"What is this!?" The Magic Council were hosting a meeting amongst themselves once more, and everyone seemed to be extremely bothered. "Tell me this is not true!"
Alexis nodded. "It's true. One of the demons was released and now it's roaming Fiore. We must take extra caution; perhaps...we need to refine the Army of Winds. The clones are defective. It would be wise if we retrieved a greater source...perhaps, those old prototype demons we once forged decades ago and merely scrapped."
"Do you think it wise?" One of the other members snapped in her direction. "Evil is not a toy, child, as LaHote himself just found out, wielding the power of demons brings nothing but ruin!"
Alexis persisted in her ideal. "...No, listen to me. I, myself, I have the most wondrous idea to ever exist." She held up a small bracelet; there seemed to be a precious gemstone lodged in it. "...See this? It's infused with a fragment of a deceased member of the Five Great Demons- Ragnablust. The Demon of Domination- the ability to control anything. We could do it...we could show that meddling guild why you don't fuck with the council." It was easily noticeable that she was going off the deep end.
"Do you not hear yourself, Alexis!?" A very elderly man, Mosag, stood to his feet. "I allowed you, my daughter, into this council because I admired your ambition and willingness to do what needed to be done, however, I also admired your ability to think clearly under pressure. Where has that gone? You are resorting to the powers of demons and the like, when such things can easily turn on the Council and destroy everything we have worked so hard to build!? Listen to me, my daughter. Your plan, while it has it's merits, also has severe downsides that cannot be ignored!"
Alexis merely sighed at this. "Ugh, father. I think senility is getting to you in your decripit old age...technology has improved to the point that we needn't worry about such trifling matters. Relax, please. I've got this under control. Now, stand down and think about my idea."
"Overruled!" Mosag called over her. "Alexis, I cherish you as a daughter, but your plan is hereby discarded." He then spoke to the council at large. "It is time to call the mole back. He should have acquired enough data to help us deal with Akatsuki and this new threat."
Alexis pouted at this. "...Grargh. Fine, fine." She was sulking; though naturally, she immediately snapped back to methodically calm. "...Let us watch what happens, then." It was pretty glaringly obvious that she was plotting from the shadows.
The departed Akatsuki group had finally returned to the Guild Haven, and their guild building, with an unconcious Jason being carried over the shoulder by Hephaestus. Everyone had their questions, but the priority was Jason's recovery, and he was currently sleeping up in the large bedroom, Wendy refusing to leave his side.
"There isn't any physical damage." She had told everyone when she scanned his body for external and internal injuries. She was more worried about damage of other kinds.
Momoko inquired, "Is it more of a magical damage than anything seeable? It seems so serious..." She gestured to Iris, "Go and get that red-haired girl with the black wind magic. Then her and Wendy should try their best."
"Sky Slayer magic can only do so much." Wendy replied, climbing intot he bed with Jason and simply laying next to his sleeping form. "I'm worried about damage to his soul...that's a place not even the best healing magic can touch..."
Vivian was, for one, incredibly worried. "...So, you mean to say, we can't heal him at all?"
Momoko rested her hand on Vivian's shoulder. "The best we can do is wait and see what happens, sadly. Just relax for now. All we can do is wait."
Vivian forcibly threw Momoko's hand off of her shoulder. "...Shut it, you. I have an idea. I'mma call Exialia; see what she can do."
"Who?" Len's voice sounded as he came through the door, rubbing his eyes and yawning like he had just woken up. "I'm sorry, I was so tired from last night I slept through the morning...is Master alright?"
Vivian was busy dialling Exialia as they spoke. Upon entering the number, the lacrima-powered cellphone responded "The fingers you have used to dial, are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now." Vivian twitched in fury.
Momoko offhandedly explained, "Well...not really. I mean look at him. One of the Primodorial Demons was released from him, so he's lost a fair bit of power."
A loud thunk was heard, and everyone in the room, sans Jason, turned their eyes to the source of the sound. It was Hephaestus. "LaHote will be fine. He has far too much spirit to allow his soul to crumble from just that!"
Wendy looked shocked. This wasn't just a declaration to reassure them. Hephaestus himself sounded adamant on it. She settled into a smile. "Somehow, I think you're right, Hephaestus."
Ulalia wandered into the room, turning to the elderly man. "...Just wondering, could you take the time to fill out this...survey." She handed him a piece of paper. "Just fill it out- the questions are basic stuff, and," she closed in on him. "HOW DID YOU COME HERE AND WHO YOU REALLY ARE."
Hephaestus burned the paper, and turned away from Ulalia. "I've told you my name, and my reason for being in this time. That's all you need to know. The more pressing matter at hand is the demon."
Ulalia pouted. "Yer no fun."
Momoko took her map out, before rubbing it on Jason's face rather violently; after she had finished, the map had changed- showing several locations throughout the area. "...I've got this."
Vivian was skeptical. "...Wait, how on earth did you do that?!"
Momoko was blunt here. "It's a magic map."
"W-what does the map show?" Wendy asked, torn between curiousity and a desire to smack Momoko for using an unconscious Jason's face as a catalyst for her magic.
Momoko responded, "It's like a tracking device. Though, it can do a lot more than track things. It's basically an Ancient Spell, though in the shape of a Holder Magic. But this shows the locations of the demon. Relax, I've got this under control."
"Even if you know the location, the problem is actually fighting it." Len frowned, activating his archive magic. "Not even my Archive has too much information on these demons...I only know what I've heard and they aren't something we should tangle with..."
"Jason was able to do it..." Wendy murmured.
"Not without great difficulty." Hephaestus countered. "And the battle has had lasting damage on him. Throughout all of your battles, even the latest with Crux, LaHote has never been able to unleash his full power. The battle with Gehaburn damaged his magic reserves severely and they are still recovering as we speak."
Momoko sighed, "Well, that's bullplop. How much power does he have? ...Eh, anyway, we can do this. I don't believe we will. I know we will. If we can defeat those other demons, then we can do this, there's my guarantee. Besides...it gives me the chance to do more RESEARCH!"
"Research?" Wendy looked curious. "On what?"
Momoko rolled her eyes. "You've known me for a while now. Isn't it obvious? Learning more about Gehaburn; how it acts, what it's actually made of, ec cetera. My goal, as an archaeologist, is to record and study any and every remnant from ancient times and piece together history once more."
SLAM! SLAM! Hephaestus had slammed his staff into the ground, before he rose to his feet. "When it comes to that demon...I can tell you what you need. It will save time, and I know enough. I speak from experience."
Momoko was short with it. "...Then go on, and tell us. We don't have much time, especially since my wristwatch has stopped working."
"Gehaburn..." Hephaestus took a seat again, and formed a singular orb in his hand. Lacrima. It began to float, glowing, above them all, bathing the room in it's soft blue light. "Where do I start...?"
The sphere broadcasted the full appearance of the demon to the guild members present. It seemed to be a beast of eldritch lore; with a strong, bipedal body that's rather similar to that of a hound; though, there are seven snake-like heads protruding from it's lower body; each has piercing crimson eyes. On it's upper body is a proper torso with properly formed claws; in addition to a draconic-looking head. The skin of Gehaburn is a scorched black.
Wendy flinched, inching back towards Jason's sleeping form. "H-He had that sealed inside him!?"
Momoko wasn't worried; more interested. "...Oho! So if we can find out how it was sealed within him...and divide the demon into several pieces, so we can each have a share of the power!" ...She was nuts.
Hephaestus slammed his staff into the ground. "You. Will. Not!" He gestured wildly to Jason's sleeping form. "Look at LaHote! He tried to grasp the power of that demon, and look at his state now? Do you wish to act a fool as well?"
Momoko crossed her arms, grumbling, "Geez, somebody's hankerin' to be shoved in a retirement home. ...Sure, sure. Honestly, in theory, it COULD work. Things now aren't the same as the times back then. We've improved, and with the help of science, we could quite easily control the demon." Sound familiar?
"You are truly a fool!" Hephaestus looked upon the girl with something resembling contempt. "With your abilities, you could not hope to contain the beast. It would devour your soul until there would be nothing left of you, and it would be too late to regret your own idiocy!"
Wendy flinched. She found this man to be rather...frightening.
Momoko rolled her eyes. "Go on then, explain more. I am dripping with excitement at your exposition."
"In the ancient past, large beasts rule the planet. Dragons and Demons were the most prominent, and Gehaburn was, as the saying goes, "King of the Hill", though it shared that position with one other."
"T-there's another demon like Gehaburn?" Wendy asked, shuddering at the thought.
"Yes, it goes by the name of Eslydon, and it's power rivals that of Gehaburn. However, multiple humans banded together at one point, and using their combined magical power, sealed these demons in towers, where they were to remain." He sighed, as if berating himself for a great personal failure. "However, Jason came across the tower where Gehaburn was sealed, and accidentally set it lose. The battle was such that even Jason nearly died. Gehaburn specialises in Darkness Magic, as you could see from Jason's own employment of the creature's abilities. Technically, it is a creature of pure magical energy made flesh, corruption in physical form, and now that it is loose, to say Armageddon is upon us is not a far stretch."
Ulalia chimed in, "King of the Hill, eh? I'll tell you hw'ut." It was amusing, sort of.
Momoko began to summarize, "Sounds rough. But we can tough it out."
Iris' ears poked up. "Sounds like a real hootenanny~"
"Is there any way to deal with this?" Wendy asked, hoping this man had some way to solve the problem.
"There is." Hephaestus confirmed.
Momoko rotated her wrist. "Please, do go on. This is really intriguing." She took out a paper and pen from her cleavage, beginning to take notes.
"The same as the first way Gehaburn was dealt with." He replied. "A seal. However, this would be a seal of a more permanent kind. One that cannot be simply undone. We will seal Gehaburn into human form!"
Vivian didn't seem to happy at that. "Is this some special type of magic, or what? Do we need anything for the seal? Do we just have to combine our power?"
"No." Hephaestus replied darkly. "My own magical power outstrips nearly everyone in this room combined to start with. I will suffice. With my magical power and my life force, I will be able to seal this beast into a human form and kill it."
Momoko was impressed now. "You're really brave, ya know that. Anyway, thank you very much for your help. But why kill it? In a human form, maybe it would express a different take? After all, in a massive form, it could be insane."
"You're far to optimistic." Hephaestus laughed ruefully. "Perhaps you should see my world. Your hope would die out in an instant."
Momoko patted Hephaestus on the back. "That's rough, buddy."
"So...what now, Hephaestus?" Len asked, surveying the man through what appeared to be a holographic monocle. Part of his Archive, no doubt.
"When Gehaburn left Jason, it split into nine pieces. One for each head, and enough for it to go into hiding and accumlate full power. The cheeky one-" He gestured to Momoko in the instance. "-has a map that can track these. However, each of the beasts possesses an immense amount of power, even I would have to strike more than once to take one of these down, and I'm sure Crux is already realising these aren't a walk through the woods. Our goal is to find all nine, merge them, and then seal Gehaburn into a human form. However, the Magic Council, long dead in the 200 years I come from, and the Shadow Remnants, are all going to be tracking these down as well." He looked at the people on the room, his eyes full of meaning. "Akatsuki. You must prepare for a three-side war!"
Iris's tail fuzzed up. "I've been preparing for this! Team, assume your stances!"
Ulalia, Vivian, Momoko, Ichigo, Ringo, and Iris took their poses.
"To protect the chastity of all girls! DawnYellow!" Ulalia declared.
"We defend the ancient and occult! DawnBlue!" Momoko followed.
Ichigo added on, "To serve slavery with eternal happiness! DawnGreen!"
Ringo's turn. "To snark with all might. DawnBlack."
Iris triumphantly finished, "The heaven, the earth, and a million squirrels call to me! DawnRed!"
"With our powers combined... We are—The Dawn Rangers!!" Cue cheesy super sentai pose.
Gaikou walked past. "Okay, idiots. Calm down. I'm just saying, when I look at you guys it makes me want to cry."
Iris chimed, "Come on~ Join in, it's fun~!"
Gaikou snarked, "In the name of love...fuck you all." She trudged off.
Hephaestus was surprised. "So...this is how they are...200 years...they addle the brain.." He turned to Wendy. "And what of you, child?"
"I'm going to stay here, and watch over Jason!" She replied, determination in her eyes. "It will help, to me here. And Chelia will come up periodically too."
"I expected nothing less." Hephaestus walked to the door. "Dawn Rangers...as you so call yourselves...let's move out!"
A Gathering of Shadows
"So I see you failed. I expected better of you, Crux." Mr. E appeared before the leader of the Shadow Remnants. "I suppose you aren't truly worth as much as I originally thought."
Crux basically told him, "Go off yourself, masked bastard. That asshole is pretty much invincible anyway- I was going to beat him, then the Santa Claus who lifts came out of friggin' nowhere. I honestly can't wait to smash his goddamn face in." Yes, he was pissed.
"You act like a child." Mr. E chided. "It is because of your own lackluster performance that you were unable to get what you wanted. And now the beast is loose. In nine piece. I'm certain you will go after them, will you not?"
Crux sneered, "Whatever. S'not like I need you, anyway. Hell, I bet YOU were the one who set Lifty Claus up to foil me. Almost like you need that fucker alive or somethin'. This alliance is neccessary, though...You watch my back, and I'll be sure to stab yers for underminin' me!"
"You truly overestimate your own skill, Crux." Mr. E sneered from under the baboonskin cloak. "And the fact that you are unable to trust your allies makes it even more pitiful. I sent you towards your goal. Your lack of skill, and the unforseen variable of that elderly man were what caused the failure. However, you have no one to blame but yourself." Under the mask, his eyes seemed to glow. "So...what will you do now, boy?"
Crux sighed. "I could quite possibly destroy you, him, and Lifty Claus with my strongest form, you know. I was holding back. I just know you have something to do this. I'm trusting you, but I just have my suspicions. Don't let me down on this one. ...As for me, I'm sure that Eslydon is yearning for Gehaburn's destruction, so I'm gonna take that fucker down for the time being."
"I would truly love to see you try to 'destroy' me." Mr. E chuckled. "But I suppose this will be amusing. Eslydon and Gehaburn...after all these years, events unfold that center around these two beasts." He began to fade into nothingness. "I'll be watching, Crux."
Crux spat, "Oho, that'll be easy. Easy as that son of a bitch to crush. Just you watch...just you watch. Calling me an inconvienence, that'll cost you. If I want to live, I live! If I want to take, I take! If I want you to die, YOU DIE! Shadow Remnants, prepare for battle!" He called out via megaphone. "The second demon is going to be ours!"