[AGR] Season 2 - Summer Brawl (fan fiction)

Discussion in 'Fan Art, Fiction & Videos' started by Gerrion, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War masters and battle maidens!

    Welcome to the Artificial Gladiator Ring!!!

    It is with great honor that i welcome you within this colosseum, magically imbued to appear in any corner of Grand Gaia! From the Breeze Beach to the Lomass Forest, no soul in the world will miss the cheers, the sparks, the magic - all will be able to taste the power that we present to you in its purest form.

    And speaking of Breeze Beach, it is here, under the golden sun and the salty winds, that we will hold our second grand event...


    ... THE SUMMER BRAWL!
    [​IMG]

    Bracket with full results:
    [​IMG]

    Author's note: Please refrain from posting until all seven Matches are displayed
  2. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Prologue


    "So, you still want that extra egg?"

    "Yes, please!"

    The inn's maid threw a quick wink at me before heading back to work. She had a lot to do, considering the place's local fame as a good way to start the day. Nearly all the tables were occupied by various costumers: from a starving rogue willing to supress his lone ways for a good breakfast, to a noble in disguise who forgot to hide his silver ring.

    Half of its luck comes from being located within the Inner Arc. Randall's four arcs differ much in the quality of life. The Inner Arc doesn't have the technology perks of the River Arc, nor the hospitable events of the Suburbs, but the quality felt while one is close to the Summoner's Hall is second to none.

    The window shows the way to the Palace Arc, shinning in its silver glory. I could still catch a glympse of the Research Lab if i lean to the lowest corner of the window's edge - a large monument clad in red and white atop the short mesa in the capital's western center.

    The maid caught me in the act. " 'xcuse me, good sir. Here's your second egg."

    A quick toss of the wrist and the chicken egg landed next to its partner, right on the second Bara Sausage.

    "Thank you, sweetheart!"

    The girl quickly hasted to a nearby table, leaving me back to my thoughts.

    The egg's yolk dimly flashed the sun's light at me as i poured the Blue Tea to my cup. The steam passed by my face, easing my nostrils with the promise of a good moment. I hoped for such a moment - the night was all but well spent.

    As i sliced the sausage with my meal knife, the doors quickly opened, revealing a man dressed in black. Only those who had sight to the doors bothered to glance at the newcomer, and quickly returned to their meals. However, my curiosity was greater - the robe either showed a magician's solitude or a hidden identity, and the inn doesn't recieve many people who practice magic - the strong Bara spices would unease their concentration for the rest of the day.

    It got me curious to the point of feeling a drop of yolk on my palm. I quickly switched my eyes to my meal, placing it within an opened chunk of bread. My eyes then returned to the front to see the mysterious figure closer to me. While the orange borders were a wierd addition to the black robe, the red scarf concealing the lower side of his face made me less at peace.

    I was about to free my lips when he contered me:

    "Good morning. Sorry to disturb you, but are you Ge..."

    I made a fake, violent cough, rough enough to end his question.

    "Please, take the seat in front of me." - i asked.

    The stranger wasn't shaken by my actions, but curious enough to accept my request. As he sat in front of me, i continued in a lower tone: "Are you searching for one of the Twin Heroes of the Mirror Realm?" - he nodded, to which i proceeded - "This inn isn't aware of that yet, and i wish for a peaceful breakfast, if you could."

    "I understand." - the man replied, his words seemingly unabated by the scarf. - "Could i ask for a moment of your time?"

    "Sure, then." - i answered in my normal tone - "In the meantime, do you want something to eat?"

    "I already ate. Feel free to eat your meal as i explain myself."

    My eyes quickly changed to the filled chunk of bread. As i started to eat, so did he started to talk: "I have heard of your abilities, and i was hoping that you could participate with one of your Heroes within the AGR."

    The spice struck my tongue at the same time the memory reached my brain: the spoken opinions of the tournament at the Adventurer's Prairie.

    I swallowed my food before asking: "You mean the Artificial Gladiator Ring?"

    "Yes."

    "Didn't visit it yet, but i've heard of it. Good hearings, even." - even though i wasn't actually there when it happened, words spread of the Ring's good start. Especially with the fall of Seria within the arena.

    "Glad to know. Would you consider my offer?"

    "It depends." - i still had to assure a few points before replying - "Who are you? Are you a messenger from the AGR?"

    He leaned closer to me, and i approached in return. While his hair was as black as the robe he wears, his eyes were pure brown.

    "No - i am the manager."

    Then it came to me. Balmos. The announcer of the matches within the Ring. The same one who defeated Seria.


    "..."

    "..."

    Oh darn...

    I leaned back to my seat. "Are you sure she hasn't track you here? I want to have a peaceful breakfast, preferably while i'm still in one piece, you know..."

    The man chuckled a bit as i dived another portion of bread through the platter, taking the other half of the egg and sausage to my mouth. He waited for my mouth to swallow the hasty portion.



    "Rest assured, you'll have your quiet meal."



    "Still, it's an honor to recieve the invitation in person rather than by a message. I thank the kind gesture."

    "Your efforts are the reason of the respect that you have right now. No need to thank others."

    "That wasn't my point, but it's true nonetheless. I accept the invitation."

    "Good. Do not worry, as you'll recieve a pay for your contribution."

    "There's no need to pay my part." - i replied - "I'll take this as a challenge. Nonetheless, i wish to choose the Hero that i'll use in the Ring."

    "A fair trade. Though i warn you, it is a tournament for Heroes of the element of Water. Do you have a choice?"

    My spare hand reached my pouch where i kept the the Heroes i use. As i felt their unique essence within the marbles, i felt the Water magic emanating from a group. Among them, several seemed ripe for the choosing.

    "Let me see..."
  3. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Match One - Rickel VS Sergio



    Optional soundtrack
    It's been a while since i last felt the environment of Breeze Beach. I remembered the days when i was a novice Summoner, attempting to grasp the reasons of my presence in Elgaia. Now, i am a person with a purpose, with people waiting for me on the other side. And yet, one thing remained unchanged: the serenity of this place.

    Maybe it was the fact that the cold embrace was a welcome far better than the previous Kagan Desert. Perhaps it was nostalgia from home due to the salty winds and the peacefull sound of the waves.

    I stood still for a moment, allowing the cold water to tickle my naked feet. Balmos could wait a bit more - i'll need to collect myself.
    After all, i am a contender - i'll need my best effort to please the crowd.

    At a flat mountain in my front, right above the beach, stood the AGR - the Artificial Gladiator Ring. A circular monument of imbued stone. Such wasn't here on my previous stay - it was magically transported here for the upcoming competition...

    ...the Summer Brawl.

    The climb up was quick and efficient, finding myself at the entrance of the arena. Minotaurs guarded the perimeter, with one acting as the vendor. I stood within the entrance long enough for a Minotaur to enquire my presence.

    "I am Gerrion, one of the contenders for the Ring's tournament."

    The minotaur signalled me to follow him inside, leading to the manager, still wearing his black garment.

    "Oh. Greetings, sir Gerrion."

    "Greetings, Balmos." - i waved - "Again, you can name me just Gerrion. I am not a noble."

    "And still your heart behaves as one." - he remarked, his mouth concealed by his red scarf - "Formalities aside, are you ready for your first match?"

    "Yes, i am. Do you have the bracelet?"

    Balmos handed me a copper bracelet with an unique gem, the likes of which i haven't seen so far in this world. "This bracelet will inhibit your summon in order to provide the fairness of power i described you before."

    "Yes, i remember." - 4 stars, and any higher must be downgraded. The bracelet didn't react to my fist.

    "Follow the guard to the lower halls. There you'll perform the summon and perform from within."

    "Right. I'll see you later then."

    "Good luck."

    We both went our seperate ways - he climbed up to higher floors while i followed the Minotaur bellow. The corridor had torches to light the way - it felt somewhat hotter than outside, even with the present season. We came at last to a hall with a large gate at the other side, and the Minotaur signalled me to enter.

    The room had a rune below. I felt the catalists to aid the summon, so i took advantage of them. I quickly reached the blue marble among the ones i carry within my summoning pouch. I took a deep breath as i felt it reaching my soul.

    "You need us, Summoner?"

    "It is time, friend. Come forth."

    I felt magic melding with me hands, a blue sparkling mist swirling in front of me. It started to gain shape - A young woman wearing a deep blue overcoat with yellow lines, and a cowboy hat in matching color.

    In the background, i could hear Balmos adressing the crowd: "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War masters and battle maidens! I greet you all for coming to our noble entertainment - The Artificial Gladiator Arena!"

    I tried to return my focus to the summon. Her light black hair spread to life, and her eyes gained a blue hue. Lastly, her hands gained brown gloves, which in turn summoned a pair of blue guns.

    She quickly viewed her clothes, noticing her wings' absence.

    "What happened to Rickel and me?!?"

    I tried to explain - "I'm sorry, but i had to wear a restrain. The rules state that Heroes competing in this Brawl must be 4 Stars. I hope Rickel and you could understand."

    She felt a bit sad about the loss of her wings, but she tried to shrug off the feelings. "You are always here for us. So i must return the kindness."

    "Thank you."

    "And in the Amber Corner..."

    The gate began to open.

    "Your time is up. I'll try to keep the mind link open. Do your best!"

    "Yes!" - she replied as she moved towards outside.

    "... Twin Flash Rickel!"

    I could hear the crowd cheering for her entrance as i attempted to gain her vision through the summoning magic's remains. Suddenly, i felt the sun's rays above, shinning with radiant force. However, they didn't daze Rickel while she approached her opponent within a circle of six stone pillars - a knight fully clad in cyan ice save for the golden waist. The sword, fully made of ice, also had a golden hilt. I recognized him on the spot - Ice Ruler Sergio.

    "Are you ready to fight?" - asked the swordsman.

    "Yes, we are." - replied Rickel, swirling her fabled guns within her hands. Both ended in a defensive stance.

    "Don't hold back."

    And suddenly, i heard Balmos in the background: "SOUND THE GONG!"

    Optional Soundtrack 2
    [video]

    Sergio started to dash towards Rickel, to which she replied with several gun shots. His blade deflected most, while others grazed his ice-armored shoulders. A blue slash sprang forth as Sergio reached his target, but Rickel ducked in the nick of time. I could even feel the frozen chill right above my neck.

    Voices above me roared. The knight kept swinging his blade forward, hoping to catch the markswoman. Her agility proved a valid defense, but the cuts were getting closer - both sides felt it. What was also staggering was the power coursing around the two - as if something was being channeled to them. Some sort of spiritual power. It was the source of Sergio's powered manuevers... why isn't Rickel taking advantage of the power as well?

    "Spring above!" - i shouted in my thoughts, hoping they'd reach her.

    She quickly pointed the guns below, firing ice beams form her guns to propel her upward. Sergio gained power in his legs for a powered jump. He swiftly launched himself, quickly reaching Rickel. As he approached, she fired bullets, parried by his sword. At least he couldn't prepare a proper sword strike when he reached her, but it didn't stop him from punching her gut.

    She regained distance by swirling a kick to the Ice Ruler's side. She used the power sorrounding her to strike the frozen armor, sucessfully gaining the advantage she needed.

    "Now's the chance!" - my thoughts shouted again.

    And she quickly aimed both guns aimed at the staggering knight in midair.

    "Diamond Rebel!"

    A barrage of bullets was showered upon the knight, hasting his fall upon the Ring's sands. However, the gut punch desoriented her senses making her unaware of the closing stone pillar. Her right shoulder was struck violently, and she landed with her chest downward.

    As she got up, her opponent, visibly shaken by her assault, replied with a powerful frozen strike.

    "Royal Ice Blade!" - The sword unleashed a torrent of ice. Even with the magical guns parrying the strike, she felt the blunt magic, throwing her beyond the pillar's perimeter. Her body rolled on the sand at high speed, stopping as a leg managed to halt the body roll.

    The knight noticed she was still stunned, so he dashed forward in an attempt to finish the duel.

    "Stand up!" - my mind yelled!

    Suddenly, several more voices shouted alongside me. As if they were giving Rickel their strenght.

    And Rickel grasped it. She raised her left gun. A single shot.

    A brutal hit on the left shoulder. No blood, but the body lost its momentum.

    She quickly cut the remaining distance, meeting his face with her boot.

    The body fell slowly. Rickel capitalized.

    A second shot on the blade, baddly grasped. The impact didn't shatter it, instead releasing it from his hand.

    And before Sergio could figure out what was happening, his face was stuck. Stuck between sand and a chilly gun.


    The crowd was awkwardly silent, but it renewed its vigor through a powerfull cheer for the winner. I felt Rickel's satisfaction in her victory - a very jolly sentiment.

    Balmos announced the outcome: "And Rickel seizes the first victory! A huge applause to our winner!"

    Rickel looked around at the pleasant crowd, reminding her days of old.

    She even felt good enough to even extend his hand to Sergio, as a sign of good faith. Sergio didn't raised his, slowly getting up on his own. A lone wolf from start to finish - i hope his pride wasn't severely tarnished.

    As he slowly walked towards the cobalt gate, i signalled Rickel to my side.

    She joined my side with a happy grin as the gate closed behind us.

    "We did well, didn't we?"

    I grinned back: "Quite well indeed. Take a break - you earned it."

    As Rickel returned to her marble, i proceeded to return upwards. Yet, on the way, i still felt it.

    The mild leech.

    I reached for the bracelet - its gem was still shinning brightly. I felt it was doing somethign to me - weakening me, perhaps. I quickly removed the bracelet from my wrist. The feeling subsided, and the gem stopped glowing. Maybe it was still exerting its innibition.

    I shrugged as i took the stairs up to the entrance. A Minotaur was awaiting me at the gate - he probably wanted the bracelet back.

    I gave the object back without much care. He took it without much of a fuss.

    "Do give your master my regards." - i spoke - "If he needs me, i'll be enjoying the beach a bit more before heading back to Randall." - After all, the rough morning demanded a soothing swim on the cold waters.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  4. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Match 2 - Legnaura VS Loch Ness


    "Spice bread! Get your spice bread!"

    It took a while for me to catch the vendor's atention within the Ring. Hundreds of viewers have clogged the building with loud bickering and random noises. I even had to get near him so he could hear me clearly.

    "Two, please."

    I traded a few Zel for a pair of rather large, round pieces of bread. I gave a mild bow to the man before returning to my seat on the adjacent corner of the circular stand, which stood on the edge of the building's shade.




    Guarding my seat was Grahdens, the Summoner Elder. An aged man wearing the respected garments of the Defense Bureau and known by many as one with a young, cunning mind for his age. His appearance by my side was, by his reason, a coincidence.

    "Thanks for saving my seat. I've brought you one as well."

    "I appreciate the thought, Gerrion, but i'm not hungry right now."

    "No worries - i'll save it for later."

    I placed the bread within a linen cloth inside my backpack. The racket was less intense in this corner, which was, by my thoughts, the reason why Gradhens met me. It feels better with less sorrounding noise.

    "So, how has Seria been holding up?" - my kind side asked.

    "She's feeling normal." - Grahdens' voice answered - "As normal as she can be in her situation."

    "Normal?" - i wondered - "Are you sure she isn't feeling angrier than usual?" - i hated bringing up her defeat to Grahdens.

    "She wasn't defeated, so she has no reasons to feel anger."

    Curiosity filled my mild grin: "Could you enlighten me then, please? The words that commoners are spreading speak otherwise."

    "Wait."

    I streched my shoulders backwards as i laid back and waited.




    A few moments after, a voice boomed fom within the ring.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War masters and battle maidens!"

    Grahdens interrupted my surprised stance: "He's in a balcony below our stand."

    "Our Ring is honored to have your visit. Today, we continue our current competition - the Summer Brawl!"

    "We now bring to you a breath-taking match - a monster battle! You'll feel the full fury of the oceans within the safety of our stands."

    Suddenly, a torrent was heard across the Ring. Water started to fill the arena below.

    "To accomodate our leviathans, a water stage is being set as i speak to allow better movement for our competitors. Do not worry, as the water currents are under control."

    As the water was being filled, Gradhens asked me: "You heard how he explained the situation, did you?"

    "Yes, it reached me."

    "Just as his words reached Seria during their fight. She didn't fight as her usual self."

    I understood: "I see. He manipulated her, then."

    Grahdens turned his eyes back to the center. I sighed as i watched the water filling the arena.
    In perfect honesty, Balmos did defeat Seria fair and square. A battle of wills is as important as a clash between bodies. Seria was strong, but only because she perfected her fighting skills. Her heart is still lingering upon her past, upon whatever happened. And that makes her will weak to certain things. Things that apparently Balmos knew and capitalized upon.

    I know you're supporting Seria and everyone who knows her... but the way you're doing it is almost the same as Balmos. I hope you grasp this soon, friend.


    "And now, we present to you our competitors!"

    A golden hue appeared in an edge of the water stage.

    "In the Amber corner ... representing the tenacity of the oceans ..."

    A blue beast emerged from the hue. Golden scales covered its black while white skin reflected the sun's light. A massive neck sprung upward a menacing head with red eyes and sharp teeth upon a golden, hardened fin.

    The dragon roared as Balmos announced: "LEGNAURA!"

    "And in the cobalt corner," - a different blue glowed from the opposite side - "comes the ferocity of the deep."

    A serpentine body sprang forth alongside light cyan wings. The dragon's skull was larger than the body's diameter, covered in hardened, diferent shades of blue. Only his eyes had a different colow - a fierce yellow.

    The dragon hissed.

    "LOCH NESS!"

    Both dragons locked their eyes on one another, both determined to prevail over the other.

    "And now... the match shall begin! SOUND THE GONG!"

    A clash of scale and teeth ensued in the dead center of the water. It was inconcievable to distinguish the crowd's cheers from among the beasts' roars.

    The Legnaura bashed its head like a bludgeon, striking the neck of its opponent. The body was caught off-guard with the blow and tossed against the stand. The shield gained a white color as it prevented the dragon from leaving the arena, showering the stands with a wave of water. The public didn't panic - instead, they welcomed the fresh water and kept rooting for their favorites.

    The Legnaura advanced towards its opponent, determined to keep the pressure, but a sharp tail slam from Loch Ness shoved it to the side to gain some safe space.

    As it swam to the other side, the Loch Ness' sorrouding water started to swirl around it, gaining speed and pressure.

    "Is that..." - words slipped from my mouth.

    "Yes. Maelstrom."

    Grahdens' answer was ocnfirmed as the draogn unleashed its attack - a grisly torrent of water struck Legnaura from below. The white barrier again repelled the attack against the stand, allowing the crowd to release a roar of awe.

    The struck competitor, still shaken from the attack, suddenly released a glow from its head fin - the water sorrounding him unleashed a blind hue that dazzled the crowd.

    "That must be the Water of Rebirth." - i spoke as i covered my eyes. Grahdens didn't reply - he simply shielded his eyes.

    Legnaura seemed a bit relieved from his own attack, but didn't wait for an opportunity, charging against his foe. The water sorrounding it followed suit as a spear against the opponent. Loch Ness charged as well with a tidal spear of its own.

    Both met with a loud clash, but Loch Ness felt less retrains as it was less wounded. The water dragon made an extra push to throw Legnaura off balance. A tactical success.

    And again Loch Ness harnessed more power. A second Malstrom shook the arena.

    "Legnaura won't keep up with the Loch Ness' increased energy regenaration." - Grahdens stood up.

    "Where are you going?"

    "Out. This match is feeling a bit one-sided to me."


    I followed Grahdens inside the building. The walls shook from the dragons' might.

    "You will continue your role in the competition, won't you?"

    I won't even ask how he learned about it - instead, i replied: "Yes, regardless of Balmos' intentions."

    I hold my mouth a bit until i continued: "That doesn't mean that i'll not be carefull. Balmos seems to be defending himself from curious minds, but i'll report any unusual activities."

    "Glad of that, i am. Ho ho ho!"

    "Remember." - i warned - "Innocent until proof of guilty."

    "If you say so." - at least Grahdens' smile was honest.

    The walls seemed to stop shaking, with the rumbles being replaced by human roars.

    "We have a gargantuan winner! LOCH NESS!!!"

    Yeah... i also felt it a bit one-sided.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  5. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Match 3 - Eliza VS Serin
    A smooth breeze woke me from my nap beneath the rocky shade. The wind has always been a kind ally to me: it warns me of the upcoming rain and soothes me on the hardest mountain ascents. And today it woke me up from a rather unpleasent dream.

    "Please... consume me."

    The nightmare visited my mind once more. And even though it has been a past, settled affair, it kept returning, almost if just for the sake of making me nervous for nothing.

    My hand holded over my tense forehead. Nails softly scratched the hair for no reason.

    And then i heard a loud giggle.

    My eyes turned to the twins playing on the border of sea and sand. I was asked to clear the aquatic monsters that were approaching the Ring by the shore, and the royal sisters were the ones who fought the best, even to the point of feeling their tension. They felt reluctant at first, but later gave in to their childish side and enjoyed the chance i gave them for some beach fun while i rested.

    I turned my head to the upper hill. Townsfolk were already entering the Ring. Maybe i should enter as well and enjoy the upcoming match.

    "Il! Mina! It's time!"

    Il frowned at the order:

    "Really? We were having a lot of fun!" - their regal green clothes were soaked and stained with sand, proof that they indeed enjoyed themselves for a long time.

    I pointed my thumb backwards, giving them enough time to check the commoners above and reach their own conclusions.
    Now it's time for mine.

    **********

    The Ring's circular stands were full at half - hundreds were awaiting the upcoming match. Fortunately i was able to get a seat concealed by the wall's shade, with a view to the announcer's balcony a bit below.

    In fact, the balcony's door began to open, and Balmos walked forth from the shadows. I find it a bit wierd to still use a black garment during the hot season, and yet he doesn't feel exausted from such. I wonder how he overcomes it...

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War masters and battle maidens! Welcome..."

    "... TO OUR RING!" - a mighty cheer welcomed Balmos' entry.

    "Today we feature the third match of our ongoing Summer Brawl. We already have TWO contestants advancing to the next round, and today... we shall witness the third ascension."

    I could see the announcer's red scarf surfing on the ocean breeze. His pause, due to sinking the salty air in his lungs, had a relaxing pace. I believe he chosen this place to host the competition for a specific reason. Which one, i cannot say, but i do approve his preference.

    He resumed his duty: "In the Amber Corner, comes forth the second oldest of the Sibyl Sisters."

    The gate with a yellow gem started opening. A sole figure appeared from the gate: a young woman bearing cyan hair wearing light clothes on her upper chest - finally someone using adequate clothing to match the season. A rope of fur covered her neck, shinning in various colors, and her legs were covered by a slim yet sturdy veil. Also, her blue figure was slightly ornamented with golden jewelry. From her blue diadem down to her oceanic boots. She carried a pair of scimitars, imbued in frost magic that could be seen from afar.

    "Greet ELIZA!" - Balmos introduced her to the crowd, which recieved her with jolly roars.

    "Facing her, in the Cobalt Corner, is the mysterious noble from another world, and a powerful member of the Battle Maidens!"

    The crowd gasped in awe as the opposite gate opened. Another woman entered the arena. While her hair was as clear as Eliza's, there was a white feather pin on its side. Her garment was a full, light blue dress which enforced her nobel lineage.

    However, the most fascinating part of her was her weapon - a gattling gun colored in blue. While it's a known weapon in my world, it seems to be a foreign concept in this one. Even more unusual was the small animal that was resting on it: a cute, yellow duckling.

    "Heeeeeeere's Gun Lady SERIN!" - The crowd's reaction was mixed, though mostly optimistic. Many were amazed as why a large, heavy contraption was in her noble possesion. Personally, i was rather excited. The row of bullets next to the gun's feeder showed it was ready to fire.

    Both women greeted each other. I couldn't hear them from this distance, but both seemed collected. As expected of the calm stereotype many brand on Water-type Heroes.

    Both stepped away from each other a few steps before assuming battle positions - Eliza wielded her scimitars front and backwards, while Serin made a chunky sound on her gattling gun. The duckling quacked without surprise to the sound.

    "It seems both sides are ready!" - Balmos claimed - "SOUND THE GONG!"

    Just as the massive sound reached the whole arena, Serin activated her weapon, unleashing a hail of frozen bullets upon her target. Eliza dashed sideways to avoid the barrage, hiding behind a pillar to avoid the icy onslaught.

    Serin kept firing at the pillar in hopes of tearing it down. I would have thought it was a waste of bullets, but my mind was distracted on something else - the duckling running on the iron barrels. How the heck can it keep it up with the gun's rotation rate?!?

    Eliza showed up above the pillar, jumping to its neighbour as it finally crumbled. Serin's sight caught her in the air and turned the gattling gun to meet her target. Serin's face gained worry as she closed in, keeping a steady distance from the line of fire. Her opponent failed to reach her, avoiding the bullet hell as fast as possible.

    Things got complicated when the ammo row ended, with the duckling stopping just as the iron barrels halted. Serin's right hand went beneath her dress, revealing another ammo row as she reloaded her weapon.

    Eliza took the oportunity, starting a sprint towards her foe. Both scimitars met in the air as she began a quick jump. The opponent made a thrust with the gun's front, stalling her advance. She couldn't reload properly with an enemy at her heels.

    Suddenly, the duckling jumped foward, towards Eliza. Its small beak and wings pestered the swordswoman, scrambling her hair in the process. The young woman halted her advance to take a step back and do a horizontal slash. The small animal jumped at the attack, frightfully retreating to the back of the gun.

    Serin smiled at the chance given by her friend, and quickly dashed to the left. Her hand finished reloading the ammo row as she buried the front of her gun into the sands, using it as a jumping pole towards the pillar.

    What's more impressive was that she took the gun with her along the jump. Either that gun is way more light than it appears, or she is strong. RIDICULOUSLY strong.

    As Serin landed on the pillar, Eliza charged towards her. Her opponent quickly aimed at her, her gun suddenly shinning brighter than ever.

    And then she screamed, as loud as a dragon's roar.

    "TIDAL DISCHARGE!"

    An immensive shower of ice flew from her weapon as the duckling quacked out of surprise due to the crazy burst of speed on its stand, running on the barrels. The barrage was too sudden - Eliza couldn't dodge in time.

    Instead, she countered: "Freezing Point!"

    Her scimitars flashed with power to make powerfull arcs of icy winds. She employed all her strenght unto the attack to create a shield.

    Yet the shield was abused beyond salvation, shattered by the unending wave of ice and iron.

    Eliza was caught by the shower, the ground shaking as the ice struck it. I gripped the stand on my side by instinct - the tremor was sudden and omnious.

    As the shower ended, Eliza's body was still on the frozen spot.

    "EMERGENCY CREW!" - Balmos yelled, as a trio of minotaurs brought a sort of carrier towards the injured woman. They carved the sand below Eliza and placed her upon the carrier, rushing her back to the gate.

    The crowd cheered for Serin's victory, while some, myself included, wondered about Eliza's fate. I do possess Serin in one of my marbles, and the power i witnessed was beyond what i could achieve with her. How was she able to surpass her limits? A new evolution was out of the question, since all competitors are 4 stars.

    Balmos emerged after a while, back at his balcony.

    "Eliza's essence has been saved and beyond danger. Overkill can happen, but such is your will."

    Overkill? Our will? How could the audience's will contribute to the match's veredict.

    "And now, i'll proudly announce the winner. Gun Lady SERIIIIIN!"

    As i applauded her victory alongside the crowd, my mind wondered what trully happened. Did Grahdens know something about this? I hope he does enlighten me of the true nature within this Ring.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  6. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Match 4 - Raydn VS Rhein


    "Whaaaat?!!?" - My scream alerted everyone at the Ring's entry.

    "Yes, Gerrion! Matches are pretty much decided by the crowd's whims."

    My mind sinked into that discovery. The Ring's ability to power up a contestant depending on the suport from the arena's crowd. I didn't felt the direct surge of power when i commanded Rickel on my match, though i surely felt Sergio's increased power. And Grahdens' saddening exit on the second match does explain his feelings.

    "I never heard that explanation before... strange."

    "Maybe you didn't heard him on the first match." - suggested Karl - "You were one of the first summoners, right?"

    His argument was as clear as his light, white armor. I nodded at him while attempting to find a position in which the sun's light wasn't dazing my eyes.

    "So, will you enter with me to explain how it works?"

    "Of course. If you vouch for me."

    "I understand. Seria's past actions, correct?"

    Karl nodded in return as we made our way to the entrance. The Minotaur guards blocked our way, to which i aproached them into calling out Balmos. He showed up from inside a few minutes ago, with black robe and red scarf in check.

    "Welcome, Twin Hero. The Ring welcomes one of his participants." - his sharp gaze switched to Karl - "Though the company he carries isn't such a good omen."

    "I understand your concern, Manager Balmos. But his intents are to teach me the ways of the Ring, for i believe you haven't told me how is the Ring special compared to other arenas."

    "Ah, i see." - he admitted - "I should have taken that into account. If Karl does behave within the Ring, i'll allow his entry... for double the fee."

    "I'm paying his fee as well, if its his purse you're targeting."

    The chuckles shook the scarf: "Very well. Both of you may use one of our private seats, as it allows a better link to the arena's contestants."

    When we both agreed, he signalled us to follow a Minotaur guide, following us as we went up the steps. The private room was indeed higher than the normal stands, where stone seats had feather cushions and edges holding bowls of fruits. A clay jar at the floor had fresh water, protected from the summer sunlight.

    "I hope you enjoy today's match. Two very interesting competitors, if i say so myself."- promised Balmos from behind the chamber's door."

    "Please don't spoil us the fight."

    "As you wish." - the door was quickly shut.

    We each took one of the stone seats as Karl began to explain: "To suport a contestant, you'll need to focus your will on your target. Doing so will grant you his sight and hearing, but not his other senses."

    "Much like directly handling a summon."

    "However, you'll need to channel your being unto said Hero. This will drain your stamina, but not enough to cause discomfort. Eating or drinking will recover some of your lost energy."

    "That explains the food and drink vendors that are allowed to sell within the stands."

    Karl nods: "Indeed. You'll feel a bit exausted after the match, but the fatigue doesn't last long."

    The crowd below cheered. As i switched my view into the center of the Ring, Balmos made his way to his balcony.

    "Speaking of not lasting long..."


    "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War masters and battle maidens! Welcome to the Ring!"

    Balmos continued to speak as the crowd at the stands cheered: "Today our Summer Brawl will present the last match of the first round, revealing the final contenders of our competition. Afterwards... it'll get BETTER!"

    Balmos' left hand reached out to the Amber gate: "In the Amber Corner stands the lieutenant of the 12 Guardians. The calm leader of the gods' broken defenders..."

    The gate's gem flashed and the steel barrier rose. From the shadows walked foward a knight with armors in mixed colors, from brown to dark blue. His long, black hair swayed in the wind. He carried his weapons within his arms: a pair of sharp, white lances with golden borders.

    "...enters the ring. Spear Fist Raydn!"

    His gaze was unabated by the strong sunlight as it glanced at the applauding crowd.

    "Seems the magic's better here." - remarked Karl - "You can see him as if you're close, right?"

    I noticed as he spoke. "Indeed. This is quite interesting."

    Balmos reached his right hand to the opposite gate: "And from the Cobalt Corner shall come forth the speed of the El Gaia Leaders..."

    The gate opened over a blue hue as Balmos hastely announced : "...Talon King Rhein!"

    The opened gate revealed a white-haired man wearing a silvered black tabard, which was a fit for his dark skin. Both his hands were equipped with sharp steel talons. A couple of red stings levitated from the salty breeze that passed by.

    As the second opponent approached, Karl warned me: "Focus on the one you're taking sides with. Try to look into his eyes.

    My mind made the effort, focusing on Rhein's dark blue eyes. I felt a quick jolt of magic, suddenly seeing Raydn in front of me. I could hear the frantic cheering and random screaming all around me. As if i was trully in Rhein's head.

    "An honorable battle?" - Raydn asked, swaying his right lance in a diplomatic fashion.

    "Fine by me." - Knuckle cracking came from below my sight.

    And suddenly, above my left, came Balmos' voice:

    "SOUND THE GONG!"

    The sight in front of me quickly charged forward as Rhein flew right into motion. The right claw tried to slash Raydn into pieces, but the veteran was quick enough to react and dodge backwards. A quick spear attempted to shove Rhein's head back, but he quickly moved to the side.

    As he dashed around, Rhein attempts a slash against his opponent. The following move was a sharp dance meant to cut Raydn on every direction: first from above, then from the left. Downwards and bottom right, downwards again and top left next. My vision was a blur while Rhein attempted to defeat his opponent.

    "Deadly Claw!" - said the voice inside. Rhein was about to unleash his Brave Burst.

    His left claw suddenly showed forth a huge, blue light. As if ice suddenly took over the arm. When he unleashed his attack, Raydn couldn't avoid it, instead parrying with both his lances. Suddenly, the claws caught fire. Icy fire.

    I could feel my will cheering on for Rhein, my energy flowing unto his attacks. His claws spread cold flames, which gnawed at Raydn even when he parried Rhein's attacks. Strangely enough, he didn't went on the offensive so far. Was he waiting for an opening?

    My thoughts were caught up by surprise from Raydn's counter.

    "Flood Horn!"

    A cone of magical ice pushed Rhein away. His attack was way more intense than Rhein. It suddenly hit me - were more people cheering for Raydn?!?

    "I knew your flames could bypass my armor. Yet you had one fatal weakness."

    "Huh?" - Rhein did notice his opponent's words, but his grunt felt strange.

    "You throw yourself too much at start."

    Rhein lunged back at Raydn, but he intercepted him with his lances. Both struck exactly at the right shoulder, pushing Rhein backwards again.

    "You work more on offense rather than on defense. While i trained both. As a result, I was able to withstand your blows. And now i wonder if you'll endure my counters."

    "Hmmpf." - Another grunt. Somehow the vision's shaking did show those signs of fatigue. Rhein tried to storm again, but Raydn read his movement. Both his spears met at the exact same spot, but with higher power.

    My fear was confirmed. Raydn read through Rhein's movements and found his battle pattern. It's likely that Raydn withstood enough to understand how Rhein moves and counter him.

    Rhein frenetically moved to the side, but Raydn followed closely. Both his lances struck a leg. My vision twirled as Rhein rolled on the arena's sands.

    A scream ensued.

    "And now your leg can't move. I'm alright in holding my ground, but your style depends on movement. That wound, while not mortal, sealed your defeat."

    Rhein's vision looked at the leg, struck and bleeding. The wound was really deep.

    And in the midst of the confusion, my eyes met a white tip.

    "Please concede, friend."

    My eyes felt the movement up and down from the heavy breathing. I'm certain that Rhein felt ashamed of being so easily bested.

    I felt my real eyes being closed, and felt the link being disabled. The sounds i hear gained a hefty distance.

    "We now know our final winner: RAYDN!"

    "Do you now understand the true side of this Ring, Gerrion?"

    Indeed, i have. The arena places opponents in equal footing, but this Ring's victories depend greatly on the suport from the crowd. The more popular the Hero, the most likely will be the chances of winning.

    "What do you intend to do now?" - he asked.

    "Regarding my next match? Well, i tend to finish it."

    "Even if your opponent gets the upper hand?"

    "Yup." - i replied - "I made an agreement, and i intend to fulfill it to the end." - my positive side started to gnaw my mind - "Maybe i could even overthrow my opponent's popularity and win. As in being the perfect underdog."

    "Would that be wise?!?"

    "It wasn't stated on his rules. Perhaps he believes that the support will overcome any personal effort."

    "Heh." - Karl grinned - "I'd like to see that."

    "Do bring Seria next time, yet with respect, Karl. I guarantee you - i'll do everything in my being to win. This has become personal."

    "I can't wait for the Twin Hero to get serious, then."

    His hand met mine in a brotherly grasp.

    "As serious as when sagraV fell. That, i promise!"
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  7. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Match Five - Rickel VS Serin


    The large chamber hasn't changed much since the last time i've been here. The summoning rune was already etched on the ground, and the combined light of both it and the dimmed sunlight provided the right illumination for my eyes.

    The minotaur escort closed the door behind me, knowing his duty has been fulfilled. Balmos didn't come to check up on me this time, but it was understandable considering that Seria would be showing up today. He'll be more focused on her than on me, and that could work on my favor today.

    I retrieved Rickel's marble within my pouch, its blue hue joining in with the rune's light.

    "Come, Rickel. You are needed once more."

    With bronze bracelet in check, my thoughts gave way to the magical flow from the rune. I channeled my will through the marble, its hue leaving the small object as it became a mist of magical foam. It streched to form arms and legs, coat and shoes, hat and guns. As the hue subsided, Rickel's visage became familiar.

    "We stand with you, Summoner."

    "Glad to have your assistance." - i replied with a grinning smile.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War veterans and battle maidens!" - Balmos' voice could be heard within the crowd's random ramblings. - "Welcome to the Ring!"

    "Our time to battle is comming, Rickel. It'll be the same as before, but i've got a familiar hold at the Ring's ways. We may be overwhelmed by the opponent's power, but never give up, Rickel. Ever."

    Rickel answered with a smile: "We never did. Why should we?"

    "In the Amber Corner, known to many as the Holy Ice Bullet..."

    The gate started to open, as if reacted to Balmos' speech. Rickel started walking toward the light, while i focused to gain her sight with both my Summoner's ability and the Ring's effects.

    "...Twin Flash ... RIIIICKEL!"

    The strong sunlight outside shook my eye vision - although Rickel's eyes are actually the victims of the luminous strenght from the summer sun. Her ears caught the fierce cheers that the crowd unleashed upon her entrance - i could feel her spirit feeling both pride and unease, since it was a bigger crowd than last time.

    The corner of her eye saw Karl and Seria among the commoners. They didn't seem to be in custody, though a few minotaur guards were on the upper part of the stands. Karl cheered, all while Seria had her eyes turned to Balmos - she still had hard feelings from her last time at the Ring. Feelings that i hope to dissipate with a victory.

    As Rickel walked to the inner part of the arena, among the stone pillars, Balmos continued: "And in the Cobalt Corner, representing the Battle Maidens..."

    The Cobalt Gate began to open, allowing sunlight to enter its chamber. Soon it flashed back as the contender's light blue dress came outside. The woman carrying it had a serious frown, while the duckling resting on her huge, blue gattling gun had a more relaxed expression.

    "... Gun Laaaaady ... SERIN!"

    The crowd welcomed their champion with equal applause and noise. Karl clapped as she entered, as he also had respect for the Heroine. Seria shifted her attention to the center of the arena. Her posture seemed indiferent, but i think i could sense her efforts in shrugging off the hatred.

    Serin approached the center of the arena, gun in hands. I felt Rickel gripping her own guns harder. As Serin gave her last steps into the Ring's center, tension was as strong as spice.

    Optional Soundtrack



    *Note: stop the clip at the end advised below, as the soundtrack has been extended by a very long time.

    "Contenders are locked, and both gates have closed. It is time to begin the match." - Balmos acclaimed - "SOUND THE GONG!" - And the iron echo was unleashed upon the entirety of the Ring.

    Serin quickly took aim at Rickel, her gattling gaining rotation speed in the process.

    I gave the order before it was too late: "Move, Rickel! MOVE!"

    Rickel quickly sprinted to her right, fleeing from the first assault of ice bullets that erupted the sand on their landing. Serin slowly walked to her right as well, adjusting her gattling on her target. Her duckling peacefully quacked as he swiftly jumped on the moving rails of the huge weapon.

    Rickel sprinted towards behind a pillar, having it soak the icy rain that was meant for her. My ears heard every bullet striking stone, fearing that one would eventually hit flesh. And yet, the hail halted. Her weapon's ammo supply seem to have ended for the first wave.

    "Counter!" - my mind ordered. I knew it wouldn't trully reach her, but i felt the need to yell it still. The markswoman quickly left her cover, jumping towards a neighbour pillar while dishing out her own bullets. Her opponent quickly evaded the shots, denied from any chance to reload.

    The crowd suddenly cheered for Serin. I felt the roars above gaining strenght, the chants clamoring for another shower of bullets. She felt empowered by such, as her body gained a white blur.

    And suddenly, the blur released itself from her body, turning into an identical copy.

    "A double?!?" - the whole arena gasp was evident.

    The double quickly reloaded as the main body had the bullets' attention. Its rain quickly ensued.

    I dared not to bet - "RUN!" - and neither did Rickel, avoiding the bullets that struck the sand as real as the first wave.

    The original, free from Rickel's range, began shinning in white again. Noticing the power bestowed upon her, she loosed the energy unto her side, creating a second copy of herself.

    My heart felt cheated. Serin never had that kind of power. The Ring's energy must have allowed her a greater amount of power to disperse unto said copies.

    And in a sudden twist, three barrages had Rickel in their sights.

    "Tidal Discharge!"
    "Tidal Discharge!"
    "Tidal Discharge!"

    The sheer ammount of icy bullets was beyond imagining. Rickel cowered behind the pillar as it took the relentless attack. Each of their bullets, rather than shattering upon contact, froze on impact, covering the pillar with ice at an alarming speed.

    By the end of the attacks, there was a massive cold chunk encasing the pillar. Ice covered Rickel's sight in every direction.

    Clamors of victory and defiance covered the stands. The attack felt as a final blow, yet there was no body as proof. I knew Rickel was somewhere within, probably stuck within the ice. If she was frozen, it was a matter of time until being found and shot.

    "Come on, Rickel, react!"

    No response.

    "The crowd's also cheering for you. Don't let them down!" - i hoped.

    Suddenly, the crowd was silent, waiting for Balmos to declare a winner. Yet no words came forth.

    Why didn't he spoke? Was there any problem at the Ring?

    Or was he just waiting?

    "Diamond Rebel!" - The chunk of ice exploded as two lines of fire pierced out of the casing, ice and stone flying everywhere. The two clones were struck in their heads, ice spweing in all directions as the clones crumbled back to bits of the element that formed them.

    As the pillar fell to the side, Rickel's sight was cleared while she emerged from the blue debris. I knew she recieved power as well. She did the right choice of waiting for the opponent to lower her guard.

    Yet she didn't hold up her surprise for long, unleashing another barrage. Rickel awnsered with everything she had as well. The bullets met akin to two geysers of ice clashing back and forth.

    Suddenly, i felt Rickel's power focusing. Her bullets were made of a stronger alloy, as if ice and metal melded together. The bullets pierced all ice in their way, reaching their targets - the barrels' orifices.

    Serin's weapon, clogged by the sudden strike, couldn't manage the ice still being fired, and erupted icy blasts on all directions. Rickel ducked to avoid a sharp spike towards her neck. Serin was thrown aside from a bigger block, while the duckling standing on the gun was tossed above.

    Rickel quickly sprinted to stand between her opponent and the damaged gun. As she raised her gun to Serin, the duckling landed on her friend's soft hair, quaking out a pitiful sob.

    End of Soundtrack

    "What an amazing comeback! Rickel has grasped her victory when all hope seemed lost. She deserves all the ovations in the world!!!!" - Balmos' words were supported by the crowd's cheers. I caught the side of Karl applauding as well while Seria clapped with a surprised smile.

    Honestly, i wasn't expecting her to be the best of the match, but her fans' support really gave her the win.

    A grin covered my face as i acknowledged our rise to the finals.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  8. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Match Six - Loch Ness VS Raydn


    The sun warmed my eyelids as i leaned my head backwards, touching the warm stones of the stand's back wall. The Ring basked in the mild glory from the afternoon sun, salty winds refreshing one's senses. Even Seria took my advice and leaned her head as well.

    "It's not so bad." - she said - "Balmos for once made a right move."

    Karl, staring at the emptied, half flooded arena, agreed: "Delaying the matches until just before sunset does lessen the heat. I wonder who had the idea."

    It is curious how Balmos can change the arena to fit the fight: half of the arena is covered by sand and stone pillars, while the other housed a pool of sea water.

    "It does prove that Balmos listen to others." - i remarked.

    "When it suits him." - Seria's backlash was rigid yet peacefull - she seemed to enjoy the sun's warmth.

    "Sigh..." - part of me wanted to ask Seria to just let it go, but the last time at the tavern didn't go so well. - "...let's just enjoy the following match and then get done with the finals." - I shifted my atention towards the arena gates - one in the sand side and the other in the sunken half. I was pretty intrigued on how would the fight would resolve itself, as each side could be confined to their half.

    The lower balcony's door began to open. Balmos moved forward in his usual black attire.

    "Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls!" - he beckoned - "War masters and battle maidens!"

    The crowd paused in reaction to his voice, to which he welcomed them:

    "Welcome to the Ring! Today we'll find who will fight Rickel in the finals. We all had our breaths taken away as she fought Serin, winning her place at the Summer Brawl's finals. Now we shall see distinct forces in direct confrontation - human and dragon!"

    His right hand signaled the Amber Gate's opening: "In the Amber Corner, representing the fury of the seas..."

    A burst of water issued forth - a large, serpentine body, splashing white, blue and purple scales against the water. As its four wings raised it upward, the dragon's visage brought many among the crowds into fear with its deep, golden eyes.

    "...Loch Nesss!" - Those who weren't taken by their fear applauded its might.

    "But its opponent is equally tenacous." - interrupted Balmos - "From within the Cobalt Corner, i bring you..."

    The Cobalt Gate opened, and not a moment too soon came the contender - a knight in silver and blue, honing two sharp lances in his hands. His red cape waved as the salty winds whispered omens of his might.

    "Speeear Fist Raaaaydn!"

    The crowd's response was far greater. Many seemed to see Raydn as their knight in shiny armor.

    "It seems Raydn's popularity is far greater." - Seria remarked.

    "It ain't over until Balmos declares the victory." - said Karl, defending the dragon's respect.

    Raydn effortlessly jumped to a pillar in hope to meet the dragon's eye. The exchange was omnious to my eyes. I grinned to myself as the fight promised to be a good one.

    "The contestants are in place." - declared the announcer - "SOUND THE GONG!"

    The gong echoed through the Ring, yet the two opponents stood still, locked in a deep, staring transe.

    "Odd." - thought my mind. I focused on Loch Ness, hoping to glimpse any reason as to why they didn't advance.

    The dragon's dialect was comprehensible to my mind:

    "Don't you feel it, Raydn? Why don't you avert from the match? Are you feigning ignorance?"

    "I must do what my summoner ordered. I have no right to concern with anything else." - Raydn's speech felt as immovable as his determination.

    Optional soundtrack

    Suddenly, the ambience grew tense. The dragon raised his neck as it slightly expanded. Something was about to erupt.

    "So be it."

    A fearsome roar struck Raydn, whom spread his legs to hold his stand. Water began to rise as the dragon readied his body.

    Raydn strafed to the right, jumping between pillars as he awaited a strike.

    Loch Ness swiftly dashed forward, his jaw munching the pillar that Raydn jumped out in a split second. Water advanced as a jet stream, aiding the sea dragon's maneuverability in land.

    The draconic beast quickly charged Raydn a second time, almost swallowing its foe. The spearman quickly regained his lost stance and impaled the scaled body. No blood was shed, yet the impact was brutal. A large, swift tail countered the opponent, tossing him against the bitten pillar.

    As Raydn stood up, he heard an omnious screech. The water formed a cyan tidal wave of water and ice - Loch Ness' Mealstrom was unleashed.

    Raydn quickly bended his legs, gathering force as switftly as possible. A powerful leap upward saved the Guardian from the tidal wave that washed the arena, striking its border's shield with a mighty impact. While we weren't hit by it, its chilling wind did struck us. It felt refreshing... frighteningly refreshing.

    Raydn landed on an untouched pillar. His spears began glowing with radiant power.

    "Flood Horn!"

    It was Raydn's time to borrow the Ring's waters, unleashing himself alongside a stream of quickly-formed icy water. Loch Ness countered with part of its watery streams. The waters dispersed violently, and while the dragon wasn't directly hit, the impact tossed its large body to the side, sand gripping on its wet scales.

    Raydn turned and charged a second time as his opponent struggled to reach the water. Reckless whips from the tail made him step back twice before finally hitting a flank on the third thrust. A roar of pain ensued, piercing my ears like a sick shriek.

    Raydn attempted a fourth thrust, but Loch Ness retaliated with a skull bash, hitting from the side. As Raydn's body was tossed to the sands, the dragon squirmed towards the water. When Raydn returned to his senses, part of Loch Ness' body was within water.

    Raydn's eyes revealed his urge to quickly strike, and the strong glint on his spears confirmed it. Loch Ness quickly amassed his power for another Maelstrom, finally unleashing it against his opponent.

    Raydn followed with his second Flood Horn as well. His goal, however, was to subdue the upper part of the dragon's attack. The strike seemed as if a swift boat was piercing the top of the wave, allowing Raydn a swift flight towards Loch Ness. He also had a part of his attack stored within - it was unleashed as both spears connected simultaneously on the dragon's head. A giant spark of ice was unleashed, slowly falling down like snow rain.

    The dragon's body slowly fell to the water. Only its tail was on humid sand.

    Raydn landed on a knee as the sand cushioned his fall.

    And the crowd cheered with a victorious might as he rose. My hands - and those of my friends - found themselves clapping for the winner.

    "A sublime victory!" - Balmos claimed - "Raydn has proved himself to be our second finalist!"

    As the public's euphoria began to calm down, i asked Karl and Seria:

    "Did any of you caught word of the dragon's speech?"

    Karl felt surprised: "I wasn't able to understand his thoughts. Were you?"

    "Yes, i did. I own a Manaplis, so i understand their thoughts. Came with the practice."

    Seria scoffed: "You still haven't fully evolved your dragon?" - she followed with a heavy sigh - "You're really hopeless."

    My feelings didn't resent her words. They were far more concerned with Loch Ness' warning.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  9. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Final Match - Rickel VS Raydn

    Act One


    The simple door gave way to an immense room, where wooden stands displaying the craftiest sets of grey and blue armor filled the center. The walls housed hundreds of weapons, both sharp and blunt, tidely arranged in open closets.

    As i closed the door behind me, a rough voice came from the counter:

    "Greetings."

    "Greetings, master craftsman." - i replied.

    "Oh, so it's you, young Summoner. Do join me."

    I walked through the set in the stands, their faces staring me in absolute silence. Grey sockets, golden cloaks, wolf fangs... most of them would give a man half the path towards becoming a legend. The other half would be up to them.

    "Glad to see you're well. Were you able to finish my order in time?"

    The elder's tongue quickly complained: "Do you have any idea of the hassle that you made me go through for your request, son? Almost half of the city's oldest alchemists and leatherworkers strained their bodies to follow your conjectures."

    "Half? Are you sure?" - i asked, quite curious about his difficulties. Half of Randall's veterans means a lot of people were involved.

    "Yes, and every one of them was asked to stay silent about the task. I feared a leak, but your idea was so crazy they kept the secrecy out of sheer curiosity."

    "So you mean you have a sample of the work?"

    "Better than that, sonny."

    The man quickly drew a leather case from below the counter. He opened it, revealing an overcoat made of greyish blue leather, covered with several clean iron buttons. Beneath it was a pair of sky blue trousers which seemed as resistant as the upper part.

    A sharp whistle escaped my lips: "They're just like the original!"

    "Indeed. I never believed that miner's clothing could be fashioned this way. Using Blue Pelt and parts of Silver Pelt was already feasible, and it gave the clothing great endurance. Incorporating the Paladin Stones was the harder part, though."

    "How did the alchemists do it? Did they follow my suggestion?"

    "They wouldn't tell. Though their promise means they won't sell the idea unless you let them."

    "May i?"

    Once the merchant finished his nod, i grabbed the overcoat and placed it in myself. It had the same size as the original, and it was equally easy to wear it.

    I reached my trousers' pocket, sensing the silverly coin within. As i grabbed it, I quickly felt the voice.

    "Unleash me..."

    My grasp over the coin hardened, channeling a sliver of the magic within. The Paladin Stone channeled the energy through the overcoat - i could feel the dozens of links within, hueing the leather with a blue light. A protective warmth.

    "How pretty!" - gasped the elder - "It's working."

    "Would you mind testing it?" - i challenged the merchant.

    "If you wish so." - the merchant quickly jumped over the counter, his hand holding a dagger that was likely hidden behind. I felt the force behind the thrust, but felt no pain beyond a sharp punch. The overcoat did its job well.

    "I see. The plans felt like a sort of conduit, but i never imagined that you possessed magical prowess, boy."

    "Neither does the world know. At least the majority of it." - i revealed - "Could you keep it a secret?"

    "You're asking us a lot, son. But you gave us an income that was quite forgotten to us. Men always want the best of the best, and when we age, they quickly forget us."

    "While also forgetting the wisdom that themselves have turned away from."

    The merchant pat my shoulder: "That's why i like you, sonny. A quick, kind tongue." - he quickly glared at me - "Also, are you hiding any wrinkles? You do seem to know a lot."

    I patted his shoulder in return: "Don't worry! I'm still below the thirties."


    **************************​


    "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls! War masters and battle maidens!"

    I neglected Balmos' speech as i finished the summon upon the rune within the dimmed room. The markswoman gripped her guns with determination as she adjusted her hat with the weapon's short barrel.

    "Ready for a last show?" - i asked as my gripped my confidence all together.

    "We're ready when you are, Summoner!"

    I closed my eyes, gaining her sight as my focus grew. She saw my new, azure garments without any hint of curiosity. She saw my short smile, quickly turning to the gate.

    "In the Amber Corner, the woman who talks with her guns. The Holy Ice Bullet..."

    The gate started to raise, allowing the orange sunlight to bathe her as she entered the arena.

    "...RICKEL!"

    Her vision slightly turned left and right, watching those who are applauding her. Seria and Karl were hidden among the crowd, at the very front of the stands.

    "In the Cobalt Corner..." - Rickel turned to gaze upon Balmos' figure, swaying his robe's black arms atop his personal balcony - "...stands the steadfast chosen of the Twelve Guardians. And now, he marches forth to fight for the glory of victory!"

    The Cobalt gate opened, allowing the Guardian to step forward. His red cape shivered to the sunset winds, while his spear fists radiated azure magic.

    "RAYDN!"

    Raydn approached the center zone of the arena, sorrounded by a dozen of stone pillars. Rickel joined him inside, meeting his red eyes head on.

    "Do you wish to ask him anything before the match?" - asked Rickel's spirit, alert to her opponent's movements. She knew i wanted to ask what Loch Ness wanted from him.

    Yet i neglected the chance: "He'll most likely shrug off the question. He's a devote soldier - he'll be more concerned with the battle. As should we."

    Rickel nodded, raising her guns as she took a defensive stance. Raydn responded with his own stance as well.


    "Both combatants are set!" - the arena's master declared - "SOUND THE GONG!"


    Optional soundtrack
    [video]

    Rickel's magic began to converge on her guns as she raised her left arm to fire the first shot. Raydn's right spear began to swirl in ice magic. The cold bullet was quickly unleashed upon the Guardian - he thrusted his spear against the projectile, exploding in a mist of cloudy ice.

    Rickel followed with half a dozen of shots, hoping to hit the mark within the mist. Awaiting any sort of feedback, she remained ready for whatever could leave it. I tried to pinpoint within the mist through Rickel's eyes - a shinning sliver caught my mind.

    "Dodge!"

    A pure sliver of ice magic flew out towards Rickel. The dodge was slow enough to feel a chilling rush next to the left shoulder.

    Raydn came bursting out of the mist, both spears locked as one. She replied with a seventh shot, fired from a weaker position. The bullet bounced off the right spear towards the sky.

    I could feel Rickel's sudden desperation as she rolled to avoid the double thrust, being able to regain a healthy distance. Raydn didn't moved from his landing spot - instead, he reagained his previous stance.

    Rickel's disbelief struck me: "What is he doing?"

    "He's on the defensive." - i replied - fire some more rounds.

    Rickel proceeded with another ice salvo, but Raydn's spears shattered the bullets with his magic. Another mist was created where he stood.

    "Smart thing in removing our line of sight." - i commented - "The magic of your shots is scattered through the mist, making it hard to pinpoint him."

    "Yes." - Rickel's response was tense. It was the first time she saw her magic being used against her.

    "This won't be quick. Don't lose your focus - he's waiting for that." - as i replied, a sudden sliver of ice sprouted from the mist. Rickel was able to dodge better that one.

    Suddenly, two equal veins of magic sprouted forth in awkward spirals. My mind was bothered - never did he show such technique.

    As Riquel began to move to the side, Raydn flashed out of the mist towards her. Her reply was weak yet accurate, and all bullets bounced off from Raydn's powerful thrust.

    While the dodge from his second thrust by back stepping was successful, he quickly twisted his body around the impact zone, surprising us with a well-landed kick on her shoulder.

    Her body was thrown to the sand, forced to roll faster to have greater distance between the two. Raydn's awkward attack didn't allowed him to follow her, focusing on regaining his stance instead.

    I felt as surprised as Rickel when she stood up. Though now i understand that he needs the mist in orde to start charging.

    Rickel started to slowly move to the pillars for some cover. Raydn started following after there was a slightly larger distance between them. Enough to safely shatter another bullet, it seems.

    "Can you fire your Brave Burst now, Rickel?" - i asked.

    "Yes. It is ready." - both were getting closer to the arena's center.

    "Time for us to use some different tactics too. Use it, but only from your left gun."

    "WHAT?!?" - she couldn't contain her voice from that request. Raydn took the opportunity and did a sprint towards her.

    "Fire some rounds for now. And just as the mist is formed, unleash half of your burst towards the upper part of the pillar. Try to shatter it!"

    She focused some magic on four quick bullets. Raydn quickly halted and shattered the rounds, forming a thicker mist.

    "Now!"

    Rickel quickly turned and fired her left gun.

    "Crystal Bullet!"

    The shots pierced the pillar, tearing up the top half towards the ground. Rickel quickly jumped towards the shattered pillar while facing the mist.

    "He didn't charge. Good. Are you holding the right half still?"

    "Yeah. Seems to be holding up."

    "Make a side stance, concealing the gun. Be ready to quickly move back should he comes." - Rickel made the stance as she could.

    Suddenly, a sliver of ice emerged from the mists.

    "Take it with your left arm. Just do it."

    Puzzled but assured, she blocked the strike with her left arm. While the hit wasn't fatal, it did made her arm sluggish. I just hope i'm baiting him well.

    "Flood Horn!" - Raydn charged through the air with all his power - his spears radiated a frigid aura.

    "Fire a bullet from your left gun." - Rickel did as command and fired a shot. It was quickly bounced off from Raydn's attack, still in trajectory.

    Yet he didn't seem to noticed Rickel's slow movement towards the edge of the pillar.

    And as he was dangerously close to the pillar...

    "Step backwards. Right Fire on impact!"

    Rickel did a quick sidestep and fell behind the pillar. Raydn's thrust turned downwards, but the pillar bounced him slightly upwards.

    Greater part of the upper pillar was shattered, but he missed Rickel's body, falling to the sand below - his spears lunged forth, leaving his body open. Rickle fired the other half of her Brave Burst upwards right upon sensing the impact, and the attack struck Raydn from below.

    Both fell to the sand, but Rickel made a stable land, while Raydn was staggered from the blow and couldn't land on his feet.

    "Unload your right gun. Don't stop shooting. Whack him!"

    Rickel didn't thought twice. Even though she was just using an arm, the bullets were just as dangerous. Raydn was struck over and over, until he collapsed unto the sands with a soundly thud.

    "Stop!"
    End of Soundtrack


    Rickel stop firing from my command! Raydn couldn't even stand on his knees. My hopes were on that he as paralised rather than dead - my last order was given out of pure desperation.

    She could sense him moving, but unwilling to get up.

    "WHAT A TWIIIIIST!" - Balmos shouted out, allowing the crowd to cheer - "Rickel took Raydn by surprise with a surprise attack."

    "With her cold moves, Rickel was able to bec..."

    A thunderous explosion was heard from a side of the stands. Screams and wails quickly followed suit.

    My mind, still tense from the match, lost eye vision due to the startling blast. I asked for Rickel's presence: "What happened? Can you see what happened?"

    "The stands! Monsters are encroaching inside!"

    Damn it! What is happening outside? "Rickel, move close to the gate. I'm recalling you back for now."

    As i felt her closing in, the copper bracelet that was straining her powers began to shock my arm. The impulses were quick and brutal, and my mouth couldn't handle the pain.

    "Master!!!"

    I quickly used my other hand to unfasten the bracelet from my arm. The pain quickly subsided as the bracelet fell to the ground, its gem glowing with an absurd, violent red hue.

    Something's very wrong. I withdrew Rickel's marble from my summoning pouch and recalled her back before guarding it again. My pace, slow at start, regained vigor as i left the room and walked through the hallway.

    ***************​

    The familiar hooded figure, with its red scarf shaken by his aproaching movement, met me at the top of the stairs towards the entrance hall.

    "What is happening, Balmos?" - i quickly inquired - "Are we under attack?!?"

    "From monsters spawning out of the sea." - while his mouth was covered, his eyes conveyed a concerning gaze - "The summoners among the spectators are dealing with those who entered the Ring. I'm off to the entrance to provide safe passage to the civilians."

    I shrugged my own pain aside: "Let me assist you."

    "If you're able, i thank the gesture. Follow me."

    As i followed his steps, my sight caught his right arm wielding a silver gauntlet. My mind pondered on what could that gauntlet be - though its primal design made me guess it to be a mellee weapon rather than a piece of armor, i couldn't fathom its origin. Even if said silver designs could be from La Veda or Bariura, i couldn't link it to any of them.

    As we sprinted through the entrance gate, i was able to see the assaulting monsters being repelled by the minotaur bodyguards. They looked like aquatic creatures, but they weren't exactly living creatures - they seemed more like animated cristals, with azure hues and amphibian designs.

    I've never seen anything like them before...

    "What could..."

    "Look out!" - Balmos averted my attention towards one of the larger monsters - as large as the entrance gate, in fact.

    As i fetch a Water marble, Balmos stood in the way, his right arm behind his stance. In that quick moment, my eyes gazed as the gauntlet suddenly grew alongside his arm, swallowing it up to the shoulder point.

    And then it gained a thunderous hue.

    "Heart Shock!"

    The gauntlet quickly struck home, blowing the monster's chest with a resounding boom. My arms protected my eyes from the shards - the bare forearms felt the cold touch of the small , shattered shards.

    "Was that a Brave Burst?!?" - gasp my mind. But as Balmos looked to the beach, he quickly turned to me before i could say anything:

    "More monsters are approaching from the beach. My guards and i can handle things here - give us cover from the beach, Gerrion! I'll send any spare Summoners your way."

    As i saw the beach from the hill, a moving mass of living azure was approaching the Ring. I understood there was no time to ask.


    His spare hand showed a gem to me: "The gem's imbued with healing magic. It's my only spare one, so use it wisely."

    I nodded as i took the gem and quickly place it within a secured pouch as i ran - "I'm on it!" - i yelled back to Balmos as i ran down the ledge towards the beach.

    The water marble i fetch from my pouch was gripped within my fist as i chanted the summoning ritual during the descent. A pure glow emanated from within, which prompt me to unleash the spirit within.

    A humanoid form gained shape from the blue mist, her body slowly taking on blue and spiral, golden colors. The back of the armor extended further backwards, forming a coral-like structure. As the spiked armor was assembled, a pillar of water erupted next to her. Her hand gripped the pillar, which in turn gained hardness into a bluish, darker staff wielding the same gold. A golden orb at the top shaped unto three tips, with the center one gaining a silver edge. Lastly, a blue scaled helmet descended upon her silver-ish hair and her eyes gained a deep blue tone.

    As she became conscious, her stance grew stronger as she roared: "The seas stand ready!"

    And so i answered: "Go forth, Goddess Svafa!"

    Her feet levitated from the sand as the water within her grasp elevated her, violently splashing around. Her elegant physique dashed towards the closest monster, striking with a violent spear charge. Shards flew everywhere as the monster was shattered, but it didn't demoralize the other creatures, who quickly ganged on Svafa. A quicker monster was caught by the coral on her back as the slower enemies were whisked away into bits while the Valkyrie swung her trident in fluid, sharp sings. She quickly halted as she thrust the spear behind her to finish off the staggered monster.

    One of the remaining monsters quickly approach me, which i replied by readying the silvery coin. As the creature fired a water geyser at me, i quickly gripped my coin, its magic affecting the hidden stones within my leather vest. A transparent blue field appeared around my body. I felt the wave impact behind the water magic, but no magical damage was felt - a successful thought covered my modest smirk. The monster only had one second to realize my force field... before Svafa pierced its head from behind. A second thrust broke the rest of the body. I withdrew the coin in my pouch - the lingering magic could protect me for a good amount of time.

    I nodded at Svafa: "Let's keep moving!". And the fight continued - wave after wave was decimated. The sheer power of Svafa's moves weren't a match for such light fodder, regardless of its size, and my enhanced leather suit blocked all magical attacks that i couldn't personally avoid. Victory seemed to be gain within the hour...

    ...until the sudden rumble caught my attention.

    "A-wha?!?"

    Moving upon the sand was problematic with the sudden, unsynchronized quakes. My feet were able to stabilize as my eyes focused on the hill above the beach where the Ring stood. A large flash started to emanate from the building, weakening my eyes as i covered them. All of my senses were in a mess, my mind hoping that i wouldn't be taken down while dazed.

    And as sudden as it started, it has suddenly ended. My eyes quickly recovered, but they saw nothing atop the hill...

    ...the Ring vanished!

    "What in..." - my mind was again interrupted, not by quakes, but a sudden shadow. My eyes turned up... and caught a giant wave crashing down.

    "SVA..."

    The crash crushed my senses, my body tossed like a ragged doll. The wet feelings quickly ensued...

    "...fa..."

    ...and my mind turned black.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  10. Gerrion

    Gerrion [9] Master

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    Level:
    ~300
    Leader(s):
    Dream Arthur/Lucy
    Act Two


    Optional Soundtrack
    The black heavy feeling began to lift from my mind as my eyes began to open. A mix of grey and blue textures were above me - a sudden beige mass appeared at a corner.

    "...aster... all right?!?"

    My chin loosened the first moans as i tried to open and close my eyes, trying to regain any sense of consciousness. Little by little my sight regained focus. The sky slowly veiled a rocky ceiling with spots of deep blue. The ground beneath grew a sense of cold and humidity, and my hands' grip slowly gained strenght.

    As soon as i could, i raised my upper body...

    ...and the pain welcomed me back to the world.

    "Urgh..."

    "Gerrion, don't stress yourself." - Svafa's voice regained its familiarity as i turned my face towards her - "Gain your reasoning first."

    I took a deep breath and smoothly emptied my lungs. A second time. A third time. I could almost feel like my normal self at the fourth time, asking Svafa about our whereabouts.

    "Where are we?"

    Svafa's answer was serious: "At the bottom of the sea, within a temple."

    "A temple?" - i tried to put my feelings in order - Didn't i die..."

    "Your magical field saved you from the flood, but your mind felt the impact. I saved you from drowning while you were knocked down."

    "Why?" - i took another deep breath - "Aren't you a Valkyrie?"

    "Yes, but i can't tell you why."

    "It's alright. I get to live another day. For now i'll..."

    A sudden shadow covered my head. My mind panicked , awaiting another wave, and tried to find cover in vain.

    "Relax!" - Svafa's hand gripped my wrist - "That's Nasha."

    My head started to regain its sanity. Suddenly, it occurred to me: "Nasha?"

    I looked up as Svafa answered: "Yes... one of my friends."

    The shades were in fact body parts of a gargantuan, orange-skinned creature. Little by little it resembled a giant squid, swimming along the gaps in the ceeling.

    My mind suddenly gasped. How could water be above us? And why isn't it coming down?

    Then my mind remembered Svafa's previous words. My hands regained my balance, allowing me to sit straight, without Svafa's aid.

    "A temple... a temple under water."

    "Yes." - said Svafa as she stood up - "One of my people's shrines. I found it as i tried to escape the magical outburst."

    "A magical outburst?" - i asked, trying to catch up with the current situation.

    "Yes. The giant wave was caused by it, and Nasha guided me to its origin despite the opposing currents. The magic's originating from this temple."

    "How far are we from the coast?"

    "I can't say. Possibly very far away."

    I'd counter her misdirection with the fact that it's a temple of her own people, but my mind remained quiet - it could be a very ancient one, forgotten by her kind. Instead, i focused on the other facts - the magic's origin is within the temple, along with the source of those creatures. While frail in stature, it would be unwise to neglect their purpose. I need to find answers within it.

    I stood up. My body's aches were plenty, yet not heavy. Perhaps an healing item would solve the problem. My hand quickly opened the secured pouch, retrieving Balmos' gift. It felt like a potion, yet more volatile. I gripped it harder, feeling the magic's urge to disperse. I loosened such urge, but how? I couldn't say. The magic spread around my body, loosening my sore spots and healing bruises everywhere. By the time the magic fully dissipated, i felt as good as new in record time.

    "I'll have to thank him later." - i spoke my thoughts - "Now... Svafa, shall we do some exploration?"

    She nodded: "The temple seems to be yonder" - she pointed out towards a large turn at the cave's largest corner.

    As the two of us continued further, the scenery improved in the humanoid works sorrounding us. The ceeling showed more transparent sections showing the waters above us, with Nasha following our steps. At this time i grew accostumed to the shadows, though i'm still surprised how Svafa can befriend such creatures.

    A large gate finally stood before us, its doors shattered at the entry zone. The shards' distance suggest more at an ancient conflict rather than the passive decay of time. The gate's arquitecture was completely ailen in design among everything i've saw in Elgaia. Were the aquatic humanoids more advanced than their surface cousins?

    My doubts were quickly replaced as i suddenly felt a heavy presence beyond the gate. Svafa held her trident in a more aggressive fashion.

    "Did you felt that, Master Gerrion?"

    "I did. We're closer enough to feel it without means of detection." - it felt as a claw slowly scratching your mind.

    Svafa approached, but her body suddenly flinched backwards. My reaction was about to reach my tongue when i felt an equally tense feeling upon Svafa's summoning marble.

    "The marble? Is something happening to you?"

    "I can't control my body. The presence is disrupting my essence. I can't move further."

    My eyes focused at the looming entrance. Whatever laid in there was a serious matter. Anything that can disable the summoning magic can be a dangerous weapon if wielded against Randall.

    End of Soundtrack

    "I'm going in."

    "You can't. How can i protect you then? And the rest of our comrades won't be able to assist you as well."

    My hand reached one of my leather pouches. The small flask swirled the light blue liquid as i tilted the flask.

    "Do you believe in knowledge?"

    "Excuse me?" - Svafa was caught offguard as her held on to her weakened state.

    "Some heroes recieve gifted weapons, imbued by a myriad of ways. Others enhance their body through magical training, using their body as a mere weapon. And those imbued with magical affinity can develop their magic to limits beyond known boundaries."

    Svafa stood a few steps backwards, regaining control over her predicament. I stored the vial while equipping a pair of thin gloves made of arranged leather with a paladin stone. The shard was thin enough to stay on my palm without being a bother.

    "And then..." - i sighed - "...we have those without any aid. Where i came from, men had to withstand mostly by themselves against nature, and sometimes other men. Divinity within our world never manifested directly, simply collecting their worthy as time passed, allowing men to roam free and survive with what they had."

    My eyes fought the emotions: "Some, even too free... endangering others with their whims. You can probably assume the rest."

    Svafa nodded.

    "I grew nimble. I couldn't fight with murderous intent, but i could sprint and dodge well. Enough to join a place where my mind grew by learning and understanding how my world worked. Even beyond what my eyes saw ... and what my heart felt."

    I gripped my left glove harder: "And today, with the blessing of this world which i was thrown upon, i'll prove that knowledge itself can be equally powerful as a weapon. Twice if i'm trully correct."

    My left hand raised Svafa's summoning marble: "I hope you understand."

    "I do." - Sfava replied as her body began to lose shape - "May the Gods be with you."

    With Svafa's essence encased, i denied: "They won't. You're the lucky one, Svafa."

    My sight caught notice of the enemy - aquatic monsters made out of the same azure crystals, just like the ones above the surface.

    Seeing as i was alone, fighting enemies who are likely not sentient, i felt no need to hide my thoughts.

    "I guess i should get ready."

    I quickly moved my spare hand into my lower pouch, drawing the silvery coin. I placed it upon the hidden slot at the inner front of my enhanced leather vest.

    Immidiately the trapped essence wailed at my mind.

    "Unleash me..."

    I mustered the courage to withdrew from the coin's essence. "Only a bit." - i declared.

    Optional Soundtrack

    The spirit began to manifest its power, resonating with the paladin stones scattered through all of my clothing. They began to link between one another, with my mind following the swift patterns. I could feel my body being heightened with the overload, white and blue hues coursing around me.

    I felt empowered, but my mind halted my pride. My foes were approaching.

    I focused the magical tension upon the flask in my hand. It quickly imbued the object.

    I took aim, and flung the flask as hard as i could. It fell among their group.

    And then the azure flash came forth.

    A powerful blast erupted among them, magic ice exploding in all directions. The enemy fell into disarray as the center body of constructs was literally in pieces. I dashed forth through the opening, focusing the magic on both hands and feet. Every step seemed faster than the last, and the sole construct in my way took a right hook on its chest.

    The power was surprising - the cristalline body flew backwards until it hit the wall, showering shards upon the ground. My fascination was quickly tempered by the urge to press on and deal with the anomally's source. I quickly regained my sprint, spotting a ledge that was vacant of danger.

    As my knees coiled and sprang, i felt myself thrown as a spear towards the higher ground. The safe landing allowed me to recompose and start a slow march, gazing at the unknown ruins and decayed structures of what has been something a teal magnificence in its past. Scores of enemies were flowing through the ancient debris; some were charging through the exit, while others were climbing the ledges to attack me.

    I fetch another vial from a safe pouch, quickly imbuing it until the vapors within gained a powerful glow. A quick glance warned me that the ledges below weren't stable enough to directly blow them up. An upper throw allowed the vial to fall near the biggest concentration of foes.

    And i clapped my hands with all my might. As both the circular paladin stones sparked within the clap, their vibration shattered the imbued flask, causing a nubulous explosion that swept them down to the ground. Those which weren't shattered by the blast were quickly frozen in place.

    A shadow suddenly appeared above me. My frightened eyes saw scores of crystal monsters swarming the ocean. They were promptly swept by a tentacle sweep from Svafa's massive friend, dimming the tides of foes that could endanger either me or those at the surface.

    I knew my shout wouldn't reach her, but my mind carried on nonetheless:

    "KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, NASHA!"

    I resumed my sprint along the lower ledges, swiftly heading downwards until i reached the next room. Several squid-like monsters with azure, rocky constitutions awaited me. I gripped my fists to regain the force field upon my arms.

    The nearest opponent flung its sharp appendage at me. The blow was blocked by my hand's shield, mitigating all but the wave of the impact. My hand quickly twirled and caught the tentacle as i used my momentum to throw the monster into a circle around me. I release when the body was about to reach a ruined pillar, and the impact had a shattering finale.

    I quickly approached the next closest monster, jumping with a high kick that brought down the monster. I didn't cared if it still moved - my body strafed to the side to avoid the third creature's charge. My punch threw its charge into dissaray, raising dust as it landed.

    The final creature threw itself at me, its tentacles pointed at my eyes. I coiled my legs to avoid the contact, but quickly sprang when its chest was within reach. Both clenched fists sprang upwards, and their magical armor connected a brutal double uppercut. The beast was thrown sky high until it met the ceeling with a massive thud.

    I slowly marched forward to avoid the body's landing. I withdrew two vials with mist within as i approached the room where the source was the strongest. After imbuing them, i threw them backwards in different, yet close directions. As i clapped my hands, i heard the explosion behind me, followed by the swift formation of ice. Whatever foes still lingered on my back, they'll wake some time to bypass the ice barrier.

    Enough time for me to stop the source, i hope.

    ****************​

    Optional Soundtrack Change - halt the previus one, and play the new option

    The hallway that descended towards the depths of the temple was long and foreboding. No more could i see the ocean through the gaps in the open ceeling - the only lights that guided my eyes were dimmed glimpses from the shining crystal torches along the walls.

    Eventually, the staircase ended at the bottom core of the temple. A massive cave awaited ahead.

    But just as i entered, a dark pulse greeted me. It staggered my march.

    Within the center of the site were various formations of tall crystals with various purple shades. The smallest ones carried a clear, shinning glow while the larger ones were darked and slower to emit their bursts of light. However, rather than feeling multiple impacts, the released energy was brutal and fairly synchronized.

    My body eventually became resilient against the regular pulse. It allowed me to reach the most fastened of my pouches, retrieving one of the tiny glass capsules within. These, while being the smallest in size, carried the biggest punch, as they were sealed with the most volatile liquids. Should i clap with true effort, the magical core swirling within these will detonate the liquid. Add the magic that i'll imbue with them... my mind reeks with caution as i again cased the capsule inside. I've never tested these, so i can't fathom their destructive power.

    As i reached the crystals within the center of the room, i was able to spot a different crystal behind the largest of the bunch. I didn't notice it because of its absence of pulsating energy, but its canary yellow color struck my curiosity.

    My hande reached the strange crystal, quickly feeling like it was draining the magic around my hand. I quickly pulled my hand backwards, but it was too late as the crystal was already resonating. The tip of the crystal gained a circular fashion, continuing to mold until it reached a familiar yet dreading appearance - a humanoid skull.

    The skull slowly levitated from the main body, which began to twist and malform. Chunks started to split off and levitate around the skull, and the larger crystal began to grow appendages - five in total. As they shaped around, their constitution became incredibly that of a humanoid. My awe grew as it became better in detail, depicting one of the heroes i knew.

    One of the Battle Maidens known by many... Fennia.

    Her face gained the exact features as the original, though lifeless and slightly twisted. The chunks, while not detailed like the original grenades, had the same size. The only think that struck true semblance was the menacing skull above the entire construct.

    And it greeted me with the most twisted voice that i could have remembered:

    "Have you come to play A zappy game?!?"

    Optional Soundtrack Change

    The chunks it levitated suddenly began charging with thunderous magic. The synchronized dark pulse was even absorved by them, creating a horrid contrast of pulse of purple and yellow as they swirled around the mimic.

    My legs begged to run as the chunks' speed began to increase. The center skull suddenly released a gruesome, crystal-shaped cackle that could tear weak souls apart.

    The four "grenades" were thrown in unison, prompting my body to dash out of harm's way. Explosions threw me out of balance, forcing me to roll in order to recover. The fourth untriggered chunk kept following me as i tried to distance myself for a chance to counter.

    The main body began spewing more chunks out of its shoulders, slowly reshaping back to their previous state. The chunks started to glow in amber power, waiting to be thrown into the fray.

    I dodged the fourth grenade, further increasing its speed with an elbow strike from behind. The projectile exploded in the nearest wall, yet i could feel a sliver of the thunderous magic on the field. I quickly dusted it off as i gazed on my enemy, almost ready to launch another volley.

    It didn't wait for the upcoming dark pulse, throwing them right at me. Their speed was much faster than before - almost twice the previous speed. My evasion to the left avoided three of the faster projects, but i was forced to block the forth one, feeling an exploding impact as my arms protected my face. My body were shoved backwards, legs gritting the floor to counter the attack's impulse. Part of the shock unabsorved by my field was felt by my body - while not lethal, it was a flinching blow.

    I quickly reached three nebulous vials from my pouch as the enemy was about to throw a third volley. As my left hand threw a low curve to the ground at the front, my right hand quickly reached its partner for a clap. The sudden wall of ice was fast to emerge, absorving the full impact of the thunder grenades. The ice revealed a twisted look from the other side: the fake Fennie was spewing more thunderous grenades out of her shoulders, while the cackle emitted another horrendous, crystalline laughter.

    It began throwing its grenades, one by one, against the ice formation, with the intent of reaching me on the other side. A few of the grenades had the misfortunate coincidence of being powered up by the dark pulse, further deteriorating the barrier. As she kept throwing projectile after projectile, it began to talk with its shattered voice. The lyrics' dread was enhanced by its bizarre speech:

    "Eenie! Meenie! Miney! Mo!
    Light a fuse! Watch the show!
    Feel the spark! Fear the doom!
    Eenie! Meenie! Miney! BOOOOOM!"

    I threw two more nebulous vials to the formation, clapping to replenish the barrier. A few imbued vials were thrown over the barrier in a wide arc, hoping to hit the opponent. It moved to the side to evade the explosions' center while replying with more grenades. A lucky landing caused a blast near it, but the damage was little. Instead, it increase the rate of fire. The violent increase wouldn't give me a chance to further fortify the barrier.

    It was time to counter.

    I opened the isolated pouch, fetching a handful of capsules. As i began to imbue them, one fell to the ground. As it touched the soil, the vial shook abruptly at the floor, forcing me to quickly lift my feet and avoid getting trapped. The core didn't detonate, but the liquid had an impressive reaction, making my mind shudder at the chance that i may not live form the true burst.

    The fake Fennia stopped launching genades. Instead, it focused its current chunks alongside the skull, which began to emit a frightening light. A sudden pulse enhanced the projectiles, making them even more fearful, with the cackling skull becoming a living nightmare.

    The construct then shouted in a vorpal shriek:

    "Voltage Storm!"

    The thunderous skull cackled as it was thrown along the other chunks against the ice barrier. I took the chance of the blind shot and sprinted before the vibrant, colossal series of explosions. When my body halted, i quickly took aim towards the crystals' center and threw the capsules. Time moved slowly as my gaze was turned to the right time to detonate them, imbuing my gloves with all i could muster.

    As the capsules were in the best place affordable, i unleashed my will's intent:

    "Chill Pills!"

    The mighty clap sent an enormous wave of azure frost energy that knocked back the crystaline creature. As the wave reached the capsules, each of them exploded in a furious burst of frost as the wave ignited them.

    The chain of explosions destroyed the purple crystal formation completely, escalating into a caveout as chunks of the ceiling quickly fell to the ground. A sharp spike fell against the fake Finnia, severing her arm without notice.

    I took the chance and grabbed two nebulous vials on my left hand while clenching my right one, imbuing both hands as i charged in. The right fist connected unto the monster's chest, throwing it against the wall. The left glove threw the vials at the wall, and the quick clap detonated them into an icy prison.

    I turned to the crystal formation, now a bunch of powerless crystals without dark properties. As i picked up a nearby shard, i ran towards the exit. Yet the azure creatures from above caught up to the site, pinning me down between a score of mindless constructs without fear of dying and a caveout soon to crash upon my head.

    "Well... at least i proved myself." - So i thought as i grinned while waiting for the beasts to do their move... until a white flash sorrounded my eyes, losing complete sight of my sorroundings.

    End of Soundtrack

    As the white flash faded, i found out i was in another place - a beach.
    I instantly recognized the nature of the spell, turning around to find a familiar goddess in a white, verdant dress, with clear hair and worried eyes.
    I smiled with closed eyes to calm down Tilith's worries:

    "Thanks for the save, Tilith!"

    Optional Soundtrack

    The goddess quickly hugged me beyond my belief. Wow, that's a first.

    "Gerrion!" - she shouted - "I almost thought you were dead."

    I hugged her back, allowing her to dissipate her worries. When her hold wavered, i took a step back.

    "Don't worry, i don't die easily..." - i tehn assumed a guilty smirk - "...though i was almost about to, if not for your intervention."

    "Honestly, "Hero". You saved the Mirror Realm, yet you can't save yourself!"

    I laughed: "True. Glad i have such a helpful goddess to wisk me out of trouble."

    Her cheeks almost blushed: "Well, it's what i'm here for, right?... though i had problems finding you since the tidal wave."

    I tried to fight back the harsh memory: "Urgh, that was quite nasty, for sure. How did you find me?"

    She replied with a dubious voice: "I tried to find your spirit among the waves, but it was a sudden feeling of power that gave you away, almost as if..."

    I interrupted her before she would assume that i had powers: "Hold on! I have something to show you!" - i quickly showed her the purple shard.

    "What in Elgaia?!? Where did you get that?"

    "From the ritual site that was summoning those blue things. I managed to disrupt it, but they lost their dark power shortly after."

    "These crystals are volatile in nature. Human feelings can either make them a blessing or a curse. What could have corrupt them?"

    I sighed: "That is something i'll have to find out. Also..."

    I turned my view towards the hill above. I was clearly in Breeze Beach, and there were no more signs of those monsters, but the Ring disappeared.

    "Where did the Ring go?"

    Tilith was as astonished as i: "Honestly, i don't know. It vanished in a flash and a rumble when everyone was evacuated to the nearby forest. Everyone was safe but you - i didn't gave it a second thought because i was worried about you."

    I turned back at Tilith with another wide smile: "Don't worry, you did the right thing. Thank you so much."

    As Tilith scratched her head in gratitude, my inner thoughts turned to the crystals below. I need to research about them... while those constructs won't appear anywhere soon, i have my worries about worse goals with the crystals. If anyone can muster their ability to disable summoning...

    ... well, at least i'll have a way to fight back now.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016

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