"So you're Ursula?" I asked, dumbfounded by her announcement. I just had to be sure since she was with us this whole time, but never said anything. "That's correct," confirmed Ursula. "I'm pretty sure that Deltra told you all about me." Everyone was alert. And looked at me. "You saw Deltra?" asked Kiruna. "When?" "She spoke to me when I was drowning in the waters," I explained. "She told me to look for Ursula, and I guess we found her already." Catry interrupted, "I totally remember you. You're the girl who hugged Ryuka. If you knew about us, then why didn't you say anything in the first place?" Ursula rose from her seat. "I didn't want to ruin any surprises," she explained. "I recognized that sword of yours and I had to meet with you. But first, I wanted to wait until I felt you were ready. You seem to have made it through the mountains okay until that run-in." I turned my attention to my comrades, "How did you all get here?" Before any of them could answer, Ursula stepped forward. "I found them scattered all over the place. After recognizing Catry, I had to grab anyone else in your group I could find. After that, I brought them all here. It looks like you came to the right place at the right time, Ryuka." "It's really peaceful here," said Ralding. "I wouldn't mind if we stayed here a little longer. The people here are friendly and the food is good." "Well you will be here for a while," replied Ursula with a grin. "There's something I need to show you anyway, so everyone come along."
Ursula took us to the shore north of the houses. Ariko stopped for a moment, "Ursula. The water is-" "I know," replied Ursula with a devilish smile. "That's where I come in." She held out her arms and made the palms of her hands face each other. She then concentrated her energy into them, and moved them away from each other. This caused the water in front of us to split apart and create a narrow passageway to the island. Amazed, we all followed her. The island was immense and was home to an ancient grotto that appeared to be a place of worship, due to the statues of various goddesses and armored warriors. "It makes you wonder what kind of people existed at the time when it was still alive," said Ariko. Catry examined everything around her. The texts on the walls piqued her interest greatly. "There are so many things that I want to know here" she thought to herself. Ursula placed her hands on the central stonewall. She spoke a chant in another language and the wall split apart in the fashion of sliding doors. None of us could find the right words to describe it. As our group walked deeper into the grotto, I had to ask Ursula. "What language were you speaking back there?" Ursula turned to me; "It's an ancient language from long ago. Those who speak it have been dead for thousands of years." It was fascinating. No one else spoke the language? "How is that even possible?" I thought. No one else could comprehend what was just heard.
Ursula brought us to the main room of the cave. It had a large summoning circle with multiple spaces around it, made for sitting down. Each space had two torches on their sides, as if they were set up for a ritual. Ursula then turned our attention to the giant wall, which had ancient carvings on it. The carvings went in a certain order. The first carving started on the far left. It showed a vicious-looking beast in combat with an old man wearing a robe, holding staff and sporting a long beard. The next one showed the beast being encased in a sphere of light, sealed away from doing anymore harm. The third carving displayed a woman bringing the demon out of its imprisonment, absorbing souls to reach full awakening, while destroying everything in its path. The final carving showed a sword surrounded by orbs. Upon closer inspection, it occurred to me that these were the same orbs that we've been searching for. "I think we need a better explanation for this," suggested Catry. All of a sudden, the room darkened, and the torches all lit up. The flames of each torch had different colors. There were orange flames, but the others were green, silver, blue, purple and red. The three orbs that were gathered levitated to the spaces, corresponding to their color. The necklace started to react, summoning a tiny speck of light to the center of the circle. Deltra had appeared once again. Everyone looked at her, with a complete loss of words.
"Thank you for bringing them here, Ursula," said Deltra. "I think we should go into more detail about the carvings. There's a lot more to this quest." We all listened in to hear the story. She began to explain things:
"Long ago, before the birth of all living things, there was a horrible ancient monster that caused nothing but destruction in its path. This monster spread its darkness to the farthest reaches of the universe. God came forth to stop it from doing any further harm. The battle waged on for a long length of time. The beast was the only creature to ever match the power of God. With one swift attack, God was able to defeat the demon. In its weakened state, God was able to form a ball around it and said 'let there be light', causing the demon to be sealed where the sun is now and fully dormant. However, this seal can be broken by the power of the Dark Empress." I took another look at the stone. The woman on it had to be the Dark Empress Deltra was talking about. She continued on with her story. "The Dark Empress is the only being with enough power to break the seal and awaken the demon from its slumber. It is also said that she will call upon a demonic army from the darkest depths of the underworld. The sword you see there is the only sword that can stand a chance against a force that powerful. The orbs you have collected are the sacred essences of each region you have visited, as are the other three. When God created the Earth, he established six major regions: Desert, Forest, Mountain, Ocean, Ruins and Sky. An orb was created for each of these regions as a mark of God's blessing of the lands."
The story we heard amazed us to no extent. The talk of the demon had all of us on the edge of our seats. Ariko noticed a broken piece on the carving of the orbs. "Is there a seventh orb that we don't know about?" she asked. Deltra replied, "Yes. Maeve stole the seventh orb long ago. Based on reports from the other regions, it is said to be the most powerful out of all the orbs combined. It's true nature cannot be confirmed, but if you find it, its secrets will be fully revealed. As for the Dark Empress, that title can only go to a woman, whose heart is filled with light and purity. The woman chosen has to go through a ritual. With a high level of light, comes a high level of evil if awakened." I took some time to think about it and it finally hit me: Krista was captured so that Maeve could awaken the Dark Empress from within her. "Krista is the Dark Empress, isn't she?" I asked. "If that's the case, we can't waste any time." Ralding interrupted, "Wait a minute. We can't just barge in. We need a plan against these guys." "That is correct" Ralding," said Deltra. "Ursula will train each of you for the upcoming battles just as I arranged. These tasks will not be easy, but it will put you to the test so you can increase your strength. As for your Ryuka, you will have to develop the dragon powers from within you if you wish to defeat the remaining witches. You must all do whatever it takes to prevent the demon's resurrection, for as we speak, the ritual continues." A thought occurred to Catry. "What about Aislin?" she asked. "Why was she captured?" Deltra turned to her. "They want to play a game with her life," she said. "Aislin has Holy protection too, but her level of light is not as strong as Krista's. They merely treat her as an extra prize. As you've seen, she uses magic, but it is used to attack. Krista's powers were designed to help and heal those in need." I started to remember Krista attacking Strellzack with full strength. "She was embarrassed and scared of what we might have thought about her," I deduced. "I must go now," Deltra announced. "Ursula, they're in your hands now." With that, she vanished once again.
It was the evening time. We spent long hours learning about our objectives. We all left the cave and headed back to the settlement. After everything we learned, we knew that we had our work cut out for us. We didn't have a choice but to succeed in our mission. This was not only for the world's sake, but also for Krista and Aislin's. Our group sat down at a table with Ursula for drinks. "I never knew that we would be involved in something so huge," said Ariko. "I don't mind though. I'm ready for all of this." "That's great enthusiasm," Ursula replied. "You'll need that for the training. Now this won't be easy, but it's the only way you'll get stronger. However, I need you all to keep in mind that this training will not guarantee immediate success, but your chances of winning will be higher. Part of this will involve bonding and working as a team, as well as awakening your potentials. Now you all need rest because your training begins at sunrise."
I haven't posted story parts in a long time, so this is a good way for me to get my footing back.