Dakota has an excited bounce in her step, her heart thrumming a mile a minute in her chest. The final trial was here, and she had made it! She arrives at the guild hall just after sunrise, dressed in a bright orange camisole and black athletic shorts, with her hair tied up and her bangs pinned at the top with a bobby pin. No sense in blinding herself with her own hair, especially when she would have to face giant storm making monsters in a few hours. She hums to herself as she grabs something to eat from the bar, sitting at the stools placed in front of it. She's practically vibrating in place as she chews on the breakfast bar, and her eyes are alive as she thinks of the battle ahead. We'll have to find a way to trap them or something. Umi and I will be at a little bit of an advantage since we can freeze the water that the monsters' use, but if they're are smart, they'll adapt. I guess we'll come up with a plan on our way there. She thinks to herself. With with someone like Tojima on our team, I'm sure we'll have an excellent battle strategy. She adds as an afterthought, smiling fondly at the thought of having such a knowledgeable mage on her side. And Aiden's always got plenty of energy to burn up, those beasts won't even know what hit them until their completely disassembled.
Tojima sat across from Annalina at a lone picnic table near the docks as the two awaited to boat which would take them to the island. The sun peeked shyly over the horizon. Annalina reached over to hold lightly onto Tojima's hand as she rested her head on the table with a yawn. Tojima smiled slightly at his half asleep wife. "Perhaps we have arrived a bit earlier than needed," Tojima said squeezing her hand playfully. Annalina lifted her head "Perhaps," she said, adjusting her glasses. They sat in silence for a few moments. '"This trial kinda worries me, Tojima." She said. "I assure you, you have nothing to fear. With Lady Inari and the S-class wizards there we are perfectly safe from any true harm." Tojima said. He reached over and lifted her chin. "Besides, with such a capable, and if I may add, beautiful doctor on standby, I feel confident that my life is in perfect hands." Annalina blushed slightly "I think the beautiful was unnecessary." She said. "Not at all," He said before checking his watch. "The boat should be arriving soon," He said.
Aiden sat in a tree near the pier waiting for the boat to arrive at the docks. He seemed calm and ready but on the inside he was exploding with anxiousness. Anxiousness to see what becomes of this last trial. "I know this is a team effort, but I wonder what we will be graded on. Whatever it is, I need to try my best and protect my team no matter what. I have been entrusted to be the one who attacks the most putting me in the most danger. I guess I just have to perform as well as possible." The branch that Aiden was sitting on then snapped letting Aiden down and catching himself on the ground with two feet. He then walks over to the port the boat was supposed to come in and dips his feet in the water to then wait.
Umi was standing at the pier watching the waves crash against it as her excitement grows every minute that passed by. Wow, it's the last trial..I'm so excited! It's going to be cool to battle with everyone against the beasts! I've never fought with them before so this is going to be weird at first, but I know we can do it cause we're awesome! Umi couldn't help but smile and gaze at the waves crashing knowing that this is going to be a really interesting battle. I hope this boat arrives here soon...
Dakota says a chipper 'hello' to each of her comrades, making her down the pier. She sits down on the edge, her feet hanging down below the edge, swinging to and fro as she watches the waves crash. "Isn't this so exciting?" She cheers, waving her hands in a the air. "One of us is going to be chosen to represent one of Koma Inu's strongest members." Her voice grows slightly solemn as she says this. Competing with three of Koma Inu's strongest. One of them was Potential S-Class last year too... Ah! I can't think like that! I'm here because I've performed just as well as they have. There's not a single reason why I should back down now. She turns back to face those around her again, giving them a bright smile. "I will do my best to support you guys and do my part as a member of this team!" She announces, getting up from her seated position. The boat pulls up to the pier's side, and she excitedly runs over to the side, waiting eagerly as the landing is dropped down so that they may walk onto it. She practically leaps onto the ship, and once she reaches the deck, her eyes dart around taking in every bit of their transportation device. It's not like she hasn't seen a boat before, but she's never gotten to actually go on one since the time never came to do so before now. She takes a seat closest to the front, leaning over to edge slightly to look at the water's below.
Tojima sat in deep thought as he overlooked the water. The continuous rocking of the boat was an annoyance as it interrupted his thoughts at random intervals. His mind raced over with different possibilities regarding the abilities of the monsters. These thoughts were soon replaced with thoughts on strategies. He ran simulation over simulation in his head as he tried to gauge his and his teammates ability to work together, how would they react if they were unable to communicate?, what if someone is injured and has to quit? how would the flow of battle change if that were to happen?. There were so many things that could go right, even more that could go wrong. He took in a deep breath and exhaled, remembering why he had come here in the first place. This took away the stress of the upcoming battle but brought on a whole different stress. What if he failed?. Tojima placed his face in his palms before running his fingers through his hair. He remembered the second trial, the serpent that had given him the riddle. It had asked Tojima if he would be swallowed up by fear. Tojima remembered his answer. That applied here as well. "I will not let my teammates lose, I will not fail this trial, I must become S-class," Tojima said quietly beneath his breath. Annalina looked at Tojima with a sad expression on her face. She looked away and said nothing.
Aiden couldn't stop pacing around the ship as the contestants were all making their way to the island with the sky monsters. He eventually paced his way over to the side of the boat looked over at the magnificent vast blue ocean, and proceeded to hurl his lunch over the side of the boat. "Ahhh that feels much better. Just got to get all of those bad feelings and thoughts out of my head." Aiden continued to the bow of the boat and sat down with his legs crossed, now excited more than anything for the trial. Aiden then ran through his moves and what would work on the sky beasts. Disassembly magic always comes in handy, Crash as well to attack, Foudre Liberation would be the only specialized attack that would do serious damage to a sky monster. "I'm sure I won't need to go all out on this one. I also don't want any of my fingers broken." Aiden felt the area of his leg that he had disassembled in the earlier round of the trails and it felt odd. For the rest of the trip of the island, Aiden sat on the bow of the ship and proceeded to think of random notions.
Umi couldn't help but look over the side of the ship and look at the ocean and her mind was clouded with thoughts. Are we almost there? Will we be able to do this? Well duh, we can! Everyone here is strong..really strong so as long as we work together we can do anything! Umi continued to stare out and a strong breeze came by and moved her hair...into her mouth. Ack! Stupid hair! First sand now my hair! Umi thought with annoyance as she tried to get her hair out of her mouth. Once she got her hair out of her mouth she put all of her hair up into a ponytail instead of her normal half up and half down style. Once her hair ordeal was over Umi continued to admire the scene and continued to think how things are going to go.
After a long 2-hour boat ride, the group finally arrived on the island. Stepping off the boat, they could hear gravel crunch beneath their feet and smell the unique smell that reminded them of pavement just after it rains. Looking around they see that the geography was very rugged and had little foliage beside a few weeds fighting their way through the cracks on the mountainside.
"Welcome to Ginwaka Island! As you can see it's not the most pleasant place to be...but it is wonderful if you enjoy petrichor like me." Samarra says taking a deep breath in. "Well I want to congratulate you all on making it here, I am very proud. But now it's time for your final task. Once we reach the summit of this mountain I need you all to be on your toes. The three beasts that live here are very possessive of this land and have probably smelled our presence already... They all control various magics so please be careful. The beta and gamma beasts aren't too bad, but the alpha can be ruthless. You all have flares if you need our help, but just know that will end your part of the trial." Pointing to the top of the mountain, Samarra says her final remark. "Alright, it isn't too far from here. Let's get going; and I wish you all good luck!"
The group quickly made it up to the peak with little difficulty. The four mages lie in wait on the flat summit, as their proctors stand patiently on the edge. A howling sound could be heard, but could have just been the wind that picked up...A thin mist could be felt kissing their skin as the mountain slices through the clouds. All of a sudden they hear a loud crash as rocks slides down the mountainside. Then just over the edge of where the mages are standing crawls a giant dragon-like creature. It crawls over the edge and now stands on the level surface with the potential S-Class mages, razor sharp teeth barred as electricity shoots over its white scaled body. On the other side of the creature, they see a slightly smaller one appear over the ridge and lets off a piercing roar. The two monsters slowly encroach on the group with eyes filled with anger.
Dakota watches the mountains with thinly veiled amazement, her eyes glittering and taking in audible breaths of the crisp air. The presence of a nearby magical energy is unnerving, but she manages to keep anxiety at bay as she waits for the beasts to appear. Only moments later does one crawl out of hiding, and she begins to call forward the various attacks to the front of her mind. Another one joins the first, and she glances around warily for the third, but to no avail. The magic power of these beasts is too great to ignore, so she is helpless to determine where the third one is. However, it's not as though she wanted to face more than one at a time, let alone two or three, so she'll take what she can get. She quickly falls into the formation that they've determined, nodding to her partners as they stare down the beasts. Her body begins to exude cold energy as she prepares her magic though she doesn't form any spell yet. As the secondary attack line, she must wait for Aiden to make his choice and then follow his actions accordingly.
Tojima walked forward, throwing his arm to the side to signal for the others to remain as they were. He approached the beast. "We are mages from Koma Inu, we have been sent here as part of one of four trials. Those who stand before you now have passed the other three. As part of the final trial, we have been asked to remove you from this island. The storms you allow to rage without regard for others is too much for the people of this island to withstand. I fully intend to do so, however, first I would like to know why?. Why do you beasts anger so?. Why do allow these storms to rage eternally?." Tojima asked. "I would like to know your side of the story before proceeding," Tojima said.
The beast's voice rang clear through each mage's mind," Shadowed one, our homes were here long before the humans! We tried conversing and compromising with the humans, but they would not listen. They wanted us, the original beasts of this land, to leave our home so that they might settle. We create and fuel these storms constant energy to drive them from here so they will not return. Is it so wrong for us to defend our lands?"
Tojima looked away from the beast "Humans are such greedy creatures are they not?.". He turned back toward the beast "You are not in the wrong and you seem reasonable enough, surely you understand that fighting would accomplish little. We would be harming innocent creatures and you would only prove to the humans in the town below that you are no more than ravenous beasts. We should try to talk this out, figure things out together. Like the logical creatures we are. It is not too late."
Finally making his appearance, the largest of the three beasts ascend from the cliff wall and snarls. "We are done trying to compromise with humans. This is our home and it will stay that way. We do not wish harm on anyone, but we will not stand by and let ourselves be taken so freely!" the alpha snarled as he sent off eight large bolts of lightning towards them. The beta and omega amplify the attack with rough air currents to set the mages off balance.
"How dare you smack away the hand that reaches out to you, attack those who wish to call you friend. It seems I was wrong about you. My conscience can now remain clear during this fight." Tojima said before creating a shadow shield around him and his teammates "Take formation!." He said before retreating to the rearmost position.
"Haha oh Tojima, if there is one thing I learned from participating in the trials, it's that most of the monsters here do not have a sense of diplomacy. Anyways, if he doesn't want our help, fine, but the people of this island do. So let's get this thing started shall we?" Aiden was at the front point of the team's diamond formation. He scanned the sky beasts body looking for any obvious weak points on them. "Their long tails could be a disadvantage for them," Aiden said to their group. "Watch out for fangs, claws, and tail whip." And with that Aiden rushed towards the largest beast of the group. He quickly disassembled the ground underneath the beasts front paws making it stumble and lower its head. Aiden took this opportunity to then lay a sucker punch right into the side of the beast's head.
"Thanks for the heads up Aiden!" Umi and Dakota claimed as the both of them got into a fighting stance. Once Aiden had sucker punched the beast, Umi and Dakota chanted, "Ice-Make: Senbon," sending hundreds of icy senbons at the beast, not giving it a chance to relax. The senbon rain down on the beast from all angles, picking up speed and strength as they converge.
As the beast got hit, it simply... smirked? The mages couldn't really tell the beast's expression, but that was the closest thing to it. The Gamma beast manipulated the air currents to their advantage, setting the frozen needles off course as the Beta beast approached the rest of the diamond formation, attacking them with its talons and spinning rapidly attempting to slash the mages with its sharp tail. Beta Beast altered the air current once again, this time lifting several small rock boulders in the air while dropping them down, aiming for Aiden, giving Alpha enough time to flee.
Tojima wrapped a Shadow tendril around Aiden, pulling him out of the boulders path. "Long ranged attacks will be useless. That's fine." Tojima thought as he looked at Aiden. Tojima held out his hand engulfing Aiden's hands and forearms in shadows. Tojima closed his hand solidifying the shadows into sturdy gauntlets. "Dakota!, Umi!. Chimera gauntlet!." Tojima yelled.
Dakota and Umi nod, focusing their magic energy until Aiden's hands begin to glow with light blue. The magic solidifies around his knuckles, forming ice. "Umi and I have your back, 'kay?" Dakota says, giving Aiden a thumbs up. "We'll freeze anything you come into contact with, just say the word!" Umi adds, and then they both focus back onto the beasts.
The Gamma Beast sent down bolts of lightning from the sky upon the group, attempting to disrupt their focus. The lightning that managed to hit the ground broke apart the surface level of rock into tiny shards, that the Gamma Beast then lifted in the air with a wind current and sent them towards the group of mages. The Beta Beast followed suit, and swished its tail to form rain clouds above, which released a downpour of rain upon the island. The mountain top shined as the lightning's electricity jumped from puddle to puddle.
"Umi!, Dakota!. Freeze the water!. It will partly deionize the water and reduce it's conductivity!." Tojima said as he threw his arms upward. A giant shadow creature rose from behind him. It towered over them. The humanoid creature was only half formed as only it's torso and upper body were present. Tojima swung his arms across. The creature mirrored his actions as it placed it's hands in front of the group, blocking the rock shards.
Dakota and Umi copied Tojima's movement, their arms rising up to meet the downpour. The air temperature dropped considerably, and then the water froze, dropping down in harsh hail. Dakota winces as it falls onto her head, but keeps her focus steady as not to unfreeze the water.
"We need to go after the Alpha, if we defeat him the other two will probably back off." Aiden said, "Its our best shot to end this quickly." And with that, Aiden headed off around the shadow creature and towards where the Alpha was last seen.
"Don't break formation!." Tojima yelled before falling to a knee, feeling weak from the magic it took to create the shadow of bael."Damnit!, I need to concentrate." Tojima thought forcing himself back up to his feet.
"Hey, Dakota." Umi starts, looking worriedly at Tojima for a moment before returning her gaze to the other ice mage. "If we soften up the ice a bit and create snow, we could surround the beasts in it. It'd be harder for them to get out of since it's a collective mass, and we could freeze it over after to keep them there." Dakota nods slowly, looking up the steadily falling hail. Slowly, the frozen drops began to become softer, and instead of close to clear, they are now white. "It's working!" Dakota cheers and the snow begins to build up around them,
The two beasts let out a great roar. The Beta Beast increases the amount of rain falling, causing the snow to turn to slush on the ground. The Gamma Beast changes to wind magic and creates a flurry. With the snow in the air, the high winds create a snow screen, making it very hard to see. The Beta Beast uses its keen sense of smell to aim its tail and swing it at the group.
Aiden returns soon just over the side of the hill, "Guys I can see the Alpha! He isn't that far away at all! We can still stay in formation just follow the sound of my voice and you can reach my soon enough!" At that point Aiden then used his point break attack to break deep into the core of the mountain until he could feel his attack hit was looking for in the mountain. A mass amount of sulfur is broken open and the gas came seeping out of the crack to where the Beast were disrupting their sense of smell. "Umi, Dakota! To slow them down, can you make ice replicas of all of our selves and distract them?! As soon as your down with that, follow my voice and lets all go after the Alpha!" Aiden then thought to himself, "Haha just what you wanted Tojima, if we don't have to fight them, why do so?"
Tojima recognized the rotting smell of sulfur. The shadow of Bael caught the beasts tail with one hand and grabbed Aiden with the other, placing him back in with the group. "Sulfur alone isn't necessarily explosive but perhaps..." Tojima thought reaching into his cloak. "Everyone!, Brace yourselves!." Tojima yelled throwing three throwing knives at the place when the sulfur was escaping. The shadow of Bael closed down around the group to act as a shield. The knives hit the dry rocks of the newly exposed cavern, sparking, causing a massive explosion.
The snow that Umi and Dakota had created has turned into a slush from the explosion, and it continued to melt at a slow pace from the gases in the air. "Umi, let's use the slush to make a dome," Dakota says, bringing her hands up to control the semi-frozen ice. Umi nods, replicating her actions. After about thirty seconds, the girls bring their hands down, and the shadow of Bael around them is glittering slightly from the ice dome that is beneath it. "Alright Tojima, you are free to use this shadow guy however you want." Dakota announces, giving him a thumbs up.
Blinded by the gases, the Gamma Beast was unaware of how close it was to the explosion, and received multiple shards of rock impaling his skin. The Beast stumbles backwards during the explosion and lost its footing on the partially destroyed mountaintop. It let out a piercing wail as it tumbled off the edge of the mountain. Upon impact with the ground, the Gamma Beast created a huge cloud of dust; its motionless body lying perfectly in the center of it. The Beta Beast managed to protect itself from the explosion once the shadow creature let go of its tail. It suffered great injury to the bottom of its feet, but was able to take off down the side of the mountain towards the Alphas location.
"Alright, Tojima Im going to need you to open up the shadow of Bael really quick, I can disassemble the gasses easily and we can get out of here then." Aiden said. Tojima agreed and then prepared to let down the guard. "On three so we don't breath any in. One, Two, Three." The shadow dropped and with his palm out, Aiden quickly let out a blast of disassembly magic and getting rid of all of the poisonous gas around the group. "Now lets go finish this."
Tojima saw the weak beast moving slowly down the mountain. "No you don't!" Tojima yelled. The shadow of bael's arms disappeared, reforming at the beasts sides. The arms wrapped around the beast, hugging it to the ground. Tojima melted into the shadows, appearing beside the beast. Tojima's hand hovered over the beast's skin. He hesitated before speaking. "It may be meaningless to say this after all that has happened, but I would like you to know that I am truly sorry." Tojima said before placing his hand on the beast's leg, placing it into an illusion.
Disoriented by the illusion, the Beta Beast lies still against the gravel; it's limbs twitching from the activity in it's nightmare. The Alpha, sensing that its two brothers have been defeated, lets out a large roar from behind an adjacent mountain. Large boulders are seen thrown into the air, their shadows casting largely over the area the mages were at, only growing bigger as they close the distance between mountains. Catching a glimpse out of the corner of their eyes, the mages see the Alpha crawl over the side of the peak, its talons and teeth barred and razor sharp. It cloaks itself in a layer of lightning to give it some protection, as its spark covered body comes swiftly towards the mages, aiming for a quick slash at their heads.
The tremendous roar is more than enough to warn the mages as the set back up in their diamond formation. The beast marks its appearance shortly thereafter, and Dakota watches the lightning jump from its body. "Umi, I'll defend against the next attack, you make sure you're ready to go on the offensive," Dakota announces, her hands rising up to follow the beasts movement. Just as is swings its claws, a thick sheet of ice is formed in its path, slowing the beast's momentum, but it breaks right after due to the strength. She creates a larger shield after the impact, and with this one, the beast is forced to a stop. The electricity jumps from its body, which singes to the mages clothes, but no major damage is dealt. She moves the shield forward with a quick and brute force, pushing the beast away from the group a few yards.
The shadow of Bael moves above the ice shield, rearing its arm back it swings it downward, grabbing ahold of the nape if the beasts neck. "Things have gone on for long enough, surely you see that this plight is pointless. Surrender and you will meet no further harm." Tojima says.
Struggling for a bit, the beast lay rest, knowing it couldn't escape the shadow' grasp. "I know this fight is futile now. You have already harmed my brothers, and yet I see no guilt in your face...this is why we despise you humans, you do not feel regret to harm something that isn't of your kind." The Alpha says, and relaxes its body, getting rid of the lightning. "I will surrender under one condition. Before you asked us to stop our harassment on the locals; but you must understand. We did go and attempt to convince the locals to allow us to have our own mountain, and we would allow them to stay. But the moment we went down, they began to fight us, calling us monsters; refusing to listen to what we had to say. I ask of you mages to convince them to allow us to have our mountain so my brothers and I can live out our lives without fear. We will allow the people to live on our island, i just want peace for my brothers."
"Your words fell on deaf ears because they feared you, had you truly never taken that in to consideration?. You must have, and yet, when we arrive on our own accord, ask you to speak and tell us your story, offer to act as ambassadors for you. You attack us claiming that you have spoken enough. Or have you forgotten that?. We came here in hope of speaking to you. We reached out our hands to offer our help and yet you smacked them away. How does one expect me to feel guilt?. You fail to put your preaching into practice. Perhaps if you had only asked of this request before now, your brothers would not be injured. No matter how you look at this, the fact that your brothers lie injured and in pain, is your fault. We will speak to the villagers on your behalf as we would have if you had simply asked from the beginning. Like it or not, we all live in this world together. We must learn to coexist, to work together. This is something both you and the villagers of this island must learn." Tojima said.