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Kaze: Heh, leave the small frys to me… There’s too many as is so it’d be a shame for you to fight them alone.

Kaze simply took his fighting stance, keeping his eyes about the battlefield as Matt looked to the regrouped team to try and formulate a split second plan of attack

Matt: what the hell are you getting at… -sigh- dammit, everyone. Let’s assume everyone else is on their way, take no friggin’ prisoners and hold nothin’ back…..! If one of us gets hurt, cover them so they can run!

Catriona: Damn it. Tokatsu, you’re going to owe me a lot of money for this one.

Tokatsu: To be fair I figured I owed you more than enough, more than a thieve’s share when this is over…!

Kaze: hah, funny to see the terminology befitting of your kind, swift fox of frigid strength, but don’t think I’ll let all of you off so easily…

Matt: quit the cryptic talk…!

Lucky: This is bad, Rue. Cassie can’t fight the likes of Ire...

Rue: (closes her eyes) Lucky, get her out of here. We need to focus on Kaze, don’t let Ire come near anyone, as soon as Kaze is slowed we need to break away somehow. I have a feeling that if Ire is here that things are only going to become worse for us. We have numbers, but…

Ire: Numbers don’t mean shit! Throw all of em at me I’ll send every last one of you small fry to the Abyss!

As the man grins he swings his hand forward and serpents launch out toward the group. Kaemyn breaks through one with his sword as the edge of his swords stop the darkness of one while he defends himself from the other, but he doesn’t allow any to come near the rest of the group.

Ire: Tch. Protecting them?

Kaemyn: I’ll hold Ire back… long as I can anyway. Rue, you work on getting others out of here…

Rue: But…

Kaemyn: This isn’t up for debate! They can’t fight Ire! You know that! And what if more of these jackasses show up?! (Looks to Matt with a grim expression as he growls) Matt, you’re the leader of this, but you have to know that this is goddamn impossible. They’re your friends aren’t they? Ire will kill them. Kaze we can deal with but not Ire!

Matt: I know..! Everyone clear out, ASAP.. I’ll do what I can to keep windbag outta here!

Tokatsu: Are you insane?!

Matt: I’m sane enough to not risk my own friends’ lives!

Kaze: heheheh… a worthless sacrifice, but do entertain us, wielders of azure…

Orie: ...Are you sure..

Matt: I don’t want the loss of others’ lives burdened on my shoulder… just go!

Flamme: ...right then...

Flamme, Ventus, Eletrico, and Orie quickly get moving. Tokatsu reluctantly shook his head and quickly hurried afterwards, soon contacting Piper through his earpiece

Tokatsu: Piper, it's me, we’re making a tactical retreat, it seems we got ourselves between a rock and a hard place, can you route us an exit?!?

Piper: Give me a sec.

Cassandra, Lucky, and Catriona aren’t too far behind. Xavier stays behind.

Xavier: I’ll leave Kaemyn to take care of Ire. But I’m not going to back down from these other two.

Matt: heh, I like yer enthusiasm, Xavier… But you better be careful!

Xavier: Don’t worry. Bang and Trinity gave me my fair share of whoopings. I’ll be just fine.

Matt: Heh, well then…

Almost on a whim, a glave strikes the middle of the open area,

Matt: oh no…

???: Oh yes.. Didn’t think I’d wanna miss out did you?

Almost at an instant thunder emanated from the glave, straight out towards Matt, and right after it’s wielder, Erreku, quickly dropkicked him back a ways

Erreku: so then… it’s time for the asskicking while the smelting process begins, right, Ire??

Almost as sudden, a huge leg come swinging towards the head of Erreku to clear the way.

Erreku: what the—AGH!!

Ame: I’m not a fan of surprises.

Erreku: You again?! How’d you get here so fast….?!

Ame: Once things started to go south, I was kindly asked to help, so while you were in here, I was taking care of the small fry outside. And besides, I’ve got some anger I’d like to take out on some people.

Matt: It’s dangerous, just take him out and leave Kaze to us… Ire is too much for all of us…!

Erreku: grrgh, all right old man, I’m game…! Don’t be pissed when I kick yer ass this time…!

Ire: Anyone else want to show up, or are we done now with the heroic and villainous entries?

Matt: I actually hope we’re done bringing those through because it really is friggin dragging on…. -facepalm-

Ame: (sarcastically) I could invite some others if you don’t mind waiting.

Ire: I just don’t really give a shit…

Kaze: … -to himself- I actually question why the government has to deal with these people…

Kaemyn: ...This is a bit more than I was expectin’ to be honest.

Kaemyn says it while looking around at their opposition as he keeps his swords readied.

Ire simply stands while he turns to the side as he acts disinterested in the fight.

Ire: Too many… and I don’t play well with others. Hey, plaything try not to go down too fast yeah…? I’m not bothering with all these flies.

Kaemyn: Tch, (to Matt as he glances to him) Matt, you think you can use that Azure still? We should be able to handle Kaze while the others handle that other bastard. Just… watch out for Ire.

Matt: I should be able tto, yes... I just have to be careful, without the incantation if I use too much I’ll accidentally get myself injured internally…

Kaze: heh, men of azure against the likes of us..?? Fitting… Erreku, you can deal with them, then.

Erreku: Hah, very well… Kinda sucks it’s many versus one, but..given Gokkan is here and Hono on the way, I should hold them off for a bit...

Ire: If you really are in trouble I might just jump in… but like I said, I don’t do the teamwork deal. (To Erreku) You’re in charge aren’t you? You should be able to handle a few maggots.

Erreku: I should be, yeah… Gotta make sure they don’t stop the smelting process..

Ire: (Grins) Yes, that’s important.

Matt: if we’re done with the gameplans here… -cracking his knuckles- let’s get this show on the road…!

Erreku: tch, all right… I just hope no one cries wolf when I’m through with all of you freaks…!

Erreku quickly spins his glaive, dashing past Matt and Kaemyn, avoiding them entirely as he quickly slams his glaive towards the other party

Erreku: hope you’re all ready to die…!

Ame jumps up and over the attack by Erreku and throws a punch towards Erreku’s head.

Ame: You’re puns are worse than Matt’s.

Matt: Oh I try at least…

Erreku growled as he quickly got back up, catching is glaive mid flight

Erreku: heh, you got spirit.. But it won’t be enough

Kaze: Focus on the fight, Erreku.. I do not need to tell you that twice!!

Ire: Hm… well then, this seems entertaining but I feel like there’s something missing…

Casually, the Second in Command sends forth a serpent from the Chain which launches toward both Matt and Kaemyn while letting Kaze approach if he wished. Kaemyn jumps in and swings his blades toward the serpent to cut through its darkness with the Azure’s power as he lands he paves the way for Matt to get in and fight Kaze.

Ire: (Turns back forward as he puts his hand on his head in mock thought) What’s missing? This feels like a game of chess. We have a king, a pretend king... if the one with the toy azure could be called that… where’s our other king though?

Kaze: three kings? What would make for our third king anyway??

Matt quickly sprinted towards Kaze, the latter blocking his straight strike with a small wind-like barrier from his gauntlet

Kaze: actually,forget I asked, Ire… This fake king while unskilled might be someone worthy of my time at the very least. For as long as the smelting takes I shall entertain.

Matt: You frickin cryptic piece of—

Matt tries for an uppercut, but was countered by a wind blast, sending him back a ways

Kaze: Hah, too hasty aren’t we…??? Just like Erreku.

Erreku: Shaddup, at least I got the jump on everyone…!

Erreku had already started making his way toward his targets yet again, jumping across columns to gain momentum, before throwing his glaive at Xavier and Cassandra like a speeding Javelin. Ame moves into the way of the Javelin and uses his metal armbands to deflect the glaive back towards Erreku.

Ame: I’m your opponent. Focus on me.

Erreku: grrgh, you really seem to be honor bound to this sorta shit.. Kinda glad the ice fox ain’t here or I’d be a sculpture again…

Catching his glaive the beastkin simply set it aside, letting it’s electricity course in a spherical barrier around him and Ame, almost like a sealed dome.

Erreku: Heh, hopefully this can suit your wishes, kinda fun how I can just go one on one with you three unless our other big wig shows up to assist my efforts...

Kaze: hmph, foolish punk to mock one’s honor like that… No wonder you got frozen last time.

Matt: Oh so HE’s the punk? Kinda funny how my ‘toy azure’ cements a status higher than his…

Kaze: and yet you have not landed a single hit….!

Kaze and Matt were still at it, a deadlock was currently the only thing keeping them from making any strong blows, Matt tries to go for a knee strike, but unable to follow up from a headbutt from his opponent.

Kaemyn: Hey jackass!

Kaemyn swings the blades in a succession of several slashes bringing an Azure aura around him in the likes of bolts which become beasts and strike Kaze backward while the others go for Ire. Ire simply watches the fight for now as he pockets his hands in his uniform with a grin and stops the bolt with his chain.

Ire: Weak, Plaything, way too weak. Why don’t you use the Azure’s real power?

Rue: Don’t let him get to you Kaemyn, focus on your fight.

Kaemyn growls but keeps his calm.

Kaemyn: That goes for you too Matt, stay focused.

Matt: I’ll do what I can, Kaemyn...

Matt quickly follows up on the attack with a somersault kick before grabbing him by his collar, before slamming him straight into the ground face first with overwhelming force.

Matt: Don’t be afraid to ask for my help too, that was rather apprecia—

Kaze: too slow!

Almost at an instant Kaze sends Matt skyward—er...ceiling-ward with an uppercut, his gauntlet causing a small green tornado to keep him in the air before tossing him into the wall by his foot.

Kaze: For a fake king you got the tenacity to learn.. Slow means like that or a tortoise but… You’ll beat me yet, eventually….

Matt: damn you.. You sound so damn cryptic…!

Kaemyn gets in front of Matt and stops Kaze’s approach with a swift kick from behind as he brings his leg down on his back.

Kaemyn: Matt, you alright?

Ire: Ugh this camaraderie shit…(looks to Rue with a sigh) You know bitch, you’re quite annoying… what exactly have you been teaching that kid hmm?

Rue: Whatever I had to in order to prepare him. He and Matt are both users of the Azure, and they will choose what they wish to use their power for.

Ire: Kheheh coming from you… that’s hysterical.

Matt: I don’t see you doing any fighting…

Ire gives a smirk when he heard the words.

Kaze: grrrgh, do NOT make him force his hand, fools…!

Kaze growled from the sudden strike, raising his gauntlet to try and cause a gust of wind to raise Kaemyn’s foot off of his back

Kaze: We know what capabilities the azure holds but… I’d rather we NOT waste our forces learning it now…!

Matt: grrgh, keep your frickin’ hands off of him…!!!

???: My, my, such hystericals. Honestly, can’t you all behave a little more civilized?

Erreku: Heh, looks like we got our final entrant here…???

Kaze: seems so… what’s our progress on the smelting…?

Rue: (eyes widen) Tabor...

Tabor: (no ounce of emotion) Hm, Kaemyn and Rue are here too? Fancy that. With a wide grin Ire lunges in and grabs Matt right on his collar before he tosses him up while twisting and bringing his leg down to smash him to the floor. At the same time he then steps forward and breaks through Kaemyn’s swords who tries to approach only to be sent away when with a second kick to scoop Matt off the floor and send him rolling into Kaemyn as they both fall to the floor. Ire lets off a snicker as he returns to stance.

Ire: What was that about not fighting hm? I was waiting for the party to start of course. After all it’d be no fun if I just stepped in without letting Tabor in too. I went ahead and invited him.

Kaemyn gets back to his feet and growls.

Kaemyn: Tch, this was a trap.

Matt: grrrrgh….dammit.

Kaze: This was why I warned you, fool…. -sigh-

Erreku: that means we’re equal in manpower then…!

Ire: Hehihihahaa! Of course it was you idiot! Clear all the small fry out of the way, since you or that toy azure there wouldn’t let any of your friends die clearly you’d ask them to leave. Sure a few stayed behind but… it’d take out both ‘leaders’ in a single go. Why do you think I’m here? Cause it sure as hell isn’t for the bullshit.

Matt: grrrgh, I can’t believe I fell into it…

Kaze: hmph. Now’s not the time for gloating, we have to make sure we end them! And even if they escape, at least taking one prisoner would work.

Tabor: Let them escape if that is what they wish. They can always be hunted down later.

Tabor seems to catch the eye of someone else.

Tabor: Hm? Oh, I do believe there is someone new among you.

Catriona: So you’re the infamous jackass, Tabor.

Tabor: I see my reputation precedes me. I hadn’t expected the Cat of a Thousand Treasures to be here. Though, I thought you were into getting paid and Grand Larceny as opposed to fighting for any specific side.

Catriona: I really don’t care, but to have a crack at you. I’m quite okay with that.

Tabor: If you’re expecting your friend to help you, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Catriona: You know about Piper?

Tabor: I could make her walk, you know.

Matt: Don’t listen to him….!

Kaze: hmph, shut your trap!

Kaze quickly slams his foot into the back of Matt’s head.

Kaze: such idiocy.

Erreku: you have no idea, the sooner we kill them the better our plans.

Ire: Listening to Tabor has its benefits, just gonna say that.

Tabor: I’m sure you’ve exhausted all the benefits you’ve had for your little sister. From medical treatments to experimental therapy, and yet, it all fails.

Catriona folds her arms.

Catriona: And you say you can change that?

Tabor: Have you not seen the miracles I’ve done before? I work with a Machina. I work with Ire. I can work miracles.

Ire: That he can. Have any kind of problem and he has a solution for it, with the sources of information he has access to.

Kaemyn: That’s bullsh-

Ire: Hush.

Kaemyn groans as Ire strikes him in the gut and drops him to one knee from the pain and he chokes on his words.

Ire: (To Kaemyn) You speak another word and I’ll kill her.

Kaemyn: ...

Tabor: I promise no harm will befall either of you, you can come and go as you please for her treatments.


A voice suddenly resonates into the middle of the room.

Tabor: Hm, she hacked into the speaker system, did she? A smart child indeed.

Piper: I don’t want your help. We’ve done just fine for ourselves.

Tabor: And yet you’ve been restrained to that wheelchair for all your life.

Piper: All you people are alike, you look at the wheelchair and think you can fix them. But I don’t want to be fixed!

Catriona: Piper…

Piper: I’m happy with the life I have, even if I never walk. So you can take your ‘miracle cure’ and shove it!

Catriona smiles and looks back at Tabor.

Catriona: Sorry Tabor, I refuse. It is ultimately up to her after all.

Tabor: Such a shame. If I can’t have you both come willingly, I can always just take you by force and have the other come of her own free will because of that.

Catriona brandishes her claws.

Catriona: Try it.

Kaemyn: (Stands back up) Nice try there but no one is stupid enough to buy into your words.

Ire: Well that ended that conversation…(to catriona) now look what you did, you idiot. But... well Tabor is going to be stubborn over this, he always is if its something he wants.

Rue: The same can be said for you serpent.

Ire: Oh I know that…more the merrier as they say. Hey, Erreku… Kaze, you about done?

Kaze: just about….

Erreku: Kiiiinda waitin on the right moment, Ire..! Besides we’re still down one man aren’t we? Can’t we just take one of them prisoner

Ire ponders over something a moment.

Ire: But a prisoner? Alive… hm not really my style buuut (closes his eyes) well, I suppose that could have its benefits to things. (opens his eyes with a grin) I wasn’t planning on doing it so soon… though I do like getting shit done early…

Kaemyn: The hell are you going on about…?

Ire: (To Kaze and the others) A perfect way to ensure the smelting process goes without a hitch for those projects of yours.

Kaemyn: they’re not yours too?

Ire: Mm… (shrugs) They needed the magic to summon the shit necessary for things. So here I am. Simple eh? Whatever other reasons I might have for being here are none of your concern plaything. Let’s make this quick then.

Matt: We’d sooner see you dead but I know we cant do tha—

Almost at an instant a resounding bang echoed through the facility

Matt: ….! What… The—

Almost instantly, ice slowly started encasing from the entrance of the bullet wound

Gokkan: never...count an old fox out yet, punk...heheh...

Kaze: he still breathes, stubborn as always, Gokkan….

Kaemyn: Doesn’t surprise me a bit… shit, Matt… there has to be a way to stop the ice...

Gokkan: Heh, I don’t think there’s a way to stop it… So you may as well give up… He...he ain’t gonna be doin much… Sorry Matty boy might be put into cryo sleep..if ya catch my cold drift

Matt: ...grrgh…

Matt suddenly broke into a sprint, glaring right at the fox beastkin, unaware of the fact the ice was slowing his movement

Matt: When I get my hands on you, you’re a DEAD MAN!

Just as Matt was right about to throw his punch he stops inches in front of Gokkan, before slowly passing out.

Kaemyn: Matt!

Kaemyn runs after him and slides in front of him looking at Gokkan with a frown.

Kaemyn: (Just to Gokkan as he speaks through his teeth) What do you think you’re doing?

Gokkan: (whispering) don’t worry, it isn’t fatal…. I had to use a bit more of my power than usual… it shouldn’t be screwing with his body heat,.... I’ll do what I can to keep him alive….

Ire notices the events and squints.

Kaemyn: But- Augh!

A yell of pain escapes his lungs as something protrudes from his body briefly, the serpent chain vanishes into darkness from the void he summoned it from. Kaemyn staggers a moment before he drops to the floor with a grunt, Gokan’s eyes widen for a moment. Ire stands there with his hand extended from commanding the chain’s energy.

Ire: Don’t think I didn’t notice those words… what were you just talking about?

Rue: Kaemyn, Matt!

Rue’s eyes widen as she summons her spear and it gains a strong glow, as an incantation ring appears making a large sigil. The light strikes Ire suddenly in the shape of a blade and makes him utter a growl in pain.

Rue: Ire! I won’t let you take them!

Ire: Damn you annoying bitch, holding out this whole time? You were charging that damn piece of crap- I forgot about your spear’s abilities…

Gokkan: we were talkin’ negotiations… sadly those kinda fell when you interrupted…

Ire: I don’t give a ‘’shit’’ about that right now!

Tabor: Oh please, Ire. Calm down.

Ire: (Composes himself) Yeah well that shit actually hurt.

Rue: (To herself) It’s enough for one more shot… I just need to get him away… my body can’t take more then it.

Tabor, from underneath his cape pulls out a sphere, then nonchalantly tosses it towards Rue. It slowly rolls towards her.

Rue looks at the sphere and seems confused briefly. She holds her manifested spear in place with both hands and keeps the incantation steady, but her eyes are fully on the sphere.

Kaemyn: (coughs out a clot of blood as he tries to move) Rue, get away from that!

The pod bursts open with an interference field that immediately encapsulates Rue within it.

Rue looks around at it and her weapon’s energy doesn’t break through the body before it rebounds around her and drops her to the floor as she’s unable to move.

Rue: Agh. No, how? To have an interference this strong… I can’t fail them… Matt, Kaemyn…

Ire looks slightly impressed for a brief second.

Ire: Well someone’s been taking data as they please, you never cease to surprise me. Still, (looks to the side a moment) ...I could of done that.

Ire’s own Soularma pulls Kaemyn off the floor and restrains him. He growls but manages to get a few strained words out between.

Kaemyn: Gh. Ame, please, get the others and Rue out of here…!

Ire: Scurry away like you shoulda’ in the beginning.

Ame: Let’s go everyone, out of here, now.

Gokkan: … -to himself- damn it, kid… you really let yerself get caught this deep just for a sacrifice… Let’s just hope he was right about your tenacity to fight back…

Gokkan eventually turns back to Kaze, who was already making his exit.

Kaze: we bring the fake king with us. The smelting should be done soon, no???

After a lot of hesitation, Rue finally accepts things. As the interference wears off it left Rue with no energy making it impossible for her to intervene anymore. She lowers her head and goes to Ame and the others before she turns a moment and looks to them.

Rue: Promise… you two will come back…

Kaemyn lacks strength to speak, but his eyes spoke the promise for him before he passes out from the grip of the chain sapping his strength.

Ire: (rolls his eyes) Touching… (To Kaze) Yeah yeah, Should be nearly done so you can have one of your toys… last time we checked it was going smooth enough.

Ire says it as he walks with Kaemyn slung on his shoulder.

Ire: Hm…Gokkan, I know the perfect place for these two… right with another prisoner. She should be happy to have some company… and I do look forward to those interactions. Tabor and I need to check on something there anyway.

Gokkan: heh...very well then…. Just lead the way.

After a small pause he hefts his knocked out target and follows the snake.

Ire: We’re leaving, Tabor. Erreku, when you’re ready to start the next ones just give us a call yeah? Have fun.

He waves off nonchalantly as he continues to walk away.

Erreku: I’ll let you know….

Tabor: Hmph.

The duo gets thrown into a cell, in a location completely unknown to them. Clearly it’s a lab of some sort within an underground facility, the walls of reinforced metal and hums of machinery around them. Across the strange cells are seals to keep the two’s power restrained. Matt is the only one who comes to conscious, Ire and Tabor are on a higher level looking at some kind of structure that took up a large amount of space in the already massive room. Light blooms throughout the darkness and the corridors but it has an eerie feel, the only thing Matt can do is hold his head as he comes back to his senses only slightly.

There wasn’t any sign of Gokkan, and there were so many words he wanted to say to him, along with planting a fist in his face. But, there wasn’t time for that, he goes to Kaemyn who remains on the floor, chains off his body, but he’d been knocked out clean and as Matt’s hand prods him he lacked energy to even twitch when he attempts to wake him. He takes a discouraged step away, unsure of what to do as he slumps against the wall with a despondent frown.

Ire: Gonna be awhile before this is ready for its test…

A set of files is set on the surface of a table as a falsely annoyed groan comes from the one who put it there.

Ire: (looks at Tabor) You really expect me to get all this? Tch. And I thought you were the one who worked the miracles.

Tabor remains silent as he focuses on the data in front of him. Ire rolls his eyes. He notices Gokkan a bit away who didn’t know what the structure was, but he kept an eye on it regardless.

Ire: (To Gokkan) Uh yeah, right, you go keep an eye on those three will you? We have a… guest coming later. I don’t want them misbehaving.

Gokkan: I know that…. -sigh- I’ll make sure they behave…

Gokkan after a moment simply walks to the cell, he was still a bit unsure of his own actions, but he seemed intent on doing his orders. Speaking through an earpiece he contacts Ire with a question in mind.

Gokkan: wait, who's our third mystery prisoner…?

Ire: (off the transmission) Eh, someone Taor and I found. A refugee… don’t want anymore resistances sprouting up so we put her there.

Gokkan: well..this is just great… Again I’ll do as ordered…

Gokkan eventually sighs and broke the communication, Matt was already at the bars, clearly agitated with the situation

Gokkan: .. -to himself- I just hope I can explain this shit before it’s too late

-Volume 3; END-

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