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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, '10, 9:33 pm
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Second Generation, Chapter One: Outset

(AW 2313- The City of Shusoran)

Lyle grunted with exertion as he swung his ceramic staves into a group of oncoming machines, not even noticing as several of the Laserbot-class attack robots crumpled into heaps. This is madness! he thought, taking a step back. Rhys told me years ago that the Orakians used robots to circumvent Laya's Last Wish... but he also said he was a man of peace! Why would he send these robots to-

A blade flashed between him and a Killsat, and the soldier that wielded the blade dove on top of the fluttering machine. "M'Lord!" he shouted, pounding at the Killsat with the pommel of his sword. "It's not safe here! We must withdraw to Cille Castle!"

"No!" Lyle protested. "If Shusoran falls, Cille will fall to these machines, too! We have to make a stand here!"

"I think these machines are gaining the upper hand! For each..." The soldier grunted as the Killsat slammed into him, knocking his helmet off. With an angry shout, he ran the Killsat through, then collapsed. He started convulsing as gray vein-like lines started appearing on his skin.

Lyle cursed to himself. He knew exactly what had happened- accoline poison, administered through the Killsat's slam attack. He had seen the same symptoms years ago, when Rhys had been badly poisoned by a Zweidon back in Landen.

There were two cures: The Anti Technique, which he did not possess; or universal poison antidote, which he was fortunate enough to be carrying. Quickly, Lyle uncapped the injector and drove it into the soldier's wrist. There was a soft hiss, then a quiet beep as the medicine flowed into the soldier.

Within seconds, the antidote had taken effect. The soldier coughed and sputtered, sitting up. "Thank you, Sire," he managed. "I must-"

"Whoa. Take it easy," Lyle urged. "Head to the infirmary and get some Dimate. When you're done there, take the escape tunnel to the sandbar. We can rally the forces at Cille Castle, and Duke Orin should have men of his own."

"Yes, Sire."

"If you see my daughter on the way, get her to the escape tunnel."

The soldier nodded, then dashed into a corridor. Lyle sighed. Thea, this isn't the world I wanted to raise you in, he thought. You should have had a serene life, not this. Would that you have never seen war...

"Daddy?"

The voice was quiet, soft, and like the robe-clad green-haired woman who spoke it, full of fear. "Daddy?" she repeated. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, Thea," Lyle replied, looking towards the woman. "We're going to be leaving shortly."

"....."

"Do you have everything you need? We won't be back for a while."

Thea nodded. "Yes, Daddy," she acknowledged. "The nurses gave me some Monomate and antidotes, and one of the soldiers passed me a knife." Her blue eyes filled with tears as she continued, "I... I don't know if I'll be able to-"

"Thea, I know this is hard, but..." Lyle took a deep breath, released it, then put a reassuring hand on Thea's shoulder. "Put your emotions aside for now. These robots aren't the fairy tale villains you're used to. They won't show any restraint just because you're a princess. They'll kill you if they get a chance. Do not give them that chance."

Blinking back tears, Thea nodded, clutching the small dagger she had been given. "All right... I also brought Momma's jewels..."

The image of a beautiful green-haired woman giving a mischievous smile came to Lyle for a moment, disappearing just as quickly. Luna... "All right. Let's get going, Thea."

Father and daughter immediately headed down a corridor, then another, desperate for their luck to hold out- the robots to leave the castle, Cillean soldiers joining the fight to save their mutual homeland, perhaps even King Rhys of Landen himself. The thought of Landen suddenly disturbed Lyle. Maia, he thought. Did you know this was going to happen? Was Rhys desperate to destroy us Layans? Did you have a hand in all this? ...No. (He shook his head.) You're innocent, Maia. You had nothing to do with this.

"Daddy, the throne room's up ahead," he heard Thea say, her voice once again jolting him back into damned awareness. "You always told me the escape tunnel's behind the throne, right?"

"Yeah. That should take us into the sewers," Lyle replied. Seeing Thea's nose wrinkle in disgust, he added, "It's better than fighting through town square."

"I suppose."

Thea entered the throne room, only taking three steps into the large room before she stopped, her eyes widening in horror. "D...daddy..." she stammered. Before her, a pair of eight foot tall robots, each one spraypainted red, stood between them and the throne. As Thea and Lyle made their way into the room, each one drew a sword that buzzed and roared loudly.

"Chainswords," Lyle said. "These Droidmen can cut through a man in seconds with them, Thea. Be on your guard!"

Her only response was a silent nod, as she fixed her gaze on the robots. She raised her knife above her head, ready to strike as the robots advanced.

"Foi!"

A blast of fire shot from Lyle's hand, slamming into one of the Droidmen. A large char mark formed as he stepped back, nearly dropping his chainsword. The Layan king immediately closed the gap, bringing his staff upside the machine's head, ending it in seconds.

Thea lashed out at another Droidman, digging her knife's small blade into the robot. She released her grip on the knife with a yelp as the Droidman swung around, its chainsaw buzzing and roaring through the air. Out of shock, Thea rolled to her side, narrowly avoiding the deadly blade.

"Damn war machines," Lyle shouted. "Go back to your masters!"

"YOU ARE MARKED FOR DEATH. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM RESISTANCE."

"No... we'll not die today!" Thea replied, raising her hands. "Take some of this... Tsu!"

A column of water flowed from the princess's hands, allowing conducted electricity to scourge the machine's circuitry. After an emulated grunt, it charged Thea, bringing its sword behind its back.

"Oh, no, you don't..."

Thea's eyes closed, desperate, trying to shut out the noise of the battle filling the castle; the sight of the robot advancing on her; the smell of death. She felt someone shove her aside, then heard a terrible buzzing.

"*NnNNNnnnNNNNNNnNNNNhhHHHHhHhh* YEAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHH!"

One eye opened, then the other. And she wished she hadn't. Four more Droidmen had showed up, no doubt contacted wirelessly by their companion, and had surrounded Thea. Before her, Lyle was lying on the ground, soaked in blood, clutching his hands over his left eye.

"Daddy! Oh, God! Daddy!" Thea cried, watching as the Droidman surveyed its handiwork. "You... you killed him!"

"HE WILL LIVE, THOUGH HIS EYE IS RUINED," the machine replied, its voice its usual emotionless monotone. "AS FOR YOU, TAKE HER TO LENSOL. THERE SHE SHALL REMAIN UNTIL LORD SIREN DECIDES HER USEFULNESS."

"ROGER ROGER," one of Thea's guards replied. "ENGAGE VERNIER UNITS."

"Urrghh... Thea... you..."

Lyle groaned as he reached for his daughter with a bloodied hand, helpless as the four machines launched through a hole in the castle's roof. They disappeared from sight within seconds, leaving only Lyle with his captor. "You..." he continued. "Did Rhys send you?"

"WE REPORT TO NO LORD BUT SIREN, COMMANDER OF THE ORAKIAN ANDROID MILITARY. OUR UNITS HAVE ENGAGED A SIMILAR MISSION IN THE REALM OF ELYSIUM, CAPTURING THE SISTER OF THE LAYAN BEASTLORD."

"For... for what purpose?"

"WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU AND LUNE ARE THE LAYAN POTENTIATES OF THE ALISA III SYSTEM," the Droidman explained. "LORD SIREN DEMANDS IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL CAPITULATION IN THE NAME OF YOUR TRUE LORD ORAKIO SA RIIK. ONLY THEN WILL WE RETURN OUR HOSTAGES."

"And... if we refuse?"

"THEN YOUR DAUGHTER AND LADY ALAIR SHALL DIE, AND THE LAYAN REALMS SHALL BURN. LORD SIREN SHOWS HIS FOES NO MERCY."

-=-=-

Hundreds of miles away, in the kingdom of Landen, a similar battle was nearing its conclusion: Miniature dragons the Orakians called Lashgulls stormed the castle, but unlike the Layans' battle, the Orakians had been well-armed and able to repel the invading monsters.

Ayn, prince of Landen, swung at a Lashgull that dared to dive at him, beheading the foul monster in one swift stroke. As soon as heard the monster hit the floor, he ran towards the throne room, pounding on the doors once he ran out of corridor.

"Mother! Father!" he shouted, giving the oak doors a good rattle. "Open the doors!"

The sound of battle drew away for a moment, and Ayn heard the sound of a barricade being removed. The doors opened, and a hand reached for him, pulling him into the throne room. He sighed with relief as he saw his parents, as well as Mieu, alive and well. Behind him, Wren slammed the massive barricade back into place, bracing the door shut.

"My Prince, are you all right?!" Mieu asked. "No, don't answer that! Gi Res!"

Ayn sighed again, feeling some of his wounds and aches dull away. "Thanks, Mieu," he said. "Everyone all right?"

"We're safe, Ayn," Rhys replied. "A few of those monsters got in, but we took care of them."

"I didn't know Queen Maia was such a crackerjack shot with a boomerang!" Mieu replied. "My Queen, that was so awesome! ^_^"

"It's nothing, Mieu," Maia replied, uncomfortable with the sudden attention her bodyguard was giving her. "I always hoped I never needed to..."

"Queen Maia. King Rhys. Forgive me for interrupting," Wren suddenly said, "But I'm receiving a transmission from a Sateran guard robot."

"Satera! They had to have been attacked, too," Rhys realized. "Wren, what's the situation?"

"Contacting... Browren486|391A has stated that Satera has fallen, my King. The Sateran king and queen are unfortunately among the deceased."

"Oh, my God... Lena..." Maia said. "Rhys, I... I'm so sorry..."

Rhys remained silent, trying to fight back tears as Maia embraced him. Undeterred, Wren continued, "The Browren also reports that the biomonsters have taken heavy casualties as well, and are crossing the Grace Bridge."

"They're headed to Landen?!" Ayn demanded. "Why?!"

"We speculate that the biomonsters, designation Lashgull and Lasher, are following pheromone trails left by our attackers. Browren calculates that if the Lasher is killed in battle, the Lashgulls will break combat and disperse."

"Then we need to kill this Lasher," Ayn replied. "Mother, Father, I'll go."

"Ayn, no," Rhys said. "We have the soldiers and the robots to fight."

"Please, Ayn. I don't want to lose my only son," Maia added.

"I can fight! And if we need to, I have my..." The blue-haired prince hesitated. "I have my magic," he muttered. His parents looked at each other, then towards Ayn.

"All right," Rhys conceded. "Take Mieu and Wren with you. I lost someone close to me today already. I don't want to lose another."

"Before you go, Ayn... here," Maia added. "Be safe, my son. Ner!"

A soft green light surrounded Maia, before flowing over to and into Ayn. Immediately, he felt his movements growing subtly faster. "I won't let you down," he said as the barricade was removed. Together, he, Mieu, and Wren left the throne room and marched towards the castle's gates.

"Prince Ayn, there is no word of Princess Satera's death," Wren remarked.

"So she's not dead."

"She might have escaped," Mieu added. "Or captured."

"Perhaps we shouldn't discuss this around our charge, Mieu."

"Huh? Oh, right. I'm sorry, my Prince." Mieu sweatdropped. "We shouldn't be-"

"No. Guys, talk. Please. I need you to," Ayn replied, testing the weight of his sword in his hands. "Satera stood for a thousand years... how can barely-sentient monsters bring it down in less than four hours?"

"Do you suspect an organized attack, Prince Rhys?" Wren asked.

"It has to be, Wren. Monsters usually stay away from towns. And Mother said Layans use monsters for their armies..."

"Prince Ayn, I don't think your mother would sic an army on her own kingdom," Mieu said. "Especially with you in it."

"Thanks, Mieu. But... this stinks of something. I know it. May-"

Before Ayn could explain himself further, a loud roar rang down the corridors. Ayn drew his sword, and behind him he heard Mieu and Wren preparing for combat. "Thirty meters," Wren commented. "Readying fire system."

"All right... this is for you! Kick butt, my Prince! Fanbi!"

Red light surrounded Mieu, and leapt into Ayn's arms like red lightning. He could feel every muscle and tendon in his arms contract painfully, then relax. His sword felt much lighter in his hands.

"Thanks again, Mieu," Ayn said, readying his blade.

"What can I say? I worry about you as if you were my brother," Mieu replied. "Well, as close to a brother as I'm gonna get."

The roar came again, louder this time. "Fifteen meters, Prince Ayn," Wren said. "Safety protocols off, preparing to commence firing. Laser Rifle set to three-round burst. Weapon neutrino cache at-"

Ayn and Mieu sweatdropped. "Err, Wren?" Ayn asked. "I don't think we need the full loadout right now."

"Of course, Prince Ayn."

"Here it comes!"

A massive green lizard with protruding jaws rampaged around a bend in the corridor, stopping as it saw the group of three. Wren immediately opened fire, green energy bolts slamming into the Lasher as Mieu dashed up to it, swiftly hacking into its skin with her claws.

"My Prince! Watch out when its eyes glow red!" Mieu called as she dashed back to her companions. "I think it's gonna use-"

The massive jaws opened, and the three heard the loud roar, now devastatingly close. It felt as if Laya herself had cast Gra upon them, slamming the three to the castle's floor. Surprisingly uninjured, the three picked themselves up.

"Let me guess. Gravity breath," Ayn groaned, readying himself.

"Of course. The Gnasher DNA group is capable of producing sonic roars on par with the Gra Technique," Wren said. "We should slay it before it can use another."

"Right! Strike hard, my Prince!"

Ayn leapt forward, swinging his sword several times- much more, he noticed, than he would have been able to if Maia hadn't used her magic on him. Each time he struck, blood poured on him.

"There! You almost have it, my Prince!" Mieu shouted! "Once more good-"

The Lasher roared, battering Ayn with its head. Ayn felt himself drop his sword as he was flung into a wall. Groaning, he managed to stand up, preparing to use a Technique.

"DIE, MONSTER! You don't belong in this world!" The voice was a woman's, full of wrath, and came from behind the Lasher. Ayn turned his head to look at her...

Taking in the woman's chestnut hair, slung into a ponytail. Her green eyes, focused on the Lasher. The twin knives she held backhand, her knuckles turning white.

"S...Sari?" he whispered, watching as the woman charged the massive beast. It was over in seconds- the woman's knives buried into the wounds Ayn had inflicted on it, and it toppled over, dead.

"And that was for my mother, you son of a (*@%*!!" she shouted, slashing the monster's dead throat for good measure. Calmly, she sheathed her knives, then picked up Ayn's sword. Turning to him, her terrifying gaze turned to one of warm friendship. "Heya, Ayn!" she said, her cheerful voice a far cry from what it had been ten seconds ago. "Found your katana! ^_^"

-=-=-

Their information was right- once the Lasher was dead, the Lashgulls flew away, headed towards the western mountains. Once the chaos from the battle had subsided, and the group had received medical attention, Rhys looked at his son. "Ayn, we have to find out who's behind this," he declared. "The monsters came from the west. Whoever's behind this must be there, beyond the Sateran mountains."

"Father, I'll go," Ayn replied. "You and Mother need to stay here and keep Landen safe."

"I'm going too, Ayn!" Sari added. "After what those monsters did to my family, to my kingdom- you'd better believe I'm going to carve 'em up!"

Rhys sighed, then told Ayn, "It's up to you, Ayn. I don't think I can talk her out of it. (Ayn shook his head.) Yeah, didn't think so. Ayn, Sari. Take Mieu and Wren with you, as well as this..."

Two soldiers dragged a large chest into the throne room. Rhys opened the chest, saying, "Five thousand Meseta for your journey, as well as some Dimate and antidotes from the infirmary."

"And I've requested Mieu and Wren accompany you as well," Maia added. "But, you must be careful. My father used to tell tales of Layans in the western lands... I don't think they'll give you a warm reception."

"My Queen, we'll be careful!" Mieu replied. "My Prince, Princess Sari, whenever you're ready!"

"We shall wait for you outside, Prince Ayn," Wren added.

(And so, Ayn and Sari set out on their journey to discover the source of the biomonster attacks. What will happen to Thea? Who are Lord Siren and Lady Alair? And what will become of the Alisa III?)
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