"So, do you have a plan on what to do about Ryken?" Diamond asked. After they had all finished breakfast they had all decided to go back up to their room and start planning.
"Not yet, I'm still trying to figure out how to get past the castle gates." Sapphire stated glumly.
"Why don't we just fight the gaurds and break into the castle?" Emerald asked.
"Wouldn't work, the palace gaurds might be stupid but they'd know if there was a fight going on and they severly outnumber us." Jade said. He had gone into serious mode as soon as he realized that this plan meant their lives.
"Alright then, what should we do?" Emerald asked, perturbed that his idea had been rejected.
"We can make them deny what they're seeing." Sapphire said, more to herself than anyone else.
"What?" The three men asked at once.
"We can walk up to the gate, I can get them to open the gates, then I'll just wipe their memory and it'd be like no one had ever walked up to them." Sapphire clarified.
"When did you get to be so brilliant?" Diamond asked, shocked that he hadn't thought of that himself.
"It's not really me, it's the Gem." Sapphire replied simply.
"Right, so what do we do once we're passed the gates?"
"I know the castle inside and out, my father had the floor plan and made me memorize it. Once past the gates I'll know where to go." Sapphire affirmed.
"Are we done planning then?" Emerald asked.
"Yes, I believe we are." Sapphire replied.
"Shall we get it over with then? I believe Ryken's rule has lasted far too long." Diamond stated.
"Do you all want to go now?" Sapphire asked. She was hoping they'd all say no. She knew that this could be the end of all their lives, she wasn't ready to watch them die. Unfortunately all of her hopes were unfounded, all three men nodded, "Very well, we leave now." She stated confidently as she stood, inside though, she was shaking.
As they were about to leave the bar the bar tender stopped Sapphire, making the other's stop as well, "You're going to try and save us aren'tcha ya girly?" Sapphire nodded and the bar tender spoke again, "The best of luck to ya then, I want to see him pay for driving peace from our kingdom."
"Thank you, you have treated us well, I promise we will do our best." Sapphire replied before pulling up the hood of her cloak and exiting the bar. The three men nodded to the bar tender as well and followed Sapphire.
A few mintues later the group stood before two large oak gates, they had reached the castle of Arisa. Sapphire quickly used her powers over the mind to get the gaurds to open the gates then quickly wiped their memories clean. Once inside the palace they headed straight for the throne room.
Ryken was there waiting for them. He had black hair that fell loose down his back and dark, shifty eyes. His voice was smooth and almost bewitching as he greeted them, "So, you have finally made it here. I hope your journey wasn't too difficult."
"You know it wasn't difficult, you planned it that way. You wanted us at full strength when you defeated us. I do believe you've gotten cocky, Ryken." Sapphire stated coldly, dislike clear in her voice.
"So you think I'll defeat you too? I'm so glad, that makes it so much easier to kill you. I'm glad you came to your senses Sapphire, and decided to face your destiny instead of trying to defy it." Ryken said, hatred dripping from every word.
"You won't defeat us! We're different from our ancestors, we will not lose to you!" Emerald said defiantly from his place beside Sapphire.
"My, my, my, what outspoken friends you have, Sapphire. You haven't told them yet have you? About who you really are. You're going to let them die again without knowing. Repeat the cycle all over again." Ryken stated in a condesending tone.
"What are you talking about, Ryken? What cycle?" Jade asked angrily.
"Of course, you wouldn't know would you, what with Sapphire keeping secrets and all. I'm talking about the prophecy, until it is fufilled you all will die and be reborn with no memories of any of this but Sapphire and I will remember, we always do. Yet just like every other time she'll let you all die because she'll refuse to kill me. The heir will never reclaim the throne and a hundred years from now it will all start over." Ryken replied.
"You forgot something Ryken...the prophecy says that you will be defeated when the heir to the throne is born as a keeper." Sapphire stated quietly.
"But the heir hasn't been born as a keeper, I would know. You have no hope of winning Sapphire, give up. Come to me and let me kill you quickly and I will allow your friends to live."
Sapphire seemed to think it over before walking over to Jade, "Never stop smiling Jade, not even when someone you care for dies. They wouldn't want to see you cry." Then she walked over to Diamond and hugged him, "You're a great friend Diamond, I owe a lot to you. Make sure Jade always gets his lunch." Diamond nodded in understanding and Sapphire went over to Emerald. She stared at him for a while before smiling, "You know, it took me a thousand lifetimes to finally realize I was in love with you, only for it to end now. I don't know what will happen in the next few minutes, I may die or I may live but I will have no more regrets." With that Sapphire reached up and pulled Emerald's head forward until their lips met.
For a few moments, time stopped. Time, however, cannot stop for long and all too soon Sapphire pulled away and walked towards Ryken. In previous lives she had always died knowing her friends would die with her, she always died a coward. In this life, she would die a warrior.
As soon as she reached him Ryken pulled out a dagger, but before he could strike Sapphire's fist was through his cest pulling out two glowing stones. One was bright red, the other was the color of a starless sky. Amazingly, no puncture wound was to be seen on Ryken's chest, though he did pass out from shock.
Sapphire gently placed the two stones on the ground and stepped back. Within an instant two people stood where the stones had once been. In the red stone's place stood a young girl with flaming red hair and a garnet dress and in the black stone's place stood a man who looked exactly like Diamond only with dark hair and brown eyes and dressed entirely in black.
"Ruby, Onyx, it's good to see you again." Sapphire said happily.
"You finally succeeded in beating him, you must be proud of yourself, Sapphire." The girl, Ruby, said as she gave Sapphire a friendly hug.
"Not really, I was hoping he'd last longer." Sapphire replied.
"How did you figure out what you had to do?" The man, Onyx, asked curiously.
"I was born knowing." Sapphire answered.
"You're the heir to the throne, aren't you?" Diamond asked as he walked over to stand by his twin, Jade close on his heels.
Sapphire nodded, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, I wanted to when you were talking last night but I was forbidden to."
"I'm sorry I said all those things last night, I didn't know that the heir was forbidden from coming forward." Emerald said apologetically as he too joined the group.
"It's alright Emerald, you couldn't have known." Sapphire replied.
"Umm, sorry to interrupt but we have problems." Onyx pointed to the army of gaurds that now had them surrounded.
During their discussion Ryken had regained consciousness and was now shouting orders, "Arrest all of them but leave the one in blue to me." The gaurds immediately complied.
"Ryken, let them go, they are no threat to you." Sapphire said calmly.
"I will let them go...if you give me the Gem of Water."
Sapphire glared at him, "And if I don't?"
Ryken sighed, "Then I guess they'll just have to be executed. You know as well as I do they can't use their powers yet, they would never be able to escape."
Sapphire turned to look at her friends then turned back to Ryken, "If I give you the gem you'll let them go?"
"And you'll leave them alone for the rest of eternity?"
"My gem will bind you to that promise. If any of them get hurt after the gem leaves my body it will unleash it's power on you, a power that even you cannot survive."
"Very well. Now, hand over the gem."
Sapphire nodded and closed her eyes, hands held out before her, "Goddess Mizu, ruler of water and giver of wisdom, I call fourth your gift. Reveal to me the power that sleeps within my heart!"
As her last words echoed through the throne room a blue light surrounded Sapphire and in her hands appeared a large, deep blue stone. The light left Sapphire and surrounded the stone and her eyes went blank. Memories of death and destruction bombarded her mind and the once proud warrior fell to her knees before Ryken.
"Your memories shall drive you to madness even as your heart stops beating." Ryken said, waiting for Sapphire's inevitable death.
"Sapphire!" Emerald screamed as he broke away from Ryken's gaurds and ran towards Sapphire. Apon reaching her he dropped to his knees beside her, "Sapphire! Sapphire, please, don't let it end like this! Jade, Diamond, Onyx, Ruby, need you! You have to help us become what we were born to be! Please!" Emerald tried to hold on to Sapphire's arm but a guard pulled him away.
Ryken laughed, "You think you're pleading can save her from her mind? Nothing can save her now...once she's dead I can take that stone and you will all perish!"
Jade glared at Ryken and stepped forward, placing a hand over his heart, "Sapphire, I am the wind that will help us soar." A light green aura surrounded him.
Ruby stepped forward as well, "I am the fire that will burn away our fears." A red light surrounded her.
Both Onyx and Diamond stepped forward, "We are the light and the darkness that will bring us harmony." A grey light surrounded both of them.
Emerald, who had been watching in confusion now stepped forward as well, "I am the earth whose strength will steady us." His emerald green aura encircled him, as he looked at Sapphire with sad eyes, "What are you, Sapphire?"
"I...I am..." Sapphire began, her voice weak and shaking. Her hands tightened around the gem and her eyes lost their empty look, "I am the water who will guide us and grant us life." Once the words left her lips the gem disappeared from her hands and she stood up.
"No, this can't be! You cannot still be alive!" Ryken said, his whole body trembling with rage.
"Well I am. I do not have the right to exact a punishment on you Ryken, but the gods do. You have tormented thousands of innocent people to get the power of the gods from us, so now face your punishment."
"What do you plan to do to me?" Ryken said, his voice betraying his fear.
"Gaurds, as heir to the throne of Arisa, I command you to lock this man away in the Niji Temple so the gods may punish him." Sapphire said to the gaurds before once again facing Ryken, "You have tormented my people since I was only a year old, I will not allow you to torment them ever again. May the gods spare your life so that you may feel my people's pain until the day you die."
The gaurds slowly approached Ryken and the fallen king knew there would never be any hope of escape. He was dragged out of the throne room in a shocked stupor.
"Well Queen Sapphire, what now?" Emerald asked, bowing slightly.
"Queen Sapphire? Never. I have always been and will always be Sapphire."
"Fine then, Sapphire, what shall we do now?" Emerald asked again.
"Now, the six of us restore the kingdom." Sapphire replied as she walked towards the exit.
"What do you mean? You're the new ruler, you're supposed to stay here and sit on the throne and wear a crown and give commands. That's just what queens do."
"Emerald, I grew up a warrior, I don't know anything else. The best way to rule a kingdom is to live among its people. Besides, I couldn't give up traveling with you and the others, life would get too boring."
"Yay! Sapphire's staying with us! C'mon Diamond, I wanna follow Sapphire!" Jade said, tugging on Diamond's hand has he tried to follow after Sapphire.
"I belive I'll go too, it's been a long time since I've been alive long enough to enjoy anything." Ruby stated as she too, moved to follow Sapphire.
"I agree, those gems were kinda stuffy, fresh air will be nice." Onyx said as he walked over to where Jade was still pulling Diamond along.
"What about you, Emerald? Do you intend to follow me too?" Sapphire asked, her voice hopeful and curious.
"No, I won't follow you. However, if you don't mind, I'd like to walk beside you." Emerald stated with a smirk.
Sapphire just smiled, "I wouldn't have it any other way. We're all equals, we'll all just walk beside each other. We're a team, for as long as the gods allow it and then some."
That day the warrior not only conquered herself, but her destiny and her fears as well. The kingdom of Arisa would not be fully restored to it's former grandure till many years later, but the six elemental keepers were there to see it.
The six never lost contact with each other, though they did split up after a few years. Sapphire, knowing she was not cut out to be a solitary leader, gave her fellow keepers roles in the kingdom.
Sapphire was in charge of matters of diplomacy and in giving political advice to her fellow rulers as well as her kingdom's allies. Emerald was in charge of the military's ground forces, a job which kept him in close contact with Sapphire at all times.
Jade became the leader of the naval fleet, but since they were of little use due to Sapphire's negotiation skills, he spent most of his time eating and clinging to Diamond. Onyx and Diamond were put in charge of the judicial system, creating laws and punishments that were both strict and fair. Ruby was put in charge of industry and made great strides in blacksmithing.
Together they ruled the kingdom well. None of them had children fearing that their children may be keepers and start the cycle anew. However, before their deaths the choose people who they believed would be best suited to be their heirs. The kingdom never saw dark days again, at least not as bad as the one's they had seen during Ryken's rule.
Ryken was punished by the gods with eternal life and forced to remain within the boundries of Niji Temple for all eternity. No one ever found the temple after the fall of Arisa 5,000 years ago, though some say it still exsists and that Ryken is still there, still trying to escape. Maybe one day, he'll succeed.
Well, how was the ending? I may write a sequel where Ryken finally escapes and tries to take over...but I dunno if I will yet. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my story and I hope you'll all continue reading my works. Until next time,