Posts Tagged ‘Corrunderus’

Chapter 9: Counteroffensive and Corrunderus

May 10, 2011

 This is it! The final chapter of Spirit Warriors! Animus’s journey comes to and end here. However, it is not the end of my desire to make stories. I plan on doing more at some point. It kinda has a bittersweet ending, but I really enjoyed making the events that led up to the final battle.

Chapter 9: Counteroffensive and Corrunderus

“I have to say, Dirk, that is quite an amazing suit of armor you’re wearing. You remind me of a dragoon from a Final Fantasy game, even,” Animus said to Dirk.

“So, this is what it feels like to fight as a spirit warrior in human form. I feel so amazing! I bet I could fly around the world and make it back here in less than an hour!” Dirk exclaimed, admiring his new form.

“I suggest you save your energy for the final battle, Dirk. We don’t know how powerful Corrunderus may be. He could be just as powerful as we are, if not more so. We need to be in top form,” Mentivis replied.

At that moment, Animus glanced at Melina for a split second and looked back in his original direction toward Mentivis. “How much time do you think we have? I still have things to do before we head out.”

“This will be a longshot, but I would say a week. We may have decimated his main army, but he may still have some demons in reserve. A week is not only just enough time for us to prepare; it is also enough time for Corrunderus to prepare. Let’s make the most of this short time while we have it, and…” Mentivis turned his attention to Dirk “…make sure we don’t overwork ourselves.”

“What? You think I’m gonna spend an entire week in the simulator?” Dirk asked.

“Well, considering that you probably got the biggest change of all of us, you were probably planning on going all-out with your new powers and exhausting yourself.”

“…Dang. You know me too well.”

The first day came, and the spirit warriors dedicated themselves to preparing for the final fight. Dirk and Mentivis were training together in the simulator, while Animus and Melina watched them on the monitor. The two warriors were battling waves after waves of demons in a ruined city.

“So, I lost count. What wave was this, again?” Dirk asked, while slicing through several demons with his claw staff.

“Uhh… eight, I think,” Mentivis answered as he fired large needles of ice at a bunch of demons.

“Just eight? I want to go at least twenty,” Dirk replied as he dispatched the remaining demons.

“What was I saying about conserving your energy, Dirk? We have no chance if we are too tired to fight.”

The ninth wave commenced, and more demons spawned around them. Dirk rushed toward a group of them at lightning speed. However, as soon as he was about to strike, a buzzer rang, and the demons disappeared, along with the entire battlefield. They now found themselves back at the base.

“Uhh… what just happened?” Dirk asked, baffled.

“I had the time limit set to an hour when you weren’t looking. You need to consider resting every so often.”

“Dang it! I can’t get away with anything anymore, can I?”

Animus and Melina stepped into the simulation chamber as Mentivis prepared the combat simulation. They found themselves in the same ruined city as the one from Dirk and Mentivis’s combat training. The two warriors progressed wave after wave until they came to Wave 6. As Animus kept slaying demons, his eyes turned toward Melina, who was also slaying demons, almost as many as he did, so far. However, he noticed a demon coming down from directly above Melina.

“Melina! Look out!” Animus yelled as he sprinted toward her as fast as he possibly could.

“What?” Melina stopped what she was doing to find Animus running toward her. All of a sudden, she saw the shadow of the demon and turned around. She was petrified with fear, seeing the demon about to strike her down. Animus jumped and slid on the ground and readied a Cluster Blast, firing it before the demon made it to her. However, Melina was too close to the blast and was launched several feet away, landing on her back. Animus felt the heat of his Cluster Blast and had it not been a simulation, would have been scorched.

“Animus!” Mentivis shouted into the microphone in the simulation chamber. “You can’t overexert yourself like that! You could’ve killed both yourself and Melina in the process!”

Because both warriors were down, the simulation ended early. Animus quickly got out of the device and proceeded toward his room, when Mentivis stopped him.

“Melina would’ve been all right. If you’d just left her alone, she…”

“I can’t! I just can’t!” Animus interrupted as he brushed Mentivis aside and moved on. Dirk and Melina came up to Mentivis shortly afterward.

“What’s gotten into him?” Dirk asked.

“Whatever it is, it just revealed itself. I’d best go talk to him. Melina, come with me. Whatever he doesn’t tell me, he’s sure to tell you.”

Melina, shaken up by the incident, nodded and proceeded to Animus’s quarters alongside Mentivis.

As the two approached Animus’s room, Melina whispered quietly to Mentivis.

“Let me talk to him.”

Mentivis nodded and stayed behind as Melina knocked on Animus’s door. There was no answer.

“Animus, may I come in?”

A muffled voice answered, “Sure.” Melina walked in to find Animus lying on his bed with his face to his pillow.

“Animus…”

“What?” Animus replied, still with his head to his pillow.

“…Thank you.”

Animus turned to look at Melina. He was sad, but his face shown a more disappointed look.

“For what? Killing you in the simulation?”

Melina calmly replied, “For trying to rescue me. I know you didn’t succeed, but you risked everything to save me. Don’t be ashamed of yourself.”

“I can’t help myself, Melina. I just can’t stop worrying about you. I don’t even know if I’m going to lose you again.”

“I can take care of myself, Animus. You don’t need to look after me. Promise me that you won’t worry about me anymore.”

Animus was silent for a moment, then said, “I promise.” Melina hugged Animus and left his room.

The second day arrived, and Animus spent much time thinking to himself in his room. He didn’t feel like simulation training, and yesterday’s mood was still with him.

“Animus…”

Animus broke from his thoughts to listen to the familiar voice. “I’m here.”

“You seem to show some doubt of your own skill as a warrior. Take your sword out of its sheath,” the voice said.

Animus took his sword from his sheath as the voice told him.

“Now, hold your sword out in front of you and look at the hilt. What is the shape of the hilt?”

Puzzled, Animus replied, “A ‘V’.”

“Now, what’s the first word to come to your mind that starts with the letter ‘V’?”

“Uhmm… Victory, I guess.”

The voice answered in a pleased tone, “Remember that you are not only wielding a sword. You are also wielding Victory, itself. You will do well.” At the moment, the voice was no longer heard.

“He’s right. I shouldn’t doubt my skill as a spirit warrior. Especially not when I’ve come this far. The upcoming battle has already been decided. Now all we have to do is play our roles and follow through to the battle’s decision.” Animus felt a new wave of confidence as he stepped out of his room to join the others in a game of Brawl.

The third day came quickly, and Animus began to worry about the constant running down of time.

“(There are five days left,)” Animus thought to himself. “(I need to get this out of the way before time is up.)”

Animus went to Melina, who was watching a show on TV. On the outside, it looked like she was entertained. However, she felt a similar anxiety of the diminishing time.

“Melina?”

Melina turned from the TV toward Animus. “Oh, hi Animus! You look better!” Melina said as she smiled.

“It’s a beautiful day out. Do you want to go to our favorite spot, today?”

Melina’s smile broadened as she heard this. “Oh, absolutely!”

On the cliff that held many of their memories, they looked toward the placid ocean reflecting the sun like a mirror.

“Melina, remember that day we met?”

“Oh, yes! I was a little nervous, at first. I mean, you just suddenly appeared. But you were so kind.”

“I thought it would be nice to reflect back at those memories. I want to remember how it felt like my heart wanted to burst out of my body to be with your heart. Heh. Now that I think about it, I couldn’t get you off my mind. I’ve lost sleep for several days in a row. I felt pain, because I had a very strong desire to be with you.”

“You’d be surprised at how I thought of you, at first. I thought you just wanted to be around me for my four arms,” Melina giggled.

Animus’s face turned a bit red for a moment, but it was more of a blush. “Well, I was worried that I was lusting after you after that first time. I mean, four arms. I’m curious at how you were able to use them all without getting all klutzy. It must be difficult to concentrate on what each arm is doing at the same time.”

Melina smiled as she responded, “Well, it was an interesting experience trying to use these arms, at first. Mentivis, well, he and I saw each other as spirit warriors that very first time. I mean, he was brave enough to come running to my room telling me about his powers, while I was struggling to get out of a knot I made with my arms. I had no idea which hand I was supposed to let go first.”

Melina paused for a moment to give both of them some time to laugh at that moment. “I was on the floor, face redder than a tomato, and he was standing there doing the biggest facepalm of the century!”

Melina paused again, for they could not control themselves in their laughter. After the laughter died down, Melina continued her story.

“So, yeah. After Mentivis was done with that, he helped me get my hands untied. I could’ve just gone as a normal human being with two arms between battles, but by the time Dirk built the base, I became so used to having this many arms that I decided to stay as a spirit warrior just to try my arms out around the base, doing household tasks much faster.”

Animus felt so relaxed, listening to Melina’s story, that he decided to ask a question about her spirit warrior form. “Melina, when I became a spirit warrior, I was a knight, because that is what I imagined myself to be. Were you the same way?”

“Actually, yes. I used to draw things all the time. A lot of them were of me as a powerful warrior with four arms. She did magic with two arms and held her weapons with the other two.”

Animus thought to himself, “(I could’ve sworn I’ve seen something like that on the web back in the day. I’m actually still kinda scared to admit it. I mean, I know she would hate to have her pictures lusted after… Man, that last thought just creeped me out. I don’t want to have anything to do with lust ever again, especially when I know she’s the one.)”

“Animus?” Melina spoke as she looked at him, who apparently was fixed like a statue. “Animus!” Melina snapped her fingers in front of him, breaking his thoughts in two.

“Whoah, what? I… Oh. Sorry, Melina. I just hit some not-so-pleasant memories that surfaced on me. They’re gone, now.”

“Thanks to me, I bet!” Melina smiled.

Animus smiled back. “Heh, yeah. Thanks.”

The fourth day arrived, and even Mentivis was feeling uneasy. He sat alone in the War Room, thinking about how to engage Corrunderus. Having spent about an hour already, he was ready to move on to something else. It was then that Dirk walked in.

“I thought I’d find you here, Mentivis. You’re the only one I know who would sit alone in a dark room while the rest of us enjoy the weather outside. Melina wanted me to come ask you if you’d like to join us for a picnic. She and Animus are already bringing the food and drinks.”

Mentivis looked up at Dirk, thought for a a second or two and smiled. “Yeah. I’ll be more than happy to come with you guys. (That would help me clear my head, though Melina would have a fit if she caught me thinking about work during a time of relaxing.)”

The four warriors arrived at a beach about 15 miles south of the base. They were all dressed in normal clothing, enjoying a nice lunch of sandwiches, pickles, and potato chips.

“I never realized there was a very nice beach here,” Mentivis said before biting into a turkey sandwich.

“Well, maybe you should come outside more,” Melina answered with a grin.

“Melina pointed it out to me when we were coming back from a trip,” Animus added.

Dirk wanted to join in, but he was too busy nomming on pickles from a very large jar. Animus was amazed as he watched Dirk down what looked to be his fourth pickle.

“Dang, man. Where’re you putting ’em all?”

Dirk quickly swallowed to respond to Animus’s question. “I can’t help but enjoy pickles. I’m a sucker for anything that involves vinegar.”

After lunch, Animus decided to build a nice sandcastle on the beach. Dirk was sunbathing, and Mentivis was, as always, meditating on something. As Animus was getting towers built on his sandcastle, he noticed that Melina had gone up to him. She was wearing a bathing suit.

“Do you want to swim with me, Animus?”

Animus’s mind instantly went into a power struggle, seeing Melina in that bathing suit. He felt that it was all right to look upon her, while he felt the fear that grew within him during his many fights with lust, back in the day.

“Uhh.. s-sure. I’ll join you,” Animus answered, very nervous about this situation.

“Come on, I’ll hold your hand,” Melina said, noticing Animus’s nervousness.

At that, Animus just thought “to heck with it” and held her hand without hesitation.

“(Why do I need to be nervous about all this? She’s the one. I shouldn’t be nervous about seeing her like that. It feels funny doing this, but it’s better than cowering in fear of something completely pointless.)”

The two walked toward the water, hands held firmly to each other.

The appointed day of attack was getting closer, and the fifth day has risen. Animus and Melina were in the simulation chamber again, battling demons in waves.

“(I can’t get worried about her, this time. I must let things go. She’ll be all right if I don’t interfere.)” This thought echoed throughout Animus’s mind during his training. He turned around to find Melina fighting demons, as well. Suddenly, a demon came from above, much like last time. Animus quickly began to run, but stopped.

“(Come on, Animus. Self-control. You can’t interfere!)”

As he paused to watch the demon slowly descend upon Melina, he saw her look down, turn toward the demon, and blast it to pieces with energy beams.

“…Maybe I have been worrying way too much,” Animus said aloud.

Much of the remaining time of that day was spent on training, though the warriors went on periodic breaks for both them and the simulation machine to cool down.

The sixth day has come, and the warriors sat down in the living room area to talk.

“So, I forgot. Which day do we strike? Tomorrow, or the next day?” Dirk asked Mentivis.

“We should strike tomorrow. I don’t think we can afford any more time beyond that,” Mentivis answered.

“(Tomorrow! I need to get this plan done today!)” Animus thought to himself. “Mentivis, is it okay for me to take Melina out to dinner, just the two of us?”

“Sure, I have no problem in that,” Mentivis answered.

Melina couldn’t help but feel something was up in Animus’s mind.

Later that day, Animus spoke to Mentivis privately in his room.

“Uhmm, Mentivis. Since you’re the one who looks after Melina, I wanted to ask you this question,” Animus said, nervously.

Mentivis was puzzled as he answered, “Go ahead and ask.”

After a bit of a struggle with his tongue, Animus managed to say, “I would like to propose to Melina at dinner tonight.”

Hearing this blew Mentivis away. He was stunned at this question.

“I’m… uhhh… well… okay with that. I guess I’m so used to you and Melina being so close that I didn’t even think about what’ll happen next. I believe you’ll make a fine husband for Melina. You two share a very strong connection to each other, as well. Now that I feel more comfortable, yes. Go ahead and propose to her. I’m eager to see you two as a couple.”

Animus couldn’t contain his excitement. “Thank you, Mentivis! I promise I’ll be the best husband to her as I can possibly be!” On that note, Animus left Mentivis’s room to take Melina out to dinner.

After dinner, Animus and Melina agreed to return to the cliff one last time before the great battle.

“I wonder what will happen when this battle is over,” Animus thought aloud as he watched the setting sun.

“Maybe it’s ‘happily ever after’?” Melina suggested.

“Maybe. I’ve grown so fond of my abilities as a spirit warrior, it wouldn’t feel right to be normal again.”

“Maybe we’ll get to keep them.”

Animus turned toward Melina. “I love you, no matter what.”

Melina turned to look at Animus. “I love you, too.”

“Melina, have you thought about what you plan to do once this is all over?”

“Well, I kinda avoided thinking about it. I wasn’t nearly as happy back then. And then we met. I don’t want to return to my old life.”

“Then, I guess you wouldn’t mind me asking this question.” Animus knelt down on one knee to Melina and held out a small box. As he opened it, he spoke the words to Melina: “Will you marry me?”

Melina was breathless at the sight of this. To think they would be together forever was beyond her wildest dreams. She could be just as happy after the final battle, if not moreso. Finally, she made up her mind.

“Yes! I will!” At that moment, Animus and Melina kissed as the sun continued to set.

The day of the final battle arrived, and everyone gathered in the war room after brunch. The teleporter was in the room, ready to be activated at a moment’s notice. Dirk was tweaking the device to make sure it was communicating with the teleporter at Corrunderus’s lair.

“Dirk, are we ready?” Mentivis asked.

“Everything is all set. We should be able to return here via the teleporter at Corrunderus’s base.”

Mentivis turned toward Animus and Melina, who were holding hands. “Animus, Melina, are you both ready?”

“I say ‘Let’s do this!'” Animus proclaimed.

“I’m ready!” Melina chimed in.

“Then let’s go. It’s time to finish this war.”

All four warriors successfully teleported to Corrunderus’s lair. The place was dark and ruined, thanks to Animus’s previous trips. They entered the main hallway to find it deserted.

“Man, we really did wipe out the whole lot of ’em,” Dirk said.

“Something’s not right, here. The space station is far too small to hold the many demons we fought. Where else were they coming from?” Mentivis spoke.

“I guess we’ll get the answer from Corrunderus, himself,” Animus answered.

The warriors quietly approached the door to the bridge of the space station without any attacks from demons.

“This was too easy. What is Corrunderus planning?” Mentivis whispered.

“I hope it’s his funeral, because we’re going to end him hard,” Dirk answered.

Then Animus came up with an idea. “Maybe it’s best that we split up. Dirk and I can take on Corrunderus, while you and Melina search for any traps.”

“No. We’re going in together. Any lack of manpower can be a fatal mistake,” Mentivis answered.

“And I’d like to know why you’re not inviting me along. Not only am I a healer, but I’m also going to be your wife!” Melina shouted at Animus.

Mentivis quickly covered Melina’s mouth after that statement. “Darnit, Melina. Corrunderus probably knows we’re here, now. Shush!”

Melina slapped Mentivis’s hand off her mouth and just glared.

“I guess it’s settled. We all go in,” Dirk said. “Any more hesitation will just get us shaken up.”

The four warriors entered the bridge, where Corrunderus was waiting for them.

“Even without that girl’s help, I knew you were waiting behind that door. Experience agonizing pain and fear!” Corrunderus raised his scythe and began to charge toward the warriors.

Dirk, always enjoying a challenge, went up first. He quickly split his staff in two and swung around one end over his head. As soon as Corrunderus got close, Dirk threw the end of the staff at his scythe, causing it to wrap around and latch on. The leader of the demons struggled to get his scythe free, while at the same time, Mentivis and Animus flanked him on both sides. Mentivis fired ice shots, while Animus fired energy shots. As Corrunderus suffered under the attacks of Mentivis and Animus, his horns began to light up. Melina quickly knew that something was up and immediately shielded all of them as Corrunderus released thunder bolts from all directions.

Corrunderus felt that it was futile to pull his sycthe out of the grip of Dirk’s staff, so he charged toward him, causing Animus and Mentivis to accidentally hit each other with their own shots. Dirk retaliated by dashing right past Corrunderus, moving too fast for a counterattack. However, upon doing so, his staff unlatched from the scythe.

“All right everyone, concentrate all your firepower on him!” Mentivis shouted.

Animus held his arms out, gathering energy in his palms. “YUUKI…KOUSEN!” He brought his palms together to make a more powerful energy beam than his enerugikousen.

Dirk held out his hands in front of him to where the claws from his gloves looked like the teeth of a dragon. “Feel the power of the dragon’s roar! DRACOKOUSEN!” Immediately from his hands fired a powerful beam.

Mentivis brought his hands together and focused hard until an energy ball was formed in them. “MENTIKOUSEN!” Mentivis fired his own beam of energy at the demon.

Melina focused all four hands in front of her chest. “This is the power that comes from the heart! IKIKOUSEN!” Immediately, an intense beam of energy fired from her into the enemy.

The combination of all of these beams left Corrunderus weakened. But, as soon as the beams subsided, he quickly fired blasts of dark energy in every direction, hitting every warrior on the battlefield. All of the warriors were flung into walls behind them.

“You gotta be kidding me! What kind of demon can survive that?!” Animus shouted in amazement.

“A DEAD one!” Dirk got up and charged at Corrunderus. Corrunderus quickly swung with his scythe, preparing to decapitate Dirk. However, on excellent timing, Dirk stopped the scythe with one end of his staff. But before he could attack with the other end, Corrunderus fired a dark beam of energy at point blank, knocking him into another wall.

As Dirk was charging the demon, Mentivis readied another attack. As soon as Dirk was thrown into the wayside, Mentivis launched a spinning ball of energy around Corunderus. However, it was quickly destroyed by a swing from Corrunderus’s staff.

But as Mentivis was distracting Corrunderus, Animus readied his own attack. “CLUSTER BLAST!” Animus launched a powerful ball of energy at Corrunderus. As it made contact with Corrunderus, it exploded, but Corrunderus appeared unscathed.

“To be fair, I couldn’t use a really powerful one in this sort of place,” Animus sighed.

“Any more plans, Mentivis?” Dirk called from the corner.

“One more plan!” Mentivis answered. “Weapons ready!” Mentivis used telekinesis on his staff and surrounded it with ice needles. Animus focused his power into his sword, causing it to glow. Dirk put his staff back together and prepared for another dash attack. Melina held her staff high above her.

A powerful beam was released from Melina’s staff and paralyzed Corrunderus, while Mentivis launched his staff in his direction. Animus followed up by releasing powerful energy waves from slashing with his sword. After the other three were done, Dirk charged at Corrunderus one last time, piercing his body armor with his staff.

“All right! Fatal blow!” Dirk cheered.

“Not yet, fool.” Corrunderus blasted Dirk away and removed the staff from his chest.

“How can you still be fighting?!” Animus shouted in amazement.

“I am not like those weaklings you defeated with little effort. I am a veteran of innumerable wars. If that is all the effort you can muster, then this battle has ended for you.”

“D…darn it!!!” Dirk shouted in pain as Melina hurried over to heal him.

Animus and Mentivis went in to strike Corrunderus with their weapons while evading the swings of his scythe. However, both were thrown toward Melina and Dirk.

“Enough toying around. I’ll destroy you, along with this space station!” Corrunderus held out his arms and began to glow in a dark aura.

“Animus, I have an idea, but it will require a split in manpower. Dirk and I are going to find the control room and activate the self-destruct mechanism on this thing,” Mentivis said.

“How do you know there’s a self-destruct mechanism?” Animus asked.

“This was a government project at one point. If it was in danger of falling into enemy hands, one man would stand by to activate it. However, this had been abandoned for supposedly unknown reasons.”

“How do we know if it will work?”

“That’s what I haven’t worked out yet. Presumably, even demons can’t survive the vacuum of space. That’s why the teleporter was required. I’m hoping it works on Corrunderus.”

“So then all Melina and I have to do is stall him.”

“Yes,” Mentivis answered. “Get ready! He’s just about done changing!”

Mentivis and Dirk left the bridge, while Animus and Melina stayed behind to engage the now much larger and scarier Corrunderus, who can now barely fit inside the bridge.

Animus turned toward Melina. “Melina, go with them! If I lose you, it won’t matter if I win!”

“Are you crazy?!” Melina shouted. “Don’t you think it would be the same thing for me?!”

“Just run! I’ll be fine!” Animus shouted harder.

“Y..you…” Tears streamed down Melina’s face. “Idiot! Fine! I’m leaving!” Melina ran out of the bridge still in tears.

“Aren’t you a sweetheart?” Corrunderus sneered. “I’ll take care of your friends later. Let’s see if you can survive the same vacuum of space you once dove to earth through.” Corrunderus stretched his arms and legs out and destroyed the bridge around him, causing the air to be sucked into the void of space. Animus found something to hold onto and held it as tight as he possibly can to avoid getting sucked away. However, he was losing air fast. All of a sudden, a celestial being appeared and shielded him with an oxygen bubble. Though, Animus still could not stand a chance against the more powerful Corrunderus.

“How can you possibly breathe?!” Animus called to Corrunderus. “There’s no way you can survive!”

“You humans always need an explanation for everything. You thought we could not survive in space. If we couldn’t, we would not have gotten here in the first place. The teleporter was merely used to make sure my henchmen attacked in the target area.”

Meanwhile, Melina was still running to find where Mentivis and Dirk had gone. Two celestial beings appeared before her.

“Return to Animus. He needs your help.”

“He doesn’t need me! He wants to do it by himself!” Melina answered in frustration. Another two celestial beings appeared before her.

“Corrunderus will win if you do not hurry. Mentivis’s plan will fail.”

“Huh?!” Melina reacted in surprise.

“Go. We will aid you.”

Melina ran back to the bridge to help Animus. Around that time, Dirk and Mentivis made it to the control room.

“Ok, Dirk, I assume you know what to do here.”

“Boy, do I!” Dirk exclaimed. “I can set this space station to make me a pizza if I wanted.”

“Just set it to self-destruct. I’ll use telepathy to let Animus know we’ve arrived.

Back on the bridge, Animus was struggling to keep his grip. Suddenly, Melina returned, and two celestial beings have grabbed on to her to keep her from getting sucked into space. They also created an oxygen barrier around her for protection. The remaining two celestial beings assisted the one helping Animus by holding his feet firmly on the ground.

“Melina,” one of the beings called. “Hold up your staff and lend all of your power to Animus. Once he has regained his strength, focus your energy to make a shield for him.”

Melina did as she was told and gave her power to Animus.

“Now, Animus. Prepare to be let go. Strengthen your sword with all your power.”

Animus put all his power into his sword. Once it hit its peak, Animus was launched toward Corrunderus, aided by the vacuum of space.

“No! Even if you destroy me, you cannot avoid your fates!” Corrunderus yelled as Animus got closer toward him.

“For everyone who suffered by your hand. For Melina. For my Lord! I will destroy you!” Animus yelled as he swung downward with his sword. As he swung his sword, a powerful beam three times the length of Corrunderus emanated from the sword’s tip. As the beam went downward, it cleaved Corrunderus in two, utterly destroying him and vanishing into a large puff of black and purple smoke. The two celestial beings who released him came to hold him again to bring him back to the space station.

After Animus and Melina left the bridge, the celestial beings departed by unknown means and were not seen again. An alarm suddenly went off throughout the station.

“SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE ACTIVATED. T-MINUS 5 MINUTES”

“He’s done it. We must meet up with them!” Animus told Melina. However, it had not even been a minute before Dirk and Mentivis arrived to meet with them.

“Don’t think we didn’t get to see ol’ big an’ ugly while you were off fighting him! Nice work, Animus!” Dirk exclaimed joyfully.

“No time to celebrate, yet. Let’s get out of here!” Mentivis called to the other warriors. They immediately ran toward the teleporter and escaped.

The warriors finally found themselves back in the war room in their base. Animus and Melina were about ready to pass out from all the energy they used up.

“We did it. It’s finally over.” Mentivis said to himself.

“All right! Let’s break out the festivities and party all night long!” Dirk yelled out.

“Dirk, I think we ought to wait until those two lovebirds wake up, first.” Mentivis motioned Dirk to look down to find Animus and Melina sleeping on the ground in front of them.

A moment later, when Animus and Melina were awake again, they gathered together in the war room to celebrate their victory. Suddenly, a voice called out to each of them.

“Well done, brave warriors. You have crippled the enemy’s plans. They no longer have the numbers to cause devastation to our army in the final battle. Not only that, you have severely weakened their morale by winning even the most difficult battles with just the four of you.”

“The final battle? You mean there’s more?” Dirk asked.

“Armageddon. But that will not be for a while. You may keep your powers for your enjoyment, so long as you don’t misuse them.”

Shortly after, Animus and Melina finally got married. They moved out of the base to enjoy a home of their own. Dirk and Mentivis, now close friends, stayed in the base to keep it tidy. Occasionally, they would visit each other and catch up on things that had gone by since. Dirk and Mentivis had been looking for their own “special someones”, as well, and later, finally found them. Some time later, Mentivis moved out of the base and left it at the hands of Dirk and his new wife. Unknown to the Spirit Warriors, however, their actions and Corrunderus’s deception will, in a few years, cost them their lives to humans who have wrongly accused them of war crimes and possessing WMDs, which were never found. It was shortly after that the world began to move into a new age, led by the Devil, himself. However, as the spirit warriors all know, his war was already decided by their victory over Corrunderus.

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Chapter 6: United, They Stand

June 9, 2010

Yeah, I’m over a week late with this chapter. Unfortunately, it will be my last chapter for a while, as it has been months since I last worked on Chapter 7.

While I’m on the subject, I wish I had the talent to make these chapters as flash animations, but unfortunately, I do not.

Chapter 6: United, They Stand

“Ok, it’s time to finish this!” Animus shouted as he battled a strange foe in a familiar arena. He stood on one end of the battlefield and began to raise his hands in the air, gathering energy for the final blow.

“ENERUGIIIII…”

The monster facing him also began to draw energy, holding his hands to his waist, also drawing energy. “KA… ME… HA… ME…”

Animus then put his right leg back and lowered his hands, facing his glowing palms towards the demon. Suddenly, he made a shout that let off a huge burst of energy toward the foe. “KOUSEN!”

“HA!!!” The monster responded, firing energy toward Animus with his palms. The two energy beams collided with each other and struggled to overpower each other.

“(Ok, just hang in there, Animus. Eventually, he’ll wear out.)” Animus thought to himself as he continued releasing energy towards the monster. Eventually, Animus’s Enerugikousen began to overpower the monster’s Kamehameha Wave when suddenly, the monster disappeared, and the surroundings went black.

“I need everyone to meet in the War Room immediately,” the intercom went off.

Animus removed his visor, released himself from the gyroscopic chamber, and quickly ran to the War Room, where the other three warriors were waiting for him. As soon as Animus sat down in his chair, Mentivis began to speak.

“Now that we are all here, I want everyone to listen carefully to what I have to say. I have been keeping up with the news and looking over our income for the past three months. We are rapidly losing our income, as some nations have stopped funding us and some nations went so far as to make laws against us coming into their territory.”

“(‘This is only the beginning. Your efforts to defend this planet are futile. The very people you are trying to defend will hate you. The more they know about you, the more they will hate. Do you really wish to carry this burden?’)” Remembering this, Animus’s face grew pale.

“Animus, what’s wrong? Are you sick?” Mentivis asked, not used to seeing him in this shape.

“While I was captured, Corrunderus showed me a video of a politician speaking out against us. It looks like it’s finally happening. They’re starting to hate us.”

The attention on Animus was interrupted by Dirk’s fist slamming onto the table. “Where’s the logic in all this? Would they rather be tortured by demons than be saved?!”

“Calm it, Dirk,” Mentivis interrupted. “If we’re going to react to this turn of events, we need to keep our minds at ease so we can think things through. Lately, Corrunderus had been targeting only us and used unconventional tactics to fight us. Demons attacked Animus during his coma. We have fought a demon that we couldn’t physically touch. The fact that he’s not targeting other people anymore is making our battles look staged.”

“So, what can we do to keep ourselves from getting caught between a rock and a hard place?” Animus asked.

Mentivis made an answer that none of the Spirit Warriors, including himself, was prepared for. “We disband.”

“Disband? We’re breaking up? Why?” Melina asked Mentivis.

“Disband?! Do you mean we’re just going to give up?!” Dirk shouted.

“I can’t just leave the rest of the team. It would hurt me to make such a decision. We’ve been through too much, together!” Animus replied, as well.

“Everyone, COOL IT!” Mentivis shouted. At once, everyone stopped talking and made sure not to say anything until Mentivis finished speaking.

“Look, we have five Great Deed medallions, so far. The fighting won’t be over until we obtain the other three. It’s not like we won’t see each other anymore. We will still fight demons. We just have to take a couple steps back so we have something to return to in case we eventually lose the base. We’ll need to get back to the lives we used to have. After all, we need to progress as normal people, as well. We have college, careers, and families to look forward to. If we don’t establish this while we have the opportunity, we may not be able to resume our normal lives later on. Now, are we on the same page in all of this?”

“I have a favor to ask. Since I did make the plans for this base, and since I don’t have a home to return to, I was wondering if I can still make this place my home,” Dirk asked.

“As long as it doesn’t use up too much of the money we have left, then it’s fine,” Mentivis answered.

“I think we’re all clear on the matter. I’ll return to college and resume pursuing a career in teaching. But, it won’t feel the same, though, after all of this has happened,” Animus stated, though without the smile he usually has.

After the meeting was over, the warriors exchanged good-byes and left for their former homes. Mentivis and Melina returned to their home in Vorca City, while Animus rented a new apartment in Terto City.

As the days passed in his new apartment, Animus began to grow bored and restless. Being on his own again after such a long time did not feel the same to him after having many great experiences with his fellow warriors. One night, he just couldn’t take it anymore.

“Ugh. At this rate, I’ll end up having my days and nights mixed up. I need to go outside for some fresh air.”

As Animus walked toward the door to the balcony, a thought came to his mind.

“I want to go back to that cliff. It’s so quiet and peaceful over there, and maybe it’ll help me relax.”

Animus arrived at the cliff with a sleeping bag and a flashlight. Once he was done setting up his sleeping bag, he sat down on it and began to rest his mind. However, memories of Melina poured into his mind, keeping him from feeling the least bit drowsy.

“(I’ll visit her tomorrow, I promise,)” Animus thought as he tried to sleep under the stars. A few hours later, he awoke at the sound of footsteps in the grass. He grabbed his flashlight and pointed it at the direction of the sound to find Melina, standing in front of him.

“Melina, what are you doing out here? I thought you were with Mentivis.”

Melina replied, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I kept getting memories of us on this cliff, and I came here to try to relax.”

“Something tells me that this was not a coincidence,” said Animus, still a little surprised by Melina’s visit. “I was going to visit you tomorrow morning, but since you’re here, I guess we can spend some time watching the stars together if you like.”

“As long as I’m next to you, Animus. I missed you so much in the past few days.” The two began to watch the stars far above the cliff.

“Melina, I don’t think I’ve told you this before, but I’ve been thinking about you since long before we met.”

“But, how could you think of me if we never met?” Melina asked, puzzled.

“I’ve been praying to meet you for years. I’ve even typed on my computer the kind of girl I imagined you to be. I said to the Lord, ‘If there’s anything in this description that I really want to come true, it would be that your favorite color is orange.’ I just could not get over how much I wanted to see that come true.”

Melina was surprised to hear this. “Wow, you’re absolutely right. My favorite color IS orange!”

“Not only that,” Animus continued, “But I have seen other parts of the description come true, as well. You have beautiful straight brown hair that appears to shine orange in the sun. Your eyes are a beautiful brown, like mine. You are a bit shy, but your heart is very strong. And how much you love to serve the Lord just blows me away. It was as if He took my description and molded it into a dazzling young woman.”

Melina was so entranced by what Animus told her, she could only speak these four words: “I love you, Animus.”

“I love you too, Melina,” Animus replied.

The two continued to stare at the night sky until the sun slowly rose.

“Melina, is it ok if we meet here again tonight?”

Upon hearing this, Melina let out a big smile. “Yes, Animus. Absolutely!”

The next morning, Animus headed off to former base of the Spirit Warriors to pay Dirk a visit. When he arrived, he found the place to be strangely empty.

“(He’s probably working a bit more on the simulator,)” Animus thought. However, when he went to the simulator room, he did not find Dirk, but the power to the room was completely shut off. “(Man, I never thought I’d see the simulator room like this. I’d better check the War Room. It’s the only place left.)”

Animus proceeded to the basement, where he found Dirk sitting with his head tucked between his folded arms at the table. “Dirk, it’s me, Animus. Is everything ok?”

Dirk slowly raised his head and looked toward Animus. On the table was a letter. He placed his hand on the letter and slid it across the table toward Animus. “Take a look at this,” he said, with an obvious expression of discouragement from his face.

“What’s this?” Animus picked up the letter and read it.

By the order of the Alliance of Nations, this base has been deemed a threat to the security of the majority of the participating nations and is to be dismantled by its owners within one month. If this order is not complied, troops will be dispatched on site to destroy the base and eliminate its owners.

“How long ago was this mail sent?” Animus asked Dirk while trying to hold back his anger.

“Yesterday. It looks like we’ll be back to square one,” Dirk replied.

“I don’t know. Let me go deliver this to Mentivis. He might have an idea on how to rectify this situation.” Animus took the letter and flew from the base to the home of Mentivis and Melina in Vorca City. When he rang the doorbell, Mentivis answered the door.

“Animus, I’m so glad to see you. Melina just talks non-stop about you. So, what brings you here?”

Animus smiled to see Mentivis again, but his smile quickly disappeared when it came time for him to show the letter. “Dirk received this in the mail, yesterday. It looks like we have a real problem on our hands.”

As Mentivis silently read the letter, sweat poured down his face. Once he was through, he calmly handed the letter back to Animus. “The hole just keeps getting deeper, doesn’t it?”

“I was wondering if you may have an idea on how to fix this situation,” Animus said.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do at the moment. However, I’ll try to think of a solution. I’ll let you know as soon as I can think of one,” Mentivis replied.

Later that night, Animus returned to the same cliff from last night. Shortly after he arrived, he saw Melina flying towards him from his left.

“Animus!” Melina quickly flew into Animus’s arms, giving him a big hug.

“Melina, it’s so wonderful to see you again.”

“I was thinking of what you told me, last night, about before you met me. I have something I want to share, as well. Before we met, on some nights, I heard a voice, telling me to pray for my future husband. It sounded like he was in trouble, so every night, I prayed for him.”

Animus was amazed to hear this news. “Melina, I have something to say, as well. On some nights, when I was attacked by lust, I asked my Lord to send a messenger angel to my future wife to tell her to pray for me. It sounds like my messages came through.”

Upon hearing this, Melina was so awestruck by this message, all she could do was hug Animus even more tightly than ever. All of a sudden, many dark figures appeared from all around them.

“Lord Corrunderus requests an audience with the two of you. You will join him tonight,” spoke one of the demons. All of a sudden, several demons swarmed the two warriors and bound them in strong metal chains and were knocked out.

After being in the midst of darkness for what seemed to be forever, Animus heard a voice.

“Wake up. It is time to meet the Demon Lord.”

Animus opened his eyes to find himself bound to the same wall as before. In front of him were as many as six demons. To his left was Melina, so stricken with fear, it looked like she would pass out at any moment. The demons unbound the two warriors from the wall. However, the chains were not removed. The demons escorted Animus and Melina to the same large room from before. There, Corrunderus stood at the other end, waiting for them.

“Welcome again, foolish clown. And welcome, naive girl. I could’ve left your fate to your own kind, but I wanted to have the pleasure of disposing of the two greatest threats to our plans.”

Melina was too scared to speak, but Animus managed to talk to the demon. “What are you doing to the people on Earth? What kind of brainwashing have you done to make them think we’re their enemies?”

“Brainwashing? There has been no brainwashing. These humans draw their own conclusions. Of course, I had to help them along. But, actually, you fools contibuted a lot to their beliefs.”

Animus attempted to violently shake off his chains, but it was no use. All Animus could do is angrily stare at the demon who had them shackled.

“I suppose you want to be free from those chains, now. You’ll be free from those chains, and your bodies, shortly,” Corrunderus continued as he began to raise his scythe. “Better yet, I want to see how you would react to see your loved one die right before your very eyes.” Corrunderus moved his scythe toward Melina when suddenly, Animus began to glow.

“Ahh, this will be interesting. I’ll get to kill you in the same form that you were when you killed Atraledo. Wait… that’s not it. What’s going on?”

The same spirit that arose from Animus against the invincible demon appeared once again to fight Corrunderus. The spirit unsheathed his sword and began to strike powerful blows against Corrunderus, who, with every blow, was steadily moving backwards. As Corrunderus and the spirit fought, Melina began to glow, as well. Her spirit arose and removed the shackles from the two warriors with no problem. As soon as they were released, Animus and Melina fell to the floor. Melina’s spirit joined the battle with Animus’s spirit as they continued to war against the powerful Corrunderus. However, during the battle, the two spirits began to merge together. The spirit looked very much like Animus’s spirit, but the other spirit’s daggers appeared on the sword’s hilt. When the spirit pointed his sword at Corrunderus, three beams fired from the sword and two daggers and encased Corrunderus in an energy shield. The spirit split back into two and returned to Animus’s and Melina’s bodies. Immediately, they got up and saw Corrunderus, trapped behind a shield of energy.

“What happened?” Animus asked, unaware of the events that had taken place.

“(There’s no time. You and Melina need to get out of here before the shield wears off,)” a thought appeared in his head.

“Melina, we need to get out of here. I know a way out.” Animus quickly grabbed Melina by the hand, and they both ran towards Animus’s former exit. However, on their way down the hallway, many demons were coming from that direction.

“Animus, look!” Melina shouted.

“Crud! We need to find another way out of here!” Animus turned around and ran with all his might back down the hallway, still firmly holding Melina’s hand. Down the hallway, they approached the door that led to a mysterious machine.

“What on earth is this?!” Animus asked as he examined the machine. After a few seconds of peering into the machine, he noticed a map of Earth with a set of coordinates. Below the map was a red button.

“Darnit, that still doesn’t tell me what this thing does!” Animus shouted.

“What about this, Animus? ‘Teleportation Device’,” Melina read on a part of the machine.

“This is a WHAT?!” Animus could not believe what he had heard. Suddenly, he could hear the demons coming closer. Without thinking, he hit the red button and shoved Melina into the machine. After a light on the wall flashed red three times, the light below it flashed green, and Melina disappeared from inside the machine.

“I sure hope this machine did what I thought it was supposed to do. Otherwise, I’m a dead man, in more ways than one,” Animus said to himself, breathing heavily and sweating almost uncontrollably. When he tried to press the button again, a buzz filled the room.

“Oh, what now?!” Suddenly, his eyes turned to a thermometer. Its numbers were red, but they were rapidly decreasing.

“Oh, I sure hope the machine cools down fast enough.” All of a sudden, the demons began to enter the room, one by one.

“Crud!” Animus held out his left arm and held it with his right arm. “CLUSTER BLAST!” Animus fired a powerful energy blast into the demons, causing the door to cave in. When Animus turned around to glance at the thermometer, the numbers decreased more slowly, but they were now white. Animus pushed the red button again and quickly went into the machine. As soon as the demons removed the rubble and entered the room, he was no longer in sight.

Meanwhile, Mentivis had been meditating in a secret place in a forest to the south of Vorca City.

“(I need to know the solution to this problem. If we don’t save the base, it’ll be that much harder for us to fight the demons.)”

“Aah!” came a familiar shout.

No sooner did Mentivis open his eyes than he found himself tackled by Melina, who seemed to appear from out of nowhere.

“Oof! What the…” But Mentivis was cut off by another familiar voice.

“Whoa!” Animus also appeared from nowhere and landed on top of both Melina and Mentivis, still on the ground. As soon as all three warriors got back on their feet, they turned around to find a demon also appearing from out of nowhere.

“Here they come!” Animus lunged forward to intercept the demon.

“What’s going on, here?!” Mentivis asked Melina, very confused.

Melina attempted to explain, “Well, you see, Animus and I got captured by the demons, and we met Corrunderus.”

“What?!” Mentivis interrupted, “You met him?! What happened?!”

“He was about to kill us, and we passed out. When we came to, he was surrounded in a force field, and we were hightailing it out of there. That’s when Animus stumbled upon a teleporter, and…”

“A teleporter!” Mentivis interrupted again. “That’s how they’re getting here. Hang on a moment. I’ll have Dirk scan this area for anything unusual.” Mentivis then telepathically communicated with Dirk. “(Dirk, I need you to use the computer to scan the area where we are. Look for anything that may have to do with teleports.)”

“(You got it, Mentivis. I’m on it.)” Dirk telepathically replied.

All of a sudden, more demons started to appear, one every few minutes.

“Drat! Melina, put up a barrier for us,” Mentivis told Melina as he rushed to assist Animus. Within minutes, there were no fewer than five demons on the battlefield. Even though the warriors were surrounded by a barrier, Melina was getting tired, and she was about to lose the barriers.

“Hey, is it just me, or did the demons stop appearing?” Animus asked Mentivis while concentrating on the demon he was fighting.

“It looks that way. Hang on a moment.” Mentivis then telepathically communicated to Dirk, “(Dirk, did you figure out what was going on?)”

“(Mentivis, you won’t believe this. The demons travelled to your location via a special wave frequency. I used the base’s satellite to release waves at the same frequency toward your location. It seems that the waves collided and have deflected in opposite directions.)”

“(That’s awesome, Dirk, but where are the original waves now headed?)”

“(It looks like they’ve left the planet, and… I have no clue after that.)”

Mentivis chuckled when he heard the news. “(Lost in space. Brilliant work, Dirk.)”

A few minutes passed before the warriors defeated the remaining demons. When the warriors headed back to the base to explain the preceding events, the sixth Great Deed medallion appeared to each one.

Chapter 2: The Assassins

January 30, 2010

I thought I might release this a bit early. No point in being liberal about blog release dates. 😛

So, just a word on this. I think it’s less cheesy than the first chapter, but I think there are still some cheesy parts to it. However, I like this chapter due to the fact that new techniques and challenges are revealed here.

Oh, one last thing. Well, a couple. First, I’m up to Chapter 7, right now, so I might speed things up a bit. Second, I have a best friend who happens to be doing a fiction of his own, much like mine. He’s read the first six chapters and really enjoyed them. I’m hoping that maybe, I could post his Tiger Blade stories here and also have a crossover. Ok, maybe that was a bit more than a couple. Anyway…

Chapter 2: The Assassins

“Animus, you have done well, despite facing bleak circumstances. I now grant you and your team a special medal of honor: a Great Deed medallion. These medals are not just awards. Once you have gathered eight of these medallions, your true powers will be unleashed, just as they were unleashed in your previous battle. Now, it is time for you to wake up. Your friends are waiting for you.”

Animus woke up to find himself back in his apartment. Melina was by his bed, keeping him company. The morning sun shone through the window.

“Melina, you’re alright. Are Dirk and Mentivis okay?” Animus wanted to say more, but having been unconscious for a while, he was quite weak. However, he could not help but smile at seeing Melina by his side.

“They’re fine, Animus, thanks to you. Even when I died, I could still see you crying for me. And I could feel that you loved me. Right now, you need to rest. Dirk and Mentivis are working on our new home. We’ll be able to visit them tomorrow.”

Animus went back to sleep, thankful of the good news. The next day, Animus and Melina went to the site of the team’s new base. Dirk was looking over at his blueprints, giving Mentivis instructions, and Mentivis guided the hired workers to carry out those instructions. Dirk looked up from his blueprints to find Animus and Melina standing in front of him.

“Yo, Animus! You’re up! We thought we lost you for a moment, there. Thanks a million for keeping him company, Melina. No doubt Animus would wake up sooner if he knew you were with him.” Dirk let out a mischievous grin.

“Hey, that’s not funny, Dirk! We’re just friends!” Animus responded, annoyed by the remark.

“We all saw you crying when you saw Melina get killed. I could only assume you had feelings for her.” Dirk admitted.

“Dirk…” Animus could say nothing. All he could do is blush out of embarrassment. Melina looked at Animus and giggled.

Dirk continued, “Oh, Mentivis wanted to talk to you about something.” Dirk turned his attention over to Mentivis, who just finished helping the workers attach a metal wall to the side of the incomplete structure. “Hey, Mentivis! Animus is here!”

Mentivis walked over to Animus and talked to him about the Great Deed medallions. “Good to see that you’re up. We were worried for a moment.”

“So, what happened since the time I was fighting that demon?” Animus asked, curiously.

Mentivis explained, “When I was killed by that demon, I thought that was it for me. However, an angel came to me and told me that it was not yet time. I was to wait next to my body until I was able to return to it. Next moment, I saw the angel and another assist you in defeating that demon. I remember one angel saying that they are not allowed to fight against the demons, themselves. However, these two had been given permission to assist Animus. When the battle was over, I returned to my body, to find a medallion in my hand. That night, the angel spoke to me, explaining the role of the medallions. My guess is that our tasks will be finished, once we earn eight of them. However, the angel also spoke of our true powers. I’m guessing that we will need those powers to fight a foe much bigger than that demon.”

“It seems you guys have your hands full building the base. Will it be okay if I volunteered to keep on the lookout for attacks?”

Mentivis answered, “I think it would be better if you took a break from fighting, for now. But, if an attack does occur, do not face the attack alone. Come immediately to us.”

Animus left the construction site to return to his apartment. Melina stayed behind to provide refreshments to the workers. Three days later, ten demons appeared on the news.

“We want the Knight in Shining Armor. Give him to us, and there will be no harm.”

Animus immediately turned off the TV and set out toward the rest of the team. “This is really bad. They’re solely after me, this time. I’m definitely going to need my friends for this.”

While heading for the construction site, Animus was caught off-guard by one of the demons. This demon was a bit different from the previous ones. This demon wielded two swords as opposed to one. He also wore a dark helmet that matched his armor. “You! You’re that knight! Your blood will spill for slaying General Atraledo!”

Animus quickly unsheathed his sword and prepared to fight defensively. “(Ok, two swords. I’ll have to go for long range attacks if I want to survive this.)” Animus distanced himself from the demonic assassin and started throwing energy blasts, only to have them deflected by the swords. The demon rushed at Animus, striking him with his swords, cutting off pieces of his armor and injuring him in the exposed areas on his chest.

“Aah!!” Animus grasped his wounds in pain. However, before the demon could strike another blow, Animus quickly fired an energy blast to his face, temporarily blinding him. Quickly, Animus moved a small distance away, sheathed his sword, and held his left arm with his right. Animus then focused a tightly-condensed ball of energy into the palm of his left hand. “CLUSTER BLAST!” Animus fired the ball of energy at the demon, destroying his swords and most of his armor. Quickly, Animus used the opportunity to strike the finishing blow with his sword, destroying the demon.

Animus was struggling with his wounds as he flew towards the construction site. When he arrived, the other warriors quickly stopped their tasks to support him.

“Quick! Get Melina! Animus is injured!” Dirk shouted. Melina quickly arrives and heals Animus, closing the wounds and fusing the pieces of armor back together.

“What happened?!” Mentivis asked.

“I just saw on the news. There are ten demons looking for me. I managed to destroy one of them, but his skills rival mine. Taking on the other nine isn’t going to be easy,” Animus explained.

“Guys! I just heard over the radio. Two demons are keeping Kariba City hostage,” Dirk interrupted.

“Kariba City is across the ocean. You’d think they would strike closer to Animus’s position. I smell a trap.” Mentivis was concerned about the situation. However, he quickly thought of a plan. “Animus, are you willing to be bait?”

“I guess I have no other choice, since they’re going after me,” Animus sighed.

“Here’s the plan. Animus, you will fight the demons head-on in Kariba City. Dirk and Melina, you two will be on the ground with me. Kariba City is in a forested area, so we’ll have plenty of cover. We will be watching the battle from below, in case the remaining demons appear,” Mentivis explained.

“So, what if not all of the demons show up?” Animus asked.

Mentivis answered, “Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Considering your last fight, fighting more than two demons at once is a risk we don’t wish to take. You’ll have to put all of your effort into the battle.”

The warriors headed for Kariba City, with Animus in the air and the remaining team on the ground. As soon as Animus entered the city, the two demons launched an attack. Animus quickly unsheathed his sword and fired energy blasts from his free hand, while keeping a safe distance from the two demons. The demons managed to dodge most of the blows, but Animus managed to blindside them in the process, injuring one of the demons.

“Send in the reinforcements!” The other demon shouted. Immediately, two more demons appeared on either side of Animus.

“Oh crud. Not good,” Animus said, surprised.

“Now!” Mentivis and Dirk caught the two demons and destroyed them, leaving only the original two that held the city hostage.

“Ok guys, let’s finish these two knuckleheads!” Dirk shouted.

The three warriors dashed at the two demons with their weapons and destroyed them, as well.

“Whew. That was fun. Catching them by surprise was more effective than I thought,” Dirk said with a grin.

“Wait a second. Where’s Melina?” Mentivis wondered.

Suddenly, three demons appear, holding Melina hostage. “If you want the girl alive, follow us,” one of them said. The three demons carried Melina north of the city. The three warriors followed the demons to an abandoned castle. Melina was taken into the castle when the warriors arrived. As they got to the entrance, two demons appeared.

“The knight goes alone. If he gets any help, the girl is as good as dead,” one of the demons said. Afterwards, both of them entered the castle.

“It looks like we have no choice. If we try to fight them, we lose Melina. Animus, it looks like it’s going to be just you, this time. Stay confident,” Mentivis said.

“He’s not going to lose to a bunch of cheap shots. He’ll be fine,” Dirk told Mentivis.

“I’m not coming out without Melina. Make sure to stay here, in case I need help later,” Animus answered. He then walked into the castle. As he walked through the main hallway, he found an open trap door with a ladder leading into what seemed to be the catacombs of the castle. “They must’ve gone down here. I’d better keep on my guard.” After Animus climbed down the ladder and walked through another hallway, he found himself in a large room. As he entered, the doors slammed shut, and the walls began to close in from both sides. “Oh, great. If I don’t act quickly, That’ll be it for me.” Animus quickly started firing at the door in front of him with energy blasts. However, the door was solid stone and did not budge. Animus closed his eyes and prayed for a solution. All of a sudden, his attention turned to a skull lying among many others on the wall that was moving towards him. He quickly moved toward the wall and shattered the skull. The walls slowly returned to their original positions, and the doors flung open. He proceeded onward to his destination.

As he continued to walk along the corridor, he saw an endless series of passageways branching out from the corridor. “Ok, one of these will lead me forward. I have no time to play guessing games.” Animus again closed his eyes and prayed for a solution. His attention immediately turned to a narrow slit in the ground. He thrusted his sword into the slit and suddenly, the doors that led to the different passageways closed and the wall that was at the end of the branching passageways burst open. Beyond the wall was a stairway leading deeper into the catacombs. Animus continued onward.

While he descended the stairs, the stairs suddenly stopped, and before Animus was a great chasm. The pit was so deep, the bottom could not be seen, and the door that led deeper into the catacombs lay on the other side. “No problem. I’ll just fly across.” However, Animus could not lift himself up to fly. He found that his feet were bound to the stairs. “I guess it’s time to do it again.” Animus closed his eyes a third time and prayed for a solution. He opened his eyes and unsheathed his sword again. He placed it on the slit that seemed to run down the middle of the steps, and his feet, though still somewhat bound to the floor, were free enough to be used for walking. He dragged the edge of his sword along the slit, even beyond where the steps ended and the chasm began, and Animus found himself walking on unseen ground. As he continued to walk on the unseen path, he noticed that the path began to twist and turn. “No doubt, if I had just walked, I would’ve fallen,” he thought. He continued to drag his sword along the now invisible path across the chasm until he reached the other side, where the slit ended. Animus sheathed his sword, gave thanks, and walked down the next hallway.

Animus walked down the hallway until he entered a large dark room. As he walked into the room, the torches along the wall lit, revealing Melina and the demons. The demon in front of Melina began to speak.

“Good to see that you made it this far. But you will not escape this place.” All of a sudden, the door slammed shut behind Animus, leaving him trapped in the room with the three demons holding Melina hostage. “Your blood will be spilled as payment for your defiance against us.” All of a sudden, two demons appeared on either side of Animus. The demon that was talking unsheathed his sword. “If you think you stand a chance against the five of us, feel free to make an attempt to defeat us.”

(This looks bad. But, I must continue to be faithful. My duty as a spirit warrior should not end here. My Lord, please, show me the path to victory.) Animus’s prayer was interrupted when the demon with the sword and the two demons on either side of Animus began to lunge at him. Immediately, Animus rushed forward, catching the two demons by surprise, and flew at the demon with the sword, head-on. As Animus approached the demon, he stepped onto the ground and quickly jumped up, just as the demon attempted to slice Animus with his sword. Immediately, Animus put his fists together and struck downwards onto the demon’s head, knocking him flat. Animus continued to rush at the two demons still holding onto Melina. As he approached the demons, he positioned his hands in front of him and fired energy blasts at both demons, blinding them with head shots as he reached Melina.

“Quickly, Animus. Stand next to me.” Melina created a special barrier around the two warriors.

“This barrier won’t help much. Hang on. I’m going to blast through the ceiling.” Animus began to position his arms above him. “ENERUGI!!!” As he finished gathering energy, he unleashed it at the ceiling. “KOUSEN!!!” The large beam of energy blasted into the ceiling, causing rocks to fall down around Animus and Melina. The demons had no choice but to back away. After about quarter of a minute, the rocks stopped falling and the beam disappeared. Moonlight had shown through the newly formed hole. Without a second thought, Melina dropped the barrier, and the two warriors flew straight out of the castle.

Meanwhile, during Animus’s trek through the catacombs, Dirk and Mentivis waited outside for Animus’s return. Mentivis continued to stare into the castle’s entrance.

“Yo, Mentivis. You worrying over Animus, or something? As far as I know, he should be fine,” Dirk spoke.

“I’m creating a mental map of this place. I want to see how far down the demons are. Aha! There we go.” Mentivis managed to finish analyzing the castle’s interior. He also managed to pick up Animus’s, Melina’s, and the demons’ locations. “He appears to be about halfway into the castle. However, unless my mind is having trouble picking up a certain area, there’s a huge chasm up ahead. Melina and the demons are just beyond that chasm. All five of them are in that one room. I sure hope Animus manages to rescue Melina. It appears that the demons are awaiting an ambush opportunity.”

While Mentivis continued to trace Animus’s movements through the castle, he suddenly felt a sharp jolt of pain rush into his head. “ARGH!! What was that?!” Mentivis found himself on the ground, holding his hands to his head.

Dirk immediately got up to assist Mentivis. “Mentivis! You ok?!”

“Augh. I feel a little better, now. But man, I lost my map. One of the demons must’ve detected my scan.”

“How could they? How can they detect something like that?” Dirk pondered.

“Imagine two computers synchronizing information with each other. When I scan a living being, a nerve in its brain sends out a response signal that returns to my brain. One of the demons must have the ability to send a painful signal through that nerve. Animus would not have detected it, because I only scanned his position. I was currently scanning the demons for information on how to attack. Unfortunately, they felt the scan and countered it. Now, Animus is on his own.”

Some time later, a large beam of energy suddenly shot out of the castle.

“What the heck? What’s going on in there?!” Dirk asked Mentivis.

“It’s Animus. He’s escaping from the castle! Dirk, quickly. We’ll need to assist Animus and Melina as they arrive.”

As the two approached the beam of energy, the beam slowly dissipated, and Animus and Melina appeared from the gaping hole that was made from the beam.

“They’re right behind us! Get ready!” Animus shouted.

A few seconds later, the five demons emerged from the same hole, swords unsheathed. Dirk and Mentivis quickly sprang into action. Mentivis and Dirk each managed to kill off two of the demons with their weapons, while Animus and Melina engaged the fifth demon. He did not last long, however, and soon was killed along with the four other demons. Mentivis quickly approached Animus and Melina after the battle.

“Animus, I was scanning the demons, and the name “Corrunderus” came to my mind. Have either of you heard the name?”

Melina responded, “I heard one of the demons saying the name. None of the demons there seemed to have that name. It might be someone they work for.”

Dirk interrupted, “Well, we can’t worry about that, now. We need to finish the base while we still have time.” The four warriors then returned to the island where their base was being constructed.

The next day, Animus returned to the base, now looking even more complete than before. He walked up to Dirk, who was, as always, examining and re-examining his blueprints on the base. “Morning, Dirk!”

Dirk looked up from his blueprints to return the response. “Morning, Animus! Check this out! Most of the work to be done is the interior, so if things go well, we could be done by next week! Oh, there is one thing we’re missing, though. As I was examining some of the remains of the demons’ armor, I noticed that it is impervious to some metals. However, one metal does cut through demonic armor. It’s called ‘Diathesium’. This metal is found deep within the caves in the Turnum Mountains. The sample I have here was given to me by a chemist who deals with rare metals like these.”

“So, do you know where I can find one of these caves?” Animus asked.

“Yes. One of them is south of Vorca City. The cave is unreachable by foot, and the only people who have gone there were scientists sent by the local government to do research. You should do fine getting there, since we can all fly, anyway. Here, take this sample. It should help you find the metal.” Dirk handed Animus the Diathesium sample, and Animus quickly flew toward the Turnum Mountains.

Some time later, Animus arrived at the cave perched on a cliff of the Turnum Mountains. As he walked in, the cave was quickly getting darker and darker. Animus held out his hand and released a small amount of energy but did not let it leave his hand. A half hour later, he saw an unusual purplish metal. He checked the metal with the sample he held in his other hand and confirmed that this metal was indeed Diathesium. With a few short energy bursts, he freed the metal from the surrounding rock and carried it towards the entrance of the cave. As he neared the entrance, the light from the outside was bright enough to disperse the energy that was glowing in his hand. However, a few seconds later, several demons ambushed Animus and blocked the entrance of the cave.

“Your blood will spill for Lord Corrunderus!” one demon shouted. Suddenly, all of the demons rushed toward Animus. Animus quickly unsheathed his sword, but because he was carrying the Diathesium, he was at a bad disadvantage. As soon as the demons closed in on Animus, four radiant beams of energy burst from the entrance of the cave. Most of the demons were injured from the beams, but all of the demons began to focus on the source of the surprise attack.

“Melina! Quick! Help me get this out of here!” Animus exclaimed.

Melina unsheathed her two daggers and rushed at the demons while Animus used the distraction as an opportunity to slay two of them. After some fighting, Melina and Animus, though weary from the battle, finished off the last of the demons.

“Whew. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t shown up in time. Thank you, Melina.”

As the two warriors walked out of the cave, Animus and Melina talked about the close call. “How were you able to find me here?” Animus asked, curiously.

“I was helping Mentivis with the construction, and I got this pain in my chest, and it wouldn’t go away. Then, I kept getting these pictures flashing in my mind. Each one, I kept seeing you in pain. They were so powerful, I started crying. Then, I felt this weird tug at my heart. I felt like I was being pulled a certain direction, so I followed that direction until I arrived here. That’s when I found you and those demons.”

Animus felt a tear form under his left eye. “Melina, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you so much. How about I take you out to dinner, somewhere? I have this feeling… Oh, I’m too embarrassed to say it.”

“It’s ok, Animus. I know you’re in love with me. Ever since the moment we met, I could feel your heart so much more powerfully than with anyone else’s. I didn’t know what it was, at first. But then, I remembered those two moments. The one where you cried for me during the battle against that powerful demon, and the time you rescued me in that castle. I felt your heart crying out for mine.”

Animus’s faced turned red upon hearing this. “Man, that sure beats what I’ve been thinking of saying. But yeah. I still remember when you helped me recover after that big fight against that demon. It felt so good to see you right there next to me. No experience I’ve ever had in my life came close to that moment.” While lost in thought, Animus suddenly remembered the Diathesium in his hands. “Oh! We need to get back to the base. Dirk’s probably wondering about us.”

The two headed back to the base, where they handed Dirk the Diathesium. When Mentivis asked about Melina’s sudden leave, they did say that Melina felt the need to go there, but they kept most of that moment secret. That night, Animus and Melina went out to dinner, and they shared many thoughts with each other. A week later, the base was finally finished, and the warriors moved in.