To Angel's Orphanage We Go...
Megan typed furiously on the computer, her eyes clued to the screen as she strained herself to stay awake. Various items were scattered on the desk from empty coffee mugs to unwrapped candy wrappers. After a few minutes, she hit the last of the buttons and the screen turned off. Megan pulled her chair back, stretching her arms up high.
"Yes, I am DONE!!"
She took out the piece of paper that the printer printed out and stepped out of the darkened room. Letting her eyes adjust to the artificial light, Megan made her way to the living room where Lily was explaining to the remaining group about infiltrating the Crystalline mansion. Lily stopped talking once Megan had entered.
"You're done?!?" Lily exclaimed.
Megan slammed the paper on the table, breathing a sigh of relief.
"BOOYA! Why don't you take THAT, you so called professional hackers!" she shouted and plopped herself down on the floor. She leaned against the wall, stretching her arms again and yawning. "Now, I'm going to take a nice, long nap."
Seifer took the paper and began to read it carefully. He gave out a low whistle as he set it back on the table for the others to see.
"Damn, girl. That's detailed information," he commented.
"From monster info all the way down to a descriptive map of the underground basement," Quistis added as she read the paper. "And also stats of each generator underneath. That's amazaing."
"Good job, Me---" Lily turned around to find her friend fast asleep, breathing softly.
"Asleep," Selphie said.
"Well, don't blame her," Irvine added. "Being awake for three days straight without any rest and staying in front of that computer, too."
"Is she going to come with us, ya know?" Raijin asked.
"Nah, just let her sleep," Lily said. "She's done her share already."
Seifer looked back at Lily for a second. The dream of the little girl standing in front of the grave asking why her mother died came back to him everytime he looked at her. Hyne, why is that?
"Well, when do we leave then?" Gene asked. Then he added just for kicks, "Boss."
Lily glared at him with her catlike eyes and addressed to everyone, "Tomorrow night. It'll be easier to go at night because the guards will be few on the outskirts of Esthar."
"Hyne, is it just me or did this place change?" Seifer asked as they approached the gates of the Crystalline Mansion.
"CHANGED," Fujin answered.
The mansion had warped itself from a normal looking mansion to a crystal pillar. The edges poked out like spears, and it glowed mysteriously in the moonlight. A Behemoth's cries were heard from within. By the looks of a person's eye, it looked like that the mansion itself was alive.
"It looks really creepy," Selphie murmured as she clung onto Irvine's sleeve.
Lily and Gene looked at the mansion and then glanced at each other, their faces grim.
Lily began to open the iron gates. "Open sesame."
The once still statues that decorated the front lawn were now alive, crawling around like predators thristy for blood. Lily and Gene continued walking to the mansion, ignoring them, the others copied although it was a bit harder. The monsters followed the group's every move, trailing only a few feet behind them.
Upon reachign the front doors of the crystal pillar, Lily took out the map that Megan had given them, figuring out their location.
"The antimagic field controls should be over there," she said, pointing in one direction. "Once the field's turned off, we should have no problem junctioning GFs and using magic in the dungeon."
Fujin walked over to the direction Lily had pointed at and brushed aside the snow that covered the box. She began to decipher the code.
"Why's there snow on top of it?" Irvine asked, regarding the antimagic field box. Even at night, the Estharian weather was still a mild seventy degrees outside with a light breeze.
"Probably one of those guys were fighting against each other," Lily gestured to the monsters that surrounded them.
"Um...aren't they a bit...close?" Quistis asked worriedly.
A large sound of a door opening echoed in the night. Fujin stood up, folding her arms across her chest.
"FINISHED," she said.
"Well, if they're worrin' ya, Quistis," Gene said, inserting an odd shaped bullet into his gun.
He aimed casually to the middle and fired. A bright white explosion disintegrated a mass of the monsters while the rest hurried away to a safer place.
"They're running away," Quistis observed. "Why?"
"These guys aren't as strong as the ones inside the dungeon," Lily explained. "Sure, they look like they want to eat us, but they won't dare attack us because they know we're stronger."
"The monsters inside are usually ten times stronger than the ones outside," Gene added.
"Why's that, ya know?" Raijin wondered.
"Ultimecia probably creates the ones inside by the generator, right?" Seifer answered.
Lily nodded. "Everybody junctioned?"
"Wait a minute, what about you two?" Quistis asked.
Lily smiled. She and Gene exchanged looks. "It's because we were trained extensively to not use magic since the antimagic field was set up. Sure, we've got a couple of Curagas on us, but no GF junctioning with it. It's our own ability. Unlike SeeD, the Organization didn't want any of our members to learn the junctioning of GFs except for those who have the natural ability to do so. Yeah, it would make us more powerful, but I know you guys know the consequences of junctioning GFs. Don't worry, we'll be fine without any magic."
Phoenix and Kenji looked down at the castle below them over the cliff. Obel Lake's castle floated above the waters, thrown boulders leading to its entrance. It looked like two castles smashed together, making one upside down and the other right side up. Many kinds of creatures lurked around the entrance, mainly Fasticalons, but both part-Sorceress and Knight knew that there were many more inside.
"So, what do you think?" Kenji said after a few minutes of silence. "The increase of monster activity is exactly like the Lunar Cry that destroyed the Centra continent, don't ya think?"
"The readings don't show of any sign of an antimagic field," Phoenix replied as she changed her watch back to normal mode. "Yeah, it does look like the Lunar Cry, but why are they gathering around Obel Lake?"
"I guess we'll find out," Kenji answered. He jumped off the cliff, Phoenix following suit, and they both headed towards the floating castle.
A figure watched them enter, laughing sinisterly. He was invisible to the naked eye, but his coal black eyes could be seen under closer inspection.
"Yes, yes. Go one and figure out how to destroy this castle," the figure said. "Once one comes in, nobody comes out alive."
The cry of a Grat's scream echoed in the training center. It disintegrated before it fel to the ground, leaving behind a small crystal. Alex wiped some sweat off his brow, breathing a sigh of relief. He was fighting without his gunblade, so it was a bit harder going against the monsters bare-handed.
It had been about a week since he'd been given permission to get out of the Infirmary. Alex now had a scar over his left eye that came just across his nose. It would never open again; he knew because he couldn't feel anything anymore. His eye would not open, no matter how hard he tried. But Alex didn't really care, it was just going to be a bit harder to focus.
He was in search for a T-Rexaur since it was the strongest creature in the center. He fought a couple alread and was already getting bored fighting them, but Alex had no choice BUT to fight them. His body was getting used to vigorous exercise again and wasn't as sore as it used to be.
Nobody dared to bother him. Alex guessed it was probably due to the look of his scar or how he looked so much like Squall. He didn't really care about that, either; Alex didn't intend to make any acquaintances at Garden and only talked when he was asked to. He walked around, looking for anything interesting. The jungle atmosphere was hot, humid, and tiring. He was glad that once outside, there was air conditioning.
Slinging his jacket over his shoulder, Alex began walking casually towards the exit since there was no sign of the dinosaur.
I could've sworn that they put one in here...oh well. Better go see Sis before she starts to worry. His stomach growled, and he paused in midstep. And eat, too.
He continued walking, ignoring the monsters that followed him and easily sidestepping whenever they attacked as he made his way through the Training Center.
Alex looked down at the ground. He never liked looking up when walking. Being with two sisters who had to watch everything and everyone, they had taught him and his other sister to not attract attention to others since they were the younger siblings of two infamous assassins. It was now a habit of his to not be a burden to his sisters.
Upon reaching the exit, however, Alex looked up to meet the man that he mirrored. Squall leaned against the wall, arms folded.
"Feeling better?" he asked.
Alex never talked to the man much. Actually, he didn't talk to him at all, only when he came to visit him during the days when he was still cooped up in bed. It was strange. Although Alex rarely ever talked to Squall, he had an understanding of him. It was like Alex knew Squall from somewhere, but he didn't know where. That was the same with Rinoa.
"Yeah, fighting these guys kinda lets out some steam," Alex replied and started walking again.
"I can tell you're getting bored, though," Squall said, pushing himself off the wall and began walking with Alex outside.
"I guess fighting these guys so often, it's easy to beat them once you know how," Alex said.
"Don't worry, it does get boring after a while and then you need to go to other areas," Squall agreed.
The two walked in a mutual silence, ignoring those who had turned to stare.
Allundia opened her eyes as the sound of a Torama's howling disrupted her small nap. She flipped her hair back and stood, smiling evilly. In front of her was a small house made of stone. Vines entangled the walls, as if trying to hide the home from view. Mountains dusted with snow surrounded the area as protection. Children's laughter and a woman's voice were heard inside. A wooden sign hung in front of a tree reading: Angel's Orphanage.
"Now, let the fun begin," Allundia remarked, an evil glint sparkling in her smoky eyes. You're not going to get away this time, Almasy.
Lily slid between the Iron Giant's legs before it could be able to slice her in half. She skidded to a stop on the other side, ready to attack. The Giant's machete rammed into Seifer's Hyperion, trying to not only break his gunblade, but to slice Seifer in half. It was pure will against immense strength. Lily came for backup.
"Firaga!" she shouted.
The Iron Giant was engulfed in flames, but turned around unscathed. Its white eyes glowed in anger at Lily, attention focused on nothing but her. She smirked arrogantly and fell into a martial arts stance, taunting it to come at her.
"C'mon! What's wrong, scared?" she asked.
It took one step forward, eyes still glowing. Seifer used this distraction to his advantage by ramming the Hyperion through the Iron Gian with all the strength that he had. The giant groaned in pain as a steely liquid seeped out from its armor. Seifer turned the Hyperion and slashed upwards, slicing the Giant in half waist up. It fell to the ground dead, the steely liquid oozing out from the open wound. Seifer breathed heavily; it was easier said than done trying to slice pure metal in half or cut it at all.
Lily came to him, catlike emerald eyes concerned. "You okay?"
"Yeah, fine," Seifer replied, standing up. "...Thanks."
"Don't mention it," Lily said and flipped her braid back. "At least we're still in once piece."
They both stared up at the leaf-like generator. It began to pulsate as if alive. Lily opened the box in front of it and began to punch in some buttons while Seifer stood guard.
"Why is it doing that?" he asked after a couple of minutes.
"Doing what?" Lily asked, continuing to decipher the lock.
"Beating like it's freakin' alive."
"That's because it IS alive."
"What?!?" Seifer exclaimed.
"These things aren't your normal generators," Lily began to explain. "They're built to create monsters by using numerous amounts of energy crystals."
"But those things are rarely found," Seifer said.
"Not when you're a well-experienced magic user," Lily replied. "And a natural one at it."
"A sorceress..." Seifer realized.
"You got it," Lily concluded as she closed the hatch of the box. The generator shut down completely. Lily turned to face him as they walked away. "That's why we need to get Sorceress Ultimecia. If not, then the entire human race will be destroyed by an increase of monsters. Just like how Centra was destroyed by the Lunar Cry."
"But aren't Luna and Phoenix sorceresses?"
"They're only half," Lily pointed out. "They don't have the potential of being a threat because their mom's powers were divided among them, Alex, and Sakura."
"Not the Sakura that you know. Their sister, Sakura." Her eyes went dreamlike for a moment as if lost in her memories. "She died about five years ago. If she was still alive, then she'd be sixteen, I think."
"Oh...well...that makes sense. I mean, the powers being divided," Seifer said. "How many generators are in here?"
"Around four. Hopefully, the others got the other three."
Selphie and Gene ran away from the mass of Cactuars coming at them. While running, Gene fired back and knocked down a couple of Cactuars.
"Man, this is the LAST time I'm going to mess with these things!" Gene said as he and Selphie began to run even faster.
"I warned you!" Selphie said. "Now what do we do?!?"
"Just keep running until you see the generator!" Gene answered.
Selphie dared to open her eyes again to find a pulsating light and a Ruby Dragon blocking their way. "Is that the generator thingie???"
After shooting blindly some more, Gene turned to see what Selphie was pointing at. His eyes widened as the dragon gasped in and prepared to fire. Oh shit!!
They moved out of the way just before the Ruby Dragon fired out its Inferno Breath. The mass of Cactuars behind them were incinerated, leaving Gene and Selphie alone to fight the dragon.
"Um...now what?" Selphie asked nervously.
The Ruby Dragon stared at them intensely, smoke coiming out of its nostrils.
"I'll-I'll distract him...er...IT," Gene stammered. The dragon roared at them. Gene gulped. "And you run as fast as you can to the generator. Try to disarm it as fast as possible. You remember the code, don't you, Selphie?"
"Yeah, I do." She readied her Strange Vision.
"Go!" Gene shot at the Ruby Dragon, it focusing its full attention on him. Selphie ran past it, opening the hatch to the generator's outlet and quickly began deciphering the code.
Gene inserted in another bullet and aimed at the charging creature. He fired, a red flame engulfing the dragon. The flames soon turned blue and began to solidify. The dragon was encased in crystal, at least for the moment. Gene reloaded his gun with another bullet as the Ruby Dragon's tail broke out of the crystal.
"Selphie, how much longer?" Gene shouted as he aimed again. The designs around his gun began to rotate and glow red. An energy ball began to form within the hollow of the gun.
"I'm almost done!" Selphie shouted back, frantically trying to finish deciphering the lock. The generator began to pulsate even faster.
Thrashing furiously, the Ruby Dragon slowly started to break out of its crystal prison. Gene waited patiently, continuing to ask Selphie if she had completed unlocking the generator yet. Then the dragon broke free at the same time as the generator shut down.
"It's done!" Selphie shouted.
"Okay, get out of the way!" Gene replied and slowly put pressure on the trigger. Selphie ran behind the generator, hoping that she wouldn't fly as Gene fired at the screeching dragon. The impact sent pieces of dragon corpse flying everywhere, covering the area with a blue-violet liquid. Gene pushed off the steel plate that flung on top of him. His boots and jeans were covered in the dragon's blood. Parts of his trenchcoat were ripped to shreds and parts of his face were also stained with the blue-violet blood. He got up, skillfully putting his gun away.
"Hey...Selphie?" he called out.
Her head peeked out from behind the generator. Then she stepped out, unscathed.
"Oooooh, purple blood," she remarked, looking around. "Cool."
"Hahahaha, very funny," Gene said.
"I wonder how Irvy and Quisty are doing," Selphie wondered.
"Who knows," Gene replied, looking at the bleeding generator.
*SNAP* Quistis' Save the Queen slashed against the Torama once more before it yeowled and fell victim to its injuries. Irvine shot down the second one before it could strike.
"This is kinda easyk" Irvine commented as he put away the Exeter.
"You can say that again," Quistis added as she shut down the generator.
"Now where to?"
Quistis took out the replica of the map that Lily had given her. She traced their location back to their rendezvous area.
"To the place where we're all meeting, I guess," Quistis replied.
"Auntie Ellone! Auntie Ellone!"
Five children came running in the kitchen, their faces desparate. No sign of their Auntie Ellone anywhere, but a middle-aged man sitting at the kitchen table, reading a newspaper. He looked up from what he was reading, catlike emerald eyes gazing.
"What is it, you guys? Auntie Elle isn't here," the man said, putting down the newspaper.
The youngest of the five ran to the man, crying. The man lifted the little girl up in a hug, trying to comfort her.
"Contesta, what's wrong?" the man softly asked the girl.
"Uncle Sefie, there's...there's..." Contesta sniffed and wouldn't say anymore.
"Uncle Seifer, what Contesta's tryin' to say is that there's this creepy looking woman wanderin' around outside," the oldest said, his blue eyes serious. "She said that she's lookin' for you and Auntie Ellone."
Seifer's tired eyes narrowed as he brushed back grey-blonde strands of hair away from his face. "A woman said that she's looking for me?"
The children nodded, Contesta sniffing some mroe. "She took Contesta and tried to hurt her before Aka helped out," one of them explained. "An' she said to find you an' Auntie Elle or else she'd hurt somebody."
"Is that right, Contesta?" Seifer asked the girl in his arms.
The little girl nodded. "An' she hurt Aka..."
Seifer set the girl down, frowning. They're back. "Okay, I'll go find her."
"Hahahaha, there's no need to find me, Almasy," Allundia's voice called out as a purple mist filled the room.
Seifer pushed the children behind him as the mist began to materialize into Allundia's form. She smiled maliciously as the youngest of the children clung onto the pantleg of Seifer.
"Allundia," Seifer said.
"You're a very hard man to find," Allundia said. "Still bietter after your wife's death?"
Seifer didn't reply. Instead he said to the oldest. "Shion, run as far as you can away from here."
Shion's eyes widened, "B-but."
Shion led the other children out as Allundia chuckled to herself. She watched the children go.
"My, my, my. Very protective of the little brats here, aren't you?"
"Just what the hell do you want?" Seifer demanded.
"It's very simple," Allundia replied, lifting her index finger. "You're life."
"This place is sure weird," Phoenix murmured as she and Kenji walked up the spiral staircase.
"Yeah, I know," Kenji agreed. "Where the hell are the monsters? There's usually ton in these."
Phoenix laughed. "What, you want some action or something?"
They reached to the top of the castle. Kenji scratched the back of his head, blushing a light pink.
"Well...yeah..." he slowly answered.
Phoenix giggled some more before stopping as she saw the generator. This generator was larger than any of the others. It stood at least fifty feet tall like a tree, pulsating a soft blue glow. Nothing was guarding it. Like how the castle was, there was no sign of any monster in sight. Kenji gave out a low whistle at the sight of the generator. They carefully walked into the room, looking out for any traps or signs of attack.
"I have a bad feeling about all this," Phoenix murmured.
All of a sudden, she nor Kenji could not budge an inch. It was like they were being pulled down by something or someone. They went down to their knees, struggling to get up as they were being pulled down by the unknown force.
"Damn...what the hell?" Kenji muttered.
Phoenix felt a presence around them, mocking.
"Kakakaka...fools. You think that you can destroy this castle that easily?" a voice called out at them.
"Who are you?" Phoenix asked.
An outline of a figure began to form in front of them. The figure had no body except an outline of his original self. Coal black eyes stared creepily. He smiled.
"My name is Phaetos, the one in charge of looking over this castle by orders of Sorceress Ultimecia," the figure introduced himself.
"Figures...," Kenji remarked as he tried to stand. "By the looks of yourself, you HAVE to be one of her followers. Where the hell is your freakin' body?"
"Hmph, a comedian, I see," Phaetos commented as his eyes glowed white.
The sudden force of gravity was too much for Phoenix as her muscles screamed in pain. Her skin cut through and healed at the same time until her healing capability was too costly to expend. She couldn't lift her head anymore and forced herself to no succumb to the gravity pull.
A rush of pain went through her body. She felt as if a part of her was going through a stack of needles pinning her body to the wall.
"Luna? What's wrong?"
Luna clutched her chest in pain as she slowly sunk down to the floor. Rinoa ran to her.
"Luna?? Luna, what's wrong??" she frantically asked.
Dammit, Phoe, Luna cursed. What the hell is going on?
He had lost his appetite. For some reason, Alex had the feeling that something had happened. It was the same feeling he had when Sakura was hurt.
Squall and Zell noticed Alex's sudden loss of appetite. The look in his eyes were something else.
"Luna, are you okay?" Rinoa asked again.
"It's...it's Phoenix," Luna finally answered. Her body began to give out a white aura that surrounded her body. "She's in trouble."
Phoenix's body was surrounded by a white aura. Her wounds that never healed disappeared. She began to stand up with ease no matter how much power Phaetos put in his own poers. Kenji began to feel as if Phaetos' power was fading for his body was feeling less and less of the pressure of the gravity fold.
"What?!?" Phaetos' eyes widened.
The aura burst open, blinding everyone in sight. Phaetos staggered back, clutching his face in pain. Or whatever was left of it. Although the man was invisible, blood spilled out of his wound freely, making the man visible. Kenji grabbed Phoenix before she was able to fall and dropped a bomb in the room. They jumped out fo the window, and dived into the waters below as the castle exploded and disintegrated into thin air.
After a few minutes underwater, their heads bobbed up for air. Phoenix coughed up water and waded to shore. Kenji supported her as they reached shore, gasping for air.
"Kajimi, you okay?" Kenji asked.
"I think so," Phoenix answered, coughing up for air. She shook her head. "Ugh, that's the last time I ask Luna for help."
"Huh? THAT'S what that light was?" Kenji asked incredulously.
The look on his face was so cute and funny at the same time that Phoenix couldn't help but burst into laughter. All of the troubles that she was going through, all of the worries and fears disappeared for that very moment. Kenji stared at her for a moment, but he laughed along with her.
Allundia gazed down at the limp body below her. She gazed at her nails and then back at the body.
"You're pathetic, Almasy," she scoffed and then smiled. "No matter. I must make a visit to your precious daughter."
She laughed evilly before disappearing in the purple smoke. The last thing that Seifer Almasy said before going inot the darkness was his only daughter's name. He didn't want anything to happen to her...his only family.
"Everybody here?" Lily asked.
They all had completed shutting off the generators all in once piece. Well, almost everyone was in one piece. Gene was stained by a bluish purplish liquid with his trenchcoat torn, and Raijin had suffered minor blows to the head and bruised shins. The bruised shins were probably from Fujin, Lily guessed. Other than that, everybody else was okay.
"More or less," Gene replied.
Lily began to activate the teleporter when a violet mist came in. The others looked around suspisciously as Allundia's laughter echoed in the dungeon.
"Hahahahaha. What a group!" Allundia's voice echoed. "You had no other suspicions after that idiot Princeton Deling? You should've been wiser to not leave those vulnerable to attack, SeeD."
"What the hell do you want, Allundia?!?" Lily growled, her eyes narrowing dangerously at the mist.
"Temper, temper, Lily," Allundia taunted. "I just only came to visit. And to tell you that you'd better go back home and check on daddy dearest."
The mist began to disappear. "I told you already. Let's just say that you SeeD have been warned."
Allundia's evil laughter was all that remained as it echoed in everybody's minds.
Luna slowly opened her eyes to find herself in bed.
"First it's Phoenix, then me, and now you," Alex said.
She put her arm over her head, sighing deeply. "What happened?"
"You passed out," her brother simply answered.
At that moment, Doctor Kadowaki came strolling in. She smiled warmly, holding a clipboard in hand.
"You're awake? How are you feeling, hon?" Doctor Kadowaki asked.
Ugh. How she hated being called that.
"I'm fine. A bit exhausted, though," Luna answered sweetly.
Her well-trained ears heard the stifling laughter from Alex. She gave a sharp look at her brother as the doctor began to check her temperature. Alex winced slightly at the sharp pain in his temple. He rubbed it to ease the pain.
"Hmm? Alex, is there something wrong?" Doctor Kadowaki asked him.
"No, it's nothing," Alex mumbled in reply.
Luna giggled as the doctor proceeded to take out the IV tube and other various tubes that were stuck in her arm.
Hah, that's what you get, she said.
...Whatever, Alex replied.
Luna rolled her eyes and sat up, leaning over to the side.
"Well, you seem okay," Doctor Kadowaki said.
"I'm not going to die then, huh?" Luna asked jokingly.
Hah, I wish, she heard Alex think.
Another sharp pain passed through his head, and Alex winced again. Doctor Kadowaki eyed him curiously.
"Alex, are you sure you're okay?" she asked.
Alex let out a laugh in order to assure the careful doctor. "I'm fine, I'm fine." He in turn gave a Look to his sister.
"Well, okay..." then she turned to Luna." You'll be just fine as long as you don't exert so much of your power. Exerting too much next time, you won't be as lucky as fainting."
"Yeah, I know..." Luna replied, agreeing. "My body's not like Phoenix's which can heal easily."
The alarm on her watch began flashing. She reached over on the nightstand, wondering who in Hyne's name was calling. Her sapphire eyes gazed curiously at the number. It was one she hadn't seen in years.
"Who is it, Sis?" Alex asked.
"It's..." Luna answered, "Auntie Elle. Angel's Orphanage."
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Hahahahahahahaha.........that's all!!! Stay tuned to the next chapter!
WHAT'S TO COME:
Luna this time took off her trenchcoat and flung it at the charging werewolf. While blinded, she used his back as a spring and jumped over him, flying freely in the air.
The only thing she didn't notice was the look Kaen gave as he turned his head...
A shock ran through all of them, signaling that there was something wrong.