Chapter 11: third part

        “Get out of here, we don’t want your wretched kind!”
        “Worthless monster.”
        “You are nothing!”

        “You are a Mazoku...Oni?”

        “Sally! I’m so glad your back!” Sonic shouted, hugging his love tightly.
        “Me too Sonic,” smiled Sally, giving him a kiss on the lips. “So, how have things been?”
        “Hectic,” said Tail. “The generals are trying to figure out what to do with this standstill.”
        “Still?” asked Sally.
        “Yeah. So Elhyam is now settled in that village?” Sonic asked. “Say, where’s Oni and Ark? Huh? What’s wrong?” he asked when Sally sighed wearily.
        “I’ll have to explain in a moment, Sonic,” she said, just as Ark walked in with Socara trailing a ways behind. “Guards.”
        “Yes ma’am?” asked one of the guards as he walked up with two others.
        “Have that fur arrested immediately, and be careful, he’s dangerous. Use iron cuffs if you can find any.”
        “What’s going on?!” exclaimed Tails as the guards suddenly grabbed a very surprised Ark and handcuffed him.
        “What the Hell!?” shouted Ark.
        “Ask her,” replied a guard, shoving him out the door.
        “Don’t I get my rights read? I demand my lawyer! Where’s my one phonecall?!” his voice faded away as the dragged him around the corner.
        “Socara?” Tails gasped, as he noticed her standing in the back of the room. “Ancients it’s you!”
        “How did you rescue her, Sally?” Sonic exclaimed happily. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”
        “You could say that,” said Sally.

        “Okay, here’s the deal,” said the guard to Ark, who had been escorted to a cell and iron handcuffs on. “You are being charged with treason and desertion.”
        “Huh?” Ark asked, looking confused.
        “Hey, I just told you what they told me to tell you.”
        “Um...I get food right?”

        It was raining again. Chaonen sighed heavily, wishing he had some pain killers. He slowly removed the Enhancers he was wearing on his wrists, and let them clatter to the floor. The Enhancers were the only reason he had been able to stand up against Ark despite his condition.
        The Shadow watched him with worry. “We are almost to the base Chaonen-daimyou,” it said. “Then you can seek a healer or doctor, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        “So many years...” he said softly. “...finally we have it...”
        “Yes, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        “ you think...she liked the present?”

        “Did you find her?”
        “Yeah. She was sitting on a ledge,” said Tails.
        “On a ledge?” Sally asked.
        “Near the top of the building.”
        “What?! How did she get there, and why didn’t you tell her to come back in? If she falls from there...”
        “Sally, I’m worried,” sighed Tails. Sally blinked at him, but her expression saddened...

        Socara sighed, resting her head on her knees. Eyes staring blankly at the city at night. The raven perched silently on her shoulder, ocassionally rubbing its head against her cheek.
        “I think she’s depressed or something. Maybe even suicidal.”
The raven cawed softly as she idly scratched it under its chin.
        The wind was blowing softly.
        “She hasn’t said a word since you returned either, Sally.”
        Someone stepped onto the ledge next to Socara.

        At first she didn’t even notice someone else was there, until that someone sat down beside her. “Feeling alright?”
        Socara looked up in surprise. “But...” Tears welled up in her eyes. “Ark!” she cried, flinging her arms around him and crying into his shirt.
        “Soca-chan, ah come on, you didn’t miss me or anything did you?” Ark laughed, hugging her back. “But easy on the hug. I still haven’t healed completely and I think you just recracked a rib.” @o; She sniffled, but loosened her grip. “Now be a good girl and tell me what’s wrong.”
        “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
        “Nonsense. Was my own fault anyways,” he said, stroking her hair. “That or no one’s.”
        “Mazoku don’t have the greatest rep. People don’t want us around. It’s all too natural to look at us as demons or devils.”
        “’re not like she really is one too?”
        “That’s because we like you. Remember that,” Ark said, his tone slightly more serious. “Most Mazoku are what the legends say and I pray you never have to meet one in your lifetime...”
        “Sire...there is no way for you to walk unless you are using the crutches. That or be in excruciating pain.”
        Chaonen snarled under his breath and looked at the crutches, then his knee. “Can’t you do anything?!”
        “Sire, your knee will not be able to hold your own weight anymore even with the brace. I can not do anything more,” the doctor replied, “and if you want it to get better, than worse, I suggest you don’t do any physical activity other than walking.”
        “Damn it,”Chaonen growled. But no matter... He grinned.

        “I thought iron prevented you from using magic,” Socara said, a while later. It had started to get cold, so Ark had lent her his cape to stay warm. “That’s what Sally said at least.”
        “Ha! Iron is only for normal magikers. Not Mazoku. All it does to us is weaken our power, depending on the individual’s power and amount of iron. It doesn’t prevent us from using it.”
        “Then why did you let yourself get arrested or wait so long to escape?”
        “Remember my little fight with Chaonen?” Socara nodded. “Well, I needed time to heal all of my injuries. People didn’t bother me while I was in a cell, so...” He shrugged.
        “If you can use white magic, then why did you let Asia heal you?”
        “So many questions Soca-chan?” Ark chuckled, fumbling around in his pouch. “Its a natural ablilty of Mazoku, “activated” when ones injuries are extensive...blahblahblah.” He pulled out a small box from his pouch and handed it to Socara.
        “What’s this?” she asked, taking it in her hands.
        “Beats me, but I found it in your room at the resort just before we left. Why don’t you open it?”
        Socara slipped the ribbon of, then slowly opened the box. As she did so, she asked, “What are you going to do now? With your trial and everything.”
        “I’m getting out of here, that’s for sure. Not interested in the area anymore. Which brings me to my question. Wanna come?” Socara blinked in surprise at him. She had no idea what to say.
        “Go where?” Looking back at the box, she gasped when she saw that inside, laying on a layer of red silk was a necklace. It had a thin, delicate looking chain with three beads. One of green emerald with two smaller, black onyx ones beside it on each side.
        Ark shrugged. “Probably back to Darkintis for awhile. Make it up as I go along I guess.” He took the necklace and slipped into around her neck. “It looks nice.”
        Mannrix read the letter again, just to make sure he got it right. He jotted a note on a piece of paper and gave it to the officer standing by. “Have all the units have this sequenced into their weaponry. We attack at dawn.”
        “Yes sir,” he replied, then went off to follow his orders.

        “Gentlemen,” Chaonen smiled, looking across the table at his generals. “It will be a grand day tomorrow beginning at dawn. Our goal is in sight and this victory will be sweet and not very bloody, since most of the bodies will have been disintergrated.” He grinned again, mostly to himself but William and Cornelius flinched.
        “But first, a shall we say, predinner show...” He stood up, and walked over to Cornelius with the use of his crutches. “I understand that a little argument occurred in my absence. I do not like my orders being questioned, but...” Cornelius broke into a cold sweat, “what I hate even more is if my subordinates actually act against my orders.”
        He looked at the other generals, especially William. “I do hope none of you are weak to the sight of blood.” His arm swung back, ripping Cornelius’ throat out in a single swipe. Blood splattered all over the table and floor around Cornelius, who gagged then slumped onto the table. The remaining generals glupped, but were otherwise silent.
        “Willam, go open the window,” Chaonen continued, “it’s rather stuffy in here.”
        “Yes, sire,” William said, slowly getting up and opening the 11th story window.
        “By the way,” Chaonen said, walking up next to him and putting a bloodly hand on his shoulder, “you are dismissed.”
        Mannrix tried to just calmly watch Chaonen, keeping his eyes off of the bloodly mess near him, but his eyes kept wondering back. He took a deep breath when the screaming stopped and there was a faint thud as Chaonen’s former general hit the pavement.
        “Sire...” Nallab started slowly, “what of the remaining half of your army?”
        “As of this moment they will no longer be seperate units. There is no longer any need.” Chaonen left the room, and as usual, the remaining generals were glad they weren’t on their Commander’s bad side.

        Socara sat at a table by the west wall. It was dark in the club and most people were down on the dance floor.
        “She’s into superstition, black cats and voodoo dolls...”
        The band was playing loudly, and frankly...
        “That girl’s gonna make me fall...”
        ...she had no idea that Ark could actually sing.
        “...livin’ la vida loca...”
        The people didn’t clap for Ark when the song was done, since the music was still going. How fortunate that Ark and Socara had found a club that was desperately looking for a replacement singer for the night.
        “Shards, it’s hot,” Ark laughed, plopping in the chair across from her and taking a long drink of water. “So, with the money we’re getting from this and the free dinner, we have enough to last a few days, but not enough for fare back to the North Continent.”
        “So what are we going to do now?” Socara asked.
        “Eh, I was thinking of just taking one of Chaonen’s cargo planes. Or jumping time-space.”
        Two young fems walked by in a seductive kind of way. One of them winked at Ark and blew him a kiss. Socara glared at the fur as Ark winked back and watched them walk away.
        “It’s like a portal, rip a hole in reality, then pop back in where ever you want. I don’t do that much though, it’s not really my style,” Ark continued, not noticing Socara’s expression. “That and I’m not sure how a mortal would do.” He tapped the table, trying to figure out on how to go about things. “Catching a plane back is the best thing I can think of.”
        “And how would we do that?” asked Socara, rather doubtful. Their dinner arrived and she thanked the waitress.
        “Easy, we just sneak on, hang in the cargo bay and ‘bam’ we’re back in Darkintis. Shards...don’t they have meat around here?”
        “I think it’s alright.”
        “Never did like this realm’s vegetarian tendings.”

        Late that night, Ark got done with his job and they now weren’t sure on what do to for the night. Occasionally, a tank would roll by in the streets, heading towards the military base on the outskirts of the city.
        “There’s an awful lot of tanks here,” Socara said, staying close to Ark.
        “Yeah...” He glanced in the direction of the airport. “The rebels are in big trouble...”
        “But from what I heard, Chaonen had placed all of his army along the strongest part of the rebel military defence line.”
        Ark slowed to a stopped. There was a loud commotion caming from farther up the street. Suddenly a loud roar filled the air. Several gruff looking furs ran by screaming. Ahead, a large green head rose in the air looking at the furs as they ran. Then it saw Ark and Socara. It let out a sound that sounded like a squeak of joy, it flew up to them.
        Before they knew it, Ark and Socara were looking at a very, very long turquoise green Chinese type dragon. It started to glow, then the glow shrank and formed into...
        “Asia!?” Socara shouted in surprise.
        “I found both of you! Zinhow-aa!*” She squealed happily, hugging both of them.
“I looked all over the place! Oh my I’m not used to the city. Especially a military dominated one.”

Spelled phonetically from Mandarin ‘cuz I don’t know how its suppose to go.^^;; “This is really good!” Straight translation.

        “Wha-what are you doing here Asia?!” Socara shouted in suprise, returning the hug.
        “Looking for you all, of course,” she said excitedly.
        “How much sugar have you had recently?” Ark asked, raising an eyebrow.
        “This is all so new for me! And Ark,” she turned to him,” sorry about what happened back at the resort...”
        “Agh, can’t we just drop that!?” Ark sighed. “For one, it’s embarassing for everyone to be apologizing to me! Well, expect Sally, she arrested me. Don’t ask.”
        “Well, to answer your question. I wanted to find you because I would like to travel with you. Grandpa urged me to do so, and I did want to explore this world a little more then just Utai.”
        “Ya sure you want to be around us?” Ark asked. “It could be dangerous.”
        “I can handle myself,” Asia said promptly. Socara and Ark both recalled her in her full dragonform.
        “We believe you,” said Socara hastily. “I wouldn’t mind your company. What about you Ark?”
        “Got any money?” he asked. After getting funny looks from both of the ladies, he hastily added, “oh yeah, sure!”
        “Great! So where’s Oni?” Asia asked. Socara glanced at Ark, who just shrugged. Asia took that as them not knowing. Changing the subject she asked where they were going.

        Speaking of Oni...Oni was wandering around in the rainy street, happily humming to “Niji wo Mitsukeru.” Well, it at least kept her mind off of the stupid and hurtful things that people had yelled at her over the years. So she wandered some more while drooling over the thought of Rail Claymore.
        A rumbling sound reminded her that it was time to eat. Tucking away her diskman, she went in search of a cafe or something. Finding a suitable cafe, she ordered a huge lunch. As she was eating she glanced in the castle’s direction as a jet flew overheard and began landing, but by then she lost sight of it behind the buildings.
        Oni sighed and looked down at her empty plate. It was lonely here all by herself and without Socara. “Ur so mean Soca,” she whimpered to herself. “Mes thought u was different...”

        “My dear Sally...I’m sure Metal mentioned a joke. I do hope you enjoy it.”
        Sally glared in rage at the blank screen. Her fist was clenched so tightly that her knuckles were white under her fur. Sonic, who was standing beside her wasn’t doing too good either. The only thing that prevented him from punching the screen was the sudden appearance of a nonanthro raven landing on the computer’s keyboard.
        “Where did that come from?” Tails exclaimed, as the raven casually stepped on a certain sequence of keys. A series a numbers ran across the screen, then an image of a confused Asia appeared.
        “Asia?!” Sally shouted.
        “Ano...nihao Miss Sally,” she smiled nervously. “Um...Ark and Socara said to tell you” She looked to the side of the screen for help. There was a bit of muttering then Asia pulled Ark infront of the screen.
        “You’re suppose to be in jail!” Sally exclaimed. “And why is Socara with you?!”
        “Yeesh, this is what I get for trying to help,” he grumbled.
        “Thank you, pet,” Socara smiled, waving to the raven. It cawed happily back “Sally, thanks for everything too. I don’t mean any disrespect by leaving the FF. I just don’t really belong there.”
        “Help?” asked Sonic.
        “My suggestion to you is that the Rebel army breaks up its defense line before Chaonen starts his attack, which he will be doing soon I believe. So as a bit of thanks to you, I left a few...let’s say litte gifts for Chaonen.” He grinned, idle tossing a small but powerful explosive in his hands. “So, ja ne.”
        “That guy makes me so mad!” Coniau shouted when the screen went blank. She was furiously typing on her laptop as they had been speaking. “He knows something I don’t and I want to know what that is!”
        “Why don’t you go with them then?” Sonic asked, sarcastically.
        “Quiet Blueboy,” Coniau snapped. “That’s just what I’m doing! Then I’m gonna strangle him! The nerve of the guy, not telling me, the greatest scientific genius in the universe, that he was a mazoku! I want to study him!”
        Everyone else finally just toned her out as she kept yelling things and got back to the matter at hand.
        “I feared this would happen,” said the commander. “If this person is to be believed, then we’ve fallen right into his trap...”
        “But we still don’t know what Chaonen is doing exactly,” a general spoke up. “Your opinion, Highness?”
        Sally pondered this for a moment, then said, “We should withdraw and try to get behind the enemy line. I don’t trust Ark, but I have a bad feeling about this.” Why did Chaonen want that object so much?

        “Hey, raven,” Coniau said, trying to get the raven’s attention. She was about to tap it, but then got this strange feeling that she shouldn’t do that. Luckily for her, it hopped onto her laptop and peered up at her, then started grooming itself. “So where’s Ark, Socara, and that dragon, eh?”
        It still paid her no attention. Spreading its wings, it leaped into the air and disappeared.

        The meeting didn’t last long. The decision of withdrawing their army was quickly made. An emergency code was sent out throught the rebel forces as quickly as possible. But it was already close to dawn...
        “Come in command base,” an officer said into his comm. link. He was kneeling high up on a ridge with a rebel tank behind him. A pair of binoculars in his other hand. “Come in. The retreat is proceding as fast as possible. So far there is nothing from the enemy.”
        “Sir!” shouted a soldier from on top of the tank. “I’ve picked up something! A sudden pike on our indicators!”
        “There’s suddenly a huge amount of energy of some type coming from the enemy, sir!” the soldier shouted frantically. He stopped in midpanic when the first shot was fired as a practice shot.
        “Ancients help us all...” the officer whispered.

        He couldn’t help laughing. Not with all this power at his command. Not with the annihilation of the rebel army so close. A steady flow of energy emitted from the artifact he had gone threw great pains to obtain. Mannrix stood in full uniform just outside of the magic circle waiting for a command from him. “Attack at will, General Mannrix,” Chaonen finally said.

        The rebel army didn’t have a chance. One shot from a enemy tank had taken out a huge chuck of the rebel defense line. Instead of the normal shots, the tank had shot a white beam, pulsing with energy to the surprise of both armies, but the enemy caught on fast and was slicing through the rebels like a reaper in a field of wheat.

        Nallab was about to have a heart attack from the shock he was having. “Wh-what is this?” He asked in a trembling voice.
        “It’s why I took a small ‘vacation,’” his commander replied over the comm. “Do enjoy it. I want to Rebel city burned to the ground, but if you see any children, do not hurt them...”
        “Yes, sire,” he replied. Shutting off the comm. Nallab watched all the destruction the frontline was causing without an effort. There were no screams or shouts, only the sound of explosions and occasional fire from fighter jets.

        It didn’t take long for the Rebels to realize the needed to have a full evacuation of the city. Alarms were sounding and frightened children were crying. All the of the remaining military personel were overseeing everything. It was hectic.
        “Hurry Ivy!” Lita shouted, holding her by the hand and running for the elevator.
        “Where we going?” Ivy asked, very confused indeed and clutching her blue ball in her free hand.
        “I’ll tell you later, but we must hurry!” They barely made it to the elevator in time, which was already packed with people. A thick silence was over the group as the elevator went down. Suddenly there was an explosion and the elevator rocked back and forth. A moment later the lights flickered back on and the elevator resumed its decent. Ivy hide her face in Lita’s skirt. “It’ll be alright,” she murmered, stroking Ivy’s hair.
        As elevator finally reached the ground floor and opened its doors. The cocking of a gun was what greeted them. A soldier in enemy uniform was holding an M-16 at chest level and aiming it at them. He paused for a moment when he saw Ivy. “Alright, everybody out and up against the wall. No heroes or else!”
        The rebels dropped their bags and lineup against the wall. The soldier pointed to Lita. “You! Take the kid and get out of here.” Lita hesitated. “Now!!”
        “Run, Ivy.” Lita grabbed Ivy and ran down the hall as fast as she could, but Ivy suddenly jerked away and looked back, just as gun fire erupted behind them.
        “Bad man...” Ivy whispered with a stutter. “Bad man, bad man...” Lita gasped in shock, just realizing what the child had seen. BAD MAN!!!

Lita groaned and slowly opened her eyes. The blue blur infront of her soon formed into Sonic. “Sonic..? Oh Ancients, where’s Ivy?!”
        “Calm down, Lita,” said Sonic, helping her sit up. Looking around she could see Sally, Tails, Ivy, and several other rebel; also several enemy soldiers were tied up and sitting against the wall, most still unconcious. “Ivy’s alright.”
        “What happened?”
        “You tell us,” said Tails. “We found you and a whole bunch of those guys unconcious. Ivy here was tugging at your sleeve wondering why you were taking a nap.”
        “All I remember is everyone else being shot, then something like my mind being hit by a ton of bricks. After that, nothing.” Lita accepted Sonic’s help and stood up.
        “Some of these guys are dead,” said a rebel to Sally, “but none of them of any physical damage that I can see.”
        Inspecting some of the soldiers, Sally to agreed on this. “Odd..but we don’t have anytime to linger. You people, take their weapons,” she said, gesturing to some rebels. “We’re getting out of here.” The building shock slightly just as she said this. “Quickly, now.”
        “Come along Ivy,” Lita said, taking her hand. “Let’s go.”
        Ivy looked up at her, then hid her face in Lita’s skirt. “Wanna go home,” she whimpered. “Wanna see Momma...”

        Ark sipped his drink wondering what it was that he had forgotten. Not many people were in the bar at the time, and Socara and Asia were upstairs in the room they had rented for the night. Swishing the rest of the drink around in his glass, he saw Socara coming down the stairs...with Coniau behind her. He groaned silently, and looked back down into his glass. The reflection of Socara and Coniau blurred together as they came closer. “Oh shit! That’s who it was!” He shouted, nearly falling out of his chair. Grabbing his staff, he gripped nothing and tore a hole in it. “Brb,” he said quickly before disappearing into it.
        “Okay...” said Socara after a moment to empty space.
        “He tore a hole in reality!” Coniau exclaimed. “He just grabbed nothing and tore a hole! What in the Inferno?!”
        “Well he is a Mazoku,” Socara said, trying to be helpful.
        “But he-grabbed-hole-jumped-time-space,” she stuttered. “I can’t even do that! My great genius can’t just...argh!”

        He surveyed the damage. “Not bad.” Kicking over a piece of burnt rubble, Ark looked around. Teleporting to the top of the remains of a tower, he saw what he was looking for. Reappearing at the edge of the city, he lifted a manhole cover and jumped down. The inside of the rebel tunnel was dimly lit by ceiling lights, footprints of dust and dirt lead to the south. “No use wasting time.” Realizing what he had said, he smirked. “Fancy that..”

        Politely sipping the green tea, Coniau eyed Asia with some interest. “So you say you can transform into a full asian dragon?”
        “Hai, Miss Coniau,” Asia smiled. “It’s part of my species, a natural magic we have, I think.”
        “You think?” Socara asked, drinking a pop since she didn’t like tea. The raven was sitting on her shoulder preening itself.
        “Yes, I’ve never met anyone else of the same species as I. My grandfather raised me and he was a Raichu.”
        “No parents?” Coniau asked.
        “My mother died when I was young,” Asia said, her voice softer. “My father could take care of me nor provide the attention that he would have liked, so I was raised by Grandpa. I don’t see Papa much, he lives in a different dimension. He said it was too dangerous for me there.”
        “I’m sorry,” said Socara.
        “I still don’t like the sound of that ‘natural magic,’” muttered Coniau. “Magic is just cheap tricks. By seeing one believes. Science is the key.”
        “I figured it out! I know how ta get Coniau to shut up!” There was a thump, then a madly protesting, arm flailing Coniau on the floor with her head being stepped on by Ark.
        “Got off you damn weirdo!” Coniau screeched in outrage.
        Ark frowned. He poked her with his staff a few times, but this just made her yells some more. “Ah damn. It didn’t work...oh yeah, and credendo vides. By believing one sees. Magik is its own form of science.” Ark then made an exaggerated bow. “You all remember Ivy yes?” Ivy peeped out from hehind his cape. Socara jerked out of their chairs, while Asia exclaimed how cute she was. “Didn’t we go over science v. magik with the magik circles, Coniau?”
        “Anyone can use geometry!” she fumed, “Get off get off get off!! And what is she doing here?!” Ivy bounced her blue ball while Coniau finally shoved Ark off and started arguing about the difference between kidnapping and leading her by the hand. Coniau was supporting the kidnapping issue. Ark finally got annoyed and stuck a knife in her shadow.
        “Explain a Shadow Hold,” he grinned. “What?” he asked when he noticed Socara looking at him. “She wanted to go.”
        “Said Ivy can go home now,” Ivy said, tugging at his cape. “Wanna see Momma.”
        Ark grinned embarrassingly, kneeling down beside her. “Well, Ark promised ‘Momma’ that he would get something for her first. So we have to wait for a while ‘kay?” Ivy pouted but nodded anyways.

        Later, Socara pulled Ark aside. “What’s this thing that you need to get?” she asked in a quiet voice.
        “Recall that incident at the hotsprings?”
        “What?!” she shouted in dismay. “You’re not thinking of going after Chaonen for that thing by yourself are you?”
        “Chaonen didn’t seem to bad..until that fight you two had that is,” Asia piped in, leaning to the side in an inquiring way. “But you shouldn’t go yourself.”
        “You’re not going to suggest that you all come with me are you..?”
        Asia and Socara looked at each other for a moment and then back at Ark with big grins on their faces. Ark sighed and threw up his hands in submission. Then he slowly turned around, of which he was met by the set glare of Coniau. “Damn.”
        Lita was just about to weep in fear. “But, why would she just go with him?” she cried out to Sally. “She knows to be careful with strangers...oh Ancients, I never should have let Ivy get to know him and that other girl..”
        “We won’t be able to find them, you know,” Sonic whispered to Sally. Sally nodded and sighed, unable to think of a way to console Lita. Damn that demon...
        Letting Sonic take care of Lita, she went to speak with the commander. Finding him in a small room in the underground shelter in the mountains. She cleared her throat so he knew she was there. “Ah, come in, your highness,” he said, giving a sad smile. “I must say, in this time the rightful ruler somehow gives a feeling of reassurance.”
        “If only I could help in some other ways,” Sally said. “Have we got the count?”
        “About a 1/4 of our forces are here..more are..” he trailed off for a moment. “That or others have still escaped, they know where to come. And you highness, I believe there is a way for you to help. It is of the most vital importance that you cut of the source of this slaughter...”

        Ominous lightning lit the sky two days later. Thunder crashed around the city as if to add to the climatic feel. This is pretty corny isn’t it? To conclude, Chaonen was dead set on the thought that nature hated him. Especially since the day had been clear skies that morning and that he had to be standing on the tallest tower of the castle. And he was still grumbling over the lack of his discman.
        The Shadow watched him from his perch on the short wall that ringed the top of the tower. As usual, it was very very worried, but this time it was even more worried. On a scale from 1-10 it would be at around 200. The little guy can really worry. It didn’t like what he was seeing in Chaonen’s behavior changes. He was becoming more erratic and unpredictable. One moment he would be calm and cold like a well behaved gentleman, the next hyper and acting like a teenager. It wasn’t sure if it wanted the effect to worsen or for Chaonen to be completely controlled again. This is not the way for a Dark mage to act, it kept thinking to himself, but it knew Chaonen had never been himself since...It’s thoughts were cut off by a string of swearing.
        “Chaonen-daimyou, should I not be helping you?” It asked, peering at the staff Chaonen held in his hand and the slew of magik texts around.
        “I can do it,” he snapped back, then said “sorry” when the Shadow looked hurt. The tower rose high above most of the other towers of the castle. On a clear day, one could see nearly the entire city. The top was not coneshaped but flat with and a perfect circle with only a small section at the edge for the stairs. Several lines and symbols were carved into the floor. Chaonen stood at the center, levitating his staff over the center point. Lightning flashed again, he flinched.
        The Shadow almost missed him glancing towards the South with a look of sadness on his face.

        Ark sped through the streets at neckbreaking speed on the hovercycle he had jacked off of a guard. Socara clutched tightly at his waist with her face buried in his cape, not daring to move or look up. Hoping Coniau and Asia were somewhere behind them on Coniau’s own hovercycle, she couldn’t wait till they got to where ever they were headed. A sudden sharp turn nearly threw her off. “Sorry,” Ark said over the ripping wind.
        “Are you sure Ivy will be alright?” Socara yelled back, so she could be heard.
        “Maybe, she’s with Coniau,” he replied, taking another sharp turn away from traffic, “Shards know what will happen.”
        “But I thought we left her at the inn!” she shouted in dismay.
        “It’s better if she comes along..”Ark trailed off as he slowed down and turned into a narrow alley way. After a moment. Coniau, Asia and Ivy pulled up behind them. Ivy was squeeling with delight and asking to go again.
        “Who taught you to drive?!” Coniau raged. “We could’ve been killed!”
        “You were the one who wanted to come,” Ark smirked.
        “How are we to get into the castle?” Asia asked.
        “That’s what I need Coniau for.”
        “Huh?” Coniau blinked.
        Ark pointed to the laptop slung over her shoulder. “See if you can pick up any high erratic power readings from the castle.” She hestiated, then opened her laptop and started typing.
        “What in the Inferno?! The readings are off the charts! Even mine!” she exclaimed. A few more taps, “Most of it is radiating from the east tower, the tallest one I believe.” Seeing Ark’s smile, she asked, “What do you know about this?”
        “A lot of trouble for one,” he smirked. Coniau chucked a rock at him, yelling for him to wipe that smile off his face. “I don’t really know much actually, but that object he, or rather Socara, took from the temple could be the only thing radiating that much power. That’s why I believe this entire war is a cover up.”
        “Cover up?” Coniau asked. “An entire war to cover up something?”
        Ark nodded. “Dimension hopping is not restricted here so anybody can just drop in. The temple, I think at least, was blocking off the power. A thing like that would be like a huge beacon to anyone who can detect magik. Thank God for peoples’ ignorance..the war would distract attention to anyone looking for that object.”
        “Does it belong to the Sacred place?” Asia asked.
        “What?” Ark choked.
        “Grandpa mentioned that most things of immense power usually came from the Sacred place. I am only taking a wild guess though.”
        Ark nodded slowly. “It’s called the Cephtan Scion.”
        “WHAT?!” Coniau shouted. “That was the Cephtan Scion! Is this ‘Sacred place’ Cephta?” Ark nodded. Coniau had to lean against the wall for a moment. “That’s why Chaonen’s clothing looked familiar. So one of the pieces of the Scion has fallen here...”
She looked up at Ark. “Isn’t Cephta a highly restricted realm though?”
        “Plane. Cephta resides on its own dimensiona, plane. Chaonen’s attack on the Rebel city was a result of his obtaining the Scion.”
        “So he wanted the power of the Scion to take over this world?” Asia asked.
        “No,” said Ark, shaking his head. “Chaonen is a genius in his own right. He wouldn’t need the Scion to take over this world.”
        “Then what does he want it for?”
        “That I don’t know..”
        Through this whole conversation, Socara kept silent. Her raven arrived after a few minutes and had landed on her shoulder. She felt better now that it was here. When everyone fell quiet, a funny feeling came over her and she asked, “ you support the Phoenix or the Dragon?”