Baron's Heir by SSJ Crono
Nine months after Cecil's wedding and coronation, Rosa gave birth to a baby girl. They named her Cecilia. At about the same time, Rydia gave birth to twin girls. One was named Katana and the other was named Sophia.
Five years later, Rosa gave birth to another child. He was named Kain after the legendary dragoon who had played the role of the double agent. Kain never dropped in publicly to see his namesake, although he secretly watched over him from above.
This is their story. Three princesses, one prince, and a rising dark power that only they can stop...
It had been thirteen years since the great conflict between Zemus and Earth. Cecil and Rosa became the king and queen of Baron, and had a baby girl, Cecilia, and later, a boy, Kain. Cecilia was now thirteen years old, and Kain was eight. Prince Kain's namesake, the dragoon Kain, had not been seen in Baron since the final battle between Cecil and his friends and the great terror Zeromus. He confined himself to Mt. Ordeals doing who-knows-what and did not even show up at his best friend Cecil's coronation party.
In any case, back to Cecilia. Princess Cecilia had been raised mostly by her mother. She had been taught many White Magic spells. In the meantime, every so often she would manage to convince her father to take her to the Land of the Summoned Monsters. There, her surrogate aunt of sorts, Rydia, and Cecilia would lock themselves into a room for hours at a time. Rydia taught Cecilia how to use Black Magic. The one-fourth of Lunarian blood in Cecilia passed down from her father, mixed in with the outstanding magical background of her mother, allowed her to learn magic quickly. She was also a fairly good swordsman, owing to the paladin background of Cecil. Her friends in Baron were mostly peasants and others who would be called in the olden days "riffraff." However, Katana and Sophia, twin princesses of Eblan, were also very good friends to Cecilia.
In the meantime, Kain was more boisterous, preferring to run and play with some of the guards' sons. He did not train very much in the art of fighting. He had learned some martial arts from Yang, the chief monk of the kingdom of Fabul, but having the more brittle body makeup of his mother he never became very good at it. He knew a few basic self-defense maneuvers that would serve him well against the average thug. Despite the fact that he never played alone, he was a very vulnerable target for any trained political radicals wishing to kidnap and even kill Kain, being the oldest boy and the heir to Cecil's throne.
Cecilia was the child of the king less glorified by the limited newspaper media, simply because she was female. Cecilia, however, was stronger, smarter, faster, older, and better in just about every way over her little brother.
The men who kidnapped Prince Kain should have thought of that beforehand.
Prince Kain was out in the streets of the city of Baron with some friends. These once-filthy roads, paths, and alleys had become clean highways and byways under the rule of Cecil and Rosa. Unlike previous kings, they payed attention to the common folk of Baron and did not simply think of themselves. However, there were still dark alleys that were unsafe for children, especially heirs to the throne. Playing in such a place led to the Prince's abduction.
A tall man in a black cloak peered around the corner. In his leathery, worn hands, he clutched two knives. They seemed rusty and thin at first glance, but when closely looked at they were made of the strongest metal in the world, adamant, which would not break even under the most severe pressure. They were hard to sharpen, but a skilled smith somewhere, possibly Kokkol in the Underworld, had made their edges so fine they were indistinguishable from the air when held flat-up. On his belt hung smaller throwing daggers, made of silver, and shurikens black as ebony, pointed sharp as Cecil's Lunarian sword, Ragnarok. Inside his cloak were darts, tipped with a strong sedative for bringing captives back alive.
Prince Kain and about four of his friends were playing darts with some arrows one of them had managed to steal from the weapons shop. The cloaked man readied a dagger and threw it straight at the makeshift dart board, hitting the bullseye dead on. The guard's son who had stolen the arrows turned around and found an adamant knife through his heart. With his other hand, the man slit another boy's throat using the other dagger. He withdrew the first dagger from the first boy's heart and cut through the remaining boys to Kain. Kain was cornered with nowhere to run, so he kicked the cloaked man in a rather uncomfortable spot to be kicked in and ran for the castle. The cloaked man regained his composure quickly and threw a tranquilizer dart at Prince Kain. It nicked him in the arm, which gave him a little time to run outside of town within sight of the sentries before collapsing. A different man clothed in rags, presumably a thief of some nature, picked Kain up and ran. He disappeared through an opening in the roots of an old willow and escaped. The black-cloaked man and several other run-of-the-mill thugs followed.
Rosa was violently sick owing to another child in the womb at the time of kidnapping. She was unable to defend the castle, so Cecil was forced to stay with her and could not seek out his son. He sent the Red Wings, but after one month no word had returned except some blood-red pieces of driftwood found in Baron Harbor. Disgusted, Cecilia stole Cecil's Excalibur sword, snuck onto Devil's Road and headed to the mage village of Mysidia.
The First Attack
Cecilia was normally a very hardy soul, abundant in stamina and strength. However, the trip down Devil's Road weakened her, at least enough so a solicitous mage could find her and ask what happened.
"My brother, Prince Kain... He's been kidnapped. Someone saw a man take him to God-knows-where, and now Baron is at their mercy."
Word of the princess's arrival spread quickly. Soon, the elder of Mysidia himself came and asked for details.
"My mother is sick with another baby, and my father must protect the castle. I had no choice but to steal away at midnight to help my brother. I must save my brother..." Cecilia began to cough.
"But what about the Red Wings? Couldn't they search?"
"They did. About a month after the kidnapping, shards of red driftwood appeared at the coast. We can only assume what has happened to the Red Wings."
At that moment, maniacal laughter resounded through the town. A shadow passed over the sun, airship-shaped. Then a rain of debris came from the airship.
"Bombs!" Cecilia said, and drew Excalibur. She proceeded to slice the falling bombs out of midair, while the black mages chanted a combined spell.
"Ice1!" they cried, but very few bombs fell. They only grew larger and larger until at last they exploded. Cecilia crossed her arms in a feeble defense from the massive explosion. She was thrown backwards out of the village.
The Problem Surfaces
She managed to get back on her feet and stumble back to the village. Every building was sheathed in flames, and many of the mages themselves were also. The survivors were combining their powers, attempting to put out the flames. Cecilia joined in, and with her help the fire was contained and eliminated. Two teenage mages crawled out of a heap of wreckage.
The twin mages that had helped Cecil in his fight were badly wounded. Porom was so decimated she couldn't muster the strength to heal. A mage administered some healing magic, but even that couldn't quite cut it. They were obviously on the brink of death. Two words were intelligible through their moans.
"Thieves'... Guild..." Then the twins faded into the eternal sleep of death.
Cecilia, being brought up under the luxuries of royal life, had no knowledge of what was happening outside of Baron. Naturally, she was puzzled and curious. "Thieves' Guild?"
An old sage of Mysidia spoke. "The Thieves' Guild is a group of rebel dwarves. They used to be real dwarves, but evil consumed them and transformed them into Dark Dwarves."
Cecilia knew about Dark Elves from what her father and tutors had taught her, but she had never heard of Dark Dwarves. "Like Dark Elves?"
The sage nodded. "Similar, but not exactly the same. While Dark Elves are able to use increased amounts of magic, Dark Dwarves are hardier, faster, and stronger. And while a Dark Elf is normally only reported once every two hundred years or so, Dark Dwarves have never existed until now."
"Something very fishy is going on now," Cecilia said, stroking her chin. "So where exactly does this Thieves' Guild hang out?"
"Nobody knows. They come from nowhere and return to nowhere."
"Wrong." A new, strange voice spoke. "The Guild lurks in the darkest depths of the Underworld. We guess they are from somewhere near Kokkol's smithy, but nothing has been found."
Cecilia drew her sword again. "Who are you? Where are you?"
The voice chuckled. "Princess Cecilia. I remember your father well. Is that not one of his swords?"
The princess's heels dug into the ground. "How did you know my father?"
"I suppose you could say I'm a collaborator. I will reveal nothing more."
"Step into the light!"
"My identity will be revealed at the proper time. In the meantime, go to Eblan. You have some friends there that may be a great asset to your journey." With a gust of wind, the voice stopped.
"How are we supposed to get to Eblan? We're all the way back here in Mysidia, and Eblan's across the ocean from here."
A white mage backed away. "Whoa-ho-ho, back up a little. We? I don't recall there being a 'we' involved here."
Cecilia sighed. "Is there anyone here capable of building a ship or something? Engineers or anything?" Cecilia knew it was hopeless because Mysidian mages had almost entirely blocked out technology. "Fine. I'll just go back to Baron then."
That's exactly what Cecilia did. She took the long trip down Devil's Road and returned to her home. She stumbled out, exhausted, and tried the door from the inside. Locked!
Cecilia was definitely in a tight spot now. She couldn't get out of that room without blasting it open. Then she'd get caught, and her father would go on a tirade. But she decided, what the hell. If she wasn't caught, then that was all well and good. If she was, she'd stick it out and escape later that night.
"Fire," she murmured, blasting the locked door off its hinges. It was night. Good, she thought. Now I can easily steal a ship. She snuck out toward the Red Wings' hangar.
Behind her, silent footsteps followed.
Cecilia boarded a ship and was about to start operating it. "You really shouldn't be doing this," a female voice behind her said.
She whirled around. "Sarah! What the hell are you doing here? Doesn't your dad know you're out?"
A woman of about twenty stepped out of the shadows into plain view. "Of course he doesn't, but I'm sure he approves of my actions. He is Cid, you know, and he will remain loyal to King Cecil. Your father's sent out search parties. If he finds you, you'll be in big trouble."
Cecilia planted a foot down. "Well, too bad for him, then! I'm leaving, and no one, not you, him, or the whole world, is going to stop me from finding Kain!" And with that, Cecilia took flight in her airship toward Eblan.
"Wait!" Sarah shouted, clinging to the deck of the airship at the last minute.
"Sarah! I told you not to come!"
"I had no choice, Cecilia. I had to go after you, because it is my duty."
"Well, maybe you should have gotten permission from my father before you went chasing after me."
Sarah hung her head. "You're right. I shouldn't have been so hotheaded. Where do you need to go?"
"Eblan," Cecilia replied. "I need to see Katana and Sophia. They'll help me for sure."
"Eblan it is, then," Sarah said, and started twiddling the wheel back in the direction of Baron.
Trouble at Home
"Sarah, you bitch! Wait until I get my hands on you! I knew I shouldn't have trusted you! I'll kill you!" Cecilia shouted, as she was dragged up the steps of Baron Castle to meet once more with her father. Bound in chains, she was thrown at the foot of her father's throne.
Cecil sighed. "Cecilia, Cecilia. What will I ever do with you? Running away, stealing a legendary sword and an airship... Do you know what happened to your mother while you were away?"
Cecilia covered her mouth with her hands. "Did she..."
"No, the circumstances aren't that grave... we don't think. She has been in labor for two days now, and the child hasn't come out."
At that moment, there was a shriek of horror.
Cecil ran to Rosa's bedside, but Cecilia was unable to. She could only listen.
"Rosa... No... It can't be... First Kain, then Cecilia runs off, and now you... The child, where's the child?"
There was no child. The baby, too, had been kidnapped, and Rosa was in no condition to tell. She was missing as well.
"Cecilia's life can continue as planned, Your Majesty."
"Still, we can't take any chances. The one who did this could be back at any time to take Cecilia. We'll need to keep her under lock and key at all times. Keep sentries constantly alert. We can't afford to have them come back."
Cecilia stood up in a rage, addressing the castle physician and Cecil at the same time. "There's no way you're throwing me in some cell, just because some bastard almost killed Mom and kidnapped her and my two brothers! I won't stand for it!"
"Take her away, guards."
Cecilia was incredibly indignant. "No fucking way! I can't-"
Cecil, too, was furious. "You watch your mouth, young lady!"
Cecilia was now more subdued, but not defeated. "Unless something is done soon, it will keep happening. Baron will collapse unless action is taken." Cecil crossed his arms. "I'm the only one who knows how to stop this, and even if I told you, no offense, but you're entirely too old for this. You haven't even unsheathed a sword for almost fourteen years. Only I can beat them and bring back my brothers."
Cecil sighed. "You're right, only you could do it. But we'll have others accompany you. Sarah will go with you-"
"Sarah! I'm not even going to shoot a backward glance at her, unless it's to blow her into oblivion-"
"-as will Katana and Sophia, by Edge's leave. There will be nonstop training until they arrive, and then we'll leave you to your own devices. Remember, if you die, the consequences will be severe."
Cecilia scoffed. "What consequences? One, I don't intend to die, and two, even if I did, you couldn't touch me."
Cecil paid this no heed. "Very well, then. Shall we start training?"
Waiting for Company
The next day, Cecilia proceeded to the castle courtyard, Excalibur at her side. Cecil was there as well, bearing Ragnarok. "Are you sure you're ready for this?" Cecil asked.
"Of course," the princess replied. "I'm ready for anything you can throw at me, geezer."
Cecil smirked. "Is that so? Well, in that case, you won't mind if I start things off a bit." He charged and delivered a huge slashing blow. Cecilia managed to parry it, but she was forced down to the ground.
"You'll need more strength than that to rescue Kain," Cecil said as he helped her up. "You can have the first move this time."
Cecilia raised her sword, and with a mighty cry, hurled herself at Cecil, giving seven blows. Cecil managed to either parry or dodge each one. "You're telegraphing your moves," Cecil said, smashing his daughter on the head with the hilt of the mighty Lunarian sword. She crumpled and fell to the ground, unconscious. Cecil healed her, and training continued. "If you can't beat me, there's no way you'll ever beat this menace," Cecil said.
"But you're a legendary hero, Dad! It's impossible to beat you!"
Cecil shook his head. "That's where you are mistaken, my daughter. These Dark Dwarves you speak of possess immense power. Even I would be unable to defeat them."
Cecilia stammered. "But... but you said you defeated evil incarnate!"
"As long as the human race exists, there will always be evil. There is no way to purge our heritage of its dark past. I myself am less affected than others, due to my Lunarian background."
"Wasn't your brother also corrupted?"
"Yes, but Golbez was a different case. You see, he let his own willingness to comply with orders consume him. The power that the king placed in him drove him toward further power lust, and that's where Zemus came in. It was actually my sense of justice, or, if you prefer, my rebelliousness, that saved me."
"He was jealous of me, because your mother loved me instead of him. But are we training or not? Let's get back to business."
And thus they trained for a week. Cecilia's skills improved until she almost surpassed her father. "How am I doing now?"
Panting, Cecil sat up. "Better, but you'll need more to defeat the Dark Dwarves. Sarah, Katana, and Sophia may not be enough."
At that moment, the twin princesses of Eblan arrived. They had been training on board the Falcon and were quite strong. Sarah came, too, and the four then left to search for Kain. Their first stop: the Dwarven Castle.
"Hey, Cecilia, long time no see," Katana said, slapping the princess of Baron on the back. "How've you been?"
Sophia sighed. "Katana, this is no time for fraternizing. The situation is dreadfully serious."
At this, Katana laughed. "Lighten up, Sis! We're going to go kick some dwarf ass and save Cecilia's little bro. It's really no big deal." Sophia sighed again and turned away.
"She's right, you know, Katana," Cecilia said. "If there's any time for you to be serious for once in your life, this is it."
Sarah then spoke up. "We have arrived at the Overworld Gate." The Overworld Gate was basically just the opening the Tower of Bab-Il had risen out of, except now a metal portal was built to regulate traffic between dwarves and men.
"This is Falcon to Traffic Control, Traffic Control please respond." No reply. "Falcon to Traffic Control, requesting clearance, respond."
"Copy that, Falcon. We are opening the gate."
As the massive gate opened, a swarm of airships came flying out from the Underworld.
"What is going on?"
"Holy shit! Falcon, we are in serious trouble, helpAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" The radio cut out, and the traffic control center was destroyed. Sophia was crestfallen. "Bombs..."
At that moment, something very large hit the Falcon, sending those on deck sliding toward the rail. Sarah managed to keep a hold on the controls, but Katana and Sophia had nearly fallen off. Cecilia was dangling from the rail, holding on for dear life. The enemy airship hit the Falcon again, and Cecilia's grip was broken. She fell, screaming, toward the ground.
An object on a vertical ascent path picked Cecilia up and landed on the deck of the Falcon. Sophia shrieked in surprise. The man, however, merely shouted, "Get below deck!" Reluctantly, the young women obeyed.
The man pulled out a spear. "You will not harm the Princess Cecilia! Spear of Justice!" He raised his spear and light flooded toward it. Then it was released in a blinding flash, and all the enemy airships were blown into oblivion.
"You can come out now," the man called. The frightened girls crawled out. "It's okay. They're all gone." A black pteranodon swooped out of the sky and picked up the falling dwarves.
"...or not. In any case, that immediate problem is solved."
Cecilia knew the voice. "You're that man I met in Mysidia!"
He nodded. "Yes, I am. I said I would reveal myself at the proper time. I am sure by now you know who I am."
Cecilia paused. "I... can't honestly say that I do."
But Sarah did. "I know that lance! It's the Holy Lance of the Lunarians!"
The twins and Cecilia jumped in surprise. "What? That means this is..."
He nodded. "Yes, Cecilia. I am your brother's namesake. My name is Kain, the Holy Dragoon."
"Holy Dragoon? What the hell is that?"
Kain sighed. "It is very similar to your father's Paladin rank. I have overcome my dark past and been cleansed of it.
"You may recall Cecil saying that at his coronation, of all his companions only I was absent from the ceremony. The fact is, I was at Mt. Ordeals, training, so I could watch over you.
"After nearly fourteen years of arduous training, I finally attained the rank of Holy Dragoon. I am now an instrument of justice, duty-bound to dispose of evil."
At this point, Sophia and Sarah nearly broke out in tears, while Katana feigned puking over the side of the Falcon. Kain's fist tightened around his lance, but instead he went on. "Yes, I know it's corny, but it's the truth. That is my task in life. And at the moment, my mission is to aid you in your quest to defeat the Dark Dwarves and save your brother and sister."
Cecilia blurted out, "Why bother? We're going to fail anyway!"
"Of course you will, in that mindset."
Katana snorted. "It's just like they tell us at school." She put on a nasal, high voice. "'Believe in yourself and you will succeed.' 'Those who say I Can't truly can't.' 'You get out what you put in.' It's all bullshit."
Surprisingly, Kain chuckled. "Perhaps. But in this case, it's true. Only those who feel able to defeat them are able. At the risk of sounding like one of your teachers-" Katana and Sophia giggled. "-three quarters of this battle is psychology. The other quarter is fighting ability. Your skill outmatches theirs, but they seem a lot bigger after what they have done. They have enough skill to strike fear into hearts. They're a lot smaller than they seem."
Cecilia smiled. "Thank you, Kain. Are we ready to kick some Dark Dwarf ass?"
"YEAH!" the loud chorus replied.
"We're heading for the Dwarven Castle first," Sarah said, filling Kain in on the details. "It's likely that the Thieves' Guild has hit the dwarves even harder than they've hit us, because it's more convenient. The worst-case scenario is that they've completely overrun the Underworld."
Katana pointed over the edge of the deck. "That appears to be the case." The dwarves' tank army was amassed below them, aiming at the Falcon. Flags bearing the Thieves' Guild symbol, a bag of gold with a skull marking, were hanging from the Dwarven Castle. The black pteranadon was perched atop the highest turret. From below, a muffled command was given.
"What did he say?"
"It sounded like he said, "Higher," Katana said.
"I think he said something worse," Sarah said. As if to emphasize her point, an explosion from below rocked the Falcon. "Shit! We've been hit, we're going down!"
"So what do we do?" Cecilia screamed.
"The only thing we can do," Kain replied. "We fight."
"F-fight? I can't fight!" Sophia frantically cried.
"Oh, stop your blubbering!" Katana replied. "We've trained for hours on end, and as a team, we're better than Mom and Dad, and now you say you can't beat a bunch of ruddy machines? You've lost your touch, Sis."
"You're right," Sophia said.
"We're about to crash!" Kain yelled. "Jump clear!" Everybody jumped over deck and nimbly rolled to help absorb the impact against the ground. Immediately Sophia began an incantation.
"Ramuh, God of the Thunder, I bid thee to come! Heed my call!"
Lightning struck the ground, animating an old man with a large, flowing white beard and a staff. "I shall do thy bidding, Summoner," he replied in a deep voice. With that, he charged an orb of thunder in his staff and fired it at the ground. The tanks that were not destroyed in the explosion were crushed by the rocks that flew as a result of the spell.
"Whew! That was close," Cecilia breathed, wiping sweat off her brow.
"It's not over yet," Kain said, pointing upward toward the castle. "Look!"
The black pteranadon was circling overhead, preparing to dive. Thinking quickly, Sarah pulled a machinelike black thing out of her pocket. "I'll handle this," Sarah said. "Just don't let him hit you."
"Good luck, Sarah!" Cecilia called.
Sarah nodded in acknowledgement, then dodged the flying beast's first swoop. She charged a very large orb of flame in the machine's barrel, then fired it at the back of the pteranadon's head. It screeched in pain and dove at Sarah again. As the pteranadon gained velocity, Sarah fired again, blinding it in one eye. It pulled back, howling. Energy built up in its mouth, and it fired a beam. The beam carved a circle in the ground around Sarah.
"Ha! Is that your best?" Sarah mocked. Then she felt something give beneath her feet. "Uh-oh," she said, and she jumped clear just before the ground she had been standing on plunged into lava.
"This one kills you!" Sarah said, charging another flame orb. She fired it at its heart with true aim. Her prediction was also true, as the pteranadon fell into the ocean of lava, screaming as it went.
"Well then, shall we go?" Sarah said to her speechless companions.
"What the hell WAS that?" Katana asked Sarah, amazed.
"It was obviously a black flying dinosaur," she replied.
"No, not what you killed... what you killed it WITH," Katana said, motioning toward the machine. "What is it?"
"Oh, this?" Sarah said, twirling it on her finger. "It's one of my dad's inventions. He calls it a 'gun.' It's still a prototype, so he wanted me to battle-test it."
"Well, it works fine."
When they came to the castle door, it was locked. Kain wedged his spear into a crack and made the doors explode open. Two dwarven soldiers were waiting for them. "These are Giott's men!" Kain said, dodging an axe blow. "They're under a mind-control spell. Don't kill, just incapacitate them!" Sophia's and Cecilia's Stun spells worked perfectly fine, and the crippled soldiers writhed on the ground. "Go, go, go!"
There were no other guards. The five followed the red-carpeted path to the throne room. To their surprise, Giott was enthroned, with his daughter Luca on his left and his captain of the guard, known only as the Executioner, on his right. "You have freed me," Giott said.
"Stop this madness now!" Katana said. "Where's the real king?"
Giott's voice changed to have a cold, snakelike quality. "But I am the real king. Giott has power no longer. The Thieves' Guild has enthroned me for eternity!"
Kain gasped. "No, not you, please don't let it be you!"
The Giott imposter turned. "Ah, Kain. You've changed a lot. Yes, it is I, the almighty Archdemon Ilfragor, and I have come to conquer the world of men!"
Katana was skeptical. "Please. The only conquering you'll be doing is of your little place in hell. Prepare to die, Ill Truck Gore or whatever it is."
"You shall pay for that!" Ilfragor shouted. He changed to the form of an old man with a white beard, red robe, and light-brown staff. A pillar of fire rose out of Katana just after she charged. Her hair singed, she pressed on and threw a shuriken. Kain swooped down from the ceiling and picked her up just as another pillar of fire erupted. The five retreated to the intricate tunnels of the dwarven castle.
Dissolving the Guild
The tunnels were swarming with Dark Dwarves. Ilfragor's wrath had sent them scurrying aimlessly in an attempt to get away from the castle. Amid the chaos one thin dwarf stood out. He wore daggers of adamant, and had pointed, almost elfin ears. He had no beard and no helmet, and his face was visible. It was the man that had kidnapped Kain.
Cecilia drew her sword. "So, you must be the leader of the Thieves' Guild."
"Wrong," the elflike dwarf replied. "I am only their strongest fighter. They call me the Silent Thunder, for my attacks are quick, quiet, and powerful."
Katana drew her twin blades. "Quick, quiet, and powerful, huh? I'll handle this one myself. Cecilia, look for your little brother."
So Cecilia ran ahead, sword drawn, to look for Kain, Rosa, and her yet-nameless little brother. Meanwhile, Katana fought with the Silent Thunder. Adamant clashed against her custom-made katanas of mythril and crystal, and the fight was at a standoff for quite some time. A rumbling in the ceiling caused Katana to panic and leap away.
"What's the matter, little girl? Are you scared of my-"
He said no more, because one of Ilfragor's fireballs blew away the ceiling and reduced him to ashes. Katana only shrugged and said, "That was a lucky break." Then she ran ahead to catch up with Cecilia, Sophia, Sarah, and Kain.
They soon found one group of hostages. All the former inhabitants of the Dwarven Castle were dead. There was still no sign of Cecilia's family.
"Hey, wait," Sarah pointed out. "Isn't that brick loose?"
Cecilia knelt down. "Why, so it is," she said. She lifted it out, revealing another loose brick. Once all the bricks were lifted out, there was a ladder leading downward. "They must be down here! Let's go!"
One by one, they crept down the rickety ladder. In a dark chamber, Rosa, Kain, and the baby were chained to the wall. They were too weak to cry out.
"Mother! Kain! We'll get you out of here!"
"And of course, you say that fully realizing that your mother and brothers could be killed at a moment's notice."
Cecilia whirled around, seeing a large dwarf with a battle axe the size of a tall man. "So you're the leader of the Thieves' Guild."
"And you are Princess Cecilia, I presume?"
Cecilia nodded. "The last royalty you'll ever see, apart from the Lord of Hell. Are you ready to die?"
The Dark Dwarf smiled. "I've been ready for a long time. Unfortunately, my foresight tells me that you will not have the honor of killing me. Provided I'm wrong, your family will be returned to you."
Cecilia smirked right back. "I think your foresight's wrong." With that, she leapt at him and delivered a staggering blow, which he blocked with the handle of his gigantic axe.
"You're too overconfident," the Thieves' Guild chairman said, raising his axe. Cecilia deftly dodged the blow that would have cleaved a crystal gauntlet in two, and lunged again, striking the large dwarf in the eye. He covered his eye, blood spurting from it. Then, charging her three strongest spells into her sword, she struck at his neck and decapitated him. He fell to the ground, clearly dead.
Katana gave a low whistle. "Guess he didn't foresee that."
End of a Demon
The Thieves' Guild was now destroyed, either by Cecilia or by Ilfragor. There was little time to celebrate, however. Cecilia freed her family members and fed them, just as a booming voice resounded throughout the underworld. "HA HA HA! NOW I AM KING OF THE UNDERWORLD FOR ALL ETERNITY!"
"Can you stand to stay down here a little longer?" Cecilia asked Rosa. She nodded. "Good. I've got to take out a demon." Rosa nodded her understanding as Cecilia, Sophia, Katana, Kain, and Sarah left to defeat Ilfragor.
They arrived at the throne room. "WHAT? YOU'RE STILL ALIVE?" Ilfragor boomed.
"Damn straight," Katana answered. "You won't be king for much longer, I hate to break it to you."
Ilfragor charged into battle. Kain jumped back, however, and stayed out of the fray. One punch knocked Sarah flying back into a wall. Sophia summoned Leviathan, king of the Summoned Monsters, but the water was unable to quench Ilfragor's burning rage. Even Bahamut, king of dragons, could not stagger Ilfragor. Exhausted, Sophia fell down unconscious. Katana zipped around, dodging Ilfragor's fiery punches and landing a few blows of her own. However, even the Spoon Dagger was unable to faze the mighty Ilfragor, and Katana's energy ran out, giving Ilfragor an opportunity to attack.
Cecilia jumped back as well, charging an attack. Ilfragor only stood there laughing, saying, "I can take anything you wimps throw at me!" However, in reality, he was quite weakened by Leviathan, Bahamut, and the Spoon Dagger. His confidence was Ilfragor's fatal flaw.
Kain's attack was charged first. Empowered by a blazing white aura, he used his Jump technique and shot a huge beam of light at Ilfragor. He then fell down toward Ilfragor and stabbed him in the head. Ilfragor was still not dead, but he did smash Kain into the ground.
Kain had bought just enough time for Cecilia to finish. "METEO STRIKE!" she shouted as she combined herself with the meteors of Meteo. About fifty different Cecilias landed crushing blows to Ilfragor, cutting him asunder.
Light streamed from the slashes. "WHAT? HOW COULD A LITTLE GIRL DEFEAT THE MIGHTY ILFRAGOR? I CANNOT DIE! I WILL NOT DIE! I REFUSE TO DIIIIIIIE!" An explosion from within him blew him to pieces.
Rosa rushed into the throne room. She found everyone except Cecilia unconscious, and Cecilia kneeling against her sword for support. Rosa administered healing to all who were affected by the battle (except Ilfragor, of course). Together, they returned to Baron. Kain became Cecil's new Captain of the Guard, and Katana and Sophia returned to Eblan. Meanwhile, Sarah became co-Chief Engineer with Cid, and Cecilia's baby brother was finally named Golbez. Together, they lived kidnapping-free.
Twenty years later, Rosa came down with a grave illness and died. Deprived of his wife and consumed with grief, Cecil followed shortly afterward. It seemed that Prince Kain was the new king. However, something shocking happened at his coronation ceremony.
"I decline the honor of ruling the kingdom of Baron," Kain said. "You may recall an incident twenty years ago when I was kidnapped and held powerless. The one person brave enough to organize and lead a rescue team was my older sister, Cecilia.
"Cecilia has the qualities of a true ruler: courage, honor, true dedication to her mission in life. She has what it takes; I, however, do not.
"In conclusion," Kain finished, "I hereby abdicate the throne to name Queen Cecilia."
There was a mixed reaction of shock and loud, raucous applause. A woman, lead the kingdom of Baron? It couldn't be done.
Cecilia made an on-the-fly acceptance speech. "Some of you may be incredibly shocked at the decision my brother has made. The fact is, I wasn't expecting it myself. Many of you may say that a girl cannot rule this great kingdom. I shall only make one example. The eight clerics of Troia rule their land, and they are all women. I can rule this kingdom as well as or better than my late father. One thing is certain: I will accept my brother's offer. He would be a prudent leader, but the fact that he was willing to give it up because he wasn't good enough shows true humility and wisdom.
"Thank you, Kain, for this opportunity. And thank you, Baron, for accepting me after my great quest as a heroine."
Cecilia went on to rule Baron better than anyone before. Any threats that arose were quickly squashed by her old, yet very strong, captain of the guard, the Holy Dragoon Kain. She grew strong and wise, and Baron was safe under her rule.