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Lilly Resting by cookiefur

This is pretty good overall. I lake what you did there with the pencil shading and propotions are pretty good. I've Ive tried drawing a...

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Chapter 21: Chaos, In That Order

“I thought you said that you were going to Edelstien?” Elusa asked, going back to folding a rather large bunch of laundry she had pulled off the line, watching the young girl devour a bit of food she had been provided. Elusa had seen the light from right above where Henesys was, and worried that something terrible would come to her home on the outskirts of Ellinia just south of Perion’s desert mountain range.

“Oh I am, but there is something that I must take care of first.” The girl replied, wiping her mouth and putting the dishes she had used into a tub of water to wash them.

“I’ll take care of those. Are you sure you can’t stick around any longer?” Elusa asked as the girl picked up her cloak, flinching a bit when the dull ache in her side reminded her that she needed to take it easy for a little while.

“No I can’t. Thank you very much for treating my wound and for this delicious meal.” She called, turning and beginning to walk away when Elusa called after her.

“Will you at least tell me your name so that I can find you if I ever go to Edelstien?” Elusa asked. The girl stopped, thoughts running through her head about what answer she would give her that wouldn’t turn this kind woman against her.

“My name’s Orchid.” The girl replied, turning and offering her the best faked smile that she could. Elusa smiled in return, pondering her name for a moment before waving to her as she left into the forests of Ellinia.

I know I’ve taken out my pig tails and grown some in the past few weeks using spells I found in the fairy’s library, but if anyone knew who I really am then I wouldn’t stand a chance.” She thought, walking through the dense forest when she stopped and saw a Fire Fern reaching out across the path. It brought back memories from so long ago when she had been rescued by Mercedes from a painful death.  She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small vial containing a bluish brown gel-like liquid within it, shaking it a bit to make sure she was seeing the right amount.

“The mana given to me by the sylphs is nearly gone since I used most of it on those growth spells. I have enough for maybe one moderately strong spell should I need to use it, but then I’ll be defenseless. I just hope I don’t run into any trouble. Hang on Lotus; I’m coming to get you.”

*********************

At first, the return of the Heroes to Edelstien didn’t rouse the surge of people’s spirits as they had hoped.

“I thought that she was safe in the Temple?” a young man asked, obviously trying to cozy up to Rhinne as unobvious as he could.

“She was, but the heroes did manage to defeat Arkarium to get her back, one of the Black Mage’s most powerful generals.” Dumia explained as Aran came over to them and handed her a cool glass of water.

“What happened to him anyway?” Aran asked, taking a sip herself after nudging the man’s shoulder as if to tell him to maintain.

“I don’t know. But if past references serve well, I doubt Arkarium’s life is still intact.”  Steadily, Rhinne was introduced to the people that had been protected from the World Cannon in the city, listening to each of their sorrows, frustrations, and angers. Once people began to see that Rhinne was walking among them along with Cygnus, everyone slowly began to brighten. The mood throughout the entire city lightening with just their presence and a new drive filtering into them making whispers and low conversations buzz through the city:

“If the Heroes could do it then and now, why couldn’t we?”

“The Black Wings really can be defeated!”

“What about Clytemnestra? Can she be defeated?”

“If Arkarium was defeated by four people, how hard could she be?” People everywhere began to rally each other up, building their moral with each passing hour and finding more people gathering together to begin formulating an attack plan. The noises from outside began filtering through to the very back of the infirmary where Vita was taking care of the fallen general Hilla.

Seconds passed as though they were hours as she stirred, grunting and grousing as the sounds reaching into her mind gently woke her. Vita ran as quickly as she could to get the leaders of the Edelstein High Guard who all surrounded her bed when Hilla opened her eyes, looking around at all of them through the narrow openings of her eye lids.

“Where am I?” she asked in a whisper.

“I am Claudine of the Edelstein High Guard: you are in the infirmary. Your defeat resulted in some serious injuries that we have been taking care of until you woke up.” Claudine answered, making Hilla open her eyes further to see another young woman she recognized as the Empress and a few strong looking men surrounding her bed.

“How did my defeat end in my injuries?” Hilla asked sharply, trying to sit up with some difficulty because of her weakened state.

“You were injured by one of The New Guardians after making an attempt on Luminous’ life while his back was turned.” One of the young men replied. Hilla scoffed and shook her head.

“Why take pity on one of your enemies? I don’t need your pity. You know that I could simply wipe you all out right here don’t you?” Hilla seethed, looking to Claudine with a rather well faked intimidating look in her eyes.

“We are not the Black Wings. It may prove to be counterproductive, but we must try to save everyone that we can.” Cygnus replied making Hilla turn a sad smile on her face.

“What do you care? I’m a dead woman walking. Once Clytemnestra has figured out that I’ve been captured if she hasn’t already, I’m sure she’ll be coming for me.” Hilla sighed making Cygnus sit down on her cot.

“I said it once, and I’ll say it again; we aren’t the Black Wings. And we won’t let Clytemnestra hurt you more than her already has.” The last comment made Hilla look sharply to Cygnus as she was about to reply when Claudine interrupted her.

“We know your story Hilla. The Black Mage used your broken heart as a weapon against you, turning you against your people, and the very man that you loved.”

“I don’t want your sympathy!” Hilla snapped.

“Too bad, you have it.” Claudine snapped in return making Hilla almost feel defenseless; no one had ever matched her with intimidation while she was a general, but now that she was reduced to a dead woman walking, she wasn’t in the same position of power any longer.

“I’m you prisoner than?” she asked, bowing her head. The Black Wings had a policy against such things, and capture was considered on the same plain as defection, making her push her tongue against a tiny pocket of deadly cyanide laced with a potent form of Black Magic.

“No, you are a guest.” Cygnus answered, putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. Hilla sighed and looked away: she had done so many things that she wasn’t proud of, but fighting these people while the Black Mage was still in power were some of the best days of her life.

“Why would you want to help me when I could so easily wipe you out, and in the heart of your city no less?”

“Because you’re human just like the rest of us: all of us can be hurt, all of us can make mistakes. But when we make mistakes, it doesn’t mean the end of one’s life. Yes, we may become angry when someone makes a mistake, but we also hope that the one who made it will learn from it.” Cygnus answered. Hilla was steadily accepting the help that was being given to her, but there was still something holding her back from completely giving in.

“What is it that you want from me?” Hilla asked, looking first to Claudine, then looking Cygnus squarely in the eyes.

“Information; you’ve committed a great many atrocities in your life against the people of Azwan, and against Ossyria. There is no punishment that I, the Empress or the High Guard can give you to match your crime. In return for your cooperation, you will be allowed to live out the rest of your natural life in atonement for that you have done. And you can start by telling us anything you can about Clytemnestra and how to defeat her.” Cygnus answered with an edge in her kind voice. Hilla sighed, shaking her head to the eager and massively misplaced amount of trust they gave her. But she also knew that she could never return to the Black Wings alive for her capture, deciding to accept the deal they were offering.

“Very well; the one in control of Clytemnestra’s body is not the girl who should be. The one in control of her body is the Black Mage himself.”

*******************

Yoshumari looked around once more, making sure that there were no other creatures surrounding Edelstein and was about to descend when something caught his eye landing on the coast. With a gentle bank he swooped in to get a better look, finding that it was Dureau and Mastema walking… hand in hand?!

“Hey bebe? What’s wrong?” Starling asked as the three of them landed carefully after feeling Yoshumari falter for a moment.

“It’s nothing, I just saw something that I didn’t expect.” He answered as the three of them walked closer to where the entrance of Edeolstien was and where Dureau and Mastema were also waiting.

“…what more evidence do you need? I am Dureau, the Demon Slayer of the high Guard!” Dureau shouted to a guard standing on the inside of the barrier.

“I’m sorry, but my orders are from Cygnus herself. Until someone from the Empress’ Knights of the High Guard can verify your identity, you’ll just have to wait outside the Barrier.” The Battle Mage replied, making Dureau take a calming, but still take agitated breath, slowly reaching for his mace when he was stopped by Mastema who set a hand on his.

“We’ll wait.” She said as the soldiers turned to leave just as the other three were nearing them.

“I see you survived the World Cannon Dureau.” Crow announced with a cocky smile. Dureau looked back to him with an unemotional glare, taking his hand from the mace.

“I survived a direct assault from the Black Mage himself. I doubt that some cannon would kill me so easily.” He answered, turning back to the empty road before him, waiting impatiently for the guards to return so they could let him in.

“Yoshumari, I’ve wanted to ask this for some time, but I never seemed to have found the chance: when Eleanor died and you went all crazy, does that mean you’re more powerful? I’ve always heard it said that Seraphim only use a small portion of their full potential Nalcana power.” Starling asked, playing back the scene in her head when his wings ruptured from his back and the power of his Nalcana was nearly the same level as the Black Mage’s.

“Sadly, no: In all actuality I am less powerful. As I’m sure you know, when a Seraphim loses control, their full power is brought to bear, but in doing so it warps the Nalcana and our body. Much in same the way when steel is stretched; it may still be strong but no matter how you try, it will never be the same strength again.” Yoshumari explained, holding his hand out as a cloud of his Nalcana power hummed to life in his hand, taking on the shape of a small dagger. At first glance it seemed that the power was still the same inky nighttime-like energy, but upon a closer look, Starling could see what appeared to be stress marks rippling across its form, as well as some of the star-like specs being a distorted color.

“Are you Ok?” she asked, reaching out and touching the blade only to pull back her hand when is shocked her.

“I managed to look through the records of the Seraphim not too long ago, finding that not many have survived the battle involving the unfortunate release of their full power. The few that did survive the fight died shortly after because their mana and life force had been drained. Of those, only six, myself included have ever survived fully; though the effects on our bodies as well as our Nalcana have varied.” Deactivating the Nalcana, he followed Dureau and Mastema into the barrier where he was asked to wait while the soldiers confirmed who he was.

“What effects do you mean by having varying effects?”

“Of those six that survived, one Seraphim managed to maintain his high power level. Unfortunately, the immense amount of power coursing through his body drove him insane, and the only thing the ancient Seraphim could do was seal him and place him under the main sanctuary of the Seraphim Temple. Another’s body had its energy strained so much, that it couldn’t even support the Nalcana in its dormant state and had to remove it from its body. Another maintained their body energy, but the energy of the Nalcana was so strained and warped that it couldn’t hold a solid form if it hit anything.” Once it was confirmed who he was Starling and Yoshumari parted ways with Crow as he went off to look around the town, while the other two followed Dureau back to where the High Guard had made their headquarters.

“Were any of those Seraphim wielders of the Dark Nalcana?” Starling asked. She had heard that among his people, the Dark Nalcana was the most powerful and considered a great honor to wield. However his telling her that one of the Seraphim had gone insane troubled her: she had almost lost him once to death 18 years ago; she couldn’t stand the thought of losing him over something she couldn’t fight.

“Yes, infact it was the one who went insane.” Yoshumari replied with a sad, yet knowing smile.

“Don’t worry, I won’t be going insane. Remember, I’m weaker than I was before and there is no way that I’ll ever be able to wield the same level of power again.” He promised, stopping her in the middle of the street for a moment and kissing the very top of her forehead when he heard a livid scream coming from not too far away from them.

“WHY IS IT THAT SHE WAS KEPT ALIVE?!”

******************

Firebolt casually strolled through the streets of Edelstien: The way the people were rallying together in preparation for an assault on Ereve was spirit lifting. But there were dark clouds surrounding and hanging in his own heart, especially concerning the way the human changing spell was being re-applied by Monsoon more and more often. He was down to having to reapply it every three days. This concerned him enough to seek out an answer from Patricia for an answer.

She may not have been as well versed in sacred spells as Helen or a Preist, but she was versed enough that she was able to give him the bad news about the spell that was losing its grip on him. As he looked around, he caught sight of Monsoon talking with some of the archers there, planning out strikes and attack patterns, zeroing in on her alone and just watching her as she talked. Had she been keeping this secret about the spell being tied to his life force for all this time? Chuckling to himself, he turned and began walking towards a back alley where he could be alone with his thoughts until Monsoon’s voice broke his train of thought.

“Hey, there you are. I was wondering where you had gotten off to. How are you feeling?” She asked, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“Tell me something Irena, how long have you known?” Firebolt asked locking eyes with her and letting her see the sadness and disappointment in them. Monsoon swallowed hard and faked the best chuckle and smile that she could.

“Known what? What are you talking…”

“Don’t insult me Irena. How long have you known about my human holding spell being tied to my life force?” he asked, this time sounding more agitated. Monsoon still kept up the farce as best she could, losing her nerve with each passing second.

“What are you talking about? Rok only showed me the spell and how to reapply it…”

“IRENA!” Firebolt bellowed, electricity threading over his shoulders scaring Monsoon into silence, looking at him with wide and confused eyes: he had spoken to her with a loud tone before, but this was different, desperate almost. Monsoon sighed and closed her eyes, bowing her head as tears began forming in the corners.

“I’ve known ever since Rok showed me how to do the spell. He told me his mistake was not considering how many years you lived before he killed you or how many years you had been in the service of the Black Mage. That’s why the spell was failing. The reapplication would simply strengthen the spell itself, reinforcing it with what little life force you have left.” She sobbed, grabbing onto his cloak and pressing her forehead against his chest.

“Irena, why didn’t you tell me? Why did you keep this secret from me?” he asked; yes he was furious that such a secret was kept from him, but at the same time he was also sad that she had to carry around such a heavy burden all on her own.

“I had told myself that as long as I had the spell that I could keep you alive, that you weren’t really dying. I just didn’t want your death to be real.”  She answered gripping his cloak all the harder until her hands hurt. Firebolt let out a sad breath and put his arms around her, holding her closer to him while he hushed her cries.

“Listen, I appreciate that you were trying to do, but this is my life we’re talking about here. I don’t want you to remember me as some mutant being that was slowly dying.”

“But I don’t have anyone left… I’d be all alone.” She whimpered.

“What about your sister Chalis?” He asked. Monsoon stopped, thinking back to her younger sister and how she had abandoned her family as well, just as she did so many years ago.

“I’ve known you for as long as I can remember Irena, but if something like this is going to happen, it’s going to happen. Just remember that there are other people around you waiting to pick you back up.”

**************************

With some carful maneuvering, Orca managed to slip back into the mines, though having to remind herself that she no longer had her small child’s body when she tried to fit in some small spaces to avoid the guards.

That’s strange: why are there still armored patrols around this area? Besides my brother, what could possibly be down here that requires such a tight guard?” she wondered, slipping past the many patrols when she passed by where her room used to be. With thick hesitation, she pushed open the door and silently walked in looking around at the destruction that now filled this room where she had battled her love Mercedes. The teddy bear that she treasured was still laying on the ground next to her couch, but one of the ears had been torn off and soot covered its face.

She picked it up and brushed off the blackened portion of the fabric and held it close, catching and ever so slight whiff of Mercedes perfume still lingering when her eye caught sight of a massive blood stain on the ground. It was hours before Hilla had come in to find her lying nearly lifeless on the ground bleeding out, but Orca was glad that she had come when she did. Shaking her head she propped the bear up in the corner of the couch, touching her lips with her fingers before touching the snout of the bear.

Goodbye Mercedes. I wish you well.” she thought, slipping out of her room once again to complete her mission of retrieving her brother. But as she got closer to where his tank was she missed the normal tingle in her mind from Suu’s as she neared. Orca dismissed it as perhaps Suu’s mind being asleep and was still too far out of his range while in that state. But as she neared and the tinge still didn’t hit her, she began to worry. Running through the caves and dodging the many new piles of high end equipment blocking her path.

When she finally had come into the ire glow of the room where Suu still floated in the tank of suspension gel, she was shocked to see Gelimer messing with some sort of mechanism on the control board of his tank.

“Gelimer! What are you doing here?!” she asked reaching into her pocket for the vial of mana: Gelimer was the only other person that scared her as badly as The Mage himself, due only to his utter disregard for life of any kind in pursuit of his experiments. Looking closer at him, she noticed that his right arm appeared to be mechanical having split apart into many different arms holding different screens, plugged into the control computer.

“Orca! Zees eez quit zeh suprice! You look quite zeh ravising young latey.” he said, trying to hide his arm behind him while moving over to hide a screen that seemed to be scrolling information across it.

“What are you doing to my brother?” she asked, wanting to activate an attack spell, but knowing that she only had a limited amount of mana, and her body no longer able to support Black Magic prevented her from doing so.

“Oh zis? I vas jus… puzting zeh final tocheez on a program to avaken him.” he stumbled, as a multitude of clicks and servo whines could be heard behind him until he brought his hands forward, holding them for her to see with a defensive position.

“Awaken him? You mean he can come out of that thing?” Orca asked walking to the tank and pressing her hand to the glass, watching as Suu’s hand twitched for a moment when her skin touched the glass.

“Yes, it vill only be a matta off momentz.” He said. Orca looked almost longingly as he floated amid the gel, when Suu seemed to turn his head up and fix his gaze on her. It almost looked like he was trying to tell her something with that gaze, but in her enthrallment of having her brother back after so many centuries she didn’t notice the dark grin that was playing across the scientist’s face.

“Wait, what’s that thing on the side of his head?” Orca asked when she saw a metallic disk on the side of his head with what appeared to be a blue dome filling the majority of the center.

“Zat eez a cognitive boosta, increasing heez brainz signal to da limbs. He haz been insite zat tank for so long, I feya zat his nerves have been slightly damaged.” Gelimer answered, pressing a part of his wrist behind him, making the light come to life while Suu’s body looked to stiffen.

“Do it.” Orca commanded, stepping back as Gelimer moved in and began the draining sequence, pulling all of the gel out of the tank while gently setting Suu down in the corner of the tank and bottom grate, allowing him to cough up the remaining gel in his lungs. Shortly after the gel’s draining, a lock sounded from below and the glass slid down giving Orca access to him, cradling him in her arms and wiping the gel from his face.

“Suu! Oh Suu, you don’t know how much I’ve missed you all this time!” she cried happily, clearing a spot on his cheek and kissing it firmly, when Suu grabbed hold of her arm hard.

“Suu, what’s wrong?” she asked, watching as what appeared to be binary code zipped across his pupils and the light on the side of his head blinked a few times before turning red.

“Run.” He whispered, when all traces of his former self disappeared as his eyes became red, hauling on Orca’s arm and hurling her across the room. Orca managed to correct, landing on the wall and dropping to the floor where she saw Suu hover into the air, his power emanating from his body in a cloud that first crushed, then shattered the control board of the tank he had just been in before rushing her. Orca managed to duck out of his first blow’s path, but her now larger, older body made it impossible for her to avoid his second attack, slamming her against the wall with enough force that the wall behind her collapsed. Orca’s arms buzzed and her shoulders hurt after having used half the mana she was given to create a small barrier to protect her, but now she had nothing left for any attack spells.

I have enough for a speed boosting spell; that should be enough for me to get out of here at least.” she thought initiating the spell and rocketing for the door, only to find herself face to face with Suu once again, disappearing to another part of the room when he tried to attack her again.

“Suu! What’s wrong with you! It’s me!” she shouted, dodging another blast of power he had launched with no emotion or even hint that he knew who she was. As Orca flitted from place to place to avoid being hit, she couldn’t help but notice that Gelimer seemed to be typing something in on his arm as if he were controlling him.

Suu, my dear brother Suu. What has this horrible man done to you?” she thought. But her thoughts distracted her from noticing her speed boosting spell had worn off and she no longer had any mana to use it again, leaving her wide open for an attack. Suu appeared to be charging a powerful spell, causing Orca to try and flit away where she noticed too late that her spell had worn off and was hit full force with the dark spell, coursing through her body like molten steel. Her screams echoed through the hollow caves in a shrill note that for a brief moment disrupted the hold Gelimer had over the boy, making him stop his assault. Ocra’s body was bruised, burnt and bloody, falling to the ground writhing in pain as she forced herself to uncurl and look up into Suu’s empty digital eyes.

“W-w-why...” she whispered, before passing out with her hand outstretched to him where he only stared down at her from where he floated.

“Heh, zat wass such a vaist of time: come my creation. Zees ees zeh time for a new era!” Gelimer chortled, pulling on a joystick and walking out of the cave, when he noticed that Suu wasn’t following his commands, rather he appeared to be fighting them as his body shook.

“Vie do you rezeest? Come!” Gelimer commanded, pressing a few buttons on his arm to boost the signal and pulling harder on the joystick, but still Suu refused to do as he commanded.

“N-n…no…” Suu stuttered, sounding almost robotic.

“VAT! VIE DO YOU SPEAK?! OBEY ME!” Gelimer howled, pressing another set of buttons, again increasing the signal strength when he saw Suu grab his arm.

“No… I-I-I will not… f-f-f-follow you. My s-s-s-s-sister in hurt… she will d-d-d-die if she doesn’t r-r-r-r-receive… medical attention.” Suu struggled to say, turning back to Orca where she lay on the ground, slowly bleeding out.

“Vat concern eez she to you? She hass become part of zeh past…” Suu clenched down hard on the scientist’s arm, pulling it behind him at a sharp angle.

“If you do not t-t-t-t-treat her, I will fight your control with every last ounce of my b-b-b-b-b-being until I am dead. However…” Suu released his arm and looked over to her, floating down to the ground and kneeling beside her, brushing a lock of hair out of her face.

“I-i-i-i-i-if you allow me to t-t-t-t-t-take her into Edelstein where she will be found by the High Guard for treatment, I will go with you without quarrel.” Gelimer raised an eyebrow behind his thick glasses, scratching his head in some tufts of hair that remained on his head.

“Vie voodjue need to do somsing like zees? You have no neet of her any longer.” Gelimer asked.

“She is my sister, not that you would understand.” Suu hissed, his eyes snowing as if he were fighting to regain his own control once more. Gelimer thought about what he had said, thinking through his options and how hard it was to bring Suu under his control in the first place without him fighting. If he were to refuse, it could mean the loss to years of research to create the perfect indestructible body.

“Very vell, but be quick about it.” Gelimer agreed, turning off the signal of his controller and watching every single move and step that Suu made in taking his sister’s limp body back into the city, bending the barrier around him as he made his way to a back alley near the road and set her down, propped against a wall. With almost reluctant care, he brushed aside a few locks of her hair before kissing her forehead.

Suu, vat ees taking you so long?” Gelimer’s impatient voice said though the link on the side of his head.

“I’m coming you old goat.” He grumbled, standing and walking back the way he came, unaware that Orca had regained enough of her consciousness to see her brother walking away from her down a dark alley. Once outside, Suu and Gelimer began a trip towards The Black Mage’s castle still standing on the plains north of Edelstein.

“I’m surprised no one has come to tear this place down yet.” Suu commented, but was met with only silence as he and Gelimer walked to the back of the castle where an intricate and highly sophisticated locked door stood, clanking and whining as Gelimer neared then opening as an iris allowed both of them in. Inside were dozens of what appeared to be mechanical skeletons, some in varying stages of being fitted with various human organs or mechanical parts.

“What is this place?” Suu asked, suddenly not so sure that he wanted to keep the promise he made.

“Zees ees my personal lab where I have been gratually making progress in creating not only a body for myself, but is also creating zeh ultimate vepon!” Gelimer shouted, pulling aside a cutain to reveal schematics and plans of a cybernetic humanoid soldier.

“Zeh tests haven’t been going so vell now zat I don’t have a vast supply of volunteers zeh Black Vings providet, but I have made quite a lot of progress even wissout zere help. Beryl! Are you zere?” Gelimer called. Somewhere in the dark of the lab, a set of blue eyes opened and a young woman walked into the light wearing a black a white battle suit and armor. Her hair was cut short, offset by the ponytail hair hanging at the back, thick blue circuits on her cheeks rose to below her eyes with a modern angled scythe strapped to her back.

“Yes, I am here.” She answered in a monotone, slightly metallic sounding voice.

“Oh teer, zees vill not do: your voice madulator ees out of alignment again and your personality program ees not booting up. I vill attend to it once you haf escorted zees newest recruit to his bay.” Gelimer announced, grabbing his own forearm and twisting it off before plugging it in to a dock of sorts where data began streaming across screens.

“Yes commander Gelimer.” She said, taking Suu’s arm with a surprisingly hard grip and leading him down a dark hallway.

“What are you?” Suu asked, looking around them and seeing a few suspension tanks glowing a discomforting blood red color.

“I am serial number 29573, model name Beryl, a cyborg created by commander Gelimer, Leader of the Black Wings.” She said, roughly pushing him into what appeared to be a cell and closing the door hard before walking away.

“Wait! Why am I here?” Suu asked, his only response being that of hearing her footsteps fade into the distance.

“He got you too huh?” a voice asked making Suu look around until he saw what appeared to be a teenager’s body suspended in a tank of red goo with both mechanical and organic body parts floating around him, and his chest opened so that Suu could see his lungs and a partially mechanical heart.

“What happened to you?” Suu asked, wanting to look away from the sight before him, but too enthralled to do so.

“I don’t know. There is very little of me left, I don’t even remember my own name. What I do know is that I’m a test tube, supposed to become his ultimate weapon, a commander to an army of cyborg soldiers and a base for him to create his own indestructible body.” the boy replied, lifting his head and making eye contact.

“Then why was I brought here?” Suu asked, becoming desperate as the information became more and more sinister.

“That thing on the side of your head is so that Gelimer can break you. He wants to find out how to gain full control over a cyborg so that it will do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. The poor bastard can’t learn magic of any kind to gain the same level of command as The Black Mage, so he’ll do it by force. Hundreds have died while he experimented and you are just one of them. Once he finds out how to gain full control, he’ll then use that research on me and create the perfect soldier.” Suu let out defeated breath and hung his head. He knew now that he would never be able to see his sister again, even if being an elf allowed her to live for centuries, he himself would never see her again.

Orchid, Forgive me.

*********************

“WHAT?!” Claudine shouted, uncrossing her arms and taking a more aggressive stance in response to Hilla saying The Black Mage was the one in control of Clytemnestra.

“That can’t be: The Black Mage himself was defeated 18 years ago.” Cygnus stated, her demeanor becoming worried as the reality that something like this could really have happened.

“What was destroyed all those years ago was what remained of his body. His spirit however is much harder to kill. When Project End Game was still in its infancy, The Black Mage instructed me to create a Spirit Anchor, a place where once could gather their life force, memories, and a bit of power for later on a giant underground door. Once this anchor was created, he then told me that if he were ever defeated to go there one year after his defeat.” Hilla held up her hand, summoning a black flame to dance within her palm, remembering when she had actually set up that anchor.

“After that year was over, Arkarium, Magnus and I returned to that underground door and opened it to find Clytemnestra and her knights. Apparently it took an entire year for The Black Mage to gather all of himself to that one spot, and once we opened the door, it allowed him in to take control of her body.” Claudine pinched the bridge of her nose while the soldiers that had gathered around all of them hung their heads.

“You mean to tell me that so many lives were lost for nothing?” Claudine asked, flinching a bit when a still fresh wound ached.

“That you’ll have to find out for yourselves; however, this body that he is using has a major flaw within it. The apparatus that hangs behind her is the source of her power. The Black Mage created Clytemnestra’s Apparatus, putting some of his power in it every day until it housed quite a bit of power, but still far less than the Black Mage commanded. If that apparatus is destroyed, every bit of Black Magic she currently controls will be lost and there would be nothing to keep The Black Mage within her body.” Hilla explained.

“Then, the only things standing in our way are the Chaos beasts.” Cygnus said excitedly when she was abruptly brought down from her high by Hilla’s chuckle.

“That isn’t your only problem. There are still the shadow knights and they are just as powerful as The Empress’s true knights, having all the battle potential as they do, but with the addition of Black Magic at their disposal and their lack of sympathy. You must defeat them first, and then you may have a shot at Clytemnestra herself.” Hilla scolded, trying to tell them that their fight was futile at best. It would only be a matter of time until the World Cannon was working again and then would eradicate them all, having to stop and think: was she actually trying to protect these people? Was she worried over them, when they were the very ones trying to kill her? Her thoughts were interrupted when someone else walked up to her, having heard the last part of her little speech and set a foot on the side of her bed, rocking it slightly as the strong looking man pointed his thumb to himself.

“You have no idea how strong we really are. Back then, we were just trying to use whatever strength we could find. We’ve had 18 years to refine and build that strength, and there’s nothing, and I mean nothing will stand in our way!”

“You don’t get it: They will destroy you if the Choas beasts don’t do that first!” Hilla scolded. The man was about to reply when a loud voice cut them all off to see Dureau standing in the doorway, face bright red and Agies smoldering on his shoulders into the air.

“WHY IS IT THAT SHE WAS KEPT ALIVE?!” he shrieked, grabbing his mace and preparing to attack when Mastema ran in front of him, holding him back with all her strength which still wasn’t enough.

“Dureau stop!”

“NO! SHE AND THE OTHERS ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR…” The air was split by a loud, high pitched crack as Mastema slapped Dureau as hard as she could leaving everyone in stunned silence for a long while as Dureau simply stayed looking away from her.

“You don’t need to avenge them anymore! I thought you’d have moved past this by now.” Mastema reasoned, but was quickly sorry she had laid a hand on him when he turned his livid eyes to her, part of his face having transformed to his full demon state. Grabbing her by the neck, Dureau picked her up and moved her to the side as he walked towards Hilla once more.

“You are just as guilty as Arkarium you painted wench!” Dureau drew back his arm, Agies flaring to life around it as a giant scythe came swinging down, whistling as he swung but stopping when Cygnus stepped into his path, power swelling from her body and calming Dureau’s rage somewhat. Hold up her hand, she then enveloped him with a glow.

“You will not harm Hilla in any way. Doing so would mean your own death. She has surrendered herself to a life of repentance and atonement, and for you to take this into your own hands would be unforgivable.” Cygnus said with a stern tone, matching Dureau’s own intense stare.

“You’re protecting her?!” he seethed, dispelling his scythe.

“I am.” Cygnus replied flatly. Dureau’s rage and confusion only boiled as he was caught between wanting revenge for his family and preserving his own life. Finally, Dureau lowered his head, looking back at Hilla over Cygnus’s shoulder and agreed to the terms provided him, leaving with the others from the room.

“How many of the High Guard remain Claudine?” Cygnus asked.

“There are 600 of my soldiers left, all classes.”

“Rally all of them and meet me at the east end of town. I will go and get the Heroes, The Guardians, and whatever adventurers we have left to mount an attack on Ereve now that we have this new information. Dureau, we could use your strength.” Dureau looked back to Cygnus, still simmering in rage.

“Fine, at least I’ll be able to direct my rage somewhere.” He huffed. Hilla sighed in slight relief when she looked up to see Mastema standing beside her bed, clenching her hand and rubbing her throat.

“Cygnus may have prevented Dureau from doing anything to you, but if you do anything to him, a swear with every last bit of breath that remains in my body that I will kill you.” she hissed, laying her ears back and baring her teeth to her.

“I wouldn’t expect you to do any less Mastema; you are in love with him after all.” Hilla smiled, making Mastema’s cheeks flare bright red before she turned and left the room. Closing her eyes, she breathed a sigh of relief, when a quiet whisper began to surround her, fading in and out of audible range until it startled her with one loud push.

Hilla!” Her eyes remained wide as she looked around, not seeing anyone there but hearing the whisper surrounding her from all sides.

“Who’s there? Show yourself!” She called, summoning a black flame to her hand, but knowing that it probably would do little good since most of her power was gone after her defeat in Azwan.

Do you not recognize the voice of your own master?” the whisper asked making her dispel the flame and swallow hard.

“I’ve done as you commanded: I’ve gotten them to attack Ereve.” Hilla answered to the air, though it held a sense of foreboding.

Yes, but in doing so you revealed my secrets.” The voice hissed as Hilla’s eye became wide a fearful.

“Master, I did what I thought was needed in order to get them to attack all the sooner!”

And a valiant attempt it was. I told you that I would overlook your being captured if you gently pushed them to attack. And you already know the punishment for capture. But you have gone beyond that.

“Master Please! I did what…”

You revealed sensitive information to them! The price for Capture and betrayal are the same, and I have no more use for you.?”

“Master!” Hilla called, trying to conjure some kind of barrier to protect herself when something surrounded her in bright sacred light, making the whisper yelp in pain and fade away while what appeared to be shards of black glass fell to the ground and dissipated all around Hilla’s bed.

“Art though injured Hilla?” Helen called, lowering her hand as the barrier winked out around her.

“You… how did you…”

“Didst thou believe thine ears are the only ones to hear his whispers?” She asked, coming into the room with Olsen right behind her, already holding his dagger with a reverse hold.

“You can hear him?” Hilla asked with surprise.

“I hath been tainted by Black Magic, or hast thou forgotten?” Helen asked, an edge in her voice. Hilla nodded as she thought back to the days when Helen was walking amongst the Black Wings as an annoyingly over confident addition.

“Why haven’t you rid yourself of it yet?”

“I cannot. And for that, 'tis a constant war to ensure I doth not lay-to it, yea at its bidding. Some days 'tis easy, others it is likened unto fighting Hades itself.” Helen replied, looking back to Olsen who put a hand on her shoulder.

“I can remove it for you.” Hilla offered, throwing the covers aside and beginning to stand.

“Thou art still considered a threat against us Hilla, and thou cannot change thy path so easily.” Helen reproached, taking a step back as Olsen moved in front, ready to attack.

“I know you don’t trust me, and I would be lying if I said that I don’t believe you: I have not only been given a second chance by the new goddess Cygnus, but I have also had my life saved by you. My life is forfeit if I don’t live one of atonement, so let me start with you.” Hilla said, almost seeming to beg for a chance to prove she was willing to atone for what she had done in the past.

“Just bare to thy mind, Olsen’s blade is much swifter than thou can imagine.” Helen warned.

“I know.” Hilla said, holding her hand forward as she began the ceremony.

*************************

“…And once we have neutralized the Chaos beasts, I want part of the adventurers led by phantom to surround the Shadow Knights from the west. Mercedes and Luminous will close off their escape to the north with my Knights, and the High Guard pushing through the middle in hopes that we can get to Clytemnestra herself. Are there any other questions?” Cygnus asked, standing atop a large platform while showing a battle plan in mid air while using Phantom’s holographic projectors. When everyone seemed to be shaking their heads and understanding what the plan was, Cygnus held her hands wide as a strange power felt to be sweeping over them.

“I send you off with a blessing of my own. Now, ONWARD TO VOCTORY!” she shouted, the crowd shouting to her in response as each of the mech pilots ran to their mechs and started them up, the battle mages clipping potions to their belts and the Hunters checking their supply of bolts and Arrow Turrets. The Heroes and Guardians checked their weapons and armor, then took the front of the army that had gathered, moving onto a massive transport ship Checky and Abi had built through the 18 peaceful years.

Mercedes was just setting foot onto the loading ramp when she thought she heard something off to the side. She stopped and turned her head to listen closer, but didn’t hear anything at first. As she turned to leave again, she heard the same noise only this time, it sounded weaker.

“Mercedes, are you coming?” Phantom asked

“Hush, don’t you hear that?” She stated, walking towards one of the alleys leading to the back of the town where she had heard the noise coming from. As she got closer, it sounded more like someone whimpering, silently crying in pain.

“Help, someone, anyone… help…” the voice said. Mercedes drew her bowguns, readying for whatever was around the corner. Standing with her back against the wall, taking a breath and holding her guns up before spinning out and taking aim down the alley when she saw what appeared to be a teen sitting against a wall. Her was skin badly burned and some cuts across her face and arms had dried blood all around them. The girl struggled to pick her head up, looking directly at Mercedes with a look of someone near death. For a moment, Mercedes didn’t do anything, studying the features of the girl, looking past her more mature body and recognizing her long lost friends and enemy.

“Orchid! What happened to you?!” She shouted, dropping her guns and rushing to her side, immediately applying a simple healing spell to a wound that looked to be the worst.

“Suu, he’s…”

“Never mind Orchid don’t talk, we’ll get you some help. Someone! Anyone! I need some help over here!” Mercedes called. Orchid felt herself lowered onto a stretcher, the pain coursing through her body making her numb to any new pain that was put on her body. She was only vaguely aware of what was happening to her as she felt herself moved to another soft platform when a dull sting was being spread across her skin.

“Will she be alright?” Mercedes asked, watching as a high level priest began healing some of her major wounds, checking through her body for any internal injuries.

“There’s no way to tell. She’s already so near death that she might not survive the healing.” A nurse said. Mercedes forwarded a message to the others that she would join them as soon as she was sure that Orchid was stable and would survive.

*****************

Monsoon, now calling herself Irena once more boarded the ship, looking around at everyone that had gathered: some of them look nervous while others looked excited at the chance to be included in this decisive battle. As her eyes scanned the crowd, she spotted Hawkeye and pushed her way through the people as fast as she could before clubbing him as hard as she could.

“What are you doing here?! I thought I told you to stay behind for this fight!” Irena shouted, almost sounding as if her voice were cracking. Hawkeye stood once again, wiping his lip before putting an arm around her and pulling her close.

“Listen Irena, I know that you think that you are preventing the inevitable, but my death is getting closer and closer and there is nothing that you can do about it. I want to at least be able to do something worthwhile before my end.” Irena closed her eyes and gripped his shirt as hard as she could,

“But you just might die for sure that way!” she shouted, making the others around her look back to her and realize their own fate that may lie ahead.

“Irena, I told you once; it’s my life, and I want to do one last thing for people to remember me by before my life gives out completely.”

************************

Clytemnestra stepped out onto one of the many balconies on the Ereve Castle, looking to the west with proud anticipation: the World Cannon was almost back online and every last survivor that hadn’t been eradicated was stashed away in that one city. However as she stared off into the distance, the winds that blew her long platinum hair smelled of hot metal and sweat. Narrowing her eyes she activated an Eye of Arrows, amplifying her distance vision allowing her to see the force that was almost to the coast of Ossyria.

“I see: The clouds of war are gathering to the west.” She muttered to herself, grinning and holding her arms wide.

“Then let it rain.”

***************************

“Red unit in position.” Abi called over her com, looking back to the other behind her who nodded their ready.

Blue unit, in position.”

“Black Unit, 5 seconds out.”

“White unit, in position.”

“Green unit, ready.”

“Yellow Unit in place.”

“Sniper Platoon, ready.


“Blue leader, were you able to get the second heavy ready?” Abi asked, making one final systems check before attempting to go out from her hiding place.

I was, but because of its size it’ll be another five minutes before it gets here. The SG-88’s are above us right now though, one for each mech here.” Checky answered, no doubt doing a final systems check himself.

“All units, this is Goddess; make what preparations you need, we begin in 30 seconds.”

This is sniper unit, I have a clear shot on Clytemnestra, do we proceed?

“This is Goddess; negative. She requires a different approach. Concentrate your fire on the Shadow Knights and the Chaos beasts.” A swirl of winds and bursts of mana flared around every single person as spells, abilities and weapons were readied standing ready in anticipation for the word.

“3… 2… 1… GO!” Almost before the word had left Cygnus’ mouth, all the foot soldiers began to move through the courtyard of Ereve, silently creeping through the grass to hear anything that would come at them when a great shadow passed over head.

“What was that?” a ninja asked to Jack, looking around for whatever could have made the shadow.

“Trouble.” Jack replied, clenching his fist when he turned and grabbed the ninja, diving away from where Zakeros came crashing down on them, laughing in a chorus of voices.

“What made you think that you could so easily come here??” he asked, fire already brewing in the throats of four heads.

“YOU KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT!” a battle mage shouted, quickly being detoured when Baroq, Skeleth, and Pink Bean renamed Archen all landed in the courtyard. A dense air began filling the walls, breaking down the soldiers will to fight when Dureau shot through the ranks, slamming into Skeleth hard enough that part of his chest caved under the weight of the hit. That hit alone broke the hold the other three had over the soldiers. Zakeros turned from seeing Skeleth injured, spewing a wall of flames in return, obliterating the few soldiers that were too far forward for Vondra to protect from the flames.

With a sweep of her hand, she, Olsen and the remaining ninja cracked a vial of poison over their weapons, charging the beasts in blurs of color, focusing their attacks on Archen. Matthew and Jack along with Dumia, Patricia, the Battle Mages and Mecha pilots focused their attention on Zekeros.  Dureau drew the attention of Phantom leading the archers, and a few elemental mages against Skeleth. Baroq stood with an almost disappointed look on his face that no one was coming after him when a searing pain grazed his head.

“Don’t worry demon, we haven’t forgotten about you.” Luminous said with a dark grin, he and the Empress Knights charging for him.  Both Mihile and Luminous unleashed a bright attack, slamming Baroq back when he crossed his arms to block it. Hawkeye and Oz both charged after him, first Oz lighting his fur ablaze, followed by Hawkeye hitting him hard in the chest, thunder rolling through the hills for a long time after.

Luminous teleported to the ground running, light blazing on his staff while Mihile and the other knights followed after him. Plumes of flames thundered over their heads from the Blaze Wizards which was caught by Irena and the Wind Archers, using their winds to engulf Baroq in a funnel of flames. Luminous right eye became dark as he reached for his shadow magic, hurling his great sphere of energy into the swirling inferno making Baroq howl in pain. Luminous was about to charge forward when Eckhart appeared before him, stopping him.

“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” He shouted, when Zakeros could be seen flying through the air, colliding with Baroq and igniting both of their skins.

“That is what I wanted you to wait for.” Luminous huffed his thanks as Zakeros kicked off Baroq, clawing and digging his way back to the ones he had been battling. All of his heads slung forward and a wall of flames burst from them, tuning the ground before him into glass. Jack reached back for his pistols, arms glowing bright red as he pulled the triggers making an icy hurricane force wind erupt from them. The two forces met with a loud blast of thunder and steam, dissipating the flames.

Zakeros, hauled his heads back into the air, readying to breathe another wall of fire when large shadows passed over him, making him swallow the fire in his throat, hearing loud metallic crashes behind the wall of steam. Clanks and clicks echoed from the other side making Zakeros turn his heads in wonder, trying to figure out what could be coming. Then, all sound ceased from the other side of the cloud for a brief time until a bank of missiles punched through the cloud and slammed into Zakeros body, hurling him back again. All the Mecha Pilots rolled through the cloud strapped to the SG-88 armor, taking aim as Zakeros once more and firing their cannons as he charged.

Just as Zakeros charged, a sheet of ice raced across the ground followed by Skeleth being thrown through spears of ice that had grown from the ground. Dureau shot into the air high above the Hydra before beating his wings hard and driving the top of his mace into his gut. Black power shot through his decomposing body into the ground where black spires shot up, ripping even more flesh from Skeleth’s body.

Something made the hairs on the back of Dueau’s neck stand on end, leaping out of the way as Genesis Light beams pummeled Skeleth hard, pushing him into the soft earth below. As soon as the light ceased, enormous pillars or violet colored ice charged from the ground, wrapping around Skeleth’s body and holding him down. Dureau looked back to see Helen standing at the entrance of the castle with Hilla crouched beside her.

“You would think that someone with such a high level sacred abilities would be a little more carful where she aims her beams!” one of the elemental mages shouted and she and few other were readying a powerful, multi mage fire spell.

“You would think that someone who just saved your sorry butt would be…”

“Calm thy spirit Hilla, for we are still within the heat of battle.” Helen answered, putting and arm under her to help her to her feet, teleporting away to another location. Phantom took the opportunity given to them by Helen, drawing a card and hurling it forward as a giant knight brought his sword down hard on Skeleth, splitting him in half. Dureau felt something begin to emanate from the body. He began streaking around where all the mages and Phantom were, pulling them to a safe distance when beams of black shot into the air like a mushroom cloud.

“What was that?!” Phantom asked, watching as the cloud grew over the skies and darkened the area to twilight.

“It was evil, that’s all I know what to call it.” Dureau replied. Across the way he could see Luminous battling against Baroq, pummeling him with bolts of light, followed by blades of light, fire, shadows, lightning and winds. Baroq swung his arm through the ground, sweeping a dozen of the Empress’ Knight’s students away. He was bringing his arm down again, when Mihile streaked through the air, bringing his sword down hard and cutting through his thick forearm. Baroq howled, sweeping his remaining good arm at him only to have that one blow off in a blaze of flames by Oz and her students.

Black ooze dropped to the ground in rivers as he stood for a moment to regain his composure when Hawkeye bolted through the front line. His body partially changed into the creature that he was, slamming his fist hard enough into the giant that it sounded like thunder. Baroq tried to correct his fall by beating his wings as hard as he could, but that was soon met by him seeing Luminous falling onto him with a giant black and white sword. It drove through his head and was pushed down to his neck before lopping off his head. Dureau felt the same great evil begin to emanate from Baroq as had Skeleth as soon as he had finished with the move.

“LUMINOUS! GET EVERYONE AWAY FROM…” But by the time Luminous heard him calling, it was too late: Baroq’s body began seeping black something into the air. Luminous slammed the end of his staff down, creating a bubble shield around Baroq’s body, but the evil that was coming from it was more than he could handle. He struggled to keep it within his barrier when it suddenly became easier.

“What… are you… doing?! Get going!” a straining voice said. Without further question, he and those around him ran as fast as they could away. When Luminous turned around to see who it was that had told him to get going, he could see Hilla and Helen both trying to contain the evil that was leaking from his body. In the distance, he could hear the sounds of hard battle going on, seeing the giant SG-88 Mecha fighting against Zekeros. Their giant fists slammed into each head that came to them, batting them away giving the battle mages and Jack the room needed to pummel his body. Then with a hard roll of thunder, two of the Mecha slammed their fists into Zekeros body and sent him flying through the air towards where Helen and Hilla who were still trying to contain and diffuse the power.

Luminous leaned into his run teleporting to where they stood, then teleporting them away just and Zekeros body came crashing down onto Baroq and the power within him erupted forth. Zekeros could be heard howling as beams of black shot through his body, melting his very bones as they shot into the sky. The cloud then doubled as Zekeros own body erupted into a black cloud, darkening the skies to near nighttime.

Archen doubled over for a moment when Olsen and Vondra both crossed his path and split his rotting skin. Olsen’s students hurled huge shuriken at him, slamming into his body with enough force to drive him back. With a look of hatred, his eyes he spread his tiny fat arms wide as most of the wounds on his body quickly healed. A student rushed forward, drawing his kunai as he flashed by only to tumble to a stop, finding that his side was cut open and bleeding badly.

“What happened?!” another student asked when Archen held up his hand towards another one, instantly making him stand to a stiff attention then awkwardly draw his dagger and rush towards the first student.

“INCOMING!” the student yelled, giving the first student enough time to roll out of the way just in time.

“Skeleth, Zekeros and Baroq may have been fools enough to let themselves be defeated for a third time, but I will not be so foolish!” Archen squeaked, throwing his hand towards another group, instantly putting them into a stiff attention position.

“I will survive! I will be the one to ensure that…” in flash of red light, something darted past Archen, splitting his side and spewing his soupy and rotting innards to the ground. Archen looked to his side in surprise, releasing his hold on the students. Flashes of green light speared through his body and exploded on contact with the ground sending him flipping through the sky. A streak of red light flashed over him, forcing him back to the ground with a roll of thunder, when a huge beam of hot violet energy pummeled him from the skies.

Finally, a streak of hot pink shot past his sizzling body and cut him completely through until Lillianne could be seen jumping through the air and bringing her axe down hard. Ice erupted all around, encasing his body just as the energy within him began to erupt, caught in the ice as it expanded.

“That’s just what I would expect from The Guardians.” Vondra said, tending to the wounds of the student who had his attack reflected back at him. Checky walked forward, opening the canopy to his mech as he spun down the SG-88 it was attached to.

“Alright, listen up. We can’t stop here; those of you that are injured or don’t have enough mana to continue, stay just outside the courtyard of the castle. Those of you that aren’t wounded but are low on or have no mana left, please help those that are wounded, rest and replenish your mana. We may need you later. Those of you that are still fine with going on in battle, assemble on me and prepare to move forward.” He called. Their force of soldiers was reduced by a quarter, most of them with minor injuries or out of mana. Cygnus walked through the crowd, touching some of those that refused to have their minor injuries treated and healed them.

“What’s the status Checky?”

“Those of us that you see here are ready to move forward.” Checky announced as Cygnus turned to the group and nodded.

“Regroup and be ready to move out in 1 minute.” She called, as the bustle of preparation surrounded her calmed her nerves, relieved that there were no deaths as of yet. Though that could very well change as they moved on.

**********************

Clytemnestra passed her hand over her mirror and dismissed the image of the battle she had watched going on in the courtyard.

“Master, what shall we do now that the Chaos Beasts have been destroyed?” Irena asked, turning back to the other knights as they came into the room.

“You shall be the next line of defense. Keep them away from the world cannon at all costs. It is almost ready to fire once more.” She commanded as the knights bowed and turned to leave the room. She turned back to the mirror once again, feeling a waiver of her grip on the real Clytemnestra within her mind.

No, you can’t come out yet.” she thought, smiling to herself as she walked to the balcony and watched the soldiers slowly moving forward.
The Guardians L.O. Chapter 21, 1st edit
ALL RIGHTS OF THE MAPLESTORY GAME BELONG TO NEXON AND THE RESPECTIVE COMPANIES. THIS STORY IS PURELY FAN FICTION.

Sorry for taking soooooo long in getting this chapter... I know I've been kinda lax in actaully getting this series done. But I'll try my hardest to keep going. Letting me know you want more and leaving comments helps you know!

Check out the game here: maplestory.nexon.net/Default.a…

This is the Thrid Season of "The Guardians" Saga, A fanfiction. Here is the First Season Beginning

Here is the Second Season Beginning
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The Red Acre
Chapter 1: The Bronze Era

Seam City Low Security Prison 3, West Wing, June 5th, 1869


"We'll Ah have t' say miss. Th'sm mighty fine work yuh done here. Aint no one ever come and brough The Slegehammer in 'ere before!"

The woman laughed to herself, leaning in and pressing an open hand to the table, "All In a days work officer. Now about my payment for bringing him to you?"

"Oh right o' course" the man in uniform responded reaching into his desk and pulling out a large stack of paperwork.

"But firs' we goota take care o' some things here. I'll just have to have yuh sign in 'ere....an 'ere." The officer looked up from the papers after pointing to meet the gaze of a pair of vibrant green eyes, mere inches away from his. It allowed him the view of her in full view of a woman’s body leaning into the table.

A single finger drawn along his jaw line transfixed him, failing to notice the envelope full of more than twice the ammount that was allotted for the bounty slowly being taken behind her back.

"How about we forget the paperwork, hun?" She turned and walked, hips swaying as she made her way with an oversized wallet for a job more than easy enough for her to handle. After all she just had to give the inormation to the right people at that outlaw was caught within the day.

Off in the back end of the cell, through an open door and behind a set steel bars in the dank prison sat a pair of silver eyes that had been watching the entire exchange up at the front desk. He watched her move, how she acted, and wove her way right past all the papers that would have bound her name to the Seam's registry. She had delivered a prisoner it would seem, and all without ever saying a word of who she was, or anything about her. The man in the cell sat transfixed as she walked away, finding himself staring at all she had, and still in desblief that there could be such a snake hidden behind such charming beauty.

Lucas shook his head, and snapped back to reality. He had been sitting in his cell for the past three days of a one year sentence for holding up a bank, thinking over his plan once more, mentally checking off the steps he had taken to get to this point. Although he was beginning to get rather bored since his intended target hadn’t shown up yet. With a satisfied breath, he leaned against the back wall of his cell and closed his eyes, thinking back to the day that Russel had given him a pack that had changed his life forever.  He had taken three years before he could open that pack and understand all that was inside. But upon gaining an understanding of the material, he wasn’t disappointed by what he had found when he finally did see the contents of what was actually within. Opening his eyes, he lazily looked over to a Time Face hung on the wall, seeing that it was now 10 minutes past 7pm.

And just at that moment a man was hauled in and thrown into the cell to the right of Lucas, a man with one arm missing and in place a few gears and pistons where a much larger devise must have been removed.

"Got'cha now slegehammer! You'll be put tuh trai'ul in th' mornin'. Sit on that 'cha outlaw." The guard looked at a large metal contration in his hand before atempting to toss it over his shoulder, only to find the ask impossible as he slowly dragged the arm devise away,

"To th' stoarge room with this, you aint never gonna see it again!"

”Hopefully he heard that” Lucas thought, knowing who else was in this prison. Lucas took invetory of the men in the cell around him, exacly who he had already planned to have placed here.

Rut Johnson, a petty thief with an anger management issue who had apparently, more than a handful of times, ended his thievery with the charge of murder. Lucas had laid a false report he had witnessed some months ago of a man that looked exactly like him, that had stolen a prized artifact from a wealthy Seam official and where he would likely be hiding. The information on him was easy enough to find, as other, gander thieves of the city knew of his inconsistencies, and were more than willing to collaborate to get a thief off the street who was giving others a bad name with his misuse of talents.

Across and to the left down the hall was James Wildfield. A classic outlaw, with a skewed sense of justice that had a thing for getting just a bit too drunk and in that would also get reckless. Another candidate who when pushed, would usually go over the top. Both of these two had been called insane more than once, and Lucas was even warned not to mess with Wildfield, a temper said to be insatiable.

Then there was the prize of the plan set, the only other person in this prison that knew of what was in mind. None other than a man know by the name The Cardinal, a poker mogul of the underground that had ears within Seam controlled regions. He spoke daily with thieves, murderers, outlaws, and drunken deadbeats that wandered their way into his hidden bar. Considered unbeatable at the game, it hadnt't been too difficult to break though his poker facade and get him here. After all, to the Cardinal, Lucas knew money talks. Labeled as a thief with no proof, a ghost with no name, accused of running an underground empire with no other than himself, and thrown in jail more times than he could probably count, there was no better person for this job.

"Ah still dont believe ya' dragged me out here," the voice of the Cardinal came in low across the steel bars seperating ear and mouth.

"You know what they say about thievery, you'll get locked up eventually." Lucas said back calmly, a smirk breaking his lips as he spoke. The Cardinal flashed a smile back.

"But you wouln't believe what they were paying me to do so. They even told me that the intended buyer had quite the poker face." Lucas laugh a little to himself, leaning back against the wall a smirk still plasered on his face as his hat fell over his eyes.

"Damn locks are still as solid as they ever been" The Cardinal said giving the bars a light shake, before pulling two nedles out of his boot. Wihin seconds the door was open, and he slipped out off down the hall. Lucas now only had to wait for the rest of the operation to let itself commence, that is if he could trust this underground mogul. But even through his powerful mind of poker, there was an angle of politics and money that could speak to him.

If The Cardinal had been paying close attention, like Lucas knew he would be, then the feelings, relationships, habits, and transtion time between shifts, would leave a mere twenty minutes until he arrives back at the cell doors. Just enough time for the last of the guard shifts to walk though and make a final check on all locks for the night, before transitioning to the night security.

“So they call you the Slegehammer…”

“Keep tuh ya own damn bidnus boy.” Slegemhammer shot from the corner of his cell. Lucas only smiled and shook his head.

“Ah, but I have something worth your time, and your ear, but if youre not the man im looking for then i guess theres no sensein wasting my breath," Lucas resonded. Slegehammer gave a strern look up from the ground, and Lucas gave a chuckle in response to that,

"A littel spite goes a long way it seems. In any case, I'm here for a much better reason that your averge outlaw, specifically for certain people. And if you happen to be Slegehammer, then I have proposition for you.” Lucas said from under his hat brim.

“We got ah long time to wait 'ere in this cell. But you sound as though you meant f'er y'erself to be caught?” Sledgehammer asked as his voice and face rose to face Lucas.

“That I did." Lucas exclamed tipping his hat up and leaning towards the cell Slegehammer was sitting in.

"It took a lot of bogus reports though, and I had to get in a bit of touble myself. But the real trouble was, getting your report mailed to the correct people to make sure I drew you out of hiding, was quite a feat I must say.” Sledgehammer’s face went red as he stood and grasped the bar with his one arm, knuckles blistering to white as he spoke,

“Ya mean t' tell me, you got me all locked up in 'ere!” Lucas held his hands up, as if a gun were pointed at his face and calmly replying,

“Shush not so loud! And yes, I did. But to be honest with you, you are one of the hardest men to find in the first place. And I think that’s great that the resistence can hide a man of your talents, but to be honest with you, you're wasting your time with them.” Slegehammer sat on the ground, brow still cross,

"They gave me a home, a place to live, food, and a purpose. Who are you to say I'm weasting my time!" He pointed at Lucas at the end of his statement, expecting a response. Lucas kept his gaze steady on Slegehammer, not moving an inch from the center of his face. A blank stare, as he read this growing legend of a man’s features.

"I can see you for what the resistence can't see you for. They use you as a tool, a hired muscle for odd jobs. You can lead them, but not without instruction. A plan is always set before you, the outcome static. Get in, get out with the target, a blank propsition with someone of your talents. What I propose to you is something far beyond what any resistance member could hope to achieve, something with purpose, and a goal. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life chasing every item and dollor you make, or would you rather step to the top and be part of your own, grander destiny?" Their eyes now met, through a series of bars and started at each other both assessing if the words spoken were meant to be true or just another lunatic in the cell next to him.

"At this very moment," Lucas began again, "My associate is aquiring some useful tools to lend us an escape. But before he gets back, we need to reach an understanding." Lucas shot his hand through the bars, into the cell where Slegehammer sat, finger exstended, eyes still piercing though his very soul. Slegehammer took a look at the outstretched hand, then back to the piercing gaze before finally shooting a glance back while indignantly replying.

"Yuh get me out'ah 'ere, then we'll talk." Lucas leaned back against the wall of the cell, placed his arms across his stomach and interlocked his fingers, then he smiled.
"Mah real name's Jason" a voice came from Lucas' right.

"Pleasure to meet'cha." A few moments later the arsdown the hall slid open. Lucas took a peek at the Time Face on the wall to see the time was now exactly thirty minutes past seven p.m.
“The wardens shift should now be transitioning to the night watch, so the main office will be clear for the next five minutes while the other comes in.” Time Ticked by slowly, and not a thing happened. Lucas' mind went to work examing the building plans. Three doorways separated the keys of the cell, the first of which was locked, behind a large steel door. Across the hall from this was a patrol workroom, of which one was to be stationed at all the times, a simple pickpocket and silent feet could easily aquire the key. A quick turn, wait thirty seconds for the regualar patrol of the first hallway to clear out behind the corner towards the east wing prison block.

Through the door, close it behind oneself and it would automatically lock. The other two were easier and would just require cover and slient feet. The second door would lead to the east wing holding cells, guarded by steam operated heavy lift doors. There were only used for those would spend thier next few lifetimes locked away. Highly wanted criminals in their first few stages would be moved around frequently until their trials were over. The Alarm would immediately sound, but so far the prison had been dead quiet. The only possibilities were that he had been caught or option two, had gone back on their deal. Lucas stewed the possibilies in his mind, pinching his lowerlip between his fingers and staring blankly at the ground.

The five minnutes passed, and the new patrol officer took his seat outside the doorway, the window had been missed. Luicas had been betrayed. He had to laugh at himself to try and trust a man of that calibur to take his own life into account. But he was sure he had read him, he was sure he had read his every move. There was no hiding his thought process, the money Lucas had won in a poker tournament held in that underground bar, meant the owner paying out the money was more than happy to not give it away but to accept a simple job instead. The reasoning added up, his face seemed to tell the story, but then again the reality of the situation Lucas assumed must have been far different.

"Ye seem like yer' in a bit of a bahnd." Jason’s voice broke Lucas out of his cyclical thinking. Lucas looked away, at the cell where The Cardinal had sat, now empty, door closed as if no one had ever been there in the first place. A small glint on the door, however would prove strange in Lucas' vision.

"I've recently had to make an alteration to the plan. How well are you, as is, at apprehending a target." Lucas whispered back ensuring the new guard did not hear his words, while continuing to stare at the shimmering object in the dimlight positioned just so in his view.

"I'd say ah can getth' job done" Jason said as he cocked his head up and pulled his arm behind his head to rest against the cell wall. Lucas made his way to the bars of his cell, to find the door next to him held a key, placed securly into the lock of the door. The shimmering of its bronze constructioning highlighted in this instance, and Lucas couldn't help but smile.

“Its the key to the cell, not the one needed but it would have to do.” With a swift action of his hand, the key was inplace at his own cell door, which creeped open, oiled hinges mistakenly hiding all noise. Lucas stood in front of Jason's cell, holding the key up for him to see and plastering a large smile on his face,

“I don't know how he did it, but he had set me up without ever have to backtrack. Genius. Do we have an understanding now? As I have said before, should you be the man I'm looking for them I have a mighty fine proposition for your consideration." Jason stood walking towards the bars, his stoneface cracking a large smile as he stuffed his callused, work-ridden hand though the bars,

"Partner." Lucas made his way to the other men's cells, unlokcing them and giving them some quick instruction on where they needed to go.

"Both of you, if you want to get out alive you will listen and followeverydirection I say."

"Ah've done some escapin' from prison in mah time boy. I don't see whatchu have t' offer me." Lucas took a breath before calming himself and piercing though both men with his silver eyes, a hint of deadly intent laiden within them,

"Rut Johnson, you are a pertty thief, who's had his fair share of missedevours. Never once have you escaped a prison with the help of another with the upper hand. Wildfield, count yourself lucky up until this point. Your escape at Dead Creek, was staged by the Seam themselves. Your greatest accomplishment, a fluke set by the Seam to ensure they could prove to its citzen the dangers of being an outlaw, wh’ever they so desired to capture you. Both of you have been puppets in thier operations, falling victim to their hands. Now I know the one who sets these traps, a viscious shadow with a red mask, and I can ensure both of you that if you want to get back at who placed you here today all the information you will ever need is exactly where I am about to tell you. So go ahead and shame me off if you want to, and live the rest of your lives shattered and alone, on the run, for no reason other than to serve thier worthless intent."

An aura of silence hung in the air, the two outlaws taking in what they had just heard, taking a slow look at one another before looking back at Lucas. Lucas began explaining to them exactly what they had to do,

"Youll first exit though this door, There will be one gurad on duty, do what you will. He will have the key to a set of steel doors located down the hall. Now usually these keys would be in a differnt place, but at this time of night and at..." Lucas looked at his hand, which a few lines of random assortments of numbers and letters laid,

"…shift three that guard will be here beyond this door. Get into that room, and pull the lever marked, ‘Consistence Test’. This will send the prison into extreme lockdown mode, which coveiently opens all cell doors. All you have to do is after thirty seconds flip the switch back, and the cell doors will reclose and the rest of the doros will open. To your right you will find another door, in that room will be everything I told you earlier. However that room will not open, unless you pull that lever twice first."

The two men eyed each other up and down, unsure of weather to trust before shaking hands and exiting the door one after the other. A few beating sounds later, and there was silence.

"Ya didn' tell me them associates you had was those two fools." Lucas unlocked the door while explaining,

"As I said, plans changed and I needed a diversion so we can get to the storage room and get you back in one piece."

"We can forget abou' that, fer now. Do ya even know where we are righ' now?"

"Trust me on this Jason, we'll make it without a doubt." Only a minute later the alarm went off, and the gas powered torches of the room dimmed as the boilers supplying the power were shifted to standby, thus meaning the entire complex was now secure. However a quick refresh of the system, when it was resotred and all the doors would open, locks now disabled for a new reset key to be plugged in.

“We'll have about one minute before what I told them falls apart: Just like a couple desperate thieves to believe a haox. That should be enough time for Jason to get us out of here. A classic prison break, I quite like the idea.” He smiled to himself.

"Stop." Lucas whispered holding out his hand, as a flurry of soldiers ran by the dorway they were just about to walk though. Jason ran into his hand, just able to stop his movement before he would run into the door. He tried to move after hearing the soldier’s footsteps disappear, before Lucas again did the same thing. Lucas nodded his head a few more soliders ran by, smiling at Jason,

"Something I noticed about this place, is there is always a backup squad running behind the main force. They prepare for ambushes and the like." A few more steps later and they entered a door which held a warehouse, stacked high with machinery, odds and ends people had brought in with them, only to be ruturned upon leaving, which foremost had surprisingly become today.

However among to the pandamonium of a massive scale prison break, no guard could be spared for this safe house; all hands had to move to the east wing to ensure no one left the main corridors of the building, before the steam bound doors could be reset.

Lucas let his words trail behind Jason's back as he walked though the storage room, loading himself up with the things he found interesting. A weapon here, a knife there, and a holster over there,

"We'll have about five minutes in here, search for your missing piece and tell me when you do, we don't have lot of time to waste!"  Lucas went to work, after all a safehouse such as this store paperwork, and documents and he stuffed his pockets full with a few that laid strem and coiled up in one corner of the warehouse before jasons voice rang out.

"Awlrigh' ah got it, why don'cha come on over here and lemme show ya a littel somethin'. Sledgehammer walked over to the back wall, putting his hand on the stones for a moment. Reaching up through a small window, he felt how thick the wall was, then took a step back.

Lucas smiled, knowing the power of this man stored within his large metal arm. Sledgehammer twisted the hand of his metal arm one way, then the other and held it up as a large weight slid from his wrist to his elbow. Cogs and springs inside clicked and whined as the weight slid into place. He then raised it to shoulder level and drew it back with is fore finger and middle fingers pointed forward as more gears inside wound down while steam hissed and built up inside storage tanks. He then pulled his fingers in to form a fist making his arm click loudly and stepped forward. Steam howled from his arm as the arm drove forward and broke a large hole through the wall.

“And that raht there is wha they cawl me Sledgehammer.” He smiled, the remaining steam in his arm hissing from the check valve. Lucas pulled his lips to the side in a grin before he and Sledgehammer ran out the hole into a nearby ally. The explosion of an entire wall falling down of course would cause some distracting attention, but at this moment in time the entire prison was in complete chaos, and one large explosion would add to the hum of madness. A quick hop over a fence, and the sirens of the compound behind them soon faded, as they snaked thier way though coutless streets. Lucas’ alternative plan was coming along, when suddenly he felt the warm bronze of Sledgehammer’s hand grab him and pull him into another alley way, hiding behind a crate.


“Is, something wrong. I though we had an agreement of trust between us?” but Jason put a finger to his lips and pointed up, revealing to him a man standing atop a building. Lucas looked around for a moment, and then looked closer at the man, noticing that he didn’t have a uniform of any kind, perched like a panther in the night.

“It’s fine, come on!” he hissed, walking out into the alley once more until Lucas was at his planned rendezvous point.

The panther of the rooftops, with his only visible characterisitc, a blood red mask, sat watching their every move He pushing aside his mask just enough for his lips to grasp the cigarette and light it, blowing a thin cloud into the air when he looked up and saw a figure in the distance dressed in a black poncho.

“You sonuva bitch.” He said in a low growl, taking another drag on his cigarette before dropping it to the ground and twisting his foot on it to put it out. Picking it up once again, the breeze blowing away the ash that had remained behind as he turned and left, ready to see what the General would say about this.

*********************

“W'hat were ya thinkin' ya incompentent no good, load of crap! You had Sledgehammer in yer grasp, and ya' let him jus' up and slip on by?" the general drilled the soldier standing before him, a private in charge over the jail.

“Ah'am sorry sir.”

“Ye’ad better be! Ye let a known criminal ge' away. And t' add t' th' embarrassment t' The Seam, ah heard even more done left, with one in particular. W'hat was his name anywa'?” the general asked, furiously.

“There wus quite a few, sir... Rut Johnson, 'nd James Wildfiled for one, we also had Th' Cardinal, but he seemed to slip away unnoticed.” The General pulled his arms tighter behind him and walked to the window behind his desk.

“Ya let all them get away too! Do y'know what it means letting Wildfield go? Red'll have mah head over this'n!” The General bellowed, turning back to the soldier to see him sweating and swallowing hard.

“Who was th' one that reported ‘Sledgehammer’ to ya?” the General asked.

“That fox don't give her name sir.” The man said licking his lips at the sweet memory that had almost been. The general began to shake with rage, slamming his fists on his desk.

"Was'is woman of Aurburn hair and green ah'es?" The general asked, to which the soldier only responded 'yes' as if melting. The general slapped the side of the soldiers face, who stammered back into reality,

“ah'm three months out o' th' academy sir.” The General sighed, and stood back up, nodding to himself.

“Ah see. This'ere will not go unnoticed, you'll be transferred immediatly t' a new location tomarrah at sunrise. Pack up yuh things.” For a long while, there was a thick silence that hung in the air when the General turned back to him.

“Along with all that you'll be docked t'ree weeks pay, and you shall not be allowed to rank up f'r an additional year.”

“Sir, thank'ya Sir!” the Private said, saluting by clicking his heals together and putting his fist across his chest, being dismissed by the General leaving him alone for a moment when a gruff laugh sounded behind him.

“Getting soft in your old age are ya general.” The General huffed and turned back to see Red Mask leaning against the wall.

“What do you want? Have you found them?” Red Mask lit up a cigarette, taking a long drag and blowing the cloud into the air, but the masked man only laughed.

“Wey'ol?” The General asked, but still getting no response until a soldier walked in with a folder under his arm and saluted.

“Yes'm Lieutenant, w'hat is it?” The general asked, turning back to the soldier and sitting heavily in his chair.

“Ah have a repost from ah'r technicians regardin' him.” The news seemed to lighten his mood and the General sat up, holding out his hand for the folder in the Lieutenant’s hand.

“Oh? And how all that be comin’?”

“They been sayin' f'r th' most parts that o' what we have found, they have been able to place some tougether, especially th' brain. However… there been s'm snags.” The General lifted his eyebrow opening the folder and finding a diagram of a mechanical brain on the left and a human brain on the right.

“W'hat seems to be th' prob'm?” the General asked, looking over the documents in the folder.

His brain done close to that o' humans, especially the connections in th' lef' and righ' sides, as shown here.” The Lieutenant walked to the desk and pointed to a part of the human brain labeled “corpus callosum”.

“Th's part here, made up of a dozen 'r so highly polished brass cogs with varyin' gold leaf designs etched into th' surface o' it. However, from w'hat we can see there be about three o' them missing. Them mechanics and scientists we got done tried to replicate them exact size, but w'thou' the original, this brain wo'n work.”

“There any oth'ah missing parts that I shoul' know about?”

“Yessir, but at the moment these be the one pieces we need. Withou' th' brain, it's possible that he wo'n never revive.” The General wiped his lower face and chin with his hand, looking again at the folder then handing it back to the Lieutenant.

“Sketch ou' th' cog and pass copies. Ah want all them found” The General stated, signing the papers in front of him and filling out a special order document to be sent to the the various Seam faction headqurters around the continent. The Lieutenant saluted and left the room.

“Weyol Red, it looks li'e you’ll be of some use after…” but as the General turned to face Red Mask, he found that he was already gone. The only thing that hung in the air was the musty smell of his cigarettes, and a single note.

“Do not fail me again
~Red”


The general mumbled, sitting down once again and returning to his report he needed to finish on Sledgehammer and the rest of his worthless staffs mistakes paperwork.
Red Acre: Chapter 1: The Bronze Era
This is a Collab by :iconeatmydust64: EatMyDust64 and :iconyoshumari: Yoshumari

Prologue 1: History
Prologue 3: Hammer Heart
Prologue 4: The Bronze Goddess
Prologue 5: Miss Twilight
Prologue 6: The Wolf

The Adventure Begins!
Red Acre Chapter 1: The Bronze Era
Red Acre: Chapter 2: Declaring War
Chapter 3: COMING SOON!
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Prologue 4: The Bronze Goddess

May 10th, 1859


“Ahm Tellin’ ya James, ah ain’t movin’ fer no big cumpnay jus’ ‘cause they wan’ whut ah have.” The brawny gentleman sat on the edge of a steam wagon bed, crossing his arms over his chest while his friend sat atop the driver’s seat.

“Bart, these Sea, folk ain’t whuns you can take own all by yerself. An’ they will take whut they want, when they want. Ain’t no fahtin’ it.” James replied, jumping down off the bench and walking to stand before his friend.

“Ah whuz born on this here land, and ah will dah on this here land; aint no one gunna tell me diff’rent.” James pushed toward Bart and put a finger up to his mouth.

‘”Shhh, dun say that too loud. They hear awl sort of things. You ‘member Ol’man digger on th’ utha sahd uh mah farm?”

“Whut ‘bout him?”

“He whuz talkin’ th’ same as you, an’ thaht night, him, his wahf and his kids all burned to death in his house. Th’ next day, them Seam folk wrecked his house and took ov’r the land.” James whispered.

“They’ve been comin’ ahfter mah property fer munts; An’ each tahm I tell ‘em no. And look where ah am now.” Bart laughed, only to watch his friend hang his head.

“Don’ tell me you gave in dija?” Bart asked with a worried tone.

“Ah had to Bart; they comin’ fer my wahf an’ son if ah didn’ go along with it.” James replied in shame. Bart sighed heavily and put an understanding hand on his shoulder.

“You do whucha need to do an’ keep yer famly safe, even if it means loosin’ yer farm. Where you gunna go?” Bart asked easily, trying not to sound so harsh since the man was obviously already crushed.

“Abby has som family up north. Folks say th’ Seam hasn’t gott’n up there yet. Abby and Mark are already head’n up on th’ train, and ahm jus’ gettin’ th’ last of our things.” James answered, motioning to the one or two crates in the back of the steam truck. Bart nodded and extended his hand, gripping his friend’s hand firmly and clapping his shoulder.

“Awlright. Be carful ya hear?” Bart laughed as James nodded, jumping up to the driver’s seat and making the steel contraption heave into motion, watched by Bartholomew Abaline for miles until he was too far away to see.

**************

The sounds of steel hammers on anvils rang far down the street, drawing a young girl towards them, calling her as if it were some long lost part of her until she stood just outside the mechanic’s shop, watching as the large man inside carried glowing hot rivets or banged a pieces of stubborn steel into submission. Her large green eyes took in everything the man did with wonder and adoration, fidgeting from one foot to the other as if fighting her want to run inside and begin tinkering.

“Pomona, mah favorite little apprentice! I didn’ see you there, getchor little butt ov’r here and help me with this boiler.” The man shouted with a large smile. Pomona smiled large as she bolted inside, picking up a hammer a little too big for her, nearly losing her balance before clambering on top of the boiler, straddling it like a horse.

“Now, I’m gunna grab this here rivet, an’ when ah put it in the hole, I wan’ yuh to bang that thing in with awl you got in them arms a’yers, yah hear?” the mechanic said, his deep bellowing voice ringing over the sound of the machinery inside. Pomona nodded her head eagerly as ‘Iron Lightning’ clamped the metal together and walked over to the furnace, reaching into the coals with a pair of tongs. The master mechanist had gotten his name from the ringing of his hammer that cast out all over town. With a swing so powerful most likened it to the crack of lightning in a thunderous sky, he could mold the marvelous creations out of metal. Skills so renowned they could have been said to be far ahead of their time. But among that, he held a secret soft spot for the far younger generation.

“Yah ready?!” Iron called; Pomona held the hammer over her head and nodded as Iron grabbed the rivet out of the coals and ran over to the metal, holding it just inside the hole as Pomona brought the hammer down as hard as she could.

“Again!” Iron shouted, and again Pomona swung, driving the rivet further in.

“Again!” Iron shouted, laughing to himself as he watch Pomona swing with all she had in her tiny arms, driving the rivet into place. The young girl’s arms, although strong, had not yet mastered the art beating metal with a hammer, and thus the hammer bounced to the side every so often, softening her blows until the rivet was finally in the correct shape.

“That’ah girl!” he laughed, holding his hand up with Pomona met with her own tiny hand.

"Uncah Iron, do ya need any more help?” Pomona asked innocently. Being only 6 years old meant that she could usually worm her way into anyone’s life easily, and had made herself comfortable in ‘Iron Lightning’s’ mechanic shop.

“Ah could use th’ help, buht if yer gunna be here, we gotta get you sum special stuff tuh keep you safe.” Iron called, beckoning her to the side of the shop where a tiny leather apron and equally small leather gloves hung on the wall. Pomona could only jump and squeal in joy when she saw her new, ‘official’ clothes of the trade.

“Pomona, there ya are, you little tinker you.” Bart called as he walked into the machine shop and scooped her up in his arms.
“Mr. Abaline, how are yah doin’ this fahne afternoon?” Iron called with a chortle.

“Jus’ swell. Is mah daughter givin’ you trouble again?”

“Naw, she been a big help ‘round here. She ev’n help me put a rivet in jus’ ‘fore you got here.”  Iron smiled while Bart tickled his daughter. Once their goodbyes were said for the day, Bart and Pomona walked back to their simple farm where Kayla, Pomona’s mother, was busy hanging out the laundry, her long reddish brown hair flowing in the wind that gathered the clothes and fluttered them dry.

“Mama mama!” Pomona called, running to her and clamping her arms around Kayla’s leg in a warm greeting, soon finding herself being drawn into her mother’s embrace.

“Ahnd how is my little one today?” Kayla asked, licking her thumb and wiping a smudge of dirt from Pomona’s face.

“Where you at th’ Machine shop again?” she asked with a laugh. The happy family lived just outside of town in Haventate, farming a small collection of animals, and a vast 200 acre wheat field, one of many that dotted the countryside. Pomona, unlike most girls her age, took an interest in the steam powered machinery that filled the skies with great clouds of white or black, huffing and chuffing from day to day hauling loads or simply taking people from one place to another.

To her, dolls were something that you couldn’t do much with since you always had to be careful so as not to break them or tear the pretty dresses they were in. Machinary on the other hand was something that you could play with hard and not have to worry about it breaking or tearing. You could even build something, tear it apart and build something completely different with the same steel, bronze and gears that filled each machine. And only at the young age of 6 she had already taken half of their main house broiler apart, on several occasions; a practice the rest of the family was usually less than pleased about.

Though the Abaline’s didn’t have much, they were never lacking for anything, even at Christmas when Pomona would dance around the table just waiting to get her first taste of her mother’s signature cornberry pie.

“Ah say Kayla, yah sure done outdone yerself this year.” Bart smiled, putting his hand on her waist and gently kissing the side of her head. Pomona watched with almost eager anticipation: even at her young age, she felt that the relationship that her father and mother had with each other was the one that she wanted when she became old enough.

“You say that ev’ry year.” Kayla retorted.

“I wouldn’ say it if it ain’t true.” Bart smiled, hugging Kayla close and rocking side to side with a slow yet meaningful motions.

“If yer gunna be wantn’ any food, I suggest you let me go.” She laughed, though with a serious tone.

“Yes ma’am.” Bart answered, saluting her and quickly taking a seat at the table. After dinner, Pomona relished her bubble bath, and then sat wide eyed in her bed as Bart would read her fairy tales lulling her to sleep with his gentle voice. But this night was not to be kind, for jus as she was drifting off to her dreams, loud clanking sounds could be heard hissing and stomping their way up to the house, waking Pomona from her sleep in excited anticipation: it was the one sound that she always loved hearing and was eager to see what machine was making that sound until a hard knock sounded at the door. Pomona lay still as she heard her father answer the door.

“Mr. Abaline?” a voice asked: it sounded cold and heartless to her as she heard her mother’s lighter footsteps walking from their room to meet Bart at the door.

“Yeah, that’s me, whut d’ya need?” Bart asked, still slightly asleep.

“I am Captain James Heil Fisher of The Seam. I’ve come to offer you up something concerning your land. Should you accept, you will be placed as the head in our agricultural development.” The man said, but the tone of this voice hid something, something that Pomona just wasn’t comfortable with. Not to mention that every time that one of those god awful Seam soldiers came to their door, they would always find a reason to beat up her daddy. Fear gripped the young girl's heart as she slipped out of her bed, quietly pulling loose the boards of her floor beneath the house where she would hide, feeling the safest hidden from reality under the floor. But something in the air made this visit in the dead of night different; there were many more lights in front of their house, much more powerful than a simple lantern. She managed to find a hole between logs under the house and peaked out, becoming first excited then mortified when she recognized the multitude of machines as Guillotine Gears; The Seam’s upgraded versions of the long outdated Warcogs. These new monsters not only superior in defensive plating but much more brutal and even more heavily armed.

“Ah told ya’ll so many times No! I ain’t givin’ up mah land. Especially not to no fancy schamcy stuck up lahk you.” Bart said. Pomona wanted to say something to quell her father’s anger, but words of the past forced her to keep her mouth shut. It had been explained that Seam took things that were valuable, and her parents had treasured her as the most valuable thing they had, always skipping over the fact that they would only want her extreme intelligence for all things machine related. Thus she had been told never to speak to the soldiers that came knocking.

“Very well then. Sergeant; bring them out of the house.” The Captain commanded as heavy footsteps on the front porch could be heard above her dragging her parents out of the house.

“Ah understand that you have a younngin'. And a smart one at that.” Fisher smiled, taking out his large pistol and forcing Kayla to look at him with it. Kayla simply gritted her teeth in response.

“Search the house. Find tha girl.” Fisher commanded, pointing to another of his men who waved a few more with him. For what seemed like an hour, Pomona could hear their heavy boots clomping all over the floor, searching every room and every part of the house for her until they finally exited. The place in the floorboards had been set up months ago, and even Pomona had made changes to the hiding place to ensure she could not be found.

“Well?” Fisher asked.

“If she were here, she ain't no more.” The soldier said, shifting the weight of the steam rifle slung around his shoulders.

“I see. Pity; we coulda finished this the easy way too.” Fisher smiled, turning to Pomona's parents and holding up his pistol to Kayla’s head and pulling the trigger. The gunshot rang through Pomona’s ears for eternity, instantly grabbing at her searing lips so as not to scream as she watched her mother drop to the ground in a lifeless pile, caught by Bart before she hit the ground. He looked back to Fisher, the sadness in his eyes boiling as he was about to explode into a fury against Fisher.

"Yer dead ya hear...", Fisher pulled the trigger again sending another lead envoy through his head and dropping him to the ground beside Kayla. Pomona's grip on her emotions lost all control and she screamed before she knew what she was doing, instantly making the Guillotine’s turn to the house and march towards it, their long, spider-like legs jamming into the ground with each step. Pomona tried to get away as fast as she could, but the machines tore through the house faster than she could move, training their enormous cannons on her and freezing her in mid crawl after a piece of wood had cut the bottom of her foot.

“Oh, My… you were here after all.” Fisher chuckled, walking up to her amid the rubble and splinters of her house, standing over her so his large shadow fell over her.

“Sir, pardon my says so, but she ju' a child. Couldn't be brought back to headquarters like that. Reports from the town done say that she has been learning mechanics from the local machinist Mack Trop, but them locals have likened him to, ‘Iron Lightning'." Fisher raised an eyebrow and paused for a moment, turning to the soldier that had spoken.

“She is the daughter of the very ones we w're sent to deal with. Ah doubt that she, the spawn of that rabble, would be any different. The Seam shall not tolerate defiance, even potential defiance.” Fisher growled, turning back to the girl and cocking back the hammer as steam from the small reserve boiler puffed into the cylinder, ready to fire. Pomona closed her eyes, waiting for the shot to end her small life and jumped when she heard the gun go off, only to open her eyes and see Fisher with his hand held into the air by a man with a dark cloak.

Pomona didn’t wait to find out why it was that man had stopped Fisher, or to find out who he was but amidst the pain of her cut foot she ran as fast as her little legs to carry her towards Iron Lightning’s shop, the only other place she that she had left to call home. She hadn’t gotten far when another man in a black poncho and red mask appeared before her, knocking her to the ground.

“Now where are you headed young lady? Don’t you know that it isn’t safe out here at night?” The man asked, reaching under his poncho for his pistol and holding the brass barrel to her forehead.

Pomona was too petrified to do anything accept stare up at the large gun the man held, her breathing shallow and quick while shallow tears streamed down her face.

“Mama…”

“Don’t worry little one, you’ll see your mama soon enough.” The man growled until the first man that had stopped fisher leapt over her and tackled the second to the ground. A fist fight then erupted, the original black cloaked figure taking a small beating but managing to keep the Red-faced adversary at bay.

"Go, now!" the original savior of Pomona's life shouted before taken a large swing to his face, and narrowly recovering to swat a pistol out of his opponents hand. Pomona again began running for Iron’s shop, feeling a presence catching her from behind until she heard thick fabric tackle the presence behind her.

She didn’t look back, she didn’t even stop at Iron’s shop to hide. She just pushed her small body as far as the main road headed for Seam City. She figured that if she could hide in a place as big as Seam City, then they would never find her as easily. Luckily she managed to hitch a ride with a sympathetic farmer headed to the city when she was too tired to move; she was a fugitive of The Seam now, even when she had done nothing wrong besides be the daughter of the people that didn’t want to join their ranks. So she did the only thing that she knew to do; she ran.

********************

“I did told you Captain that I wanted them dealt with.” The general said, casually setting down the report on his desk and taking the fine cigar from between his lips.

“Ah understand sir, but we encountered some, unexpected resistance.”

“Is that an excuse to mah face Captian?” the General growled.

“Nah it ain't General. He’s done told the truth.” Another voice said as the curtain that was blowing in from the window returned to its resting position and revealed Red Mask standing just out of the light.

“Don't you come tellin' me you failed on this too?”

“Come now General. Failed is such a harsh word; Postponed is more appropriate. And you needn’t worry your graying head over the girl; she will be found in time, trust me.” Red Mask said with a cruise in his voice, walking over to the desk and lighting a cigarette, then taking a long drag before grinding the red hot embers into the surface of the General’s desk.

“I been questioning your skills Red.” The General said as Red Mask stepped to the window and looked back to him.

“Mind your tone General, or I may have to show you my aptitude, personally.” The General frowned when he heard the smile in Red’s voice, and was all too happy when he left them.

“Find th' girl, and bring her to me when you do. If she was learnin' from Iron Lightning, then she no doubt has some rather extraordinary skills that, with the proper training will propel us further towards our better future. Perhaps even in restorin' him.”
IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...


Opening Credits
I Like To Move It - Crazy Frog

Waking Up
Too Much - Bread
ok...

First day at school
Da Funk - Daft Punk
Liak a Baws

Falling in Love
Tales of Beatrix Potter (Perfect Day) - Miriam Stockley

Fight song
Aliens - Neil Davidge, Halo 4 OST

Breaking up
Devils... Monsters... - Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori (Halo OST)

Prom
Won't Let You Down - Keith Urban

 Life is good
DotA (Radio Edit) - Basshunter

Mental Breakdown
Reload - Rob Zombie

Driving
My Heart Will Go On (Jack Sauce Mix) - Afro Duck

Flashback
E.T. - Katy Perry
o_O... what was I on?

Getting back together
Zion - Fluke
Oh, i like where this is going.... giggidy

The Wedding
New Way to Bleed - Evanescence

Paying the dues
Move Along - The All-American Rejects

The night before the war
This is the Hour - Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori (Halo 3 OST)

Moment of Triumph
Hello - Evanescence

Funeral Song
Suicide Mission, Mass Effect, redone by: London Philharmonic Orchestra

Tagged:
Who ever reads this

Damn, I'd have one screwed up movie!
IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...


Opening Credits
I Like To Move It - Crazy Frog

Waking Up
Too Much - Bread
ok...

First day at school
Da Funk - Daft Punk
Liak a Baws

Falling in Love
Tales of Beatrix Potter (Perfect Day) - Miriam Stockley

Fight song
Aliens - Neil Davidge, Halo 4 OST

Breaking up
Devils... Monsters... - Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori (Halo OST)

Prom
Won't Let You Down - Keith Urban

 Life is good
DotA (Radio Edit) - Basshunter

Mental Breakdown
Reload - Rob Zombie

Driving
My Heart Will Go On (Jack Sauce Mix) - Afro Duck

Flashback
E.T. - Katy Perry
o_O... what was I on?

Getting back together
Zion - Fluke
Oh, i like where this is going.... giggidy

The Wedding
New Way to Bleed - Evanescence

Paying the dues
Move Along - The All-American Rejects

The night before the war
This is the Hour - Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori (Halo 3 OST)

Moment of Triumph
Hello - Evanescence

Funeral Song
Suicide Mission, Mass Effect, redone by: London Philharmonic Orchestra

Tagged:
Who ever reads this

Damn, I'd have one screwed up movie!

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Yoshumari
Yoshumari Korisuno
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
As you know, Dragons possess many treasures. But what you may not know is that not all that treasure is gold.

Don't worry... I don't bite. Message me
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:iconnyappysofie:
NyappySofie Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ASDFGHJKL Thank you so much for the watch! [EXO] Xiumin Emoticon 
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:iconyoshumari:
Yoshumari Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
you are welcome.
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:iconcimenord:
Cimenord Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014
Thanks for the fav' on my Siegfried perler work :P
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:iconyoshumari:
Yoshumari Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Your welcome

Siegfried/Nightmare (SC2) are my favorite characters from the SC series.
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:iconpritken:
pritken Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thank u so much for the fav :)
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:iconjirinri:
Jirinri Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Just came to scroll through Yoshumati's page and your adorable icon caught my attention. SO CUTE.
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:iconyoshumari:
Yoshumari Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
you are very welcome
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:iconrandomgreeter:
RandomGreeter Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Professional
Hi! Have a nice day! :wave:
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:iconyoshumari:
Yoshumari Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
uuh... many thanks!
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