The large man with the yellow fur trimmed leather clothes stands laughing as his sponge cake like hair bounces with his bellows. He stands atop a short flight of stairs in a dark macabre forgotten temple, a knight beside him dressed in black armor, a face concealing helmet with horns, and weilding a large broad sword.

Down the steps the trench coat wearing adventurer Zanaz, his class witch costume wearing girlfriend Andria, and the Kuhrai pirate Cata stand ready to fight. Cata had been stealthy here in Croix, using mercenaries, informants, and hiring these hunters to retrieve the Tiger Eye Gem, an object the Kuhrai Empire for some reason has been after, secretly operating on Aesperia to find it. Rumored to have been in the possession of the Empress Rhulan and vanished when her castle and empire literally fell. It has found its way across continents and oceans over the last one thousand years, regarded as cursed, whispering madness in the dreams of those who would hold it, killing those would touch it. Here the man known as Baron Adonz holds the gem and laughs, "this gem is indeed magic, its power will bring the Cult of Satasar to power!"

"Enough talk," hisses Cata followed by, "Earth Slicer!" sending a blue energy wave through the ground, the black knight blocks it.

"Necro Kick!" yells Zanaz leaping to the air and sending a green energy arc down at Adonz with a sweep of his foot.

Adonz holds up the gem, the red and yellow fiery gem with its cat like eye patterns glows and moves like flames drawing the arc in and absorbing it. They had seen earlier the eye shoot out a beam that they had barely managed to dodge.

Baron Adonz laughs, but something else starts to laugh as well, a twisted feminine laugh, something reptilian and sinister. He stops and stares wideyed at the gem and his outstretched hand, the gem is laughing and his arm and hand are stuck, sizzling.

"Get if off me!" yells Baron Adonz.

"Master?" asks the knight only to see Baron Adonz's mouth foam, his skin boil and peel, his eyes steam, he releases the gem, it floats in the air as his boiled body collapses to the ground.

The gem continues to laugh as it floats higher. It glows with an intense red light, something, appears around it, a large serpentine shadow vague and hard to see, "The gates are open, the dark mother has awakened. The spell is broken!"

It erupts in flames and splits into two like ghosts phasing through each other and sets as shadow forms around it, setting them as the eyes of something massive. A great serpent, its head and muzzle semi-mammalian, a cobra hood adorned with black quills, a female upper body but covered in scales, clawed hands, and a pure snake like lower body ending with a red tuft for a tail. The creature looms over the small party, "I am freeeee, at last,"

"An Ophidian," says Cata, "why...why would the empire care about...a seal...I was after a seal? I thought you were a weapon or a powersource," she says accusingly aiming her scimitar at the creature.

"Ophidian?" hisses the beast, "I am not that alien race little Kuhrai...hybrid,...Kuhrai kin...yesss."

It hisses out its tongue, "I am...dragon!"

A pair of massive black wings erupt from its back and it *roars*, "I am Hanalan! I am of the chosen few of the brood, accepted by the dark mother, the Dragon of Cataclysms, as her legitimate offspring! She has broken the spell placed upon me by that daft wizard over one thousand years ago. From afar I feel the dark mother's gentle embrace and kiss,"

The way it says this and holds its heart sends a shiver down Zanaz's spine.

It waves its sand and a giant black sigil appears on the floor, "Now, I must return to Hell, pave the way for the dark mother's return to the throne of the abyss!"

It flies up and dives straight down, vanishing in black flames. The sigil closes behind it.

"What the hell was that about?" asks Andria.

"Master? Master!" yells the dark knight as he stands over Adonz's body.

"Poor bastard," says Zanaz, "Boiling Blood...that is a nasty spell that Nagian Dragon used...to think something like that was sealed in a gem called a Tiger's Eye."

"Indeed," says Cata nearly growling, she remembers the name Hanalan, remembers Rhulan talking with Hollia, it was in regards to a familiar, a dragon familiar, and a snake arm band on a statue of Rhulan."

"She couldn't have," thinks Cata, "clear from the other end of this world?"

******

-Crimdalina-

The king of Crimdalina looks on, the hall is filled with deligates and dignitaries from many of the kingdoms to the north, Postorina, Stratalia, and several others. He eyes a table to the corner, there is Holly Lia, the princess of Stratalia talking with Vondroncha the small blue elf with the odd dragon tail tentacle on the back of her head, as well as Sylvia the queen of the Nocturne, silvery elves that have already conquered the Magnus Empire, Corinth some priestess from a land he's never heard of but apparently home to this princess Vondroncha, Holly's brother and mother Jasma the light elf is also there, and they were just recently joined by a stranger calling herself Princess Rhudra to whom the demon like woman claiming to be the goddess Sahralia has been oddly clingy towards. As far as the king can tell, this ancient mythical empress...who claims to be the goddess Rokonaka is the mother of four of these, Sylvia, Corinth, Sahralia, and Rhudra. A royal family meeting, four princesses, of which one is a queen already, another an Overlord, one a priestess, and another a princess talking of something called the Hayzore and a war against angels he's never heard of.

Other deligates pale in comparison, and seem all too welcoming of Stratalia's sudden militaristic build up, declaration of being a very large kingdom taking up much of the eastern portion of the continent, and plans to enhance communication systems and transport rapidly. Although he has misgivings of his own kingdom's supposed role in this.

He walks into a hall, there his elderly advisor stands, "Your majesty," says the man, "these people...are monsters. Demons walk inside the palace walls and conspire to rule a continent."

The advisor looks about, "You would be a hero...go down in history as the savior of Ravashira if you did them in."

"Did you not see what happened on the dock," whispers the king, "our men would be slaughtered. That last one to show up sent three guards flying into the lake with one move before Rhulan stopped her because they aimed their pikes at her. These monsters are not something we could take care of with force."

"No need," says the advisor, "we have allies in high places your highness."

He takes out a vile and a handful of crystals, "This vile will put them all into a deep sleep, need only put it in their food or drink...we could even burn it in the fireplace to the same affect if you don't mind putting their allies to sleep as well. These crystals are sealing crystals they will..."

The advisor would scream but a *gahk* barely escapes his blood drenched lips as he drops the vile and the crystals on the floor. The king stares in horror as a hand is pierced through the man's chest like a knife, despite the advisor standing beside the wall. His body slides and hits the floor. The arm is a woman's extending from a shadow on the wall, the advisor's shadow, which stands unnaturally now.

"Do not move," comes a woman's voice from the shadow.

The king watches in horror as a petite maid comes out of the shadow, he knows this, the Petite Juggernauts, golems made by Stratalia. However this one is taller, taller than him, and the hair is longer.

"I am Amara," says the woman, "your legends would know be better as the Black Juggernaut, guard and consort of the Empress Rhulan. You and I have much to talk about, especially in regards to where your advisor could have gotten these things, even Satasar would not dare make a move this."

Those words horrify the king as he is lead away from the hall by Amara even as a red sigil appears beneath the vile and crystal, a red fiery energy dissolving them.

******

-Nipponia-

Deep inside the mountain that was once a mine for mana stones there is a wide chamber lined with crystals around a circular hole, the mana well. Here however Akino, Shin, Kage, and Ravage scream in agony as black flames wash over them. Before them crouched over is a giant with a black insect like exoskeleton, feet with two long segmented cone tones and a heel that is the same, the creatures has sport the same sort of odd segmented cone claws and with a wave of its hands the black flames wash over the chamber like a wave. The creatures head is strange as it appears to be wearing a black beetle shell "tribal mask" line with curved blades like immitations of where the leaves would be on a tribal mask, and two long vertical red slit eyes.

As the flames subside, Akino, Shin, and Kage lie dead upon the ground, Ravage *huffing* for breath on one bent knee. The creature's mask tilts up revealing it to be the top of the creature's unnatural head, revealing a face that is not a face so much as it is one long vertical mouth lined with vibrating tusk like teeth and six red orbs for eyes, looking more like a neck with a long slit in it than the creature's actual head; which the mask like part seems to fit better as. It laughs through its disgusting mouth, "Foolish mortals, to think you could challenge Devisar?"

It points at Ravage, "I do not know why the creator wants you alive boy, but Satasar will make use of you I suppose. To survive my Extinction Tsunami..."

"Die demon!" yells Ravage throwing his red and black bolts at it, but Devisar simply absorbs the bolts.

"Threads of Life!" comes a loud woman's voice echoing from above, three double helix green thread like streamers of energy descend and flow into the three fallen warriors, bringing them back to life.

Devisar's mask face comes back down and covers his soft neck face, "Who dares?"

From above Rhulan descends as though a ghost from the very crystal wall its self.

She floats there, an invisible wind billowing her cape, her hands out as if playing an unknown instrument around her. She smiles and says, "Deus Ex Machina, bitch,"

"Insolent sorceress!" yells Devisar as two red arcs of energy fire its eyes, Rhulan simply extends her hands and the energy is absorbed into her palms.

"Impossible," huffs Kage, "I mean...who...what is that?"

Rhulan looks down at them and directly at Ravage with a wicked smile. Ravage's eyes go wide, he has seen her before, no...he has a picture of her in his house! The picture he stole from the Med-Lab where he was created, the clan's experiments to produce the ultimate ninja warriors, its not a secret, all the warriors of the clan are clones or hybrids of clones of great warriors from the past. He was created in a daring experiment, feared by the clan leaders because of it, combining the ancient Med Lab Ship's DNA samples of the Arc's captain, who once ruled the world, Rhulan, and combined with the sample on file of her brother, Rhoan.

"Born of myself," says the woman aloud surprising him, "and the tulpa I created subconciously to act as my brother out of my lonliness, a male clone of myself in other words. The Rava-Shin project...to think almost a thousand years later, the Med Ship surviving all this time...and someone actually went through with it."

"Who are you?" demands Devisar, "and what makes you think you can ignore me!"

It swings its arm unleashing a wave of black flames while yelling, "Extinction Tsunami!"

The party of four brace themselves, however the black flames do no reach them, instead spiraling into the air and being sucked into Rhulan's mouth.

"What?!" yells Devisar.

"Did you not hear," says Rhulan, "I am Rhulan Rokonaka! The Sorceress of...*ahem*...the Sorceress Rhulan, The ancient Empress revived, surely you know of me monster, after all your kin, that crab thing Sensar was already dealt with by my hand and my allies. To think you would dare try to capture a child that you couldn't even be certain I knew about, created without my consent...well...a thousand years later than when I gave it...he was meant to be the younger brother of Sylvia, but...eh...its not like he's more than what...eighteen...or something."

"What is this rambling?" asks Devisar, "do you think yourself so..."

In a red flash of chaotic aura Rhulan dashes through Devisar's head, stops and with a swing of red energy blasts his head apart, sending pieces flying everywhere.

As the body falls, Rhulan looks down at the party and smiles before suddenly flying down into the mana well. There is a flash of purple and violet, the crystals on the wall dim and go out. Rhulan rises a moment later from the well, her hand glowing with an illumination spell.

"This mana well served its purpose," she says, "its power has been returned to where it belongs, inside me."

"Shit," says Kage, "I don't know if what this lady is saying is true Ravage, but the whole reason Princess Hana wanted that monster killed was to reclaim this mine and the mana well to make mana stones. We can't let her..."

"We can't?" growls Ravage, "this sorceress just revived the three of you! I saw you die! Then she kills that monster we were fighting for three hours without it tiring like she was swatting a fly...and then eats the fucking mana well...and you want to fight her?"

"Smart boy," says Rhulan, "but I sense you doubt I am your mother..."

"More likely her clone," says Ravage, "The empress died a thousand years ago, everyone knows that, those idiotic stories the foreigners bring over about being turned to stone...can't..."

Darkness, Akino uses her pink light spell, "Where's Ravage?"

Ravage finds himself suddenly standing in a well lit royal hall, Rhulan beside him.

Rhulan smiles and says, "May I present, Rava-Shin...my son...cloned from my DNA and that of Rhoan by the Med Lab clan in Nipponia. Only eighteen or so...treat him well."

She vanishes as she turns as if walking through a curtain.

"Where the hell...*oomph*" he is grabbed up in a big hug by Sahralia, "Oh my goodness an adorable little brother, you are so much cuter than the other brothers we got."

"Let me go!" he yells, "you...you...uh...arn't you the demon god Infernus?"

She smiles, her eyes glowing, "Yes...oh...I know you...the Nipponia Tournament of Warriors that I precide over...I had a feeling,"

Her smile tells him she knew all along, but that he would be related to a demon.

She lets him go.

"What is going on here?" he growls, "I...was just on a mission...where am I..."

"A mission?" ask Sahralia.

"Yes," growls Ravage, "to kill Devisar and get the mana well reopened...that woman..."

"Our mother," says Rhudra walking over, "Empress Rhulan, Goddess Rhulan, Sorceress Rhulan, I'd say of all of us you know the least, raised to such an age without knowing her. Seems our mother has decided to correct that."

"Excuse me," says Hollia, "I don't mean to butt in, but sir, I take it you were on an adventure...a quest it sounds like, and were just abducted by Miss Rhulan...after she..."

"Killed our target and drained the mana well," says Ravage, "are we related too?"

"Oh no," says Hollia, "I am Hollia...Um, sorry, Holly Lia of the kingdom of Stratalia. I think perhaps a talk is in order. I think your...um...siblings are a bit excited, you see several of them just learned each other exist today as well."

Sylvia bits a piece of fruit as she smiles and says, "Our mother is sentamental, and very emotional, I am curious myself how you came to be, seeing as how I was created in a lab over a thousand years ago combining her DNA with the goddess Claire...and several here are the results of her wild dreams getting...interesting...yes...we should discuss this...little brother, get caught up, just in case our mother is rounding up anymore wayward offspring"

Back in Nipponia, deep among the mountains a secret underground high tech facility is in chaos, the robotic security system destroyed, Rhulan stands before two containers.

"It would seem Rhoan, that despite your long term commitment to an android you ended up fathering a son anyway. Interesting child, takes me more after me...as it to be expected given your...own unique origin."

She reaches and taps the containers, a pink aura comes over them and they decay away, "however, while I may not hold against the boy, I cannot allow these people to create more, no telling what his long term prospects are like just yet, after all the version of me this DNA was sampled from...is more human than divine."

******

-Croix Empire, mysterious ruins-

"Air Slicer!" yells Cata sending a blue slicing arc of energy through the air at the gigantic entity.

They had come this way earlier, into the catacombs seeking out Baron Adonz, fought soldiers on this same stone bridge among these monstrously huge, and monstrous in form statues. There was no sign then that this one, resembling a giant robed man with sharp tailed slugs for fingers and the head of a cuttlefish was alive.

Zanaz is leaning, Andria feeding him a healing potion from her potion pouch.

"Ha ha ha," bellows the entity slowly without even moving its stiff tentacles, "You may have beaten that mortal fool alien bestial...but none can stand against Daiyakisar, god of the dark arts."

As it reaches down the group hears, "Impact Wave!" and a blue energy wave pushes its hand back as Rhulan lands among them. Zanaz and Andria watch, Andria hears Zanaz whisper, "Her...that's...the empress...Rhulan," Andria remembers the story Zanaz and Ethan had told about the Ahk and the weird contests.

"Where the hell did you come from?" asks Cata

"Seems I am a bit late," remarks Rhulan, "Hanalan already awoke and took off. Eh, she always was a free spirit, she can meet her siblings later...and hopefully not try to swallow them or...anywho..."

She looks up at Daiyakisar, "Well...serendipity be thy mistress, I just killed one these assholes."

"ha, ha, ha," slowly bellows Daiyakisar, "another hero? Ah...I know this one,"

"You do?" asks Rhulan crossing her arms, "Devisar sure didn't seem to know me, and Sensar was an insane creation...you would be?"

"I am Daiyakisar small hero. Yes, I know you, you are the hero with the divine maiden. Our master is interested in the divine maiden. My spell reached across the world and tested her."

Its hands glow purple, "I am Daiyakisar, the knowing one, I know you...hero...I..."

It suddenly tilts over as Rhulan shoulder rams its crotch and flies back.

Its tentacles wave as it gasps.

"I have to say," says Rhulan, "I am actually more surprised that you actually have a dick than that it hurt you that much."

"You...are a hero...heroes...don't fight...like that,"

"Who told you I was a hero?" says Rhulan as her hand glows with a violent red energy, "I'm the final boss!"

She slices her hand through the air, sending out a long red thread energy that slices through Daiyakisar's neck, and several tentacles, decapitating it, its body crashing down into the cavern around the bridge. Rhulan lands and turns her attention to Cata, "you still want revenge on the one that sent that Dah-hoth to destroy your ship?"

"What?" says Cata shaking her head, she looks at the remains of the monster and back at Rhulan, "wait...were you...you weren't this strong before...we fought side by side..."

Rhulan crosses her arms, "I was getting stronger remember,"

"Yes," says Cata, "but...this...you didn't cast a spell..."

Rhulan leans in close, her eye shift into spiraling galaxies and then into glowing blue jewels, "I am many things...an actor and a dreamer among them, Kathara of the Kuhrai...if you want revenge take my hand."

Cata actually does a double take as Rhulan backs up, but standing there instead is a pale woman in a black dress with claw arms like evening gown gloves from the netherworld and long flowing wavy blood red hair.

"Rokonaka..." whispers Cata, "you...are..."

Cata almost by instinct places her hand in Rhulans and they vanish, leaving Zanaz and Andria there as he heals and they stand.

"So," says Andria, "when we bring the imperial guards down here as proof...are we supposed to tell them the goddess showed up, killed this monster and then asconded with our client?"

"No, of course not," says Zanaz, "first we have to explain how the jewel the cult was using as a weapon turned out to be a Nagian Dragon from Hell...and putting two and two together from what it and the goddess just said...was also the goddess' daughter...and had awoken and left before she got here, so she killed the false god the cultists were worshipping, and...THEN...asconded with our client promising her revenge against something else."

"right," says Andria, "code, crazy divine shit happened."