Lunar: Eternal Blue, Lucia of the Blue Star - Vol. 1 - Summary
(The full translation of this entire chapter is here: Lunar: Eternal Blue, Lucia of the Blue Star - Prologue).
In a crystal on the Blue Star, she first became aware of herself. She was Lucia, the Goddess, watching over the Blue Star and awaiting its resurrection via Lunar. Lunar was the world to which the Goddess Althena gave life.
This was too early for her awakening. The Blue Star was still a frozen wasteland, with not a single sign of life on it, save for Lucia. Yet she felt the presence of Zophar, the dark god of destruction, and had a vision of Zophar destroying Lunar, just like he had once done to the Blue Star itself. Yet she could not feel Althena's presence.
Something was wrong. That must be the reason for her awakening. She knew what must be done:
"I will go to Lunar. Althena's power should not have faded away. I shall meet with Althena, and then I will seal away Zophar."
Chapter 1: Dragonship Destiny
Ruby is a winged, talking cat. Of course, she'd get angry at you if you said that: a cat can't talk, can't fly, and can't breathe fire. She was convinced she was a Red Dragon, but still a kid since dragons tend to live a long time.
Ruby lives with a boy named Hiro. They've been together since Hiro was just a child, both of them raised by his Grandpa Gwyn. They read much about the legends of old, including legends about Dragonmaster Alex. The legends talk of his companion, the White Dragon, who took the form of a talking, winged cat, who likes fish. Ruby was the same on all three points, plus she had red fur, so she must be the Red Dragon.
Gwyn: Hm, maybe that's true... Who knows?
Gwyn, Hiro, and Ruby lived together in the Salyan Desert. They were archaeologists, living around and studying ancient ruins. They got by on a small orchard and occasionally selling treasure from ruins. But one day, everything changed when Hiro and Ruby were out exploring one day...
Ruby: Hey, Hiro, something weird is coming!
Hiro: What is it, Ruby? Is it a monster?
Hiro could fight, but he learned from Gwyn to always avoid unnecessary battles. Between his small knife and Ruby's fire, they preferred to run if they encountered some of the more ferocious monsters inside these ruins. Hiro put the jewel he had just plucked into his sand-shark-leather waistpouch and left with Ruby.
Ruby: No, no, it's a ship that's sailing over the ground!
Hiro: A sandship?
Ruby: No, no! It's just floating over the ground! It's moving without sails! I've never seen a ship this big! Hiro, come look!
Sandships in the desert were pretty common. They ran on skis over the sand, driven by wind. But this was no ordinary sandship. It was just as Ruby described it: giant, sail-less, and with a young beastman on the deck at the bow. The man called out:
"You kids over there!"
Ruby resented him calling her and Hiro "kids". She started giving a lecture to the rude beastman.
???: Hm, just like the frontier. There are strange creatures everywhere, like the talking cat over there. You kids don't know what's about to happen; this place is soon to become a battleground. You and your cat should leave at once.
Before Ruby could unleash her anger at being called a cat again, Hiro interjected and asked about the "battleground" the man mentioned.
Leo: I am White Knight Leo, of Althena's Guard. The world is in great peril. I am here to fight the Destroyer Lucia, who has come to destroy Lunar. With the White Dragon Cannon of the Dragonship Destiny, no one is a match for me.
[Translation Note: The word for "Althena's Guard", "Althena's Cult" (SCD version), and "The Chosen" (PSX version) is all the same. In this book, I have chosen to translate them all as "Althena's Guard" to remain consistent.]
Leo asks if Hiro would know where the scholar Gwyn could be. Hiro does, of course, since he lives with him. And so Leo asks Hiro to guide him to Gwyn's residence, on board the Destiny. Hiro agrees, and he and Ruby board the Destiny.
They arrive at Gwyn's house. Leo explains his intentions.
Leo: It was said by the Goddess Althena that the Destroyer Lucia will appear at the Blue Spire. As White Knight Leo of Althena's Guard, I have been ordered to stop her! Now, tell me how to enter the Spire!
Gwyn: Oh, so the rumors that the Goddess has been reborn are true...
Leo: They are not simply rumors! How can you have such doubt that Althena exists?
Gwyn: I don't doubt it. Althena's existence and her rebirths are recorded in archaeological history. But news takes a long time to reach the frontier. The closest town, Larpa, doesn't even have a Shrine.
Leo: Larpa built a Shrine just last month. Didn't you know?
Gwyn: I see... Well, it's been three months since I've been to Larpa. I haven't seen anyone but Hiro and Ruby since then.
Leo tries to cut to the chase: he needs to know how to enter the Blue Spire, how to get past the gates bearing carvings of dragons. Gwyn confesses that he's never been inside, personally.
Leo: Very well then, we will just force our way in with the White Dragon Cannon of the Dragonship Destiny!
Leo, and his guards, then promptly left, seeing no further value in remaining. After he left...
Gwyn: Hmph, what an arrogant young fop. I've never been inside the Spire, but I never said that I didn't know how one could enter. I was trying to tell him that.
Hiro then suggests that they go to the Blue Spire themselves. Leo seemed intent on destroying it, if necessary, and they should try and preserve the ruins if at all possible so that Leo won't destroy it. The Destiny was heading in the direction of Larpa, not the Blue Spire, so they must still have some time before this alleged Destroyer comes.
But, There's just one problem, says Gwyn: the entrance needs two jewels in order to enter, and Gwyn only has one. So, Hiro produces from his waistpouch the second jewel he found in the ruins, to Gwyn's surprise. Now it's time to go. It might be dangerous, but they'll regret it if they leave Leo free to do whatever he wishes. They prepare to leave aboard their sandship.
Hiro looked out across the Salyan Desert lake at the Blue Spire, and recalled the legends of old, about Dragons, Dragonmasters, flying cities, and the Goddess Althena who lived among the people. But, the Goddess Althena was supposed to have undergone her last rebirth when she was with Dragonmaster Alex. So what was Althena's Guard talking about?
In the last hundred years, Althena's Guard has spread across the world, talking about Althena's latest rebirth. They claim that the world is nearing its end, that Lunar must be saved, and so Althena has been reborn and has appointed a new Dragonmaster. She now lives in the Holy City of Pentagulia.
Gwyn: Hiro! Look at the Blue Spire!
Right then, a light came down from the sky to the Blue Spire. It looked as if the light was tying together the Blue Spire with the Blue Star in the sky above. It then faded. Whatever happened, they knew they had to hurry.
Chapter 2: Lucia of the Blue Spire
Hiro, Gywn, and Ruby approached the Blue Spire. Ruby was worried about what would happen if Leo came and destroyed the spire while they were still inside. Gwyn reassured her. He explained that the Blue Spire was in the middle of what looked like a caldera. It wasn't a volcanic caldera, otherwise it would be buried in lava by now. But, something struck the ground around the Blue Spire like a giant magic hammer, carving the ground around it like this. Yet, the Blue Spire withstood that attack, so it would definitely withstand an attack from Leo's Dragonship. Ruby suggests it could have been the adult Red Dragon who did that; though Gwyn didn't know who did that. What he does know is that, sometime after the "magic hammer" carved out the caldera, the Dragon Gate was constructed around the spire.
That Dragon Gate was the first barrier, the one that Leo couldn't get through. In front of the Dragon Gate were giant Guardian statues, almost lifelike, but in all their time Hiro and Gwyn had never seen them move. Leo, likewise, didn't think the Guardians were even worth mentioning when he visited Gwyn. So, there couldn't be anything to worry about. And even if there was, they could just flee into the doorway to the Gate, since the door was much smaller than the Guardians themselves were.
Hiro and Gwyn inserted the jewels into gate and the door opened. Soon after they entered, they had to fight their way through three green slimes. They continued through the gate up to the Blue Spire itself. In front of it was a Goddess Statue.
Statues of the Goddess Althena were common throughout Lunar. Praying to it would allow Althena's Magic to heal your wounds and recover your magic. The three of them were fine for now, but Gwyn offered a prayer anyway so that their expedition into the Blue Spire would be successful.
The statue itself was very old, constructed about the same time as the Dragon Gate. Yet, the Blue Spire was even older than either the statue or the gate.
The three of them entered the Blue Spire, and ascended up to the top of the tower. On one level, Gwyn got separated from Hiro and Ruby. The two of them ended up in a room much unlike the rest of the ruins, with blue-white floors and walls, and another Goddess Statue, this one much older than the one in front of the spire.
Behind the statue was another room which looked like a shrine. But, the shrine wasn't to the Goddess--it was to the Blue Star in the heavens, with a model of the Blue Star in the center of the room.
The Blue Star was vital to the existence of Lunar, thought of on the kind of level as Althena herself. But, there wasn't any actual tradition of venerating the Blue Star on Lunar, not like this. Lunar's rotation and revolution around the Blue Star were the same length of time, and so Lunar always showed the same side to the Blue Star. And, the only places inhabited on Lunar were on the side facing the Blue Star. In other words, anywhere one went on Lunar, one could see the Blue Star. When the springtime came, people would make sweets in the shape of the Blue Star, and pile them up in a pyramid shape on the side of the window, wishing for a bountiful harvest.
That is why it was unusual to have a shrine to the Blue Star in a windowless room like this.
Hiro: Ruby, this has to be the place...
Hiro stood in front of the model of the Blue Star. The room glowed, and they were suddenly transported to another place, with a strange crystal in the room only slightly larger than a human being.
It was a bit dangerous to be transported like this. Around Lunar, there were transport pads that allowed one to be teleported from place to place via magic. But those places are well-maintained. Inside ruins, Hiro sometimes found the same kind of structures, but it was dangerous since the transporter could be broken and not function properly. But, they were all in one piece now, so it seemed to work all right.
From within the crystal, they saw the shape of a person, slowly growing larger. As the shape became clearer, Hiro saw that it was the nude figure of a girl; before it cleared fully, she was covered in black clothing and a red cloak and hat. Around her neck was a gold pendant. She emerged from the crystal and floated gently to the ground, her boots clicking as they touched the floor.
Lucia: I am Lucia. Who are you?
-Hiro was silent, staring at the girl who had just appeared.-
Ruby: Hiro... Hey, Hiro! You idiot! Snap out of it!
Hiro: She's... so beautiful...
Ruby was furious. She was Hiro's girlfriend--or so she claimed. Now, on Lunar, mixing between different species was not so uncommon; Hiro's own Grandpa Gwyn was a beastman, even though Hiro himself was human. And often, love between the different species happened, too. But, Ruby didn't even look humanoid, so her being Hiro's girlfriend was pretty much confined to something she could say between the three of them--Ruby, Gwyn, and Hiro.
Nevertheless, Ruby still thought of herself as Hiro's girlfriend, and he never called her "beautiful". She clawed at Hiro's face in anger.
Hiro: Ah! Ow! Stop it, Ruby!
-Lucia passed by the two of them.-
Hiro: Oh, I'm Hiro, an archaeologist. Um, what was your name?
Ruby: She just said her name was Lucia! Weren't you listening!?
-Ruby turned back to Lucia.-
Ruby: I'm Ruby, the young Red Dragon, and Hiro's girlfriend. Nice to meet you.
Lucia: Hiro, you are an inhabitant of Lunar, yes?
Hiro: What? Um, yes.
Lucia: Hiro, and Ruby the young Red Dragon and Hiro's girlfriend... I have come from the place you call the Blue Star, so that I may meet with Althena. Please guide me to her.
Ruby was shocked--not just at her coming from the Blue Star, but at the fact that she accepted that she was a Red Dragon without even laughing. But, that left the difficulty of her request. Hiro mentioned that, but...
Lucia: Lunar is in a great crisis, and may be destroyed. To stop that, I must meet with Althena.
Ruby: Peril, just like what Leo said, when he mentioned the Destroyer Lucia. Wait! You're the Destroyer Lucia!
Lucia was confused; she didn't know what a Destroyer was supposed to be. Hiro noted that she didn't look evil, but she definitely was no ordinary girl. Hiro offered to help, to do whatever he could to guide her to the Goddess Althena.
Lucia nonchalantly accepted Hiro's offer, raised her hand, and transported them out of the room and back to the chamber with the Blue Star model. Ordinarily, transportation magic required the use of a transport pad or a powerful magic item; being able to teleport without assistance or even an incantation was remarkable.
Gwyn was there, waiting for them, worried sick. He explained that after they got separated, he was attacked by monsters and managed to flee into this chamber, closing the door behind him. Outside the room, the hall was still full of monsters. ...he then noticed Lucia standing there--but now wasn't the time for questions.
Hiro asked if Lucia could transport them out of the spire. She responded that she knew nothing of this world outside of the Blue Spire, so there was no way to teleport outside of it. It looked like they had to fight their way out...
Hiro handed Lucia a small pickaxe, and took up his knife. Lucia handed him back the pickaxe, aimed her hand at the door, and shot a ball of light through the doorway, blasting it open. She shot another ball of light at the monsters beyond the room, and they were repelled away, clearing a path for them to easily walk through.
Lucia: Now, let us go. Althena awaits.
...Yes, this was definitely no ordinary girl...
Chapter 3: Zophar's Curse
The four of them left the Blue Spire. Throughout the tower, Lucia used her magic to repel the monsters they encountered, and the four of them advanced. On the way, Ruby accidentally let it slip that they agreed to take Lucia to Pentagulia to meet with the Goddess Althena. Gwyn was surprised, but before he had a chance to have a word...
???: Lucia of the Blue Star, I see that you're not very pleased to see me.
Lucia: Zophar... You have been revived to this extent. Why has Althena not done anything...
Zophar: Althena, hm? I haven't seen her recently. Won't you tell me how she is?
Lucia: There is no need. My power shall be enough to destroy you... In the name of Lucia of the Blue Star, I call the power of the Dragon who rules over the land, destroy Zophar!
Zophar: Let me show you how the Dragons' power should be used!
Suddenly, neither Hiro, Lucia, or anyone else could move.
Zophar: I have sealed away the power of the Dragons. What's wrong? You've lost your power; will you still go to Althena? If you can manage to live until then... Are you afraid to die? You've never even thought about your own death, have you?
The source of the voice fades away, leaving Lucia collapsed on the ground. She's weak, but not dead. Hiro and Gwyn, able to move again, rush to her. Gwyn tries to heal her with magic from the statue of Althena, but he's unable--she's not just injured, but cursed. Althena Statues can heal wounds and fatigue, but for illnesses and curses, one needs the help of a priest. There would be one on Leo's ship, the Destiny, but Leo also mentioned a new shrine having been built in Larpa.
There's no way for Gwyn or Hiro to leave, with the monsters outside and Lucia incapacitated. So, Gwyn tells Ruby that their hopes lie with her: she needs to go to Larpa and find a priest, or, failing that, find Leo on the Destiny. To avoid suspicion, Ruby tells Lucia that they'll refer to her by a different name... "Shiya" instead of "Lucia". Lucia says she can't do that; she's Lucia of the Blue Star, she's never been anyone else, and she's incapable of lying... It looks like they'll just have to keep her quiet.
Ruby gets up to fly out of the courtyard between the Blue Spire and the Dragon Gate. She tells Hiro and Gwyn that there's no need to worry; she's flying, so she'll be fine. Hiro and Gwyn nod, and say they'll be safe here so long as they stay around the Statue of Althena. As Ruby leaves, she looks down and sees that the Guardians outside the Dragon Gate are moving.
After Ruby is gone, Lucia asks Hiro and Gwyn why they lied to each other. Ruby knew she was in danger, and Hiro and Gwyn weren't sure that they would be safe. Gwyn tries to explain: they tell each other these things to focus on the positive, instead of the negative, in order to support each other and make each other feel better. Lucia doesn't understand, but wonders if Hiro was doing the same thing when he said he would take her to see Althena.
Hiro: I have wanted to see Althena for myself for a long time. But I never really believed the stories about Althena having been reborn. But then, you came, intent on meeting her. So now, because of you, I do believe she's been reborn. I don't yet know how to get to Pentagulia, and the journey will be dangerous. But, if Althena is really there, then it's not impossible to see her. I swear I'll take you to see Althena.
Lucia nodded, seeming to believe what Hiro had to say.
Hiro: By the way, Lucia, would you tell me something? About you... I'd like to know why you came to Lunar. And, about Zophar, and how to defeat Zophar.
Lucia: ...I am Lucia of the Blue Star. That is all I am. If I am unable to do anything about Zophar, then Lunar will be destroyed. That is why I must meet with Althena. Only Althena's power can defeat Zophar. ...Humans do not need to know anything beyond that.
Hiro: So you came here from the Blue Star to save Lunar? You're a savior then, not a destroyer. Great!
Lucia says that Hiro's thinking doesn't quite seem correct. But, she changes the subject, asking if Hiro and Gwyn are afraid of death. They are, of course, so Lucia then asks why they risk death by coming out here. Gwyn explains that although people are afraid of death, it is that which allows humans to truly value life, and to make their lives meaningful.
Anyway, it's more important now that Lucia rests while she is still cursed. Questions can come later. Gwyn asks Hiro to play his ocarina while they wait. Besides, it's said that the Goddess Althena loved song and dance.
Lucia said nothing, but none of that made sense. Althena had no need for song nor dance. She had no need to smile. She had no need to be protected by the Dragons and a Dragonmaster. Lucia herself ruled over the Blue Star, and Althena ruled over Lunar's existence. She protected Lunar, the Dragons, the world, and its people; it did not make sense that she would then need protection. Something was wrong... These thoughts remained in Lucia's heart as she drifted into sleep.
Chapter 4: The Gambler of Larpa
Larpa was a desert town full of drifters. One man there stood out among the rest: Ronfar, the best gambler there. All his fortunes would be won on a roll of the dice; if he ever lost, he'd swear to go back and rejoin the priesthood. Ronfar was once a priest, yet many found that difficult to believe, given how he now preferred the bar over the shrine.
Something strange happened in Larpa, recently. Althena's Guard built a shrine here. The shrine was completely out-of-place in the town full of drifters and gamblers, so Ronfar asked the mayor of Larpa, a man who made his money by selling information, why in the world did he allow Althena's Guard to come in and build a shrine here?
"Because, if I didn't, then this town would have been destroyed by the Guard."
Ronfar said nothing, gave the mayor the fee, and returned to the bar. Passed out after drinking, he had the same nightmare as always...
There was a beastwoman girl Ronfar had known since he was a child, named Mauri. They were always together, and because of their skills they were both naturally expected to join Althena's Guard as the number-one and number-two priests in the priesthood.
But one day, a terrible plague came to their village. Mauri herself was afflicted, and Ronfar's power wasn't enough to save her.
Often when he was passed out in the bar, the people of Larpa would hear him cry out:
"Don't die! Don't die, Mauri! Damn, if only I had a little more power!"
They all assumed that Ronfar had lost his girlfriend, Mauri, and that's why he came to Larpa. But, that wasn't true... Mauri was saved, and that's when the true nightmare began.
These days, in Larpa, no one ever visited the shrine. First, there was the fact that to be healed in the shrine, one had to make a donation; meanwhile, Ronfar would heal anyone who needed it for free. But more importantly, if you went to the shrine, you'd have to put up with lectures from Althena's Guard. For this reason, the Guard was really not fond of Ronfar. Even worse, the day that White Knight Leo, the top elite of the Guard, came to Larpa, he paid a visit to Ronfar first before bothering with the shrine.
Leo and Ronfar were old friends; they grew up together, as Leo was Mauri's older brother. When Leo came to visit, he asked Ronfar to rejoin the priesthood; both Althena and Mauri would love to see him back. But Ronfar declines; he can't do that.
Leo: You're still upset about what happened? Mauri was saved, thanks to the medicine from Althena. There is no need to be ashamed that you didn't have enough power to overcome the illness; nothing short of Althena's own power could have cured it.
Ronfar: That's not it... The problem is with what happened after. Mauri has changed. You're her brother; haven't you noticed that?
Leo: Of course Mauri has changed. She's become an adult, and she's the Red Priest now. She has the responsibility of managing all shrines and the entire priesthood. That is why she wants you to come back. Don't you think you should support her? You're the only one who can.
Ronfar: That's not right... Leo, you must know what's been happening. The rumors--
-Leo stood up suddenly with such force that he knocked the chair over.-
Leo: Ronfar! That's enough! I will not let you spread these baseless accusations!
Leo denied these rumors, but Mauri never did. On the contrary. Villages had been destroyed by the holy fire of Althena, and Mauri justified their destruction by saying they were deserving of divine punishment.
Ronfar had visited one of these villages after it had been destroyed. The entire town had been reduced to rubble and ash. There was a dried-up lakebed, and children covered in mud lying at the bottom of it. Mauri was there, smiling at Ronfar, asking him to rejoin the priesthood.
Ronfar: Who are you?
Mauri: I'm the same Mauri you've always known
Ronfar: That's a lie! You're not Mauri!
Ronfar escaped from that town, and didn't stop until he came to Larpa.
Ronfar knew these rumors to be true, because he saw them himself. But Leo had never seen evidence of them. And without evidence, it came down to hearsay versus the word of his own sister--it was only natural that he doubted their veracity.
Just then, one of Leo's soldiers runs into the room. That flying cat just came into Larpa, talking about something that just happened at the Blue Spire. Ruby runs in, complaining of being called a cat.
Leo: What happened to your owner?
Ruby: Hiro isn't my owner! He's my boyfriend! Anyway, Hiro and them were attacked by a monster in the Blue Spire and can't escape. They're at a statue of Althena between the Dragon Gate and the Blue Spire. Please! Help them!
Leo: What? So he was lying when he said that he'd never gone into the Dragon Gate...
Ruby: It wasn't a lie! That was the first time we'd ever been able to open it!
Leo nodded and told his soldier to prepare the Destiny. They would go straightaway to the Blue Spire.
Once they arrived, Leo used the White Dragon Cannon at the bow of the ship to destroy the Guardians who had come to life outside of the gate. They entered, and found Hiro and Gwyn there, with Lucia unconscious.
Leo wasn't expecting the Destroyer Lucia to come in the form of a young girl. Moreover, when Hiro and Gwyn talked about the "three" of them living together in the desert, they were including Ruby, while Leo hadn't counted their flying cat. So, he thought nothing strange at seeing a third person with them. (They also were able to keep up the ruse of calling her 'Shiya' all this time, since Lucia was unconscious.)
Leo brought them back to Ronfar's house in Larpa. Through Ronfar's help, they're able to lift the curse and Lucia finally regains consciousness.
Lucia: Where am I...
Ruby: A guy named Ronfar's house, in Larpa. Thanks to Ronfar, you're all better now!
Lucia: So we were able to escape...
Ruby: Yeah, everyone is ok. There's no need to worry anymore, Lucia.
Ronfar: Wait a minute...
Ruby just called her "Lucia", not "Shiya". Ruby realizes that she just messed up their entire ruse, and panics. Ronfar knows that Leo came here to kill the Destroyer named Lucia, but... he's sympathetic to Hiro and the others. He sees that Hiro doesn't believe Lucia is the destroyer, and so he offers to say nothing. But he warns that Leo will pursue his mission to the end; if Althena really ordered her death, then Leo will carry it out.
That doesn't make sense to Lucia: why would Althena order her death? There must be some mistake. But besides that, Lucia asks Ronfar why is it that he's able to use Althena's power? Ronfar explains that he used to be a priest, so he still has those abilities. Lucia seems less interested in the fact that Ronfar used to be a priest than the fact that anyone at all can use Althena's power.
[Translation Note: Lucia refers to Althena by just her name, whereas everyone else on Lunar uses either "Goddess Althena" or "Althena-sama", the latter of which I just translate as "Althena". It's one distinction between Lucia and everyone else, that Lucia refers to Althena almost as if they're equals in status; unfortunately, it doesn't translate very well.]
Unfortunately, Leo was outside, and overheard everything about who Lucia truly is. He runs in to dispatch of Lucia. Hiro gets in the way to defend her, but is no match for Leo. Leo's sword is covered in white light, and he slashes through both Hiro and Lucia. They fall unconscious, and Ruby panics.
Leo assures her that they're not dead. If it were an ordinary sword, then they would be. But Leo's sword is magic, and allows for non-lethal force. They're unconscious, and should reawaken in a matter of hours--once they're aboard the Dragonship Destiny in a holding cell. Leo calls in his soldiers and they take Hiro and Lucia away. Hiro will be fine, but Lucia will be executed tomorrow at sunrise.
Ronfar is still sympathetic to Hiro and his plight. He knows that Leo isn't a bad person, so there's a chance that he could even be convinced to take Lucia to Althena instead of executing her; then, he could be certain that Althena's orders were correct. He offers to help them, per a roll of his dice. Ruby calls evens, and he rolls evens, they go . Meanwhile, he gives Gwyn his house to take care of... There's no certainty as to how long they'll take, since they may end up going straight to Pentagulia from there. And, it's a long journey that Gwyn isn't up for continuing. So, Ronfar leaves Gwyn the house, and he goes to the Destiny with Ruby hidden in his knapsack.
Chapter 5: The Destiny's Magic Arrow
Ronfar boarded the Destiny with his knapsack. Leo welcomes him on board, under the impression that Ronfar has thought about Leo's suggestion to rejoin the priesthood, and will be coming back to Pentagulia with them. He asks after Hiro and Lucia. Leo response that at sunrise, Lucia will be executed, but Hiro will be free to go.
Ronfar: Are you really going to execute her as the Destroyer?
Leo: I must admit, I did not think that the Destroyer would come in the form of a young girl. But to execute her is my duty, and I don't intend to stray from it. Ever since that day that the Goddess Althena saved Mauri from certain death, I have put my full faith in her.
Ronfar asks if he can have a look around the ship. Not just a tour, but he wants to check in on Hiro, in the holding cell, to make sure that he's all right. Leo agrees, and takes Ronfar to Hiro's cell. The Dragonship Destiny itself was quite large: besides Leo's quarters, and his soldiers' barracks, it even had its own cafeteria and a high-class restaurant. And then there was the White Dragon Cannon mounted at the Destiny's bow, powered by magic from the power of the White Dragon.
Anyway, Hiro and Lucia were being held in different cells. The cells themselves weren't even closed by iron, but by bars made of light. Leo didn't follow Ronfar inside the cell, so once in, he revived Hiro and let the flying cat out of the bag.
When he exited, before Leo would have a chance to investigate Hiro's cell again, Ronfar immediately asked to see Lucia. Leo at first refused; Lucia was the Destroyer, his enemy. But Ronfar insisted.
Ronfar: I just want to see for myself, if that girl is really who you--no, who Althena--calls the Destroyer.
Ronfar is able to convince Leo, and he allows Ronfar to enter Lucia's cell. Ronfar uses a silent spell to revive her, and then calls back to Leo, saying that Lucia has regained consciousness. Leo rushes in, when Hiro and Ruby emerge from their own cell to corner Leo inside. Since it's three-on-one (well, four counting Ruby), Leo is stuck. They manage to get Lucia out of the cell, and Ruby hits the switch to close the bars on the cell while Leo is still inside.
Leo now is enraged. Not only have Hiro and Lucia escaped, but Ronfar, his friend, just betrayed his trust.
Leo: How did you trick Ronfar, Destroyer?
Lucia: What... is a trick? I have only only spoken the truth, to you and to Ronfar.
Leo: What truth?
Lucia: I come from the Blue Star. Zophar is trying to revive himself. And if Zophar revives completely, then everything will be destroyed. I must work quickly to prevent that, and so I must meet with Althena. ...why do you not help me to do so?
Leo: That is enough! What proof do you have?
Lucia: ...I do not have any proof
Ronfar tells them that Leo is far too hard-headed to hear them out; there's no use waiting around. As they run, Leo warns them that even if they escape, he and his soldiers will continue to pursue them.
So now there's the question of how to escape. Ronfar says that they can use the Magic Arrow of the Destiny. The Magic Arrow was at one corner of the ship, and was used to send one or two soldiers through the air over walls and fortifications. Although, it was rarely needed since the power of the Destiny and its cannons was usually more than enough.
When they get to the arrow, Hiro recognizes the same basic design from some texts that he and Gwyn uncovered about similar devices in the past. He manages to open up the hatch, and they get inside--Ruby and Lucia first, followed by Hiro and Ronfar. It's a tight fit in a space not designed for so many people, and the controls aren't exactly what Hiro is used to--different levers and dials on the inside--so they just barely manage to close the hatch in time for the Magic Arrow to take off.
The ride feels like a giant grabbed the arrow and started shaking it about. Hiro, Ronfar, and Ruby are rolling about inside, until they finally crash-land on the ground. There's no telling where they ended up, since none of them recognize the surroundings. And since it's late, they decide to wait until dawn before heading out. But they'll need to start early, since the Destiny will be out looking for them as soon as possible.
Hiro saw the uneasiness in Lucia's eyes and asked if she was afraid.
Lucia: ...yes. As I am, I cannot protect myself. If I do not succeed in my mission and die, then all is lost...
Hiro: It's ok. I will take to you to see Althena.
Lucia: But Hiro, how can you be so certain? There are many risks. You could not possibly know the chances you take. You have no more control over what happens than Ronfar has control over his dice... And...
Lucia: Why do you help me, Hiro? And Ruby, and Ronfar, as well... Is it because you do not want Lunar to be destroyed?
Hiro: When I saw Zophar, I could not doubt that Lunar is in peril, as you said. And, neither me, Ruby, nor Ronfar believe that you are the Destroyer. But, we still don't know if Lunar will be destroyed.
Lucia: But, you tried to stop Leo from killing me; why risk death to help me? What do you have to gain from it?
Hiro: Because, I couldn't stand by and watch as Leo killed you. ...Lucia, you came here from the Blue Star because you couldn't stand by and watch Lunar be destroyed, right? You must understand.
Lucia: Oh? Yes, I suppose
Hiro: Also, I've always wanted to see Althena for myself, and Ronfar also has his own reasons.
Lucia: But I still don't understand... Why do you believe me? Why are you on this dangerous mission to help me?
Ruby: Hiro is just a nice guy. He's nice to everyone. It has nothing to do with you being some cute girl!
Apparently Ruby hadn't gone to sleep yet. Well, Lucia still doesn't understand, and it's getting late, so it looks like it's time for them to go to sleep already. Ruby turned her back to Lucia without saying a word.
Chapter 6: Ghaleon's Ruins
Lucia couldn't sleep yet, so she continued to talk to Hiro, Ronfar, and Ruby.
First, she asks Hiro to tell her about Althena and Lunar. Hiro says that Althena is supposed to be gentle and kind, and loves song and dance. There's a lot written about her in ancient texts. But Lucia questions how he knows this, since at first he even doubted if Althena was around right now. So, Hiro explains that he's learned that some hundreds of years ago, during Dragonmaster Alex's time, the Goddess Althena ceased her cycle of rebirth. Before then, Althena would be reborn and live among the people here, while protected by the Dragonmaster, a strong warrior who had the service of the Four Dragons.
None of this makes sense to Lucia. Lunar and Althena's purpose is to revive the Blue Star. If Lunar were at peace, that would be no reason for Althena to cease her presence here. And there would certainly be no reason for her to care about singing and dancing.
Lucia: Hiro, are you certain that Althena loved song and dance?
Hiro: Of course. Even now at festivals, people dedicate songs and dances to the Goddess, and there's a lot that's been recorded about that in the past... Say, you remember the song I played at the Blue Spire? We actually found that in some old texts from the time when Althena was still around.
Lucia then asks Ronfar about Althena and Lunar; Hiro suggested that he may know more about the subject. Ronfar confesses that as an ex-priest, he doesn't have a lot he could add, but he does explain that the most recent news is about the Goddess Althena returning to Pentagulia. Apparently, she can't leave the city because of a terrible evil that's been sealed within its walls--that may be why Althena herself did not come to greet her at the Blue Spire.
Lucia: You must have met Althena herself while in Pentagulia. Is she really like Hiro and Ruby describe her?
Ronfar: I don't know. I've never actually seen her singing or dancing. But I'm sure that the songs and dances dedicated to her at festivals must look great.
Lucia: Why would Althena try to kill me?
Ronfar: I don't know...
Lucia thanks Ronfar for his help nonetheless; she's actually learned quite a bit from him. She then asks Ruby about Althena, Lunar, and the Dragons. Lucia knows for a fact that Ruby is the Red Dragon (which pleases Ruby greatly), but she asks why Ruby is so small right now. Ruby says that Dragons age very slowly, and that must be the reason. But Lucia isn't so sure... She doesn't say anything, but wonders if this has to do at all with Zophar's claim that he has taken the Dragons' power.
Why was Zophar able to wield the power of Althena's Dragons?
Why did Althena want to kill her?
Why did Zophar not kill her? He shouldn't have just left her alive and in this weakened state.
There were so many questions, and it was now even more important that she find Althena.
The next morning, Ruby flew up to get a better vantage point and report back to Hiro.
Ruby: Sorry, I don't see any villages or roads. But there is a small river, and a big ancient ruin. First let's get some fish for breakfast from the river, and then go visit the ruins.
Lucia: Why visit the ruins? We don't have the sort of time to go out of the way.
Hiro: Well... If we go to the ruins, then we may be able to find out where this place is. And if we're lucky, we'll find an ancient road leading away from there to a town or village. So it's not really out of the way...
Ruby: You're also really happy to visit any new ruins.
Ronfar: Also, by noontime, Leo will be coming through here. We can't put up a fight against the Destiny, so if we hide in these ruins then he's much less likely to find us.
Lucia understood, and so they all continued. When they arrived at the river, Hiro and Ronfar remove most of their clothes and jump in to catch fish with a towel. Lucia is about to join and do the same thing, but Ruby quickly stops her. Lucia explains that she was going to catch fish also, but doesn't have enough magic to change clothing, so... Well, never mind that she uses magic to change clothing, Ruby has to explain why men and women don't just generally walk around each other with no clothes on... unless their married... and Ruby has fur, so it's different for her... and no, she won't remove her fur once she gets married.
Lucia: ...is that the custom here on Lunar?
Ruby: Yes, of course... Do you mean that people on the Blue Star walk around without any clothes on?
Lucia: I am the only one on the Blue Star
Ruby: What? Really?
Hiro: It must be sad, to be alone like that
They continue onwards towards the ruins. When they arrive, they see that the door is magically sealed. Ronfar realizes that it's not a door, but a magical transporter that can only be activated by holy magic--legendary magic that only Althena could use. It looks like they'll have to find another way.
Considering that if the door is sealed like this, Leo definitely would not be able to follow, Lucia decides to offer her assistance. She says an incantation to activate the entrance. In a flash of light, they find themselves transported to the interior of the ruins. They start to quickly go through the ruins, when a voice calls out through the darkness.
???: Why are you in such a hurry, Lucia of the Blue Star?
Lucia: How do you know who I am?
???: I know you, sleeping beauty of the Blue Star.
Ruby: It's a ghost!
Hiro: Who are you!?
???: Hm, so rude, Hiro, son of Gwyn. "Who are you" is hardly an appropriate greeting. Oh, and it's been a long time, Red Dragon Ruby. But, you probably wouldn't remember me.
-The man glares at Ronfar, who is in the middle of saying an incantation.-
???: Stop it, priest Ronfar. Your spells will not work on me.
Ronfar: How do you know about me?
???: Perhaps I should have called you "gambler Ronfar" instead?
Lucia: Who are you, and how do you know us?
???: My name is Ghaleon. The rest of you have probably heard of me.
Everyone on Lunar knew the story of Ghaleon, whose name was etched in its history. He was once the close friend of Dragonmaster Dyne, but later turned against the Goddess Althena when he tried to conquer the world.
Ghaleon explains that these ruins are his home. Hiro apologizes for the intrusion, and explains that they came here trying to escape from Leo. Ghaleon laughs upon hearing this, and then turns to a panel on the wall. On the panel appears an image of the Dragonship Destiny, from the view of the top of the ruins they're in, approaching their current location. Ghaleon waves his hand, says a small incantation, and the Destiny is engulfed in a ball of light then stops in its tracks.
They ask Ghaleon why he helped them--he was supposed to be Althena's enemy. Perhaps it's because he believes, like Leo, that Lucia is a Destroyer, and he thinks he's doing Althena a disservice? But Ghaleon doesn't answer.
The others ask Lucia what she thinks of Ghaleon. She doesn't know about him from history, but she does know that he isn't lying, and he isn't human. That doesn't mean he's a ghost, though. Maybe he's another person named Ghaleon? But that's rather unlikely, given the power and knowledge he's already displayed.
Ronfar: A destroyer, holy magic, a friend of Althena, and the legendary Ghaleon. What's next? Ruby turns into a Red Dragon?
Ruby: You're mean! I'm already the Red Dragon!
Lucia: And I'm not really a friend of Althena...
-Lucia thought about what word would best describe her relationship with Althena: friends, comrades, mother and daughter, sisters, offshoot, strangers... Nothing quite fit.-
Lucia: I've never actually met Althena.
Ruby reassured her that since she came here to save Lunar, Althena would definitely like her, and would treat her as a friend. It's also not until this point that Lucia truly realizes how much she needs Hiro and the others to complete her mission.
After helping them, Ghaleon sends a pixie to guide them to where they can exit the ruins. Pixies are very weak creatures: about the size of one's hand, they have beautiful thin flowers on their backs, and fly through the air. But, they're so small that a strong breeze could knock them aside. The pixie was riding on Ruby's back as she flew through the hallways, guiding them to the exit.
Ruby: Hey, Hiro, don't I look like a Dragon, with the Dragonmaster riding on my back?
On the way, Hiro and the others had a few questions they wanted to ask the pixie. Namely, is Ghaleon real, and what are his intentions?
The pixies, like Lucia, did not know what Ghaleon was like based on history, and they knew nothing of what was going on outside these ruins, including what Ghaleon did. What they do know is that Ghaleon gave them this place, this refuge, when they were at risk of dying out.
Pixie: We are very few. Very weak. We have fewer and fewer friends. Ghaleon helped us. If Ghaleon weren't here, we would all be dead. Ghaleon is our friend. Ghaleon is very sweet. But Ghaleon does not have any friends. That is why Ghaleon is very said. That is why we became Ghaleon's friends.
The four of them finally arrived at the transport pad that would lead them out of this place. They stood on top of it, Lucia said an incantation, and they disappeared.
Chapter 7: Fighting the Snowy Mountain
When they reappear, the entire area is covered in white snow. They're on the side of a snowy mountain. Hiro suggests they transport back to the ruins to figure out what happened. But, Lucia says that's not possible: the transporter was one way, there's nothing on this side that can take them back, not even underneath thes now.
Did Ghaleon trick them? There's no way to know now... But, everyone starts to worry, and Ruby begins to panic--although, Lucia seems fine, considering this is how it is on the Blue Star. But, she takes Ruby underneath her cloak and casts a spell to keep her warm.
Since none of them are dressed for the cold, the first thing to do is get shelter from the wind. So, Hiro and Ronfar start digging a hole. But, partway through, it collapses and fills in with more snow. So, Lucia offers to help: she raises her hands, creates a ball of light, and lands it in the snow. The snow parts and fills in with steaming water.
Hiro: Lucia, your magic has returned
Lucia: It's restored, but not completely. I still have some magic power left.
Hiro: Even then, it still really helped. Thanks, Lucia.
To keep warm, they'll need to enter the hot spring that was just created. Lucia tells them to remove their clothes--if their clothes get wet in this cold weather, then they'll freeze once they get out again. Ruby tries again to explain why they can't do that: because Lucia is standing right there. Anyway, they strike a balance by using towels to cover themselves, while Ruby tells Lucia not to look while they do this.
After they enter the bath, Lucia takes Hiro's hand and notices that he's hurt. Both he and Ronfar have scratches all over from digging the hole earlier. Ronfar offers to heal them both, though (perhaps to avoid some further embarassment of Hiro?).
After then, Hiro and Ronfar wrapped themselves in Lucia's cloak, and all of them tried to wait out the storm, unable to sleep. While they waited, they sang--Lucia didn't know any songs, so she just listened, and thought to herself.
Why did I help Hiro? My future is uncertain, since I was cursed by Zophar, and I must preserve the little magic power I have. Of course, if Hiro died, then I would be lost. But, if I don't make seeing Althena my first priority, then all will be lost.
And, why do Hiro and Ronfar help me? They've risked their lives for me... endured pain... ... If I used my magic power to help them, then I'll be able to find out how to get to Pentagulia. So, then, was I helping Ronfar because it was advantageous...?
Time passes. And then...
Ruby: Lucia! Lucia! Wake up!
Lucia: What is it, Ruby? Has the storm let up?
Ruby: No, it's Hiro and Ronfar! Lucia, use your magic to heal them!
Lucia saw the two of them, wrapped in her cloak. They were hardly moving, and all the color had left their lips. Lucia thought this over... she could heal them, revive them, but she was still uncertain how much magic she had left. If she used too much, then she might not have enough remaining to complete her mission. Could she risk her mission in saving Hiro and Ronfar?
Ruby: What's wrong, Lucia? Can't you help them?
Ruby grew more worried, and started trying to wake Hiro up. She offered a prayer to Althena for help, before growing weak herself.
Lucia: Ruby? ... Ruby!
Ruby didn't move. Could a Dragon die? Was that even possible? Perhaps it had something to do with how her power was stolen...
Fear grew within Lucia. Not fear of her own death. Not fear of being unable to complete her mission. No, it was fear of being left behind... She poured the remainder of her magic power into keeping Hiro, Ruby, and Ronfar alive. And then, she slipped out of consciousness herself.
...Why did I waste my power? ...Why did I hesitate?
Chapter 8: The Kids of Taben's Peak
Hiro sees a dream wherein he's protected by Ruby. Lucia then comes along, and he realizes that both he and Lucia are completely naked.
Hiro woke up. He was surrounded by kids, about twenty of them in the room, with a big statue of Althena in the middle. There were also some small beds around, where there were more children asleep. Besides the children, there was a young man about Hiro's age, and another woman slightly older than them. Ronfar was also there, another kid sitting on his knee.
Hiro asked where Ruby and Lucia were. Ruby flew in then, happy to see that Hiro was awake. Lucia, meanwhile, was still asleep. She was all right, but she used up the last of her magic power to keep them alive. It will be a while before she's awake again.
Anyway, the other man in the room, the one who was about Hiro's age, introduced himself as Nall. He looked like a beastman, with red streaks in his white hair, and small fangs that could be seen when he smiled. On his back was a large sword, wrapped entirely in a woman's scarf.
Nall: My name is Nall. I'm the boss of Taben's Peak here. Ronfar's already told me about what's happened. You should rest here for a while; you won't be able to leave until the snowstorm has lifted.
The other woman introduced herself as well, as Jean. She was dressed in high-class dancer's clothes.
Jean: I'm Jean, a traveling dancer. The storm started after I arrived here, so I'm waiting it out as well.
Hiro thanks them for their help. But, Nall explains that it's really Lucia's doing--they would have died had she not used the last of her magic to protect them. Ronfar, meanwhile, has been helping them out here, so they're even.
Nall: A fever broke out among the kids here, and we ran out of medicine. We had no choice but to try and head into town, but we found you on the way. At first we thought you were from the Shadow Dragon Cult, but when we realized you weren't, we brought you to the Statue of Althena here to heal you. Once Ronfar here woke up, he was able to heal the rest of us and cure the fever.
Nall: We got the gist of what happened from Ronfar. You were on your way to Pentagulia, when Ghaleon sent you into that snowstorm, right?
Nall: By the way, do you know what kind of person that Ghaleon is? And what this place is?
Hiro knew about Ghaleon from the legends, but, he didn't know about this place, although it looked familiar. Nall explains that it's now called Taben's Peak; it's a ruin from older times. He lives here with the kids they see around them. Nall says, again, that they're free to stay there until the snowstorm lifts, but in exchange, he asks them to hear him out: they have a favor to ask.
Nall explains that before Jean arrived, some of the kids were kidnapped by the Shadow Dragon Cult, while they were going into town to buy some food. He asks for Hiro's help. Though, to understand more about the Shadow Dragon Cult, they should hear about it from Jean...
Jean was an ordinary girl who grew up with her parents in a farming village. But when she was six years old, she was kidnapped by the Shadow Dragon Cult, along with other children from the village. They were taken away in a windowless cart, and after several days, they were taken into a large cave.
She and other children were trapped in the cave. There, a Masked Man called himself their trainer, and forced them to train day and night, to become stronger, to kill other people. They were only given a little food, a little rest. When some of them became weak and tired, they would be taken back out by the windowless cart, and never seen again/ Eventually, Jean was the only child from her village left. She continued to train, continued to grow stronger, and became the strongest child of the Shadow Dragon Cult.
The Masked Man then took her to the town of Horam. Horam was a town of martial arts. There were many dojos, many different forms of martial arts, all competing with one another. The Masked Man used Jean to challenge the other martial arts dojos. She would easily defeat the representatives from each dojo, but she always stopped short of using lethal force.
Masked Man: Jean, why do you not use the Shadow Dragon Fist? If you use that, then you will win far more easily.
Jean: If I use the Shadow Dragon Fist, then my opponents will die.
Masked Man: Of course. The Shadow Dragon Fist is the art of death. To die in battle is expected. Jean, you must kill. Kill!
Jean ran. But, she was followed by the Shadow Dragon Cult. They attacked her, beat her, and left her for dead in a forest.
As chance would have it, a traveling caravan found her before the monsters of the forest did. The leader of the caravan took Jean in as a member of his own family. In the caravan, she began to dance. And she remembered what happiness felt like. In dance, she tried to forget about her past life with the Shadow Dragon Cult, as an assassin.
Jean: But, I couldn't forget. That is why I decided that I must put a stop to the Shadow Dragon Cult. Of course it's not so simple, but I can't stand by while the cult continues to kidnap more children.
And so Jean decided to begin by asking Blue Master Lunn of Althena's Guard. Jean had heard about Lunn since she was in Horam; he was a master of the Blue Dragon Fist, and a powerful martial artist. He was now in Meribia, and Jean went to his dojo there to see him.
She told him about the karate of death and the Shadow Dragon Cult. He had heard rumors of them, but never anything concrete. And so, Lunn told Jean that if she could bring him proof of the Shadow Dragon Cult's existence, then he would move his men at once to strike.
END OF STORY
That's what brought Jean here, to Taben's Peak. Unfortunately, she was too late; some of the kids from here had already been kidnapped. But, one of the kidnapped children fortunately had dragonfly wings--these were items that allowed you to transport once out of a cave or underground area. Using them, the child managed to escape back to Taben's Peak, and tell the others that the Shadow Dragon Cult was hiding out in the Meribian Sewers.
She would have left straight away, but then the snowstorm hit, and the fever spread among the kids here. But now, thanks to Hiro and Ronfar, they may be able to leave Taben's Peak soon, find the cult, and rescue the children. That is, if they're willing to help...
Of course, Hiro and Ronfar will help them. Ruby, too.
Nall shows them on a map how to get to Meribia from here. It's almost surprisingly close.
Ronfar: I've been to Meribia, before I moved to Larpa. But I don't remember there being a snow-covered mountain nearby.
Nall: It was only recently that this area was covered in snow. Really, if this continues, we might have to move... It's all because the power of the White Dragon isn't working right... Man, I never thought I'd have to leave because of some snowstorm.
Ronfar: The power of the Dragons... Now that you mention it, Larpa used to be on the shore of a lake. By the time I moved there, it was in the middle of a desert. Since I've been living there, the lake shore has been gradually receding.
Ruby: That's right. When the lake receded, that's when we were able to enter the ruins near the bottom of the lake.
Nall: That's not my problem! The lakes receding and the desert growing is something that the Red Dragon controls!
Ruby: What! It's not my fault!
Nall: Come on, you're not even aware of your Red Dragon powers!
Ruby: That's because I'm still a kid! I mean... Wait a minute, did I tell you that I was the Red Dragon?
Nall: I know many things! Besides, what kind of Red Dragon are you, anyway? Dragons are supposed to carry Dragonmasters on their back and fly, not ride around on someone's shoulder!
Ruby: I'm fine with that! Hiro's my boyfriend!
Nall: It's like a hundred years too early for you to be thinking about love!
Jean interrupts the argument. This is no time to talk; they need to save the children already. Nall agrees, and so he pulls out an item from his pocket: small white wings about the size of a little finger. He explains that these are the legendary White Dragon Wings... They may be small, but they will have the power to transport the user any number of times back to this location, Taben's Peak. Now, normal dragonfly wings you can buy in stores, and they break after one use--the White Dragon Wings are something legendary, something you can't buy in stores.
Nall dodges the subject of how he procured them with his "I know many things!" line again. Anyway, he intends on giving Hiro and the others the White Dragon Wings, so they'll be able to transport back here once they find the kidnapped children. But, Ruby points out a problem: if the Shadow Dragon Cult stole the wings from them, they'd have a direct line to Taben's Peak. So, perhaps they should set the destination of the White Dragon Wings as the inside of a cell; that way, they can wait and see who transports back before letting them out.
Nall: You might be a brat, but you're right. I hadn't thought of it that way... Good idea!
Ruby: You're welcome... But I'm not a brat!
Lucia finally wakes up. She's surrounded by a couple of kids, all asleep. Nall retrieves her and takes her back to Hiro, Ronfar, and the rest.
Nall introduces himself, and explains what's happened, including how Ronfar and Hiro are going to go with Jean to rescue the kidnapped children. That doesn't sit well with her.
Lucia: No Hiro. I must go as quickly as possible to see Althena.
Hiro: But we can't just forget about the children who were taken...
Lucia: If Zophar fully revives, then everything will be destroyed. And then...
Nall: Let me say something... If Lunar is saved from destruction, but the kids here are all killed, or worse, then saving the world has no meaning for me.
Lucia: ...Hiro, is that also what you think?
Lucia remembered what Ruby once said, before: "Hiro is just a nice guy. He's nice to everyone." Yes, it had nothing to do with Lucia herself. But... Lucia feared one thing: what if the only way to defeat Zophar was to use Althena's power... and what if Hiro knew what that truly meant?
Lucia: Very well then. Please go and save the children. Meanwhile, I will go alone to Pentagulia.
Hiro: Ok. After we save the children, we'll catch up to you on the way to Pentagulia.
So it was settled. Before they left, they'd still have to wait a bit for the storm to settle. And, it'd be better if they had something to eat first.
But while they were eating, Lucia got to thinking... Hiro has helped her up until now, sacrificed a lot for her. And it was because of who he was as a person, how he was "nice to everyone". That was the same reason he was going to save these children. And, the more Lucia thought about it, the more she wouldn't have wanted Hiro to turn away from these children just to help her.
She finally approached Hiro again.
"Hiro... I am willing to go out of my way."
Hiro smiled. But Lucia couldn't help but worry... What if the time they spent saving these children was just enough time for Zophar to revive?
Chapter 9: Meribian Sewers
Nall said the storm will lift by tomorrow noontime. After that, there should be about three days of good weather.
Ruby: How do you know that?
Nall: I know many things!
Nall also explains that there should be an entrance to the Meribian Sewers in Ramus' Store or Lunn's Dojo. That's where they were long ago.
Ruby: But how--
Nall: I know many things!
Nall suggests that they go to Ramus' Store. If they offer payment, he should let them lift up the floorboards and look for the entrance. Jean, though, suggests that they go to Lunn's Dojo instead; as a member of Althena's Guard, he should offer help for free. Nall doesn't like the idea, and insists that going to Ramus' Store will be easier.
But enough of that. Nall suggests that Lucia stay here at Taben's Peak. Her magic is still weak, and she could use the time to recover. She'll be safe here, since Nall is capable of protecting the place from the Shadow Dragon Cult, should they return.
Lucia sees off Hiro, Ronfar, Ruby, and Jean as they leave for Meribia. From Taben's Peak, it takes about half a day to get to the city. On the way, Jean explains the reason why she and Nall were nearly arguing about Lunn's Dojo. They each have differing opinions on Althena's Guard: she believes in Althena's Guard and in Lunn, but Nall thinks them foolish. He says he has one or two children with him whose homes and parents were attacked by the Guard.
Hiro and Ronfar then wonder why Nall treated them so well, and even gave them the White Dragon Wings. Hiro's helping Lucia to go to Pentagulia, the Holy City of Althena's Guard, to meet with Althena. And, Ronfar used to be a priest. He's also a close friend of Leo--although that might be uncertain, since he joined with Hiro. But, Ronfar still doesn't believe Leo is a bad guy.
Before they left, Jean changed out of her dancer's outfit and into a karate uniform. Jean suggests that they see about getting new clothes for Lucia, as well. She stands out a lot in her black clothes and red cloak. Hiro says they have some money in case of emergencies. And... Lucia getting some new clothes to help them be less noticed by Leo's men might help out. Hiro says he'll get Ruby a new ribbon while he's at it.
They arrive at Meribia. Their first stop is Lunn's Dojo. Jean and the others see Lunn directly and explain everything about the kidnapped children and the entrance to the Meribian Sewers. Lunn suggests that he have his men look for the entrance in his dojo; meanwhile, Jean and the others should go to Ramus' Store and look for the entrance there. They'll have a better chance if they look for both entrances simultaneously. Jean agrees, and they head to Ramus' Store.
When they enter, they see the store is pretty run-down, with almost no customers inside. They find the owner, Ramus, and explain their need to find the entrance to the Meribian Sewers; they'll even pay if need be. Ramus agrees and says they can go ahead; there's no need to pay. At that point, a girl steps up and interjects, and starts berating Ramus. From the argument, it appears the girl's name is Lemina.
Lemina: Understand, teacher? If the boards are broken, then they'll have to be repaired! Does the store have the funds for that? It's in the red! If it keeps going into debt, then what do you think will happen?
Ramus: But, Lemina...
Lemina: These guys have money, ok? Of course you should prioritize saving the children. And if they couldn't pay, then maybe you could help them for free. But as long as they have money, they should have to pay. Get it?
Hiro asks if they can go ahead and look for the entrance already; they don't have time to waste. They can take care of payment later. Lemina's ears perk up at the word "payment", and she agrees. Ramus offers his enthusiastic support, as well. After all, the first Ramus was a friend of the legendary Dragonmaster Alex, and ever since that time, their family motto has been "Render help unto heroes".
Anyway, they found the entrance to the Meribian Sewers pretty easily. The group took a torch and descended into the dark sewers. As they progressed through the darkness, they came to an area where it felt like they weren't alone. Ruby whispered to Hiro.
Ruby: Hiro, what do we do now?
Hiro: First, we n eed to find out where the children are.
Hiro: We'll have to wait for the coast to clear.
Ronfar: I have a better idea. I'll use a spell to put them to sleep.
Hiro: Ok. I'll try to send out a message using my ocarina. If we hear someone respond, we'll know where the kids are.
After they find the kids, they'll use the White Dragon Wings to transport everyone away. So it's a plan...
But, once Hiro plays his ocarina, not only do the kids hear, but some of the guards--still awake--hear it. Suddenly, the Shadow Dragon Cult comes in to find them. Nowhere to hide now...
Jean: All right, Shadow Dragon Cult! You're about to face Jean!
Jean prepared to fight, while Hiro and Ronfar supported her with their magic. The assassins from the cult attacked her, and she defeated each one of them. Hiro came forward to support her as she was attacked by more assassins.
???: You fools! You're worthless! Keep watch on the children; don't let them escape!
A man stepped out from the shadows, dressed in robes and wearing a large mask. Jean recognized him well; this was the same Masked Man who was the leader of the Shadow Dragon Cult.
Ruby let herself get captured to distract the other assassins. She then blew a little fire to drive them back. The Masked Man told his men to forget about the "flying cat". While they were distracted, Ruby, holding onto the White Dragon Wings, found the captured children and told them to use it to get out.
The Masked Man spoke again.
Masked Man: ...You're still alive, Jean. My best student. No matter how you try and run from it, you're a fighter. The lust for battle runs through your blood. Join me again, Jean...
Jean angrily protested. No matter what the Masked Man said, she refused to believe it. She wasn't just another one of his mindless killers. No more. She was strong, but she wouldn't use that strength to kill. But there was no reasoning with the Masked Man. The only way out of this was to fight. The Masked Man's assassins and Jean's friends drew closer.
Masked Man: I do not need your help!
Jean: This is my fight. Don't intervene...
The vicious battle between the two of them began. But, before long, Jean landed a powerful kick across the Masked Man's face, knocking off his mask and sending it skidding across the floor. The Masked Man covered his face and retreated into the shadows.
Masked Man: Farewell, Jean! We will fight again! Gather your strength until then!
Jean: Wait! This fight is not yet over!
But there was the sound of silence, and then water, as the man escaped into the shadows. Ruby tried to light the area with her flame, but to no avail. Jean retrieves the mask, still on the floor... This was proof of the Shadow Dragon Cult that she could take to Lunn; perhaps it would be enough to convince him to help her in her fight.
The group found the exit out of the sewers and into Lunn's Dojo. Jean went straightaway to see Lunn, but unfortunately he had just received an urgent message from Althena's Guard and left for Pentagulia at once.
So the group returns to Ramus' Store to pay him for the repairs to his floorboards. Since the day was growing late, and they would pass by Meribia again on their way to Pentagulia, they decided to save the clothes shopping for another day. They then returned, the long way, back to Taben's Peak.
Chapter 10: Lucia's Help
Back at Taben's Peak, Lucia still wasn't convinced that she needed time to recover. Nall, however, insisted that he also could use her help--in taking care of the children there. Preparing meals, drawing the bath, making the beds, doing the laundry, making sure the kids behaved, and didn't fight with one another... it was a full-time job for Nall. Ordinarily, he would have the help of some of the older children. But with some of the children kidnapped, these were not ordinary times.
While she was out and about helping the children, she had a few "problems" fitting in. While she was doing her own laundry, she removed her clothes and didn't bother putting new ones on. So, yes, she was walking around naked.
Nall caught up with Lucia, asked her to put some clothes on again, and they had the chance to talk for a while.
Lucia: Nall, tell me. What has happened on Lunar? Why has Althena not shown herself?
Nall: I will tell you everything later. Lucia, do you feel too weak to continue on your mission?
Lucia: Yes, that is why I think I will stay here for a little while.
Nall: I told you this before, but you can't be impatient. Wait for your own power to restore, and put faith in humans--in your friends. Like here, just one of the kids here, by himself, is weak. But, when they work together, they can do anything. ...What do you think of Taben's Peak?
Lucia tells Nall that she doesn't understand a lot of things about Taben's Peak, and about Lunar. For instance, she isn't much help to the children, yet they still like her--why is that? And, she's still confused about the whole taboo on nudity.
Lucia: Ruby told me that the different sexes cannot be naked in front of one another. Yet, when Ronfar and Hiro saw me naked, they just kept staring. And during the snowstorm, when they had to remove their wet clothing, they didn't want to be naked in front of me.
Lucia: And here, there are a few little children running around without clothes. But when I took my dirty clothing off to wash it, the other kids scolded me. But after that, when it was time to take a bath, everyone removed their clothes again. I simply cannot understand the culture around nudity on Lunar. When I asked the children, they couldn't answer either.
Nall: I see... it's difficult to explain. It's a part of our culture, perhaps, but more like instinct. It has to do with treating men and women properly.
Nall explains that the basis in instinct is perhaps the reason Lucia has a hard time understanding it. It doesn't have to do with survival, it doesn't have to do with protecting oneself from evil (like Zophar), but with how men and women ordinarily treat each other. Nall tries to explain that between family members or with young children, there's not as much a problem. But when the children grow older, there's a certain point where it does become a problem. That's also why Nall separates out the boys and girls room past a certain age, so that nothing bad happens.
Lucia supposes that these bad things that could happen may relate to Zophar. Nall sighs and says that she's sort of missing the mark here. These are all parts of Lunar's culture, behaviors and instincts that are passed down from parent to child. And, he has to pass on those same behaviors and instincts so that the children here will be able to grow up and mix with the rest of society.
Thanks to Nall's explanation, Lucia finally is starting to understand.
Anyway, that afternoon, all of the kidnapped children returned to Taben's Peak via the White Dragon Wings. But, it was only the children who returned. Lucia and Nall asked about Hiro; but, the children explained that a flying that a flying cat named Ruby is the one who distracted the guards, gave them the wings, and helped them out.
At this point, Lucia is worried about Hiro, but doesn't quite realize it. She doesn't have much of an appetite even, on account of thinking about him. Nall reassures her that Hiro, Ronfar, Ruby, and Jean must be okay, and are probably on their way back to Taben's Peak right now. Once they do return, Lucia will know how relief feels, as well as anxiety.
Surely enough, that evening, Hiro returns. Lucia really is happy, but the only thing she says is that they must leave for Pentagulia tomorrow.
Chapter 11: Lucia's Choice of Clothing
The next morning, Hiro, Ronfar, Ruby, and Lucia prepared to go to Pentagulia. Jean also joined them, since she wanted to catch up to Lunn. Ronfar warned Jean about how White Knight Leo was chasing them, so that she knew the risks involved. Jean, however, was fine; she figured it had to be a misunderstanding. Lucia didn't look like a destroyer, and the children all seemed to like her. Furthermore, since Lunn was already on their side, he might be able to clear things up with Leo.
Before they left, Nall gave them the White Dragon Wings. He insisted, as a way of saying thanks for saving the children--besides, it might come in handy on their adventures. Jean promised she would come back with the traveling caravan one day, and the five of them left.
Their first destination would be Meribia. They couldn't get to Pentagulia directly from there; they'd need to head for the large port city of Azado. There's a large shrine to Althena there, where Ronfar knows a few people, and so they can get to Pentagulia from there.
Anyway, the first stop was Meribia. Hiro and Ronfar explained to Lucia that they would need to buy her some new clothes.
Lucia: ...But I don't need any. We have to hurry...
Ronfar: I know. But, Jean's opinion is that your clothes stand out way too much. I think so, too. If your clothes stand out, it will be more dangerous the closer we get to Pentagulia. That's why you should change your clothes. You don't want Leo to find us before we can get to Pentagulia, right?
Lucia consented. Once they arrived in Meribia, they went straight to Ramus' Store. The store had a big "remodeling" sign above the door, and sounds of construction could be heard within. Inside, they found Ramus hard at work renovating the place. He had decided to turn the entrance to the sewers into a major attraction, and thereby generate more business. In exchange, he was more than willing to let them have some new clothes. In fact, as friends of Nall, he would help them in any way he could.
Lemina: No! Stop giving things away for free!
Jean: Lemina, we're willing to compensate you for helping us to pick out an outfit. Is that all right?
Lemina's eyes lit up when she heard the word "compensate", and her expression completely changed. She continued sweetly, offering to show Lucia--and if they wanted so, Jean and Ruby--some new outfits to pick out. She guided them into the fitting room, and told Hiro and Ronfar to wait in the storeroom.
After waiting for a while, Hiro and Ronfar got a little bored.
Ronfar: Say, Hiro, Lucia is changing right now...
Ronfar: There's a window over there
Hiro: Yeah, there is
Ronfar: And it takes a while for women to pick out new clothes
Ronfar: Let's see how things are going through that window
Ronfar: Lucia never minds if we see her skin. And they expect us to just wait here doing nothing. So, they won't mind if we have a peek, right?
Hiro: But if Ruby saw, she'd get upset
Ronfar: That's why we'll be quiet about it
After some more convincing, Ronfar and Hiro check through the window.
Inside, Lucia is trying on new clothes picked out by Jean, Lemina, and Ruby. The first is a very girly-looking pastel dress, which looks awful--especially with her black boots. The second is a tight evening gown, very unsuitable for travel. Then she tries on an outfit more suited for a festival. And next, she tries on an outfit much like Leo's uniform, but with her hair tied back and a fake mustache on her face. Considering how high-pitched her voice is, dressing up like a man is unlikely to be convincing.
Jean, Ruby, and Lemina are all rolling around in laughter. Even Hiro and Ronfar let out a laugh... It's then that Lucia and the others notice that someone is watching them. Lucia hides behind the curtain, while Ruby, Jean, and Lemina all confront Hiro and Ronfar. Ruby blows fire in their faces, Jean knocks them to the ground with her fists, and Lemina says a little incantation and tosses a magic spell at them.
Ruby: Say, Lemina, are you a magic-using store clerk?
Lemina: Oh no, Ruby. I'm training in Ramus' Store right now, but I'm actually the Guildmistress of the Magic Guild of Vane. So magic is my specialty.
Talk about first looks being deceiving... Lemina also explains that she isn't teaching Ramus magic, but business.
Lucia: Can I come out now?
Ruby: It's ok now, Lucia.
Hiro and Ronfar recovered. Lucia came out, wearing her new outfit. To any other person, she would have looked like any other inhabitant of Lunar. Although, her outfit really suited here.
Lucia: Do you like it?
-Hiro smiled and nodded.-
It was too late in the day to go to Azado now. Ramus said that if his store weren't being remodeled, he would let them stay there. But as it were, he showed them to an inexpensive inn where the food was good. There, Hiro and Ronfar stayed in one room, while Jean, Lucia, and Ruby stayed in another.
That evening, Hiro had a tough time getting to sleep. He kept thinking of how Lucia had changed so much lately. Perhaps it was because of the time she spent with the kids at Taben's Peak. But now, she showed more concern about others, and herself--such as how she hid herself when she saw Hiro and Ronfar looking in through the window. He tried to get to sleep, but the image of Lucia smiling, in her new clothes, kept appearing in his head.
Meanwhile, Lucia also had a hard time getting to sleep. Why had she changed so much since she arrived on Lunar? Why was she so concerned about Hiro? She was the goddess of the Blue Star; she had no need to change, no need to be concerned about anyone...
Chapter 12: Holy Fire of Azado
The next morning, they prepared to leave for Azado. On the message board at the inn, where normally there were posted notices about travel, was instead a notice bearing Leo's name. It warned people about Lucia, who had come here to destroy Lunar, coming in the form of a young girl about 15 or 16 and dressed in a blood-red cloak, and traveling with two men. Anyone who saw them was requested to contact Althena's Guard immediately. The notice did not mention, however, Lucia's new clothes or Jean. Furthermore, everyone expected the destroyer to look cold and evil, much unlike Lucia. That is perhaps how they gained the trust of people like Ramus and even Lunn of Althena's Guard.
Their next stop was Azado. There was a large Shrine to Althena there, and the city had close ties to Pentagulia; so, they should be able to board a ship bound for the holy city from there. There were many supply ships that went to Pentagulia, since the city had no way of producing its own food and had to be supplied from outside. Also, at Azado was one of Ronfar's old friends from the priesthood, named Balse. As the head priest, he would be able to help them. Since no one knew yet that Jean was traveling with them, she offered to go into the city itself to look for Balse, since there was less of a chance of being spotted by the Guard.
When they arrive at Azado, the first thing they see is an enormous statue of Althena, glaring down towards them, with a flame burning in the palm of her hand. Unlike other statues of the Goddess, this one looked terrifying. Jean goes into the city to look for Balse; when she returns, she tells Ronfar that Balse is no longer the head priest. Moreover, the town had a much different character about it then it had before. People were quiet and fearful, and there were even burned-down buildings here and there in town. It looked like they would have enter town to find out what was going on.
Jean guides them to Balse's house. Balse greets them warmly, and urges them inside. Once there, Ronfar asks what's been going on. Balse explains that everything changed about one year ago...
It used to be that White Knight Leo managed the affairs of Althena's Guard in Azado. But because of his need to travel around the world, one year ago his younger sister Red Priest Mauri came here as his representative. The first thing she did was build the giant Statue of Althena; she claimed that it was necessary, to render divine punishment on those who opposed Althena's Guard. It was then that Balse was deposed as the head priest. Since then, people's homes have been burned, and lives have been lost, due to the holy fire of Azado. It seems that Mauri is using the power of the Red Dragon in the holy fire to subjugate the town. Lucia adds that she senses the presence of both the power of the Red Dragon, and of Zophar.
Just then, there's a knock at the door. Everyone goes quiet as Balse answers it. Fortunately, it's only Balse's son, Porom.
Balse:Ronfar, you remember? This is my son Porom. ...Come here, say hello to our guests.
-Porom bowed his head and greeted everyone.-
Porom: Father, I was going to go out and play
Balse: Just return before it gets dark. Otherwise the divine punishment...
Back to the matter at hand, Balse informs Hiro and the others that there is a large ship at the harbor today that is bound for Pentagulia the next morning. If they were to go to the harbor, they could board the largest ship there and head straight to the holy city.
That evening, under cover of night, the group goes to the harbor and boards the largest ship at the docks. While sneaking on board, they are suddenly engulfed in light, and a voice calls out.
The light subsided. Standing there was Leo.
Leo: What are you doing here!
Ronfar: I might ask you the same question!
Leo: Why would I not be on my own ship!?
Ronfar: You're saying that this is the Destiny?
Leo: Didn't you know that Azado is the Destiny's home port?!
It doesn't look like they'll talk their way out of this one. Lucia starts the incantation for a spell, and Hiro and Jean prepare to fight. Ronfar starts another incantation.
Leo: There's no use! Men! Apprehend them at once!
Bars of light rise up from the ground around Hiro and the others. Lucia's spell misfires, Hiro and Jean find themselves unable to move, and Ronfar's sleep spell backfires and knocks Ronfar asleep.
Leo has little time to celebrate his victory, however. Just then, fire begins to rain down upon the town of Azado. At first, Leo suspects this all to be Lucia's doing.
Hiro: White Knight Leo... The people of this town are constantly living in fear of Althena's divine punishment. People who have opposed Althena's Guard have been burned by the holy fire of Althena. The former head priest, Balse, told this much to us. And now, you can see for yourself how this fire is coming from the Statue of Althena. If you doubt any of this, then just ask the people of Azado.
Leo: Balse, a former priest? I hadn't heard of this! This is nonsense!
Hiro: It's not nonsense. Balse was removed when he stood up to Althena's Guard, and Red Priest Mauri, a year ago.
Leo: Hiro! How dare you bring my sister into this! I won't allow this any longer!
Hiro: White Knight Leo! The evidene is right in front of you! The palm of that statue's hand is the source of the fire! That is why the people of Azado are forbidden to go out at night! Leo, you can't just ignore this!
Just then, another ball of fire flew from the hand of the Statue of Althena--towards Balse's house. Leo realizes that he must act now. Not still certain if Hiro is telling the truth, he has few options left.
Leo: Very well! Those of you with water-based magic, come with me! The rest of you, guard the Destroyer Lucia! Do not let her escape! Now then, Destroyer, if you should attempt to escape, then Hiro's life is forfeit. Hiro, you shall come with me, and we will revive Ronfar as well, so that he may heal anyone we encounter, should they be injured. The rest of your friends are prisoners. They should prepare themselves, in case there is no proof of what you claim. Well?
Lucia stated that she would remain there. Ruby would also stay, saying that Hiro is not the sort to lie. Jean shrugged her shoulders. Ronfar snored. Hiro nodded resolutely.
Chapter 13: United Front
Hiro, Ronfar, Leo, and several of Leo's soldiers leave for Azado, towards Balse's house. When they arrive, they rescue both Balse and Porom from the burning house. Porom is crying, but otherwise unhurt. But Balse is badly burned all over. Ronfar heals him. Meanwhile, Leo asks Porom what happened here.
Porom: I'm sorry! I'm sorry! It's all my fault!
Leo: Porom, what happened?
Porom: I told them that there were enemies of Althena's Guard at dad's house...
Leo: Why did you do that?
Porom: 'Cause Mauri said that I was a good boy, and that if I told her everything about the bad peope here, then she would make dad head priest again. But why did he get punished instead?
Hiro and Ronfar console Porom. After Ronfar heals Balse and he regains consciousness, Leo asks him what is going on here. Balse tells Leo directly about the "divine punishment", how everyone in Azado lives in constant fear of Althena's Guard because of the holy fire of the Goddess Statue. Leo still has a difficult time believing all of this, even though everyone in town would tell him the same thing...
Leo looked up at the statue, seeing that it truly was the source of the fire. He decides what must be done.
Leo: I see. Men, stay here. After extinguishing the flames, take Balse and Porom back to the Destiny. Hiro, Ronfar, the two of you come with me to the Shrine. But, this does not mean that I trust your story!
The three of them arrive at the statue. However, the priest at the door refuses to let them in, saying that only Mauri has such authority. There is no time to argue, so Leo forces his way inside. He turns to Hiro and Ronfar:
Leo: You are still my enemies. But now is not the time... We must extinguish that holy--no, not holy... We must extinguish that magic fire!
Once the three of them ascend up towards the top of this statue, they arrive at the palm of the statue's hand. There, they see balls of flame rising from the fire in the palm of its hand, flying towards the town.
Leo: Ronfar... when you left Althena's Guard, did you know about this?
Ronfar: No. This is the first time I have seen it. Even you should have known about the rumors. But I... I heard about it from Mauri directly. I never wanted to find out if what she said was true, and so I ran away.
Leo: Why did you never tell me this?
Ronfar: I didn't want to say anything. I didn't even want to know for myself. But even then, would you have believed me?
The three of them approached the flame, but exercising caution since this was no ordinary fire. But as they approach the fire, it takes the form of wings, and then a bird. Hiro, Ronfar, and Leo begin the incantations for magic spells, and the bird begins to attack. But, the balls of fire it hurls are not in the direction of them, but in the direction of the harbor, the Dragonship Destiny!
Hiro unleashes a wind spell; but, the wind only creates smoke and has no effect. Leo continued the incantation for his spell as the bird turned to attack him; Ronfar used his magic to protect Leo and heal him from the burns. Hiro tries his wind magic again--despite Leo's warnings--and feeds the flame of the fire bird. The flames grow and engulf Hiro. Leo and Ronfar start a counterattack; under their assault, the bird gradually diminishes in size and disappears, leaving behind only a small candle-sized flame. Leo snuffs it out with his boots.
Just then, Ronfar points out that the first in the rest of Azado are disappearing as well.
Ronfar: So Leo, can you honestly say you need any more proof?
The three of them return to the Destiny. Once there, they see that everyone and the ship are still safe. Lucia, Jean, and Ruby are still behind the bars of light. Ruby excitedly talks about how the bars protected them from the onslaught of fireballs coming from the statue, and the ship itself isn't even damaged. As for Lucia, Leo has a difficult decision to make.
Leo: ...for me, Althena's word is absolute. If Althena says that Lucia is the Destroyer, then she is the Destroyer. I cannot decide that! That is why I... I will take you to meet Althena herself! And then, Althena can decide herself!
Mauri: You are too soft, brother...
Mauri appears on the deck of the Destiny. She sees that Leo has eliminated the holy fire, and now he is defying Althena's orders and taking Lucia to Pentagulia instead of executing her. If he isn't willing to kill her, then Mauri says she will simply have to do so herself!
As Mauri gathers fire in the palm of her hand, she bears an eerie resemblance to the Statue of Althena in Azado. Ronfar intervenes to stop her.
Mauri: My dear Ronfar... Mauri has not forgotten you. After I kill brother and the Destroyer Lucia, we shall have to talk... Oh, but Ronfar, you are also a friend of the Destroyer. It seems that I will have to execute you as well. Such a pity...
This time, Leo intervenes to stop her. He has already made his decision, and if Mauri stands against him, then she will have to be considered his enemy. He demands that Mauri leave Azado at once, and restore control of the shrine to Balse. Mauri decides that this is not the time to fight, and leaves.
Leo frees Lucia and the others, and addresses Hiro and his friends.
Leo: Henceforth, you are guests of the Destiny. I shall guarantee your safety and to Pentagulia. Destroyer Lucia--no, just Lucia... I will take you to see Althena. But understand this: this does not mean that I yet believe your story. If you bring harm to the Goddess Althena, then I will kill you where you stand. Is that clear?
Lucia: Thank you.
Leo turned back to his men.
Leo: Prepare the Destiny for departure! Destination, Pentagulia!
Kei Shigema, the scenario writer for the Lunar series, and creator of the Lunar universe itself, writes in the afterword. He talks a little bit about Lunar's start on the Sega CD, and the remakes on the Saturn and Playstation. He adds that he was the one behind the novelization of Lunar: Silver Star Story, which had many departures from the story told by the games.
Regarding the story of Lunar: Eternal Blue, Shigema writes that he feels that all that he has to say about the story has already been said in the contents of the game itself. And so, Hiromi Hosoe has taken the role of the novelization of Eternal Blue.
Shigema hopes that everyone will enjoy her new perspective on the story. After all, he already does, and he looks forward to the continuation in the next volume.