Friday, August 29, 2014

Episode 22: The Match of Seals, Fire and Wind

If I was asked which episode was my favorite, it would be hard to answer. I like a lot of different episodes for different reasons. That being said, this would be a contender due to it's epic scale. Both this and Episode 19 were played through my head maybe over 100 times each because of how awesome I felt they were. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

EPISODE 22: The Match of Seals, Fire and Wind 

            David walked up to his defeated adversary and offered his hand. Dyl grasped and shook it, conceding his defeat.
            “Looks like you are the better one,” he admitted.
            “If you didn’t make a couple mistakes back there, then it would have been closer,” David said reassuringly. “Like if you saved that one trick for the end, you would have gotten me.”
            “Yeah right, you knew it was a trick from the start. That’s how you were able to block my attack. I thought it was a great one too.”
            “It was!” the dreamer laughed. “Combining your cloaking ability with your Shadow Copy Full Power technique was a cool idea. But maybe next time, have your illusion move, otherwise it’s pretty obvious what you were planning.”
            “I should have known you knew about that,” Dyl grumbled. After exchanging a few more comments they reached the rest of the group. They applauded the exciting duel and congratulated David on winning both of his matches.
            “Good job on your victories so far, old friend. But later, be prepared to lose,” Reid said with confidence in his skills.
            “I wouldn’t be too sure of that,” David responded.
            “Hey,” he shrugged. “I’m two for two. Adding one more shouldn’t be a problem.”
            “Those don’t count and you know it.”
            They joked around as they headed to get equipment. They allowed David and Dyl to rest for a little bit before doing some paintball. The group divided into teams and played with the other Nellenion soldiers. They had a good time and were all covered with paint by the end of it. After cleaning up, eating dinner, and discussing plans for the next day, they took time to relax. Rather, everyone was meant to relax, but David and Reid went off each on his own to prepare.
            “Ready for those purchases?” Zel asked.
            “Yep. Couldn’t let Reid see them beforehand. We’re going to need to be at our A-game if we want to win.”
            “Definitely. You two are like brothers, aren’t you?”
            “If I were to have a brother, I certainly would wish it was Reid. He’s a good friend. If I was Hamlet, I’d consider him Horatio.”
            “Perhaps he thinks the opposite.”
            “Possibly. At the same time, if there is anyone I consider to be my rival, it’s him.”
            The time came and everyone gathered again. This time at a completely empty flat field. As the two warriors walked to the center, the others started muttering among themselves.
            “Who do you think is going to win?” Emily posed to the crowd.
“Well,” Jenny started, “I’m rooting for David…”
“Of course,” everyone sang in harmony. With Jenny silenced by that, Dyl gave his input.
“The thing is, there’s no way to tell. Every time these two have faced like this, it has been a draw.”
“What do you mean ‘every time’?” Emily poked at the terminology.
Dyl kept his cool and explained, “You might not know this, but both Shatl and Cyonex are inherited forms. They existed a long time ago and dueled. But no matter the situation, the outcome was always a draw. They are equals when it comes to facing each other. Now from what I have seen between Reid and David, the case is the same.”
“So before the odds were unfair, since Reid was either facing Neocyx, the inferior form, or was fighting with you against him. Now that David has Cyonex and Sudron, it’s even?” Jenny asked.
“More or less,” Nathan answered. “We still don’t know what they have done in preparation. But it looks like we are about to find out.”
Both warriors entered into their mega form. However, what happened next was not expected. They drew their swords and called out, “I challenge you to a Nellenion Match! Match of Seals!” A seemingly normal Nellenion field appeared. Both sheathed their blades and then began the duel in their heads, playing out various strategies.
“What’s the Match of Seals?” the professor inquired of Dyl and Nathan.
“It’s a higher order of a Nellenion Match,” Dyl explained as the group had already come to recognize his knowledge of Neostrikers. “The field changes throughout the duel randomly. You could say it’s the best setting for an epic duel.”
“That doesn’t explain the name,” Emily critiqued.
“No, but the fact that it was used to ‘seal’ the Zeforoth does. However, Reid and David are just using it for a battleground. It appears they want to have a winner.”
The action appeared ready to start. Cyonex took out his torch sword and shock sword. However, as soon as the shock sword appeared, it was gone. The Warrior of Fire looked at his left hand and then at Shatl. He summoned the shock sword again only to have it vanish again. Meanwhile, the Warrior of Wind called out a torch sword and an air sword. They began to cross swords.
“What just happened?” Jenny wondered aloud.
“It was a duel of neocards it seemed,” Sanger answered.
“That was it exactly,” Nathan responded. “David used his shock sword neocard like normal, but Reid has a ‘negate’ neocard that cancels it. It looked like David used his recover neocard to use the shock sword, but Reid also has a “copycat” neocard, which allows him to reuse any neocard and he chose to cancel the shock sword again.”
“Why would he do that?” Emily asked a little confused. “Shock sword is probably the weakest of David’s neocards. Wouldn’t it be better to use it on a neocard combo or barrier?”
“Nah,” Dyl replied. “The thing about David’s shock sword is how he uses it. Even though he has it as his off-hand weapon, it’s the one you have to be careful of the most. Because it can stun you, it allows him to get a second, more serious strike in. So if you are concentrating too much on blocking that, you are bound to get hit. Though I think Reid is capable of having the right focus.”
“But it seems he’s not taking any risks with that,” Jenny added while still watching the duel.
No blows had landed yet. Both sides were being fairly conscience in not over-committing. Yet that did not mean they were not attacking. To the normal and undiscerning eye, it would appear as if they were going at full force.
Since Cyonex could not use the shock sword, he pulled out his sonic sword to replace it and had been fending off the Wolf. He launched the first of the two sword waves but Reid ducked below and darted towards him. They locked swords, but the Falcon was eventually able to break free. He launched the second wave and hit before Shatl could block it. As normal after firing two waves, the sonic sword disappeared.
“A little careless I see,” Cyonex threw a taunt.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it,” Reid retorted keeping his cool.
“Well, you’re going to first have to break through my barriers. Here’s a new one. Mega armor!”
            The Guardian attempted to summon one of his new neocards but it would not work. He realized Shatl had another trick up his sleeve.
            “Sorry, but I just happened to obtain a ‘Barrier Blocker’ neocard,” the Wolf smirked.
            “That’s even rarer than the ‘Negate’ neocard you used earlier. But that means you can’t use any barrier neocards either.”
            “Whatever works.”
The center of the arena where they stood began to glow. Being aware of it, both parties leaped backwards, away from each other and the field changed. The ground became a meadow and in the center emerged a stationary tornado. The wind force was so strong that both warriors had to plant their feet. They stood across facing each other while enduring the harsh wind.
Normally, the force of the wind would overpower them and pull them inside, but these two also obtained a “static armor” which allowed them to resist movement. It almost was like their boots were made of heavy metal. Again, the match became a thinking game.
Deciding to attack, David attempted to fire a charged blast through the tornado, but the wind pushed it aside. Reid took a stab at throwing a bomb and using the wind current to land it on David, but with no success.
The tornado kept on going. Shatl then put away his blades and placed his palms out. Energy appeared to be collecting in his hands. Cyonex recognized this as Shatl’s recovery technique, which allowed him to heal while he is not moving. Knowing this would cancel any advantage he had, David became determined to conquer the tornado.
He contemplated removing his static armor and using the current to hurl himself at Shatl, but that would only open him up for an attack. He attempted Reid’s earlier bomb attempt. He tossed one to judge how the tornado would move it. He then followed with the bigger ultra bomb. It would have worked too, except as it was about to hit Shatl, he swiftly moved backwards without lifting a foot.
“He has a “quick dodge” neocard too?!” David moaned.  
“You were right about him being a challenge,” Zel told him.
“Yeah. Hmm. A charge shot won’t make it past the winds here.”
“What if you used a more powerful blast?”
“Exactly what I was thinking. Let’s try it. Neo gun, super gun, ultra gun. Neocard combo, mega gun!”
Using a couple of new neocards, the dreamer was able to pull off this new combo. The energy from the cards fused to form a huge canon. He aimed and fired it directly through the tornado and at Shatl. Breaking through the tornado was a success, but to his surprise a mini tornado enveloped Shatl and redirected the blast away from him.
“You gotta be kidding me! A tornado block too?!” he shouted across the field, amidst the strong winds.
“Hey! If you didn’t fire it through the tornado in the first place, my card wouldn’t have been able to stop it. At least you got me to take some damage.”
The tornado faded away and the field transformed again. This time, it evoked the presence of a volcano. The rocky terrain took over but not without various boulders floating down a river of lava. To add to it, meteors came crashing from the sky and lightning crackled brightly together with its accompanying thunderclap. However, the change failed to distract the two warriors as they resumed close combat.
They kept at it, amidst the surrounding chaos, but neither was able to obtain an advantage. They took the battle to the floating boulders only to return to higher and more stable ground after no more success there. Both attempted to use their “mega sword” neocard combo for the lead but both hit.
            Next, the field converted to a beach-like scene. The sides were all sand, spotted with a few palm trees. Shallow water filled the middle except for a patch of land, where the battle raged on. Cyonex activated his aqua gun, which somehow received a boost in power due to the surrounding landscape, but he was only able to hit with a couple shots.
            The arena changed yet another time to a forest area. The two warriors take to the treetops to continue their duel. The advantage fell to Reid here as he was able to nick David with one of his blades, but that was all until next change.
            A rink of ice claimed the next territory. Here, the two warriors had to glide across the ice, or be careful not to slip.
            The intensity was blazing. For the next terrain alteration, it became a mountain path with Cyonex on the higher ground. He lunged at Shatl, ready to slam the drawn Sudron. The Wolf decided to meet him in the air and made a leap, aiming for the legs of the Falcon with Widrond. However, David was able to shift his weight and flip forward. After a clash of steel, both sides landed. The legendary swords had been drawn, and the sparks flying from the repeated clashes lit up the land.
At one point, Reid committed to a big slash, but David moved at the last possible instant, swirled around, and was able to slash from behind. From there, they were locked in a stalemate until the field transformed one last time.
The final mode of the arena was actually a fairly peaceful one. No one could explain how, but the field blocked the sunlight and created an illusion of night. The complete it, a ball of light, mimicking the moon hung a giant tree. Beneath the tree flowed a gentle stream, but that did not matter to the warriors.
The Wolf readied his glistening steel blade as he focused intently upon the Falcon whose golden decorated hilt was raised in response. Then, like two renowned samurai under the shadow of the tree, they dashed in, crossed swords for three strikes, and separated. In the end, they only countered each other and stood facing off again in this passionate duel. The onlookers momentarily forgot they were spectating a duel but instead a magical sword dance.
Reid and David finally halted their seemingly never-ending combat. The illusion of night faded away and the sunset shone perfectly on the giant tree. The two warriors stood still, again plotting every possible action in their heads. Finally, as white spheres of light began to fill the air, David broke the silence called out his challenge, the same that Reid was ready to do as well.
“Time to end this! Elite Overdrive!”
With those words, the white and scarlet auras envelop the warriors as they charged at full speed and power, using their Elite Slashes. The blades cross, but the auras did not die. Instead, the warriors continue to swing their blades at high speed in close combat with the golden auras still about them.
            The intensity and excitement cannot be captured by language. It was a spectacle that had to be seen. What words and descriptions I have used fail to do it justice. The best that can be said is this was perhaps the greatest swordfight anyone there had seen.
            The two warriors maintained perfect focus and fought hard. They had become titans under the setting sun. Both made and continued to make perfect attacks and counters. They would strike one area, only to bring it back in time to parry the counter. The legendary swords saw movement everywhere; left and right, up and down. Even when they would break apart and resort to using their guns, their executions were breathtaking while dodging beautifully with rolls and side steps.
            Nonetheless, they would soon return to sword combat, the ideal way to end such a duel. The force and energy behind each and every swing was inspiring, as the golden auras grew and grew. This was the combat of legends.
            Finally, the golden auras burst and encompassed the arena as if it were the sun. When the light had finally vanished, the Nellenion field was gone. Cyonex was still standing while Reid lay on the ground. Yet not more than a second later, Cyonex too de-formed and fell to the ground. Both of them then said despite their heavy exhaustion, “That… was… the… most… fun… ever,” and then they passed out.
            What happened was in that great light, both of them had charged in like they did before with their Elite Slashes. The blades crossed, and they both quickly recovered and thrusted, aiming for the chest. But Cyonex was able to sidestep just enough for Shatl to miss by only a millimeter!

            It took a few moments before David and Reid awoke from their rest. After thanking Sanger and the soldiers for their time and effort, they returned to Reid’s house for the night. And everyone there was now inspired by what they saw and ready for the next day’s fateful climax.

Episode 23: The Battle of Fort Tempest

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Episode 21: Stealth and Tactics

EPISODE 21: Stealth and Tactics

            By the time the two travelers got back to Reid’s house, it was early afternoon. As soon as they entered the door, the others came bustling with news.
            “Did you guys hear?!” Dyl shouted before they could get their bearing. However, they did not have to answer as Emily revealed what they were talking about.
            “The governor has disappeared.”
            “What? Did she do another show?”
            “Nope. She just ran off. The media is having a blast, but no one knows what happened,” Reid said.
            “It could be because Zack has connected her to the Daelians,” Nathan proposed.
            “But she’s skillful enough to manipulate the details of something like that,” Dyl chimed in. “It’s more likely they are in the final stages of their scheme, and she doesn’t care about the office anymore.”
            “Did you retrieve the sword?” Reid asked, changing focus.
            “Yeah, even got a little rest at the village,” Jenny answered.
            “Oh! So you’re in condition to partake in our plans,” Nathan piqued up. 
            “Can you guys please slow down on the barrage? What are these plans?” the dreamer spoke as one could expect.
            They all took a deep breath and Nathan began.
            “Okay. While you were gone, we started rounding up the Nellenion Army we have been forming. We’ve made arrangements to meet at Fort Tempest in two days.”
            “So Sunday,” David nodded.
            “Yeah,” the army child continued. “Since we have these next two days to do any final preparation, we decided it be best to see how much you have improved.”
            “I think I catch your grip. You mean for each of you to challenge me in a one-on-one duel.”
“Yeah, wasn’t how I was going to phrase it, but that’s the gist of it. We’ve even procured the battlefield for today.”
            “Wait! I have to fight all three of you today?!” he moaned.
“No, don’t worry.” Reid reassured him. “The plan is you fight us tomorrow. Nathan in the morning, Dyl in the afternoon, and me last.”
“You don’t give me much time to get battle-ready.”
“Better to be battle-ready for the final battle than a skirmish,” his old friend retorted.
David sighed. “At least it’s tomorrow.”
“Yeah, but then get ready to get messy. After all this, we’re going to have some fun.”
They used the rest of the day to relax and prepare for their trip on Sunday. The next morning, they arrived at an outdoor paintball site. There were quite a few people there actually, but all adults. Anticipating David’s concern, Nathan began to explain.
“Don’t fret. Everything here is okay. This place is run by a friend who happens to be in our Nellenion Army. So for today and tomorrow, he closed off this place to the public so we can practice. Some of our soldiers are here as well to train.”
Before David could respond, the owner came by and greeted them.
“Hello everyone!” he welcomed in a strong voice. “I am former lieutenant Sanger. As you can see, we have been training for our attack on Sunday. I think you troops have gathered a fine army, and this is just part of it. We have young veterans as well as civilians, who still have a strong morale. Though I’m a little surprised to see some girls with you.” 
            “Yes, and they will be critical to our operation,” Reid stated with no hesitation.
            “No problem here,” Sanger responded. “You kids have taught me that being a strong Neostriker doesn’t matter with age or battlefield experience, why should gender be a problem? I’ve met some strong women in my time with the armed forces. I look forward to serving with you all and hopefully we can put an end to this Daelian threat.”
            “Do you have an area for us?” Nathan asked, feeling finished with all this talk.
            “Yes, this way,” the lieutenant led them to a one of the paintball arenas. This one was primarily hills. There were a few trees and bunkers to take cover behind.
            “Some of the men are looking forward to see your battles. In fact, only some of the vets can match with this young man’s accuracy,” he said, patting Nathan on the back.
            “Too bad it doesn’t carry over to paintball,” Nathan said modestly.
            “Well, I look forward to beating you in both,” David started the banter.
            “If it’s like the chess game we played the other day, I’ve already won.”
            “Too bad it isn’t.” David smirked with confidence.
            They entered forms and called a Nellenion field. Then, they decided to play it like paintball and give each other time to get ready on different sides of the field. After a minute to allow them to find a good spot, Sanger fired a signal for them to begin. Both of them took cover.
            “Shoot! I just remember Cepos has camouflage,” David thought to himself, but still careful not to speak aloud.
            “Yeah, it certainly gives him the advantage,” Zel pointed out.
            “I know, I know. You don’t need to be captain obvious,” the youth muttered. Just then, a shot nearly hit his location. “Did he find me already?!” David grumbled going for cover.
            “It might have been a scouting shot,” Zel insinuated.
            “That’s a sound possibility, but I don’t know if I should risk it. If he has found me, then I should move somewhere else. Can you tell me where the shot came from?”
            “From where you are facing, 5 o’clock, from the hill,” the Asen informed him.
             “Remind me for paintball to not start on the lower ground.”
            Another shot fired and nearly hit him. Zel reported that it came from the 3 to 4 o’clock direction this time. Realizing that if Cepos is as accurate as Sanger claimed, he should have been hit. Basing his logic off that, Cyonex decided that they were shots to lure him out. Helping cement his reasoning, He saw another shot fired at a different location further away. This time, he spied the bushes where it came from.
            He moved from his cover behind the tree and took a side route that kept him hidden from the sniper’s angle. He made sure not to make any obvious sound, but when he got around the bend, another shot nearly hit him.
            “That wasn’t a guess, he actually saw me,” the dreamer realized. “But how? From where he was, he couldn’t see me move. And that shot was fired as soon as it could. That means he was waiting for me to come around that bend. Wait, Zel. Is it just me or was that shot a little slower than we’ve seen in training?”
            “It’s no mistake, that was slower,” the Asen confirmed.
            “Alright. I think I get the idea of what’s he doing. Do you remember if he has a remote turret?”
            “He didn’t use one in our training sessions. Is that what you think he’s using?”
            “Yeah,” the Guardian affirmed. “That probably means he’s hiding in a good spot for scouting. Like that big tree!”
            Sure enough, the sniper was there, not with a gun in hand, but just watching over the area. The branches did a good job of covering him while providing an outlet to watch Cyonex’s movements.
            “I probably never would have thought to look in the trees,” David confided in his Asen.
            “With him using remote gun at ground level to cover his tracks, you wouldn’t be blamed for not thinking it.”
            “Alright, so assuming that the turret is not as accurate as his rifle, but also how close that shot was, he probably has to put all his focus in it to operate. That means, when he fires it, he’s not scouting from the tree.”
            “If you can reach the tree without revealing you know he’s there, then you can get in a few extra blows,” Zel recommended.
            Cyonex took a peek past the wall to see if the gun was still there. A shot was fired to confirm his suspicion. It hit him, but he had a saiber armor to absorb the blow for him.
            “Okay, so I can’t blow up that turret if I want to use it for my advantage. Zel, can you give a map layout of the playing field?”
            “Certainly. I was a little surprised you didn’t ask for it sooner,” the Asen quipped while bringing up the map display on David’s visor.
            The dreamer took a look at the map starting plotting. He did not have much more time, however, as a grenade rolled to his side of the wall. He dove out of the way and then proceeded to make for the tree by a different route.
            When he got there, he tossed an ultra bomb and knocked Cepos down from where he was perched. Taking the opportunity, he dealt another strike using his sonic sword. He attempted another, but the sniper got up and dashed out of range by using his Elite Stone of Speed. However, the momentum never left Cyonex’s side from that point and he was able to emerge victorious.
            “Man, David, I thought my plan was going to get you,” Nathan commented after the match. “I even just picked up that turret neocard.”
            “Was your plan to fire so many shots on the ground so I never would have expected you were in the tree?” David asked and Nathan nodded affirmatively.
            “Alright, so now it’s my turn!” Dyl said psyched up.
            “Well, your turn will have to wait,” Emily soured his mood. “David has to wait a while before he can enter forms again.”
            “You had to say it,” Dyl retorted. “Oh well, we can at least do paintball or get lunch until then. It’s only 10:30. You think an hour and a half will give you enough rest?”
            “I have no quarrels with that,” David said, though he was a little worn out by the mental game Nathan had prepared for him.
            When the time came, the warriors were prepared. They decided on a flat and fairly empty zone. There were two long buildings along the side of the arena, but otherwise it was empty. In the center, the two warriors stood facing each other, like cowboys ready to draw. No banter, just a battle of silence.
           The Nellenion field came up and both sides continued their stare down, waiting for the other to make a move. This seemed to go on for so long that Emily shouted, “Hurry up and start or your faces will stay that way!”
             With that cue, they did begin. In classic fashion, they fired their first shots while jumping out of the way. Both missed, but they didn’t stop. Instead, they took up dual swords and started swinging. Clash after clash, no strikes penetrated.
They break apart and Cyonex switches one of his blades with his favored sonic sword. He performed his one-two slash but Knaidow was able to dodge both waves. He returned fire with his own sonic sword, but David was able to withstand it thanks to his saiber armor neocard.
            Returning to close-combat, they crossed blades, but this time, David was able stab Dyl with his shock sword. This stunned the Thief of the Night long enough for the Guardian to follow through with the mega sword neocard combo.
            In hopes to make up for that combo, Dyl jumped back and pulled his cloak over to disappear. Everyone outside was watching, but they were a little confused to hear Reid ridicule the move aloud, “Foolish move, Dyl.” They would have questioned the outburst had they not seen what he meant.
            In response to Knaidow’s tactic, Cyonex activated his smoke screen. The next thing they saw was a bomb explosion inside the field.
            “I see!” Jenny exclaimed. “David negated Dyl’s cloaking advantage by effectively mimicking it. Since Dyl, can’t see him either, it was just a wasted move.”
            “Yeah,” Nathan agreed. “And since Dyl used Elite Night to pull off his trick, he wasted a valuable asset. David used two neocards, but that’s nothing compared to the Elite Stones.”
            “You’re both right,” the stalwart Reid approved. “Also, his cloak ability is more for escape than attack. As soon as he attacks, he becomes visible again. It would have been better if he just waited and used it for an Elite Slash. The only chance he has to pull that off is if he can have David waste his or stall long enough to recharge. It’s more likely he has to defeat David before he gets his slash ready.” 
            After the smoke cleared, both parties were visible again. They returned to swords, but Dyl knew he could not keep at it for long. While he wasn’t bad with the blade, he had watched Cyonex practice with Shatl and also the match against Crawn. He knew that Cyonex was superior.
            Sensing the disadvantage in close-range, Dyl leapt back and took to the air. His cloak transformed into the shape of a kite, carrying him up like a shinobi. From there, he proceeded to throw ninja stars. They curved to home in, but David was still able to avoid them.
            The dreamer returned the favors with shots, but they missed. The ones that would have hit were blocked by Knaidow’s barrier neocards. Deciding to accept the supposed challenge, Cyonex jumped onto one of the roofs and from there made a leap toward Knaidow with Sudron drawn.
            They proceeded to cross swords in mid-air, with Cyonex using his jetpack and a booster to stay afloat. His time in the air was still short, though, and he had to land before he could deal any blows. However, after he landed, he fired a boomer shot that was able to cut the kite, forcing his foe to land.
            Dyl alighted on top of one of the roofs and proceeded to run down it while throwing ninja stars. The stars did not hit, but that was part of the plan. What did work were a couple of the bombs he threw in addition to the throwing stars. However, by then, he was out of space to run.
            Cyonex jumped on top of the roof and charged at Knaidow. He saw him wave his cloack again, but Dyl didn’t appear to vanish this time. The shadow warrior stood still but when Sudron was swung, he phased out only to reappear with his legendary sword attacking from behind. Yet, it appeared the Warrior of Fire anticipated this as he spun with his swing to block the sneak attack.
            The clash of steel continued upon the rooftop with no side yielding. It went on for a moment until Cyonex overpowered Knaidow with a sudden burst of strength thanks to Power Mode. After shoving him back, the Guardian then unleashed a streak of lightning that paralyzed the agile Neostriker. With a Full Power slash, the match was over.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Episode 20: Ensis Angeli

Can you believe it? There are only five episodes left! As a result, I'm going to give people time to catch up again. That means the next episode won't be uploaded until next Wednesday. To be honest, when I initially  planned the story, this chapter would have actually probably have been the 1st of season 3. This is because the story was initially about 30 episodes but I cut it down due to lack of quality and content. As a result to that cut I actually had to make some changes in this episode which led to a surprise focus on a certain person. I hope you enjoy.

EPISODE 20: Ensis Angeli

            The next morning, after Reid and his father pulled some strings, the four boys went to see Zack in prison. Inside the interrogation room, they began their inquiry.
            “So would you like to explain everything?” Shatl initiated.
            “Yeah, but where to begin?” Zack pondered.
            “How about yesterday’s events?” Cyonex suggested. “What was this whole ‘revenge’ thing?”
            The former Daelian sighed. “I would prefer not to relive those events, but I guess you should know.
            “Two nights ago, we received word that you guys attacked one of our bases. The guy who escaped reported to our Dark Master. After that report, I was summoned and given ‘details’ concerning the attack. One of these ‘facts’ was that my sister was there and she died in the crossfire. To make this even worse, they had brought a body that looked like my sister for me to hold.”
            “That is sick!” Knaidow blurted out.
            “Yes, it was. An evil trick. They then told me that the rest of my family was murdered in a robbery.”
            “So they were working to get you to hate us and the world,” Cepos observed.
            “I think you’re right,” Jenny’s brother agreed. “Deception is the Dark Power’s ace. I never used it, but the dark energy was still inside my blood to ‘rescue’ me from the explosion a few months back. For all I know, that was a lie too.”  
            “So that explains the ‘revenge’ business. Why did they send you all alone to face us? Did they really underestimate the four of us?” Cepos asked, still confused by the decision.
            “It was probably a plan to force him to use the Dark Power,” Shatl commented.
            “That would make sense,” Cyonex said. “As powerful as he was, everything was laid out for that purpose. Until then, he had successfully resisted using the dark energy. They wanted to take away everything that held him back. Make him the powerful villain.”
            Zack nodded. “You probably are right, but at the same time, I don’t think the Dark Master cared what happened to me,” he stated solemnly.
            “Why?” all four asked.
            “He is almost free from his prison, but even in there his power is beyond belief. I don’t think he sees anyone as a threat, even with the Elite Stones. Our race for them was just to buy him the time he needed, and he got it.”
            “So then we just need to hurry and go full force,” Knaidow concluded optimistically.
            “What?! Didn’t you just hear what I said?”
            “Yeah, we did. You said he’s almost free, which means he isn’t. He’s not at full power so we still have a shot.” Shatl explained with a smirk.
            The former Daelian colonel sighed again and said to Cyonex, “I take it this comes with the territory too?”
            “I would say so,” the Guardian answered.
            “Now if you can tell us where the main base is…” Knaidow started, waiting no more.
            “You seriously plan to go through with it… you know it’s not just the Dark master you will be dealing with, right? The governor will be there too and she is incredibly powerful.”
            The expressions of the four warriors did not change. Giving in, he sighed and said, “Fine, the base is up north right by the abandoned Fort Tempest.”
            “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go,” the warrior of shadows said turning to the door.
            “Wait! Do you have the Angelic Sword?” Zack burst out.
            “The Angelic Sword?” they all asked.
            “I guess not. It was written about in the scroll we took from you at the museum a long time ago.”
            “The professor never mentioned anything about this,” Cepos stated.
            “Well, it was in invisible ink, revealed by flame. If he didn’t know this, then he probably just thought it was blank.”
            “Then you tell us about it,” Shatl said to the former Daelian.
            “I don’t know much about it,” he began, not too confident on the subject. “All I do know is that it’s a legendary sword of Shining Power. I would think this would be of great help in defeating the Dark Master. From what I understand, he is the embodiment of Dark Power.”
            “Do you at least know where we could find this sword?” Knaidow inquired.
            All this time, Cyonex was standing in the corner, pondering. Zack could not relay much more info, but once he mentioned something about a tower of trials, the Guardian perked up.
            “Thanks, Zack. I think I can take it from here,” he spoke out and then proceeded to leave. The others followed him, a little confused on the subject. But before they left, Cyonex had to go back and make another comment.
            “You know, based off our conversation from the other day, I would have thought you would have attacked your sister due to forgetting about her, not by being convinced she was already dead.”
            “I thought that would have been the case too. Good luck finding that sword.”
 After they got back to Reid’s house, David began to explain with the girls joining the conversation.
           “In my first trip with Jenny in that cave, there was a huge black tower. It wasn’t where we needed to go then, but I think that is where the sword is.”
            “Do you think you can go back there?” Emily asked. “Every time you two have gone in, hasn’t it been to a different location?”
            “Yeah, but it’s always been to where we needed to go,” Jenny answered. “If that is the place, then we will probably arrive there. We might as well try.”
“Then I guess we should let you borrow the Elite Stones again,” Reid said, taking out his. Dyl and Nathan followed suit, as did David, but keeping the one of Fire for himself.
            David and Jenny returned to the cave while Reid and the others stayed behind to make preparations for their assault on the Daelian headquarters. True to Jenny’s guess, they found themselves near the ominous black tower from before.
            They stared at the tower for a while in awe of its size. They turned, however, when they heard the sound of a woman’s “Hello.” To their surprise, it was Ami and Lumecyx!
            “My! David and Jenny! It’s a pleasure to see you both again,” she said with a gracious smile.
            David removed his helmet and extended his own greeting. Jenny ran forward and hugged Ami and then petted the grown fox.
            “I’m amazed, you two don’t look any older, even though it has been four years,” the native commented.
            “But you have grown more beautiful, I’m so jealous,” Jenny replied still amused with the fox neomon.
            “What are you doing here?” David asked but then checked himself by saying, “Oh yeah, you said your family takes care of the tower.”
            “Well,” the older woman responded. “When I said we ‘took care’ I really meant we have the key to the tower. We never really have done anything else. This is the first time I’ve come here myself.”
            “Why have you come?” the archer spoke up.
            “Because there seems to be a great force of dark energy emanating from here. I was sent by the elder to check it out with little Lumecyx here. Why are you here?”
            “We believe there’s a special sword here that we need to acquire,” David answered.
            “You mean the Ensis Angeli?” She then muttered to herself in a tone below the other two could hear, “So it’s time at last.” Ami then looked up again and said in her normal voice, “I’ve heard it’s in there, but only a small few are able to use it. Then again, perhaps you are one of them… Follow me.”
            She led them to the entrance of the tower and explained, “The sword you seek is at the top of the tower, but to get there, you must endure the gauntlet inside, alone. Are you up to the challenge?”
            The warrior nodded, donning his helmet once more. The young woman smiled and then unlocked the door. After Cyonex entered, she motioned Jenny to follow her to another door. There, she unlocked it and said, “There is another path for us to take to the top.”
            Inside the tower, the youth was surprised to find a floor of hot lava.
            “Is there a volcano nearby?” he wondered aloud.
            “I believe so,” his Asen answered.
            “Zel? You’re actually with me on this one?”
            “Yes. Is there a problem with that?”
            “No. Just surprised.”
            “Then let’s continue. Best be careful with these rock platforms, they won’t hold you for long.”
            David looked around and saw what Zel was speaking about. A lot of them appeared ready to break apart. Any substantial weight would fall through after a short time. But that wasn’t all he had to be careful of. In various spots throughout the room, there were DE neomon such as flalfs and torbas.
            Planning out his route to get to the staircase on the other side, the young warrior took out his aqua gun and began to snipe the creatures he could. After he took care of his opponents, the dreamer proceeded to make his way across.
            Meanwhile, Jenny and her company of Ami and the fox were climbing through the tower with different puzzles to solve. One of the first they came across was a boulder blocking their path as high as the ceiling. Looking closer, they found that the boulder was raised over a chasm. They could see into another room through a fine metal fence. Inside, they saw torches and, next to one of them, a rope attached.
            “So the rope is holding the boulder up? That’s one strong rope.” Ami commented.
Jenny paid no attention to the comment but was only thinking of how to release the boulder. “Hmmm,” the archer wondered. She took up her bow and drew an arrow of light and released it, but it could not penetrate the fence.
“It’s a shame fire is one I can’t manipulate,” she sighed.
“Can you control the elements?” Ami inquired.
“Some of them,” the archeologist’s daughter responded. “I don’t have Fire or Ice. If the rope counted as a vine then I could unwind it.”
“What about air?” the native suggested.
            Understanding the idea, the Shining Princess attempted to fan the flames of the torches and then blow the closest to burn the rope. It was a success and the boulder filled the gap in the ground, allowing them to proceed.
            “You’re smart,” the teenage girl complemented.
            “No, I just figured out what to do there. I have a lot to learn to be ‘smart’.”
            “I don’t know about that. I would think ‘being smart’ means being able to think,” Jenny proposed.
            “It might imply it, but I think that describes ‘wise’ more than ‘smart’. ‘Smart’ indicates having knowledge of something, which is useful in thinking. You understand what I’m referring to?”
            “I guess.”
They came across a few more puzzling situations. Some involved sending Lumecyx through small gaps to open another path for them to follow. This neomon was a fairly amazing creature. Not only could it climb walls, but it could also run along them. With each new ability, Jenny was impressed and wanted to hug it ever more.
“So how old is this tower?” the daughter of the professor asked in curiosity.
“Legend has it that it might date back to the time of the Elemental Warriors,” came the reply.
“Elemental Warriors?”
“Yes. It is said that even before the Neostriker, there were these people who could master control over one of the elements, like you. However, this place’s significance arises with the Neostriker. While we don’t have proof, we believe this is where the Nellenion Kings took their great trials. It is referred to as the ‘Heroes’ Gauntlet’.”
“That’s amazing. But wait! Wouldn’t that mean David is…”
“…An heir to the Nellenion King? It’s possible. You didn’t know that? The first hint is that sword of his. The only people that have been known to wield Sudron have been heirs to the Nellenion King’s power.”
            Jenny let out a “Wow” but allowed Ami to continue.
            “At this point, “Nellenion King” is probably just a title for those who have obtained the power. Unless there is a kingdom to rule where you hail from.”
            “There isn’t. But that’s still amazing to think about. David is possibly an heir to royalty?”
            “He’s not the only one. It’s pretty obvious you are the Shining Princess as well.”
            “You knew?”
            “Just like Sudron is associated with the Nellenion Kings, the bow and ring you possess ties with the legend of the first woman known to use Shining Power. Unlike the Nellenion Kings, her story goes back to that of the Elemental Warriors I mentioned earlier. It became even more apparent when you cleansed David of dark energy the last time you came. However, the fact that both of you are present indicates some great threat.”
            “Yeah, there is a plot to bring the Dark Master into our land,” Jenny responded.
            “Zenoth? Hmmm.”
            “But isn’t Zenoth a human? He should be dead after all of these years.”
            “When the first Nellenion King appeared, yes. But with an unnatural tie to the Dark Power, he became a monster. You could say he became the ultimate DE neomon and manifestation of the Dark Power. The human side is believed to be dead, slain by the Great King Mastra. He is now just dark energy.”
            They spoke no more of the subject. At that time, Cyonex had reached another floor.
            “That giant sure took a pounding,” he said, exasperated.
            “Yeah, he was tough, even with the ‘allies’ you had,” Zel joined in.
            “I’m still surprised that one of the games I designed was part of this trial.”
            “It worked out well. It tested your strategic mind and you did it without sacrificing any of your units. You never did fully design the Heroes’ Gauntlet, did you?”
            “No, I didn’t. I didn’t really have a use for it in any of the stories I came up with so far. That and it was simply a huge dungeon design. I guess I’ll just have to see how things just ended up.”
 “So how are your climbing skills?” Zel followed up.
The Guardian gazed up. While this room was smaller in width than the others, it was tall. The light from the windows brightened the gray walls, but that was almost all there was. In various locations, there were platforms, but they mostly were across from each other. Giving out a deep sigh, he leapt to the closest platform. When he reached it, he noticed a metal grate.
“What is this for?” he asked of his Asen.
“Well, since they did not have jetpacks back in the day, they had to climb this by a different method. It’s a place to grapple onto. Similar to that device Batman uses in the tv show you liked.”
“I do remember. That was a cool device,” he recalled fondly. Nonetheless, he did not let it distract him from the task at hand. He proceeded to scale the tower, fighting a few DE neomon along the way.
On the other side of things after some time, Jenny, Ami, and their fox-like friend had reached near the top. The room they entered was fairly empty and dark. No windows to let light in. as they got closer, torches along the walls began to light up, providing enough light to be able to see across the room. In the center was the nightmarish figure Jenny had seen before; the armored minotaur!
Ami rushed to the staircase and a Nellenion field appeared. It became apparent Jenny was to fight against this black armor-clad monster. Unlike the previous encounter, this one had a sword and shield. Its massive sword and shield bore carvings of unreadable symbols. The red glow from its helmet carried the same sense of fear as before but Jenny’s spirit was up to the task.
The Shining Princess aimed a missile of light at the gruesome figure but the shield stopped it. It charged towards Jenny, but she was able to roll out of the way. She searched for opportunities to strike with her arrows but they did not present themselves at the time.
For a while, Jenny had to settle for playing as a matador. However, once she got the feel for her opponent’s movements, she began to strategize how to exploit them. She took note of the torches, a vine hanging off the ceiling over the center of the room, and a fountain of water by one of the walls. 
            The bull-man monster charged in for another assault. Taking advantage of the dark room, Jenny vanished into the shadows using the Elite Stone of Night. Losing sight of its target, the neomon glanced around but could not find her. Instead, next thing it knew, a light arrow had pierced its back. It turned around and spotted the archer.
            She ran away in perhaps the biggest game of tag in her life. After a while she was able to blend in with the shadows again. This time, however, it did not appear that the beast lost sight of her as it continued to move towards her position.
            Just then, Lumecyx leaped in the way and then moved again. What stood in its old location was a ball of light from which a vertical beam of light suddenly emerged. This stunned the minotaur monster, giving Jenny a chance to move.
            Seeing the opportunity, she used the Elite Stone of Speed to halt time and raced behind the monster to fire another arrow.
            Pleased with the results, she attempted the same tactic again, but Lumecyx’s light trick failed to stun the beast a second time. When she attempted to stop time again, it didn’t affect her adversary.
            “So I can’t do any tactic twice?!” she exclaimed as she proceeded to conjure up new ones.
            Lumecyx did a good job of distracting the black-armored neomon. While the DE neomon focused on Jenny, it was able to sneak a claw strike once.
            The Shining Princess took her place in front of one of the torches along the walls. After she dodged one of the beast’s attempts to charge in for an attack, she fanned the flame with Elite Wind like before and burned the monster. As it recovered from the flames, the fox hurled itself into the black creature’s helmet, throwing it off balance and providing another opening for an arrow to pierce through again.
            Running through the routine again, Jenny evaded more dash attacks from the armored neomon. After luring it to the position she wanted it in, she unleashed a blast of water from the fountain, knocking it to the ground, face first. As it tried to get up, the princess scored another hit.
            Getting the idea each of the Elite Stones provides one chance to attack, she took a shot with Lightning and was able to paralyze her opponent and hit it again.
            For her last plot, she baited it to the center and then ensnared it with the vine. Taking her last shot, the archer neofied the minotaur neomon and was left with one more sphere of light.
            “Well done!” Ami walked into the room, applauding the victory.  
            “That was tough,” the princess expressed, falling to her knees out of exhaustion. “What was that thing?”
            “A knaunuht,” the guide disclosed. “There should be only one more floor. Shall we see if David is there?”
            They climbed the final set of stairs and found David arriving at the same time. After learning of her victory, he too applauded Jenny. After his turn describing the various trials and puzzles he faced, they took around the room.
            Torches lit this room as well, but it was far brighter than the one below. Along the far wall there hung a long tapestry, but with nothing on it. In front of it stood the statue of an angel holding a sword in its hands. The hilt consisted of a fine golden frame, but the crossbar bore the appearance of two glorious white wings. In the center lay encrusted a star sapphire. On its silver blade was a pure white strip from which emanated a fine light.
“The Ensis Angeli,”Cyonex said as he approached the statue and admired the fine blade. But suddenly, a Nellenion field appeared, creating a new arena. In the center of the room, a black mist appeared from Cyonex’s shadow. It took shape in the form of Faldrak mode.
“Why is my beast mode here?” David cried out in surprise. He then glanced over to make sure Jenny was safe. To his relief she and the others were on the other side of the Nellenion field.
            “It’s your final test. You must defeat it,” Zel pronounced. “But you don’t have to face it alone. I am with you.”
            “Alright,” the youth regained his composure. “Let’s do this!”
            The Angelic Sword released a bright light that filled the room. When it was gone, Cyonex’s form had changed. No longer was it a combination of sapphire blue and crimson red armor. Instead, it was gold!
            “What happened?!” Jenny spoke out, astonished at this marvel.
            “The Angelic Sword has granted David a taste of its power,” Ami responded also amazed by the experience. “It has allowed him to enter Legends mode.”
            Faldrak let out a horrendous cry but Cyonex stood unfazed. The beast mode made the first move and dashed at full speed toward the knightly figure. Not moving from his spot, the warrior waved his left hand and summoned a barrier into which the dragon rammed. He then drew his mighty Sudron and slashed across its chest.
            The force of the slash sent the beast mode back but it quickly recovered. It fired a powerful blast, but David quickly got out of the way. It attempted to knock the warrior down by creating a strong gust of wind with its wings. However, the Warrior of Fire summoned a javelin of light and pinned the beast to the wall.
            Faldrak broke free and proceeded to fire multiple blasts, all of which missed its target. David countered this move with more powerful blasts of his own, but instead of falcon’s blasts, they were shining blasts.
            The beast grew infuriated more and more and so decided to play its advantage with speed, only to learn it did not exist. Legends mode granted Cyonex the power to match the agility of the beast mode and counter any move it tried.
            Anyone who anticipated this to be a difficult and intense match would have been disappointed. On the other hand, those who wished to see a display of great power, emphasized by knowing the other side was powerful as well, would have been perfectly satisfied. Faldrak could do nothing to harm the golden knight. As soon as the Blazing Sun Slash was swung, it was over.
            Returning to normal, David went back to the statue which now appeared as if it was handing the sword to the Guardian. He grasped the golden hilt and raised it high. A bright light shined forth from the blade once more, which then disappeared entirely like a normal neocard. What did appear, though, were images and writings on the tapestry.
            “This tapestry shows events of the Great King Mastra sealing Zefortoh,” Ami stated, examining the art. “But this part here is a prophecy… Interesting,” she said as she came toward the end of it.
            “What does it say?” Jenny anxiously pleaded for Ami to finish explaining.
            “Well here you can see a figure encased in white and stones before it facing a dragon in black. The prophecy says that ‘The Great Evil shall escape its imprisonment, but by the Ancient Power and that of the Nellenion King, a white light shall vanquish it.”
            “Does this mean Jenny will defeat Zenoth?” David asked.
            “I don’t know,” she responded. “But do you have the Ancient Power?”
            “If that means the Angelic Sword and the Ancient Neocards, then yes.”
            “Well, I would imagine Jenny’s power is complete so that probably is the case.”
            “Then we’re ready to fight, Zenoth?” Jenny joined in.
            “We might have the tools, but whether we are prepared is another question,” David gave his input.
            “If your business is done here, then might I suggest you visit my village once more? I don’t think I can be forgiven if I don’t bring you two back.”

            Accepting the invitation, the two travelers returned with Ami and Lumecyx to Kerillia where they received a warm welcome and celebration until they had to return to their own home.

Episode 21:Stealth and Tactics

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Episode 19: Fire and Lightning

EPISODE 19: Fire and Lightning

The next morning Jenny woke up to started off quiet. Her alarm went off as usual, but it all felt weird. No one was around upstairs and there was no noise below. She called down but heard no answer. It felt ominous. Sure, everyone has those kind of days once in a while and so she continued her routine of getting ready. After finishing all that, she finally went downstairs and into the kitchen where everyone shouted, “SURPRISE!”
“What’s going on?” she asked, pleasantly astounded.
“What do you think, silly? Happy birthday!” David chimed in and gave her a hug, followed by everyone joining for a group one.
            “Don’t these things normally happen at night?”
            “But that’s the typical surprise party. We wanted to spice things up,” the good professor said as the teenagers guided her to the table with a cake. The cake was a typical one with the message “Happy Birthday to Our Favorite Princess, Jenny” in cursive.
            The newly seventeen year-old smiled, “Thanks everyone. This means a lot, even though the message is sort of cheesy.”
            “Nah, it’s frosting. Check it out!” Dyl spoke out, not resisting the urge. It certainly got the reaction with the other boys either slapping him or threatening to throw his face into the cake and everyone else laughing at the scene.
            Of course, cake is not the best thing to start a day off, despite what children would argue. It had to wait until they had a more “proper” breakfast. After they had their fill of laughs and food, they began to plan their day.
            “So what do you want to do today, Jenny?” Reid initialized the conversation.
            “This is all nice, but don’t we have work to do?” she asked in return.
            “There isn’t really anything we can do besides training, and we’ve done that for the past few days,” Emily pointed out. “And you two have done far more than that. You deserve a day off.”
            “It is just as important to take a day off once in a while to rest your mind as it is to train,” Reid added in.
            “So what you guys are really saying is that David and I should take the day off while you all work,” she said as a conclusion.
            “Yeah, right. You’re probably sick of David by now. Such a deadbeat after all,” Nathan joked.
            “I feel so flattered,” the dreamer replied sarcastically but still in good spirits.
            “Besides, we also have another cause to celebrate. We took out a Daelian base yesterday,” Reid explained.
            “Wow! When did that happen?” Jenny asked.
            “It’s been an operation for the past few days while you and David were busy with your stuff. Emily found the base for us and we took it out yesterday.”
            “I’m surprised you didn’t have me help out,” David spoke out.
            “Actually, we overestimated them as it was,” Nathan explained. “Just two of us would have been okay, but we went with all four.”
            “That’s impressive. Alright. How about we go to the mall?” Jenny threw out there.
The guys were not too thrilled with the idea but still replied, “If that’s what you want to do…” They were saved by Emily when she suggested, “How about we check out that new amusement park that opened up?”
            “Anakoita?” Jenny thought about it for a second. “That sounds good. I hear the rides are good.”
            Without much coaxing, the teens convinced the adults to let them go to the amusement park and spent the day there. Everything was good, but perhaps the most impressive thing they saw was an acrobat performance followed by a magic show. One of the most mesmerizing aspects of acrobats and magicians is how they perform with perfection what most people would consider impossible. The difference is that magicians generally utilize illusions while acrobats execute real feats. The teens had a good time, however, the excitement was just about to begin.
            As they were preparing to leave, the girls waited by the entrance and the boys went to the restroom as well as picked up a couple of items. All of a sudden, a sinister figured appeared all of a sudden. It was Crawn!
            A Dark Arena surrounded the park, trapping its occupants. Then, the Daelian colonel issued his warning.
            “People of San Diego! There are some people among you whom I want! If you bring them to me, then no harm shall come to any of these people. They should know who they are! They attacked my comrades yesterday, and there were some unfortunate victims. Bring them so that I may administer justice for their crime! If they are not here within the next five minutes, then some of these people shall taste my power!” and with that, he fired a blast that blew up a trash can.
            Jenny and Emily watched this in horror. The people began to panic, but had no idea what to do. Some started praying that Crawn’s wish be granted. Others began demanding that these people show up. And others ran, hid, or just stood frozen.
            “What’s he talking about? Is it about yesterday?” the princess asked her friend.
            “It can’t be. One guy escaped, but there were no casualties. The police were able to arrest some of them.”
            “What should we do? Is he really going to kill someone?”
            “He’s a Daelian, isn’t he? Then there’s no doubt he will.”
            “But he seemed like an honorable Daelian.”
            “Is there such a thing?” the orphan asked in disbelief.
            “I thought so,” Jenny said worriedly.
            “Well, if it comes to that, I’ll fight him myself!” Emily said affirmatively.
            “But he’s too strong!” the princess protested.
            “I know, but I can’t do anything.  Where are those guys, anyways?” She tried calling their phones, but Dark Arena interfered with the signal.
            The five minutes went up. Crawn, ready to keep his word, drew his sword. He turned around, spotted Jenny and walked towards her.
            “It appears those people need to see that I am serious. You! I have nothing personal against you, so I will make this quick.”
            “You won’t happen to reconsider, will you?” Jenny asked frightenedly. The Daelian shook his head and did not stop. Just then, Emily stepped in front of Jenny with her arms spread out and yelled, “Stop! Kill me instead!”
            “What are you doing?!” Jenny said in a whisper.
            “You’re my friend. I can’t let this guy get what he wants. Also this will build the drama until those boys finally arrive. If necessary I’ll transform.”
            “Remind me to punch you later.”
            That didn’t deter Emily. Instead, she proceeded to taunt Crawn saying, “So, tough guy?! What’s it going to be? Come and slay a helpless girl?”
            “It makes no difference to me who dies anymore,” the yellow and black armored Neostriker replied as he continued his march. Just then a voice cried out, “CRAWN!” The Daelian turned around just in time to parry an aerial slash from Cyonex!
            The other three showed up and stepped in front of the girls.
            “You okay?” Shatl asked while still looking towards Crawn.
            “Figured you girls would still be by the danger,” Knaidow quipped.
            “Took you long enough, I’m surprised you didn’t stick your arms out and go ‘TA-DAA!’” Emily rebuked.
            Meanwhile, Crawn looked at the three Neostrikers and then faced Cyonex again. In a disappointed voice he said, “So, Guardian. You joined with them, I see.”
            “I see no reason not to. But I also don’t see what you mean,” he replied.
            “You’re foolish if you think you can hide it. Whatever! I can deal with you here for your failure!”
            “What?! Explain!”
            “I have no need to explain to you! Now I shall destroy you and your allies!”
          “Crawn, wait!” the Falcon pleaded. “If you won’t explain, then at least do me this. Duel with me one on one.”
            “You will need your friends if you wish to defeat me.”
            “No. I shall honor my promise with you.”
            “Very well. That will let me get my revenge for your failure. I can deal with the others later.”
            “What’s your plan, David? He can’t beat the four of you together.” Zel asked inside his helmet.
            “I need to talk with Zack. Something is wrong here,” the youth explained to his Asen.
            “Very well, I will support you in this. Just to warn you, he looks ready to use the Dark Power.”
            “I understand,” David nodded. Focusing his attention back to Crawn, he pointed Sudron and said, “Crawn, I challenge you to a Nellenion Match!”
            “Cyonex, what are you doing?!” Shatl called out.
            “Stay back,” the Warrior of Fire put his hand out toward the three.
            “Oh? Interesting. Name the terms,” the Warrior of Lightning responded.
“No Neocards. No Dark Power. Only the skills of our forms and an Elite Stone.”
“Why should I accept those terms? They favor you,” Crawn stated rightly so.
            “Because I will put up three Elite Stones for yours of Lightning. I say you have more to gain. If you refuse, then I’ll give up on the idea of a duel and fight you with my friends. You cannot defeat all four of us at once, each with an Elite Stone, even with the Dark Power.”
            The Daelian contemplated the terms. Then, reaching a conclusion, pointed his blade of thunder at Cyonex, with the tips meeting, and said, “I accept the challenge, Cyonex the Falcon.”
            The two warriors began their fight. They started off running along the edges of the arena, gauging each other’s abilities. They then rushed in simultaneously and crossed their legendary blades.    As they continued to slash at each other, Cyonex tried to reason with his revenge-set foe.           
            “What happened, Crawn? What is this failure you speak of?”
            “You failed to protect what I entrusted to you,” the Daelian said as he delivered a powerful blow.
            “What I fail to do is understand what you are talking about. I have not failed to keep my promise.”
            “Don’t lie to me. I saw to the body of my sister. You failed to protect my family and now I shall have my revenge!”
            The slash and parry sequence continued. After a while, they backed off and Cyonex fired a falcon’s blast but it was canceled out by Crawn’s own charged blast. They resorted back to close combat, but David would not give up reasoning.
“Crawn, your family is not dead!"
"Don't lie to me, Guardian. You failed your job and your words cannot hide it."
"What if I were to tell you the girl you almost killed was your sister?" The youth performed a one-two slash combination but it did not pierce through the Daelian’s defense.
"Then you would have dug yourself a trap, I can recognize my sister and that was not her!"
"You know dark energy has the power to corrupt your vision,"
"What I know is that people have the ability to lie and are evil, but you still insist on defending them. Perhaps I should have killed you last time!"
"Then I will defeat you and open your eyes!"
"Go ahead and try!"
Zack pushed the Guardian back against the wall but David was able to shove him back, creating some space. He jumped and back-flipped to plant his feet on the wall and then hurled himself at the Warrior of Lightning. Performing a spinning slash, the Falcon landed past Crawn. Trying to use the momentum to his advantage, the instant he landed, the youth sprung up in a spiral, but his opponent was able to block that as well.
“I’m impressed. That would have been a powerful blow,” the Daelian complemented but still forcing his own blade against Sudron.
“Tell me. You know the Dark Power is evil. Why do you fight for it?”
“The Dark Power saved my life and has granted me the power to avenge my family!” he said as he did a leaping slash.
“Did they really save your life?! Or did they just curse it?” the youth countered as he blocked and slashed past his foe, landing the first cut of the duel.
 Crawn fired a charged shot, but Cyonex slashed through with Sudron to negate it and then rushed straight in to block his adversary’s follow up strike.
“Your hand is steadier than before,” the Daelian commented.
“I improved it so that I may defeat you,” the Falcon responded. He swung his steel four or five times, forcing Crawn to hold a defensive position. They backed off for a moment. Cyonex fired a falcon’s blast only to be countered by a charged shot from Crawn. They met once more at close range and entered into a frenzy, each performing beautiful swings and defensive maneuvers. No one expected the beauty they saw of the movements of the flaming sword and electrified blade. Any blow one dealt was countered equally.
“Now it’s your turn, Guardian! Why do you fight? Do you think you are a hero?! These people are not worth your protection. They will praise you for saving them one day only to hate you the next. The curses and demands for you to appear prove as much.”
“Perhaps!” David threw Zack off and readied his blade again. “But then maybe none of us deserve to live. Then again, I believe there are good people out there and everyone has the potential to do good. I’m not a judge, so I’ll fight for all!”
“You’re an idealist.”
“It comes with the job,” the youth smiled and then charged back in to fight. Here, the Daelian thought himself to be prepared, but was surprised when the Falcon reached him faster than expected. David used this surprise toward his gain and was able to get a nick through within his flurry of slashes. They made space again and began to carefully analyze each other.
            “So that was the legendary Mode Change,” Crawn observed. “No difference in your appearance but it increased your speed far more than I would have thought.”
            “That’s because I had been in Defense mode the entire time,” the Cyonex smirked.
            “I see. While it raises your defense stats to lessen the damage, it also slowed down your step. Then you proceeded to get me used to it. Perhaps the Fox is more suitable a title after all. But it won’t work again.”
            “I wouldn’t expect it to.”
            The Falcon makes a leaping slash, but before he was about to land, he used his jetpack to boost to alter the speed of his descent but it did not throw off Crawn’s timing. He warded off the attack.
They continue to fight with various moves and tactics. Blasts would be fired and either blocked, negated, or miss. Eventually they gave up on the idea and resorted to pure sword fighting. They would cross and clash again and again, sparks flying, but neither could get a strike through. The duel could go on almost forever, not that the audience minded. They had gotten so into the fight, they didn’t care to know why or how the fight began. It became such a spectacle, that the audience grew substantially. Finally, the two warriors broke up and reach a stand still.
“I have to say, I’m impressed how much you’ve improved in so little time, Guardian. You really are my equal now.”
            “I must admit, I’m enjoying this duel profoundly.”
            “The feeling’s mutual. But I won’t let that deter me from my purpose. This needs to end now!”
            “Then we’ve got one thing left. I challenge you with my ultimate weapon, the Elite Slash!”
            “I’ll take the challenge. The Elite Slash it is!”
            “Come on, Zel. We can’t fail here!”
            “Right! Let’s do this! Full Power,” the Asen agreed.
            A scarlet aura encased Cyonex as a blue and white one surrounded Crawn. They posed ready to pounce. They made it quick. Within the next instant, they had switched spots with their swords swung.    The next thing anyone knew was that Crawn was de-formed and falls to the ground! The Nellenion match was over.
            As Crawn de-formed, he stood facing toward the girls. Jenny was able to see his face and was astonished. Not heeding their calls, she ran past her friends and to her fallen brother and embraced him, calling his name gently and with tears in her eyes.
            Zack opened his eyes and saw his sister’s face. “Jenny,” he said. “You are alive after all.” Her touch had cured him of the dark energy, though no one knew it at the time. 
            David walked over and the fallen Daelian thanked him. “You were right. I was a fool. Thank you for stopping me.”
            “I just kept my promise,” the Guardian assured him. Jenny gave him a look that said, “You knew?!” but it did not faze either of the swordsmen.
            “I’m impressed by your last move there,” Zack praised him. “You switched modes again and, with the very little time you gained, ducked beneath my slash, only to hit me on the rise.”
            “Probably couldn’t pull it off again.”
            By then the police had arrived. They took Zack into custody and proceeded to take him away. But first, Cyonex reminded him of the deal and Zack handed him the Elite Stone of Lightning.
            The police and the crowd wanted to get to Cyonex and the others, but, using the smoke screen neocard, they were able to escape. They actually did so by deforming within the smoke and then pretending to be some of the crowd trying to get closer. And with that, their day at the park ended with David giving Jenny perhaps the gift she wanted most.
Episode 20: Ensis Angeli