Gale, Skylar and Makoto slithered through the maze of Kasai's back alleys, meandering around soldier patrols, scampereing through the dark and the damp like sewer rats. After a few close calls and near misses with soldiers, the trio finally stopped to catch their breath.
In the instant before conversation began, Gale noticed how all of them had the same clothes as they had for the last month or so, except Makoto, who now wore a reversible black robe with yellow highlights instead of the traditional green and gold Sensei's robe of Hyoku. Her sliky, deep purple hair was so long that it dangled mere centimetres off the ground, tied back into a pony tail at the base of her head and at the very tip (the tip was tied with a strange ornament with the Ying and Yang symbol on either side). She had also taken the time in hiding at Hiro's place to train in physical combat. She had revealed that she had always had a knack for martial arts-style combat, but she had used the past month to train using a matenbou, a stick that was about as high as a person is tall. Its colours matched Makoto's own; it was black, with yellow highlights at either end, which had the strange ability to respond to telepathic commads, like returning to Makoto like a boomerang when lost or dropped, or firing like a missile when she wanted it to. it also turned out that, as well as being an earth Descendant, she had some of the fire wyrm's power instilled within her, albeit only a simdgeon, as she found out the hard way that she could conjure up great bursts of whitish flame at times. At first it was a little erratic and dangerous, but she had long since learned to control it.
Skylar leant against a wall, arching her back over and clasping her thighs, panting. Makoto stood smoothing the creases in her robe, until she notcied Gale, barley showing any sign's of exhaustion, her eyes blank and experssionless, as if she had been blinded. Her thoughts were clearly elsewhere.
"Gale, go back to the house," Makoto sighed patiently, rousing the beautiful nineteen-year-old from her thoughts. "You're worried about him. You should be with him."
Gale stuttered incomprehensibly, her cheeks flourishing red briefly at being awakened from her daydreaming. "No, no, I'm fine." she mumbled.
"Gale, being out here won't help him." Makoto groaned, concerned for the young lady. Gale closed her eyes slowly, turning away slightly.
"Yeah, well...being at the house won't do jack shit either..." she said under her breath. Suddenly, she gasped, snapping to her sense and sparking into life, herding Skylar and Makoto against a wall in a hurry, as the heavy, synchronised footsteps of imperial soldiers rushing past, mere centimetres away from the trio. Gale's eyes slid to the right, gazing at the poath behind them, ears perked, waiting for the crescendo of heavy footsteps to fold away into the shadows, her mouth ajar, not making any sound, not even to breathe. Even after the invisible curtain of silence fell once again, she cautiously crept away from her hiding place, goading Skylar and Makoto forth with silent gesticulations.
As the three began to scatter down another dimly lit alley, a loud horn sounded. It was clearly some kind of call for summoning assistance, as a sea of layered marching began to surge into life, a thousand feet trampling away toward the call of distress. Almost instantaneously, Gale, Skylar and Makoto sprinted away, following the almost musical beats of the imperial soldiers.
At last the deserted maze of Kasai's slums opened up into a large, moonlit clearing, albeit slightly obscured by the chilling snowstorm (a mild one, luckily). The path before the girls was crafted of blood, broken imperial bodies and shattered blades. Amidst the snowstorm, a slender, armoured shape stood, it's colour muted by the night and the moonlight posed like a gladiator atop the corpse of a writhing soldier, whom was stilled when the shadow's cruel-looking hammer crashed down upon his head, the way one might place a sword in stone.The threesome slowly crept forward, half out of suspiscion that the person (or more imperials) might attck them, and half out of awe of the sheer destruction. Gale and skylar were beginning to regret not doning their armour on this outing. Hot drinks kept out most of the cold, but they still felt the cut of the icy wind. They increased their pace a simdegeon as the snowstrom died down, allowing the person the be seen fully, colours and all.
The person, which they saw to be a girl,lifted her visor and turned her head, her seemingly acute hearing alerting her to potential danger. The girls froze in place upon meeting the heartstopping gaze of her ocean-blue eyes, which contrasted well with her red Rathalos armour. She puller her nasty, barbed instrumemnt out of the crushed imperial skull beneather her, and a crack followed, sounding like a gunshot in the crisp, unspoilt air. She swanned her way seductively toward the three girls, as if she wasn't aking things seriously. and opened her mouth to speak.
"Oh, goody! You're here! Nina told me to expect guests the this little do I got goin' on here, but I wasn't expecting them this soon. Ah well, whatever; the more the merrier, as they say!" she said chirpily, a childish, girly giggle escaping her lips as she waltzed passe them in another superfluous body movement.
"Most people just start with "hi"," Gale said bitterly, tired of meeting people whom she knows nothing about, yet seem to know everything about her and her friends.
"Oh, yeah, you're totally right! Where're my manners? Name's Roux, Roux Honou. And you are?" Roux said, waiting politely for an answer, smiling all the while. A short pause followed.
"Roux Honou?" Gale repeated slowly, with emphasis.
"Gigas...has a daughter?" Skylar said slowly, questioningly.
As Roux was about to utter a reply, she directed Gale's, Skylar's and Makoto's attention to behind them, where the a pillar of swirling snowflakes had formed, slwoly evanesceing to reveal the all too familiar shape of Kazir, still with the same almost-shoulder-length white hair, milky white irises, and black and white robes, a five-foot-long masamune in his right hand. His face was twisted into a psychotic smile. Gale growled almost inaudibly, her hands balling into fists, her body tensing. Kazir's very presence seemed to make the climate ever colder.
"Still alive 'n kicking, are we, Gale? I was beginning to think you and your lovebird never made it out of there. That's good; at least now I can end you myself," Kazir chuckled, his psychotic aura and inconsistent tone of voice only adding to the malice. As the psychotic young man bored into Gale's eyes, he saw the fight within her, and his pupils narrowed into serpentine slits, excited by the unquelled rage within. His smile reprised it's position upon his face.
"This is just eating you up inside isn't it!? You can't stand it, can you? Well, why don't you just kick my ass then? Huh? Huh!?" he hissed, followed by a manical, psychotic laugh that seemed to echo across the entire plane of existence. Gale finally reached boiling point, speeding toward Kazir a lengthy dash that denied all human capabilities. But she wasn't exactly human. And neither was Kazir.As Gale swung her Lost Black Katana forth angrily, her fire was snuffed out by surprise: Kazir wasn't there. Her eyes widened, and sound was muted, as she felt something pierce into her abdomen, a coldness unlike any she had experienced before washign over her. She looked down to see a silver blade protruding from her body, awash with crimson blood. Her blood. Lacking the strength to scream, she simply grunted lightly, monotonely, gripping the blade as if to confirm its existence. A what seemed like an eternity since she laid her hands upon it, it was yanked away, and she fell to the floor as existence went black around her, the only thing holding onto both her and her life yanked away in less than a moment.
Time seemed to stand still. Every second, every moment, every beat of the heart or bat of an eyelid seemed like a thousand years. As Skylar and Makoto made a move toward Gale's lifeless, bloody corpse, a well-spoken, eloquent female voice echoed across the night.
"YOU BASTARD!"The shape of Nina appeared in front of Roux, Skylar and Makoto, glaring at Kazir, her green eyes burning with a rage that had never before occupied her face. This was also the first time she had ever felt the need to curse, emphasising her anger all the more. Her simple white dress and long blonde hair (which she had tied neatly into two long, thin, bleach-blonde tails since last they saw her) billowing in the fierce wind. She had not appeared in a flash of light, or from amidst the snow, or any other such flashy entrance; she had simply appeared before them, in the blink of an eye.
"Oh, well ain't this fan-fucking-tastic! The gatecrasher is here!" Kazir said, his sadistic grin instantaneously cumpling into a frown of genuine annoyance. He began to ramble in his frustration, still gripping his sword has he waved his arms about, flecks of blood dripping about as he gesticulated aggressively. Nina, though irate, waited patiently for Kazir's rant to come to a natural stopping point.
"Are you quite finished?" Nina said patiently, seeming to have quelled her anger.
"Why do you always have to interfere, butt into my business every sonofabitching time!?" Kazir growled, his voice a little high-pitched.
"If you would just die and leave this land in peace, I would not have to," Nina retorted cooly.
"Oh, please! As if a shitstained reject like you could ever beat me!"
"Why don't we find out?" Nina said, still maintaining her balanced and near emotionless replies, albeit with a little more difficulty this time.
"Goodness gracious me!" Kazir squealed with false fear. "Is everyone's favourit busybody going to play with me? I don't think you'll last more than a second against me, but boy do I wanna hear you scream!" Kazir growled with haughty derision and overconfidence. Nina finally grew impatient with the small talk.
"Very well, you snivelling, thespian blot on creation! What say I tear you limb from limb from cursed limb right now!?" she retorted, rushing toward Kazir aggressively.
"Sounds like fun!" Kazir chuckled, sprinting for the girl.
"To hell with you, monster!"
"I've already been there! It was great fun!"
And as the two immense powers met, so began the dance of demigods.
To Be Continued in: Fate and Freedom VIII: The Lightbringer and the Frostbane