KAZUO and Guy returned to the lake, racing against the clock after they had received the directional letter from William, or his real name, Flynn Ezcardan. The two men embarked as far as their feet could carried them, following the letter&rsquo...
KAZUO and Guy returned to the lake, racing against the clock after they had received the directional letter from William, or his real name, Flynn Ezcardan.
The two men embarked as far as their feet could carried them, following the letter’s instructions.
The night was chilly as the temperature had dropped to negative zero and below. Wasting no time, the two men bravely swam through the icily cold stream, heading toward North.
Exactly fifteen minutes later, they reached the shore, panting, shivering, and soaking wet.
Kazuo’s trembled fingers took out something from his pants’ pocket; the folded, and slightly wet letter which he had kept before they dove into the stream. Sure they had Lucy to cast a ‘warm’ spell on them to keep them from freezing to death, but even that couldn’t keep them from shivering, let alone, after swimming in the cold stream.
Carefully as not to tear the letter apart, Kazuo opened it and read aloud without trying to stutter.
“H-Head straight towards N-North, three o’clock, where you’ll found a deserted r-ruin.”
“H-How long do we have until sunrise?“asked Guy, rubbing his hands together for a little heat.
“T-Two hours. Getting to the ruin will takes us at least twenty minutes. Let’s run for it.”
“Right behind ya.”
Both men kept on charging, heading toward North, like a couple of soldiers on a mission — fast and slow, keeping their heads low and eyes wide opened to their surroundings for any old ‘friends’.
It turned out ‘old friends’ were already waiting for them at the main entrance of the deserted ruins.
“What the hell?” Kazuo summoned his sickle and was immediately on defence.
“What the hell do you guys want now?” Guy’s tone was cold.
“At ease, friend.” Haru’s cool voice echoed the ruin. “We came to help you. Again.”
"Why?” Guy asked, doubtfully.
“Because time’s precious. The more time we spend bickering, the more less time we have to stop the Huzzar. You’re here for the portal, correct? So do we. Let’s get on with it.”
Haru walked inside, not waiting for the two men. His female partner however, stayed behind and waited for those two to come.
“Y’know, usually I would be all over a babe like you, but I get ta feelings you’re dangerous, what’s with the mask and all.”
Lisa simply smiled behind the mask. “We’ll see about that.”
The deserted ruins looked more like a relic from hundred years ago. It came as no surprise, as the Kingdom of Aquarius had existed for a very long time. But to have a deserted ruins hidden completely until now, was a different story.
The ruins was surrounded by rocky mountains that surrounded the entire kingdom. There were steep rocky stairs that lead to the entrance ruins.
Haru was already waiting for them, with his arms crossed on his chest.
When Kazuo and Guy got there finally, he wordlessly handed them a pair of helmets.
“What’s this?” Kazuo asked.
“For the obvious reason, friend.” Replied Haru, amusingly.
Begrudgingly, Kazuo took it and put it on. Then he looked at Haru, who stood and waiting patiently for them.
“Where are yours?”
“Oh, no need to worry about us. We have a terrific vision compared to the likes of you.”
"Yeah, yeah.” Kazuo rolled his eyes. “Let’s get this shit done and over with.”
The ruins was in a disaster condition. It looked as if someone had tried to bomb their way in, but failed to do so and left the place hanging. Debris and fallen pillars were everywhere.
In the blind darkness with only a light shone from the helmet on his head, Kazuo’s eyes scanned the area carefully, while trying not to trip on the smaller pieces of debris on the floor.
Guy was walking beside him. He was reading the letter when suddenly, he decided to ask.
“So, what’s your interest in finding the portal?”
The two figures behind them stopped.
“No reasons. Other than helping you get what you want.”
“Now that seems kinda suspicious.” Kazuo turned to look at them. Sickle on hands. “What made you think we’re not curious and dumb enough to trust you?”
Lisa was about to step in when Haru stopped her.
“So it has comes to this, huh?” Haru took a couple of steps forward. “I was hoping that it won’t have to come down to this, it seems that your partner here needs a little reassuring."
“Kazuo, no!” Guy cried, interposing himself between the two men who looked like they’re ready to pound each other.
“Let me beat this bastard for what he’d done to us and Mika!” Kazuo growled. “I don’t give a fuck what Shinji said about him! He’s been spying on us this whole time! I know he does! Both of them!”
"I know that!” Guy hissed, before he whispered lowly. “But they knew something about the portal more so that we do. Not to mention that they need our help as much as we need them, whether you want to admit it or not. If they’d wanted us dead, they could have easily done so by now!”
Taking a deep breath, Guy released his strong grip on Kazuo’s shoulders and turned to face them.
“I apologise on his behalf. It won’t happen again. Now, can we continue to carry on without any more problems on both sides? A temporarily truce?”
Haru nodded. “Deal.”
“Thank you. Now then,” He referred to the letter. “According to the letter, this place used to be a shrine for the ‘Jewels of Aquarius’. The ‘Jewel of Aquarius’ is said to be sacred — a barrier that would prevent the Huzzar from entering to this world.”
“Only the Huzzar? What about the Spirits?”
“It didn’t mentioned anything about preventing the Spirits from entering this world in this letter. But, I suppose so. Judging from this condition and look of this place, I say, someone had tried to get the portal first before us.”
“You think our friend Flynn has something to do with it?” Kazuo asked wryly.
“Or our Doe friend, ‘H’.” Haru rubbed his chin as the wheels in his head began to spin.
“What are the odds of having an outsider involve in this?” He asked again, a moment later.
“Why are ye askin’?”
“Because, I might just know who your Doe friend is.”
Both Guy and Kazuo exchanged looks.
“It’s confidential. We’re not supposed to tell outsiders, but...” Guy sighed. “I suppose it can’t be helped at this point.”
He then proceeded by telling them what information that had being given to them by Lord Eden and the Master Oracle.
“I see.” Haru muttered lowly a moment later His body grown stiff, Guy could see from the corner of his eyes.
So did Lisa.
She noticed the slight change in her Captain immediately, and a worried frown appeared on her forehead.
Haru cleared his throat. “In any case, let’s focus on finding the portal. We’ll deal with that matter later.”
IT didn’t take them long to finally reach the core of the ruins. The Baron Portal that they’ve been searching for, stood in the middle of a room, covered in lavish decorations. At the back of it was a throne.
“We found it!” exclaimed Kazuo, happily. He hurried over, only to be stopped by Haru who’d grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
“Hey, what the— ”
“’Curiosity kills a cat — have you ever heard of this phase before or have you always been this ignorant?”
Haru let go of his arm. “There might be traps set around the portal. Unless you’re dying to be killed, then be my guest.”
Kazuo scoffed, but pulled back. Crossing his arms, he said, “What do you have in mind then, genius?”
Smirking behind his mask, Haru confidentially took a few steps forward, before he halt to a full stop, and then took out something from his sleeves — a small instrumental pipe.
“Is he really gonna play that thing? Like now? Right now?” Kazuo asked, sceptically.
“Watch.” Lisa smiled. “They don’t call him ‘the Son of Nature’ for nothing.”
Haru played a soft tune, while the others watched. As they did, all the sudden, the air suddenly began to feel very... Windy.
Haru continuously played the instrumental. As he played the pipe all the way from the low to high notes, the wind began to grow stronger, up to a point it became ferocious, and voraciously damaged the thick layers of invisible barrier that were protecting the portal.
As soon as the deed was done, Haru let out a longing sigh, and wiped the little sweat on his forehead.
Lisa calmly approached him, and patted his shoulder with a big thumbed up.
“Good job, Captain!”
Haru nodded wordlessly. He looked at the two men who were still in awed at what they’d just seen. Wasting no time, he pointed his right thumb at the Baron’s portal.
“There’s your portal. What are you waiting for? Go on and get it.” A smirk appeared behind the mask.
“R-Right!” Guy snapped from his deep thoughts and approached the portal with Kazuo.
Guy observed the portal closely. He took out the Ulliya Gemstones that Rinda had given to him earlier, and pointed it at the portal.
“Here goes nothing.” Guy took a deep breath, before jabbing the gemstones into the two small red loops at the centre of the portal that fit perfectly well.
Ping was not exactly the sound they’d expected to hear. It rang echoing throughout the ruin. Soon afterwards, the portal began to spark in swirling light Neon light before changing to a scenery that leave everyone nearly breathless.
The consistent Midnight Blue skies.
The Spirit World.
It was Guy who was the first to snap out from the dazzling view. He rapidly shook his head to clear his mind. One hand raised and brushed strings of damped hair out of his forehead.
“Unbelievable. So this is the Spirit’s World...” Mika’s home. He whispered softly at the last two words.
“The one and only.” Haru approached the portal.
Meanwhile, Kazuo snapped out from his bewildered thoughts. Never in his wildest dream did he thought he would have the chance to get a glimpse of what the Spirit World looked like. Heck, he was pretty sure even Shinji never got the chance of seeing it close-up, no matter how powerful his Clan was.
“You’re slow, aren’t you? Behold, the Spirit World.” Haru answered. “The question now is how do you plan on getting the portal out of here in,” He checked his wristwatch. “Half an hour.”
“Half an hour?!” Kazuo and Guy shouted in synced.
"Unless...” Lisa sang gleefully.
“Unless what?” Kazuo raised an eyebrow at the lady.
“Unless you allow us to help you again, of course!” Lisa smiled broadly at him this time.
Kazuo frowned deeply and turned to Guy, who was eyeing them suspiciously.
“Why do you want to help us so much? What good will it does for you by helping us?” This time, there was a long pause from the opposite side.
Haru crossed his arms. “We can’t let you two die. Not now, nor ever.”
“What do you mean you can’t let us die?”
“Do whatever it is that you want, but no matter what, we won’t let you nor the Princess die.”
“Answer the damn ques— ”
All the sudden, both men’s cordless Communicator Devices beeped at the same time.
“Guy’s here. Hello?”
The background noise made it hard for him to hear anything.
“Shinji, I can’t hear ye clearly! Speak up!” Kazuo rushed over to the entrance, hoping he could get a clear signal.
“...Need to....Portal... NOW!" The two men exchanged glances.
“Deal.” Guy nodded at Haru.
Without any hesitation, Haru gave his partner a hand gesture. Lisa nodded and ran outside.
“Where’s she going?”
“Getting things done for the portal’s transportation. In the meanwhile, we should get outside as well. Thing is about to get ugly very soon.”
Still stunned and confused at what was happening, the two men hesitatingly followed Haru to the entrance of the ruins.
When they arrived at the entrance, they were shocked to find Baron’s Portal was already at the entrance — with Lisa standing beside it, looking smugly at them!
“W-What... How the hell?!” If Kazuo could gawked even more than he already had, he would have done so.
“Piece of cake.” Lisa shrugged.
“Good job, Lisa.” Haru walking toward her.
“I can’t possibly comprehend what just happened or how on Fulaina did you managed to get that thing here before us, but thank you.” Guy lowered his head in a slight bow. “You’ve saved us plenty of time.”
“Not a problem, sugar!”
Guy turned to his companion. “Shall we bring this to Mika then?”
Kazuo nodded back.
SOUND of a gunshot being fired shook the whole of the Southern Forest. It was the fifth shots that echoed in the jungle that night.
“Damn it!” Shinji growled as he reloaded his gun with the last ammo pack which he’d carried in one of his secret pocket sleeves — for emergency.
The rest of his ammos had been forcefully taken away in a bag pack he’d carried by the damned Knights when he had been captured by them.
Shinji had not gotten the chance to retrieve them back, what’s with the chaos that was happening at the moment.
As the twins, they had been trailing after the Huzzar for nearly two hours, without any success of taking it down. Mika and her brother had combined multiple attacks on it. But even for the two Spirits, it was a very difficult and hard task to achieve.
Shinji had always been proud of his perfectly accurate shooting range. However, in the blind of darkness, and chasing after something that moved so damn fast and floating in the sky, was harder than he’d initially anticipated.
The thick trees had made it harder for him to shoot.
Shinji swore and looked up. He saw a gigantic shadow passing through the trees, before it disappeared from his view.
Shinji had gotten himself up on one of the tall trees, trying to find a suitable aim to shoot at the Huzzar.
His concentration was rudely interrupted when a ‘swooosh’ sound, followed by an electrical wave coming from behind. Shinji merely had seconds to jump down and rolled over the ground, before an electrical lighting bolt launched at his previous spot by the Huzzar.
As he rolled on the other side of the ground, Shinji failed to notice some part of the ground was slopping. Thus; by the time he realized, it was already too late.
Shinji slithered helplessly down on the sloped ground. When he eventually reached at the bottom ground, his clothes were tore.
Shinji winched in pain. He felt bruises started to swell on parts of his body as he slowly got up. Wiping the little blood at the corner of his lips, he looked around cautiously.
One hand was on his gun. His finger readily to pull the trigger. Shinji waited silently and patiently for a moment for any sort of movement.
When a minute had gone by, and yet nothing happened, Shinji lowered his gun just for a little bit, and exhaled the long breath he’d been forced to suck in earlier.
Shinji put one hand behind his left ear; checking for any faintest sound in a cold and dead silence.
Nodded, Shinji charged through the forest. Feet pounding lightly on the muds, while his heart throbbing in his chest, he raced out of this damn place. He knew for as long as he was hiding in the woods, amongst branches, thorns and twigs on the every ground, he would be under the Huzzar’s spell; trapped in it’s cage.
While being surrounded in the jungle did provide him an advantage, it also gave him disadvantages, because he couldn’t see his enemy clearly. And he won’t stopped running for nothing until he reached to an opening.
When Shinji finally reached to an opened field, it wasn’t just as he’d expected it to be. The field had been burnt down. Even in the middle of the night, he could see the Earthly brown dirt as clearly as day. His deep purple eyes quickly glanced at the two figures standing few metres away from where he was standing at the clearance, facing the still floating Huzzar.
Even from the distance, Shinji could clearly heard the Huzzar roared.
“Not bad. Not bad at all! Who’d thought the two of you Spirits were able to catch up with me like this?” The Huzzar chuckled, amusingly.
“Bastard!” Makai growled. “If you’re done playing games, come and fairly fight us, you wild beast!”
“As you wish, Child.” It flapped it’s wings and blew strong wind at them.
“Watch out!” Mika threw herself at her brother and rolled on the other side, before huge icicles could staked them down.
“How is that even possible?” Makai gritted his teeth. “I’d thought dragoons are suppose to breath fire — not sputtering ice!”
The Huzzar chuckled. “You seemed to have forgotten that I am unlike any other dragoons. I can breathe both fire and water. That’s what made us special.”
Mika got up on her feet, pulling Makai to his own as well. Her other hand was holding onto her blade tightly.
This is bad. The Huzzar is just toying with us, like cat and mouse. It doesn’t seems like it’s using full force to fight us... More likely, it’s trying to wear us down. Mika glanced at her brother, who was holding his sword upfront, facing the Huzzar.
“We need a plan. Fighting it like this is useless.”
"Tch.” Makai’s eyes roamed around, looking for any sort of opportunity to strike the Huzzar first, when he saw something subtly moved — up on the tree, behind the Huzzar.
It was Shinji, taking a good aim at the Huzzar.
Makai smirked, before his eyes fell back to the Huzzar. Confidently, the Spirit Prince said, “Huzzar or not, you will die no matter what. I’ll make sure of it.”
Expecting her brother act recklessly by launching an attack on the Huzzar, Mika did not expected for him to suddenly took out the three little earpieces on his left ears — his Spirit Limiters. Like her jade bracelet, Makai too had a limiter to keep his Spirit from going wild and uncontrollable. However unlike Mika, he had no difficulties in changing his Spirit form, as he could retained and able to control his Spirit far much better than her.
In his Spirit form, Makai changed into a fury state in which it would greatly increased his strength, speed, and other physical attributes. He looked a lot like his sister in her Spirit form; with an exceptional of three purple strikes on each cheeks and arms.
Deep chuckles snapped Mika out from her thoughts. She looked at her brother, and panicked at the blood-lust look written on his face.
Shinji had a perfect aim at the back of the Huzzar’s head, when he saw the Spirit Prince looked up to where he was hidden.
Shinji had just about to pull the trigger when Makai suddenly had taken out his earpieces.
What? Shinji’s eyes grew widened. He sensed it — the addictive smell that caused the humans to grow weak to their knees, and the Spirits to become extremely euphoric — the scent of salvation.
Thought the scent was mild, but it was enough for Shinji to be freaked out about.
“That son of bitch!” Shinji growled as his instinct kicked in. He jumped down from his hiding spot, landed on his feet on the ground, before rushing toward them. Not even thinking about the consequences or the next plan.
Mika had taken a few steps away from her brother. Makai was still chuckling lightly, and that frightened her terribly. He had lowered his head, letting his long bangs curtained his face.
“Makai?” Mika spoke, eventually after a long pause.
Instantly she was greeted with his glare that almost caused her to take another step back. Mika resisted. She refused to take that single step. This was her own flesh and blood after all.
This time, she wouldn’t ran away.
Gathering enough courage, Mika took a couple of steps forward and called out to him again.
“Makai? It’s me. Do you... Do you recognise me?”
His only replied was a snarl, before Makai moved intimidatingly toward her, and forced her to step aside, but Mika refused to barge. She wanted to stay and fight alongside with him, even at his current condition.
She was about to say it to him, all the sudden, Mika felt a pair of strong hands grabbed her shoulders from behind.
“Shinji!” Mika turned her head to see who it was. “What— ”
Before she could finished her sentence, Shinji pulled her closer to him, and then with a loud shout, he said, “Run!”
Shinji was half-dragging and pulling his Apprentice away from the battleground.
Mika resisted to run. She pulled Shinji’s sleeves repetitively to make him stopped running and dragging her along, which he did, eventually.
Shinji huffed, catching his breath. Turning to face her, he sharply glared at her.
“He’s my brother. I have to help him. I must help him.” Mika insisted. There was no room for argument in the tone she’d used.
Shinji rubbed his face and sighed heavily.
“Please, Shinji...” The man looked at her again before hesitatingly nodded.
MEANWHILE, the ongoing fight between the Huzzar and the Spirit Prince raged on. Makai fought in hand-to hand combat instead of using his sword,which he’d discarded as it had become too much of a hassle and gotten in his way.
Though his figure was much smaller compared to the gigantic beast, in his Spirit form, Makai was a lot faster and stronger.
The Spirit Prince dodged the sharp claws that was aiming at him. He jumped mid-air, and delivered for a powerful punch to the Huzzar’s face. His fist landed in a loud and hard hit, followed by a loud painful scream coming from the Huzzar. Makai grinned wickedly. He had not forgotten to inflect a long hideous scar on the Huzzar’s face.
Slowly reopening it’s right eye, The Huzzar glared sharply at the Spirit Prince. “No more playing this childish games.” It hissed and lifting a left paw for another strike. “I’ll destroy you!”
Makai quickly leapt away from the spot, covering his face from the dusts and dirt. He’d nearly got his head skewered by the Huzzar’s long and spiked tail that came out of nowhere, when something flew passed by him and hit the Huzzar instead.
A quick glance above, Makai saw his mortal female companion in defence position. A set of knives wrapped between her fingers. Standing behind her was Leo, covered with bandages.
“What the hell happened to you?” Makai asked in a deep growling voice.
Ignoring his question, Leo’s eyes focused on the enraging Huzzar.
“Pay attention, Your Highness. It’s charging towards you.”
The Huzzar lunged forward. Makai weaved deftly to the side, manoeuvring lithely behind it, trying to get on it’s blind spot. As he dodged, The Huzzar spun its long-neck and stretched it’s head around to face him. Blue flame shot out from it’s mouth and aimed at Makai.
Makai jumped out of the way. The edge of his long sleeves got burnt a little bit by the flame, but he waved it off and focusing on the Huzzar.
Meanwhile, Mika and Shinji had just returned to the scene. Bright emerald eyes looked at her brother and the Huzzar, back and forth.
Hands reached out for her blades, Mika was about to charge a strong hand held on her right shoulder.
“Wait a moment, Princess.”
Turning around, Mika nearly dropped her blades when she saw who it was.
Leo was equally shocked at her mentioning his name. Before he could say anything, his torso was being attacked by the Spirit Princess in a bone-crushing hug.
“I’d missed you!”
Leo blinked for a couple of times before he wrapped one arm around the princess.
“I’d missed you too, little one.” He whispered softly, savouring the moment.
After a while, Leo gently pulled her away from him.
“I’m sure we have plenty to catch up about. But right now, let’s focus of the Huzzar. All right, Your Highness?” He smiled.
Leo nodded. Pointing out a finger at the Spirit Prince, he then said, “We have to get His Highness out of the battlefield. Now. The Prince may be able to restrain and control his Spirit-self. However unlike you, Princess, he has a time limit on how long he is able to stand it.”
“Which is for how long?” Shinji asked, coming from behind them.
“An hour’s the top. More than that, and he’ll—” Leo was interrupted by the howling sound came from the Spirit Prince.
Mika gasped. “Makai!”
She ran to where Makai was as fast as she could. When she got there,her eyes instantly laid on two things: the Huzzar heavily wounded. There were gruesome deep scratches and it laid half-bodily on a big pool of blood on the ground. The second was, the person responsible for it’s wounds.
Makai was standing still. He’d merely suffered a few scratches here and there on his face, and his clothes was torn apart, leaving him almost half-naked. What caught Mika the most was the way he stood... something was off.
Sweat began rolling on Mika’s cheek, as she moved guardly toward him.
"TWENTY-five minutes.” Leo muttered. “He has exactly twenty-five minutes left before his Spirit mind supposedly takes a troll on him. That’s why—”
“Look carefully.” Shinji interrupted. Narrowing his eyes, Shinji pointed his gun at Makai.
Leo did as he was told, and gasped. On a glance, there was appeared to be nothing was wrong with Makai. But on a closer look, Leo saw how the Spirit Prince struggled with his body weight by standing up straight and depending only on his left foot.
Blood was dripping on the ground from his right leg where there was a huge cut on it.
“The Huzzar got the brat wounded from a heavy bleeding. It doesn’t matter if it’s after an hour or not, if he’s in great danger or close to death, his Spirit will takes over his mind regardless, to protect him. That’s what you were going to say, right?”
Shinji aimed his gun at the Prince as Mika getting closer to him.
“What are you doing? You’re not planning to...”
“Idiot. I ain’t stupid enough to kill the brat, old man. Just a little... Distraction.”
And then he fired.
The loud sound of gunshot aimed at the Huzzar caught them all off-guard. The Huzzar looked up and growled at Shinji.
Mika stopped a few steps away from Makai, with his back facing her. Every fibres of her brain told her to run away, far away from him. The air that emitted from him was not the same air as before — filled with malice.
“Makai,” Mika whispered softly. “Look at me.”
Waiting for him to respond was a long and terrifying moment. Ever so slowly, Makai turned his head and glared dangerously at her. Mika gasped softly. Her left foot subconsciously took a step back.
There was insanity in his eyes as he looked back at her with a cunning smirk. Mika briefly wondered if this was how she looked like in her Spirit Mode, but immediately brought back to reality when a sound of deep chuckles snapped her out from her daze.
“So it has comes to this.” Instinctively, Mika took an offensive stance.
“So it’s two on one? I heard that female Spirits are a lot tastier to eat, after all.” The Huzzar grinned, licking it’s lips.
Mika narrowed her eyes and made a quick glance at her brother who was still unmoved in front of her. He was being more attentive to the Huzzar than her, with the still crazy look in his eyes.
If he keeps on fighting, no doubt he would surely lose himself to the Spirit within him. Especially from the scent that emitted from his surrounding, filled with insanity and blood-lust that was rapidly increasing. Mika gritted her teeth. There’ no time for doubts!
“I’m sorry, Makai.”
In a flash of light, Mika reappeared behind her brother and knocked him hard at the back of his neck, using the tilt of her blade.
Makai gasped, staggered to his feet, and swaying a little, before eventually he tumbled forward with eyes rolled at the back of his head. Mika caught her brother before he fell, and gently laid him down on the ground. She brushed the soft bangs on his forehead affectionately.
Looking up, she glared sharply at the Huzzar.
“Uncle Leo, please take my brother away from here. Things are about to get ugly. Very ugly.”
In a blink of an eye, Leo appeared behind her. He bend on his knees and scooped the unconscious Spirit Prince in his arms, before turning to her.
“Take him as far away from here as possible. And please have Miss Rinda check on his injuries. Go. I’ll deal with the Huzzar.” Mika narrowed her eyes.
Hesitating to leave at first, Leo eventually nodded and left, carrying the Spirit Prince with him to safety. He prayed and hoped whatever the Princess intended to do, would be successful in defeating the Huzzar.
MIKA sighed. Dawn would soon approaching. Originally, they had planned to get the job done before sunrise. Unfortunately, it did not appeared to be the case.
She must end this now.
Slowly, Mika made her way to the Huzzar.
“I’m tired of playing this game.” Mika tossed her blades to the side, much to Shinji’s surprise.
The Huzzar didn’t move. It waited for her to come to him.
“It’s just me and you now. Since it’s nearly impossible to defeat you in my current condition, I guess I have no choice then. I hope you’ve well prepared.” Her eyes met Shinji in a hard intensive gaze.
“Interesting. Are you offering another ‘Parley’ then, Spirit?” The Huzzar grinned.
“No.” Mika shook her head and chuckled darkly. “Only life or death, Huzzar.”
Mika stopped on her tracks. There was a long silence before the sound of something being smashed echoed the silence.
All eyes were on the Spirit Princess.
Mika grinned. The piece or rock she had picked earlier fell from her grip as the jade gemstone on her bracelet scattered to pieces.
“That moron!” Shinji hissed.
Truthfully, he was horrified. The last time he’d seen her in Spirit Form had been at the forest. That incident had almost caused them all to lose their lives.
Still hidden from her sight, Shinji raised his gun, and carefully aimed it at the Huzzar.
Leo was leading the Spirit Prince and Rinda away from the battlefield as prior requested by Mika. Along the way, he had also asked Rinda to check on Makai, whom he carried on his back, for any deep wounds that needed to be healed immediately.
They were still in the middle of the forest when Leo abruptly stopped running.
“Hey, careful with that!” Rinda scolded behind him. One hand rushed onto the Spirit Prince’s back to stop him from falling off the older Spirit’s back.
Rinda looked at the older Spirit, still frowning for stopping all the sudden and almost dropped the Spirit Prince.
“Nothing.” Leo replied almost too quickly. He wiped the sweats on his damp forehead from running too much.
“Don’t lie, old man. Your hands are shaking. Tell me!”
“Her Royal Highness... I felt her true form emerges.” He gazed hard on her and said with a serious tone. “You don’t want to be anywhere near this place, little lady. Now, let’s get a move on.”
“Wait! If she wants to kill that thing, then it’s fine, right? But Shinji is still in there, and I won’t leave without him!”
“Get the hell out of the way!” A screeching male voice yelled at them, caused the two to look up.
They gasped loudly at the sight of a chained portal being rushed throughout the forest.
The portal was carried in a fast movement by two masked people — a short male was at the front while his tall female counterpart at the back. They were being supported by two familiar faces on the other side of the portal.
“Baron’s Portal!” Rind squealed excitedly.
Haru made a hand signal and all four of them stopped before those two. Kazuo and Guy were panting and huffing on the ground from all those running and carrying the heavy portal, while the mysterious duo remained calm.
Rinda rushed over to her fellow comrades. “I can’t believe you found it! You’d actually found Baron’s Portal!”
Kazuo grinned wearily.
“No shit.” His eyes caught on the sight of the still unconscious Prince on Leo’s back. “So someone finally kicked his arse while we’re away, huh?”
“Something like that.” Rinda shrugged. “More importantly,” She turned to look at the other two figures nearby the portal. Haru was tapping his foot impatiently. “I think your friend over there’s getting a bit impatient.”
“Captain, should we?” Haru nodded and prepared to lift the portal again when he was stopped by Leo.
“I don’t know what your intentions are, but be warned Her Highness the Princess is currently her true form.”
“What?!” Kazuo gasped.
“We already know that.” Turning to his partner who nodded in return, the mysterious duo disappeared in a flash along with the portal.
“Who the hell are those two?” Rinda asked.
“Dunno. But whoever they are, the next time we ever meet, I’ll won’t let them go so easily.” Kazuo clenched his fists tightly.
A loud maddening shriek ahead alerted them.
AFTER the maddening shriek had ended, there was only silence. In a blink of an eye, Mika disappeared.
The Huzzar’s eyes widened. It roamed around, frantically searched for the missing Spirit — before it felt something unusually light landed lightly on top of it’s head.
A sinister smile graced on Mika’s face as she balanced herself on top of the Huzzar, using only her bare hands.
Down below, Shinji was left stunned.
“How in the hell did she get up there?” Shinji whisperee to no one. He had aimed at the Huzzar’s head, and was readily to fire when she suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Had Shinji pulled the trigger a second ago, it would have hit her directly on the forehead.
Shinji recalled their first encounter back in Andania. How deadly fast she had been back there.
Shaking his head, Shinji decided a plan was needed when he sensed something was coming toward him from behind in full speed.
Shinji aimed his gun at the direction, temporarily forgotten about the Spirit and the Huzzar, and waited for whoever it was to show up.
A slight movement — before two figures showed up, carrying the Baron’s Portal.
“What the hell are you doing here? And with that?” Shinji asked cautiously. His fingers ready to pull the trigger.
“What a nice ‘thank you’ greeting. Coming from you, it’s no surprise.” Haru replied soothingly.
“Answer the damn question.”
“Your friends were having troubles getting this thing over here, so we helped out.” Haru explained.
“Why not? Regardless of that,” Haru pointed a finger at the Spirit and Huzzar. “How do you plan getting her away from it?”
“What makes you think I would tell you my plans, let alone trust someone like yourselves?”
Lisa decided to step in. “Look, you can distrust us all you want, handsome. But the fact remains that you need our helps more than you’re willing to admit it to end this thing. Moreover, need I remind you that you only have, say, few minutes before the sun rises? If the Huzzar does not get into the portal in time for the sunrise, then the Parley that was made between those two, will initialize, regardless. You are aware of what this means, don’t you?”
Shinji tightened his lips, said nothing. He slowly lowered his gun at them.
Haru smirked behind his mask. “Do whatever that you can to get her away from the Huzzar while the two of us activate the portal. Once it’s been activated, drag the Princess away from this place as far away as you can. Understood?”
"Tch. Don’t tell me what to do, brat.” Shinji muttered, heading to where the Spirit and Huzzar were.
WHEN Shinji returned to the scene, he was expecting a gruesome sight of the Huzzar being torn apart, if it didn’t happened already.
He was half correct,though.
The Spirit Princess had just finished delivering a powerful blow at the Huzzar, causing it to fall back and made a huge crater.
Making a quick recovery and a comeback, The Huzzar smashed her head onto the ground using it’s long spiked tail.
“Mika!” Shinji yelled.
When a loud hissing sound was heard from where Mika was being smashed, Shinji breathed in relief.
At least she’s still alive.
Though Shinji doubt, at this rate, she won’t be able to stand for long before her body gave her away again.
He must act now.
Keeping his gun inside his chest pocket, Shinji lifted both of his hands in the air. He muttered a spell, and before long, thin red strings emerged from his fingers like spider webs.
The Soul-Binding Strings.
Mika was pissed. She stood up arduously, spatting blood from her mouth. She gritted her teeth and growled furiously like a wild animal at the Huzzar. The back of her head bleed from the strong impact but Mika chose to ignore it.
Leaping to the Huzzar, Mika was ready to tear the Ancient Dragoon apart, when she felt her legs twitched strangely. All the sudden, her whole body dropped from being in mid-air, all the way to the ground.
Frantically looking around, Mika saw thin red strings were tied up to both her legs.
As if they were alive, the strings were now spreading from her legs to her knees, and tying them up.
The enraged Spirit struggled furiously on the ground.
Meanwhile, Shinji kept hold on the strings that were attached to his fingers. The Soul Binding Strings was actually a last resort he’d planned on using on Mika, should the time comes when all opinions of her failing to recover from her Spirit-self.
By using the Soul Binding Strings, Mika would slowly be bounded by the Soul Binding Strings and her soul would eventually be trapped and purified.
Sweats dropped from Shinji’s forehead to his cheeks. The muscles from his arms starting to twitch when Mika strongly resisting the strings.
"Goddamn it... Hurry up already!” Shinji barked loudly at his so-called acquaintances.
Shinji’s eyes grew widened when the strings suddenly broke, and he he fell painfully on his back. The back of his head hit hard on the ground.
Groaning in pain, Shinji quickly got up and checked for any injuries on his head. His head felt stung from the hit but overall, he was fine.
That was, until his gaze met with a very pissed Spirit.
Shinji didn’t hesitate to pull out his gun and fired the moment Mika disappeared from his sight.
In a blink of an eye, she reappeared before him just in time for Shinji to defend himself, using his gun as a shield.
Mika growled irritatingly as bones met with iron metal in hard hit before she pulled her hand back and tried to attack him again.
Sound of chains echoed in the opened field and before Mika knew what was happenings, silver chains wrapped around her wrists, preventing the Spirit Princess from tearing Shinji to pieces.
“That’s enough, Mika.” Mika growled increasingly as footsteps approached her.
“Good to see you’re waay ahead of us, Shinji.” Kazuo spoke smugly.
Shinji spat a bit of blood on the ground.
“You two were too slow. I got bored of waiting.”
“We came as far as we could. Furthermore,” Guy looked at the two mask-bearers keeping the Huzzar occupied further away from where they all stood, while waiting for the right time to activate the portal.
“We have to end this now.”
The three men turned their attention to the Spirit Princess, who was struggling to break free from the chains that was wrapped tightly around her wrists.
Kazuo had everything under control. He tightened the grip on the chain, with the rest of it attached to the sharp blade at the edge, wrapped around his arms.
Shinji proceeded, taking a few steps forward toward her, and only stopped when he stood face-to-face with her.
Against the others’ wills, Shinji’s fist came in contact with Mika’s face in a loud smack! No one would ever expected the brooding man would raise his fist against his Chosen Apprentice.
Hell, they did not even saw it coming!
Even the calm and collected Guy was gasped loudly at his action. He would had scolded Shinji for doing that to a lady — let alone, his adoptive sister, had it wasn’t for the White Wolf Prince’s sharp and narrowing gaze on the Spirit Princess.
Dead silence invaded them with only the cool and chilling wind brushed their neck. Nobody dared to move even the slightest.
They waited patiently and anxiously for hell halt no fury like a woman’s scorn.
Mika dropped her head, facing sideways, with her long, messing bangs covered her entire face after Shinji had hit her.
What the hell was he thinking? What was the point of hitting her, anyway? To enraged her more? Kazuo pondered anxiously. His heart was pounding very loudly against his chest.
If Kazuo was being brutally honest with himself, he wouldn’t want to be here. Not after his brief encountered with her berserk Spirit-self back in the forest, when she’d almost successfully chocked him to death.
Few minutes with no signs or words came from either Shinji or Mika, the two men overwhelmed with worries whether Shinji had hit her hard enough to make her lose unconscious.
All the sudden; a low growl came from Mika instantly caught their attention.The growl got louder by each minutes.
Kazuo tightened his grip on the chain. Sweats began to form on his forehead.
On the other hand, Shinji had closed his eyes, and began chatting the sacred mantra. His hand was placed on Mika’s right wrist. Green light emitted from his fingers.
Mika suddenly stopped growling, causing both men tensed. Guy had his spear ready on his side. He observed carefully for any movements came from the Spirit Princess.
They waited for at least a minute, when an unseen force suddenly levitated Kazuo in the mid-air.
“What?!” Staring wildly at the Spirit Princess, he saw her grinned smugly.
Before Kazuo could react, he was pushed toward a group of sharp wooden stakes lying on the ground not far away by a strong force.
Guy dropped his weapon and chased after the blonde fighter. He sprinted, using every inch of his strength, and grabbed a hold of Kazuo — prevent his friend from being pushed down by the strong unseen force and be killed by the stakes.
Kazuo growled in great pain as the chained that was still wrapped around his arms, began to eat up his flesh. He could feel his fingers slowly slipping from the tight grip of the chain...
Meanwhile, despite the deep cuts on his shoulders and hands from the mysterious strong force, Shinji stubbornly refused to budge from his place or loosened his grip on the Spirit Princess’s wrist. He continuously recited the spell.
Guy, noticed how badly the wound was affecting his team leader was, pled for him to stop.
“Shinji, you’re going to get yourself killed!" Ignoring his friend’s warning, Shinji kept on going with gritted teeth.
On the other hand, Kazuo, now with a bleeding heavily arms and wrists could no longer holding on to the chains, ended up releasing it.
As soon as he released the chained sickle, the two men flew through a nearby tree, crushing against it, head-first, before they collapsed motionlessly on the ground.
HARU and Lisa landed on their feet graciously to the ground. They looked up to the now very irritated and wore-out Huzzar through the half-mask they wore for protection.
Initially, the plan had been to provoke the Ancient Dragon and wearing it out.
With only few minutes to kill before the sunrise, they were putting a lot of efforts into this.
Haru turned to his partner, who nodded back to him in silence.
His fingers quickly pulled out somethint from a pocket —an instrumental pipe. He began to play a tune.
It was a different kind of tune from when he’d previously played back at the ruins. The tempo was quicker and the melody was darker.
As soon as he played it, veins and roots from trees began to spread, and trapped the Huzzar like a cage.
While Haru was playing the tune, Lisa took the chance and summoned the Baron’s Portal which she’d kept hidden underneath the ground and bought it up.
As soon as the portal was lifted, the Huzzar stopped squirming.
“You tricked me!” Howled the Huzzar angrily.
Bright light shone over them as the portal activated. Haru and his partner had gotten out of the way the moment the portal had made the last of the three beeps sound, leaving the Huzzar being absorb into the portal.
"Are they all right?” Rinda asked quietly in a soft whispering tone, as she approached the older Spirit who was still carrying the unconscious Spirit Prince on his back.
Earlier, Leo had cast a small barrier around their small circle, for protection.
After crossing paths with Kazuo and the others on the way out, the two had decided to turn back and witnessed the whole ordeal from a distance away. They’d stayed hidden amongst the trees.
It was a few minutes after the forest had turned to deep silence, only then, was Rinda able to step outside from the protective barrier and went to the rest.
She started with Kazuo and Guy, tending to their wounds. Though they suffered from heavy bleeding, luckily none of them were fatal.
While Rinda was tending to her companions’ wounds, Leo attended to where Shinji and Mika were. Right after he’d recited the spell and replaced Mika’s jade bracelet, the young Prince collapsed while his Apprentice was knocked out cold in his arms.
Leo bended on his knee and smiled at the young lad.
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
Standing before the Baron’s portal, Haru rubbed both of his hands from the dust and dirt, before cracking his neck to left and right.
The sun rose beautifully. They had sucessfully sending the Huzzar into the portal, thus, broke whatever spells that had been cast upon the entire the Kingdom.
Beside him, Lisa sighed loudly. “Boy, that was some workout! Don’t you think so, Captain?”
Haru simply scoffed; but not at all denying it. True, they participated more than he’d previously intended. But now that they’d gotten rid of the obstacle, the next challenge would be a lot difficult. Haru would be damned if he missed the whole thing.
His sharp sense of hearing picked up the sound of heavy footsteps marching toward them in fast pace.
Turning to look at his partner, Haru spoke, “We should leave.”
Lisa nodded. “What about the portal? Should we take it along with us?”
“Yes. After they’d finished dealing with the Queen.”
“Aye aye, Captain.” Lisa saluted at him and quickly making some hands gestures.
By the time Medea and the others arrived to the scene, they were immediately greeted with Leo, who told them what had happened.
Medea ordered the guards to lend out assistants as needed, along with Ren and Ratz.
She sighed in great relief, upon learning that her beloved Kingdom was saved by the Spirit Princess and her fellow friends.
The Crown Princess vowed that for as long as Mika and her friends hospitalizing under their care, she would made their stay as comfortable as possible.
Staring at her saviours who were being carried by the guards to the castle, Medea smiled gratefully. Tears were rolling down her cheeks.
Finally, the long months of suffering was over.
“Thank you so very much, Your Highness. We shall forever be in your debt. I will never forget what you’ve done for us.”