"CHAAAAAARRRRRRGE!!!" Gale yelled. She had since changed her armor for one of the white steel armor sets in the castle. It was a pretty set; carefully crafted white steel greaves and gauntlets, a compact breastplate that sat neatly on her chest, a short silver belt which drew down at the back into a stream of long, slender white feathers, and a beautiful helmet that sat over her face - a blunt point that bridged above her eyes and down to her nose, a long, thin white quill hanging from the back.

She drew her sword, a long silver blade with a gold and white hilt. She mounted a Kirin, and rode into battle with at least three quarters of the Hikari population. Most were weakly armored, but all were ready to fight. As the Kirin galloped toward the fray, leaving thunder in its wake, Gale looked to her left and up to the castle. She saw Nina and a strange man in white and black robes fighting aggressively. She knew immediately who this figure was-Yaketsukuyōna, the White Star.

She turned her head the opposite way to the right, where Mizu, Rakurai, Shinji and Jinsoku rode in parallel with her on horses - they hadn't changed their armor or equipment, and the horses weren't Kirins. Mizu, who was closest to her, nodded seriously, and they turned back to face the onslaught ahead, ready to fight and, if necessary, die for the sake of humankind.

"Give up! This world no longer belongs to you!" Nina shouted. Her sword screeched as it came into contact with the vibrant red blade of the White Star. His human form was a tall man with bleach blonde hair and milky white eyes, with leather-like black and white robes, and a gleaming crimson sword.

He glared hatefully at Nina through the gap in their interlocked swords. Then he pulled away from her as another blue meteor came down from the sky, blowing a hole in the castle roof, sending bricks cascading down to the floor below. "Now do you see, Nina? You are merely a Descendant, an imitation. Your powers are nothing to me," he gloated.

Then a flash of bright white startled him and Nina had disappeared. He shook his head and laughed. "More tricks, little girl?" he said, and he quickly turned around and grabbed out at Nina's throat, lifting her off of the ground. "Do not take me for a fool?" he spat angrily. He threw her high into the air, but she used her powers to correct her trajectory and land slowly back to the ground.

The White Star lunged at her with his sword, annoyed. Nina flung her blade at his halfheartedly, debuffing his attack easily. She sighed with feigned boredom. "Isn't anyone around here going to offer me a decent challenge?" she huffed, taunting him. "I fear I would be of much better use in the castle, sitting in the garden and drinking tea with my courtiers, than out here with vagabonds and foul creatures such as yourself."

She turned and walked away from the scene, waiting for him to attack her. She felt the wind wove as her slid toward her silently. She knew the end was coming. She smiled as the crimson blade pierced her chest. The White Star lifted her off off the ground, blood dripping to the floor. "...You...are...a fool..." Nina whispered, as her whole life flashed before her eyes; her first school lesson, her birthdays, her regency ceremony, and Thomas. She smiled thinly, before all life left her body and her head fell to her shoulder as if she had fallen asleep. The White Star pulled his blade from her chest, sending splatters of blood to the floor. Nina's corpse slumped to the ground. He smiled sadistically.

A short pause.

Much to his surprise, he heard Nina's posh voice echo through the sky. "Were you really so foolish as to think that my human form was my limit?" she shouted, a thin white stream of bright light flowing from her chest, rising into the sky to form the shape of a huge white and gold Wyrm with bright yellow eyes. She floated in the sky above the city, encompassing it in its shadow.

" the last gift of the Wyrm of light...she who falls in battle will be reborn the form of one!" she boomed. She slithered in the sky around the White Star, who's white eyes gazed hatefully at her. "I do not intend to fight you personally. But... I will hinder your terrors of the sky!"

Nina turned her huge reptilian body to the blue meteors that he had summoned, and then in a flash, she tuned into a pure light, shining brightly and reflecting from the city walls to the interior of the fortress. The meteors continued to fall, but as they approached the city walls, they dissipated in blue flames. "A shield of temporate hold off the will fail, White Star...the Five will kill you..." Nina's voice echoed, before vanishing from this world completely.

A Tigrex scrambled its way toward Gale, limping and drooling wildly. She felt only pity for the wyvern, slitting its throat as it drew close, crimson blood spraying from the gash as it slumped in a tired heap to the ground. She turned on her Kirin to face the castle at an angle, seeing a flash of bright light, and then turned to see the meteors stymied outside the city walls. "Nina..." she mumbled, fearing for the melancholy girl. She turned to Shinji, who had lost her horse and was diligently slaying anything that approached with her bow.

She caught Gale's gaze. "What is it?" she asked. "It's Nina! I think she's in trouble! I'm going to the castle to find her!" she yelled, barely audible above the noise and the carnage. Shinji nodded, and turned her concentration back to the fight. Gale galloped across the broken battlefield on the Kirin, making a swift, thundery beeline for the castle.

*  *  *

The huge Rathalos whimpered and died in a bolt of yellow thunder. Rakurai plunged his Espinas Great Sword into its chest, just to confirm the kill. As he drew it out, a huge Rajang tumbled through the many buildings and the rubble toward him, electrocuting many civilians along the way. It stumbled to a halt in front of him, roaring loudly, but so much was going on that nobody really heard it.

Rakurai's steely expression didn't soften one bit as he flung his heavy weapon, and brought it slamming down through the Pelagus' chest, blood spurting from the wound. He swung it around once more, severing its horn and scarring the left side of its face and piercing its skull. It's brain punctured, the beast died instantly and came crashing to the floor before him. He huffed and turned his head left to face the castle, which had been almost as devastated by the attacks as the rest of Hikari. He saw Gale riding toward the castle in the distance. He huffed again, this time with amusement, and disappeared in a bright yellow flash.

As Gale approached the castle gates, she jumped impossibly high off of her Kirin, landing on the roof. The White Star was standing there, waiting. She looked beside him. Nina's lifeless corpse lay there, splatters of blood in her hair, on her dress and across the floor around her. Her bright green eyes hadn't even had time to close.

"You..." Gale began, but trailed off. He sighed and shoved her corpse over the edge of the hole created by the meteor, sending it tumbling through several floors before landing with a loud crack in the middle of the throne room. Gale heard the servants scream. "She got in my way. An unwise decision," he mused.

He raised his sword, pointing the tip at Gale, smiling amusedly. "Would you make the same fatal mistake, Gale Kaze?" he sneered.

Gale raised her sword gallantly. "For the sake of humanity...yes." she muttered, leaps aggressively toward the White Star, ready for the battle of her life.

To Be Continued in: The White Star Chronicles XIV: The Beginning of the End

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