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Kain, Part 2
by Weiila

Back to part 1

Chapter 5 Hurting friends

About two weeks passed, but Kain hardly recognized it. He didn't think much, he just existed. He didn't see Valvalis again, either. Then suddenly, one day, Golbez turned up again.
Kain was standing on the castle wall, watching the distant mountains without even a trace of emotion or thought. Then he heard the sound of footsteps. He turned around and sat down on one knee, his armor clinking.
"My liege, what do you ask of me?" he said.
"You will come with me and the Red wings," Golbez sneered, "we're going to Fabul, and I believe it's time that you prove to me that your life was no waste of my time."
And so, Kain and some soldiers boarded several of the fleet's airships, setting course for the land of the karate-masters. There were loads of monsters on the ships too, but the dragoon didn't wonder why. He didn't even consider that monsters aboard was a little strange.
After the not too long flight, the ships landed close to the big castle. By Golbez' command, the monsters stood up in lines and attacked. There were only three men standing outside of the castle gate, but they resisted attack after attack before they finally retreated into the building, followed by the monsters.
"Tell me," Golbez said to Kain as they walked towards the trashed gate, "did you find something familiar about any of those three men by the door?"
"No, my liege." Kain answered.
"Ah, I see. You were too far away, of course. The one in the middle was your old friend Cecil."
"Cecil?!" Kain exclaimed in rage and reached for his spear.
"Yes," Golbez sneered, "he has helped the blasted summoner-girl to escape, and he's starting to irritate me."
"My liege," Kain growled, "I ask of you to allow me the honor...!"
"I will, my minion."
They walked into the castle, passed a lot of trashed furniture and reached the throne-room. Without any hesitating, Golbez pointed at a door to the left. There were sounds of a fight coming from inside. Kain nodded and went inside of the door, just when a man of Fabul helped a young man with golden hair to his feet again.
"Kain?" a familiar voice stuttered.
The dragoon looked darkly at the man in the dark armor. Cecil looked just the same as always, holding yet another black sword.
"Kain?" he said again, "is that really you?"
"Indeed, it is I, Cecil."
"I thought you were dead! I'm so glad you're alive! Let's fight together again..."
"Yes," Kain growled and grabbed his spear, "we will fight, but not in the way you think!"
And he jumped.
Shocked, Cecil raised his sword, trying to parry the attack, but he should know it was impossible. He screamed the dragoon's name, but Kain ignored it.
The controlled warrior's weight brought Cecil down, the spear penetrated the knight's armor by the shoulder.
Somebody screamed, and it wasn't only the Dark knight. Kain pulled out his weapon and drew back, his head burning.
"Kain! What are you doing!?"
Rosa... she and a green-haired girl who seemed so familiar came running, and the woman in the white cloak kneeled by Cecil's side, staring at his wounds.
"Kain," she stuttered, "what are you doing? Have you forgot who you are?"
"Don't... look at me...!" Kain snarled and turned away.
His head was about to break... then Golbez entered, and the pain ceased.
"I see I'll have to work a little on you, Kain." he snorted.
"Who are you...?" Cecil muttered, gritting his teeth in pain.
"I am Golbez," the man dressed in dark said with a scornful bow, "and you are Cecil... your deeds are already notable, so I am afraid I'll have to..."
"Don't you dare to touch him!" Rosa yelled and stood up, raising her empty hands.
Golbez sneered.
"Such a brave girl..." he said, "big words from somebody who doesn't know a single attack-spell. You'll need to study a bit more, woman, before you battle me. Kain, get the crystal for me."
"Yes, my liege."
He went up the stair, towards the glistening crystal.
"Kain, don't!" Rosa screamed and took a step forward.
Her voice was so painful... it hurt his head, it sent agony through his soul...
But he reached out and grabbed the crystal.
"Rosa, don't try to..." Cecil croaked.
Golbez looked at the fallen dark knight and the white magician, thoughtful.
"I see," he said, sneering, "this woman is dear to you."
Fear rose in Cecil's eyes; somehow he knew the continued sentence.
"Then I'll take her with me, to make sure that you don't cause me more trouble." Golbez said.
He reached out and grabbed Rosa's arm. Kain wanted to scream, but he wasn't sure why. The woman with the white cloak tried to break free, then she suddenly became rigid for a moment. After that, she lowered her head, as if she stood up sleeping.
"That's it, come with me..." Golbez sneered.
Staggering, Rosa followed him as he went out of the door, and Kain walked after them without a word. He heard Cecil call something in dark despair, then the world somehow turned to dust.

The next thing Kain knew, he was inside of a big room with light walls, which blinked eerily at some parts. Golbez was also there, somewhere behind him. And Rosa too, with fear in her otherwise warm, gentle eyes.
'I am in the Tower of Zot,' he thought, 'and I am going to do this properly.'
Rosa clenched her teeth as he pulled the ropes, tightening her bounds. She was tied onto a pole by the wall, and there was something dark a few feet above her head. Kain had a short feeling he didn't want that thing to be there; it was dangerous to her... but who cared?
"Still not perfect, Kain," Golbez snorted, "you're constantly trying to break free."
"I am sorry, my liege."
"Surely... now, there is some news, and I will tell you this aloud since I want our lovely guest to hear it too."
Kain stepped away from Rosa. Surprising, she didn't seem scared anymore, only angry. Her eyes were filled with loathing.
"So that's it?" she snarled to Golbez, "you control Kain!"
"Of course I do, my dear." the evil one sneered.
He cleared his throat, scornfully.
"Now then, it seems as in the past few days that you've both been sleeping a bit, Cecil was on a journey to Baron, hoping to find you or an airship... well, sadly, his boat sank."
"What?! No!" Rosa cried.
"Alas, that is true. However, he survived, as well as his friend Yang, who is also my faithful servant now. He is in Baron, just in case something truly unexpected should occur. I'm afraid that the young king Edward and the small, poor Rydia drowned, though."
"Yang, Edward... Rydia..." Rosa whispered, "you monster! Where is Cecil?!"
"In a most surprising place; Mysidia."
"What?" Kain and Rosa gasped in unison.
Golbez sneered.
"No, my king, he has left." Valvalis' voice said.
"Oh?" Golbez said.
The fiend of Air materialized in front of Golbez.
"The winds tells me that he is on his way to Mount Ordeals, hoping to become a paladin." she said.
Her eyes went over to Kain for a moment, then she looked away, resolutely.
"A paladin?" Golbez repeated, "now that is not good news. If that should occur, he could be a danger."
He turned to look at Rosa, who met his gaze without any emotion showing.
"Your lover is truly foolish and stubborn, hoping to save you with the power of light, my dear."
"You thought that he would give up and hide just because I was your hostage?" Rosa spitted out, "you don't know anything about him!"
Golbez snorted.
"Well then, I'll give him a true ordeal. Valvalis, bring my words to Milon; that mountain is most suitable for his... children, so he'll take care of this. Cecil's dark swords won't work at all against the zombies."
Valvalis nodded. She looked as she was about to leave, but froze.
"Sir Golbez," she said, "I'm just wondering..."
"Well tell me, dear." Golbez said with a small, cold smile.
"Since Cecil obviously love this woman..."
Valvalis pointed at Rosa and continued:
"... Why don't you turn her into your servant too, and dump her as a traitor into Cecil's arms?"
Golbez looked at Rosa, in disgust.
"Yes, my dear Valvalis, that would solve the problem fast. Sadly, her heart is so pure that I cannot do anything about it. She even feels compassion towards Kain, though he hurt her beloved so badly."
"I know he didn't want to!" Rosa yelled, "it's you, you monster!"
"But my beauty, I only added a little fuel to your friends jealousy, that's all."
"Indeed a lot, in fact. Kain suffers from grave heartache; he is deeply in love with you, and he has always been aware that you can never become his. Therefore, he has hated his best friend for a long time."
Rosa stared at Kain, but he didn't feel anything as his secret was unveiled.
Valvalis bowed, without any expression in her face.
"I will go to talk with Milon at once."
"Good." Golbez said.
And the fiend of Air left the room.

Chapter 6 Zemus, master of elemental fiends

Kain wasn't aware how much time passed. But suddenly, Golbez was furious.
"Killed Milon?!" he screamed.
"Yes, my king," Valvalis said, "I am sorry, I did not make it in time."
"You worthless worm, excuse for a fiend!" Golbez snarled.
Valvalis clenched her teeth. Kain felt that he wanted to walk over to her and try to say something comforting, but the feeling disappeared immediately. He knew that Golbez would be most displeased.
Kainazzo was there as well, and a tall man in a red cape. Kain was aware that the new person was Rubicant, fiend of Fire, though they had never met before.
"You should have come to me as soon as you heard about it," Kainazzo sneered at Valvalis, "I would have got there in time. Not that Milon was a great loss..."
"A massive lightning ordered?" Valvalis snarled, "coming right away, Sir!"
"Stop it!" Rubicant demanded, "we all know that we fiends easily can destroy each other, so don't fight!"
"Go back to your posts, you idiots." Golbez said.
The three last fiends nodded and disappeared. Their king thoughtfully rubbed his cheek.
"Cecil can wait," he said, "the fiends can take care of him for themselves. I will have him alive... but right now, we must concentrate on getting the last crystal of light; the one of the Earth. However, it was stolen from Toria by the Dark Elf... could be tricky."
"Why don't we let Cecil work for us?" Kain suddenly said.
"What?" Golbez said.
"I am sure that he could get the Dark Elf," the dragoon said, "if you just allow him to get an airship, he could bring you the crystal in exchange for Rosa. Then I can take care of him."
"Kain...!" Rosa whispered, moaning.
Golbez slowly nodded .
"Very well. I'll give orders that he will have some useless fights in Baron, then get an airship. You can give him the news, Kain."
"Thank you, my liege."
Rosa looked at the ceiling, as if she hoped to see some kind of angel ready to write down her prayers.
"Cecil, be careful...!"
Some time passed, without much notice. Then Golbez was in rage again.
"Kainazzo, you fool!" he roared to thin air, "you shouldn't have fought at all, at least not before reinforcements arrived! Idiot! And that Yang awoke from my spell too!"
The man in dark spun around, looking at Kain.
"Well, at least some part of your plan seems to work, you idiot!" Golbez snarled, "go to the airships and hurry to find Cecil!"
"Yes, my liege."
Valvalis silently watched, unseen, as Kain hurried out of the Tower of Zot.

"Kain?" Cecil called.
"Golbez wants you to know that if you ever want to see your beloved Rosa again, then bring the crystal of Earth to him!" Kain yelled back, coldly.
Cecil looked so different, standing there on the other airship. He didn't have his dark armor anymore, instead he had a light one, and a softly purple cloak. His sword seemed to shine by his side.
"Kain!" he yelled, with pain in his voice, "Kain, snap out of it!"
"The crystal or Rosa's life." the dragoon snarled.
Then the ships parted. Kain somehow felt guilty for a moment, but shuddered it away. He went inside of the ship's inner rooms, sat down on a chair and fell asleep, obeying.
Golbez' voice in his head awoke him.
'Cecil has got the crystal,' Kain was told, 'now, go up there and tell him to come to the Tower of Zot.'
"Yes, my liege."
He went outside again. Valvalis stood there, by the stem of the airship. Kain walked over to her as the ship started moving through the air.
"Why are you here?" Kain asked.
"The air is my element," she snapped, "I like it here."
Kain stood by the fence surrounding the deck, looking at the ground far, far below.
"What are you thinking?" Valvalis suddenly said.
"I... somehow want to... jump." Kain muttered.
"Jump from here?"
"Doesn't matter. I just want to be free for a moment..."
His head started to burn, he put his hands on his helmet, screaming in pain.
'You're stubborn beyond compare!' Golbez snarled inside his mind, 'not even putting you to sleep for several days help.'
"Forgive me, my liege..." Kain stuttered, clenching his teeth, "it won't happen again, please stop...!"
The pain dissolved. Kain leaned on the fence, gulping for air. He didn't see that Valvalis stared at him in shock, and when he turned around she had left.
The lonely airship once more came closer. There were some more men aboard except Cecil, but just as last time Kain didn't mind them.
"I have the crystal!" Cecil called, "where is Rosa?"
"In the Tower of Zot, just follow me!" Kain snarled.
The ship that he was on turned again, and led the way through the skies. When the spire came closer, Kain yelled to his old friend:
"Golbez awaits you at the top, now start climbing!"
Kain's and the other airships which were under Golbez' command flew into a big hole in the wall of the tower. But Cecil couldn't follow through that, since the hole closed as soon as the fleet had landed.
The dragoon started walking through the tower's corridors, towards the top room.
"... Faithful to me, Valvalis?"
The voice was so cold and harsh that it almost turned Kain's already tormented soul into stone. He slowed down and carefully looked around the corner of the corridor.
Valvalis stood there by a window, shivering, staring at nothing in overwhelming fear.
"I... I am s-sorry..." she stuttered.
Her cheek became somehow a bit fuzzy, as if something mostly transparent touched it. She tried to draw back, but it seemed as if she hardly could move.
"Your feelings could be excused if they were sent towards someone more suitable," the voice coldly said, "that this man also makes you wonder about your faith in me is to be concerned as treachery, my dear."
"Master Zemus, I b-beg you..."
"This is unforgivable, Valvalis, you will have to come to..."
Rubicant emerged from a flame beside Valvalis.
"Master," he said, "please give her a second chance."
"It will be the fourth, I believe." the voice snorted.
The fiend of Fire lowered his head.
"Please, master Zemus," he said, "I will take care of this. Perhaps I can mend her humanity completely."
Silence. Finally the voice said:
"I see... then I will leave the matter in your hands, my minion, but should you fail, then I must take care of it personally."
"Thank you, master." Rubicant muttered.
The air suddenly seemed much warmer; the evil presence was gone.
"Mend my humanity? You?" Valvalis snapped, "Rubicant, why did you even bother?"
"I was also a human once," the fiend of Fire gravely said, "just as you."
"I know that! Milon was human too... very long ago. Who knows what Kainazzo was once upon a time... that's not of the matter, what the Hell are you planning to do?"
He shook his head.
"Master Zemus cannot accept that you have feelings left simply because they point in the wrong direction. This Kain is not good for you, he should have been killed."
Kain clenched his fists, not sure what he felt. It surprised him that Golbez hadn't put his head on fire yet.
"Still I cannot help it, he makes me think!" Valvalis snarled, "and that could have sent me to the master! And you, what do you think you can do to help me? You don't have a clue, Rubicant, you haven't been there like me! You haven't had the master's face this close to your face..."
She held up a hand, with only a quarter of an inch between her thumb and forefinger.
"... You haven't felt his cold breath on your throat...!" she furiously ended her half hysterical speaking.
Rubicant reached out and carefully grabbed her shivering shoulders, pulling her towards him. As he put her arms around her, his red cloak moved to almost hide Valvalis too.
"It'll be alright," he said, "it'll be fine... I, too, have feelings left, but the master accepts them, since they are suitable."
"What's that supposed to mean?" the fiend of Air snarled.
"Master Zemus can only forgive humanity if it won't cause trouble. Therefore, he accepts what I feel towards you."
"Wind cannot harm Fire," Rubicant said in a low, surprisingly soft voice, "it can only make it spread, dance, take new forms it couldn't have achieved alone..."
Valvalis' words were blocked by the other fiend's lips. First she seemed frozen, then she bent her head away.
"No, you cannot help me like that." she muttered.
Rubicant sighed and shook his head.
"Give me a chance, Valvalis," he said, "if I cannot help you turn your feelings, you will end up on the moon. I know it's not that simple, but..."
"I like you," she said, "and I appreciate that you try to help me. But I can't love you. At least not now."
Rubicant smiled strangely and carefully.
"Then let's just talk for a while, shall we?" he said.
They both disappeared in another flame.
Kain stood like a statue for a short while. Then he went up to Golbez in Rosa's prison.
"What took you so long?" the man dressed in dark sharply asked.
"Forgive me, my liege."
"Humph. It seems as Cecil is closing in. He and his friends has defeated Valvalis' trap. Not that those brats delta sisters was a great loss, they were only made by clouds... well, our guests are almost here."
Golbez looked at Rosa and smirked.
"Good-bye, then, my dear," he said, "I'm afraid this is when we part. Come, Kain."

Chapter 7 Repaying for a life?

Golbez went out of the door, and the dragoon followed. There were hurrying steps to be heard, and so Cecil and his friends came running through the corridor.
"My, how nice to see you," Golbez said, scornfully, "now, give me the crystal."
"Where is Rosa?" Cecil demanded.
"The crystal first."
Clenching his teeth, the paladin threw a clear, glistening stone to Golbez.
"There!" Cecil snapped, "now where's Rosa?!"
"Rosa? What about her?" Golbez smirked and turned away.
"Why you...!"
Cecil's angry call suddenly changed to a yell of fear.
"Tellah! Stop!"
The other two men yelled as well as an old man dressed in mostly purple robes despite his age rushed over the floor.
"For Anna!" he snarled, "Golbez!"
The man in black turned around, with a bored look.
"What do you want, old man?"
"Tellah!" Cecil screamed, "don't do it!"
"Golbez, this is for my daughter!" the old man yelled, "Meteo!!"
The man's hands began to glow, and from out of nowhere burning stones came crashing down on Golbez, for what seemed like forever. They dissolved after hitting him. Then suddenly, it all came to stop, and the old man dropped to the floor. Kain looked at the fallen Golbez, and his head felt strangely cooling. He had to lean against the wall, suddenly remembering everything and thinking clearly for the first time in many, many days. He finally was able to break free from Golbez spell, now seeing how he had been used and corrupted by the magic.
'Is it over?' he thought, 'is he dead?'
But he knew it wasn't so. Cecil and the two other men had assembled around the fallen one they called Tellah. Now Kain saw that one of the other men was a warrior from Fabul, with no skirt and the little hair upon his head in a long pigtail. And the other one was Cid, the mechanic.
"I fought in hatred..." Tellah whispered, "I will pay the price..."
"No!" Cecil and his two friends called in despair as the old man took a staggering breath and then became still.
Golbez moved. He stood up, slowly. The three remaining warriors spun around as they heard the sound of movement.
"Thought you had defeated me?" the man in black armor snarled, "no, and now the old man is dead, but I still stand."
With a roar of rage, Cecil rushed forward, but Golbez sent him flying into the wall. The paladin shook his head, trying to get up. The man in black raised his hands, he was going to...
But Golbez never chanted the killing spell. He stared strangely at Cecil, with confusion rising in his eyes.
"You..." the dark commander slowly said, "who are you?"
He backed off, shrugging his shoulders.
"We will meet again, Cecil!" he growled.
And so, Golbez disappeared, without another word. Kain took a few, staggering steps.
"Rosa..." he croaked, "must hurry... Cecil... in there!"
He pointed at the door. The paladin got up and ran inside, without hesitating. Cid and the man of Fabul, however, hurried over to Kain and helped him walk after Cecil. They entered the room just in time to see the paladin cut Rosa free and pull her away from the pole she had been tied onto. The next second, a heavy blade fell from the ceiling, making a deep cut in the floor where Rosa's heels had been.
Nobody said a word as Cecil and Rosa turned to look at each other. They embraced. Kain looked away; he knew they kissed. He didn't think he could take seeing it.
"I'm so relieved to have you back!" Cecil said with a thick voice.
"I knew you'd come!" Rosa whispered.
"Your absence made me realize I..."
Cecil became quiet and just smiled warmly. Rosa smiled back, then she turned around to look at Kain's resolute face.
"I know you were controlled, Kain." she softly said.
"Forgive me..." he mumbled.
"It's alright."
He looked at her and knew that she would never tell Cecil what Golbez had said. Kain managed to smile a little.
"Come, let's blast out of this place!" Cid exclaimed.
"Indeed, foul air fills the tower." the man of Fabul said.
They hurried towards the door, but...
"Not so fast!"
Kain spun around. A lightning from nowhere hit the floor, and Valvalis suddenly stood there, her eye's burning with anger.
"Kain, you...!" she snarled, "will you never thank me for saving your neck? Now you betray us?"
He took a step forward.
"Valvalis, I don't want to fight with you! Please listen to me!" he called, knowing she wouldn't listen at all, "as you said, we are both warriors of the air..."
"Enough!" she snapped, "neither you nor your friends will leave here alive! Lightning4!"
"Look out!"
Cecil threw himself and Rosa on the floor, trying to protect her with his own body. Kain ducked, and somehow even Cid and the other man managed to get out of the way of the lightning bolts.
"Valvalis, stop it!" the dragoon called.
"Pha!" she growled.
She started to spin around, her hair wrapped itself around her. Looking like a tornado, she attacked Kain. He jumped to avoid her, and for a short second he felt nothing but relief about finally jumping by his own will. He landed on the floor, just as Cid was about to get hit by Valvalis. The man of Fabul threw himself through the air, grabbed the mechanic's shoulders and brought him to safety. By now the fiend of Air had reached a spin that would kill anyone who got too close.
"Valvalis!" Kain yelled in despair.
But she didn't listen. Cecil brought out a bow from his backpack, it grew magically in his hands. He picked out an arrow and shot at Valvalis. But her speed and hair protected her; the arrow bounced and hit the floor.
"We cannot hurt her as long as she does that tornado!" Cid yelled.
"Must stop her spin...!" Cecil growled.
He turned his head.
"Kain! Jump!"
"What?" the dragoon called, stuttering.
"It's the only hope!"
Kain stared at Valvalis, who had turned at Cid and the man of Fabul again.
"Yang, look out!" Rosa yelled.
The sunburned man jumped aside... into the wall. He fell down and wasn't going to get up standing in time.
"Valvalis!" Kain screamed, "Valvalis, stop, I don't want to fight against you!"
She seemed to slow down for a moment, then turned around, rushing towards the dragoon instead.
"Go to Hell, Kain!" he heard her growl.
He had to jump to avoid her, and did so.
'There's no other way,' he thought, almost with tears in his eyes as he floated by the ceiling, 'she will kill us if I don't... and she went through such fear because of me...'
He hadn't really understood all that had been said between her, Rubicant and that invisible person they had called Zemus, but he had grasped that even the fiends were more or less controlled, just as he had been.
He grabbed his spear with both hands and pointed it downwards, aiming carefully.
"Forgive me!" he whispered as he rushed down through the air.
He hoped that she had heard him, because his planning showed result. She was hit in the back, and Kain landed on nothing except the floor. Valvalis had dissolved before she even had dropped halfway to the ground.
He didn't even get time to cry out his pain over killing somebody who had saved his life before the room started to crumble.
"The tower is falling!" Cid yelled.
"Come here!" Rosa called, "hold onto me!"
The four men hurried to grab her hands.
"Exit!" she yelled, and the world became unclear.

Chapter 8 The crystals of darkness

Everything became clear. Well, almost.
"Where are we?" Yang mumbled, a bit confused.
"It's my room in Baron?" Cecil said, surprised.
"I didn't know where else to bring us." Rosa explained.
She fell down on a chair, staring at Cecil, as if she hadn't seen him before.
"You're a paladin now, then?" she said.
He nodded, smiling carefully.
"You look great." Rosa smiled.
The smile faded.
"But what shall we do?" she asked, "now Golbez has all of the crystals..."
"No, he hasn't." Kain said.
They all looked at him. He didn't know how he knew it, but he was sure. Maybe the spell that had controlled him somehow had given some of what Golbez knew to Kain...
"He only have the crystals of light," the dragoon explained, "but there's also four crystals of darkness, in the Underground. We must stop him from getting his hands on them."
"But how can we enter the Underground?" Cid asked, scratching his head with his screwdriver.
"This key can help us." Kain said and pulled out a chain hanging around his throat.
A red key hung for it; looking almost molten.
'When did I get this?' the dragoon thought, 'my head feel so emptied...'
He guessed that since the spell had been messing with his mind, memory-loss would be normal. But still, he had a vague feeling that it wasn't completely true.
"Great!" Cecil said with a broad smile and his voice filled with new hope, "but where do we use it to open a door leading down?"
Kain rubbed his forehead, trying to awake some more memories.
"Dwarves are said to live in the Underground," Cid pointed out, "and there's this city I've heard of where they claim that their ancestors were dwarves."
"The city of Argot!" Rosa said, "let's go!"
"We should rest a while," Kain mumbled, "I feel so tired..."
He shook his head. Rosa stood up and put her hand on his shoulder, noticing that he seemed dizzy.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I'm fine... just tired..."
But he wasn't really fine. The world seemed to be all covered in mist, but at the same time, he felt like his head was almost crystal-clear. Yet he didn't have any feeling of time passing. As if he read a book in the middle of the night, he noticed that Cid somehow brought forth an airship that he called the Enterprise. There was also something about flying and then being inside a nice little town. And Kain was pretty sure he gave something to Cecil, which the paladin threw down a well after a short moment of hesitating. But the dragoon didn't really know why. However, then the earthquake started, and Kain fell, hitting his head on a rock. It was like breaking a bubble; he managed to think again.
"What's happening?" he called.
"The mountaintop!" Cid yelled and pointed with an arm shaking because of the quake.
There really was a mountain, and its top seemed to fall into the cliff itself. The crumbling of the earth stopped, as suddenly as it had started.
"Is everyone alright?" Cecil asked.
"Yes," Kain said, frowning and resolute, "I am fine now."
'He tried to regain his control,' the dragoon thought, 'Golbez isn't going to give up that easy... but neither will I, do you hear me, you monster!?'
There was no telepathic answer, and Kain felt relieved about that.
They boarded the Enterprise and flew over the mountain.
"How does it look?" Cid called by the helm.
"It seems to continue downwards!" Yang called back, looking over the fence, "let us try it!"
"Alright, here goes!"
Cid turned the wheel and made the Enterprise dive into the darkness.
"It's getting hot, don't you think?" Rosa pointed out.
"That's because of the lava down there," Cid yelled, "look!"
The tunnel leading down suddenly turned into an enormous cavern, so big that it even had horizons.
"I must avoid flying over the magma or the Enterprise might take damage!" Cid called, "hang on!"
He quickly turned the ship away from the molten stone, and flew over the cracked ground. But his haste brought the group into more trouble.
"What on earth is that?" Yang called and pointed.
Kain put his right hand at the side of his head to protect the eyes from the light of the lava as he tried to see what the man of Fabul meant. It was a troop of what looked like small houses made of metal, on big wheels down there on the ground.
"It's tanks!" the dragoon said.
"And the Red Wings!" Cecil yelled, "Cid, we're just between them!"
"Blast it!" the mechanic screamed.
And there were several blasts, both from the tanks and the airships. The Enterprise was hit, but Cid hurriedly brought them out of the line of fire.
"Must land...!" he yelled, "I'll try over there by the mountain!"
It wasn't exactly a soft landing, but it wasn't a crash either. Everyone got to their feet and brushed the dust of their clothes and armors. Cid hurried of the ship.
"Gotto check the damage!" he grumbled.
The others followed him, listening to his curses for a while. There was a big hole in the wood.
"Great, this was my finest piece!" Cid yelled, "damn that Golbez!"
"I couldn't agree more." Kain mumbled.
"Hey, there's a castle over there." Rosa said and pointed.
They all looked. It really was a castle, surrounded by a very resolute-looking wall. The mountain had hid it from the other side. There was also a group of short bearded men coming from the castle, approaching the Enterprise and its owners. They carried big axes by their belts, but didn't seem very aggressive.
"Lali-ho!" one of them called as they came closer, "are you the people from above who fights Golbez?"
"Indeed we are," Cecil answered, "who are you, then?"
The dwarves stopped only a few yards away, with welcoming smiles.
"We are the troop sent out by the dwarven king Giott," the leader friendly said, "come on, follow us to the castle. The king awaits you."
"How did you know about us?" Rosa asked.
"Mother Earth tells us a lot. And of course the tame monsters we've managed to capture talks a lot for only a little food. Poor things, really... well come on, lali!"

Chapter 9 Rydia of the espers

Kain and his friends were brought into the castle of the dwarves, and into the throne-room of king Giott. After bowing and curtsying to greet this ruler and his daughter Luca, they could get to the point.
"I do welcome you to my land," Giott smiled, "your deeds have been told by the Earth itself. She was most relieved as you killed the fiend Milon."
"So you're well aware of Golbez, then?" Cecil carefully said.
The king nodded gravely.
"Yes. He has already stolen two of the crystals of darkness. But he won't get the last two if I've got something to say about it! They are well protected."
"That's great, but we still have to get the other ones back." Cecil said.
"He keeps all of his crystals in the tower of Bab-Il, in the north," the king said, "it's said that the tower reaches to the Overworld. We've been trying to storm it."
"You know what?" Cid said, "we'll surely need the Enterprise if we're gonna fight Golbez. But since it can't take flying over the lava, I'll have to bring it back to the surface and make it an armor of silver-plates. It seems that things are more or less under control here; we should take the risk of me leaving."
"We'll be fine, but can the Enterprise fly all the way, since it's damaged?" Cecil asked.
"Sure, boy, don't worry about me. See you later."
And so the mechanic left.
"How's the battle against Golbez going, Your Majesty?" Rosa asked.
"Our tanks withstand his airships for the moment. Nothing to worry about." the king said with a smile.
"Where is the remaining crystals, then?" Yang asked, frowning.
"They're safe right behind me, in a hidden room." Giott answered.
For some reason, Kain suddenly felt very cold.
"In there?" Yang said, pointing at the wall.
He looked very concerned. Kain felt relieved that he wasn't the only one feeling uneasy.
"Yes?" Giott said.
"I feel something evil coming from behind that wall!"
"Are you sure?" Cecil asked.
"Yes!" Yang said.
The king stood up from his throne and nodded at the guards.
"Open the door!" he demanded.
One of the guards pulled one of the torches and a part of the wall moved, revealing a secret door.
"Let us hurry!" Yang said.
Followed by the dwarves, the four warriors from above approached the opening. There was a screeching, mad laughter to be heard from inside the big room on the other side of the wall. Several small, strangely child-looking creatures were jumping around inside of the crystal's room.
"Those are my dolls!" Luca exclaimed, peeking from behind her father's back.
"Golbez must have given them life somehow," Kain growled and grabbed his spear, "Your Majesty, it's best that you and your men stay back and let us deal with this. It could be dangerous."
"Very well." king Giott said after hesitating shortly.
"Come on!" Cecil called and drew his sword.
Kain's head seemed to become numb as he jumped, aiming for one of the dolls. Once more, he couldn't think clearly, and didn't care about it. He missed the doll, and it danced closer to its companions, laughing hysterically. The puppets almost looked as they were...
"They are combining!" Cecil yelled, "be careful!"
But there wasn't much to worry about. Yang hit the gigantic doll in its stomach, making it fall to the ground. Then the paladin and the dragoon easily cut and tore it to pieces, it was too clumsy to fight back or get up.
"I'm sorry about this, princess Luca!" Rosa called as she heard the girl's gasp.
"Nevermind that!" the little girl yelled, "behind you!"
The four warriors spun around. There was a shadow standing on the stair leading up to the crystal.
"Damn you..." Kain harshly whispered, and clenched his grip of the spear.
He finally noticed the mist in his head, and shook it a bit to get rid of the spell.
"You're getting on my nerves." Golbez said as he stepped out of the shadow.
"You!" Cecil, Rosa and Yang yelled, ready to attack.
Golbez sneered.
"And now, why don't you take a nice deep breath of this..."
He raised his hands, and a purple cloud flooded from his fingertips, so fast that the warriors weren't able to react before it was to late. Kain gasped without wanting to, and felt his strength fade immediately. He dropped to his knees and vaguely noticed that his friends also did so.
'You'd been better off staying as my minion, Kain,' Golbez' voice smirked inside of the dragoons head, 'but I could be willing to give you a second chance... maybe.'
'Why then?' Kain harshly thought, desperately trying to get to his feet, 'want to show your power? Never, Golbez, you will never control me again!'
'Very well, fool.' Golbez' voice said, listlessly.
"How do you feel, lying there unable to move?" he sneered aloud, "come, my Shadow dragon!"
By his side, a dark, long creature materialized. It looked like a combination of a snake and a dragon, with short legs and evil eyes.
"So who'll be first?" Golbez said, thoughtfully.
Kain managed to move his head a little, and saw all the dwarves also lying on the floor, hit by the gas. They couldn't help. This didn't look good...
'Is this how it will end?' Kain bitterly thought, 'trapped here, bound like sheep in the slaughterhouse?'
The dark dragon awaited its master's command to kill, twisting impatiently.
"Calm, my beast," Golbez smirked, "I have to think a little. Should I kill Cecil first, or his friends and beloved?"
"Me..." Cecil stuttered, whispering, "please... kill me... first..."
"If that is your wish, I certainly won't," Golbez sneered, "I'll let my pet start with your friend of Fabul, I think..."
The dragon hissed and rushed towards the bound Yang. Kain closed his eyes, couldn't bear the awful sight that approached...
"Mist dragon, I conjure you!" a young woman's voice shouted.
Suddenly a big, white dragon appeared in front of the dark one. The pure creature opened its mouth and blew out a storm of ice-crystals at it. With a snarl, Golbez' pet dissolved. The white dragon turned around and opened its mouth once more. The wind blowing from inside of it's chest scattered the remaining gas.
"Good, come back!" the woman called.
The white dragon growled in a friendly way and then softly became more and more transparent until it was all gone.
"Who the..." Golbez snarled as he turned around, and his eyes widened, "what? You!?"
"Hang on, people!" the voice yelled, "stand up!"
Kain suddenly felt that he could move again, and he got up, grabbing his spear. Before anyone else had regained their senses, he had jumped, with rage filling his whole body.
"This is for Valvalis, you demon!" he snarled as his fall brought Golbez to the ground.
But the evil one got a grip of the spear before it hit his stomach, and sent Kain flying several yards away. He got up again and was about to jump when he heard the sound of footsteps. He turned his head and saw a young, green-haired woman run over the floor towards Cecil, Rosa and Yang, with her green cloak flying behind her and the end of her whip crawling over the floor. She looked strangely familiar...
"Get up, what are you waiting for!?" she yelled as Kain's friends just stared at her, "Lightning3!"
Golbez threw himself backwards to avoid the bolts, and Kain clumsily hit him in the back with the non- sharp end of the spear. The evil one staggered forwards again, and Yang hit the right side of his neck with a powerful stab with the bare arm. Then Golbez growled in pain as Rosa's arrow penetrated his armor by the shoulder, like Kain's spear had hurt Cecil in Fabul.
"For all who have died!!" the paladin screamed and rushed forward.
Time froze for a moment. Kain stared at the tip of Cecil's sword, which had cut through Golbez' cloak. The paladin was standing on the other side of the foe, looking almost shocked.
"Damn you all...!" Golbez stuttered, growling.
Then he dissolved, and Cecil stood there, with the sword in his hand.
Kain slowly stood up. Somehow, he had thought that he would feel a lot more relieved, but instead he felt empty. He didn't feel anything at all, no triumph, no wish to yell of relief. Nothing.
"You did it, Cecil!" Rosa called, most relieved.
"Good work, Sir!" Yang said with a broad smile.
"Finally he's gone!" the young woman who had saved them said, smiling.
Cecil turned around, slowly.
"Rydia...?" he whispered, "you're alive?"
Everyone looked at her. Even Giott, Luca and the other dwarves, who had also recovered and now had come into the room. She smiled and nodded.
"Yes. Leviathan never ate me, instead he brought me to the Land of Espers. The flow of time is different there, and I've grown and learned a lot. However, I can't use white magic anymore, just black and summoning."
"I'm so glad you're alive!" Rosa smiled and hugged the green-haired one.
"I've missed you too." Rydia said, warmly.
"Lali-ho!" Giott happily said, "let's celebrate! Golbez is dead and the crystal is safe!"
They all went towards the door, when an awfully familiar voice cut through the air.
"I'm not... gone yet... fools..."
Everyone spun around, and saw a black glove arise from the floor. It rushed up the stair, grabbed the crystal... and was gone. So was also the stone.
"No!" the men and women screamed.
'I knew it!' Kain thought, 'he wasn't gone, I wasn't completely free...!'
'Indeed I wasn't, and neither you,' Golbez' distant voice smirked inside of the dragoon's head, 'my plan to lure you into a trap by giving you the Magma key might not have worked as I expected, but I still have the crystal. And now, give me your life-power, so that I can recover...'
Part 3

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