Episode 077: Invasion! Fading Boundaries
Strong energy waves invaded the area in deep space where Dugradigdu, the Swordbreaker and the Great Beast fought. Darkstar attacked with more of Dynast's energy, but it was counteracted with the same technique as before. "Zelas, this strain is too much, even for a monster lord, and Dynast has been captive for a long time," Canal warned.
"Really, Canal? Don't you get it? Hostages have no effect on me," Zelas assured.
"I should have known," Canal laughed nervously.
The pulsations of energy all around turned into small rips in the over-world, which led to the Slayers' world. However, albeit increasingly numerous, they were far too small to allow any of the ships to fit through them. "Do you really think we're alone here?" Lina shared her suspicions.
"Nosy people just can't stay out of this, can they?" Zelas mused. "Follow me," electricity coursed through the Great Beast and smoke dissolved in space, but it was only a clever trick. She unexpectedly retreated, followed by the Swordbreaker.
Darkstar took the bait, believing the Great Beast to have been overloaded and damaged. He followed the two retreating ships to the area from where the Great Beast had emerged into the over-world for the final battle. "The rip you made is still present, Lord Beast Master, though opening it to a larger size would be rather difficult from this side. I suppose you could say our world more is volatile in composition thus a trip from there to a different world is easier than from another world to ours," Xellos informed.
"The same would go for the transmission of energy," Zelas agreed.
"I have no doubts about it, Luna and all the others must have gathered in our world, most likely at the Elmekia desert. They'll be ready to send us their energy if we just get ready to receive it." Lina theorized, guided by her instinct, which had not failed her before.
Darkstar, who had been chasing the two smaller lost ships, opened fire again, with more of his missiles, lasers and dark energy. "Zelas, we need to get ready if that idea is to work. I'll take some of that dark energy too this time."
"You think you can handle it?" Zelas teased, already knowing the answer.
"Of course I can, I just need to redirect it to my weapons system. It may be bad for the Swordbreaker as a whole, but I can still use it as ammunition," Canal ascertained. "I won't use it now, as it won't work on Darkstar anyway, but I can transfer it to you at a slower pace and you can use it to repair your ship."
"Energy waves of untraceable origin detected from the rip!" Xellos announced. "It must be from our world."
"Then lets receive it," Zelas decided. "If the psy-energy is used to open a link, it should work. Amelia, Filia, you have experience in focusing in prayer, I'll give you this task."
"You can count on us and on justice!" Amelia cheered.
"This reminds me of the Stillness battle, we can win again!" Filia agreed with determination.
The energy sent from the Slayers' world gathered around the Great Beast and Swordbreaker, making it easier for them to defend themselves against Darkstar. "That power... Where is it coming from?" Darkstar growled in frustration. He traced it to the inter-world rip and hurried towards it. "I'll put an end to this!" He shot all his remaining missiles into the portal simultaneously.
"Those missiles, if they reach our world..." Zelgadis didn't even need to finish.
"If..." Lina emphasized.
Zelgadis gave the situation some further thought. "In his anger, Darkstar fired too many missiles at once. Most of them will crash against each other and explode on the way," he realized.
"And those that do reach their target won't be enough to defeat our allies," Milgazia agreed.
"Especially with the magic they wield," added Gorun Nova.
"That's right," Lina cheered, "they'll find a way to shield themselves."
"And while Darkstar is throwing a tantrum, we can attack him, right?" Gourry suggested.
A split second of collective silence overtook the ship, before Kain exclaimed. "What are we doing discussing it? Fire!" The notion didn't have to be repeated before it was swiftly followed.
Darkstar was forced to turn away from his task at the rip and set his focus once again on the present battle. Yet he was too close to the rip, albeit he couldn't fit through it. He tried to block it with Dugradigdu, focusing his shield in the front of the vessel, leaving the rear open with energy absorption devices to try to take the energy sent from the other world for himself. He was empowered at first and threatened to overload the systems of the Swordbreaker and Great Beast. However, it didn't take long for those sending that energy from the Slayers' world to realize it was being intercepted and turn it around to drain energy rather than give it. Darkstar was surrounded by electricity as he pushed Dugradigdu to cut the connection forcefully, but something had gotten a hold of him through Dolphin's power.
"Dolphin!" Zelas recognized the traces of energy of her fellow monster lord. "She's calling her power to return to her." Immediately, Zelas sent a transmission towards Dugradigdu, as it was the only way to get to Dynast. "Dynast, hold on to that stream of energy, I'll try to loosen Darkstar's grip on you. Don't hold on to your power, you can recover it later, hold on to the stream of energy that comes from our world!"
"I won't allow this!" Darkstar growled in frustration.
"This is it! Ready, Millie?" Kain's voice came through the shared communication link between the Sword Breaker and the Great Beast, though it was more so an internal conversation of the Swordbreaker's crew that time. "Millie?"
Millie was focused as if in prayer or deep meditation. "Not now Kain, the best in the universe is trying to sync her energy with Amelia and Filia. But to answer your question, the best in the universe reminds you that she is always ready!"
"She must be in deeper concentration than what it seems if she speaks of herself in third person," Kain commented.
"Psy-energy received!" Canal announced.
"Than I'll leave this one to you, since you have much more in common with Ceifeed," Zelas decided.
A ray of golden light emerged from the rip beside the stream of dark energy that pulled at Darkstar. It was the power of Ceifeed that Luna was channeling through the portal with Amelia, Filia and Millie turning the Swordbreaker into a beacon for it to follow. The hit made Darkstar retreat from his position in front of the portal, which kept on growing as more energy was sent through it. He had to release Dynast's persona in order to move out of the way and avoid another blast from the Knight of Ceifeed.
xoxox xox xoxox
Dynast crashed into the Elmekia desert like a meteorite and tried to, as quickly as he could manage, pull himself together. Taking on his human form, he examined the area around him, recognizing the endless stretch of golden sand as far as the eye could see, though it was littered with cannons and missiles. His numb senses return to him and his eyes focused on those around him. Among them, he recognized and quickly approached Dolphin. The monster lord of the sea was on her knees in deep meditation, coaxing her power to return to her. "Dolphin, Dolphin!" He tapped her shoulder insistently.
"Hush! Don't bother me now, I need to concentrate!" Dolphin shrugged her shoulders aggressively, in an obvious hint that she wanted the annoying tapping to stop. Her hands were still clasped together as she muttered incantations under her breath that resembled her own spells. Though she didn't finish casting them, as that was not the purpose of the incantations, she used them to draw her power back towards her.
"But Dolphin, we're surrounded, there are dragons," most of them from Milgazia's clan. "And the Knight of Ceifeed is here and there are monsters too, and they're all just standing there and..." It was all too much for Dynast to take in all of a sudden.
Placing a finger over her lips, Memphis let out a screeching, "shh!" That shushed Dynast for the time being. Phythan smiled with a thumbs up, while Onyx remained characteristically quiet.
Luna stepped forward, an orb of light turning in her hand. "This should do it..."
Dynast opened his mouth to warn Dolphin of her apparent impending doom, though the orb of light held by the Knight of Ceifeed was shot towards the sky and not through Dolphin as he imagined. "Better?"
"Oh yes, that bit of fusion does make the flow of energy easier," Dolphin agreed, eyes still closed in concentration.
Luna turned to the open mouthed, aghast Dynast. "Well, aren't you going to try to recall your power? If I mix my energy with yours on intervals, the pulses of fusion will make the flow easier too."
"Eh?" Was all that Dynast could mutter.
Riksfalto groaned. "We have a truce because none of us wants Darkstar to get his way. The Knight of Ceifeed is allowing Dolphin and you to reclaim your power so that Darkstar can't use it. Besides, even if he, from what I've heard, cannot absorb it at present, he does want it and if we take it away, he'll waste energy trying to keep it and that will help Zelas and Vorfeed."
"I think I get it..." Dynast slowly nodded. "But to ally with Luna Inverse, even in such extreme circumstances..." he frowned.
Dolphin momentarily opened her eyes to give Dynast a cunning look. "If you don't want your power, can I have it?"
"No!" Dynast exclaimed. "I was just saying that I don't like the idea of working with Lina Inverse' sister."
"Lina's sister more so than the Knight of Ceifeed?" Luna curiously questioned. "I see you're still a bit bitter towards her..."
"Dealing with the Knight of Ceifeed is bad enough, but Lina is on a league of her own," Dynast huffed. "Besides, I find it suspicious that you'd let us keep our power, even with the present circumstances."
"The transmission diminishes it because the cost of transporting that power gets taken out of it." Luna revealed. "But it's better than letting it be lost and possibly taken by Darkstar, isn't it?"
"This is..." Dynast was without words.
"Oh, calm down," Dolphin disregarded. "Zelas will protect us, she's a lot stronger, you know. She's like the new top monster lord of this world, like Shabranigdu's replacement, and what does the light have? A holy knight that spends more time waiting tables than actually fighting and a stubborn dragon elder that Zelas might just have for dinner one of these days, that is literally have him for dinner."
"And what does the over-world have?" Luna added, "A dark lord that's about to be defeated. Canal, the new Vorfeed as it were, is still powerful though. The dragons and myself oppose the monster race, while Zelas and Canal are opposites to each other. Yet even if the one to balance Zelas' power is in the over-world, we have a pretty good diplomat to deal with her here."
"You mean you'll take the position?" Sylphiel curiously inquired.
"Of course not, I have the cafe to tend to. Putting up with Zelas' antics is Milgazia's job. He's perfect for it, since Zelas seems to be rather fond of him, or at least fond of the taste of his hard to trigger temper. I guess she enjoys the challenge," Luna grinned mischievously. "If we look at the two worlds together, there is a balance of darkness and light."
"Let's hope that counts for the Lord of Nightmares," Pokota voiced.
"I think it just might," Luna agreed. "After all, breaking boundaries is what motion is about."
"Mr. Dynast, you should start your meditation now, just like Miss Dolphin," Sylphiel urged.
Grumbling in discomfort, Dynast did as he was told. "Just one more question," he added. "What's with all those cannons and stuff all over the desert?"
"They're Jillas Cannons!" Naga cheered. "Daddy and Gravy carried them here, then we teamed up to defend our world from Darkstar's attack, that we knew must eventually reach us, with magic and technology of our own. Jillas directed the cannon attack and everyone helped, Val and Palou too. Elena and I not only helped with the defenses, but we also made cookies! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Oh, but the cookies ran out just before you got here... Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
"Sometimes I think it really is impossible to return the world to chaos, because it already is chaos..." Dynast muttered under his breath.
"Now you're catching on! It's about time; we figured that out over a year ago." Naga cheered. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Who ever said monsters were the most chaotic creatures around?
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, the battle continued in the over-world. "You won't get away with this, I still have more power than you can imagine!" Darkstar threatened. "Psy-energy fusion!" Beams of swirls of black and gold assaulted the Swordbreaker and Great Beast harshly.
"He's using Vorfeed!" Canal gasped.
"We can use fusion of our own!" Zelas reminded. "Xellos, load the attack pattern data, push the shields beyond the limits, we can't afford to get too damaged by this, but we're drilling in."
"Yes! I've been looking forward to this!" Xellos cheered. "Loading attack pattern data, sending attack pattern data, gathering defensive energy..."
"Attack pattern data received," Canal confirmed. "This is..." She displayed the plans of motion on the screen for her crew to see.
"It's completely crazy!" Millie suddenly exclaimed.
Lina laughed, "no, it's completely our style."
"Rash, seemingly senseless, utterly careless, a big gamble," Kain observed with a serious faced that suddenly turned into one of glee. "I like your style, let's do it!"
"What?!" Canal exclaimed. "Ugh, fine, but you're getting my ship a new paint job after this and I want high quality paint!"
"Connecting!" Zelas and Canal guided the Swordbreaker and Great Beast to link with each other, held together by mechanical claws and strong cables, the two lost ships of light and darkness becoming as one.
"What foolish desperate plan are you trying to fulfill by tying yourselves together? Darkstar taunted. "Whatever it is, it won't work!" Once again he forced Vorfeed into giving up her energy. "Psy-energy fusion!"
"Right back at you" Lina challenged.
"Everyone better have their seatbelts on," Canal cautioned.
"Commencing attack!" Xellos cheered.
The two lost ships began to spin rapidly, surrounded by energy of light and darkness. The positive and negative feelings, rather than canceling each other out, were guided to a balance that set them in a loop. In the endless cycle, happiness brought tranquility and tranquility boredom, which brought sadness, then danger was received with adventurous joy, that would give way to difficult peril and desperation, which would in turn cultivate an unbreakable determination, that would bring forth a bittersweet victory, and so on, every emotion was stripped of its purity and turned into the catalyst of its opposing force. It was a complex technique that one AI alone couldn't manage. It was a type of psy-energy that could not be allowed lean towards one side or the other, but only fuel the continuous battle.
As it went on, the two ships spun faster and fast, pushing their shields, life support and stabilizers to the limit to preserve their greatest sources of energy, the crew within them. The tornado of fusion psy-energy proved superior to Darkstar's assault and the united lost ships collided with Dugradigdu, drilling a hole through its thick armor. At last they had penetrated the seemingly invincible fortress, but now the task lay ahead to defeat its master. While the Swordbreaker, Great Beast and their crew was yet recovering, Dugradigdu sent his internal defenses, which he never expected to need and thus were not too many, at the invaders.
"I will not allow this; you will fall in this battle, Darkstar!" A familiar voice echoed through the communication channels.
"Vorfeed!" Canal called out in alarm.
"Darkstar's hold on me has been weakened by your attack," Vorfeed explained. "I will use the remainder of my power to weaken him as much as I can. The outer defenses will be disabled so that you can reach the core of Dugradigdu while your ships recover."
"Such a task would be too much!" Canal warned with great worry.
"If Alicia could make such a sacrifice... so can I!" Dugradigdu's whole outer area short-circuited by the work of Vorfeed in his systems, but it wouldn't be long before he extinguished her from his data.
"Vorfeed!" Canal cried out for her other self, the original from whence she came.
"Protect the dreams of all, do not let them succumb to the Nightmare..." Vorfeed's voice faded away. "You are the new Night Dragon now..."
"Vorfeed, no!" Canal loudly cried out in agony.
"Canal!" Kain hugged the hologram that represented his childhood friend. "Don't let the pain take over, be strong, it's the only way to beat Darkstar!"
Canal closed her eyes, taking a deep breath in her simulated form and in the depths of her systems, running a defragmenter and prioritizing program, the equivalent of gathering her thoughts and trying to regain her focus. "You're right, Vorfeed's sacrifice won't be in vain. I will live through this to accomplish the task she left for me. I will become the new Night Dragon of this world, the protector of the subconscious of its population."
"That's right, you'll become the best," not to mention the only, "Night Dragon in the universe and we'll be right here to back you up every step of the way!" Millie cheered.
The crews of the Swordbreaker and Great Beast exited the vessels and found themselves inside Darkstar's vessel, Dugradigdu. "Dugradigdu was originally built as a weapon, so it has a life support system that Darkstar never bothered removing, though it was understandably inactive until recently. Thanks to Vorfeed, I managed to hack in and reactivate it," Canal explained. "Our ships drilled in fairly deep and they are kind of stuck for now. At least we're not being pulled into space right now. It should be fine to remove the ships once we're deeper in, if we can manage. Since the outer defenses have been disabled, our ships will also have the chance to repair themselves, but it's still a dangerous position we're in. I can't say how long it'll be until Darkstar recovers, attacks the ships and disables the life support system in here. We need to reach the core of Dugradigdu and destroy it before long."
"And the more damage we do along the way, the less resources Dugradigdu will have available to accomplish all that," Kain added.
"Encouraging us to do some damage, are you?" Zelas grinned.
"Coming right up!" Lina readied her psy-gun, shooting at anything and everything as she charged in. The fiery red haired leader was closely followed by Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Filia, Milgazia, Gorun Nova, Kain and Millie. To her surprise, Canal, Xellos and Zelas also joined them. "Is it really okay to leave the ships?"
"We're still connected to them," Canal assured. "We are technically with the ships all the time."
"Besides, even if we're holograms, that doesn't mean there's nothing we can do," Zelas added.
"With a little hacking we can join the fun and Darkstar's prone to it right now," Xellos faded into the metal wall like a ghost, leaving a stream of short circuits in the inner workings beneath the wall panels.
xoxox xox xoxox
The first part of the journey deeper into Dugradigdu was relatively easy, but that would soon change as they reached the inner chambers of the vessel. "So you've finally made it?" Darkstar's voice echoed, as the lights went out.
The large metal chamber held a floating citadel with anti-gravitational technology on all sides and no bridge to reach it beyond the force field that surrounded it, forming the only dim light in the chamber. "The air is pretty thin here," Lina observed.
"That's because this area has no life support system active, Darkstar is in control of this chamber," Canal determined.
"If he's not trying to extend his control to reboot the outer areas, that can only mean that he intends to focus on this battle. The oxygen filtering in from the surrounding area will have to be enough for now," Zelas voiced.
"We've been in situations like this before, stay strong everyone!" Lina charged forward, only by a few steps before, a laser crossed her path and she had to hastily jump out of the way. It was only the first of many, which rain upon the group. They dodged what they could and shielded themselves with the psy-weapons from the close calls.
The oxygen became thinner, until it was absent completely and the gravity and temperature fluctuated rapidly to the extreme. A shock of chilling temperatures was followed by the alarmingly rapid increase of heat. "Not only is there no life support in this area, but Darkstar controls it!" Canal exclaimed.
"Not even the cyborgs will be able to survive like this!" Xellos realized in alarm.
"We'll have to hack in!" Zelas decided.
"Right!" Canal joined in, "everyone, stay strong and fight, the three of us will try to keep the conditions as stable as possible!" Canal, Zelas and Xellos' holograms disappeared as they focused on the hacking.
The rapid increase of the temperature was halted and the oxygen restored. Lina took a deep breath. "As stable as possible might not be all that stable after all," she gasped for breaths of thin air. The temperature still occasionally went up and down, from chilling to scorching, and the altered gravity had the crew feeling as if each of their feed had an extra fifty pounds attached. Sparks of electricity swerved in the air, making the very atmosphere sting painfully. Against all odds, Lina marched towards the edge of the chamber and looked towards the protected citadel. "Gourry..."
"Right!" Gourry held out the psy-sword, the one that held a bit of precious metal from their world, crafted in part from the remains of Lina's brass racket, which had been vital to their survival when they first arrived. Everyone surrounded Gourry, some putting their energy into his psy-weapon and other serving to shield them from the continuous lasers. The beam of psy-energy from the psy-sword hit the force field around the citadel, finally extinguishing it.
"Applying life support..." Canal's voice echoed. "The hacking so close to Darkstar's core programming is difficult, even the attempt is painful."
"That means you'll have to keep that shield down at all times," Zelas cautioned.
"That's right, or you'll get suffocated and cooked, whichever happens faster." Xellos chirped with his characteristic cheer that many times was unfitting to the situation.
"I can do it," Gorun Nova offered. "I was a weapon similar to this one for a long time, so channeling my energy through it is easy. I'll keep that shield down, the rest of you go ahead."
Gourry frowned in disapproval at the plan. "We can't just leave you here by yourself. There's that shield to fight against and the lasers all around."
"Like I said, projecting my psy-energy is very easy for me. I can aim to disable Darkstar's shield and create a shield to protect myself at the same time," Gorun Nova insisted. "Besides, you're going to need all the attack power you can get in there!"
"Gorun Nova..." Gourry paused unsure.
"Trust me, now go!" Gorun Nova insisted.
"Take care of yourself," Gourry finally agreed.
"You too, child of Flagoon..." Gorun Nova whispered as Gourry, Lina, Amelia, Zelgadis, Kain and Millie made their way to the citadel with some help from the jetpacks of Filia and Milgazia.
To be Continued
xoxox xox xoxox
Episode 078: Forever! Until Next Time
At the entrance to the citadel, among a continuous rain of deadly lasers that made the group drain their energy investing it on psy-shields, there was a large metal door. A slightly off color panel at its side indicated that the numerical pad beside the door had been removed. "Can this be hacked?" Kain inquired.
"Maybe if you'd all stopped being so fragile for long enough," Zelas snapped.
"What she means is that we're having an all out digital, or in your world's terminology, astral, battle against Darkstar right now just to keep the life support system going and we can't spare any power," Canal elaborated.
"How long can all of you hold your breath?" Xellos chirped, his usual cheery voice sounding a bit strain as unintentional proof of his efforts.
"Not long enough," Zelgadis decided not to risk it.
Staying alive in such a suppressing atmosphere was bad enough as it was. It also explained why Darkstar was so quiet lately if he was busy with Canal, Zelas and Xellos, but they would only be able to hold him back for so long. The core had to be reached; it was the only way to defeat Darkstar. "Filia, Milgazia, you're both part machine, with the technological components being integrated pretty deeply. Maybe you can open this," Lina suggested.
"It's worth a try." Milgazia began removing the wall panel on one side of the door, while Filia started working on the other.
Impatient, Filia pulled out her mace, which she was thankful she had remembered to bring and banged on the wall panel until it fell off. She stepped to the other side of the door, "allow me," and repeated the process with the other wall panel.
Milgazia was silent for a moment before commenting that, "the important circuitry is probably a little deeper in..."
"Got it!" Filia took it as a cue to smash some more circuit boards about of the way.
Once that was done, the two cyborgs reached into the circuitry on either side of the door, extending cables into it, looking to make contact with something that would allow them control. "Just rip them out; there are no compatible plugs here." Milgazia concluded as he reached for Dugradigdu's cables beyond the removed panel and cut them, wrapping the thinner metal wires inside the cables around the end of his own plug.
"I guess there's no choice, not that I mind breaking cables if they belong to Darkstar." Filia followed the example and broke apart the cables from the citadel, tugging the thin metal strands into the outlet of her own cable. She felt a jolt of electricity as she began the connection process and began feeling as if the door was as one of her limbs which was trying to lift itself against a heavy weight. She realized that Milgazia must also be able to sense it, the weight was Darkstar's resistance and the movement to lift it away was Milgazia trying to open the door. Filia joined in, straining her systems as if she really was lifting something heavy, which was a somewhat odd feeling given that she was standing still, yet she felt as if she was doing a great deal of exercise. She could only imagine how much harder it would be for Xellos, who was more directly struggling against Darkstar.
The door finally opened and Zelas' voice was heard again. "Filia, Milgazia, I sense you've connected to Dugradigdu, it's relatively superficial, but you stupid dragons might be able to make yourselves useful after all. Reach deeper into the room in front of you and focus on pushing away Darkstar's influence."
"Just pretend your doing an exorcism," Xellos chimed in.
"Don't let your dullness hold you back, Milgazia," Zelas teased.
"That's enough with that, I'm not going to blow up now of all times." He paused, sensing that Filia was, understandably, angry at the situation as a whole and of course, especially at Darkstar. "Filia, focus on something positive, it will make pushing Darkstar back easier."
"Positive... positive..." Filia chanted, trying to concentrate.
"Just think about how cool I am," Xellos suggested.
"Oh, shut up, raw garbage." Though she said that, Filia did feel a lightness and warmth in her heart when she thought of Xellos. She also thought of all her friends back home who were waiting for her and of her precious child, Val.
"I'm not concerned about Milgazia the dull, he never gets really angry," Zelas commented. "I think I shall never forgive you for so easily forgiving me for the whole jet pack incident."
"Holding a grudge would only empower you, I'm not going to feed you as a reward for doing something bad," Milgazia reasoned.
"So if I do something," Zelas made a sound expressing exaggerated disgust, "good, then you'll get angry at me?"
"I'll try," Milgazia offered.
"Alright then, I think saving the worlds from Darkstar, even if I'm only doing it for my own reasons, can still by classified as something good, so you better keep your word and give me some of your ultra rare anger after this," Zelas warned.
The two golden dragons turned cyborgs continued to focus on their task while their remaining companions moved to the very center of Dugradigdu. Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Kain and Millie bravely charged in. The inner room had armored screens all over the walls that coated the chamber in light, contrasting with the darkness of the area surrounding the citadel, which was only lit up by the deadly lasers. At the center of the tall room there was a long metal pillar attached to the floor and ceiling, with an empty area in the middle. A jewel-like device floated between the two halves of the pillar, reflecting the circuitry inside it. It was layer upon layer of a circuit board of platinum-like cords trapped in a substance similar to diamond, the most advanced data containing device ever created.
Even if the device was removed from its place, unless it was taken very far away, it would still be connected to Dugradigdu. Plus even if it was moved far enough, destroying it was a nearly impossible task; presently, even removing it was. That was the core of Darkstar's true form at present, held by purple and black electricity in its glass encasement between the two halves of the pillars. "I never thought you'd make it this far," Darkstar's human form that he once had appeared in the screens all around them. "The three programs, the former lost ship and the two cyborgs are working hard just so that the six of you can have a livable atmosphere here, not that you look too comfortable. The one who arose from Shabranigdu bows down in the name of Chaos!"
Those who were informed of the meaning behind the phrase instinctively paused, waiting for something, but there was no effect except for an increase in the oxygen output. Lina greedily took in big breaths of air, as if the precious oxygen was a plate of delicious food about to be stolen away from her. The others had similar, albeit less gluttonous looking, reactions. Zelas only laughed, "true chaos is not light and not darkness, but a creature that has a little bit of both, in different proportions, yes, but still both. Those who wish to pretend they are pure denounce chaos and are forced to submit to chaos by the speech of the truth they do not understand. Canal can wield wrath, I can wield courage, unpleasant as it may be, I can do it." Which meant that she wasn't pure evil, just as Canal wasn't pure good, perhaps she never was and only needed to admit it, because in chaos, there was no pure anything.
Though Zelas couldn't help it but to be a little jealous, in absolute secrecy of course, that Canal had more skill in painlessly handling wrath and powering her weapons with her opposing element, granted that it wasn't enough to overload her systems, and the only one strong enough to do that was Darkstar. Then again, Canal had more experience; she could have beaten Bodigar, Nezard, Galveira, Ragudo Mezegis and Gorun Nova on her own, as she had won against them in the past, but she purposely avoided combat, because it was Zelas who needed that experience. Painful as it was, having been beaten to an inch of a permanent shut down, that is death, on more than one occasion, she did gain the experience she needed. "Besides," Zelas added in a mocking tone. "It doesn't sound like the remnant of the Stillness inside you liked it when you called upon chaos, didn't you want total silence?"
Darkstar made an angry unintelligible sound. "It doesn't matter, now that you've dared to come this close, I'll show you the power I obtained from the enemy of the Lord of Nightmares, this is the power of the Stillness!" A silvery light overtook the atmosphere as all the stages of the Stillness' cycle were projected from the remnant within Darkstar. First there was the great pain of the Lamentation which would serve to fuel Darkstar.
"Don't give up!" Amelia called loudly, so that not only her companions nearest to her could hear her, but also those who were helping to keep them alive from just outside the core of the citadel. "Everyone, don't give into the sadness. Suffering is temporarily and, if anything, it teaches us to overcome. But don't block out all emotions either, because that's what Darkstar wants, that's what the Stillness wants!" That was the second stage, the Void, a lack of emotion, a mental death. Then there would come the end, the reaper of all to erase all traces of anything that might be left.
"We've been through far too many adventures to give up now," Lina heroically declared, in what had come to be known as her leader mode.
"Right, we can overcome this!" Kain agreed. Together, the group attacked the glass encasing containing Darkstar's core. The glass only cracked despite their efforts, but at least they were getting somewhere.
"Stubborn fools!" Darkstar growled in anger and frustration, trying hard to fight against the hacking that prevented him from doing much.
"Everyone focus your energy on the same point!" Lina commanded. Pained voices from just outside the citadel were a testament to their companion's harsh battle.
"Lina, we'll entrust our energy to you!" He didn't know how he was doing it, but Gourry, who had never had any real ability in magic, was actually transferring his energy to Lina by simply wishing for her to have it. Amelia and Zelgadis joined in, followed by Kain and Millie, who decided to trust the infamous Lina Inverse of the other world. An honest admiration for her good taste in capes was what ultimately made Kain give up his usual position of leader without argument to Lina. With a massive blast of psy-energy, the glass container of Darkstar's present core was broken. The group didn't stop their efforts for a second, constantly attacking the very hard to destroy core, drilling through it with their combined might. Yet just when they thought they could win, their energy appeared to be neutralized.
"The Stillness empowers me; there is no hope for you!" Darkstar threatened.
"Darkstar... You can never truly wield the power of the Stillness, because you are chaos too. You existed in a human body before," Canal reminded, her voice echoing through his systems. "You know what human emotion is like from experience and yet you still fed on hatred because..." There was a dramatic pause and everyone couldn't help it but to listen attentively. "Because you're a psycho!" The phrasing was met with reactions of surprise at her bluntness. "But even a psycho seeks to change and evolve; even an insane man like you must feel some form of joy even if it's cruel and sadistic. I know what you enjoy, I saw it in that creepy twisted smile when you were human, you long for the thrill of the battle and you fear defeat because it would be the end of that. But if you won, it would be the end of the fight too, that's why you became frustrated thinking there was no end goal to this fight of darkness and light. Well you're right; there is no end goal because the goal is for it not to end. This is all for the living creatures to manifest their power and grow, magic, psy-energy, technology, evolution, that's what this is for, they are at the center stage, the humans and those similar to them... I, Night Dragon Canal Vorfeed, the lord of light, will not allow the chaos to end."
"And I Beast Master Zelas Metallium, the lord of darkness, do not want the chaos to end either.
"With great trials and great mercy to make them worth it, the cycle of evolution, of motion and of chaos must continue!" Canal insisted.
"Lord Beast Master, Lord Night Dragon, the rip has reached a sufficient size and the repairs are ready!" Xellos announced.
"Then let's go," Zelas confirmed.
Dugradigdu shook violently with an unexpected motion and the atmosphere became more tense and filled with energy, yet somehow it was easier to breathe. "What's happening?" Millie urgently inquired.
"The rip between the worlds was made large enough because of the passing of energy from our world to this one," Zelas revealed.
"So now we're pushing him in!" Xellos cheered. By the combined force of the Great Beast and Swordbreaker, Darkstar began to be pushed through the portal towards the Slayers' world.
"Wait a minute; we're going to our world?" Zelgadis suddenly realized. He rapidly took off his cyborg armor, which he had put on for its usefulness in the battle, having found it in his room in the Great Beast, though he wasn't even sure how it survived all the trials the vessel had gone through. He tossed the armor all around in his haste to get rid of it before it became a part of him again in a different form. "Phew... That was close, I almost ended up as a chimera again." Thankfully, he managed to remain fully human, though he did feel a tad ridiculous dressed in only the skin tight body suit he wore under his armor.
"What is a solid digital code in my world, is astral energy in yours, ever flowing, ever changing, ever dependant in the belief of its own existence," Canal voiced. "Are you ready for this, Darkstar? The Stillness will be a hindrance if you call upon it in that world, it will consume your astral body and you will be purely astral. Through this rip, we're taking all of you to that world, not a trace to be left behind for you to cling to this one."
"And there, in the most chaotic of the worlds, you'll meet your end," Zelas finished.
"I'll destroy you!" Darkstar growled in madness. "I'll destroy you all and your whole world, and all the worlds! Nothing will remain; nothing of the trap of the Lord of Nightmares, nothing of the endless cycle, nothing of anything!"
"It's not a trap, it's a pretty good plan, after all, what's life without a little conflict to keep it interesting?" Kain argued. "Even I who dreaded it, I think I can finally understand a little of what is beyond our understanding."
"Darkstar will likely take on a dragon-like form when he reaches the other world, which means you probably don't want to be in here." Canal warned a split second too late. She appeared again in her holographic projection, as Darkstar's systems were changing from technological to astral and the hacking was no longer needed. Her smiling face reminded the group of Xellos.
"Why didn't you say that before?!" Lina shouted as Milgazia, Filia and Gorun Nova joined the others, wondering what in the world was going on.
"We intended for you to remain here inside Darkstar as he is transported to our world," Zelas grinned.
A chorus of alarmed, "what?" Echoed through the area. Lightning rained from the center of the room where the two halves of the pillar met as Dugradigdu fought desperately to retain his lost ship form.
A massive bolt formed, all the smaller bolts converged and headed straight for Lina, as she lost her footing due to the violent shaking. "Lina!" Without a second thought and not a fraction of a second to space, Gourry shielded her from the hit, taking it fully himself.
"Gourry!" Lina yelled with more agony seeing Gourry fall wounded, than if she would have been hit herself.
"Everything here is too unstable, everyone; let's make a shield of energy!" Zelgadis called out. Amelia, Kain, Millie and himself surrounded the distraught Lina and the wounded Gourry.
"Zelgadis, Amelia, there's healing magic in your world isn't it? Leave the shield to us, save your energy from when we get there!" Kain called out. "Millie, let's do this!" Channeling his and Millie's energy through his psy-sword, Kain created a shield to encompass all the others.
At last they arrived at the Slayers world and the dark miasma around them was unbearable. Despite that, Amelia and Zelgadis were quick to take action, putting every bit of energy they had into healing their friends.
"Lina Inverse... Zelas has told me that if you were to unleash your true power, you can defeat the Stillness within Darkstar. The only way to reach and unarm his core was in our world, a world of space ships that would allow us to be able to journey inside Darkstar. The only way to defeat his core is with the strength of spirit that can be more easily expressed in your world. By making Darkstar fully astral, he cannot use his vessel as a means to hide his mind, as Dugradigdu has become part of his astral form, just as Swordbreaker has become part of mine. Lina Inverse, warrior of chaos, break beyond the limits and conquer this challenge!" Canal requested, encouraged and almost begged. "Good luck..."
Most of the group landed on the sandy grounds of the Elmekia desert where their friends where waiting. They had been teleported there by Xellos, Zelas and Canal, who had taken on her human shape, albeit she was an astral being in that world, similar to Ceifeed. Seeing the dark dragon in the skies and their champions returning, albeit apparently the fight wasn't over yet, everyone surrounded the new arrivals.
Gourry, who was healed, stood up in alarm, "Lina? Where's Lina?"
"She's up there..." Gorun Nova weakly replied, there was something off about him, it didn't seem right.
"Gorun Nova, you're hurt!" Gourry knew of no other way to express it, but he saw death in the other man's eyes.
Gorun Nova smiled without a hint of sorrow, "Amelia and Zelgadis healed my body of all wounds, but my mental energy had already been drained and could not be restored by giving me more physical energy. I knew I wouldn't make it, I was just holding on." He stumbled, unable to stay on his feet and Gourry helped him to stand. "I only wanted to hold on long enough to die in this world and eventually be reborn here so that one day I can be with Flagoon..." His eyes closed and his body went limp.
"Gorun Nova! Gorun Nova!" Gourry called to his in desperation, tears streaming down his eyes until he realized it was useless. Surprisingly, Gorun Nova's body was surrounded by a strange golden glow and he vanished. "Lord of Nightmares... Was that you? Are you making it so that he can be reborn sooner?" Gourry looked to the distant skies, clouded by the wounded dark dragon that was Darkstar. "Until we meet again, my comrade and friend..." He bid Gorun Nova farewell, then glared at Darkstar. "She's up there," Gourry repeated the words. "Lina is up there..." He looked at the lords of light and Darkness, whose eyes seemed, fixed on the dark dragon above, neither Zelas nor Canal speaking a single word.
Luna offered Gourry a smile. "She'll be fine, my little sister's tough."
xoxox xox xoxox
Within the darkness, Lina's ruby eyes glared defiantly. "Leaving me behind to finish cleaning the mess... They'll have a lot to make up for."
"How foolish to rely on a mere human..." Darkstar's voice taunted from a small orb of dark light that was what become of the circuit jewel.
Lina felt her heart pounding erratically as the atmosphere in the strange astral space within Darkstar did not favor humans, or living creatures in general. Her lungs burned and her skin stung just by being there. She could almost feel her hair starting to turn white from the sheer strain of the atmosphere within Darkstar's astral form. "They know that those who are neither darkness or light are the only ones capable of defeating the Stillness. They know that I, with my chaotic balance, stand the best chance at this while I have no distractions. This is my world, Darkstar, and you're about to witness my power! Lord of dreams that terrify, sword of cold and darkness, free yourself from the heaven's bonds." The brave sorceress poured all her might into that one spell, giving it every drop of energy she had. "Become one with my power, one with my body, and let us walk the path of destruction together! Ragna Blade!" The blade of chaos cut through the orb of dark light, causing it to flicker and before the sword disappeared, Lina gathered all her might and threw the chaotic blade it like a lance, opening an escape route for herself.
"Running away? That hardly hurt!" Darkstar taunted, though he knew he was badly wounded and he felt inexplicably as if he was being turn apart.
"That wasn't meant to destroy you directly," Lina grinned as she ran towards the opening. "I finished what I started, don't you sense it? The Stillness is gone for good this time and not even a tiny remnant was left behind! Which mean, that you're no longer protected by it and the wound we gave your core before should be enough of an astral wound to nearly ruin you!" She jumped out of Darkstar's astral form, too tired to cast Levitation or Raywing, as she had put every drop of energy she had into surviving thus far and casting that powerful Ragna Blade.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Lina!" Gourry called out as he watched her fall, while the dark dragon above looked very unstable.
"Go catch her, Gourry... Raywing!" Zelgadis projected the spell towards Gourry.
Gourry floated up surrounded by wind, intercepting Lina's fall. He caught her in his arms and the bubble of wind lost altitude until it disappeared at a safe distance from the ground.
"Captain Lina, all is ready and at your command." Xellos called from his position, casting a massive fusion spell alongside several dragons and monsters, including Phythan and other dragons, Fang, Galathia, Zenki, Neuro, and even the lords of light and darkness, Canal and Zelas.
"Hmp! Trying to make up for ditching me back there by letting me give the final order?" Lina grumbled tiredly. 'At least this time around, I didn't fall naked out of the sky.' As such was a consequence of being disintegrated and having her body recreated by chaotic energy. "Fine then, let's not waste any more time, I want my victory banquet, fire!"
The massive blast of fusion magic was shot, just as Darkstar gained his bearings enough to realize what was coming, though he could not defend himself. In his terribly wounded state, the magic heading towards him was too much and he was reduced to black dust that blew around and faded. Cheers overtook the atmosphere for the battle had finally been won. A small black orb floated down unnoticed by most. Canal floated up and grasped it gently in her hand, grinning deviously. She hit the small dark orb in her palm, wrapping her fingers secretively around it. She addressed the crowd with sincere gratitude. "To all the people of this world, thank you very much for all that you've done. Even if our two worlds will heal and become separate again, if you ever need my help, call on me and somehow, I'll know and be here!" The dragons were especially happy with that, as they had someone similar to Ceifeed to look to.
"Well, the rips are going to close up, so we better get going," Millie observed with a frown. "And so soon too, I wanted to try out the ingredients of this world."
"We wanted to try your cooking!" Lina and Gourry complained in perfect unison.
"I wanted to go cape shopping!" Kain protested.
"Oh, that's enough you two. You know we belong in the over-world and we can't go ripping holes between the worlds all the time. Let's go, the worlds might need some rest from each other, even if somehow, I believe that in a way, they will always be united. Vorfeed took on her dragon form, covered in magnificent shining white scales, with elegant wings. She allowed Kain and Millie to climb on her back and took off towards the closing portal in the sky.
After Canal, Kain and Millie were gone; Lina took a big breath and reiterated, "I want food!" Talks of a great banquet began, which Lina demanded should take place on that very night.
"I'm here! Ah! He he ha he he!" Martina made her late entrance, followed by Zangulus, who held baby Zoamelgustar.
"You're a bit late, the fight's over," Lina groaned.
"I like to call it fashionably late," Martina argued, revealing that her tardiness was intentional. "Besides, I'm not here to fight; I'm here to congratulate the world's champion on behalf of the kingdom of Zoana."
"Oh, really?" Lina puffed up with pride that someone like Martina would actually show up to personally congratulate her. "Well go right ahead then, I'm listening!"
"Congratulations, Lord Beast Master!" Martina declared at the top of her lungs, adding a victorious laugh at the end for good measure. "Ah! He he ha he he!"
"Beast Master?!" Lina screeched in indignation.
"Don't complain, I did a lot of the work carrying all of you around," Zelas reminded. Lina sighed and surprisingly relented, as there was a good amount of truth to that claim after all.
"Well, now that the danger has passed and another chapter in our lives has come to a close, let's all go back to Seyruun and share the exciting tales of adventures and justice!" Philionel cheerfully invited. "Who knows, maybe by the time the next adventure rolls around I'll be a grandfather! On but we must celebrate the royal wedding first, we might as well make it soon, right?" The Seyruun king, who would forever have the heart of a young prince, gave Zelgadis a pat on the back that, catching the ex-chimera, now human unprepared, almost sent him face first into the sand.
In Zelgadis' mind though, that wouldn't have been so bad, since he could at least hide the crimson shade of his face that way, as he only managed to nod and stutter a quiet, "yes, very soon..."
"There's too much cheer here," Zelas huffed.
"True chaos is not light and not darkness, but a creature that has a little bit of both," Milgazia quoted. "Which means that you're not pure evil, courage leads to other things, fellowship and-"
"Shut up," Zelas growled.
"Anyway," Milgazia continued, positive feelings won't harm you as much as you like to pretend they do, not if you set your mind to it. You should have already overcome such limitations through your experiences."
"Are you suicidal, dragon? Shut up and keep your word, I was promised anger," Zelas reminded.
Milgazia sighed, closing his eyes, "alright..." He focused and allowed his frustration to take hold, projecting the dark emotions he felt in various points of their adventure.
"Okay, okay, that's enough!" Zelas unexpectedly urged.
The negative feelings dissolved as Milgazia explained. "All it takes is discipline and control. That's how you annoy me all the time, but I almost never allow you to feed on it, and never to a full extend..." He paused realizing that many pairs of eyes, monster eyes to be specific, were on him. "Why are they looking at me?" He whispered to Zelas as discretely as he could manage with so many eyes on him.
"Because you're delicious," Zelas replied as a matter of fact, as if she was talking about a cake or similar treat, rather than a living creature.
"Oh..." Milgazia didn't really like this.
"You'll have to show me your angry side again later, but when there's no one else around to steal my food." Zelas ordered rather than requested.
Xellos pouted and glared at Milgazia, who noticed and gave him a questioning look. "You better be a perfect gentleman to Lord Beast Master," the purple haired monster warned. Not that it was needed, as Milgazia, ever the diplomat, always was.
The comment earned Xellos a confused gaze from the golden dragon elder and a warning look from Zelas. "Xellos..."
"Yes, Lord Beast Master?" Xellos chirped with his characteristic cheer that this time really did fit the occasion.
"Shut up and go play with your dragons," Zelas replied.
"Yes, Lord Beast Master!" Xellos pulled Filia and Val towards him in a group hug that was kind of sweet, until he slipped his hand under Filia's skirt and pulled her tail. That had her chasing after him with her mace pretty soon, with Val laughing in amusement at his parents' usual strange game of tag.
Thus the latest adventure came to a close and a big meal awaited in the near future, along with many happy occasions to look forward to. Yet a world without danger is too boring for an adventurer, so to be sure, other adventures would be certain to come.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, at the over-world, the Swordbreaker cruised peacefully across the galaxies... "Are you sure it was wise to keep him?" Kain asked, staring at the creature that Canal's holographic projection held in her hand.
"Don't worry, he's harmless like this!" Canal held up her favorite new toy. It was a little android about five inches tall, fashioned after the style of a chibi in an appearance similar to Darkstar's past human form.
"Canal!" The little doll screeched angrily. "You're going to pay for keeping me like this!" Darkstar, in his new fragile, yet adorable, form, struggled helplessly against Canal's grip.
"Aw, he's so cute!" Millie squealed, "can I play with him?"
"Sure..." Canal made a suspenseful pause that made chills run down Kain and Millie's spines. "After you two finish the Swordbreaker's new paint job!" She ordered firmly. "I want quality paint, so go get some jobs or I'll start charging for the oxygen around here!" Kain and Millie stiffened and hurried away to browse the online listing for jobs they could take on. Canal smiled in satisfaction, seeing her crew so earnest to earn money.
"But I'm supposed to be the evil one," the little Darkstar whined pathetically.
"Nothing is pure evil, my cute little friend," Canal hugged him like a little girl who just got a cute new doll. "And," she grinned mischievously, "nothing is pure good!" With a fit of foreboding giggles, Canal skipped away towards her personal room at the Swordbreaker. "Where did I put those ribbons?"
xoxox xox xoxox
Disclaimer, I don't own Slayers or Lost Universe.
Finally, it's over! I also plan to make a final full revision of this story in case I missed any little typos or details. Then I'll take a break from writing in general, save for a few one-shots here and there, including, of course, the ones I have already mentioned I would write; they're still on their way! Now that this is done, I should have more time to be active in pixel making and maybe even some drawing, so expect lots of updates in the art galleries.