Jessie felt the pressure off her arm as she pulled free from the sage's grasp, and stumbling, she began to run. She didn't pay the words he spoke any mind, though she wondered if maybe she should have tried to stab him, even though she was sure it wouldn't have served any purpose but to waste time getting to Foce.
She would save her somehow, she knew that when she reached the edge, she would figure something out, she had to think of something, "His was a well laid and vicious plan, he not only covered all his bases, but used my vain attempt to block his attack to his advantage...I didn't even know he could teleport so soon after the first one...how many other things has he lied about?"
Jessie grimaced as she neared the transparent and fading illusion of a roof, and yelled as she threw herself into the empty air. She cast an air spell behind her to make her fall faster and outstretched her arm.
Foce eagerly pawed at the air before finally grabbing her hand, "Why fight him, why follow me, you can't save me...besides, I'm a vampire...I deserve this fate...eight girls were sacrificed to me, b-but...this way they can live, if there's nothing to die for they won't be sacrificed!"
"He also said that he was weak in his old age, and needed our help, once upon a time;but he lied to us. Heh, this is a lot like back when we first met, huh?" Jessie smirked at Foce to disguise the pain she felt, there was residual poison on her hand and it scorched her skin.574Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡH5BGMjLOpI
Foce narrowed her eyes at the hero and shook her head, "I see that it hurts you too...maybe even more...maybe I'm not a vampire...who knows?"
Suddenly Jessie grinned a more genuine smile, a plot developing in her head, "For someone who covered all his bases, he made one grave mistake!"
"I can't fly, not now...I'm so weak...hah, mistake? And just what was tharah-" Foce was confused when Jessie's thumb pressed against her tooth, and even more confused when the skin broke, allowing a trickle of blood to flow.574Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡTmVW8eRkMg
"Mistake was in letting a human jump after a vampire, he should've stopped me, everyone knows vampires are stronger when they've had a drink of blood." Jessie deadpanned at the confused look Foce gave her, "Don't tell me that was a lie, too, I mean, I know he's old, but not that old!"
"I do feel...something." she closed her purple eyes after much focusing, sprouted her black feathered wings and shot up through the air, rising along the tower, "I can't believe it...I feel so much stronger than before!"
"Haha, I guess you are a vampire after all, then! A-ah, hey, it's alright," Jessie winced apologetically as Foce frowned, tried not to break into tears, "you being a vampire is unexpected, but I believe in you...I just wonder why I didn't see fangs back then?"
"I'm more powerful in the demon realm than here, I guess I had hidden myself back then, somehow...I recall...I rejected what I was once, maybe I sealed myself in the altar." Foce whispered tearfully, "I'm a monster! So...maybe I should just hand Sarah a bunch of silver arrows when I see her again?"
"Foce, you're not a monster in the way that the sage is, nothing else matters." Jessie gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, "Hey, show me your fangs?"
Foce smirked for some reason she couldn't explain and closed her eyes as she grinned, pulling back her upper lip to reveal a sharp pair of fangs, "I guess I must be pretty freakish, you must be scared, vampires being the monsters you know so well."
"Ah, wow...huh? Well, they're pretty intimidating, but...I'm not scared of you. I think that I don't know vampires at all." Jessie remembered meeting the girl back at the altar, with her pointy hat and simple vest and pants, she seemed like a witch without a robe, or some girl who happened to find the hat and decided to wear it. She smiled at the vampire and gazed up as they swiftly approached the top, "Let's try to finish this quickly, there are still eight women to rescue...that's the only part he got right."
"Okay...t-thank you, Jessie...thanks for not abandoning me..." the vampire rubbed her eyes slowly and took a deep breath, keeping 'just yet' from passing her lips, "But should we fight him? Maybe it's best to let him go."
"Well, he's probably gonna try to figure out more ways to kill you, I'd rather not chance this...he's just so dangerous, all the secret knowledge he has...let's not let him reach the stairs, drop me as soon as we're over the roof, don't worry about me getting hurt, I'll roll, so it'll be fine." she sheathed her blade and watched as the cone roof grew closer, and released a steady stream of mana into her necklace as Foce wrapped her arms around her waist, there was nothing to hold onto now, it was all up to the possible vampire lord to drop her on the roof, "Bro, how soon until you can be at the tower? We're holding out for you guys on the roof Infinity Tower, do it like we did the Sealed Air Temple!"
It wouldn't be long now before they were fighting a powerful sage, Jessie wasn't sure if they could handle him, but they were at least going to try. She silently clenched her teeth as she saw their target, not yet halfway between them and his destination.
Foce swooped down and released Jessie, it took all her willpower not to look back as she spun through the air, arms drifted off to the side. Her scythe appeared in her hands as she twirled, she hooked the sage on her weapon's curve blade, threw him back, and floated above the stairs, "Did you miss me, sage?"
"How did you...it took me a year to brew potion that could kill a vampire, and yet you're-" he fell forward suddenly, shaking as a jolt of lightning ran through him, and fell back again when Foce struck him. He snapped his fingers to escape the two attackers and chuckled as his gaze went to the crimson streak on the hilt of Jessie's blade, "You are smarter than you let on sometimes, Jessie!"
"'The basics are thy stepping stones to true might' ring a bell?" Jessie snipped, marching up to the sage, her eyes seeking out his presence as he snapped his fingers, appearing elsewhere, only to move again and again to waste her efforts of walking.
"They should, for I placed them above the gates of these hollowed walls." the sage cackled, pleased that his revelation got a reaction from the pair, "You seemed surprised to know that I am Sage Vindicatus Skotadi, well, let me just say I am surprised no one has asked me my name yet, for centuries I've gone by 'the sage', and no one bats an eye, and now you act surprised...you humans are all the same, now face me in my home temple, Sage Vindicatus Skotadi, God of Justice!"
"Ha, well, that implication leads to quite the amusing oxymoron!" the sage turned around to find a lone dancer, smiling from behind a drawn bow, "Go ahead, teleport again...make my day."
"Sarah...the only moron here...is you threeh?!" he looked around anxiously, and turned around to find that an airship had lodged itself between the tall cone and the base of the roof they stood upon, "Hahaha! The gang's all here? Well, this is good. Sarah, do you know why you're about to fire an arrow at the king's closest ally?"
"Well, I decided a to bring my bow with me this time, so-"
"Think about it...did Jessie tell you why you should kill me?"
"I-I...hadn't asked, but Jessie said 'we're holding out for you guys' so--"
"Blind loyalty to a human voice, pathetic! You and your ilk are how wars begin!" Vindicatus roared, pointing accusingly at her.
"Would you not tempt me to release this arrow?" Sarah shot back, figuratively, "I'm here 'cuz Jessie hasn't deceived us once, none of us would ever do that to anyone!"
"Then she has told you her little friend is a vampire!" his finger drifted with Sarah's eyes to the hero standing next to the winged vampire lord.
"J-Jessie, I thought you said you didn't see teeth?" Sarah stared uncertainly at her friend, hoping for an explanation.
"I-I didn't see them, the demon realm let her hide, she had been keeping them concealed all those years, but," she sheathed her blade and held up her thumb, "there definitely are teeth."
"Then she tricked you, why are you helping her now that you know this?!" Sarah snapped, her arrow aimed for the floating demon lord, "What's her name, is she a vampire? Is she the vampire lord those girls were to be sacrificed to? That explains a why she got sick after eating garlic! Even if she saved you...as grateful as I am...we don't need to honor a debt with a monster!"
Jessie held the pink haired girl's gaze and stepped in front of the vampire lord, "Land, Foce, stand behind me."
"Land!" Jessie ordered, her voice shaking as the others made their way within earshot of the unfolding scene, "Sarah, it's not about some debt or naive sense of chivalry, she saved me, yes, but she hid her teeth before she lost her memories!"
"What?" Sarah frowned as she tried to wrap her head around this, and stood up, relaxed her grip and the bowstring, "Why? No, Jessie, you tell me why."
Foce swallowed hard and stepped out from behind Jessie, "I don't know...I just remember I hate myself, so...that's all. That's all I can remember, I'm sorry! I didn't even know my name until Vindicatus called me by it, I didn't know why, but for some reason I answered to it!" she fell to her knees and held her hands over her eyes, "Please don't let me see it, please don't let me feel it, just tell me you have a silver arrow on you, please!"
"I always carry silver on me when I'm about to face demons, hold still." Sarah grabbed two arrows and knelt again, steadying her shot.
"No, do-" Jessie lurched forward, but Romeo and Juliet grabbed her arms and tugged her back, she and Vindicatus both had their eyes on the arrow, and both were startled as the arrow of silver pierced Foce's hat, but only Jessie--from the corner of her eye--saw the silver streak that appeared just before the sage stumbled from the attack, "Sarah?"
"Silver arrows are reserved for monsters only!" Sarah yelled, shooting several arrows in quick succession, the flew out a few feet before pausing in midair, and with a wave of her hand, all rained down on the sage, "Rage Barrage! I'm sorry to have you fooled you two, Jessie, Foce."
"We share the blame, too..." Romeo and Juliet offered apologetic glances at the hero and vampire, "You see, we established a temporary mental link spell so we could share information, since we didn't know what we were getting into." Romeo explained.
"Sorry we couldn't tell you two...and that you were the distraction, Lord Foce." Juliet held her arm as she bowed to the vampire lord.
"I'm just glad she's okay..." Jessie helped Foce to her feet and went to retrieve the hat that had been hit.
Jacob had picked it up and quietly offered it to Foce, "Sorry you went through that...I'll go secure the stairs now."
"You two have had a rough day already," Ray gestured back at the airship, "you should get some rest, this one is just another obstacle in our path."
The vampire shook her head slowly as she pulled the hat back on, and took a deep breath, "I'm doing this." Foce closed her eyes and held her hands off to the side. Her purple eyes flashed open and darted forward, spun in the air as she summoned her weapon, as she swung her scythe at the sage, but his hand came up to knock it aside.
"You fools...don't even realize this girl is going to destroy you...you don't know what I know!" Vindicatus roared, "You haven't seen what she did to our land all those years ago!"
"No, but I did see what you did to her, what you tried to do!" Jessie approached steadily, eyeing him as she circles around the sage, her friends moved around the roof as well, "You threw a poison on her and condemned her, giving her no chance to speak for herself, pointing at her agonized cries as proof, expecting me to believe you now just because I had believed you in the past, well not anymore! I felt the poison on her hands when I reached out to her, it burned! But not like you're gonna burn, not by a long shot! Sarah!"
"Dagger Dance!" Sarah sang as swayed her arms and threw daggers at the sage with every flick of her wrist, keeping him occupied while Ray crouched nearby.
"Hidden Campfire...Flaming Net!" Ray ran next to Jacob while the sage was suddenly stabbed by all of Sarah's daggers. He took his position across from the dancer, and stared anxiously at his sister, who took her usual position at the middle of the arc, "It's all you now, Sis!"
"Celestial Light..." Jessie held her blade before her closed eyes, her other hand just under the pommel of the blade, and after the white glow fully engulfed her, she stepped forward and swung her blade, "Holy Strike!" she cried, and watched with a steely gaze as the light burst into flames that danced across Vindicatus' skin.
"Ahahahaha, ahahaaah! Fools, the God of Justice cannot be felled by so simple an attack!" the sage chortled.
"But...Ray, scan him!" Jessie prompted.
"Right...this is impossible...his level's ninety-nine! We can't even scratch him!" Ray paled and took a step back, "Nothing will work on him, in fact, any damage we did was healed by the holy element attack!
"Duplicity!" the sage shouted, his hand in the air, one glowing white ball quickly split into two, and those two split into two. Everyone present knew that it was cause for concern.
"Stop it there!" Foce leapt at him with her scythe, but as she passed, he reflexively struck her in the back with his dominate hand, the one that had the duplicating orbs floating over it, the attack was surprisingly powerful and sent her rolling towards the edge again. She heard Jessie scream after her as spots flashed in front of her, darkness slowly creeping in, two arms wrapping warmly around her, promising something.ns 126.96.36.199da2