FANDOM


Story

Return of Tempest

4th May, 1217 AC. Nirvo, Asteria.

The architecture of the street is very typically Asterian, with there being many buildings built from stone, held up with wooden beams and crudely placed rusted-metal supports. The usually grimy streets have been cleaned for the event that is about to take place. The street is busy with Asterians and tourists, all aiming to move towards the town centre. There are many travelling salesmen, keen to take advantage of the tourists. From the crowd, Ray emerges. He has a longer fin on the back of his head now, and his muscles have increased in size. He has a scar running across his chest. He looks at the colosseum nearby.

Ray: This must be the place.

Ray looks at a poster advertising a tournament. He promptly discards it to look around.

Ray: I wonder if anyone else is here yet.

???: Is that who I think it is?!

Ray turns. To his surprise, he finds Dirge and Karen approaching. Dirge is now sporting iron plates and parts of Sabari Automata around his waist.

Ray: Dirge! Karen! You're both here!

Dirge: Yeah! I can recall Angel-Ion stating that something would come up that would make us all regroup. Obviously none of us would pass up the chance of stopping the Moon Stone into the wrong hands.

Ray: I've been wondering what exactly that is. It sounds important.

Karen: Well it is rumoured to be the very embodiment of a God, so yes, I'd say it does sound important. 

Ray: I see... So its more important than I thought.

Ray spots the band on Karen's upper arm.

Ray: Say, what's that?

Dirge: Heh. I figured a Kratonian like you would notice it. Its called an "Affinity Band". They were made by Sabari from technology lent to them by Kratonians from ancient times.

Ray: From ancient times, eh?

???: You must be Angel-Ion-sama's friends, right?

Ray: Yeah, why?

Dirge: Oh, you're that kid that Shokuji sent to train with Angel-Ion, aren't you? Shin, was it?

~ Angel-Ion's Protege ~ Shin Hitomi: Yeah, that's me.

Shin is a few inches taller and more muscular than before. He has a scar reaching over his shoulder from his waist.

Shin: I hate to be the one to tell you this, but, before you all got here, he's gone walkabout.

Dirge: When did you get here?

Shin: About ten days ago. Angel-Ion was adamant on coming here after we left Zero Isle.

Ray: You mean he actually managed to find his way here without any help?!

Shin: Yeah. Though... Now he's gotten himself lost again.

Dirge: So much for an improvement...

???: I see everyone else saw the advertisement. 

The group turn around to see Luther, now only slightly taller than he used to be, and with slightly longer hair. 

Ray: Luther?!

Dirge: My, you've grown!

Luther notices Shin, and notes the absence of Angel-Ion. 

Luther: Is Angel-Ion here or has he gotten lost? 

Shin: He was here, but he's gotten himself lost again.

???: Hahahaha! That's just like him!

Lanval walks over. He now has some facial hair. His overall build is significantly more muscular, and his hair partially covers his right eye. He's carrying a letter.

Lanval: Long time no see, guys.

Luther: Good to see you. 

Luther looks inquistively at the letter and then back up at Lanval. Lanval notices this and hands him the letter.

Lanval: This is from Roxie. She's already gone on ahead of us, and has already applied for the tournament. She's at the Octatheon now.

The letter confirms this.

Dirge: I guess we just need to find Angel-Ion now.

Lanval: Yeah. Trust him to get lost.

???: I have a good idea where he is.

Phade shows up.

Dirge: Ah, Phade! When did you get here?

Phade: I arrived with Luther. He went on ahead when he figured out you lot were already here.

Lanval: I take it you've learned Sixth Sense as well, then, Luth.

Luther: I may have. 

Phade smirks.

Phade: He has. Now then. Lets get to finding Angel-Ion.

After some walking through the streets for a few minutes, the group arrive at a bar.

Ray: Typical. He's helped himself to a drink without us.

Dirge: Alright. Lets get him out.

Luther and Dirge enter the bar. It is not as busy as usual. There are two men at the bar, one of them a Kylotean; it's Angel-Ion, who has gotten bulkier. He now wears a spaulder over his left shoulder, and has separate scars on both his chest, and over his right eye. He has grown slight facial hair.

Angel-Ion is too busy enjoying himself to notice the other man at the bar readying his gun, unaware to both Angel-Ion and the bartender.

~ Sniper Wolf Agent #40 (Formerly #32) ~ John Carver: (Hehehe. Finally, I'll be able to recover the ranks I lost from the recent agent conscription. Those big shot rookies ain't got anything on this. You seem like a good man, Enoshima, but you gotta go.)

Dirge: Stop there!

Dirge fires a minor attack at Carver. Crystals impale his back.

Carver: AAAAHHHHH!!!

He grabs his gun and points it at Dirge and Luther, but falls limp and falls to the floor. He begins to bleed out.

Angel-Ion: What the...? Guys?!

Dirge: He was a Sniper Wolf agent. I recognise his bounty poster.

Angel-Ion: I guess you really saved my neck then... Though, we've really gotta stop meeting each other like this. How did you know where I was?

Luther: Would you believe coincidence?

Angel-Ion: No. Though I'm certain you've both attained Sixth Sense, how'd you know I'd be here in Asteria.

Dirge: We didn't. Lanval is the only person who didn't guess where we'd be.

Angel-Ion: Just Lanval? Why's that?

Luther: Roxanne sent him a letter.

Angel-Ion: So where are the others?

Dirge: Apart from Roxanne, everyone's outside waiting for you.

Angel-Ion: Whoa really?

Dirge: Yeah.

Dirge leans forwards.

Dirge: What sort of idiot leaves his protege out on the streets, eh?

Angel-Ion: Oh shit... Shin! He is alright, isn't he?

Dirge: We met up with him. He was the one who tipped us off about you getting lost.

Luther: As usual. 

The First Annual Combat Tournament

Large crowds of Asterians and tourists make their way from the suburbs towards the city centre in preparation for the reopening of the Octatheon, a large arena now being used for the First Annual Combat Tournament. The arena is massive compared to the buildings surrounding it, and even the rebuilt Asterian parliament is dwarfed by it. It stands 60 metres high, and has a 500 metre width in all directions. It is made of sturdy stone bricks, and has an ornate and gothic exterior with many tall arches and collumns.

The arena is separated into three distinct rings. The outer-ring has a width of 100 metres, and contains the seats for the incoming crowds. At one end of the stands, there is a large observation platform where the announcements are made and the competitors are observed. The inner ring is the arena itself, and is 350 metres wide. It is significantly lower than the lowest area of the stands, to ensure that competitors aren't able to harm observers. The surface of the arena is covered by a thin layer of sand. The ring in between the inner and outer ring serves as a 50 metre-wide moat to separate the two. It is the lowest area of the arena and at its bottom there is several metres of water. Mid-way through the moat, there are 8 pillars dotted around the arena. 

Crowds begin to fill the stands. The stands eitherside of the observation platform have comfier seats, and are reserved for those rich enough to pay for them.

The Lobby

The group arrive in a spacious lobby, where they head to a queue where people are signing up. Angel-Ion spots Karen on the other side of a barrier.

Angel-Ion: Aren't you gonna sign up too?

Karen: I'm not an Apollai, thank you very much.

Angel-Ion: Eh, suit yourself.

Dirge, Lanval and Phade get through the entry gate. Angel-Ion goes to the booth next. 

Administrator: (In Venlish) Uhh... Haven't you already signed up?

Angel-Ion: Uhh, no. Why?

Administrator: I guess it must have been someone who looked like you. No worries, move along. 

Angel-Ion moves along, but takes a confused glance back at the administrator.

Angel-Ion: Weird.

Luther then approaches the administrator. 

Administrator: Name?

Luther: Luke.

Administrator: Full name...

Luther: Luke... Smith. 

Administrator: Thank you, move along. 

Later, the group gather in the fighters' lobby. There are at least one hundred fighters preparing themselves. There is a designated storage for each fighter.

Dirge spots a familiar face amongst the crowd; Zambini. He's conversing with some fighters, including a blue masked girl and Lightning Pablo from the Rex Iron Tournament.

Dirge: Well if it isn't Hector!

He turns around.

Zambini: Dirge?! You guys! Long time no see!

???: I hope you haven't forgotten about me, Dirge.

The masked girl turns around. Its Roxanne.

Lanval, Angel-Ion and Dirge: Rox!

Luther: What is with the mask?

Roxanne: This? Its a mask I made to assume an identity in the Rex Iron fighting tournaments. Kinda like those luchadore fighting rings in Parcia. In the ring, I am "Estrella de Batalla".

Dirge: Whose idea was that???

Lightning Pablo: Mine. My name's Clyde by the way. Clyde Hobbs. My ring name is Lightning Pablo. This is my fighting team.

Three other fighters strike a pose. They each have different kinds of headgear.

Lightning Pablo: Wide Shot, Red Tiger and Hunting Dynamo.

Lanval: Nice to meet you, guys.

???: Well, well, well. If it isn't Angel-Ion.

Angel-Ion, feeling an openly hostile presence behind him, turns around. It is a large, muscular Kylotean man whose body seems to have been cut apart and reattached, and sporting what seems to be a horse's body from his waist down.

~ Dominion of Kyloto ~ Avaloss Voldin: Its been two years since you were last seen. Where have you been cowering?!

Angel-Ion: Voldin?! I figured you'd be dead.

Avaloss: Of course not. My body is better than ever thanks to to Doc Veerlan.

Angel-Ion: Still got that tiger face, then.

Avaloss: Shut the hell up.

As the two Kyloteans begin bickering, watchful eyes look on in the corner. A hooded man talks into a radio device.

~ Azoth Army Elite Horde Commander ~ Helmut Urkhine: It would seem that Luther Visarion and Angel-Ion Enoshima have entered the tournament after all. Yes, Leers and the others are ready for battle. The Moon Stone shall be yours in the end... Lord Azoth.

Luther can hear the crowds outside of the lobby, egging on potential fighters. He walks up besides Phade. 

Luther: Umm... Master? I'm having second thoughts. Do I really have to do this? 

Phade: You want to become stronger don't you?

Luther: Well... Yes but-

Phade: No buts. We haven't come all this way just so you can back out. 

Luther nods and Phade pats him on the back. 

Meanwhile, outside, a car pulls up, and a chauffeur opens the door. A short Asterian man steps out. He's wearing a dark suit with a large purple fur lapel, a matching waistcoat with diamond encrusted buttons, and a silk ascot. He also sports a top hat that covers his short horns, and shiny black shoes with white spats. His hands are covered by delicate purple gloves, and he walks with an ornate metal black cane with a crystal at the top. He has pale blue soulless eyes, and a thin mouth that seems permanently curved into a smug grin. 

He limps towards the building, accompanied by his private security force, and he heads into the lobby. Phade immediately spots him and they both make eye-contact. 

Phade: Luther, go with the others into the prep-room. I'll join you later. 

Luther notices the figure approaching before looking back to Phade. He then obeys and heads off. The Asterian man tells his guards to hold back, and he limps his way towards Phade. 

???: I never thought I'd be seeing you here, Phade. 

His voice is soft, and he has an aristocratic accent. 

Phade: Voran.

~ Chairman of Solera ~ Voran Sicarius: My, It has felt like centuries since we last saw each other. I must say, you aged well. 

Phade: I'm not here for your small talk.

Voran: Oh you're not still bitter are you, darling? 

Phade remains quiet. 

Voran: Who was that young boy you sent along? A protege? 

Phade: Its none of your business.

Voran: He seemed awfully familiar... Hmph, must be seeing things. 

He gives Phade a sly smile. He pulls out a golden pocketwatch and checks the time. 

Voran: My time here is short. I wish you, and your little protege the best. I'll be sure to support you from the stands. 

Voran removes his top hat and gives Phade a theatrical bow. He puts his hat back on, and heads off to encourage the other competitors. 

Phade turns around and heads over to the others.

Luther: So who was that? 

Phade: An old... Accquaintance. Do not trust him.

The Opening

The stands are now filled with Asterians and tourists, and the observers begin to gather in the observation deck. Besides the observation deck, the more comfortable seats fill with industrialists and businessmen, including Voran and his bodyguards, Sal and Mal. Vincent Kerraslav is allocated his own seat, just a few rows in front of Voran. 

The announcer, Lazlo Nielsen, steps towards the front of the observation platform. 

Lazlo: Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the First Annual Combat Tournament! The rules are simple. We have more than one hundred fighters that will be locked in a battle royale! If they are thrown out of the ring, they lose! There are parameters in place to preent the contestants from killing each other. Let's introduce those now shall we? 

Hooded figures in dark robes suddenly appear at the top of the pillars in puffs of black smoke, causing the excitable audience to cheer. 

Lazlo: These are the guardians! They'll deal with any bad-sportsmen swiftly. Now... Shall we bring on our fighters?!

The audience roars, and gates underneath the stand begin to open. Bridges extend from underneath the gates and towards the central ring. The fighters walk out in single file, and then make their way around the edge of the ring towards their designated places.

Lazlo: Amongst these hopeful warriors, we have a number of bloodthirsty powerhouses seeking to take all the glory! First, he's reverred as one of Shem Gikoku's strongest, and a beast in his own right; Zurakiel Ketseuki!

Zurakiel flexes.

Zurakiel: HAAAAAAH!!!

Luther looks at him with contempt. 

Lazlo: He's been causing a buzz in the west. Its the mysterious revolutionary, Mu Eta!

Mu Eta: ...

Lazlo: The former chief commissioner of Novalia's Clockwatch armed forces. Its the great pursuer, Ken Javert!

Javert looks around. He spots Luther, Angel-Ion and Lanval and smiles.

Lazlo: Currently serving under the Pirate King, we have the captain of the Nottingham Pirates, the High Sherriff!

The High Sherriff crosses his arms.

High Sherriff: Hmph.

Lazlo: And finally, we have an assortment of crooks who have an added bite to their bark; its the Wolves Three; Basil, Django and Fenric!

There is a notable boo amongst the crowd as three wolfmen smirk.

Roxanne looks across the arena at the other fighters, and locks eyes with a familiar foe, Vasquez, who seems to be stuck in his werewolf form, but with a bulkier build. He grins and does a throat slashing gesture.

Angel-Ion looks for noteworthy challengers, and spots Mu Eta. Luther spots familiar faces across the arena; Kitsuke and Rakun.

There are several authority figures running around the stands, not knowing what to do regarding one particular fighter.

Lazlo: And as many would recognise, the nefarious terrorist who attacked this very for the past two years! I doubt he's got much of your support. Its Anonymous!

Kerraslav looks on, horrified and also unsure of what to do. The officers in the stands below attempt to cross the bridge, but they are stopped by staff at the arena, who claim that have very specific orders not to allow anyone but the competitors through. 

~ Second Anonymous ~ Adam: Hmph.

The drawbridges are drawn away from the arena.

Lazlo: The prize for winning this battle royale, as well as the title of the "World's Strongest Fighter" and a substantial financial reward, is this rare and valuable gem!

Lazlo unviels a covered box. Two officials remove the cloth covering it to reveal a large, yellow, glowing gem inside a glass case.

Lazlo: The Moon Stone!

The crowds are riled up in excitement.

Lazlo: Once the games begin, everyone has a one minute immunity from elimination. Fighters, are you ready!?

Some fighters let off various war cries. Others remain silent.

Lazlo: Audience! Are you ready!?

The audience cheers.

Lazlo: Then, let the First Annual Combat Tournament... Begin!!

The Tournament Begins

Most of the fighters charge forwards in all directions, seeking to use their one minute immunity to get to the centre of the arena. An official strikes a gong, alerting the end of the immunity.

Vasquez leaps forwards, and clashes with Adam, the first blow in the tournament. Soon, other fighters begin clashing with one another. Javert and Red Tiger exchange in fisticuffs. Zurakiel and an unknown giant barge into each other. A familiar face, Silversole, clashes legs with a female Besmarkian fighter.

People across the board begin unleashing magical offensive attacks; Basil of the Wolves Three fires a red orb from his lower leg, Dirge fires a straight blast, while another familiar face, Leers Mandolin, fires a single shot.

Soon, many of the fighters are locked in combat, with some debris flying everywhere and explosions going off across the plain. Some weaker fighters are flung into the water.

The audience is going wild.

Angel-Ion: Man... Things have sure kicked off now.

He spots Mu Eta clashing with another giant.

Angel-Ion: That guy looks strong!

Angel-Ion flies towards Mu Eta and the giant.

Angel-Ion: Hey you! Fight with me!

Mu Eta: Hmm?!

Arius Mordane blocks Angel-Ion's path.

Arius: Kiah!!

Angel-Ion throws a punch, which Arius dodges. He is barraged with several more, but blocks them all. Angel-Ion goes for a critical hit, sending Arius flying.

Several blasts are fired at once in the same general area by Zambini, a mysterious costumed man and Raichi Strom. From the resulting explosion, a large robot flies out.

~ Lychee Robot #03 ~ Rotavator: ROTA. VATOR. HAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

The robot menace retracts its body and behins spinning, using its flail arms as battering balls as it moves around the arena like a spinning top. Rotavator slams several fighters at once, ringing out three unknown fighters, and launching away Ray, Lightning Pablo and two others.

~ Rogue Venlish Mechanic ~ Sylvester Lychee: Hahaha! That is Rotavator's "Super Survival Instinct"! All of you fools shall be knocked away! (Especially you, Visarion.)

Lazlo: It looks like this robotic menace, Rotavator is causing a riot on the battlefield! Will anyone be able to stop it?!

Rotavator continues to spin, taking out another two fighters. Its rampage is stopped by Adam, who uses his pinpoint accuracy to pin one of its arms to the floor with a kick. Rotavator trips.

Lazlo: Looks like Adam is the one! A nice shot indeed!

Before any more damage can be done, Basil pins down Rotavator's other arm.

Django: Oooh! Well done Basil!

Rotavator crashes to the floor. Basil and Adam back off. Lychee runs over in a panic.

Lychee: R-Rotavator!

~ Resistance Squad Captain ~ Shio Shokuji: Kyiah!

Shio envelopes herself in a blue energy, speeding herself up as she tries to attack Basil. He dodges her attacks, but clearly has trouble keeping his footing.

Basil: Damn!

Shio: Get out of the ring, you mangy dog!

Basil: Just because you're fast doesn't mean you can get cocky!

He jumps up and prepares an energy orb from his lower leg.

Basil: Now take this! Negative Karma Ball!!!

He fires a perfect red orb at Shio. She can barely stop it, and tries to push it back with her full force.

Basil: Here's one more!!!

He fires a second, which collides with and stacks with the first, their combined power finally overwhelms Shio as she is thrown from the arena into the barrier. She falls into the water as the orbs dissipates.

Alex Kromir spots Adam at the other end of the arena. He runs forward at high speed, pushing some of the weaker competitors aside, straight towards Adam who at this stage has his back turned. 

Alex is suddenly tackled by Avaloss, he forces his palm onto Alex's ribcage, knocking him to the ground.

Avaloss: Get up, weakling.

Alex gets up and and creates a small tornado which picks up some of the sand. It flies towards Avaloss, distracting him long enough for Alex to rush him and roundhouse kick him in the face, knocking him over. 

Avaloss: Gch!

He quickly regains his footing thanks to his new extra legs, and grabs Alex by the foot. He slams him down to the ground.

Avaloss: Not too shabby, but the road ends here for you. 

Alex: My quarrel is not with you. I ask that you move aside. 

Alex quickly creates two aerokinetic swords.

Lazlo sees this from the observation deck, and he turns to one of the organisers. 

Lazlo: Is that allowed? 

Organiser: It's technically legal. The rule book didn't take magical constructs into account. 

Avaloss: "Move aside"?! This is a battle royale! You don't pick and choose your opponents, you just fight any bastard who gets in your way!!

Avaloss gets on his all sixes, preparing to charge into Alex. Alex charges forwards, using the wind to increase his speed. Before he gets close to Avaloss however, he quickly jumps high into the air. He then creates a powerful gust of air which he fires down at Avaloss, forcing him flat onto the ground. When Alex lands, he quickly punches Avaloss in the back of his head, slamming his head down against the stone. 

Before Alex can continue to attack, he is hit several times by energy blasts from another assailant. Avaloss gets up.

Avaloss: I didn't ask for help.

Helmut: Oh, I didn't forget about you.

Helmut fires a barrage of energy blasts at both fighters.

Helmut: HAHAHAHA!!! No matter who it is, all shall fall to my fee-- HURF!

A blast fires directly into Helmut's chest, sending him flying.

Dirge: Some people these days.

Avaloss uses this opportunity to get away. When Alex looks, Adam is gone.

Battle Royale

Basil seems locked in combat with one of the giants.

Basil: The next to fall will be you!

The giant snorts out hot air, before throwing his arms forwards to attack Basil. He responds with a barrage of kicks.

Fenric: Go Basil! Knock him off!

Elsewhere, Lightning Pablo, Roxanne and Wide Shot come face to face with Suji Mohoku and Edvin Valder.

Roxanne: Should have figured you two would have made a teamup.

Edvin: Of course. We are both sworn to serve Daz Lothar.

Lightning Pablo: You know these guys?

Roxanne: Yeah. Why don't you call him by his real name? Its "Azoth", remember?

Suji: He has promised the light of justice, unlike Marlon.

Edvin: Why don't you take off those silly masks and fight us properly.

Wide Shot: No way. We wear these masks with honour.

Lightning Pablo: We'll only take them off in shame.

Edvin: Very well. I'll just spare you the trouble of bringing you shame!

Edvin gets out his flute, and plays a tune. A yeti suddenly flies in and tackles Wide Shot, sending him flying into the water. The yeti roars.

Lightning Pablo: No!

Roxanne: A yeti?!

Edvin: This is my new tamed beast, Colossus.

Lightning Pablo and Roxanne ready themselves for a fight. Meanwhile, Basil has lost sight of the giant he was facing.

Django: Basil! Look out behind you!

Basil looks behind him. The giant attempts to grapple him, but Basil jumps up and over him. Both of his legs glow red.

Basil: Take this!

He fires out two of the same orbs from before. The giant catches the first, and begins to slide back when the second stacks against it.

Basil: Here's the finisher! Down you go!

He fires a third orb that stacks against the second. The giant slides back even faster, heading towards the edge of the arena.

Django: Yes!

Fenric: Down goes another fighter!

The giant uses one of his fists to slow himself down. When it proves not to be enough, he adds more pressure to it. He stops at the edge and manages to throw the three orbs away.

???: That was well endured, brother!

The other giant looks on.

Lazlo: Despite our height limitations put in place for the tournament, we managed to get two entrees from the land of the giants, Archontas. They may look big to us, but they are two of the smallest giants around; Magloc the Mighty, and his brother, Ermin the Short!

Ermin, the brother who endured the attack, puts his hand to his face and calls out to Basil.

Ermin: Its a pleasure!

Meanwhile, Luther has been moving near the edge of the arena, attempting to push the weaker fighters over the edge while dodging attacks from the more powerful fighters. A fighter tries to attack Luther from behind, but he is blasted back into the water by a Sabari, who approaches.

~ Sniper Wolf Agent #34 ~ Ronse: I recognise you. You're Luther Visarion.

Luther: You must be mistaken. 

Ronse: Others may believe this lie, but not me.

He assumes a fighting stance.

Ronse: I'll make this quick.

Luther: Hmph.

Luther makes a fighting stance. Ronse blasts himself forwards, heading towards Luther. His fist glows.

Ronse: I'll show you why they call me "Masher"!

Ronse's entire arm enlarges, while his fist gains a set of spikes. He punches down to where Luther is. Luther jumps back narrowly dodging the fist. Luther quickly runs forward, jumps onto his fist and kicks him in the head. 

Ronse: Gah!

As he falls back, he enlarges his other fist and grabs Luther with both of them.

Ronse: Haaaarh!

He slams Luther down into the ground. Luther recovers and releases himself from Ronse's grasp. He quickly blasts him in the chest with a dense ball of fire that explodes on impact, forcing him to let go and fly into the air.

Ronse: Damn it, he's not supposed to be this strong!

Luther then runs forward at high speed and jumps into the air. He then slams both his fists down onto Ronse, sending him hurtling over the edge and into the water.

Elsewhere, Roxanne strikes another female fighter with a kick. The woman blocks it, but she winces in pain. Dirge continually punches Magloc the Mighty's arm. Alex creates an energy shield to block an attack from a masked fighter's rainbow beam. Helmut blasts away Hunting Dynamo. Angel-Ion delivers a powerful kick to Arius, who blocks yet again.

Arius jumps back and fires a barrage of energy blasts at him. Angel-Ion continually hits them all away. Realising this strategy isn't working, Arius stops and flees.

Angel-Ion: Is that all?!

Suddenly, Ermin the Short grapples Angel-Ion from behind, restraining his arms.

Ermin: You seem strong... Come with me. Hehehe!

Angel-Ion: Hey! What the hell are you doing?!

Ermin: Lets fall off together, eh?

Angel-Ion: Shit...! Let go of me!

Ermin: Let's go! Let's go! Let's go drown together!

He reaches the edge of the arena.

Angel-Ion: You can go by yourself! HYAH!

Angel-Ion unleashes a fiery explosion that knocks Ermin back into the water. He uses his wings to fly forwards.

Angel-Ion: Shoot, that was close.

Roxanne and Fenric exchange punches with one another. Soon, Roxanne overpowers him and kicks him in the side of the head. He crashes down to the floor. His tongue sticks out.

Roxanne: What a weakling. Get up.

He is unresponsive.

Roxanne: H-Hey now. Get up.

Lazlo: What's this? Has Estrella killed Fenric?!

The Guardians look ready to disqualify Roxanne. Fenric's eye suddenly flashes open and he flips over with his legs, kicking Roxanne in the chin as he does so. He lands back on the floor, and fires a series of energy balls at her.

Django: That's our Fenric! Playing dead! Now, wring her out!

Fenric: With pleasure!

He increases the firepower, sending her flying over the edge of the arena. Before she can hit the water, however, Lightning Pablo launches himself over and grabs her, before using a shockwave against the air to launch them both back.

Lazlo: That's a nice save from Lightning Pablo!

Lightning Pablo: Its too early to get ringed out, girl.

Fenric: Damn you, wrestler.

Lightning Pablo: Shut up and put 'em up.

Fenric and Lightning Pablo run towards each other and exchange punches. They fight on equal grounds. To keep Roxanne occupied, Django attacks her.

Django: You two are gonna fall off the stage one way or another! Give it up!

Fenric jumps back from Lightning Pablo.

Fenric: Take this! Negative Karma Shooter!

He fires a fast indigo energy ball at Lightning Pablo. It strikes his left shoulder, disabling it.

Fenric: Can't use that arm anymore.

Lightning Pablo: Nice trick, but you forgot one detail.

Fenric: What's that?

Lightning Pablo: I can still use this arm!

Lightning Pablo runs forwards and strikes Fenric's breast with his palm, unleashing a shockwave into it, sending him flying into Django.

Fenric: Damn it all. Switch targets.

Django: Roger.

They both spin around and rush towards their opponents.

Lightning Pablo: No you don't!

Lightning Pablo kicks Django out of his way and forces his palm onto Fenric's back, blasting him away from Roxanne with a shockwave. He whispers something to Roxanne. She starts to run away from the area, and is chased by Django.

Fenric: Time to shut down that other arm!

He fires another indigo orb towards Lightning Pablo. Roxanne stops herself and kicks Django away, causing him to end up back to back with Fenric. He fires his own, turquoise orb at Roxanne.

Lightning Pablo and Roxanne parry their orbs with palm shockwaves, sending them back. The two wolfmen dodge them, but the wrestlers just hit them back again and again, putting more power and speed into them.

Django: Gyh... They're using our own attacks against us!

Fenric: I know, idiot, and they're getting bigger and faster!

Lightning Pablo: Time to retire, wolfmen!

Roxanne catches both orbs with the same hand, merging them together, before throwing them back.

Django: Eeh?!

Fenric: No!

They are hit, and are sent flying over the edge. Before they can hit the water, Basil flies over behind them and kicks them both on the back, sending them back into the arena. He uses the same trick as Lightning Pablo to get himself back to safety.

Basil: Keh!

He fires two straight blasts at them, but they dodge. He flees upon landing. Lightning Pablo clutches his disabled arm.

Roxanne: You saved my neck back there.

Lightning Pablo: We might not have ringed 'em out, but at least we put up a good fight.

???: I agree.

Lightning Pablo: Huh?

The mystery fighter slams Lightning Pablo in the side from behind with his tail. He is sent flying from the arena into the water.

Roxanne: No!!!

~ Sniper Wolf Agent #24 ~ Bayoll Notholirion: I'm afraid he was wide open. I couldn't resist! Ufufufufu!

Roxanne: You're gonna pay for that!

Bayoll: You aren't gonna get me that easily!

He throws down a smoke bomb. When the smoke clears, he is gone.

Meanwhile, Alex is once again in search of Adam, having lost sight of him due to all the chaos. 

???: Hiyaaaah!

Red Tiger flies down towards Alex. Alex hears him coming and quickly creates a defence barrier above him. Red Tiger bounces off of it and crashes onto the floor. He gets up, wipes the dirt off of himself and assumes a stance.

Red Tiger: Your next opponent is ME! Red Tiger! Oooooh!

Alex: You're just an obstacle, blocking my path to a greater threat.

Alex charges forward, his aerokinetic blades in hand. Before reaching Red Tiger, he swipes one of the blades through the air, releasing a powerful gust of wind that pushes Red Tiger further back, and even affects some of the other contestants behind him. 

Red Tiger: Oooh! You're strong. Very strong! But its not enough for Red Tiger!

Red Tiger runs forwards and drop kicks Alex. Alex flips backwards and recovers. He takes a more catious approach, and waits for Red Tiger to attack.

Red Tiger runs forwards. Alex runs forward too, this time he ducks down and slides towards Red Tiger, kicking out one of his legs. Red Tiger grins, and grapples Alex, preventing him from falling.

Red Tiger: Red Tiger Red Suplex!

He tightens his grip before leaping into the air and suplexing Alex into the floor. 

Alex: Agh!

Alex drags himself to his feet.

Alex: Alright... Now you're asking for it!

Alex creates a small but powerful tornado that materialises around Red Tiger. The winds are strong and the tornado acts as a prison of sorts. 

Red Tiger: Hahaha! Such tricks are no match for Red Tiger!

He begins spinning in the opposite direction. It begins to cancel out the tornado. While Red Tiger is distracted trying to cancel out the tornado, Alex charges forward at high speeds and manages to punch Red Tiger hard in the rib-cage, simultaneously creating a powerful blast of air that sends Red Tiger reeling backwards. 

Red Tiger: Agah!

He coughs up blood and gets up. He staggers.

???: Winch!

A hand attached to a tether flies out and grabs Red Tiger by the head, its finger detaches and wraps around his head.

???: Hyah!

The figure swings Red Tiger around, smashing him into various fighters around him, including Alex.

~ Galahad Arms ~ Crimson Bayleaf: Begone, weaklings!

He uses his grapple-arm to throw Red Tiger from the arena, using the swing to send a few others, including Hunting Dynamo and the High Sheriff, out of bounds as well. He retracts his hand back into place.

Alex gets up and creates aerokinetic throwing knives. He then runs towards Bayleaf, hoping to repeat what he did with Red Tiger. 

Bayleaf: That's not gonna work with me, pal.

He launches his grapple arm forwards, and grabs Alex by the face. He pulls Alex towards him and punches him in the gut, making him cough up blood. He then kicks him away.

Elsewhere, Suji and Adam come to blows. They get into a struggle.

Suji: You're quite strong! I like you!

Adam: I don't care.

They both back off.

Suji: Gh... Tenacious bastard.

He runs at Adam again and jumps up, going for a punch. Adam's eyes glow green and he holds his hand up. Suji stops in the air.

Suji: What the...?! What is this trickery?!

Adam: Begone.

Suji is pushed back. He is sent flying from the arena. Adam looks across the playing field, observing some of the key fighters. Luther, Basil, Bayleaf, Angel-Ion, Mu Eta, Helmut, Alex, Dirge, Phade.

Magloc shows up.

Magloc: You! I shall fight you now!

Adam: Another maggot that needs to disappear.

Adam pushes both of his hands out. Magloc begins sliding back.

Magloc: What???

He tries to move forward. His sheer size makes it difficult for Adam to push him. Adam curls his fingers, before throwing his hand forwards. Magloc is struck hard in the gut, sending him flying back, taking out Leers Mandolin as he flies back.

Adam: HYAH!

Adam creates a powerful green wind of sorts that sends both the giant and Leers into the water. 

Meanwhile, Luther is still prowling near the edge of the arena, picking off weaker fighters where he can. 

???: BYAH!!!

An energy wave shoots towards Luther, who quickly creates a defence barrier which splits the wave in two. Luther looks at his new opponent. 

A muscular man with dark skin, long red hair and gold armour around his waist and shoulders appears. On his belt is a jolly roger from a certain crew.

~ Black Stone Pirates ~ El Dragmir: All of those that hang around the edges need to be dropped out. That includes you! BYAAH!!!

His shout alone generates some kind of energy blast from his mouth, which fires towards Luther, who blocks it again with a defence barrier, which quickly dissipates. Luther moves away from the edge by slowly circling around El Dragmir, waiting for him to attack. 

He fires another. Luther this time runs forward and ducks under it, running straight towards El Dragmir. He fires three at once, preparing to punch Luther if necessary. Luther manages to jump over them and he reaches El Dragmir, who in turn, punches him. However his hand phases straight through him, and Luther suddenly vanishes. 

El Dragmir: Eh?

The real Luther then attacks El Dragmir from behind, setting his fist on fire and punching him in the back, creating a small explosion that sends El Dragmir reeling forwards. 

Luther can't help but smile at having been able to use his new trick. 

El Dragmir: Pretty neat trick, pal. Maybe you'll be able to fit right into my crew.

Luther: Unlikely. 

He stomps his foot, and a surge of lightning travels through the ground, and into El Dragmir, sending him upwards into the air. 

El Dragmir: Its a shame. I guess you've gotta drop out then! BYAAAGH!!!

He fires an energy wave more potent than the others down at Luther. Luther runs forward and jumps up towards El Dragmir, narrowly missing the wave. He punches El Dragmir downwards towards the edge. He crashes to the floor, but gets up. He notices that he's near the edge and grits his teeth at Luther, who prepares a magic attack.

???: Rain-Burst Cannon!!!

A rainbow energy beam shoots straight into El Dragmir's stomach and sends him falling back into the water. A confused Luther lands and turns to the attacker, a masked man in a strange costume, bearing a rainbow motif. He performs an elaborate pose, before throwing down a rainbow smoke bomb to flee.

Luther: (Ok... That was... Unexpected...)

The Final Fourty Five

Lazlos: It looks like we're down to just fourty-five fighters now. One of these stronger contenders is gonna make it on top, but who is it going to be?!

Phade encases Ursus Egen in a block of ice.

Phade: It is time for you to drop out.

Phade kicks the block. It slides into the water, where it shatters.

Dirge is stopped by a fighter.

~ El Cerdo Pirates ~ Dr. Rota Van Cliff: A Sabarian! You shall be my next opponent. I'll be using my very special art on you. Prepare yourself, for my power is--

Dirge uses the opportunity to blast Rota from the arena.

Dirge: I don't care.

He turns to see Mu Eta in combat with Zurakiel Ketseuki.

Dirge: ...Who the hell is that guy?!

Rakun and Shin clash.

Rakun: Well, well, well. You've definitely improved under Angel-Ion.

Shin: Thanks for noticing, but could you save the chit chat for later?

Rakun: Can't we have a bit of banter?

Rakun smirks.

Zambini and Ray clash with the two Besmarkian girls. They look strikingly similar to one another.

Zambini: Can I ask a question? Are you two twins?

~ Resistance Fighter ~ Tamara Bystrom: Yeah.

~ Resistance Fighter ~ Tabantha Bystrom: We're the daughters of Lord-Master Levi Bystrom.

Tamara: We're also members of the Resistance. We're the assistant commanders of the West Division.

Ray: West Division? Since when did you have divisions?

Tamara: Kitsuke streamlined the organisation a year ago.

Kitsuke traps Adam in a fire tornado, from which he promptly escapes.

Kitsuke: A man in a mask, eh? Unlike that weirdo in the grey jumpsuit, you don't seem to be hiding your face on the grounds of hiding your identity. Why is that?

Adam: Why I wear this Mask of Order is of no concern to you.

Kitsuke: Fair enough. But is it a concern to him?

Alex is seen running towards Adam, his aerokinetic blades in hand.  When in range, he swings one of the blades forward, prompting Adam to jump away.

Adam: Finally you show yourself, Kromir.

Alex attempts to dash past Adam, his blade outstreched. 

Adam thrusts his palm forwards, creating a straight green wind of sorts ahead of where Alex is headed. Alex creates a strong wind of equal strenght which counters Adam's attack. He runs forward again, this time using the wind to pull Adam towards him.

Adam uses this to his advantage by running towards Alex. He jumps up and plants his foot into Alex's gut. As Alex is knocked back, Kitsuke attempts to smash Adam with his heel, but Adam jumps back.

Adam: Hmph.

Kitsuke: Hey, you. Team up with me.

Alex: Sure. 

Alex assumes a battle stance, and stands next to Kitsuke, awaiting Adam's next move.

Adam: Hmph.

Adam does an elaborate figure gesture and strikes the floor with two fingers. Several walls rise up in front of Adam, who uses his other hand to point towards the two. The walls begin speeding towards them.

Elsewhere, Roxanne fights with a fighter wearing a red and black mask.

~ Rex Iron Fighter ~ Odeon Brass: You have certainly gotten better since the last Rex Iron Tournament, little girl. But it's not enougj for the one and only Odeon Brass!

He does a pose. Some of his fans in the audience cheer.

???: You fighter types are all the same. So flashy and energetic, but poor providers. You belong in the bleachers.

Brass: Wha--

Vasquez kicks Brass in the side, sending him flying into the water. Valder shows up nearby.

Roxanne: You bastard.

Vasquez: You might as well give up. You are far too weak even after going into hiding for two years.

Roxanne: We'll see about that!

She enters a fighting pose.

Vasquez: Tsk. Tsk. It won't be me you're fighting.

Valder plays a tune. Colossus crashes down in front of her. The beast madly roars.

Vasquez: Have fun~.

Vasquez flees. Colossus runs towards Roxanne and attempts to clobber her. She ducks under its attack and punches it in the face three times. It jumps back and then moves in for a grab, but Roxanne swiflty moves away.

Valder: Hmph.

He plays a more elaborate, faster tune. Colossus charges in, raising its fists as it does so. It throws a bunch, which Roxanne blocks. To her horror, the beast begins throwing multiple punches, mirroring her. The monster steps back to go for a final attack while she is dazed. Luther suddenly appears in front of Roxanne, taking the punch by blocking with his Armament-embued arms.

Valder: ?!

Roxanne: L-Luther?!

Colossus struggles. Luther looks deep into the yeti's mind. The monster suddenly begins to sweat, before losing all consciousness.

Valder: W-What?!?!

Helmut: Impossible! He has Willpower?!

Phade nods his head.

Mu Eta hits Zurakiel away and looks in Luther's direction.

Mu Eta: ...

Angel-Ion smirks.

Lazlo: UN-BE-LIEVABLE! Luke Smith has singlehandedly defeated the beast Colossus just by looking at it!

Valder: Get up, Colossus! Get up!!!

Luther then grabs Colossus' leg and throws him out of the arena. 

Voran: Huh... Well this is an interesting development. 

Roxanne towers over Valder, who has fallen over in shock. She cracks her knuckle.

Valder: Uh... I...

Valder is sent flying from the arena.

Wolf's Heart

Shin searches for his next opponent. He spots the masked vigilante from earlier, and runs towards him. Vasquez drops down and blocks the way.

Vasquez: You. I've heard rumours about you! They're saying you're Enoshima's new protege!

Shin: You got that right. I'm Shin, and you've saved me the trouble of finding-- Oomph!

Vasquez slugs Shin in the stomach.

Vasquez: Lets just cut to the part where I beat the shit out of you.

Vasquez begins to pummel Shin.

Elsewhere, Angel-Ion begins looking for his next opponent. He comes face to face with Avaloss.

Avaloss: So you finally decided to show up!

Angel-Ion: Well, sorry to keep you waiting!

They both run at each other with Armament-embued wrists, and both throw a punch.

Meanwhile, Alex and Kitsuke continue their fight with Adam. Adam successfully deflects a fireblast from Kitsuke. Alex brings one of his swords down towards Adam, while the other sword moves in from the side. Adam notices both and throws both palms outwards. Alex and the sword stop in midair. Kitsuke uses this opportunity to fire a powerful blast on Adam's face. He slides back, observing a burn hole on the back of one of his fingerless gloves. He clenches his fist.

Vasquez continues to beat Shin, who is too dazed by his injuries to see where Vasquez is. Vasquez rears back to make a very hard punch.

Helmut: That's enough, Vasquez. Throw him out of the ring.

Vasquez: Urgh. Fine.

Vasquez grabs Shin by the head and lifts him up. He then kicks Shin away. He lands near the edge.

Angel-Ion feels a sudden, but familiar disturbance, allowing Avaloss to slug him across the face.

Avaloss: Keep your head in the game, Enoshima! Hahaha!

Vasquez notices that Shin hasn't gone off of the edge. He walks over to him.

Vasquez: Get lost. You don't belong.

He tries to kick, but finds his ankle has been grabbed by Shin.

Vasquez: What the...?! Let go of me!

Shin starts convulsing in dark red energy.

Vasquez: ?!

Vasquez breaks free and jumps back.

Vasquez: Damn you...

Shin lumbers to his feet. As Avaloss pins Angel-Ion to the ground, Angel-Ion tries to reach out.

Angel-Ion: Ghh... I have to stop it!

Avaloss: What on earth are you mumbling about?!

Shin suddenly roars and explodes into energy. His rar turns very beastly. Soon, a large werewolf-like figure bearing a semblance to him appears in his place. He opens his blood red eye and howls.

Suddenly, Shin speeds across the battlefield, striking Vasquez in the gut the same way he did earlier, sending him flying. Before he can fly off of the arena platform, however, he is caught in a magic net made by Helmut.

Shin roars, before creating a red energy sphere in his hands above his head. He smashes it down onto the ground, sending a shockwave across the battleground, causing massive cracks, some of which tilt.

Ro Umi, who is stuck on a tilting rock near the edge of the arena, falls into the water, to the shock of his opponent, Lanval. Shin then begins firing out many energy blasts from his body in all directions. One such explosion lands near Avaloss and Angel-Ion, separating them.

A stray blast crashes into Tamara and Tabantha, sending them flying out of the arena. Another stray blast heads towards Adam, who blocks it with his power. A third stray blast heads towards Mu Eta, who seemingly destroys it with a blast from his eyes. He begins to move.

Rakun confronts Shin.

Rakun: Alright, you've gotta stop this, Shin!

Angel-Ion regroups with Ray and Hector.

Hector: What the hell is going on?!

Angel-Ion: He's transformed into a Wereform. He hasn't got any mastery of it yet, which is why he's acting unhinged!

Ray: He's your student, stop him!

Angel-Ion: That's not gonna be easy. I had a hard time stopping it before.

Angel-Ion looks down at one of his chest scars.

Ray: Maybe this is a good thing... Maybe his Wereform power will help whittle down the remaining fighters.

Phade: This is bad. If he can't control his actions, there is no doubt that he'll end up killing somebody. If he does that, he'll be disqualified.

The guardians observe in silence.

Rakun falls to the ground, having been brutally beaten by Shin. The monster jumps down onto him.

Rakun: GYAH!!

Shin stands up and picks up Rakun. He blasts him away, sending him out of bounds.

Arius: That thing's causing a riot, eh?

Mu Eta: ...

Arius: I should do something.

Arius readies himself.

Mu Eta: No. I'll go.

Arius: Are you sure, Supreme Commander?

Mu Eta flies in. Shin sees Angel-Ion's group and rushes towards them.

Angel-Ion: Here he comes!

Angel-Ion, Ray and Hector prepare for battle. Before Shin can reach them, a blue energy sphere hits him from the side. As he flies away, the sphere expands. It hits the barrier outside of the ring, where it explodes. As he falls, an unconcious Shin reverts back to his normal form. He lands in the water. Phade descends and looks at Mu.

Phade: ... You...

Mu vanishes, not opting to engage the four warriors.

Lazlo: T-That sure was an interesting spectacle, folks...

Burning Battlefield

Adam, Alex and Kitsuke resume their fight. Adam sends a series of walls at the two. Alex quickly jumps onto the top of one of the walls before jumping towards Adam, slamming both his swords down towards him. Adam counters with his power. He sends Alex flying back towards Kitsuke, who catches him.

Kitsuke: We clearly need a strategy with this guy...

Alex nods. He creates a powerful gust of wind that blows sand towards Adam, ensuring that it gets in his eyes, and distracting him long enough for Kitsuke to attack. 

Kitsuke runs in, aided by the wind, embuing his fists with Armament and setting them on fire. He throws a punch, which explodes. When the smoke clears, Adam has blocked the attack.

Adam: Did you think that attack would work? My vision is not impaired.

Alex's grip on his swords tightens.

Alex: Any other approaches you had in mind? 

Kitsuke: I have one. We both need to use some kind of attack that will completely surround him.

Alex makes a gesture towards Adam, and it isn't long before a tornado begins to form around him. 

Adam: How many more times must I--

Adam notices Kitsuke on the other side of him. He creates a fire tornado on top of Alex's normal one. The tornado begins to contract, pulling Kitsuke's fire with it, and getting closer to Adam. 

Kitsuke and Alex begin running around the circumference of the tornado, creating multiple blades of fire and wind respectively. They both stop.

Kitsuke: Now!

At the same time, both fighters direct their attacks to Adam, creating a massive fiery explosion as the swords and tornados clash at once.

Kitsuke: Yeah!

The fire begins contracting inwards.

Alex's eyes widen, but he remains focused. 

Kitsuke: W-What?!

The fire is compressed into a ball, which hovers in a soot-laden Adam's hand.

Kitsuke: That's impossible!

Adam: Was that all?

Alex: Old school then. 

Alex gets into a more practical battle stance, and spins his swords in his hands a few times, before starting to run.

Kitsuke: Wait! Stop!

Adam: You are a fool.

Adam jumps towards Alex with the sphere in hand. He slams it down right in front of Alex, consuming them both and Kitsuke in another fiery explosion. Adam springs back from the explosion as Kitsuke and Alex are launched from the arena. Adam walks away, towards the ongoing battles.

Elsewhere, Luther and Roxanne have cornered Vasquez.

Vasquez: C'mon then, Princess, show me what yer made of!

Vasquez raises his fists against Luther.

Luther: So, what is Azoth's lapdog doing here? 

Luther raises his fists too, apparently mimicking Vasquez' stance. 

Vasquez: You should know what *we're* here for, Visarion! The Moon Stone is ours!

Vasquez embues his fists with Armament and charges towards Luther.

Luther creates a bright flash which causes Vasquez to cover his eyes, and charge forwards blindly. Luther then sidesteps and imbues his fist with lightning before punching Vasquez in the back. The lightning is released and it blasts Vasquez forward. 

Vasquez is stopped by a spider net, as Luther is kicked aside by another attacker. Luther quickly turns to face his new attacker. 

Helmut: Quit messing around, Vasquez. We've got a job to do.

Vasquez recovers.

Vasquez: Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Just try not to get in my way.

Luther: (Ok... Two versus one... Hardly fair). 

Luther quickly fires two blue bolts of energy at Vasquez. Once they hit him, he finds that both of his legs have become encased in ice, and frozen to the ground of the arena. Luther then creates an ice dagger and runs towards Helmut. 

Vasquez uses his absurd strength to break free, before pursuing Luther as Helmut's hands and feet set ablaze with green fire. Vasquez grabs Luther's leg, tripping him. Helmut tries to attack Luther as well, but is tackled by Roxanne. He slides along the ground, landing near the edge.

Helmut: Grrr...

Roxanne: Time for you to go out of bounds.

Roxanne runs forwards and tries to punch him, but he jumps back. Rather than going into the water, Helmut sprouts two bat-like wings and elevates.

Helmut: That's not gonna cut it, girl!

He makes a hand gesture and rotates his palms, creating a kadeiloscopic illusion around himself, which distracts Roxanne.

Roxanne: What the...?

Helmut gets behind her and delivers a powerful kick to her back, sending her flying from the arena. He turns to Vasquez and Luther.

Luther scowls at them both. He throws the ice dagger towards Vasquez, and it strikes him in the shoulder. He winces in pain and forcibly rips it out. Luther runs towards him, lighting his fist on fire, and punching him hard in the face when he gets in range. Vasquez slides back.

Vasquez: Grr... You just got lucky!

Vasquez embues his arms in Armament and throws punches at Luther. He dodges some of the punches, while creating small energy barriers to block others. Vasquez manages to push forward and grab Luther, wrapping his arm around his neck and holding him in front of him. 

Helmut creates a bow from solid green light and draws a bowstring. An arrow made of pure green fire appears on it, and he fires it straight at Luther while Vasquez is holding him. Luther quickly gets one of his hands free, and punches Vasquez' injured shoulder. The pain is immense, and causes Vasquez to drop Luther, who quickly dives out of the way as the arrow heads for Vasquez.

Vasquez backhands it, destroying it. Helmut's hand darkens. He punches down. Suddenly, an enourmous fist of shadow punches upwards beneath Luther. He quickly steps back but is still thrown back a bit. He creates a large wave of fire that heads towards Helmut.

Helmut opens some kind of mysterious portal, which consumes the fire. He creates eight dark shards in his fingers, which he throws forwards. They all home in on Luther, who quickly creates an wall of ice to block them. Vasquez tackles Luther through the ice wall.

Luther imbues his arm with Armament and uses the opportunity to strike Vasquez on the back of his head. He falls down, unconscious. Before Luther can do anything else to him, Helmut flies in and kicks him away, before creating a cloud of smoke. When the smoke clears, they are gone.

There is a brief silence, but soon, the sounds of cackling become heard in three directions. Luther looks towards the different sources of the cackling. The Wolves Three emerge.

Django: Your time is up, Luke Smith.

Basil: Or should we say Luther Visarion?

Fenric cracks his knuckles.

Fenric: Those two softened you up for us. Hehehe.

Luther remains silent and just scowls at Fenric, before assuming a battle stance. The three werewolves make a quick fighting stance before running around in a circle around Luther. He quickly notes that the circle is getting smaller.

Luther surrounds himself with a cylinder of fire that explodes outwards, striking all of the three attackers. They suddenly fade away, illusions.

Luther: (That's my trick!)

They each dive forwards from afar and dive-kick into Luther. Luther quickly moves to the side, allowing the three to dive down. They all land, roughly in the same area and Luther creates a large and powerful ball of fire that flies towards the three. It crashes into them. They take the pain, before leaping high into the air.

All Three: Negative Blitzer!

Their legs coat in energy. They then fire down several orbs coloured similarly to their fur. Each orb explodes on contact. Luther creates a small defence barrier dome that protects him. The orbs explode, and the three attackers land. Luther leaps out of the smoke, catching Basil off guard, before punching him in the jaw, his fist infused with lightning. Basil is sent flying back towards the edge of the arena. He stops himself from falling from the edge. He growls, and his accomplices land next to him.

Basil: You're awfully tenacious.

???: Damned bastard!!!

Vasquez reappears behind Luther, attempting to crush him under the weight of his strength out of rage, clearly in revenge for earlier. Luther quickly turns around before using both hands to create a powerful bolt of lightning that strikes Vasquez in the chest.

Ignorant of this injury, Vasquez carries out the attack, but Luther jumps out of the way. Basil grins and rushes forwards, kicking Luther in the back. His comrades follow suit, both of them kicking Luther around like a football. He flies forwards, where he sees Helmut ready to shoot another fire arrow at him. Luther creates a small barrier around himself and Helmut fires his arrow. The arrow strikes the shield, and Helmut's flames engulf the surrounding area, whereas Luther remains safe. The five fighters surround Luther.

Fenric: What's your game?!

Vasquez: Team up with us.

Basil: Why should we?

Vasquez: Don't you wanna have some fun?

Basil smirks.

Basil: Of course we do!

All five of them fly in at once for an attack

Luther quickly raises his arm up in the air. Electricity surrounds his arm, and powerful bolts of lightning fly from his hand, striking the five fighters as they fly towards him. However the bolts don't stop, and the fighters find themselves being struck my a continuous stream of lightning, causing them to tense up and writhe around on the ground. Vasquez suddenly forces himself to his feet, followed by the other werewolves, leaving Helmut to struggle.

Vasquez: Grr... Why won't you just fall already!

Luther: I'm not going to fall to the likes of you. 

Luther lifts up his other arm, and repeats the process, doubling the power of the lightning surging towards Vasquez and the werewolves. They jump out of the way of the attack. Luther attempts to go after Vasquez, but finds that his legs have been binded by Helmut's magic.

Vasquez: Hahaha! I have you now!!

Vasquez leaps in for an attack. Before he can get close, however, he is kicked aside by a red figure, who fires a small fireball at Luther's legs, freeing him.

Angel-Ion: Hello there~.

Vasquez: Grr... The Kylotean.

Angel-Ion: How's it hanging, Luth?

Luther: Thank you for the assistance. It's more fair now. 

They both ready themselves. The werewolves and Helmut similarly follow suit.

Angel-Ion and Vasquez move in at the same time and butt heads. Angel-Ion grins while Vasquez grimaces. Helmut flies in with another light bow, this time with a shock arrow. Angel-Ion notices this and spins around with Vasquez. Helmut stops himself from firing. Using that as an opportunity, he spins round and around again and throws Vasquez at Helmut.

At the same time, the Wolves Three and Luther make their move. The werewolves attempt to surround Luther and move around in a triangular formation.

Luther creates a long ice pole which he spins above his head. The pole suddenly doubles in length, striking all three over their heads. They crash to the floor. Basil's legs glow red.

Basil: Take this! HAAH!!!

He fires two energy spheres at Luther, simlar to those from before. Luther runs towards Basil. He hits both the spheres with the ice pole, knocking them away, and breaking the ice in the process. Basil coats his fists in Armament and begins throwing punches at Luther. Luther paces backwards, dodging all the punches. As Basil throws a punch, Luther quickly ducks and punches him hard in the stomach after imbuing his own fist with Armament. Basil quickly responds with a similar slug to the gut, trying to stop himself from coughing up saliva. Luther jumps back, and finds himself back-to-back with Angel-Ion, who has similarly landed several hits on Vasquez. 

Angel-Ion: Oh hey.

Luther: Hey.

Vasquez: Grr... Why can't I beat him?!

Helmut: Vasquez, we should retreat for now!

Helmut grabs Vasquez' wrist.

Vasquez: Let go of--

Helmut: Remember the plan! We have to win to get our hands on the others. Then we'll regroup with the others with the bomb to send into Tythan.

Angel-Ion's eyebrow twitches. They disappear in a puff of smoke.

Basil: Grrr... Wimps! C'mon, boys! Let's finish this!

Django and Fenric regroup with Basil.

Basil: Its time for our special attack!

Angel-Ion: Bring it on!

All Three: Negative Wolfgang Wave!!!

They all fire a stream of light energy at the two. Luther and Angel-Ion respond to it with a powerful burst of ice and fire energy respectively. The attacks quickly clash, but the duo's attack begins to overpower the Wolves Three.

Basil: Eh?!

Fenric and Django: EH?!

They try to implement more power, but their beam is overtaken, and they are engulfed. An explosion sends them flying into the water out of bounds.

Luther smirks.

Angel-Ion: Hmph.

Raising the Stakes

Zambini is locked in combat with Arius Mordane, who is struggling to keep up with his magic.

Zambini: I'm sorry, but you've gotta drop out now.

Arius: Gah! God damn it!!

Zambini fires a shot of light at him. It explodes, and Arius is launched from the arena.

Zambini uses a hand gesture to scope out his next opponent.

Zambini: Now to take out your friend...

Zambini locks onto Mu Eta. He fires a light shot. It stops short of reaching Mu Eta, who creates a hexagonal blue energy barrier, without fully focusing.

Zambini: W-What?

Mu Eta fires it back at a much higher speed.

Zambini: Gyah!

He jumps out of the way.

Zambini: This guy's certainly intense...

???: Begone from the stage, weakling.

Zambini: ?!

Avaloss appears behind Zambini.

Zambini: Y--

Avaloss turns and kicks Zambini very hard with his back legs, sending him flying off of the stage. He turns and gazes at Mu Eta.

Mu Eta: Just who is this guy?!

Meanwhile, Vasquez and Helmut recuperate in the arena centre.

Helmut: Seems that those three have been ringed out.

Vasquez: Who cares?

???: Kiyaah!!

A figure flies down, attempting to kick Vasquez. Vasquez dodges it and turns to the opponent.

~ Resistance Archer ~ Yagyu Ishida: What are you losers plotting?!

Helmut: Pardon?

Yagyu: I heard about your so-called bomb scheme. Now spill the beans!

Vasquez: You wanna know, huh? I'll tell you.

Vasquez scrapes some sand and throws it in Yagyu's face.

Yagyu: Wha--

Vasquez grabs Yagyu by the throat and lifts him off of the ground. He brings Yagyu to his eye level and glares with a psychotic smile.

Vasquez: We're gonna blow Promethia sky-high!

He slams Yagyu onto the ground, before running him through some of the arena.

Vasquez: Now, never bother us again!

He throws Yagyu into the air and then kicks him, flinging him from the arena.

Helmut: I've told you about overboard.

Vasquez: Do I care?

Helmut: Perhaps not, but I am aware that, Enoshima, at the very least, heard of the bomb ploy. That should allow Master Azoth to take what belongs to him without a problem.

Vasquez: Then why can't we go full guns blazing?

Helmut: Because Master Azoth wants the Moon Stone as well.

Vasquez: Hmph.

Elsewhere, Ray manages to dispatch an unknown fighter.

Ray: That's another one out.

Fighter: Oh yeah? You're next!

Ray: Hmm?

Another nameless fighter attempts to rush into Ray, but he jumps out of the way. The foolish fighter tries to stop himself so he doesn't fall.

Fighter: Nonono! Stop! STOP!

He manages to stop, short of the edge of the arena.

Fighter: *Phew*

Suddenly, an unseen force kicks him in the back, sending him falling off.

Fighter: GYAH!

Ray: Heh... So he self-destructed.

Suddenly, Ray is attacked by a flurry of punches by an unseen force.

Ray: What the...?!

He jumps back and raises his fists.

Ray: Who's there?!

He is attacked yet again, this time being overwhelmed.

???: Get lost.

Ray: What is going o--

Ray is slugged in the face, before being tossed out of bounds. Dirge notices this.

Dirge: An invisible enemy, eh?

He flees. Meanwhile, Lanval and Javert struggle to land any hits on Zurakiel.

Javert: Damn it all!

Lanval: I guess normal punches don't work on you, big guy?

Zurakiel: No punches work on me! I have no match! Begone!

Zurakiel launches forwards and punches down, breaking part of the arena apart. Lanval and Javert jump back.

Lanval: Damn it...

Adam suddenly shows up and jumps onto Zurakiel's shoulders.

Zurakiel: Oi!

Adam forces his palm forwards, sending the two fighters flying back.

Javert: What the hell is this!?

Lanval: Shiiiiit!!!

They fly out of bounds.

Zurakiel: You!

He punches down. Adam jumps back.

Adam: You're just another pawn in the machinations of fate.

Adam hears an approach from behind.

Adam: Hmm?

Luther and Angel-Ion approach them.

Adam: I see.

Adam vanishes.

Zurakiel: Grrr... Bastard... Nevermind, I'll just crush you two instead!

Angel-Ion: I'll leave him to you, Luth.

Angel-Ion flies back. Zurakiel snorts. Luther stares Zurakiel down and waits for his move. Zurakiel charges forwards. Luther runs forward too, and creates a small mound of ice in front of Zurakiel which he trips over. Luther charges his fist with lightning and jumps forward. He punches the back of a falling Zurakiel's head, slamming it down onto the ground, and he lands behind him. 

Zurakiel springs up and turns to Luther.

Zurakiel: I remember you... You're the one I almost killed in Baise two years ago.

Luther: Almost.

Luther assumes his battle stance. 

Luther: I've come much farther since then. 

Zurakiel: Only because you had others to hold your hand!

Zurakiel assumes a battle stance. Luther remains still, while Zurakiel charges forwards, arms outstretched in front of him. An intense wall of flames appears in front of him. Zurakiel charges straight through it and towards Luther, but his hands go straight through him, revealing it to be nothing more than an illusion. Luther, who has moved behind Zurakiel puts both of his hands together, and his arms charge with lightning. He releases a particularly powerful bolt which strikes Zurakiel, causing him to seize up and drop to his knees, as well as leaving a severe burnmark on his back. Luther then runs towards Zurakiel, jumping up onto his back and imbuing his fists with Armament. He then begins to strike Zurakiel's head repeatedly in an attempt to knock him out.

Pissed, Zurakiel snorts and lets off a shockwave from his body. He turns and backhands Luther, who quickly recovers. Luther quickly creates an ice dagger and sticks it in the back of Zurakiel's leg, keen to prevent him from getting up. Zurakiel falls down on one leg. He growls.

Luther: (He's actually going down?)

Luther then encases Zurakiel's lower body in ice, freezing him to the ground. He can't help but smirk as he walks up to him. 

Luther: Hmmph. "Weakling."

Zurakiel: Grrr... You're gonna pay for this!!!

Luther charges up both of his arms and puts them together, preparing a lightning blast designed to blast Zurakiel over the edge. Zurakiel builds up fiery pressure and explodes into a rage, destroying the ice and a piece of the arena, and making Luther fall back. He begins running towards Luther. Luther releases the lightning, once again bring Zurakiel down. He decides that is the best approach for incapacitating him and releases a continuous flow of electricity which causes Zurakiel to writhe on the ground. 

His smile widens and he walks closer, continuing to electrocute Zurakiel. Eventually, his seething rage seems to fade, and Zurakiel begins to feel limp. Several Guardians look towards the scene. Luther notices this and stops before deciding it's time to try and remove Zurakiel from the arena. He imbues his leg with Armament, and goes to kick Zurakiel in the chest. Before his leg can even reach Zurakiel, the behemoth suddenly grabs ahold of it. He looks up at Luther and snorts.

Zurakiel: Weakling, am I?!

Luther: (Shit)

He stands up and smashes Luther around several times.

Zurakiel: The only weak one is you, Visarion!

He grabs Luther by the arms. He becomes so embroiled in rage that he begins to pull Luther's limbs outward. Luther squirms and lashes out with his free leg, kicking Zurakiel in the face repeatedly. He lets go. He puts his fists together and tries to smash Luther with them. Luther goes on the defensive and quickly rolls to the side, dodging the fists. Zurakiel embues his entire arms in Armament, and swings his arms down. The flooring underneath Luther is destroyed, causing him to lose his footing. Zurakiel then punches Luther hard in the gut, sending him flying back.

Luther: (Dammit!)

Luther slowly recovers having been winded, and staggers to his feet, by which point Zurakiel has already arrived. He slams Luther in the gut again, launching him upwards. Luther quickly creates another ice dagger, and prepares to stab Zurakiel as he falls. Zurakiel begins breathing fire, creating a large pillar of flames. Luther manipulates the fire, causing it to dissipate as he falls. He charges his fist with lightning and punches Zurakiel in the face before landing safely. Zurakiel quickly recovers, and grabs Luther by the neck.

Zurakiel: How about I take away these arms, just so you won't do that sparkly attack anymore.

Zurakiel uses his other hand to grab Luther's right shoulder.

Luther just looks at Zurakiel with complete contempt, before creating very small ice shards which he launches towards Zurakiel's face in order to distract him. He drops Luther to cover his eyes. Luther continues to create small shards of ice that form a fine mist, and send them towards Zurakiel. Zurakiel counters it with his hot breath. Luther attempts to cast the paralysis spell on Zurakiel. Zurakiel effortlessly breaks free and tackles Luther. He picks him up by the shoulder and begins to beat him in the chest. He then slams down onto the floor on top of Luther. He stands up and looks down at Luther. He leans towards Luther menacingly.

Zurakiel: Get up.

He slams his foot on Luther's back as he tries to get up.

Zurakiel: Did you not hear me, little man? I said get up!

Zurakiel's harsh words stand out to Luther, but he suddenly finds himself clenching his fist, and for the first time in roughly two years, he hears his alter-ego speaking. 

Voice: Let me take this one... Friend.

Luther: What!? You!?

Luther's demeanour changes. He seems more relaxed and confident as the alter-ego begins to take control. Luther looks up at Zurakiel with piercing eyes before a smug smile stretches across his face. He grabs Zurakiel's foot and releases a surge of electricity designed to incapacitate him. 

Zurakiel growls, clearly pained by this.

Luther stands up. A large defence barrier surrounds the two.

Luther: I'm really going to enjoy this. Wouldn't want others interrupting me. 

Luther creates a large ice club which he slams down on Zurakiel's head, smashing it against the ground. He creates thin spikes of ice that loom above Zurakiel, and come down at high speeds onto his hands and feet, impaling them and pinning him to the ground. 

Luther: "Get up."

Luther kicks Zurakiel, releasing a bolt of lightning each time he does so. 

Luther: ""Didn't you hear me little man? Get up!"

Luther notices Zurakiel getting angrier, and steps back, anticipating his next move. Zurakiel breaks the ice pinning him to the ground and staggers to his feet before charging at Luther in a blind rage. Luther stands still and smirks. Zurakiel prepares to punch Luther, but Luther releases a bolt of lightning into Zurakiel's, sending him flying into the defence barrier. 

Zurakiel: GrrrRAAAAAH!!!

Luther runs towards Zurakiel, imbuing his arm with Armament. With all his strength, he throws a punch towards Zurakiel. Zurakiel raises his arms, quickly embuing them in Armament. Luther's fist clashes with Zurakiel's defense.

Elsewhere, Mu Eta turns at looks in the direction of the fight.

Mu Eta: ...

Luther uses enough force to push Zurakiel through the defence barrier, breaking it, and sending him sliding across the ground.

Zurakiel: I have had enough of this!

Zurakiel spreads his wings out.

Zurakiel: Time to go out of bounds!

Zurakiel launches himself forwards. He speeds towards Luther, preparing to grab him. A wall of ice suddenly appears in front of Luther, with large ice spikes protruding from it. Ignoring this, Zurakiel melts the spikes and tears straight through the wall. However Zurakiel hits something harder and immediately bounces back, having just struck a defence barrier Luther created behind the wall. 

He stops himself and springs forwards, headbutting the barrier and putting full force into it. Luther imbues his left fist with armament. As Zurakiel pushes against the barrier with his head, Luther dissipates the it, and Zurakiel moves forward at high speed, almost tripping as he does so. Before he can hit, Luther slams his fist with all his strength into Zurakiel's face, sending him flying towards the edge.

Zurakiel gets up, holding his head as he tries to recover from motion confusion and the blow to his head. Luther stomps the ground and a surge of lightning to travels through the arena floor and explodes upwards when it gets to Zurakiel's area. 

Zurakiel: ...?!

He falls back into the water. 

Luther: Now who's the weakling? 

Zurakiel blows a fuse, gritting his teeth while snarling. The water around him begins to boil.

Luther blinks several times as the alter-ego begins to subside, and he regains control of his body. He is visibly shaken by what has just overcome him. 

Luther: (Ok... Calm down. I'll bring this up with Phade after the fight. Now I have to concentrate on the tournament.)

Elsewhere, Avaloss observes.

Avaloss: You lost to a weakling? How pathetic.

Angel-Ion: Oi, that's my friend you're talking about.

Avaloss: Enoshima... You've saved me the trouble of finding you!

Avaloss charges forwards and attempts lunging Angel-Ion, who jumps to the side before jumping onto Avaloss' back.

Avaloss: Get off of me!

Angel-Ion: I couldn't help myself! You're a horse now!

Avaloss: KYAH!!

Avaloss unleashes pressure that throws Angel-Ion off of him.

Angel-Ion: Still got some anger issues I see--

While Angel-Ion is talking, Avaloss lunges him again, this time planting his hand into Angel-Ion's gut. He runs forwards with him. Angel-Ion, in turn, grabs him by the neck.

Angel-Ion manages to stop Avaloss. They trade blows, but get into a struggle. They both jump back, avoiding blasts from other fighters, realising they have just stepped into a warzone.

Angel-Ion turns to find Bayoll and an Orochi clansman. Avaloss turns to find Rotavator and the costumed man from earlier. All six of the fighters charge forwards at once.

Elsewhere, Vasquez and Helmut search for an opponent.

Vasquez: Hey, look. Another fool hanging around on his own.

Vasquez points out Mu Eta.

Helmut: Uhh... I don't think that's a--

Vasquez: YOU'RE MINE!! HAHAHA!

He charges forwards, eager to attack his new opponent. Mu Eta notices him and just stand there.

Vasquez: Ha! He won't move because he is afraid!

Vasquez strikes down. He suddenly realises that Mu Eta has moved behind him. Mu's eyes flash blue. Vasquez is suddenly struck by a number of invisible strikes from all directions. He coughs up saliva.

Vasquez: You damn bast--

Vasquez tries to turn and attack, but finds Mu directing his palm at Vasquez' chest.

Mu Eta: Its over.

Mu fores a simple blue blast that launches Vasquez back. It expands, carrying Vasquez over the edge of the water. He collides with the barrier, and is suddenly electrocuted by the sphere, which promptly explodes. An unconscious Vasquez falls into the water, smoke trailing from his mouth.

Mu turns to Helmut.

Helmut: Damn you...

He throws down a smoke bomb. When the smoke clears, he is gone.

Meanwhile, Angel-Ion and Avaloss manage to get away from the conflict, and begin fighting one on one again. Avaloss begins using Armament, which Angel-Ion soon follows in suit. The latter begins beating the former towards the edge.

Avaloss: You won't win...!

Angel-Ion: Looks like I am!

Angel-Ion jumps back and spreads out his wings. He springs forwards and heads directly underneath Avaloss, pushing him upwards and backwards. While pushing him, Angel-Ion moves his hand upwards, and strikes Avaloss in the chin, making him fall back towards the water.

Avaloss: I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS, ENOSHIMA!!!

Angel-Ion does a backwards loop and lands perfectly on the arena floor, posing as if he has just done a circus acrobat trick. The crowd cheer wildly. He bows.

Intense Brawl

From a distance, the Orochi clansman from before, alongside his comrade, prepare a pair of blasts that could blast Angel-Ion from the stage, whilst his back is turned. Luther quickly jumps into the fray and hits away one of the blasts. Phade appears and simultaneously hits away the other.

They both assume fighting poses.

~ Orochi Clansman ~ Surumi Kyodai: Tch. Foolish people should be knocked off of the stage!

~ Orochi Clansman ~ Karugo Kyodai: We'll knock you off if needs be!

Angel-Ion, unaware of the attempted attack, heads off to find a new opponent.

Luther: Seems odd that traditionalist fighters like you would attack someone with their back turned. 

Karugo: Any fighter of the arena knows that not all fights are fair, even if it means being cheap.

Surumi: We'll be taking you down by the end of this!

The two brothers charge forwards. Luther and Phade similarly do the same.

Meanwhile, Angel-Ion runs into Dirge, who appears to be on edge.

Angel-Ion: What's wrong with you?

Dirge: There's an invisible fighter here.

Angel-Ion: Invisible?

Angel-Ion senses a presence.

Angel-Ion: You're right... I can feel a presence, but they're masking their power.

Angel-Ion is suddenly hit by strikes from an unseen force, he is sent backwards.

Dirge: Watch out!

Angel-Ion holds his ground and reaches out. He suddenly grabs something.

???: Tch. Let go!

Angel-Ion smirks.

Angel-Ion: Found you.

Angel-Ion throws a punch in front of him. He hits the invisible figure in the stomach.

???: Urk!

The figure jumps back. At that moment, Dirge begins firing blasts around the radius.

Angel-Ion: What are you doing? Blindly attacking not gonna work! It's just gonna make it harder to see him.

Dirge: It might make it harder to see, but the dust isn't gonna make it harder to see him!

Angel-Ion figures it out.

Angel-Ion: I see!

Angel-Ion scopes around the dust clouds. He sees a figure covered in dust.

~ Invisible Fighter ~ Fuzai Mushoku: What gives?!

Angel-Ion: There you are!

Fuzai: Huh?!

Angel-Ion kicks him hard across the face. He flies out of bounds. A Kylotean emerges, his invisibility wearing off.

Fuzai: Damn it!

Angel-Ion and Dirge high five each other.

Elsewhere, Karugo fires an energy wave at Luther from his mouth as he flies towards him. Luther moves to his right, but the wave seems to follow Luther as he moves. Luther creates a barrier several metres in front of him that destroys the wave, and then dissipates as Luther approaches. Karugo suddenly plants a kick into Luther's side, launching him into the floor. Phade and Surumi exchange a series of punches, with Phade on the defensive, slowly getting knocked back by Surumi's hard punches.

Phade: Damn.

Surumi lifts his leg high above Phade and slams it down on his shoulder, sending him crashing to the floor. He manages to land on his feet, but clutches his shoulder.. Surumi forms an energy blade around his hand and flies towards Phade, attempting to strike him.

Surumi: Got you!

Luther intercepts his attack by grabbing his wrist. Surumi attempts to punch Luther with his free hand, but Phade fires a blast at him under Luther's arm. The blast begins to push Surumi, but it is shot by a similar blast from Kaeugo, saving him from flying too far. They both land nearby.

Luther: Are you ok?

Phade: Heh. Yeah.

He spins his arm around. Elsewhere, Angel-Ion and Dirge are searching for a new opponent.

Angel-Ion: So what exactly have you been up to for these past two years?

Dirge: Is this the right time to be talking about this?

Angel-Ion: I guess not.

Dirge: Well... Karen and I sought out some of those shrines. We know a lot more than what we previously did about this world. What about you?

Angel-Ion: Uhh...I beat up some animals.

Dirge: Is that it?

Angel-Ion: The beasts on Zero Isle were pretty tough.

Dirge: I take it that Shin's... Transformation from earlier contributed to that.

Angel-Ion: Yeah... I can't get over how he ended up being one of the two strongest things I had to go up against on the island.

Dirge: What was the other one?

Angel-Ion: Remember that one carnotaur that attacked us?

Dirge: Barely.

Angel-Ion: Somehow it ended up becoming the dominant predator on the island... Too bad I came along to kick it down a level. I named her Rudy.

Dirge: Ok... So you were basically taming animals for two years.

Angel-Ion: Six months.

Dirge: Huh?

Angel-Ion: We left after six months. After I tamed everything on the island, and figured out my ancestor's work, we went to train in Ancora for a bit, and then we went over to Isoria.

Dirge: Why? What's there?

Angel-Ion: Some guy in Ancora said that it was a good place to train. Its natives are surprisingly strong... Though, I can faintly recall seeing some technology in the southern part of the island... There was something familiar about it.

Dirge: I see... Peculiar...

???: Behold, villains of injustice!

Both Angel-Ion and Dirge assume a battle stance.

Angel-Ion: ... Where is he...?

Dirge: Is it another invisible fighter?

Angel-Ion: Maybe... He's also masking his power.

???: Rainbow Cannon! (lol)

A rainbow energy blast fires straight into Dirge's back at high speed.

Dirge: Gyack!

Angel-Ion: Dirge!!

Another five shots are fired, blasting Dirge away further, sending him flying over the edge of the arena into the water. Angel-Ion turns to the attacker, gritting his teeth.

Angel-Ion: You!

Its the costumed man from before.

Angel-Ion: You dare attack my friend from behind? Who are you, coward?!

???: Coward? I think not, villain! I am Visorman, hero of light! In the name of justice, your crimes will be extinguished, Monster Sword Angel-Ion!

Angel-Ion smirks.

Angel-Ion: Hero, huh? Then come on then, hero, show me what you've got!

The Orochi brothers begin firing dozens of energy bullets towards Phade and Luther, who are forced to evade them. Karugo's leg suddenly stretches, grabbing Phade when he lands.

Karugo: You dropped your guard!

Surumi: KYAH!

Surumi fires a charged energy ball at Phade. Luther jumps in the way and creates a barrier, blocking it. He then turns and stomps on Karugo's arm, severing it. The stump retracts back to Karugo's body. He clutches it in pain.

Surumi: Karugo! Are you alright?!

Karugo: ... I'm fine... Krraaah!

Karugo grows a fresh limb in its place.

Phade: Of course... You Orochi have the ability to regenerate lost body parts.

The two brothers charge forwards. Karugo targets Phade, while Surumi targets Luther. 

Luther motions his arm upwards, and a plume of fire explodes from the ground underneath Surumi. Surumi forces himself sideways with a spin, putting out the fire burning his garb. His hands are embued in energy, and he flies forwards, attempting to karate chop Luther. Luther imbues his own arm with Armament and raises it in front of him to block the attack. Surumi follows his attack up with his other arm. Soon, they begin exchaning hits, with Luther on the defensive.

Meanwhile, Phade allows Karugo to get up close. He flashes directly at Karugo's feet, and grabs his arm. He swings him down onto the floor and fires an ice blast at him. Phade follows his attack up with a direct kick to Karugo's gut, sending him flying.

Luther creates a bright light which blinds Surumi, and turns the tables, putting him on the offensive. His fists are surrounded by an aura of fire which gives his punches more power. He strikes Surumi square in the face before striking him hard in the gut, once again setting his clothes on fire.

Surumi spins around, putting out the flames. Phade regroups with Luther.

Karugo: Your spiritual power is surely intense, fighters.

Surumi: We're all fired up... And just in time, it seems...

Surumi clenches his fist, which glows. Both of the Orochi brothers release an outpour of energy as they glow.

Phade: Did you sense that?

Luther: Yeah...

Phade: Something in them just changed...

Phade comes to a realisation. He senses several fighters, at least twenty, in Karugo's place. Luther feels the same from Surumi.

Phade: ...?!

Suddenly, the two Orochi fighters appear righr before them, and punch them away.

Phade: (A straight-on attack...)

Luther: (I couldn't parry!)

Phade: (... They're faster, and stronger too...! Could it be..?)

Meanwhile, Angel-Ion and Visorman exchange a barrage of punches.

Visorman: You're awfully strong for a man of injustice!

Angel-Ion: And you're awfully strong for a spandex-wearing nutjob!

Visorman: You dare insult my uniform of justice?! Take this!

Visorman jumps back and places his index fingers on the sides of his visors.

Visorman: Rainbow Flash!

He fires a laserbeam from his visor. Angel-Ion jumps out of the way. He sets his fist on fire and punches forwards, sending a large fist-shaped fireball hurtling towards Visorman. It explodes on impact.

Angel-Ion: Take that!

The smoke clears. As it turns out, Visorman blocked the attack with a barrier. Visorman stands behind it with crossed fingers.

Angel-Ion: Tch.

Visorman: My invincible Rain-Barrier! Not even a lowly villain can pierce it! Now, take this!

Visorman throws his hand forwards. The barrier moves towards Angel-Ion at high speeds. Knowing he can't block it, he dives out of the way.

Angel-Ion: You're craz--

Visorman: Your guard is down!

Visorman flies towards Angel-Ion with barrier orbs around both of his fists. Angel-Ion quickly rolls over and flips onto his feet, before embuing his fists in Armament. They both exchange punches.

Elsewhere, the fight betweem Phade, Luther and the Orochi brothers intensifies. Surumi slams his foot down onto a blocking Luther, sending him crashing to the floor. He flies in with his energy-embued karate chop, but Luther once again grabs.

Phade and Karugo exchange shoulder barges, until they reach a struggle, Karugo's size giving him the edge somewhat.

Phade: I finally get it, the reason for your strength!

Phade launches Karugo back, and fires many ice blasts forwards, surrounding Karugo.

Phade: From before this tournament began, you've been two, but not two! Kyah!!

He motions his hands down. The orbs crash down onto a motionless Karugo. From the smoke, Karugo stretches his arm out, planting his hand in Phade's face and sending him back, pinning him to a piece of rubble.

Karugo: Exactly. The ancient Orochi art of merging two to become one and gain further power. The Forbidden Fusion Art. Our village was attacked by a monster of gold two years ago. Our survivors banded together in this plight and sought a way to avenge our people. As their representatives, we absorbed all of their power to take part in this tournament.

Surumi: Until our bodies powered up and stabilized, we avoided aggressive fighting, we saved our strength for late into the tournament. Now that tine has come, we are amongst the last few left.

Karugo: But we will not yield! Victory means everything to us! This is our resolve to survive!

Luther blasts Surumi away, before coming down on Karugo's arm, severing it.

Phade: Gh... Luther...!

Luther: I'll fight these two in the front... In the meantime, focus your power into one attack!

Phade: I see...

Luther: If they've fused that many people...

Karugo regenerates his arm.

Luther: Their vitality must be extraordinary right now! In that case, I shouldn't have to worry about killing them by mistake!

Luther heads forwards, leaving Phade to begin building his power.

Meanwhile, Angel-Ion and Visorman continue their intense battle. They exchange punches embued by Armament and barrier-cloaked fists respectively. Visorman spins and kicks Angel-Ion's side, but he blocks it. They then exchange tackles, before jumping away. They both land on the sides of rubble, before launching off at the same time. The two fighters begin clashing at blinding speeds across the battlefield.

From a relatice distance, Bayleaf pins a severely beaten Helmut to a wall, holding him by the neck with his extended arm. He notices Angel-Ion and Visorman's skirmish.

Bayleaf: Looks like things are truly heating up. Too bad you won't be joining us.

Helmut: ... Urk...

Bayleaf rips Helmut from the wall and spins him around, before letting go. Helmut flies into the water nearby.

Angel-Ion and Visorman suddenly exchange a powerful kick, bringing their skirmish to a sudden halt. Visorman jumps back and fires three blasts frm his visor. Angel-Ion hits away two before slamming both fists down on the third.

Meanwhile, Luther repells an attack from Karugo, sending him back. Surumi stretches his arms, wrapping one around his neck and grabbing one of his wrists.

Surumi: Now, Karugo! Take him and my arms!

Karugo launches up above Surumi and prepares a mouth energy blast. He prepares to fire, but is hit by Phade's blast. However, it is not charged enough, and fails to do much damage to the powered up Orochi, who instead fires his mouth energy wave at Phade instead, consuming him in light.

Phade suddenly begins seeing things purple and hazy. He recalls what the Orochi brothers said earlier.

Karugo: But we will not yield! Victory means everything to us! This is our resolve to survive!

Phade comes to his senses. He finds Luther before him, having blocked out the brunt of the attack with Sixth Sense.

Phade: ... Luther?

Luther: I'm sorry, Master. Because I let my guard down, you had to fire your attack before you could complete it... Please, lets try it one more time, and let's win this. Both of us, together.

Karugo: I'm sorry, I couldn't finish him with the opportunity you gave.

Surumi: Don't worry. More importantly, I underestimated that warrior's power!

Surumi quickly regrows his arms as Luther moves in for an attack. Before Surumi can even do anything, Luther slams his fist down on him, embedding him into the floor. Surumi throws stretched punches at him, sending him upwards. Karugo moves in with a knee attack, but Luther blocks it and counters. He is soon attacked again by Surumi, and finds himself clashing with both brothers. Phade watches this spectacle and smirks.

Phade: It's me who should be apologising, Luther. I let myself get swallowed by their intense spirit... And this is after I talked down to you about becoming a warrior. You're right. No matter who or how many, together we fight to the fullest!

He begins recharging his attack.

Visorman: Hyah! Rainbow Rocket!

Visorman launches forwards, propelled by rainbow jets coming from his boots. He collides with Angel-Ion, who holds his ground. Angel-Ion throws him overhead. Visorman continues regardless, but flips upside down. He fires another blast at Angel-Ion, who dodges it by jumping up. Angel-Ion lands on top of Visorman, who blocks. Angel-Ion jumps up as Visorman flashes above him.

Visorman: Rainbow Pulse!

Visorman fires some sort of rainbow blast from both palms at Angel-Ion. He fires a fireblast at it, cancellinf out both attacks. Angel-Ion lands on the ground, while Visorman lands on rubble.

Visorman: Well done, villain. Your strength and efforts up until this point are very admirable. In that case, I must reciprocate with all my strength! This is my ultimate attack!

Visorman creates a rainbow orb which fluctuates in power, growing in size, before slowly becoming darker.

Visorman: Rainbow Dark: Black Hole!!!

He fires the swollen orb down onto Angel-Ion. It engulfs him. It expands further.

Angel-Ion: Gck...! Its... So heavy!

Visorman: This... This is my ultimate attack, villain! The true form of the rainbow harnessed into its pure, refined self! Feel the power of gravity crush your bones!

Angel-Ion is pressed down towards the ground. He struggles, but manages to stand upright again.

Visorman: Its useless, villain! Your struggles are in vain! Now fall before the intense might of heroic justice!

Angel-Ion smirks.

Angel-Ion: Hmph. You sure keep surprising me. I'm starting to make sense of this "heroic" of yours... But, instead of heroics, I prefer guts!

Angel-Ion bursts into flames, which quickly go from a wild red to a calm blue. He creates a sphere of fire in his hands.

Luther and Surumi clash again, with Surumi attempting his karate chop again once more. Luther deflects it and lands on the ground, while Surumi heads towards him with another. Luther gathers light into his hands, before firing it. Simultaneously, Angel-Ion fires his fire blast. Surumi is completely engulfed by Luther's attack.

Karugo: Surumu!

Karugo fires a mouth energy blast of equal strength at Luther's attack, creating a struggle. Angel-Ion's energy blast barely reaches the edge of Visorman's attack. An arm reaches out of Luther's energy wave and grabs one of his arms. Surumi forces his way out.

Surumi: Got you!

He moves forwards, preparing to strie with a karate chop. He notices Phade behind Luther, now fully charged.

Phade: Sorry to keep you waiting. This is my special attack!

Phade fires a pure black energy stream from his finger tips that rips straight through both Surumi's and Karugo's chests.

Surumi: ... So this is the true power of teamwork... Well done...

Surumi falls back into the energy blast as Angel-Ion and Luther simultaneously increase their power, ripping through Visorman and Karugo respectively, launching them, along with Surumi, over the edges of the arena, into the water.

Angel-Ion exhales as Visorman's attack dissipates. Phade approaches Luther.

Phade: Well done, Luther. I am proud of you.

???: Yes, bravo indeed.

Phade: Hrm?

Two figures very familiar to Luther approach from amongst the debris. One sports a gasmask, while the other's shoes clash against the stone floor. The former sarcastically applauds.

~ 24th Ranked Sniper Wolf Agent ~ Bayoll Notholirion: You saved us the trouble of knocking those two out, Visarion.

~ 23rd Ranked Sniper Wolf Agent ~ Randall Furdik (Silversole): Unfortunatley, we've decided that you two are next. Starting with you, old man!

Phade: Someone you know?

Luther: They're the ones who handed me over to Curtis. 

Phade: I see.

Bayoll: I'm sure you got over it, right?!

Bayoll puts his hand onto the ground. Black smoke seeps into the cracks and gaps in the flooring. It suddenly billows out from under Phade and Luther. The two bounty hunters spring forwards. Bayoll targets Phade while Silversole targets Luther. Silversole attempts to kick Luther across the head. Luther ducks under the kick, quickly places his hands together and creates an intense ball of fire that shoots off into Silversole's stomach, propelling him backwards.

The fire creates a reaction with the gas, spreading further than normal, hitting Luther as well. Phade and Bayoll land. They run towards each other and behin exchanging strikes. Phade then fires an ice blast at Bayoll, completely incasing him. Bayoll frees himself by emitting corossive gas from his mask. He sucks in all of the gas in the area, including the fire.

Bayoll: Take this!

Bayoll fires the gas back out, now completely on fire, at Phade, who quickly responds with an ice blast of similar proportions. Silversole gets behind Luther and kicks the back of his leg, tripping him. He then flips and prepares to slam his other foot down on Luther. A barrier forms between them, blocking Silversole's kick. Luther punches the ground, and a burst of fire emerges from underneath Silversole, throwing him upwards in the air. Silversole lands on one foot before flying forwards with a barrage of kicks.

Luther parries the kicks with his fists after embuing them with Armament. He quickly grabs Silversole by the ankle with one hand and pulls it forwards. He then punches his knee in an attempt to break his leg. It fails to do anything, and Silversole frees himself by forcing the same leg away from Luther's grasp.

Meanwhile, Bayoll and Phade begin firing blasts of fire and ice at one another. Eventually, they stop. Bayoll rushes forwards, spewing gas out as he does so, enshrouding Phade. Phade uses Sixth Sense to pinpoint his location, but it fails.

Phade: Masking yourself, eh?

Phade is suddenly hit by multiple strikes.

Bayoll: Well, it works.

Bayoll barages Phade in hits.

Phade: Kyah!

Phade blasts the floor with ice, hoping the mist cancels out the smog and damagung Bayoll.

Bayoll: Such a useless attack!

The gas is suddenly sucked into one point. Five copies of Bayoll surround Phade. Four of them are darker.

Bayoll: These are my ghosts. Now feel their wrath!

The five copies begin attacking Phade at once. He fails to keep up and is hit around by them. Things flash purple for him yet again. He suddenly regains focus and fires a black blast outwards. The dark copies of Bayoll disappear as the real one is thrown back.

Bayoll: Not bad.

Bayoll springs forwards. His arm swells up as he punches Phade in the gut.

Bayoll: Not good enough, I'm afraid!

Phade: ...?!

Bayoll's other arm swells up, along with his chest and head. His legs turn into pure smoke. Silversole notices this while blocking an attack from Luther.

Silversole: You better not go overboard, Bayoll!

Silversole's guard is down. Luther smirks and strikes Silversole hard in the ribs, followed by quick punches, all embued with electricity, to his stomach and throat. He manages to jump back, grasping his throat.

Bayoll moves in with rapid punches, embued with Armament. Phade can't keep up, as things turn purple once more. Bayoll reels back his fist

Bayoll: Time for you to fall, old man!

Bayoll throws the punch. To his surprise, Angel-Ion blocks it with his Armament-embued leg.

Bayoll: You dare block one of my djinn punches?!

Angel-Ion: I dare.

Angel-Ion shoots forwards and slams his foot up against Bayoll's chin. Smoke leeks from his gas mask as he deflates somewhat.

Angel-Ion: Sit this one out, Phade-sama. I'm taking over from here.

Angel-Ion swings his leg around, slamming it into Bayoll's gut. Bayoll and Silversole find themselves back to back.

Bayoll: Tch.

Silversole: Grr...

Luther and Angel-Ion launch forwards at the same time and kick both bounty hunters back.

Both: Now!

Bayoll: Eh?!

Silversole: Hnh?!

Phade appears right beside the two bounty hunters.

Phade: KYAH!

Phade fires a powerful dark energy ball at the two at full power. They are sent flying away from the arena. All three fighters land.

Luther: Damn... I wanted to ring them out. 

Angel-Ion: That was some good show. You should get some rest, Phade-sama.

Phade: Keh. I guess you're right.

???: I'm afraid you are, in fact, wrong.

Proof of Power

Angel-Ion: "Wrong"? What do you mean "wrong"?

???: I'm afraid that none of you shall getting any type of rest, at least, not on the battlefield.

Angel-Ion: Is that a challenge?

???: Luther Visarion. My rage throughout this tournament and the two years of suffering leading up to it has been due to the arrogance of your family name. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Doctor Sylvester Lychee, former Robotics engineer serving your brother and uncle.

Luther: Yes... I know who you are. (How did he get out of the Lorinham Complex?)

Angel-Ion: Why should we care?

Lychee: Because by defeating you, I shall prove my worth over the Visarion name, and use the Moon Stone to exact my revenge!

Luther: What is with this animosity towards my family?

Lychee: Your uncle shunned me over a mere accident. My life's work cut short because of his arrogance! I shall be taking my revenge by defeating you with the proof of my research! This is my proof of power!!

Angel-Ion: Power? You? You look about as thin as a branch!

Lychee: Did I say I was going to be the one fighting you? Ohoho. Assemble, my robotic units!

Three robots show up on the scene. One with a large body and head but thin limbs, one with large arms, and the spinning robot from the start of the tournament.

Lychee: My robots are my proof of power. These three are the fruits of my labour! Now go! Macho! Rotavator! Pyrometer! Crush these three fools!

The three robots' reticles flash blue and they move in.

Macho: GIYA!

The robot with the large arms fires a blast down onto the battlefield. While the three warriors are distracted by the explosions, Pyrometer barges into Luther, colliding into some rubble.

Angel-Ion: Luther!

Rotavator: ROTA!

The large robot throws its arms forwards, forcing Angel-Ion and Phade to jump back.

Angel-Ion: Damn!

Pyrometer presses Luther into the rubble.

Luther: Argh!

Luther kicks it off of him. He recovers, and begins to analyse all of the robots in search of weaknesses. 

Macho hides itself away, analysing Angel-Ion fighting Rotavator. Using the data acquired, Rotavator flashes out of the way of Angel-Ion's attack, making him punch some rubble instead.

Angel-Ion: What the..?!

Rotavator appears behind him and throws a punch. He quickly blocks, but is sent flying back regardless.

Phade: (... Damn. They're reading our movements!)

Pyrometer retracts its arms and legs intoits body and lifts off of the ground with a rocket. It arcs its movement and speeds towards Luther.

Pyrometer: PYROMETER!!!

The robot slams its head into Luther, who tries to block. He manages to throw the robot back, but it fires energy blasts at him. Phade located Macho and runs towards it.

Macho: ANALYSING ENEMY DATA. TARGET APPROACHING.

Phade jumps up and fires a powerful ice blast down at it. Phade notices nearby explosions; Rotavator and Pyrometer fire continuous energy bullets at Luther and Angel-Ion, who are forced to dodge. Macho uses its strength to free itself from the ice.

Macho: ROTAVATOR. PYROMETER. DEFEAT THEM WITH CO-ORDINATED ATTACKS.

Both Robots: ROGER.

Angel-Ion: Come on, you scrap metal bastards! I'll send you both back to the trash!

Both robots launch forwards to punch. Phade suddenly appears before them, intercepting both of them.

Phade: Luther, Angel-Ion! Leave them to me!

Luther: But--

Phade lets out an outpour of energy. He blasts the two robots back. He then jumps high into the air and fires a powerful blast at them. It explodes and they land. Macho jumps down in between its comrades.

Phade: Come, robots! I am your opponent!

The three robots begin calculating. Phade charges forwards. Pyrometer responds by similarly charging forwards. Phade throws a powered-up punch, but Pyrometer hits him aside. Pyrometer fires a series of missles from its back. They target Phade, who dodges most, hitting the last away. While he is distracted, Macho jumps up overhead and fires a beam down at him.

Phade jumps out of the way of the blast. He launches forwards and punches Macho away. He lands before both Macho and Pyrometer, before realising that Rotavator is missing.

Rotavator: ROTA!

Rotavator launches its fist forwards, stretching towards Phade at high speed. He quickly bends back to dodge it. He quickly grabs the arm.

Phade: If I can catch you, you're mine!

He pulls the arm back and swings Rotavator over the head.

Rotavator: AIAIAIAIAIAI!

He throws Rotavator away. He follows it up by firing multiple blasts at it.

Angel-Ion: He's doing well.

Luther: Yeah. He broke through their co-ordinated attacks.

Lychee: Damn! He read through our movements instead! Blast it all! Looks like it is time for our last resort.

Lychee reveals a control staff.

Phade: Its over, robots!

Lychee fires down an energy blast from his staff. Phade jumps back as Angel-Ion and Luther arrive.

Lychee: Its over, eh? I think not! It's only just beginning!

Angel-Ion: Your robots are on the ropes! How could it only just be beginning?

Lychee: Are you ready? Robots, begin Operation Delta!

Lychee's staff glows blue. At the same time, the robots' eyes glow blue as well.

Macho: OPERATION DELTA. ORDER RECEIVED.

All three robots jump up.

Macho: MACHO.

Pyrometer: PYROMETER.

Rotavator: ROTAVATOR.

Pyrometer begins by retracting its arms and legs, closing its eyes as it does so. Rotavator comes up underneath it, retracting its eyes into its body. Pyrovator connects to the top of it. Rotavator's arms retract back to its sides. Macho follows by retracting its own legs and landing perfectly atop Pyrometer's head. It then extends the length of its arms.

Robot: MACHO. PYROMETER. ROTAVATOR. MERGE.

The combined robot lands before the three fighters, cracking the floor beneath its weight.

Lychee: Functions are at full capacity! This is my finest work, the Lychee Ultra Robot; Macho Pyrovator!

Angel-Ion: That's certainly problematic.

Luther: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. 

Phade: Tell me, sir. Where on earth did you acquire such technology?

Lychee: Gyahahaha! Just wouldn't you like to know?! Lets just say... I met a man called Sarkies!

Phade: Sar...

Phade, Angel-Ion and Luther stare in shock. 

Angel-Ion: (Sarkies, huh? He's the one who broke Kagero!)

Luther: (That's the guy that beat Angel-Ion...)

Phade: (Sarkies. So you're still alive too, then.)

Lychee: Did that shock you, Mr. Phade? Yell then, let us begin! Macho Pyrovator! Destroy them!

The massive combined robot charges forwards, going at high speed in spite of its weight. It slams one of its fists down. The three warriors jump back. Phade fires a plethora of ice blasts at it. The smoke from the icy explosions clear.

Phade: What?!

The robot emerges from the smoke unscathed.

Lychee: Packed with Macho's power, Pyrometer's defense and Rotavator's speed, Pyrovator is an unstoppable force! Go, Pyrovator, your enemy is shaken!

Pyrovator launches forwards and throws a punch down, but Phade gets around the robot. It suddenly flashes righr behind him, using Rotavator's fast treads. It then fires a beam down on him. Phade dodges it and embues his arms with Armament.

Phade: Forget about tricks, lets fight head on!

Phade and Pyrovator exchange powerful punches that create shockwaves on collision. Phade suddenly loses his balance, and Pyrovator presses down on him, preparing to embed him into the ground. Phade pushes back, but Pyrovator adds much more force, crushing the flooring directly beneath Phade.

Lychee: Do it, Pyrovator!

Phade: I won't lose!

Phade manages to throw Pyrovator back. Angel-Ion and Luther fly in, using this to their advantage to attack and knock the robot over.

Angel-Ion: Sorry to barge in like that.

Luther: All together now?

Phade: Right!

All three prepare for when Pyrovator gets back up. The robot climbs to its feet. Phade flies forwards and tackles the robot in the chest, knocking it back. The robot regains its ground and fires another beam at him, but Angel-Ion and Luther respond by countering with streams of fire. The force of the power stuggle pushes Pyrovator back.

Lychee: No! My greatest work cannot be pushed back! I refuse to allow it! Pyrovator! Push them back!

Pyrovator adds more power to its attack. The struggle erupts into an explosion.

Lychee: Gyahaha! You see? My greatest work can't possibly lose!

Luther: Are you sure about that?

Angel-Ion: What a fool.

Lychee: Eh?

Phade flies down with a charged orb in his hands.

Phade: I'm not going to let this opening slip between my fingers! KYAH!

Phade fires a powerful blast of energy towards Pyrovator, who catches it with its hands.

Lychee: You see?! With your puny strength, you cannot best Pyrovator's defences!

Angel-Ion and Luther join Phade and add their own attack power to his blast. It quickly overwhelms the robot.

Lychee: N-No! That's impossible!

The robot is ripped off of its feet and sent flying away, over the edge of the arena.

Angel-Ion: That showed him.

Lychee: Pyrovator! No! Gyak!

A grappling hand grabs Lychee by the back of the head.

???: You control the robot, right? Now that its out of bounds, what does that make you?

The hand pulls Lychee back, and he is slammed down onto the floor below at full force, knocking him out.

Crimson Bayleaf: Useless!

Bayleaf swings his arm around, before letting go of Lychee, throwing him out of bounds. His arm retracts.

Bayleaf: Hmph.

Lazlo: I-It appears that we are down to only six fighters!

Bayleaf observes Phade, Luther and Angel-Ion. He looks to his left and spots Adam approaching.

Phade: Six, huh? That means one opponent each. And that means...

Phade spots Mu Eta standing alone. Mu looks back. Angel-Ion looks at Adam. Luther looks at Bayleaf.

Phade: This is where we split up. Good luck to you both!

Both: Right!

All three fighters split up.

The Last Six Fighters

Luther and Bayleaf immediately clash. Luther analyses Bayleaf, and quickly notices the Galahad Arms insignia on his belt.

Luther: What business do the Galahad Arms have here? 

Bayleaf: I could ask you the same, Visarion.

Bayleaf flips Luther's arms around, spinning him around horizontally. He quickly stops himself, and elbows Bayleaf hard in the ribs, before creating a ring of fire that expands in all directions. Bayleaf then grabs Luther's wrist with his grapple hand, before lifting him and slamming him back down onto the ground.

Luther quickly fires an ice blast at Bayleaf's face before getting up and sweep-kicking him and tripping him off. Once he has fallen, Luther jumps back and flicks his hand upwards. A stream of fire bursts up through the ground where Bayleaf is. 

Bayleaf dodges this by launching towards Luther with rocket boots. He swings his leg down on top of Luther. He swiftly grabs Bayleaf's leg with both hands and swings him with all his strength into the ground. 

Bayleaf activates his rocket boots again, causing him to slide along the ground, heading directly under Luther, tripping him. Bayleaf flips himself over backwards, landing on his feet. Luther releases a small lightning blast which strikes Bayleaf in the leg. It conducts across his metal armour, but Bayleaf remains still. 

Bayleaf seems unaffected by this by this thanks to his armour being insulated, and launches his grapple hand out, grabbing Luther's leg. He spins around, spinning Luther around him as a result. He imbues his arm with armament, and pulls Bayleaf's grapple hand off him before stopping himself. He then grabs his grapple hand and pull Bayleaf towards him. 

Bayleaf prepares for his by activating his rocket boots, shooting towards Luther. He tackles him into a piece of rubble. Luther knees Bayleaf in the groin before slamming his fists down onto the back of his head. Bayleaf pulls himself back before grabbing Luther by the face. He pulls Luther forward and throws him behind him. Luther lands on his feet and fires an ice spear towards Bayleaf. 

Bayleaf spins around and grabs it with his grapple hand, before swinging it round and throwing it back at Luther at a higher speed. Luther raises his hand and the ice shatters before it reaches him. Luther then sends the small shards back towards Bayleaf. Bayleaf leaps back, dodging them. Luther fires more ice spears. Bayleaf spins down, dodging them again. He heads towards Luther with his rockets. Luther backs off towards the edge of the arena, slowing Bayleaf's advance with a series of weak defence barriers. 

Bayleaf speeds forwards, breaking through each one in rapid succession. He soon reaches Luther and scores him hard in the side of the face. Luther is sent reeling back, and manages to stop himself from going over the edge by digging his fingers into the floor of the arena. He staggers to his feet, clearly dazed, one hand rubbing the side of his face. Bayleaf now stands a few metres away. 

Luther spits out blood. 

Luther: Do your worst. 

Bayleaf: Very well.

Bayleaf launches his grapple hand forwards towards Luther. He raises his arm, now imbued with armament and stops the grapple dead in its tracks. He then fires an electrical current through it that conducts along the tether. Bayleaf is alerted by this and quickly slams his fist onto a part of his prosthetic, disconnecting it from his body.

Bayleaf: I didn't want to have to do this, kid.

Bayleaf flexes his remaining arm, seemingly doping his bloodstream. Steam emerges from his body as his visible skin takes a red tint. He rushes forward and slugs Luther hard in the gut. Luther coughs out saliva as he is pushed towards the edge. Luther stops himself so he doesn't fall from the edge.

Luther: I'm not ready to go out just yet!

Luther runs forward towards Bayleaf a small ice dagger in hand. Bayleaf leaps back out of the way.

Bayleaf: Hmph.

Luther swings the blade through the air, creating a blue wave that heads towards Bayleaf. Bayleaf slides out of the way. As Bayleaf slides under the wave, Luther runs forward towards him and slashes at him with his dagger. 

Using the momentum from the slide, Bayleaf swings his leg around, sweeping it under Luther who jumps back to dodge it. Luther creates a ball of ice in front of him which explodes towards Bayleaf. The small shards enter the joints of his armour and stick there, slowing him down. He then charges his Armament-embued arm with lightning and runs forward, punching Bayleaf square in the face, discharging the lighting. Bayleaf is sent flying back, towards the arena's edge, stunned greatly. He rolls himself over and staggers as he tries to stand. Luther makes a gesture at the ground underneath Bayleaf. A rumbling is heard below.

Bayleaf: Damn...

A pillar of fire explodes from the ground, sending Bayleaf reeling over the edge. As he lands in the water, Luther's relaxation is disrupted by a sudden surge of power from behind, which seemingly prevents him from turning around. Angel-Ion flies past him overhead.

Angel-Ion: GYAAAAAH!!!

He collides with the barrier, and remains there for a few seconds before falling into the water.

Luther: (Damn... Oh well at least he's out before me...)

The energy subsides, and Luther turns. Adam suddenly appears in his way.

Adam: Kiyaaaah!

He quickly thrusts both of his arms forwards. A green wall of energy exudes in front of Adam, which seems to force Luther off of his feet towards the arena's edge.

Luther creates a fireball, which strikes Adam in the face. Stunned, Adam covers his face, leaving him open. Luther creates another ball of fire which is more concentrated, and launches it straight towards Adam. Adam is blasted back. He quickly recovers and regains his ground.

The Order

Adam slumps forwards. He gazes at Luther.

Adam: You must be the Venlish prince I've heard so much about. Compared to the Kyloteans and Kromir, I hope you provide something more of a challenge.

From the bleachers, Dirge helps Angel-Ion climb out of the water.

Dirge: What is with that guy?

Angel-Ion: I don't know... He has a strong power for sure. Luth had better be careful out there.

Kitsuke: He seems to be at a similar level of power to you yourself, Angel-Ion.

Kitsuke turns to Alex.

Kitsuke: Who is he exactly?

Alex: A terrorist. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

Kitsuke: Seems to be a bit more than that if you ask me.

Luther runs around Adam, while also moving away from the edge of the arena. He repeatedly fires small fireballs at him, some of which curve, miss and then home in on Adam, seemingly in an attempt to make it harder to deflect or dodge them all. 

Adam throws his arms out, sending all of the fireballs flying backwards away from him. He places his hand on one of the tiles of the arena. He then directs the same hand upwards. The tile rips out from the floor, and levitates, before Adam sends it flying towards Luther at a high speed with the same hand.

Luther creates a pillar of dense ice in front of him with a sharp edge, that splits the tile once it makes contact. Luther then motions his arm forward, breaking the ice pillar, and sending the pieces flying towards Adam. 

Adam sets his arms on fire before creating two large fire orbs in his hands. He fires them both at Luther, destroying the ice as they hurtle towards him. Luther creates a large wall of fire in front of him that seems to absorb the orbs. The wall then moves very quickly towards Adam. 

Adam flicks his palm forwards, seemingly stopping the wall in its tracks. He retracts his arm before pushing it forwards again, sending the wall flying back towards Luther. Luther freezes the ice wall to the ground to stop it from moving. Suddenly two Luthers run out from behind the wall and head straight towards Adam, ice daggers in hand. 

Adam throws both of his arms outwards. A powerful wall of force spread out around him towards the two Luthers. One of the Luther's dissipates into nothing, while the other is sent flying back. He quickly motions his hand towards the base of the ice wall, melting the base and causing it to fall towards Adam. 

Adam throws his arm towards it again. The wall stops once again. He motions one of his index fingers up, and the other down. The ice wall suddenly rips apart as pieces of rubble in the arena around them begin to levitate.

Adam: This is my power. This is the power of "Order".

Luther: (I'll have to add that to my bucket list).

Adam's eyes flash green as the ice and rubble begin to close in on Luther. He goes on the defencive, and is forced to create a dome-shaped defence barrier to protect himself. 

Adam motions his hands together. The rubble forms into a giant boulder above Luther. It drops down towards his barrier. Luther quickly alters the shape of the barrier, making sure that it slopes downwards towards the edge of the arena. The boulder rolls down it, and falls into the moat. Luther capitalises on the splash by freezing the small droplets and sending them flying towards Adam like bullets. 

Adam creates a burning aura that quickly melts them away. His right eye flashes as he punches the ground. A green square marking appears around him and begins travelling towards Luther. As it gets closer, the squares lift the stone within their area up. As it reaches Luther, he is catapulted into the air by a large pillar. Adam springs forwards and into the air as Luther plummets back to the ground.

Luther fires several fireballs mid-air towards Adam as he prepares to land. Adam ignores them and gets above Luther. He slams the side of his hand against Luther's side, sending him crashing to the floor. He drags himself to his feet, staggering slightly before he stabilises himself. Adam lands near him and walks over. He grabs him by the back of his clothes. Luther lashes out and kicks at Adam's abdomen. 

Pained, Adam lifts Luther up and throws him back. He lands on his feet before placing his hands together and creating a concentrated beam of fire that heads straight towards Adam. Adam uses his hand to separate the fire into two streams. Luther turns up the heat, and the flames begin to turn blue. The force on Adam's hand becomes noticably stronger. Adam doesn't seem to budge. Luther seems to be concentrating hard, and he suddenly moves his head towards the right. The stream of fire that has split towards the left suddenly flies around, straight towards Adam. 

Adam notices this and spins around, both arms outstretched. The fire spins around him, creating a tornado. Luther uses the opportunity, makes a crushing motion with his hand. The fire from the tornado shoots inwards towards Adam. It explodes on impact. Adam suddenly flies out of the blast zone with minimal damage, and sends Luther flying back with a punch to chest. Luther clutches his chest, and seems to be having difficult getting up. Adam waits, assuming a battle stance. Luther stands up, using a piece of rubble to help him. He wipes blood from his mouth and assumes his own fighting stance before firing ice projectiles towards Adam. 

Adam simply waves his hand to the side. The ice projecticles fly off away from the two.

Adam: When will you understand that projecticles and ranged fire does not work against the Order?

Adam looks over at Angel-Ion on the bleachers, before turning back to Luther.

Adam: Your friend learned that the hard way.

Luther continues to fire the projectiles. What Adam fails to notices is that several ice projectiles miss him entirely and strike the ground several metres behind him. As Luther continues his attack, he also facilitates the growth of a large pillar behind Adam. Like before, he waves his hand, melting its base, and causing it to fall towards him. 

Adam notices its shadow and turns. He stops it in its tracks. Luther quickly runs forward and strikes Adam hard in the side of the head with an Armament embued punch. Adam slides along the floor, pained. Adam points down, setting the ice wall on a crash-course with both of them. Luther quickly fires a bolt of ice at Adam's leg, freezing it to the floor. He rolls out of the way before allowing the pillar to fall on Adam.

The fallen pillar suddenly explodes, and a whirlwind of ice and fire spreads out. It soon collapses into a sphere, and Adam fires it at Luther, who dodges and runs forward. He slashes his hand forward, releasing a wave of lightning that heads towards Adam. Adam condenses it into a ball and prepares to throw it.

Suddenly, a flurry of giant ice spears fly out across the field. Adam jumps out of the way of one and looks across the battlefield. Phade follows up his previous attack by creating a large dragon's head made of ice, ready to attack Mu.

Unphased, Mu awaits Phade's next attack. Phade launches down the dragon's head, which is propelled by blue icy flames. It crashes down, and creates an explosion of icy fire.

Phade: ... Damn.

He realises that Mu has simply stepped out of the way of the attack, and simply stands there waiting for Phade's next attack.

Phade: I'll have to try something bigger...

Phade creates a giant cube of ice. Before he can even hope to use it, Mu fires a red energy ball that enters the cube, which violently explodes.

Phade: What...?! HUAGH!

Phade is suddenly struck in the chest by an unseen force. He coughs up saliva, before looking at Mu, who has assumed a stance as if he has just thrown a light punch.

Phade: You... Augh.

Phade lands, badly winded. The attack seems to have also managed to dislocate one of his arms. Using his other arm, Phade creates a sawblade made of ice, which resembles a giant snowflake.

Phade: Dodge this!

Phade throws it at Mu, beginning to spin. Rather than moving, Mu manages to slide one arm under the blade at a high speed, and mess with its momentum. He picks it up and throws it back with a lot of force. It begins cutting into the floor. Phade jumps out of its way. It launches over the edge of the arena, shattering upon impact with the barrier.

Phade turns to Mu, only to find him mere inches away, preparing to attack. Mu punches Phade, sending him flying away. He hurls at such a speed that he approaches the edge. He creates an ice spear which he embeds into the floor to break his fall. It works, with Phade only feet from the edge. Phade's relief soon turns to shock when Mu begins firing small energy balls, attempting to knock him over. He creates several ice panes to shield himself.

When the smoke clears, both the panes and Phade are gone. Mu quickly realises Phade's folly, and notices he is running a circle around. Mu waits, noting the trajectory of both Phade and the two other fighters, and creates a powerful motion shockwave, sending all theee flying back.

Phade: Yaagh!

Adam: What the hell?!

Adam lifts a tile from the floor to shield himself. Phade notes this and creates a shield, as does Luther. Mu notes this and fires ten electrical spears across the field, with the intent of obliterating the shields and any over nearby pieces of rubble. Phade jumps away from his shield in time and begins running towards Mu, creating a pair of bladed ice disks in his hands. He jumps and throws them both at Mu, and begins creating more.

Mu slowly begins walking in Phade's direction, shattering each one with ease. Phade throws a larger one, which Mu catches in his hand with little effort. With his free hand, he fires a blast up at Phade, hitting him in the stomach and causing him to fall.

Luther: Mast--

Adam rams into Luther, pursued by two levitating floor tiles, which Adam directs down onto him. Luther rolls left and right in short succession, dodging both of the tiles as they crash into the arena floor. He quickly kicks dust up into Adam's eyes, before getting up and trying to punch him in the stomach, his fist completely engulfed in fire. Adam is knocked back, and quickly directs one of his hands up.

The dust around Luther suddenly lifts up, followed by the tile he is standing on. Adam directs it away, sending it flying towards the edge of the arena with Luther on its now-tilted surface. Luther quickly generates a pole of ice that forms at the edge of the arena. As he goes past it, he grabs onto it and swings around, landing safely on the edge as the tile flies past him into the wall. Adam prepares to follow up his attack, but is blasted in the shoulder from behind by an ice blast. He looks back to see that Phade has fired at him in the midst of his fight with Mu, who promptly picks up on Phade's lack of focus and kicks him in the side of the face. Several other ice blasts head straight for him. This time from Luther, who is making his way towards the centre of the arena again. Adam sets himself on fire, phasing out the ice blasts. He puts his hand on the floor. His flames suddenly turn green before entering the gaps in the floor.

A green glow emerges from in between the tiles, and begins to spread rapidly and quickly across the field.

Luther moves away from the glow, while continuing to fire volley upon volley of ice blasts towards Adam.

Adam: Useless.

The ice blasts suddenly slow down in the air and stop. Adam slowly raises both hands and stands up, seemingly straining as he does so. The green glow suddenly turns into a green mist that leaks out from in between the tiles, as every loose object in the arena, including Luther's, Mu's and Phade's projectiles begin to levitate. He directs his hands together above his head.

Every single object begins moving into Adam's general area and begin clumping together, soon forming a large ball of debris and ice. Whilst holding it above him, Adam's eyes suddenly flash red. The ball of debris suddenly sets on fire. He looks at Luther and directs one hand towards him, before jumping away.

The flaming ball of debris falls down, seemingly moving towards Luther's general direction as it does so. Luther dives left, avoiding the ball, and he runs towards Adam, who begins running towards Luther, as the flaming ball of debris explodes behind him. Luther throws his arms forward in a pulling motion while running. The fire from the ball seems to be pulled towards Luther. It goes over his head, and heads straight towards Adam. Before Adam can react to it, Luther punches Adam in the face and forces him back. Adam is launched back a distance.

Adam: Ngh...

Blood drips from under his mask. He sets his arms on fire. He compresses them into two fire orbs, which soon turn blue.

Luther notices he is breathing more heavily. 

Luther: (Hmm. He's getting tired. So long as I don't try anything too ambitious, I could wear him down before I get too tired myself). 

Adam: Its time to stop pulling punches.

Adam lunges forwards towards Luther. He dodges Adam's first punch by sidestepping him. Adam spins around and throws one of his fists forwards, sending a blue fireball flying in his direction. Luther raises his hand, creating a small barrier to block the fireball, which then disappears. Adam lunges forwards and throws a punch. Luther quickly moves his head back to dodge it.

He tries something new, and creates a barrier around Adam's wrist, holding it in place for a short amount of time, allowing him enough time to charge his fist with lightning and slug Adam in the stomach before backing off. Adam quickly manages to grab ahold of Luther's clothing and pulls him close. He punches Luther in the gut with a fire fist, before blasting the fire into him, setting his overcoat on fire, which he quickly removes. Luther retreats somewhat, keeping his eye trained on Adam. 

Adam springs forwards, using his wings and then his arms to give him thrust, launchig at Luther at a high speed. He prepares to tackle Luther. Luther raises both his hands. A ball of ice quickly forms above him. Once Adam is in range, he brings it down onto him, smashing him against the arena floor.

Adam manages to get free and continues to pursue Luther, grabbing him by the shoulders and pushing him down onto the floor. He prepares to punch down on Luther's face with a fire fist, intent on knocking him out. Luther moves his head causing Adam to punch the floor, creating a small hole. He creates another small barrier that holds Adam's wrist in place before he can retract it. He then quickly swings his own fist at Adam's face, knocking Adam off him. Adam springs to his feet. He reassumes his fighting stance, but is clearly showing signs of exhaustion. Luther too staggers to his feet, exhsusted.

They both charge forwards at the same time, embuing both their fists with Armament. At the same time, they both augment their fists with fire. They both jump forwards and connect fists. Suddenly, the space between them bursts from the friction and pressure, and explodes, sending them both hurtling across the arena. At the same time, Phade is launched by an attack from Mu Eta. All three fighters stop at similar points across the arena, while Mu himself remains stationary.

War of Attrition

Phade, Luther and Adam are exhausted. Each of them breathing heavily. Luther and Adam stare each other down from across the field. They both then turn to Mu, feeling a growing worry as Mu's energy field grows.

Phade: (Damn... This guy's too much...)

Luther: (There is no way I can compete with that!)

Adam: (...!?)

Mu just stares across the field at Phade. Phade turns to the audience, and looks directly at Voran.

Voran waved back to him, clearly in high spirits. His wave is suddenly interrupted by the sudden piercing pressure of Mu's rising power. As Voran looks over, Voran sees that Mu is also looking dorectly at him.

Voran: (Oh what do we have here?)

Before Voran can make a reaction, Mu appears on the other side of the arena, in a flash; his fist planted in Phade's stomach. Phade shoots over the edge of the arena, crashing into the barrier. He coughs up blood before falling into the water.

Luther: Master?!

Adam: (In an instant?!)

Voran seems to be smiling, resting his head on his hand, somewhat in disbelief. 

Voran: (Centuries old, bettered by an upstart and outlasted by a child. How amusing.)

Angel-Ion dives into the water to retrieve him. Mu and looks at the two remaining fighters. He sits down and closes his eyes. Luther turns to Adam, who has wasted no opportunity in rushing towards Luther. He speeds himself up with his arms and wings.

Luther fires an ice bolt in front of him. When Adam flies over it, it grows upwards rapidly, striking him in the chest, winding him and propelling him into the air. Adam fires down two pillars of fire which Luther blocks with a barrier. While Adam is still in the air, Luther launches an ice spear at him, aiming for his wing. Adam notes this and sets on fire. He plummets towards Luther, using his own body as a weapon.

Luther places his hands together and charges them witb lightning. He fires a bolt from his hands that strikes Adam, stops his trajectory, and sends him flying in the other direction, nearer to the edge of the arena. Adam crashes, but unearths himself. He fires a barrage of fire balls across the field at Luther. As Luther runs forward, he ducks and dodges each projectile and fires retaliatory lightbing bolts. As he gets closer, he charges his fist up with lightning and embues it with armament. Adam refuses to yeild.

Despite his own exhaustion, he hurls at Adam, with nearly all the energy he has left contained in his right fist. Adam suddenly stops him in his tracks inches away from him, with his power. There is a struggle.

Adam: Yrgh!

Adam strains heavily as he tries to push Luther back. Luther too seems to be trying to pusj forward

Luther: Grrhh!

Luther forces his left arm forward, his palm facing Adam. He fires a quick bolt from his left hand straight into Adam's face, forcing him to release his grip. Luther's built up momentum is released and he flies forwards, punching Adam in the side of the face and discharging the lightning. The force sends Adam flying back, landing in the water. At that moment, Mu opens his eyes.

Luther collapses to his knees, clearly exhausted. He looka over to Mu.

Lazlo: And with that stunning victory, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now time to usher in our interval! The fight between our final two contestants; Luke Smith and Mu Eta; will begin in 20 minutes! Although, I imagine it will be a short one!

The bridges slide towards the arena and the gates open. Mu shuts his eyes again, not bothering to move. Luther staggers to his feet and makes his way into the warm-up room, where he collapses on a bench. He is shortly joined by the others, minus Phade and Angel-Ion, who rush into the room. From the bleachers, Phade and Angel-Ion emerge from the water.

Angel-Ion: Are you able to walk?

Phade: Y-Yeah. Thanks...

Angel-Ion: I'll catch up.

Phade leaves. Angel-Ion looks on at Mu. He opens his eyes and looks back at Angel-Ion, before closing them again.

Angel-Ion: Just who is this guy?!

Meanwhile, in the deluxe audience seats, a quartet of figures keep an eye on Mu.

~ Syndicate Boss ~ Equilatrium Rocinante {DECKARD}: Ahahaha! I'm really digging this guy's style. Maybe we should have one of these games over back home, whaddya think, boys?

The four figures seem to be in agreement.

Deckard: Do you have it?

???: Yes, Young Master.

One of the figures hands him a glass case. He observes it. His smile reflects off of the glass.

Deckard: The waves of change will be coming soon, boys. I can already feel it.

He looks at the case; its contents, the Soul Genesis.

Elsewhere, Lychee is scolding his three robots for their failure.

Lychee: Idiots! Imbeciles! Nimrods! You were all fitted with cutting edge technology, and yet you still lost to Visarion and his two moronic friends anyways! I ought to send the three of you to the scrapyard!

The three robots stand in silence, not understanding what their creator is saying. He soon senses a shadow creep over his shoulder.

Lychee: What do you wa-- EEEEEEEEE!

Bayoll stands over him.

Bayoll: Doctor "Lychee", I presume.

Lychee: Y-Y-Y-Yes...!

Lychee has a painful memory of Bayoll ringing him out. He clutches a bump on his head, sustained frm when he hit his head.

Bayoll: Good. I have a proposition for you.

Meanwhile, in the stands, several officers are found waiting for an exhausted Adam. He looks at them.

Officer: You are under arrest for crimes against the Asterian people! Do not move!

Adam raises his hands, seemingly in compliance. An officer comes to put cuffs on Adam. Adam's eyes flash green, and the officer is flung back. Before any of the others react, Adam reveals a hidden smoke bomb, which he throws down on the floor.

When its smoke clears, Adam is gone.

Meanwhile in the prep room. 

Luther: There is not a chance in hell that I can win this. He's not even tired!

Angel-Ion: I can't even get a reading on that guy. Damn it. If I didn't let my guard down against Adam, we could have taken him together!

Dirge: I don't even know how he was able to shrug off most of Phade's attacks.

Phade: ...

Roxanne: What we need is a plan.

Lanval: Got any ideas, then?

Roxanne: Oh... No... Sorry.

???: Can I just congratulate you all on your progress in this tournament? 

The group turn around and see Voran, having appeared from nowhere, leaning against his cane, accompanied by his two bodyguards. 

Voran: Some of you put on absolutely spectacular performances. 

Phade weakly gets up.

Phade: Get out, you have no place here!

Voran: Bless, he's tired. 

Voran walks past Phade and towards Luther. 

Voran: And so is Luke. If you fight in your current state, you'd be, to put it mildly, pummelled. That is simply not good enough for a finale, so you need an energy boost.

Voran pulls out a bag of sweets. 

Voran: Nothing is quite as energizing as sugar. 

He smirks before dropping a bon bon into Luther's hands. 

Roxanne: Is that even allowed?

Phade: Don't eat it, Luther!

Voran: You want him to have a chance don't you? 

Phade grimaces.

Phade: Be it on your head if he loses, then.

Luther doesn't seem to trust him and shakes his head. 

Luther: (Could be poisonous for all I know.)

Voran rolls his eyes and eats it instead, before offering Luther another one. 

Luther anxiously takes it, seemingly swayed by this. He swallows it.

Voran: I'll leave the bag here in case anyone wants to help themselves. 

He leaves the bag on a nearby table before turning back to Luther. 

Voran: As for you, you better win. I bet quite a bit of money on you. That, and everyone loves an underdog. 

He smirks at everyone before making his way out of the room. Lanval and Shin attempt to help themselves, but Phade fires an ice blast at it.

Lanval: What the--

Phade: Nobody else will be accepting any type of food from that man for the rest of the day.

Kitsuke skeptically looks at Phade.

Luther: Maybe should have saved some. I don't know what was in it but it has worked. I don't feel worn out anymore. 

Lanval: I bet it tasted good too...

Phade just gets up and walks off.

The Eta Foundation

Lazlo: Ladies and Gentlemen, we now resume from the interval to witness the finale of this great tournament. Mu Eta vs. Luke Smith! 

Luther walks across the drawbridge back into the ring, while Mu hasn't moved from his position at the other side of the arena. 

Kerraslav: Hmmph... Maybe we should have tried to arrange a better finale. This probably won't even last a minute. 

Voran: Let's not be pessimistic. I'm sure we'll all get our money's worth. 

Voran heads up to his own seat. 

Angel-Ion: Come on Luther!

Ray: Kick his ass!

Phade: ...

Bayleaf, Adam, Zurakiel, Arius and Vasquez spectate from various points of the audience, all in silence.

Lazlo: Fighters! To your starting positions!

Mu opens his eyes and stands up. He walks over to a point adjacent to Luther and assumes a primitive fighting pose. Luther too assumes a fighting pose. 

Lazlo: 3... 2... 1... Begin!

Mu crouches to the floor and touches a tile on the floor. He lifts his hand. Electricity trails out of his fingers, and the tile suddenly lifts. The tile then glows white with Mu's electricity, and loses its form as crackles of electricity shoot towards Luther. Suddenly, some of the electricity shapes into the same shape as the tile, which itself appears mere inches from Luther as it hurtles towards him at high speed.

Luther is forced onto the backfoot already as he throws himself to the floor to dodge them while creating barriers to block any other attack. Some electricity from the tile trails behind Luther, who finds that Mu has disappeared. A shadow materialises over Luther's shoulder. He turns, and finds Mu's hand planted in his chest. Mu's head materialises from electricity.

Phade: That's... Not possible...!

Mu Eta: Even with dopamine in your system, you are still no match for me.

Mu fires an electrical blast into his chest. Luther is blasted away, and lands somewhere in the middle of the arena.

Most of the audience are in utter silence.

Angel-Ion: What the hell just happened?!

Luther: (Ok... That bon bon isn't going to help at all...)

He quickly gets up, unsure of how to approach the fight. He decides to wait for Mu's next strike, paying close attention to him to see if he can block it. 

Electricity trails off of Mu's body. Several tiles suddenly turn into electricity, which is sent towards Luther. He blocks a few using barriers, and redirects others into the ground by motioning his arms. While doing all of this, he is moving towards Mu. 

Mu emits electricity from his hands and arms, which spark across the field. He suddenly vanishes into them, reappearing in very close proximity to Luther. He forces his palm against Luther's left arm, placing his thumb and index finger on two of its pressure points, before sending a powerful shockwave into it. Luther finds that the same arm has systematically shut down.

Luther: Aghhh!

He recoils as his arm hangs limp. He clutches it tightly and grits his teeth. He sends a wave of fire towards Mu that fans outwards. Mu raises his hands creates an electical barrier. After Luther's attack subsides, he condenses the barrier into his palm. He closes his hand and points his index finger, he then fires a blast at Luther's right shoulder. It strikes him, leaving a severe burn mark and he falls backwards. Whilst on the floor, he raises his right arm and fires a volley of roughly ten fireballs. Some head directly for Mu while others go right past him, but proceed to curve around. 

Mu spins around and fires electrical spears at each of them, causing explosions. He begins walking towards Luther, who gets back on his feet. Luther uses his good arm and aims it at Mu. He releases a long stream of concentrated and fast-moving fire from his palm which speeds towards Mu. Luther suddenly hears a voice over his shoulder.

Mu: You need to be stronger than that.

The Mu that was walking towards Luther soon collapses into electrical streams which fizzle out. Another Mu materialises from the same stream behind Luther.

Mu: If you ever want to defeat the one they call "Azoth", you have to be a lot stronger than that.

Luther suddenly notes the mention of Azoth in Mu's words and the stream of fire stops. 

Mu: Yes. I am very aware of Azoth. Why do you think I came here for the Moon Stone in the first place?

Rather than attacking, Mu just turns to face Luther.

Luther: A-Are you with him?

Mu: No. That disease has caused untold amounts of carnage across the world already. My intentions are similar to yours. It must not reach his hands. 

Luther: And what do you intend to do with it? 

Mu doesn't answer.

Luther: How do I know that you won't use it for the same reasons Azoth might use it? 

Mu: Some questions should not be answered.

Mu launches forwards and throws a lightning punch at Luther. He punches Luther in the chest, knocking him to the floor. Luther tries to kick at Mu's ankle to trip him up. Mu leaps back, avoiding it.

Luther forces himself to his feet, and launches himself at Mu. He repeatedly attempts strike Mu with multiple punches and kicks. Mu dodges them. Luther makes one final attempt at striking Mu's gut but he dodges once again.

Mu: Are any of these attacks supposed to--

Luther suddenly kicks Mu hard in the jaw.

Luther: ?!

Mu: Gck...!

While Mu is stunned, an equally shocked Luther slams his fist into Mu's gut, sending him sliding back.

Blood drips from Mu's mouthpiece.

Mu: Ugh... Very well...

Mu begins channelling red energy into his fist. Luther feels a bizarre energy emitting from him.

Angel-Ion: That's...

Zambini: The same energy from the Pyramid of Power...! Look out Luther!

Luther steps back, disorientated. The area around Mu begins to distort.

Mu: There's a lot of things you've yet to see in this world, Luther Visarion. I hope you'll take this lesson on board.

Mu springs fprwards. Luther is stunned to find him suddenly phasing past him, as if he just shot across the stage in a single instance.

Mu: Because your life may depend on it.

Mu hammers Luther in the chest. The exuding energy from his fist preventing him from recoiling or raising his guard, and the force of the attack pushing straight through his entire personage. He is shot across the field, landing close to the edge. He gets up, firing a distractive volley of fireballs towards Mu while running towards the centre. He seems more alert and more focused, while his left arm slowly regains feeling.

Mu: You're awfully tenacious.

Mu compresses red energy around him. He condenses it into a sphere. The area around the sphere glows a deep red as it distorts. He fires it into the path Luther is on, before jumping out of the way of Luther's fireballs.

The orb gets larger as it heads on its path. Luther runs around it, while creating a series of walls of fire across the arena, some of which form next to Mu. Mu creates a pair of red energy shields either side of him as the orb expands and explodes. Its glow begins to persist after its explosion. A light construct of Luther jumps through a wall of flames and runs towards Mu. 

Mu sends out an electrical discharge at the construct. It disappears. The real luther is directly above Mu and ready to strike down with an Armament embued fire-fist. 

Mu: Not so fast.

Mu directs his shields so that one of them moves into Luther's path, hitting him. He is heavily shocked by it and reels back from it. Mu follows this up with an electrical bolt that strikes Luther in the chest, sending him sliding back towards his own firewall. 

Luther: Dammit!

He punches the ground in frustration, causing the walls of fire to briefly roar. He gets up and assumes a defensive stance. Mu fires a pair of red orbs at Luther, propelled by electricity. He slides underneath them before placing his hand on the ground. Fire from the walls rises into the air and flows to a single point above Mu, forming a large concentrated sphere. 

Mu fires an intense red blast up at it. The sphere explodes and the fire disperses across the whole arena. It is enough to distract Mu, but not concentrated enough to harm him. Luther capitalises on the situation, and runs in Mu's direction. He embues his fist with Armament, and attracts fire to it as he runs. While Mu is still disorientated from the fire, he manages to land an explosive punch to his gut. Mu is launched, but manages to flip himself upright and land on his feet. He notes a burn on his chest, where Luther hit him.

Mu: ...

A pillar of lightning strikes down on Mu. Several tiles around him turn into pure electricity as they seep into his left arm. His arm glows and grows in size. Soon, it forms the shape of some kind of claw, while an electrical spike appears on Mu's right shoulder. He launches forwards at a high speed and quickly reaches Luther.

Mu: It's over.

Mu slams Luther with his electrical arm, slamming into him at extreme force. Both Mu and Luther shoot towards the edge of the arena, and a pillar of light suddenly strikes the barrier. The pillar explodes into a massive flash that expands past the Octatheon itself, and Luther appears, his entire body against the barrier. On the mere edge of the arena, Mu stands, with the front half of one of his feet hanging over the edge, and his draconic left arm outstretched. His arm flashes, returning to normal. He steps back and kneels, recoiling. Luther lands in the water, unable to move, but fully conscious, floating on the surface.

It takes a few seconds for the crowd to realise what has happened, and they erupt into uproarious applause. 

Lazlo: Ladies and Gentlmen we have a winner!

Voran: Huh, so much for the underdog narrative. 

Voran looks to his bodyguard, who appears to be smiling. 

Voran: Oh, I suppose you bet on Mu. 

The bodyguard nods his head and Voran rolls his eyes. 

Voran: Honestly... Playing it safe will only yield uninteresting results, darling.

His bodyguard just shrugs at him. 

Deckard: Bravo. Very good show indeed!

Phade: ...

Angel-Ion: Damn.

Adam retreats from the roof of the Octatheon audience stands. Bayleaf and Vasquez depart.

The draw bridges go down, and Lazlo, as well as his attendants go to meet Mu at the centre of the arena. Behind them, the Moon Stone is being carried by several people in ceremonial dress. 

Lazlo: Congratulations Mu Eta, you have won, the First Annual Asterian Tournament, and thus, the Moon Stone!

One of the officials takes the glowing white orb from its case and hands it to Mu. He raises it in the air. The audience cheer.

Lazlo: So tell us, Mr. Eta, what do you intend to do now that you have the Moon Stone?

Rather than answer, Mu just walks away. Likewise the attention spans of the audience have expired, and many of them seem to be leaving. 

Lazlo: Um... Sir you didn't answer my question. 

Mu just ignores him as he heads over the drawbridge.

Roxanne: Well... He's certainly enigmatic.

Meanwhile, Angel-Ion and Ray surface from the water around Luther.

Ray: You did great up there Luther.

Luther: I still lost. 

Ray: You placed higher than any of us, so that's saying something.

Angel-Ion: Damned electricity-weilding asshole.

From the stands, Vasquez snarls.

Helmut: Lord Azoth won't be happy to hear this.

Vasquez: Nevermind that.

Dirge looks over, eavesdropping.

Vasquez: So long as our bomb is safe and secure with the others in Canorica, things are in good hands.

Helmut: When are we heading out?

Vasquez: We leave in the morning. That gives us enough time to recruit those guys to the cause.

Vasquez walks off, purposely barging into Dirge as he goes past. Helmut just walks around him.

Dirge: Asshole.

Lanval: Did you listen to what they were saying?

Dirge: Yeah. They are planning on leaving in the morning. That should give us time to recuperate.

After a few minutes, the crew have accumulated in the lobby, while the last of the crowds exit the arena. Voran approaches them. 

Phade: What do you want?

Voran: Nice to see you again too. 

Voran turns to the others. 

Voran: I'm merely here to offer you an all an invitation to the after-party, so to speak. 

He pulls an invitation from his sleeve and hands it to them, giving them the time and location. 

Voran: You may need a place to stay after all. Wouldn't want you to get caught up in the curfew, especially after your... Valiant efforts, in the arena. 

Phade: Count me out.

Phade storms off.

Angel-Ion: Doesn't sound too bad.

He turns to Luther. 

Voran: As for you, you owe me ₺50,000.

Luther chuckles nervously. 

As Voran limps away, Luther notices something odd. He notices that Voran's steps are inconsistent, almost as if he is exagerrating the limp. 

Zambini: Seriously, who the hell is that guy?

Afterparty

22:00, Nirvo New Town

The group arrive in the more upscale parts of Nirvo, the streets of which are laced with casinos and hotels, all modern and decked out with neon lights. The most central of which is the Solera Hotel & Cabaret which is among the tallest, and stands out due to its unique purple lighting and grandiose architectural style and dome. 

Luther: This seems to be the place. 

As they approach the entrance, they join the back of a long queue. 

Zambini: The line looks awfully long.

Ray: Can't you use a magic trick to make us jump the queue or something?

Zambini gives Ray a frown. A man in formal attire suddenly walks by.

Man: Is this the "Luke Smith" party?

Luther: Umm... Yes. 

Man: Right this way please. 

Lanval looks at Zambini.

Lanval: How the fuck did you do that?

Zambini: I didn't.

Ray: Don't lie man, that dude just appeared out of nowhere.

They are led to the front of the queue, through the lobby and to a private viewing gallery, containing a large table and several chairs, that overlooks the main cabaret hall. The lights go dim, and a spotlight is shone on the stage. Purple smoke swirls around the stage, and once it has cleared, Voran appears, linking arms with two women in sequin attire, with fur burlesques. 

Voran: (In Asterian) Ladies and Gentlemen, and everything in between. Welcome to what I hope will be a captivating and luxurious evening of fine arts, and cabaret. First I'd like to congratulate the runner up, on his progress in today's tournament. A round of applause for Luke Smith please!

He points towards Luther's viewing gallery, and there is a brief round of applause. 

Voran: Unfortunately, we have misplaced the winner. If anyone finds him, please let us know. 

The audience chuckle. 

Voran: Let the show begin!

Purple smoke once against moves across the stage, and once it clears, Voran, as well as his female companions are gone. The light readjusts and various performers come onto the stage to perform swing music.

Roxanne: This place is certainly fancy. 

Voran: Isn't it just. 

The crew are startled by his sudden appearence in the vacant chair at the end of the table. 

Voran: I believe this seat was reserved for dear Phade. Shame he hasn't come by. 

Angel-Ion: Well, he did say he wasn't coming.

Voran: So what brought you all to this tournament? 

Angel-Ion: I guess it's what you'd call fate.

Voran: A fatalist? How exotic. What about the rest of you?

Lanval: I got a letter from Roxanne saying she was heading to Asteria. I guess it'd be Nirvo. 

Roxanne: My friends and I saw it being advertised on a leaflet.

Meanwhile, on another table, the Wolves Three sit. Suddenly, Vasquez and Helmut walk over and take a seat.

Basil: You again? What do you want this time?

Helmut: We need your help.

Django: With what?

Vasquez: You'll see soon. Lets just say it is in the Lord's will that you help us.

Basil looks at his two comrades. He smirks.

Basil: Fine. We're in.

Voran's ears prick up. He ignores it and continues the small-talk. He looks down into his drink and swirls it around before looking up at Luther. 

Voran: Pity you lost out on the prize. What would you have done had you won it? 

Luther: Oh... Umm. Nothing really. We were just trying to prevent someone called Azoth from getting it. 

Voran feigns a confused expression that Luther doesn't buy. 

Luther: So, how do you know Phade? 

Voran: Oh, we're old friends. 

Luther: He didn't seem to get on with you in the lobby. 

Voran: He's very emotional.

Roxanne: So why don't you get on anymore?

Suddenly there is a loud blast of music as the next bands starts playing a new song. 

Voran: Oh! I love this one!

He taps his fingers on the table in beat with the song. 

Voran: Did you know I used to be a showman too? I was a magician.

He looks at Zambini. 

Voran: Maybe not your kind of magician, but a magician nontheless.

Zambini frowns. He lifts up a penny before enclosing it in his hand. He opens up his hand, revealing it to be empty. He then reaches behind Zambini's ear with his other hand, presenting the penny before the table. There is a small applause.

Zambini: Misdirection. A common parlour trick.

Zambini takes the coin does the same trick as Voran, making the coin disappear.

Zambini: Watch this.

Zambini positions two of his fingers to his size. He pinches them together, seemingly gripping a drinks tray that is held by a waitress in the background. He turns it upright, revealing the coin. The drinks suddenly fall to the floor, startling the confused waitress.

Voran chuckles and starts clapping. 

Voran: Oh bravo!

The waitress looks on, confused by the clapping. 

Voran: Best to tidy that mess though. 

Voran looks around to see if anyone else is looking. He clicks towards the mess. The fragmented glass rises and reassembles itself. The liquid rises from the carpet and pours into the glasses, allowing the now even more confused waitress to clear it up with ease. 

There is another small applause. Zambini frowns.

Voran stands up. 

Voran: It is time I bid you farewell. There are other guests I simply must mingle with before they leave. Please, enjoy the rest of your time here.

There is a brief pause.

Lanval: That was fun.

Once the music has died down, most of the group have retreated to their rooms to sleep for the night. 

Galahad Arms

5th of May 1217 AC. Krotec Port. Noon.

The group are running through the port, trying to get to their ship. Dirge is taking the lead, as he was the last person to use it.

Roxanne: I still can't believe we had to wake your ass up!

Lanval: Its not my fault I couldn't sleep last night!

Ray: That's obviously a lie. He slept through the night.

Lanval: Shut up, Ray.

Angel-Ion makes a sudden detour. Shin is inclined to make the same turn.

Roxanne: For fuck sake... Somebody go after them!

Zambini: On it.

As Zambini heads off after them, the others pass a cloaked, masked figure with an insignia that Luther briefly spots, but is unable to make out. The figure watches them and turns. He speaks into a radio.

~ Galahad Arms Executive ~ Sabrewolf (Elias Currow): They've been sighted. All of the targets. Three have made a detour.

From elsewhere in the city, on the receiving end of the radio, a Galahad Arms grunt relays the info to Bayleaf, who stands nearby with a phone.

Bayleaf: They've been sighted, sir.

V.A.S. Master Suite, Galahad, Novalia.

Sigma: Ohoho. This soon?

Bayleaf: Yes, sir. Do I have your permission to execute?

Sigma: Yes.

Bayleaf ends transmission.

Bayleaf: Send word to Sabrewolf, Raven Phoenix and Dark Eyes. That crew are to be eliminated on sight.

Grunt: Roger, sir.

Meanwhile, back with the Tempest crew, Angel-Ion and Shin have reunited with the group. Both of them have a bump on their heads from Roxanne.

Dirge: We are almost there!

Suddenly, a figure drops down, a pair of mechanical wings displayed. Several Galahad Arms grunts appear beside them. The overall form of the winged figure appears familiar to Luther. His eyes narrow with contempt.

Luther: Is that... Black Knight?

A feminine giggle is heard.

???: Not quite.

The figure walks into the light. The figure reveals themselves to someone looking remarkably similar to Black Knight, albiet female, complete with a slender frame and a sizeable bust. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) She also wears a different helmet.

~ Galahad Arms Executive ~ Raven Phoenix (Taiga Espee): I am Raven Phoenix. My brother's flight armour's blueprints were used when making this gear. (Despite Bayleaf making it almost obsolete...)

Ray: What do you want?

Phoenix: Ah. To put it simply, we are here to kill you.

Zambini: Yeah no. Get out of our way, please.

Zambini fires a blast forwards that disorientates the Arms goons. The Tempest crew rush past. Phoenix is the first to recover.

Phoenix: Idiots! After them!

She takes flight, heading after the group. As they head closer to the docks, another figure with sharp claws jumps down and attempts to attack both Luther and Ray.

Sabrewolf: Gyehaha!

Luther hears their cry and quickly creates a barrier to shield himself and Ray from their attack, before running with the rest of the group. He lands with a thud, but joins Phoenix's pursuit. Angel-Ion and Shin suddenly jump back and create a wall of fire to block them, which is amplified by Zambini's magic.

Roxanne: At last!

They reach the Tempest, docked safely at the port. They quickly board it, and release the anchor. The sails are raised and the ship leaves the port. Phoenix and Sabrewolf get past the fire wall, and realise that the ship is too far for the latter to jump.

Sabrewolf: Aren't you going to fly after them?

Phoenix: And get outnumbered? No. Besides, Dark Eyes is already on that ship.

The Tempest crew find this out for themselves, as a Sabari wearing a helmet stands on deck.

~ Galahad Arms Executive ~ Dark Eyes (Dais): Afternoon.

Roxanne: Bye.

Roxanne punches the Sabarian in the face, denting his helmet and flinging him into the water.

Sabrewolf: That obviously worked.

Phoenix: ... They ain't getting far.

A grunt hands her a radio.

Phoenix: They have left port.

Bayleaf: Idiots... Send a memo to all ships in the area. Follow that ship!

The submarine Bayleaf is in suddenly submerges, alongside a few others, as several ships begin to leave port.

The Killing Note

Two days later...

The Tempest is now far out to sea, nearly half way to their destination, Canorica.

Roxanne: How's it looking up there?!

Angel-Ion gazes into binoculars. There is a lone ship on the horizon with red sails and the Mark of Azoth decorating them.

Angel-Ion: Looks like we've caught up with them... I don't know why but I feel as though I am being stared at...

Meanwhile, on the other ship, Basil is looking into a pair of binoculars.

Basil: They've caught up, just like you predicted.

Vasquez: Good. We need to keep them as far away from Runisia as possible. Our little bomb diversion is starting to really pay off.

Back on the Tempest, Lanval has finished barbequing food.

Lanval: Its all done, guys! Dig in!

Angel-Ion and Shin jump down at the thought of food. Shin fails to stick the landing and hits his head.

They soon begin eating.

Zambini: So, Ray, what have you been doing over these past two years?

Ray: I managed to chase down my old man. It wasn't easy, but I found him.

Zambini: Where was he?

Ray: He was back in Kratonia, funnily enough.

Two years ago. Kratonia.

A cloaked and hooded man walks through a downpour in the street. He stops.

???: I know you are there, boy.

He turns to a nearby crate, where Ray is hiding. He steps out.

~ Sniper Wolf All Star #9 ~ Lando Nikau: It is not every day that somebody is able to track me down on such short notice, and here you are, my own flesh and blood, hunting me down with apparently no effort.

Ray: I had to do a lot of digging to find you. On your way to your next target, huh?

Lando: To?

Lando looks at his own hand, it is covered in blood.

Lando: So, what do you want? I take it you don't want to become my protege.

Ray: Not at all. I sought you out so that I can become stronger on my own.

Lando: I see... I guess your old man has some prowess that he can rub off on you.

Present.

Ray: So that's how I ran into him again.

Lanval: So, got any new techniques and the like?

Ray: Yeah. I've even got Armament, but I didn't get to use it at the tournament. Same with my guitar, because of that no-weapon rule.

Roxanne: That sounds great.

Ray: There was one thing my old man didn't show me though. I told him straight that I didn't want anything to do with them.

Luther: "Them"?

Ray: The ultimate piece of music. The seven "Killing Notes".

Lanval: Killing Notes? That sounds a bit much.

Ray: Supposedly, each note has the power and note frequency to kill opponents. My father uses these to dispatch some of his targets. There was one thing my father said he wanted me to find, though...

Lando: Some say there are six music pieces that allow one to change the weather and shape the heavens. I want you to be the one to find them, boy.

Ray: He called them the "Disaster Symphonies".

Shin: Sounds dangerous.

Lanval: Too dangerous, sounds like we should--

Suddenly, there is an explosion and the ship shakes.

Storm Chasers

Roxanne: What the hell was that?!

Dirge: It came from the back of the ship!

Angel-Ion: I'll go scope it out.

Angel-Ion climbs the mast and grabs his binoculars. He looks onto the horizon. Several Galahad Arms ships are seen.

Angel-Ion: Its those guys from the port again! Out in the distance!

Roxanne: But... That's too far away for cannon fire!

Five submarines submerge, closer than some of the ships.

Angel-Ion: There's something else out there!

Angel-Ion jumps down and hands Roxanne the binoculars. She looks into them.

Roxanne: Submarines?!

Dirge: What?!

Roxanne: Those fuckers are firing torpedoes at us!

Lanval: Abandon ship!

Roxanne grabs Lanval before he can jump.

Roxanne: We are not abandoning ship! We either fight back or run at full speed!

Dirge: One problem with that. We are out of fuel, so we can't lift the Tempest from the sea, nor can we fire up the rockets!

Roxanne: You were the last one to use the ship, did you not bother to refuel it at all?!

Dirge: The fuel barrels were stolen.

Roxanne: By who?!

Dirge: Pirates.

Roxanne: Ugh.. Why didn't you tell me sooner?!

Dirge: We were in a hurry.

Roxanne: We have been sailing for two days straight!

Dirge: Well then, my bad.

Lanval: Oof.

Zambini: Looks like they're gaining on us.

Another torpedo is fired. It misses the ship and explodes nearby. A hatch opens on the central sub, the largest. Bayleaf emerges from it with Raven Phoenix and a grunt. He looks into his binoculars.

Bayleaf: I want that ship sent to the bottom of the sea. Give the order to man the cannons.

Grunt: Yes sir.

The grunt heads back into the sub. Soon, the ships begin firing their frontal cannons at the Tempest.

Zambini: Incoming!

Roxanne: Turn the ship around!

Dirge spins the wheel, turning the ship around.

Bayleaf: Ah. So they want to fight after all.

Roxanne: Man the cannons!

Meanwhile, on Vasquez' ship...

Basil: Ah. That ain't good.

Basil jumps down from the lookout. Vasquez, Helmut, Fenric, Edvin, Colossus and two of the Asarash appear to be playing cards.

Basil: Not good, boss.

Vasquez: What is it?

Basil: Their ship has turned around.

Vasquez: What?! Gimme those.

He snatches the binoculars off of Basil and looks into them.

Vasquez: Ahahaha! For a minite there I thought they caught onto our ploy. Looks like those Galahad Arms scumbags decided to drop in.

Django: Does this mean we don't get to use the bomb?

Vasquez: We're still bombing those Tythanian idiots.

Helmut: You do realise we have to wait until the others actually show up with the bomb, right?

Vasquez: Why do they tell you these things and not me?

Helmut: Maybe because they consider me an asset unlike you.

Vasquez: Watch your tone, Helmut.

Helmut: You aren't getting anywhere with that hand, either.

Vasquez: You peeked?! Damn you!

One of the Galahad Arms ships blows up, having taken critical damage from the Tempest's cannonfire. In response, the Arms ships increase their firepower and focus it towards the Tempest's hull. A few of the cannonballs hit, destroying parts of the Tempest, the others intercepted by Zambini's magic and return fire. Two of the Arms ships begin making their way around the sides of the ship, hoping to ambush it.

Lanval: They're starting to get around us!

Roxanne: Stop them then, numbnuts!

Lanval: How?!

Zambini: Leave it to me!

Zambini climbs the rigging on the left side of the ship. He uses an incantation, which causes a massive fireball to appear and engulf the ship in flames.

Noticing this, two more ships move to the Tempest's right side. They begin firing at the back of the Tempest, managing to destroy one of its boosters.

Dirge: Looks like we won't be flying properly anymore.

Angel-Ion: Shin, lets go!

Shin: Yes, sensei!

Angel-Ion and Shin jump from the Tempest and begin flying above the Arms ships on fhe right flank. Angel-Ion sets his swords on fire and crosscuts across the first, gollowed by Shin doing the same with his own sword. The force from both attacks cuts the ship into six flaming pieces which sink.

Grunt: Get the guns! Two targets are airbourne!

Several Arms grunts grab ahold of their rifles and begin firing up at Angel-Ion and Shin who are forced to take cover.

Shin retaliates with a barrage of fire blasts which soon set the second ship on fire. Its captain loses control of the wheel, causing the second ship to crash into the third and transfer the fire over to it. They both soon sink, followed by two more of the others.

Phoenix: A single ship has managed to whittle down most of our fleet.

Bayleaf: Because their ship is better, but not against our subs it's not! Order the ships to retreat, and deploy all torpedoes immediatley!

Soon, the Arms ships begin turning, but the submarines remain still, firing their torpedoes at the Tempest.

Luther freezes chunks of ice in the water, causing the torpedoes to crash and explode prematurely. Lanval and Ray focus their cannons on the first of the submarines, which soon blows up.

Bayleaf: Tch. Fire the whole load! Unleash the Big One!

The submarines begin firing more artillery than before, forcing Dirge to make a hard turn to avoid the brunt of it. Suddenly, the other booster explodes. Angel-Ion fires a flaming cut at the second submarine, but it doesn't so much damage.

A massive torpedo is suddenly fired out from underneath the central submarine, and hurtles towards the Tempest, avoiding the ice and striking the ship's keel directly, exploding on impact, causing the ship to shake heavily.

Lanval: That didn't feel too good!

Roxanne: Damn it, if they keep this up, we'll be goners!

Ray jumps onto the figurehead of the Tempest and pulls out his guitar.

Ray: Behold. Disaster Symphonia #1: Lightningshock!

The sky suddenly darkens.

Bayleaf: I don't like the look of this. Submerge!

The central submarine heads under. Before the other three can repeat the gesture, massive, powerful pillars of lightning crash down upon them, destroying each one in an instantaneous, electrical explosion.

Angel-Ion: What the hell was that?!

Roxanne: Was that...?

Ray: Disaster Symphonia number one. Lightningshock.

Dirge: I thought you said your father sent you to find them.

Ray: Yeah, but I didn't say he already found one.

Zambini: That's definitely powerful.

Phoenix: What do we do now?

Bayleaf: We retreat.

Phoenix: But what about--

Bayleaf: Leave it. That torpedo has damaged their keel. There is no way their ship will last...

Meanwhile, on Vasquez' ship, Basil, Django and two of the Asarash stare in awe of Ray's attack, while the others don't seem to have noticed, paying more attention to their poker game. Helmut throws his cards down.

Helmut: Ha! It looks like I win again!

Vasquez: Tch.

One of the Asarash rolls her eyes.

Fenrir: (Cheater...)

Roxanne looks over the edge of the Tempest, which is now slightly uneasy after the hit it took.

Roxanne: Looks like we've gotta get a pitstop in Canorica.

Dirge: Any ideas?

Roxanne: I heard there's a shipwright company there called Tide Shipworks.

Ray: Those guys cost a fortune though. They're practically world-famous in the ship-building industry.

Roxanne: You think I don't know that? We'll just take it out of our earnings. We've got a few bits and pieces worth a lot in the treasury.

Ray: That's true.

Roxanne: There should be a place where we can sell it off, too.

Dirge: Ok then. Returning to the course... Now.

Dirge turns the Tempest around. It sails away.

Tide Shipworks

22nd April, 1217 AC. Canorica. Joston Port

The port itself is large and bustling, spanning several wharves, each filled with tradeships and fishermen. It sits next to a harbour, containing nothing but military ships, on which routine checks and inspections are occuring. Each ship seems to have the Canorican flag raised on their jackstaffs. 

The Tempest arrives at a random port. Soon, Roxanne, Luther, Angel-Ion and Shin emerge with bags filled with treasures.

Roxanne: First, we've gotta find a place to sell all of this lot.

The group head off, while Ray, Lanval and Zambini go looking for supplies in town. Dirge, meanwhile, heads off to look for Vasquez' group.

Roxanne's group soon leave a pawn shop, having earned a total of ₺500,000, packed into two cases. They soon travel to a walled-off wharf with the name "Tide Shipworks" labelled on its massive entrance.

Roxanne: I guess this is the place, then.

Angel-Ion: This place seems pretty huge.

Roxanne knocks on a door. A foreman opens it.

Foreman: Hello?

Roxanne: Uh, hi. We understand that this is the Tide Shipworks hub. Do you know where we can go for repairs?

Foreman: See that massive entryway? Just go through there, and you should see a building labelled "Reception". They might be able to book you in.

Roxanne: Ok, thanks.

The four follow his directions, and head to the reception. A trio of shifty figures notice the two money cases carried by Shin and look at one another. The four head into the reception building and ring the bell.

Roxanne: Hello, we're looking to book a reservation for ship repairs.

Receptionist: I'm sorry, but all the reservations are fully booked today. I'm sure there--

???: Was that a ship repair job I just overheard there, missy?

Roxanne: Yeah, why?

???: Well, I'm a foreman that works here at Tide, and I'm in charge of some of the goings-on here.

Shin: So... You're the boss?

???: Not quite, squirt. I'm just one of the so-called "big-rigs" here. The boss is out on a meeting right now, and as our lovely receptionist says, our usual bookings are full up. Though, I'm not busy right now, so I could give your ship the good old check up and see if its all in ship-shape.

Angel-Ion: (This guy's got a very strange reading... I just can't put my finger on it...) Just who are you, exactly? What's your name?

???: My name's Martin Pett, but people usually just call me the latter. I suppose its because its shorter. Now lets just cut right to the chase. While you guys wait here, I'll go check out your ship to see what's up. Just where did you dock it?

Roxanne: Its a Novalian vessel docked at the end of the harbour closest to here.

Pett: East or west?

Roxanne: East. You can't miss it. (Especially after what happened to it.)

Pett: Right. I'm off to check it out. I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tale.

Pett runs in the direction opposite of where he needs to go.

Roxanne: Oh look, he's doing what you do best.

Roxanne looks at Angel-Ion.

Angel-Ion: Huh? What's that?

Roxanne: He's going the wrong--

Pett suddenly sommersaults onto a container, before leaping onto another that is stacked upon yet another. He then jumps up to a nearby building, and using acrobatics, scales the building and ends up on top of the wall. He scopes the nearby ports and eyes the Tempest. He runs along it before making a leap off of the side.

Roxanne: --Way...?

Shin: Did that just happen?

In his surprise, Shin puts the cases down beside him. A man and a woman enter the dock, followed by a secretary. The two are conferring about business.

The man wears a striped brown suit, with an orange unbuttoned shirt underneath. He has his hair neatly combed to the side in the middle, the sides are shaved off.

~ Tide Shipworks Company President ~ Joseph Holborne: ... And the profits should be in by the end of the week.

He politely smiles at his female cohort. His companion is a fellow Canorican, and is severe in appearence. She is short in height, and slender in figure. She has bleached white hair that is cut neatly at her neckline, a straight fringe, piercing blue eyes and a pair of wire-framed round glasses. She is wearing a very formal looking grey dress which buttons up at the front and has a collar, as well as a black belt. All this accompanied by formal black shoes and a red pearl necklace. 

Behind them is a blonde secretary, carrying a clipboard. She has a yellow suit and thin glasses. She adjusts them.

~ Underground Manager ~ The Auditor (Evelyn Wright): Good. My employers should be satisfied. I'm sure we will be meeting again somewhere in the future, but for now, farewell Mr. Holborne.

She leaves. He waves goodbye. When she is out of sight, he stops waving and begins picking his nose with the same hand. He glances over to Roxanne's group.

Joseph: Hmm?

He walks over. His secretary follows behind.

Joseph: Don't I know you from somewhere?

Roxanne: U-Us? No! No!

Angel-Ion: Not at all!

Shin: Nope!

Joseph: Eh. I don't care.

~ Tide Shipworks Secretary ~ Mina Agulera: This is Joseph Holbourne, President of Tide Shipworks.

Joseph: Pleasure to meet you.

He shakes each of their hands.

Joseph: Do you want me to show you around?

Mina: Sir, you have your afternoon lunch with the manager of the glass factory in five minutes. After that you have a lecture to give at the local school, followed by an interview with the Avalon Times journalist. Followig that, you have some paperwork to sign in your office, and after that, you have your evening meal with--

Joshua: I don't wanna!

He looks at her with a rather spoiled look on his face. She glances at him for a few seconds.

Mina: Very well, I will cancel all of your appointments.

Angel-Ion: ... Huh?

Roxanne: Isn't that a bit irresponsible?

He yawns.

Joshua: Oh well. Needs must.

He leads them over to a dock, where several foremen are in the middle of building a ship.

Joshua: Hey! Rob! Tom! Come down here!

A pair of foremen come down.

Joseph: These are two of my top foremen here at Tide. This is Robert Harwich, and this is Tom Pike.

Robert holds his hand up, as if to say "hi".

Tom: HELLO. NICE TO MEET YOU.

Joseph: Oof.

Angel-Ion: Why is he shouting.

Mina: Tom is deaf in one ear, and partially deaf in the other, so he shouts to be able to hear himself properly.

Roxanne: Then how did he hear you call him just now?

Joseph: I dunno. Lets ask him. WHY--

Mina: Sir.

He stops.

Roxanne: And what's his story?

She turns to Robert.

Mina: Robert is mute. He just uses hand signs.

Joshua: Shall we move on?

As Shin reaches for the cases, he finds that they have disappeared. He turns to see the shady men from earlier run off with them.

Shin: Hey!

Roxanne: Stop! That's our money!

???: Shit... They noticed us!

They continue running, unaware of another man running in their direction.

???: Outta my way!

He barges them out of the way, making them drop the cases. The three are then trampled by what appears to be debt collectors.

~ Tide Shipworks Foreman ~ Laurie Hawser: Outta the way!

Robert steps in the way. He pulses his bloodstream. Luther seems to recognise this ability. Suddenly, Robert launches forwards and strikes the debt collector at the front. He is sent flting back, knocking the rest over and sending them hurtling into a recovering trio. Shin and Roxanne quickly retrieve the cases.

Roxanne: Beat it.

She kicks one up the ass. The three panic and leave, followed by the debt collectors.

Angel-Ion: Who were those guys?

Laurie: Debt collectors.

Angel-Ion: No, the other guys.

Joseph: They are thugs from the Frobisher Gang. They are ship dismantlers who steal money on the side. Their boss's name is Tico.

Roxanne: Tico?

Joseph: Mm... Oh. I forgot. This is another of our foremen, Laurie Hawser.

Laurie stares at Roxanne's bust.

Laurie: Nice to meet you.

Roxanne: Tch.

Meanwhile, Pett surfaces from the water below the Tempest, and jumps onto the deck.

Pett: This is really bad... Better head back and tell them the news.

Back in the shipyard, the group continue the tour. Another foreman approaches.

~ Tide Shipworks Foreman ~ John Bull: Yo, boss. There's a government official wanting to see you at the gate. What should I do?

Joshua: Which one is it?

Bull: Its John Curtis, sir, and one of his associates, Thurlow Reed.

Luther's ears prick up, and the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. 

Joseph: Damn. Tell him I'm not here.

Curtis and a few other government officials approach them, amongst them, a more decorated official, Thurlow Reed.

Angel-Ion: That's...

Roxanne looks at Luther.

Roxanne: Hide!

The four hide behind some timber.

Laurie: What? Why are you guys--

Roxanne: Shh! We'll explain later.

Curtis: Howdy gentlemen. How've you all been doing lately? 

Joshua: Hello Curtis. I am not here right now.

Curtis looks towards Reed, points at Joshua and laughs. 

Curtis: This guy! Haha! He's got a great sense of humour. 

Reed is unamused.

Reed: You should start acting more cordial towards Mr. Curtis.

Joshua: I don't like you. Go away.

Joshua begins picking his nose. The foremen don't seem to be alerted by their boss's poor attitude.

Reed: Stop being such a child!

Joshua: I'm an adult, thank you. What do you want, Curtis?

Curtis: Oh y'know. Just checking by. Gotta maintain the "man of the people" look. Well, that, and seeing your progress on my personal ship, and maybe you hand over those papers I want.

Luther can hear Curtis' voice from behind the timber. His fists are tightly clenched.

Joshua: Oh. That. We're still working on it. You can leave now.

Curtis: Oh c'mon, that's no way to treat a former President. 

Meanwhile behind the timber, Luther is desperately trying to contain his resentment, but each time Curtis speaks, he remembers the torture he endured. 

Alter-ego: You have the perfect opportunity. At the click of your fingers, you could set his heart on fire.

Luther: (Not now!)

Luther slams his fist against the timber in anger, and parts of it begin to char. 

Curtis turns around to look at the timber after hearing the noise, and seeing burn marks on it. 

Curtis: What was that?

Bull: I'll go show him his ship.

Joshua: Yeah. But make sure he doesn't come near me again for the rest of the day.

Reed: (Moron...)

Bull leads Curtis and his men away. The others come out.

Laurie: Mind telling me what all that was about? ... Wait a minute. I know you three. You're wanted by the government!

Roxanne: Please don't tell!

Joshua: Naw. I already said I don't really care. Curtis can go get lost.

Laurie: Eh. If the President doesn't care, neither do I.

Roxanne: So what exactly is it that bothers you about him?

Joshua: Well for a start, his face annoys me, secondly, in the past he and his government dogs found out that my old colleague and I had blueprints for an old weapon made in Meropis.

Angel-Ion: Weapon?

Joshua: I dunno. We were handed it to my old teacher. Christopher and I used to be apprentices to another shipwright known as Pluto Fitch.

Roxanne: You worked for Fitch? No wonder you're world-renowned!

Shin: Who's Fitch?

Roxanne: He's a seafaring pioneer!

Angel-Ion: I can remember reading about him once. He came to Kyloto.

Roxanne: So what is this weapon, and how did Fitch get his hands on it?

Joshua: Boss Fitch told Christopher and I that he got the blueprints from his own teacher. As for the weapon, it is a colossal ship that was known as Warship Noah.

Roxanne: Wow!

Joshua: Shall we continue our tour?

They continue walking. Shin notices a restroom.

Shin: You guys go on ahead. I need to use the loo.

Angel-Ion: Keep up, though, will ya?

Shin: Yes, sensei!

He rushes to the restroom. Two of the goons from before sneak in after him, unnoticed by the others.

Pett shows up. He does not look happy.

Joshua: Ah! Pett! You're back from...?

Roxanne: Inspecting our ship.

Joshua: Right.

Pett: I'm afraid I have some bad news for you.

Roxanne: Don't tell me... The ship's boosters have blown.

Pett: It's a lot worse than that. I'm sorry to tell you this but... Your ship cannot be fixed.

Roxanne: Wha...?!

Angel-Ion: It can't?!

Pett: The keel has been critically damaged. There's nothing I can do to repair it. I wouldn't go and sail it, either. It won't be able to make it to its next destination.

Angel-Ion: Can't you just take it out and replace it?

Pett: The keel is the backbone of a ship. If you replace it, its like building a ship from scratch. It wouldn't be the same.

Roxanne falls on her knees.

Roxanne: Damn it. I spend years building that ship!

Luther just stands there. Roxanne gets up. Ahe wipes a tear from her face.

Roxanne: I guess we'll just have to b--

Bull: Boss! Over here!

The group go over to where Bull is.

Joshua: What is it? It better not be Curtis.

Bull: No sir, look.

Bull holds up a case. It is empty save for a few banknotes.

Roxanne: That's...

Angel-Ion: Shin!

Laurie: That damn Frobisher Gang!

Angel-Ion, in a moment of anger, rushes off.

Roxanne: Angel-I-- Tch. Where can we find the Frobisher Gang?

Joshua: There's an abandoned warehouse in the wharf that is on the edge of town. That's where they live.

Roxanne: Right. Luther, lets head back to the Tempest and regroup with Ray and Lan. Then we'll go find this Frobisher Gang.

The two head off. As the foremen begin to confer, Robert continues to watch the two as they run off. The two begin running down the street.

The Frobisher Gang

Luther: Maybe not the best time to talk about this, but did you notice what Robert did earlier?

Roxanne: What was that?

Luther: It looked like he doped his blood. Like Bayleaf in the tournament, and Black Knight.

Roxanne: So what are you saying?

Luther: I'm saying it looked like he doped his blood?

Roxanne: Okay... What are you meaning!?

Luther: Is it possible he is associated with the Galahad Arms?

Roxanne: I don't--

Roxanne stops, she stops Luther beside her. Before them is Shin, beaten by the Frobisher Gang.

Roxanne: Shin! Are you alright? Speak to me!

Shin: Ngh... I... I'm sorry... I lost... The money...

Roxanne: Alright, we'll take you back to the Temp--

Shin grabs her by the leg.

Shin: No... You both go...

He gets up.

Shin: I'll go find... Sensei...

Luther analyses his condition. 

Luther: He'll be fine, let's go. 

Roxanne: Alright. But...

She looks dead into Shin's eyes.

Roxanne: Stay safe.

They both head off. Shin begins walking throught the street. Later, they arrive back at the Tempest, where Ray and Lanval have already returned.

Ray: There you are.

Lanval: Where are the others?

Roxanne gives them the details of what happened.

Lanval: What? What do you mean "can't be fixed"?!

Roxanne: The foremen said there was nothing they can do.

Ray: And the Frobisher Gang?

Roxanne: They stole our money. We ought to show them what for.

Meanwhile, Shin shows up outside the old abandoned warehouse described by the foremen. The word "FROBISHER" is written across a wall in graffiti.

Inside, the gang, including the three thugs from before, are celebrating. A figure with an elaborate carnival costume holds up a case of money.

~ Frobisher Gang Leader ~ Tico Frobisher: Looks like this is the best find, boys! ₺750,000! Now we can finally buy that thing we've always wanted! Great job, Lloyd!

~ Frobisher Gang Co-Leader ~ Lloyd Phipps: Ah, shucks, boss. It's nothing. That little weasel was easy pickings!

Tico: Alright. I'll leave you guys ₺50,000 of the profits to whatever you want while I'm go--

Suddenly, the front door blasts off.

Tico: Hm?

Lloyd: Who's there?!

Goon: Show yourself!

Shin appears in the doorway.

Shin: The money that you stole... Give it back...

Tico: Give it back, you say?

Lloyd: You idiot. You don't get it. This is our money no--

Shin hurls forwards, with his sword outstretched. He makes a break for the case of money.

Shin: Kiyaaah!

Tico: Whoops.

She moves it away. Shin hits the floor.

Tico: You've got some guts coming here, kid, but I'm afraid I can't let ya have it.

Shin: But that's our money...

He begins to get up.

Shin: We need that money to repair our ship.

He stands up.

Shin: You can't have it! GIVE IT BACK TO ME RIGHT NOW!!!

Tico swings her leg into Shin's gut. He lands on the floor, and begins trying to get up again.

Tico: What are you getting so worked up about? No matter what happens, you aren't getting this money back, understand?

Shin: D-Damn you...

Tico: Unfortunately in this world, stealing from nobodies and criminals isn't really seen as a crime. Yeah, I know all about your friends. The runaway prince, the Kylotean and the Novalian girl. Besides, this is probably dirty money you swiped on the way here. Keh. Just let us have it. Hrmm? Maybe you can ask the law for help. Nah, they'd just throw you in the slammer. Hahaha. So much for Roxanne Fenix. She's got herself a weak little cronie who can't even guard a little money. Such a shame...

She kicks him in the chin. He lands on his back, coughing up blood. She turns to the back door.

Tico: Alright guys, show him the hospitalities of the Frobisher Gang while I'm gone. No time like the present to be shopping with all this dough. Hahaha. This is gonna be gre--

Shin: Hold it!

Shin springs to his feet. Using all the might he can muster, he springs towards Tico with his sword. She turns and punches him in the face, using the force of her own punch to send him crashing into the floor by her fist.

Tico: Remember my name, little boy. Its Tico. If you wanna leave this place alive, I'd suggest you never cross me.

The Frobisher Gang members surround him while he's down. Two of them grab him by the arms.

Shin: Hey! What are you guys doing?!

He tries to get free, but he is out of energy, and thus can only struggle. Let... Go..!

One snatches up his sword.

Goon: What do we have here?! Hahaha.

He sticks it in the floor. Tico continus towards the back door.

Tico: See ya later, kid. Thanks again for the ₺750,000.

Shin: No! Wait! Give it back! You give it back! You hear me?!

Lloud stands in front of Shin and slugs him very hard in the gut. He is dropped to the foor. The goons stand around him and begin laughing at him. He tries to reach out towards Tico, who is leaving out the back door.

Shin: G-Give it back...! Give it... Back!

The gang begin kicking Shin while he's down on the floor.

Shin: No...! Please...!

The door closes.

Shin: GIVE IT BACK!!!

Later, Angel-Ion, Luther, Ray and Lanval arrive at outside the warehouse, while Roxanne remains on the Tempest to protect the rest of the money. The four of them find Shin on the floor, unconscious and completely battered.

Avenging a Friend

Angel-Ion clenches his fist.

Angel-Ion: Luther, is he alright?

Luther rolls him over and has a closer look. 

Luther: Barely. 

Angel-Ion grits his teeth.

Angel-Ion: Wait here, Shin.

The four of them begin walking toward the building.

Angel-Ion: We're gonna smash that place to pieces.

Inside, the gang are partying, having a banquet thanks to the money Tico left for them. One of them lays down a winning hand.

Goon: Ha, you lose! Now its your turn to get some food!

Tall Goon: Alright. I'll make sure I'll get plenty. I'll buy out the whole darn store.

He goes to the door.

Tall Goon: Just you wait, I'll beat you at that game later.

He opens the door and prepares to step through it. Suddenly he is pelted in the face by Angel-Ion. He is sent flying back onto the floor. The other goons see this and look in shock.

Lloyd: What was that?! What happened?!

Goon: You jerks!

Goon: You got a death wish?!

Lloyd: Gch... It's...

He gets nervous.

Lloyd: Its those guys! The ones from that crew!

A brazen gang member steps forwards.

Goon: Are you serious? Do you think the four of you can stand up against us? You're outnumbered!

Ray appears behind him.

Ray: What a load of horseshit.

Ray sheaths a rapier. Suddenly, massive gash appears across the goon's chest, causing him to fall unconscious.

Lloyd: Whoa! Whoa! H-Hold on there guys! Guys?!

The four remain unchanged. All four clearly angry.

Lloyd: Alright! Fire the cannons!

Three goons fire cannonballs forwards. Angel-Ion runs forwards and slices them all to pieces in an instant.

Lloyd: T-That's impossible! All those cannonballs are made of iron!

Suddenly, Angel-Ion appears on top of one of the cannons. Suddenly all three split in half.

Goon: The cannons too?!

Goon: AAAH! These guys are seriously bad news!

Goon: Lets get outt here!! Everyone through the back door!

As they turn and run, Lanval jumps over them all. He plants his hand on one of their faces.

Lanval: You guys started this fight, and now you wanna run away? What a bunch of cowards!

He spins and kicks all of those within range in the face.

Goon: Eek! We can't use the back door!

Goon: Use the windows! Everyone use the windows!

They begin running to the left side of the building.

Luther creates a barrier in front of them, that they run into and bounce off. 

Lloyd staggers.

Lloyd: N-Now I know what you want... I-It's the money, right?! The ₺750,000 the other kid had, is that it?! I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that money isn't even here anymore! Tico the boss took it all and went on a shopping spree. But since she's shopping on the black market, we don't even know where she is, or even know how to find her! So no matter how much of a rampage you go on, that ₺750,000 won't be coming back, so why don't you--

Angel-Ion punches Lloyd very hard in the face, breaking his nose and dislodging one of his teeth, and sending him shooting across the room into a wall.

Goon: Gyah! Lloyd!

Lanval: That's enough out of you. This isn't about the money.

Ray: Damn straight. Its too late for that.

Luther: There won't be anything left of you when we're finished.

Goon: N-Nothing left?!

Goon: What's wrong with tou guys, acting like a bunch of cowards?! Get ahold of yourselves! We're the Frobisher Gang! Never forget who you are!

The gang are roused by his speech.

Same Goon: Alright guys, lets show 'em the moght of the Frobisher Gang!

They charge at the group. They are quickly whittled down one by one. On the outside, arts of the building begin breaking apart. There are sudden explosions, which eventually cause the building to blow apart. The four crew members walk away from the wreck, leaving the defeated Frobisher Gang behind. Angel-Ion carries Shin's sword, Wolfsbane, out with him.

Meanwhile, Tico gets on a train, unaware that nearby, Dirge and Zambini are keeping tabs on Vasquez's goons.

Dirge: (That is odd... I see Vasquez, the spider minions and those werewolf guys but... Where's Helmut...?)

Zambini: (That's not all of the spiders, either. Two of them are missing. Something's off here...)

Basil: So where is Master Helmut?

Vasquez: He said he was going to tie up a loose end in town. He got a tip off from a guy called Thurlow Reed that someone in town has a special blueprint for a special weapon called "Warship Noah".

Dirge and Zambini look at each other in surprise.

Back outside the former abandoned warehouse, the four stand around Shin. Luther is giving him urgent medical attention.

Ray: So what is gonna happen now?

Lanval:Are we gonna wait for that Tico person to come back?

Angel-Ion: Nah. Its not worth it. Destroying her place is enough. Lets head back to the Tempest for now. We've got enough problems on our hands right now.

The Dogma of the Night

The next morning, there seems to be a ruckus in town. Several people are discussing the event. The newspaper reads "HOLBORNE SHOT".

Gossip: Did you hear? Joshua Holborne was shot five times! I don't know how he managed to survive. I wonder who did it... It was either the Frobisher Gang or the ones who sail in that Tempest ship! Was it something to do with the Frobisher House being blown up yesterday?!

Laurie is running through the street towards the hospital.

Laurie: I swear to god, whoever did this is dead!!!

Roxanne flinches at the newspaper.

Ray: What's wrong?

Roxanne: Joseph Holborne has been shot!

Angel-Ion: What?!

Lanval: That's the bossman you met yesterday, right?

Angel-Ion: Yeah. He was a bit irresponsible.

Luther: It could have been Curtis. 

Everyone looks at Luther.

Roxanne: What makes you so sure?

Luther: Well, I'm not sure, but... Just from what I overheard at the docks. He seems like a suspect. He has never cared much for the law.

Angel-Ion: I think you're right. Joseph said something about Curtis wanting the blueprints for that weapon...

Roxanne: Whatever it is, we have to go check up on Joseph for ourselves.

At the station, Tico returns, with a receipt for something, unaware of the commotion going on in town.

At the hospital, Robert, Bull and Mina stand around a comatose Joseph.

Doctor: I'm afraid he's in a very bad state. He was shot five times.

Mina: You were the one who found him, Bull. Did you find any hint or clue as to who did this?

Bull: Only one. This.

Bull holds up a common festival mask.

Bull: We don't sell these in Canorica.

Laurie rushes into the room. Elsewhere, Tico arrives at the ruins of the Frobisher House. She drops a bag beside her and stares at the ruins in shock. She takes her mask off.

Tico: Those damn bastards.

Angel-Ion, Roxanne, Luther and Ray head through the streets, while Lanval keeps an eye on Shin. He falls asleep.

Meanwhile, as Curtis is about to board a ferry that will take him back to Venland, Reed runs up to him, newspaper in hand. 

Reed: Sir, you should take a look at this before you go. 

Curtis takes a brief look. 

Curtis: The Tempest crew? I haven't heard about them in a long time. Wait... Could the Prince be among them?

Reed shrugs. 

Curtis: Inform the police. Get them to close off the city. Bribe them if you have to, just get it done! I can't let them get those blueprints!

Reed: Yes, sir!

Angel-Ion, Roxanne, Ray and Luther arrive at the Tide Shipworks shipyard, having been tipped off that Joseph has been relocated back to his home to rest.

There are a large crowd of civilians, police and reporters in the shipyard, leaving the group stuck outside, on the bridge connecting the shipyard to the city.

Roxanne: Out of the way! We need to get through!

Roxanne tries to get through the crowd. Suddenly, a very loud brass noise is heard across the shipyard. On a platform, a figure stands.

Tico: Alright! Where is Angel-Ion Enoshima, and his allies!

Angel-Ion: Right here! Who the hell are you?

Curtis, who showed up in the area himself, spots Angel-Ion, Ray, Roxanne and Luther on the other side of the crowd. He runs forward with his security detail, pushing through the crowd in order to try and get them them. A hand suddenly finds itself on his shoulder and pulls him around. Curtis finds himself face to face with Helmut. Wuthout a word, Helmut shakes his head. He then leads Curtis away.

Tico: You punks destroyed our place, so I came looking for you for revenge!

Angel-Ion: So you're Tico then.

Tico: You got that right!

Angel-Ion: You wanna fight or something?

Tico: Yeah.

She cracks her knuckles.

Reporter: Oh no! Boss Tico from the Frobisher Gang is about to get into a fight!

Citizen: Run!

The civilians and reporters flee.

Meanwhile, outside Joseph's room, the top foremen are gathered, waiting patiently for any news. Mina enters from the room, wiping tears from her face.

Mina: I-I have some good news. Mr. Holborne has regained consciousness!

The foremen soon enter the room.

Laurie: Boss!

Joseph: *Cough* Sorry... I made you all worry...

Laurie: I'm glad you're alright. Be sure to get some rest.

Bull: We'll take extra care of the docks while you're recover.

Joseph: Alright... By the way, last night... The guys who came into my room...

Laurie: They're still looking into that.

Joseph: No, no. I can vaguely remember. Its hazy. There were three people. The masked man had a set of horns, and another was female... The other one I couldn't see clearly.

The foremen look in shock.

Laurie: Horns? Female?! Those bastards from yesterday!

Tico: So you're Angel-Ion, eh? While I was away, you made a total mess of my place.

Roxanne: Wait a minute... Where's the ₺750,000 you stole from us?!

Tico: Spent every last penny of it! Where did you steal that money from, anyways? Don't think you can demand people to return stolen money when you probably stole it.

Angel-Ion: The money doesn't matter anymore. Your guys beat up my friend. I'm gonna kick your ass for that!

Tico: No, I'm the one who's gonna kick your ass!

She flexes her muscles and suddenly begins howling.

Citizen: Tico's gone beserk! Stay away from that area!

Angel-Ion: Get down here!

Angel-Ion Enoshima vs. Tico Frobisher

Tico jumps down from the building, into the riverway beneath the bridge.

Roxanne: Did she slip?

She jumps up and punches through the bottom of the bridge. Angel-Ion reels his fist back for a fire punch. She reaches her left fist forwards.

Tico: That ain't gonna work. Not against my "Iron Knuckle".

Her fist suddenly fires out from her wrist, connected to a chain. It is propelled by a rocket. It slams into Angel-Ion's chest, and forces him back up into the air, crashing into a wall. Tico retracts her fist, leaving him in the wall. He soon falls down.

Ray: How on earth...?!

Roxanne: How did she do that?

Tico: This is a prosthetic arm. Surely you've seen 'em before.

Angel-Ion recalls fighting Salvage Sargeant from the Underdome. Luther recalls Bayleaf's prosthetic arm from the tournament.

Angel-Ion: Tch.

Tom rushes into Joseph's room.

Tom: Something bad is happening!

Bull: You're too loud, Tom. Go outside.

Tom: Boss Joseph! You're ok! WOOO!

Laurie kicks him in the head, sending him back outside.

Laurie: You're too loud. Talk over there!

Tom: Those guys from yesterday are fighting with the boss of the Frobisher Gang just outside! They're smashing the place up!

Meanwhile, in a small alley, Helmut pushes Curtis against a wall. One of the Asarash does the same to Reed. The other Asarash member just stands there.

Helmut: John Curtis. What the hell are you doing here?!

Curtis: None of your business. Now if you'll excuse me, there is a fugitive I was hoping to hand over to the authorities!

Reed: Fugitives, sir.

Helmut: I wouldn't do that if I were you. Things have already heated up over there, and it is likely going to get worse. If you want to capture Visarion, then you are going to have to wait.

Tico and Angel-Ion stare down each other across in the plaza, after knocking down a small crane.

Angel-Ion: Ha... Ha... I'm really going to beat your ass into the ground...!

Tico: Heh... Heh... I'd like to see you try...! So far, your attacks have been ineffective against me!

Helioptican directs her left arm at him. She begins spraying bullets from a compartment atop her wrist, but he quickly slides out of the way.

Angel-Ion lunges forwards for a punch, but is hit in the side by a rock attached to a rope, struck at high force.

Angel-Ion: Who did that?!

Roxanne: Oh...?!

The foremen of the shipyard approach. Laurie pulls back his rope, before cracking his knuckle.

Laurie: Making such a big mess. What are you trying to do here, Enoshima?!

Tico: Huh? Why are the foremen here?! What do you want?!

The Foremen of Tide Shipworks

Tico: You guys from Tide. It's not nice to interrupt someone when they're in the middle of a fight!

Pett: Its not your place to say such things. We've come here to stop you from continuing this nonsense. You've messed with our company long enough.

Tom: Yeah! How are you even gonna fix this, Tico?!

Laurie: Calm down, Tom. We'll sort that out later. Right now we have bigger fish to fry... Hey you! Enoshima! How dare you show your face here!

Angel-Ion: What?! I haven't done anythi--

Tico: Couldn't get enough with just my gang, huh? So you messed with Tide, too. Do you break everything you touch or something?

Angel-Ion: We didn't do anything, asshole!

Laurie: A bluff? Well then, in that case I'm gonna have to tie you down and beat it out of you.

Angel-Ion: "Tie"?

Laurie swings his rope, which wraps around Angel-Ion's neck.

Angel-Ion: Ack!

Laurie swings Angel-Ion up into the air and slams him down behind him.

Tico: You bastards! This is my fight! You stay outta this!

The other foremen prepare to engage Tico. Angel-Ion gets up.

Angel-Ion: I still don't get why you're--

Bull fires two shots at Angel-Ion. He dodges them, but Bull heads in and kicks him aside.

Tico: Hey! Did you even hear me?! He's mine!

Tico fires the machine gun in her arm again. Pett leaps over her.

Pett: We don't have time to deal with you, Tico.

Tico looks up and raises her fist.

Tico: Why, you...?!

Tom: You're in our way!

Tom strikes Tico with a piece of timber, sending her flying. Pett stamps on her back and forces her down to the ground in the same move. Robert moves in to fight Angel-Ion. Their attacks collide. Suddenly, Robert glares at Angel-Ion. Seemingly recognising this, Angel-Ion braces himself. Robert strikes him with only his fingers, which suddenly release a blast that sends him reeling back.

Angel-Ion: Damn... You guys are actually pretty strong. But I want to know why the hell you're attacking me!

Laurie: We're the ones who want the reason why you snuck into boss Joseph's room and shot him!

Tico: Joseph? What's he talking about?

Angel-Ion: Why the hell would we do that?!

Laurie: When boss Joseph woke up, he said he remembered three people! One with horns, and one female, and one other person!

Angel-Ion: What?! That's not...!

A blade flies past Angel-Ion. He jumps back, dodging it. He turns to see who threw it and sees Pett.

Pett: "Dead or Alive". Do you know what that means? Its a term given to wanted criminals such as yourself.

Angel-Ion: This is definitely a mistake! Let us go talk to Joseph ourselves!

Bull: We ain't gonna let someone like you even come close to boss Joseph!

Laurie: We'll give them hell. All of them.

Laurie turns to where Roxanne, Ray and Luther are.

Citizen: Don't let the assassins get away!

Roxanne: Uh oh.

Ray: Fuck.

Laurie: This is is for the four of you. If you hurt our boss, then you've made this company your enemy.

Angel-Ion: But that's not...! Just let me talk to--

Laurie: Get over it, criminal scum.

Laurie binds Angel-Ion's hand with his rope. He pulls him towards him, but Angel-Ion holds his ground.

Laurie: What's wrong? Why don't you fight back?!

Angel-Ion: Because I shouldn't have to fight any of you!

Tom suddenly fires a mortar at Angel-Ion.

Tom: Bullseye!

Laurie: No, he got away.

Angel-Ion leaps off of the side of a building. Robert launches in and strikes him, knocking him into it. Pett throws knives to keep him from moving to the side, as Tom fires his mortar again. Angel-Ion is caught in the blast.

Tico: Damn it! He's supposed to be my prey! How many times am I gonna have to say it?!

Laurie: We'll take care of you when we're done!

Tico: You know what?! Fine! I don't think you'll understand with words alone!

Tom: Uh-oh!

Bull: Watch out, Laurie! Tico's gonna do something bad!

Tico wraps her left hand around a tube that emerged from her right hand. Her right hand sucks in a lot of air.

Tico: Take this!

A massive wind cannon is fired at the foremen. They are each blasted into the shipyard, which becomes critically damaged by the attack.

Citizen: Oh no! That's the unfinished...!

A crane falls on top of Curtis' unfinished ship, crushing it.

Angel-Ion slides out of the smoke and finds himself before the other three.

Citizens: After them!

Angel-Ion: Run!

The four run away. The smoke clears, and the foremen find that both Angel-Ion and Tico are gone.

Pett: She sure messed things up, that Tico.

Bull: What a day...!

Later, outside a cafe, Helmut, Curtis and Reed sit outside a table. Helmut seems to have disclosed all information to Curtis.

Helmut: See? What happened was a success. I shot Joseph, and those idiots got the blame for it.

Curtis: Visarion isn't in the hands of the authorities yet. Let's not call this a success so early.

Helmut: Tch. I'm not talking about Visarion specifically. Tonight, I'll be paying Joseph a visit. Out of all of Pluto's apprentices, Joseph is the only one still alive, so he simply must have the blueprints of Warship Noah. In the name of Daz Lothar, it is imperative that those documents fall into our hands. You must understand that this is the very duty of justice.

Plans

Tico is walking through an empty street.

???: Boss!

Lloyd and a few others from the Frobisher Gang show up.

Tico: Lloyd! Guys!

Lloyd: Did you beat those guys up for us?

Tico: No. Some guys got in the way. They escaped!

Goon: They escaped from the boss?! They sure got lucky!

Lloyd: We found that weasel crew member and another sleepy head aboard their ship at the docks.

Tico: That gives me an idea. Have any police officers gone there yet?

Lloyd: To their ship? No. Wait, what do you mean "yet"?

Tico: I'll tell you later. Hehehe.

The Blueprints

Later, that night.

Angel-Ion, Luther, Ray and Roxanne are gathered together watching Joseph's mansion from the treetops. The place is heavily guarded by shipwrights.

Roxanne: We mustn't be hasty. They are expecting another attack.

Luther: It'll be bad if someone goes in there recklessly.

Ray: If Curtis is definitely behind this, then we'll see him. Get ready in case you see any movements.

Elsewhere, an Asarash stands on a rooftop. She has a transmitter that is connected to Helmut.

Helmut: Wait for my signal. Once you get it, proceed as planned.

Asarash: Understood.

After a few moments of silence, there is an explosion in the building.

The Asarash moves in. Directly outside Joseph's room, the foremen sit in guard, except for Laurie. They hear the explosion.

Tom: What was that?!

A masked figure rushes by.

Bull: A masked man! After him!

Bull and Tom get up and give chase.

Pett: Huh? Geeze.

Pett looks at Robert, who looks back. The masked figure heads outside and uses a whip to get onto the roof. They run into some guards.

Worker: Did you think there wouldn't be anyone up on the roof?

Masked Person: Give up. You are no match for me.

Roxanne: Looks like things are beginning to start up. What should we do Ang--

Roxanne finds that Angel-Ion is gone.

Roxanne: HE'S GONE?!

Ray: That idiot!

Luther: He already left.

Ray: You knew?!

The Asarash from before jumps down from where they were, grabbing the attention of the guards.

Worker: Look there! After them!

They give chase. Meanwhile, in an office, Laurie opens a vault.

Laurie: This must be it. The thing Joseph told me about.

Laurie thinks back.

Joseph: I want you to go to my vault in my office. There's something inside. Bring it to me.

Two masked men enter.

Masked Man: So that is where Mr. Holborne was hiding it. Best hand that over if you value your life. You wouldn't understand its value.

Outside, the workers surround the Asarash.

Worker: Stop! We have you surrounded! Tell us where your other crewmates are!

Asarash: Hmph.

She raises a large black cowl.

Worker: Gyah! Fire!

They all fire their guns. The cowl is shredded, but the Asarash has gone.

Worker: They disappeared!

Worker: Search the grounds!

On the rooftop, the masked figure has defeated all the workers.

Masked Person: I told you you weren't any match for me.

In the office...

Laurie: Who are you people...?!

Masked Man: We've come from the darkness. As for our alignment, we represent justice.

The other masked man remains silent.

Laurie: How did you get in here?! Our workers should have stopped you!

The masked man reveals a bloody hand.

Masked Man: They were too weak against me. Now hand it over. Mr. Holborne's "treasure".

Outside, the workers are scrambling for the Asarash.

Worker: Has anybody found the intruder yet?!

Worker: No. But we've sealed all the doors and windows shut! They shouldn't be able to get in.

The Asarash approaches a wall, having gotten inside. She touches it, and she is absorbed into her own shadow. She passes through the wall, and reforms in Joseph's bedroom. He sees her immediately and recognises her.

Joseph: You! You're the--

She shoots him. He falls out of bed onto the floor.

Joseph: Gack! Why...?!

Asarash: In order to prevent any complication, I simply had to take a precaution. That is the way of a "professional killer", is it not?

Joseph: Y-You aren't from the Tempest at all...! Y-You're from the government...!

Asarash: Correct. As it has been determined, the blueprints of the Warship Noah would no doubt be passed down to a protege should its possessor come close to death, or is near the end of their life. The person you chose was chief mechanic Laurie Hawser. Two of my associates are dealing with him right now.

Joseph: So then... I played right into your hands...

On another rooftop, Angel-Ion looks over.

Angel-Ion: Now I'll be able to find out what's going on.

Angel-Ion hurls himself forwards and spreads his wings, flying towards a building.

Back in Joseph's bedroom, Joseph has managed to pull his gun on the Asarash.

Joseph: I know why you seek the blueprints for the Warship Noah. Your superiors seek to use them to produce it en masse. That would make the government the biggest known superpower in the world. I am very much aware of the change of government power two years ago. I suppose you guys were also the ones behind the assassination of Joshua Andrews, then?

Asarash: No. That was not ours. Though we did make light of it by aligning ourselves by the one called James Barker.

Joseph: Why are you telling me all of this?

Asarash: Because, after this, you will die. Though, even if you do somehow survive, nobody would believe you, despite your position.

Joseph: Keh. Very well. Then I'll tell you something of my own. The only ones who have been decieved are you.

Asarash: ?!

In the office, the masked man has beaten Laurie somewhat, while the other masked man watches in silence. Blood trails down his hand. He still holds the rolled up documents in his hand.

Masked Man: Pathetic. Now hand that over to me, before you get blood over it.

Laurie: Damn... I thought I could win, too... Joseph wanted me to leave immediately... Leaving that thing behind and saving myself... Because that thing is a fake.

He collapses. The masked man observes the document and looks on in shock.

Masked Man: A fake?!

Laurie: I don't know who you are, but you failed. What a show up... I don't know what you're even looking for.

Masked Man: You were just bait. No matter. We'll just kill you anyways!

The masked man reaches for Laurie, but suddenly, Angel-Ion smashes through the window.

Angel-Ion: You're...

Laurie: Enoshima...?!

Masked Man: Damn it...! You, out of the way!

The other masked man dives out of the way. Angel-Ion lands and turns to the masked man beside Laurie, and moves in for an attack.

Masked Man: Fool.

The masked man's shadow moves on its own and kicks the shadow of Angel-Ion in the gut, causing the real Angel-Ion to fly back as though he was actually hit.

Angel-Ion: Gyah! What the hell?!

The masked man appears behind Angel-Ion and smashes him to the ground by slamming his leg against his head. The masked man then pins his arms and legs to the floor using giant staples. He then does the same to Laurie.

Masked Man: We don't have time to hang around. Lets leave.

The masked men leave the room. The ringleader contacts his cohorts.

Masked Man: There has been a hitch in our plan. Everyone converge towards the bedroom. Don't eliminate Joseph yet.

Tom and Bull catch up to the masked person outside.

Masked Person: Looks like I've gotta fly. I'll see you later.

The figure lunges forwards and strikes them both in the neck, knocking them unconcious. They suddenly speed off.

Laurie looks at Angel-Ion.

Laurie: You ok?

Angel-Ion: It's nothing.

Laurie: Why did you come here? Everyone thinks you're the culprit... I'm sorry.

Angel-Ion: It's alright. I'm used to it.

Angel-Ion smirks.

Laurie: Hey, you're strong, right?

Angel-Ion: I guess.

Laurie: Good. Do you think you can fight them?

Angel-Ion: Probably.

Laurie: Same here. In that case... Fight them with me. I want to beat them too.

Angel-Ion: I see.

The masked men show up in Joseph's room. Pett and Robert have been restrained outside, seemingly by cursed bands.

Joseph: Go home! I have nothing to give to you!

Masked Man: That's the problem.

The masked man resches for their mask.

Masked Man: What shall we discuss first with you?

The masked man removes their helmet.

~ Behind-the-Scenes Secret Services Directly Under the Commander-in-Chief - Asarash Leader ~ Helmut Urkhine: I'm so very disappointed. This is what you get for not handing the blueprints over, when the government asked you nicely.

Helmut turns to his associate, who takes off their own helmet; John Curtis.

Joseph: Curtis?!


The other masked individuals reveal themselves as Thurlow Reed and the second Asarash.

Joseph: W-What? How?!

Helmut: Concealing ourselves was easy as pie. As for Mr. Curtis and Mr. Reed here, I set them up to this. From one government official to another. With rewards courtesy of the Commander-in-Chief Daz Lothar himself, of course.

Curtis: I better be compensated for a lot here, Urkhine, and I better get Visarion in my hands soon, or I'm out.

Helmut rolls his eyes.

Helmut: Now then, Holborne. Your forethought has left me speechless. Now tell me, the blueprints for the ancient weapon Warship Noah. Tell us where they are, or there will be more victims...

Helmut Urkhine

Angel-Ion and Laurie are stuck trying to escape from their confines.

Angel-Ion: Damn, whatever these things are, they're tough.

Laurie: I know...!

They suddenly hear footsteps just outside the room.

Laurie: Who's there?!

Ray peeks his head around the corner.

Ray: Oh, there you are.

Angel-Ion: Ray! Where are the others?

Roxanne: Right here.

Roxanne and Luther come around too.

Laurie: Then help us outta this then!

In the bedroom...

Helmut: Don't worry. We did our jobs properly. It would be best if you don't decide to act on thoughtless resistance. The government has an excellent secret service. Each is allowed to locate information from any location. Furthermore, each is allowed to use any asset necessary to achieve their goals.

Helmut thinks of Vasquez and the bomb.

Joseph: That's not right! That shouldn't be allowed!

Helmut: Yes, but we are the "Cipher Unit". The five of us shouldn't exist. Because of a certain privilege we have, our existence cannot be known to the outside world. In the name of "justice", we have permission from the government to kill any citizen who doesn't co-operate with us.

Joseph: That's selfish! There shouldn't be any killing in the name of justice!

Helmut: That was the old way. The Andrews way. The government has changed their opinion. But you... You refuse to co-operate with us. You're saying "no" to all the people in this world suffering from injustice.

Joseph: That's not right! If the weapon ever happens to return, the suffering will only increase!

Helmut: You don't trust the government, do you, Mr. Holborne?

Joseph grits his teeth. Helmut suddenly kicks him to the floor.

Helmut: How long do you plan to be the boss? Take his pulse.

One of the Asarash pins Joseph to the floor and takes his pulse from his wrist.

Helmut: I have come up with a hypothesis. You only need to listen. Your blood will tell us the truth.

Joseph struggles to no avail.

Helmut: First, having us get our hands on the fake blueprint. You presumed the criminals were government officials, and showed the fake. But if it were the people who held a grudge against you, and had come to kill you off, the real blueprint would lose its proprietor, and nobody would remain to pass it down. You're not so foolish as to have thought of that. You knew that, and you still didn't try to hand it down to anyone. That is, unless you've already handed it down to someone... Or at least, you just no longer have it. It's possible to still think that. Of course, there's no proof, even in the wake of our investigation.

Asarash: Stop squirming!

Helmut: We know nothing of your actions, that this person you'd entrust the blueprints with, would have a certain amount of skill. Let's continue with the hypothesis. The fun part is here: If you look carefully at this fake blueprint, the signatures of its designers are on here.

He unrolls the fake blueprints. The details of a different ship are on them.

"Pluto Fitch", "Joseph Holborne" and "Christopher Frobisher", below that, the name of the company, Tide Shipworks.

He rolls up the blueprints.

Helmut: The legendary shipwright Pluto had two disciples. According to the government, one of them had died eight years ago. Christopher Frobisher. However, another identified as "Frobisher" entered this premises four years ago, and came to see you. We have no reports of offspring, so I assumed that Frobisher is either alive, or has children hidden from records.

Joseph begins struggling again.

Helmut: But then I hear of this so-called "Frobisher Gang" only yesterday, after the apparent destruction of their base. That means that the only person who could have possession of the blueprints is none other than the leader of the Frobisher Gang, Tico Frobisher! I didn't expect either of you to have a relationship, especially considering Tico's place as a dismantler and hoodlum.

Helmut turns to the side.

Helmut: You see, our prediction only comes from truths. It is impossible for a dead person to participate. If it were the Frobisher Gang, they'd come to the shipyard all the time to sell materials. If they were planned well enough, there would have been plenty of opportunities to hand over the blueprints. You could say they were neighbours who kept the least suspicious distance. If you really don't have the blueprint, your bullish tone from earlier would be understandable. If you entrusted it to the offspring of your fellow disciple, it would make sense that you didn't hand it over to Hawser or any of your other foremen. Now the prediction forms a line, which is confirmed by your pulse!

Roxanne: That must be the room right there!

Angel-Ion: They'll expect us to use the door, so lets break through the wall!

Laurie: What?!

Helmut: Its not your fault, being unable to hide your emotions on a night where so much has happened. You've done all you can.

Helmut looks at his cohorts.

Helmut: Now, let's hurry and find Frobisher!

Joseph: Bastards...!

Suddenly, the wall cracks, and Angel-Ion, Roxanne, Ray, Luther and Laurie charge through it. Angel-Ion locks eyes with Helmut, while Luther and Curtis do the same. Laurie looks at what has happened, and sees Joseph on the floor.

Helmut: A hinderance...!

Joseph: Laurie...! Why didn't you run away!

Laurie: What in the world is going on?!

Angel-Ion: You! You're one of Azoth's lot!

Roxanne: Where's your wolf friend?

Helmut: That is not relevant.

Curtis: Hello again, sunshine. So after two years, you've finally decided to show yourself! Y'gonna come quietly? 

Just hearing his voice yet again causes the memories of the torture Luther suffered to flood back. This time, he shows little restraint, and charges forward, his fist engulfed in flames. Angel-Ion quickly stops him and pulls him back, narrowly missing a surprise attack from Helmut's shadow. He dissipates the flames and scowls at Angel-Ion in frustration before regaining his composure. 

Laurie: Who are you?! What did you do to Boss Joseph?!

Angel-Ion: Easy...! This guy's dangerous!

Helmut: I don't speak for Mr. Curtis and Mr. Reed when I say this, but we are government intelligence operatives. We serve the Commander-in-Chief Daz Lothar directly.

Laurie: You're making fools of us what you're doing! HAAAH!

Laurie tries running in for an attack with his ropes.

Joseph: Don't do it, Laurie!

Helmut moves forwards and effortlessly strikes Laurie in the chest with a one-inch punch. Suddenly, his punch pulses, and Laurie is sent flying out of the room. Helmut attempts to follow it with a killing open-hand strike, but Angel-Ion stops it with a kick, forcing Helmut to catch his foot with the same hand.

Angel-Ion: I didn't see you using attacks like those at the tournament.

Helmut: Too risque.

Angel-Ion moves in for a fire punch. Rather than dodge, Helmut leaves himself open. Angel-Ion begins punching him with a barrage of punches. None of them seem to be budging him.

Angel-Ion: What the...?

Helmut strikes Angel-Ion just below the neck, moving at high speed. In a split second, Helmut makes another move, slamming Luther through the floor with the back of his leg.

The Asarash both point four guns at Roxanne and Ray.

Helmut: We have a very important person to find, so we are in a bit of a hurry. We no longer have any business in this mansion, and we no longer have any business with you lot either.

He turns to Reed.

Helmut: I'll assume you've already started the fire.

Reed: O-Of course...

Ray: Fire?!

Helmut: Fire is a very convinient way of destroying evidence. If you don't wish to burn to death, I'd suggest you evacuate immediately.

Curtis: You started a fire?!

Helmut: Worry not.

The Asarash shoot out the window and grab Curtis and Reed. They soon disappear in a flash, along with Helmut. Ray rushes to the window and finds that they aren't even on the ground.

Ray: Damn it! They're gone!

Roxanne pulls Luther out.

Luther: Thanks. 

Roxanne: Never mind that; we have to evacuate people from the building before it burns!

The Workshop Under the Bridge

At the port, Lanval is walking towards the Tempest with bags of food. He arrives at the end of the port. He suddenly drops the bags in shock; the Tempest, along with Shin, are gone.

A few minutes later, Helmut and the Asarash begin leaping over buildings, having ditched Curtis and Reed at a hotel.

Helmut: One of you told me you saw Tico at a bar earlier.

Asarash #1: Yes. But then he rushed off to deal with Enoshima and the others.

Helmut: I see. Too bad he didn't sit tight and wait for us.

Asarash: Hm? Look.

Below, a few members of the Frobisher Gang are loitering.

Goon #1: Come on out Enoshima! We have your weakling friend!

Goon #2: If you don't want us to make paper dolls out of him--

Goon #3: Idiot! Boss Tico said "if you don't want him thrown into the sea"!

Goon #2: No, paper dolls!

Goon #3: You have a crappy memory!

Lloyd: "If you don't want him thrown into the sea, meet us in the old workshop under the bridge", that was the boss' message!

Goon #1: That weakling's probably getting a right beating by Boss right now!

Lloyd: Of course! They destroyed the Frobisher House! Tico must be giving him hell right now!

Helmut appears, wearing a simple half-mask.

Helmut: Who did you say took whom to where?

Lloyd: Who the heck are you?!

Goon #2: And what's with that demanding tone?

Goon #1: Do you even know who we are?! You ain't even worth our time!

Helmut: If you want to live, you have three seconds to answer.

Lloyd: Huh?

Goon #3: Lets teach this idiot a lesson!

Helmut: Where is this "workshop under the bridge"? Is that where Tico Frobisher is?

Meanwhile, in a workshop under a bridge, Shin is hammering away at a few planks on the side of the Tempest. Tico is sat nearby. Clearly they've been drinking alcohol together, and have been having some kind of chat.

Tico: Ok, I understand you now. I bet you hate us, for stealing your money. By the way... About the ₺ 750,000... I spent all of it.

Shin: Don't make me come over there!

Tico: That's no good. You showed me your manliness. I can't stay angry, even though you guys destroyed my base and beat up all of my gang...

She pauses.

Tico: How dare you do such a thing?!

Shin: Calm down!

Tico: So about that, lets just call it even. In any case, lets talk about what to do now... Why don't you become one of us? Become my new gang member. I like you.

Shin: No way. I'm already Angel-Ion's apprentice swordsman, and I'm definitely no ship dismantler.

Tico: Fine. I'll take that as a "maybe".

Shin: Stop making fun of me!

Tico: Ok.

Back on the street...

Lloyd: H-Help us! Boss Tico!!! Gyack!

Helmut strikes Lloyd down.

Helmut: Don't worry. I'll say hello to your boss for you.

Helmut turns to his two cohorts, who stand around the defeated Frobisher Gang members.

Helmut: Location acquired. Move out!

The three take to the rooftops again.

Tico: So what are you lot doing here in Canorica? Judging from your bounty posters, none of you are from this country.

Shin: I can't tell you.

Tico: Why not?

Shin: It would be bad if you were to get involved.

Tico: Are you mocking me?!

Shin: No, I'm just saying that it might be dangerous.

Tico: Danger is my middle name. Hey. What are you doing over there anyways?

Shin: I thought I'd fix the ship on my own. I thought it'd be pennance for letting the money get stolen.

Tico: Forget it.

Shin: What? Why?

Tico: Because your ship can't be fixed. When I brought it here, I checked it out. I overheard the Tide foremen when I was fighting your friend. Their evaluation is correct... It's ny professional recommendation that you put it to rest. Let me take it apart for you.

Shin: W-What?! No way!

Tico: This ship isn't going to be able to get anywhere. Its reached the end of the line. That's why it should be dismantled.

Shin: I can't let you! This is our captain's greatest work! She built it herself!

Tico: The keel is broken! The outside plates are misaligned, and the ribs are in pieces!

Shin: Well then. I get it. Just don't dismantle it, our captain won't forgive either of us if you did.

There is a knock on the door.

Tico: Someone's here. Its probably Lloyd and the others... That's odd. He normally uses the other entrance... Though, he might have Enoshima or one of the others with him. Oh yeah! I forgot I was using you as bait for those lot!

Shin: Hey!

There is another knock.

Tico: Doesn't he know the door's already unlocked?

Tico walks over to the door.

Tico: Wait up, will ya!

The door is suddenly kicked down.

Tico: Eh?!

Helmut: Sorry to interupt. I don't like to be kept waiting.

Tico: Who the hell are you?!

Shin: (That's one of the guys we were following...!)

Tico: Get outta here!

Tico throws both of her fists forwards at Helmut. An Asarash steps in to block it.

Tico: I saw you at the bar earlier!

Tico grabs her. The Asarash prepares to retaliate.

Helmut: Hey, hey! Stop!

Helmut flies in and kicks Tico away, forcing her to let go, and stopping the Asarash from attacking.

Helmut: What good is it if you kill her now?!

Asarash: My apologies.

Tico gets up.

Tico: How did you even find this place anyways? This is my secret hideout!

Helmut: Lets just say I beat your subordinate within an inch of their life.

Tico: What?!

Helmut: Ms. Frobisher, we already know everything. It's futile to play dumb. Christopher Frobisher died, and had a daughter that was left unknown to the government. That is you.

Tico thinks back.

Joseph: Its only a matter of time before tou are targetted. Take this and leave Canorica, Tico!

Tico: That reminds me. How's that idiot Joseph doing?

Helmut: He's dead.

Tico looks in shock.

Helmut: From Pluto to Joseph, and then from Joseph to you. It's checkmate for our search. Now, Tico, hand over the blueprints of the "Island Buster", Warship Noah.

Tico: I ain't giving you shit!

Tico launches her left arm out at Helmut. He dodges and moves in at high speed, striking her below the chin with an open hand. She flies back, crashing through a wall that connects a dark room. Helmut walks inside while Shin tries to help Tico.

Helmut: What is this little room...? A drafting room? The perfect place to hide a blueprint! Find it.

The Asarash begin searching the room. One observes a nameplate.

Asarash: "Christopher Frobisher".

There are two more nameplates, reading the names of "Pluto Fitch" and "Joseph Holborne". Helmut observes a photograph.

Tico: Don't touch that. Its impolite to go tronping through other people's memories. This is where I grew up, and where Tide Shipworks was born. It may be a wreck, but this is where the world's greatest shipwright lived.

The photograph has a smiling, rotound Kratonian man with his hands on the shoulders of a younger Joseph, and a man who resembles Tico. There are a few other people in the photo as well. The name "Pluto's Workers" is engraved on the photo frame.

Helmut: I see. This old workshop was once the main office of the ship building company "Pluto's Workers", the predecessor to Tide. So, this room of fond memories for the three who toiled diligently here, is your alleged "secret base". How cute.

Tico: Shut up! Get the hell outta here!

Helmut: After you hand over the blueprints.

Tico: The blueprints ain't here!

Helmut: Ok.

Helmut smashes the photograph.

Helmut: I'd expected that sort of answer.

Tico: Hey!

An Asarash tackles Tico.

Helmut: The truth of the matter is that your father died as a criminal, as did his master, Pluto Fitch himself.

Tico: Don't talk like that! My father wasn't a criminal! Neither of them were! How dare you talk like you know anything!!!

Helmut kicks Tico down.

Helmut: Criminals should well know the path that they follow.

Tico: You don't know... Anything about this place!!!

Pluto's Workers

Joston Port, 32 years ago.

A small battleship marked "FROBISHER-18" crashes on the shore. A man pulls another from the wreck. He hits the other man on the head with a plank of wood.

~ Pluto's Workers ~ Joseph Holborne (19 years old): You idiot! You're gonna get yourself killed one of these days! Don't forget that you have a child! ... Why do you make these shitty battleships anyways?!

~ Pluto's Workers ~ Christopher Frobisher (18 years old): Its none of your business, moron! These are my special battleships! One day I'm gonna make a ship that'll be able to kill those stupid sea beasts!

Joseph: Like hell could you beat them! Just go get eaten by one already!

???: If you're a man, you do it with gusto!

A rotound man, seemingly holding up an entire wooden ship from its keel with just one hand, throws it into the air. The ship appears to lack masts. He throws three wooden pillars at it, accurately lodging them into three holes on the ship, which lands safely in the sea.

~ Pluto's Workers ~ Pluto Fitch: Yahahaha! I made a good, strong ship, built with gusto! I'll finish it up tomorrow.

Joseph and Christopher stop and look at each other in surprise.

Later, in the workshop, the three men sit around a table for supper.

Pluto: So what's the count of Frobisher battleships up to now?

Christopher: Eighteen!

Joseph: Ugh. He only makes weird weapons.

Pluto: It doesn't matter what kind of ship you build. As long as you do it, do it with gusto! Yahahaha!

The Crimes of Pluto

A few weeks later...

An outdoor court is set up, several officials from the Canorican government are present.

Citizen: Looks like a trial's taking place!

Citizen: Who did they come to try?!

Soldier: Make way!

Christopher: What did Boss Pluto do?!

Joseph: Give back our boss!

Pluto: Don't worry about it!

Government Official: For the crime of "supporting" the Pirate King, Ryloth Onyx, by building his ship, Galleon Emperor, Pluto Fitch shall stand trial! Should he plead guilty, he shall be taken to be executed!

Magistrate: Normally, carpenters aren't charged for the ships they construct. But in regards to Ryloth Onyx, the notorious Pirate King, this is a special case. All of those who supported him, if even a little bit, will be seen as dangerous outlaws. Now, Mr. Fitch, any words from you?

Pluto: Please allow me to iterate that I was under no knowledge that Ryloth Onyx was the one to take captaincy of the Galleon Emperor. Therefore, I should be allowed to carry out an act of redemption. You see, I recently had a remarkable idea! This port town sees little interaction with the outside world. My steam shop, the "ferry", will no doubt put this town on the map!

Official: He's babbling nonsense! Let'a take him down!

Magistrate: Wait. "Ferry"?

Pluto: Yes! It is a steam ship. It is able to carry both people and cargo, and will be unaffected by the waves of the sea! I've also thought up a way to create a dissonance that keeps fish and sea beasts away! With commerce with the nearest ports, this town's trade will be able to grow! The blueprints are almost complete, but its not something simple, so its not the sort of task for an ordinary shipwright.

Magistrate: Hmm... How long will it take to build?

Pluto: About ten years.

Magistrate: Then I shall grant it!

The magistrate hits his gavel on the stump on his desk.

Magistrate: With the condition of building the "ferry", I grant a stay of ten years for the trial of Pluto Fitch!

Later, around the dinner tabel.

Pluto: Yahahaha! I'm still alive!

~ Pluto's Workers Secretary ~ Wanda Fairfield: I-It's not funny, sir! That trial sent shivers down my spine!

Joseph: It's just as expected of you, Boss Pluto! I never thought of such a thing. The "ferry"...!

Christopher puts down his cutlery.

Christopher: Thanks for the meal.

He gets up and begins walking away.

Joseph: Hey Chris! What's wrong with you?! Why're you sulking?!

Christopher: I'm angry at everything! Why does Boss Pluto have to be treated this way for building a certain ship?! Why does the world's greatest shipwright have t be treated like this?!

He leaves to go swim in the workshop's shiptesting pool.

Joseph: Ah! I hate that guy! We should just toss him out!

Pluto: Don't say that, he's part of our group! Besides, he hates you too. Even though his builds are dangerous, he is fairly straight; he's on par with the town's other shipbuilders, just like you. You two will go out into the world as shipbuilders on par with the likes of myself, one day, so be nice.

He stands up.

Pluto: When the blueprints of the ferry are finished, we'll all start building it, with gusto!

John Curtis

Ten years later...

Citizen: He did it!

Citizen: Well I'll never!

Citizen: Its the ferry!

A massive steamship moves away from the port and sails away. It is named the "S.S Pluto". Pluto and his apprenrices watch as it sails away.

Tico Frobisher (14 years old): Look! The ferry's out there!

Christopher: Yeah!

Joseph (29 years old): The ferry's making everyone happy, but the trade hasn't got better.

Christopher (28 years old): Hey! Don't say that!

Pluto: The results won't be that fast, Joseph. When a man does all he can, he thrusts his chest out!

Joseph starts laughing.

Joseph: I guess you're right!

The sounds of multiple footsteps is heard from behind.

Pluto: Hm?

Christopher puts his daughter on the ground.

Christopher: Alright sweetie, you go find Ms. Fairfield and tell her to start supper.

Tico: Yes sir!

She runs off.

Pluto: Can I help you sirs?

~ Government Official ~ John Curtis (35 years old): I'm John Curtis, I'm Joston's congressional representative, and I'd like to ask you a few questions, Mr. Fitch.

Pluto looks at his two apprentices.

Curtis: In private.

Pluto nods his head.

Pluto: This way.

Pluto leads Curtis towards a brick house.

Pluto: Is this about the trial?

Curtis: No. I don't know anything about that.

They enter the brick house. Christopher heads down to the beach. Along the beach are heads of scrap, along with several battleships, all marked by the same name, "FROBISHER". Joseph follows him. He looks at the most recent model, #34, with scorn.

Joseph: You're still making these weird battleships, I see... You should really get rid of these before someone gets hurt! If you can't do it, I will!

Joseph grabs a hammer, but Christopher kicks it out of his hands.

Christopher: Don't you have hobbies too, Joseph?! This is my hobby!

Joseph: I don't get why you just have dozens of them just lying around!

Christopher: Its not as if they're gonna start attacking people on their own.

Joseph: I'm not questioning your will, I'm questioning the existence of such dangerous weapons! I mean, you have a child!

Christopher: Are you saying I'm being irresponsible?!

Joseph: No, I'm saying you should be more careful!

Christopher: Argh... I'll think about it.

Joseph: ... Idiot.

Meanwhile, inside the brick house.

Pluto: Hahahaha! I don't even have such a thing!

Curtis: Liar! Don't play dumb just because I'm being polite! I've done enough research to know that you should have those blueprints.

Pluto: Yahaha! Do you have permission to investigate me?

Curtis: I do! I know that you built the ship belonging to Ryloth Onyx, the Galleon Emperor!

Pluto: The government already knows that.

Curtis: Huh?

Pluto: That's why I'm on trial. Now if that's everything you wanted to know, then I'm sorry to disappoint you.

Pluto leaves the brick house.

Curtis: Bastard! I dont care if it takes me a decade or two, I'm getting those blueprints!

Some time later, the three shipbuilders gather in the workshop once more.

Pluto: You two, come over here. I want to give you something important.

He hands them a blueprint. They both look at it in shock and awe.

Joseph: Why would anyone...?!

Christopher: Somebody can... Make this...?!

Pluto: Its arguably the nastiest monster in the history of shipbuilding. The government's already aware of the blueprints' existence. That government representative earlier was sniffing around for it. It's too dangerous for me to hold on to it, now.

Joseph: I don't like it, but... Alright. I'll take care of it.

Christopher: Hey, Joseph! Let's build it!

Joseph slaps him across the back of the head.

Joseph: No, idiot! Think before you speak! This thing's way too dangerous, even if I build it!

Pluto: Do whatever you want with it. Throw it away if you must, just make sure nobody like the government gets their hands on it.

Three days later, the day of the trial.

Wanda: Sir, its time to wake up. Today's the day of your trial!

Pluto: Ugn. I'm awake.

Joseph: Where's Chris?

Wanda: He's gone shopping this morning. I'll stay here to look after Tico.

The trial area has been set back up again, as it was ten years ago. The same magistrate has been called in to take the trial.

Government Official: Your honour, did you see the ferry?

Magistrate: Why yes, I have been on it myself! Mr. Fitch has done a remarkable job turning it into a reality. I don't think there's anyone who has a problem with his innocence.

Suddenly, explosions are heard as guns fire from the ships built by Christopher. Small explosions rock the city shortly after this, one of which strikes near the trial. 

Citizen: We're under attack!

Soldier: There! It's those ships!

Citizen: Its a group of war ships!

Christopher walks around a corner and sees what is going on. He looks in horror as his own ships begin firing at the court's judicial ship.

Citizen: Help me!

Soldier: All those ships have nothing but weapons!

Worker: Get the wounded to the hospital!

Christopher: Why...? Who's...? My ships...!

Nearby, Joseph rushes towards the brick house.

Joseph: Boss Pluto! Christopher's ships from the scrap beach are firing at the port!

Wanda: That's not possible! Chris is out shopping for sup--

Joseph: I know!

Tico: Daddy... What's happening...?!

Joseph: I know he wouldn't do such a thing...! That's why this is bad!

Pluto: No... It can't be... Lets go and stop them, Joseph!

Christopher: Who the heck is it?! I'm gonna kick your ass!!!

Curtis observes the commotion from his own ship with a pair of binoculars.

Curtis: Hahaha. Let's start the trial, "Pluto's Workers"!

Soldier: Everyone move away from the judicial ship!

Worker: Evacuate the building! Hurry!

The ships continue their fire.

Government Official: Your honour! Please come this way! This ship won't last for much longer!

Magistrate: What in the world are those?!

Christopher: (Those are my Battle Frobishers! Who would...?!)

Joseph: You should really get rid of these before someone gets hurt!

Christopher: WHO IS USING MY SHIPS AGAINST MY WILL?!

Joseph: Boss, they're coming back this way!

Pluto: To be used for such an awful thing...!

Joseph: They're close to the shore! I think we can catch them!

Joseph leaps onto one of the ships, only to find it empty of any crew, unaware that some agents have dived into the sea minutes prior.

Joseph: There's no one here!

Pluto: What?!

Joseph: What the hell is going on?!

Pluto: Joseph! Look out!

Curtis: Hahaha!

Another battleship shoots at the one Joseph is on. Pluto jumps forwards in an attempt to save Joseph, but is also caught in the blast. Christopher shows up in time to witness this.

Christopher: Eh?!

Pluto and Joseph wash up on the coast, still alive, but very injured. Pluto had a harpoon poking out of his chest.

Christopher: Hey guys! W-What happened?!?!

Joseph gets up and punches Christopher across the face.

Joseph: You asshole...! Those guys from before, the ones from the government...! Your battleships were used by those guys...!

Christopher: What...?!

Joseph: Now the government is gonna blame the attack on us! Those bastards want the blueprints for that thing, and now they're gonna investigate Boss Pluto as the culprit! If those guys take Boss the way he is... I'll never forgive you!!!

Joseph throws him to the floor.

Pluto: Knock it off. Don't torment him like that!

Christopher runs over.

Christopher: B-Boss...! I'm sorry..! The harpoon...! I made it so it can't be taken out...!

Pluto: It doesn't hurt at all. It doesn't even itch.

Soldier: There they are! The culprits.

Curtis: Yes. Round them all up.

Soldiers rush in to apprehend the three.

Curtis: Well then, shall we all head back into town?!

Trial

Curtis walks around the three shipbuilders, who are chained up and still injured.

Curtis: Here are the culprits! We have ensured that they can no longer move!

Curtis shakes the magistrate's hand.

Curtis: I saw them on those ships. I'm sure they meant to cause harm.

Magistrate: Is that so? Well, you've been a great help.

Wanda: (What in the world is this...?!)

The magistrate takes his seat once again.

Magistrate: Now, the matter of the ferry. There are no other words that can describe it. It's simply marvellous. Without a doubt, it has made a profound contribution to the trade of this town.

He clears his throat.

Magistrate: We were almost going to pardon you regarding the building of the dangerous ship, Galleon Emperor, but why have you repeated the crime?

Christopher: Give me a break! It wasn't us that attacked! It was that lowlife liar over there, Curtis!

Citizen: Did he just accuse the representative of the attack?

Soldier: What are you trying to pull?

Worker: You won't have anything to gain for saying that!

Curtis: You. Your name is Christopher Frobisher, isn't it? Isn't it your name on written on those ships? Furthermore, we caught you red handed aboard the ships earlier at the port! You can't deny that!

Christopher: (Ships that do things like that... They're no longer...!) THOSE PIECES OF JUNK AREN'T MY SHIPS, NOT ANYMORE!

Pluto looks down at Christopher. He is suddenly filled with rage, and breaks free from his chains. He punches Christopher across the head, sending him flying into a crate.

Worker: Pluto broke out of the chains!

Soldier: He's gone beserk!

Several soldiers aim their guns.

Joseph: ... That's the first time Boss Pluto has ever hit Chris...!

Christopher: W-What was that for...?!

Pluto: "Aren't my ships"?! Christopher, that is one thing that you just can't say!

Christopher: What's wrong with saying that?! I regret ever making them!

Pluto rips the harpoon out from his body.

Pluto: No matter what kind of ship you build, it is neither good nor evil...! At this point, I don't care what kind of ship you make! But... Even if the ship you make could hurt somebody, it's only parent must give it love! You musn't deny that which you've created! The ship isn't to blame; when a man's made a ship, HE MAKES IT A PART OF HIMSELF, WITH GUSTO!

There is a silence at the trial. Everyone looks on in shock.

Pluto: Christopher, Joseph... From here on out, don't let a sound come out of your mouths. Not a single word. (I've been framed. There's no way I can dispell this doubt. This is the end.)

Pluto turns to Curtis.

Pluto: (To have your untainted ships used for such a thing... Don't you want to punch him, Christopher?!)

Pluto hammers Curtis across the face with his fist, knocking him down.

Worker: Wah! Pluto's snapped! Lets get out of here!

Soldier: Hold it right there, fishman!

Pluto catches Curtis before he can fall to the floor.

Pluto: You!!! Do you understand his pain?!

He prepares to punch again.

Curtis: F-Fire!

Soldiers shoot Pluto at once, forcing him to let go.

Curtis: Take all these felonious workers straight to the jail!

Worker: He sold his soul to that Pirate King!

Citizen: Pluto is dangerous! What the hell was he thinking?!

Christopher: Bastards! If you say that again about Boss, I'll--

Pluto: Christopher. That's enough.

He turns to the magistrate.

Pluto: Your honour.

Magistrate: Hm?

Pluto: I'll confess to attacking the judicial ship and the town.

Christopher: What? Boss! No!

Pluto: But... I have one request.

Curtis: You ignorant fool! Don't listen to him, your honour! Criminals don't deserve last requests!

Magistrate: Be quiet, Mr. Curtis! Carry on.

Pluto: If you say I can let any one crime disappear for building the ferry, let it be the one made today!

Magistrate: Even if I do this, it'll be as it was ten years ago. You're still have the original charge on your head.

Pluto: Then so be it. I take pride in building the ship Galleon Emperor, and any other ship that is of my design!

Christopher: Boss Pluto...! Why?!

Pluto: As unlikely as it seemed that the government would seek the blueprints for Battleship Noah... I'm in this position for my dealings with Ryloth Onyx, you know...

Christopher: But you still didn't have to...!

Pluto: Its okay. Look, no matter what happens... I was able to help this town. My dream has... Finally started to run...

Pluto collapses.

Joseph: Boss...!

Christopher: Boss...?! Boss?!

Pluto: (I'll leave those blueprints in your hands...)

Curtis: Finally! He collapsed from losing a lot of blood! Now then... Arrest these three criminals!

Magistrate: Wait!

The soldiers suddenly stop.

Magistrate: The charges have changed. For the crime of building the feared Galleon Emperor, and any other dangerous ship owned by outlaws and pirates, Pluto Fitch alone shall be escorted to the jail. That is all!

He hits his gavel on the stump.

Curtis: (Ugh... I don't know what managed to sway you, old man. But whatever. I don't need those apprentices anyways.) Release them...!

The two apprentices are freed. The magistrate leaves his desk and walks off, as Pluto is taken away by authorities. Wanda runs over to the two. She is bawling her eyes out.

Wanda: B-Be strong you guys... If they ever become your enemies... No matter how many lives you have... They wouldn't be enough...! Nobody has ever came back from the jail...!

Christopher grabs ahold of Wanda's wrist.

Christopher: Keep Tico hidden. Make sure she never learns of any of this!

Christopher runs off.

Joseph: Chris! Where are you going?!

A soldier approaches Curtis.

Soldier: The preparations to escort Fitch are complete, sir. The S.S Pluto is ready to set sail.

Curtis: Just make sure that fat old geezer is ready to--

Curtis is suddenly pistol whipped across the face by Christopher.

Joseph: CHRISTOPHER!

Worker: Now the apprentixe has gone beserk!

Curtis: A-Arrest him you idiots!

Wanda: Chrsitopher...! Don't do this!

Christopher: Give back Boss Pluto! Give him back!

Sometime later, a medic is treating Curtis' face aboard the S.S Pluto.

Curtis: Damn that brat! He escaped! That bastard Christopher Frobisher is a definite criminal! Once Fitch is dealt with, I'll be coming straight back to Joston to have him hanged!

An agent rushes into the room.

Agent: Mr. Curtis!

Curtis: What is it?!

Agent: Its Frobisher! He followed us all the way here!

Intercepting the ferry is one of the Battle Frobisher ships. Christopher is aboard, alone.

Curtis: Is he crazy?!

Agent: What should we do?!

Curtis: Well, sink his ship you moron!

Christopher begins firing the ship's cannons at the ferry.

Christopher: Stop, S.S Pluto! Where do you think you're taking your creator!?

Curtis: Well, his execution date just got moved a bit earlier! Out of my way!

Christopher: Stop, S.S Pluto!!!

Curtis: HA!

Curtis fires a single government-owned cannon on the ferry. Its shell hurtles at the small ship.

Christopher: (I have two regrets in my life... One; I let my boss, ny best friend and my company down. Two; I'll never see my daughter again...)

Christopher smiles as tears run down his face. He throws his arms forwards, anticipating the blast.

Christopher: (I hope she grows up to be a skilled shipwright... With gus--)

The shell explodes, taking the ship and Christopher himself with it.

Tico

Several years later...

Mina: Sir. You have a visitor.

~ Tide Shipworks Company President ~ Joseph Holborne (35 years old): Who is it?

Mina: She said her name was Tico. She was acting pretty odd, so we stopped her at the factory. Shall I escort them in?

Joseph: No. Turn them away.

Mina: Right away sir.

Later, at the old workshop.

Joseph: You have an unorthodox way of meeting with people.

Tico Frobisher (21 years old): So...?

Joseph: I see you have your father's attitude.

Tico: I heard you were now in frequent contact with the government... Why are you with those bastards! They killed Papa and Mr. Fitch!

...

Tico: What're these?

Joseph: They're bluelrints for an ancient weapon called "Warship Noah". The government suspect that Boss Fitch passed down the blueprints before he died. As his last sruviving apprentice, I'm the most likely person to have it. That's why they're sniffing around.

Tico: I see. Want me to build it?

Joseph: N-No! NO! Don't build it. Just make sure that thing stays hidden! You ought to leave town with that thing!

Tico: Wait a minute! But what's gonna happen to you if they find out you might have it?!

Joseph tries to ignore her and leave.

Joseph: That's all I have to say...

Tico: Hey! Do you want to go down like my father and Mr. Fitch?! If you don't want it, just give it to them! If you don't want to give it to them, just burn it!

Joseph: Boss Pluto staked everything to keep those blueprints hidden. I wouldn't hand them to the government even if my life depended on it!

Tico: And what makes you think I won't build it? Do you trust me?

Joseph: Idiot... The fact that I gave it to you should answer that. Now get out of here...! I'll buy you a one way tick--

Tico: I'm not going anywhere! You hear me?!

Joseph recalls Christopher. He smirks.

Tico: You're definitely like your father.

Joseph leaves. Tico looks at the blueprints.

Present day.

Helmut: It must be difficult having the weight of two criminals on tour shoulders, Frobisher. Your father hurt several people that day. That's the kind of criminal he was... However, unlike Pluto, Frobisher's crime has gone unaccounted for. So, after we deliver our "package" to Tythan, we will escort you personally to jail, to make up for your father's crimes.

The Asarash tie Tico up.

Shin: You let go of her right now!

Shin looks ready to attack. His sword held outstretched.

Helmut: And him. He is an accomplice to Angel-Ion Enoshima.

The Asarash rush Shin with minimal effort, taking him down. Helmut approaches the Tempest. He touches it.

Shin: Get your hands off of our ship, bastard!

Helmut: I see this thing still hasn't been taken care of yet.

He approaches a lever. He stares at Shin with menacing eyes as he pulls it.

Shin: Wait! Don't you dare!

A doorway is opened up, sending the Tempest out, and sending it plummeting into the sea below.

Shin: STOP!

Out of the Fire

Meanwhile, outside the mansion...

Roxanne, Laurie and the other foremen wait anxiously to see if anyone else is able to escape. Suddenly, Ray rips through the fire carrying Joseph on his shoulders and with one of Angel-Ion's swords in his mouth.

The foremen are relieved to see their boss make it out alive. They are suddenly joined by Angel-Ion, Luther, Robert and Pett.

Roxanne: You morons! You could have gotten yourselves killed!

Angel-Ion: Fire doesn't affect me, remember?

Ray hands Angel-Ion his sword back.

Pett: That... Those guys in the...

Luther: You need to rest. Those binds were way too tight, plus there was not much breathable air from the fire.

Ray: So, what now?

Roxanne: Right now, we head back to the port and see how things are with Dirge and Hector.

The workers begin questioning what to do.

Laurie: You guys. This girl; lend her a hand.

Meanwhile, at the train station.

Hector: Have they picked up yet?

Dirge: No. Something's wrong. The train's here and nobody has even bothered to pick the phone up on board the ship!

Hector: Wait a minute. Look!

Some men approach Vasquez and his cohorts. Vasquez' ears point up and he stands.

Curtis: Good evening, gentlemen.

Dirge and Hector look at each other.

Later, back at the port...

Roxanne: What do you mean its gone?!

Lanval: Well, Shin said he was hungry so I went to get some food!

Roxanne: We had food on the ship!

Lanval: We did?! Oh no!

Roxanne conks him on the head.

Lanval: Watch it!

Roxanne: Now we can't contact Dirge and Hector, you idiot!

???: You guys! Emergency!

Hector sprints over.

Angel-Ion: Hector...!

Roxanne: What is it? Where's Dirge?

Hector: He told me to head here... He gave me this.

Hector reveals a contactor.

Roxanne: Please tell me Dirge still has one on him.

Hector: Yeah... But it gets worse. Guess who showed up at the train station!

Luther: John Curtis.

Hector: Ye- Wait. How did you know that?

Roxanne: He was at Holborne's mansion with Helmut and his spiderlings.

Hector: I see.

Laurie: Then why are we all just standing here?

Stowaway

Vasquez: Hnn? Well its about damn time.

Helmut: Apologies. Holborne didn't have the blueprints.

Vasquez: Well see. What did I tell you? What a waste of--

Helmut: She does, though.

The Asarash are both carrying Tico and Shin, both tied up.

Shin: Where do you think you're taking us, bastards!

Dirge: (Shin...?!)

Vasquez: Hohoho! Well now. What do we have here?

Helmut: Angel-Ion's accomplice, here, was hiding out with Ms. Frobisher, here.

Vasquez: Frobisher? Didn't he...?

Helmut: Yes. This is his daughter.

Tico locks eyes with Curtis. He looks back at her and smiles. 

Curtis: I knew your daddy. He was a pain in my ass.

Tico: You... You're...!

Curtis: Yes.

Tico: I'll kill you!!!

Conductor: All hands aboard the train! We're almost ready to depart for Tythan!

The Asarash carry the two captives on board.

Shin: Let me go! It's cramped in here!

Dirge: What a load of trouble...!

The government officials board the train. Helmut and Vasquez sit opposite Noda Ninth and Leers Mandolin. Curtis and Reed sit opposite Edvin and Fenric. The Asarash, Basil, Django and Colossus take their own seats.

Vasquez: I take it the bomb is primed and ready?

Noda: Well hello to you too, mutt head.

Vasquez: What did you just call me?!

Leers: Relax. The bomb is safe and secure. Its on the first carriage.

Meanwhile, the group, along with Laurie, rush to the station.

Laurie: Turn down this way! It's a shortcut to the station!

They turn. Roxanne has to grab Angel-Ion and pull him towards their direction.

Roxanne: By my estimate... The train has about ten minutes until it leaves the station.

Back at the station...

Conductor: We will be moving ahead of schedule for Tythan! We will be departing soon!

Dirge: Shit... It'll be leaving soon...!

Dirge looks around.

Dirge: (I don't think the others are gonna make it in time...!)

Conductor: Repeat, we will be departing soon!

Dirge rushes towards the train.

Train Staff: We're leaving a little early. Is that ok?

Helmut: Its fine.

Vasquez: Let's leave.

The train's whistle is pulled. Roxanne hears it in the distance.

Roxanne: Damn... Don't tell me that was the train!

Ray: Shit! We're not gonna make it!

Laurie: I can see the station dead ahead!

Conductor: This is the final notification! The train is now departing from the station! Next stop; Tythan!

The group rush to the station, to find it empty.

Roxanne: No! We were too late!

Laurie: Damn it!

Angel-Ion: We were too late!

Lanval: Fuck!

Luther: ...!

Passerby: Hey! Are you guys friends with a guy called Dirge?

Ray: Yeah, why?

Passerby: He told me to give this to anyone who shows up here. I was gonna throw it away but... Here, just take it.

The man hands it over to Ray.

Hector: What does it say?

Ray: "You guys. I've boarded the train. Make sure you keep up. - Dirge"

Roxanne: Dirge got on the train?!

Ray: There's a bit more. "P.S - They got Shin and some delinquent-looking girl."

Laurie: That must be Frobisher.

Roxanne: I see... But how are we gonna catch up to them?

???: Hey...! Follow me! We have something...!

Roxanne: Ok...?

On the back of the train...

Dirge sits on the very back of the last carriage. He looks bored.

Dirge: Damn... Now how am I supposed to get inside when the bloody door won't open?

The door suddenly opens. A government official exits, lightning a cigar.

Official: Man... I need a good smoke.

The two exchange looks. The official looks horrified as Dirge boots him from the train. He looks inside the carriage, to see multiple other government officials. They notice him and arm themselves.

Dirge: How can this many people be in one carriage?!

Official: Who the hell are you?!

Official: Report this to Cipher at once!

Official: This guy just snuck in!

???: Hold it. This ain't no matter for Cipher to get involved in. No matter how rude or suspicious this stowaway is, there is no need to be afraid...

An unusually tall man stands above Dirge.

~ Elite Executive Agent ~ Jerry Battersby: Because in this car... I'm here!

Dirge looks up.

Dirge: Looks like "Daz Lothar" has been recruiting some freaks.

Jerry: A freak, eh? Don't you know that I'm a boxing champion back in my city?

Dirge: Come and prove it.

Jerry reveals a pair of boxing gloves. He attempts to punch Dirge, but Dirge easily gets around him.

Dirge: Over here, "boxing champion".

Jerry: Listen here youngster. Just because I'm a big man doesn't mean I can't hit you!

Jerry puts one hand down and swings his legs around.

Dirge: Aren't boxers only supposed to use their hands?

Dirge jumps up. He slams his staff into Jerry's exposed crotch.

Jerry: GCH...!

Jerry collapses. He clutches his balls and writhes in pain.

Dirge: What a waste of time.

Dirge slams his staff against Jerry's head, creating a blast that knocks him out. He fires a second blast at the door to the next carriage. The officials attempt to give chase. Dirge stops in between carriages.

Dirge: Bye.

He slams his staff down on the couplings, dettaching the carriage from the rest of the train.

Meanwhile, on carriage #2...

Helmut: So who do we have to defend the train?

Noda: Defend the...? Oh!

Noda elbows Leers.

Leers: Ah, yes. We have a number of government officials on every carriage on the train. Starting on the tenth and final carriage, we have about thirty government operatives, led by the elite executive Jerry Battersby. Next, on the next carriage, guarding the prisoners Tico Frobisher and Shin Hitomi, we have twelve agents. Following that, carriage number eight. We have twenty four soldiers under the command of Captain Thaddeus Bone from the military. After that we have our regular cargo hold. On carriage four, the kitchen, we have stationed our special assassin, "Battle Chef" Wagner Best. And finally, on carriage three, we have the new trainee agent, Rudus Catmaw, waiting for action.

Vasquez: "Wagner Best"? "Rudus Catmaw"? Who the hell are these losers? Where's Avalo and his new "Mole Brigade"? You said he'd be here!

Leers: He will be. Don't you worry. As for the others... Understand that Daz Lothar assigned us to a group separate to yours. Wagner was hard to get hold of, with Sniper Wolf sniffing around.

At that moment, Dirge takes out the last officer in carriage six, to the surprise of Shin and Tico.

Shin: How the heck did you get on the train, Dirge?!

Dirge: Easy. I just sat on the back and some guy let me in. Anyways... Who are you?

Dirge turns to Tico.

Tico: I'm Tico. Before you get on the wrong foot, we had a bit of bad blood with your guys... But now we're not, and now we're prisoners on the train.

Dirge: Not anymore.

On the next carriage, a decorated, caped man looks over his shoulder at the door.

Soldier: Uh, Captain Bone?

???: Hmm...

Rail Train Battle Game

The shadowy figure from before leads the group to an old warehouse on the trainyard.

Roxanne: Who the hell are you anyways?

???: Don't you recognise us? You guys kicked our asses!

As it turns out, it is Lloyd and other members of the Frobisher Gang.

Lloyd: They took our boss. We want to get her back too!

Roxanne: Why should we trust a bunch of crooks like you?

Lloyd: We wouldn't have brought you to this warehouse if we didn't!

Hector: Lets just hear them out.

Roxanne: ... Fine.

Lloyd: Open the door!

Two of the larger goons open the doors of the warehouse. On the inside is a steam locomotive that has been shaped like a shark.

Lloyd: This is our prototype, Shark Runner. We built it two years ago... But it was a disaster, because the Shark Runner isn't a normal train. It's a runaway train.

Someone leaves the train. Its Joseph.

Roxanne: Joseph?! Shouldn't you be resting?

Lloyd: Hey! What did you do to our train?!

Joseph: I took it that you'd have the same kind of idea. Use it. I set it up for you. I fixed the funnel, and its got some water and coal.

Angel-Ion: Aren't you a shipwright though?

Joseph: Just because I made ships for a living doesn't mean I can't fix a train, especially one made with the dismantled parts of a ship.

Lloyd: Hey, he prepared it for us!

Lanval: Sweet.

Joseph: Celebrate after you survive. The Shark Runner's a runaway train. Doesn't matter how much you adjust the steam rate, the train won't slow down.

Ray: Well, so long as we catch up to those bastards, it'll the best thing we got.

Roxanne: Alright, lets get on!

The Tempest crew begin boarding the train.

Lloyd: Wait!

Roxanne, Luther and Angel-Ion stop. Lloyd gets on his hands and knees. He begins sobbing. The rest of the goons do the same.

Lloyd: Please take us with you! If they take boss, we won't ever see her again! She's being escorted by the government to prison!

Joseph: But you'll be going against the government of the Allied Nations itself!

Lloyd: We don't care who it is!

Goon: We're getting our boss back!

Goon: We'd give our lives for the boss!

Angel-Ion's mood seems to change. Roxanne seems unphased.

Roxanne: You've gotta be kidding! After what you did to us?!

Lloyd: W-We're begging you...!

Angel-Ion: Get on! Hurry!

Roxanne: What?!

Angel-Ion: Its cool.

Lloyd: Thank you! We'll remember this!

Laurie: Alright, lets go!

Soon, the train bursts out of the warehouse, landing on the pathway, cracking it. It edges towards the train tracks.

Lloyd: We're approaching the rails! Brace for impact!

With a crunch, the train finds itself on the train tracks. It begins picking up speed. Soon, the group gather in the seating area, while two of the goons manage the train.

Roxanne: Looks like we'll be catching up in no time!

Angel-Ion: Wait... There's a few more people in here than what there was before.

Laurie: You morons! What are you two doing here?!

Bull: I can ask you the same, Laurie!

Tom: YEAH.

Laurie: I decided to stick with these guys because the bastards who tried to kill Boss Joseph are on that train. Basically, its nothing to do with Tide. Its personal.

Tom: WE WANTED TO SEE WHO TRIED TO KILL BOSS, SO WE FOLLOWED YOU GUYS AND HID IN THE COAL CAR.

Bull: Hmph.

Angel-Ion stands up.

Angel-Ion: It looks that, even though we had some problems with each other in town, our enemies are the same now; the strongest guys are Helmut Urkhine and Durran Vasquez.

Ray: That's right. We won't stop until we take back what those bastards took from us.

Angel-Ion: We're all heading out together, so there's no point in us fighting separately.

He reaches his arm out.

Angel-Ion: From here on out, we're allies.

Laurie and Lloyd link arms with Angel-Ion, signifying a truce.

Hector's transponder phone begins ringing. He gives it to Roxanne.

Roxanne: Its Dirge!

Meanwhile, on the train. Cart eight...

???: You there...

Soldier: Y-Yes sir...!

???: That wound on your arm. Where did you get it.

Soldier: Oh this? I cut it when I tripped yesterday.

???: But what if it begins bleeding?! We have to stop it!

The captain tears a part of his cape.

Soldier: S-Sir, that's your important military cape!

The captain wraps the scrap around the gash.

???: When my men are in pain, my heart aches...

He turns to his soldiers. He appears to be a rather badly aged person with missing teeth.

~ Military Captain ~ Thaddeus Bone: Let today be peaceful.

Soldier: (His face is scary...)

Soldier: (Yeah...)

Soldier: Sir! We have a probl--

Thaddeus: I'll help!

Soldier: Uh... The officials in the ninth cart have all been wiped out; and the tenth cart has vanished completely! Furthermore, the two captives are gone!

Thaddeus: What?!

Soldier: We don't know if it was an intruder, or if the criminals somehow got free.

Thaddeus: Give all the wounded medical aid, and notify all carts at once!

Unbestknown to the soldiers, Dirge, Shin and Tico are on top of the ninth cart. Dirge holds his transponder.

Dirge: Roxanne, do you hear me?

Roxanne: Yes! Is that you, Dirge?

Dirge: Yes. I'm with Shin and...

Tico: Tico.

Dirge: ... And Tico on the train. The bomb's near the front. Anything you want me to do?

Roxanne: I would say "hold out until we get there", but I'm feeling in a good mood. Go kick their asses!

Dirge: Roger.

Tico: Wait a minute? Bomb?

Dirge: Didn't you see the direction the train was headed? We're all heading for Tythan.

Tico: Why there? That's where the war's taking place!

Dirge: I know. Their leader sent them out to bomb the place to increase the Allied Nations' favour.

Tico: Then why did they capture us?!

Dirge: I'll assume that was Helmut's planning. He wants something from you, and he brought Curtis here with him to make sure it gets done. As for the bomb, I'd assume that is Vasquez's plan.

Tico: Alright. In that case, let me help you!

A soldier suddenly peeks out of an open window.

Soldier: Sir! They're right above-- Agh!

Dirge hits the soldier in the base of the chin, flinging him out of the window fully and away from the train.

Dirge: Right. Listen up. We have nine carts to deal with, and a number of enemies, so we should try to avoid any pointless fights, at least until the others show up.

Meanwhile, carriage #2...

Helmut: Intruders, you say?

Officer: It seems that way, sir.

Helmut: Interesting.

Vasquez: Not interesting! Its those idiots! They've come to take our bomb!

Helmut: Your bomb.

Vasquez: ... And your blueprint...!

Helmut seems to ignore Vasquez and turns to Curtis.

Helmut: Seems you're holding out well. Visarion is gonna be with the others when... Or should I say if and when they show up. Doesn't that bother you at all?

Curtis: No. I'll make sure that little shit gets what is coming to him. What does bother me is you dragging me on this stupid train journey.

Helmut: What about it?

Curtis: I only came for the blueprints. We have the girl, we might as well have headed straight back to Ironhall. 

Helmut: Apologies, Mr. Curtis, but I made an arrangement with this idiot here.

Vasquez: Shut it, witch boy.

Helmut: The agreement was that I help deliver the bomb to our safe point around the conflict zone between Canorica and Tythan. Besides, nothing is greater than the chance to wring blood from those bastards who oppose justice.

Curtis just rolls his eyes. Back in carriage #8, the soldiers look around for the three pedlars. There is a sudden knock on the door.

Thaddeus: Who is it?!

Dirge opens the door.

Dirge: Hello.

Tico: Hey losers!

Shin just waves.

Soldier: They were hiding behind the door!

They shut the door. Tico uses a plank and some nails to seal it shut. The soldiers try to open it.

Soldier: The door won't budge!

Thaddeus: Move aside please!

Soldier: C-Captain Thaddeus...!

Thaddeus: I hate foul play!

Thaddeus takes a stance before a perfect square into the wall around the door. It is send flying by the high speed of the train. The three are no longer there.

Soldier: They're gone!

Thaddeus steps outside. He hears the sounds of footsteps on the roof. He looks over.

Thaddeus: ...?! No! It can't be!

Thaddeus: Return to the previous cart! Its a trap!

Soldier: S-Sir...! The other door has been locked!

The soldier looks out the window.

Soldier: ...

Thaddeus: What's wrong?

Soldier: We've been dettached!

Thaddeus: Drat! Too late...

The soldiers go into panic.

Dirge: See ya!

Tico: Assholes!

Shin: Wait. If the others are following us... Wouldn't that carriage get in their way?

Dirge: I'm sure they'll manage.

Dirge looks into the window of the next carriage. A soldier comes running towards it and attempts to kick down the door. Dirge simply opens it, causing the soldier to fly out onto the track.

Back in carriage #2...

Noda: You let them disconnect the last few carriages?!

Official: I'm truly sorry, ma'am!

Dirge and company enter what seems to be a kitchen.

???: So you finally arrived!

Dirge: Who the hell are you?

~ Official Government Assassin ~ "Battle Chef" Wagner Best: I am Wagner, professional assassin. I'm here to serve up your death!

Dirge: Assassin, huh? Leave this one to me.

Tico: Huh? Are you sure?

Dirge: Yeah.

Shin: Ok. Have fun!

Wagner throws a pair of knives at the door.

Wagner: If you wanna leave you'll have to go through-- Whagah!!!

Dirge slams his stafg against Wagner's head, knocking him into the wall. Shin and Tico advance.

Wagner: You fool! In that next room is a new agent working for the government. He's a lot more cold blooded that me!

Dirge: I don't care.

Dirge tries to strike Wagner again, but he dodges, causing Dirge to pierce a hole in the wall of the carriage.

Wagner: Unlike my kitchen knives, my battle knives are all poisoned! You should be careful not to underestimate me!

Dirge: ...

Wagner jumps forwards, swinging his knives. Dirge spins and kicks him away, into the wall. One of the knives nicks the side of Dirge's face.

Wagner: Ha! My knife got you! Now you are poisoned!

Dirge: You really are a moron. I am a Sabari. Poison doesn't work on us because we're stonekind.

Dirge lunges forwards and slugs Wagner in the gut with a glowing fist. A shockwave is send out and Wagner is sent flyinf back into the wall, this time denting it. He coughs up blood.

Tico climbs onto the roof of the next cart, leaving Shin to spy in on the next carriage. She looks across it to see a man sitting on it, with one leg on top of the other.

Tico: What are you doing up here?

~ Government Agent ~ Rudus Catmaw: I'm the newly recruited top-level government agent, Rudus Catmaw. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to kill you, because we need you alive.

Tico: I asked why you're up here, not who you are.

Catmaw: Because you would try to sneak past me.

Tico: Ah, that's true. And what about you?

Tico points at somebody behind Catmaw. He turns, to find that nobody was there to begin with. While he's distracted, she punches him across the face.

Catnaw: Guh... You play dirty!

Tico: Of course, because I'm the boss of the Frobisher Gang!

Meanwhile on the Shark Runner...

Angel-Ion and Luther are standing on the head of the train.

Angel-Ion: So I take it you're a lot stronger now.

Luther: Apparently not strong enough. 

He seems still bitter about losing to Mu. 

Angel-Ion: At least you got second place. Better than what I got... Hold up. What's that??

Angel-Ion sees something on the track. He goes back inside.

Angel-Ion: There's a train's up ahead.

Roxanne: Already?

Laurie: No way!

Lloyd: That's too soon!

The decoupled carriages approach.

Soldier #1: Damn. What are we supposed to do now?!

Soldier #2: We have to wait for a rescue, that's what.

Soldier #3: You do know we can just walk right?

Soldier #4: Too bad Captain Thaddeus left us to go chase after the train...

Soldier #5: Uh... There's something approaching us from behind.

Soldier #6: Gyah! What the hell is that?!

Lloyd: Hey, that's not the train! Its just the last two carriages!

Bull: How'd that happen?

Hector: Maybe Dirge and Shin decoupled them!

Goon: And Boss!

Soldier #1: Wait a minute...

The soldier sees Luther and Angel-Ion on the front of the train.

Soldier #1: Its those two criminals! Visarion and Enoshima!

Soldier #2: What?! How?!

Laurie: This is bad. We're gonna crash into it! Hit the brakes!

Lloyd: That ain't gonna work! This is a runaway train remember?!

Roxanne: Then what are we gonna do?!

Lloyd: Watch us! We'll dismantle it in an instant!

Angel-Ion: Boring. I'll do it.

Angel-Ion steps onto the nose of the train. He draws his two swords. He leaps forwards at a blinding speed, seemingly hopping on the air.

Angel-Ion: Enoshima Secret Sword Style... Hidden Enoshima Technique...

He spins around in a circle, he vanishes, with flashes of red appearing through the carriages before the soldiers, before suddenly appearing on the other side. He sheathes his swords.

Angel-Ion: Dai Kiretsu.

The two carriages split clean in two, vertically. The soldiers on the carriage, as well as those on the Shark Runner, watch in shock and awe. Luther seems to be unphased. The carriages are launched out of the way. Using his flight, Angel-Ion waits for the train to catch up to him. He lands on it.

Angel-Ion: It's not over yet... Someone is ahead of us.

Further ahead, Thaddeus is sprinting alog the track, hoping to catch up to the train.

Thaddeus: Hah...! Hah...! How couldI have fallen for such a trick! I've been shamed for life!

He thinks back.

Dirge: See ya!

Thaddeus: Grr...! I must catch up to the train! If those criminals escape, there'll be even more innocents who'll suffer! My sole purpose in life is to protect those innocents!!!

He hears the train behind him.

Thaddeus: Huh? The train...?!

He sees the Shark Runner.

Thaddeus: That's... A new train...

He sees Luther and Angel-Ion on the train's head.

Lloyd: Gyah! It's the Ship Butcher, Thaddeus Bone!

Laurie: Ship Butcher?

Lloyd: He can cut up ships like its nothing! What's he doing here?!

Lloyd grabs ahold of Luther.

Lloyd: Do something!!!

Luther brushes him off.

Angel-Ion: I'll only say this once! Get out of our way or die!

Thaddeus: If they came on this track... Then what has happened to my men?!

He takes a stance.

Thaddeus: I am Captain Thaddeus from AN Headquarters! I shall cut you in half in the name of justice!

Angel-Ion: Then come!

Angel-Ion leaps forwards. Thaddeus unleashes a slash from his sword that travels in a square shape towards Angel-Ion. Angel-Ion flashes in front of the attack and slashes past Thaddeus, cutting through his armour and slashing his chest, causing him to fall to his knees. He is then hit away by the train. He lands nearby, unconscious. Angel-Ion jumps on the train again.

Angel-Ion: You left your men behind to chase the train... You're a good man. But we have a job to do.

As the train travels around a hill, a man with binoculars watches.

???: Looks like they're hot on their heels, Kitsuke.

Battle for the Bomb

Meanwhile, Tico and Catmaw continue their fight on top of the train. Catmaw swings his leg around, but Tico blocks it with her arm.

Catmaw: You're certainly resilient!

Tico: Thank you!

In the kitchen, Dirge and Wagner also continue their fight. Wagner tries to stab Dirge with his poisoned knives again, but he knocks them out of his hands with his staff.

Dirge: You ought to cut that out.

Wagner: Hehe! Get it? "CUT that out"? Eh? Eh?

Dirge: ...

Dirge lunges forwards and kicks Wagner in the face.

Wagner: Stop... Kicking me in the face!!!

Dirge: Stop being annoying and super weak, then.

Wagner: Super weak?! Not even my dad would say such a thing! You nasty little criminal!

Dirge: Just hurry up and admit defeat, already. Stand aside.

Wagner: Admit defeat?! I am a government employed official! I know the importance of this mission! I ever allow you to pa--

At that instant, there is a sudden collision from the back on the train.

Vasquez: What the hell was that?!

Reed: GYAH! I SPILLED MY COFFEE OVER ME!

Helmut: They're here.

Helmut smirks.

Tico: Hmm...?

Catmaw turns to the back of the train. Angel-Ion and Luther stand on the roof of the last carriage.

Catnam: That ain't good.

Tico: That's the...!

Tom uses his mortar to blast a hole in the back of the last carriage. Roxanne, Hector, Ray, Lanval, Laurie and Lloyd board the train along with a few goons. The Asarash appear on both the back carriages and on the roof.

Vasquez: You three! Get up there!

Fenric: Huh? Oh!

The Wolves Three climb out of the window.

Wagner: What's going on?!

Dirge: Looks like its the railway pirates.

Dirge hits Wagner between the eyes with his staff.

Wagner: Gyah! My eyes!

Dirge sticks his pole into Wagner's chest, sending a powerful light blast into it, and sending Wagner at the door, shooting past Shin, and landing in carriage #2. He lies unconscious, his face faced towards Curtis.

Curtis turns to Helmut.

Curtis: I think now is a damn good time for you to do something.

Helmut stands and looks at Wagner.

Helmut: Weakling.

He kicks Wagner against a wall, sending him through it and out of the train. He grabs his sword and looks at Dirge.

Helmut: Looks like I'll be killing you first.

Dirge: I doubt it, asshole.

Helmut suddenly melts into his shadow, which moves across the floor at high speed towards Dirge. He springs out of it, preparing to land a strike, but is intercepted by Shin. Using this opportunity, Dirge blasts Helmut in the face.

Helmut, seemingly ignorant of the damage, forces himself forwards and phases through both Shin and Dirge. He throws both arms forwards, as if he has scratched them both. Strands of darkness appear from his fingertips, cutting Dirge and Shin's faces. Helmut attempts to make a followup on Shin, but Dirge counters it.

Dirge attempts to create an explosion, but an energy blast from behind sends them both flying back. They both turn to find Vasquez leaking with red energy.

Vasquez: Out of the way, Helmut. I want some fun now!

Helmut: Idiot. Go find your own opponent!

Shin attempts to attack Vasquez from behind, but Vasquez detects it and backhands him.

Vasquez: Fine. I'll have fun with that one, instead.

Helmut: No, idio--

Dirge: Bye.

Dirge fires a powerful blast, sending Helmut shooting through a few of the carriages. Dirge turns, finding the yeti Colossus' fist in his face. He is punched against the wall. In the back carriages, Helmut finds that the Asarash and the stowaways have suddenly stopped fighting to see what happened.

He grins, before striking Roxanne at a high speed, launching her out of the train onto the Shark Runner. She grabs ahold of the Shark Runner's exhaust to stop herself from going too far.

Roxanne: Damn...!

Helmut: So... Tide, the hoodlums and the idiots have all teamed up, I see.

Lloyd: You're damn right! You stole our boss!

Helmut: Idiots will be idiots, I suppose.

???: Like you for example.

Lanval comes up behind Helmut and channels his leg with Armament. It glows red as he slams it against Helmut's leg.

Roxanne: Its glowing...?!

Helmut: Huh?!

Helmut is launched out the train by a burning shockwave. He stops himself with a series of ghostly ropes and his own wings.

Lanval: Get back here, bastard.

Lanval leaps into the air.

Helmut: Ha! You won't reach me from--

Lanval suddenly leaps on the air itself.

Helmut: Impossible...!

Lanval: It's called Skywalk!

Lanval catches up to Helmut at a high speed and swings his leg down on the back of his neck, slamming him down onto the roof of the train.

Helmut: Damn it...! Why didn't I see this coming...!

Helmut realises that he is now open. He launches himself forwards, avoiding a drop kick from Lanval.

Angel-Ion: Oh. Hello.

Helmut: Grr...

Angel-Ion tries to punch Helmut in the stomach, but Helmut unleashes a dark pulse on the carriage roof, seemingly erasing it, causing Angel-Ion, Helmut and two of the Asarash to fall through. Lanval jumps over the roofless carriage, landing next to Luther, who is opposite the third Asarash. The Asarash finds itself back to back with Catmaw, who is opposite Tico.

Catmaw: Any ideas?

Asarash: Hmph.

Catmaw: Well?!

Tico: Rather than conferring why don't you two just attack us?

Lanval: Come on, its three against two.

Tico: Gyah!

Tico is struck from behind by Noda Ninth, who is accompanied by Leers Mandolin.

Noda: You were saying?

Lanval: My turn.

Lanval shoots forwards. He slams his heated leg against the Asarash, launching them back, before slamming the same leg into Catmaw's back, sending him towards Luther.

Catmaw: You idiot! Now I get to unleash my claws on your friend here!

Sharp claws come out of Catmaw's gloves. He prepares to slash Luther, who quickly fires a blue bolt of energy at at his hand, causing it to freeze. He then fires a paralysis blast at him that causes him to fall limp, allowing Luther to put his foot forward, and pull Catmaw over it, the impetus of which throws him off the train. 

Lanval: Looks like its a definite three on three now.

Noda: Don't get too cocky.

On the previous carriage, Angel-Ion and Helmut clash swords. They break, sending fire, both normal and dark, down both ends of the carriage.

Helmut: I'm certain you're much stronger than I anticipated.

Angel-Ion: I'll take that as a compliment.

Helmut: It was.

Helmut shoots forwards and prepares to swing his sword down on Angel-Ion. Angel-Ion suddenly anticipates an attack from behind, and throws both his blades out, blocking both an attack from Helmut and one from Helmut's shadow.

Angel-Ion: You've got quite a strange power there.

Helmut: Now I'll take that as a compliment. Now, let us continue!

Meanwhile, in the previous carriage, Dirge exchanges punches with the brutish Colossus. Edvin watches from a corner of the room, holding his special flute.

Dirge: When the hell did you get there?!

Edvin: A minute or so ago.

Dirge: Huh.

Dirge points his staff at him.

Dirge: You came to the wrong place then!

Dirge fires a powerful light blast, but Colossus gets in the way, taking the brunt of the blast.

Dirge: What's wrong with that thing?!

Edvin: Its my yeti, Colossus. It does whatever I want it to.

Dirge: Animal control, huh? I guess that was the same thing back in Anathar then.

Edvin: Of course.

Suddenly, the wall is dented.

Edvin: ... The hell...?!

Shin is launched through the wall, battered by Vasquez.

Vasquez: Child's play.

Vasquez walks into the carriage.

Vasquez: Aren't you done yet, Valder?!

Edvin: My apologies.

Dirge: Shin! Are you alright?! Shin! Shi--

Vasquez grabs Dirge by the back of the head.

Dirge: Gack!

Vasquez slams Dirge against the train wall.

Meanwhile, on top of the train, an all-out brawl breaks out, with the Wolves Three, Angel-Ion, Helmut, Laurie, Lloyd and another Asarash now joining the fray. After a brief bout with Helmut and Basil, Angel-Ion and Luther find themselves back to back.

Angel-Ion: We need to get past this rabble and get to the first carriage.

Luther: I take it you can't fly faster than the train?

Angel-Ion: Nope.

Luther: Power on through it is then. 

Luther runs forward, staying alert so he is prepared to dodge or counter any attacks that may come his way. Angel-Ion follows him, blocking an attack from Noda and one Asarash as he passes them.

Helmut: Get back here!

Helmut attempts to chase them along with Basil, but is blocked by Lanval, while Basil is roped in by Laurie.

Mandolin intercepts Angel-Ion, attempting to cut him with his blade. Angel-Ion blocks him and kicks him back.

Angel-Ion: Wait... Luther! Get down...!

The train approaches a sudden tunnel. Luther is forced to crouch, as the tunnel is too short to support people.

The Tunnel

The rest of the fighters begin crouching as well, forcing them all to remain incapacitated durng the ordeal. Mandolin, unaware, sees himself mere feet from the wall above the tunnel, and is struck by it, while the rest of the train, alongside Shark Runner, leave him behind as they both head inside.

Angel-Ion looks back down the tunnel to find that Helmut is crawling towards them. In the carriage below, Vasquez continues thrashing Dirge. Edvin sets his attention on Shin, and commands Colossus to torture him.

Dirge: Gh... Stop...!

Vasquez: Look at me, weakling!

Colossus lightly taps Shin's head with his foot to check if he is conscious. He then rears his leg back to make a full kick, but Shin suddenly grabs his leg, stopping it.

Edvin: C-Colossus!

Vasquez stops.

Vasquez: What?! He should be unconscious!

Dirge: (Shin...!)

Edvin: Colossus! I command you to attack!

Colossus is unable to shake Shin off. Shin begins to get up, slowly altering into his wolf form in the process.

Vasquez: Oh snap.

Shin finishes transforming. He roars and lifts Colossus upside down. He smashes the yeti against the wall.

Dirge: Wait a minute...

Dirge notices that Shin's werewolf form is smaller than what it was during the tournament, and his fur is a brighter red.

In carriage two, Wagner awakens, dazed. He turns to Curtis and Reed.

Wagner: Guh... Where am I...?

Colossus is launched through the wall, the yeti's head colliding with Wagner's, knocking him back out.

Vasquez: Yeah...?! Just because you're a werewolf too, you think you're tough?!

Vasquez squares up to the slightly smaller Shin. He throws a punch, but Shin dodges it and grabs Vasquez in a lock. He forces Vasquez back into the wall, before forcing him through it, creating a hole in the train wall and scrapping Vasquez' back against the tunnel wall, horribly scratching it in the process.

Shin pulls him back inside and throws him into the other wall, dazing him. Shin spots Edvin trying to back out of the room.

Edvin: Uh... Nice doggy...! Nice dog--

Shin roars. He moves in for an attack. A fearful Edvin attempts to play his flute, hoping it will let him take control of the animalistic Shin. Shin grabs him by the neck, before throwing him down through the carriages, landing him in the same one Ray, Roxanne, Tom, Bull and the two Asarash are fighting in.

They stop briefly to look at him, but ignore him to continue fighting. At that moment, the train finally leaves the tunnel. As Luther gets up, Hemmut quickly binds him with a barbed rope, binding him and pulling him back.

Shin turns his attention to Dirge.

Dirge: Shin! Its me! Dirge!

Shin looks at Dirge briefly, but rather than fighting, he turns his attention to the sounds of footsteps on the ceiling: The fight has continued.

Conqueror's Spirit

As Luther struggles to get free, Angel-Ion and Lanval charge Helmut.

Angel-Ion: Outta the way!

Lanval: No! You're in my way!

Helmut: You fools! You'll never get to the bomb!

Lanval: Shut up!

Angel-Ion: Get out of my way!

They both stop and attempt to push each other out of the way.

Tico: Will you two just get along?!

Helmut: Hahahaha. That's it. Squabble. Fight amongst yourselves so that I can pick off the winner afterwards!

Angel-Ion: You know what? Fine. We'll attack together.

Lanval: I'm alright with that.

Tico: (They go over it pretty quickly.)

Helmut: What?

Angel-Ion and Lanval launch forward in unison as Luther gets free. As he darts towards the first carriage, Lanval strikes Helmut with a burning kick while Angel-Ion strikes him with a flaming punch. Helmut tries to block both using Armament, but their combined power, enforced with their own Armament, blasts him back at a high speed, sending him flying away from the train.

Helmut: Tch. Fine.

Helmut opens a dark portal behind him. He turns to face it as he enters. Another portal opens in front of Luther. Before he can react to it, Helmut exits from it and punches him in the face.

Helmut: Gotcha.

Helmut lands on top of Luther. He prepares to cut his neck. Suddenly, the roof of the carriage is ripped open by Shin, who targets Helmut and pulls him from Luther by the legs.

Helmut: What the--?!

He swings Helmut back, striking Noda and Basil with his body, launching them off of the train.

Helmut: Gch...! Vasquez you moron! Stop this at once!

Angel-Ion: That's not Vasquez, that's...

Lanval: ... Shin!

Tico: What?!

Lloyd: Shows you who to pick fights with, huh?!

Laurie: I would have never guessed...!

Shin throws Helmut from the train. He creates another dark portal. He jumps out of another and slashes Shin's back. Before he can make another attack, he is blasted off of the train once more, this time by Dirge.

Dirge: Bat bastard. Get lost.

At that moment, Colossus tackles Dirge, sending him back into another carriage. Colossus jumps onto the roof of the carriage and spots Shin on the other side. Colossus runs towards him, ignorant to everyone else. Shin does the same.

As Shin prepares a punch, steam begins trailing from his mouth, as he shrinks, reverting back to normal. He is caught by Angel-Ion, now unconscious again.

Colossus stops and watches for a moment. He roars and charges forwards, targetting Luther. Luther fixes his gaze upon Colossus and concentrates, using Willpower to stop him in his tracks. The yeti staggers, before stopping out of fear alone.

Lanval: Whoa...!

Tico: What the...?

Lloyd: B-Boss... I feel dizzy...

Angel-Ion: (... So, he knows it too...)

Luther increases his focus, causing Colossus to suddenly faint. He falls off the side of the train. A portal suddenly opens, and Helmut emerges from it.

Helmut: Alright. I will rip out the heart of the next person who kicks me off this bloody train!

Mole Brigade

Vasquez enters the second carriage to find Wagner unconscious on the floor, and Reed foaming at the mouth from Luther's Willpower. He glances down at Wagner.

Vasquez: Who the hell is this loser?

Curtis: One of your assassins, apparently.

Vasquez suddenly kicks Wagner out of the window.

Vasquez: Not anymore.

Vasquez grabs the carriage's built-in transponder.

Vasquez: This is Vasquez. We need back-up.

???: Roger that. Nyehehehe.

Suddenly, a drill tank of some sort emerges from a hill behind the two trains.

Angel-Ion: That doesn't look good.

Helmut: Yes...! The Mole Brigade!

Lanval: What sort of dumb name is that?!

Tico: Alright, Lloyd. You head back to Shark Runner and get the boys outta here!

Lloyd: But boss... What about you?!

Tico: I'll be fine! Worry about me when the boys are safely off this track!

Lloyd: R-Roger!

Lloyd runs back to the Shark Runner.

Ray: Hey, what's going on? You better not be abandoning us!

Lloyd: There's a drill tank coming right up our ass!

Ray: W-What...?!

Roxanne: I'm out.

Roxanne jumps back onto the Shark Runner as well.

Bull: Me too.

Tom: AND ME.

Ray: Don't leave me here!

Ray is attacked by the two Asarash. The Shark Runner suddenly tears itself from the rails, just narrowly missing the drill tank.

~ Mole Brigade ~ Brigadier Suelo Avalo: Nyehahaha! Now you die!

The drill tank snaps itself onto the tracks and begins to pierce the last carriage. Noting this, the Asarash back off into the next carriage, bringing Edvin with them. Ray follows behind as the carriage is ripped to shreds. The Asarash find themselves cornered by Dirge.

Back on top of the train, the fight continues. Frm the drill tank, several goons dressed in dungarees emerge with pickaxe weapons, hoping to attack. Laurie and Tico repel them. Fenric and Django suddenly double team Luther, while everyone else become preoccupied.

Luther quickly fires an orb of light into Fenric's face which blinds him. He then pushes Fenric into Django in order to block his attack, before running away from them.

Fenric: Grr... Basil!

Basil jumps up over the two wolves, before bathing his leg in negative karma energy. He slams his leg down on top of Luther, sending him through the floor, into the second carriage. Basil attempts to follow him in, but is knocked back by Angel-Ion. Luther finds himself face to face with Curtis and Vasquez.

Cold Encounter

Curtis recoils in shock as Luther crashes into the carriage. 

Curtis: Shortass is back.

Luther once again charges forwards at Curtis, seemingly ignoring his objective and Vasquez. 

Curtis: Oh shit, Vasquez, protect me!

Vasquez: I'm not your bodyguard, you lout!

Vasquez dives forwards anyways, hoping to strike Luther. Suddenly, a barbed rope snares Luther and pulls him back into the previous carriage. Helmut appears.

Helmut: You stay here.

Vasquez: No fair!

Helmut heads into the previous carriage after Luther and kicks him back, before creating dark crystals blocking access to the second carriage. Luther escapes from the barbed rope. 

Luther: Damnit, so close!

He looks up to Helmut and notes the sealed door behind him. He charges his arms up with electricity, ready to engage. 

Helmut: So close yet so far!

Helmut's arms become cloaked by dark flames.

Luther puts his arms together, combining the charges before releasing a concentrated bolt towards Helmut.

Helmut opens a dark portal in its path. He closes the portal once it is entered, before opening several, which fire out dark bolts at Luther, before closing.

Luther dodges some of the blasts and is forced to retreat into the next carriage. He slows Helmut's entry by creating a wall of ice on over the door.

Helmut: You think that's going to stop me?

He opens a pair of portals, either side of the ice, and simply steps through.

Helmut: All that has done is granted you a few more precious seconds, Visarion.

Helmut's shadow kicks Luther's shadow hard, sending the real Luther to be sent back into the following carriage. Helmut's shadow pins Luther to the floor as Helmut draws his sword.

Helmut: Before I send you to the next world, let me tell you something. Us leading you here was but a mere distraction. The bomb, and the blueprints, while they were on our agenda, we used their mere existence to bring your band of losers here, so that you'll never be able to stop Lord Azoth's grander scheme!

Luther: And what is that...?!

Helmut: The Alkahest. The black orb locked away in that library in Runisia. I'm certain you paid it a visit when you were last there.

Luther: How did you know about that?!

Helmut: Lets just say a little birdie from our allies, the Agosu Clan, told me.

Luther recalls his encounter with the Agosu clansmen and Oz.

Helmut: And now that you are here, cornered by me, there's no way you can hope to stop his lordship from taking it! Now you will die alone in this lonely little carriage headed for hell!

???: You missed out one detail.

Someone shoots past Helmut. With a guitar strum, Helmut's chest is viciously cut by a water slash.

Ray: He's not alone.

Helmut: Hchk...!

Luther smirks as Ray comes to the rescue. He is able to trip Helmut up, drag himself to his feet, and he uses the opportunity to run towards the end of the carriage with the aim of decoupling it. Ray rushes into the next carriage as the Asarash catch wind of what has happened.

Helmut: NO!

Luther just gives him a mischievous smirk and a wave as he breaks the couplings on the two carriages. The two carriages are pulled towards the drill, which begins ripping them apart.

Helmut: You little shit!

Edvin and the two Asarash, as well as some of the Mole Brigade goons and another Asarash, are flung about by the drill's power, launching them all away from the train. Before he can be harmed, Helmut enters another dark portal before entering it. It closes as the carriages are completely destroyed by the drill. Helmut reappears on top of the drill tank. He stomps on it.

Helmut: Idiot!

Avalo: What did I do wrong?!

Helmut: Your drill cost us some of our forces! There's only ten of our agents left.

Avalo: Including me?

Helmut: Yes, you mindless fool! Now do something.

Avalo: Roger that! Nyahaha!

A pair of turrets emerge from the sides of the drill tank. It fires rockets at the side of the train, rattling it and forcing the roof of the last carriage to collapse into a ramp. Ray and Luther rejoin the fray on the roof. Luther makes a B-line for the first carriage, soon joined by Angel-Ion.

Helmut: Not so fast, Visarion...!

Helmut enters another dark portal.

Resistance

Helmut emerges from a portal at the front of the train and speeds towards Luther and Angel-Ion. He prepares to cut them both down. Before he can get to them, a red figure speeds down and past the two of them, intercepting Helmut and pushing him back to the bomb carriage.

Helmut: You...?! You're...!

~ Resistance Supreme Commander ~ Kitsuke Shokuji: Taking your bomb.

Kitsuke breaks their clashed swords, slashing the carriage box open as the two of them jump off of it. The box opens, revealing a very large metal ball of some kind.

Kitsuke: Strange kind of bomb you have there.

Helmut: Keep back, or I'll detonate it here and now!

Kitsuke: Go ahead. So long as it doesn't reach Tythan, right?

Helmut: Don't play me, Shokuji!

Angel-Ion: What are you doing here?

Kitsuke: Look behind you.

An aircraft fires several shots at the drill tank, quickly making short work of it as it fails and stops moving. Avalo is seen retreating from it as it explodes.

Django: What the hell?!

Laurie: Who's that?!

Tico: Who called for reinforcements?

Ray: Is that...?

The airship lowers, using tethers to attach itself to the train.

~ Resistance Assistant West Commander ~ Tamara Bystrom: Are we late for the party?

~ Resistance Assistant West Commander ~ Tabantha Bystrom: We're here to kick some ass!

The Bystrom sisters immediately clash with Fenric and Django. Rouxe and Langely seem to be comandeering the vessel, as a few Resistance soldiers jump onto the train.

Helmut tackles Kitsuke, pushing him onto the second carriage. He spews dark fire at Kitsuke, causing him to jump back to where Angel-Ion, Luther and Tico are. The dark fire burns up the floor, exposing Vasquez and Curtis. Angel-Ion and Kitsuke charge forwards, tackling Helmut.

Vasquez: ... Shokuji?!

Tico: Curtis...!

Curtis: Brat...!

Luther notes the apparent anger in Tico's voice.

Curtis: And the shortass!

Luther's eyes narrow. 

Luther: I swear to fucking God...

Luther takes out his metal quarterstaff.

Tico: You know him?

Luther: Regretably, yes. You?

Tico: Yeah. That bastard took everything I had from me.

Luther: Huh, same. 

Vasquez steps forwards.

Vasquez: You'll both be doing the same thing in a minute, dying by my hands!

Tico: Is that right, dog breath?

Tico jumps into the carriage. Luther jumps down next to her, eyeing Vasquez but still paying attention to Curtis. He assumes a combat stance. 

Vasquez howls before charging in for an attack. Luther quickly sidesteps Vasquez and strikes the back of his legs with the staff, causing them to buckle. 

Vasquez attempts to get to Tico, but she hammers him in the face with her iron fist, which she quickly retracts. Vasquez swings one leg around in a bid to knock down the two, but they both jump back.

On the roof, Helmut engages the two Kyloteans with their swords. He suddenly focuses on Kitsuke, leaving his shadow to deal with Angel-Ion. He stops and spits nails at Kitsuke, who blocks with his twin blades. Angel-Ion rushes forwards, attempting to strike Helmut, but Helmut suddenly melts into his own shadow, appearing behind the two. He blasts them forwards, sending them into the train's coal carriage.

Vasquez and Luther exchange a blow in the carriage. Luther ducks down so that Tico can again strike Vasquez with her fist. He grabs it and pulls her forwards, causing her to hit Luther.

Vasquez: You put up a better fight at the tournament, Visarion. Where did it all go wrong? Was it that Vincolian? Or is it just because you don't have Enoshima and the hooded man backing you this time.

Luther frowns and points his staff at Vasquez. Ice extends off the end, striking Vasquez in the belly, winding him. He then spins the staff around, striking the back of his head with the icy end, shattering it, and knocking Vasquez's face to the floor. 

Vasquez suddenly becomes unresponsive and Luther walks past him towards Curtis.

Curtis: Vasquez! Oh shit! Helmut! You better get your ass down here! 

Luther: I'm going to enjoy this. 

Curtis: Hurt me, shortass, and I promise, what I have in store for you will be a hundred times worse.

Tico: Make sure you leave enough air in him for... Look out!

Vasquez's eyes flash open as he quickly rises and turns, grabbing Luther by the back of the neck and pinning him against one of the walls. He holds his head in place. With his other hand, he grabs one of Luther's arns and presses it against the wall.

Vasquez: Hehehe. The Wolves taught me a few good tricks in our short time as accomplices!

Vasquez recalls Fenric's faked death during the tournament.

Vasquez: Frobisher girl. Don't move or I'll crush his skull.

Curtis: Damn, I can't wait to have you back in the cells! Hell, your bratty friend can join you. You're both in for a hell of a time. Waterboarding, electric shock therapy. Might even find out where your shit of a brother is. As for you, brat, when I'm one with you, I might have you sent out on a ferry, and we can test our artillery on it. You can go out just like your daddy did. 

Tico holds up a very old document, catching both Curtis' and Vasquez's, as well as an overlooking Helmut's attention. Tico grins.

Curtis: I-Is that... Is that the real blueprints for Warship Noah?!

Tico: Oh, they're real. Don't believe me...?

She verifies this by flicking the first few pages up.

Helmut: You damn fool. I suppose we should have forseen this...!

Curtis: So they're really real?!

Tico: Mhm.

Curtis: That's great! Hand them over! Saves me the trouble of searching for them.

Tico: I know the shipwrights from town have been passing these blueprints from generation to generation, but we're not doing it to revive a weapon. Hey. Curtis. The reason why my father, Joshua and their boss risked their lives for this is simple.

Curtis: Just give me the blueprints!

Tico: If the blueprints fell into the hands of some power hungry dumbass like you, who knows what might happen. In other words, the shipwrights passed these blueprints down as a potential countermeasure against another weapon. Now that everything's gone to hell, I'm gonna have to get a little creative if I'm to uphold the wishes of the original architects.

Curtis: Just shut up and hand them over already! Those blueprints are mine!

Tico lifts the blueprints above her.

Tico: (Father, if you were here, I'm sure you'd do the same thing.)

She turns the blueprints upside down. Her index finger on the other hand lifts open, reveaing a lighter. She sets the blueprints ablaze.

Curtis: Gyah! What are you doing?! My blueprints!

Helmut: I went through all that planning for this?

Tico: The only reason we were keeping those blueprints was to create a countermeasure. If you got your hands on them, that would defeat the purpose.

Vasquez, in his shock, loosens his grip on Luther who pushes back off the wall with his feet, pushing Vasquez back and allowing him to slip free. He then strikes Vasquez in the chest with his quarterstaff.

Helmut: Idiot.

Helmut descends, but is attacked from behind and pinned to the floor by Angel-Ion.

Angel-Ion: Did you forget about us?

The airship moves to the front of the train. It releases a trio of tethers. Two people jump from the aircraft to assist.

Kitsuke: Looks like those two have Helmut and Vasquez incapacitated. This is our chance to take the bomb. We need to take it before we get to the bridge. Speaking of which, are our explosives ready?

~ Resistance South Commander ~ Mark Langley: I got work from Zurich a few minutes ago. The explosives are ready.

~ Resistance Assistant South Commander ~ Cat Lindberg: Woo! This thing sure is a beauty! I can't wait to take it apart and assess it!

Kitsuke: Don't get too excited, Lindberg.

Langley: There. The bomb's ready for liftoff.

???: What the hell do you think you are doing?!

Kitsuke and his comrades turn to find Helmut emerging from his shadow on the roof.

Kitsuke: Do you want a fight?

Helmut: If you don't remove those bonds from that sphere, you'll have nothing but death.

Kitsuke: Is that so?

Luther jumps up and gets Helmut into a chokehold with his staff.

Helmut: Visarion?!

Helmut peers over his shoulder to see that Angel-Ion has Vasquez in a head-and-shoulder lock while his other arm is tethered by Tico's arm.

Vasquez: Y-You'll pay for this!

Vasquez looks at Curtis.

Vasquez: D-Do something you idiot!

Curtis pulls out his gun and tries to shoot at Angel-ion and Tico. Suddenly, the carriage shakes, causing Curtis to drop his gun. The bomb is lifted from the carriage, with Langley and Cat hanging onto it. They begin climbing the tether.

Kitsuke: Luther, let him go.

Luther does so. Before Helmut can do anything, Kitsuke punches him across the face, knocking him into the carriage on top of Curtis.

Angel-Ion: I take it its our cue to get outta here!

Tico: Yup!

Angel-Ion and Tico throw Vasquez on top of the downed Helmut and Curtis.

Kitsuke: Everyone! Climb onto the aircraft now! We must evacuate immediately!

The Bystrom sisters stun the werewolves and head down to alert the others as the train approaches a very long bridge over a gulch. Angel-Ion grabs ahold of Shin and flies up onto the airship as Tico uses the tether in her wrist to get onto the airship quickly. Luther seems hesitant. He looks at Curtis, who glares back and creates a fireball in his hand. 

Kitsuke: Luther! That means you too!

Luther, clearly frustrated, ignores him and prepares to launch the fireball at Curtis, only for Kitsuke to grab him by the collar and flies up to the airship with him. 

Dirge's group suddenly emerge, having beaten the Asarash, and begin climbing. Their weight on the bomb causes it to descend a bit.

Kitsuke: Careful! Not everyone at once!

Eventually, all hands are aboard the airship, and the tether holding the bomb is pulled up. Helmut emerges on the roof to see that the airship has made distance over the gulch, rather than leave. He closes his eyes, before realising they have planted explosives on the bridge.

Helmut: No...! Stop the train! Stop the train now!

The conductors fail to hear Helmut as the train begins to go over the bridge.

Vasquez: What's happening?!

Helmut: Those bastards planted explosives on the bridge!

Vasquez: NO!

Curtis: They what?! HELP ME!

Kitsuke: We're ready, Ishida. Fire.

~ Resistance Assistant North Commander ~ Yagyu Ishida: Roger.

Ishida fires a fire arrow. His bow's strength, coupled with his accuracy and the wind, cause the arrow to pierce the putty holding some of the explosives together. It suddenly explodes, sending a chain reaction to all the adjacent bombs, and causing the bridge's struts to topple like dominoes.

The conductors panic and pull the brakes, but the train is flung from the tracks into the pit.

Curtis: GYAH! SAVE ME!

Helmut: Tch.

A portal appears behind Curtis. Helmut kicks him into it, before heading inside himself. His hands then emerge from several other portals, whisking his allies to safety.

The train crashes in the chasm as the airship turns to fly off.

ALKAHEST

Laguz, Runisia.

Smoke billows from the libraries as a pink ray of power fires down upon it. In the skies, the dreaded Crucible is responsible, causing panic in the streets below.

A figure appears aboard the Crucible.

~ Special Ops Officer ~ Spade: The Alkahest has been secured, sir.

A figure approaches, welcoming the approaching Spade. He has a black cube embedded in his chest, sending red energy into his veins.

~ Commander in Chief of the Allied Nations ~ Azoth: Good~. Its great to finally have it in my collection. Now we have two more pieces of the Absolute left to find.

Spade hands an object in a cloth to Azoth. He discards the cloth to find a blue sphere.

Azoth: Excellent. Set course for Carta! The Dark Orb is there!

Personell: Yes sir!

The Crucible stops its assault and turns, before flying away onto the horizon.

Rest in Peace

The Tempest group, the Frobishers and the shipwrights are returned to Joston Port. Kitsuke and his forces depart, carrying the bomb on their airship. As Joseph approaches, the Frobishers quickly make their leave.

Joseph: Ha... Those guys don't like to stick around, do they?

Tom: YOU GOT THAT RIGHT. HAHAHA.

Roxanne: Looks like you've managed to recover.

Joseph: Yeah. And I have some news for you.

Roxanne: Good news or bad news?

Joseph: Both.

Shin: Does there have to be bad news?

Joseph: The good news is that we found your ship. I managed to patch her up the best I could, but... That is where the bad news comes in.

Roxanne: Oh no...

Joseph: It is time you let her rest. She cannot go on any further. I've been a shipwright for over twenty years. I've never seen a ship quite like it, it's lived a very admirable life.

Roxanne: I understand...

Angel-Ion: ...!

Joseph: I'll lead you right to her then.

Joseph leads the group to a lonely port, where a repaired Tempest waits. Tico follows them in secret.

Joseph: As you are the captain, I shall give you the honour.

Joseph hands Roxanne an unlit torch. Angel-Ion lights it.

Roxanne: Tempest... Thank you for carrying us all this time.

Tico: ...!

She throws the torch onto the ship. After a long few minutes, the ship catches fire and burns.

Roxanne: Rest in peace...

Making Waves

Some time later, Joseph and Tico meet in private. Joseph is writing some blueprints.

Joseph: So... You burnt it, then.

Tico: Yup.

Joseph: Its for the best. You incurred the ill will of the government, didn't you?

Tico: Oh well. Those guys had it coming to 'em.

Joseph: So what's next for you?

Tico: Well...

Before Tico can answer, Lloyd runs in.

Lloyd: Hey boss! The stuff you ordered from the black market is here!

Tico: It is?! Oh yeah! I'mma comin'. Later, Joseph!

Tico and Lloyd run off. Joseph just smirks.

Later, the Tempest crew relax at a restaurant. It is devoid of all other customers. Angel-Ion, Lanval and Shin are feasting at the table.

Zambini: So what is the plan, captain?

Roxanne: I'm gonna use the rest of the money to buy us a new ship.

Tico suddenly bursts into the restaurant.

Tico: Aou! You guys being super?!

Roxanne: Eh?!

Tico: Ah. Not all of you are here. Oh well.

Zambini: What do you want?

Tico: Listen. When I spent your money on the black market--

Roxanne: Why you--

Tico: Lemme finish! When I spent the money, I was out looking for a specific material. Its hard to acquire this day and age. In the far-off corners of the Great Unknown, there exists a material that can survive all kinds of danger. That material is the wood from the Yggdrall tree, the strongest tree in thw world.

Roxanne: Yggdrall?

Dirge: That sounds made up.

Hector: Its actually real.

Tico: Some wood from the tree appear on the black market. I've always wanted it for some time, but its very pricey, which is why I spent the money on it.

Ray: Don't tell me you bought crap with our money?!

Tico: Listen! My dream... My dream is to build a ship from that wood. A ship that would travel across all eight of the seas.

Dirge: ...?!

Tico: Now that I have wood from those trees, and the blueprints for a ship ready as well, I'll build this ship now! So, when I finish it, will you guys sail on the ship I made?!

Ray: Then... You're giving us the ship?

Tico: That's right. It would make me the happiest if someone I favour sail on it. I got the money from you guys anyways.

Some time later, the Frobishers begin to work on the ship. They are soon joined by the shipwrights from Tide.

Tico: Joseph? What are you doing here?!

Joseph: Am I not allowed to help?

Tico: Heh. Are you sure you can keep up with my plans?

Joseph: What about you? You're dismantlers, right?

During the intense building, one of the Frobishers holds up a newspaper.

Goon #1: Look! Its the paper!

Goon #2: What does it say?

Goon #1: It says about what happened yesterday!

Lloyd: Gimme that! This article could decide what happens to us!

He reads it.

Lloyd: Gyah! This is terrible!

Back in the restaurant, the group are also reading the paper.

Angel-Ion: Hey, its about us!

Lanval: I bet our bounties have gone up!

Luther: That makes us more wanted, moron.

???: WHYAAAAH!

Roxanne: What was that?

Some of the group head outside to find Lloyd and some other members of the Frobisher Gang on their hands and knees.

Roxanne: You guys again?

Lloyd: I-It's terrible! Those guys from the government have given all of you bounties! Look!

Lloyd lays out several wanted posters.

"Iron Fist" Roxanne Fenix - ₺160,000

"Scourge of Savorden" Luther Visarion - ₺270,000

"Monster Sword" Angel-Ion Enoshima - ₺270,000

"Black Hand" Lanval Dultra - ₺150,000

"North Star" Dirge - ₺150,000

"Shark Song" Ray Nikau - ₺150,000

'Dark Magician" Hector Zambini - ₺140,000

'Red Wolf" Shin Hitomi - ₺140,000

Lanval: Woo! They've gone up!

Angel-Ion: Look, Shin! Your first bounty!

Shin: Hooray!

Hector: Just great. I have one too...

Luther seems genuinly concerned. 

Luther: Joy, we're going to have more people chasing after us from now on. 

Roxanne: Wha...?!

Lloyd: W-Well, I know you've all got lots to say, but wait! We came here because of this...!

Lloyd lays down another bounty poster.

"Machine Gun" Tico Frobisher - ₺200,000

Roxanne: Tico?!

Lloyd: That's right! It's terrible! Boss's life is at stake if she stays here in Joston! If she gets captured again we'll be hopeless! By any means necessary, please...! Take our boss out to sea with you!

The group are taken aback.

Pair of Shorts

The group are directed to the site where the ship is being built. There, the shipwrights and other builders are tired out, having finished the job. The ship is covered by sheets.

Roxanne: It looks big! Where's Tico?

Joseph: She's not here at the moment, but the ship is ready. Allow me to unveil it instead.

He walks over to the sheets.

Joseph: I was quite shocked when I saw it on the blueprints myself. This ship'll be able to cross any sea, you'll even be able to go to the edge of the world! Here it is. Ready?!

He pulls away the sheets. Underneath is a ship twice the size of the original Tempest, incorporating the Yggdrall wood, and fitted with new engines and better sails. There is also a pair of archways on the sides which can be opened.

Roxanne: Wow...!

Angel-Ion: Its bigger than the Tempest!

Dirge: Look at those sails! Is that a sloop?

Lanval: Alright!

Hector: It's amazing!

Joseph leads the group onto the deck so they can explore.

Dirge: This ship looks like it has great mobility. Is that a gaff sail?

Joseph: Its a brigatine sail. Whether it can sail or not is up to the navigator.

Roxanne: So where's Tico?

Joseph: It seems she has no intention of wanting to see you anymore. Are you trying to recruit her?

Roxanne: Yeah. She'd make a great shipwright!

Angel-Ion: You mean she doesn't want to join us?

Joseph: Its more convoluted than that. She wants to go with you, but she feels obligated to stay here forever. She's not here because she doesn't want to reject you if you asked her face to face. If you really intend to take her with you, take ger by force.

Hector: As in kidnap her?

Joseph: More or less.

Meanwhile...

Lloyd: B-But boss! Look!

Lloyd shows Tico's wanted poster.

Tico: A bounty? I knew I'd get one! So what?

Lloyd: It means we can't stay with you anymore! We don't want to be a burden to you!

Tico: Don't get me that crap. It it weren't for me, you'd-- WHOA!

One of the goons trips Tico up and takes off her shorts, suddenly leaving her naked from the waist down.

Goon: I got her shorts!

Goon: T-The indeceny! W-Wait a minute!

Lloyd: Good job! Give them here!

She springs up.

Tico: Give me my shorts back. Those are my best pair!

Goon: I-It'll teach you about going c-commando, eh, boss...?

The goons loom at one another.

Lloyd: RUN!

The goons flee.

Tico: Get back here with those! I'll beat all of you up if you don't!

Lloyd: Lets get these to the others!

Soon, chaos erupts on the streets, with Tico causing a mess and being viewed as a streaker. She grabs a rope.

Goon: Look! I can see the ship! Gyah!

The goon is lasso'ed away from Lloyd, who panics after hearing a banging sound from behind.

Lloyd: Noooo!

Lloyd trips and sprains his knee.

Tico: Gotcha!

???: Here, pass!

Lloyd throws the shorts forwards to a figure that lands on the building roof.

Angel-Ion: Come and get me!

Tico: Enoshima?! Grr...! Did your captain like the ship?!

Angel-Ion: Yeah, she thought it was great!

Tico: Did you see its docking system yet?!

Angel-Ion: No, what's that?

Tico: Eh. You'll see it for yourself eventually! That's the special feature! That ship is the greatest dream ship for both us and the captain! Now gimme back my shorts!

Angel-Ion: Just "the" captain?!

Tico: Shut it smartass!

Angel-Ion springs forwards, shooting over the cove and landing on the ship, where everyone is waiting for him.

Angel-Ion: Alright! If you want your shorts back so badly, come join our crew!

Tico: Damnit! I already said I want to stay here! I have things to take care of! I gave you the dream ship, so I don't ever have to build one of those ever again!

Joseph: But to see your ship off isn't exactly living up to your dream yet, is it, Tico. Your wish is the same as that of your fathers.

He thinks back.

Christopher/Tico: I want to build a ship that will travel the whole world, and see it with my own two eyes.

Joseph: Whatever you are doing right now, you are still angry about what happened to Boss Pluto and your father. You brought those backstreet punks together. You called yourself a bounty hunter to protect this place from looters. Everything you've done was to protect this town, the town that Pluto loved, to atone for your father. Even if Pluto forgave him and I forgave him, nothing would change. However, why don't you forgive him yourself?! You can live your own dream, right?!

Memories of Christopher and Pluto flood into Tico's head. She remembers Pluto's laugh. A bag lands in front of Tico.

Tico: W-What's this?!

Lloyd: Your luggage!

Tico: You're kicking me out of my own turf?!

Lloyd: If its for you to live a life of happiness, yeah!

Tico: You brainless idiots!

Lloyd: We won't forget your kindness, Boss!

Lloyd remembers meeting Tico for the first time, and the building of the Frobisher House.

Lloyd: Just get out there and sail on your ship, damnit!

Tico: ALRIGHT!!! Stop with this emotional stuff, alright?!

The Frobishers become happy and begin cheering.

Angel-Ion: Here. Welcome aboard.

Angel-Ion drops the shorts.

Roxanne: Now get on my ship, Tico!

Tico jumps aboard. She poses dramatically.

Tico: You're all amateurs who can only do poor touchup jobs! It'd be a pity if this excellent ship had no shipwright! I'll take care of it! I, Tico Frobisher, will be the shipwright of your ship!

Angel-Ion: Yeah!

Ray: Alright!

Roxanne: Just hurry up and out those pants back on.

Tico turns to the cove to see the gathered people for the last time.

Tico: I'm going away for a while! See ya later!

Warsong and the Changing World

With a brand new ship and a new crew member, the Tempest crew head out to sea.

Roxanne: So what is this ship called?

Tico: Ah. I had a lot of discussion with Joseph about it. In the end, we settled on the same name.

Joseph (Thoughts): Warsong Tempest.

Roxanne: Warsong Tempest? I like it.

Angel-Ion: I second that.

Lanval: Me too.

Ray: Yeah.

Tico: Then its decided, Warsong Tempest it is.

Meanwhile, back in Joston Port, the shipwrights and Frobishers are busy clearing things up. Robert secludes himself alone. He grabs ahold of a transponder and raises it to his mouth. He suddenly begins speaking.

Robert: This is Special Agent October Vivaldi. I have specialist intel regarding the "Tempest" crew.

Elsewhere, aboard the Crucible...

Azoth: I wasn't expecting you to succeed.

Vasquez: You wasn't? Then that's great!

Azoth: IDIOT! You still failed nonetheless! Its only because of Helmut's savviness that you're still alive!

Spade: There's a reason why you're ranked fifth amongst the Cipher Unit, Vasquez.

Vasquez: Look at you, Mr. Big Shot who gets to serve as Lord Azoth's bodyguard!

Azoth: You are lucky I have this, Vasquez.

Azoth points to the Alkahest.

Vasquez: S-So you stole it?!

Azoth: It was mine by right to begin with! Besides. It serves as compence for the Soul Genesis. Those losers who took it are dead now, but it remains lost... That Deckard... Anyways. I've assigned those three werewolves to you, Vasquez. Try not to fail me next time.

???: Look who it is, guys. Its Dragdown Vasquez!

~ Cipher Agent #4 ~ "Speed Demon" Velo de Cosas: Why is this loser on our team again?

Vasquez: Velo... You bastard!

Vasquez goes in for a punch, but finds that Velo has moved behind him.

Velo: Gotta be faster than that, Vasquez.

Vasquez: HRAAGH!

He attempts to punch Velo again. This time, Velo doesn't move. Vasquez finds that he is unable to move.

~ Cipher Agent #3 ~ "Overturner" Ea: What's with all the rabble, Vasquez.

~ Cipher Agent #2 ~ "Shadow Man" Helmut Urkhine: Is it bad that we're basically picking on him?

Ea: Of course not. He's learning his lesson.

~ Cipher Agent #5 ~ "Nighthowler" Darrin Vasquez: Grr... You bastards ought to pay for this...

Vasquez is slashed across the back.

Vasquez: GYAAH! Who did that?!

~ Cipher Agent #1 ~ "Pharaoh" Seth: It is only fate that you are ridiculed by your betters, Vasquez. Maybe if you had something to go alongside that brawn and defence, you'd probably rank higher.

Azoth looks at Helmut.

Azoth: Is he here?

Helmut: Yes. He is waiting just outside in the hall alongside our respective subordinates.

Azoth: Bring him in.

The door opens. One of the Asarash and Basil drags Curtis into the room. They leave, and the doors close.

Curtis: You ought to keep your staff on a tighter leash. I only came to Joston to get a boat, and suddenly I am dragged into one of your hare-brained schemes and nearly killed by thugs!

Azoth: But you are alive.

Curtis: Only just.

Azoth: Helmut here has put in a good word for you. He said you collaborated well within the mansion of Mr. Holborne, especially against those Tempest fools.

Curtis: That's nice. I have a few negative words to put in about him. 

Azoth: I don't care.

Curtis: Then what is your point? Why am I here?

Azoth: Calm yourself. With all things considered, I am willing to name you Director of Cipher Unit.

Curtis: Wow really? Just for being there?

Azoth: Helmut tells me that you fit into his plan of action effectively.

Helmut: Even though the blueprints were lost, our raid on the mansion was a success. We delved for the information we needed, and later found the blueprints with relative ease.

Vasquez: If it weren't for that Kitsuke Shokuji, success would have been closer at hand.

Ea: Yeah, and your own weakness.

Vasquez: Piss off.

Curtis: If I'm getting an unearned promotion, I will gladly accept it... Just what does my new job entail?

Azoth: As Cipher Unit's Director, you are in charge of managing the directives the unit carries out, whether it be acquiring a weapon or something else. They are also your private protection. According to government records, none of them exist, meaning your title of Director should not be publically known, either.

Curtis: Huh. And what if these dipshits don't follow my orders?

Azoth: It all depends on what objectives you give them. These aren't your run of the mill bounty hunters, so they won't go chasing down Luther Visarion to the ends of the earth; we have the Agosu for that. 

Curtis rolls his eyes. 

Azoth: All in all, give them worthwhile jobs, and they'll do it.

Curtis: Fine. That'll do. 

The doors burst open.

Spade: Sir, Yigari and Lord Faron have arrived.

Azoth: Really? Speak of the devil. Bring them in.

The doors open for a masked man riding atop a large cassowary, which has a scar across its beak and left eye. They are accompanied by a man decorated by armour and teal effects. The masked man jumps off of his mount. Both of the men kneel.

Azoth: It is good to see the two of you again.

~ Acting Lord of Regolia ~ Bryant Faron: And you, my King.

The masked man just nods.

Azoth: So, Yigari, do you have it?

~ Agosu Clan Boss ~ Kogu Yigari: Yes, my lord!

He poses as he says this, to the annoyance of Curtis and some of the Cipher agents.

He reaches into a bag attached to his cassowary. From it, he pulls out a severed head. He shows it to Azoth.

Faron: Isn't that...

Kogu: Chief Prosecutor of Kratonia, Morley Drackon!

Curtis: What the hell?!

Azoth: I tasked the Agosu Clan with beinging me his head. After Zeo went into power, he was highly against the abolition of the Kratonian monarchy.

Curtis: Did you really have to have him killed, though?

Azoth: Of course. He was trying to spark rebellion in our Kratonian territories. With the invasive forces on both the east and the south, Kratonia has no room for rebellions. But alas, such is fate. Now, Lord Faron, what news do you being from Regolia?

Faron: Ah, yes. It pleases me to tell you that all the seats on our table have finally been filled. The armies have all been streamlined, and the nation is seeing very little rebellion.

Azoth: That is pleasing to hear.

Kogu hands Azoth the severed head. Azoth raises a finger, causing four gold spikes to emerge either side of him. He impales the head onto one of them.

Azoth: Is that everything?

Faron: Yes, my King.

Azoth: Then let us all return to business. You are all dismissed. Except for you, Yigari.

Faron, Curtis and the Cipher agents leave. Kogu remains in the chamber as asked.

Kogu: What is it, my liege?

Azoth: Summon your Battle Lords. We will need them for our upcomong raid.

Kogu: It shall be done, my lord.

Kogu mounts his cassowary and rides it out of the doors.

The Absolute Equation

Warsong Tempest.

Roxanne: Looks like it happened.

Ray: What happened?

Roxanne lays down a newspaper. It reads "LAGUZ ATTACKED - NATIONAL TREASURE STOLEN".

Tico: Is this that Azoth person you said about? The one who wanted the blueprints and that bomb?

Angel-Ion: Yeah, that's him. Looks like he's starting to make his own move now.

Roxanne: Do you think there's more to this... "Almakest"?

Luther: Alkahest.

Roxanne: That, yes.

Ray: I guess. Its like that armour he sought out.

Dirge: I think I read something in about the Alkahest in Karen's journal. It mentioned something called an "Absolute".

Luther: Hang on... That sounds familiar. 

Luther opens up his satchel, containing the notes he made two years ago at the library in Laguz. He opens up on a page which shows some kind of equation regarding the Absolute. 

ABSOLUTE EQUATION
LIFE = CREATION
NOTHINGNESS × DEATH = DESTRUCTION
LOVE × HATE = SOLVENT
GOLD = POWER
POWER ÷ MALICE = WATER
SOLVENT × WATER +
DESTRUCTION × CREATION
= ABSOLUTE
ABSOULTE = SELF
SELF = AZOTH

Everyone stands around him in shock.

Angel-Ion: That sounds crazy.

Roxanne: What does any of that even mean?

Dirge: "Solvent"... What I saw from Karen's notes was that this was the power of the national treasure that was stolen from Laguz.

Luther: The Alkahest.

Dirge: Yes. But what does that say about "Creation" and "Destruction".

Ray: What do you mean?

Dirge: This formula makes "Solvent", the Alkahest, sound like an ingredient... But what connects them...?

Roxanne: Hmm... Back when we were in Zoroaster, I remember finding a book on alchemy. Its hazy, but I can remember something called a "Philosopher's Stone" being able to produce material, and, to an extent, with enough power, allows the user to create artificial beings called Homonculi.

Dirge: I presume that is what is meant by "Creation", then.

Hector: Homonculi... Those were the things that Azoth used to attack the Wizard's Guild.

Angel-Ion: Then that means Azoth already has one of those.

Dirge: That means he only has "Destruction" left to find. I assume its an antithesis for the Philosopher's Stone, meaning it must exist to destroy.

Luther suddenly recalls touching the mysterious dark orb back in Carta's archives.

Luther: The archives in Carta. There was something there, an orb. When I touched it, it caused my hand to burn, and like that Aspect of Envy I had, it gave me visions. 

Dirge: Hmm... Do you think it is possible that that orb is our "Destruction"?

Luther: I wouldn't rule it out. 

Dirge: Captain?

Roxanne: Yeah. Set course for Carta!

Dirge: Roger!

Dirge goes for the ship's wheel, but finds that Tico got to it first.

Dirge: What the...?!

Tico: You're the navigator, aren't you? If you're multitasking, then that means you can't do both thinks to their full potential, right?

Dirge: That's true. Thank you.

Tico: So which way do I turn, navigator?

Dirge: Turn it hard to the left!

Tico: Roger that, navigator!

Tico turns the ship's wheel left. She seems to enjoy doing it.

Meanwhile, at a familiar bar in Carta...

Five individuals sit around a table.

???: Its hard to think that it has been two years since Azoth resurfaced.

???: Yeah. And that bastard has already made his move in Laguz. That leaves him with two of the four pieces of Absolute.

???: Worryingly enough, the bounties of that Tempest lot has gone up. I heard from that old fool Phade that they went after those two special agents.

Bartender: Whoa, did you say "Tempest"? Those guys came to this very bar two years ago!

???: Is that a fact? Heh. I guess this is what they call fate. Something you're accustomed to, Luwei?

~ Shadow Reed Hunter ~ Templar Luwei Meja: Stop trying to be funny, bastard.

~ Atlas Star ~ Templar Narak: It was just a joke, asshole.

~ Absolute Zero ~ Templar Melody Shaltear: G-Guys, can we please stop arguing?

~ Shell Knight ~ Templar Cova Rhydiac: We are supposed to be Templars. Why can't you three start acting like it?

Melody: Three?!

~ Avalon Sword ~ Templar Noland Baltovere: It can't be helped, Cova. We are who we choose to be. I'm sure our predecessors had their quirks too. We have ours. On that subject, where are Mase and Varn now?

Luwei: They're trying to get clearance at the Archive. That Kibba is a tough cookie. I doubt he's gonna let them both in.

Narak: Why's that?

Noland: I see... The Orb of Mortis was handed in by one of our predecessors, Templar Mordane... The dark sorcerer Mortis created the orb and attempted to reach Zoroaster in the hopes of becoming an apprentice to Azoth.

Luwei: Mortis... His family tree was wrapped in mystery for some time. Kratonia's Fleet Admiral was the very last person we'd suspect to be his descendant.

Cova: That Zeo...

Noland: Of all the holders of the Templar Matrix, Mordane is one of those who I feel the most sympathy for...

Sand Town

April 26th, 1215 AC

The Warsong Tempest arrives at the port.

Dirge: This is a sight for sore eyes. Doesn't look like anything has changed since we were last here.

Roxanne: Is there any sign of them, Angel-Ion!?

Angel-Ion and Shin look around on the Warsong's lookout tower. Angel-Ion jumps down. Shin tries to as well, but botches the landing.

Angel-Ion: I don't see that Crucible thing anywhere. They mustn't have arrived yet.

Dirge: That is odd. Given that we sailed here from Joston, and the Crucible was last seen in Laguz, plus the fact that the Crucible is airborne, that would mean the Crucible would have jumped ahead of us by a long shot. I don't see any smoke in the sky, so that must mean that they either don't know where the orb is, or they've taken some kind of detour.

Elsewhere along the port, a ship marked with the Agosu Clan sigil shows up. The same black cassowary is the first to step off, with Kogu on its back.

Kogu: So this is Carta, eh? I was expecting a sunny oasis with girls on the beach.

~ Battle Lord ~ Ryumaki Nabiku: I thought you liked me the most, you shitty boss!

~ Battle Lord ~ Tobu Kazaguruma: Calm yourself, Ryumaki.

~ Battle Lord ~ Dageki Kaminari: This place is a shithole. Lets just get this over with.

~ Battle Lord ~ Ijimeru Meru: ...

Kogu: Our task is to infiltrate the Archive. After that, everything will be as easy as pie.

Dageki: What kind of pie?

Kogu: Shut up, moron. Lets move out.

The five clansmen ride into the streets on their cassowaries.

Meanwhile, the group are making their way through town.

Dirge: This brings back some memories.

Hector: You got that right. This is where I first met you guys.

Tico: What brought you to Carta?

Hector: I had to deliver some supplies on behalf of the Wizards' Guild.

Tico: You're from the Wizards' Guild?!

Hector: Was.

Tico: They kicked you out?

Hector: They got assaulted.

Tico: By...?

Hector: The very man who was behind the whole blueprints thing and the train incident.

Tico: That Az-man?

Luther: Azoth.

Tico: That, yeah.

Roxanne: I don't get how a man like Curtis was able to get pally with a man like Helmut anyways.

Angel-Ion: Seems like you know a bit more about Curtis than the rest of us too, Luther. Did something happen between the two of you two years ago?

Luther: Well he destroyed my home and killed my father.

Angel-Ion: After that, bonehead. When we met up with you again in Zoroaster, you seemed a little different.

Luther: I... I'd prefer not to talk about it.

Angel-Ion: ... Very well. (I'll get you to talk eventually, Luther. I heard you on the train...)

They continue to walk through town, unaware that they are being watched by a man with binoculars.

Eventually, the group arrive outside the Archive building.

Lanval: This place hasn't changed at all.

Roxanne: At least its still standing. Lets go inside.

They enter the lobby.

???: Ah. Long time no see!

The group meet a familiar face.

~ Archive Curator ~ Sanjay Kibba: Its a pleasure to see you all again!

Sanjay's outfit appears to look much more formal than before. He looks akin to a baron.

Roxanne: Its good to see you again too, Mr. Kibba.

Sanjay: Thamk you, Ms. Fenix. Nice to see you again too, Mr. Zambini. I didn't expect to see you permanently with these folks.

He turns to Ray, Tico and Shin.

Sanjay: And its always a pleasure to meet new faces.

He shakes their hands.

Sanjay: My name is Sanjay Kibba, curator of the Archive.

Ray: I'm Ray.

Shin: S-Shin Hitomi, nice to meet you.

Sanjay bows to Luther.

Sanjay: Your majesty.

Luther notices a snark in his tone. Sanjay turns to Lanval. He lets out a seemingly mocking greeting.

Sanjay: ... Lanval.

Lanval: ... Hmph.

Lanval scowls at him. Sanjay recollects himself and rubs his hands together.

Sanjay: Now then, what business do you have here today?

Roxanne: We're here to make a pickup.

Sanjay: May I see some identification?

Roxanne: Here. This is my father's... Y'know, just like before.

Sanjay observes it.

Sanjay: Sorry, Ms. Fenix, but this document has fallen out of date. The new Novalian government has changed the system altogether. All old documents are thus invalid.

Roxanne: Damn.

Hector: Here's mine.

Hector hands Sanjay his own document. Once again, Sanjay reads it.

Sanjay: I'm afraid this is invalid as well. This document has thw signage of the Wizards' Guild on it. After that incident two years ago, the Wizards' Guild have practically become defunct.

Hector: Should've known.

Tico: How about this?

The group look round.

Roxanne: You've got an account here?

Tico: It's my father's. He and the others from Pluto's Workers had accounts here and made some deposits beforehand.

Sanjay: May I see that?

Tico hands a pair of documents to Sanjay. He reads both.

Sanjay: Oh, this just won't do. I'm afraid that neither of these documents mention you, Miss...?

Tico: Frobisher.

Sanjay: Right. Mr. Frobisher has no next of kin listed down on here, so I'm afraid these documents are null and void.

He hands them back.

Tico: ...

Sanjay: Is that all?

Roxanne: Can't we open an account?

Sanjay: Yes, provided you have the cash on you.

Roxanne: Shit...

Sanjay: Then I'm afraid we have no further business.

He turns around and begins to walk away, but stops and turns.

Sanjay: May I ask, just what were you after down in the vaults?

Roxanne: Why do you care?

Sanjay: I don't. Its just that two men from the Templar Knight party came about two days ago probing for an article from the vaults. An "Orb of Mortis" if I recall correctly.

Roxanne: ...?! Are they still here?!

Sanjay: In this building? Good heavens, no. I had to turn them away because they had no valid documents!

Roxanne: I meant in town.

Sanjay: Ah, probably. They seemed rather adamant of getting into the vaults, though if they try using force, we'll be prepared.

Roxanne: Alright, whatever.

Roxanne turns away from Sanjay and heads out, followed by the others. Roxanne ignores his farewells.

Roxanne: Smug asshole.

Gunslingers

The group gather outside.

Roxanne: Right. We need to find the Templars fast. Any ideas where they would be?

Angel-Ion: Nope.

Lanval: No.

Ray: Haven't a clue.

Roxanne: I'll guess we'll have to look around town then.

The group head back into town. Meanwhile, Kogu's team search around the town for the Archive.

Kogu: Where the bloody hell is it?! Tobu, do a sky search!

Tobu: Yes sir.

In an instant, Tobu springs off of his mount and high above the buildings. He looks around and sees the Archive towering over other buildings. He lands back onto his mount.

Tobu: This way.

Kogu: Are you sure?

Tobu: Positive.

Kogu: Right. Let's go... Ryumaki, leave that dead guy alone.

Ryumaki: He should have given better directions!

Ryumaki stands above a dead man whose throat has been ripped apart, with her mount eating his flesh. She jumps back onto it and they rush off.

The Tempest crew continue their search through town.

Lanval: This is boring, all the buildings look the bloody same; tattered and old.

Roxanne: Get used to it.

Lanval: Ugh.

Shin bumps into a man.

Shin: S-Sorry...!

???: Watch where you are going.

The man appears to be a somewhat tall Kylotean. He wears a strange mask, a dark fur cloak, a black striped suit with matching trousers, and a black floral shirt opened up. Around his neck is a black akoya pearl necklace. His belt buckle is adorned with the same symbol on his mask. A tattoo of the characters "ヤクザ" is found on one side of his neck.

Angel-Ion, feeling unease from this man, grabs his sword. The man repeats in kind, revealing a sword of his own.

???: You wouldn't want to do that here in public, Enoshima.

Angel-Ion: (That voice...) Who are you?!

???: My identity is no business of yours.

Angel-Ion: Hmph.

Angel-Ion lets go of his sword. The man does the same. He walks off, but his presence leaves Angel-Ion spooked.

Roxanne: What was all that about?

Angel-Ion: I don't know. I can recognise his voice... But from where...?

Roxanne: He's gone now. Lets get a move on.

???: Stay where you are!

They turn to find several Galahad Arms agents are pointing their guns at them.

~ Galahad Arms Sand Town Co-Captain ~ "Fedora" Circe: Nobody moves.

~ Galahad Arms Sand Town Co-Captain ~ Long Fung: We're here for those bounties on your heads!

Angel-Ion: Just great.

Circe: Gotta give credit. The boss wasn't expecting any of you to get a bounty over ₺200,000, but here you are.

Long Fung: Yer like cash cows now.

Dirge: Don't you two have bounties as well?

Circe: We're confined to Carta. Boss's orders.

Long Fung: Maybe we'll get a payrise and a better location once we turn you lot in.

???: I'm afraid that won't be happening!

The soldiers are taken out by an attack from behind. Long Fung is suddenly battered by a shield, while Circe is blasted by a water attack. The Templars emerge from behind them.

Lanval: Looks like we don't have to find them now.

Roxanne hits Lanval over the head. The Templars scramble forwards to protect the Tempest crew as the Galahad officers recover.

Circe: Damn it... Call in reinforcements!

The officers begin firing their guns at the opposition, who hide behind conventional shields, avoiding the gunfire. The Templars soon return fire.

Noland: Its been too long. How are you all?

Roxanne: Is now a good time to ask that?!

Noland: No time like the present, eh? So how's that old fool doing, Prince Luther?

Luther: He's fine.

Noland: Hmph. Fair enough.

The gunshots carry on for a few minutes, a few Galahad soldiers being shot down. They soon stop, both sides out of ammo.

Noland: Split up and reload! Give these lot some spares!

Circe: Hurry up with those reinforcements!

The Templars and Tempest crew split up, with Dirge, Ray, Melody and Cova being the only ones staying put.

Melody: Here! Take these!

Melody hands them spare guns as the Galahad soldiers begin firing again. Some of the Galahad officers chase after those who split up. Soon, the streets fall into chaos as both sides fire their guns at one another.

Close by...

Dageki: Does anybody hear that?

Ijimeru: Gunshots?

Ryumaki: Lots of them!

Kogu: This close to the Archive? That means somebody else is after our orb too!

Tobu: What are we to do, Boss?

Kogu: I say we join the fun.

Luwei: Here, take these!

Luwei tries to hand Angel-Ion and Shin a pair of pistols.

Angel-Ion: No thanks. That's not our thing.

Luwei: Suit yourself.

Luwei emerges from his cover to shoot down five soldiers with both pistols. He hides behind his cover again.

Meanwhile, Noland's group engage with a shootout with several soldiers led by Circe.

Noland: Here! Take these!

He slides a pair of guns to Luther and Roxanne.

Luther: Are you kidding!? I haven't held one in years. 

Luther just quickly creates a defence barrier that blocks the soldiers' bullets. 

Roxanne: Neither have I.

Roxanne just grabs both guns and fires wildly at the opposition.

Circe: Ghh... That girl...

Tico: Behind you!

Circe and his troops turn to find that Tico and Varn are behind them.

Varn: What are you doing?! You're blowing our cover!

Tico: Nah!

Tico opens her fingers up and fires an array of bullets, shooting down several soldiers. Circe and the remainder move out of the way and return fire. Amidst the conflict, various members of all four parties emerge to fire shots at one another, with only a few Galahads taking some hits. Eventually, the battle is forced into a rollout into a town crossroad, with a dirty smog covering the way. When it clears, a circle of guntotting individuals emerges; amongst it are Luther, Roxanne, Noland, Melody, Kogu, Ryumaki, Tobu, Circe and four Galahads.

Circe: Looks like we've got ourselves into one of those old fashioned standoffs.

Kogu: A stalemate. Tch.

Noland: Drop 'em.

Noland and Melody drop their weapons, leading to the others repeating their gesture. Tobu reaches for something behind his back.

Noland: So, what do you two want? Are you working together?

Circe looks at Kogu.

Circe: Me and him? I don't even know him.

Kogu: Hmph.

Circe: But alas, we want him over there.

Circe points at Luther.

Noland: Over my dead body. You?

He turns to Kogu.

Kogu: Its not of your concern.

Noland: Then why bother to show up?

Kogu: Guess I just got itchin' for a fight.

Luther recognises Kogu's insignia. He takes a closer look, and regonises him as the person he saw a drawing of in the Agosu Clan book in the Laguz library. 

Luther: You. Are you the Agosu Clan leader?

Kogu: Yes. I've heard all about you, Visarion.

Noland: Just to fill you in, these losers showed up in Canorica last year. They're now Azoth's underdogs. Those other two are two of his Battle Lor--

Kogu: So why are you here, Templar?

Noland: What was it, "its not of your concern"?

Kogu: I didn't know you old guys made jokes.

Circe: I should inform you both that Dusktown is a province under Galahad watch.

Noland: Then surely you'd be acting on all our bounties, right? Then why are you specifically seeking Visarion?

Circe: Boss's orders. I'm not here to exercise the law, otherwise I'd be conspiring with turkey-neck over there.

Kogu: Turkey-neck, huh? Y'know you've just pissed off the wrong guy. Tobu, now!

Tobu: With pleasure!

Tobu shoots up very high into the air. He throws down a white ball of some kind.

Circe: Shit. Weapons, now!

Noland: Take arms!

The ball hits the ground; a smoke bomb. Soon smoke spews into the area. Luther faintly sees Kogu and his lackeys fleeing towards the archives before being pulled back by Noland. They reach a safezone where the reunite with Melody's and Luwei's groups, while the Galahads remain blind.

Luther: The clansmen were heading straight for the archives after the smoke bomb went off.

Noland: Are you sure?!

Luther: Well, it was faint, but they were heading in that direction. 

Noland: Just as I suspected... Melody, alert all hands to head to the archives, double time! The rest of you, this way!

Noland leads them forwards.

The Vault

Kogu and his Battle Lords reach the archive. Inside the building, business is as usual. Ryumaki suddenly walks in. Her suspicious look rouses Sanjay's attention, and he heads over. He looks down on her.

Sanjay: Hello there. Can I help you?

Ryumaki: Yes. I'd like to file a complaint.

Sanjay: A complaint? What about?

Ryumaki: That you are big and ugly.

Sanjay: What?

In his confusion, her accomplices enter the chamber.

Dageki: Fun time!

Dageki throws a trio of throwing knives at the receptionist, which miss her as she hides under her desk. Tobu and Ijimeru fly in as well. They head towards the elevator room.

Sanjay: Stop! You can't go in ther--

Ryumaki: Hyah!

Ryumaki embeds a kama into Sanjay's shoulder and rips it out.

Sanjay: GYAH!

She kicks him against a wall. As he tries to get up, Kogu walks in and forces him back down with his foot, walking over him as he proceeds to the elevator room. He and his cohorts ride the elevator down. They are spotted by Luther, Angel-Ion and Noland just as they descend. The Tempest and Templars head to the second elevator. Before Luther can get to the elevator, Sanjay grabs him by the foot.

Sanjay: N-No...

Luther: Hey! Let go, we're helping you!

Lanval: Leave him, Luther, he's just a deadbeat.

They soon head down the elevator, passing the now empty first elevator on its way back up. They they soon reach the vault from two years ago.

Luwei: Stay on the alert. There may be five of them, but they're crafty bastards.

Angel-Ion: Now, Luther, where was that orb thing you said about?

Noland: You know about the Orb of Mortis?

Luther: This way. 

Luther leads them towards to the aisle where he found the Orb. Other members in the party make their own detours. Roxanne heads for a particular spot.

Roxanne: Its gone!

Tico: What's gone?

Roxanne: A cannon I delivered here last year for my father, its gone!

Tico: Are you sure you left it here?

Roxanne: Positive! You can even see marks in the sand where it was!

Tico: Spooky.

Lanval, Ray and Luwei stand by the elevator shaft in the event that one of the Agosu clansmen get past. They watch as their elevator begins its ascent to its dock.

Ray: Looks luke they're gonna be sending security down.

Suddenly, the other elevator comes tumbling down the shaft and into the chasm below.

Lanval: Is that normal?

Luwei: It's not.

Lanval: Shit...!

In the elevator chamber, a somewhat recovered Sanjay aims his gun at the second shaft's tether, having shot out the first's.

Receptionist: Sir! Think about what you are doing!

Sanjay: My conscience is clear...! Get me the Master Key.

Receptionist: W-What?!

Sanjay: Do it!

He fires. The second elevator tumbles down the shaft.

Ray: Looks like that idiot doesn't want any of us to leave!

Luther's group reach the aisle where the Orb is kept.

Noland: So what did you see when you touched the Orb?

Luther: Some kind of dark cycloptic figure. All while I heard Azoth spout his usual rubbish. 

Noland: I see...

They reach the area where the orb was located, and find that its still on the shelf where he picked it up.

Luther: Last time it burnt me, so I don't really want to touch it again. 

Noland reaches for it. Just as he grabs it, Ijimeru appears clinging to the shelf behind them, having used camoflauge.

Ijimeru: I'll be taking that.

He springs from the wall and slams his legs against Noland's back, sending him through the shelving, causing several priceless items made of fine china or porcelain to shatter, including a few filled urns, and a large number of paperwork to flutter in the air.

Mid-launch, Noland is struck by a kick to the side from Dageki. He drops the orb, which, in its bag, rolls under a shelf. Angel-Ion looks at Luther before leaping over the mess towards where the orb went, stepping over Dageki's head as he does so. Before Luther can follow, he is grabbed and pulled back by Ijimeru, who intends to cut his throat. Luther kicks his leg out from under him, tripping him before he can do any damage. He springs backwards onto his feet.

Angel-Ion blasts the shelf out of his way, exposing the orb in its pouch. He reaches for it but is slammed in the face by Kogu, who uses his knee. He reels back.

Angel-Ion: You're pretty agile for a fat man.

Kogu: Fat?! Dageki, take him out!

Dageki: With pleasure!

Dageki springs forwards, but before he can reach Angel-Ion, he is struck in the side of the jaw by Dirge's staff, breaking it.

Dageki: GWAAK!

Hector: HYAH!

Hector comes down on Kogu, blasting him with dark blue fire-like magic. The pouch containing the orb burns away, and the orb itself harnesses the magic's power. Kogu drops it. As soon as the orb hits the floor, it unleashes a black fire that burns its surroundings, including a large portion of the floor, which both the orb and Kogu fall through, falling into the lower level.

Meanwhile, Tobu and Ryumaki clash with some of the others. Noland, Angel-Ion, Hector and Dirge head into the hole. Luther fires a lighting blast at Ijimeru that sends him hurtling through some of the shelves. He then reluctantly follows the others down the hole.

The group assemble around Kogu, who attempts to find the orb amongst a pile for rubble.

Noland: Looking for this?

Kogu turns and finds that Noland has it in his hand.

Kogu: Tch. It'd be in your best interests to hand that orb over to me.

Noland: Now why would we do that?

Kogu: Because... Get him, you guys!

Ijimeru and Dageki descend into the vault, intent on attacking Noland. Dirge jumps up and fires a blast at Dageki, before following where the blast sent him. Luther then strikes Ijimeru'a head with his staff before charging it with lightning and striking him in the chest, sending him flying into a wall. 

The group distracted by Luther and Dirge's dispatch, Kogu launches forward towards Noland in an attempt to take the orb.

Kogu: Give me that orb!

Noland jumps back while Luwei jumps in the way, kicking Kogu in the gut. Refusing to give up, Dageki and Ijimeru emerge and launch a counterattack. Dageki fires an electrical arc at the group, while Ijimeru slams his fists down, causing blocks to rise from the ground and fly forwards at them.

Meanwhile, Sanjay begins twisting various locks on a system.

Receptionist: S-Sir, are you sure you're making the right--

Sanjay: YES. YES. I. AM.

He reaches for a level.

Sanjay: This place is going into lockdown and those guys are staying down there!

Just as he grabs the lever, there is a gunshot. Sanjay falters.

???: I'm afraid I can't allow you to do that, Mr. Kibba.

The same masked man from before stands in the hall, his gun pointed at Sanjay.

???: Or should I say, Mr. Satsujin.

Sanjay: ...?! You...! How...?!

???: I already know your background, and the corruption you've been dealing.

Sanjay: You bastard... This is my archive...!

The masked man shoots him again, making him lose conciousness. The masked man looks at the receptionist.

???: He will need medical attention. If the police asked what happened, tell them that Perdition are far from finished.

The man turns and leaves, leaving the people in the room shocked. Some of them begin scrambling to give Sanjay medical attention.

The Beast

Back in the vault, the fighting continues. Dageki and Dirge clash punches, but Dirge overpowers him, sending him flying towards Angel-Ion, who kicks him down to the ground.

Kogu attempts to attack Luther after the latter clears Ijimeru out of his way.

Noland: Behind you, Luther!

Luther quickly creates a barrier behind him, blocking Kogu's attack. Luther then creates a gap in the barrier, which he swings his combat pole through in an upwards direction. It strikes Kogu's chin, knocking him back. He wipes his chin.

Kogu: I like your style, Visarion. But I am a full-fledged agent of Azoth!

A black symbol appears scrawled across Kogu's chest.

Noland: (That's...!)

Kogu: I summon forth... Adranos!

He strikes the air to his right, spreading the dark mark across to his arm and into the very fabric of space itself. Suddenly, a spatial maw opens up.

Noland: Luwei! Narak! Stop him now!

Luwei: Already on it!

The two fly towards Kogu and the spatial tear. They attempt to attack Kogu, but a force from within the hole strikes them, sending them flying back, seemingly burned.

Angel-Ion detects the presence from within the maw and similarly flies in. He finds his blade clashed with a monstrous figure's flaming axe.

Angel-Ion: What the hell are--

Before Angel-Ion can finish, the monster forces him away with its great axe. The monster lets off a corrupt roar and jumps down onto the battlefield.

The beast appears to be a flaming, horned behemoth, with pulsing, glowing purple muscles and organs, covered over with rotted and burnt flesh. Its axe appears to be fixed to its left arm. Tendrils attach various parts of its oozing body, as what appears to be Sabari armour is fused to its body, including a large plate with a single red eye covering its face. Its only humane feature appears to be murky hair that reaches over its back, and a few exposed, but black bones. Slime drools from its chin beneath its hood.

Hector: What in blazes is that thing?!

Noland: I don't know!

Kogu: This is one of Azoth's seven generals from the Old War itself, brought forwards in time thanks to the Soul Genesis! He is the Champion of Fire, Adranos!

~ Fireblight Azoth - Adranos ~

Luther immediately fires a blue bolt of energy at Adranos, which strikes its chest and begins to form ice crystals at it. The monster promptly erupts into flames, negating Luther's attack. The beast springs forwards, slamming its arm into Luther and sending him back.

Noland, Hector and Dirge all launch forwards to attack, but the monster spews purple flames everywhere, blocking their path. Roxanne flies in for a punch, but it turns and fires an energy blast from a wrist-mounted cannon at her. Ray intercepts Roxanne before the blast hits. It strikes the ceiling, creating an explosion that causes it to collapse.

Angel-Ion: Luther! You take its right, I'll take its left!

Luther nods and runs around to the right side of the beast. He creates an ice pillar that sprouts up from the ground and connects with Adranos' right arm, before growing around it, holding the arm in place for a few seconds. Angel-Ion comes up behind its left arm, preparing to sever it. Before he can get there, the monster smashes Luther's ice pillar before spinning around, clubbing Angel-Ion with its frozen arm.

The monster flexes its muscle, seemingly engorging it to the point that the remaining ice breaks on its arm, before returning to normal. The monster roars once again before rampantly charging towards Luther, with the intent on crushing him beneath its flaming axe.

Luther rolls out of the way, and freezes the end of the axe sticking it to the floor temporarily, giving Angel-Ion another window of attack. Angel-Ion flies in for an attack, but Adranos manages to grab him by the throat. He rips his axe from the floor and launches towards Luther, slamming Angel-Ion into him before letting go.

Dirge, Noland, Luwei, Narak and Hector move in for an attack, each of them firing a blast. Adranos is consumed by it, but emerges unscathed, slugging Noland hard in the stomach, coughing up his saliva. Dirge attempts to strike the side of Adranos' head, but Kogu blocks the way.

As the two clash, Angel-Ion gets up and charges at the monster once again, swinging his sword upwards. It slashes Adranos, but does ill to damage the beast, who beats Angel-Ion back down to the floor with a single punch.

Adranos proceeds to clobber Angel-Ion, before attempting to finish him off with its giant axe. A strong energy barrier is created over Angel-Ion by Luther to block the blow. 

Adranos turns to Luther and prepares to attack, but a worn Angel-Ion stabs the beast in the lower back. Adranos ignores his damage and punches Angel-Ion away. He turns to face Luther again and runs forwards. Luther backs up and creates a long barrier in front of Adranos' feet designed to trip him up. The beast trips, but fires a fire blast from its mouth as it falls. Luther jumps to the side, and out of the way.

Adranos gets up and roars. Its distorted shrieks suddnly give off sudden heatwaves, setting some flammable pieces of rubble ablaze. Lanval spins down and slams his heel on top of Adranos' head, slamming its mouth shut in the process.

Lanval: That's enough, big mouth!

Adranos suddenly clotheslines Lanval before crashing into rubble with him. Angel-Ion takes advantage of this by kicking Adranos in the back of the neck, seemingly breaking it.

Angel-Ion: Take that you bastard!

Adranos' head turns completely around. It lets off a monstrous grimace before firing another fire blast, catching both Angel-Ion and Luther in the blast zone. Luther is thrown back, but manages to land upright. He tries to counter by sending a blizzard containing many sharp and dense icicles towards Adranos. 

Adranos roars again, destroying the ice. He swipes at the air. Suddenly, his arm turns into tendrils that reach out to Luther, ensnaring his ankle. As the beast screeches, he rips Luther off his feet and slams him down, before swinging him around into Angel-Ion, before letting him go.

Dirge manages to get away from Kogu long enough to throw his staff at Adranos, stabbing into its shoulder. He turns to Dirge and fires a fireball at him. It is quickly intercepted by Noland, who blasts it back. It explodes on contact.

When the smoke clears, Adranos finds itself ambushed by all four fighters. He creates a purple energy barrier which he promptly expands, blanding them all back. He rips the staff out of his shoulder and throws it away. Angel-Ion gets up nearby. Before he can do anything, Adranos promptly rushes him, punching him hard in the back.

Angel-Ion's vision suddenly turns completely red. He blacks out. He suddenly finds himself in thw vacant abyss of nothingness. He hears a voice.

"Power."

Images from his past flash before him, including the visions of his own future, before the blackness gains a single orange flame. His vision returns, and he erupts into an orange flame, which shapes perfectly around his body like a flaming aura. He feels uplifted.

Adranos throws a second power punch, which Angel-Ion avoids, before returning a punch of his own, landing in the side of the beast's face. It is sent flying.

Dirge: Where were you hiding that?!

Angel-Ion: I wasn't.

He inspects his own hands.

Angel-Ion: I feel lighter, but my hands feel heavier.

Noland watches closely at Angel-Ion. Adranos rises and lets off an intense screech. The two launch at each other and lock hands.

Angel-Ion: Don't feel so tough now, do you?!

Angel-Ion flips the monster over. He spins and kicks Adranos away. He chases after him and lands his fists into the monster's back. It crashes into the rubble. Kogu lands near it.

Kogu: A-Adranos! Get up!

The beast staggers.

Kogu: Graaah! Curse you!

Angel-Ion: I'm not finished yet.

Angel-Ion walks over. A spooked Kogu panics.

Kogu: I-I'll get you for this, Enoshima!

Kogu turns into black smoke along with Adranos. The smoke trails away. The same occurs with his lackies.

Luther is awe-struck, and stares wide-eyed at the scene. 

Luther: (But... How?)

Angel-Ion continues to blaze. He again inspects his hands.

Angel-Ion: What is this power?

Noland: Very interesting. Did you see anything within your conscience?

Angel-Ion: I saw my life flash before me. But that was just one thing. There was this single flame.

Noland: I see...

Lanval: I don't know about you guys, but we should get out of here.

Parts of the ceiling falls down as some of the fire continues to spread. Soon, the group evacuate, having climbed through the elevator shaft. They realise that the building has been evacuated, and the local authorities are on the scene outside.

Hector: How are we gonna get through that?

Noland: Easy. Melody.

Melody: On it.

Melody cups her hand together and blows into them. Glitter seems to come out as she does so. She rubs her hands together and scatters them. The glitter dust enshrouds everyone in the area.

Dirge: Hmm?

Lanval: What's this gonna do? Make us look appealing?

Melody: You are now invisible. Only those who have been afflicted with my magic dust can see you.

Tico: Is that all it can do?

Melody: No. My magic dust works according to the ability I think of, though it doesn't do anything like kill people or give you things or things like that.

Noland: Then lets go. Forward march.

Melody: Just one last thing... Try not to talk. People might not be able to see us but they can still hear us.

They soon leave the building. Walking past the officer and officials surrounding the area. Lanval sees Sanjay laying on a stretcher to be carried away, noticing his gunshot wound. Angel-Ion looks over to see the same mysterious masked man as before. Despite what Melody claims, the man trails his vision on Angel-Ion. They soon leave.

The Blinding One

Sometime later, the group arrive back at the bar from earlier, the dust having worn off.

Noland: So, Luther, what is this "Azoth Equation" you found?

Luther just pulls out his journal and hands it to Noland on the page where he wrote down the equation. 

Noland: Ah. I see... Mind if I cross reference these notes?

Luther: No. 

Noland gets out a very large, but very old book, and begins to scan his own notes and write down Luther's findings. As he does so, Luwei puts the concealed Orb on the table.

Luwei: Over the past two years we've been gathering as much intel as we can. We believe that monster that man summoned was one of Azoth's own generals back from the Old War itself.

Roxanne: Great. So he has zombies of his own soldiers from an old conflict.

Narak: We have managed to infiltrate the Crucible under the radar once before. We didn't see any of the dead, so we assume this isn't quite the case, especially given the barren desert of Anathar being void of any corpses from both sides. The only things you can still find there are my kin's automata and a few rusted weapons.

Luwei: We did see him create new minions from scratch, however. Homunculi. We have no idea how but Azoth has managed to acquire something we know as a Philosopher's Stone, which we assumed to have been wiped out entirely after the Zoroastrians vanished.

Dirge: But isn't Azoth one himself?

Luwei: Just because he was one doesn't mean he had the innate ability. Its a learned power. We assumed that as a political leader and a fighter meant that Azoth didn't bother studying alchemical magic. Obviously we assumed wrong.

Angel-Ion: So why did you infiltrate the Crucible?

Melody: We were after something which Azoth had stolen from the Wizards' Guild.

Hector: The Soul Genesis?

Melody: Yes.

Luwei: Unfortunately, somebody else stole it before us.

Luther: Who?

Luwei: A man in the underworld. He goes by the codename "Deckard".

Luther, Angel-Ion and Roxanne seem to think of entirely different individuals. For Luther, he sees the mystery man who had their company back in Asteria. For Angel-Ion, the mysterious masked man outside the Archives. For Roxanne, the perceived current head of the Galahad Arms.

Lanval: So what is this orb for?

Luwei: Its another piece of the puzzle. The Equation we found was not complete. It only mentioned "ingredients" for something. From wbat we gathered, there was "Gold", "Destruction", "Creation", and "Solvent".

Narak: "Creation" infers to his Philosopher's Stone. He has used it to create artificial life. "Solvent" is the Alkahest, which can break down very material.

Luwei: And this orb is "Destruction". The fell warlock Mortis created it as a "gift" to Azoth so that he can use it to erase his confinds. Watch.

Luwei gets out the orb and taps into its power. While it obviously gives him pain, he directs its power at his cup, which burns into nothingness. He soon stops and puts it back in the pouch.

Lanval: And what happened to this Mortis?

Noland: He was slain by Templars. Old ones. The Templar Sodality, under Templar Mordane. He was the one who handed the orb over to the vaults.

Angel-Ion: You said something happened to this Mordane. What was it?

Melody: He was killed.

Hector: By who?

Melody: They call him the "Black Swordsman". He carries a sword that knows no equal.

Roxanne: That sounds like...

Angel-Ion: Sarkies...!

Luwei almost spits up his drink.

Luwei: You've met him?

Angel-Ion: Twice. He gave me this.

Angel-Ion points to a scar on his chest.

Luwei: That is bizarre. The legends of Sarkies always spoke of him killing his opponents. Especially considering he was outmanned against the Sodality. He killed all of them.

Angel-Ion reflects on this. Noland puts down his pen.

Noland: Do you know what the scariest thing we've encountered was?

Luther: No?

Noland turns to a page in his book and shows it to Luther. It is a sketch of a disproportioned humanoid figure with a circle and a crescent near its grasp. Below it are effigies of people praising it, one of them evidently with a crown. Accompanying it is ancient Zoroastrian text.

Noland: We found this in a cavern beneath the ziggurat in Ilion.

Lanval: Where's--

Roxanne: Zoroaster.

Noland: This appears to be a diety that only Azoth seems to serve. We have no name or any description of it, other than that it exists. The only name we can give it is what it says on this inscription.

Luther: What does it say?

Noland: "The Blinding One".

Luther: Who's that? 

Noland: No idea. From the looks of it, its some kind of figure of worship, like that of the Lord or the Lady of the Lake. But... This is obviously supposed to be Zoroastrian lore... This circle and cresent are clearly an effigy of their actual gods, the Alchemic Gods Phoebe and Apollon.

Dirge: The Moon Stone from the tournament is supposed to represent Phoebe. Some of Azoth's goons wanted it. Does that mean anything? Are these linked?

Noland: To the Absolute, no. To this? It's possible.

Noland closes his book.

Noland: We mustn't dawdle any further. The closest thing to "Gold" I can presently think of is the Divine Conduit.

Tico: Divine what?

Narak: The Divine Conduit is a symbol pf worship in the Faith of the Lord. The most religious country of Ancora possess it.

Roxanne: What does it do?

Melody: We don't know. Apparently it grants the "divine protection" to the one who holds it.

Noland: We suspect it has the power to "bind" the Philosopher's Stone, Doom Orb and Alkahest into one; the Absolute.

Luwei: And thus that is where we must go.

Noland: Will you accompany us to Ancora?

Roxanne: Sure. If Azoth is gonna be there then maybe we can finally kick his ass.

Noland: Then let us be off! Onwards! For the dawn!

The Counting Houses

29th April, 1217 AC. The Castello, Kaij.

Orchus sits at the end of the table in the briefing room of the Castello, his hands tightly clasped together. The war has aged him, and he stares unblinking at the brief before him.

Phazorus suddenly shows up. He notes Orchus' facial expression and smirks. He sits opposite Orchus. Inara enters the room, accompanied by Koenig, appearing as cheery as ever. Phazorus cocks his leg over his knee. Malik, Hardware and Garuda soon arrive, before Shen finally shows up. There is a brief silence.

Phazorus: Well this is morose. Can we get a move on?

Orchus opens the briefing notes. 

Orchus: The battle lines have not changed since our last meeting. And this ceasefire is merely allowing us, the Iron Union and the Allied Nations breathing space. More importantly, a report I commissioned has revealed that the Union in particular is mechanising its forces as an alarming rate. Faster than we are. 

Inara: All is well then?

Orchus ignores this sarcastic remark. 

Orchus: Prolonging the ceasefire allows the enemy to grow stronger. At the same time, we cannot afford to end the ceasefire. We require a new strategy. 

Malik: Then what do you suggest?

Garuda: I'd like to point out that we wouldn't be in this mess if someone didn't hire a maniac as a general.

Garuda looks at Shen.

Shen: It provided you with great quantities of iron though, did it not?

Phazorus: Yet Vincolo sits atop a refinery of better quality material. Admit it Shen. You got impatient.

Shen: So what if I did. Kratonia's land is birthright.

Orchus: Your sentimental attachment to a birthright has cost this alliance dearly. However, what has been done is done, and cannot be changed. The alliance as a whole is on the backfoot, and we need to deal with that. 

Inara: All while General Zhen sharpens his knife it seems. 

Orchus: Haphae has been squeezed, but has pushed back. They've taken parts of the eastern corridor, and are maintaining their position at the southern border. With Zhen leading their ground forces, they are a high level threat. Tythan maintains control of its eastern mountain range. Levian attempts to push up through it have failed. Fortunately they too cannot move an army through it. They've made small gains in the west, but fortunately could not push further as they've had to defend themselves against the Canoricans. Their high production however makes them a high-level threat. Parcia is the weakest link. It had lost ground to the Canoricans and its navy is sub-par. If the war reignites, Parcia ought to be the target. And what of Somnus?

Orchus looks towards Phazorus. 

Phazorus: The struggle in Anathar has been mostly balanced. The Regolian forces have been kept from advancing to Miftah thanks to the sandwall defences set up close to the border. Meanwhile, the ongoing skirmish between us and the Besmarkian-Ancoran forces has had some relative success. As reinforcements, we've managed to keep them from advancing to Anathar, let alone Helios. We are ready to beseige the southern coastline of Ancora as well. In regards to the Allied Nations, Ancora is their weakest link.

Garuda: And what of these other forces?

Orchus: Other forces?

Garuda: This "Resistance", the pirates in the east, the Sabarians, et cetera.

Phazorus: The pirates are a non-threat. Their forces have surprisingly withdrawn from conflict to the east.

Inara: The grapevine has told me the Resistance has reorganised itself into four distinct branches. Not only that, but they're getting assistance from a mysterious benefactor. They're no longer the ragtag bunch they were in Kyloto.

Shen: (That Kitsuke...)

Hardware: The Sabarians are still sheltered in their archipelago. My operatives indicate that they might be plotting something. I'm suspecting that they weren't behind the attack in Carta a few days ago.

Phazorus' eyes dart around to Garuda.

Phazorus: And what of Sierra Unit?

Garuda looks round.

Garuda: I beg your pardon?

Phazorus: Sierra Unit.

Shen: What's... Sierra Unit?

Phazorus: Hormidae assault unit. They were one of the squadrons issued along the Sand Wall line. They disobeyed orders and struck against their own comrades. They added numbers to their ranks over night and have since disappeared.

Garuda: What does that have to do with--

Phazorus: They are a threat, Khan. Don't tell me you have gone unaware that your own platoon has gone commando.

Garuda: ...

Phazorus: I thought so.

Orchus: So. New Strategies.

Garuda: You said Parcia was weak. How about we beseige it entirely?

Orchus: We cannot be the first to reopen the ceasefire. It is bad optics; but assuming Canorica is also attacking Parcia from the east, it will be easier to beseige it from the west. 

Garuda: We have an encampment in the west. Surely it wouldn't be too much trouble pressing in from there.

Orchus: Anything else?

Phazorus: Maybe it would be worth our time to recruit the Sabari to our cause. Same with the Storkings. Surely its time the latter came back into world history. As for the former, maybe Argus would be willing to oblige.

Shen: That sounds too risky. We have no clue how large they have become, yet alone what they are plotting.

Orchus: Anything else?

Phazorus: Maybe it would be worth our time to recruit the Sabari to our cause. Same with the Storkings. Surely its time the latter came back into world history. As for the former, maybe Argus would be willing to oblige.

Shen: That sounds too risky. We have no clue how large they have become, yet alone what they are plotting.

Orchus: Argus is a beast. But at this stage, we are running out of options, other than simply waiting out the ceasefire and pursuing a truce. 

Inara scans around the room to gauge the facial expressions of her co-leaders. Her eyes meet with Phazorus'. He raises his eyebrows with a smirk on his face.

Malik: What should happen if Argus were to engage, what are we to do?

Hardware: Novalia will be conditioned to initiate Protocol 5.

Malik: Meaning what?

Hardware: Any type of Sabarian activity to reach past a certain point will be intercepted by heavy artillery fire from the Galahad Arms themselves.

Phazorus: So rather than disbanding it, you turned it into an active military.

Hardware: Why would I get rid of it? That would be like tossing away fresh bread.

Phazorus: I see.

Hardware: I have yet to fully operate Novalia as a full-time autocratic power. Its only at the 85% interval.

Orchus: I don't trust Argus. If he is to be used, he must be held at arms length, and not privy to our sensitive information, agreed?

There are a few nods around the table. Phazorus seems to remain neutral.

Hardware: You mentioned the Storkings. Are they viable?

Phazorus: The Jarl and I have history. I'd say it would be wise to recruit his forces.

Orchus: Our main threats in Helios in the event of reignition, are General Zhen and Vladimir Wolf. Those two combined are most likely to bring about the scenario of a Levian defeat. As a result I propose unique strategies for them in particular. 

Phazorus: (Levian defeat?)

Inara: Assassination maybe?

Orchus: Perhaps. 

The meeting ajourns and everyone gathers in the Costello's grand hall, engaging in small talk as they prepare to leave. 

Inara however waits on the Costello's balcony, enjoying a glass of wine which was not provided at the meeting. Phazorus shows up.

Inara: Not enjoying the food?

Phazorus: Why enjoy the food when you can enjoy the view.

He gazes over the balcony, his arms spread out in his grandeur.

Orchus is below the balcony, shaking the hands of leaders who are leaving, surrounded by photographers. 

Phazorus: Look at the old fool. Thinks he can actually maintain a stable alliance.

Inara smirks and takes a sip of the wine. 

Inara: Are you implying what I think you're implying?

Phazorus: That depends.

Inara: Well spell it out then.

Phazorus: I think this party needs a more effective leader to follow. Someone more sagacious.

Inara pretends to be shocked. Phazorus seems to clock this.

Inara: You would presume a replacement to Retaliak? 

Phazorus: Obviously.

Inara smirks and sips her wine. She looks back out over the balcony, and then back down at Orchus. 

Inara: You should really be more careful with whom you discuss such ambitions. 

Phazorus: I could say the same about your sarcasm.

The Architect

30th April, 1217 AC. Ancora.

The Warsong and the Crusader arrive on the Ancoran shoreline. The two crews look up to find the Crucible hovering above the capital city, clearly standing out from the mountains and the dark and cloudy skies.

Roxanne: Is that...?

Noland: The Crucible. He's already here.

Luwei: That bastard was stalling us!

Noland: Calm yourself. We need to remain diligent knowing that Azoth is still here.

Angel-Ion: Got a plan?

Noland: We should advance to St. Jairus' Palace post-haste. We shant draw attention to ourselves, otherwise Azoth will know we are here!

Luther: Surely they can see our ships from here. 

Noland: That depends. Between their homonculi and the on-board Regolian swordsmen, we should theoretically be in a blind spot, as they would naturally have their eyes trained on the capital, more specifically the palace.

Lanval: And what if they have seen us?

Noland: Then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

They soon dock their ships within an uninhabited cove. They soon rush through the city. Within approximately half an hour of moving through streets and panicked civilians, they reach the perimeter of the capital.

Roxanne: This is strange. Wouldn't they have done something by now?

Noland: That is puzzling me. Even from when we arrived, the Crucible hasn't made a single shot!

Luwei: That's good though, isn't it?

Noland: Yes and no. It hasn't taken any casualties, but how long will that be before Azoth changes his mind?

Luther: Do you think it could be a trap? 

Noland: After allowing the worshipper to summon that beast against us? I doubt it.

Lanval spots trouble in an alleyway as he passes it.

Lanval: Tch.

Ray: You ok?

Lanval: I'll catch up!

Lanval heads down the alley, where a girl is being harassed by three men. Ray feels inclined to stay behind as well.

Lanval: Hey guys, pick on someone your own size!

Lanval stamps on the sides of two of the men's faces, using the force of his own body to slam into the third.

A burly fourth man comes out to attack, but Ray runs a blade down his back, cutting him and causing him to fall unconscious.

Lanval: Why'd you follow me?!

Ray: So you don't do anything stupid!

The others make their way to the premises of the palace. The radius of the stairway leading up to it is surrounded by homonculi wielding and assortment of weapons.

Angel-Ion: How do we get past that?

Noland: Over there.

Noland points to a section hidden behind a statue that can be climbed on. They head over and begin climbing up one by one. Tico, Hector, Varn, Sir Miles, Shin and Melody elect to stay behind, not wanting to draw too much attention.

The group consisting of Noland, Luwei, Narak, Luther, Angel-Ion, Dirge and Roxanne continue up the massive staircase.

Noland: At the vest least, the homonculi comfirm he's in the Palace.

A blast comes down the staircase towards the group, who each instinctively jump out of the way. They look up, to find Helmut and three others further up the stairs.

Helmut: Oh look. They got here at last.

Roxanne: You again!

Noland: We have no time to deal with you! Step aside!

~ Cipher Agent #3 ~ "Overturner" Ea: We have no intention of moving.

Noland: Then we will kill you where you stand.

Helmut: You're out of your depth, old man.

Roxanne: Four against seven. We have you outnumbered.

Ea: Then it just barrels down to "quality not quantity" then, luv.

Roxanne: Call me that again and I'll crush your windpipe.

Ea: That's if you--

Dark aura builds up around one of the other two figures. Its build-up is enough to be felt by everyone present.

Angel-Ion: What the hell is this power?!

Luther: (Probably more than we can handle at this time.)

Luther prepares for a fight, taking out his combat pole. Angel-Ion, Dirge, Luwei and Noland similarly arm themselves. Noland steps forwards and glares at one of the other figures.

Noland: Identify yourself!

~ Cipher #1 ~ Seth: I am Seth.

He discards his cloak, revealing his form and his face.

Noland: That's...

Narak: Impossible!

Dirge: I thought they were all extinct...!

Roxanne: What? What is he?!

Seth: I am a Spartoi. The last Spartoi.

Noland: In that case I'll just put your species to rest!

Noland lunges forwards in an attempt to attack, but is hit by an electrical blast from behind Seth.

Luwei: Noland!

Angel-Ion: Tch.

Seth turns to the figure that blasted Noland.

Ea: Looks like our pet wants some fun.

The figure stomps. It lets off a very familiar shriek, to the horror of its opposition.

~ Thunderblight Azoth - Indra ~

Angel-Ion: How many of those things are there?!

Indra steps down the stairs slowly. It is fixed on Noland.

Luther: (Hmm, if Angel-Ion beat the last one maybe he can pull of the same stunt this time around). 

Noland gets up and fires a turquoise energy blast at Indra from his sword. Indra fires electrical blasts down at him. Noland dodges and fires a blast down that creates a lot of smoke, obscuring the group as well as Seth and Indra. When some of the smoke clears, the Warsong crew find that both Noland and Narak are holding down Seth and Indra.

Noland: Go! Advance!

Narak: H-Hurry!

Luwei: Roger! This way!

Luwei leads the Warsong group up the stairway, darting past Ea and Helmut.

Helmet: No you don't!

Helmut sprouts black feathery wings while Ea levitates. They both give chase. Meanwhile at the bottom of the stairs, the others begin to observe what is going in.

Melody: Looks like chaos has broke out up there.

???: Well look what we have here.

They turn around to find a pair of unidentified males alongside a few homunculus soldiers.

~ Cipher #4 ~ "Speed Demon" Velo de Cosas: Boss Lothar wasn't expecting you lot to show up. Not just the so called Templars but those other guys too.

Hector looks at the other man.

Hector: You're from Regolia.

~ Lord Warden of Regolia ~ Bernard Faron: Yes. And you are enemies of both the crown and the Allied Nations. In the name of King Lothar, I shall see you executed!

On the way up the stairs, Angel-Ion and Luwei simultaneously create blasts of fire that manage to slow down their pursuers. Luther reaches the topmost step first, and finds himself face to face with very tall iron doors, depicting a mural related to the Faith of the Lord on them. Roxanne makes it second.

Roxanne: Come on, lets get inside. Quickly...!

She begins pushing the door on the right while Luther pushes the door on the left. Angel-Ion and Luwei soon reach the top.

Angel-Ion: Out of the way!

They both move out of the way, as Angel-Ion fires a blast that forces the doors open, denting them somewhat. Inside is an intricate nave of gold and marble. Along the red carpets is a large gold statue atop a marble stand. At the foot of it, Azoth has the Supreme Pontiff, Mantilles, pressed against it, holding him by the neck.

Azoth: Where is the Divine--

Azoth turns. Ea and Helmut stop in their tracks.

Azoth: Conduit... Well, well, well. If it isn't Prince Luther and his consort. Seize them.

Four red armoured homonculi suddenly appear out of nowhere, armed with scythes.

He turns to them. They notice the black cube embedded in his chest. His veins around it glow red with every heartbeat. Luther says nothing. He stares at the cube. He looks closer at the surrounding veins. He immediately recognises its energy reading, though it gives off a mysterious dissonance.

Luther: (That thing looks like it is giving him energy. No doubt its cosmic power. It feels different than before...)

Azoth: It's known as "Black Box". Do you like it?

Luther refuses to answer.

Azoth: I thought as much.

Mantilles tries crawling away while Azoth's back is turned.

Azoth: I didn't say you could leave, Mantilles.

Two small gold spikes appear from Azoth's belt and stab into Mantilles' right leg. He screams in pain.

Azoth: Excuse me for one second.

He turns around and pulls Mantilles' hair back, pulling his head up.

Azoth: Now. Last time of asking. Where. Is. The. Divine. Conduit!

Mantilles continues to quiver in fear, not wanting to reveal its location.

Azoth: Tell me, or I'll goldise your other leg.

Angel-Ion: (Goldise?)

Azoth puts his hand to Mantilles' leg. He lets off some kind of power. Mantilles' leg glows yellow. It is painful, causing Mantilles to scream.

Mantilles: I-I-It's in the vault in the... C-Catacombs...!

Azoth relents. Mantilles' leg reverts. He turns to his entourage.

Azoth: Find it.

The four homonculi depart deeper into the palace.

Azoth gives a seemingly sincere look to Mantilles.

Azoth: Thank you.

He fires an energy stream straight through Mantilles' chest.

Azoth: Now then--

As Azoth turns back around, Luther is right behind him, his combat pole charged with lightning and swinging sharply towards Azoth's head. The strike hits the side of his face, completely tearing off his cheek and sending him flying into the statue. He is impaled by the statue's weapon.

Cube

Angel-Ion: That worked...

Helmut: L-Lord Azoth!

Helmut and Ea rush to either side of the statue. Azoth quickly snaps back into shape.

Azoth: Leave me!

He pulls himself free and drops to the floor, landing on his feet.

Azoth: I'm impressed, Luther. I didn't know you had it in you.

Angel-Ion: (Dear god what happened to his face?!)

Azoth: One power the Black Box grants is the power to register faults with my body and repair them.

The hole in Azoth's abdomen and his torn cheek suddenly pull themselves back together. Before long he is back to normal.

Luther clenches his teeth and sends a bolt of lightning straight towards the Black Box. The energy builds up within the Black Box. Suddenly, Azoth fires out the electricity in all directions, this time red in colour.

Dirge, seemingly unaffected, charges in. He spears the Black Box with his staff, embued with light. The impact causes a shockwave that blasts Dirge back a few paces, enough for Azoth to knock him down with a few surprise energy blasts. Luther fires a lighting bolt at Azoth from the left. Angel-Ion fires a fire blast at Azoth from the right.

Azoth: Two years have passed and you expect the same trick will work?!

He spreads his arms put and stops the blasts in their tracks. They seemingly shrink into nothingness as Azoth builds up cosmic power.Azoth fires out pure red energy blasts back at them both. They both avoid the attack.

Azoth: You've both gotten faster.

Azoth touches the leg of the gold statue. Its solid complexion liquifies and melts. Azoth raises his arms above him and clasps them together. The gold forms into a series of swords and spikes.

Azoth: Lets test, that shall we?

The blades fire out across the area. Luther creates a defense barrier in front of everyone which deflect the golden blades. 

Azoth launches forwards and punches the barrier, creating a large crack. Luther creates a large fireball which he launches towards the crack. It funnels it, resulting in a stream of concentrated fire flowing straight towards Azoth. Azoth is sent back. Helmut and Ea attempt to step in.

Azoth: Stay where you are...!

They stop. Azoth's hand suddenly glows blue.

Azoth: Stop hiding under your shields, Visarion!

Azoth jumps forwards, ignoring the fire. He touches the barrier, which seemingly disintegrates from where he touches it. Luwei intercepts Azoth with his sword before Azoth can reach Luther.

Azoth: Move.

Luwei: Never!

Azoth tries to get around Luwei, but he manages to stab Azoth in the gut with his sword. He swings his sword sideways, tearing it through Azoth's hip and out the other side. The others leap away as Azoth convulses with red electrical energy.

Azoth: You bastard Templar... You'll pay for that...!

Azoth's wound pulls itself back together.

Azoth: Grr... Good as new...

Luther fires a blue energy bolt at Azoth which hits his side. Ice then begins to encase that side of his body, as well as moving downwards to encase his legs. 

Azoth: Enough of these useless tricks!

Azoth looks down at his foot anx pulls it up, forcibly breaking free.

Roxanne: How's this for a trick!

She punches him hard across the side of the face, with enough force that turns his head completely around, apparently breaking his neck.

Azoth: Ooh...

Luwei appears behind him and stabs his sword directly into Azoth's head, piercing straight through the side of his nose. At that instant, Angel-Ion, Luther and Dirge impale Azoth's chest from three separate angles. The five fighters jump back out of the way.

Helmut: L-Lord Azoth!

Ea: What have you done?!

Azoth almost slumps to his knees, but suddenly halts.

Azoth: Was that all you could muster?!

Azoth's wounds suddenly vanish. He forces his head around the correct way.

Azoth: I'm afraid you need to be punished, my dear.

Azoth gains a golden aura and shoots towards Roxanne. He slams his palm into her chest, sending her flying into a pillar.

Angel-Ion: Don't you touch her! AAAAH!!!

Angel-Ion bursts into red flames and launches a full assault in Azoth, sending him flying down the nave and embedding him into the flooring.

Angel-Ion: RAAAAAH!!!

Angel-Ion jumps up and fires a massive red ball of fire at Azoth. He flies up and tears straight through the blazing ball.

Azoth: Struck a nerve did I?!

Azoth backflips and slams his foot down on Angel-Ion's cranium, sending him crashing to the floor unconscious. Azoth descends.

Azoth: Alas only three remain. I shall end your lives dutifully.

Azoth lands and raises his right arm out. A gold portal in the floor opens up and the Sword of Geraint emerges from it. He grabs ahold of it. His power surges upon its grasp.

Luther: (God damn it! We don't stand a chance!)

Luther assumes a battle stance. He charges up his fists and combat pole with lightning and waits cautiously for Azoth to make the first move. 

Instead, Luwei charges in. He tries to slash Azoth but is parried. With a swift strike, Azoth severs Luwei's left hand with the sword.

Luwei: GYAAAAH!

Azoth kicks him to the floor. Azoth moves in to administer the finishing swing.

Azoth: Any parting words to give to your fallen friend? No?

Azoth prepares to finish Luwei off. Before he can finish, his four homonculus suddenly return.

Azoth: You shouldn't have delayed.

Azoth powers down and sheaths the Sword of Geraint.

Azoth: Where is it?

One of them produces a golden staff.

Azoth: Ahh... The Divine Conduit. I must thank you, Supreme Ponti-- Oh. I killed him. Now then. Who wants to see a show? Luther? Templar?

Luwei: Go to hell...

Azoth: Hell is only for the unjust. Now then. Hand over the orb.

Luwei: What...?!

Azoth: Bigger fool you for briging it along with you. Get the orb.

The homonculi bombard Luwei and pull him around in an attempt to raid him of the orb. Before Luther and Dirge can step in, Helmut and Ea come up behind them. Helmut has his sword pinned against Dirge's back while Ea has two tentacles held either side of Luther's head.

Ea: Move, and I'll lobotomise you.

One of the homonculi draw out the orb.

Azoth: At last!

The Dark Orb levitates towards Azoth. It is suddenly joined by the Alkahest and Azoth's Philosopher's Stone. The Divine Conduit moves to underneath them. The three orbs begin cirling each other, each drawing closer, before merging. The Divine Conduit follows suit, merging the created force to its tip. Soon, a golden staff with an orb at its top is formed, producing golden electricity around him.

Azoth: The Absolute is complete! At last!

Azoth walks to the iron doors.

Azoth: It pains me to do this on such short notice, Luther, but I am afraid I must bid you adieu.

He fires a single blast at the doors. They suddenly dissolve into golden glitter that scatters into the wind. Azoth smells the air and exhales in pride.

Azoth: Wonderful.

He moves the Absolute to his mouth.

Azoth: All forces are to withdraw back to the Crucible immediately.

Seth and Indra stand over Noland's and Narak's severly beaten, unconscious bodies. Indra snarls.

Seth: ...

Azoth: I repeat. That is all forces to withdraw back to the Crucible. The Absolute has been acquired.

Hector: What?!

Sir Miles: No! This cannot be!

Faron: Ha! Hahahaha! You fools! You have failed!

Tico: Damn you!

Tico fires her wrist at Faron. Before he is hit, a purple glow teleports him away. The same teleport warps Indra, Seth, Ea, Helmut, Velo, the homonculi and Azoth himself away.

Luther and Dirge run outside the Palace to see the Crucible turning and flying away. Luther bangs his fist against the wall. 

Luther: We came here to stop him and we actually managed to fucking help him. 

Luther storms back inside to check on his friends. 

Roxanne comes to first.

Roxanne: What happened...?

Dirge: We lost.

Roxanne looks down. She then looks across to Angel-Ion. As Luwei gets onto his feet, she recalls the last thing she saw before falling into unconsciousness.

Fire

Within his subconscious, Angel-Ion finds himself face to face with the orange flame from before. Within an instant, it is joined by a red flame.

Angel-Ion: What is this...? What are you...?

Angel-Ion's mind fades to white. He regains consciousness. He clutches his head, which is still in relative pain. Dawn comes over the horizon outside, sunlight piercing the dreary skies.

Angel-Ion: I guess we lost, then.

Dirge: Yup.

Luwei: Azoth has the Absolute... Lord knows what happens next.

Melody, Hector and Sir Miles reach the top of the stairs.

Hector: Good god...

Hector sees Luwei's severed arm. Melody sees the Supreme Pontiff and rushes over to him.

Sir Miles: Anything?

Melody: ... He's dead.

Luwei: We have to leave him. Its no doubt Azoth will use his power as commander of the Allied Nations to frame us. Where is the captain?

Sir Miles: He and Narak were defeated by that... Thing.

Luwei: The Spartoi or the beast?

Sir Miles: Both. The others are already giving them medical attention as we speak.

Angel-Ion: And Ray and Lan?

Hector: They haven't showed up.

Roxanne: Then we have to find them.

Sir Miles: You can't just up and leave us.

Luwei: Of course they can. We Templars can't keep dragging around others into our affairs. Azoth is our business, and we will ask Noland of our next move in due time. But for now...

Luwei pats Angel-Ion's shoulder.

Luwei: Stay safe.

The group depart, leaving the Templars at the palace.

The Mermaid

The Warsong crew begin searching the streets where Lanval and Ray departed.

Roxanne: I'm gonna kill those guys if they don't show up!

Dirge: Wouldn't that require finding them first?

Roxanne: Shut up.

Meanwhile, Ray and Lanval stand by a pile of beaten crooks.

Ray: That's the last of them.

Lanval: Question.

Ray: What?

Lanval: Why are they all wearing dog tags?

Ray: Now that you think about it, this one has military boots and pants. What's he doing all the way out here in Ancora?

Lanval: Hey, lady. Who are these guys?

???: I-I'm afraid I do not know.

Lanval: Who are you, anyways?

???: M-My name is Melusina Ys Leonidas. T-These men attacked me to steal something in my possession...

Lanval: Well, what is it?

Melusina: Its my Triton Flute. I need it back before...

She begins sobbing.

Lanval: Before what?

Ray: Give it a rest will you?

As they begun squabbling, one of the men gets up and legs it.

Goon: (Gyah! I've gotta tell Major Killigan about this!)

Lanval: Hey!

Lanval chases him.

Lanval: You stay here with Miss. Mermaid!

Ray: Hey! Urgh. We should take you somewhere safe.

Melusina: Y-Yes...

Ray walks Melusina through the town. He notes that she has a fish tail rather than legs. He also notices a shell on her back and a peculiar necklace around her neck. He then buys two juice drinks for them both.

Ray: I've seen mermaids before, but none of them have had a shell before... At least, only one, according to folk tales.

Melusina: Don't tell anybody this but... I'm actually from New Meropis.

Ray spits up his drink.

Ray: Where?!

Melusina: N-New Meropis.

Ray: There's such a place?!

Melusina gets more nervous.

Melusina: I-Is that wrong...?

Ray: Oh, no... Sorry for yelling. So what brings you out here?

Melusina: I-I'm... I ran away from home.

Ray: You too, huh?

Melusina: You ran away too?

Ray: A long time ago. My father is a... Difficult man.

Ray is reminded of his father, the infamous Sniper Wolf bounty hunter, Lando.

Ray: Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Ray. That other guy is Lanval.

Melusina: I-Its a pleasure to meet you.

She bows regally. Ray notices the oddity of this gesture, Ancora obviously not being a place of particular wealth.

Meanwhile, the others stroll through the town.

Roxanne: Are you sure this was the way we came?

Dirge: Positive. Did anyone pay attention to where we were when they split up?

Shin: I do. Just a little further.

Roxanne: (At least Shin has better directional sense than Angel-Ion.)

They reach the area Ray and Dirge split up.

Shin: Down here.

They head down the alleyway. Angel-Ion is drawn to the agonising groans of men.

Angel-Ion: Over here.

Angel-Ion finds the beaten pile of men. Roxanne scans their wounds.

Roxanne: Yup. Lan's been here.

Luther sees several sets of footprints leading away from the fight, going in both directions, assuming them to be Lanval and Ray's. More bizarrely, he and sees a more continuous trail next to those sets. He then notes that a set of prints matches Ray's particular footwear.

Luther: Ray went that way.

They walk onto the street yet again. The trail Luther spotted disappears as they reach the main street. They walk past the same juice bar Ray went to. Angel-Ion, bothered by the annoyance of walking around, yells.

Angel-Ion: Ray! Where are you?!

Not too far away, Ray barely hears his yelling over the busy crowds.

Roxanne is inspired by this and does the same, followed by Hector and Tico.

Ray: Over here!

Dirge turns to the direction the response came from.

Dirge: That way!

Ray brings Melusina towards the group who similarly move closer. They spot Ray come around the corner. And run to him.

Roxanne: Ray!

Hector: Where the hell did you go?!

Ray: Lanval saw some trouble. Where are the Templars?

Ray is met by a series of frowns.

Ray: Not good, huh?

Angel-Ion: Azoth completed the Absolute.

Ray: Damn... But at least you all survived, right?

Roxanne: The Supreme Pontiff got murdered, but...

Roxanne notices the crowds. She notes that they've acknowledged the fact that the Crucible was present a few hours ago, but not of Mantilles' death.

Roxanne: We should stay quiet about that. So... Where's Lanval?

Ray: He ran after this lowlife thug who tried to assault Ms. Melusina here.

Roxanne: Oh, uh. Hey.

Melusina: N-Nice to meet you. I am Melusina Ys Leonidas.

Dirge: (What a strange name...)

Ray: These are my friends. This is Roxanne. This is Luther.

Angel-Ion: I'm Angel-Ion, and this is my pupil, Shin.

Tico: I'm Tico.

Hector: Hector's the name.

Dirge: And I'm Dirge.

Melusina: Its a pleasure to meet you all.

Risky Business

At an abandoned construction site on the edge of town, a few men dressed in military outfits are sitting around. Each of them are wearing dog tags.

~ Sierra Unit ~ Major John Killigan: Where the hell are the others? That Kratonian bitch is supposed to be worth a fortune. Plus, she had this thing on her.

He holds up a seashell instrument.

Killigan: Apparently this thing has special properties. The kind the boss wants.

Goon: Do we really need the girl?

Killigan: Do you have any idea how Kratonian mermaids are worth?! ₺1,000,000 at the Auction House!

He swigs a gourd of booze before slamming it down on a crate.

Killigan: Now where the hell are Wellington and the others?!

At that moment, the goon that ran is kicked into the area. Lanval casually walks in.

Lanval: I take it you're Major Killigan.

Major Killigan: You're gonna regret that!

He arms himself with an army knife.

Lanval: Then come at me, you sack of shit.

Meanwhile, the others stroll close to the edge of town, looking for Lanval. In the meantime, Melusina and Ray have filled in the details surrounding Lanval's whereabouts and the theft of the Triton Flute.

Dirge: So who were those guys you beat up?

Ray: No idea. They were all wearing dog tags, though not all of them had clothing that said they were part of some army.

Roxanne: They don't sound local either.

There is a sudden crashing sound nearby.

Luther: That sounds like Lan.

Roxanne: I'm gonna kill him.

Roxanne rushes off first.

Ray: Melusina, you stay here. Hector, I'm putting you in charge of looking after her.

Hector: Why me?!

Back at the site, Lanval kicks down another grunt.

Lanval: This lot are all just small fry. Where's the challenge?

Major Killigan: You're overconfident. Men, on your feet!

He blows into a whistle. All of the knocked down men suddenly get back up, except for Wellington, who is still unconscious.

Lanval: Looks like I didn't kick your heads in hard enough.

Killigan: These men were trained to be as hard as a rock! You can't just knock them down and expect 'em to stay down.

One suddenly falls down unconscious. Roxanne is behind him, having punched him in the back of the head.

Roxanne: Looks like you haven't met us yet, then.

Angel-Ion, Shin, Dirge, Ray, Luther and Tico arrive on short order.

Killigan: Go some backup, I see?

Lanval: Not really. I didn't call for them.

Luther: Bye then.

Angel-Ion: Yeah.

Lanval: Hey! I'll at least appreciate the help!

Roxanne smirks and cracks her knuckles.

Roxanne: Then let's kick some ass.

Killigan: Then bring it on! Get 'em, boys!

The grunts run towards the group. Some are armed with knives. Immediately, Lanval kicks one in the head. Luther immediately fires a paralyisis bolt at one of them, causing them to collapse to the ground. Angel-Ion slides into one of them, sending them back.

Two of the grunts attempt to double team Roxanne, but she bashes their heads together. Ray batters another with his guitar as Tico knocks away two more her fist.

Another grunt attempts to come up behind Luther with a knife. As he goes in to stab, Luther creates a defence barrier that surrounds the grunt's wrist, holding it in place. The grunt begins beating the barrier with his free in a futile attempt to escape. Luther charges his fist with lightning before punching the grunt in the face, knocking him out, leaving him hanging by his wrist unti the barrier dissipates. 

Angel-Ion sets a grunt ablaze before kicking him into a pile of wooden planks, which sets ablaze. Dirge throws his staff at another, intercepting a sneak attack on Ray. The staff bounces off of their forehead before returning to Dirge.

Killigan arms himself with a knife and runs towards Lanval. Lanval's first instinct is to sweep his leg under Killigan's, tripping him. Killigan gets up and lunges at Luther in an attempted take down. Lanval kicks him in the face, knocking him onto his back. He gets up once again.

Killigan: AAARHH!!

He runs at Lanval again. Lanval lifts his leg and surges heat into it. With his other leg he leaps forwards. While in midair, he spins around, before kicking Killigan in the side with his blazing leg, breaking some of his ribs, fracturing his arm and sending him crashing into a partially built structure. Not too long after, the remainder of the grunts have been taken down, with Ray kicking one into a crate.

Lanval: I'll take that.

Lanval takes the flute from Killigan's unconscious body. As the group converse over their victory, Wellington wakes up and slips away.

Wellington: (Looks like they've done the boss in. Seeing as they're all here... That girl and the money are mine!)

Luther: Hang on... Wait. There were 12, but there are only 11 here. 

Ray: Huh?

Lanval looks around to see that Wellington isn't present.

Lanval: Shit!

Lanval sprints off, with the orhers quickly following. Meanwhile, Hector puzzles with what to do.

Hector: So... Uh, can I get you anything?

Melusina: I-I don't know.

Hector: Ah. Let me get you something to eat.

Hector walks into a bakery. After a minute, Wellington comes up behind Melusina and covers her mouth.

Wellington: You're coming with me, girlie!

Melusina struggles to get free. When Hector comes out, he finds Wellington throwing her into the back of a wagon, before carting her off.

Hector: Hey! Stop!

Hector gires a fire blast at the wagon as Wellington cracks a whip. The horses begin moving, causing the blast to hit one of the back wheels. Hector begins running after them. Just as he begins running, Lanval grabs ahold of him.

Lanval: Where is he?!

Hector: Wha--

Ray: He's got Melusina! Hector, where'd he take her?!

Hector: That way!

Dirge: Tch. Lets not hang around then!

The group give chase. On the wagon, Wellington has tied up and gagged Melusina.

Wellington: Hahaha! That money's mine!

The wagon jolts, the wheel having broke.

Wellington: Gh. Should have known there was another one... Nevermind! We are almost there!

The Auction House Incident

The wagon arrives in a plaza where several high class individuals are gathering. His entrance gains some attention and criticism, but the gossip is silenced when he gets out his prize; a beautifil mermaid. He drags Melusina inside against her will, as certain suspicious characters rear their heads.

~ ??? ~ Alnico Perez: These places make me sick. Killua, you better have been right about coming here.

~ ??? ~ Ramone Ebony: Fate has led us here, gentlemen. We can only hope that today's offerings have fate on their side too.

~ ??? ~ Conway Rhapsody: Somethin' funkeh is gonna go down!

~ ??? ~ Ajahn: ...

Inside, Wellington handles a huge wad of cash while another man inspects Melusina, who has been fitted with the Auction House's customary explosive collar.

~ Auction House Proprietor ~ Rollers: You're a fine specimen, aren't you? I'm sure you'll fetch a high price.

Melusina: Let me go!

Rollers: How dare you?! You're a slave now!

He slaps her a few times. He is stopped by his employees.

Employee: Boss! You're damaging the merchandise!

Rollers: Oh, erm... Right. Put her in one of those giant bowls.

Melusina is put into a large fish bowl large enough to accommodate her, and chained to the base. She beats the glass in a futile effort of escape.

Melusina: L-Let me out! P-Please! Someone!

A figure nearby, another slave captive wearing a hood, watches.

???: ...

The group arrive at the venue, arousing the attention of the four mysterious individuals.

Dirge: How many of these places do they have to set up?! Isn't this supposed to be illegal?!

Upperclassmen: Keep the noise down over there.

Ray: Ignore them. We're here for Melusina. Lets go in. They head inside. Just before Luther can go in, he spots Wellington in the corner of his eye. Before he can alert any of the others, they have all gone inside. Luther follows him. Wellington is counting his newly acquired money.

Wellington: Twenty thousand... Thirty thousand... Oh man the boss is gonna love this...!

Luther sneaks up behind him and hits him over the back of the head with his combat pole, knocking him out, before starting to grab the money. 

Meanwhile, inside the complex, Roxanne hassles an employee.

Roxanne: Where's Melusina?!

Employee: Who?!

Roxanne: The mermaid you dumbass!

Employee: Get outta here, crazy lady!

He brushes her off.

Tico: How about we force our way through?

Dirge: They will probably detonate the bomb collar.

Tico: The what?

Angel-Ion: Last time we came by a place like this all the "merchandise" had explosive collars aroud their necks.

Roxanne: Then we'll play by their rules! Give me that!

She snatches an auction paddle off of another employee. The group move into the lobby, where everyone else in the complex have finally taken their seats. Some of the suspicious groups from before are also present, with two of them hanging around the back of the lobby.

Shin: There's some seats down there.

Shin points to a luxury area. At that moment, the doors burst open, and a procession of silver-clad soldiers march into the room.

Angel-Ion: What's with the cavalry?

Roxanne: Wait a minute...

Alnico: That's...

A man in fine purple clothing enters. His clothing looks extremely clean, inspite of his ugly face and his girth. He holds a leash that is tied to a clawing slave's bomb collar.

~ Noble Lord of Lords ~ Randolph Tate: Argh. The auction has started.

Male Secretary: Apparently we have twelve slaves ontoday's showcase, sir.

He begins kicking his slave.

Randolph: Useless! Useless! Useless!

Knight: Your seat is ready, my liege.

Randolph: Oh good. Sell this useless creature.

Male Secretary: It will be done right away.

He begins walking down the stairs to the luxury seats, the upperclassmen in the auctionhouse cringing at this gastly man.

Randolph: I really hope they have a mermaid for sale today. I didn't come all the way from Vincolo just for a few lowly creatures.

Dirge: What an awful man...

Hector: We should stay clear of that man. Runour has it that he, like the other Lords of Lords, have special privileges. I've heard Tate and the others can and will call upon one of Vincolo's Six Warlords at the slightest trouble.

Roxanne: Looks like we're gonna have some trouble. How much do we have available?

Dirge: Based on what we've managed to accumulate... ₺250,000...

Tico: (Oops...)

Roxanne: Then we're gonna have to lie nd make a beeline for it if it goes over.

Lanval looks at a price list of how much each species roughly sells for.

Lanval: I think we're gonna have to. Kratonian mermaids sell for ₺700,000 at minimum.

Rollers: Alright! Thank you all for coming, I hope today's merchandise manage to catch your eye and take your ca-- I mean... Lets get this show on the road! Dim the lights please.

The lights dim.

Rollers: Bring out the first one!

Behind the stage, employees open a cage, where a pirate wearing a bomb collar and handcuffs is taken.

Employee: Come with us.

Pirate: No! N-No!

Employee: Come!

He pulls a chain.

Pirate: No! Please! I want to stay in my cell!

His wails scare Melusina, who attempts to block out his pleases. The hooded man appears to smirk. A giant sat next to him notices this.

~ Giant Slave ~ Staven: What's up with you?!

???: Don't you worry. I've got everything figured out.

The pirate is brought onto the stage, where bright lights beam down on him.

Rollers: Well here he is! Don't you believe it, this entry is... A pirate captain!

Tate: A pirate captain? Please. I know somebody with eighteen of those in his collection. Boring.

Rollers: Now look at him! A wanted man with a bounty of ₺170,000! His name is Captain John Sandler! Known for his careful planning, he'd make a great worker, and he is built very well!

The pirate begins rocking back and forth. He falls to his knees before blood starts coming out of his mouth.

Rollers: (Damn it. He hasn't...)

The pirate slumps.

Auctioneer: He collapsed! What's going on?!

Rollers turns to his employees.

Rollers: Hurry! Pull the curtains!

Curtains cover the stage.

Auctioneer: What's going on?

Roxanne: What just happened?

Lanval: He bit off his own tongue. He decided that he didn't want to live the rest of his life as a slave.

Rollers: Curse you slave! Take him away. Bring out the mermaid. I'm sure a lot of people will get rowdy with that one!

The curtains open.

Rollers: Alright ladies and gentlemen! I'm afraid Captain Sanders was so excited to see you that he collapsed from a nosebleed.

The auctioneers seem to buy this.

Ray: Collapsed from a nosebleed?

Lanval: What a load of crap.

Rollers: This next item is nothing short of incredible! I'm sure that this one is right at the top of everyone's wish list! Now, lets bring her in!

Some drummers appear to make the spectacle look grand, as a concealed object is wheeled onto the stage. Tate's interest is aroused.

Rollers: Now this item is way too grand to take in all at once, so we'll do it in steps! First, the silhouette!

A spotlight behind the cloth reveals the silhouette of a mermaid.

Auctioneer: Can it be?!

Auctioneer: Yes! I've been waiting for this!

Rollers: Try to take it all in, and try not to drool, because here's the real deal! Feast your eyes on this!

The cloth is pulled away, revealing Melusina.

Ray: Grr...

Melusina tries to adjust her eyes to the light as the crowd cheers. Tate's mouth drops in lust.

Ray: They're about to start! Do something!

Roxanne: I'm on it.

She grips the auction paddle.

Tate: I can't believe it! They're selling a mermaid! An actual mermaid!

Rollers bashes his gavel.

Rollers: I see there is a lot of interest in the audience! Who's going tp make the starting bid?

Roxanne: What ever it is, I'll top it.

Rollers: Lets get this show on the road. We'll start at--

Tate: ₺50,000,000!

The auction house becomes silent.

Tate: I bid ₺50,000,000!

Roxanne drops her paddle in shock.

Auctioneer: Its useless...

Auctioneer: I can't compete with that...

Hector: That cursed Lord of Lords...!

Melusina: I can't hear anything out there... Help! Help me!

She begins futilely bashing the glass. She soon gices up.

Rollers: E-Everyone appears to be at a loss for words... I'll ask again... Does anyone have any bids higher than... ₺50,000,000...?

Shin: We've gotta do something right?! Lanval, what's the plan? Roxanne? Dirge? Sensei?!

Angel-Ion: Damn it all...

Ray: Those bastards throw money around like its nothing. We should've known he'd be out of our league.

Rollers: As nobody has made another bid, we'll draw the bidding straight to a close.

Tate: I did it...!

Alnico: Lord of Lords? What a damn farce. Lets go, men.

Alnico and his followers begin heading for the exit.

Rollers: Okay then... Today's showcase mermaid goes to the Lord of Lords, Saint Randolph Tate, for his bid of ₺50,000,000!

At that sudden moment, Luther bursts through the doors, creating such a loud noise that it catches the entire venue's attention.

Alnico: What the...?!

Tate: What was that racket?

Alnico composes himself.

Alnico: Well damn. If it isn't the "Scourge of Venland", Luther.

Luther, unaware that the auction has finished, runs down the stairs with the money.

Luther: Hey! I bid ₺700,000!

Lanval: Guh...! Luther wait!

Hector: I'll handle this!

Hector runs down the stairs after Luther.

Hector: Luther, what do you think you're doing?!

Luther: Using that guy's money to buy back the mermaid!

Rollers: Somebody stop them!

Hector: A bid's already gone through! We can't do anything!

Luther: Then I'll bid higher!

Hector: Stop!!!

Hector gets in front of Luther in an attempt to block him. A gunshot is suddenly heard. They both stop. All of a sudden, blood sprays and Hector tumbles down some of the stairs. Tate, the culprit, holds a golden gun in his hand. He jumps around in glee.

Tate: Haha! I shot it! I took down a satyr! I shot it, that means I can have it for free! Its free! Its free! A satyr is for me!

Luther walks slowly down the stairs. He glares at Tate, with the intent to cause harm. Hector grabs him.

Hector: W-Wait... L-Luther... Don't do this... This is my fault, I'm the one who screwed up... You can't defy a Lord of Lords, or a powerful Warlord will come...! I just want to do something right for once...

Luther kneels down to Hector.

Tate: That's enough! Stop all of that annoying babbling, satyr! Shut up or I'll shut you up for good!

He aims his gun. Luther turns and stands in defence of Hector, his eyes glaring.

Tate: How dare you... Don't look at me like that!

Luther begins advancing again. He clenches his fist.

Tate: E-Easy! You see this?!

Auctioneer: What is thay man doing? He's crazy!

Ebony: Luther Visarion...

Alnico: He's serious!

Tate: Now you're annoying me too!

Tate aims his gun and fires. Luther uses his sixth sense to avoid the bullet. He puts his foot down and rears back, before punching Tate very hard in the face, sending him flying into the stands, out cold. The auctioneers are gobsmacked and speechless.

Knight: He... He hit Saint Randolph!

Tico: Well... That's that.

Lanval: Heh.

Male Secretary: You scum! How dare you raise a hand against Saint Randolph!

The auctioneers panic and begin fleeing the stage, leaving the Warsong crew, the employees, the downed Lord of Lords' procession and the four groups of suspicious individuals.

Male Secretary: You'll pay for your dissidence!

Lanval: Shut the hell up!

Lanval shoots over and kicks the secretary in the head.

Knight: That guy kicked the secretary!

The knight and his cohort run in to attack Lanval, but he sweep kicks one into the other.

The panicked employees scurry backstage, alerting Staven and the hooded man, who smiles.

Staven: Sounds like quite the ruckus. Something's going down.

The hooded man drinks from a canteen. Its empty.

???: All out. I guess that settles it.

He stands.

Staven: Settles what?

Three knights charge towards Luther. Luther gestures his fingers upwards and a defence barrier rises from the ground, about a foot high in front of the knights, tripping all of them over. 

Angel-Ion knocks away two knights. He is suddenly dogpiled by a few other knights and some employees. Angel-Ion focuses his power, before unleashing it into a tornado.

Tico fires a volley of bullets from her wrist at some knights, intending to stun them where the bullets bounce off their armour.

The captain of the knights looks around to see Luther, Angel-Ion, Lanval, Shin, Tico and Roxanne taking down knights.

Captain: Grr...! You insist on defying us to the very end! Why can't you just accept your fate?!

Angel-Ion: Back down! Our friend isn't for sale!

The captain turns to the secretary and forces him to his feet.

Captain: Summon the Warlord! These fools won't get away with what they've done!

Secretary: I-I'm on it, sir!

Four knights attempt to ambush Luther and Lanval.

Knight: Now you die!

Angel-Ion: Duck!

They both do this. Angel-Ion packs some power into his sword and unleashes a slash that cuts through the knights, causing them to fall unconscious. The slice is powerful enough to cut the top of the glass of Melusina's glass prison.

Both: Are you trying to kill us?!

Angel-Ion: I said "duck" didn't I?!

Lanval: Talk louder next time!

Rollers stares in sheer shock as the top of the bowl smashes on the floor.

Hector: I-I'm coming, Ms. Mermaid!

Melusina: B-But you're badly injured!

Hector: By a measly bullet?

Ray: Lets go, Hector!

~ ??? ~ Killua: So the rumours are true.

Alnico: They're all crazy!

Conway: "Scourge of Venland". ₺150,000. That's quite some bounty.

Rollers pulls out a pistol.

Rollers: Protect the mermaid! She's my ₺50,000,000 future!

Lanval: You guys get to Melusina!

Shin: I bet that Warlord's already on the way here.

Ramone: I must regrettably inform you that the Warlord is already on their way here.

Angel-Ion: Who the hell are you?

~ Captain of the Taboo Pirates ~ Ramone: I am impressed you managed to put on a decent show for us.

Dirge: You're Ramone Ebony. You're pirates.

Lanval: Huh? Is that so?

Dirge: And the guy at the back. He's Alnico Perez.

Alnico grins.

Roxanne: You mean the one who has a higher bounty than Luther and Angel-Ion? The Gears Pirates' captain?

~ Captain of the Gears Pirates ~ Alnico: You might as well point out the rest too. Ain't that right, Ajahn, Rhapsody?

~ Captain of the Disk Jockey Pirates ~ Conway: Ah, the gig's up, man.

~ Captain of the Sky Monks ~ Ajahn: Hmph.

The captain of the knights points a gun at Melusina.

Captain: Enough of this. If this fish has caused all this trouble, I'll just put a bullet in her head.

Rollers: Please don't! At least wait until the money's been--

The captain turns the gun on him.

Captain: Silence! Enough, commoner.

He fires.

Captain: Alright, fish, die.

Melusina tries to hide.

Ray: No!

He places his finger on the trigger. Before he can fire, a pulse surges across the area. Luther and Angel-Ion seemingly recognise this power. The captain suddenly falls unconscious.

Secretary: The captain's...

The wall suddenly rips open and Staven and the hooded man walk through, both free of their restraints.

???: Ah. Looks like the auction's over. No money for me then. Oh well, I would have spent it anyways.

Staven: You are one messed up man. You made yourself a slave just to steal money?

???: That was the plan. I was gonna take the money from whoever bought me too. But I guess it weren't meant to be...

He gets out his canteen.

???: Oh right, I'm all out. Hmm... Now that I think about it, that plan stinks, who would want to spend their money on an old fart like me? Hahaha!

He looks around and sees everyone staring.

???: Ah, didn't realise I had such a captivating audience.

Knight: Who are those two?

Staff: They're a couple of slaves we were planning to sell. W-Wait...

He realises their collars are gone.

Staff: No way! How did they get those explosive collars off?!

Knight: Don't just stand there, idiots! Get them!

The old man lets off another pulse that brings down all the knights and staff, even the secretary.

Dirge: No way.

Alnico: Is that...

Lanval: Who the hell is that guy?!

The old man looks at Luther.

???: Ah yes. I've been waiting to meet you, Luther Visarion.

Escape the Auction House

Rollers awakens and sees all the commotion. He scrambles away and reaches a telephone.

Rollers: Hello?! Yes, its me!

...

Rollers: Yes! Its terrible, the--

...

Rollers: This is your auction house, right, Mr. Deckard?! Where are you right now? Nobody's gonna trust this store anymore! Csn't you help us?!

???: Stop projecting your blathering onto me, Rollers. The slave trade doesn't interest me anymore. This is a new age. The fruits of labor are in my hand now. Rollers. I'm giving you the stupid store. Its your responsibility now.

Rollers: What?! You're jumping ship on us?!

???: Shut up. You're such a pain. While you're sitting there blaming me for your misfortune, I'm basking in a new age.

Herrehal.

~ Head of the Trion Syndicate / "Deckard" ~ Equilatrium Roxcinante: Doesn't this new age sound good to you?

Rollers: ...!

Equilatrium: Now then. Don't call my number again, or I'll send Victus to get rid of you.

He hangs up. Rollers stares at the phone in shock.

Back in the auction hall...

Luther: Who are you?

???: I go only by the name of Shirong. I'm a friend of Phade's. In fact you could say we are colleagues.

Angel-Ion: "Colleagues"?

Shirong: I guess he never told you. Both of us are members of the High Council of Shanzhu.

Roxanne: Then why are you here? And why does Phade keep appearing everywhere that isn't Shanzhu?

Shirong: Just because its in our job titles doesn't mean we're confined to stay there.

Luther: But why are you here now? 

Shirong: A seer told me about the events that would occur here. Remind you of anyrhing over there?

Shirong looks at Ramone.

Shirong: I already know enough. The Absolute, the Triton Flute, the mermaid.

Staven: I guess that's what you meant by "figured out".

Angel-Ion: Then why couldn't you come out and flash your Willpower when Azoth was in the city?

Shirong: I appreciate that Noland is doing his job well, but he made the mistake of trying to avoid fate.

Ramone: Fate is something that is continuous. You can't break the wheel. That's just how it is. No coincidences.

Ramone shuffles a pile of tarpt cards.

Ramone: Another instance you should consider is what is going on outside.

Outside, several Vincolian soldiers have the auction house surrounded.

~ Six Warlords ~ Aurelian Byzantine: Alright! Saint Randolph is in there! We need to get him out safely!

The Vincolians arm themselves with rifles.

Aurelian: Open fire on anyone who comes out.

The Vincolians begin shooting all the auctioneers that have been surrounded. Wellington hides behind a crate outside the surrounded section.

Wellington: (What on earth is going on?! I've gotta get outta here!)

He runs off. The firing stops. Aurelian begins walking over the bodies.

Aurelian: To hold a Lord of Lords is to defy a god!

He gets a megaphone.

Aurelian: This is Aurelian Byzantine of the Vincolian Sovereignty! Yield and surrender the Lord of Lords from your captivity! We have these premises surrounded!

Shirong: Looks like we have company.

He takes off Melusina's collar. He throws it away before it explodes.

Tico: How the hell did you do that? I literally just got the keys!

Shirong: Then go free the other slaves.

Tico: ... Right.

Ajahn: You do realise we still need a way out, right?

Alnico: Leave it to us.

Alnico goes to the entrance of the auction house. Rather than going through the door, he raises his hands up against them.

Alico: Hyaaah!

The iron beams holding the entryway to the rest of the building tear out, forcing the entire wall to dettach from the building. The Vincolian soldiers try to run back, but it falls down on them and crushes serveral.

Aurelian: What the hell was that?!

Alnico: We are the Gears Pirates, and we will not be held back!

Alnico, Killua and the rest of his crew leap out and begin attacking the nearest soldiers in their vinicity. Killua uses a pair of rotating blades to cut several soldiers badly. Another crew member lets off fire breath.

Alnico: Ahaha!

Aurelian: Second wave, advance!

A second platoon of soldiers run forwards for backup. Ebony's crew jumps over Alnico's group with more refined swords, consisting of rapiers, falchions and other finery.

Ebony: My first card is...

He picks up a tarot card.

Ebony: The Fool.

Aurelian's soldiers suddenly turn against each other against their will.

Soldier: What the...?!

Soldier: I'm sorry!

Aurelian: Grr... Press harder!

A sonic wave suddenly emits towards the oncoming soldiers, stunning them and forcing them to hold their heads in pain.

Conway: Yeehaw! You can't resist this epic beat! (editors note. this is a very stupid line and I hate it). 

Soldier: MY EARS!!!

Some of them begin to collapse with blood trailing from their ears.

Aurelian: Tch.

Ajahn's group and the Warsong crew run out to assist the others. Aurelian suddenly reaches his hand out and creates a red energy sphere. He compresses it into a small ball and throws it forwards. When it gets close enough to the opposing forces, it expands and creates a powerful shockwave.

Shirong: Oh wow. Looks like Phazorus hasn't slouched with the Warlord system.

Staven: Shouldn't we do something?

Shirong: Lets not be too hasty.

Alnico gets up.

Alnico: Think you're good because you have that as a flashy trick?

Alnico raises one hand. Several dropped rifles raise into the air and point towards Aurelian. They all begin firing at once. Aurelian raises a barrier that disintegrates all of the bullets into mere dust. He forces the barrier back. It crashes into Alnico, sending him flying.

Aurelian: Your magnetism power is not good enough, I'm afraid.

Ajahn: Then how about this?!

Ajahn swings an iron pillar down towards Aurelian. He steps out of the way and fires a simple shockwave into Ajahn's chest.

Aurelian: A winged man? You must be one of these Latene people I've heard about.

Ajahn falls back. Ebony flies towards him with his sword outstretched. Aurelian prepares a defence. Meanwhile, Luther sneaks around in a wide arc in order to try and get behind Aurelian. 

Ebony: I had already predicted that stance. 

Ebony manoeuvres around his defence, but is seemingly caught by surprise by a sudden energy stream that pierces his heart. A small straw doll emerges from his body. A hole appears in the chest of one of his own men, who dies as a result. Ebony lands, seemingly completely fine. Aurelian observes the doll.

Aurelian: Voodoo magic, eh?

Ebony: I predicted that attack too.

Aurelian: Then predict this!

Aurelian swings his sword down. Ebony jumps back, but the force of his swing sends him flying. Luther suddenly appears infront of Aurelian, ready to strike.

Aurelian swings his sword forwards. The sword swings straight through Luther, who is revealed to be an illusion. The real Luther unleashes a concentrated beam of lightning from behind Aurelian which strikes him in the lower back. 

Aurelian: A trickster!

Aurelian turns and kicks Luther in the back of the leg, causing him to fall. With his back now turned, Angel-Ion, Lanval and Dirge move in for an attack.

Angel-Ion: You should keep your eyes of the prize!

Aurelian quickly turns around and fires a powerful blast that catches all three of them them in its vinicity.

Ebony binds Aurelian's arm and leg by string, causing him to falter. Luther imbues his arm with Armament and punches Aurelian hard in the leg, trying to break his knee, before he stands up. He quickly places his other hand down onto Aurelian's shoulder and pushes downwards, all while releasing lightning into his body. 

Aurelian suddenly unleashes a massive shockwave of energy, snapping the strings and blasting Luther, Ebony and everyone else away.

Aurelian: Is that all you've got? Just a few cheap tricks? I guess I'll start with you.

He marches over to Luther and prepares to eliminate him. He lifts his sword and swings it down. Shirong suddenly flies in and blocks his sword with an Armament-embued foot.

Aurelian: You're--

Shirong: Surprise.

He forces the sword back and flips. He suddenly unleashes a fire blast and launches Aurelian back.

Shirong: No use lying around, Luther. Take the girl and get out of here.

Aurelian blasts his way out of some rubble.

Aurelian: Third wave, advance!

More soldiers advance as Aurelian stands off against Shirong, who smirks and makes a stance.

Luther promptly leaves the scene, joining the others in their bid to escape. After exchanging some blows, Aurelian and Shirong find themselves in a power struggle.

Aurelian: You're Shirong the Master, aren't you? From the Shanzhu High Council!

Shirong: You're right.

Aurelian: Good. I am the Fourth Warlord of Vincolo, Aurelian Byzantine!

Some of the soldiers begin getting closer to the group.

Lanval: We need to hold them off!

Luther, Angel-Ion, Dirge, Alnico, Killua and Ajahn stick behind to hold the fort. Conway and his group are all too eager to escape.

Alnico: If I die for this, you lot are gonna pay.