ICSYL Scourge

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"E...Eh?! Hey, bird brain, get back heeeeeeeeeeeeere!!!!" Noe shouted at the top of her lungs, dropping her arms to her sides in a miniature pouting session. She sat on the ground, gently licking the blood she found on her greave, before both of them dissipated into violet energy.

Carla shouted out the new orders, and Noe reluctantly obeyed them, since there were no more enemies left to play with. Folding her arms, she let out a small "Mmmph!" before walking away with her arms crossed tightly in front of her chest. She pouted grumpily as she began scouting ahead, towards the city.
Nacim made his way over Arcadia, looking down on it as he passed. It was perhaps one of the last great cities, even he found it a sight to behold how it held up over the years.

The first thing they all would all see before entering Arcadia was the gate, the large steel gate to the city. It was usually closed. It was a new addition to the city, meant to keep creatures and bandits out and anyone else from wandering outside the city. It was open for now so the ABC members and the Civilians could get back in. Afterwards it would be closed. No one could afford to take chances in this age. Merchants and travelers could get in provided they sent messages ahead of time or spoke with the gatekeeper and provided proof they were not bandits.

The crown jewel of the city was of course, the Arcadian Arena!


A magnificent structure that stood the test of time. This was the Arena. It had seen better day. For now it was just used for ABC training exercises. In old times it would be packed full of people waiting to see thrilling fights. Duo and The Professor were two of the most famous fighters it had to offer but when the world ended, fighting wasn't something people would waste their time on anymore. You had to fight to survive if you weren't lucky enough to be living in a place as safe as Arcadia. Yet even that was changing with the war looming.

People longed for those days before the war, when you could just go to the Arena for entertainment to forget your troubles even just for a little bit. Those days were long gone now. The Arena, just like many other places in the world would never be the same again. There was no escape from the end of the world and the consequences of it.

Another key landmark was Arcadia's radio tower, it was state of the art and one of the first of it's kind made in the world! It looked no fancier than an average radio tower but it was one of the few left now. It still was able to pick up and broadcast signals. There weren't many hosts out there left broadcasting, aside from ones inside Arcadia. They were mostly about politics and the state of the world. There wasn't much music left after the war. Few musicians remained still active or alive in the world. Yet even in these troubled times there still was a high demand for new music and a scene for it.

The most vital location to the city would have to be the the ABC base. It was an enormous structure that contained living quarters, the Professor's Lab, a medical facility and an armory. It was even built by the railroad station to ease the travelling of supplies from Lavion. Rumors say the top secret weapon's vault also was accessible from the base but only Zigus knew and a few others knew the truth behind that story. Regardless, the base was also very impressive but not open to just anyone. Zigus was a kind man but not a foolish one. Only active ABC troops, personnel or relatives were ever allowed in.

Near the ABC base was the government office. It was rather bare bones relative to how extraordinary the rest of the city was. This was where Zigus and politicians working under him could be found. They managed the city's problems like the food supply and relations with places such as Lavion, now the only country not in the war. However, Lavion was on good terms with the ABC, they would help be willing to help them out or so Zigus hoped. Nacim made his landing near this exact building.

He walked into the building and told a secretary working there,"Commander Nacim. I am hear to visit Zigus." The secretary was a bit startled out but recognized soon after and let him inside Zigus's office.

There he was. The leader of the ABC and of Arcadia as a whole. General Zigus himself! He was an old earth beast, maybe in his sixties at the latest. He was still rather large being an earth beast and all. Despite his age, he was lively and determined to protect Arcadia. It was all he had left, the wars and their ensuing destruction killed every family member he had. It brought him despair. Yet he did not give up on life. He at least had this city to look after still.

That is what he did. He focused all his energy on it. It was perhaps the only thing keeping him around in this world. He loved the people of Arcadia like a family and they returned the sentiment. His hatred of war kept them safe for many years until now. This time it was unavoidable.

"Commander Nacim. Please, tell me what has happened, what was the meaning of the distress signal? Are they all ok?" His concern was clear. Zigus worried and feared for the lives of the people involved.

"The mission went awry when Carla found out there was an ambush. Luckily Edward ruined the ambush and broke up the ALF forces. The others split up from Carla, 13 and Bart. They were attacked by the OOA lead by the Emerald Eagle herself, Sheena. I despise the OOA but at least she prevented us from suffering any innocent causalities. All of our forces are present and accounted for, Zigus thanks to our intervention the OOA forces retreated. The ALF forces were beaten and forced to retreat by the others as well."

"I am glad to hear it. It's a relief. I regret not sending more forces to guard them all and holding a conference on such a day. They truly caught us off guard. It's troubling to think they'd act so cowardly. Thank you Nacim. Submit your full report to me as soon as you can get a hold of the members. But also, what of the field test? Did The Professor's device work?"
Zigus responded.

Nacim spoke feigning interest in the device,"Yes Sir, it did. It will be a great thing once she finalizes it. It'd be amazing on a large scale. I believe she will create an airship that can purity the land next. " Nacim didn't really care about restoring the world. Revenge was the main thing on his mind. He believed there would be no point in such a device with the ALF and OOA around. They would be willing to ruin the world even more to advance their goals, they already had in Nacim's eyes. He'd been a victim of their atrocities.

"Very good.. Well then that's all I need for now, you are dismissed Commander Nacim. I just wish we could avoid this war.. We are not ready for this but we have no choice in the matter. I'll just have to get into contact with our allies. Lavion. We will need their support more than ever...." Zigus said, happy with some of the news but disturbed by the rest. He knew the ABC winning a war against the two other factions was neigh impossible.

Nacim nodded and left the room. However he was somewhat happy with the turn of events. He thought to himself, "Yes..This war..It will give me a chance. Those men and women who died that day for nothing! The slaves and the poor in ALF turf, continuously beaten down no matter how hard they work. I will avenge all of them!!! No matter what I have to do to secure our victory, we'll win this war! The OOA and ALF will cease to exist soon enough!"

Of course his only regret was Sheena. He wanted her to either be on his side or to at least quit the OOA. Neither of which was going to happen. He just hoped he would not run into her again or that she would see the truth, that was their only chance of not being forced to kill each other. He had to find a better solution it seemed, otherwise she would interfere in his goals.

He left the office and flew outside the city. He had a few contacts he had to get "in touch" with. They would need all the help they could get and Nacim was willing to work with just about anyone. He just had to be sneaky about it so no one would find out.
Renault nodded and laid his hand above the wound. Soon it began to glow a faint blue aura as Renault's magic emanated from his hands and worked on knitting the flesh back together. Soon, the skin was smooth beneath the ripped clothing, the dried blood around the wound the only sign that there had ever been an injury. Luckily the wound had been light enough to not cause any scarring, being relatively simple to restore back to normal. With that Renault took his leave after accepting thanks for his services. They had all been ordered to head towards the city and, after seeing that all others were more or less taken care of, he too began traveling towards the city that rose from the horizon.

It had been a while since Renault had been in such a big city, having kept himself mostly to the small villages that could hardly fend for themselves. He was unaccustomed to the large gate and walls that Arcadia boasted and had used to keep upright even during the war. He could sense the magical barriers that had been erected to prevent a sudden magical attack. In this way, the city was fortified against both forms of attacks. One could never be too prepared, and in a city this large, there were too many civilians at risk to afford any lax in security.

As Renault passed beneath the arched gateway, a headache flashed across his mind. Wincing, he leaned against the stonework that held up the defenses, and for a moment, he was blinded with pain. And then it was gone as soon as it had come. Renault knew he would have to drink soon, the headache a sign of withdrawals. They seemed to be occurring more and more often as he required more to drink with each night. It was a vicious cycle that appeared to have no end. Renault took a moment to cast a spell on himself, one that would clear his mind of any more headaches, at least until the night where he could be alone.

Looking around, he wondered where he would be needed, or if he was free to do as he wished. Renault rarely had free time, as he always put others in front of himself. It was what his monastery had taught him. Deciding that he should see if the barriers needed any up keeping, he found his way up the stairs of the gate, and worked on finding the man in charge to offer his services.
Sheena had once again gotten away. That single harpy that would search effortlessly for those that would defy her Goddess’ will had once again retreated to her arms. With that the fight was over, everyone was in retreat, Carla had given orders to return to Arcadia. It was where he was heading in the first place but perhaps this detour was worth it. The young lady he had seen battling with her had once again taken an entirely different style of aura. It was intriguing to find these unique individuals, something so close to his own past.

It took him awhile to catch up with the nimble lass. He had almost had to break into a run to catch up. However, he was now within earshot of her again with the Arena approaching in the distance. ”An interesting application of knowledge in that last fight. Surely at least…one of you must be worn down.” Edward smirked as he was trying to get a lock on all Noe’s personalities; three…maybe four or even more. The idea was simply unseen recently. Either one was righteous or logical, torn or tortured, there had been very little to choose from. Perhaps this girl could…satiate his appetite for tonight. ”Perhaps you could accompany me to my office in Arcadia for a checkup?”
The keeper of the gate was a eleven spell-caster. Cyril was his name and he had quite a bit of wisdom with regards to maintaining the barriers. He appeared to be around thirty three but he was an elf, he was probably much older. He looked very scholarly and professional. He knew what he was doing and never slacked on the job. If he did, people could die after all. He could not bear to have that kind of thing on his conscious. He always did his best and tested the barriers regularly.

He thus took on more of an over-seer role for the most part as his light magic was not his strongest suit; it was earth elemental magic he truly specialized in. He used to handle a similar but smaller set of barriers for the Arena had many years ago. "Ah, well then Renault. If you wish to help me, then there is a way indeed. Can you try to enhance the magic barriers in place right now? I feel as if they need it. We'll do a test to make sure they're good as soon as we're finished."

Lowe, Carla, The Professor, Duo, Bart and a few others made their way back to the ABC base finally. It was time for them to take a bit of a break until they had orders.

"Ah. Thanks to Renault I can focus here. Lowe, you're free to do what you want as you've done your part. The ALF and the OOA aren't gonna take this lying down. As for that cannon, I can take that little toy off your hands Carla! I'll look at it, maybe I can find some flaws we can exploit or see if we could use it to reverse engineer more if it's worth it. I really want to know what they're thinking of building. Couldn't just be a normal cannon like this, they must have bigger things planned. I don't like it."

Carla handed the cannon over but Duo took it instead. "I still think you need to take it easy babe! I'll handle this piece of crap!! I don't get these humans, this thing could never top raw power! Imagine if they had real weapons, like my bare fists! Who needs this over-sized thing? Not me!" Duo boasted, not respecting ALF technology in the slightest. The Professor sighed but accepted his help.

The Professor spoke to Lowe again,"And I was serious back there. I will tell Zigus about your good work.. Urgh, they just had to ruin our plans to begin restoring the world. I'm happy no Arcadian lives were lost but with those bastards on our soil, it's only a matter of time. We all have to do our part and I'm gonna do mine. I can't wait to get pay-back for what that flying floozy did to me! I'll make my children proud again and redeem myself! I'll talk to you later, Lowe! Me and Duo have business to attend to in the lab!" Duo nodded. They made their way towards the Lab's entrance, plotting ways to deal with the ALF and the OOA.

Lowe bid them farewell,"Thank you again Professor Blaze, take care both of you!" With that, Lowe, Carla and Bart made their way into the living quarters. They went into the recreation room for now.

The recreation room wasn't that special but it did have a radio at least. It was perhaps one of the last forms of entertainment and news out there. Before Lowe could turn it on though, he sat down with Carla on one of the sofas. Bart sat on the one opposite to the two and faced Lowe.

"So you ran into The Emerald Eagle herself?" Bart questioned.Lowe nodded as he said bluntly, "Yeah. She was out of our league.. Its a good thing she's actually quite civil and not as barbaric as the rest of the OOA, otherwise those civilians would all be dead now...Noe did actually manage to hit her a few times and draw blood. Maybe Edward could have done something to her too if he had the chance. The rest of us were not as successful. I need to come up with something myself to actually hit those Wind Beasts when they're up in the air like that."

"Yes. We can be thankful for that. My family and I always lived in Lynor Peak but we knew all about Shrivisk. It was the motherland of the Wind Beasts and where most of us lived.. I had hoped to go there one day before the war broke out. I never got to see the Great King Shine they spoke of. Sheena was to be his queen. The war ruined everything for them, they lost so many and got desperate to the point they joined with the OOA just to survive. They couldn't stand living as slaves in ALF territory. I just wish they could have looked towards Arcadia for help first."

Carla agreed but stated realistically, "True but they wanted the best option for survival Bart. Teros is far away from ALF territory and is close to Lavion. Lavion would never attack them in a million years unless they did something first. It was Lavion's government that even was a part of constructing the artificial island that is Teros. Even with the leadership changes, there is no animosity between them. Yet I imagine the OOA might want to conquer Lavion soon. It'd make quite a foothold in their war against us and the ALF."

Lowe sighed,"I wish we could talk about something other than this damned war but it can't be helped. No getting around all this doom and gloom is there?"

Bart replied to Lowe, "We still are in this, Lowe. I would not despair over it yet. Of course it's doubtful we can win the war but if we make it too costly for both sides, we could hope to force them to pull out or make a non-aggression treaty with us. They want Arcadia but not badly enough to ruin their armies over. They still hate each other more than they hate us, we can use that against them."

Carla contemplated,"If only they would just destroy each other. Well now then Lowe..Maybe it's time to turn on the radio. Let's see what else is going on out there in this world." Carla turned on the radio.

At first it picked up static but Carla found a station. "It is I, Littio S. Thompson! Your gracious host! Here with more commentary on current events. We've been following the stories of mangled and charred remains of travelers being found all over Shintaion, Ashland and even around Lavion. We don't know what manner of foul creature has been slaughtering these people but it has been narrowed down by the experts. It's theorized to be surviving Dark Beasts or an unidentified monster of some kind. All we know is the attacks are eerily similar and the few survivors were never able to quite make out what it was that attacked them."

The radio host continued, "So what we have to tell our viewers is simple. Don't go travelling out at night, always travel with protection and trained fighters, casters and even a healer. Most importantly don't leave home without a weapon! These are dangerous times indeed, remember when travelling used to be a hobby? Those days are gone. I recommend just staying where you are, with this war looming it's not gonna be safe even in the day time to be travelling. You could end up a slave of the ALF or brainwashed by the OOA. Same thing really. Beats being monster food but it's still a fate I'd wish upon none of my faithful listeners! Anyone who does not listen regularly though I don't really care- ah just kidding!"

He ended this segment, "This brings me to my next subject. If that thing turns out to be a Dark Beast, well I told you so. Those things are no different from monsters, they live to fight and kill. That's it, no culture aside from making "paintings" using blood of their victims. It could just one of those sick beasts wanting to get kicks out of killing innocent people. Those old dead fools bombed most of us just to kill those damn things, it better have worked or the world ended for nothing, not a damn thing! I am praying to the Gods that those Dark Beasts aren't living underneath us still, ready for round two of the war. If round one ended the world, imagine what another dose would be like. All they'd need is a few surviving females to wage a comeback one of these days."

His rant continued, "They can just breed with Forbidden Beasts after all, their genes are dominant over them in most cases. Means if a normal beast and a dark beast bred, most of the offspring would be Dark Beasts easily. Scary thoughts, scary thoughts ladies and gentlemen. It's why I want Zigus to enact anti-dark beast laws, we don't want breeders in our midst. Female Dark Beasts should be executed on the spot to prevent them from returning from extinction! That is what I believe is right. If a new dark beast invasion happens, well you heard it here first. I will gladly-"

Angrily Lowe changed the station,"This guy is a nut!How could he say things like that? He's just fear-mongering! He doesn't even know how hard Carla works to keep Arcadia safe!!! He doesn't even know she exists if he's spewing rancid filth like that! To deny a whole race the right to exist!! It's unacceptable. Carla, your sister, my mother and my siblings! Every Dark Beast I knew proved him wrong! The real monsters are the people who made and dropped those goddamn bombs! Who honestly thought that was a good idea?! It was just mutual assured destruction!! They killed so many innocents with it! My family, they'd all still be here if they hadn't done it! I want to march down there and take this idiot off the air!" He could not contain it, it was truly getting to him.

Trying to calm Lowe, Carla put her arms around him, "Lowe. It upsets me too. But yelling at the radio won't educate him on the truth of the matter. He is wrong and no one would support such a law.. I am sure he doesn't know me, I cannot just waltz out in public all the time being a dark beast. We just have to accept not everyone will share our views. At least here in Arcadia, we have the freedom to express ourselves like that. The ALF wouldn't permit it and the OOA kills anyone who dares to speak out against Lucia."

"Now. Change it to a music station. I think we've had enough talk of war, death and paranoia for one day." Lowe agreed and flipped around until he found a song they liked. A relaxing jazz tune of some sort.

Bart felt rather awkward after the whole thing. It made him feel bad for not getting involved in the war, just hiding with his family as the world fell apart. He did say to them, "It's not important who is to blame for the fate of the world. We can't change the past. What matters is moving forward, how we are going to get the world back to normal. I know we can feel good at least, we're trying to do our part. It's just up to the OOA and the ALF to make the right choices as well. No one in their right mind wants another war like the last, no one."

"Yeah..You're both right. I just can't stand it sometimes. Sorry I lost my temper there." Lowe apologized. They both accepted the apology of course. It was understandable, he had dark beast blood in his veins too.

A smooth talking radio host spoke, "And now a classic hit from Nero-Art Band, an upbeat tune for all you out who just need a pick me up in these tough times." An upbeat song began to play. While it lacked vocals, it had a great beat to it.

Carla recognized it. "This one. The first one I ever heard from the surface. Lowe played it for me on the old record player." It reminded her of fond memories, of olden times and thus did trigger some emotion in her. She liked it and turned the volume up. Lowe smiled at her, also recognizing it. They had to enjoy this little brief remaining period of peace while it lasted. Who was to say they'd get another chance like this ever again?
Noe peered over her shoulder as Edward creeped his way over to her or something. She arched her body backwards, peering at Edward's face from an awkward angle. His face was almost directly above her from the bending she was doing.

"Heeeeeeeey, old guy, why are you soooooooooooo creepy?~" She asked in a sing-song voice, not paying much attention to anything he was saying or doing until he said the magic words.

”An interesting application of knowledge in that last fight. Surely at least…one of you must be worn down... Perhaps you could accompany me to my office in Arcadia for a checkup?”

"Ooooooooooooooooooh?~ You sure do think a lot, ya' know that? And you sound so creeeeeeeeepyyyyyyyy, misteeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrr.... Buuuuuuuut as long as there's candyyyyyyyyyyy~" She teased Edward, smiling that unfitting smile before she finally returned to a standing position, skipping ahead gleefully, without a care in the world.
She'd have some fun, because in the end, she'd get her treat somehow...
The fight with the OOA turned out very good no one was hurt badly from the ABC and the civilians that they had to protect were all fine, Alexandra wasn't hurt from the fight it went out with ease. Alexandra was with the others she never talked a lot with them but still she had to know better her comrades, she wasn't in the mood of talking this days she was in a bad condition thinking for her mother and father.

Alexandra made her way with the others to Arcadia, she was separated with them walking behind the others, she didn't want to talk with them right now and didn't want to fight again but what could she do the war was still going on and she had to fight for freedom. When she entered the base with the others she took another path walking to the bar, it wasn't a bar really it was like a very small place that offered drinks to the one that needed some rest, it was just a bar with no tables, you had to sit where the bartender was making the drinks and there were a few chairs there. Alexandra went there sitting on one of the chairs, no one was there she thought that the other peoples were working. She said to the bartender "Whiskey, big" She waited for the bartender to give her the drink, when he gave it to her she dried the whole glass in one shot and ordered for a second.
"Yes, of course. If you would take me to the barrier maintenance room, I can get started right away." Renault took the lead of the gatekeeper as they twisted through the hallways that wound through the walls that shielded the city. Soon they reached an open room that appeared to be empty with the lone exception of a pedestal for a book and a circle with a star within it. Each point of the star had a smaller circle on it, to indicate where the spellcaster should stand for any number of barrier spells that required multiple participants. However, Renault was only here to bolster the pre-existing spells, not to make new ones.

Bidding the gatekeeper good day, as the elf had other matters to attend to, Renault began to get to work. He could feel the magical energies crackling through the air that would be lost on someone who was not in touch with magic. Standing in the center of the circle, he outstretched his arms and closed his eyes, feeling the energy that surrounded him, looking for the center of it all. It wasn't hard to find, a dense sphere that exploded outwards and would eventually encompass the city. Probing it, he shot traces of magic throughout the barrier, searching for any weak points or areas that might have given out completely. Luckily, there were no holes, and only a few patches that were wearing thin that were relatively easy to fix.

However, Renault had come for more than this, the barrier was relatively crude, at least to Renault's standards, and he inhaled deeply, calling forth his magical energy within him. He began muttering a spell that he had memorized, having no need to recite it from a spellbook. The air began to grow thick and soon arcs formed in the air as it became even more charged with power. Taking the barrier in place, he carefully began manipulating it, making sure not to collapse it, as that would have hazardous effects, the most notable being destroying the room with all the energy used to form the barrier in the first place.

Focusing deeply, Renault intertwined his magic with the one of the barrier, twisting it into a larger sphere than before. Using basic hand and arm gestures that aided in the manipulation of the magic, he began to spread it out, recreating a new barrier that improved upon the old, akin to molding dough. He gently worked his barrier into the form of the old one, a few rivulets of sweat forming on his brow as he worked. He would be tired tonight, but the barrier much improved. He would hope so, Renault hadn't spent the years studying magic for the purpose of being outdone by some earth mage. This was his forte, and he planned to prove it.
Teros. An artificial island made by the Lavion government. It was one of the most advanced projects ever put forth and it turned out to be a great success. It created much needed land for people to live on. Teros proved to be a target to the dark beasts during the war though. It had been used to store some of the aura bombs before they were armed and put onto airships. Teros was not directly bombed but was left in shambles when dark beasts managed to shot down one airship armed with an aura bomb. One bomb was all it took to bring Teros to its knees.

It easily allowed Lucia and her followers to take power over the island. She started off small and humble, just healing people but got greedy fast. She wanted more, to be worshiped and above all other people in the world. She soon had her wish. With the people so dependent and devoted to her, she forced them to overhaul an old cathedral. It became her home and her base of operations, while it looked ghastly on the outside it was something of a paradise on the interior.


It was one of the wonders of the world, an old cathedral still standing like that. Lucia loved it so much she flaunted it and opened it to the public to provide healing occasionally. This was one such day. A crowd of people gathered outside the old structure just for a chance to be healed by the Great Lucia. Mostly humans and elves remained, as demons and forbidden beasts were more important by her standards. Some were crippled or even blind, some were slowly dying and some only had hours left to live. Some accompanied with loved ones and family while others were alone.

Lucia Aegle stood proud by the entrance to her cathedral. Dressed modestly and properly in holy robes. She had immense beauty and looked to be unusually young, in her twenties. Her bewitching red eyes captivated many followers, as did her charisma. Her guardians and most faithful servants surrounded her and catered to her every whim. Food, water or treasures of any kind, she had it all handed to her. She truly was a Goddess to them all here, at least on Teros.

A young human girl was next in line. She was bald, suffering from a form of cancer. She could not have been more than seven years old. She weakly asked, "Lady Lucia can you please heal me? Please?" Lucia used some of her energy to attempt to heal the child, hitting her with a soothing healing wave. In the end though, it seemed to be ineffective as the girl did not really react to it at all.

"I fear it is beyond my power to help you. I'm sorry. Yet if you pray to the Gods, perhaps they will listen. I will speak with them on your behalf, little girl. May the Gods watch over your poor soul. I wish I could heal all your pain away but sometimes the Gods test our faith in them."
Lucia said to the child. It made a frown grow on her face as she walked back to her mother, very depressed about it all.

The mother of the child yelled at Lucia, "I thought you could heal anything!!!! Is that all you're going to do for her? Is this some sort of-"

"I told you I am sorry, even my power has limits. Or perhaps it is part of punishment from the Gods that your daughter must suffer for your sins! Guards, escort her and her wonderful child out of here safely!"
Lucia shouted. She could not afford to tarnish her image after all. The guards pointed their swords at the mother's neck and ushered them to a "safe location" to dispose of them there.

She concluded her healing services for today leaving them with a few last remarks, "I must depart for now! Come back tomorrow and I shall provide healing to all whom are in need. May the Gods watch over you all!May their radiance shown down upon you all! I pray for you all and have nothing but love for you all, my subjects!!!!"

Even though she did not tend to them all, some of them ate it right up. They would return the next day. Sadly not all of them survived the wait as a few corpses littered the ground. Lucia's followers quickly began to gather the bodies up to dispose of them in the ocean. Lucia would be enraged otherwise; she could not stand the foul stench they would leave behind. It was also truly unbecoming of a Goddess to have dead bodies on the doorstep. Giving them graves though was just not worth her time. No one would even remember or know they died that day waiting, it would all be kept under wraps.

Some of her followers departed and now only her bodyguard surrounded her, Arabella, a light beast covered up in robes, rendering her nearly impossible to identify. No one knew who she truly was; she was called Lucia's Shadow. She was always there and always watching over her. She seldom spoke a single word and when she did it was only to Lucia. She had always been there for Lucia and never seemed to speak against or oppose her; a totally loyal servant with seemingly no will of her own.

She whispered to her, "Humans are so hideous without their hair. Don't you think so Arabella? I fear I may need to bathe so I do not catch whatever horrid disease she was afflicted with! Not even worth the energy to try curing it! She'll die in a few days, dragging her fading life on would be futile. Humans don't deserve to be healed. I grow weary of healing so many; these people need to learn to fend for themselves!!! Being a Goddess is tiring."

The two of them went inside the cathedral and entered Lucia's personal quarters, a most luxurious place with mirrors all around. Paintings of Lucia covered the rest of the walls. There was even a bath-room in the back with a large bathing spa. Before she could dismiss Arabella, a knock came at the door. Lucia opened it up without a second thought.

"Ah, Sheena, my regal and beautiful Emerald Eagle!You caught me at a good time! How did your mission go? Did you convert those Arcadian heathens to our side? Did you show them the light?"
Lucia questioned.

Sheena bowed before Lucia and responded,"Lady Lucia. I regret to inform you they resisted. We lost a few on our side and we had to retreat. They overwhelmed us; they had that grotesque demon on their side. I also was caught up in a fight with a troubled young demon girl, she has potential. I take full responsibly for the mission's failure."

Lucia did not seem too bothered by it at all. "Oh that's fine, Sheena. It must be in plans of the Gods; it is not your fault. The weapons vault holds something that would help in my quest to become a true Goddess, yet it may be just myth. The land is what interests me most; Teros was made by the hands of men. I want a holy land made by the Gods to be mine. Now do hurry Sheena, is there anything else you wish to discuss before I go? I must purify my body in the sacred water soon."

She looked hesitant but found the strength to finally ask, "Lady Lucia...Could you please look into the Purging incident again? I want to know the truth-"

Lucia cut her off,"I know how you loved and treasured King Shine. He has ascended into the heavens as a hero of his country. I still regret the decisions made that day. Shrivisk is not under our control and we cannot afford to waste time and resources on it. We have to focus on the war, dear Sheena. Pray for his soul, prayer is all we can offer him for now! Please you must go! Rest for now. May the Gods watch over you and bring peace to your soul, dear Sheena! You must move in in your life and become an even greater warrior for our cause!"

Sheena was troubled by Lucia's response and left the room."Why...Why will she not answer me about it? Can I really trust her any longer? Even if I did suspect she had a part in it, I...Can't betray the Order..Where would my people go? My niece? I..am powerless to act and I have no proof aside from Shine's testimony. Yet he would never come back to our side. There has to be something I can do...." She thought as she departed from the cathedral, clearly frustrated with this turn of events.

Lucia then sat on her throne as she spoke to Arabella. "Oh my, one of my dolls trying to break free. We might have to dispose of her like the last one. It is so sad that the Gods have decided to test her loyalty. I truly loved Sheena. She was a great figurehead hero. Yet it may be time to sacrifice her. It would sadden the masses and her people but give them the will-power to win this war. Ohohoho. It troubles me as to who or what put such thoughts in her head. No one should have survived that day, no one."

Arabella whispered something to Lucia, amusing her. "Sheena's niece, Sienna. So innocent, so skilled, so young and so easy to manipulate. She will be the next successor. Sheena did not allow her to join our fighting force but...She will not be able to say no to a personal request from the Goddess Lucia! This way we can keep Sheena loyal to us long enough. If she falters, hesitates or even tries to join the enemy, her poor little niece's life will be forfeit. That will be her divine punishment for defying a Goddess!"
13 was on a hunting trip on one of Azull's mountains. It was where most living things could be found now. Gallow and Solemn Forest were presumed under ALF control thus this was perhaps one of the few safe hunting grounds left now. Even the monsters one could hunt here were deemed safe to eat. Dangerous monsters such as the giant spiders called Aracs couldn't handle the cold climate. Ice Dragons that used to inhabit the mountains were extinct as well, having been used in the war by the Dark Beasts as mounts.

Yet it was also unsafe to an extent as well. It was rather rash to go out on a trip like this alone. Yet while everyone was resting, 13 thought more of the future. They had to hunt now as once full scale war broke out it would devastate and scare off the wild-life. Despite everyone warning him against it, he still went. He figured he survived the war, what could possibly kill him out here?

Right as he was about to use one of his guns on a lone deer, he saw birds fleeing from the trees and heard a roar. His prey soon became terrified and fled immediately. "What the hell? What could cause all this?" 13 was paralyzed with fear himself.

It was too late for him to get out of there as soon he saw the very thing that was spoken of on the radio. All he could do was cry out in horror. He hadn't seen anything like this; nothing that horrific existed in the war. There was no chance anyone would find him in time. Yet what little courage he had left he used now to try to confront this abomination that stood before him. It was immediately clear it was life or death this time.

Back in Arcadia.

Nacim had finally returned from his little trip. He met with a contact in Azull, an ally of Sami's pirates. They were all old friends of Nacim's from back in his ALF days as a slave. When he left, they followed. Yet they were not willing to join the ABC, they wanted to continue their attacks on the ALF instead of being neutral. Nacim talked them out of such foolishness and instead they patrolled the west coast near Azull, free to raid ALF vessels that got too close to Shintaion; provided they could dispose of the victims and the vessels properly and leave little evidence that is.

It was a good partnership it seemed. They were free to seek refuge on the continent and they were like a supplementary naval force to the ABC, although not formally approved by the ABC. The ALF was afraid to send invasion forces as several scout vessels disappeared near the west coast. The pirates even became seen as heroes to the people of Azull. They went from being hopeless slaves to being "heroic protectors". They even known to combat bandits they encountered patrolling the coasts, albeit for personal gain and good publicity instead of out of good-will. They had to stay on the good side of the people since Azull was the only home they had now.

There were even rumors the ABC would try to assimilate them into their ranks as part of a naval division. This was despite how they were anything but model citizens. They had little regard for ALF life sparing only the slaves, everyone else was fair game to mutilate and rob. They were wretched allies to have but in times like this; it was better to ally with the devil you knew than the devils you didn't. They didn't trouble the citizens of Shintaion and Lavion so the ABC and Lavion turned a blind eye to their actions.

However things were different this time. Nacim had bad news to share, Sami and her pirates all were missing. Perhaps the ALF finally caught up with them and sank their vessel. Either way, the contact saw ALF boats moving freely now, it was a sign they could finally attempt an invasion. Nacim had to relay this information to Zigus and the others.

Nacim first passed the message onto Zigus as he arrived in his office. "This does not bode well at all Nacim. We have no naval force to stop them. Field Marshal Hanja is with his family in Azull right now. Make sure all ABC personnel are informed as well; they must be made aware of this. I just wonder if they'll start immediately with Azull or the ruins of the city."

Nacim nodded and took off to the base quickly and had the man operating the intercoms speak into them. "Attention all ABC personnel, be informed that you all are to be on stand-by, an ALF attack on Azull area is imminent. All combat personnel should be prepared to be called upon! Rest is recommended while there is still time to do so."

Hearing this over the intercom wasn't quite enough for Carla and Lowe to change their plans. They were still going to enjoy the time they had before calling it a night. The ALF wouldn't be ready that soon anyhow, or so they thought. There also was growing concern over 13's whereabouts as he was nowhere to be found. He had told some of them he was hunting but no one was in good enough shape to really go with him or willing to do so. It was a hasty mistake on his part, an impulsive decision that 13 would pay for. For the most of the ABC though, it was a time to rest perhaps.

In addition to this, a more generalized message was also sent out at the intercom near the gates to insure everyone heard, "Attention all citizens, travel to Azull will be restricted effective immediately. All ABC personnel are to be on stand-by! I repeat, all ABC personnel are to be on stand-by! An attack ALF attack on Azull is neigh!"
Arcadia didn’t seem to slow even with the war between the two factions going on. It was a sort of organized oasis in the wasteland of Shintaion. Noe had been following Edward as they made their way to his office. It also doubled as his temporary home for his small visits to Arcadia. Coltier had become a sort of danger zone as it lay in the middle of several OOA contraband search parties all of which had at least met him once. Devil they had called him and with these religious nuts they have remembered his form well. On the door ahead was a simple plaque with ‘Dr. Irodin’ written on it. To his surprise the door had been unlocked, he guessed that the ABC commanders were rummaging through his stuff again as they were prone to do. However, this time would not be such a case.

Maybe it was the way the room had been left alone, or perhaps his papers not written on, or the smell of perfume; instead there was the glaring fact that he had no payment on his desk like usual. There was an intruder, one he knew. A long time ago, someone from his past, someone that had intrigued him like this girl once before. ”I thought this was over Madesi.” He called out. From around the corner in the kitchen a younger looking woman with straight, shining brown hair had appeared. She wore a simple black shirt with a slightly low cut and some trendy looking black pants with a belt to top it off. It held all sorts of odd concoctions, words of spells, ingredients, a very offensive and well prepared mage by the looks of it.

”Evening Edward. I just came by to get a few things before taking off again.”
”You sure weren’t looking for anything in particular, you would have found it a long time ago if it was simple. Besides last I heard you were going to join up with the ALF.”Edward said organizing a few papers on his desk next to him.
”You know she wouldn’t allow that. After all, that’s practically the only reason I’m here.” Edward seemed to smile at the mention of this mystery host.
”To be honest I cannot believe you two have made it this far. After all not too long ago you much resembled my new guest here.” He nodded toward Noe.

”Who is she your new girlfriend?” Madesi had joked. ”Doesn’t matter you’ll end up just using her like you did me.”
”I never used you, it was just a coping mechanism, I should know you are the only two left that exist. Now are you going to trouble me anymore or are you going to get out of my sight?” She seemed to look insulted as she started to leave. Suddenly Madesi had stopped, her shoulders had started to shake. ”Madesi?”
”I cannot just up and leave you behind Edward.” She said her voice becoming softer and more loving. Her face also softened and Edward even became less offensive.
”It is nice to see you too Sister.” She had buried her head into his arms.

”I don’t want to be involved in this big war. Madesi is just being selfish again.” It was then that Edward had an idea. He had wanted to study, and more importantly feast upon, the dreams of the unique. There were two very good subjects and meals next to him.
”Look how about you follow me around for awhile, perhaps a month or so. You can pretend to be my nurse on duty. You an also help me explain this girl here.” Edward nodded to Noe who had been fairly silent. ”After all you both share similar conditions.”
Noe watched this girl "Madesi" argue with Edward, saying nothing. She was simply enjoying the show! The girl seemed to change shift from being angry to being loving and pathetic.

"Ooooh, you two are lovers?! Edward and Desi, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Ewww, but you two are brother and sister? Yuck yuck yuck!" She let out a crazy little giggle as she taunted the pair.

"Isn't that illegal, too?! You two are crazy, crazzy crazycrazycrazyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy~! At least you're not boring like this guy!" She was comparing Madesi to Edward, of course.

"Nurse on duty! Does she get to help the people I kill? Noooooooooope~ When I kill people, they die! Ya' can't help dead people, silly! Didn't you learn that in school, dumb dumb! Lesson number one! People die when they are killed!" She started laughing again, being obnoxiously loud and beginning to skip around the room with that childlike grace.

"Awwww, you're going to explain me?~ You shouldn't have! Oh well, at least make sure you buy me dinner first, 'cuz I'm just nooooot that kind of giiiiiiiiiiiirllllllllll~! Dirty dirty boy! I should cut you, mmmhmm! That's how I punish everyone! Cut cut cut! Cut cut cut! Cutcutcutcutcutcutcutcutcutcutcutcutcut!, ahahahahahaha!!!"
Teros was not lacking in activity either. They were preparing to counter the ALF but to get OOA ground forces over there was beyond difficult given how far off it was from Arcadia. The purpose of the Wind Beasts in the OOA was to be a highly mobile force; they could travel very fast easily. While the ground OOA forces prepared themselves and schemed up ways to claim Shintaion, Sheena and the air units would be used to disrupt ALF plans to insure they failed.

They wanted the most skilled Wind Beasts for the job. Sienna Erion, Sheena's niece was one such candidate. She was only sixteen but a prodigy when it came to fighting. She was skilled in simulated battles and duels with fellow Wind Beasts that she took part in. She wanted to be in the OOA's fighting force along with her aunt Sheena. Yet Sheena did not approve, she did not want her only surviving relative to die on the battlefield and be forced to fight. She was too young for war in Sheena's opinion. The OOA wanted young people to fight as long as they were skilled enough and capable.

She was considered a marvel for her age and lived happily thanks to Sheena and Shine's efforts. She lived quite a sad life, her parents died in the war when she was just six. She had nowhere to go so Shine and Sheena took her in. They taught her everything they knew, even how to fight in case she was stuck on her own.

She learned well from them since she was such a hard worker. She was the type to never give up, to never give up hope. Her personality type was truly a dying-breed in this hopeless era. Yet she longed for more, to be a warrior just like her Aunt Sheena. To honor her fallen surrogate father, Shine as well. If she did join the war effort, she would be just like Sheena, hoping and working towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Sienna was rather sad she could not fight on the front-lines and wished one day she'd have a chance. For now she as a courier, delivering some of the most precious and time sensitive goods to those in need. The products were mostly things like herbal medicines. Medical technology in Teros was leagues behind the other world powers; it kept Lucia and her followers more relevant that way after all. Thus in some cases, lives depended on little Sienna.

She was determined to make this delivery. A human boy was suffering from pneumonia and was up to her to deliver the remedy. It had to be delivered within fifteen minutes or it would expire. She was soaring to get to the rural village in time. Finally, she was just about there with only three minutes to spare! It was her hardest delivery yet.

She had to make it to a rural village on the east coast of Teros. It was one of the harder to reach areas since the roads were still in the process of being rebuilt after the bombs. Yet for a wind beast like Sienna, it was nothing. She just had to win the race against time, something she was confident she could do.

As she came in for a landing however, she collided with a large burly demon. A demon whom was a large boar like creature clad in dark red armor and was roughly eight times her size. He yelled at her in a gruff voice, "What the hell are you thinking, little girl? Do you know who I am? An elite-"

"I'm...SORRY! Get out of the way please Mr.Sow! I don't have time, this package needs to get here NOW! A life is at stake!" The demon responded in a disgruntled tone clearly offended he was called a sow, "Who the hell do you think I am?" She flew low and pounded on the door of her clients as the demon tried to chase after her. She wasn't going to let a cow get in her way! She was focused on her mission above all us, nothing else mattered in that moment.

She made it as the door opened and she handed the package over to the family. They applied it to the young boy just in time as well. She left them with a smile and expressed her happiness, "Get well soon, kid! Don't worry about payment, first delivery is free! We all have to share and give, just like Lady Lucia says! May the Gods bless you all!" Her job made her happy, while she wasn't serving her country through fighting, she was doing it her own way. Yet she longed for more. She had all this potential, being stuck as a delivery girl for all her life was not something she wanted.

As she left however, the demon was waiting for her right outside. "You! Now I've got you! This time you'll listen to me, I am with the Order of Aegle! A servant of Lady Lucia. I am most certainly not a sow. I'm angry now, little girl! Do you know what this means?'"

"I'm...Sorry Sir. It won't happen again! I have...Never seen a pig in my whole life, honest! I don't know the difference. I take full responsibility for my rudeness and ignorance. I am Sienna Erion, just a humble courier. What can I do to make it up to you?" She didn't seem afraid or scared at all despite the intimidating appearance of the demon before her. She was rather mature for her age. Soon enough, the demon laughed and handed Sienna a letter.

"Well you passed Lady Lucia's test!!! You are totally inept at remembering barn-yard animals but you got guts, kid! This is a summons to her cathedral, you have been chosen by Lady Lucia to join the Order! That is why I just stood and let you collide with me, it was all a set up. Precede there post haste!!! Few ever get personally picked by Lady Lucia herself. To ignore it would be an insult and to insult Lady Lucia is a crime. I know you but my name is-"

Sienna nodded,"Yes sir! I will head there now. Thank you very much! Bless you, Mr.Boar guy!!! I'll catch your name later! Hehe! Sorry!" She was overcome with joy, this was her chance. To be something more than a delivery girl and to help bring order back to the world. To fly majestically with a unit of Wind Beasts like herself. Her dream came true that day. To experience that glory and sense of pride in protecting her country was priceless to her. It was where she felt like she belonged, she just felt awkward elsewhere in social situations.

She imagined her ideal future, "If Auntie Sheena is the Emerald Eagle...I'll be...The Crimson Crow! The..White Dove maybe? Oh I can't wait. I'll get my own armor and everything just like auntie! I'd be a hero to everyone here and give them all hope. We will restore the world back to it's former self and I will play my part finally!My destiny will be fulfilled! This world..It won't be like this for much longer!!!! I'll change it and carve a new destiny for it along with Auntie! Today may be bleak but...There is always hope for a better tomorrow!"

The question remained though, would she be ready for war? To kill other men and women, to see the bodies of those who failed to survive and all manner of horrors war brought with it? She was all too young perhaps. Delivering packages was far different from killing people. There was no doubt the war would change her too. She wouldn't be so cheery after experiencing war for the first time; seeing real blood split and killing someone for the first time could prove to be too much for her psyche..

Lucia did not care, it was all just a part of her plan. Whether she failed or succeeded as a soldier, Lucia could truly care less. Now Sheena would have to look after her and fight to her fullest to keep her little niece alive and well. With Shine "dead" Sienna was all Sheena had left in terms of loved ones and relatives. If something were to happen to her.....Sheena's anguish would never cease.
Mach and Ina became lost in the new technology of the airships that was accessible to them, and thus did not directly participate in the battle with the ALF. Though they were only a couple engineers out of many they could offer many improvements to the current technology with their experience in magic. The twins heard though the grapevine that ABC acquired a cannon form the skirmish with the ALF and curiosity always got the best of them.
Mach and Ina entered the lab quietly not announcing themselves. Ruby and Duo had just entered the lab and hadn't got to work on the cannon. Being the curious thieves they are stealthily stole the cannon from Duo the moment he wasn't looking and immediately began tinkering; with their toolbox beside them they could figure out almost anything in a matter of minutes, if they didn't blow anything up in the process.
When the twins worked on technology they often didn't communicate, at least not through words; there may be the occasional noise of joy or surprise but otherwise they were almost telepathic with each other.
"What the hell, Lowe? Dammit, do I really have to tell you to take a break?! You're really a troublesome protegee! Listen, I wanted a break from you. You're a good kid but I got my own worries, my own kids to look after. You know you're gonna be forever alone if you don't bond with that Carla more! She's your inamorata! Now don't enter this place without knocking next time! Oh..Sorry it's you guys." She turned around and saw it was the elf twins, not Lowe. She felt a bit embarrassed now as she had said some hasty or even mean about Lowe.

"Lowe? No way it's the twins! He's busy hanging around Carla. Poor dude, I bet she feels the same but that war ruins any chance they have. Imagine if I never had the chance to tell you how I felt. I'd just be some miserable bum. If he doesn't survive he may never get the chance to tell her. It's gotta be eating at him. Heh.. Soooo.."
Duo eyed the twins as he was a little confused on what to do now. He knew it wouldn't hurt to have their help but Ruby was the boss, he had to go with what she wanted. He was not whipped but he did not wish to get into arguments with her.

Ruby spoke to the twins, "Well Mach and Ina, since you're here. I should let you know the purification device was a success. The problem is the ALF and the OOA basically just declared war on us. So there goes the plans for building that purification airship. We'll never be able to restore the land back to the way it was until these lunatics leave us alone...."

She continued, "As for that cannon. Carla seized it from one of those ALF dogs. It was experimental or so it seems we just don't quite know what it's experimental purpose was..It looks just being a portable cannon is it's main gimmick. Maybe we'll figure that out later though..For now could you two help me take it apart? Carefully now! If we can do that...We can see what they used and maybe even make some cannons of our own! They really made a mistake letting this thing fall into our hands."
She hated making weapons like the old days but she knew this was life or death, the ABC had to be at their best to even survive this war. She then signaled to Duo to help the twins. He nodded.

He thought to himself,"We gotta lock it next time. I don't mind the twins but maybe this cannon's purpose...It may be related to Aura...Something we can't just tell anyone that we know anything about. We don't want anyone knowing about Ruby's father. That damn madman, it's his fault the world is the way it is!! Him and his damn bombs! I'm glad we took care of him before he could do something worse. If the ALF is following in his footsteps, this is going to get out of hand very quickly."
The twins heard more or less of what Ruby said to them, they had become so enthralled by the cannon is what truly difficult to pay attention to anything else. All they really heard was her request to take it a part. Mach and Ina poured over the cannon trying to find some nook or cranny they could pry open to obtain it's secrets. To no avail the twins weren't having any luck on the surface.
Mach and Ina then joined hands and each placed one hand on the cannon, closed their eyes, and began to hum. A blue halo of light enveloped their bodies as their perception transferred to the inside of the technology. It only took a few seconds for the twins to obtain a blueprint of the cannon and then broke their magic connection. Ina grabbed the toolbox while Mach caressed the cannon and a few panels popped open allowing access into the recesses of the tech. Each piece that was taken form the cannon was carefully labeled and set aside in an organized manner. The twins may look like children but when it comes to technology there were no two people who were more professional.
As they got to the main component that housed and controlled the power levels of the aura that entered the machine they released the outer casing that protected it. After the casing was removed Mach carefully handled the aura component with protective gloves and yet the aura component still picked up on the magic within Mach's body and stirred slightly. Ina obtained a clear container and Mach placed the aura piece inside sealing it so that only powerful magic or aura could penetrate it.
The twins finished dismantling the cannon stood together shouted "Done!" in an adorable fashion while saluting towards Ruby, waiting for instruction to see if they could play more.
Ruby realized she had to say it, she had to mention her knowledge of Aura. She couldn't withhold the truth after all.
"That is it! It uses that Aura force I have heard about. They expected to totally wipe out our forces with it but its totally incomplete. It either takes too long to work or they were unable to get it working. This is good, they won't have Aura weapons anytime soon. We may even be able to build our own but we have to be careful. Those Aura bombs are what put us here in the first place, we can never forget that! I'd prefer we don't make Aura weapons unless we have no other choice..."

She then continued and commanded Duo, "Duo! List and sketch the parts the cannon was made of, all the components even the ones related to Aura. I hate to admit it but this war might be desperate enough for us to use Aura. Technology that should never have been invented."

Duo nodded as he listed down the parts first and made a rough sketch of them. He was no artist but he'd have to do. They needed blue-prints after all. He took a few minutes and said,"Done! Well. Guess we're almost done here? What next, Professor Babe?!" He laughed as he looked at Ruby. He wasn't a big fan of the serious atmosphere. Thought life was too short to always be brooding and dark.

"Duo FOCUS on something that isn't ME for once?! We must remain professional!! This is our workplace!! Ahem." She then gave the twins their next order, "This thing...I am unsure what to do with it but for now.. We need to find out how they came across this knowledge. Not many people should know of Aura or be willing to make weapons for it. All knowledge about it should have died with those mad scientists whom made the bombs. Yet I recall there was a view books on Aura. Can you two check the Library for such a book? Then head back here and bring what you find if anything."

She was troubled. Who or what inspired the ALF to start experimenting with Aura weapons? Where did they find the knowledge. She personally killed the last man whom had knowledge of Aura; her father! She wanted this madness to end, messing with Aura weaponry never ended well.

She hoped the twins would find something, hopefully the ALF was just using a surviving book to make these Aura weapons. If it was another scientist whom knew of Aura, it would be a total calamity. The history repeating itself!

For now her thoughts shifted to destroying the Aura component of the cannon. It was quite the moral dilemma, the continent was rather well off but if they used Aura weapons, that could soon change. Zigus would never approve of Aura technology either. It seemed that once the twins got back they would most likely dispose of it.
The twins nodded and scurried out of the room to the library. The library itself wasn't a vast maze one could get lost in but was still rather impressive. The walls were lined from top to bottom with books of all sizes. Any books containing such valuable information regarding aura wouldn't be easily found, so Mach and Ina didn't think they would be able to find any by conventional means. Going this route could lead to numerous ways to search. They could search the shelves in places one wouldn't expect find such a book, or look for some kind of code hidden within the other books, or look for something on the shelves themselves. There were endless possibilities.
"I guess we should start in the science section?" Ina asked her twin brother "I'm sure people have already looked through it but maybe we'l notice something they missed." Mach & Ina moseyed themselves over to dive their noses into some books to find some semblance of aura technology.

The twins tackled books for several hours and didn't make much progress until Ina who had become lost in thought noticed something written on the bottom of a bookshelf. "What's that?" Ina said to herself as her curiosity got the best of her. "Find something Ina?" Mach said head in his hands as he had grown tired of reading."Maybe, something is written on the underside of this shelf. "It says 'power' in lower case letters" Ina replied. "That seems a random word to right on the underside of a shelf. "Mach will you look under any of the other shelves?" "Sure" Mach was up for a change of pace anything to get out of reading so many books. "That's strange this shelf has 'is' written under it. Let's see if there's more!" The twins then continued to search the undersides of the shelves and they found that from the beginning of the science section to the end a sentence was formed. 'The greatest power is through peace, love, and science.'
"Hmm well there certainly isn't much peace or love in science these days. Maybe we're in the wrong section?" Mach inquired outlaid. "Think we should head over to a religious section where all three are mention in some way?" Ina asked. "Well we certainly aren't making any head way here." he replied.

Mach & Ina then made a quick scour through the religious section and didn't see any scientific textbooks of any kind. "Whoever left that note probably wanted to be sure that you couldn't find the book that easily. If I wanted to hide a book of power…" Ina trailed off in her thought only to reach a revelation as soon as Mach did. "Then I would hide it in a place you wouldn't dare to look!" Mach and Ina ran through the bookshelves once more to look for books that were against science and the destruction that it brings. There struggles had finally become fruitful as they had found what they were looking for. It was as simple as removing the cover from a book called The Worship of Science and the Destruction is Brings. What was revealed was a rather plain book with hand written notes on the sides of many of the pages and small diagrams drawn through out. "I think we hit the jackpot Ina!" "I think we did too Mach!" They both had huge smiles on their faces mostly because they didn't have to read anymore boring textbooks, as they rushed off to Ruby.
Once the twins left, Ruby began to recall the past. Seeing the cannon that could be used with Aura reminded her of it...

She hated to remember the past. Those days before the bombs hit haunted her relentlessly. What if she had killed her father sooner instead of believing he could change his ways? What if she had spoken out despite the threats made towards her children? Could people have been saved then? Would anyone have believed her when she said that the bombs would wipe-out most of civilization on the surface?

These regrets never left her. Because of how they kept her silent and she didn't take that chance,they were all living in this forlorn world. With the war, she was left without any hope of restoring the world. If the war got ugly enough and if the ALF abused Aura weapons, the true Apocalypse could be around the corner. Maybe the war and the bombs were just the beginning of it. Maybe all life on the planet would finally be extinguished.....

Ruby tried to shake off such thoughts but all this talk about Aura kept them on her mind. Maybe Aura technology could have been harnessed for good but that was not the road her father decided upon. She remembered how it all began. What put her father up to such madness....

At an early age, Ruby seemed to have quite an advantage. Born into the high class Vulcan family, renowned researchers primarily based in Abscus. She had ample time to learn and immense encouragement from both her parents. Maxwell Vulcan was her father,a prestigious researcher whom was known all over the world. He specialized in all sorts of science but primarily weapons, magic, energy and eventually Aura research. Her mother Louise Vulcan on the other hand was known as the mother of radio as she discovered and invented the first devices to make use of radio technology.

It all went-down hill when her parents went on a trip to study Dark Beasts for the Abscus government. At first they were on good terms with the Dark Beasts but during a tour of an underground dark beast city, Louise fell to her death. The Dark Beasts insisted they tried to pull her up but Maxwell swore they pushed her off in the first place. He never could forgive them or see it any other way.

From that day forward, Maxwell became less of father to Ruby and more of a teacher. He had nannies raise her while he studied and sought out ways he could get revenge on the Dark Beasts. He eventually discovered a way, an artifact they uncovered that he stole...A enigmatic Orb. Not even the Dark Beasts were foolish enough to trifle with its power but Maxwell had no-one left to lose aside from Ruby.

Once he came back with the orb in his hands, he was a changed man. He was focused solely on research leaving Ruby having to take care of estate matters and other things that were his responsibly. He insisted on teaching Ruby about Aura and burned it into her mind. He wanted her to be a gear in the war machine against the Dark Beasts and nothing more. She learned the knowledge and took it with her as she ran away to Arcadia.

She never blamed the Dark Beasts for her mother's death. She rather move on than hold petty grudges against people whom had no motivation to generate such hatred against them. She turned her back on her father that day but it was one decision she was glad she made. Ruby was glad to no longer be involved in some madman's revenge scheme.

As a result, she met Duo and became a fighter in the Arcadian Arena. Although their personalities clashed to an extent, they fell in love and married. They even planned to have a family together and enjoy a life of freedom. Ruby finally became an Arcadian-certified Professor shortly before the birth of her children. She was able to teach scientific theories primarily about nature and physics to her students at the old University. She even tried to forgive her father when he arrived at her estate to visit his grandchildren for the first time. All of that good will went out the window when her father announced his plans. She could never forget his words that day.

"Louise..That is the name of the first bomb they created with my guidance. The one that willl hit Shrivisk. There will be no Dark Beasts left to wage the war! Their vile breed will go extinct! Even your driveling idiot of a husband can respect this kind of science! The power of the Gods is within my grasp! My grandchildren will live in a world free of all the scourge those monstrosities bring! Doesn't that strike your fancy, my elegant little Ruby? Revenge for your mother and an exquisite future for all!"

She reached a boiling point upon hearing those words. Ruby punched her father in the face knocking him out of his chair. "How dare you name your little genocide weapon after mom! Wiping out their entire race won't bring her BACK! She can't rest in peace knowing you're disgracing her name! You're one of the best scientific minds of our time but you rather make weapons than find ways to extend or enrich people's lives like mom would actually want! You're nothing but a raving lunatic, I don't want you around my kids! Duo would agree! The Dark Beasts did not murder mom, I talked with the ones you accused personally!!! You just always have to make enemies, first rival human scientists whom you made vanish, then Abscus politicians that tried to shut down your experiments met with unfortunate airship accidents... Now it is the Dark Beasts! How long until you run out of enemies to kill, father? How long?!"

Ruby yelled, "Thought I didn't know about your crimes? I bet you'd try to justify all that. Oh it's the only way you could support me. I rather have been poor than living off blood money!!! At least I am making a living for myself with Duo now, a clean one! I will have no part in your twisted revenge fantasy! I just wish I never let you inside our house!! I should never have trusted you! I will kill you if you get near my family ever again! You're not my father! Just a power hungry bastard! We aren't meant to use the power of Aura in bombs. It won't just kill the Dark Beasts, it can very well kill all life on this planet! You of all people should know that! I will personally get your project shut down! Now...Get... the Hell...OUT!"

Maxwell truly looked betrayed and lost. The only family he had left hated him. He'd never be a part of his grandkid's lives. He had alienated himself from Ruby and Duo as well. All he had now was crusade against the Dark Beasts. It was the only thing that kept him bound to this world. All he accomplished was for nothing. He was just a scientist with a dead wife and a daughter who wished death upon him now.

She threw him out and never spoke with him civilly again. Instead she and Duo tried to prevent the Aura bombs. They were unable to succeed but managed to warn some of the Dark Beasts, giving them some idea about the bombs four days before they hit. It just was not enough and it saved no lives in the end. There wasn't a solid defense against the bombs, either be in an area unaffected or you were most likely dead. Ruby could not get over that. She remembered the friends she lost, the nannies who raised her, the distant family members, acquaintances and students of hers. If they weren't fortunate enough to be on Shintaion or Lavion, they didn't get out alive.

Focusing on things in the lab helped her try to get her mind off this but on days like this, it just wasn't enough.

Duo snapped Ruby out of her deep thoughts,"Hey! Ruby babe-err Professor Blaze my lovely wife! It appears the Twins are back!!!"

Ruby was immediately snapped out of it and responded, "That book.. That must be one of them! I recognize it...This is...Either good or bad news. Let me look at that book but...We have to come to a decision. To try to use this Aura weapon, to destroy it..Or just to store or seal it away for safekeeping...."

She then told the twins,"I personally would love to destroy the cannon and then burn this book but....we have to do what is best for our country.. Storing it so we can see if we can find ways to counteract or deal with this...That is what I believe we should do but since you helped us you deserve a say in the matter as well. What do you think we should do, Ina and Mach?"
Edward could only smirk at how Noe had changed. ”True dead is dead but there is a realm where that is not true.” He picked up a few of the papers strewn about the place. ”So Sister do you know why Madesi agreed to have you come here?” For a moment she put her index finger to her chin thinking it over.
”Actually no idea. We just talked to a few guys in Azull before making our way here.” There were plenty of questions to ask but none of them Sister could answer. She was a bit on the slow side of things but that was the modification to Madesi when everything exhausted her. Ira, Feerus, even Doli relied on Sister before being eliminated. The question on Edward’s mind had always been who was her real self. But it was answered several years back, when they broke up. ”You’re being awfully quiet, you reminiscing about the past?”
”No…no, just thinking. I was actually-“ The doctor was interrupted by the intercom system. Apparently Azull was the next target. A bigger plan than the ambush perhaps. ”Noe you better report in I need to talk to Madesi and Sister for a moment.”
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