hope they didst not starteth without me!" Spencer gasped.
"Nay, lad they'll not start without thee, ye be the subject after all...."Marcon mumbled.
"What didst thou sayst?" said Spencer not quite hearing the end of Marcon's words.
"Ye needs to be headin' on down to the meetin' square." Marcon said as he left.
(Mana is in danger again.) Spencer thought. (I wondereth who the new Mana knight wilt be? I'll beteth 'tis Kaiser.) He continued. "Oh well, I guess I'd better washeth mine self ere I attendeth the meeting." Spencer said with a laugh. He had no Idea what horror awaited him outside.....
* * * *
A desert. His beautiful home had become a desert! The lush forest was gone! The beautiful bathing pools, too! Everything he had become so used to was burned into dust! Seeing his friend Shoap Kayparh kneeling bleary eyed in the dust where once his shop stood, Spencer rushed over. Shoap looked up and smiled a pitiful smile as Spencer approached.
"What hath happened here Shoap?" Spencer asked.
"I...I...don't ...knooooooww!" Sobbed Shoap.
"Where did all the pools and trees go?" Spencer continued.
"I......" The rest of what Shoap said was lost in his tears.
"Relaxeth Shoap, headeth to the meeting. I'll be with thee shortly." Spencer said as he helped his friend up.
"It wasn't supposed to be like this." Shoap said as he left. "The Goddess promised us....."
Spencer could see something was very wrong as he walked through the ruins towards the meeting square. People's houses had caved in, shops had crumbled, and there were scorch marks all over the city. The sand that he walked through was actually made entirely out of glass. He walked by the ruin of his house and saw that where once a grand structure stood now only rubble remained. Spencer was now nearing the meeting square when he heard another voice.
"Spencer! At last thou hast arrived!" The voice called.
As he ran to the square, Spencer spoke. "Aerith!" 'T has been quite some time since last we met!" He shouted. Aerith was a young woman about the age of 23. She had been a friend of his and had always stood up for him ever since he had come to the Grand City.
"Cloud-Err, I mean the Golden One hath been waiting all day for thee! He says he won't tell anyone what hath happened here ‘til thou cometh before him." Aerith said.
"Why? I have not meant anything to him prior to this." Spencer replied.
"I knoweth not. He simply demanded your presence." Aerith returned.
"I seeth." Spencer said.
The two approached the square and could see Cloud, The Golden One, quite well. The Golden One was their ruler though neither enjoyed it. He had a short temper and an extreme lust for power. He was constantly attempting to make certain no one was more worthy to lead than he was. Consequently even Shoap, who was very timid, was more worthy to lead than he was. Cloud and Spencer had been rivals for some time though no one noticed it. The worst part was that his friend Aerith was betrothed to this mad man. Spencer felt sorry for her considering he knew she had feelings for his best friend Kaiser. Kaiser and Cloud were public rivals both wanting very much to be the next Mana Knight. Spencer, Kaiser, and Cloud all studied under the former hero of Mana, Sephiroth. While Kaiser and Cloud quarreled over things in class Spencer was busy exhibiting extraordinary qualities and powers. Sephiroth favored him greatly for this. Presently, He and Aerith had entered the square and were standing before Cloud's throne.
"Welcome Spencer." Cloud said in a rather commanding tone.
"What hath happened here Cloud? Where's Kaiser? What happened to the forest?" Spencer inquired frantically.
"First of all thou WILT refereth to me as the Golden One.” Cloud said. "Secondly I supposeth that after 1000 years the forest finally burned to dust. Finally, Kaiser is a traitor. He awoke before I did and burned the remaining forest in our city to dust. He ravaged the city and destroyed all of our Goddess statues; after he had finished all of this he turned to me and spoke. ‘Spencer is the Chosen One!' he screeched. 'He wants to revive the Mana Fortress and slay all of thee!' I replied that I didn't believe him. "
"What dost thou meanest by traitor?!?" Spencer gasped, having heard the horrid account of what his best friend had done. The whole subject waved over him like a leviathan engulfing its prey. (Me? I'm the Mana Knight?) He thought. None of this made much sense to Spencer and he was about to scream when Cloud interrupted him.
"He toldeth me to checketh the remains of thy record and beholdeth it for my self...." Cloud said.
"And!?" Spencer nearly shouted.
"According to Master Sephiroth's record thou possesseth e'en more qualifications than he doth. All prophecies hath been fulfilled in thee. “Such was the contempt in Cloud's voice when he said master that Spencer felt as though he may cry, which wasn't very common for him. (Yeah it isn't common, so why do I want to do it now? Maybe I don't. Courage, don't faileth me now...) Spencer thought.
"So what if I-" He never had the chance.
"SILENCE!" Cloud barked. "The citizens of the Grand City shalt now decideth thy fate." He said with leaden voice.
No sooner had he said so than the chaos erupted.
"Get rid of him just to be safe!" A woman shouted.
"He's a threat to our future!" A child shouted.
"Send him away! Kaiser may returneth for him!" A man cried out.
"He is a threat to everything we hath ever created!" A woman shrieked.
"How dare ye people speak so harshly o' Spencer!" Marcon roared.
Momentarily the chaos subsided and as it did Shoap spoke with an unprecedented ferocity. "Thou cretins maketh me sick!" He hissed. "Thou shouldst not harm him because of the words of mad men!" He shouted implicating that both Kaiser and Cloud were insane. After his speech the crowd erupted again.
"QUIET!" Shouted Aerith. "Spencer was held highly by all of thee 'til five minutes ago! Get rid of him just to be safe? Ha! Without him we'll be destroyed! A threat to your future? Why art thou more important than the Goddess's new Mana Knight?!? If Kaiser returneth and he isn't here to protect us then what wilt happen? Everything we hath e'er created is gone already!"
Presently a more ominous voice spoke. "This is unimportant." Sephiroth said. "He wilt leaveth. It is his destiny. However, we haveth company." He said. The entire group turned to see a man in a jeweled robe wearing a helmet that greatly resembled Spencer's dragon helm.
"How is it I have never met you people before?" The strange man asked. However he did not say it in Ancient so only Cloud, Sephiroth, and Marcon understood it. Speaking back in the strange man's language Sephiroth said this, "Get thee hence Dragon Emperor!" Turning to the assembly and speaking in Ancient, Sephiroth shouted, "Cloud! Let the boy decideth!"
"Fine!" Cloud roared. "Then we canst dealeth with this stranger!" Of course Cloud was rather upset that Sephiroth held more sway over the crowd than he did.
Tensions rose as the crowd, including the strange man and his black knight and red wizard turned to watch as Spencer prepared to speak. (Shouldst I stayeth?) He pondered. (Or wouldst I beth better off exploring the world and excepting my destiny? I supposeth I really hath no choice in the matter so.......)
"I'll-" He began.
Just then the strange man shouted something Spencer couldn't understand and then Cloud became upset and said. "You'll nothing! You are hereby banished form the Grand City forever! Now GET OUT!!!!!" Immediately the crowd erupted with jeers and insults and humiliations of all kinds.
That afternoon Spencer, Marcon and his ship's small crew, and Sephiroth stood outside what was once the Grand City Limits. Marcon was only going as far as a place called Jad. The red wizard had told them of it. Sephiroth was mumbling about a priest while Marcon hummed an old sea chantey. Presently, Spencer turned and spoke as he took one last look at the ruins of what had been his home for as long as he could remember. "Shoap...Aerith.....My friends........Stayeth safe whilst in this tyrant's hole....And as for thee Cloud...." He spoke now with more contempt than he had ever done so before.” I sweareth someday, I shalt haveth mine revenge! I sweareth it!" he turned to his master and old friend and said this,” Well, shalt we? 'Tis a new world out there, let us seeth it for our selves!"
His banishment still fresh on his mind, Spencer and his friends set out to where a boat was said to be and, more importantly, a world in which Mana was growing ever weaker. Little did he know the fate of the entire world was about to be placed in his hands....
On board the ship Sephiroth was teaching Spencer the language he would speak for much of his journey.
"Now thou shalt trieth it." Sephiroth said.
"The, rain, in, Spain, stays, mainly, in, the, plain." Spencer said slowly.
"We shalt have to work upon thy fluency later, but other than that 'twas a good session, now, get thyself some rest, we shalt reach Jad by sunrise." The old knight said.
"Master?” Spencer said.
"Yes?” Was the return.
“How is it that after 1,000 years of seclusion thou knowest about things in this modern era of which had yet to exist when we were secluded?” Spencer asked.
"Simple, my young student." Sephiroth answered." When I cameth in contact with the Dragon Emperor's wizard, The Goddess revealed to me all of the current information of this world." Sephiroth said a bit too casually.
"Aah, I seeth." Spencer said puzzledly. The two left the room and headed off in separate directions towards their bunks. Both slept soundly the whole night through.
Spencer woke early the next morning and walked out onto the deck. He smiled as the cool breeze wafted over him. He gazed out over the horizon and spotted an enormous castle. Recalling his basic sailor training Spencer bellowed," Land Hooooo!" Quickly the entire deck was covered by the small crew of Ancients. All of which scurried around drowsily like drunken potos as Marcon shouted out orders to prepare them for docking.
"Aaarh! toss down th' anchor!” He called as they pulled into the port. Spencer realized speedily that he was the one next to the anchor. Mumbling about being a fool he threw the anchor into the water.
Meanwhile Sephiroth was gathering his and Spencer's equipment and nothing more. One of the crew turned to him and noticed that he was taking none of his possessions. Confused as he was the crew had learned after a man was thrown over board that it was best not to question his tactics. The sailor quietly concluded that it was probably because that was all the two could carry.
As they were leaving the boat Spencer turned to Marcon and asked a few final questions.
"Marcon, where wilt thou goest now?” Spencer asked.
"Arh, I thinketh I'll be headin' on t' Pedan first, then I'll seeth th' world!" Marcon laughed.
"So thou shalt not return to The Grand City?" Spencer asked.
"Nay I shan't be goin' back there e'er again if possible." He said solemnly.
"Spencer, I hate to be rude but we must get a room ere nightfall." Sephiroth said in the modern tongue.
"Aye. Fare thee well Marcon.” Spencer said.
"I'll be seein' ye then." Marcon said as the two Chosen left his ship.
Spencer and Sephiroth strode quietly into the castle city. An air of danger surrounded the entire city. The city itself consisted mostly of one huge castle and many large shops scattered around. Spencer guessed that by the time that he and his master entered the city from the ports that he would be able to see the residential area. Sephiroth quietly noted the strange men heading away from them.
"What, a, nice, place, this, is.” Spencer said slowly to make sure that the new language he was speaking came out clearly.
"Sure, whatever." Sephiroth replied aloofly. As always Spencer had spoken way too soon. No sooner had the two Ancients entered the city than a booming voice shouted to them.
"We Beastmen!" It roared. "We now own Jad! Soon we own all world! Is Beast Kingdom's destiny!" The two turned and faced upward to meet this unseen threat and were somewhat surprised. The threat was a tower of muscle and fur. He a appeared to be a cross between a man and a wolf. His rippling pecs were only surpassed by his horrific fangs. "what you look at weak man?" The Beastman growled.
"Hey!" Spencer shouted, drawing his sword. Sephiroth, however, motioned to him to sheathe it.
"You must be General Lugar" Sephiroth said pointing at a heavily decorated Beastman. This one had bright blonde fur, especially in the tufts atop his head.
"Yes, me Lugar." He said as he stepped towards Sephiroth. "What problem here?"
"You see my dear General, my student and I are two weary merchants all the way form Pedan and are looking for the Inn." Sephiroth said. Spencer's shock at hearing his master lie for the first time was only succeeded by his curiosity as to why the Beastmen were barely able to speak the language. Presently the slow witted Beast-General spoke.
"Inn that way." He said as he pointed and turned to leave.” No more fighting and we all be happy. You no leave Jad till we give OK."
As they walked to the Inn Spencer's curiosity took hold of him. How was it these commoners couldn't speak their own language? Was it their language? At least from a few quick glances around town he could tell that not all people looked that way. Once inside the Inn Sephiroth paid for their room and turned to his apprentice.
"Return here before sunset." He said. "Until then you may explore the town a little."
"Thank you, Master." He said before rushing out the Inn doors.
Spencer first headed to the weapon shop to see if they had any equipment he needed. The shop keeper who looked a lot like Shoap informed him that they did not have any weapons or armor because the Beastmen confiscated it all. On his way out he stopped to speak to a young man with long red hair who was dressed in a bizarre suit of armor.
"Whadaya mean they ain't got no!@#$ Weapons left?!?" The boy shouted.
"The shop keeper said the Beastmen took it all." Spencer commented. He felt the boy was being rude but felt it wise not to say so.
"!@#$ those Beastmen! %@#$@&^# ! The whole lot of them!" He shouted.
"Yes well I am sorry but it would seem that that is all there is to it." Spencer replied calmly.
"Now I'm getting ANGRY again!" He roared. Soon the boy was distracted enough for Spencer to leave without being noticed. Annoyed and vexed, Spencer decided to head to the bar to calm himself down. When he was inside he finally found himself a seat at a mostly empty table and sat down. The only other people at the table were a heavily cloaked and shrouded man and a young man with blue hair who seemed to be greatly depressed. Spencer knew that it was really none of his business but decided if he was to learn anything then he may as well speak with a few people. So he did.
"Excuse me sir, but I couldn't help notice that you seem depressed. Is something wrong?" Spencer said both carefully and tenderly.
"Yes." The young man muttered. "Navarre and Rolante are at war, Altena and Forcena are at war, and now the Beast Kingdom is at war with Wendel. It's like the whole world is at war when only twelve years ago all nations decided on peace. When will this madness stop?"
"What happened twelve years ago?” Spencer asked curiously.
"What? You don't remember? The Thousand-Year War ended when Loki and King Richard slew The Dragon Emperor."
"Oh, yeah.... I'm not exactly from around these parts." Spencer said awkwardly.
"Sure... right now I'll buy that seein' as how I'm goin' insane anyway." He laughed hollowly, almost tearfully. "Oh and I can tell you're going to try and escape so here's some advice. The Beastmen transform into wolves at night which makes them easier to out smart, but not easier to out fight."
"Thank you." Spencer said.
" Hey I never got your name!" The young man said before Spencer left.
" My name is Spencer. What is yours?" Spencer replied.
"Hawk!" The young man answered.
"All right. I'll see you around then Hawk." Spencer said as he left.
"Yeah, see ya around Spencer!" Hawk called after.
Spencer decided to check out the upper floors before heading to the mayor's castle. He still had a few hours before sunset so he decided to spend the learning as much as possible. He also decided that he liked Hawk a lot more than the red haired young man from the sword shop. He was nearing the top now and so he hopped the last few steps.
That's when he saw her. She was sitting near the fireplace and appeared to be exhausted. She wore a beautiful green armored dress. Her hair was the color of pale yellow roses and her skin was tan from many days working in the heat of the sun. She had her hair done up in a pony-tail and head band with two feathered ear-horns. Spencer gazed at her helplessly as he could only think one thought. (She's got to be every bit as beautiful as The Goddess.) Over and over he thought this until she turned and saw him standing there. She smiled and stood up and walked over to him. (Now I'm dreaming.) He thought.
"Excuse me sir." She said quietly.
(Even her voice is majestic!) He thought before speaking. "Y-yes?"
"You wouldn't happen to have seen my little brother would you?" She said sounding hopeful as she described him. "He is about this tall and has light blonde hair. He act's very well behaved and has a basic knowledge of the martial arts."
Spencer thought hard for a moment trying to think if he had seen any one who matched the description. Alas, he could not. "No I am afraid I have not miss...." He said.
"Please, call me Lise." She said.
"I haven't seen him I'm afraid miss Lise." glancing at the clock Spencer realized that he needed to go no matter how much he wanted to stay. "I am sorry but I need to be going he said as he jumped down the stairs.
"Wait I don't know your name!" Lise called.
"Ask Hawk downstairs, he'll tell you!" Spencer shouted as he fell.
Spencer rushed out of the bar and into the town square. after asking for some directions he rushed off towards the Mayor's castle. He wasn't quite certain what he would do yet. He didn't know if he'd take on the Beastmen alone or if he'd study them some more. All he knew was that he still had allot of work to do.
Upon entering the castle of the Mayor Spencer realized the severity of what was going on in Jad. In the open, with out any attempt to hide them at all, there were dozens of Human guards hanging from the walls. All of them appeared to have been beaten severely and none of them appeared to be alright. As he walked through the halls of the castle he saw one person was still quite awake. At first he appeared to be a Beastman, but then Spencer realized that the struggler was actually more resembling of a human than the others.
Spencer rushed toward him while still taking an inward account. The young Beastman had bright orange fur and wore a karate gi that was slightly more fancy than the rest of the Beastmens'. He also wore a cap. Spencer didn't understand much of Beastmen culture but he could tell this one was even more special than Lugar. He was almost there when the Beastman turned and spoke to him.
"Human?" The Beast exclaimed puzzledly.
"No. I'm not a Human." Spencer replied.
"Beastman?" the boy guessed.
"What then, Alien?” The boy asked frustrated.
"Nope. I am more native to this world than you think." Spencer said.
"Me no care! Get me down!" The beast shouted.
"I can't." Spencer replied. "I don't have a key."
"You have sword!" The boy cried.
"I will try." Spencer said felling very sorry for the Beastman. He drew his sword and prepared to strike the lock. Suddenly though he heard the voices of many Beastmen coming. He struck the lock but nothing happened. It became very quiet at first, then he heard the Beastmen coming down the hall he turned to leave when the Beastman spoke to him a last time.
"Mayor and Lugar have Master Keys. Can open any lock! Please get one!" He shouted as Spencer nodded and ran off. Spencer dodged many Beastmen on his way to the throne room and, much to his dismay, they all began to chase after him. eventually he reached the throne room and burst in. When he entered he saw both Lugar and the pitiful body of the Mayor. As he rushed to the center of the room he began to struggle to keep Lugar from recognizing him and from being caught.
"Who you?" Lugar asked. Almost immediately Spencer felt a strange pressure to growl. He took only a moment to obey it.
"GRRrrrrrRRRGrrrrggggrrr!" He growled. Instantaneously the Beastmen backed away exposing a window. (Yes!) Spencer thought. He rushed past Lugar and jumped out the window to see that the sun was setting. As soon as he landed he dashed through the city to the Inn. His mind glowed with puzzlement but he knew the seriousness of his situation and decided it would be best if he did not stop. He rushed passed many citizens but none of them really seemed to care, they were all to busy slaving away to worry.
Upon entering the Inn, Spencer succeeded in crashing into a purple haired young woman. She was wearing a one-piece bathing suit and looking exceedingly pale. In her hair she wore a small hair band but beside that, she had made little attempt to hold back her incredibly well brushed hair. Coincidentally her hair was the basis of her complaints against him.
"My hair! Watch where you're going you block head!" She shouted.
"Oh! I am terribly sorry miss I was in a hurry and-"Spencer said.
"Stuff it, block head!” She roared.
"You must be mistaken miss, My name is not block head." Spencer replied.
"I don't care! Get the heck out of my way!" The girl cried viciously. Spencer stepped out of her way and decided against trying to learn anything from her, despite her intelligent aura. As he stepped away he noticed that she had a long scar that seemed to stretch across her entire back.
(How odd... It looketh as though she hath been beaten horridly...) Spencer thought. (No! I mustn’t think in my native language! I must think in this language in order to get better at it!)
Spencer decided it would be best if he did not tarry outside, so he rushed inward towards his room. It wasn't far from the Inn entrance to where he and his master would be spending the night. As a matter of fact it was only a few meters from the counter.
"Sunset. You're barely on time." Sephiroth said while facing the window. "Not that we won't see many more here if the Beastmen get there way."
"Which they won't." Spencer said.
"Oh and why not?" Sephiroth said with a familiar hint of malice in his tone.
"Because my Master....." Spencer began to relate the tale of all he had done that day. except for his feelings about the young girl named Lise. He didn't lie, he simply left out the part about his feelings on the girl. Fortunately Sephiroth was more interested in Hawk than Lise.
"Then it's settled." He said as soon as Spencer finished his story.
"What is?" Spencer asked.
"The plans for our escape." Sephiroth said. "As soon as the moon comes out we will equip ourselves and then we shall take the Beastmen by surprise!"
"Shall we attempt to save the city?" Spencer said inquisitively.
"No, it is too dangerous." Sephiroth said.
"Master?" Spencer said.
"Yes?" said Sephiroth.
"Can a Mana Knight have more than two companions?" asked Spencer. When he did his master turned and looked at him puzzledly. He stood for a moment apparently toying with the subject before answering.
"Yes and no. I had only two with me and a Mana Knight who recently ended a war here had only one. Take as many with you as will willingly go, however, in the end you will be forced to defeat the threat against Mana by yourself..." Sephiroth said emptily.
Whoosh! Two shadows jumped through the bushes! One held a long sword and had hair that fell to his waist, the other was shaped like a dragon. The Beastmen guards had been watching the elaborate movement of these shadows until they had decided to morph and prepare to strike. They were completely unsuspecting of what happened next.
"Eaaagh!" Spencer roared as he glided down from above. The wolves were his prey and he had no desire to let them live. as he jumped upon the first one he immediately began to rend it into many pieces. Momentarily he gazed towards his master. He beheld that Sephiroth was standing in only one place and cleaving the wolf spirits into pieces with deadly accuracy. Then once more he returned to fighting the seemingly endless hordes of wolf spirits. Only as he did so did he realize how malicious he seemed.
"Aaah!" Spencer turned to see the hordes focusing in on his master.
"Master!" Spencer cried. the hordes turned to face him and now were swarming around both he and his master.
"Spencer you must run!" Sephiroth shouted.
"No! I'm not leaving without you!" Spencer shouted as he beheaded a wolf spirit.
"Go! I'm going to use The Harvest!" Sephiroth roared. Spencer knew that it would kill anyone near bye so without a second glance he began to run. "All Evil... To Me! Powers of Darkness Converge! Powers of Light Consort! Sin Harvesting! A rainbow of light began to surge around Sephiroth as he sucked all the recent sins into halos that floated over the wolf spirits. "Sin Harvest!" The halos exploded and murderous light poured down upon anyone near. Spencer ran and ran never looking back for fear he would try and rush to his master's aid.
Spencer had run a long way. He had run the whole way to the outskirts of a little town when he had finally thrown himself on the ground. He did so not because he was tired, but because he could no longer bear his sorrow. He began to weep. He wept not only for his dead master though, but also for the lives of the Beastmen he had wasted and because at the time he had enjoyed it. He began to sing a song that his master had once been harshly mocked by.
"Burning inside with violent anger.... Spencer! Spencer! Fate-Monstrous and empty....." He said through his tears. "Oh Goddess, what have I done? Please forgive me and I will never enjoy giving death ever again!" With those words he wept himself nearly asleep.
(Voices? Oh Goddess, you are so kind, sending someone to execute me, I will love you always and yet hate you for this!) Spencer thought as he lay there face down in the dirt. (Why am I so important? Take someone else and make them a Mana Knight, I am not worthy.)
(Yes you are. I love you too much to kill you......my.......) At first Spencer thought that he imagined it, but he soon realized that it was the voice of the Goddess, or was it his long forgotten mother's voice? He could not tell. All he knew was that he wanted sleep and he wanted it fast. So with that he let his mind slip into the realm of dreams.
Spencer awoke some time later in an Inn surrounded by many worried faces. They all stooped over him and gasped sighs of relief as he opened his eyes.
"He is awake!" one person cried.
"W-where....?" Spencer asked feebly. An old man approached and answered his question.
"This is the Lake Shore Village Astoria. You were found outside the city limits drenched in blood and sweat. We brought you here to help you rest. Please, don't try so hard to move we won't hurt you." The Old Man said.
"N-no time......" Spencer moaned.
"No time until what?" one of the huddled mass asked.
"B.....ea......s......t.....m-" Spencer whispered in a futile attempt to warn them.
"Shh. You must rest, relax, maybe the light will visit us again tonight and heal you." a person said. With that Spencer drifted off to sleep. He slept that is, until a light awoken him.
He had just been sleeping there, minding his own business when he was jolted out of bed by a feeling that was all too familiar. One he hadn't felt in a long time, but a familiar one none the less.
(Faeries.) He half said half mumbled. He felt pain in this one but he could not reach out and find it. So, despite all his own pain he got out of bed, put his armor back on, and went in search of this hurting, dying creature.
(Where are you, Little One?) He thought as he wandered out of town. He was walking and searching for the Faerie when a strange rabbit-creature jumped out of the bushes and bit him. "OW!" Spencer shouted as he drew his sword. “You little freak! I am going to destroy you!" The rabbit-creature looked at him and jumped to bite him again. "Oh no you don't!" Spencer shouted as he smacked the thing upside the head with the flat of his blade. "There, death has been avoided and I am safe." He said.
(Finish it.....) A faint voice said. Spencer took no time realizing that these weak thoughts of his were actually the voice of The Goddess.
"No I can't. I said I wouldn't kill any more! Please don't make me do this!" He said as he fell to his knees.
(No...You.....said.......you....wouldn't enjoy........killing........never....said.......you.....wouldn't.......kill.....) The Goddess whispered. Spencer turned to the unconscious monster and couldn't help but feel sorry for it. It just looked so, innocent.
"Goddess? Didn't you create this thing? Why do you want it dead if it is one of your creations?" Spencer asked.
(I....did....not...make....that....abomination....) The Goddess replied coldly. (Now....finish....it....)
"I'll never forgive you for this.” Spencer said as he raised his sword.
(I'll honor you for it forever....) The Goddess said as Spencer's sword crushed the life out of the rabite.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Spencer had been running aimlessly through the forest for an hour now and could still not find the faerie. Also The Goddess had stopped speaking to him to rest and avoid his sorrow over killing the...What was it called? Oh, yes the abomination, the innocent little rabite. She had made him kill several other ones along with several mushroom things called Myconids and now he wasn't very happy with her. (What a horrid life my master must've led, having her always in his head.) He thought. Almost instantly though, as he ran past a golden Goddess statue he rebuked himself. (No. His life must have been blessed, having The Goddess always talking to him, even when he was nowhere near her home in the Mana City. For She is only desperate now, when she isn't, she must be a wonderful friend.) With these thoughts he rushed faster through the forest.
(Turn....back.....) The Goddess bade.
"Why?" he asked as he stopped running.
(You need to go to Astoria.) She answered.
"What about the Faerie?" Spencer asked anxiously.
(The Faerie is safe, now go back to Astoria.) The Goddess said.
"All right." Spencer said knowing that arguing with The Goddess only took more of her energy than was necessary. So he turned around and began to head back to Astoria. Spencer felt though that it was perfectly safe. Until he saw the smoke, that is.
"What the....." Spencer began.
(The Beastmen......Invaded........) The Goddess said.
"No.... I-I let them all....die....."Spencer said. "Just like Sephiroth..... I let him die.... No! Someone must have survived! Anyone!"
(Yes....one.....survived.) Even as The Goddess whispered this to him he saw who it was. There in the grass bleeding all over was the young Beastman he had met back in Jad.
"Hey! Are you all right?" Spencer shouted as he ran over to him. The young beast shook and opened his eyes. He smiled at the sight of Spencer.
"You no come back with key. That O.K. Lugar try to make me help. Me no want to so he hurt me and left me for dead. You here now. You want save me?" The beast asked.
"Yes I'll help. Here drink this...uh what's your name? Spencer said handing the beast a honey drink.
"Me Kevin. Thanks." the young Beastman said before guzzling the honey drink.
"Kevin huh? My name is Spencer. Tell me a bit about yourself Kevin." Spencer said.
"Me? Me son of Beast King and a human woman. Me 15 years old and me sad 'cuz Karl wolf pup died.... me killed him... Beast King and Death Jester made me though! Honest! Me would hate killing Karl. Me came here to save Wendel people. Can you take me to Wendel?" Kevin said.
"Wendel? That is a coincidence; I was going to Wendel myself!" Spencer said.
"So Spencer, tell me about you." Kevin said.
(Go right ahead, he'll be with you the rest of your journey anyway....)The Goddess whispered in response to the question Spencer was about to ask.
"I'll tell you what I know. I am a Cetra or Ancient as you call us today. I don't remember my parents. I am approximately 1,018 years old and relatively 18 years old. I spent most of my time in The Grand City training in two schools a day. One to see if I was the Mana Knight, and one to train me as a Dragon Knight, so that I could protect the Temple of Light. At night I went home to live with a man named Marcon and his Granddaughter Aerith. As we grew up Aerith moved to a house all to herself full of servants and stuff, because the ruler of the city's son was betrothed to her and she needed to 'learn how to be a lady' . Moving was very hard on her because she was in love with my friend and fellow student, Kain Kaiser. We all felt Kaiser was definitely bound to be the Mana Knight so most students at the Mana Knight school barely tried. Except for Kaiser, The city's ruler's son, who was named Cloud, and Myself. Eventually we received word from Mana City that The Goddess had decided it was time, and so we sealed ourselves in a time chamber for a thousand years. When we woke up Kaiser went on a rampage and destroyed our city. Then Cloud met some strange man and the two of them decided I was the Mana Knight so they banished me from the city. Marcon, my master Sephiroth and I went to Jad and then tried to escape. Sephiroth died trying to save me and then I came here and met you." Spencer said. When he was finished he noticed that Kevin looked sad. "What is wrong Kevin?"
"Me sad. You have sad story. But now You and Me, we friends! We have happy life!" Kevin said as he got to his feet. "Come on we gotta hurry! Lugar chase after man called Duran the Warrior! They head to Wendel! Wendel in trouble if we don't hurry!
Spencer stood up and then he and Kevin ran into the forest. The Goddess told Spencer briefly about Duran the Warrior's fighting style and that he was protecting the Faerie. Kevin led Spencer to a huge water fall when they stopped. Kevin dropped to his knees and began sniffing the ground. At first Spencer was going to say something, but then he remembered that the Beastmen were part wolf, so Kevin was obviously searching for someone's scent.
"Lugar!" Kevin shouted.
"What? Did you find his scent here?" Spencer asked.
"Yes! He went to cave!" Kevin said as he pointed to a cave hidden beneath the waterfall. "He still lost in there, still time to save Wendel!"
"Well, come on then! Let us go save the Holy City!" Spencer said with a laugh.
Inside the cave of waterfalls, Kevin and Spencer were doing their best to avoid being seen by Lugar and his lost soldiers. Outside though was a little girl. She was 15, but short and childish in nature. Her innocence and purity had lead her here. Her name was Charlotte, but everyone called her Carlie. She had gone in search of her friend Heath, when she had become very lost. She stood outside the cave of waterfalls and gazed. It had taken all day, but finally she could go in and try to get home. First there was a dumb old barrier in the way, then a guy with a faerie who was followed by a bunch of furry meanies, and then a guy dressed like the pictures of the Dragon Meanie, from the 1,000 year war and another furry meanie went through, but now she could enter. So she did.
Carlie walked down the first set of stairs, and then took a right. As she walked into the next room she realized that she was walking on thin air. Carlie fell. She fell down and down. As she fell though, she was able to grab a ledge and keep from falling any further. Her grip was beginning to loosen, when Spencer and Kevin walked in.
"Help! Help Carlieeee!" Carlie shouted. Spencer and Kevin raced over and pulled Carlie up onto the ledge.
"Is it not odd that such a little girl would be here, all by herself?" Spencer said casually.
"B-but....Heath is a nice priest who raised Carlie 'coz she had no Mama and Papa. One day Grampa sent Heath to Astoria, but Carlie tried to stop him 'coz she had a baaad feeling about it but Heath went anyway. So Mick helped me escape 'coz I don't want nothin' to happen to my favorite Heath. When Carlie found Heath a bad man had him! Carlie tried to go home but Grampa had a barrier up! Lucky for me people came along! Carlie went in and fell down. Then you showed up. If you’d a been any later, then..... poor, poor Carlie.” Carlie whined.
"All right, Kevin and I shall escort you home." Spencer said.
"HA! Are you kidding? Grampa musta sent you! Carlie can find her way all by herself!" She said and then ran off.
"She weird." Kevin said. "We better hurry, Lugar still in cave you know."
"Yes, let us go." Spencer said while running.
Only moments later Spencer and Kevin burst headlong from the cave and into the light. They had just finished off a few myconids and battums and were now very happy to be in civilized lands. However neither of them had much time to fool around, because there was still the matter of Lugar and his army that was on it's way that needed taken care of. So without wasting any time, Spencer and Kevin rushed to Wendel.
Upon arriving in Wendel, They noticed how vast it really was. Both of them had grown up in large cities, but neither of the places had been as densely populated as this. Spencer gazed on in astonishment. The only city he had ever seen that was bigger than this was Mana City, and it took an entire continent to be that big. Wendel itself was fairly small, but the amount and diversity of people in its crowded streets made it seem huge.
"Me no think staring is good idea." Kevin reminded Spencer. Once again Lugar was ruining his day.
"Right! Then let us find the Priest of Light!" Spencer said as he and Kevin dashed into the crowd.
(Good idea.... Duran the warrior....hasn't seen.....My Priest.....yet.......you.....are....on.....the.....same.......step.....now....) The Goddess whispered.
(Great. maybe I will finally get to meet this hero......) Spencer thought.
Spencer and Kevin worked their way through the crowds all day until finally reaching the Temple of Light. It was a massive building, not as big as the one Spencer had begun his training at, but a big one nonetheless. Kevin felt uneasy noticing how beautiful the place his people meant to destroy was. Spencer however was absolutely ecstatic. He was back at the Temple of Light! His return to this place meant his training as a Dragon Knight was complete! He practically danced his way into the Priest's chamber. That is until Kevin stopped him.
"Hello. How may I help you?" The Elderly Priest asked.
"Sir Priest." Spencer said as he dropped to one knee. “I bring news from the Goddess."
"Wha?" Kevin said a bit confused.
"The Goddess? Who are you that she would speak to you?" The Priest asked.
"I am The Chosen One, the Mana Knight." Spencer said.
"Impossible! Duran the Warrior just left, and he had a Faerie with him!" The Priest gasped sounding shocked.
"I know. The Goddess apologizes that the Faerie was so desperate but she had no other choice, you see the Faeries have lost contact with her and can scarcely do her bidding now." Spencer explained. Though inside he screamed. (Two Mana Knights? Is that possible!?!)
"Young man, I don't mean to be rude, but where is your evidence, that The Goddess speaks to you?" The Priest asked calmly. No sooner had he done so than did Spencer's eyes begin to glow and a strange wind began to howl. From his mouth poured the voice of a woman on the threshold of motherhood. All around them light flowed and surged.
“Peter, My Priest of Light. I bid you..... aid them..... He is my Chosen One...... aid him......." Spencer/ The Goddess said. "She is very weak from just saying that, so I will ask you to aid her now..." Spencer said.
"Yes....yes I will...." The shaken priest said. "What do you need to know?"
"First let me help you. A brigade of Beastmen are on their way, and they have war in their hearts. Now I need to know how to save Mana." Spencer said.
"And me need to know how to bring Karl back!" Kevin said.
The priest gazed at them for a while and then he turned to face the statue of The Goddess. "The Sword of Mana." He eventually muttered. "The Implement with which the Goddess created the Universe out of Chaos. If you drew it from the base of the Mana Tree the Goddess would awaken. In order to get to the Holy lands where the Tree and Sword are, you'll need to open the gate. In order to do that, you'll need to release the seal on the Mana Stones. Unfortunately the spell was forgotten during the thousand year war. So you'll have to visit each Mana stone and do it manually, by speaking to the Manai or Mana Spirit that lives in it. Please hurry... as soon as you are in the cave I will build a new barrier and keep the beasts out."
"Thank you kind priest." Spencer said on his way out.
"What about Karl?" Kevin asked.
"Death comes to us all eventually. If you truly wish to revive him, The Goddess should be able to grant your wish." The Priest answered. With those words Kevin also departed.
Sadness hung over the two heroes left Wendel. Kevin was depressed because he felt that he would never see his beloved Karl again, and Spencer was depressed because he wasn't entirely sure that he was the Mana Knight.
(You....are.....the....One......)The Goddess said with some difficulty.
(How do you know? Duran the Warrior seems to be a much better man than I.)
(He is your ally......) The Goddess said, verbally slapping Spencer in the face. Consequently, Spencer remained both mentally and physically silent for a long time. He and Kevin walked to towards the entrance of the cave when they where abruptly stopped by a shout.
"Waiiiit!" Carlie shouted. Spencer and Kevin turned around and saw her running. "Wait! Take Carlie, too! Carlie knows what grampa forgot to say! If you wanna know, then you gotta take Carlie with you!"
"Me no think a little girl should go with." Kevin said.
"Carlie's 15! She not little!" Carlie pouted.
"Wha? Same...age as me?" Kevin said stunned.
"All right Carlie. Tell us what The Priest forgot and we will take you with us." Spencer said to avoid conflict between Kevin and Carlie.
"The Mana stone of Light is in the ruins of Light! Wisp the Light Manai can be seen in cave!" Carlie said gleefully. "Now you gotta take Carlie with you!"
"Right that was the deal." Spencer said. Despite how childish she looked, Carlie was really quite mature-seeming and Spencer felt he would get to like her. Kevin however didn't seem to like Carlie very much at all.
"Oh well.” Kevin said as he lead the way into the cave. "Let's find Manai!"
The trio walked around in the cave fighting myconids and battums while in search of the right spot. Carlie told them Wisp was supposed to be in one of the waterfalls. So Kevin sniffed each waterfall for anything unusual while Carlie prayed for help and Spencer kept lookout for Lugar and his men. Eventually they came upon a strange glowing bridge.
"This Waterfall! It not have life anymore. Light smell gone! Duran the Warrior has Wisp's power!" Kevin said.
"How'd he get past you guy's any way? Carlie thought you was ahead of him." Carlie said.
"I think he passed us when we were struggling through the crowd. I wonder though, is he still there? In that part of the cave?" Spencer said as they walked onto the bridge.
"Ah-ha! Me found you!" A familiar voice barked from behind. As it did the bridge vanished and Spencer, Kevin, and Carlie fell down the waterfall. "Me want thank you for leading us to Wendel! Harry! Larry! Take Prince Kevin and his friends back to Jad!" Lugar barked.
The last thing Spencer saw before he blacked out was Lugar laughing as he transformed into a horrible beast.....
Duran the Warrior-or was it Faerie? She did live in his head after all. Yes it was Faerie, but Duran felt as though it were him. Duran slept on a boat bound for Forcena. As he slept he dreamt of the Holy lands. It was a memory of Faerie's but a dream of Duran's.
He danced with the other faeries around the base of the Mana Tree. They rejoiced because their brother would soon come and save The Goddess. All was well. That is until the Sword of Mana shifted in place. One moment it stood erect and the next it leaned off to one side. The faeries gathered around it and decided on their next move.
"We must tell the Priest!" One shouted.
"Should probably find the Hero, too!" Another cried.
"But what of our brother?" the third asked.
"He will find his way.... Who knows? Maybe he is the Hero!" Duran/Faerie said.
All of the faeries took off and flew into the air. Along the way though the first faerie began to lag. At the entrance of the Gate she sacrificed her power to the others. In the middle of the flight through the Gate the second and third faerie sacrificed themselves to Duran/Faerie. From there on Faerie was all alone and the last of her kind............
"Huh!" Spencer shouted as he woke up. He had just had the strangest dream that a voice had been calling him father. When he got to the voice it said it hated him and tried to kill him. "Where am I?" Spencer asked.
"You in Jad dungeon!" Kevin said.
"Furry meanies threw Carlie in jail!" Carlie cried.
"Hey!" a young woman’s voice called. "Hey who's there? Did they capture you, too?"
"Yes! I am Spencer!" said Spencer.
"Me Kevin Bestial!" Kevin barked.
"Carlie Silverwood is my name healing is my game!" Carlie sang.
"What's your name?" Spencer asked the person in the next cell.
"Princess Angela Christania Altena!" The woman said." But you can call me Angela!"
"Hey keep down noise!" A Beastman roared from upstairs. The gruff beast came down the stairs and faced Spencer, Carlie, and Kevin's cell first. "Lookie, Lookie! Prince Kevin in a cell! Beast King be mad at you mutiny!" The beast laughed.
"Harry! Let me out! Me tell Beast King about Lugar's betrayal to Beast Crown!" Kevin shouted.
"Sir this is all a misunderstanding. If you would just let us out!" Spencer reasoned.
"Carlie want out!" Carlie screamed.
"Hey big boy!" Angela shouted. The beast immediately turned his attention to her. “I need help undressing! Would you mind coming in here and helping?" Angela stated in a rather lusty voice. Harry went into Angela's cell and in a flash it was all over. Harry the Beastman was on the floor clutching between his legs and Angela was safely on the other side of the bars, with the keys to boot! She sauntered over to The others' cell and set them free. “A ship bound for Maia is like, waiting in the harbor! I'll like meet you there!" Angela said vapidly. "Oh, @#$ it! I can't keep up my little role any longer." Angela ran off before the others could ask her what that meant.
Spencer walked up the stairs with Kevin and Carlie close behind. As they walked up the stairs Kevin asked an oddly familiar question.
"We free Jad?" Kevin asked.
"No. There are only three of us. However, if you are willing to kill some of your own kind, we may take a few down on our way out." Spencer said feeling immediately guilty for having condescended to Kevin, when Kevin was supposed to be his equal.
"Me see. Let's go." Kevin said solemnly.
The trio walked into the open and prepared themselves for battle. Kevin stood in a battled position that flexed his furry muscles, while Carlie held a flail in the air, and Spencer drew his sword and walked about always facing a potential threat. When they were in the center of the room several bound wolves headed for them. Accompanying the wolves were a few wolf spirits.
"Every one ready?" Spencer asked.
"Kevin is Beastman! We always ready! Is what we live for!" Kevin laughed as he kicked a bound wolf across the room.
"Carlie scaaaaared!" The cleric wept as she threw a blow.
"I know you are Carlie." Spencer said, blocking a wolf spirit's bite. "So am I. Sometimes you just have to live with it though!" Spencer gazed through the room, all the beasts were either slain or unconscious, and so he and the others ran out the castle doors and to the harbor.
Once safely on board the ship and out to sea, Angela walked over and greeted them. She was obviously very upset, though she tried to act cheerful.
"Hello again! I don't believe we were properly introduced before, either time we met!" Angela said.
"Me Kevin, son of Beast King and future ruler of Beast Kingdom!" Kevin said shaking her hand enthusiastically.
"Carlie says hello! Carlie is the most bestest cleric in the world!" Carlie giggled.
"I am Spencer, the Dragon Knight of Grand City. Pleased to meet you." Spencer said politely. "How long is this voyage?" He then asked.
"Hmm. Two days for now we should arrive in Maia." Angela answered. "In other words we've got a little time to get to know each other. Oh, by the way, my name is Princess, Angela Christania Altena; I'm the Princess of Altena! I had run away from my magic class again- I can't use magic yet, you see- When my ex-boyfriend Victor came and told me mother wanted to speak to me. I shuddered to think what my puppet master wanted from me this time, but I went just the same. When I got there, that @#$& Koren and Mother told me I was going to be sacrificed to some stone! There was a big flash and then WAM! I was outside in the snow fields! I wandered around for awhile before I wound up on a ship bound for Jad! I slapped a Beast man in the face when he tried to 'hold' me and the next thing I knew I was in jail! Which is where I met you!” Angela said." So, what are your stories?"
So Spencer, Carlie and Kevin told there stories and became better acquainted with there new friend. The next day passed rather uneventfully, at night though Spencer’s life was changed slightly. It was changed by dinner. No one had come up and 'had' dinner it had to be delivered to them, so Kevin and Spencer took it upon themselves to do this. They had finished serving almost everyone and now only Carlie and Angela needed serving. Kevin was rather unhappy to hear from the cook that it was his job to serve Carlie.
"She annoying!" Kevin protested.
"So?" The cook asked, obviously looking for a better answer.
Kevin, defeated, looked away and then shuffled out of the room. Spencer left soon as well, his task was to serve Angela, and while he was there he had some questions for her.
(I wonder what a Prince, Princess, Queen, and King are. It sounds like they're some kind of ruler. Why couldn't they just have Priests, Lords and Well-respected people rule? It makes more sense than Kevin's term 'royalty'.) He thought. The Goddess answered him rapidly.
(People began to yearn for power, so they gained it, and declared it that I gave them and their progeny the right to rule others.......) She said. (That.....is.....reason.....number......one..........why.......I........sealed Mana City.......and the..........Holy lands.) The Goddess said.
(Shh. Rest now Goddess. Don't kill yourself.....) Spencer thought.
He walked down the stairs towards where Angela's room was. Presently he thought most people on board were asleep, and he hoped he wouldn't be awakening Angela. Spencer turned the handle and walked in, forgetting to knock. He soon regretted it though, when he saw Angela.
She was bare from the waste up, her back facing him, and when Spencer saw her he whipped back around the corner and shut his eyes. It wasn't her nudity that had shocked him, for he was used to seeing such things in the public bathing pools, but rather it was the scars along her back that had shocked him. Now he could see that they really did run the entire length of her back, and he felt a great shame in seeing this.
"Forgive me, I did not mean to intrude." Spencer said preparing to leave.
"No!” Angela shouted.” It’s all right, don't go!" She said clothing herself in a silk night gown.
"Y-your dinner." Spencer said feebly. Angela took the food from him and ate half of it before speaking to Spencer.
"I suppose you want to know how I got......those...." She said indicating the scars.
"I do not mean to intrude miss." Spencer answered awkwardly.
"Do you promise not to tell another soul, so long as you live?” Angela said.
"I do." He said to her, barely able to control his overwhelming curiosity.
"All right." Angela said.” I mentioned in the city not wanting to act mother's act any more right? Well when I was young, they used to treat me as a true princess, but when Father died Mother's soul emptied. She acted only for duty and not out of love. She became cruel about the fact that I couldn't use Magic. She had thousands of teachers try until I became bitter about it. I'd skip lessons and run off. Then Mr.’ Wizard of the Red Lotus' moved in and began controlling Mother. I would be punished if I didn't appear perfectly innocent and happy to the people. Whenever I returned to the castle at night, Koren would strip me down and then... flog...me...." She began to cry." But I got even; I wear that outfit so everyone can see what he did to me!"
"Wait.” Spencer said his memory racing.” Did you say 'Wizard of the Red Lotus'?”
"Yeah, that's what the pansy little interior decorator-wizard called himself." Angela said with more than a small amount of loathing." Why do you ask?"
"Before I was banished from my homeland, a man who called himself ‘The Crimson Petal Wizard' arrived and began usurping things. I believe that he was Koren. After all, The description and name are almost identical."
"But why would Mr. Sparkles want to go to that ruinous continent?” Angela said. Despite her vanity she was actually quite intelligent.
"Well. Besides the ruins of the Grand City, what is on that island?" Spencer asked.
"Umm....Oh! I know!” She said excitedly. "During the Thousand Year War that island was the home of the greatest fiend the world has ever seen!"
"The Arch demon?" Spencer asked.
"Lucavi? No. I meant the Dragon Emperor." She said.
"What!?!" Spencer said recalling the name. "Him? The man who traveled with Koren?"
"What!?!” Now it was Angela's turn to be confused. "The Dragon Emperor is dead! Loki the Knight of Gold gave his life to kill him! If he's alive then something bad is about to begin. This is bigger than I thought."
"How much bigger can it get? The Goddess of Mana is dying, Altena is collecting the power of the Mana Stones, This Dragon Emperor has been resurrected, and to top it all of if the world is destroyed it will be my entire fault!" Spencer bitterly said.
In an attempt to comfort him, Angela sent Spencer off to his chamber to get some sleep, for tomorrow they would reach Maia.