<Chapter 5|Chapter 7>

November 1st, 989, BE10M

They reached the citadel by nightfall, taking the Shadow army by surprise. With the aid of the division, they captured the rest of the city, sustaining minimal casualties, and finally, surrounded the citadel. Before the great gates of the spire, the trio and the Centanium captain met. They then proceeded into the citadel. As they went up the steps, Sorin said to them: "This citadel was called the citadel of Ethereal Defiance, a derivation of the fact that it so impossibly and yet witheld and put the enemies of Centanium at bay on its eastern borders so long." To this Anzai replied, "Thanks for the history lesson teacher, we so needed that!"

To this, they all laughed, but quickly fell silent as they saw a huge staircase that seemed to spiral up to the heavens. They started walking up it but then it turned into a light jog and finally, sprinting. A few minutes, later, they reached the
Horseless knight by Althwen

The knight they saw.

pinnacle, exhaused, and they there saw the prince. However, he was guarded, by a single knight. The knight was unlike any Shadow, in full black armour, armed with a one handed sword and a shield. The knight turned around and the Centanium captain exclaimed, "It won't be hard. He's one, we ae four." Suddenly the knight charged, at a speed that was impossibly inhuman. He knocked over the captain and then performed a backflip and blocked off Sorin, who'd been running to the prince. In a dark and raspy voice, the knight said, "Foolish heroes. Even if you prevail here, you and your kind are doomed against my master. He will enslave and then mercilessly crush you." Thunder flashed and wicked lightning came down from the
Final Fantasy XIII Music - Boss Battle Theme03:14

Final Fantasy XIII Music - Boss Battle Theme

dark clouds above and smote the metal poles on the tower. The air crackled with electricity as the dark knight raised his shielded arm and gathered some of the electricity. Like vines, the tendrils snaked across his black shield, encasing it. He then threw it at the captain, who dodged too late. The shield threw him back, pinning him against a stone wall, the electricity arcing across his body. He crumpled and Sorin raced to him, checking his vitals. He raised a healing, protective shield of light which surrounded them. Meanwhile, Akira, raced at the knight, jumping high and then turning invisible. However, this did not hinder the knight and he just extended his hand and made a crushing motion with hand. A few seconds later, Akira appeared, held up in the air by the knight, who had his dark gloved hand around her neck. As she tried to pull away the knight's hands, Anzai charged, jumping in the air and slamming his blade down at the knight. The air charged and sparked and smelled of ozone as sparks flew from where the blades clashed. Anzai disengaged and began slashing at the knight from everywhere, his blade coming from above and below, as well as the sides.

However, the knight was just as fast, parrying and blocking the blows. He then gathered more electricity and hurled it at Anzai. Anzai intercepted the lightning with his own hand and threw it back at the knight. It did not seem to hurt him, but the knight staggered. Using this moment of weakness, Anzai charged and uppercut the knight with his blade. He then slashed his sword repeatedly into the knight's chest and finally, decapitated the knight. The knight disappeared in a whirlwind of darkness, which disappated into the air, leaving only his helmet.

The Centanium captain stood to his feet and whispered, "That knight there. He's one of the 12 knights of Diabolos, his servants. They were former lords of Centanium, as the legend goes, but were corrupted." Suddenly, there was a gasp and a weak voice said: "Help!" They looked over and saw the prince, leaned on one of the edges. The captain ran over and said, "The city has been taken my lord, but are you alright, sir? Do you require medical assistance?"

"No, I am fine thank you soldier. What is your name?"

"ARU-XVII, sir."

"You're with the Advanced Recon Unit? Good job soldier, you'll be promoted for your efforts in rescuing me and liberating the city. Who are these friends of yours?"

"They are members of the Order, my lord. They helped us liberate the city in exchange for safe passage to the Forest of Irudan. Without their help, we would not have this city and you, my lord, back in our hands."

The prince turned to the trio and gratefull whispered, "Thank you for your help my friends. Perhaps I will think differently now of Terracodans. As for your journey you are free to go, but if you will, let us give you supplies as token of my thanks."

Once they had restocked and replenished their supplies, Anzai, Akira, and Sorin left the city of Golodward and stood at the beginining of the path into the Forest of Irudan. Sorin, being the wisest, firstly spoke up and said, "We will have to go through the forest as the arms of the Mid-Western Silvren Mountains reach and surround the forest. Also, there are many Shadows and Shadeants which guard those mountain paths. What makes me uneasy is the fact that the enemy fortress Asenforth guards the southern-eastern part of the forest." To this Akira replied gravely and sullenly, "Well, we don't have a choice, right?" In silence, they silently headed into the forest, not knowing what was in store for them.

As the trees surrounded them, golden sunlight trickled through the dense leaves of the trees and danced in spots on the ground, intensifying and then fading. This continued until they'd gone so deep into the forest, any existance of the sun was blocked out by the trees. For what seemed like hours, they treaded on through the forest, being sure to stay on the forest path. The trees did not let even a drop of sunlight shine throughout the whole time. All of a sudden they heard a sharp gasp, like a sudden intake of breath. Looking around, they couldn't see anyone until a faint voice from the bushes and rocks to Sorin's left said weakly, "Here." With that, an arm suddenly came into view, partially wrapped in a silver-grey cloak that had looked rock like at first.

The figure moved into a sitting position and they saw what at first looked like a human. However, they then noticed the old and wise and yet fair and young look about the being and the slightly pointed ears. In a somewhat regal voice, "My name is Omerel. I come from the Northern Mountains, where my kin, the Mountain Elves dwell." Anzai replied, "How did you come of these wounds?"

"I was ambushed by Shadows. They may still be around be wary."

"Yes but that still doesn't explain-"

"I was here to find and gather some of the rare Moonsilver bloom. Our king is very ill and this is the last component of a potion we have brewed for him. It was said that the last few Moonsilver blooms may be found here. Please, I know I've just met you but would you do be so kind as to do me a favour for a dying man such as I? Please, help me find some of the Moonsilver plant."

Though Anzai did not know the Elf, he simply could not ignore the expression of desperation and hopelessness on the Elf's face and decided to act, "Alright, but how will we know how to find it?"

"The moon now its waning quarter, wherever there is moonsilver, the moon will make it shine."

With tha final word, the elf suddenly started convulsing. Sorin quickly leaned down and hovered a hand over the elf's chest wound. A blue-white light emanated from his hand and pulsed, becoming brighter and then softer. Soon the elf's wounds were healed and closed up and the elf went into a state of unconciousness as if just sleeping. Anzai turned to Sorin, who was kneeling over the elf and said, "Could you stay here with him until we find the moonsilver?" Sorin made a look of concern but agreed. With that, Anzai and Akira headed out into the dark forest.

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