Jessie stared at the smashed window and stepped forward hesitantly, jumping as the others fell through the doorway, there must've been a barrier set up when the other Foce realized she wouldn't get any help.
She pulled her crystal from her picket as glass crunched under her feet, and glanced down briefly at her party crystal in her reddened hand, then peered longingly out the window, a small speck among the clouds quickly shrank and disappeared as it distanced itself the airship.
"She's coming back, right?" Jessie whispered, shrinking under the hand on her shoulder.
Ray let out a deep breath and sighed, "It's really a question of when...she has quite the vicious 'twin', could be a while to resolve matters with her, and if we don't know where she's going then we won't be able to help her..."
"Could be weeks before she return, then...guess we gotta find the priestesses. Guess I'll clean the glass up first." Jessie tiredly observed.
"You, rest." Ray said pointedly, "You look like you could pass out, I'll clean this mess."
"Yeah, yeah, I'll go sleep now." Jessie waved her hand at him before stumbling to and falling into bed.
"Actually, I could take care of the mess," Sarah offered, turning to go find a broom, "you need to get back to your search, I'll clean. Romeo and Juliet, could you find a and install a replacement window?"
Ray grunted approvingly as he headed off for his room, and the couple ran off to go find where they stored spare windows.
Sitting back down at his desk, Ray stared into the crystal ball and focused on any large fluxes of mana that would suggest a prison for the priestesses, and was surprised to find one very nearby, he figured it'd be ten minutes before he picked up anything. He stood up to go tell the others, but just as soon as it appeared, it was gone again.
Ray got up and ran back to Jessie's room, Sarah had just returned with a broom and dustpan and Jessie was laying down with her eyes closed, but opened an eye when he bustled in, "I think I witnessed a portal open nearby, it was brief but undeniably there! I...I caught a glimpse of a mountain."
"But wasn't Foce going that way?" the hero sat up quickly, slipped her feet back into her boots, and ran to the window to see the mountains in the distance, "There are mountains over that way...Foce..."
"We'll reach it before nightfall, when we're close enough we'll land and let the sun harnessing gems charge, but for now, we should focus on preparations for our next expedition into that place, after dinner we'll go in and use the party crystal to find Foce." Ray hurried towards the helm to inform Jacob of the new plan.
After Ray tracked down the residual magic Foce left behind later that night, the team went out on deck. Jessie walked up the bowsprit and unsheathed her blade, held it up and charged it with a blast of lightning before her friends added elements of their own. Ray used fire, Juliet used wind, Romeo used ice, Jacob used earth, and Sarah used water. Once charged with the other elements, Jessie turned her blade to the rock and the six heroes glowed with a bluish white light.
"Dimensional Rift, reopen the dark path!" as she spoke a thin purple line appeared, she cut through it and a deep purple mist spilled onto the airship. She sheathed her blade and walked back down to the deck, "There's our ride."
"Are you really feeling up to it?" Ray inquired, wearing a stern look that the hero would never fail to smirk at.
"Yup, a boring day of rest and a good dinner was just what the doctor ordered!" Jessie replied enthusiastically, "Now let's go find Foce! Jacob, man the helm, Romeo and Juliet, cover him, the rest of us will stand ready for monsters!"
As it happened, there were no monsters to speak of, not in the air, at least, but as they lowered the airship, searching for Foce's crystal through the party crystal, they could hear see large shadows flitting about beneath them.
"I guess this world really has fallen apart." Jessie sighed, glancing down at the mountains of rubble that remained of once natural towers of stones, "Did Fellnyx really cause all of this?"
"That thing was more powerful than we could've expected." Ray pointed out, "We'll need to proceed carefully."
Two young women walked along a crumbled road, the one in front had green vines wrapped around her wrist, the one behind carried two scythes. In the small demon city they strolled through, only the smaller buildings survived.
"So, it really has begun, the Shattering, as foretold by the prophecy ancient Yggdrasil guardians." the white haired prisoner remarked gleefully, "You never thought you'd see it happen, right?"
"I don't know what you mean, I didn't even know about-" Foce began, when the other turned around and cackled.
"That's what you think! But think again, on the first few seconds you returned to this world, you asked if that girl was supposed to kill you, from whence did that theory spring?" she grinned as Foce struggled to recall further back, "You've repressed your feelings for so long, haven't you? You truly did forget; I would've thought that being in suspended animation in that other dimension was like a long sleep for you, guess you must've used the sealing properties of that place to lock up your memories."
"Shut up and walk." Foce replied dryly.
The doppelganger smiled and turned around obediently, "And here I thought we were having a nice chat."
"There's nothing nice about you, I detest your very presence, and the moment I can, I will destroy you completely."
"Oh? But...what if I really a your twin sister, and I have twin powers that let me read your thoughts and every memory, and you just can't because you locked up that ability?"
Foce snarled and whacked the other upside the head, "Then stop messing with my mind and tell me how to unlock it! Oh, that's right; you can't, because you're just a disgusting duplicate!"
"Haha, you are frail, you could've sent me tumbling to the ground just now if you had been at full strength."
"That's true, but I don't nee to be that strong...it's pointless." Foce let out a deep breath, she wasn't sure why she said anything she did, it was like she knew something, but couldn't tell herself the secret.
"Is it? What if it was for...someone?" the duplicate grinned cruelly and Foce instantly remembered the girl she first recalled while falling.
"Who was that girl? Why does she make me feel so...contorted?"
"Haha, I love it, even though you beat me, I can still torment you." the other turned around, walking ahead of the misty eyed vampire lord.
Foce growled as she rubbed her arms over her eyes, "I can't wait to be rid of you." she stared ahead and sighed as a dimly lit window appeared on a building around a corner, "Looks like someone's there."
"Shall I wait until you stop crying, you pitiful little vam-" she shrieked as Foce flew up above her and crashed down into her back, sending her careening towards the building.
"Walk!" Foce bit, flying above her prisoner, kicking the back of her head whenever she slowed down.
"Hey, look who's here, it's the boss!" a large, red and black dappled demon cheered, slamming his mug down and ordering another drink.
A slender blue demon arched her eyebrow as she eyed the Foce and the girl who looked like her, "Well, well, Boss, there's two of you now? Which is the real one?"
Foce roughly turned her duplicate around to reveal the green vines binding the other vampire, "Not this grunt, Banshee."
"I see...but how is she...how is this even possible?" the blue skin demon inquired.
The double grinned as she turned her head to meet Banshee's gaze, "I'm her twin!"
"She's Vidicatus' mess, he charged Duplicity and struck me with it." Foce let out a deep breath and shoved the purple eyed prisoner forward, "I don't know how to kill it or keep more from appearing, in all, there will be seven more."
"One for every day!" the doppelganger sang.
Banshee tapped her chin thoughtfully, "Well, assuming you can't kill her, you could always send her out to attack our the human army that will surely come at us."
"I...I don't want to fight the humans, I can't even remember if I did once or why I would...I met some humans...I'm sure the one calling himself Vindicatus is the only enemy I have, so I ask that you release the priestesses."
"But you'll die!" the large red and black demon cried.
"Will I? So my strength does come from them." Foce stared at the ground and nodded, "Then we'll take care of Vindicatus and the duplicators, and then release the girls."
"Are you listening to yourself?!" Banshee roared, "Do you know how long we've waited for the boundary between our world and theirs to weaken?! You're not living on borrowed time, this is meant to be permanent!"
"What do we do, then, rob eight other's of their life? For what...what do you want me to do now that you've woken me?"
"Lead us!" the large red demon cheered, "To a glorious and gory...a 'gorious' victory over the human armies!"
Foce smiled and shook her head, "Sorry, Feyerous, but no killing the humans, I can't speak of the past, but these humans have done nothing wrong."
"Well, there was one thing." Feyerous held up one finger and closed his eyes, looking a little tipsy now, "I went in as an ambassador to the humans and asked the priestesses to help us wake you up, but their manager refused and locked me up, so Banshee launched our forces on them while I was losing my mind cuz of some weird old man they called the sage."
"It was a nightmare," Banshee shook her head, "not only did we we have to remain here to face the Shattering again, but the hero called Jessie also repelled our forces, recruiting and inspiring others to join the fight; the only good to come of it was when she found Feyerous and sent him back here."546Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡauKrDh1R15
"Then Vindicatus really is behind everything!" Foce blurted, surprised when the two demons exchanged a glance, "What is it?"546Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJ3uRQNAkIX
"He's the one who attacked us a full thousand years ago," Feyerous explained, "we were just trying to survive the Shattering when he invaded, then he left the gate wide open so we could attack, but we were...unorganized. You found us and changed all that! Subdued our individual clans and banded us together into a gorious demon army! You crushed Banshee and obliterated me two or three times before I finally realized that you were a a war lord's war lord, and I pledged allegiance to your name!"
Banshee nodded, but wore a grim frown, "But after we invaded as an army...something happened and you disappeared from the front lines, we found you on the ground near a headstone."546Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡU3Cgq2Y7cn
"A-a headstone!" Foce's eyes widened as she heard the word; something made sense, but she couldn't put her finger on what it was, "What was the inscription...'To my'...'To-'"546Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡp2BovPYUnb
Banshee took a step forward to get Foce's attention, "'To my dearest friend: I swear to ever be by your side.' I figured it'd only be proper to put you beside them...so I did, and constructed the tomb around you both, and linked it here to this dimension...I knew you weren't dead, so I just levitated you and left you floating...I figured it'd be a century or two before you recovered, and I didn't want my lady to be sore from sleeping in one place for so long." 546Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡo5EStG9Zii
The vampire lord nodded slowly, her eyes closed as she took a deep breath, "I remember...I left my sword there along with a dozen roses I had plucked by the hips..." she felt the memory rush over her like a river, and readily sunk into it.546Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ7poyvrsU7R