Is an angel watching closely over me?
Can there be a guiding light I've yet to see?
I know my heart should guide me but,
there's a hole within my soul...
What will fill this emptiness inside of me?
Am I to be satisfied without knowing?
I wish then, for a chance to see, now all I need (desperately)
Is my star... to... come...
Lunar SSSC: Wind's Nocturne (otherwise known as 'the boat song')
They fought. By Althena, how they fought. Literally. But eventually, it was over. They... had won. Tired and broken, but still alive, the group pushed their way forwards, stopping to recoup, to heal, to prepare themselves for what they knew must be coming next; a confrontation with Althena. And who would doubt it? The light that had come from this place was... hers!
But they had beaten him! Saved the world! Now they had to save that most dear. The room was positively huge, noted the white dragon; stairs and crystal path and Luna, looking rather.. unhappy.
"Infidels! How dare you invade my inner sanctum! Prepare to die!"
That was not, sadly, the sort of thing Alex wanted to hear. Alex, the young Dragonmaster. Compared to the last Dragonmaster that had walked the world, he was barely an adult at all, at least in his age. The eyes, they told it. The sort of person that could look at the odds and go, quite plainly, "I don't care what my chances are, I'm doing it." Definitely the sort of person that would watch his home torn, his friends and family enslaved, and still keep going. Precisely the sort of person who did not want to hear his Luna, his most dear, telling them to go away--or they would die. By her hand? Seriously?
"Nall..." he began, sounding a little anxious.
"Alex..." Nall felt his tone of voice. "You must try to save Luna! She's... that direction."
Nall was several feet up and could see. Alex didn't have to see, but that was just the prompt he needed. He walked forwards. The others, they were silent just for now, contemplating the words of their goddess, the words of a friend under some mechanical spell of evil. Then, they were hushed to silence once more as a smooth, clear voice came from the air above.
"Well done, Dragonmaster! You have proven yourself worthy of your title."
Those same angels he had fought once before came forth, their self feeling more than contented; soon their goddess would be well again, and the earth would be filled with peace and happiness... okay, most of it.
"Ghaleon is destroyed, but Althena's soul remains lost in a spell of darkness. But fear not... I will use my universal power to raise her back into the light."
The young white dragon moved back by Alex, and commented to him, in a happy outcry, "Alex! We did it! After this, Luna will be with us again, right?"
"Oh Nall! Never lose your vigor for life... but, I'm afraid you don't fully understand yet..."
Nall understood perfectly. They had saved the world and they had saved Luna or Althena or whatever they were going to call her at this stage in time, and the world would be happy, and they would be happy, and they would stay happy. Why? Because they'd earned it! He conveyed a look of confusion to Alex, who offered his shoulder to sit upon.
"Luna is merely the temporary human form of the goddess Althena... Once we awaken Althena from the spell of darkness, her memory of life on your world as Luna will cease to exist... I wish there were some other way, for your sake."
Nall's spine prickled and Alex froze; a few slight gasps behind him. They both wanted to rush forwards. They'd proved everything wrong before! Why not now? The answer came, of course, because they turned to the goddess, far away down the chamber, and spoke once more.
"Now Althena, wake fr-"
From behind everybody there came the cleaving of air and the smell of magical energy, as white orbs of screeching, unholy light, flew at the two angels, who emitted a scream of such anguish as to startle Alex and Nall there from their slight thoughts of defiance. They spoke, in wailed tones; a heartfelt and melancholy line. The Dragonmaster didn't like it, it was too... wrong, too close to victory. It could not be true, but it was.
"This can't be... it's too strong... too evil... Ghaleon is....."
The hating gaze of a once defeated Magic Emperor poured upon them, watched with definite delight as the magic drained them of their presence, a shattering and gradual dispersing of their essence leaving just pinpricks of light in the sky, silent pinpricks. And everybody turned to him. Their eyes. All of them. Three pairs were of shock, three were of discord. Would they have to do this again?
Nash spoke, the once-apprentice's words cutting a hole in the bleakness this room was turning to,."The dragon angel was... ...with just one hit!" He wasn't quite trembling, but he sure as heck wasn't rock steady.
"I've never seen such power! I'm scared!" Jess wasn't rock steady either, but she was trembling, and tactically, she hid behind Kyle. The brash swordsman had every right to be scared up until he was required to be a brick for a girl. Now he had to be himself again. And he was, true to form. "Geez... he's a stubborn son-of-a-bubo, isn't he? Just won't stay dead!"
He wandered a couple of steps upon the group. They were lumbering, they were pained. He could not let them win. He still felt his magic, he had plenty of it left. Dark, evil... Could it help him?
"Here he comes! Alex, everyone... look out!" Mia almost trilled her announcement, and Alex wandered back to the fore, the sword of Althena out in front. A slight white glow bathed its finely crafted tip. The mages moved back and Alex and Kyle moved forwards. Nall took vantage, as always. No dying on his watch.
Ghaleon stepped. He coughed, heaving blood and bile. They knew he couldn't fight, not after their last win, but nobody ever took chances around this guy; nobody could underestimate who he was, what he was, the power he wielded, the goddess he commanded...
"I'm not finished with you yet. You'll never... make it... out of here... alive, dragonboy..."
Oh yeah, said Alex's look. He won once, they won once--they can do it again. And again, if needs be.
"Cower... in fear.. as I demonstrate my true POWER!"
Kyle didn't think much of a true power that involved bleeding strange dark liquid from the eyes. He got to change his mind as Ghaleon writhed slightly in front of them, and the colour of the substance, of dark, filled him, and took him. His alliance with evil magic finally pushed him past humanity, and pure hate and revenge rocked his gaze. Head ablaze, bearing an ungodly appearance, the party stirred, and Alex even took a step back. This would not be pretty.
Nall sank to in front of him and gave him a look. I am the white dragon, it said, and you are the Dragonmaster. And this day is yours. So go kick his evil ass.
So he hoisted the holy sword and he charged, and Alex fought for Luna once more. His allies followed his advance, and they fought the battle of their lives right there, right then, for the second time. It was no picnic. It was not fair. It was barely a happy mood because, this time, people dropped.
Nash and Mia fell quickly. Nall dragged their selves out of the fracas, he kept them hidden and he kept watch on the rest. But if they all fell, they and he would be toast. Alex, oh A~lex, be a dear and don't die, okay?
Kyle got hit hard with too many ice attacks. Magic had never been all that good to him, and Nall pulled his rear from the fire too. Alex and Jess stood back to back; trying to hit an enemy that disappeared a lot was not plain sailing. Silver claws streaked with something Jess didn't want to consider, and a holy sword that was still glowing, they sat ahead of their wielders and they moved in a tight circle, watching the small area.
"If we can't beat him with five people intact, how do we win with two?" Jess asked. Alex spoke directly. "We got here. We're not going to lose now. For everyone's sake. For Mel, for Lemia, for Vane... for Dyne, for the dragons. For us. For Luna. For our world."
"Do you really have time to be raising our morale, Alex?" she asked him.
"No." he replied. "Did it work?"
"Well... yes." she said. "So what's the plan, Dragonmaster?"
"Intuition." Alex said. "And healing. Let's do this."
They did, too. Alex set upon the creature. And he slashed away, and he followed him wherever it went around the two of them, and he slashed away more. Jess kept up her end. The cures flew as thick as Ghaleon's sword did, and the fight continued, and they were hurt, and then healed, and it went on more, and neither of them could possibly see there being an end...
...and then he was slain. It happened quickly. First he was moving, and then he had disappeared, the room feeling immediately more breathable, less encroaching... less bad. He left with a laugh. Alex didn't like that. He climbed the stairs, intent on getting to Luna. And across the distance, he saw her. He stared at her and she stared unseeingly, unfeelingly back... and he knew something was wrong. The wrong that shakes, the wrong that filled him, pulled at his heartstrings and clouded his mind. Luna! Was she really lost to him?!
The pinpricks of light were still about, their essence slightly refilling as they came together in front of Alex in the air. Nall came up behind the boy, and the others, Kyle, Nash, Jess, Mia, they followed up the stairs, weakly trudging. He wasn't seeing them. The little dragon tapped him, and he did not reply. He was about to say something. The others... didn't notice, couldn't...
"How can this be...? Althena's power is now out of control! And yet, we are powerless to stop her, for you see, if we put her to death, your world would die too, for your souls are intertwined. As gods of compassion, we cannot execute that act," they spoke.
The group hushed and listened, Alex was in his own world right then. Luna was disappearing on him. They had said, even if he saved her, she would remember nothing. It chilled him. He'd have to do it, but... why?
People moved around him. He wasn't watching, he was wounded too, falling to his knees, out of it...
"But you, Alex... you may be able to cut through the dark spell and connect with her. At this point, you are neither Dragonmaster, nor she a goddess, but two souls reaching through the darkness to find solace in each other."
Solace in each other. Was he getting lost in the spell around Althena too? It felt like it. He just wanted his Luna, he wanted things back to peace, but he wasn't sure if he could do that. He had to! But they said she would forget!
"Alex, you must try to reach the girl locked within the spell... it's the only chance to break the spell and free the goddess. Use all your intelligence and might to find a way to reach her!"
This was different. And he looked up at the bright light. Free the girl. He was no deity. They were. If they said there was a girl left to reach... what would he have to do? How could he get through? He looked ahead, people standing around him. Nall just motioned that they leave him be; he was able to tell, this was Alex's time to do more than the call of a Dragonmaster. He had the call of love to answer. Everything flashed, and he felt healed.
And then a loud lightning crack blew him out of his little trance. Three of them. It struck around the girl, and then between them, and then right in front of them. Pow. He was Alex and he was here, and he stood up.
Everyone was around him, but they had left the wavy crystal path clear. The road for he who loves.
"Luna has lost all memory of us, Alex. You're the only one she has a chance of remembering because you two were close," Nall said, when he was looked at. "You must try to use the memory of the times you shared to reach her... it's the only chance we've got of saving her, Alex."
Good times. It was all good times. What should he pick out? What would... work, what did he have to hand?
Mia clasped his hands. "Alex, Jessica and I know that you are in love with Luna... even though you won't admit it... You must reach deep into your soul to find the key that will free Luna!"
Alex gave a smile. They'd never asked, what was there not to admit?
"Alex, I'm powerless to help you further... The only way we'll get Luna back is if you appeal to her deepest memories... only then can she have a chance of breaking the spell of darkness from within!" Nash offered as the boy looked to him. He had to talk to everyone, see what they thought, let them offer guidance. They'd helped him get this far. What were her deepest memories? There had to be something definite they shared.
"Alex, this is the final test of our adventure together," Jess began. "...but I didn't think the stakes would be so personal, so terribly high. You must find a way to jog Luna's memory of your times together. Good luck."
He could do this with the help of friends, he could.
"Alex, she's a woman like any other," Kyle began. People gave him a look. "Well, okay, not exactly like any other... she's a little more deadly."
Jess placed a hand to her forehead and shook her head.
"...But the point I'm trying to make is that you can reach her with love. At least," he added lowly, "...that's what I'm supposed to say at this point." He moved into thought. "A good spanking is more along the lines of what I'd really try first... to jog those memories of good times. But hey, that's my style, not yours."
Okay, now he was getting looks. A large silence fell upon them. "Good luck, kid!" was what he finished with.
Jess looked somewhere between cross and highly amused. Everybody else was actually in a better frame of mind. Alex? Well, he was smiling. He had no way to follow that. But he felt better, he felt... confident, and he looked back over at the goddess again, his Luna. He wouldn't spank her, no.
He half thought of something. Did he still have his harp on him?
"If Luna regains her full memory, she'll remain a girl, right Alex? Then we can all go back to Burg and live in peace and happiness again. Alex, you must succeed!"
Nall wanted what Alex wanted, and he wasn't afraid to say so.
And then he faced the path. It looked icy and he felt colder than it ever could. He took steps along it. And, over yonder, she noticed. As he drew nearer he kept thoughts in his mind. Happy thoughts. Of their past, their life in Burg...
A lightning bolt came down unto him. He rocked back and shouted, stumbling his next step and almost falling off the path, a hand quickly shifting to hold him aloft. Discord came from his friends, and shocked and woozy he regained his footing, rubbing his head. No, that hurt. There was too much of a distance to go.
She hit him again. They could not come across her, the great Althena, not while she was in darkness. She would not let them. She wouldn't let him, although... it hurt just as much. This was not understood. Why didn't she know anything?
Alex fell back into the path. His armour was good, his constitution excellent, had he been anyone else that would have probably killed him for sure. As it was, he had survived. Jess rushed over, and did her healing magic. He felt rejuvenated, but no better about this.
The last thing they did together back at Burg, before they had set off on this insane journey... What was it? They had practiced a song. Their song... Their song? Where was his harp?
Tucked away on his side, actually. As he picked it from its mooring on his belt he tested the strings with fingers, placing the sword back at his side. Nall knew what his companion was doing; it might be a chance. Althena was a lover of music and singing, after all. He began to play. And he played like nobody had ever played before.
Because nobody had ever played quite like this before.
He set off, playing. He took his steps with finality, and he moved up the path; nobody else got another word in edgeways, though they spoke to him. Like a man possessed, he strode off down that path. The lightning came again, singing its own tune at him... but it was as nothing compared to the last. And he did not shake. And he did not fall over. And he did not stop playing.
Mia and Jess almost cheered for him, but then a voice started from the other side. She was reacting to Alex's presence. A presence that she knew. A name that she knew.
"What is this...? Where am I?"
Her voice was slightly augmented with her power, but it was every bit more Luna than the first voice had been, and Alex felt slightly soothed. You are safe, he thought, or you shall be.
"It's so dark... Alex?.... Are you there?"
I am here and I am coming, my love.
"I'm so frightened... is there anybody out there?"
The lightning hit home again. It is no deterrent. Can you hear me, Luna? Luna!
"Alex...Aaalll..ee..xxx! Please....I'm so scared. Where am I?"
You and me, we are inside the castle of the defeated Magic Emperor. We will be fine. Let me comfort you!
Twice stricken. There is no turning back. The song flows like water; every note is more meaningful than the last.
"Alex? Are you there? Please....don't give up on me!"
I am here! Listen with your heart, Luna! Please!
I know she hears, but she does not understand what is happening. It is the spell. But I will not falter.
Another strike. They are little by the song, but they are taking their toll. Slower steps. No! I must be quicker!
"Alex... help me remember! Why can't I remember? I'm so frightened!"
You haven't forgotten, it's being shielded from you somehow. It must be. Look within me, look within yourself!
The lightning continues its occasional assault and this time, I stumble a little, our song halts as the sound of the harp clattering shakes Nall, who is watching. He feels helpless. He's watching. Watching his best friends fail to connect. Watching one hurt the other with lightning; white dragon magic. His magic? He's unhappy. Another strike puts me on my knees, and I clasp the harp and huddle to it. This is more painful. Why is this so hard?!
There occurs sobbing. "Stop with the lightning already!" shrieks Nall. "Stop it, stop it, stop it!" He won't draw closer, but... the lightning abates. And I drag myself back up. Not overly hurt, but... shaken, worn, tired. I want my Luna. I must focus.
The next strike doesn't throw me off my feet, and Nall watches through teary eyes. Alex will do this, he mouths. And I will. There is more walking to be done. I am close, closer than anyone else can get, closer than anyone will get if not me. Strides occur.
"Where is the light? Lead... me... to the light, Alex!"
The outside is the light, Luna! Love is the light too! Please! Listen to me!
She either listens or she does not; three quick strikes, and I stagger. Nall shouts for the barrage to cease again and I can't tell if Luna is listening. She will. I'm way too far to lose now. Hear that, darkness. It will take more than this. You'll have to throw everything you've got at me because I'm coming. This is the lightning, this is what it is. You're trying to deter me, hm? Watch the deterrence!
See these steps I make. Do I seem put out? I have my song and I have my love to get and no strands of magic will separate that, or us, not now, not ever.
"Please... Alll... exxx! Help me remember... ...our song..."
Have I got through? I am mere steps away. The lightning occurs once again quickly. I can't hear Nall crying for things to make sense, for justice. I can't, because my head is ringing. All I can hear, is all Luna can hear. That is the harp's music. That is our song.
"Who are you? Your power shields you from my spells! Don't come any closer! Stay there!"
He goes closer anyway.
"No, get back, get away, one more step and you die!"
Alex thinks about that briefly, and does not believe it. For as soon as he approaches, the spell will be gone. She puts up lightning around herself. And Alex? Alex throws himself at it.
A scream sounds. Nall shakes his head slightly and Alex is momentarily blinded, but something falls into his arms and the light subsides, to reveal one Luna, peeking up at him.
"Alex? It's really you! I was... trapped in a terrible nightmare.. it was dark, and I was so cold and alone, but I never doubted that you could come and rescue me, not even for a minute..."
Nall's already halfway across the gap. The others aren't far behind.
"Oh Alex... Alex..."
People go their different ways a lot after such circumstances. Everyone fighting for the common cause, as well as their different things, of course. Jessica goes back to Mel. Mia and Nash return to the survivors of Vane. Kyle gains a shirt with a picture much too cute for his own good. He also, to everyone's surprise, gains Jess. Ramus gets his female store clerks, proving that 1500 silver does go a long way. Laike gains the ability to walk off into the sunset. Because hey, everyone's wanted to do that. Ho ho ho.
Alex and Luna gain each other, and Nall gets his peace, happiness, and friends. Alex keeps the gear, simply because right now there's no other place for it. Docility reigns.
...well, except for the fact there only seems to be one dragon left anywhere.
But there shall be more.
Back to the Library of Vane.
Back to the Shrine to Ghaleon.