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Chapter XXVII

Raine took one last look at the closing door behind her as Zion and Julia left with Edea for the Valhalla. She unsheathed her katana, letting it rest loosely in her hands now as she began to walk into the depths of the ruins in search of Julia's weapons. Though, Raine guessed Julia could sense the ulterior motives that she had on the matter. While Raine really did want to recover the weapons and get out quickly, she couldn't help but still feel that pang of vengeance in her heart. She wanted to kill Virados alone if he dared to show his face and come out of the shadows.

The Alpha Wolf slowly descended another flight of stairs that began just outside the room Julia had been in only minutes before. With the countless number of rooms within the ruins, Julia's weapons could have been anywhere. However, Raine had remembered something she had heard Celeste and Edea say on the way over about the Mysidian temples. While the two women knew little of the Mysidians, they had somehow come across a tiny tidbit of knowledge that would aid Raine now. In times of crisis, soldiers guarding the temples would go into the very bottom level, the armory level, to access their weapons and fight off attackers. If the Centran Ruins were, in fact, a Mysidian temple, then maybe there would be a level of weaponry. If so, then Virados may have put Julia's weapons in there.

Raine flicked on her flashlight and quickly sprinted down the staircase to reach a basement level. All along while she did this, the same scraping sound followed her, now closer than ever and far more harsh to her ears. She tried to ignore it, and opened a large stone door at the bottom of the stairs. Before the sound could reach her, she slammed it shut behind her. Luckily, the sound stopped.

She breathed a sigh of relief and turned into the room. It was pitch black, aside from what was lighted by her flashlight, since it was away from any windows that would let natural light in. As Edea and Celeste had claimed, there were racks and carts of weapons in this large room, stretching from wall to wall. With one exception however. There was a large circle of emptiness, which looked like a fighting arena. That was probably where warriors practiced their skills in their free time.

She used the flashlight to scan the many rows of fighting equipment, looking for Julia's bladed staff and grenade launcher. The grenade launcher wasn't hard to spot, since most of the weapons down here were ancient, and they did not have guns then. She slung the firearm over her shoulder, and continued to hunt for the staff.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted it next to a large sword. Ignoring the sword, she grabbed the staff and headed back towards the entrance. Before she got more than three feet, the five torches that surrounded the arena burst into flames, lighting the entire room. Raine dropped Julia's weapons, drawing out her katana again. She was certain that the lights were Virados' doing, but she could not see him anywhere. Scanning the room with her sapphire eyes, she spotted the man.

He had just come out of a Warp spell, entering the main floor of the arena, with his sword drawn out. He flung his crimson cape over his shoulder, and waved to Raine, signaling her to come over to him.

"Well, Raine, you wanted a chance to come and kill me. Now is your chance!" Virados yelled to her. "Or will you run away like you did in Caran? Come on Raine, I know you want to fight me and end it all."

Raine gritted her teeth and approached him, snarling. "I will not run! Virados.... I'm going to make you pay for what you did to all those innocent people!"

Raine then charged forward, katana raised high into the air, and lunged at him. Bringing the katana down for a vertical strike, she made the first attack. Virados, on the other hand, calmly pivoted out of the way as if it was nothing. He, in return, slashed his sword out horizontally towards her back. She felt the attack coming, and spun around to block it.

She stopped his sword with hers, and used the fraction of a second where he left himself open to attack. She swung her leg up to kick him square in the face. However, he saw it coming, and grabbed her ankle before her leg reached his head. He flung her leg back to the ground and tried to attack with his sword once more. It was a powerful vertical strike, and Raine was about to bash the sword out of her way.

However, her old and damaged katana had other ideas. As Virados' sword connected with hers, it splintered into two pieces. Raine was barely able to get out of the way before his sword connected with her shoulder. A move like that would have taken her arm clean off. The main blade of her katana flew across the room, skidding across the floor and finally stopping once it hit a pillar. The hilt and the lower portion of the blade still rested in her hands, vibrating violently due to the strike and break.

She looked at her severed sword in complete shock. Now she was completely defenseless, for she had no weapon.

Virados smirked triumphantly as Raine began to back away quickly. In her mind, she heard his taunting. Oh, look, just as I said. Raine, you're running away already! We haven't been fighting more than a minute and you are already doomed. There are no katanas in this room, and the broadswords are all too heavy for you to lift. Run away, Raine, just as you did all those years ago.

Suddenly, Raine's legs came out from under her. Now he was using Mysidian telekinesis on her, moving things with his mind. In this case, it was Raine herself. As she fell from his sudden force, he mentally shoved her backwards. She flew into the back wall, almost so hard that she nearly fell unconscious due to the force of the throw. Virados laughed, and wiped away the strain of blood now falling from his nose. A side effect of telekinesis in both Mysidians and Sorceresses was to bleed from the nose as they caused the brain so much stress, it literally bled from within.

She quickly pulled herself up by grabbing onto a piece of the slightly shattered wall, and proceeded to find a weapon. This battle wasn't exactly going in her favor. There was always Julia's staff, but Raine wasn't good at using it, having had no lessons with it before. To make matters worse, the grenade launcher was also out of ammo. She dropped her useless broken katana on the ground, and ran for cover.

Virados made little effort to go after her, but simply tracked her with his eyes. When she realized that there was no way to escape or find another weapon, he would use a Flare spell to burn her alive. Raine looked around the weapon carts quickly, scanning for a weapon she could use. As he had said, all of the swords were too heavy for her to use effectively. She could probably lift them, but she couldn't use them with quick precision like she could with her katana.

Then, she spotted a sword. It was still large, but she had to use something. It was a large sword with a wide translucent blade that was the shade of yellowish ivory. In the center of the blade coming up from the hilt was a solid purple/magenta streak that looked like more standard Mythril metal. The hilt was golden, and was at a 90 degree angle from the grip. She ran over, and quickly grabbed it.

As her fingers wrapped around the grip of the sword. As she grabbed a hold, the hilt shifted down, so that it was now diagonally tilted to the grip. She looked at it oddly for a moment, but then decided Virados was more important. She leapt out of the shadows where she had found the sword, finding it actually very lightweight, almost as light as her katana if not more.

Virados' eyes widened, "How did you use that sword?! No one can pick that up, it shocks whoever touches it! That is Ultima Blade, the sword that controls Ultima Weapon!"

What the hell? Okay then.... She chose not to reply to what appeared to be rantings. She figured the sword was Mysidian, but she didn't know if it controlled something called a 'weapon'. Was not the sword a 'weapon' itself?

Raine charged again, and this time she used a stab instead of a vertical strike. Virados once again side-stepped out of the way, and swung at horizontal strike at her. This was at the right height where it would have decapitated her, but she was able to jump to the side out of harms way. He took the initiative this time, charging forward and slashing out with his Emerald Blade.

She was able to block it with her own sword, and the several other strikes that followed. The two exchanged a flurry of powerful sword attacks, the only sound in the ruins being that of their clanging swords, and the occasional grunt. The fighting was more intense than anything Raine had dealt with before, and she was easily feeling overwhelmed, while Virados seemed calm and cool about the situation.

Then, Raine felt that familiar kick of adrenaline that signaled that she could access her Shaduna powers. Tapping into it, she felt her eyes go all blue, and the cross on her arm appear in cyan light. She smirked, "You're good, but you aren't a Shaduna."

With that remark, she sent a flurry of slashes towards his face. He back stepped out of the way of the first few, but then had to actually use his sword to block as her attacks increased in strength. She, feeling no fatigue because of her powers, kept up the attack to the point where he had trouble keeping up. Before he was overwhelmed, he let out an unexpected attack of his own.

He drew his free hand back, and charged it with energy. He let out the energy, sending the red hot beam into Raine's upper chest. She flew backwards, her front torso in tremendous pain from the heat and force of the spell. He had used a specialized Flare on her, sending her flying backwards and causing her to fall onto her back. She skidded to a stop a few feet away, Flare energy still crackling against her skin.

"True, I am not one of the Dunas." He began to say, "However, I am a powerful Mysidian. I have mastered magic you could never dream up. I don't have to worry about you breaking out in magical skill, since you're only a Centran. Julia on the other hand, she's the Mysidian and Tyraduna, and thus a magic user. Still, she's far too young and hasn't had the lessons needed to become as powerful as I. She will be no problem, either."

Julia?! Well, that explains why she can cast magic and isn't a sorceress. Tyraduna... great, she's probably going to start singing "It's a Small World After All" once I get back to the ship. Raine thought to herself. Still, even if he can cast magic, I'd better wipe that egotistical smirk off his face.

She jumped back up as he drew near, as he was ready to strike the final blow to her. She quickly charged Ultima Blade full of her Shaduna energy, making it glow a dull blue and make the blade even more deadly. She swung it at his legs, causing him to jump back. She quickly tried to give him and uppercut swipe to the head while he did so, but he was too quick.

He grabbed her wrist as she swung her uppercut, using her momentum to throw her to the other side of the arena. She landed on her side, and winced in pain as a rib hit the ground roughly, but not hard enough to break it. Before she could get back up, she saw a Holy spell flying towards her. For the first time in the fight, she knew very well that she wasn't going to win.


As Edea, Julia, and Zion marched back towards the Valhalla, the grenadier stopped abruptly after about two minutes of walking. Zion and Edea both looked back to her with a worried glance. Edea's on the other hand, had more of an understanding look to it.

"So, I think we've given Raine enough time to think we're actually leaving her." Julia said with a smile. "Now, let's go back, and make sure our lovely Major isn't getting her ass kicked."

"Leonhart never was very patient." Edea said, cocking her gun in case she would need it later. She went to Julia's side, ready to march back to the ruins. Zion shot them an amused glance.

He laughed, "Is this a regular routine for you two or something? Disobeying your C.O.?"

"C.O., Shmee-o. Raine's an idiot when it comes to this whole dueling thing." Julia said, begging to jog back to the ruins with the others in tow. "Why she insists on doing this alone, I will never know. Some chivalry crap or something like that.... I dunno."

"You have no weapons and you're going to assist her in a fight if there's one? Oh yeah, I'm sure she'll love that." Zion remarked.

Julia shot him a glance. "She hates everything I do, so what's another thing? Now, come on, she's probably up to her ass in trouble already."


Raine wailed in pain as another Holy/Flare combo hit her. Her skin was beginning to welt up due to the heat and magical energy that Virados was lapping onto her. In fact, it was so great, she could hardly move save for her jaw during a scream and the occasional muscle spasm. Tears were rolling freely down her face due to the excruciating pain, yet Raine had tried to hold them back for as long as possible.

One more combination, and she would be knocked out cold, or possibly die because of the energy build up flowing through her body. As the spells were passing their climax, she peered through the dense mana energy that all spells produced, especially ones like Flare and Holy, to locate her enemy. Virados was looking down on her from a few feet away, snarling slightly as he finished the spell. However, he was too far away to attack, even if she had the strength to get up.

Another Flare charged in his palms as he prepared to give her the final blow that would either kill her or leave her unconscious. He reeled his hand back to deliver the blow, but lost his concentration and aborted the spell in shock as a bullet whizzed passed his ear and impaled itself into the wall before him. He spun around to find the source of the bullet, angry at the intrusion.

Behind him, in the doorway, stood Zion, Julia and Edea. Zion and Edea had their guns drawn and ready, while Julia stood prepared for battle with her staff. Edea's machine gun barrel was smoking slightly, a sign that she had fired the warning shot. Virados looked to them evilly, while he left Raine writhing on the floor, trying to stay conscious.

"You!" Julia called out to him angrily. "I recommend letting her go before I turn you into a bloody pulp, pal."

Virados laughed in astonishment, "Yes, I'm very scared of a woman who I had captured for at least a day that showed little to no aggressiveness aside from a nasty temper and vulgar vocabulary."

"You haven't even seen me mad," Julia warned. "I'm getting close to being pissed off now, so I'd be afraid if I were you.... very afraid."

With that, Julia charged him. Zion and Edea sprinted off to one side, hoping to take Virados out from a distance and give Julia cover. Instead of stopping like Zion did, Edea continued to run until she reached the back of the room where Raine lay moaning in pain. She lifted up her commanding officer's head, and began to cure her with what white magic the sorceress could conjure up. Even if she did cure all the wounds, Raine would still barely be able to function until she got rest.

Julia bashed into him, sending the slightly off guard Virados to jump back a little bit. Using that space, she charged a quick Firaga and threw it into his legs. He was pushed back even further, but refused to loose balance and fall. Instead, he figured he would show her the fine technique of Mysidian wings. After a second of concentration, two snow white wings appeared on his back. He stretched them all the way out, and with one flap, he suddenly rose a few feet above the others.

Julia shot a Thundaga in his direction, but using his airborne powers he quickly avoided it, sending the electric blast into a far wall. She grunted in frustration, then ran and jumped out of the way as he casted a Firaga towards her. It rammed into the floor, turning it a soot black. She growled slightly in anger, but more at herself since she still hadn't figured out how to use her natural born wings to fly. She had never really even felt an instinct of that before, now she was supposed to suddenly make them work? She was well in the age limits, almost late to get her wings, but she didn't try to think of that at the moment.

At the same time, Zion fired off a few rounds with his handgun, slightly disappointed that he didn't have his gunarm with him. While Virados avoided most of his shots, Zion was certain three of them were about to his the dark warrior square in the chest. However, at the last moment, Virados smirked toward the young male warrior before him. As the shots were about to his, Virados slightly flicked his wrist. The three bullets that were flying towards him slammed into a blue shield, and fell to the ground with a small clanking sound.

Julia silently cursed to herself. Now that he had Protect casted upon himself, he would be even harder to take down. She glanced over at Edea quickly, who was still shooting Curagas into Raine, with little success in healing. Julia immediately grew worried for her best friend, but then had fear for herself as Virados formed another Flare in his hands.

"Shit!" Julia yelled out as the intense fireball flew towards her. Before it hit her, Zion was able to pull her out of the way. The two were caught off balance by the force of his pull, and fell to the ground.

As the two were getting back up, Virados retracted his wings and fell gracefully to the ground with cat like reflexes that prevented him from falling. He drew out Emerald Blade once again, preparing himself for Julia's sure to come attacks.

Just as he thought, the grenadier was up and charging him. She used both sides of her staff efficiently to attack at nearly twice the speed of a sword, but this speed also decreased her chances of blocking. After a few moments of engagement, Virados grew bored and threw a high powered kick at her forehead. She was unprepared for it, but somehow pivoted out of the way.

He used his telekinetic powers again, this time pushing Julia to the ground so she couldn't attack. As he moved to strike her a death blow by slamming his sword into her, Zion quickly pulled a combat knife out of his boot. He used all his force to throw it at Virados' skull. Virados saw it coming, and knew it would hit. He pulled his sword up and deflected it, letting Julia get up and back away quickly.

He used his wings again to levitate into the air. "I grow tired of this pathetic excuse for a fight. The crystal I was looking for was not in the Temple of the Twin God's ruins. I must travel away to one of the other last remaining Mysidian strongholds not destroyed by time or the Centrans. Farewell, inept creatures."

With that, he disappeared out of a Warp spell once again, leaving them alone and confused. After a moment of silence, Julia broke it.

"Damn it! How in the hell does he get that spell!" She shouted, putting her staff back into its holster attached to her back.

Edea cut into her anger, "Guys! I need help, Raine's cured but she needs so much rest she can't even move right now. Someone help me carry her back to the Valhalla so she can get to sleep."

Julia and Zion rushed over to aid. Edea grabbed Raine from under the arms, while Zion grabbed hold of her legs to carry her out. Julia bent down before they lifted her up, brushing back Raine's sweat covered brown hair. "It'll be okay, Raine. Just hang on until we get back to the ship."

With that, the two soldiers lifted their beaten commander up, and proceeded to carry back towards the ship. Julia walked along beside them, looking out for any enemies that may have been lurking nearby. After all, none of them had seen Satori anywhere, and she had been with Virados when leaving the Battle of Deling. Julia was terribly worried over Raine, but she only hoped that her friend would be alright after she had some rest. The amount of mana energy in her body was life-threatening, and unless treated quickly, would take its toll on Raine.

Julia gritted her teeth angrily. They had to hurry, or it might be too late.


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