Three weeks had passed since Remy broke the news to Gale. She had been utterly inconsolable for a couple of days, but she took her own advice and talked to her boyfriend about it whenever she felt like she was about to break. Even during recent nights, she would still wake up crying, but Mizu had simply to sing a lullaby to her in the Old Language (which every child was taught at a young age, yet barely understood) and she would be sound asleep within minutes. She was never one to let herself fall apart, or blame herself over something she had no way of changing. Instead, she chose to focus her anger on Kazir, almost wishing that he would come so that she could throw her feelings at him as she ripped his heart out through his eyes. But despite Remy's warning (as well as Altair's), Kazir and his band of Ukanlos warriors hadn't been seen or heard of since that night. Remy had left a couple of days after returning to Gale, worried about Kazir's sudden blending into the shadows, and tried to track him as much as possible to try and find out what the Descendant was up to.
Meanwhile, the labours on Altair's, Gigas', and Skylar's (who had long since recovered from her run-in with the Black Beast) end had borne no fruit either. They had yet to kill or capture the Yamiokami. Sightings in themselves were a rarity, and on around five nights in a week, no such creature was sighted, and the only spoils that the hunters ever returned from their hunts with were their lives (luckily).
On the other hand, the hunters did have one thing to celebrate today - it was Mizu's nineteenth birthday.
"We've been here for nearly a month, and nothing has happened. What's going on? I'm kinda worried." Gale said, sighing and resting her arms on the newly-fitted windowsill (the inn had undergone some minor renovations in the time that had elapsed since the four left Hyoku). Mizu stood next to her, slightly behind (the window sill wasn't long enough for two pairs of arms). Gale turned around and put her hands on his face. "Anyway, nevermind that for now. Today is your day." She said, kissing him quickly. She walked toward the door. "C'mon, sexy," Gale chirped (she had undertaken this nickname ever since the incident with the prostitute at The Three Horns), "We're going to the tavern. You can drink now, remember?" she said, taunting him, her earthy brown hair and eyes dazzling in the sunlight that burst in when the door was wide open. Mizu extended his arms up and outwards in a questioning gesture.
"What, no birthday sex?" he said, only half-joking, slowly following Gale on her way out.
"Be careful where you say that! There are kids in the next room. Besides, I want a few children, not a toddler army," she muttered humourfully.
The Three Horns was still full of drunks and hunters, but the black-market sellers and the prostitutes seemed to be nowhere in sight, clearly not wanting to do business in the daylight for fear of being caught by the authorities. Gale Mizu, Shinji, Altair, Jinsoku, Skylar (who couldn't drink, obviously) and Gigas sat around the L-shaped table that formed the bartenders' area, sat in that order from left to right. Everyone had always thought that nineteen was an awkward and strange limit to when you were allowed to drink, but they couldn't really do anything about that. It was harder for the others to drink here than it was for Gigas and Mizu because, whereas Gigas and Altair had been coming here for years, and this was Mizu's first time, Gale and the others were used to the ale or the mead of the tavern in Hyoku, and found the drink here strong and bitter. Gigas and Altair chuckled as he watched them down a pint, trying desperately not choke on it.
"Can't take Sukai's heady brew, can ya?" Gigas said rhetorically. "You're too used to all that soft stuff they give you back at Hyoku, ain'cha? You should come to my city, Kasai. It's even worse there."
"Pretty much, yeah," Gale croaked, eyes watering. Altair's beady green eyes fell uopn Mizu, drinking casually like it was nothing. "O-ho, we have a tough one in out midst." Altair said, cocking his head in Mizu direction, who turned around to face Gigas and Altair.
"Are you talking about me?" he asked, oblivious to what they had just been saying.
"Yup. What's up with you? You're not choking to death with all the others?" Gigas grunted, half smiling.
"No, this is my first drink. I wouldn't know how strong it is or isn't." he said, already giddy.
"Well, take it easy, son. The newbies are always first to get pissed!" Giags joked, sending everyone, even Altair, into laughter.
In the midst of their laughter, louds screaming from outside began to pierce the walls of the tavern, which fell into silence. It sounded like a fight or something outside. Gale could tell who was outside. Kazir. She pulled her Lost Black Katana from her back, already charging toward the door, seething with vengeance.
"Son of a bitch!" she growled, almost breaking the door down on her way out.
"Gale! Gale, no! Don't-" he shouted, but was interrupted by the woman's voice again. It was even clearer this time, posh and aristocratic.
"NO! Stupid girl! She mustn't go outside! Don't you remember what I said!? He musn't find you! GO! Go after her, you blithering simpleton!" she shouted, the urgency in her voice almost frightening. Suddenly, Mizu recongnized who this voice was. He remembered Hikari, and then the seeress who had sacrificed her life there three years ago.
"Yes, yes! Never mind your questions! GO AND GET HER!" Nina barked, almost enraged. Mizu, without another telepathic word, sprang up from the chair and ran toward the door after Gale, grabbing hold of her less than a second before she ran out of the doorway, pulling her back and shutting the door.
"Mizu, what the hell are you -?" she said, struggling feebly.
"Foolish girl. Let me talk to her!" Nina said, exasperated. Mizu quickly turned Gale, who still meekly struggling, around to look at him, and put his fingertips on the sides of her head almost automatically. Gale almost froze when she heard Nina's eloquent and angry voice in her head.
"Right! Now you listen to me, you stupid girl! If you set one foot outside, Kazir will kill you! You cannot die! At Battle of Hiakri, what is written was redefined. Now, there is no longer a certain future. This is exactly what Yaketsukuyona wanted! The previous future was damnation for him, but that future was averted at Hikari when the prophecy did not carry out properly. He was still defeated, but because that prophecy was not carried out to the letter, all possible outocmes thereafter were obliterated. Now there can be no certain outcome either way. I can no longer see what will become of this world, ergo I cannot help you, save make educated guesses at what might happen. If you die, it will only make Kazir's schemes easier!"
"Wait, slow down what schemes? Why can't I die? I thought you said there was no certain future anymore?"
"No, there isn't. But you musn't die nonetheless. The timeline has been freed of it's chains, and is now free to go in any directions. As a result, small paradoxes, ripples from the metaphorical blast radius may have occured within indivdual people, such as forgetting that they had a pet, or briefly going by a different name. Most of these paradoxes have dissipated, but one still remains, Gale. Don't you remember? Tell me, how did you and Mizu first meet?"
"When my dad met his da...Oh yeah! He said to me a few weeks ago that he never knew either of his parents! Should I "remind" him?"
"No, no. He will have forgotten that he even said that now that you have remembered. You remembering erases any and all evidence of that paradox. It's nothing. Anyway, I digress. The point is that you, Mizu, Gigas, Altair and Sensei Makoto must not die.
"But Sensei Makoto is already -"
"No, she isn't. I got into her head and warned her of Kazir, and that he was coming for her. The woman that you all think was Sensei Makoto was her sister. She is making her way to Sukai as we speak. You, Mizu, Giagas, Altair, Makoto and one other are the only Descendants left in this world besides Kazir. And you must not die."
"A young boy from Chikyuu. He is the stone Descendant. Stone, Fire, Earth, Water, Wind and Darkness. They must stand against Ice, lest the destuction of humanity come to pass..."
"What about Thunder and Light? You and Rakurai?"
"We are not necessary. We were, when time was shackled by destiny, but no longer. Guretosutomu is coming to Sukai soon. When he comes, no matter what, you must leave! You, your friends, you must leave, along with Makoto. Go to Chikyuu, and find the stone Descendant. Then, you must come to the Hidden Realm. I will speak with you there. Good luck."
Mizu too his hands away slowly, still looking at Gale, and her at him. "Now do you see?" he said solemnly. Gale nodded.
"Gale Kaze! I know you're here! I would just like to have a friendly chat! Of course, if you don't want to talk to me, something very nasty might happen to the children around here..." Kazir's shrill and sinister voice boomed, the terror seeping in through the wooden wall that sepearted Gale from him, washing over her and her friends like ice.
"We can't let him do this... We'll just have to risk it," Gale sighed, fearing for the children. The others nodded soberly in agreement, following close behind her as she slowly opened the door and stepped outside.None of the Sukai villagers were outside. They were all in their houses, hiding from Kazir and his men. A wall of hunters stood waiting around the village plaza, a wall of Ukanlos armour suits with Ukanlos weapons of all kinds in a semi-circle around the delicately carved water feature in the centre of the plaza - the water had been turned to ice, a spurt coming from a hole in the hunter statue, stopped in midair in a frozen arc. Kazir stood In front of the fountain, unarmed, with a sadistic smile on his face. He was almost exactly like the White Star's human form - the milky-white eyes, the black and white robes. All except his hair, which, unlike Yaketsukuyona's short bleach-blonde hair, was snow white, and measured just below his shoulders. He even had the same hateful gaze as the ice Wyrm. But there was something more about Kazir, something that frightened Gale, and Mizu. There was something utterly psychotic about him. It was terrifying. Gale wanted to scream, or cry, or run away, but her inner courage held her in place. But she had never been so frightened in her life, and the man had barely said a word.
"Ah, there you are!" Kazir, chirped gleefully. He turned his attention to Mizu, who froze instantly with fear. He felt as though Kazir had stabbed him in the eyes just by looking at him. "She's beautiful. You're a lucky guy." he mused.
"Get to the point. What do you want?" Gale snapped, making no attempt at hididng her hatred for this unlikeable young man."What do I want?" he paused for a moment, before laughing. It was shrill, twisted and sadistic, like he was laughing at someone he'd just killed. And he didn't stop, not even to breathe. Gale grew impatient, but held it in for now.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh, no, it's nothing," Kazir chuckled, still laughing a little in between words, "It's just that your dear old ma said the same thing... right before she died!" he cackled, insane laughter overtaking him once again. Gale grew angry almost instantly reminded of what he did.
"YOU SON OF A BITCH!" Gale roared, crying as the others stepped in front of her to stop her from attacking Kazir, and so that she didn't have to spend another second looking at him.
"Answer her question, asshole! Whaddya want!?" Gigas growled. Kazir stopped laughing and stood up a bit strighter, although sarcastically.
"Oh. Sorry, sir." he joked, clearing his throat. "What I want, Gigas - yes, I know all of your names, so don't get all insecure - is to return my father and our race to their rightful place as rulers of this planet."
"I don't think so, buddy."
"I do. Anyway, as I was saying, since Gale and her little friends were responsible for killing Father in the first place, they won't die so easily, oh no, especially you, Gale. Yes, I will break your body, but first, I will break your soul, rip it apart as you lose all hope. While I'm doing that, I'll just be planning Father's return to this world! And when Father is whole again, we'll join together and take over Hyoku, Sukai, Hikari, Kasai, and even the great city of Chikyuu! This whole land will belong to us!"
"What about the humans? I though we were "filth"?" Shinji spat, disgusted.
"Oh, yes, I nearly forgot about you lot. Well, you know what they say: if you can't exterminate a race, enslave them!" Kazir cried, laughing maniacally once again. Gale, Shinji, Gigas and the others' faces all said the same thing - disgust and loathing.
"Not so fast, Kazir!" A melifluous and aged voice cried. Every face in the plaza looked up to the sky, as the entire village and beyond was eclipsed in the shadow of the great wind Wyrm, Guretosutomu. This time, he spoke aloud for all to hear, despite him being high, high in the sky above them (he was about fifty kilometres in length, after all).
"Oh, good! The traitor is here! This is quite the party!" Kazir giggled with feigned excitement.
"Traitor?" Guretosutomu repeated, confused, his voice ever calm and patient, even when talking to a person like Kazir.
"Yes, traitor. You want to protect the filth rather than restore the glory of your race. I'd call that treacherous, wouldn't you?"
"Hm, yes I suppose I would, if by 'restoring the glory of your race' you didn't mean 'torture and kill and entire races with a ruthless passion'," he retorted, still calm.
"Senile old fool. If you're not with us, you're against us. You can bleed and die with the filth, and like the filth." Kazir hissed, his sarcastic demeanour totally replaced with a cold, icy and totally psycopathic one.
"You will not recover this world, Kazir. It no longer belongs to us. That is the way of things. It always has been."
"Not anymore. This world is ours! It always has been! The humans stepped on our corpses and took it away from us, desecrating it with thier filthy footsteps!" Kazir growled, his eyes glowing with a murderous rage.
"Then you will be defeated."
"No. Trust me. The filth should be afraid. They can hide in thier hovels for now, but when Chikyuu has fallen and Hikari is rubble and dust, there will be nowhere left to hide... from the Children of the Ice." Kazir spat hatefully. "But for now, we'll start small and conquer this place." he said, his eyes losing their evil glow and the sarcastic side of his personality returning. With that, the Ukanlos soldiers (or 'Children of the Ice') dispersed, attacking the villagers and setting monuments and statues alight. After a few mere seconds, the Three Horns was ablaze.
"This is the moment Nina told us about, Mizu. We have to go now!" she yelled over the noise of the massacre.
Altair, Skylar and Gigas stepped forward. "No way! we have to stay here and protect out home!" Gigas exclaimed. Guretosutomu backed Gale up.
"Gale is absolutely right. There is little you can do. Nina has told Gale and Mizu that you seven must go to Chikyuu, the Stone Metropolis. There, you must find a young boy, a Descendant of the Stone Wyrm. You must go now, there is no time to waste! Kazir has already left for the city! If he gets to the boy before you..."
"Guretosutomu is right." another voice, female, smooth and kind, spoke. The group turned around to see Sensei Makoto running up to join them.
"There, you have the earth Descendant now. Off with you! To Chikyuu! I will hold these fiends off for as long as I can!" the great Wyrm bellowed, already firing concentrated bursts of green flame at the soldiers. Gale nodded to him."Chikyuu is just beyond Janguru Forest. If we hurry, we can make it there by nightfall." Altair yelled.
The eight-strong party rushed away into the woods, ignoring the sick slaughter behind them and focusing on the many, many fights to come.
To Be Continued in: Legacy of the Descendants VI: The Night of the Wolf