Their blades locked in a flourish of steel, sparks flying. They twirled, jumped, leapt and lunged at each other continuously, never really doing much damage and defending against most hits. Gale ran speedily toward the White Star once more, who calmly awaited the attack. As she drew close, Gale lunged with her sword, aiming straight at his heart. He merely smiled smugly and deflected the blow with deft and balanced swordsmanship. He chuckled deeply at her failed attempts to strike. She sighed with exasperation and frustration, glaring at the abhorrent Wyrm that stood before her. She averted her gaze to just behind him to the right, where the Divine Maelstrom was creeping ever closer to the city. "Looking to the sky will not fell me, girl." He huffed impatiently. "Just concede! You have lost! Your filthy kind will be eradicated from this world, and I will release the souls stored within me to restore the Wyrms to their former glory and take back what is ours!" He spat. He lunged aggressively at her, eyes filled with hate. Gale was barely able to fend off the violent and heavy blows. He growled throatily. "ENOUGH! Know my true strength!" He roared. His robes tore and split as he transformed back into the all to familiar white beats with the huge crimson ruby upon its breast. He let out a bestial roar of lost pride that could split the heavens. He lumbered toward her. Gale readied her sword once more.

A Kushala Daora headed toward Mizu. He readied his Eager Cleaver. As it gained speed and charged into him, he side-stepped and drew the entire length of the sword through its legs. It yowled and tumbled over itself and into a nearby building, bricks flying in all directions. It roared again, and as it was about to fire its icy breath, an all to familiar poison-coated arrow impaled itself through its throat, and its quickly suffocated, toppling impressively to one side. Jinsoku ran over. "You ok?" He asked. "Yeah, I'm fine. What about the others?" He inquired. Jinsoku paused. "Shinji's in some kinda trouble over there," He pointed to the west, where the bell tower had been destroyed, "and Rakurai went to help Gale. She's on the castle roof. With the White Star." He panted. "Let's go get Shinji, then we'll all go and kill that thing. Together." He said firmly. Jinsoku, nodded, and they headed off in search of Shinji.

Shinji readied her bow. The Nargacuga stood before her, waiting patiently for it's moment to strike. It fidgeted impatiently, growing bored. That was her plan. To make the wyvern so impatient that it lunged at her and forgot about timing and accuracy. It was fidgeting a lot now, its head twitching wildly, snapping its jaws, making faint guttural growls. Shinji wasn't used to keeping one arrow in her bow to ensure accuracy. She always rapid-fired. But that was too dangerous for a creature like the Nargacuga. She waited a little longer. The beast finally got fed up of the mundane stalemate and leapt toward her, yowling ferociously. She let go of the arrow at last, sending it straight into the monster's skull with inhuman accuracy. It immediately went mute and crashed to the floor, roll-polying into a nearby building and crushing it into stony rubble. Shinji panted and turned her gaze to the castle. She saw a vague figure upon the roof, fighting a huge white dragon. "Gale!" She said to herself. Shinji turned and sprinted toward the castle.

Mizu and Jinsoku were struggling with a pair of Yian Garugas. The huge bird wyverns stymied all attempts to advance, blocking the two hunters and several civilians from escaping. The two hunters attacked the monsters vigorously. Mizu's eager Cleaver sliced through the tail of one Yian Garuga like it was butter, sending the creature tumbling over, shrieking in shock. Jinsoku was waiting for this moment to strike. He shoots his carefully aimed poison arrow, hitting the fallen monster's eye dead in the center. It shrieked and cawed frantically, hop-stepping with mad rage. It gunned into Jinsoku, sending him flying into a ruined brick wall, winded. Mizu readied his sword defensively as it luged toward him. He gracefully swung the Long Sword up and right, decapitating it in one fell swoop. While the head rolled off into a corner in a bloody spurt, the body collapsed slowly, still spasming for a few seconds afterwards. He ran over to Jinsoku, while a few Hikarian soldiers distracted the other Yian Garuga. He checked him over and helped him up. As he rose, he vomited-concussion. "I'll be fine in a second. C'mon we've gotta go find Shinji. For get about the other one. Quick, lets go now while they distract it." He wheezed. "Ok." Mizu said flatly. They rushed off to the east, toward the castle. As they began to run, a huge shadow encompassed the area around them, heavy and noisy wing beats filling the air. They looked ahead to see a huge plain white dragon with large wings and a long neck, with a vibrant white mane descend from the sky and down to the east by the castle gates. "Great heaven help us!" A soldier shouted. "FATALIS! FATALIS! WHITE FATALIS!" Shouts came from nearby. Mizu and Jinsoku turned to face each other. "SHINJI!" they chorused, and made haste toward the Elder Dragon.

*  *  *

"No, child! Do not face this beast! It will destroy you!" An elderly lady shouted at Shinji hoarsely, trembling fearfully, wringing her hands frigidly. Shinji ignored the woman and aimed at the throat of the beast, her long blonde hair flowing in the heavy winds of the approaching Divine Maelstrom. Her brown eyes glittered in anticipation and concentration. The Fatalis had yet to notice her. If she could time it right....she could slay the beast for sure. She readied her bow, and narrowed her eyes. ever so slowly she edged the bowstring further and further back.

He roared and snarled, clawing and scratching at her, firing icy blue flames at her where ever she moved. Gale stared at the White Star, its huge white and blue body, and the crimson ruby on its chest. It caught her gaze and chuckled demonically. "The ruby is nearly ready, and the Divine Maelstrom is rapidly reaching maturity. The end is nigh, Gale Kaze. You should say your goodbyes, before it is too late." He sneered with false empathy. The ruby began to pulse, a brighter red flashing over the crimson. It moaned dismally, the trapped souls of the dead yet to pass on. "Immortality will soon be MINE! And you filthy dregs will be purged from my world. And the Wyrms...shall rise...AGAIN!" He roared, and the ruby flashed brightly, releasing energy beyond belief. The rubble-ladden city of Hikari began to tremble as the Divine Maelstrom drew near. Gale closed her eyes calmly, praying that her friends would arrive soon.

 *  *  *

"Shinji! Come on! Leave the Fatalis! We have to help Gale! The White Star is the top priority!" Mizu yelled. She turned to see he and Jinsoku gesticulating wildly to get her to come with them. She ran toward them, darting and weaving around the ruined buildings to avoid being spotted by the Fatalis. She reached them, and they scurried off to the castle. They got about 5 meters before the Fatalis spatted them and roared ferociously. As it prepared to obliterate them, Rakurai appeared in a bright yellow flash. He grabbed half of them without speaking, and the foursome dissapeared in another flash, as huge red thunderbolt hit the ground they had stood upon mere moments ago.

   *  *  *

Gale opened her eyes to the sound of a familiar flash. She turned to face the White Star once more, and saw Shinji, Rakurai, Jinsoku and Mizu before the beast, weapons readied. Gale slowly steeped into line with her friends, pointing her delicate rapier at the loathsome Wyrm. Yaketsukuyōna raised his claws up to the sky, as if praising a god. "The Five are, let the fate of this world be decided." he mused, a melancholy tone in his voice.

And with that, the five hunters leapt toward the Wyrm of Ice. For their comrades. For Hikari. And for humanity.

To Be Continued in: The White Star Chronicles XV: The Power of Unity

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