Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 90,555,820 Issue: 165 | 5th day of Storing, Y6
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A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Seven

by ikkin_with_attitude


Jeran looked up at the Castle Defender from the ground in horror, seemingly defeated. The spectre advanced on him, smirking. Jeran searched frantically for some way to defeat the seemingly undefeatable Defender, but came up with nothing. He lifted his sword painfully to block a swipe from the Castle Defender, who continued to press down on Jeran. Jeran knew he could not hold the Defender off for long, but he had to try...

     Meanwhile, Kass watched, torn. How could he stay there and let the only one willing to face the Defender fall? But Jeran had told him not to interfere... Forget it, Kass thought, I can't just wait here! He flew out into the courtyard, striking at the Castle Defender's head repeatedly. Unfortunately, Kass's blows were not powerful enough even to harm the Defender, who turned quickly and knocked the Eyrie out of the sky. Kass fell heavily to the ground, landing in a heap next to Jeran. Jeran used this second's distraction to shoot a flaming arrow from his Faerie bow. As strange as it may seem, however it flew over the Castle Defender's shoulder, continuing in a path towards the castle itself. The Defender laughed at his unfortunate opponent.

     "How could you miss?!" screeched Kass. "You have a faerie bow! No one has such horrible aim as to miss with such a bow! You just doomed us both!" But Jeran only grinned weakly, pointing at a tower, which exploded as it was hit by Jeran's arrow. The Castle Defender was knocked face forward off his feet, causing the ground to shake as he hit it, and the remnants of the tower Jeran had hit landed on him, pinning him to the ground. The Defender was finally defeated.

     "You did mean for that to happen, right?" asked Kass, getting to his feet and helping the injured Jeran do the same. Jeran smiled again.

     "Of course," Jeran said. "I did mean for it to happen, though I doubted that it would. You see, I hit the powder room."

     "Why would you think that the powder room wouldn't explode?" Kass asked.

     Jeran laughed. "Not that kind of powder," he said. "Makeup powder. It really was a long shot." Kass just stared incredulously for a moment.

     "I must thank you for remaining behind, despite my command to leave. Without your distraction, I never could have defeated the Defender," Jeran said finally. "Your loyalty went far beyond any I have seen before, even in Meridell."

     "It was the least I could do," said Kass. "You have earned that loyalty, proving through your battles that you are willing to do anything to save Meridell. Besides, I tried to destroy Meridell before myself. How could I convince anyone that I truly changed if I ran scared and let Meridell be destroyed?"

     Jeran smiled. Kass had proven himself in his eyes, proven to be a valuable ally, and a true friend. He looked up at the sky, watching the sun set. Meridell was safe, if only for another day.

     At that moment, Darigan flew out of the sky, startling Jeran. "They took out the engines," he growled. "The Citadel has been evacuated, but we still must not let it fall. We may be able to keep it flying with a magical artifact, which we could take if we defeated The Three themselves. The Three must fall, or we will never be safe." Jeran agreed, standing straight and readying himself to fight. Just then, something interesting happened.

     The Castle Defender, still pinned under a pile of debris, changed color, from inky black back to its original blue, then started vanishing slowly. Out of the sky, Ambition spoke to Darigan, Kass, and Jeran.

     "So, you have defeated our Defender," the Faerie said. "Well done, Lupe; few could stand against the Defender. Your victory, however, is meaningless. Meridell is ours!"

     "Never!" shouted Jeran. "I will never rest until Meridell is restored to the way it was before!"

     "You do not even know where we are!" Ambition boasted. "You cannot fight that which you cannot find!"

     "Cowards," hissed Kass. "Too afraid to fight these 'insignificant mortals.'"

     "We are not cowards!" shouted Revenge, incensed. "We will fight you!" he said, and a portal opened in the ruins of Meridell Castle. "Come in...if you dare!"

     Jeran and Kass walked to the portal, but then noticed that Darigan had not moved. "Why should we trust you?" Darigan called. "How are we to know that we are not walking into a trap?"

     "You have no way of knowing," Greed stated. "But those who accuse their enemies of cowardice would do well not to back down from a challenge."

     Darigan growled, then walked resolutely into the portal, in front of Jeran and Kass. The other two followed.

     "See, that wasn't so bad!" giggled Ambition. "Just follow our voices!" she called.

     Jeran found that he could see well in the smokey, dark realm of The Three, much better, he realized, than he ever could if he had not been transformed. The fog floating around felt heavy on him, increasing Jeran's uneasiness. Looking around, Jeran found that The Three's realm was very empty- there were no trees, grass, or rocks of any kind, and the ground itself was invisible, looking just like the sky above. Jeran almost felt as if he was at the end of the universe, and his guess wasn't too far off. He began to wander off, but Darigan brought him back to the 'trail,' warning him against wandering, as there would be no way to find a way back.

     After what seemed to be an eternity of walking through nothingness, Jeran, Darigan, and Kass found something of interest- a circular, raised area as large as a castle, surrounded by twelve pillars of marble. In the sky, floating over the center of this formation, were The Three.

     "So, you have dared to enter our realm?" asked Ambition. "You must know what this means- you shall never leave! Although," she continued, floating down towards Kass, "You, on the other hand, may survive, even rule this realm with us, if you help us by getting rid of these two pests!"

     "They were your enemies before," growled Revenge. "They stole your Citadel from you! Why should you help them?"

     "And what of your possessions? What have they done to help you regain what was yours? We will give you all you could possibly want, if you join us!" said Greed. Kass's eyes glowed green, and he began advancing on Darigan and Jeran.

     "What are you doing?!" yelled Jeran, who had not heard a word that The Three had said. As soon as Jeran said this, The Three turned their sights on him.

     "Why should you fight alongside them?" Revenge asked. "They only brought you along so you would fight us for them! They do not care about Meridell- if we fall, they would just take you out and take over. You should punish them for what they did to Meridell!"

     "If you join us, we will restore you to your former self- no Darigan mutations, and we will place you on the throne in Meridell! Why fight us?" Ambition asked.

     "You will have everything you could ever dream of! Nothing would be beyond you! It would be just like you always wished when you were young!" Greed declared. Jeran's eyes, like Kass's glowed green, and, like Kass, he advanced on his allies.

     Darigan realized what was happening- The Three were taking control of their opponents, hoping to force them to fight each other. Darigan, however, had vowed never to let himself be fooled by The Three again. When the Three tried to tempt him, therefore, he was ready.

     "We could give you the Orb back! You need the Orb now, don't you? Your Citadel needs some magic to survive! We could give you it!" said Greed.

     "We could give you all of Meridell!" said Ambition.

     "All you have to do is defeat your usurper and your opposing champion! It would be so simple!" Revenge declared.

     "I have already told you, I no longer need you!" Darigan called. "I will never fall for your tricks again!"

     "Your two friends seem to think differently!" Ambition said.

     Darigan dodged attacks from both Jeran and Kass, wondering how to bring them back to their senses. Perhaps knocking them out would release them from the spell, but they would be no help in fighting The Three if they were unconscious, and Darigan was unsure whether or not he could defeat The Three alone. There had to be something missing...something he could do to break the spell... Unfortunately, these thoughts were rather distracting when trying to fight two opponents, especially two as strong as Jeran and Kass, and Darigan found himself loosing ground. Darigan blocked blow after blow from Jeran and Kass, glad that the Sunblade at least was unable to work properly for the puppet Jeran. But even this was small help, as Darigan was backed into a marble pillar, unable to maneuver any longer. It seemed that The Three had won without even moving a finger.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» A Peace that Would Lst One Thousand Years?: Part One
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Two
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Three
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Four
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Five
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Six
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Eight

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