Chapter 11: fourth part

        Ark was suddenly staring at her. “The Phoenix,” he finally muttered. He glanced around for a second, then seemed to settle down again. “So the energy source is coming from that tower over there right?” He pointed to the tower. Coniau nodded. “Okay. Coniau, you get to look after Ivy...actually, maybe Asia should...Wait, no again. Asia, do you have any fighting skills?”
        “Yes, mostly with battle claws. I have those in my backpack,” she said.
        “Then Coniau, you get to take care of Ivy,” Ark said. “But stay close.” Coniau opened her mouth to protest, but then Ivy glomped her leg giggling like a maniac and she shut her mouth. “Okay then. See ya guys up there.” He suddenly rived up the engine and sped off into the night.
        Asia, Coniau, and Ivy just stood there for a moment. “Oh my, Socara almost fell off,” sighed Asia, “and her pet must not be happy.” Coniau merely shook her head muttering under her breath.

        Click. A gun was cocked, then shoved into the holster. The door opened and several figures jumped out, some with parachutes, others flew. They landed in the forest safely. The were back home, now all they had to do was finish the job. Easier said than done, of course.

        Cue rain.
        It wasn’t too hard to get into the castle. One rampaging hovercycle loaded with explosives charging the front gate served quite well as a distraction. “See. Wasn’t that easy, ne?” smirked Ark as he loaded a thin shift like object into another gun like object.
        “What I don’t see is where you kept all those explosives,” muttered Coniau with Ivy clinging to her waist. “Far to flashy. Just use one of my bombs and it would have sufficed.”
        “It adds to the effect.”
        “Nothing.” Another smirk and he aimed the gun at a high over hanging. The shaft shot out silently and with a faint clink, pierced the stone and held there. Socara wrapped her arms around his neck and they were lifted into the air. Asia followed, flying close to the wall and holding onto Coniau and Ivy. They had to tell Ivy to hush for giggling once or twice. “Ano...what were we doing again?”
        “You idiot! You forgot your own plan?!” screeched Coniau. “The scion fool!”
        “Oh yeah,” muttered Ark, glaring at Coniau. The climbed up the ledge where the grappling hook and hit, by a large window. Ark picked the lock and they stepped into the dark empty room. They could see that no one had used the room for a long time. There were only a few chairs and a table over an old rug. Asia was about to step into the hallway when footsteps were heard. She gasped and leaped back, quickly hiding in the shadows.
        The footsteps grew into the distinct sound of leather boots as whoever came closer. Through the slightly ajarred door, they only caught a glimpse of a jaguar as he walked by, never even glancing twice at the door. “What’s he doing here?” whispered Ark, after the jaguar was well out of hearing range.
        “Who was that?” Asia asked.
        “Mannrix. One of Chaonen’s generals in the Downunda...wonder what he’s doing here.”
        “Well, let’s go then,” said Coniau.
        “No, you stay here with Ivy,” Ark replied.
        “No arguments,” he said with a slight growl. Amazingly, Coniau didn’t protest any further. “Don’t worry. We won’t have too much fun without you.”
        “Yeah right...” She sat down in the one of the chairs as Asia, Socara, and Ark slipped out of he room. “I’ll just pass my time hacking his system or something...”

        They found the right staircase without being seen. It wasn’t lit by any lights except for torches spaced widely apart as the stairs ascended higher into the tower. Socara nervously kept her hand on the pummel of her sword. She wondered how Ark managed to keep so calm. After all, they could lose their lives.
        Wait...what if he doesn’t care what happens to us...he is a Mazoku and could just teleport out of here...No! Ark’s not like that. Socara gave herself a mental slap as they reached the top of the stairs. The stairs had started to become wetter and and a few dried out leaves on it. Apparently, there wasn’t even a door before the stairs opened onto the top of the tower. She listened closely but couldn’t hear anything except for thunder and the wind blowing.
        Ark stood by the portal for a moment, then carefully looked outside. “His back is to us, the Shadow seems to be more concerned about Chaonen than us..oh hey, look like Chaonen really busted his leg this time,” he whispered, turning back to them. “The Scion is right infront of Chaonen so there’s no way of getting it without him seeing us.”
        “What should we do?” Asia whispered back, holding her claws close to herself.
        Ark shrugged. “Smack him around a little and take it?” He didn’t give them anytime to argue before he stepped into plain view outside.
        The Shadow jerked its head up. “Chaonen-daimyou!”
        Chaonen growled and looked over his shoulder at Ark. He narrowed his eyes but didn’t say anything.
        “Just hand over the scion, okay?” Ark smirked, holding out a hand. Still without a word, Chaonen made a movement with his hand. Ark only just barely dove out of the way from the attack. His attacker leaped back and to Chaonen’s side, then readied her weapon again. Ark looked at the shallow gash in his arm, then slowly turned back.
        “Kill him,” was all Chaonen said, before he turned his attention back to the scion.
        “Are you alright?” Asia asked, leaping to his side and helping him stand up. Socara raised her sword at the attacker before she could see who it was. The attacker hesitated, looking at Socara.
        “Oh Ancients...Oni..?” gasped Socara, trying to clearly make out the face under the visor of the helmet and armor that an Elite wore. “What...”
        “Get outz of da way Soca!” Oni shouted at her. “U tooz Asia, now!” She slashed the air to emphasize her point.
        “Should have known,” smirked Ark, “typical behavior of a Dragon.”
        Oni stamped her foot in rage and her wings arched up menacingly. “Wellz, iz na like u look o’ act much likez a Phoenix u arez!!” The tips of her wings started to glow a faint blue, suddenly the light shot up the edges of her wings and she sent a blast of electricity straight at Ark. But he only laughed, easily throwing up a shield spell to block it. Electricity crackled on the shield for a moment, then fizzed out.
        “What are you doing helping a criminal of one of the highest laws?” laughed Ark. “I certainly have a good reason to kill you both now.” As they argued, neither of them noticed that Chaonen had paused. Dragon...? It sounded familiar. Phoenix...the Phoenix...? Something seemed to snap in his mind. He stood dazed and shocked for a moment. His Shadow had landed on his shoulder and was whispering in a worried tone, “Chaonen-daimyou?”
        “What the hell are you doing?!” he suddenly screamed at Oni, whirling around. “Kill him, and kill him NOW!”
        “Hai, sir!” she yelped in surprise, then launched herself at Ark with amazing speed, catching him off guard. Her sword clashed with his staff, but he shoved her away and ducked around her. She whirled her leg around at his head but was once again blocked.

        “Something’s going on up there,” Sally murmered, looking at the tower and glancing down at Nicole. “Come on you guys.”
        Socara could not believe who fast they could move. Ark was barely dodging all the rapid and reliantless sweeps and stabs Oni was making at him, but he was still being forced toward the edge of the tower.
        “Socara..”Asia whispered. Socara glanced back at Asia. She was in a defensive position, but her fighting claws were up and she was carefully watching Chaonen. He was just staring at Socara. His face was hard to make out with the light coming from behind him, but she could tell that he looked confused and...sad? Could he possibly be feeling sadness as he gazed at her. His face suddenly twisted in pain, as lightning flashed through the sky, and held his head in one hand for a moment. When he looked back up, his dark expression was back. He raised his free hand, with the other supporting himself on his crutches. Energy crackled in his hand was it formed into a ball.
        Asia jumped infront of Socara and started reciting a spell as fast as she could. But Chaonen merely raised and pointed his hand at them. The spell shot forward, sizzling the air around it and collided, hard, with the shield spell Asia had screamed out. Both Asia and Socara were thrown back against the wall. “Asia?” Socara shouted, but she was out cold, having taken most of the brunt of the spell. She tried to stand back up, but a wave of dizziness hit her and her vision blurred.

        Ivy jerked her head up and let out a squeal of joy. Before Coniau could stop her, she ran out of the room. Coniau grabbed her laptop and ran out the door after her, immediately smacking into someone.
        “Oof!” she cried, landing on the stone floor.
        “Blue boy?!” she shouted in disbelief. Sonic helped her up, with Tails and Sally behind him. Ivy was clinging happily to Sally’s leg. “What are you doing here?!”
        “Probably the same thing you’re doing,” said Sally. “Come on, we need to keep moving or someone might spot us. Where’s everyone else?”
  “Follow me, they’re at the highest tower, battling Chaonen no doubt.”         
        Her armor was giving her a clear advantage against Ark. He couldn’t hit her hard enough to inflict real damage with his staff. They were now just by the edge, a fall would definitely be fatal.
        “<So, how much is he paying you?>*” Ark asked.
        “<’bout 10,000 credits,>” she said back. Ark nodded.
        “<You know we can’t let him have the Scion.>”
        “<Mes know. Besides, somethin’ is wron’z wit him...he na actin’ like a Darkie.>” She swung her sword at his head, but hit the low wall instead and imbedding the sword in the stone. Ark took this chance to trip her and immediately pinned her to the ground. Pulling a gun, he aimed it at the base of her neck, when a loud explosion was heard from behind.
        “Soca-chan!” Ark shouted, whirling around. “Shi-ARGH!” Oni kicked him off and slammed a foot down onto his neck. She kicked the gun out of his hand and reached for her sword. In one swift motion, Ark pulled another gun from under his cape and fired. Her head jerked to the side as the bullet went straight threw her neck. Ark didn’t even pause, getting up to his feet, grabbing the gun, and running back to Socara and Asia.
*’< >’ indicate words spoken in Cephtan.

        Socara tried to get Asia somewhere safe, but there was no where to go. She gasped as Chaonen raised his hand for another attack. Ducking her head with a silent scream, she waited for the second that the blast would hit. The shock was only enough to make her shift a little. Bewildered, she looked up. There in front of her was a clear white film, it flashed then disappeared. The area around the shield was devastated. Chaonen snarled and looked to his right. Ark quickly casted another shield just before Chaonen could blast him.
        He jumped the pieces of rubble and stood infront of Socara. “Get out of here, Soca-chan,” he said over his shoulder.
        “But-look out!”
        The next attack was more powerful than before, but Ark held it at bay and they were showered with dust, but another came from the side immediately after.

        “No guards..”commented Sonic, as he, Sally and Tails followed Coniau. They reached the stairs and peered into the dim lighting.
        “Up those stairs,” said Coniau.
        They were halfway up, when an explosion rocked the tower. Pieces of rubble could be seen falling past the narrow window.

        Chaonen grabbed Ark by the neck, without a word he threw him hard against the wall. “You shouldn’t have interfered.” Ark slowly got back up, using the wall as a support, but he was seriously injured from the last attack, apparently flung by the Shadow. His left side was burned badly and a large gash ran across his forehead. He glanced over to Socara, she was unconcious but only scratched up a bit. Chaonen lunged forward and slammed him against the wall again. “Time to pay for your mistake, old friend.”
        “Since when was I you’re friend and uh, couldn’t we discuss this mistake over a drink or something?” Ark smirked through the blood trickling down his head. He suddenly ducked to the side, and lunged for his staff. Chaonen tried to grab him, but missed and slashed Ark’s arm instead. He was fast, even with the crutches. Ark clenched his teeth against the pain and with a dive roll, grabbed his staff. Ducking a deadly kick from Chaonen, he swung the staff at his left knee. But it was blocked by the a sword that looked much like Socara’s. “Ah shit...EeyAARGH!!” He fell to the floor, as Chaonen withdrew the long dagger that had been hidden up his sleeve and sheathing it again, clutching painfully at the fresh wound completely through his chest, close to his heart.
        “Well, guess what.” Smiling, he kicked Ark in the chest, breaking some ribs. Instead of a scream, blood spewed from Ark mouth. But all he could do was lie on the ground hissing painfully as he breathed, spitting out more blood with each breathe. “You...” Chaonen said as he knelt by him and with one razorsharp claw, slowly cut a line down one side of Ark’s face, “get...” He slash another up the other side of his face, “to...” WIth a twisted smile, he whispered in his ear, “die now.”
        Ark didn’t respond, mentally reviewing his options. Things weren’t exactly going as he had planned. Daimyou...feudal warlord...Ark thought through the fog of pain. He looked back again at Socara. Gomen ne... Chaonen suddenly grabbed him by the neck and a surge of energy ripped through Ark. “She’s mine, bastard!!” he snarled through Ark’s screams, with a wild look in his eyes. The Shadow had floated over by then.
        “Chaonen-daimyou! Please, you must not do this, remember what the doctor said about your knee Chaonen-daimyou!”
        “I’ve had enough from you!” Chaonen screamed at the Shadow. “Begone and don’t come back!”
        The Shadow flipped backwards in shocked. “You don’t mean that Chaonen-daimyou!” It let out a yelped, disappearing right before Chaonen could hit it with a fireball. The fireball harmlessly fizzled out in the air, but the Shadow didn’t come back.
        Something’s not right...not right...Ark thought over and over, trying to concentrate on something to stay concious, but it was getting harder and harder to think. He tried one last attempt to cast something but let his hand fall back to the floor in failure.
        Chaonen looked around. The Shadow hadn’t come back yet. Another minute passed. “Shadow?” The wild look was now gone, replaced with what Ark thought was panic. “What have I-” he choked. “Come back!” he screamed into the night and storm. “I’m begging you!” He looked around himself in terror. “What was I doing?!”
  Lightning lit the sky again. It crashed across the horizon and the rain started to pour once more. In the midst of the thunder, Chaonen’s screams were drowned out. He clutched at his head painfully, sinking to his knees. After a few moments of silence, he rose to his feet and walked over to the Scion, dropping his crutches as well. His mouth hung slightly open and his eyes glazed over. Raising his hands over the Scion, he started to speak a haunting chant, almost as if someone else was speaking with him or making him speak.         As Ark watched, still having not moved from where he lay in the growing puddle of his own blood, the marks and carvings engraved in the stone floor started to glow. The light encasing the Scion shot out, running like wild fire over the engravings. Ark looked dimly at the engraving nearest to him. A rune, he though automatically, just before everything went black.

        Sonic and company burst in upon the scene a few moments later. What awaited them wasn’t what they had excepted. Parts of the roof looked as if they were about to crumble in. There was rubble laying all along the sides of the circle. Oni was still laying on the far side. Socara and Asia were concious but didn’t look too badly hurt. Ark, nearest to them, was another matter.
        “Ancients,”gasped Sally. Sonic and Tails didn’t respond, they were looking intently at Chaonen, whom was still chanting.
        “What’s going on here?” exclaimed Coniau, pointing at the glowing circle as Ivy clutched closer to her leg in fear.
        Sonic aimed his gun at Chaonen. “There’s nowhere to run. So give up.” Tails slowly circled to the side of Chaonen as Sonic spoke, his gun ready as well. “Come on, don’t be a sore loser,” Sonic said above the rain, when Chaonen didn’t respond.
        As this went on, Sally knelt down by Ark and felt for his pulse. A bit farther away, Socara groaned and slowly sat up. “Oh, my head,” she murmered. “Sally? Am I glad to see you guys.” Her eyes fell upon the abandoned crutches, then Ark. “Oh Ancients! he..?” she gasped, almost to tears.
        Sally shook her head. “He’s alive, but just barely and if he doesn’t get some medical attention very soon he will be.”
        After a few tense moments, Chaonen finally lifted his head and turned, but not to Sonic or Tails. Instead he looked at Oni. Her wings had twitched slightly. A moment later, she staggered to her feet. She felt her neck, the bullet holes were gone, and spat out some remaining blood in her mouth. When she turned around, she was met by the blank stare of Chaonen. Without a change in expression, he pulled the hidden and already bloodied knife from his sleeve and lunged at Oni.
        “ACK!” she shouted, stumbling backwards. Oww...Oni still dun feel so good...she thought. She rolled to the side as Chaonen lunged at her and leaped to her feet. But he grabbed her foot and pulled her to him. She tried pulling away, but his grip was too tight, kicking him in the head didn’t seem to have any effects either. He raised his knife, and was about to plunge it into her heart when, a blue blur streaked by and pulled Oni away.
        “I’ll ask why you’re wearing his armor later,” Sonic said, firing shots at Chaonen.
        “Oni can take care ofz herself!” she shouted, pushing herself out of his arms. A second later she was back in his arms, Sonic having pulled her out of the way of a fireball blast from Chaonen. “Wez have ta get da Scion first!” leaping out of his arms.
        “Go get it!” shouted Tails. “I’ll cover you!” He flew into the air and started showering Chaonen with gun fire, but all were blocked by a casted shield. Not wasting any time, Sonic rushed forwards and made a grab for the scion, put his hand passed right throught it.
        “What’s going on?!” he exclaimed, trying to grab it again but with the same results. “Is it an illusion?” Overhead, Tails screamed in pain as dark electricity crackled through his body. “Tails!” Sonic shouted, running forward to catch the unconsious kitsune.
        Socara and Coniau were trying to do the best they could for Ark at the moment. Ripping her sleeves off, Socara had managed to make a few bandages for Ark, but she was afraid most of the wounds were internal and she had nothing for the burns. Don’t worry, he’s a mazoku. Remember, he said he had a natural healing ability...she kept telling herself., but the thought that was bothering her was whether or not this ability could save him at this point. Sally had pulled Asia to the side and was quickly checking her over.
        They both looked up at the sound of Sally’s scream. Chaonen tossed Sonic aside and slowly walked towards them. Sally’s gun was immediately knocked out of her hands and her physical attacks easily repelled; and soon she too was unconsious.
        Neither Socara and Coniau could move. Fear was locking them in place. Chaonen slowly stepped towards them and reached out his hand. Socara could barely gasped when he lay his hand gently against her cheek. A strange sensation came over her, and she started to feel weak and tired. Behind Chaonen, the Scion’s light began to pulse more brightly.
        Coniau suddenly pulled Socara back, but Chaonen merely stepped closer again. There was no one to stop him, when he suddenly whirled around and threw the knife at someone reaching for the Scion.
        Oni shrieked as the knife plunged through her left arm and embedded itself there. “All...who...oppose...Nightmare...” he said slowly, “must...die...”
        “Oni!” screamed Socara. She struggled to her feet, but was blocked by Chaonen. “Get away from me...or I’ll...” She felt for her sword, but then saw it several feet away, half buried under a slad of stone. “I’ll...”
        Oddly enough, Chaonen turned away, and went back to the Scion. Oni staggered back, the knife still in her arm. He stood in the center of the circle and raised his hands above he head, calling out the last line of the spell he had begun earlier. At the last word, he swung his arms out.

        In the courtyard of the castle, a guard idly patrolled the area. He leaned against the wall for a break when suddenly the entire courtyard and all the grounds of the castle started to glow. The light shot out and spread through the streets at a rapid speed.

        Ontop of the tower, Coniau had rushed to the edge of the tower. She had made Ivy hide in the staircase for safety. In fascinated fear, she saw the light spread all the way to the edges of the city. But she noticed that not all the streets had been consumed by the light. “Oh my god!! The entire city is a giant magic circle!!” The air over the city grew increasingly violence and the clouds began to swirl directly above the tower.
        Socara watched the skies in horror as she held unto Oni. “What’s happening?!”
        “Soca...”murmered Oni, putting a bloodied hand on Socara’s clean ones. She then gripped the knife and pulled it out of her arm with a sickening sound. “Oni...iz sorri...fer na tellin’ u...”
        “What?” Socara exclaimed, as Oni pulled away from her. “Oni,’re too weak...” But Oni tossed the knife aside. She kept a far distance from Socara and moved closer to Chaonen. The wind was blowing more violently every second and magik crackled loudly in the air. Oni brushed her hair away from her face, held out her hands, narrowing her eyes. She almost wished Ark was there to help her with what she was going to do.
“He who resides in the earth...”
Magik began to gather around her, and her armor and clothing twisted to form a robe of woven darkness as energy glowed around her.
“Father of the beast...”
Light gathered in her hands as she raised them slowly above herself.
“With thy fangs, I shall destroy all who stand in our way...DYNASTY ARRAY!!
Time seemed to slow down, as Oni flicked her hands and a blinding light consumed everything. Socara could feel the force of the blast, but it only felt like a very strong searing wind. “Oni?” Socara shouted into the light. “ONI!!”

        Asia opened her eyes to the morning. Squinting at the bright sunlight, she could have sworn last night had been merely a nightmare. But as she sat up, she knew that it wasn’t. A few feet away from her Socara was laying near Coniau. Behind her, Ivy had
fallen asleep in the staircase, clutching the small blue ball she always had with her. Sonic, Sally, and Tails were all slowly awakening as well. Ark, Oni, and Chaonen, they were all there too. She suddenly jumped to her feet and ran over to Ark, kneeling by him. He hadn’t moved at all and the blood had all dried to a blackish red. Seeing his chest rise slowly up and down gave her great relief.
        The Scion was still floating and rotating slowly above Chaonen’s staff, that was now charred. “That was one hell of a ride,” muttered Sonic as he groggily got up.
        “Will someone tell me what the inferno happened,” sighed Coniau, having just awakened, “and what on Mobius is that?” Everyone awake looked at what she was pointing at. It looked like a wall of thick fog, but it was only a foot thick and 15 feet high. You could actually walk around it.
        “That doesn’t matter now,” Sally said after some thrown out theories of what it could be. “We have injured people who need medical attention.”
        “How are we gonna get out?” asked Tails. He flew over to the edge of the tower, now missing the short wall that had surrounded it, and looked down below. “Looks like everyone is pretty confused.”
        “Oni...Oni speak to me!” come Socara’s voice from behind them. “Damn it, wake up!” she yelled in near hysteria. Socara tried to pull Oni up into a sitting position but nearly dropped her, sobbing.
        “Socara-hime...please don’t cry.” Socara looked up. The Shadow was floating infront of her. In its tiny paws, it was clutching a small, crystal flask. The Nin’nako inside sparkled with the sunlight, as the Shadow struggled to keep a hold of it. “Do not worry about guards or any danger to you or your friends, Socara-hime. I have instructed them not to enter this tower or the top floor, Socara-hime.” It then floated over to Chaonen, to above the bracelet on his left wrist. Pulling the stopper out with its beak, it poured the Nin’nako over the bracelet. A moment later, the bracelet faded to a ghost-like image. With some visible effort, the Shadow janked the bracelet off, as it shattered into pieces and fully faded away.
        A silence fell over everyone again. No one was sure on what to do. “You’re not going on to have us killed?” Sally asked, yet again breaking the silence.
        The Shadow shook its head and floated back over to Socara. It peered closely at Oni, then said, “She has used up to much of her energy containing a mass destruction spell in such a specified area, Socara-hime. That spell, Socara-hime, is meant to destroy areas the size of this city, to contain it in such small an area...unheard of...and to not cause fatalities... The mage has...” It paused, thinking of what words it could use. “...knocked...herself into comatose, Socara-hime.”
        “Is she going to die?” sniffed Socara.
        The Shadow looked at her. “She may, Socara-hime, but it would not matter.” It then said something only Socara could hear. Socara stared at the Shadow with disbelief, but said nothing more.

        Ark didn’t regain conciousness for nearly a week, it was finally in a late afternoon when he did, almost immediately demanding some pain killers and a hard drink.
        “Thank you for saving my life,” smiled Socara, kissing him on the cheek when he had gotten the painkillers(but no drink). But she frowned when Ark tried to take the painkillers but was too weak to swollow them.
        “I as well thank you, though I believe I was unconsious at the time,” giggled Asia.
        “Hey, where’s my kiss?” Ark laughed, but with visible effort, then regretted it as he coughed by more blood.
        “Pimp,” muttered Coniau, as Socara and Asia pampered him until he fell unconcious again. “I bet he’s enjoying every minute of it too.”
        What everyone wasn’t sure on what to do was with Chaonen. The Shadow wouldn’t let Sally, Sonic, or Tails near him, so they let him be for the moment. They were in Chaonen’s chambers, which had his desk covered with papers and a computer. His bedroom was connect to it and a bathroom as well. Both Ark and Oni were using the bed, which was big enough for two. Asia made a humorous comment on what Ark and Oni would think if they found out they were sleeping in the same bed together. Chaonen had been made comfortable on the couch.
        The Shadow didn’t seem to mind having them around at all. It even seemed to enjoy the company. It ordered food for them as it instructed for Mannrix to take charge, which the young general seem very capable at. It even played with Ivy, balancing on her ball and such.
        Later, Sonic finally asked the Shadow to explain some things...The Shadow looked doubtful, you couldn’t see its facial expressions since it was literally a 3D shadow, but its body language showed its feelings.
        “I am do not know if I can tell you such things, hedgehog,” it finally replied when it was questioned why Chaonen was doing what he was doing. Or what his goal was, infact.
        “Don’t you have a name?” Coniau asked.
        “I have been named, Miss Coniau,” it replied.
        “Well, what is it?” The question was cut off by a squeal of joy from Socara. Apparently, her raven had somehow gotten into the room and had landed on her shoulder.
        “Where have you been? Oh who cares, I’m glad you’re alright,” she grinned, stroking it and ruffling the feathers under its chin.
        “Then what can you tell us?” Tails asked the Shadow.
        “Many things, kitsune,” it replied. “The sky is blue when in good weather, lightning storms seem to be more frequent, the necklace Socara-hime wears is made of emerald and onyx beads...” It rambled on until Coniau finally snapped for it to shut up. At which it looked extremely hurt and retreated to under the collar of Chaonen’s over kimono/coat.
        “Now look what you did, Coniau!” snapped Socara.

        That evening a groan from Chaonen snapped everyone to attention, everyone that was awake of course. He didn’t open his eyes at first, but rubbed his eyes and placed a hand on the Shadow, patting it gently on the head. Sighing, he sat up and blinked until his eyes adjusted to the sun.
        His eyes finally focused to his surroundings and he paused. Then whipped his head around to look at everyone. They stared at each other for nearly a minute, until Sonic finally muttered, “Damn you’re still alive.”
        But Chaonen only stared at him still. He then shook his head. “Wao ting...boodong ne jian sa ma.” The Shadow suddenly squeeked in joy and wrapped itself around his neck, rubbing its head against him. It babbled something in the language Chaonen was speaking, but mostly kept hugging him with the help of its long tail.
         Asia tilted her head slightly, picking up a few of the words. “I think he said that he doesn’t understand us,” she said.
        “Chaonen-daimyou does not understand Mobian,” the Shadow said. “I will then translate for Chaonen-daimyou.”
        “I-I don’t understand what’s going on,” said Sally. “How could he possibly not know any Mobian?” The Shadow turned to Chaonen and translated what Sally had said.
        Chaonen nodded, then said something else. “Chaonen-daimyou has asked me to explain certain things, he himself is also not quite sure on what has occurred,” the Shadow said. “Chaonen-daimyou...has not been acting completely upon his own free will these past 30 or so years...Nor does Chaonen-daimyou come from this world or dimension. Chaonen-daimyou comes from a realm called Cephta which I believe the mages are familiar with.” Every few sentences, the Shadow would speak to Chaonen for a few minutes, then continue what it had been saying. “Chaonen-daimyou had been ‘semipossessed’ by the Lord of Nightmares to find the Scion piece that had fallen in this world. Chaonen-daimyou’s secondary objective was to also conquer this world for Nightmare. As it has been made clear, Chaonen-daimyou does not remember any of this.”
        The Freedom Fighters murmered to each other for a while. Could it be a trick? How can we trust him? Do we have a choice?
        “<Mages?>” Chaonen asked. The Shadow nodded and pointed towards the bed room.
        “<They were assisting these people, Chaonen-daimyou. They come from Cephta as well, Chaonen-daimyou.>” Chaonen excused himself and got up, heading for the bedroom. Socara looked at Asia and then followed him.
        He was about to close the door, and was surprised to see Socara behind him, but he held the door for her. Inside the room, Oni and Ark were still sleeping. Chaonen pulled up a chair beside Oni whom looked extremely pale and almost as if ‘faded.’ Lifting an eyelid and inspecting her, he frowned then went on to Ark. At which he sighed heavily.
        “Are they going to be okay?” Socara asked, in a quiet voice.
        “I’m not sure, but they need to go home,” the Shadow translated. “Cephta has a much higher magik density than here. This one,” he pointed to Ark, “will die without a doubt unless he does,” Chaonen sighed, and looked down at his dangerously clawed hands. “
What have I done...?” Turning off the lights, so Oni and Ark could rest better, he opened the balcony window and stepped outside into the fresh night air. He sat heavily on the stone bench and rested his arms and head on the railing, gazing out over the city.
        The Shadow tugged something from behind Ark’s ear and placed it behind Socara’s. “This should be of help, Socara-hime,” it said in Cephtan.
        Socara gazed in amazement. “A translator?” She gasped and covered her mouth, she had spoken in Mobian, but she could also hear very faintly an overlay of what she said in Cephtan. Thanking the Shadow she stepped onto the balcony as well. She wasn’t sure why she was doing this, but it felt right. “You built this city, you know,” she said to Chaonen. Chaonen looked over his shoulder at her in surprise, then looked at the Shadow and smiled sadly.
        “It is beautiful...”
        Hesitantly, Socara sat down beside him. “I...don’t blame you for what you’ve done here. It’s not your fault, and I believe that.”
        “What was our relationship before?” Chaonen asked quietly after a minute of silence. Socara hesitated, not knowing what to say. “Please be truthful.”
        “You were cruel, abusive and had a pretty quick temper. You...beat and threatened me when I wouldn’t do as you said...but sometimes you were completely different... Sometimes you were kind and gentle. Treated me nicely and the others. Sometimes even smiled kindly.” Whispering, “I sometimes felt that you had two personalities in that head. I liked the nice one...”
        Chaonen lifted his head and looked at her. “What...?” she asked when he wouldn’t take his eyes off her.
        “Sorry, it’s just’re eyes are the same emeral green as someone close to my heart...”
        Getting an idea, Socara stood up and stuck out a hand. “My name is Socara. Pleased to meet you. I’m sure we can be friends.”
        Grinning, Chaonen stood up and bowed. Then took her hand and kissed it. “Chaonen Light Atlan. It is my pleasure.” Standing up again, he gently brushed a stray strand of hair from her face and tilted her chin up toward himself. Then leaned forward and kissed her on the lips.

        Around midnight, Chaonen sat down in his desk and rummaged through the papers. Finding nothing that he could understand, he searched through the drawers of the desk. Still finding nothing, he sighed and plopped his feet ontop, leaning back with his arms behind his head. The Shadow chirped as it appeared above his lap and dropped something into his. He recognized it as a folded bow, his personal weapon. Chaonen glanced questioningly at the Shadow but it just grinned.
        Later, he climbed the tower to find the scion and his staff to be still in there place. Nearly shouting in astonishment, he picked up both the staff and scion. But his hand passed through the Scion as well. Frowning, he weaved a field of thin energy around it and tweaked at it until it became solid.
        The Shadow found him gazing at the wall of fog a few minutes later. It landed on his shoulder. “We’re leaving tonight.”

        “What are you doing?” Socara asked, when she found Chaonen packing provisions.
        “I’m leaving. It is my duty to set things right...also, I have caused enough suffering in this world. Though I can never possibly provide reparations...I will do what I can by leaving,” he replied. “You... are welcome to come with me...”

        Sally stretched and exclaimed, “It’s been so long since we’ve been gone.”
        “Yeah,” agreed Sonic. He, Tails and Sally were back in Knothole. It had been 5 days since they had found everyone else gone from Chaonen’s castle. The Scion was missing to and the wall of fog had dissappeared. Not knowing what to do, they escaped from the city and contacted the General in the Downunda. ‘Chaonen had been eliminated.’ Hearing this, the General set plans immediately in motion to take back the Downunda. He also sent several top agents to Knothole to assist Sally and the others.
        “Hey, we have a message,” said Tails. He pressed the blinking button of the computer. It was a letter. They read it over, looked at each other, and deemed that it was for the best.

        Dear Sally, Sonic and Tails.
    We are sorry for not telling you that we were leaving but, we could not find you and didn’t have time to look. The wall of fog turned out to be a portal to the world Cephta that Chaonen had ripped open that night. He had intended to make it much much bigger but Oni had stopped him. It is a beautiful and msyterious world, unlike anything I have ever seen nor dreamed of. I don’t know much of anything about it yet. When we arrived, I had to transform and carry everyone to the ground for the portal had opened thousands of feet in the air! Coniau seems to be afraid of heights. It had been quite a scare. I can’t let this letter go for too long for the connection is already breaking up. Ark wakes up every 18 hours or so to eat, he’s recovering, but I’m afraid he still may die.
    Once again, we want to apologize for leaving so suddenly. Ark said that its been fun and thanks for the laughs. I think he actually means thank you for everything and he’ll miss you all. =) I feel the same way too. I don’t know when I can write back, if ever. The connection isn’t too great right now. But thank you and good luck. We’ll miss you!
Asia, Socara, Oni, Ark, and Coniau. Also Ivy of course.
P.S Ark was very poetic and quoted, though I personally do not see the meaning:
“Now let us slip the silvery bonds of earth, to touch the face of God...”

The End

Commentary *‘cuz I wanna babble somemore ;)*:
        That’s the end of Emerald and Brass part 1. It’s been fun for me at least and if you’re reading this then I would be led to believe that you enjoyed it too.^^ Or maybe you’re disappointed with the ending. Sorry if you are. ;_; Ah geez, I sound like this is the end. Well, it isn’t ^^;; Ah might as well keep typing... It’s been a long time since I started this story. Never thought I’d actually make it this far. Or continue at that. till ...end...! But it’s soooo far away! Dan’ it brain, stop thinking of ideas and let my hands catch up! Yeah...@.@
        The idea first originated as a Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic, but as it went along and my original characters were formed, they took on their own personality and took over. I was in a sense, at their mercy. @.o;; To the point a whole another world was created, Cephta, including cities, land forms, people, traditions, language, clothing styles, government system, etc. But Sonic and the old gang still had a role. They were the older generation who kept to there ways and tried to change, but Chaonen was different from Robotnik. The next generation had to take him on. Actually, I think Oni, Ark, Socara etc. Would be the third...and people like Chita would have been the second...oh n/m^^;;
        For those that may think I’m a sick sick person for actually writing rape scenes about my sister’s character, Socara. (I love my sister very much, in fact.) You are so wrong. @.@ aw man I actually typed that. Half the time I don’t understand the sick jokes 5th graders would get, and I’m several years beyond 5th grade. To me, it was an effective way for someone’s will to be broken. I once read a book, Serpent’s Silver by Piers Anthony I think, that said in the slave market, boys would be beaten and girls raped to have their spirits and wills broken, that made sense to me too. The continuing storyline probably won’t have anything like that anymore. I don’t have a reason to use it as of this moment. If it is not necessary, it would be there.
        Well, I hope you’ve found enough interest to keep reading. This thing turned out to be about 200 pages. But, there are some loose ends to be tied up. Oh by the way, that last quote does mean something. See if you pick it up as we go along, BWAhaHAha ;) ‘till next time.