The Sorceress war Chapter XXIX
Julia was at the helm of the Valhalla once more, getting ready to set down at the rapidly approaching Battleship Island Research Center. However, considering it was still a bit far off, she was more interested in other things. She was holding the course and flying level with one hand without looking, her attention drawing to the humorous argument starting between Zion and Corin over a game of Triple Triad. The two had gotten bored, and since there were no alternatives to entertainment, they began to play card games to pass the time.
"We never agreed to use the Plus rule, you idiot! We said we were going to use Balamb's rules! There is no Plus there!"
"Yo, man, you should have said something earlier. It's too late now!"
"No! I won! The Plus rule disqualified you!"
"You played on it, stupid! That makes it count!"
Zion sighed in frustration and tossed a look to the amused grenadier. "Julia! Who's right?"
She quickly shook her head, "Oh, no, I'm not getting into this. The last time I argued with Corin it lasted for about five days. It nearly drove the Pack insane. You're lucky you weren't there then."
Corin's eyes brightened a little as a memory came back to him. "Oh, yeah! That argument! I still say that song we heard was from The Empire Strikes Back! You didn't know what you were talking about then."
Julia groaned. "No it wasn't! It wasn't from that, it was from something else! I still think it was from ---" Julia's counter point was interrupted by the sound of a loud alarm from the master warning on the Valhalla's command console. "---AHH!"
There was a large crew transport helicopter flying straight towards them at a high speed away from a metallic looking island, and it had no intention of swirving or stopping. Julia took the airship into a very steep dive, almost completely at a 90 degree angle compared with the surface of the planet. Corin and Zion slid off of the chairs they were sitting in, humorously falling into the foreword wall of the bridge.
The helicopter flew by quickly, barely missing the Valhalla's outer hull by only a few inches. The sound emitted by the helicopter's rotor filled the ship, almost causing Julia to let go of the controls and cover her ears like the others were. The helicopter passed by, but the dive Julia had put the airship into was to great to be recovered easily. Her eyes widened in terror as for a few minutes, she was sure that the ship wouldn't level out by the time it hit the surface water. The cerulean liquid came closer and closer, until she was finally able to slow the craft down and pull out. The dive had begun at 20,000 feet, and dropped to nearly 2,000.
Julia shouted after a minute of silence. "Damn crazy pilots!! What the hell was that about?!"
Corin and Zion, shaken up from the dive, were still on the floor in shock. They slowly climbed their feet after regaining their breath. Zion plopped himself back into the chair he had been sitting in, while Corin simply stood against the wall he had fallen on. Corin was able to finally mutter out something coherent, "What was that?"
"It was a transport helicopter..." Julia said slowly, "....and it was getting out of Battleship Island as fast as it could. It didn't even try to swerve out of our way! I don't know about you, but if I saw something coming towards me that was about twenty times bigger... I'd swerve damn it!"
The doors to the bridge slid open to reveal Raine, who had her hair in complete disarray. There was an unrecognizable look on her face, a sort of mixture between confusion and anger. "What on Terra did you do that for, you crazy idiot?!"
Epsilon was behind Raine with a similar look on his face. "Give her an airship rather than a car, she still drives like a crazy bitch..."
"No, no, no!" Julia countered. "Didn't you hear the rotor blades? Some helicopter was flying away from the Island at breakneck speed! It would have hit us if I hadn't of dived! Something bad must be going on down there!"
Raine's eyebrows came together in worry. "Those must have been fleeing scientists, then. No doubt about it, Virados is down there somewhere. Julia, use the intercom to tell the others what happened. Some were sleeping and are completely confused as to why the fell out of bed and into a wall."
Julia nodded and grabbed a hold of the intercom. "Sorry, guys! Some idiots tried to play chicken with us, so I had to dive out of the way! We're going to be landing on the island now, get ready!"
"I didn't even order that yet!"
"But you were going to, right?" Julia said with a smirk. Raine rolled her eyes and shook her head. Julia laughed, "See, told you! I know you better than you know yourself!"
"Whatever! Just land, will you?"
Julia set the ship down on the island's large helipad, where more than likely the rogue helicopter had come from minutes before. Now the Pack had descended from within the ship itself, guns and weapons drawn out in case of an ambush. Seeing the coast was clear, the assembled onto the platform and awaited Raine's orders.
The Alpha Wolf stood in front of the group, Ultima Blade in her sword hand. "Okay, here's the plan. We'll stay as big group, though were going to cluster into the standard subgroups in case of separation. I know our weaponry for the gun users isn't so good, since we don't have the heavy weapons like Edea's chain gun or Zion's gunarm. Just stick with what we have, and use it wisely."
They nodded, and assembled into their standard group formations. Julia led one group, with Celeste, Lancer and Zion flanking her on either side. Edea was in charge of Andraia and Epsilon, while Raine led Corin and Lilliana. Though they would all travel together, the groups were there only in case something happened and they became cut off from the others.
Raine's group led them in, Julia's to the left of her, and Edea's to the right. There was a set of large twin metal doors, that looked like they had been torched shut so nobody could enter or leave. Raine first tried to budge them open, but with no success.
"This is my specialty," Julia said after a moment, "Move please!"
"Uh, oh..." Came the sarcastic remark from Edea. Julia shot her a glance, but turned to rummage through her item bag.
After a few moments, Julia removed four metal objects. Lancer's eyes widened as he saw them. "Remote detonated explosives?!"
"Of course! What's a grenadier without this kind of stuff?" Julia replied with a laugh, and then told the others to run for cover behind a far off metal plank. They did so, knowing full well what was about to happen.
Julia placed the explosives on each corner of the doorway. Making sure they were firmly in place, she backed away, grabbing the remote detonator. She ran back to where the other Wolves were ducking behind the metal plank.
Epsilon and Andraia looked on with amusement, waiting for Julia to push the button, while the others looked on in fear. Julia refused to duck, hoping to watch the explosion. Excitedly, she pressed down on the red button on the detonator, then frowned as Raine pulled her down behind the metal plank. The explosives, along with the door, burst open in four great red-hot balls of fire. The rush of heat made it to the plank, and hit it forcefully. While it was definitely hot, it was not near hot enough to cause the Pack and discomfort.
"You made me miss it!" Julia yelled towards Raine. The leader simply shrugged it off and smiled briefly. Julia gritted her teeth in fake anger, but didn't do anything else. Knowing herself, she would probably blow up numerous more things back home once the Pack had off time.
The team got up from behind the metal, and brushed the dirt from their pants and boots. Making their way back to the now opened door, Raine's team led them in. At first, it took a minute to adjust their eyes. One would expect a laboratory to be full of light in order for scientists to see what they were doing. However, Battleship Island was damp and nearly pitch black except for the light emitted by computer terminals and the destroyed gap where the doors had once been. A few solitary windows provided some extra illumination, but not much.
There was a single large blue cylinder in the center of the first room, with a few ruined computers surrounding it. A door led to the bottom floors at the back of the room, but there was no sign of any scientists left over from their escape. Then, Lilliana and Andraia both felt their arm and neck hairs stand on end as a presence filled the room.
"Summoners..... " It whispered darkly, a powerful yet quiet voice behind it. It was as if the source was so far off, but could somehow still reach them.
Andraia's eyes widened as she realized the voice was in her head. She turned to the equally stunned blonde fist fighter a few people across from her. Lilliana shot her back a glance, but the voice interrupted any other communication.
"Summoners.... free me. Bind my soul to yours... one of you must accept me. I am.... Bahamut. " Came the powerful, yet fatigued voice.
Reaching back mentally, Lilliana responded. “Bahamut? The dragon GOD, Bahamut? You’ve been missing since the Centran Wars...”
“Not missing. Free. I accepted a summoner several years ago... yet he was killed, and I was trapped here by scientists wishing to study me. If one of you accepts me... I will be free again until you die. Then, I shall return... and accept another summoner.”
The two girls looked to each other again. Andraia looked too afraid to accept the task of carrying the ‘King of Summonings’ with her, the idea of having a wild and powerful dragon soul binded to hers putting fear into her very core. Fenrir and Ramuh had been born into her from her summoner mother, but accepting one was a painful and difficult task. It was a hard enough task for her to accept Diablos the Guardian of Darkness and Tritoch the Firebird, but Bahamut was out of the question. Nodding her head after a moment, Lilliana agreed.
“I will take you then.”
“That is very kind of you, young one. I can tell by you and your team’s strength, and sense of justice, that I can trust you and your powerful friends. I shall lend my strength to you... call me in times of need.”
Then, chaos erupted. A dark blue aura of energy, surrounded with a bit of gold, surrounded Lilliana, causing the other Wolves to jump back in shock. She held out her hands, the energy flowing partially to them. Sparks flew from the energy to her body, making the summoner wince and scream in pain. A primal, reptilian roar filled the room, shocking the Pack even more, making some draw their weapons in alarm. Though it appeared as only a shadow to the other Wolves, a dark aura in the shape of a dragon slowly closed around Lilliana. At least thirty feet high, it was an amazing sight to see. It wrapped it’s black wings around her, then disappeared into her body with another roar.
Lilliana collapsed on the floor, exhausted and out of pain. She moaned as she hit the floor, and the Wolves quickly swarmed around her in worry. Corin and Andraia sunk to their knees, becoming as level to Lilliana as they could. Corin lifted her up, while Andraia brushed some of Lilliana’s sweat-laden hair out of her eyes.
Before Raine could even finish asking a question, Andraia answered. “There was a rogue summon in here. Bahamut. I was too afraid to take him, but Lilliana agreed. This is what happens to all summoners when they earn another. The only ones that won’t cause this, are the ones that you’re born with.”
"Will she be okay?" Corin asked, looking towards the younger brunette.
Andraia nodded, "Yeah, just give her a few minutes to recover."
"Corin, Andraia, I want you two to stay with Lilliana, and the rest of us will scout around and assess the area for any hostile activity. We'll be back quickly, so don't wander off." Raine ordered, telling the others to form one large group again.
The two nodded in return, and Andraia actually responded with a positive smile, "No worries, boss! We'll be here. Go kick his ass if you see him!"
Raine agreed with a small smile, and drew out Ultima Blade. "Come on people, we'll descend into the main tower and check out the lower levels. We should find the entrance to the ruins down there."
As the Wolves gathered around her, she shot back another comment to the two who were staying behind. "Remember, stay put. If Virados finds you first, get us quick. Shout out or one of you run after us, then we'll get back up here as fast as possible. Don't do anything stupid."
Swinging the steel door open at the back of the room Bahamut had joined himself with Lilliana, the team slowly descended down a staircase, leading to a dark circle shaped room with a large window panel allowing them to see into the ocean surrounding them. Dolphins and fish could be seen swimming around quickly, yet none stopped long enough for the Wolves to get a good look at them.
There was another stairway, yet it was blocked off by a steel panel that could only be removed by a computer. There was terminal on the opposite side of the room, and naturally Raine called out to Celeste to figure the electronic device out.
"Celeste! This is your area, get cracking and find out what's going on!" She commanded, pointing out the terminal to blonde whip user.
She nodded and began to walk over. Turning on the main power switch, she waited for it to load. In the meantime, the rest of the Wolves marveled at the sights in the ocean. Not many could see it from within, and to see the animals play and swim instantly drew their attention. Except for, of course, Raine and Celeste, who were not interested the least bit. Celeste because she had other things on her mind, and Raine because she simply didn't care.
As the main screen lit up, Celeste checked the Research Center's latest status. All pressure doors were sealed and locked down for some odd reason, probably a safety measure during evacuation. The bottom levels were home to the ruins themselves, yet it was many, many floors down.
"The only way to open the doors below is to use the Island's steam pressure. I'll activate this level's pressure, so we can try and see more below. The ruins are a long way down, so we should wait for Lilliana to recover before we head down."
After the others gave some sort of reply, Celeste activated the steam pressure for the top level. After the whirring of machinery, and exhaust of steam from the main tower, the steel panel slid open, giving them another chance to go down a level. Raine ordered the others to follow her, and they quickly drew away from the ocean-view windows and swarmed around her.
Ducking lightly to avoid hitting her head, Raine descended down another level. It was darker than the last floor, and she had wished that she had gotten the flashlights from the Valhalla again. Squinting, she tried to make her way down the last flight of stairs without falling. Then, a foul rotten stench filled her nostrils, and she had to strongly resist the urge to vomit.
The others soon also had the feeling, and knew that something bad had happened. As their eyes adjusted, their guesses were right. Now the sight was a contender for potential vomiting, but the Wolves were used to such things and were able to suppress their stomach cramps for the time being. The rest simply began breathing through their mouths.
About six scientists lay on the floor, or were pinned up against the wall. Each had several large tears in their flesh, that appeared to have been caused by a blade. Raine knew very well that Virados had killed them, using his sword over his attack magic. Blood was scattered along the walls and floor in great trails, leading from the bodies all the way to the center of the large room.
"Oh, my god...." Edea mumbled to herself, then spoke louder. "I have a feeling that we've come to the right place, unfortunately..."
Raine simply nodded. Zion, on the other hand, gritted his teeth in anger. "How could someone do something like this? They're innocent civilians, for god sakes! He's a monster!"
Julia remained silent, but shared slight less determined thoughts. The scientists were the least of their worries right now, they should have been looking out for Virados instead of gawking at dead bodies, in her opinion.
"Come on, let's get back to the Lilliana and the others." Raine told them. "I don't like this... it's too quiet."
Virados was standing in a grand hall within the ruins. Great paintings, though most had been washed away with time and water, were all around him, a testament to Mysidian history. There was one or two that still were intact. Both depicted the two most important times in the ancient world for him. The first was that of Frionel Darknight uniting the clans. The tall brunette warlord stood on the banks of the shore, the flags of all the large clans coming together to unite into the Mysidian insignia. The second was of Zeren Darknight, Frionel's descendant and Julia's ancestor. The raven haired man, adorned in bluish silver armor, stood proudly in front of Hyne, the Zeta Sword in his hands and ready to strike the final blow.
Virados grunted. I will see to it that our ruined people will return and reclaim this planet. The Centrans were failing the war, we should have won! Had it not been for that damn Lunar Cry, we would still be in power! Mira will see things our way eventually, then at last the royal line will be restored again.
There was an inscription at the bottom of Zeren's picture. "There will be born a warrior known as the Raptuareduna (Rapture Knight), who will have the combined strength of the Tyraduna and Shaduna, merged with that of the corrupt sorceress. From the ashes, it will rise like a phoenix, slaying the demon god, and giving rebirth to the world."
Hyne's prophets had told him this during the Centran Wars. They had believed the Raptuareduna had been Zeren, yet Virados knew it was not true. The Rapture Knight needed the powers of a sorceress, and only females could become sorceresses. His eyebrows furrowed. Raptuareduna. That is just a myth. No one can slay Hyne! He is the one giving rebirth to our people, not that foul bastard daughter. Still, if Raine and Mira can become the legendary Shaduna and Tyraduna, I wonder if it is true? Even more so, I wonder who it will be?
He shook his head. It wasn't a large matter. That event was far off in his mind, and even if the mythical god slayer did come to power, Hyne would strike him down, as he did Zeren. Virados chuckled. It was only a matter of time before he found the room where the Mysidians had stored the crystals that he desired, and they would soon be his.