Saturday, September 6, 2014

Episode 23: The Battle of Fort Tempest

Note: For those who have been reading, you may be confused by the villain's name change from Zeforoth to Zenoth. I meant to change this earlier, but it slipped by. I know I mentioned how my story was influenced by many games, but Zeforoth being the name was actually by pure accident. When a friend pointed this out, I decided I needed to change it to something else. At some point in the future, I do hope to go into detail about the development of these chapters and characters, I just haven't decided how yet. 

EPISODE 23: The Battle of Fort Tempest 

            The anticipated day arrived and everyone made their way to Fort Tempest. Along the way, the professor posed a question concerning the previous day’s events.
            “So Reid or David, can you explain what that ‘Elite Overdrive’ was at the end of your battle?”
            “That?” Reid started. “Sure. It basically is when two Elite Slashes, generally used to decide a match clash, meet. In order to reach that conclusion, the two warriors then enter a higher state of focus and speed. You could say it is using Full Power continually instead of just one attack.”
            “So since you two have learned that technique, could you use it in the upcoming battle?” Jenny asked.
            “No,” David answered. “Like Reid was saying, first the two slashes must meet. The other requirement would be those balls of light you should have seen on the field. Those are what gave us the energy to continue in Elite Overdrive. To use it on command would otherwise be impossible. Besides there are better things than that.”
            “Like what?”
            “Remember that form I took in the Black Tower? That was Legends mode and it’s far superior.”
            “Then hopefully you can tap into that again,” the professor commented.
            “Hopefully it won’t be needed,” the Guardian replied.
            The drive was not a short one, even though traffic flowed for them. Fort Tempest was located on the opposite side of California, closer to Sacramento. Its location was by the ocean, though on the other side was a rocky desert. At least they did not have to worry about sand. So by the time they finally arrived, they were overjoyed to stretch their legs and appreciate the ocean view.         
            The group was the last to arrive. Inside awaited Nellenion soldiers that numbered around 500. Yet there was one person there some did not expect.
            “Zack!” Jenny cried out in delight as she ran to her brother and embraced him. “What are you doing here?”
            “I ask the same of you,” he replied, also surprised by his sister’s presence. “This is dangerous.”
            “Like you, and as our Shining Princess, she has an important part to play,” Reid explained.
            “She’s the Shining Princess?” the older brother reacted understandably surprised. “With the Daelians unable to find her, I would have thought she didn’t exist.”
            “I guess you can say that’s the benefit of her powers developing so late,” Dyl remarked. “But dude, who else do you think cleansed you of the dark energy that was inside of you?”
            “Uh, possibly Guardian here?”
            “Hey! Don’t take credit away from me,” Jenny rebuked in a stubborn but cheerful manner. “I saved your life, so you owe me later. Chocolate will not be enough.”
            They laughed and Reid began to explain Zack’s presence. Despite no longer being part of the Daelian army, they found that he could still turn into Crawn and thus fight for the Nellenions. Reid’s father pulled some strings in allowing him to serve in such a manner to help atone for his crimes. He also figured that Zack could be useful in infiltrating the Daelian base.
            “You know, I wouldn’t have thought the idea of trickling in here would work,” Nathan commented. “I was expecting that the Daelian’s would have attacked by now.”
            “Well, the Daelians are aware of the Nellenion army thanks to the various battles that have been happening across the state. So they have a taste of what they are up against. I think the Dark Master is prepping a large force for battle,” Zack proposed.
            “Alright then, let’s start preparing our strategy,” Reid urged them.
            They brought out a map and called their generals over to begin planning. Zack pointed out the location of the cave that led to the Daelian base, not far from their location. He also detailed the process used to make DE neomon and how it could be stopped in the base. They decided to split their company into two groups: a main attack force and a support force. The attack force would march on foot to the Daelian base and attempt to infiltrate it. The support force would consist of snipers on the fort walls and occasional aerial support. That way, there would be cover should the main force need to retreat.
            Zel informed them that Jenny’s powers could be used to provide a barrier for the walls, should the Daelian forces try to breach. They determined it best for Jenny to stay behind in the support force until they could be certain they could bring her safely to deliver the final blow to the Dark Master.
            In choosing the leaders for the main force, they picked David, Reid, and Zack. Dyl, Nathan, and Emily were to stay behind to protect Jenny. At first, Emily protested the idea of being relegated to the rear, but Nathan explained the idea was if the Daelians broke through the fort while the main force was out, they need would capable close range fighters.
            After all the details were worked out, they broke session and decided to rest for a short while before their attack. During this time, David went up to meet with Jenny, looking over one of the walls toward the ocean.
            “So this is it,” she muttered, staring spaciously at the waves as they rolled in. “After this, it should be all over.”
            “Yeah,” he replied with a deep breath as he joined her wave-watching. “Hard to think it has only been a few weeks. Yet at the same time, it has gone by so fast.”
            “So what do we do after this? Just go back to our normal lives?”
            “I don’t think there is a going back. Sure, things will be the same as before, but we’ve changed a bit and that will affect how we see things. I will have to go back to a school I don’t like when fall comes, but I might be able to stand it now. And I think I do appreciate the changes that have happened.”
            “Mm-hmm. David, do you remember that one scene we came across during the trials? With the ocean and stars?”
            “Yes. Quite fondly.”
            “I hope life becomes like that. Peaceful and Beautiful,” she daydreamed with a pleasant smile. “I know it won’t be. I guess I just have to accept the bad with the good, but I can dream, right?”
            Just then Nathan came running up calling David. They spotted Daelian forces approaching in large numbers. They entered forms and went out to see the situation.
            “It looks like we will be on the defensive from the start,” Sanger commented.
            “We can still stick to our plan for the most part,” Shatl concluded. “Everyone! Let’s do this!” Everyone roared. The old friend then turned to David and asked, “Do you have any inspiring speeches to give them?”
            “Nope,” came the reply. “Your words summed it up. Let’s go!”
            The main force gathered outside the fort and lined up facing the incoming horde. David then took a moment to turn to Crawn and ask, “Are you sure you’re up to this?”
            The old Daelian colonel smirked and replied, “Yeah. To be honest, I feel like I am more powerful than I was before.”
The Nellenion army charged forward. As the snipers worked to take out as many as they could, Cyonex looked up and spied a news helicopter arriving.
            “What in the world are they doing here?”
            “Don’t they know it’s dangerous?” Crawn scowled at the media’s presence.
            “Commander Cyonex, might I make a suggestion,” a soldier walked up to the Guardian and said.
            “What is it?”
            “If they are airing live footage, we might be able to use it to our advantage. Someone inside the fort can relay the information to us.”
            “It can only help. Go back and tell Drame.”
            Meanwhile, Emily had spotted the copter as well and rushed over to Jenny, with a shirt in hand.
            “Here,” she said, handing it to Jenny. “Put this on. We don’t want you to get any unwanted publicity.”
            The Shining Princess took the shirt and put over her head. She then proceeded to wrap it as if it were a ninja mask. She thanked Emily and summoned her bow. She pulled back the string and let loose a missile of light. As the arrow flew through the air, it multiplied and took out a dozen DE neomon.
            In awe of this spectacle, some of the soldiers asked among themselves, “Who is this girl that even without a form is as effective as a dozen Nellenion soldiers?”
            Jenny turned to Emily and said smiling, “Am I still ‘useless’?”
            “Totally,” she replied sarcastically. “Now go and don’t stop shooting those arrows.”
            At that time, the news copter began its report.
            “…and we’re coming live from the skies above Fort Tempest. There appears to be a battle going on between a host of yellow or gray armored warriors and a legion of monsters! The warriors look to be based inside Fort Tempest while the monsters are emerging from a cave not far from it. I can’t believe my eyes here. The monsters appear to be everything from mutated panthers to dinosaurs to… Is that an upside-down pyramid holding a flaming sword?! I can’t describe these things. But wait! In the rear of the monsters’ force… it’s a purple knight. It looks like that knight is commanding the monsters. What in the world is going on here?”
            Drame relayed the information about the knight to David, Reid, and Crawn.
            “That’s Alfran,” Crawn told them. “I believe that is the governor herself. We’re going to have to be careful. Her power is substantial and greatly exceeds my own.”
            “Well, if all three of us go against her, we can probably take her down,” Shatl suggested as he continued to blast incoming neomon.
            The Nellenion force charged toward their wave of foes. With a few lobs of bombs, as well as the cover fire from the fort, they were able to break through the enemy lines. They blasted, hacked, and slashed through the numerous monsters, but there seemed to be no end to them.
            Meanwhile, another squadron of DE neomon tried approaching from the sea. Knaidow and Drame led a good number of men from the support force to fend them off. However, this meant the numbers aiding the main attack force had been reduced.
            At the same time, the reporter continued to provide details of the battle.
            “I don’t believe it. The monster forces have brought out machines from their cave. It appears that the monsters are spawning from the machines. Would portals be an apt term to describe these things? I don’t know what else to say. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s like a window floating in air and the monsters are emerging from it!
            “Wait! There’s something else coming from the cave. It’s a giant purple ball being carried by more of these monsters. It looks like there is something inside it. Is that a dragon?!”
            True enough, the monsters had brought out Zenoth, their Dark Master, raised in a mini tower of sorts. It was the shape of a dragon, but imprisoned in this giant ball probably about 20 feet in diameter. The head was at the top but its tail also was raised up. Shatl commented that it looked as if “a giant evil eye was staring at them.”
            “What’s going on?” Cyonex said as his heart weighed heavy by the appearance of the Dark Master.
            “They must be trying to discourage us,” Shatl answered. “Looking back at our forces, it has appeared to have succeeded.”
            “Guardian!” Crawn called out. “If we can shut those portals, the neomon will stop coming.”
            “Why would they bring out their spawning points?” Cyonex wondered aloud. “Is it just for more efficient deployment? I don’t like this.” Nonetheless, the Warrior of Fire determined it necessary to take out those portals. So with a strong and determined voice he called out to his soldiers, “Alright! You hear that men? The focus is those portals. We need to shut them down! While their leader is still imprisoned, he can wait! Don’t try to take him on! He’s still powerful even when imprisoned! Now let’s go!”
            The Nellenion warriors regained their strength and marched forth, neofying all their way. The main three continued to stick together as they paved their way to Alfran, who also began moving toward them. They met about halfway to Zenoth’s position.
            The armor of Alfran was dominantly purple, but it was armor unlike that of the other Neostrikers. It was a massive full knight’s armor. It had silver embroidery and a scarlet cape bellowing in the wind.
            The three warriors still intended to take her on together. However, as soon as they got close, a Dark Arena appeared, ensnaring Cyonex alone to face the general. There was no time for comments or to be surprised, for Alfran came rushing in with her sword drawn. The youth dived out of the way and regained his composure.
            “Natasha Banks, I assume?”
            “Correct on the first try,” she answered. “I’ve heard stories about you. Considering your impressive behavior against my old test subject, I will enjoy crushing you.”
            “I will admit I did not anticipate the Dark Arena to isolate me from my friends, but you will lose if you underestimate me.”
            “Not a chance,” the governor scoffed. “I can see your limits, they are inferior. I was bestowed the legendary Alpha Armor, reformed as the Dark Armor, not that you know anything about it. All you need to know is your fate is sealed.”
            “I’ve heard a few things,” the youth quirked. “If I’m right, the Alpha Armor was stolen by a wicked knight. It was considered the most superior armor at the time, meant to rival those told in legends.”
            “Now how would you know that?”
            “That’s the mystery for you to find out,” he said while rolling out of the way of another attack. Then to Zel he asked, “That’s really what happened?”
            “Yes. You never developed it any further, and there was no need to edit it.”
            “Yeah, it was just a floating idea, but I thought the designs were cool.”
            “And now you can see it in action,” the Asen smirked.
            David did not have a chance to reply. Alfran had charged in again and swung her blade. The youth put up Sudron to block, but even in Power Mode he was having difficulty fending off the weight of the governor’s blade. It almost appeared hopeless until his armor began to glow. With a sudden burst of power, he threw off Alfran and a light enveloped him.
            As the light began to fade, Alfran could hear David’s voice call out, “Since you have the Alpha Armor, you must know of its twin; the Rising Armor!”
            He emerged from the light with his armor transformed. It was now pure sapphire blue with gold embroidery and a crimson cape. He had new shoulder guards that were like shields. For his shins, there were silver greaves. He was a full knight. Yet it was not just his armor that had changed.
            The youth looked at his sword. It was no longer Sudron, at least how it used to be. He asked Zel, “Is this what I think it is?”
            The Asen replied, “Yes. Sudron and the Angelic Sword have fused into a new blade; the Angelic Sudron.”
            The new sword maintained various elements of the two swords. The fuller of the blade had the red strip on one side and the white on the other. The hilt and cross guard were reshaped. The wings acted as the primary guard, but now they were raised up in a Y-shape. The cloud-evoking guard was beneath that. The sun design with the ruby piece was kept and complementing it on the other side was the star sapphire.
It was a sword magnificent to behold, but David had no time to admire it, at least not then. The governor held no patience, especially for this new development of power for her enemy. She swung her blade with a force equal to what had previously given the Guardian trouble. To her dismay, this was no longer the case.
Cyonex parried the strike with ease and countered with a thrust. Alfran stepped back and tried again. This time, the youth waited until the last instant and swirled out of the way and delivered another blow, the technique he learned from Miyano. Next, he tried the same leaping summersault technique he used against Crawn. Alfran was able to block the mid-air swings, but unable to deal with the rising slash.
The Guardian backed up, smirked, and commented, “It’s plain to see that between you and Crawn, Crawn is the superior swordsman.”
“Silence!” the governor yelled out, charging in with poor form once more. She swung her menacing-looking blade but the Falcon brushed it aside and glided past her, slashing through her arm.
The sapphire armored knight continued, “You rely only on the strength and power that armor grants you. Your skills have a long way to go.”
“I will cut off your head!” Alfran shouted and fired a blast of ice from her left hand. She had used Elite Ice to freeze the Guardian! There was no hesitation for her to quickly follow up with an attack, even while taunting with “Your skills are useless if you can’t move!”
However, as she got close enough, Cyonex unleashed Elite Fire to emit a burst of flame, breaking the ice and pushing back the purple knight.
“You must not have realized I am the Warrior of Fire. No matter now. This is over!” He readied his silver blade and with Full Power, slashed through the Dealian general, deforming her.
David then rushed over, snatched the Elite Stone of Ice and proceeded to catch up with Shatl and Crawn. Once they had seen that David could handle things, those two ran off to deal with the portals.
Meanwhile, the news copter had been focusing its attention on the duel between Cyonex and Alfran. When they saw that Alfran was the governor, there was a freak out and constantly focused on her. They saw her get up and try to chase after Cyonex, only to fall down again and die from what looked like a stroke.
After all of the remaining DE nemon had been neofied and the portals destroyed, Cyonex, Shatl, and Crawn met in front of Zenoth’s prison. They waited for Jenny, Drame, Cepos, and Knaidow to arrive with the remaining Elite Stones.
            “So what do we do now?” Jenny asked after gathering together.
            “I think we’re supposed to use the Elite Stones somehow. David, what do you say?”
            But before David could answer, the Elite Stones were suddenly pulled away from them by an invisible force. They latched onto the spherical prison and dark energy appeared to be absorbing their power. When it was done, the stones we tossed at the feet of the warriors with all energy drained and that was not the end of it.
            The eyes of the dragon lit up a fiery red and the sphere broke open! As the sphere burst, a blast of dark energy blew in all directions. It knocked the helicopter back and shattered the reporter’s camera equipment. As a result, the pilot, fearing for his own life, despite the reporters pleas, flew the helicopter away to safety.
The warriors looked up to see the newly freed Zefortoh. It was a giant black dragon with ferocious horns. As it broke the prison it roared as loud as thunder “I’M FREE!!!” and cackled maliciously. Its roar was so powerful, all remaining Nellenion soldiers were de-formed.
When everyone saw this evil monster, they were paralyzed with terror. Its aura was large and powerful, and those who were weak of heart looked into its eyes felt total despair.

            To make things worse, there was no time to recover strength. As soon as it had finished cackling and spotted the Neostrikers before him, it blew from its hideous mouth an infernal blazing fire at them. Recognizing the danger, David rushed to shield Jenny.

Episode 24 and Finale: A Shining Hero

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