The tomb was very tranquil. The starry background imitated that of the cosmos. A woman, dressed in ceremonial clothing, (a revealing dress), lay in an open, ancient casket. Long, silky white hair flowed down to her waist. An elegant, but lethal sword rested in her hands, and a dark purple stone decorated her neck as a necklace. The corpse looked very familiar. Ayana's eyes widened.
"It's you…This is your grave," Ayana said to the entity. "You guarded the Onyx of Shadow…but why? Why did you keep this from me?"
"It was…my purpose." It answered as Ayana obtained the dark gem, and the sword from the casket. Kai grabbed the Key from the farthest end of the tomb, which rested on a pedestal. "I was chosen to become the guardian of the stone. If you seek answers…you should head for Mayne, as you intended to do in the beginning."
"Sure, but…you should have told me that you guarded a crystal in the first place." Ayana still had her suspicions. During her near-death experience, she noticed something really bizarre. There were symbols engraved into Ashura's pupils, similar to the symbols that were etched into her sister's eyes. But…what did that mean? Ayana fished in her traveling bag and fished out for the medal that Talene gave her and flipped it over, looking into her reflection through its mirror backing… Good, Ayana thought. No symbols showed through her eyes, however, the marking from the encounter in the Fallen Ruins still remained.
She heard Takeo and Aniu shout and cheer to the others that they were going to Mayne. The others celebrated for a moment. Takeo pumped his fist into the air and said, "Alright! Let's go, what are we standing around for? I've inhaled so much moldy air, and besides, I'm freaking starving!"
Everyone laughed. "Well, he IS right. Let's get out of here," Kai laughed, making his way out of the tomb and back to the Crypt of Shadows.
The seven eventually exited the crypt and retraced their footsteps, back to the higher grounds where they hopped across series of levitating platforms. When they reached the upper ground, something seemed different to them. "Wait," Kendrick said. He was the first one to point it out. "Something's wrong. Last time we passed here, the floor was moving."
Ayana frowned. Apparently they weren't the only ones who were inside the Unspeakable Ruins. "Everyone, look!" she pointed at the lower grounds for the others to see. Down below were Kuragari troops, along with Gyras and the man that they saw in the Tower of Annihilation. They lowered themselves to the ground to avoid from being seen. They could all hear the man's loud ranting.
"Keaton! How long do I need to wait? Have you not found it yet!" the man asked.
"I have made all possible efforts, General, but we have not made any traces of the other crystals," the commander replied.
"The shrine's door has been open. That means that the Chosen are here. Wherever the Chosen are, that is where the rest of the crystals are! You know that as a fact. Nadia!" The general summoned. "Come with me."
Nadia stood in silence. "General Masato, let me make it clear that Miss Nadia is under MY wing, not yours! Without her, we cannot look for anything. The search may be delayed."
"Keaton! Enough! I wonder if you want to find the Seven who are one, unless…you want them all for yourself," General Masato scoffed.
"What?! How could you say that, General?! You know that this operation is-"
"Then continue your search. And you will NOT have any objection to Nadia's assistance, will you?"
Keaton said nothing. "Continue your search!" Masato grabbed Nadia by the wrist. "Nadia! We depart!"
"Yes…yes sir, General," she shyly responded. The two vanished, ascending into the air. Gryas turned to his men.
"There is NO time left! The honor of the Spirit Division is at stake! GO!" he ordered. As the troops scattered off, searching for the crystals, he turned around, clenching his fists. "I MUST get them before HE does, I MUST!" he muttered to himself. "Both worlds are at risk here!"
Up above, the group looked at the Kuragari Forces scatter off and turned their heads to each other. "They're still looking for the crystals? How desperate," Kendrick commented.
"That man…wasn't he at the tower too?" Ayana asked.
"The general? What's he going to do with Nadia?"
Ayana did not respond. "Let's not get ourselves caught. I think there is another way around," Kai noted, turning around and walking toward back where they traveled to reach the Crypt of Shadows. The others followed the Oasian. Kai turned right, and they all stopped, looking down at a lower trail. "We can go down from here."
"I'll go first. Watch out!" Kendrick shouted. As he jumped down and landed safely, Aniu jumped after him, along with Takeo, Ayana, Kai, Niko, and finally Rosaria. "Okay, let's go!"
They walked along a rocky trail that led to an inner cave. Inside the cave was a larger area, the walls' scriptures were of drawings of black and white armored giants. "I don't like the look of those!" Takeo frowned.
"I feel as though a great force or like something very powerful is watching all of us…or is it just me?" Ayana said aloud. "It's creeping me out."
"No, maybe it's not just you. Look! On those walls!" Kai pointed. "The GUARDIANS! They are said to be in this shrine. If they start to move, then the Kuragari Forces will die."
"But, they're just pictures…" Ayana replied, confused.
"Yeah, for now. They've been sealed until the time comes."
"Sealed? Until the time comes? What do you mean?" Takeo asked.
"Uh, I don't mean to be rude, but we should get moving, like right NOW. The Kuragari are nearby, and besides…" Ayana turned to the scriptures and suddenly blurted, "I don't like it here!" Everyone hurried down the stairs, followed by a steep path that led to another flight of stairs and more paths that zig-zagged across the area and above the chasm below, diverging into two, main paths. They were almost free. A few more steps and the seven were out of the Unspeakable Ruins.
That was, until, a commanding voice called out to two particular people. "Don't move, Ayana and Kendrick!" a male voice shouted.
Commander Gryas, clad in a blue and gold themed Kuragari uniform, approached the group. "Keaton!" Kendrick spat.
"Just hand over the crystals or I'll have to…" with a motion of his gloved hand, Kuragari soldiers surrounded and closed in on them.
"What a PAIN you guys are! What IS it with these crystals anyway?!"
"How ignorant you are, Kendrick. You don't know the power behind those ancient artifacts, and you don't know the danger you're really in! It's for your own good! I'll ask you one more time. Give. Me. The. CRYSTALS!"
"Ask and beg all you want! You're the LAST person we'll give them to," Kendrick shouted. "And besides, the crystals belong to a Deity, and a Deity alone! Not one that's corrupted under YOUR rules!"
A blank stare met Kendrick's brown eyes. "You give me no choice. If you won't give them willingly, I'll just TAKE them by force!" the commander lashed out, unsheathing his sword.
"Is that so? Come and GET them then!" Kendrick raged, brandishing his hook swords.
Ayana intervened, standing in the middle of the fray. "STOP it, BOTH of you!"
"Stop what?! He's trying to TAKE the crystals!"
"We NEED to get out of here-" Suddenly, the ground began to rumble, startling everyone. "Huh?!"
"The ground…? It CAN'T be…!" Keaton yelled incredulously. "No…he can't! If they awake, we'll all die! Father, have you lost yourself in madness?!"
In an unknown room, Nadia hovered over a pedestal, in her Deity form, clenching her fists into her chest. Her hair whitened and her amethyst eyes shimmered gold with the Deitatis mark searing into her right arm. The pain was unbearable. Endless amounts of power began to surge through her body… a power that she wasn't able to neither control or contain. Nonetheless, Nadia gathered her energy. Masato watched her harness her powers.
"That's it…steady Nadia…the seal is breaking away," the general said to her calmly. "Next, we'll deal with the Chosen and finally get ALL of the crystals! Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaa!"
"Ah! Unh…! The…commander…Commander Gry…as…" Nadia groaned in pain.
"Humph. Keaton, you say? He's pathetic! He would have lived if he hadn't stuck his nose into the search of the crystals. But I'm afraid that he's no longer useful to us. This shrine will be his grave as well."
"Wha…? No…NO! Kea…ton!" With an attempt of gaining control, Nadia's eyes and hair returned to their original color, and the mark shrunk to her right shoulder.
General Masato chuckled. "You mean to disobey me? Intriguing…and FUTILE!" he pressed a button, and the power barrier surrounding Nadia increased, forcing her back into her Deity form and making her scream louder.
The giants took shape, emerging from the stone walls. Some soldiers took their guns and began shooting at them, while others fell from the pillars. "HURRY! RETREAT!" the commander bellowed.
But the soldiers wouldn't stop shooting. In retaliation, the armored guardians shot out spikes and blades from their forearms and bodies, impaling the Kuragari soldiers who dared to attack them and causing blood to drip down below. The giants casually retracted the blades and the dead bodies rained down into the chasm. The pillars surrounding the group crumbled, leaving the rest of the soldiers and Commander Keaton to fall below as well. Kendrick grabbed Ayana's hand tightly and yanked her. "Ayana, this way, NOW!"
"But what about the…" she trailed off, looking up at the guardians.
"Come ON!" The seven ran, jumping off the shattering pillars to temporary safer land. They continue to run, hurrying to any exit they could find. The earth split open, and an armored giant emerged from the darkness. However, the color drained from its armor and just stood there.
"What IS this?! There's a giant here too!" Takeo yelled.
"But it isn't moving anymore. Run by! We can make it!" Kendrick instructed, still grasping Ayana's hand. The others ran quickly ahead, passing by immobile guardians. Ayana ran by Kendrick's side, desperate to leave the ruins as well. She ran with all her might; her lungs were on fire. A painful sensation went through her body, and she released Kendrick's hand, gasping for air uncontrollably. It wasn't because that she was tired. It was something else.
"Wait…! Kendrick…wait!" she cried. "OW!" Ayana fell on her knees, screaming in pain. Kendrick quickly spun around and ran over to her. He picked her up, but she continued to scream.
"Ayana, what's happening to you?!" he asked her.
"My body's aching…! And my chest…my heart feels like it's BURNING! Please, just go, save yourself while you still can Kendrick, don't worry about me…"
Kendrick jerked her violently. "NO! Ayana, I'm getting you out of here, if it's the last thing I do! We're all getting out of here!" The ground beneath Kai, Takeo, and the others collapsed, sending them down below.
"I'm sorry…I can't….take it…anymore…it hurts too bad…" Ayana groaned, clutching her head. "What's this…? My little sister's…calling out to me…? SIS! PLEASE, HELP ME NADIAAAAA!" Ayana cried, her voice echoing through the destruction.
"Ah, what's this?" Masato asked aloud. "It's as if some enormous power is manifesting…but nothing can resist the power of the Deities! Unless…there's another Deity among us…"
"Someone's…no…my sister..." Nadia groaned as energy surged within her. "AYANAAAA!"
Kendrick held Ayana protectively in his arms, glaring at the countless number of guardians surrounding them. Ayana's body began to glow a deep purple; a massive wave of purple energy leaked from within, draining life from the statues, and they became immobile. As the energy seeped back into her core, she opened her eyes. Kendrick noticed that there were two symbols carving into each of her pupils as they turned red.
"No…" he mumbled. Ayana thrashed in pain once more and the waves of energy came out stronger than ever, shattering the armored guardians into pieces and deteriorating the stone pillar. The forces of destruction were so great; Kendrick was pushed and plunged into the darkness below, separating from Ayana. He yelled out for her name, and Ayana was caught in the crumbling debris, screaming for her life.