Trials of the Valiant Chapter 27
By The RPGenius
Vantan looked up at the sound of far-off chocobo running. He, like the rest of Ranma's companions, was lounging about the former entrance to the cave, having nothing else to do. They had searched along the sides of the large, almost-mountain that the cave resided in, but had found no other entrance. After wasting much time in a futile attempt to move the heavy wall of rubble that blocked the entrance, they had agreed to leave it alone until Alma came back.
His eyes confirmed his ears: on top of the hill nearby, Boco, carrying Alma, was headed towards the group at a fast pace.
"Alma's back," Vantan told the rest of them, not that it was really necessary. They had all seen her by now.
Once Alma had reached them, she jumped off Boco, breathing heavily.
"Why did you need to leave? What's the plan?" Meliadoul demanded.
Still breathing heavily from nonstop riding, Alma took out a bomb from the bag she held. "Mustadio, I saw your demonstration of this before we left your home. Will it work on the cave?"
Mustadio's face lit up. "Yeah, it should. We may need more than one, but I think we can blow through the blocked entrance."
"Good thinking, Alma," Malak complimented her.
Alma smiled, and Mustadio began setting the bombs up around the blocked entrance.
"I must say," Syldreth continued, her hood down. She stood further back in the cave, right near the large hole to the side where Titan had smashed into the brittle cave floor. "I'm surprised that you managed to make it here."
"Even more surprised that you destroyed Worker 9," she went on, walking slowly and calmly to the broken remains of her powerful robot.
"Surprised, and a bit irritated. But I suppose it really doesn't matter," she said, kneeling down to remove the glowing stone of Cancer from the wreckage of Worker 9. He obviously would not be needing it for a power source any longer.
"One way or another, I'll kill you, and if I must soil my own hands to do it, then so be it."
Ramza and Agrias grabbed their blades from the ground, and Worker 8 took a ready position. Syldreth could feel Sleeris inside her, demanding to be freed for battle. But Syldreth did not release the Zodiac Monster's spirit just yet. She decided to fight by herself for now. After all, if she could kill Ramza herself--which she had few doubts that she could, for he now only had two allies to rely on, rather than his usual large group--then there was no need to unleash the powers of Lucavi. Sleeris's disapproval surged through Syldreth, but she again ignored the Zodiac Monster within her.
Syldreth calmly reached within the cape of her cloak. Suddenly, her arms were a blur of motion as they rapidly shot a torrent of throwing knives through the air at her foes. Within the space of seconds, she had used up her entire supply of knives--a dozen all told. When she stopped her deadly throwing frenzy, she looked to see what the result of her attack had been, expecting to see the carcasses of Ramza Beoulve and Agrias Oaks serving as pincushions for her knives.
Instead, she saw the large figure of Worker 8 standing stoutly in front of his human allies, serving as a protective wall. About the robot lay Syldreth's knives, scattered about the floor. Only a few had actually penetrated the robot's hard body when they had hit, and it was obvious that none of them had struck anything even remotely vital to his systems.
With a snarl of rage, Syldreth drew her two vicious ninja blades. With the agility and grace of a natural-born ninja and assassin, she dashed forward and darted to the side of Worker 8 as she neared him. The robot's slow, clumsy attempt to catch hold of her was futile, and only helped Syldreth in that he would need to waste valuable time to recover his fighting stance before attacking again.
With Worker 8 out of the way for a moment, Syldreth could concentrate on the humans behind him. She pounced forward, swinging her blade down in a deadly arc unto Ramza's head. He brought his own sword up to match her stroke, and Syldreth's ears were assaulted by the clash of the two blades striking together.
Even as Ramza held Syldreth's first sword back with his own, she swept her second sideways to slash his stomach. The blade whistled through the air, then was suddenly and violently stopped as it met another sword not inches away from Ramza's flesh. Agrias had thrust her sword down into the ground to block the deadly attack.
Doing so had placed her in an awkward position, though, and Syldreth exploited this by kicking Agrias from the side as hard as she could. Being a ninja, Syldreth was able to put quite a lot of force behind her kick and still maintain balance on one leg, and thus Agrias was knocked on her back by the blow.
Syldreth turned to finish Agrias off. She brought both of her blades plunging down to kill the Holy Knight, but Agrias managed to roll aside moments before being impaled. As Syldreth's swords dug into the empty ground where Agrias had been, they did no damage save to sever the very ends of a few strands of Agrias's hair.
Syldreth pulled her weapons from the ground and prepared to attack again. Suddenly, she felt a piercing, seizing pain in her stomach. Looking down, she stared in dull shock at the blade of the Ragnarok that now protruded from her. In attacking Agrias she had given Ramza a golden opportunity for attack. Ramza pulled his blade free from her, and she staggered with the fatal sway of the soon-to-be dead. Distantly, she felt herself being lifted by Worker 8, and thrown against a wall several feet away. The pain from the impact was harsh, but becoming more and more distant
The entity of Sleeris within her rose to the surface, taking control of Syldreth's body as she began to die. Syldreth's arm reached into a concealed pocket and brought out the Cancer Zodiac stone that she had retrieved from Worker 9. The rock began to glow
Ramza watched the all-too-familiar scene in horror. Syldreth was engulfed in a circle of cold, dark violet light, then, in an unreal explosion, there stood the Zodiac Monster, Sleeris.
Sleeris, like all other Zodiac Monsters, was a horrific beast. The large monster most resembled the crab that was its sign. The main body of Sleeris was a large shell like that of a crab, with two human-like legs extending from the bottom of it. Both legs were powerful, muscular, and somewhat short, perfectly equipped to hold up the large beast that that supported. Two arms also branched out of Sleeris's shell, both human-like and as muscular as the legs. Each ended not with a hand, but rather with an enormous crab claw. Finally, at the top of the horrific beast sat its head, a perpetually grinning human skull.
A bubbly, low voice issued from the skull. "So we meet, Ramza Beoulve you killed the others I now will kill you come, loyal minions of Lucavi!"
With a wave of Sleeris's hand, three Archaic Demons and an Apanda appeared by the Zodiac Monster.
Worker 8 once more tensed for battle, and Ramza and Agrias tightened their grips on their swords. However, all three knew that the chances of victory when they were outnumbered almost two to one by Lucavi's minions of darkness were very slim.
Before anyone could make a move, though, the blocked cave entrance behind Ramza exploded in a wave of fire, and the wall of debris was suddenly no more.
Shielding his eyes from the bright light of day that was so much harsher than the comfortable glow of the Spirit Crystals deep in the cave, Ramza saw Alma, Boco, Byblos, Vantan, Meliadoul, Malak, and Mustadio all rushing into the cave.
"Brother! You're okay!" Alma said happily, giving Ramza a hug. Boco nuzzled him with his beak.
"Looks like we came in just in time, too," Malak said as he saw Lucavi's demons further back.
Sleeris emitted a hideous laugh. "Wonderful Ramza, Alma, the traitor Byblos, and all their allies together at once I can finish you all off at once!"
"Underestimating us is what doomed Velius, Quecklain, Hashmalum, Elidibs, Adremelk, and Zarela," Ramza said as Alma released him.
"And now, you shall join their names, Sleeris," Vantan said as he unsheathed his sword.
The battle commenced.
Final Fantasy Tactics Fanfic