The Trials Of The King Chapter 8
Late June 16, Early June 17
"You're killing too many of them!" Sira exclaimed as she took in the damage Zeik had just caused.
"Not so!" He exclaimed, breathing heavily. He picked up one man who was sprawled on the ground. "Hey you? Are you dead?"
"Not yet." The man replied weakly. "Seriously wounded, yes. Dead, no."
"See?" Zeik shrugged and dropped the man. "We know how to put people down without taking them out. I promised you that I'd keep casualties down." Zeik looked up and noted their position. They were moving closer to the north coast all the time. "Well, it seems we're still making progress."
"At the moment." Sira grimaced. "But you can bet my dad will have a surprise for you."
"He's a good warrior, yes, but..." Zeik trailed off as the Guardian troops slowly withdrew from the battle. Some of Zeik's men began to cheer, but he didn't think it was over yet. Then, a mass of, well, creatures, appeared on the rise. "What the hell?"
"Ready Lucca?" Nadia waited to signal her archers and the marksmen.
"One second... The cannon is still charging. Okay, now!" Lucca pulled back two large handles on the Pulsar cannon, and discs of energy about three feet in diameter immediately began arcing into the battlefield, knocking many soldiers off their feet. As the Guardian troops retreated up the hill, Nadia's troops sent a hail of arrows at the Matuyama soldiers, and the marksmen began shooting to disable, rather than kill. Lucca turned on the monitor beside her. "Okay Ozzie, hit them while they're distracted, now!"
"With pleasure! Here we go!" There were many loud shouts, and as the projectiles continued to lay waste, thousands of mystics crossed the top of the ridge, and charged down the hill.
"Our soldiers will follow you down once you start to carve a path. Good luck Ozzie."
"What's happening here?!" Zeik shouted from what had suddenly become the front. He grunted as three henches plowed into him, then quickly beat them back. "We've gone from winning big to losing big!" He ducked as one of the energy discs flew over his head. Another disc hit a man not far away, and he flew several feet before laying still. More of Zeik's men charged forward from the rear, protecting him.
"Zeik, this is really weird." Sira said quietly.
"Yeah, I didn't expect something as bad as that gun..." Zeik glared up at the hill.
"No, not that. The levels of magic around here are increasing dramatically."
"Uh oh. Hold that thought. I see your dad not very far away." Indeed, Crono didn't seem to notice them at the moment, but he was making his way through the ranks of Matuyama soldiers with relative ease.
"Oh well. This is a little more important." She started to tell him about the magic levels again.
"No! I don't want you to get in trouble here. Retreat for now!" The men nearest to him gave him a funny look. "Not you guys, just her!!"
"But, he could kill you!" She sounded geniunely concerned.
"That's very true, but I don't think he will. Now go!" Reluctantly, she slowly moved back from Zeik's position.
Crono suddenly began hearing gunshots a lot closer than he had been. Looking to his left, he saw what was left of the special agents pouring down the hill, firing rapidly into the enemy ranks. "What are you doing?!" He demanded. "I wanted to cut down on casualties! And anyway, I called you people away so that you could live, not die fighting!"
"Sorry sir." The leader of the group said. "Vincent's already out there somewhere, and besides, the desire for revenge overshadows the desire to live."
"I don't think this will be a low casualty battle, sir." Another of the agents broke in. "Those people fight too well."
"You got that right!!" A voice shouted out. Crono turned to face left just in time to see Kaneta and Omi descend into the middle of the special agents. They now showed none of the reserve as when they had been fighting the relatively green Guardian troops. Instead, they slaughtered with grim abandon, and blood flew everywhere. Finally, the few agents that still stood surrounded the two warriors, guns drawn. Kaneta and Omi remained tensed, their weapons at the ready, but motionless.
"Everyone, please!" Crono shouted, somewhat sickened by the bloodbath he had just witnessed. "I didn't want this to happen!" Then, suddenly, Omi's head erupted into a spurting fountain of blood, splattering his brains everywhere, while the rest of his body collapsed to the ground. Everyone stood motionless. None of the agents had fired a shot. Whirling around, Crono saw Vincent calmly twirling his gun, reloading it. "Vincent! Didn't you hear what I just said?!"
"Loud and clear. Whether you wanted this or not is irrelevant. That guy's parents killed my best friend when I was in the service. It was payback time." Kaneta's hand began to shake with rage. "Now, hold that pose Kaneta." Vincent lowered the gun again.
Kaneta raised his katana high, and charged through the ring of agents. "For Kasigi Omi-sama!! You will die!!!"
"Vincent, no! I order you to stop!" Crono shouted at the same time.
"Such theatrics." Vincent whispered distastefully. Then, he calmly fired. No one could tell exactly where it hit, but Kaneta went flying several feet through the air before landing hard, then he lay still.
"Enough of this!!" A commanding voice roared. Vincent whirled around to find himself facing Zeik, his sword at the ready.
"You-!" Whatever he was going to say was cut short as Zeik swung hard. Vincent jumped back, but the Murasama cut his gun in two.
"Now Vincent," Zeik grinned a little, "much as I would love to kill you, I promised someone important to me that I'd maintain a low body count."
"You're just too much of a wuss to really use that sword." Vincent spat.
"Is that a fact?" Zeik's grin broadened, then he struck quickly, severing Vincent's left hand from his arm. Vincent howled in pain and collapsed to the ground, clutching his massively bleeding stump. "You'll live. But if you ever insult me or the sword again, you won't." Then he turned to Crono. "Sorry about that, but I really hate him."
"You're the leader?!" Crono was surprised, not feeling overly sorry for Vincent.
"You thought I was just a messenger? Yeah, I'm the Matuyama. This whole mess is about you and I, so why don't we settle it?"
"Very well, Sei i tai Shogun." Crono lowered the Swallow at Zeik.
Zeik grinned as lowered the Murasama. "Uh, I really think you ought to find out what that means before you honor me with the title again." Then a dour expression crossed his face. "You're a pretty cool guy, but you are ruling the country that has enslaved my people for a thousand years! Eeaaaaaggghhhh!!!" Zeik charged forward, and Crono quickly brought up the Swallow to defend. He was actually pushed backward as the Murasama connected! He quickly slashed out with a return stroke, but Zeik blocked it well.
The two opponents circled each other warily, occasionally rushing forward. Suddenly, Zeik made an exceptionally fast charge, twisting his blade at the last minute so that it slipped past Crono's block. The tip of the Murasama imbedded in Crono's torso, and his eyes widened. Zeik grasped the hilt firmly and jumped upward, tearing a huge gash. He grinned as he hit the apex of his jump, blood flying off his sword. But then something was wrong. Crono was up in the air too, despite his injury. The Swallow seemed to be spinning rapidly in his hands. Zeik jumped to the side as soon as he hit the ground, but Crono's sword carved down his side and went deep into his leg. Despite the pain, Zeik quickly struck out again, hitting the same wound he had inflicted earlier. Flicking his wrist, the Murasama twisted to the side, opening the wound up further. Crono dropped to one knee, closing his eyes. Zeik knew that he was not beaten, but now merely conserving his energy for his attacks, rather than putting up a constant effort.
Just as Crono was about to cut loose with Confuse, Pillage and Plunder piled into Zeik, pushing him back, with Ozzie waddling up behind. "Why'd you do that?" Crono gasped, short on breath. "This wasn't your fight!"
"We were in the area anyway, and really, I don't think the rest of the humans would be too happy with us if we were to let something happen to you." Crono sighed and turned to watch Zeik's progress, as did Ozzie. If they were fighting on straight battle skill, Zeik might have been able to beat them, but Pillage and Plunder's devastating fire based double techs pushed him far back into the field. "That's enough!" Ozzie called to them when they were almost beyond range of his voice. Now mystics, charge!!!" As hordes of the fierce and none too clean creatures raced by him, Crono realized he wouldn't be able to get to Zeik again for a while. But he would see him again. This was their fight, and they would end it themselves, not their lackeys.
Zeik's men rushed forward in another brief charge, even as the Pulsar Cannon continued to devastate their ranks. They didn't care any more. They had seen what Zeik did to Vincent, and more importantly, what Vincent had done to Omi and Kaneta. The Matuyama soldiers abandoned their caution, now killing the enemy outright. But the mystics were tougher than the humans had been anyway. They plainly ignored Ozzie's orders to try to capture rather than kill, and magic spells raged across the field, besides the ordinary physical battle.
Zeik finally took a rest as enough of his men surrounded him. "Zeik, this is getting too ugly!" He looked up from where he was kneeling to see that Sira had returned.
"Our only chance for a quick end now is if you can do the summon."
"I told you, there's not enough... wait a minute." She seemed to drift off.
"What is it?" Zeik asked, standing up.
"There's a lot more magic power here than there was earlier. I wonder what's causing it." Suddenly, an imp screamed as one of Zeik's men hacked it to pieces. As it fell to the ground, a small amount of a green mist-like substance seemed to leak out of its still form. "Ugh, I feel sick... That's what's causing it Zeik. Whenever one of the mystics dies, the magic that was in it, becomes part of the basic field."
"I have no clue what you're talking about, really. But start concentrating!" With that, Zeik hurled himself at a large group of henches that was beginning to smash through his men. Sira collapsed to her knees as he stabbed and decapitated them, but began to concentrate anyway.
'This is terrible. The best way to end it is still to claim victory fast. Only I have the power to stop this slaughter.' Her hands began to glow, and steadily became brighter. The mystics could all plainly see ever free magical wave on the field converge into her body. The glow slowly spread up her arms, gradually spreading to every part of her. The waves continued to pour into her until there were no more. She just sat there for a second, until Zeik ran up and quickly dismembered yet another hench. One more small wave quickly travelled over to Sira, and she stood up.
Energy crackled from her hands, and arced into two spots on the ground. The energy slowly took on a form, travelling upward quickly, until it was a crackling mass over 50 feet tall. Then, it flashed brightly, and the energy was replaced with a towering creature. It slowly took in its surroundings, then its huge voice rumbled, "What the hell is going on here?!"
"You must pay for what you have done!"
"Now, li'l princess, let's see how you do against me!" - Schala and Serges
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