The Light Wand and the Ice Blade Prologue
Even if my flesh is destroyed, I will always have a home at the end of time . . . Filgaia will not be able to escape the darkness that is upon it . . . Nothing can stop the end from arriving . . .
Upon those death words, Motherfried was sucked into the void never to be heard of again. At about the same time, somewhere in space, five white balls of light rocketed toward Filgaia at a tremendous speed as if they were summoned there. Everything in their way was crushed. Asteroids exploded into dust from their passing, meteors that fell upon them were disintegrated. The balls veered to their right, pass a moonless planet, as if they were controlled by intelligent beings. They continued their journey into the endless void of space until they had reach their destination: Filgaia.
A month had passed since the defeat of Zeik Tuvai and the destruction of Ka Dingel. All of the planets inhabitants still relive the memories of what the Metal Demons had done. The overtaking of Arctica Castle, for one; the death of King Adlehyde, for another. After the war, people try to rebuild their lives. The reconstruction of Adlehyde is over and the town is bigger and better than it was before the attack. The people of Rosetta Town had learn to except the Elw girl, Mariel, for they learned that they share a common foe. One thing is for certain; nothing will ever be the same. As the first war had left Filgaia in a sorry state, the second war had changed the people. All of this was possible by our three heroes: Rudy Roughnight, Jack Van Burace, and Cecilia Lynne Adlehyde.
The forest was a good place to escape the hot winds that blew over the barren land. The breeze that blew through the forest was refreshing and remarkably cool. The leaves rustled and the trees swayed. A squirrel munching on an acorn suddenly became aware of twigs cracking under the pressure of footsteps. He abandoned the acorn and quickly clambered up a tree to avoid the strangers.
Jack stopped and looked up at the forest ceiling. Little light penetrated the forest floor and the sky, he could barely see, showed a tint of red. Dusk was approaching. Two figures slowly approached from behind. He turned to them and said, Its almost sunset. Lets find a clearing and settle down for the night. Both nodded in agreement and together ventured deeper into the forest, the squirrel watching from his perch high up in the tree.
Stars began to appear when they finally found a clearing. A small brook trickled nearby and the ground was soft enough to sleep on. The clearing was surrounded by trees and shrubs that could keep them hidden from predators. Jack surveyed the area and nodded in satisfaction. This will do. I think theres a brook nearby. Hopefully we could catch some fish, if there is any. Ill go see what I can come up with. He turned to the other two. Rudy, he called and Rudy looked at him attentively. You and the princess gather some firewood. As soon as we finish dinner, the sooner we could get some rest.
Moments later a fire was burning and the fish roasting. Jack stabbed the fish with his sword and flipped it over to roast on its other side. The fish was bigger than usual and made Jack wonder if the planet was reconstructing itself as Adlehyde was reconstructed. If that was the case, the planet might become green again. He doubted it, however.
The smell of the fish entered his nostrils and his thoughts were interrupted by the sweet odor. He stabbed the fish and examined it to be certain that it was ready to be eaten. Dinner is served, he smiled as he sliced the fish into edible pieces. Cecilia and Rudy gathered around him as he handed their share of the meal.
Its been two weeks since our last monster sighting, Cecilia said as she daintily ate her meal. I think its time that we start our own lives again. The monsters are slowly withdrawing to their lairs after the battle with the demons. Theres no point in searching. Besides, she sighed, I have to return to my duties as princess.
Dream Chaser life too hard on you princess? Jack asked sarcastically. I prefer to continue the search. You could always teleport back to Adlehyde. Rudy and I can manage without you. Right Rudy?
Rudy lowered his head. He hates it when hes pulled into their arguments. Its like hes being pulled in two. He looked up and saw both of them staring at him waiting for an answer. Jack was right but he couldnt just leave the princess. Why do they argue all the time? He decided to put an end to this. I think both of you should decide whats next, he answered softly. Both of you should learn how to agree on something. He stood up and walked across the clearing, pass the fire, steering clear of the two.
Both of them stared at Rudy as he walked away. Rudy hardly talked but being this outspoken was too much. He was not a walking zombie but a person though different in a way. Jack and Cecilia stared at each other. Jacks lips twisted into a smirk while Cecilia was red with anger. Well settle this tomorrow morning, she said tightly.
Ill be looking forward to it, Jack nodded. Ill take first watch. Cecilia piled some leaves into a makeshift pillow and laid down. Rudy was already asleep. Jack doused the fire and sat against a tree. He crossed his arms over his chest and grunted in irritation. Princesses. Theyre only good for sitting on thrones. He glanced at her and his mood softened. He felt something between them that was different from the way he felt about Elmina but at the thought of Elmina his mood hardened once again.
Did I detect a hint of affection? a voice squeaked deep within Jacks coat pocket. In a blur of blue, Hanpan jumped onto Jacks shoulder.
What are you talking about? Jack sniffed turning his head away from the sprite. You were dreaming. He avoided his eyes.
If I was dreaming, you wouldnt be avoiding eye contact with me, Hanpan pointed out. I know you Jack. Just admit it. Youre head over heels for the Princess.
Jack sighed and grinned at his partner. I can never hide anything from you, can I? I admit it. During our travels, I felt a bond between us but I still felt obligated to Elmina. When Dan Dairam gave her a chance to be human again, I granted it with a price; for her memory to be erased. I knew then that she was lost to me.
Are you afraid to tell her how you truly feel? Hanpan twitched his ears. If you do tell her, maybe both of you can stop arguing for a change.
Jack shook his head. Its not that simple. Shell just------ He was suddenly cut off as a bright flash of light passed by overhead, illuminating the clearing briefly. It was so close to the earth that the trees swayed as it flew by. It was followed by another and another. Jack noted that they were five in all. He quickly scaled up a tree to take a glimpse of what they were and where they were headed.
The lights grew distant and Jack had to squint to see them. Looks like theyre heading for Arctica, Hanpan stated. As if to clarify the statement, an explosion was seen in what was Arctica Continent followed by four more.
Hanpan glanced at Jack. Jacks face was pale and he shuddered as he stared at the lights. I have the strangest feeling that they werent just mere falling stars, he said grimly, mouth set in a tight line. Hanpan nodded in agreement. He sensed the urgency in Jacks voice when he said, We have to check it out.
The five balls of light crashed into the earth creating craters about them. Dust filled the air and floated around in a mist. The dust began to clear revealing five figures crouched statuelike. Four slowly rose but the fifth, the one in the middle of this group, remained crouched.
The figure smiled, glad to be free from the accursed space travel. The moon was full casting long shadows among the figures and the surrounding mountains. The arctic breeze howled in protest to the silence. We are free! one exclaimed breaking the silence. After one thousand years of traveling in space, trapped in those accursed lights, we are finally free!
Yes, Seth, the figure who was still crouched answered. He slowly stood up and looked around the snow-filled mountains. He stood at an even six feet, legs as thick as trees, his massive chest bulging beneath his metal armor. His hands were huge that could cover ones face and arms with the strength of hammers. A thick neck supported a square face framed with raven black hair that fell in rivets down to his shoulder blades. He had a pointed nose and the blackest eyes that hid a pure evil behind them.
A huge sword hung on his hip, no scabbard sheathed it. The blade was long ending in a sharp point. The edges were honed sharp that it could slice through flesh and bone neatly. The hilt was worn but still in a condition that would ensure a firm grip from the holder. Notches were found near the hilt indicating the kills he made. Someone bested Mother in combat, thus, our release, he confirmed.
Now that we are free, what shall we do now, Bram? the one known as Seth asked. He stood an inch shorter than Bram. His voice was gruff that rumbled like thunder. His skin was a metallic luster that flashed when caught under the moonlight. He was very lean, not showing much strength, for he looked weak. He took advantage of it, leaving his enemies confident that they could defeat him, only to be killed thereafter. He was garbed in white pants with a matching long-sleeved shirt. He wore a matching cape that wavered behind him in the chill arctic breeze. He pulled a hood over his head, hiding his short pale lavender hair, and a mask to cover his face to hide his metallic skin, showing only his midnight blue eyes. His brown shoes covered his feet, completing his attire. He leaned forward on the weapon he favored, the battle axe. Its two blades were broad and sharp to the touch. The handle was medium in length and can be held with both hands giving the wielder more power in his blow. He hefted it unto his shoulder with practiced ease and stared at Bram, patiently awaiting an answer.
Bram looked around his surroundings. The moonlight casted eerie shadows around the mountainous region. A cloud passed overhead basking them in temporary darkness. As the cloud passed by, Bram saw a glimpse of a structure about a nights walk from where they were. There is your answer, he answered his second-in-command as he pointed at the structure. For now we shall take shelter in that place for we are strangers here. Until we have regained our strength and gained information about this planet, we are too vulnerable. Enough talk. We must make it to that structure by sunrise while we still have the cover of night. He began to walk toward the structure followed by Seth and the other three.
As Bram had predicted, it took them the whole night to traverse the snow-covered plain. The suns rays peeked over the mountains as they reached the gates of Arctica Castle. It stood wide open beckoning them to enter. Bram was wary at first as they approached the building, expecting an alarm to be raised among the inhabitants. He then saw, as they got closer, that the place was abandoned and approached it with confidence.
They looked up at the massive building, its stone walls towering above them. This must have been a fortress! whispered Seth in astonishment. We should take advantage of this and claim this place as our own.
Bram stroked his chin ponderingly. They needed a place to stay, thinking at first that they were going to stay in caves only to find an abandoned building. Not a building but a fortress! What a find! He nodded in approval and turned to his crew. I agree with Seth. This will be our home, our fortress. He turned to a dark hooded figure. Give us some light, Razan, he barked.
Razan made a gesture with his hand and murmured a word. The torches within the castles walls burst into life, diminishing the shadows. Bram lifted his hands toward the castle. I call this place Arushan! he bellowed, the word echoing in the corridors of the castle. His companions nodded in approval for in the demonic tongue Arushan meant the place of conquerors.
They entered Arushan navigating its twisted hallways and corridors until they reached the room where Mother was imprisoned. Razan emitted a low growl in his throat. What is it, Razan? a fellow clad in blue armor asked. His bow was pulled back, ready to fire at the slightest movement.
I smell Mother, Razan whispered in answer. She was here. I sensed her since coming upon this place but the sense is stronger in this room.
But I dont see her or anything here, the blue armored figure answered.
I said that shewas here, Razan snapped in irritation. Listen next time. This was indeed a fortress if they held Mother captive here or this was her domain.
Shhh! a catlike figure warned.
What is it, Valta? Bram turned, hand on hilt.
Valtas ears twitched. Were being followed. I can hear footsteps coming down the hall. Wed best hide.
I have a better idea, Bram grinned. Razan, blow out the torches in this room. Well ambush them and acquire the answers we need. Razan murmured arcane words and the torches were extinguished leaving the room pitched black.
Jacks eyes darted back and forth as the trio cautiously proceeded down the hallway. His hand was kept on the hilt of his own sword while Rudy held out his ARM. We should have run into some trouble right about now, Jack muttered to himself. He took a quick glance at Cecilia.
Cecilia held her Tear Drop close to her chest, sensing a power far greater than Mothers. She silently prayed to the Guardians to protect them and guide them. She stood close to Rudy, avoiding Jack. She was still angry at him from the argument.
Jack looked into her eyes and saw more than anger. He saw fear. Fear for whatever came here. He never doubted her judgment since she was skilled in the ways of magic. She could sense an energy of a metal demon, whether because of her skills or because she communicated with the Guardians. He admired that. He then thought of his conversation last night with his partner. He considered taking Hanpans advice but never having the courage to do so.
Rudy stopped followed by Cecilia. Jacks mind came to the present as he too stopped. Theres something strange about that room. Its too dark, Rudy said.
Jack took out his lighter and lit it. It made a little flame, too little to be a torch. He cautiously went in, lighter in left hand, sword in the other. Rudy followed, his keen eyes trying to penetrate the gloom, his finger on the trigger of his ARM. Cecilia entered last, the words of a spell on the tip of her tongue.
Suddenly the room flared into life. The trio found themselves surrounded by four figures. Jack swore under his breath. He put away his lighter and took hold of his sword with both hands anticipating a battle.
Well, well, look what we have here, a voice snickered. A fifth figure jumped down from the shadows and landed in front of Cecilia. Cecilia jumped back from the figure, her wand out. Who are you? she quivered, her hand shaking. She knew that this was the demon whose power was greater than Mothers.
I am called Bram, he bowed mockingly, and this is my band of warriors. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jack move menacingly toward Seth. I wouldnt do that if I were you, he warned him. My men are trained to kill when I order it.
Jack glanced at him and then at Seth. Seth grinned, his canine teeth showing, battle axe poised to strike. Jack slowly backed away. Bram circled them like prey. Ill be asking you a few questions, he explained. If you answer them to my liking, I might let you go. If not, you might end up being a notch on my sword. Do you agree?
I guess we have no choice, Jack mumbled under his breath.
Excellent! exclaimed Bram. Lets begin. What is this planet? The interrogation lasted for an hour or more, not being able to tell time in the castle. Jack answered most of the questions while Rudy and Cecilia stood alert, suspecting them to attack.
Who defeated Mother? Bram asked curiously.
We did, snapped Jack. And youll join her if you dont stop asking these stupid questions. Now its time for me to ask the questions. Explain why you came out of the sky in those ball of lights. Youre kind of late to join the others, a thousand years late.
Bram laughed out loud at the statement. Jack and the others became perplexed. It was Mother who trapped us in those lights, Bram explained. Weve been wandering in space for a thousand years. Only when Mother was killed could the lights set us free. Youve done us a great service, human.
Why did she trap you? Cecilia asked.
We were too strong for her to handle. We were a threat to her and her children and so banished us from Hiades. Not only were we a threat but she also feared our power. Now that we are free, we can conquer this planet.
Youll have to get through us first! Jack exclaimed, sword gleaming.
Bram stood there beaming at them. You think you can defeat us? Hear that guys, they think they can beat us! He laughed out loud and the others joined him. Well see if you can escape this castle, alive. Get them!
The demons slowly advanced toward them, licking their lips, anticipating the kill. Cecilia, Jack, and Rudy stood back to back, ready to defend themselves. Garyu Ichimongiri! a voice shouted. A crescent-shaped beam hit Valta in the stomach. Valta stumbled back, stunned by the attack.
Who did that? Bram demanded.
A figure appeared from the darkness. Zed at your service, he announced.
Zed! Jack exclaimed with a wry smile. Perfect timing!
Zed stood behind Bram on the railing that ran behind the room. He drew out his sword and jumped down beside Jack. I cant let you have all the fun, he muttered. Lets teach these demons a lesson theyll never forget. He extended his sword in front of him.
Who the hell are you? Bram demanded.
Im called Zed, Zed answered lightly, a fellow----
demon, Razan finished. A traitor is what he is. He should be killed. He looked at Bram for verification and he nodded.
I agree but I want to see how well they fight first, Bram ordered. If they defeated Mother then they are formidable foes. He turned to Jacks group and smiled. Lets see how well you fare against my warriors. He then glared at Zed and said menacingly, And you shall die. He pointed his hand toward them and the four vaulted headlong.
Jack and the others braced themselves to do battle. Each fought the demons one-on-one. Jack squared off against Seth. I guess we can have that little match after all, Seth declared as he swung his battle axe in a two-handed downward blow toward Jack. Jack raised his sword with both hands to ward off the blow. Axe clashed on blade, the blow jarring both of them. He then risked a glance at the others.
Cecilia fought with Razan in a magic duel. They matched spell for spell, dodging the other and countering with a spell. Cecilia dodged a magical lance and unleashed a Saint spell. Razan grunted from the Holy attack. He murmured some words and placed his hands upon the ground. Cecilia felt the floor beneath her shaking as if there was an earthquake and tried to maintain her balance. The shaking became more violent and she toppled to the floor unable to balance. She looked up and paled as she saw a wall of earth descend upon her, lifting her arm in a futile attempt to shield her from it. It fell upon her, burying her in dirt instantly, showing only a hand sticking from the mound in a helpless gesture for help. Razan removed his hands from the ground, staring at the mound and the hand that stuck out from it, triumph gleaming in his eyes.
Rudy aimed his Arch Smash ARM on Valta and fired. With the agility and grace of a cat, he back flipped out of the way and lashed his whip toward Rudy. Rudy brought his ARM up in defense and the whip wound itself around it. Valta pulled his whip, grabbing the ARM. Rudys ARM was wrenched away from his hands and found himself unarmed. Valta looked at the weapon curiously. He shrugged his shoulders and threw it aside, unable to comprehend the device. Rudy unsheathed his sword as Valta sprang toward him, claws extending for a pouncing attack. He jumped to the side before Valta had the opportunity to maul him and readied his sword to fire a Wild Bunch bullet. Valta landed on all fours but before he could pick himself up, Rudy fired. Out of the corner of his eye, Valta saw the red wave coming toward him and sprang away to avoid contact with it. He summoned his whip into his paw and began to lash at Rudy. Rudy dodged side to side as he closed the gap between them. He raised his sword, poised to strike. Valta grinned and vanished from Rudys sight. Rudy stopped his charge and looked around cautiously. The demon cat was nowhere in sight. He heard the whistle of a whip coming from behind. He quickly turned around, the whip bounding his arms to his side, unable to move from the coils. Valta held the whip in both paws, seeming to concentrate on collecting energy. Crackling electricity began to form around his figure, getting stronger and stronger until it encompassed his whole body. He roared and the electricity flowed down from him, into his hands and into the whip toward Rudy. Rudy cried out as the electricity coursed through his metal body, his hair sticking on end. It lasted only for a moment, a moment that did a lot of damage to Rudy. The electricity slowed as Valtas roar softened, diminished when he roared no more. Rudys slack body fell to the ground, steaming as it cooled from the heat that the electricity formed while conducting through his body. Valta roared out loud in triumph.
Zed backed up into a corner, unable to dodge the projectiles fired by Bow. He panted, grimacing as he moved his bloodied sword arm up in a final attempt to block the arrows. Bow pulled back the string of his bow, a fire arrow forming on the bow, aiming at the ailing traitor. Before he could fire, however, Zed began to laugh. You havent seen my true power! he roared. He took a deep breath and howled out loud as his body began to transform.
His arms began to bulge, his legs became larger. His back arched and grew broader renting his blue tunic. His face grew larger and round, his mouth turning into an ugly snout. His hands stretched, nails growing into talons. Brown fur covered him all over. What stood before Bow wasnt the Zed he was fighting but a transformed beast. Monster Z! Zed shrieked.
Bow stood frozen from his place. He never saw any demon transform before. Panic gripped him and before he knew it, Monster Z charged toward him, the Doom Bringer held in both taloned hands. Zed slashed down at the frozen demon, roaring as he swung his sword, light glinting off the metal. Bow made no move to block or dodge the swing.
Zed gleamed anticipating the kill, then Bram intervened. Bram brought his sword up to meet Zeds. Bow, wake up! he ordered. With his left hand, he fired an energy ball at Zed. Zed flew back toward the wall and slumped down to the ground, his body transforming to its original self. Bow shook his head. Im sorry, sir, he apologized. Ive never seen the likes of that before, not even in Hiades.
Neither did I, Bram agreed as he placed his sword back on his belt. Things must have changed when they came here. He watched Zed as he slowly got up. See how he recovers. Most demons would have died by that blast but this one survived. Intriguing.
Zed shook his head and looked around. Jack still fought Seth while the others were defeated. He took a step forward, his head swirling. He then remembered Brams order to kill him. Sorry guys, he whispered, but I have to leave you. He disappeared from the room and the castle altogether, teleporting back home at Saint Centour.
Jack was dismayed to find that he fought alone. Cecilia and Rudy had fallen and Zed was nowhere to be seen. Seth looks like he was having too much fun while he played the defensive. His arms ached from the battle and he also battles his fatigue. Sweat poured down his face and his breath came in ragged gasps. He stumbled, falling on his back. Seth loomed over him, axe raised, a malicious smile on his face. Youve been a formidable opponent but I prove that I am the stronger, he declared with a laugh. He brought his axe down toward Jacks neck, planning to severe his head from his body.
Suddenly, a blue thing jumped up at Seths face. Seth cried in alarm as the thing bit and scratched him. Jack took the opportunity to get back on his feet and deal a deathblow to the demon. Seth shook the thing off and raised his axe to kill it but Jack swung his sword at his face. He took a step back to dodge the swing but it was too close, managing to slice a deep cut across his cheek. How do you like that? Jack mocked.
Bram laughed. He caught you off guard, Seth! Very amusing! Seth scowled, putting a hand over his cheek, blood staining his hands. He frowned and clenched his fist in fury. He held his axe tighter, lunging toward Jack. Enough! Bram ordered.
Seth stopped and turned to him, fire in his eyes. Were not through yet! He continued to charge toward Jack.
You dare to disobey me?! Bram questioned. He pointed a finger at Seth, lightning cackling in his fingertips. He unleashed it engulfing Seth in lightning. Seth gasped and keeled over, lightning still coursing through his body. Bram walked over, looking down at the demon. Do not disobey me again, he threatened. Seth just looked up, fear in his eyes.
Bram looked at Jack. You may go human. Now you know the strength of our power. Challenge us if you will but you may never gain the upper hand. He looked down pathetically at his second-in-command and vanished, sliding through the floor as a ghost.
The others followed their leader, disappearing in their own ways. Razan murmured some words and vanished leaving a tendril of smoke. Valta lashed his whip around himself and disappeared. Bow jumped up and vanished, leaving the moaning Seth with Jack.
Seth painfully stood up. We will meet again to settle the score, he whispered. His body became transparent until nothing was seen of him.
Jack sighed, falling on his knees. I owe you one, he said to his blue companion. Hanpan jumped onto his shoulder. Actually that debt was paid when you stopped Seth from hacking me in two, he squeaked. Now is the perfect time to get out of here.
Jack nodded. He stood up, grimacing at his aching muscles, and sheathed his sword. He grabbed a Heal Berry and a Revive Fruit. Here, he said as he handed the Revive Fruit to Hanpan, use this to wake up Rudy. Hanpan nodded and took the fruit to Rudy. Jack munched on the Heal Berry, regaining a bit of his strength. He decided to look for Cecilia.
He walked to the far left of the room, where he last saw her. His pace quickened when he saw a mound of dirt with a hand sticking up from it. He burst into a jog, quickly reaching the mound, and started to dig. Minister Johan will not forgive me if anything happened to the princess, he muttered, blaming himself. The feeling of failure struck his heart, the same feeling he felt after Arctica fell.
No, he protested digging diligently. I failed once, Ill never fail again! Muscles ached as he continued to dig. He was later joined by Rudy and Hanpan who dug along side of him. It took about ten minutes for them to finally unearth her but another horror struck.
Shes not breathing! Hanpan cried in alarm when he saw the blue tinged face. Jack quickly picked her up and laid her across the floor. Time was of the essence. He tilted her chin back, pinched her nose, and gave two slow breaths. He then placed the heel of his hand on her chest, the other hand on top of the other, and compressed five times. He repeated the cycle, giving breaths, and pumping.
Come on! he urged softly. New sweat started pouring down his face. Hanpan and Rudy watched anxiously from behind, giving room for Jack to work. He was rewarded for his efforts when Cecilia began to cough and breath. Thank the Guardians! Jack sighed in relief as he wiped sweat from his brow with his sleeve.
That was too close, Jack, Rudy said. Minister Johan would have our heads if the princess didnt make it. Jack nodded, too tired to speak. Hanpan hopped onto his shoulder as he picked Cecilia up in his arms. Lets leave this place, Jack said, before they change their minds about letting us go. Rudy and Hanpan nodded in agreement, no words expressing what they feel. They left the castle not knowing when destiny will draw the demons to them again.
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