Lunar SSS, Vol. 4 - Heir to the Wind - Summary
To recap: Alex, Luna, and Nall left the village of Burg so that Alex could pursue his dream of becoming Dragonmaster. Alex took the Trial of the White Dragon, Quark, with Nash. They then crossed over to the continent for the city of Meribia, governed by Mel de Alkirk. But on the way they were attacked by Xenobia, leader of the Vile Tribe. Through the help of Jessica and the Pirate Kyle, and the leadership of Alex, they escaped on Kyle's steamship, the Reguiss. Alex then went to the Magic City of Vane to find the locations of the remaining Dragons. There, they met a girl named Mia, the daughter of Lemia, the Leader of the Magic Guild of Vane. They also met the legendary Ghaleon, Premier of Vane. However, through an apparent confusion, Kyle the Pirate was captured and ordered executed by Lemia. Alex, Luna, and Nall obtained the help of Nash and Mia to save Kyle. They entered underground Vane where they also reunited with Jessica, attempting to do the same thing. The group saved Kyle, but were attacked by Lemia and Ghaleon in their escape. Through an apparent miracle, the group was transported away (by what seemed to be Luna's power) into a large cavern underneath Vane. In the cavern were hundreds of thousands of crystals, many of them with people trapped inside in a deep sleep. One of those crystals contained none other than Lemia, Mia's mother and the Leader of the Magic Guild of Vane
Chapter 7: Hidden Mysteries
 The Magic City of Vane. The center of countless legends of Dragonmasters and heroes. It was there that the Leader of the Magic Guild, Lemia, ordered the execution of the Pirate Kyle, naming him responsible for the mechanical ship the Leviathan, and the assumed deaths of the people it's attacked. Alex, Luna, Nall, Nash, Mia, and Jessica all saved Kyle, only to be besieged by the Premier of Vane Ghaleon, and Guildmistress Lemia. Then, there was a light. The entire city of Vane became one large transport pad, and the group of them ended up underground, in a large cave, with countless crystals... and Guildmistress Lemia trapped in one of them.
Lemia was not the only one. There were hundreds of others in the crystals: men, women, children, animals, even members of the Vile Tribe. And, everyone in them was asleep, including Lemia. Or, what appeared to be her. On the surface, they were all attacked by Guildmistress Lemia herself. So, was the person in the crystal a fake, and the one above the real Lemia? Or, was it the other way around?
 Alex thought, the person on the surface must be the false Lemia, while the real one was trapped in crystal in front of them. The real Lemia, the Lemia who was one of the Four Heroes, she would never order the execution of an innocent person.
"That is correct. The woman before you is the true Lemia."
Alex: What!? Who's there? Show yourself!
"Descend to the bottom of the cavern, Alex."
Alex: Huh? How do you know my name?
"It is not only you who I know. I know all of you well. Time is short. Quickly, come to me."
At the center of the cavern was a giant opening, and four large crystals, each the size of one of the dormitory buildings in Vane. One of those four crystals was glowing as the entire group heard the voice. And, something else was trapped in that very crystal.
Kyle: I don't know what this's about, but there's no other way out of here.
Mia: But, I can't leave Mother like this...
"Mia, your mother is frozen in a deep sleep. If you wish to wake her from that sleep, then I must entrust you with something."
Mia: Who... who are you?
"I am Cyan, the Blue Dragon."
The group walk towards the center of the cavern. When they reach the large crystal at the center, they can clearly see the Blue Dragon trapped inside. The Blue Dragon welcomes the boy who wishes to become Dragonmaster. He adds...
"This is not the first time I have seen you. In fact, as I was sealed away, my power was used to power the Leviathan, the very ship you fought at sea. I'm afraid this is the doing of the Magic Emperor. I know not what kind of person he is, but he has the kind of great power that even we Dragons cannot stand against... Our bodies and powers have been sealed, and the Leviathan draws on that power. Vane and the Levaithan were made in the same manner. Or, rather, the Leviathan was built with the same understanding of how Vane was first constructed. Not since long ago when we first came from the Blue Star to Lunar has..."
 The Blue Dragon Cyan is growing weak; there is no longer any time for details. He tells Alex that these crystals are drawing out magic power to restore Vane. And, as Dragons are essentially beings of magic, he will eventually become too weak and will lose consciousness. The only one who can stop this, who can defeat the Magic Emperor and recover the people trapped here, is one with the power of a Dragonmaster.
The Blue Dragon tells Alex that he has demonstrated bravery and the necessary qualities of a Dragonmaster when he led the fight against the Leviathan. As such, that is sufficient for him to have passed the Trial of the Blue Dragon. Cyan congratulates Alex, and urges him to continue, to realize that future that the Goddess Althena and Dragonmaster Dyne set in motion. Cyan then loses consciousness, and the crystal stops glowing.
 Alex is now one step closer to becoming Dragonmaster. He has passed the Trials of the White and Blue Dragons. Moreover, the Blue Dragon Cyan has entrusted Alex with the power to save the people trapped here, and put his faith in Alex and his friends to defeat the Magic Emperor.
"So this is where you've escaped to. Prepare yourself, traitors!"
Lemia. Or, rather, the person who appeared to be Lemia.
Lemia?: You have entered one of the most sacred, most secret, parts of Vane. And for that you must die! Even you, daughter...
Mia: You are not my mother! My real mother is imprisoned here! Who are you?
Lemia?: Hm... so you saw that, did you?
-Lemia changes shape-
Mia: What have you done with Mother!? What will happen to her?
Xenobia: Hm, you will soon understand. I'll put you in the same deep sleep as her.
Alex demands some answers. The people here are not dead, but the power is being drained from them. What is that power, and the power of the Dragon, being used for? And the Leviathan--it's based on draining such magic power. That must have something to do with the recent decline in magic power around the world that Nash once mentioned, and it must have something to do with what Xenobia is trying to accomplish in Vane. What is it?
Xenobia: Alex, was it? Hm... I'd love to answer, but you're dangerous. The Magic Emperor has decreed that you shall die.
 The last time they fought, Xenobia was just seconds away from destroying them when the Magic Emperor intervened to stop her. Had he not done so, they might not be here now. But, it didn't seem as if that was going to happen again. Alex and the others were on their own. Could they win against Xenobia? Could they win against someone so powerful?
Alex didn't even have to turn around to know that his friends behind him were preparing for battle. It was no longer a question of if they could win. They had to fight, and they had to win. That was it. Kyle drew daggers from his boots. Jessica, Nash, and Mia all started their incantations. As Xenobia drew up vicious snakes of black smoke and flame, Alex drew his sword.
Xenobia brought down her hand.
Jessica: Goddess Althena, shield us from evil!
The flame crashed against the invisible barrier. They did not dissipate, but continued to push against it. The barrier would not hold for long, but it did hold for long enough...
Nash: Lightning, come forth!
Mia: Ice and flame, come forth!
Lightning, ice, and fire, flew from Nash and Mia's hands, consuming the snakes of black smoke and flame. Xenobia, being one of the Vile Tribe, had no need for incantations, and so she brought up another spell as soon as the previous one had faded. She sent more black flame towards Nash and Mia.
Kyle rushed forward, throwing his daggers towards Xenobia. They were consumed by the flame, which continued onwards towards Kyle himself.
Jessica: Protection of Althena!
A barrier came up around Kyle, blocking the attack. Alex took this occasion to run forward and atttack. He kicked the ground and flew towards Xenobia, sword drawn. Just behind and to the left of him were several daggers thrown by Kyle. Xenobia blocked Alex's attack, and stopped the daggers... But during that time, Nash and Mia had already cast another round of spells. From the left came fire, from the right came ice, and from above came lightning. Xenobia threw up a barrier to the ice and lightning, but she wasn't quick enough for the flame and was soon engulfed by it.
She didn't burn for long, and the flame was soon out. But the effect was still there. "What is this!?" she thought. "How could these humans even put up a fight against me?" They weren't supposed to stand a chance against the Leader of the Vile Tribe.
 Meanwhile, Luna, still holding tightly onto Nall, was behind the others as the battle unfolded. She saw Alex, fighting alongside the others so bravely in a battle against an enemy many times more powerful. She once said Alex had changed, but she was wrong. He hadn't changed that much. Alex always pursued what he thought was right, and took the straightest path there. And wherever the wind took him, he would always press on, even against the odds.
Luna: Alex will never lose!
That moment, the cavern was awash in silver light. The light centered around Alex as he struck once more at Xenobia. Xenobia was driven back hard this time. Alex declared that he was going to free Lemia and all the other people Xenobia's trapped down here.
Nash: All right! La-- Mia! Check this out!
Mia: Nash, no!
Nash unleashed another lightning spell at Xenobia. The lightning engulfed her, but dissipated in the air around them as the large crystals in the cavern all glowed. Right then, there was another flash of silver light beside Xenobia and someone else appeared. It was Phacia... The fortuneteller they first saw in Vane.
Xenobia: Phacia, kill them!
Phacia: No, sister... Now is not the time for fighting. There is still much that needs to be done if we are to bring about a new--
Xenobia: Stop it, Phacia!! I am the Leader of the Vile Tribe... You have no right to doubt me...
(Phacia turned to Alex and the others)
Phacia: I have no intention of fighting you. Could you leave us be for now?
Kyle objects; he doesn't trust Phacia for one second. He gripped his daggers. Nash and Mia, thinking only of Vane and the imprisoned Lemia, began their incantations. Jessica raised her arms to prepare another spell.
Alex: Stop! We cannot attack someone who has no intention of fighting!
???: You're too soft, Alex...
 From the shadows came a fierce spell of dark flame, engulfing both Xenobia and Phacia. The Vile Tribe sisters were consumed, as light consumes darkness, fading away. The source of the spell was none other than Ghaleon... He's heard everything, including how Xenobia impersonated Guildmistress Lemia and attempted to take over Vane from the inside. He had no intention of forgiving her for that. He understands Alex's point-of-view, but the sort of weakness and sympathy that Alex displayed would have simply resulted in their own destruction. Ghaleon smiled--it was a genuine smile, seemingly one of relief.
Now it is time to return to Vane. They have much work to do, including finding a way to restore the people trapped here in crystal. As the Premier of Vane, Ghaleon swears that he will find a way to do so. He gave another smile this time... but unlike before, it didn't seem genuine. It looked as if the Premier was wearing a mask. A death mask...
 The party was back in Vane. Kyle was being bandaged up and served tea by Jessica who, like in Meribia, was back to acting somewhat ladylike. They'd been there for three days now, and it's tough on Kyle. He's used to eating when he's hungry, sleeping when he's tired, and going wherever he wants--not to sitting around all day drinking tea.
Jessica reminds him that all of Vane is sorting itself right now. It's been closed for the last three days; no one can enter nor leave the city. The Magic Guild is having to investigate everyone, since it's unknown how much the Vile Tribe was able to infiltrate the city beyond impersonating the Guildmistress. Nash and Mia have been particularly hard-hit; so the rest of them just have to put up with this for a little while longer.
 Nash and Mia come into the room. Nash has been searching the Magic Library for the last three days for more information about the caverns and ruins underground.
Similarly, they're trying to find out more about the crystals that have everyone trapped. According to Ghaleon, those crystals appear to be able to control the flow of time within them. What's more, those crystals allow not just the undergrounds, but all of Vane, to be connected like one giant magical device. The people and dragon within those crystals are necessary to allow the crystals to function that way.
Jessica suggests that the Vile Tribe must have been trying to control all of Vane by using those crystals. Nash says that they don't yet know that, and neither does Ghaleon. In fact, Ghaleon has asked to speak with them, so that he might learn more. Nash isn't sure what might come of it, but he suspects that Alex may be able to continue his journey; though towards what end, he doesn't know.
 Nash once again guided Alex, Luna, and Nall, followed by Jessica and Kyle, to meet with Ghaleon. When they entered the office, both Ghaleon and Mia were there. On the desk were dozens of documents and papers. Ghaleon's demeanor conveyed the new role he had stepped into as the representative of the Leader of the Magic Guild, while Lemia was still incapacitated.
Luna asked how Mia was doing. She smiled and said she was all right, but Luna knew how much was troubling her. Mia had the fear of losing her mother, the responsibility of managing the Magic Guild, and the stress of preparing for battle with the Vile Tribe.
Ghaleon: I apologize for the long wait. Please excuse me.
Kyle: You're damn right! We fight the Vile Tribe, and this is the th--
Nash: You idiot! What are you doing?!
Jessica interrupted and put on her ladylike act again to try to calm things down. Moving on, Ghaleon explained that there are many things he'd like to discuss with them, to understand more about the Vile Tribe and their intentions. He points to one of the other walls in the office, and a door appears. Mia opens the door. Inside is a large, elliptical table. Three walls of the room are glass, looking out into the central garden of the Magic Guild. The same one where Luna first met Ghaleon the other day.
 Ghaleon reiterates his earlier explanation that the crystals beneath Vane stop the flow of time. And so the people inside are not dead, only suspended. Moreover, those inside include Guildmistress Lemia, many magicians, priests and priestesses from the Shrine, and various other people who appeared to be passengers or crew for ships at sea. This means that the Leviathan, the Vile Tribe constructed ship that Alex and the others fought, was gathering them for some reason--Kyle doesn't hesitate to point out that this clearly means that the Vile Tribe, and not Kyle himself, was responsible for the ship attacks, and they were close to executing him regardless.
Ghaleon isn't sure why the Vile Tribe is gathering up people. But he does have a theory as to why they've captured the Blue Dragon... The crystals allow the Silver Spire and all of Vane to act as a magical conduit; the strong magic power of the Blue Dragon would have allowed the Vile Tribe to pull magic from the surrounding area into Vane. Specifically, they are using the power from the Blue Dragon and the crystals to power the Leviathan.
Alex: So... does that mean the Vile Tribe not only built the Leviathan, but also everything underneath Vane?
Ghaleon: I'm afraid not. The Leviathan was built based on knowledge about the construction of Vane. But, Vane itself is many thosuands of times more complex.
Ghaleon continues: the crystals and the magical properties of Vane itself have been around since the beginning of Vane's existence. No one knows any more how or why they were built.
Alex thinks back to the legends about Vane. In many of these stories, Vane figured prominently. And along with Dragonmasters, the Leaders of the Magic Guild were often central to such stores as well. But, there were no tales about Vane's construction. It circled around the Goddess Tower, proctecting it; did that mean that the Goddess Althena herself built Vane? Did that mean it was built to fight?
In any case, Ghaleon says that the Vile Tribe must be intent on using the secrets of Vane to control the world. And right now, they lack someone to lead the fight against them.
Ghaleon: We need... a Dragonmaster.
Ghaleon: Fighting the Vile Tribe requires a strong leader. Someone to symbolize the unity of all people. I believe that you, Alex, should be that person. You must be Dragonmaster.
Alex: M... Me!?
Ghaleon: Do not be surprised. It is your dream, is it not?
Alex: Ye... yes, but...
Ghaleon: To become a Dragonmaster, one must pass the Trials of the Four Dragons. However, we cannot free the Blue Dragon from his confinement in crystal. And so, you, the one who has passed the Trials of both the White and Blue Dragons, is the only one with the power to become Dragonmaster.
Ghaleon reminds Alex that this does not mean that he will become Dragonmaster, only that he can.
Ghaleon: When I see all of you, I cannot help but be reminded of Dyne, myself, and the others when we were younger. Yes, once I, together with Dyne, Lemia, and Mel, journeyed through the world. We pursued many secrets and mysteries. Thus, Dyne eventually became Dragonmaster. And so we devoted ourselves to protecting the Goddess Althena, and saving the world. That was fifteen years ago. Now, the world is in peril once again, and the time has come for a new era of heroes... You are those heroes. I believe in you. I will do what I can to help you to save this world.
 The wind blew through Vane. Alex was thinking about the adventure he was soon to embark on. He had come to Vane with the dream of becoming a Dragonmaster, to find what he needed to know to seek out and pass the trials of the remaining Dragons. Now, he had passed the Blue Dragon's Trial, and only the Red and Black Dragons remained. To aid him, Ghaleon had lent him the use the Airship of the Magic Guild of Vane. Tomorrow, they would all leave Vane.
All... except Luna.
Alex and Kyle were practicing, trying to hone their fighting skills. Their swords gleamed in the daylight, and each of them put all their energy into the sparring match. Kyle, much to Jessica's irritation, was fighting as if he actually meant to hurt Alex--Kyle simply responded that if Alex couldn't defend against him, then he wouldn't stand a chance against the Vile Tribe.
Jessica: You should be more understanding. You're fighting for the peace of the world, after all.
Kyle: Peace of the world? You're kidding... That's not why I'm fighting. Listen, I'm fighting just for one reason: for hire. This is just a mercenary's battle for me.
Jessica: Don't give me that. You wouldn't be fighting like this if it didn't have something to do with the fate of the world.
Kyle: Well, there is one more reason...
Kyle: Once I save this world, I'll be a hero. The Great Hero Kyle! Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?
Besides, Kyle also figures that this might get him some respect from Mel at last. Mel was once a pirate, too, and he married Meribian nobility. He should be more understanding. Jessica, meanwhile, doesn't much appreciate Kyle talking about her father this way. She says as much, and the two of them get to arguing.
Jessica: My father once being a pirate has nothing to do with this! If you were a hero, or if you were a pirate, he still doesn't like any guy who gets close to me!
 That evening, Nash and Mia were working late into the night. They were both in the Premier's office, alone. And silent. Nash realized that he was alone with Mia; this was the first time he had been this close to her, without anyone else around. He ran through his mind what he could say, but could never work up the nerve to say it. Finally, Mia looked up...
Mia: ...Nash, whenever you're with me, you never say a word... I've been in Vane all this time, so I suppose I must have nothing interesting to say. Whenever I'm in the library, reading, not a single boy ever takes notice of me... I think having to spend time with me must be so boring.
Nash: No, no, that's not it at all Lady Mia! I mean, Mia! You're not in the least bit boring! I was just... concentrating on my work...
Mia: ...That's ok. But you always have such interesting things to say. Yet every time you and I are together, you never say a word. It makes me uneasy...
Nash: I'm... I'm sorry, Mia. But... you really think I'm interesting?
Mia: Yes. I don't have any friends in Vane my own age... Everyone is always so careful around me. But you're different... I really love talking with you, Nash.
Nash: M.. Mia! Mia, I...
Mia: And Alex, Luna, Jessica, Kyle, I really love talking with all of you. I'm very happy to have you all as friends.
Nash: I... I see...
Mia talks a bit more about this journey they're about to embark on, a journey to stop the Vile Tribe. Nash has Mia on his mind the entire time, hoping that once this fight is over, perhaps he and Mia can...
 That same evening, Luna was preparing for her journey. But, not a journey with Alex. She was going to stay behind in Vane while Alex left on the Airship to seek out the other Dragons and become Dragonmaster. They would likely encounter the Vile Tribe again, and it would be too dangerous for Luna to join him this time. Instead, Luna would soon leave with Ghaleon, to guide him to the White Dragon, so that Ghaleon could speak with him on the matter of the Vile Tribe.
Luna: Months have passed since we first left Burg...
Alex: And so much has happened in that time.. We've become friends with Kyle, Jessica, Nash, and Mia. We met both Mel and Ghaleon. We fought with the Vile Tribe... More has happened than I could have imagined...
Luna: But, your adventure isn't over yet, Alex... Why?
(The wind blew through Luna's hair, as the Blue Star shined in her eyes.)
Luna: Why must you continue your adventure?
Alex: To... to become Dragonmaster...
Luna: But why must you become Dragonmaster?
Alex: I have to...
Luna: You've wanted to be Dragonmaster since you were a child, Alex. It's always been your dream. But fighting the Vile Tribe, saving the world, that's not something that you have to be Dragonmaster to do.
Alex: Yes, but... There's no other choice. Things have changed.
Luna: And so has your dream... When I see that, it hurts...
Luna: Alex, just forget about it. You don't have to fight the Vile Tribe. You can leave the dangerous things to Ghaleon and Mel. Come back with me to Burg, Alex.
Alex: I can't do that...
Luna: But why?
Alex: Don't you understand? I'm the only one who can become Dragonmaster. I have to press on, for everyone.
Luna: That's not why you wanted to be Dragonmaster!
Alex: Luna, you're acting really strange today. Ever since you said you wouldn't be coming with us, all you've done is complain.
Luna: That's not it at all! I'm only worried about you...
Alex: I've already decided to try to become Dragonmaster. That hasn't changed one bit. Not one bit!
Luna: ...I see
(Luna stared at Alex intently...)
Luna: All right... Take care, then, Alex.
Luna: Good night.
 Mornings in Vane are typically quiet. A few people in robes usually go around the city to put out the lamps from the evening, and the only sound is the bell from the Crystal Spire ringing in the day. But today was different. The entire city was busy, and the plaza was full of students gathered to see the launching of the Vane Airship.
This was the prized Magic Airship of the Magic Guild of Vane. Its exterior was clad in silver, gold, and glass. Meanwhile, inside, Kyle was working on the ship. Being the most familiar with seagoing vessels, he was being shown how the airship operated, and he even helped bring it back up to speed.
Kyle: So, it doesn't seem like this ship is doing much good in Vane. Maybe you could lend it to me after this is all over?
Mia and Nash are not very amused by this.
Alex is also there, with Nall on his shoulder. But, absent from the group is Luna, who apparently didn't even come to see them off. Alex figures that after the fight they had last night, he shouldn't really expect her to be there.
Ghaleon sees to it that the preparations have been made. And, once everything is clear, Alex, Nall, Jessica, Kyle, Nash, and Mia all board the ship. Kyle and Nash operate some of the levers and valves inside, and with a whirring sound like countless birds flapping their wings, the airship started into action.
On the lower part of the ship, several jewels began to shine with a blue-white light. Alex almost immediately recalled the same thing on the Leviathan. The Leviathan, like the Vane Airship, was a machine that utilized magic power. Perhaps all machines that functioned that way looked similar?
 Anyway, they were off. The airship began to lift up from the ground. Ghaleon called out to them, reminding Alex that he must become Dragonmaster. That their hopes and dreams are with him. And, that this world's fate is...
Ghaleon's voice faded as the airship lifted further away. They began to leave Vane. Alex felt the coldness of the air against his skin, and closed the door of the ship. When...
A voice called out. A familiar voice. He turned around and saw none other than Luna. She explained that she hid on board earlier that morning, and told the others to keep it a secret so that she could surprise Alex. As for Ghaleon, she left him a map that would guide him to the White Dragon. Despite the argument they had last night, she would still much rather be with Alex. After all, it might be dangerous, but she knows Alex will always protect her.
[Note: This is the same airship (designed by Hajime Satou!) detailed in the Vane manga, Chapters 2-3. LunarNET has a translation of the manga available here: Lunar: Tale of the Vane Airship, and images available here.]
Chapter 8: Dragonmaster
 Their first destination was the volcanic range that stretched to the south of Nanza. The Red Dragon controlled fire, and, as such, tended to reside in volcanoes.
Kyle notes that these volcanoes are the same ones where the Fluffy Bugs that powered his steamship, the Reguiss (which was sunk when he was captured by the Magic Guild). He clarifies that this doesn't mean he's actually been to the volcanoes; he bought those bugs from a merchant in Nanza.
Kyle: Nanza... it usually takes 20 days on horse to get there. But with the Reguiss II here, we'll arrive in only five days.
Nash: Wa... wait just a minute! The Reguiss II!? This is the Airship of the Magic Guild of Vane! You can't just go and rename it!
Kyle: Hold on there. This ship has no name, right? So, I took the liberty of giving it one.
Nash: This isn't a joke! What makes you think you have the right to name it whatever you like?
Kyle: The Magic Guild sunk my ship. Not to mention that, thanks to someone, they found and captured me, sunk my ship, and sentenced me to death.
Mia: Oh, I like the sound of the name. The Reguiss II. Don't you think it sounds nice?
Speaking of the ship, Mia mentions that it was constructed a long time ago by the Vane Magic Guild. But, unfortunately, the knowledge of how to create it was lost in history.
 The Vane Airship (the Reguiss II) alighted away from Nanza itself. Luna, Mia, Nash, and Nall remained on the ship, while Alex, Kyle, and Jessica walked from there into town. They plan on stocking up on supplies and gathering more detailed information about the Red Dragon's location. Through Luna's help, Alex learned from the books that Mia lent him that the Red Dragon was likely to be in the most active volcano south of there; so, they should just need to ask around.
Nanza itself was at a crossroads. Many travelers and merchants came to and through it, on their way to the Prarie beyond the city, or other destinations; moreover, there were no large towns even comparable to Nanza between there and the Prarie. Even Dragonmaster Dyne once visited this town. But, because of the merchants, there were also bandits along the mountain paths. Since Kyle is a pirate, he's able to guide them through the paths that the bandits are unlikely to hit.
They finally arrived at Nanza itself. The place was built like a fortress. Fortunately, they had official papers from Ghaleon and the Magic Guild, and so the guards let them in without a problem.
Kyle: Hm... this is the first time I've been able to enter through the front gate. Usually I have to take the side-entrance. They treat pirates like they're no different from bandits here.
Jessica: What are you talking about? Pirates are no different from bandits!
Now it's time to find out more about the Red Dragon. And for that, according to Kyle, they'll need to go to the best place in town for gathering information: the tavern. With all the travelers and traders coming through, everyone passes through one of the taverns. So, they pick the biggest one and head on in.... Right in the midst of a bar brawl. Not to worry, though, since the barroom brawl is the official flower of Nanza.
 Alex looks around at the mayhem. There's fighting going on all around the tavern. But, the men involved look like they're enjoying it--almost like children fighting. Kyle explains that no one carries a sword in here, so they should still be ok. Aside from the occasional thrown bottle.
Just then, Alex notices a group of men draw daggers and surround a traveler who just entered the fray. Before Alex can warn him, the traveler whirls around and attacks the people who were just about to ambush him, knocking the daggers from their hands and throwing them to the wall. The would-be-ambushers fled the tavern. It was just then that Alex and Jessica both recognized the man's face by his distinctive beard...
Laike... Laike Bogard... The same one who helped Alex, Luna, and Nash in the forest, and who told Jessica how to enter underground Vane to save Kyle.
 The group have a seat with Laike at the back of the tavern. They fill him in on all that happened in Vane, between Ghaleon, Lemia, the Vile Tribe, the Blue Dragon, and the crystals underground. Laike is suprised at how all that could happen while Ghaleon and Lemia were still alive.
Jessica also points out to Kyle that Laike is the one who told her about the underground entrance to Vane. If it weren't for him, Kyle wouldn't even be here.
Jessica: By the way... Laike, how is it that you know about the secret entrance to Vane? Not even Mia knew about that.
Laike: Well... that's a secret.
Kyle: Maybe he's a King of Thieves or something. That'd explain why he's here in Nanza!
Laike: Ho ho ho! King of thieves? Me? Hm, that doesn't sound too bad.
Anyway, on the subject of the Red Dragon... Laike, fortunately (yet perhaps unsurprisingly) has some information for them. The Red Dragon is in the volcanic range to the south, as they expect. If they go south along the volcanic range for about thirty miles, they'll find the volcano the Red Dragon resides in. It won't be erupting or exploding; but, periodically, they'll see a flash of light emanating from the mouth of the volcano. That will be where the Red Dragon lives.
The group thanks Laike immensively for his help, and gets up to leave.
Laike: No need for thanks. Give my regards to Luna and that little cat of yours. This journey will be very difficult for all of you. Protect her, Alex.
Alex: Yes sir!
Laike: Ha ha... The second time you've made this promise...
Alex: ...the second time?
Laike: Oh, it's nothing. Now go, your companions are waiting!
Alex noticed Kyle and Jessica already at the door of the tavern. But before he left, Laike spoke up once more.
Laike: Oh, Alex, one more thing I almost forgot to tell you...
(Laike places his glass of water down on the table.)
Laike: Say someone believes that inside this glass is poison. A very strong poison.
Laike: Of course, this is just water. But, if someone truly believed it was poison, and still drank it, what do you think would happen?
Laike: That person would feel sick, even if what was inside was merely water.
Alex: O... ok...
Laike: My point is, we cannot always rely on our senses. An adventurer must learn not to look at the surface of things, but to see their true nature.
Alex didn't fully understand, but he nodded his head at Laike's words, keeping them in mind. They said their farewells and Alex departed, catching up with Jessica and Kyle at the door.
Laike: So, Vane and the Vile Tribe... Hm... ......There's something I have to check out...
 The party departs on the Reguiss II, following the volcanic range per Laike's instructions. Kyle is behind the wheel, guiding the airship.
Kyle: There are so many volcanos here that we might not have a place to land...
Alex: Say, Luna? Since you were able to find out the location of the Red Dragon from that book, do you know if it said anything about how to meet him? Maybe there was some information in there that would help us locate the shrine itself, like what happened when we met the White Dragon.
Luna: Huh? Oh, yes...
Alex: ...never mind...
-The ship suddenly jolts to the side-
Jessica: Yahh! Kyle! What are you doing?
Kyle: It's not my fault! Look over there!
From a distance, they see a group of familiar-looking creatures flying through the air towards them: the magical constructs of the Vile Tribe, the same ones that attacked them at the transport pad before they entered Vane.
Alex: Nash, Mia, Jessica, you protect the cabin. Kyle, keep the ship steady!
Alex rushes outside to the deck of the airship to face the Vile Tribe. Alone. As soon as he approached the edge of the deck, he became dizzy; he'd never been so high up off the ground, with the horizon so distant. He steeled his resolve and recalled his determination when he fought Ghaleon, against all odds.
To protect everyone!
To protect Luna!
I believe in myself!
 With these thoughts, Alex was covered with a silver light. The Vile Tribe attacked, and Alex fought back, driving them away with his sword and the silver light that surrounded him. The remaining Vile Tribe constructs regrouped and made another pass at the airship, when suddenly lightning tore into the group from above, and from either side, they were beseiged by fire and ice. Alex was then surrounded by a protective light.
Alex turned around to see Nash, Mia, and Jessica there to back him up. He had nothing to fear, now that he knew he had friends there to support him.
 The group successfully drove off the Vile Tribe constructs that came to attack them. They continued onward through the volcanic range, until they came to the volcano that matched Laike's description. From above, they could see a red light emanating from the mouth of the volcano that was much unlike the red light given off by the flowing magma. Soon, they could even see a shrine inside. This was it, the location of the Red Dragon...
Kyle found a place to land, and the entire party departed. Alex was at the front, followed by Luna, Nall, Mia, Nash, and Jessica, with Kyle at the back. They ventured deeper into the volcano until they came to a lake of magma. They saw a red wing, and then, the Red Dragon...
Red Dragon: It's been a long while since humans have come here! I am the Red Dragon Amelia. Have you come to take the Dragon Trial?
Alex: Y... yes. I am Alex.
Nall says he's surprised that there are female dragons. Amelia responds that as the eras pass and new dragons are born, both male and female dragons are born. Besides herself, the Black Dragon is also female.
Anyway, the Red Dragon Amelia asks everyone who wishes to take the trial to step forward. Alex steps up, as do Kyle and Nash. Kyle says he just wants the bragging rights of having passed the Red Dragon Trial, while Nash wants to prove himself.
Amelia asks the three of them to approach the stairs before them. She explains the rules of the trial: they must not say the word "hot"--or any word with the equivalent meaning, of course.
Alex: Really, we just need to avoid saying "hot"?
Red Dragon: Simple, yes? Now then, the trial shall begin!
Nash, Kyle, and Alex were suddenly encircled by a ring of flames. It was truly hot, and the three of them began to sweat. The Red Dragon adds one more thing: all they need to say to be taken out of the ring is the word "hot".
 What feels like minutes, then hours, then half a day passes. The three of them are still inside the ring of fire, really feeling the heat. Kyle decides to try a new tactic, then...
Kyle: Say, Alex, your village is up north, right?
Alex: Why are you asking that all of a sudden?
Kyle: Oh, it's just that I thought the weather there must be really different from Meribia. Right? The lakes must even freeze over in the wintertime.
Alex: Yeah. We often go ice skating on them.
Kyle: Ice skating!? Wow, there must be like one or two inches of ice on them.
Alex: Oh no! It's actually much ho------- how do you really expect me to fall for that, Kyle?
Kyle: Man, I was so close...
Kyle decides to turn his attention towards Nash, then.
Nash: Look, you're not getting me thrown out of here.
Kyle: Come on, I'm just worried about you!
Nash: I'd feel much better if you just kept your distance!
Kyle: Is that how close friends treat each other? Hah!
Nash: Stop that! Kyle, why are you so hot-headed!?
-Nash is transported out of the circle of fire-
Nash: ...huh? But I... oh no...
Kyle: Wah hah hah! I can't believe you fell for that! Hot-headed! Hah--oh crap.
-Kyle is transported out of the circle of fire-
Now, only Alex is left. He asks the Red Dragon if this means he's passed the trial, but the Red Dragon explains that the trial is not dependent on how many people take it, or on who lasts the longest. It's not even dependent on how long you endure the circle of fire...
 Alex remains in the middle of the fire. An hour passes... and another... He then recalls the advice Laike gave him before he left Nanza: do not look at the surface, but see the true nature of things. Alex approached the flame. He felt the heat on his skin grow more intense. He pressed on, and the fire crept up around him as his hair began to singe. He continued, and suddenly, the fire stopped, his hair was no longer burnt, and he no longer felt any heat. Alex realizes that to pass the trial, it's not enough to avoid saying the word "hot", but he must declare that it is not hot.
Amelia congratulates Alex on seeing through the illusion of the fire. Alex has thus passed the Trial of the Red Dragon. Now that they have time to speak, Alex fills Amelia in on everything that's happened in Vane.
Amelia: This must be related to what happened to Althena fifteen years ago...
Alex: ...what was that, Amelia?
Amelia: Oh, it's nothing. It doesn't concern humans...
Amelia changed the subject back to what Alex said.
Amelia: I understand, Alex. I shall go to Vane at once and speak with Ghaleon on this matter. The rest of you must hurry to see the Black Dragon. She is about 750 miles to the west of here, in a cavern made entirely of black crystal. Once you pass the Trial of the Black Dragon, you will succeed to the title of Dragonmaster.
Alex thanked the Red Dragon and left. As they were leaving, Alex thought on what the Red Dragon inadvertently said... Fifteen years ago, something happened with the Goddess Althena. That has something to do with what's happening now, and it had something to do with Dyne's last adventure...
Back in the cavern, Amelia looked up and saw Luna there again.
Amelia: Oh, you were the girl with Alex a short while ago. Luna, was it? Why have you come back here?
Luna: I just left something here, so I came back.
Amelia: Left something? What did you leave?
-Luna's eyes changed color from the blue of the sky to a fiery crimson-
Luna: Your power. I need your power, all of it!
Luna produced a crystal in the palm of her hand, filled with darkness. The darkness escaped, enveloped the Red Dragon, and pulled its form within the crystal itself. The Red Dragon's scream echoed through the cavern before she was trapped inside.
Luna: There is no other way... I must do this...
Luna left to catch up with Alex and the others, before they became suspicious as to why she was gone for so long.
 That dream... Luna's dream... It was more real now than it ever had been before. The same two men were arguing below her, while she was on a throne overlooking them. But this time she recognized who it was: Ghaleon, and Dragonmaster Dyne. Dyne asked Ghaleon to wait behind, while Ghaleon yelled at Dyne not to disturb what was happening.
Ghaleon: Stop it, Dyne! Can't you see? If you do this, then the entire world will fall apart!
Dyne pressed on. He approached the throne, and a magic shield encircled them. The stairwell and throne itself began to crumble.
Ghaleon: As I thought... I cannot let you do this... letting her transform from a goddess into a ---. You would allow all of the Goddess Althena's m--- --- to be released across ---!? You're only a ---man, you fool! Why!? What is it that you see that I cannot!? We need a god to ---!
Ghaleon's voice began to fade away.
Luna: No, wait! I can't wake up yet! I need to know!
Ghaleon's voice and the dream all began to fade away as Luna's dream turned from color to a brilliant white light...
 White light pierced through the curtains and lit up the bed. Luna woke up from her dream, the same dream, and the same morning in Vane. There had been thirty mornings like this, since Alex first left Vane on the Magic Guild's Airship.
Luna thought about Alex constantly. The night before they left, they had an awful argument. She wanted to see Alex and the others off the next day when they left Vane; she didn't want Alex to leave without patching things up first. But, that day, she wasn't able to leave the room. Alex and the others left early that day to prepare to leave; when Luna got up to leave, she couldn't open the door. Not only that, the door to the balcony wouldn't open either. It was as if she was trapped inside the room--and as much as she yelled for help, no one could hear her. All she could do was watch through the window as the airship left Vane, hoping that Alex didn't still think badly of her...
 She thought back on her dream and on recent events. About Dragonmaster Dyne, Ghaleon, and the Vile Tribe. She would be leaving Vane soon herself, to go with Ghaleon back to Burg, and then guide him to meet the White Dragon. Perhaps on the way there, she could finally ask him about the dream she kept having, now that she knew he was somehow involved.
Luna went to see Ghaleon. He apologized for making her wait so long before they left; he had much business with the Guild to tie up before he left to see the White Dragon again. But, he was now finished, and they could depart shortly. He asked Luna to take his hand--they would go to the White Dragon directly. Luna didn't quite understand, but took his hand anyway.
Ghaleon: I am going to use teleportation magic. Please close your eyes.
Luna followed Ghaleon's instructions. There was a flash of white, and when she opened them again, she was standing right in the White Dragon's cave, in front of Quark himself. In one instant, they had gone from the Magic Guild of Vane to the White Dragon's Lair.
 Quark took notice of the two visitors. While he was surprised at the visit, he noted that it was just like Ghaleon to teleport in like that. Quark asked the two of them what they were doing here--particularly Luna, as he was under the impression that she was with Alex when he went to Vane.
Ghaleon: Alex is seeking out the remaining Dragons, to become Dragonmaster. He has already passed the trials of the Blue and Red Dragons, and now only the Black Dragon remains.
The Red Dragon? Luna hadn't heard anything about that from Alex; perhaps he was sending some kind of communication to Ghaleon? But, if that were the case, then why didn't he contact her as well? Ghaleon changed the subject.
Ghaleon: Now, Quark, there is one thing that I must confirm about Luna... Is this girl the same child, from when Dyne...
Quark: ...Ghaleon, why do you mean to ask me that?
Ghaleon: A new era of chaos is close at hand, and by all means I intend on bringing order to that chaos. Believe me, Quark.
Quark: Hm... If Dyne were still here, he would tell you. ... Yes, I'm positive that she is the girl.
Ghaleon: Hm hm hm...
Quark: What is it, Ghaleon?
Ghaleon: ...now, the time has come. The time has come to give this world a new god! And for that, I must have your power, Quark!
A storm of fierce magic filled the area, and Ghaleon was no longer clad in the robes of the Premier of Vane--he was now dressed completely in black armor.
Ghaleon: Yes, I am Ghaleon... Magic Emperor Ghaleon!!
Ghaleon produced a crystal from the palm of his hand. Darkness was trapped inside. That darkness spilled forth, enveloped the entirety of the White Dragon, and pulled him in. Quark let out a yell which echoed through the shrine, until the Dragon himself was drawn into the crystal, leaving the room empty save for Ghaleon and Luna.
Ghaleon: Only the Black Dragon remains. Now, come with me Luna. Or should I say, Goddess Alt--
Ghaleon's words faded away as Luna fainted. Ghaleon took her in his arms. His laughter echoed through the empty shrine of the White Dragon.
 The Vane Airship flew westward from the Red Dragon's volcano, towards where the Black Dragon was said to be. It wasn't a straightforward journey, however. Once they had to make an emergency landing after another Vile Tribe attack, like the one before they reached the volcano. And another time, while they were waiting for inclement weather to clear so that they could take off again, they were caught up in a dispute between two neighboring tribes over a missing jewel. To solve this, the party sought out the jewel itself. The party went through Senmario and Lyton, towns which were famous on account of the legends of the Four Heroes. They passed the Larne Marsh, and continued westward in the direction of the Frontier.
The border of the Frontier was the Great Chasm. Just as it was described, it was an enormous canyon tearing through the plains. On the other side of the chasm was an unexplored land; no human had ventured into it and ever returned. Long ago, the Goddess Althena had sealed the Vile Tribe there, in the Frontier, in that land of death where the Blue Star did not even shine. Even from where Alex and the others were now, the Blue Star was almost completely hidden by the horizon. It had been close to a month since they first left Vane, and now they were right next to the farthest reaches of civilization.
Along the Great Chasm was a pocket of water and green, an oasis, and the cliffside was made entirely of black crystal at that point. And, there was a village there.
The group touched down and entered the village. They spoke with the elder, who explained that the Black Dragon was in the canyon below the village. But, she is in a deep sleep, and the village's existence depends on her. So, they cannot risk Alex waking her up and taking her to Vane.
Now, Mia steps up to her role as the future Leader of the Magic Guild. She explains the necessity of a Dragonmaster now, and that if they do not stop the Vile Tribe, then this village is on the front lines of their attack when they escape from the Frontier. The village elder understands, and allows for the risk.
 The entrance to the Black Dragon's lair is inside the village. The party descends through the cave and eventually come upon the Black Dragon, who is, as the elder said, asleep. Alex tries to wake her up politely. Kyle brushes him aside and yells at the Black Dragon, punching her a few times. She rustles, and then gets back to sleep. Jessica punches Kyle.
Luna asks the others to step back so that she can try something. They do so, and she produces a crystal from the palm of her hand.
Luna: In the name of the Magic Emperor...
The Magic Emperor?
Darkness rushes forward from the crystal to envelop the Black Dragon. She finally wakes up and yells in protest. She opens her mouth, and magic light rushes forth to extinguish the darkness.
Luna: Argh... Well, I guess it worked! She's awake! Wasn't that a marvelous joke? Ah ha ha ha!
Well, something is very strange here. Regardless, the Black Dragon demands to know why she was woken up. Alex steps up to explain his desire to take the Black Dragon's Trial to become the next Dragonmaster.
Black Dragon: The Dragon's Trial? Well then, allow me to clarify! Show me the strength of a Dragonmaster. Fight me.
 The Black Dragon attacks Alex. The battle is extremely dangerous: Alex is trying all he can to dodge the Black Dragon's attacks, while the Dragon herself is knocking against the cave with each strike, shaking the cavern and causing rocks to fall from the ceiling.
It's dangerous to remain there. Luna tries to get the others to run away; but they won't leave Alex behind. Alex tries to plead with the Black Dragon numerous times to stop, or else the entire cave might come down.
Luna tries something else... She grips a pendant she is wearing and, in a rush of flame, transforms from Luna... into Phacia!
Meanwhile, Alex pleads again with the Black Dragon to stop. He explains there are villagers above who are in danger if the cave collapses. The Black Dragon continues, though, and Alex keeps on trying to defend himself, making sure not to allow the Black Dragon to hit the walls of the cave again. Suddenly, his sword glows with white light, and the Black Dragon sees this as a sign...
Black Dragon: You have shown me that you have the power to control yourself, to protect others. That is the true nature of a Dragonmaster's power. Congratulations. You have passed.
The cavern, though, begins to rumble. They're afraid that they may have stopped the fight too late. It's only now that Alex notices that Luna is no longer there; in her place is Phacia. He, and the rest of the party, demand to know what happened--but there's no time. The cavern begins to collapse. Phacia urges them to get out, and she throws up a protective spell to shield them from the falling rocks. A pillar of rock then falls towards her; she throws up another fire spell to incinerate it, and is consumed by the smoke after the flame.
 Phacia regained consciousness, at first only aware of a warm light which surrounded her. She was surrounded by Jessica, Alex, Mia, and the rest of the party, with the Black Dragon overlooking them. They were all safe, but Phacia was hurt. Jessica was healing her.
Phacia: You helped me... but why?
Jessica: Why? You were badly hurt. That's why.
Phacia: But I'm... Vile Tribe...
Jessica: Yes, but, we couldn't just leave you here.
Phacia: I see... The Vile Tribe isn't like that. If someone is weak, or wounded, we leave them behind. We must do that in order to survive...
Alex asks Phacia what the Vile Tribe is trying to do. What are they doing with the crystals underneath Vane, and what have they done with Luna? He doesn't think that Phacia is truly a bad person. All this time, she's been with them, showing happiness and sadness, and not just in an attempt to imitate Luna.
Phacia: To live... To continue our existence...
 Phacia explains:
Long ago, we, the Vile Tribe, were banished to the Frontier by the Goddess Althena, the Dragonmaster, and the most powerful humans in the world. Perhaps it was our fate, as beings of magic who tried to spread war and destruction. We were not needed if this world was to be at peace.
But, in the Frontier, where the Blue Star does not shine, mere survival is the most difficult thing. None of the magic power which allowed Lunar to transform from a dead star into one of life existed in that land. Magic is under the control of the Goddess Althena, and she spread none of it to the Frontier.
Alex recalled the half-globe in Ghaleon's office, back in Vane. On only one side was the world he knew depicted; the other side of that must have been the Frontier. Phacia continues:
Fifteen years ago, the small amount of magic power in the Frontier suddenly began to fade away even more. It was all we could do to keep on living, but as the magic continue to fade, our desire to restore ourselves faded along with it. Magic is the source of life, and so if we lose it, we will be destroyed. We would escape, but the barrier around the Frontier sealed us in, so long as Althena and the Four Dragons were here. It was a place no one could enter nor leave.
In time, a man came to us. He claimed that he was from the land where the Blue Star shone. It was then that we understood: the barrier which sealed us in the Frontier was weakening at the same time as the magic power was fading away. The man said only one thing to us:
"I need you."
Phacia's eyes were wet with tears, like the morning dew on blades of grass. She continued:
Yes, he said that he needed us. Starting with the Leader of the Vile Tribe, my sister, Xenobia, all the Vile Tribe pledged their allegiance to Ghaleon, even though he promised us nothing in return. But that was enough. We had been living in the Frontier for what felt like eternity, and for someone to actually take notice of us who were banished to the Frontier... We had no desire other than to survive. But he was different. He said that he needed us; he gave us a purpose. And he said:
"I will return you to the land of green. But there is only one way that you will be able to save everyone, and continue to live."
We obeyed him. We followed all his orders. And so, he ruled the entire Vile Tribe, calling himself the Magic Emperor...
The only one to whom he told the full extent of his plans was my sister Xenobia. ...no, I doubt even my sister knew the entirety of his plans... We were simply tools for the Magic Emperor's use, soldiers who blindly followed his orders. He said that in order to save this world from destruction, an absolute ruler was essential. Order and livelihood could be established by a ruler with the utmost power.
We couldn't understand what he meant to do to the humans. If we had, then perhaps we would have resisted. But, soon it was too late. And so we were unable to do nothing but support the person who would rule the world.
And so we took over Vane. He said that the power of the Four Dragons was also necessary... We believed in the Magic Emperor's words. ...we had no choice but to believe... He was our only hope for ever escaping the Frontier. But perhaps we were mistaken...
If the world were on the brink of collapse, then perhaps the power of an absolute ruler would be needed to save it. But even if we Vile Tribe had the power of Althena, then we could not save it... Rather, this world can only be saved by the people here. While on my travels with you, I learned this... But, I no longer have the courage to betray the Magic Emperor. And so I cannot believe in you...
 Mia and the others thank Phacia for explaining all this to them. The Black Dragon also nods in understanding.
Black Dragon: ...in fact, I tried to call out to the other Dragons earlier, but received nothing in reply. Somehow, the Magic Emperor has already seized the power of the White, Blue, and Red Dragons. And so, if life on this world is to be saved from extinction, Vane will be necessary, correct? I'm afraid that man is the only one who has thought so far ahead. ... If I am correct, the Magic Emperor will attempt to use Vane for its original purpose. ... In order to use Vane that way, one must not only assemble all Four Dragons; that power must also be controlled, and the Goddess Althena is the only one who is supposed to be able to do that. Whatever the Magic Emperor intends to do is still a mystery...
Alex: What is a mystery? The Vile Tribe and the Magic Emperor are trying to take the place of the Goddess Althena and the Four Dragons, right? So that's why I must become Dragonmaster, to protect the Goddess--
Black Dragon: That is impossible. Absolutely impossible.
-Alex looked up at the Black Dragon, puzzled.-
Black Dragon: The Goddess Althena is no longer in this world.
The Goddess Althena is no longer in this world? Alex, nor his friends, could scarcely believe it.
Black Dragon: It was fifteen years ago when the Goddess Althena left this world. Forever. The temporary loss of magic power in this world is due to that. And so is the weakening of the barrier around the Frontier. That's also the reason why fifteen years ago I entered a deep sleep... ...no, just kidding. Ah ha ha!
The Black Dragon implored Alex to keep this fact a secret. Some people would understand, but others would not, and may panic or become desperate. Someone could come in and take advantage of this desperation, claiming that a new absolute leader is needed for this world--just like the Magic Emperor is doing.
 The Black Dragon tries to ask Alex to consider what he knows, and consider why Althena would choose to leave this world. She entrusted everything to the people here, and then disappeared from this world forever. And now, the Magic Emperor is trying to fill the void. To do that, he'll need to use Vane; but to use Vane, one would need the power of a god.
"Oh, but there is a god."
Suddenly, a voice rang out in the cave, and none other than the Magic Emperor himself appeared right before them.
Magic Emperor: It's been a long time, Black Dragon Rubeus.
The Magic Emperor then removed his helmet.
Ghaleon. The Magic Emperor was Ghaleon, the Premier of Vane and one of the legendary Four Heroes.
 Phacia continued to plead with Magic Emperor Ghaleon. She said there was no need to fight with the humans, or with Althena. The world did not need a ruler to be saved; people can save themselves if they work together. She's learned that from traveling with Alex. But, the Magic Emperor protests: the world is in crisis, and there is no other way. Dyne failed to understand that, and now, so does Phacia. And now, she will die.
Phacia: Alex, everyone, I understand now. From now on, no matter what happens, never give up. For the hope that lies within you...
Those were her last words. Ghaleon stirred up another magic storm which engulfed Phacia; before she could finish speaking, she was gone.
Black Dragon: Ghaleon, you intend on reawakening Vane. But the Goddess Althena is gone. You must realize this. Think of what you're doing; think of Dyne!
Ghaleon: I said that there is a god, Rubeus.
Black Dragon: What?
Ghaleon: When Althena gave up her right to rule this world, and released her magic, it was when Dyne and the White Dragon, and you and I, were with one another. And so, Rubeus, you would have been unaware that the Goddess Althena underwent one last rebirth.
Black Dragon: A rebirth!? Althena was reborn once again!? But, that would mean her magic power is still in this world...
Ghaleon: ...yes. But Althena's last rebirth was not as a goddess; it was as a human.
Ghaleon continues: he has been searching for how to revive Vane for the last fifteen years. And now, the preparations are complete, and he knows what needs to be done.
Ghaleon: And now, I shall introduce you to the new Goddess Althena.
Ghaleon drew back his cape. With him was Luna. But she had a distant look in her red eyes. Ghaleon had her prove the power of the Goddess that lay within her.
Luna: By the power of the earth, the Goddess Althena commands you to return to your original form.
The Black Dragon began to crumble apart, into a hundred, a thousand, a million pieces, starting from her feet and gradually moving up. She screamed, before the remnants of her body coalesced into the form of another crystal, in the palm of Luna's--or Althena's--hand.
 Nall couldn't believe that this was Luna. He accused her of being an imposter, just like Xenobia took the form of Lemia. But no, Luna... Althena... assured Nall that Xenobia's power couldn't even approach hers. Alex tried again to call out to Luna.
Alex: Luna! It's me, Alex! Don't you see? Answer me, Luna!
Luna: I see, Alex. I was once Luna. That memory is still within me. But now, she is gone. I am Althena. Goddess Althena.
Alex: No! You're Luna! You are still Luna!
Luna: I do not wish to hurt you. In fact, I want to help you. That is why you should support Ghaleon. And we will bring about a new world.
Alex said that Ghaleon must still be controlling her. He charged forward to attack Ghaleon himself; but Luna put up a magic barrier and threw Alex back.
Ghaleon: Now, come to Vane. Lemia is waiting for you there.
Mia: Mother... Ghaleon, how could you...
Ghaleon: I had to, but Lemia is not dead. She is just in a deep sleep, close to death. And she is not alone. Mel is waiting for you, as well.
Jessica: D... dad!? What do you mean, Ghaleon!?
Ghaleon: He might be old, Mel, but he shouldn't be underestimated. Xenobia led the Vile Tribe in capturing Meribia. Of course there were some difficulties, but now, Mel is 'residing' underneath Vane.
Jessica: Wh... what!? You mean the town... and everyone... is...
Ghaleon: The town is only partially destroyed. But, victims and collateral damage is inevitable.
Alex has heart enough. He won't let Ghaleon control this world by force. He won't let Ghaleon decide who will be sacrificed to further his goals. Ghaleon counters: to do anything, some sacrifice is necessary; to be Dragonmaster, he will have to realize that.
Alex thought back to the question he was asked by the White Dragon, when he first began his journey to become Dragonmaster. Would he sacrifice the one he loved, if the entire world were at stake?
Alex might not be able to answer that question yet, but he knew this much: Ghaleon was wrong. He had to be wrong, and Alex had to resist him. He stood up to face him and Luna again. He pleaded with Luna to remember him, to come back to Burg with him. There was a brief lapse where Luna--the real Luna, not Althena--called out Alex's name. But just as quickly, she went back to her emotionless expression, telling Alex to come with her to create a new world together with Ghaleon.
Ghaleon tells Luna/Althena to transport all of them to Vane now. She unleashes another spell which knocks everyone to the ground, unconscious, except for Nall. But it's enough. Nall protests that this couldn't possibly be Luna, and he'll save all of them no matter what. Light begins to emanate from him to fill the cavern, and when it fades, Nall, Alex, Kyle, Jessica, Mia. and Nash are all gone.
Ghaleon smiled, understanding what was happening.
"I see. So it has come to this... Just as you thought. This should prove to be fun. We shall soon see which one of us was right, all those years ago. Hm hm hm..."
Chapter 9: Heir to the Wind
 Alex was in Burg, on the hill near Dyne's Monument, next to Luna. They were supposed to practice for the upcoming Goddess Festival. So, Alex begins to play his ocarina, while Luna sings. But, something doesn't sound right. Luna stopped singing, asking what was wrong. Then, the grass on the hillside began to fade away into a gray ash, the blue sky turned black, and a cold wind blew across his skin.
Alex: Luna!? This is strange. What is...?
Luna: Of course, Alex. That's because I am not Luna. I... am the Goddess Althena.
Alex fell back into eternal darkness. His consciousness fell into a void, filled with Luna's cold and dark song.
 Alex woke up in bed. Nall was beside him, happy that he was finally awake. He was out for nearly a full day; Nall was afraid that he might be dead.
Alex looked around and saw that he was back in Burg, in his own bed. Nall explained that Kyle, Jessica, Nash, and Mia were all safe; he's not sure how, but everyone was transported back to Burg. Alex is the last one to regain consciousness. Nall asks him to have some of the soup his mother made for them.
His mother... Saria... She was there, too. Alex tried to explain what happened to Luna--Saria already knows; she's spoken with his friends already. For now, Alex needs to regain his strength. She tells him to drink his soup. After that, he can talk with her, his friends, and Laike, who is also here.
He goes into the next room where everyone is waiting. The others are happy to see him up again. Laike also greets him. As Alex eats, he notices that Laike and Saria both get along well, almost as if they're old friends. Perhaps she knew Laike around the time that Alex's own father went on an adventure with Dragonmaster Dyne, when he was young.
 Alex finishes eating. He now asks Laike what happened: they were just in the Black Dragon's cave; how did they get all the way here to Burg? Laike can answer, perhaps, but before then, he has something else to ask of Alex and his friends.
Laike: The Magic Emperor and the Goddess Althena... This is no easy task that lies ahead of you. What do you intend to do?
Laike: I'm asking if you will fight. Are you prepared to stop Ghaleon's ambitions, and save Luna?
-Laike asked his question to everyone there. The mood of the room felt heavy and serious.-
Kyle: Ghaleon... he's strong. Very strong. And with the Goddess Althena behind him, no one can stand against him. And one of the main points of the Pirate's Way is not to fight those battles you can't win. But, even then, I...
Jessica: I want to help my dad. And I want to fight the enemies of Meribia. He might have his own reasons for what he's done, but someone who tries to rule over others, I hate that more than anything! But... but... if the Four Dragons couldn't even stand against him, then how...
Nash: Ghaleon and Althena, they said they would save this world from destruction. And so, they need our magic power to do that. But I'm supposed to be one of the elite. And if the mark of the elite is to pursue some greater goal, even if there are some sacrifices, then I...
Mia: Ghaleon said that he is using Vane for it's original purpose, so that he can save us. But if that's true... If mother were here, then she would be able to decide... But I... I don't know...
Nall: What are you all doing!? He's evil! Let's hurry up and save Luna already! I feel so bad for Luna right now. Don't you, Alex!?
Alex: Y... yeah, Nall. But I don't have that much strength...
That's enough. Saria steps in, supporting Nall, and telling Alex that he needs to face his fears and do what he knows must be done. Now is the time, then, to tell Alex something that happened many years ago.
Saria: Alex... Fifteen years ago, during a stormy night, Laike is the one who brought Luna, as a baby, to our house.
Saria: Yes. You were in front of the fireplace, sleeping at the time, when Luna started crying. Her eyes were covered in tears, and she would not stop crying, so I became worried. But, you called out to Luna from your crib, and she stopped crying. When we put you both in the same crib, you would sleep so soundly. It was so cute. And it was then that you made a promise.
Alex: A promise?
Saria: You promised to Laike to protect Luna. You grasped his finger in response to what he said. Of course, it was just a baby's reaction, and you couldn't have known what it meant at the time. Nevertheless, you've kept that promise regardless. No matter what happened, you always protected Luna and kept her safe.
Saria: Alex, Luna is now in her most difficult time. Who she really is, that's not what is important. To me, she will always be Luna. And she should always be Luna for you, as well.
Alex: Mom... I...
-At that moment, the door burst open, and a man rushed in.-
Caros: Saria! It's terrible! Come outside, quick!
Saria: What is it, Caros? What is going on?
Caros: It's... the sky... something unworldly is in the sky! Quick!
 Everyone ran outside, and they saw what was so "unworldly": the giant form of Magic Emperor Ghaleon and Luna appeared, like a haze or projection.
Ghaleon: Listen, people of Lunar! I am Ghaleon. Many of you remember me as the Premier of Vane, and one of the Four Heroes. I now announce to you my role as the Magic Emperor.
Luna: I am Althena... Goddess Althena. I have abolished the symbolic position of Dragonmaster, in favor of a more substantial leader, the Magic Emperor. Henceforth, the Magic Emperor's words shall be my own. Any who oppose Ghaleon, opposes me. Everyone must obey him. Defiance will not be tolerated.
Ghaleon: As the Magic Emperor, I have taken on absolute power, in order to save this world from destruction. Magic in this world has been steadily fading away. Soon, this world will be as it once was: a dead star. But, there is one way to survive its destruction. Look!
-Ghaleon pulled back his cape. In the air before them appeared the form of Vane.-
Luna: Vane. The Goddess Althena commands you to remove the ancient barriers and show your true form.
At Althena's words, Vane was engulfed in light. The buildings, houses, and trees on the surface began to crumble away. Vane formed itself into a ring, encircling a central tower. It resembled the form of a transport pad, constructed out of the same material as the Silver Spire in Vane itself, and almost mechanical.
Ghaleon: This is Vane's true form: the ship which navigates the heavens, Althena's Starship. Our ancestors once came from the Blue Star to this world, aboard this ship. And after much effort, we inherited this world, suitable for life. But, this world is once again in crisis. There is no longer any time. We must once again use this ship to embark on a journey to a new world. Our destination: the morning star, Hesperos.
Nash: Oh, I see! But even then, that doesn't make what he's trying to do right...
Kyle: Shut up so we can listen to the rest!
Laike: Ghaleon... you couldn't possibly fit every single person on that ship...
[Editor's Note: the morning star is "yoake no myoujou", which refers to the planet Venus; moreover, Hesperos was the Greek name for Venus as it appeared in the evening.]
Ghaleon: Through the cooperation of the Goddess Althena and the Four Dragons, I have resurrected Vane's true form. But it cannot journey to the stars as it is right now. It would require immense magic power. Henceforth, I will gather all the magic in this world, to launch the Starship. In that time, I shall choose who among you shall be able to continue your existence.
Even though many who were gathered did not understand what he was saying, they knew that it was a bad omen. Alex, however, knew the full extent of what Ghaleon meant to do: he would draw all magic from Lunar, turning the entire world into the same condition as the Frontier, while he and others he chose to survive with him would be able to escape on the ship he had pulled from Vane.
Ghaleon: The world will return to how it originally was. But, for humans--no, for all races--to survive, some sacrifices are inevitable. That is my, and Althena's, conclusion... The countdown until the launch of the Starship has already begun. Anyone who dares oppose me should act now.
Laike: Ghaleon, wait!
-The projection of Ghaleon looked down in Laike's direction. But perhaps it was only coincidence.-
 The image of Ghaleon and Luna faded away, leaving only the view of Althena's Starship. It began to glow, like a magic circle. The light began to pulsate and stir around it. At the same time, the pressure around the whole of Caldor Island dropped, and everyone in the village began to collapse. And then, they began to disappear--even Alex's own mother. Laike, who was still standing, explained that Ghaleon was now transporting people to the Starship.
Luna, and now Saria. Alex grew disheartened as he realized who he had lost.
Laike: Alex, remember why you wanted to become Dragonmaster.
Alex: Why I wanted...
Laike: Yes! What you wanted to protect, and what you wanted to fight for! The dream of the future you held on to!
Alex: What... to protect... a dream...?
Laike: Remember those who are most important to you! The love you felt since you were a child! The dream you spoke of every night! The hope for the future you held in your heart! The will to live that lies within you! That is the source of all life!
Alex thought of Luna, and a smile returned. She thought of the power her songs had. And how important she, and everyone else, was to him.
Alex: That is why I wanted to be Dragonmaster... To protect Luna, my mother, and everyone...
Alex gathered up his strength and stood up off the ground. Meanwhile, Kyle and Jessica supported one another and stood up once again. Nash and Mia supported one another and did the same. Alex now says he will save Luna and his mother, no matter what the odds. Nall is happy to see that their strength has returned, and asks Laike why this happened so suddenly.
Laike: Magic stems from the power of life. The power of Althena does nothing more than support the power that we have ourselves. In essence, true magic lies within each and every person. But, in Lunar's thousand-year history, we have forgotten that.
[Editor's note: It's not certain if "thousand-year history" here refers to the literal amount of time, or if it's figurative. But the same phrase is used several times in this volume, and the wording makes it more probable that this is more or less literal, and a change in the novelization.]
 The question comes back to what it means to be a Dragonmaster. Alex states his determination to go to the Starship, and save Luna and his mother. This time, one by one, Kyle, Jessica, Nash, and Mia all pledge their support.
Laike: Now then, we need to hurry to Dyne's Monument.
Alex: That hill? But, why?
Laike: You left your father's sword in the Black Dragon's Cave, right? You're going to need to take something with you before you go aboard that Starship.
Dyne's Monument. This was where it all began, so long ago, when Alex first dreamed of setting off on his adventure. And now, here they were again, about to set off on the most dangerous journey imaginable.
"Praised be the acts of our hero, Dragonmaster Dyne. May his soul find eternal rest on the Blue Star under the watch of the Goddess." So read the inscription on the boulder, into which, also, a sword had been thrust halfway. The sword was said to be Dragonmaster Dyne's, but since Dyne's last journey was so far away from here, that shouldn't be the case.
Laike: What are you waiting for, Alex? Quickly, take the sword. You'll need it.
Alex: Am I really... worthy of it?
Laike: There's no need to hesitate. It's just an old sword, right?
Alex: No, it isn't.
-Alex looked directly at Laike with a serious expression, and continued.-
Alex: This is your sword, isn't it, Dragonmaster Dyne...
-The wind blew. Alex's expression remained unchanged, but the others were visibly surprised once they heard Alex's words.-
Laike: Hm hm... ah hah hah hah hah! Well, I suppose there's no surprising you, is there? When did you figure it out?
Alex: I always had that feeling, but it wasn't until recently that I could confirm it. When everyone else was collapsed on the ground, you were still standing. You had some strong magic power within you... The power of a Dragonmaster...
Alex: But, why? Why did you spread the lie that you had died fifteen years ago...
Laike: It isn't a lie, Alex.
Laike: It isn't a lie. Fifteen years ago, the man known as Dragonmaster Dyne died, along with the Goddess Althena. Then, the man named Laike, and a young baby, were both born that day...
Alex: Tell me, Dyne. Why is Luna the Goddess Althena? Why is Ghaleon now trying to destroy the world? I want to know...
Laike: Everything started on that day, fifteen years ago. The truth is...
And Laike began his story. The true story of what happened.
 At the top of the Goddess Tower was the Chamber of Rebirth. It was the source of the world's magic, and the throne of the Goddess Althena. But besides Althena herself, both Dragonmaster Dyne and Great Sage Ghaleon were there, arguing.
Ghaleon insisted that what Dyne wished to do would result in the world's destruction, that it would unleash all of Althena's magic across the world, uncontrolled. Dyne could not allow Althena to be reborn into a human, as her final rebirth. He could not allow Lunar's goddess to ignore her world.
Dyne countered: The goddess would continue to live, within each one of us. Ghaleon thinks that the world needs power to rule over it, that people cannot do anything for themselves. But, he fails to understand.
Dyne continued to approach the Goddess Althena on her throne. Power raged around him.
Althena: This world no longer needs a goddess to watch over it, Ghaleon... The power I controlled as goddess was a temporary measure to allow Lunar to become a refuge for humanity. I was afraid of letting that power loose among humanity, for fear that the tragedy of the Blue Star would repeat itself. And so, I thought that I would retain control over that power, that it was the only way... But, I was wrong... During these thousand years as the center of the world's magic, much has happened: the rebellion of the Vile Tribe, wars between men, fighting amongs the ill-intentioned, terrible wars... I was afraid that the Dark God of Destruction would be revived once more.
Althena: Yet in that same time, who was it who saved this world? It was not me. It was the people of this world, who love each other, help each other, and fight to preserve their own future. Now I know that I am no longer necessary. The ones who will save this world, Ghaleon, are people like you, Mel, Lemia, and Dyne...
Ghaleon still won't believe it. This world still needs a Goddess; Althena's continued existince is the very reason why Lunar has survived through all these crises. The world needs her. It depends on her. But that, says Althena, is why she must leave. She will undergo one final rebirth, as a human.
Dyne: I will protect you. Let's go, Althena...
He stepped into the light around the Goddess Althena, and embraced her. The area grew violent with the magic power that was released, and then it was calm. When the light receded, there was only the sound of a baby's cry. And Ghaleon...
Ghaleon: I don't understand, Dyne... I don't understand...
 That was when the Goddess Althena transformed into the girl named Luna. To complete the rebirth, Dyne had to sacrifice all his power as a Dragonmaster. It was a sad tale, but Laike was smiling all while telling it. He had no regrets, because he believed in what Althena said. She entrusted this world to the people who inhabit it, so that they could create their own future. Now, it was Alex and his friends' turns to step up to the task.
Laike tells Alex that it's now time to take Dyne's Sword from the stone monument. He grips the hilt and pulls. As the rusted, old sword comes out, he's surrounded by light. The sword transforms into brilliant steel. And armor, a helmet, and a shield appear on Alex. It was the legendary armor of a Dragonmaster, the armor that Alex had heard stories about all his life.
Laike: These are gifts from the Four Dragons. They will fight with you, Alex.
 Alex felt the power of the Four Dragons deep within him: wind blowing through the blue sky, searing heat like magma, rolling waves of the great ocean, and the vast expanse of the earth.
Laike: Now it's your turn, Nall.
Soon after Alex's transformation, the same light surrounded Nall.
Nall: There's a great power burning inside of me, calling out for me to fight alongside everyone. I can't hold back any longer. I finally understand what that power means, what I truly am...
As the light surrounded Nall, he transformed... from the small winged cat into the form of the White Dragon.
This was the last surprise. Now it's time to go and save the world. Jessica, Kyle, Mia, Nash, and Alex prepare to embark, atop the new White Dragon Nall, towards Althena's Starship, to stop Ghaleon, save Luna, and save the world.
Laike: Before you go, I have one more question, Alex.
Laike: The Starship is now drawing magic from the entire world. If this continues, then the world will be destroyed. But, the key to all of this is Luna, who is using the power of Althena. If she were no longer there, then Ghaleon's plans could not succeed, and the ship could not launch. Do you understand what I'm getting at, Alex?
Laike: If... If the only way to stop the destruction of the world... if there is no other way, then what will you do? Are you prepared for that?
It was the same question he was asked so long ago, when he first took the Trial of the White Dragon. "If you had to choose between her and the world, which would you choose, Alex?" Back then, he didn't have an answer. But now he knew exactly what to say...
Alex: I will save Luna. And the world. They are both equally dear to me... No matter what happens, I will never give up.
Laike nodded. That was the same answer he gave when he took the White Dragon's Trial, so long ago.
[Editor's Note: The White Dragon, in Vol. 1, actually said that Dyne couldn't answer the question thirty years ago when he took the trial, just like Alex wasn't able to answer when he first took it.]
Now it was time to go. The party climbed onto Nall's back, and they set off for the Starship of Althena. Laike watched as they left. The future was now up to a new generation of heroes.
Meanwhile, inside the Starship, Ghaleon was looking across an array of panels and displays. Xenobia was there, too, congratulating Ghaleon, and asking him to take the throne in the ship. Ghaleon was completely disinterested, however.
He then noticed on one panel, an image of the White Dragon flying towards the ship. As it drew closer, he could see who was riding atop it. Ghaleon smiled, then laughed.
 As Nall flew towards the Starship, they passed over Meribia. They could see clearly that much of the town was burned down; Jessica vowed to make Xenobia pay for this. They continued onwards towards Althena's Starship. Strangely enough, it seemed even bigger than Vane; Mia confirmed this: the ship was increasing in size as it absorbed more and more magic.
They finally reached the ship itself. Alex and Kyle directed Nall to land near the top of the tower of the ship--the bad guy is always at the top of the tower, after all. Nall opened his mouth and icy breath shot out, blasting a hole in the tower. They landed, Nall transformed back into his small form, and they all went inside.
Inside, the place looked strangely like the Magic Guild's Airship. There were panels and dials everywhere, and the place was constructed very similar to a shrine. They came upon the door that appeared to be the entrance to the Throne Room. Both Alex and Nall had the feeling that Luna was somewhere beyond those doors. But before they could enter, a voice called out from the darkness.
"Hm hm hm... you have come at last, humans. I will not allow you to disturb the Magic Emperor. This is where you die."
Xenobia stepped out from the darkness, refusing to let them pass and swearing to kill them all.
Kyle: Alex, leave this to us. You go on ahead.
Nash: You want to save Luna, don't you? We can handle this.
Alex: Nash... ...thank you, all of you. Be careful!
Jessica: We should be telling you that!
Alex: All right! Let's go, Nall!
Alex and Nall ran through the door. Xenobia tried to stop them, but she was stopped by their friends. So, she decided to create a little diversion... Before they could do anything, Kyle, Nash, Jessica, and Mia were separated from one another and were aware of no one but themselves... In fact, they were each face-to-face with themselves, an alternate version of themselves.
Jessica, her other self tried to convince her that this wasn't her fight. That she should quit putting up this false front for others.
Kyle, his other self said that he's no hero; he's a brigand, a pirate. He should just leave this battle, continue eating, drinking, relaxing...
Mia, her other self was afraid, and told her that she was afraid. She's too weak to be the next Leader of the Magic Guild, so she should just give up this fight.
Nash, his other self said there was no point to this battle. He's one of the elite, the chosen; he should just go along with Ghaleon and become part of the elite of his new world order.
 Alex and Nall ran through the corridor on the other side of the door, and finally came to the throne room. At the top of a long staircase, they saw Luna. Alex started up the stairs, and called out to Luna. But, she didn't respond.
Ghaleon: It's no use. Althena is nothing more than a part of this system. She no longer has the memory of who she once was.
Ghaleon: This is the same as the rebirth system in the Goddess Tower. In fact, this is the original system... And I will use it to gather magic from this world...
Alex demanded that Luna be returned, but Ghaleon said there was no use: Luna--Althena--was integral to his plan. He needed her if he was to launch the Starship and move humanity to a new world.
Alex: Even if that means turning this world into a desert of death? You'll sacrifice so many people. No part of your plan is right...
Ghaleon: But that is exactly what we did, once before. Humanity once destroyed the Blue Star, and then fled here, to Lunar, to create a new world. That has already begun for this world.
Alex: But that is why we must change. Althena gave us humans the chance to create a new world right here.
Ghaleon: Such nonsense...
It's clear that there's no use arguing. Alex will never see things Ghaleon's way. There is only one way to settle it.
Ghaleon: ...then fight for what you believe, and I shall fight for my cause. Let us see which one of us shall save this world, Dragonmaster Alex!!
 Meanwhile, Xenobia's still had her spell over Alex's friends. They were each wrapped in eternal darkness, facing the fears which resided deep within their hearts. But Xenobia underestimated their resolve, and their ability to overcome those fears.
Jessica: I'm wild and adventurous when I'm outside. I'm polite and ladylike when I'm inside. I love both those aspects of myself, and they're both truly me. I am the daughter of a former pirate and a noble woman, and I have inherited this life that I love from both of them. You will never get me to hate who I am!
Kyle: You're mistaken. What fun is there when you're by yourself? None! I'd never want the rest of the world to be miserable! This is a battle that I must fight!
Mia: Yes, I am weak. But if I let that weakness get the better of me, then everyone can be hurt; I realize that I am afraid of that more than anything else... I may be weak, but that is why I must endeavor to be strong...
Nash: ...To be better in magic than others. To be stronger than others. To have more money than others... Those aren't things that determine who is great and who is not. We can do great things if we work together, combining the different strengths and talens of each individual... That is what I learned on this journey. I will fight alongside everyone else!
One by one, the illusions faded around Jessica, Kyle, Mia, and Nash. They were all standing in front of Xenobia once again. She could scarcely believe it; it shouldn't have been possible to escape from the darkness she put them in.
Xenobia: Very well, then. I shall kill you by my own hand!
The battle between light and darkness began!
 Between Alex and Ghaleon, it seems that there is no way to avoid fighting. Alex tells Nall to stand back, and the fight begins. Alex grips Dyne's Sword; the sword turns to light, drawing on his power. He kicks the ground and flies towards Ghaleon. But Ghaleon is no swordsman; he's the great mage of the Four Heroes. He unleashes a torrential wind towards Alex, driving him back. The battle rages on, Alex with his sword, and Ghaleon with his magic, neither of them willing to give in.
 Kyle, Jessica, Mia, and Nash continued their battle against Xenobia. Xenobia was powerful; more powerful than the four of them combined. But the four of them fought greater, for they fought together, compensating for one another's weaknesses. At the vanguard was Kyle, attacking Xenobia head-on. He kept Xenobia focused on him, while Nash and Mia were in the back chanting attack spells. Meanwhile, Jessica used her magic to protect Kyle, and heal anyone should they be hurt.
The four of them never gave up in their fight. And soon, their combined strength was too much for Xenobia. Nash and Mia's magic, and Kyle's attacks, hit her directly, driving her to the ground.
Xenobia: Humans... your power was stolen... you should not be able to fight... Ghaleon... was wrong... This should not be...
With her dying words, Xenobia spoke Ghaleon's name, just before she dropped her hands to the ground. Black fire surrounded her, and she disappeared.
Kyle: Let's go! Alex is waiting!
Jessica: Yes! Let's hurry
Mia: We must help Luna, and then everyone...
Nash: We will return Vane to normal. Definitely!
 Alex and Ghaleon were still in battle. Ghaleon continued his magic assault, unrelenting as a tsunami. Alex continued his attacks, his sword brilliant with light.
As his friends burst into the room, Alex smiled. He knew he was not alone; his friends were there to support him. He redoubled his efforts and rushed forward at Ghaleon again. The next instant, an explosion shook the entire structure, emanating from the light of Alex's attack. The Magic Emperor's mask fell to the ground.
Ghaleon: This power... it was not given by a god... it came from within you humans...
-Ghaleon fell to one knee. He drew a long breath.-
Ghaleon: So this is your answer to me, Alex... But, in the end, you are still no more than a powerful ruler yourself. You have far more power than you ought to have...
Alex: No, I am an ordinary person. Until I left on my journey, I was an ordinary boy dreaming of adventure. I believe that people like me are throughout this entire world.
Ghaleon: Hm... Well then. You are the victor... The fate of the world now lies in your hands...
-Ghaleon took another deep breath and lowered his head.-
Ghaleon: ...The people who were brought to the Starship will be transported back to their original place. ...Lemia and Mel will both be safe, Alex, as will your mother.
Jessica and Mia were relieved. But, that still left someone else.
Alex: And, return Althena--Luna...
-Ghaleon said nothing for a moment. And then, the place was bathed with a red light and a harsh sound echoed through the room.-
Ghaleon: The same thing happened fifteen years ago... The rebirth system has begun to run wild... All the magic in the world is still being gathered by Althena; there is no way to stop it... The launch of the Starship is inevitable...
Alex: What!? But I must...
Ghaleon: It's no use... It cannot be stopped... If this continues, the world will turn back into a dead star, once it loses all its power...
Nall and Alex looked up at Luna, worried. Alex didn't know what he could do, but he couldn't give up.
Ghaleon: The key to the Starship is the Goddess Althena... If the key is removed, then it can be stopped...
-The weight of what Ghaleon was implying struck Alex like a bolt of lightning.-
Ghaleon: You must stop the power from running wild... lest the world be destroyed... The fate of the world... is now entirely in your hands... Alex...
That same choice before him once more. His mind called back to a memory carried in on the wind. Far, far away, across the horizon, his memory of Luna was carried on wings of hope. Their song spread out across the world, and his answer now was clearer than ever before.
Alex: I will save Luna. And, the world...
Ghaleon: ...hm. Very well, then do so, if that is your choice...
 Ghaleon closed his eyes. Alex looked to Nall and told him to go back with the others, to turn back into his dragon form and fly Kyle, Jessica, Mia, and Nash away from the Starship to safety. Nall, and the rest of Alex's friends, protested. But Alex insisted--he knew that he had to do this alone, and he didn't want to risk anyone else getting hurt. Nall, and the others, reluctantly agreed.
Alex asked Ghaleon to go back with them. There was no reason he had to stay here.
Ghaleon: I will stay here to see... To see the power of humanity that Althena... and Dyne... believed in... I shall see what is borne of that power... and then...
Ghaleon fell silent, and closed his eyes once more.
 Alex faced the stairs leading up to Althena's throne. The power of light and darkness raged against one another, and Luna, at the top of the stairs, was bathed in brilliantly shining light. Alex ascended the stairs.
Luna: Infidels! How dare you destroy the sanctity of my lair...
Alex continued up the stairs, calling out to Luna, by name.
Luna: I am Althena, the goddess who rules absolute over this world. Humans may not approach me. This is not a place you should be. Stand back. If you do not, you will be destroyed by the wrath of a god!
Alex continued. Luna repeated her warnings for him to stand back. Alex was worried: Has Luna completely turned into the Goddess? Did she really lose all memory of who she once was?
Luna continued, demanding that as Dragonmaster he must obey her. Alex never lost hope, despite the wind and lightning striking down at him from atop the stairs. He fell down at the attack, clinging onto the steps.
Luna: Heed my divine orders! Return to your village, Dragonmaster Alex!
-Alex looked up, still clinging onto the stairs.-
Alex: Why, Goddess Althena, would you know the name of someone you have never met?
Luna: I am the Goddess! I know all! Heed my orders and return to your village!
Alex: No... I will only return with you, to our village, to those green hills, to Burg!
Alex never gave up. He continued to insist that he would return to Burg, with her, with Luna. Soon, her eyes watered, and her expression changed. She began to look like Luna once again, and looked down at Alex with sad eyes.
Luna: Alex... I cannot go back.
Luna: The Starship cannot be stopped, Alex. I cannot run away from this place. And, as long as I am here, this ship will continue to drain power from the entire world. If this continues, then Lunar will die. That is why...
Alex: No Luna, I can't
Luna: But, there is no other way... If I go, then the power here will be unleashed across the entire world. That much power would still destroy it... I do not want to hurt you, Alex... I want you to leave this place. But...
Alex: You can't sacrifice yourself like this...
Alex boldly stepped into the pillar of light around Luna. Suddenly, his entire body was consumed by cold flame. Alex took another step towards Luna, and embraced her in his arms.
Luna: Alex, what are you...!?
Alex told her again that they would go back to Burg, together. He held onto Luna tightly, saying he would never give up, and that Luna should never give up hope, either.
Alex: I learned in my travels, the magic that lies within all of us, the magic of life.... Believe in our power, Luna.
Luna put her trust in Alex, and descended from the throne, from the pillar of light which had kept her trapped. She believed in Alex, in the magic of life.
The magic between the light and darkness raged through the air. The magic was unleashed, and the chamber, throne, and stairs began to crumble. Alex and Luna grasped hands, believing in one another. Time and space began to crumble and implode back into their original state. It seemed like the end of the world.
And then... only the sparkle of life remained... It was that which made everything else possible, the ultimate magic from which everything was born...
(A translation of this entire section is available here: SSS Vol. 4 - Epilogue.)
 Alex was back in Meribia, writing a letter to his mother back in Burg. He wanted her to know that he and Luna were both all right: after the explosion (which could be seen from Burg), they were found by Jessica and the others and brought back to Meribia. How they survived is still a mystery.
Also, Ghaleon was still never found. The others think that he must be dead, but Alex isn't so sure; he gets the feeling that they'll meet him again, someday, somewhere.
Meanwhile, many good things have been happening. Alex first relates what happened when Jessica took Kyle back to meet with Master Mel. There was a tearful reunion between father and daughter, and then... Mel asked Kyle to take care of Jessica. He's always known about Jessica's adventurous side, and he knows how much Kyle means to her.
Also, Mia is now officially the Leader of the Guild. After Nash and Mia returned to Meribia, they found that Lemia was awakened, and was able to use her magic to transport the entire Magic Guild to Black Rose Street. Black Rose Street was now full of magicians, students, and the rest of Vane's residents, all working together to create a new Magic Guild. Mia, meanwhile, has been gathering the books and items formerly in the Guild's possession, intent on rebuilding the Magic Library and reviving the Guild. But, the Guild and Library would no longer just be for magicians; it would now be a place where anyone can learn, and where anything can be studied, from magic to liberal arts. Nash has also pledged his full support to Mia.
Mia: Nash, thank you! I love you!
Nash: Eh!? Whaat!?
-Nash was in shock at Mia's sudden confession.-
Nash: M... M... M... Mia! I li... li... li...
Mia: Yes... and Alex, Luna, Jessica, Kyle, Nall... I love all of my friends. Together, we can rebuild the Magic Guild and make it wonderful... Thank you, Nash.
Nash: Ah, I see... heh...
 Alex continued his letter to his mother, adding that, as he mentioned in a previous letter, he lost all his power as Dragonmaster when he saved Luna. But, he has no regrets, for now he knows what is most important to him...
At that moment, Alex noticed the wind blowing through the lace curtains on the veranda. There was a woman there, with a familiar pendant... Phacia...
Phacia: Alex, we Vile Tribe now have something to believe in again. A future where we are looked on by the Goddess as favorably as the humans... We can once again live in this land of green...
Alex: ...what will you do now?
Phacia: We will find a place far away, uninhabited, to seek out this future we have been given...
At these words, Phacia once again faded away in a cool flame.
Phacia: Farewell, Alex... Tell Nall that I am sorry I could not eat fish with him one last time...
The door then burst open and Nall came in, asking what Alex was up to. Well, he was writing a letter, but it seems that Nall inadvertently knocked the inkwell over when he entered. Luna comes in behind him, telling Alex that the weather is nice, and they should go for a stroll. Alex nods, and they leave the room.
They went to the port of Meribia. As they walked through the city, they could see that it was alive once again, with all the vitality they saw the first time they came here, so long ago.
???: You're looking well again!
They turned around to see Dyne--Laike--standing there.
Alex: Oh, Dyne, I...
Laike: The man by that name is gone, Alex... The age of gods and heroes is over. From now on, history will be made by ordinary people, not with names and titles, but with courage.
Laike said that he was going on a final journey. He's not sure where, or for how long, but there's a lot left of the world that he wants to still see. It's not certain if he'll run into Alex ever again, either.
Alex, Luna, and Nall thank Laike for everything, for all his help. Alex and Luna say their farewells and depart, together.
In the lovely sea breeze, the two of them took each others hands and looked to the sky. Two faraway clouds were slowly passing by. The Blue Star was beautiful in the sky.
This was the beginning of it all. Alex and Luna's adventure had just begun...
Alex looked to Luna.
Luna looked to Alex.
Alex: Let's go, Luna
Luna: Yes, Alex
The two of them took each others' hands and ran off.
Off into the wind...
Far, far away...
On a new adventure, for the future that lay before them.
 Kei Shigema again addresses the reader, thanking you for reading the entire Silver Star Story novelization. He then talks a bit about the preponderence of couples in the Lunar series. Kyle and Jessica is a particular favorite. And Nash... well, best of luck to Nash.
Also, he's greatly pleased with Akari Funato's work on the Lunar manga. There's also another upcoming manga, based on Lunar 2, authored by Kaori Naruse.
Anyway, the story of Dragonmaster Alex is now done. Up next is the novelization of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, and the story of Hiro's adventures.
March 7, 2000
Kei Shigema (Scenario Designer for Gekko)