The late hours into the return of the pair waned heavily on all of them and who could fault any of them, Plegia was planning war that Alex couldn't fall asleep as he heard the steps of someone and headed out, his room on the second floor to see Chrom pace lightly across the ground and he joined Chrom as the young prince sighed. "A piece of gold for your thoughts?" Chrom was caught off-guard, but he recovered as Alex drew closer, the tactician himself having explained that he helped bring a young villager to arms, somehow inspire a number of brigands to serve as his own personal army, and how Christian had made himself quite the accomplished master with the blade, neglecting the fact that his gloves were turned to rags and he replacing them once more until he could get some ACTUAL magical resistance on his attire, like his cloak.
"Oh, hi, Alex. Just... dueling with some unpleasant thoughts..." Alex nodded as Chrom continued with a hum. "Tomorrow we march to Regna Ferox to request additional soldiers. But there's something you should know first." The tactician made no notion to tell him otherwise as he started, looking to the stars in some form of relief. "...Not everything Gangrel said was a lie. The last exalt, my father, waged war on Plegia for many years. The violence... It was a brutal compaign, ending only with his death 15 years ago." Alex nodded as that sounded like something the Mad King would attest to, as he held to the past too tightly. "Plegia rightfully remembers their suffering, but his war was no kinder to his own people. As the fighting dragged on, our army became more and more diminished. Farmers who could barely wield a pitchfork were conscripted and sent to their deaths. Soon there was no food at all, and the kingdom began to collapse." He shook his head as he finished. "I was young, but I remember those dark times. ...I know how they affected Emmeryn."
"Such an experience would change anyone, a painful lesson for the weak willed." Chrom nodded as he continued.
"Indeed. When our father died before her 10th year, he left her quite the legacy... Plegia's desire for vengeance... Our own people's unbridled rage... My sister became a target for blame on all sides. Her own subjects began to hurl insults—and stones. She still bears the scar from one... But she never let them see her pain. Only Lissa and I understood."
"It must have been so hard..." Alex didn't fully understand the stress of being the Exalt really meant, but it was a heavy burden, one that stained the legacy of the Exalt itself, but the stain was slowly, but surely being removed with ease with Emm as the ruler, a peaceful and caring ruler indeed as Chrom continued
"I cannot claim to know how she does it, Avatar. I could not greet such hostility with warmth and patience. While our people mocked and vilified her, she reached out and healed them. She brought soldiers home to their families. She ended the war. And when Ylisse's spirit was mended and the people "forgave" her? ...She never resented them for it. She represents the best part of the halidom—the part most worth protecting. She IS peace. But some men would take advantage of that. Men like King Gangrel. The day he understands peace will be the day death gives it to him." Chrom slightly shook his head as he continued. "...So perhaps I must be death's agent. Emmeryn would never order him killed, nor would I wish her to." Their small chat was disrupted by the familiar face, the savior of Lissa and the Champion of the West.
"Well spoken, sir." Chrom didn't speak with anger or resent as he spoke the name on the tongue.
"Marth..." The masked warrior stepped out of the shadows and into the brief torch light that glowed across the castle itself.
"Good evening to you."
Chrom wasted little time to inquire how Marth go in. "How did you get here?"
"The cleft in the castle wall, behind the maple grove." The prince drew back as he spoke in surprise.
"There? But how would you...?" He rubbed his head with an defeated tone as Alexander inquired the place.
"You know the place, Chrom?"
"Yes. I bashed in part of the wall while training the Shepherds." An embarrassing memory from the sound of it as Chrom explained it out. "It's only a small hole, and I'd thought it well concealed, but..." Marth held up a hand as he claimed their secrecy.
"Your secret is safe with me." He then pointed to Chrom as he continued. I come here only to warn you."
This confused Chrom as he asked with folded arms. "Warn us?"
"The exalt's life is in danger."
"What, Emmeryn? That's absurd. She's guarded at all hours." Marth bit their lip as they tried to explain the next part.
"What if..." With a pause, Marth continued in a manner that held a regal essence of mystery. "What if I told you I have seen the future? Would you believe me? A future where Emmeryn is killed. Here. Tonight."
"Seen the future? Have you lost your wits?" Marth sighed as he nodded before moving on a different action.
"Yes, I expected you wouldn't believe me. So allow me to prove it!" With that, Marth drew forth the similar blade and Chrom, by instinct, moved to draw his own before Marth announced the reason. "I'm about to save your life." A tilt of the head yielded to the bush. "...From him." Without warning, a Assassin rushed out, but Marth was ready, blade tossed in the air in a leap as well, the foe's blade sweeping at thin air before Marth's sword was caught and he slashed through the Assassin, the man dead before touching the ground, a swish coming from Marth as he continued. "I trust... this proof will suffice?" Chrom paused in amaze before he replied, Alex himself actually interested as to the action and the words themselves.
"...Yeah." Marth, however, was unprepared as a second Assassin came from the tree, angle to kill Marth who tripped on the fallen blade, the only loss being the mask worn and revealed to the pair that Marth was actually female, Chrom shortly dismissing it as he charged forward in a flash and slayed the second Assassin with ease, turning to be surprised by the reveal. "Wait, you're—You're a woman" She turned and stated her place in the matter.
"And quite the actress, too. Honestly, I'm surprised you didn't figure it out until just now." They didn't waste time as an explosion erupted in the palace and the trio dashed in, Alexander gathering the parties together to face off with the attackers.
The interior toward Emm's chambers was turned into chaos as soldiers of unmarked loyalty stemmed forward and with an intent to kill as Chrom yelled, the forces readied in the unguarded section, the guards elsewhere as part of the routine. "Emm!"
"Chrom! Take Lissa and flee while you still have time!" Falchion drawn, Chrom didn't back down as he readied himself for battle.
"No! We're not leaving you! Just stay where it's safe!" Christian shouted as he readied his blade with ease and an angered look on his face.
"With our good luck, we break the leader, the rest WILL turn tail if they FULLY know what's good for them!" Alex slightly nodded as he looked down to the courtyard and to the leader, a dark-skinned man and the briefest glance yield an answer to his mind, Validar, his blood which he turned away, taken by someone who loved him and his friend dearly before everything. 'Marth's' blade started to glow as she commented about it herself.
"Falchion is gleaming..."
Chrom asked Marth who stood in the way of the main way into the chambers. "What's wrong?
Marth bit the lip once more as she remarked. "It's not your concern." The struggle was real as Chrom countered with ease.
"Seems like nothing ever is with you."
"Just stay at Emmeryn's door. We'll handle the killers." Considering that they haven't killed anyone quite yet, due to the routine, Alex didn't press it as the battle started, Emmeryn trying to save them beforehand once more.
"Chrom, please! Flee while you still can! You each have but one life, and I do not wish it weighed against mine!"
"Sadly, Emm..." Alex stated as he gathered his power and felt the familiar touch, a kindred spirit to him from the shadows of despair looming to call for more. "We cannot follow such a command, you are the peace of the people, if you were to die, the despair would be graver than any are willing to speak of." They set up and the enemies came close, he taking to the other side of Chrom's stand and held the line against the foes that sought to siege the chambers and them, but they were made of tougher stuff than before as they fought back. The forces grew stronger with the aid of a half-human, half-beast creature that Alex recognized as a Taguel, Christian really surprised by the creature, but he continued to hit hard into the enemy ranks with ease, more so than how Vaike was actually his lot. Chrom even managed to convince one of the thieves to join them, though his request was in sweets instead of JUST gold, unless provided with more sweets which didn't make too much sense to the tactician, but he focused more on his power as it felt more alive to him now before he heard the voice.
"So, you know now of who I really am..." Alexander didn't slow down as he countered with a default tone.
'I do, but you actually feel different, more than I had suspected in my lack of memory, were we friends or just allies?'
"Deeply connected friends, to be called an ally would be a dishonor, but you must understand that thought you have changed me to see the world in a broader picture, I still hold to the fury and rage I have against humanity."
'Then grant me the strength to fight and we will cleanse the stain of corruption before our very eyes, to see what is truly evil or merely fearful of the real facts." The voice agreed as Alexander focused once more before leaping back, a blast of dark energy hitting his place as the dark-skinned man chuckled in victory.
"Well, well..." He laughed madly as he claimed the impossible. "Oh, I know you... Submit to me, and perhaps I might honor you with the truth!"
"Your words are hollow, assassin, your word is nothing more than foolish beliefs and lies stemmed from a broken soul." The man growled as the attacks barraged his place, but he countered with the same ease, even taxing his gloves a bit in stronger versions of his Thunder spell, not tiring, but getting aid from Christian who forced the man back as he raged.
"Emmeryn was supposed to be an easy target... You will pay for interfering in my designs!"
"The thing to pay here is your own foolishness in believing it to be simple." Christian easily blocked the dark attacks before Alexander leapt over, the horde breaking down as he lined himself and fired, a Thunder orb shattering through the dark flux and straight through the man as blood seeped up from his mouth.
"No... This is... all wrong... How could... you have known the plan..." Alexander didn't need to know how or why, just as they were there to defend the Exalt, not kill in her name vainly as the party regrouped in a distant corridor as Chrom sighed in relief to the safety of Emmeryn.
"Thank the gods you're safe!"
"It is you I have to thank, Chrom." Emmeryn replied as she clasped Chrom's hands in relief as Phila remarked in shame.
"I beg your forgiveness, milord! I failed in my duty—they should never have made it into the castle in the first place." It was hard to not keep them out, they knew the routine and movement of the members in question, to kill a few would have been simple to attack Emm in her own quarters, but the timing was more of a rushed attack, hoping to hit with a success instead of a failed mission, resulting in all the attackers dead, not one remaining to tell the error of their ways.
"Peace, Phila. You couldn't have known what was coming. Only Marth could..." The name caused Emm to raised her brow in confusion as she asked, clearly seeing the individual, but not asking for the name in the conflict.
"Yes, I would speak more with..." He paused in confusion as he looked around before asking the pair who came closer. Um... Alexander, Christian, where's Marth?" Both thought about it before Christian answered.
"Well, I have no clue, she was here for a second or two..." Chrom groaned as he released Emm's hands with a small shout.
"...Not again!" He dashed off to catch her before she left the palace, both shaking their heads as they escorted Emm along the way for the time being...
The castle courtyard near the entrance point for her was silent and quiet, an easy tone for her as she halted in her step and turned, musing something else before turning back and attempted to continue before Chrom appeared and spoke. "Going somewhere? You have a bad habit of leaving without saying goodbye, you know." Marth sighed as she confirmed it.
"Yes, I'm afraid I have a few bad habits."
"Good ones as well—you saved my life, as well as both of my sisters. Is there some way I can repay you? Some favor I can grant?" Marth just smiled as she replied to the inquire.
"Hearing your offer is reward enough."
"But there must be something..."
"I already have what I came for:" She looked to the stars in relief before replying. "History has been rewritten."
"And what future averted?" Marth mused the idea before she explained it out.
"After the exalt's untimely assassination, the Fire Emblem would be stolen. This, in turn, would lead to a great war, and soon to the end of mankind itself." She shook her head as he remarked the troubling words in doubt to the current soul listening to her. "...But I'm sure that sounds like madness to you." Chrom paused in thought before he shook his head, slightly surprising her as he answered.
"...Strangely, no. It doesn't." He nodded as he continued. "Somehow I know I can trust you. And I hope someday to repay your favors."
"Perhaps one day you shall. Until then..." No farewell as she continued on through, disappearing into the shadows as Chrom was left silent, but understanding as he headed on back into the castle.
The Taguel seemed to snear to the small gathering as Emm thanked her. "Brave taguel, there are not words enough to express my gratitude."
"So you know our true name?" Christian looked to Alex as he asked in confusion.
"Sorry, but what is a taguel, Alexander?" Alexander took the moment to explain, his mind refilled somewhat with returning thoughts and reading up in the short time.
"A Taguel is a type of shape-shifter, blessed with the abilities of a common animal to increase their strength and resistance greatly, some claim that they descended from the ancient 'Laguz' but such fables are hollow nowadays because..." Alexander didn't press it, but the Taguel faced him with a angered look as she exclaimed.
"You know of the Warren Hunts!?" Alex did not attack the invading woman as he calmly spoke.
"History tries so hard to hide the facts, but it never gives me the name needed to really hunt those who proceeded in such a vile way."
"Yes, it's precious little your kind seem to understand. It was man-spawn like you that invaded our warren and slaughtered my people." Emmeryn gasped as the two stared at each other before she inquired in concern.
"What?! Is this true? Who would do such a thing?" The Taguel sharply turned as she pointed at Emm.
"Ha! Do not act so shocked. You are all the same. Right down to your base desire to ruin and destroy all your touch—even each other." The words did have an impact as Emm lowered her hands and nodded to the words, man itself flawed with fear and anger as she remarked about it.
"...There is truth to your words, perhaps. I'm told that, in taguel society, everyone is treated as an equal. Mankind could learn much from your warren. The words may come too late and mean too little, but I am deeply sorry. We have stolen your friends and family and made the world a lesser place." She bowed to the Taguel as Phila tried to reassure her.
"Your Grace—you had no fault in this!"
"You claim to be blameless, and yet you would apologize? Pah! Your words are but wind.
"I know... But they are all I have." The Taguel paused before she remarked once more.
"...You seem sincere, man-spawn. You feel my pain as your own." She didn't make a move to hurt anyone as she extended out her arms, a number of scars littered her body as she commented. "...I've never felt that before. Look at me." There was no one person to say otherwise that it was never their fault for it is by Man that such creatures and beings suffered for their own desires and sick interests. "...See what I am. I will never trust mankind. But you... Perhaps you truly are not like the others."
"All I ask is a chance to earn your trust." Emm took one of the hand and held it tight in apology and worry for the lone Taguel to her own mind, the deeds of the past not forgotten for Alexander and Christian to personally discover for the peace of the Taguel.
Soon, Chrom, Emm and their stewards discussed the chances of the attack itself and who was to blame for it in the long term. "It will take time to investigate how the assassination plot got so far. We have no leads at present." Chrom was not one to yield to the lack of knowledge as it was clear as to who would profit from such an attack.
"It was Plegia! I'm certain of it. They'd do anything for the Emblem." He turned to his elder sister and requested of her to move. "Emm, you can't stay here. Come to Ferox where it's safe."
"And leave the people undefended?" She shook her head as she confirmed her standing in it, despite a lack for it. "War is at our borders, Chrom. Do you expect Ylisse to stand against Plegia without a leader? They must know their exalt stands with them."
"But if something happens to you? What then?" Thankfully, Fredrick confirmed a different option as he commented.
"Your Grace, perhaps you might relocate to the eastern palace for the time being?" His finger trailed to the point as he continued in thought. "The other kingdoms would know nothing of it. You would be safer."Chrom himself nodded as he plead for her to do it.
"Yes, please. At least that. I can't leave for Ferox with you right in harm's way." Emm thought about it before she nodded.
"Very well." A sigh of relief left Chrom's mouth as he continued.
"Thanks, Emm. I mean it. We'll escort you to the palace before we head north to the border." The danger was apparent, but it was something that had to be faced, heedless of the forces that sought to thwart that and bring a war to an end before it was too late, blind to the high chances that war itself had come and would leave no man, woman, or child alive long enough for them to flee into the pages of mystery...
The time it took to rouse everyone to morning was tough, even considering the stakes on the line, but Alexander was not too swayed as he did so, got everyone ready and prepared and readied them to march, the calm of the storm before all of them as Alexander took to speaking with a few of the Shepherds as a part of good will and trust.
Early training left him tiring from Fredrick, but gave him a reason to not only start to the guardian, but learn more about him; Virion somehow found a way to best him in war, and he was actually surprised and happy to find that; Stahl displayed an ability of handling herbs and plants when making a gift for Chrom and he offered to help.
While Christian was actually quite sensible with Sully and talking to her about various training and remedies that Alexander and he debated; Vaike and he got into trouble with Sully's horse when the mercenary caught Vaike red-handed in spying; Lon'qu proved a difficult teacher when Christian challenged him to learn some more moves and strikes.
It was made a slight worrying when Sumia had collected a number of books and he had pulled himself into the reading when he nearly made Sumia cry, an act that Chrom would not have liked one bit, despite the short time they have spent recently, but he was on his way to the barracks as the morale of the Shepherds had dropped a bit from the rumors of a ghosts in the dining tent, taking a step in and looking about before he mused. "The others claim it's a ghost, but I refuse to put stock in such things."
"Claim what is a ghost?" A familiar voice inquired as Alexander let out a shocked shout or scream, he couldn't tell in the surprise.
"WAAAAAAAAAAH!" He wheeled about to see the orange armor that was customary to a sole figure and his heart stopped racing as he calmed his thoughts. "...Oh! It's you, Kellam! You surprised me." The armor shifted, but no noise was made, making Alexander question if his whole body was able to do it or it was something else completely.
"Sorry. You looked a little worried... I just wanted to see if you were all right." Alexander didn't want to say that he was troubled, but the ghost business was actually getting to him as he started.
"Well, there IS something troubling me..." He turned back to the room and rested a hand to his jaw as he spoke. "The men are reporting strange incidents—baffling phenomena that defy explanation." Miriel would ALSO deny it, but it was clear that her research was based on something else right then.
"Goodness! Like what?" Alexander turned back to Kellam and he focused to get the knight back as he faded once more when Alexander took his eyes off.
"Well, for example, whenever a group of us gather, drinks materialize on the table." Kellam was quiet as he listened with Alexander continuing in focus. "Also, there's always one more cup than people present. But everyone denies that they brought the cup or served the drinks! It's most peculiar. So peculiar, in fact, that some are claiming it to be the work of spirits..." Spirits and Ghosts were one thing that Alexander didn't want to deal with, not with the Risen roaming about.
After the pause, Kellam spoke up. "It's not a ghost."
"Oh, of course it's not. I just don't know what it could possibly—"
"It's me. I serve the drinks." Alexander stopped his pondering as he stared at the knight in question, the guy was quiet, it would make ample sense for him to do it, but he was a phantom here and there, he doesn't do too much to hide, but he manages to do just that.
"You? ...But wait. Why would you bring one cup too many?"
Kellam shrugged as he explained. "That's my cup. I guess it's just that no one ever...notices me..." It was tough to say and Alexander's next words were no help that much.
"What?! That's almost as absurd as the ghost theory!" From this, Alexander felt closer to Kellam as he started to speak, calming down as he spoke. "That actually sounds a bit sad, Kellam, but we will have to pick it back up later, we are moving out soon."
"Yes, sir!" And just like that, Kellam turned and he was gone, Alexander's eyes wide as he saw it just happen and he was gob smacked before he shook it off and headed out with the rest of the party, aided by the Pegasus Knights and following Emmeryn toward the mountains where the meeting was occurring and Alexander lightly smiled as he had collected a SIZEABLE amount of details about the events and prior to them and he nodded to the chances as they arrived to a ridiculous man, his role not completely a king than a Trickster as he spoke with sarcasm.
"What's this, then? The Exalt herself, in all her radiance?" He motioned like a fool as he insulted Emm to the best of Alexander's understanding. "I fear I must shield my eyes!" He entered a fit of laughter like a mad man, but Emm was composed as usual as she inquired.
"King Gangrel, I've come for the truth of this unfortunate incident between us."
A well-endowed woman in a attire that shouted Dark Rider with some adjustments stepped forward and poke with a smirk. "The truth? I can give you the truth." Emm turned and addressed the woman with respect.
"Perhaps milady might first share her name?"
"You may call me Aversa." Emm nodded as she inquired once more.
"Very well, Aversa. Is Maribelle unharmed?" The king was the one to give the answer as he gestured up the cliffside.
"Who? Oh yes, that little blonde brat." All looked up to Maribelle struggling against her binds as a brigand was close on hand, Christian and Alexander gesturing with their arms in a motion that just said 'really?' as she scoffed at the ruffian.
"Unhand me, you gutter-born troglodyte!" Lissa was first to speak as she shouted up.
"Lissa? Darling, is that you?"
"This girl crossed the Plegian border without our consent. And what's more... She wounded the brave Plegian soldiers who sought only to escort her safely home." Before Maribelle could yell her case, Alexander spoke up as he stepped forward.
"But, clearly, Aversa, this should be just fine, what with your own people crossing our border, razing towns, and seeking to cause conflict, is it not?" All were silent as Aversa was taken back as Alexander produced a number of parchment. "If you don't fondly believe me, then perhaps you can take a look at this, it details Plegian involvement with Ylissean towns and villages, causing disorder near the Feroxian border and many other interesting details that a 'noble king' would never admit to, I do have more where this came from." He tossed the bundle and Aversa went through it all and scolded as she glanced back up.
"You lie..." Alexander just shrugged with a smile as he continued, clearly the conflict defusing within seconds and could restart any moment.
"I have a lot of time on my hands, non-based opinions as well, so there is no reason for these to be false in the least, King Gangrel and Aversa." King Gangrel physically scowled as he tore the parchments to pieces and exclaimed in anger.
"I want what every single Plegian wants-a grisly end for every last Ylissean! What could be more noble that that!?"
"To make peace with it..." Everyone stopped short, even the wyverns that were mounted in the sky. "To continue a war that was made and left for the future generation to clean up is a sin that the Halidom suffered from when its previous ruler died and left the Halidom, shattered and broken, in the hands of his children, children who know nothing of war and never sought for the end of hundreds, of thousands, to make peace with it and move past it is the greatest mark of penance while encouraging, desiring a war for blood and life is the lowest standard one can cross." Alexander's own words was having an effect as some of the soldiers looked at each other and whispered among themselves. "If you want the war, just be straight forward with it, it is by subterfuge that we find ourselves on, between the borders telling of who's right and wrong. This has to stop, blood doesn't pay for blood, it enhances the cycle of dread even further because we don't care who wins and loses, just that we taste the blood in our mouths when we are blind to the broader picture." Gangrel's answer was drawing his blade and Alexander frowned as he stepped back, turning his back to the pair. "So shall it be, know that you reap the blood that you seek and it would be the people's blood that you will choke upon." The battle started and the Shepherds were ready for it, especially when Ricken made a sudden appearance and freed Maribelle, the noble's daughter now safe as the party advanced up the slopes to join up, fighting off the more reckless soldiers that sought blood, their number slightly dwindled when several of the Shepherds took near-fatal wounds and withdrew, but even the captain in charge of the Plegian assault was cut down as the more passive members and prisoners were released, somehow, Alexander's own words getting through to them as they would still serve, but they knew where the line was drawn and they had to choose a side soon as the party reunite once more and Lissa cheered as she rushed over to hug.
"Maribelle! Are you hurt?!"
"Nothing I didn't return twofold, darling." Alexander shook his head as he spoke to the near-perfect look of the duke's daughter.
"Must have been one heck of a restraint to keep from attacking you like that." Maribelle turned to the voice as she questioned.
"Who...?" She sighed as she spotted Alexander. "Oh. it's you." It wasn't said with distaste as Alexander returned the answer.
"Yes. I know you're not especially fond of me or my companion, but it's a relief just the same that you are safe.
"Oh, it's not a question of fondness. I am simply protective of Lissa. My treasure is very sensitive, and..." Maribelle paused as she questioned herself on the matter. "Wait. Am I really justifying myself to a commoner?" She groaned aloud as she rubbed her temples. "Gods... Yes, well, I do...apologize for being curt. And... And... And you have my thanks for your part in the rescue. There, I said it!" Alexander shrugged as the conversation with Chrom began as Chrom regretted his own action, having drawn his own blade long before the conflict started and during Alexander's attempted peace talk, it getting through to many, but not the ones most needing of it as he stated.
"Forgive me, Emm. I acted rashly."
"It's all right, Chrom. King Gangrel is the one at fault here. You were only protecting me." Both nodded before the Great Knight spoke up in explanation.
"The Mad King will be rallying his forces, if they have not mobilized already. I suggest we make haste back to Ylisstol and discuss our strategy." Mad was right in Christian's eye, the man refused to even believe solid proof of Plegian involvement way before it all started and he was focused on killing hundreds for his own mad desires, the fanatics shouting that he desired the Fire Emblem, an ancient treasure, that Emm explain, that was only used when the world's need was greatest, the king was insane and wanted all the power to himself, though the wish part of it must have been fabricated... but by who as Aversa was actually surprised from the details and, though made an attempt to end Maribelle's life, she just didn't move with that much conviction all the sudden.
"Of course, Frederick. It seems war is upon us. We must protect the Ylissean people at all costs." They all headed back to the capital to debate plans, time that Alexander and Christian decided would be used to get more answers on their lives...
Heading down south, to the place where they were last at, Alexander and Christian started to search the location for anything that could point out a place or home where they came from, but there was nothing there that could help, Christian sighing in grief as Alexander just mused on the lack thereof when they both spotted a young farmer boy running toward them and he shouting his head off a bit. "Halp! You gots to help us! I'm beggin' you, milords!"
"Easy, Youngblood, what's going on?" Alexander inquired, but his answer came from a brigand as he shouted his fool head off.
"Oy! There's the wee piglet!" Christian just grinned at the newcomers.
"...Awesome. Bandits." Alexander didn't quite share the opinion, but he smiled as well as the bandit spoke.
"What’s this? A little lording come to watch over his chattel?" Alexander and Christian looked at each other as the bandit was laughing before the hefty blade came out and the bandit stopped, taking a step back. "Aw, damn me! Sh-Shepherds!"
"Oh, you know the score, but the question is, do you fight and die or run and hide?" The bandit didn't see any other way as he booked it out of there before Christian asked. "Hey, farmboy, what happened here?"
"Y-yes, milord! Right away, milord! …Er, if it pleases Your Graciousness." Both grimaced as Alexander spoke for answers.
"Maybe stave off on the titles for now. What’s your name?"
"Donny. Er, that is, Donnel. …Your Majestyful. I live in the village just beyond, sirs." Rolled eyes were enough for the pair as Alexander continued to ask.
"I guess that will do for a start. Now, what happened?"
"That rotten-toothed, pig-stinkin’ bandit you just ran off attacked us!" He took a moment before bowing in apology. "Er, pardon my language, You Lordliness." Both shrugged as Donnel continued. "I’m the only one what got away, and even then just barely. They were roundin’ up others to haul ‘em off to a bandit camp… Please, sir! You gots to save them folks! My ma’s one of ‘em, and… She’s all I got in this world! Please, Your Royal Highness!" Both looked at each other before they started to debate.
"Sounds like we are needed for some action and sending for the full squad will take time..." Alexander just smiled as he spoke. "Us against them, our chances?"
"VERY high!" Both nodded and bumped fists in kinship before Christian spoke. "This seems like the type of stuff curs use all day. All right, Donnel. We’ll save your ma. Can you lead us to her?"
"Aw, thank you, milord! Thank you! Just follow me, Your Sirness!" Both just smiled as they rushed on ahead to Donnel's lead, heading straight for the camp where the bandits had camped out and Donnel started. "This here’s where they’ve taken up camp, Your Lordshipness." Christian chuckled as he started.
"Right, a couple of walls and pillars. Thanks, Donnel. Stay close, now."
Donnel was confused as he spoke. "Beg pardon, milord? You don’t mean…?" Then he started to panic as he exclaimed. "I…I can’t fight, sir! I ain’t never even stuck a pig before!"
"Sounds like you need a good lesson." Alexander spoke as he surveyed the layout and back down. "You’ll be fine as long as you stick to me or my friend." Donnel moaned a little as he grimaced.
"I wish I was strong as you sirs! Kick that scum out single handed, I would!"
"Then you should fight and grow stronger."
"But I ain’t—" Donnel didn't get much off before Christian slapped a hand on Donnel's shoulder and spoke with a smile.
"No man is born a warrior, Donnel. And farm work makes for fine training—a sickle’s not far from a sword, after all. Bandits may be tougher than wheat, but the principle’s the same." Alexander shook his head in amuse as Donnel sniffled a bit before he returned it.
"A-all right, milord. As you say, I’m no warrior. But these’re my people. I gots to do what I can!"
"That's a man worth standing with! We ready to go?"
"R-ready!" Donnel gulped before Alexander stood up and decide, that this was the best time for his attempt of tomeless casting.
"Let me try something." He stood up and shouted to the hidden party. "Hey, we have come for the villagers, if you surrender now, your walls will be left standing, I will give you the count of five to do so or you will witness something utterly terrifying!" Both hidden looked at each other before Alexander started. "One... Two..." He raised his hands in front of him as a orb of fire started to form in his palms with his smile. "Three... Four..." He stance with it before he shouted the last one with a blast. "FIVE...!"
"Surrender, what idiot would surrender to a bunch of weaklings?" Roddick as he listened before he commanded the troops. "Kill them all, they are bluffing!" The party charged just as the last number was shouted and the following occurred, the wall, where the attack party had been, melted like molten metal and the attackers disappearing in a blazing beam of inferno, nothing remaining as the majority was wiped out and Roddick just watched it happen...
Alexander got back and snapped with a smile and no gloves. "Now then, come get us." The terror had an effect as the trio charged in, none holding strong to the threat of what just happened, Donnel learning under both of the members as they diced and spiked their way through to the leader, the brute trying to halt them short of their mission, but with a thrust from Donnel after a series of knockbacks from the duo, the bandit threat was severed completely as most took off running, some crying out in terror from some familial embrace as the villagers were freed from their captors. Donnel cheering out in praise as he shouted.
"We did it! We're rid of them bandits for good and all!"
Christian raised a thumb as he commented with a sheathed blade. "A worthy first victory, Donny. You fought well." With the loss of the bandits, the trio roamed around to release the villagers as Donnel found his mother.
Ma! Ma, it’s me!" The two embraced each other as she spoke with relief.
"Oh, Donny! Thank goodness you’re safe! I was worried near to death, boy!" She turned to the pair. "I can’t thank you enough for savin’ my son and our village, milord." She bowed before looking over, pushing Donnel down as well. "…Donny! Where are your manners?! Take a knee and thank His Lordness!" Both sighed with closed eyes, the royal fact was getting out of proportions"
"Er, I can’t begin to repay all what you done for us, sir!" He straightened for a moment before bow on both feet. "Th-thank you!"
"Hey, you're the one who led the charge, Donnel. We just picked off the more stubborn thugs." Alexander smiled as he rested a hand on the pot helm. "Hone your potential and use it to keep this village safe, they count on you as a new fighter for the people." Both turned to leave, having escorted the villagers back to the entrance with Donnel and his mother at the entrance. His hand touched the pot before his other hand gripped tight, finally calling out.
"W-wait! Please!" Both looked as Christian asked.
"Something on your mind, Donnel?" The villager paused before he had something to speak of.
"I has a request, sir. If it please Your Graceliness…" Both shrugged to the thought before Donnel voiced his words. "Take me with you, milord! Lemme be a Shepherd like you! I’m good with livestock, I am! Please, sir!"
"Hush now, you fool boy!" His mother seemed to hiss in fear before Donnel countered.
"I want to hone my…whatever he said. I want to keep this place safe! I never thought I was good for nothin’ more than shovelin’ dirt… But milord showed me there’s more I can do. More I needs to be doing!"
"You needs be knowin’ your place, boy! A farmhand’s no fit for a royal—" However, Christian had something else to say as he spoke.
"Actually, we’d be thrilled to have him." Alex nodded as Christian continued. "The Shepherds need every good man we can find, and your son fought bravely, he has got a lot of potential."
"Y-you’re very kind to say as much, Your Lordshipness, but…" She paused before sighing, a sorrowful look in her eye. "Well, you’re a man grown now, Donny. I s’pose you can make up your own mind."
"Aw, Ma..." But his mother turned about in silent torment before speaking, to hide her emotions.
"...You just come home safe, love. I’ll see that the village is still standin’ when you return a hero." They remained standing in the quiet as she glanced over her shoulder. "...Well?! Off with you, then! Glory’s waiting’, boy!"
"I ain’t fightin’ for glory, Ma." Donnel shouted into the night as he continued. "I’m fightin’ for you! But if I do find some glory, I’ll be sure to bring it home for you!"
"...Just come home alive, Donny." She walked into the village as Alex rested a hand on Donnel's shoulder.
"Let us go, to honor those that had given much to safeguard this village and many others." Donnel nodded with a shuffle, one that Christian slowly helped out with, leading the way as Alex slowed his pace and looked to the side, turning fully to a number of bandits coming out, many drawn weapon before they dropped to their knees in front of him, ten in total.
"Milord, take us with you's, we can be of grand aid..."
"Your offer is kind, but not required for now." He turned to the lead standing. "Ylisse is going to undergo a Mad King's War and the people will be least defended on two fronts, against the vengeful Plegian and the undead Risen." He turned back as he continued. "As of now, you all must learn your roles, this is no longer a chance to profit from weakness, but a chance to benefit and become greater warriors and fighters than ever before." The words came like butter across bread, meaningful and worthwhile as he pointed to the leader. "Guard Southtown for a start, that will help get you all adjusted to the Risen threat as Plegia seeks to destroy the lives of thousands." All ten saluted before Alex turned and joined his ally and friend, the group heading off in a stomping rush, many armed for combat and to learn more than before, the first group that would call themselves Marauders..."
They were soon brought into the royal castle where the khan is likely to be dwelling as their escort turned and bid them farewell for now. "Prince Chrom, please wait here while I summon the khan." Chrom nodded as he bided her farewell.
"Of course." The knight departed as Alexander crossed his arms and he inquired.
"The khan is away?"
"Out training, I'd wager." The prince nodded as he rubbed his jaw. "The khans of Ferox prefer battle to politics. Or rather, battle IS their politics." Christian chuckled as he spoke.
"A warrior ruler, eh? I can picture him now..." Alexander shrugged as Christian fantasized. "A giant of a man of unparalleled thew, his broad chest covered in hair, heheh...
This didn't go unnoticed as someone spoke. "Am I now? ...Please, do go on!" Christian stopped as he looked around in a panic.
"Huh?" Arriving from the same way that the Knight Raimi had gone, a dark-skinned female Hero approached them, her posture control and loyalty as Alexander slightly bowed without words as Chrom was caught off-guard before he recovered.
"You're the—?! Er, that is to say... The khan, I presume?"
"One of them, yes—the East-Khan." They listened as she continued, not taking a seat as she addressed them. "My name is Flavia. I apologize for the troubles at the border, Prince Chrom. You are welcome in Regna Ferox." They all bowed as Chrom started.
"Thank you, but I'm confident we can put that misunderstanding behind us. Is it true bandits posing as Ylisseans have been ransacking your border villages?
Flavia scoffed as she confirmed the notion quickly. "Yes. Those Plegian dogs! We found documents proving as much on the corpse of one of their captains. Plegia must see some benefit in raising tensions between your kingdom and ours."
"Damn them!" Chrom paused before he cleared his throat. "I... Forgive me, Your Grace. That was...indelicately put."
But the woman just laughed as she instead encouraged the behavior. "Damn them and damn delicacy! Here in Ferox, we appreciate plain speech." Chrom sighed in relief as Alexander and Christian just shook their heads in debrief.
"In that case, you should have a word with your damn border guards..." Flavia continued to laugh as she rested an arm on Chrom.
"Now that's Feroxi diplomacy! Yes, I like you already." She returned to her place as she spoke once more. "I know why you have come, Prince." She sighed as she finished the sentence. "But regrettably, I cannot provide any Feroxi troops for Ylisse." Lissa was about to inquire why before Alexander spoke up.
"Does it have anything to do with the other khan or khans?" Flavia nodded to Alexander as she explained.
"Indeed, I am the East Khan and the current one with the power is the West Khan, both east and west khans hold a tournament every few years with the victor obtaining total sovereignty over both kingdoms, meaning they get the final say on forging alliances. The West Khan won the last one, you see and so..." But anymore was not required as Chrom's shoulders slumped down as he spoke.
"So we are to receive no aid at all?
"Not if you always give up so easily! The next tournament is nigh, you see, and I am in need of champions." Christian facepalmed as he realized the meaning.
"Are you kidding, did we just get conscripted for a tournament against the West Khan, just so we can get our alliance?" Alexander was next to speak as all just listened to the batter.
"Could be a lot worse, my friend." Flavia just laughed a bit as she spoke.
"The captain of my border guard informs me your Shepherds are quite capable. Perhaps you would consider representing the East in the upcoming tournament? If you win and I become ruling khan, I will grant your alliance." Chrom wore a look as he inquired of the role himself.
"I would have assumed Ylisseans had no place in such Feroxi traditions." Flavia just laughed a bit as she answered the response.
"On the contrary. The khans themselves do not fight—they choose champions to represent them. Otherwise our land would be rife with blood feuds and dead khans!" They could see how that could turn out in the end, a very, bloody ice-cap realm of warriors and rulers. "We don't involve comrades or kin for the same reason. Over time, it was decided the tournament should be fought by outsiders. Although the outsiders have never included foreign royalty ...That I know of!" She gave a short chuckle as she continued. "Regardless, it is your choice to make." Chrom sighed a bit before he spoke for all of the Shepherds.
"There is no choice, East-Khan. My people are desperate. We face not only Plegia's constant attacks, but now the added threat of the Risen. If fighting for you is the quickest way to an alliance, then we will take up our steel." Flavia was not deterred as she thanked the band with a shake of hands.
"Oh, I like you, Prince Chrom. I do hope you survive the tournament! Come, I'll show you the arena where the tournament is held." They followed a short distance to a great structure that loomed over them all as she finished with a parting word. "But be wary! I hear an equally able swordsman champions the West-Khan." Chrom readied his blade as he spoke, the gate closing shut for the signal of no turning back.
"He shall be defeated by Ylisse’s necessity."
"Well spoken again—I look forward to seeing if you're equally skilled with a blade!" There, they were left to ponder battle formations as Alexander chose the core five once more with Sumia to aid as well as her skills with a Pegasus would be quite handy as the gate opened before them with the rest of the Shepherds cheering, encouraging, or other notions of support as their foes came forth as well, greater numbers of fighters, knights, and a pair of mages waiting for them, but the greatest threat and surprise was the figure standing in the shadows of the dome, their cape flowing through the air as Lissa called out.
"I see him..." Alexander watched carefully as Chrom spoke as 'Marth' was quiet, silent to the appearance of combatants against them. "Marth! One question, before we begin?" But nothing came to tell as Chrom groaned in preparation. "...Fine, then. Our swords can speak for us!" He got into stance with his weapon, his Falchion, but 'Marth' countered by drawing their blade, crazy thing was the blade was EXACTLY the same as the Falchion as Chrom gasped. "Where did you get that?" 'Marth' continued their silence as Chrom commented. "There's no way..." Chrom grunted as he leapt in the air before coming back down in a rolling strike, but 'Marth' blocked before deflecting the blade off and advanced, both exchanged blows before he inquired or demanded. "Tell me—Who taught you to fight like that?" Both divided before spiraling their Falchion and thrusting forward, both contacting and missing at the same time before 'Marth' used the same attack that Chrom did.
"My father!" They missed as Chrom rolled out of the way and toward the party as 'Marth' turned and pointed their weapon at the Prince as he shared a glance as the party joined the battle with the other combatants charging forward, but they were met with oppression as the Shepherds proved to be the stronger team, even the mages were outclassed by Alexander that it was a miracle for him to come out better as the foes were cleared before Chrom met with 'Marth' once more and inquired.
"Who is your father?"
"I've said enough for one day, sir." Chrom huffed as he spoke once more.
"Is that how it is? Lissa owes you her life, and for that you have my gratitude. But within these walls, I represent the East-Khan and the interests of Ylisse. I can't promise to stay my blade, but I vow not to shame you."
'Marth' chuckled as they countered with a slide of the blade across their arm in a defending stance. "Heh, never expected such youthful arrogance... We shall see who shames who!" Chrom, this time, was readied as he battled Marth with all he had and more as a short bout left him wounded and would have ended his fighting before Lissa healed her brother to full strength, returning to the fray as Marth made for a block, but was not prepared as Chrom used an uppercut and flipped it about to cleave through the armguard that marked Marth as a combatant, barely even touching the skin as Marth was then slammed with a hard orb of electricity, Alexander's hand sparking with tome in hand as they spoke. "Impressive...if not surprising..." The battle was won as Flavia joined the Shepherds on the battlefield.
"Well fought! You have my respect. And, perhaps more to the point, you have your alliance. I will provide Ylisse with the soldiers she needs."
Chrom spoke in thank. "Truly? Thank you, East-Khan."
"I should thank you! It feels like ages since I've held full power." She laughed heartily as she called for celebration. "Come, my new friends! Tonight, we celebrate!" She took off like a speeding balaista bolt as another made their appearance, Alexander turning as he commented.
"Christian, I think we found your 'warrior ruler'." The Mercenary turned and was not disappointed with the party as a big, burly man towered over them in Warrior attire, the titanic man sighed as he rubbed his bald head in grief, an eyepatch adored one of his eyes.
"Bah! Any excuse for a party and Flavia jumps on it..." The man just shook his head as Chrom questioned.
"I'm sorry, have we met?"
"I'm the West-Khan you so rudely removed from power!" The giant chuckled a little as he spoke. "You're handy with a sword, boy. I thought for sure I'd picked the stronger man."
Chrom took the moment to ask as he was still in the dark on what Marth was trying to do there. "What do you know about him?"
"You mean that 'Marth'?" The Khan scoffed in a playful manner as he continued. "He's just some sellsword with delusions of grandeur. All I know is that he turned up one eve and knocked my old champion flat. It was love at first sight, and I'm generally too old for such things!" Alexander and Christian looked at each other on the matter as the Khan continued. "Anyway, he's gone now. Up and fled the moment the tournament ended."
Lissa was, needless to say, swooned by the mysterious figure as she sighed. "He's so dark and mysterious..." Alexander chuckled, folding his arms as he spoke on the matter.
"Sounds like Marth's got at least one fan..." Lissa sighed a bit more as she slightly exclaimed.
"Well, I mean, c'mon... He IS sort of dreamy, isn't he?" This was rewarded by Chrom who deliver a slap to the back of her head as he slightly scolded.
"And YOU'RE sort of dreaming!" Lissa rubbed the back of her head for relief as Christian slightly chuckled about the chat.
"Yowch! Lighten up, Big Brother. I was just kidding." Fredrick cleared his throat in attention as he spoke.
"Milord? Milady? If this fascinating discussion is over, we'd best return home. The exalt will want this news of our new alliance immediately." Chrom nodded as he turned to face the Great Knight in understanding.
"Right as always, Frederick."
"Hold, boy." The West Khan spoke and the party turned to the giant as he continued. "Before you go, I have a little present for you." He looked back and motioned for someone to come, a myrmidon in Ferox attire stepping forward, a serious look on his face as he paused beside the Khan, speaking not a word as his employer continued to speak. "This is Lon'qu, my former champion. Not much for talking, mind you, but he's peerless with a sword. As good as Marth, in my mind." He shrugged about the compare as he finished. "To be honest, I can't figure out how Marth bested him so quickly."
"Marth beat him?" Lissa asked as she sized the man in confusion. "But he looks so big and strong..." She took a step close and Lon'qu replied in hostile tone.
"Away, woman!" Lissa leapt as Alexander and Christian watched gesture, stance, and movement, he moved on instinct, not hate, he was afraid of her, in fact, the way he eyed the others showed that he was not afraid of anyone, but for females to get close to him, perhaps a fear from his past holding him as he slightly released the sword to Lissa's surprise."
Hey! Wh-what did I say?!"
The Khan laughed as he explained it. "Let's just say that ladies tend to put Lon'qu on edge. Nonetheless, he is capable. Perhaps he even has the makings of a khan. Consider him West Ferox's contribution to the Ylissean cause." Chrom looked to the swordsman and inquired for himself.
"You're certain about this?"
"Yes, yes. He's your man now." Chrom was not satisfied as he turned his full attention to Lon'qu.
"And Lon'qu? You have no objections?"
Lon'qu didn't deny as he spoke in a calmer tone. "He gives orders. I stab people. I think our roles are clear." Before Chrom could say anything, Alexander spoke, his tone that of a mentor.
"Lon'qu, have a better sense of your skills." The whole arena, despite its emptying state, started to feel like the cold outside was brought in and reduced even further as Lissa felt the chill. "I will not approve of a man whose sole belief is by the blade, you aid us as a equal or you stand to the side and watch, we are not murderers or bandits, keep your heart and mind high from the blood of hundreds before you." Not everyone noticed, but Christian could tell that Lon'qu's sword hand was shaking, trembling even as the West Khan bid them farewell and they headed home to Ylisse, where more transpired in their brief depart...
Chrom explained the details and Emmeryn nodded as she spoke. "...Then Regna Ferox will support Ylisse?" Chrom nodded and Emmeryn released a small sigh in relief as she spoke. "Thank you, Chrom. I knew sending you was the right choice."
"You should see Ferox's warriors! Perhaps now our people will be safe from--" But, before anymore was said, the doors were busted open and Phila rushed over in concern as she spoke.
"Your Grace! M-milord! Forgive me, but I bring alarming news!" Emm waved a hand as she inquired.
"Philia! Slow down, please! What's happened?
"Plegian soldiers have been sighted inside our southwest border! They attacked a village in Themis and abducted the Duke's daughter." The name of Themis rang a bell to Alexander as his few days in Ylisse said that Themis was invaluable to the whole of Ylisse and the daughter of the Duke was... He didn't need to say anything as Lissa knew off the bat.
"B-but that would be...Maribelle!" Lissa looked beyond worried as she spoke. "Chrom, we have to do something!"
"There's more: King Gangrel of Plegia claims Lady Maribelle invaded HIS country. He demands we repay reparations for this 'insult'." Chrom let his anger fuel his opinion on the matter as he seemingly shouted.
"And we're to believe a dastard like the Mad King of Plegia?" His anger did not subside as Emmeryn tried to calm him.
"Peace, Chrom. We must keep our wits about us."
"We should put a sword in his gut and be done with it! The Mad King has been trying to provoke war with Ylisse at every step! He won't stop until he drags this whole continent to hell with him!"
"I agree with the prince, Your Grace. We must demonstrate to Plegia that such actions have consequences." Before Emm could answer to their comments, Alexander was next as he scolded them both.
"And what would be the result of that, you two, it would be a war that he could justify as true." Both turned quiet as Alexander continued, the look in his eye telling them that they were crossing a line. "The previous Exalt waged a similar war and WHAT was the outcome from that, both nations destroyed, people leave hurt and homeless, signs of a BAD halidom." Emmeryn listened as well as Alexander, giving his wise, kind soul heart a rest, confronted the both of them on the matter. "Get it through your heads, he wants this, he wants us to fight and to prove that he was right and to move through with his plans, we have to play a different game with him, he wants war, we will only grant him that if he is beyond reason." Both swallowed as both remained silence before Emmeryn spoke, the calmer of the band in the throne.
"We cannot repeat that mistake. I will offer parley with King Gangrel." The room nearly exploded before Phila spoke, hands behind her back, clearly wanting to say to reconsider, but the scolding had an effect as she spoke.
"....Forgive me, Your Grace. I spoke out of turn. I know you will stand always by your own principles. Pray, allow the pegasus knights to accompany you, though." Chrom was next as he cleared himself of the effect as well.
"I'm going, too. ...Someone has to save you from your good intentions." Lissa spoke as well as her interest to help was strong.
"And I want to be there for you AND Maribelle!" Emmeryn nodded as she spoke.
"As you wish. Thank you all. Your strength will be mine." Soon they started to prepared for the action to come the following morning as Chrom spoke in the torchlight.
"Well then! Is everyone ready to go? It's a long march through the western mountains to the Plegian border." Before they could dismiss, a young mage came run as he announced himself.
"Captain! I'm all packed! When do we leave?!" Chrom was taken back a he commented on the newcomer.
"Ricken? How did you..." He shook his head and pointed back to the barracks. "Go back inside. You're not old enough for this mission."
"But, Captain! You know my skill with magic! You know I can handle myself!" The prince rested a hand on Ricken's shoulder as he explained.
"I'd feel safer with your magic here, protecting the garrison. All right?" He patted Ricken's shoulder a bit before he turned back to the small group. "We're off, then. Be good." They soon left and Ricken was left to stir in his temper, flopping on the ground.
"'Be good'? Gods, how old does he think I am?" He reached into his pack and pulled out his tome as he planned. "...Well, I'll show him just how good I can be!"
Luna Platz enjoyed the company of her hero, but today was not the day for her praise and want as he was gone to deal with another random virus attack, chaos nearly coming to bear once more as she was left with Zack to either watch or head for cover, this time... she headed somewhere else, to the overlook of Vista Point, as she walked to the platform and leaned on the railing sighing a bit as she just looked up from the place, sadly musing her own place in the whole thing. "I really wish that I could help out, to bust some virus and be someone who can be depended on, Bud gets his chance and I just..." She sadly sighed before a voice spoke up.
"Another virus attack and a hero freeing up the EM Waves, this is a surprise." Platz sharply spun around to see the figure, dress in an attire that screamed 'wise bystander' with the intact jeans, a blank blue shirt, and a light jacket, he was wearing some form of goggles on his face with a pair of shades on his head, standing at the bench that she questioned why she didn't see him, her surprise filled a bit more as a grinding voice sounded, her eyes not seeing it, but knowing for a fact that it has to be either a Wizard or an EM being.
"Indeed, and this power tells that its source is the same that took the key of doom."
"I see, so he had indeed bonded with a host, has he?" Luna was utterly confused before she spoke up.
"Hey, what do you think you're doing?" The figure looked to her and she wished that she kept her mouth shut before her eyes watched as the air behind him started to blur to a suit of armor, ice creeping out from under and across its body as the young man spoke.
"And who do you think you are, ma'am?" Luna took a step back as she tried to think of why she called him out, but she had nothing before the voice came again, it coming from the armor.
"Not so fast, friend, I sense the essence of a FM-ian within her soul and body." Vogue quickly appeared and hid behind Luna as the armor continued. "A Wizard is easy to deduce as man-made, but she holds such power in her body, the remnants of one that I am familiar with, Ophiuca, I believe." The young man hummed as Luna grimaced to the name, Ophiuca was the FM-ian that wanted something and helped her out of a bad situation, but it was too great a cost and it was pulled from her once more to fight Megaman, a dark power that didn't give in and Luna didn't want it one bit if it meant it would hurt her friends and family again. However, the young man raised a brow as he lifted his goggles to reveal radiant sapphire-red eyes before slipping the shades on and speaking again.
"Then perhaps she can help with the latest project, Borealis." The helmet nodded as the terrified Luna faced the look once more, but it was not filled with a wicked smile, but a line across the face like he was clearly more bored than anything else. "You tell me your name and I will share mine." Vogue looked to Luna in concern before the student president breathed and spoke.
"I am Luna Platz and my Wizard is Vogue, who are you and why did you speak about Megaman?"
"Megaman, huh?" The young man shook his head before he returned the conversation. "I am Isaac Boggs and this is my partner Borealis." The armor bowed as Isaac continued. "Now, I understand that you wish to help out in the EM roads?" Luna slightly frowned as she must have been talking aloud, but he didn't seem too phased by it, not even paying attention to the name Megaman. "Then, perhaps you can aid me in a small project."
"Hold it, you can't just..."
"Do you not like being a damsel in distress?" Luna's words were cut and caught in her throat as Isaac's own cleaved in. "Even heroes are weak to threats or powerless to some forms of strengths, there is never a full guarantee in the world that victory is assured, you mused, so I inquired, do you not like being the damsel." Luna found her voice again as she rubbed her arm.
"...I hate it..." Vogue hovered over her shoulder as Luna continued. "But I refuse to give up on them, on Vogue just for a shot at fighting, I am not even a fighter... I'd just get in the way..." Silence filled the gaps before Isaac pulled out a strange part of a Hunter-VG.
"This piece can be added to a Hunter-VG to allow two Wizards, I have been looking for someone who can aid me in testing it." He tossed it to her and she quickly caught it as she looked at it. "I will not ask for your life to be placed on the line for I will be there to aid you in your challenge, but if you don't want to do it, then I understand." Luna glanced between the piece and Isaac, giving the thought a deep pondering before Vogue spoke up, hovering in front of her.
"Don't do it, Luna, it could be dangerous, please don't do it!" Luna pondered it a bit more before she sadly smiled.
"...You know, Vogue, I know that this could be dangerous... but the idea, the thrill to help out and save people from more dangerous viruses... I want to do it." Luna mused before she moved the piece into place and it inserted to a perfect fit before she gasped, power erupting from her body as Vogue was slightly blown back, caught by Borealis as Isaac just watched. Soon, the transformation occurred as her body changed to that of Queen Ophiuca, but her lower body became blue and white instead of violet and green, the veil followed with the drills turning into blue, her eyes glowing yellow before she dropped to the ground and panted from the change and she groaned as Isaac spoke.
"Incredible, due to your previous involvement with Ophiuca, your EM form took her on, but shifted to your own control and will."
"I don't feel so good..." Isaac stepped over and raise a hand, resting it on the transformed Luna and the pain and tire started to fade with a blue glow in his hand, Luna reverting back as she spoke once more. "That... was not a good feeling..."
"I did warn you, if you are not suitable for the change, then it is possibly wise to..."
"NO!" Luna released in a shout before she breathed, looking down, hands planted on the ground. "No... I wanted to try, I am not backing out right now..." She slowly stood up and spoke, commanding. "Wizard On!" Ophiuca appeared, but she was severely different as the once-violet FM-ian was now blue with white and spoke in a humble tone.
"What do you wish of me, Lady Luna?" Isaac hummed as he spoke next.
"It appears that she has taken on a new appearance, resulting with a new behavior of a servant, do you see her like that, Miss Platz, a silent fighter with the behavior of someone to aid you?" Luna stared at the new Wizard before approaching and raising a hand, lowering it down and sliding it across the face with a small smile.
"She's perfect, no spite, no hate, just someone who I can turn to for help, someone to help me in my hour of need... Ophiuca the Fighter who is countered by Vogue the Mind." Vogue floated over and both Wizard gave a hug to Luna, a playful embrace and a motherly hold as Isaac nodded and he stepped back to Borealis before Luna spoke once more, releasing from the embraces and asking. "You said you can help, can you?"
"I never rejected your wish, now follow me into the EM road." He stepped into place and extended out his Hunter-VG. "Transcode, Arctic Borealis!" He disappeared before Luna followed, Vogue returning as the prez shouted.
"Transcode, Queen Ophiuca!" Both appeared and Luna breathed easy as she was into the form again, but it felt lighter now, she turned to see a very imposing sight of her client. The armor adored his body, ice forming into clear pauldrons, greaves, bracers, and the visor wielding powerful green eyes that bore into her soul while a sword was sheathed at his side as the arms crossed with misted breath flowing out from the visor.
"To train you on how to best the foes here, you must also learn how to use your new power against your foes, but the necessary method is unwise for you here."
"Show me..." After a shrug, Arctic Borealis started to conjure a image for Luna-Ophiuca and she drew back as the form was that of her hero, she biting her tongue as she inquired. "You believe he would turn!?"
"Not by will, by instinct, your form is one to be concerned about, is it not?" Luna didn't fight that thought as the knight continued. "To know the dangers, you must be prepared for anything, even if it never occurs, it is best to be prepared, to understand the possible situation that you would find yourself in, a hero who vowed to defend, suddenly confronted by someone who dons the Queen's form." Luna looked again and felt... glad, pleased to be shown this form, this figure as she loudly hissed and the sculpture stance for battle and Borealis stepped back before Ophiuca attacked, her power and strength besting the ice figure in speed and agility, but she didn't have the full advantage of Battle Chips as her opponent, but she could tell that it was going too easily as she charged toward the statue, getting blasted by a charged shot, but it didn't stop her and before it could pull out a Chip, She whiplashed with her tail and won the battle as the ice shattered, she baring her teeth to the emotions before Borealis spoke with a clap, pulling Luna out of the feelings as he spoke. "Excellently done, and against a starting form of your idol, Megaman."
"You knew and you played me like a..." To this, the knight shook his head as Luna paused to the words to come.
"Nay, I did not pull you to doubt, I never sought to cause you to believe that I was playing you the fool, you had seen or heard how the idol bested foes greater than he and it is thought lesser enemies and learning how to best them that he also learned how to fight, the statue also granted you a level of understanding of the elements."
"Yes, elements, some viruses are adapted to one of four powerful elements or left as neutrally-attuned foes." A display appeared as Arctic continued, motioning with a finger to the display. "Many Wizards and EM virus fall into five columns and four are in a cycle of weakness and strength, Fire consumes the Wood, Wood absorbs the Thunder, Thunder shatters the Water, and Water douses the Fire." Luna nodded as her tail coiled and she seated herself on it and listened, learning the same method that her hero had gone through. "Now, you may think that I was playing you, you would be talking about a half-truth, it may be my device that allows you to use this new form, but it is going to be your own skills to fight alongside those that you view both idols and rivals, my Water and your Wood have equal ground against each other, but I could have easily added several Fire-based attacks to the statue to give you a challenge." She nodded as Arctic continued. "Now, this lesson, if you wish to treat this as part of a school course, will also..." Arctic explained everything the Luna would need to understand and learn about in the busting business, even providing practical sections for Luna to test her new-found knowledge...
Geo was done with another bunch of virus and breathed as the area was clear for the time being before he got a feeling of dread and looked about, spotting as he spotted a familiar shape. "Queen Ophiuca!"
"Hold it, Geo!" The young man looked at his talking hand that was Omega-Xis as the Wizard and AM-ian continued. "It looks like Ophiuca, but something's different, I can't tell from here."
"You think it is something else?" The head nodded as Geo looked up and made his way to the path that connected to where Ophiuca was positioned at. Jumping to the path, he stopped some distance to see that Ophiuca was listening to a large suit of armor with ice coating it's body in places, crossing his arms to see the difference. Queen Ophiuca was often patterned with a violet and green color scheme with bluish skin, but she looked utterly different, the colors switched with blue and white, her skin more like his and Sonia's skins in their transformed states with its darker hue, and her snakes were nowhere to be seen. Omega humming before the armor stopped and its head turned to the figure standing down the way, Ophiuca springing up in joy, but was halted from rushing as the armor glanced and shook its head, she giving a remorseful look before she headed to Vista Point as the armor started, arms behind his back.
"Hello, Hero, you just interrupted my lesson, I can't have a student be distracted by idle figures." Geo held himself and Omega from attacking as he demanded.
"Who are you and who is the new holder of Ophiuca!?"
"Such hostility for a figure of your past, do you seek to shatter a heart even further than it deserves?" Both seemingly growled before Geo used a Battle Chip and called forth a High Cannon, aiming it at the figure.
"Last chance, WHO are you and who is in possess of Ophiuca!?" The only action from the armor was drawing its sword, a blade of pure ice and its tip resting on the road that was freezing to the contact.
"Perhaps it is better that we have this chat when there is less stress flowing through your veins." The blade raised before Omega shouted, removing High Cannon with his own face in surprise.
"MOVE, GEO!!!" Geo was swiftly yanked backwards, surprising him as the blade lifted an inch before slamming into the road, the whole thing freezing up like ice before erupting in a mist, Geo covering his eyes from the rush of crystal-like powder and it shortly stopped before both to look to the figure missing as Omega grimaced. "I think that one is an old friend of Planet FM, a really powerful one at that." Geo looked at his ally who was... shaking a bit as he asked.
"Who is he?"
"A FM-ian of ice, Borealis and he is not usually the social type." Geo nodded as he looked forward, both leads gone, but the chances of seeing them again were very high, they would see these new faces soon enough...
Luna looked up to the sky as she stepped out of Vista Point, a frown on her face as both her Wizard spoke to her. "We can talk to them about this, my Lady."
"It's the best thing right now, we don't know what Borealis and Isaac want from you!" Vogue spoke as Luna nodded before she joined in.
"I know... but I am afraid..." The hands reached to the arms and rubbed as she continued on home. "You both saw the look, Geo was taken by surprise, he was shocked to see Queen Ophiuca."
"Then we prove ourselves." Ophiuca spoke as they continued on. "We train ourselves for what could come and learn what we can, we are Brothers to them and they will understand that we have a secret project going on." Luna nodded, though to be secret from Geo, she knew that it was going to be hard to do it as she continued home, straightening up to not give a single sign of doubt as Isaac leaned against a tree before his phone rang and he picked up.
"How long are you going to play hooky with us, we need your plans to..."
"It is not going to be an easy task, but I just procured a lead in."
"Let's just say..." Isaac softly smiled as he finished. "I pulled some loose data free and now, we have not only a potential ally, but also a way to enter Project: TC without incident, tell you later, Sunspot." The phone was hung up and Isaac just nodded to himself. "Time to see what the TC can muster, I want to see what they have got in the wings." Isaac headed away from the Point and headed into Town to see to more troubles that he can deal with...