Legend of the Exile, Chapter 47: Battle For VictoryBorn of blade and lethal stare
Lead the charge with wild glare
The illusion breaks before me
A loving heart is soaring wide
The distant rings of Chimecho alarms in the distance stirred the anti-air Magmortar from sleep, crying out that the waterfall gate was compromised, the fortress-island under attack. He scanned for intruders in the sky, pale dark blue with silver glitter. He felt his muscles convulse and pump fresh liquid fire into his newly grafted arm-cannon. Capable of volleying lava shots two hundred feet with deadly accuracy, the Magmortar was a terrifying weapon in the Red Dragon's arsenal.
He gazed down from his post on the rocky hillside, guarded as securely as the other three anti-air stations along the coastal ridge, nestled among the tree-dotted hillsides. A leer formed on the Magmortar's features as he patted a Houndoom on the head, his clownish hair swaying slightly as a faint breeze flitted from the trees.
The first Skarmories approached from the sea. At once, each of the four Magmortars went on full alert, their guards bolting upright around them. Molten death exploded from the mouths of their arm-cannons in controlled bursts, streaking across the sky in blazing arcs, swallowing the Skarmory formations and reducing them to slag, Shrieking, cawing, the the steel birds broke formation and scattered as deadly fire rained on their heads.
The last Skarmory had barely fallen silent when the Magmortars caught sight of their true enemies, blazing in the darkness overhead. Startled shouts rose from the guards as they saw the Flareon and his warriors standing on the ridge behind each post, fire rippling from their fur as they pawed at the ground.
"Attack!" shouted Insyte, paws pounding against the green turf. Howls and shouts rose as the patrols came charging down towards the Magmortars. Snarling, the Flareon and his warriors sprinted towards an anti-air Magmortar, barreling straight through a host of Sableye guards. Darting under his foe's 's clumsy swipes, the Flareon sprang up onto his enemy's back, clawing at molten flesh.
A second Magmortar primed his cannon as a Golem bowled straight through his protective line of Shieldons. Hot sparks flew from an Arcanine's paws as the patrol rushed at the Magmortar and his guards, charging as they fell. A Luxio, a Treecko, and a Lairon crumpled as Suicune lunged over the soldiers' heads, a burst of pressurized water blasting the Magmortar and sending it reeling, howling in pain.
Rivers of fire shot from the third Magmortar's cannons, phasing into steam as it met a descending wave of humid air. Shanala's eyes flashed as a swarm of Masquerains flew over the heads of her advancing patrol, a fine mist descending from their wings. Lunging forward past the Ninetales, Torrid crashed into the potbellied monster headfirst, knocking it flat on its back, talon-like claws curled around the monster's wrists.
The fourth Magmortar roared as Makuhita fists punched straight through his force-field barriers, sending his three Mr. Mimes reeling back in shock. Tiny flames flickered in the eye sockets of Marrow's skull-pendant as his patrol tore through the guards with snarls. A fiery muzzle clamped down on the Magmortar's cannon arm, twisting scale and bone.
But then, as the last of the Magmortars collapsed to the ground, there came a shrill cry from above, stopping the battalion in their tracks. Horrified, Insyte and the warriors turned to stare up towards the cawing Chatot, perched on a rock near the top of the ridge, shrieking a warning to the sky. Rearing up onto his hind legs, Suicune silenced the bird with an ice beam, knocking it off its perch-- its cries still echoing through the hills of Ever Grande.
In the darkness, the sprite gazed down from her rocky ledge overlooking the woods, watching as Lute, Shock, and Heroc led their patrols along the eastern ravine. The battalion had moved boldly, but it did not matter now; their ambush would be silent and undetected. "Prepare to drop," whispered Mesprit to the soldiers behind her, her smile dark and thin. "Jump down at my signal--"
The implike Pokemon froze as a wave of emotion swept through the air; surprise, panic, fury, aggression. Overwhelmed, Mesprit drifted back from the rock's edge, glancing around frantically, breathing hard, her mission forgotten in a heartbeat. "My lady?" said a Mr. Mime, tilting his head sideways. "The battalion is getting away!" Sure enough, the patrols were rounding the bend in the forest, moving further inland.
Ignoring her minion, Mesprit reached out with her mind, tracing the thought-pattern waves back to their source. Somewhere on the island, there was a powerful warrior, one well within Rush's inner circle, one with the aura signature that she had sought. "Forget them," hissed Mesprit, her eyes glowing white as she floated past them, beckoning them to follow. "We have much greater prey. Back to camp!"
Below the cliffs, Sapphire Battalion quickly gathered on the lake's shore as the Chimecho bells rang out from the ridges overhead. "Go, quickly," ordered Lyther from the mouth of a cave's entrance, ushering his warriors into the darkness as the Scizor's huts crumpled into heaps of burning timber. The faintest rays of early light flickered over the ridge, tinges of indigo from the east.
On the rocks overhead, Mesprit and her warriors came streaking down the slope, racing through the trees. "Spare the Lucario, but only him," ordered the pink sprite as her soldiers hurried through the still-burning wreckage, towards the Retrievers by the caves on the lake's west shore. At last, her prize was ready for the taking! "Go, for the Exile--"
"Is that everyone?" called Lyther as the crossbow-wielding Linoone vanished into the tunnel. Pulling his silvery-blue cloak close to his body, the Lucario scanned the camp and the lake for movement. "Good!" Chanting under his breath, he thrust his open palms out against the wind. A wave of light spread out from his paws, forming a pearly white barrier, sealing the tunnel's entrance. "Now let's go!"
On the other side of the glowing white wall, Mesprit and her patrol came to a stop, staring at Lyther's sigil-barrier. "Truly, this child of Slick's is skilled," hissed the magus, her tails writhing together, her body glowing with pink light. Her paw sizzled as she touched the barrier, and she quickly drew it back. "I am coming for you, Lyther del Rio..."
Paws pounded through the woods as Emerald Battalion pressed on towards the camp beyond the ridge ahead, enemies scurrying around them in the early twilight. Stumbling into each other, Pokemon among the Exile's forces dispersed in droves, rushing off towards the west ridges and the waterfall camp, not knowing that their battles were already lost.
At the top of the rock-crowned hill waited a shadow on a high ledge, his eyes gleaming gold as the Retrievers advanced on three sides. "Patrol one, follow the creek," ordered Shock, the mask-eyed avian behind him. "Patrol two, take the slope. Patrol three, move along the shrubs." The three captains nodded before moving off.
The harsh hum of insects and beasts filled the air as Wormadams burst out of the surrounding shrubbery, their numbers thinned but no less dangerous. Charging up the hill's front side, an Electrike tackled a Carnivine to the ground as Heroc's patrol scrambled through the brush.
A Mawile spun around as she strode forward, her open black jaws clamping down on a Croagunk's torso, its poisonous skin ineffective. "No mercy," hissed Heroc as he darted behind a Quagsire, a fist crashing into the back of the soft-fleshed Pokemon's head.
Down below, along the river, Klesr rushed past Lute at a Tauros, wings spread and eyes hard. The Scyther's armblades bounced off the charging bull's horns as Lumineons burst out of the river, water-pulses sweeping past Lute's head. A Sneasel and a Sandslash rushed at an Ambipom and two Aipoms hanging from low branches, following each swing of their blades with claw-swipes.
Moving along the ridge's side, the Zangoose lunged into the nearest Wormadam, her claws tearing through the creature's grassy cloak. Stepping to one side, Sparktail swung for a charging Grotle's neck, feeling his blade cutting into green flesh just under a hard yellow shell. Venom dripped from a Beedrill's sting as it dove towards the Raichu, who spun towards the insect's discordant hum with a crackling paw.
Drawing back her bowstring, Thalia sank an arrow into a luminescent Venomoth's thorax, darting out of the way of its chitin mandibles. She flung razor leaves back over her shoulder as a Lickitung's long tongue shot for her, stopping it only inches from snaring her tail. Propelling himself at a tan Wormadam, Wyrn rolled as he hit the ground, rapidly puncturing holes in its sandy cloak.
Her cheeks crackling, Amber blasted three green Burmys with a blinding discharge as they dropped from the trees around her. The Phanpy sprang past her, rolling headfirst into a pair of descending Beedrills. "Keep going! Just past that ridge!" called Shock as Latias tackled a Cranidos to the ground.
But Heroc's patrol was astonished to find the camp empty, the rows of lean-tos silent and still. A shallow stream trickled from a small pond, bending around a grey boulder and down the slope. Then, as the Breloom stared, an eerie screech suddenly rang out through the camp, echoing across the isle.
The patrol glanced up to see a small cracked stone, perched on the boulder by the river. Purple plasma swelled out from the tiny rock, crackling with green sparks that formed a hideous face. Frantically, Heroc shouted orders to his patrol as enemies bolted upright from sleep all around them.
The cackling Spiritomb writhed and glowed as green-and-violet light shot up from its body into the sky. "No," hissed Shock furiously as the Pokemon on the slopes stared up towards the flashing signal, rivaling the dim glow from the east. Watching the chaos, the shadow looked up to the lavender-tinged dawn and nodded, satisfied.
Over the waves they advanced, Wailmers and Laprases and Blastoises on the rolling waves, still cloaked in the silver mist. Behind Rush, Retrievers held still as others dove into the water, swimming along their allies. The fleet crashed through the icy seawater, rising on the swelling waves and plunging back down into frothing water, assaulted by stinging spray.
The first flickers of red crept over the horizon as they entered the bay, the mist a silver blanket spilling over the subdued waters. For a moment, there was only silence as the Retrievers stared at the sleeping defenses, more than three times their size. Then, Chimecho bells rang out from the south, followed by Chatot sirens from the north, and the Spiritomb's beacon from the west. "Drop the mist! Attack!" shouted Rush as he slid down from his Wailmer.
As the fleet emerged from the wall of spilling mist, Croagunks and Machops scurried up and down the sandy beach, waking the Forretresses in the trenches. Octilleries and Cloysters burst out from the sea in rows to confront Green Battalion, opening fire on them. A Riolu howled as an icicle-spear sank into his leg, a Vulpix and a Furret flung off their Wailmers' backs by pressurized jets of water.
Streaks of freezing light flew from the Laprases' and Sealeos' mouths at their foes as the Forretress' spikes rained down on them. One arm wrapped around his Lapras' neck, a Kadabra flung a glowing spoon into a large Cloyster, causing a great upheaval of seawater as it exploded. A Seaking leapt out of the water alongside Foam, his horn plunging into a pair of Octilleries. Glowing leaves flew from a Gardevoir's outstretched hands as she sank to one knee, slicing through a Cloyster's shell.
From the highest sand dune, Azelf's eyes glowed furiously as the tiny fleet battled its way towards the beach, rapid streams of spikes from the Forretress cannons. At a signal from the tiny Pokemon, six Empoleons sprang down from the cliffs overhead, plummeting into the sea. Squinting as icicle spears and steel spikes assaulted him, a Nidorino climbed up onto his Lapras's head to stare at the charging titans.
The waters frothed as two Blastoises shot past the Empoleons on either side, each followed by a host of four Laprases, landing on the beaches a hundred feet apart. Forretress spikes ricocheted off the great turtles' shells, hatches on their backs opening to expose their cannons. "Open fire!" barked Rush, eyes flashing as Wailmers surged forward with Pikachus on their backs to meet the advancing Empoleons.
Heavy, pressurized bursts of water flew from the Blastoises' cannons, blasting the firing Forretresses and the waves of charging Machops. Voltorbs exploded from beneath the sand as Retrievers scrambled down from the Laprases' backs, hurling them to the ground in deafening upheavals of sand. Snarling, rising to their paws, the Pokemon clawed their way up the beach towards their enemies under rain of fire.
Leathery membrane wings beat through the hazy air, a ail rippling in the cold black dawn, a great trail of Skarmories, Swellows, Fearows, Noctowls, and Pidgeots behind him. The Dragonite gripped the hilt of his well-worn blade as Red Battalion flew towards the cliffs of Ever Grande, fresh troops rushing down into the vast battle.
The others had not failed, whatever costs they had paid: The Magmortars were down, the beaches seized, the hilltop captured. All was going according to plan. Roathaus smiled grimly as a Swellow and a Pidgeot flanked him on either side, carrying Swordwrit warriors on their backs. At an order from the Dragonite, the battalion descended towards the grass-ridged isle and the aerial defenses.
Up ahead, a fleet of Drifblims waited in perfect formation, plywood stages and wooden crates suspended from their yellow tails. As the battalion approached, Magnezones came to life, emergency lights flashing, their sirens filling the air, stirring Drifloons, Mismagii, and Honchkrows from sleep.
Streaming flames, writhing shadow balls, chain lightning, lethal beams of ice; the battalion rushed into their foes with full power, exchanging fire, blasting each other's riders, striking out with claws, blades, beaks, and fangs as they rushed past each other. Blue dragonflame blazed from Roathaus's maw as he rose up behind a Magnezone, his dark blade ripping a hole in a Drifblim's canvas body.
Hissing, a Weavile sprang off a Noctowl's back and landed a series of long gashes in a Mismagius's back as a violent wind swept a Typhlosion and his Swellow steed back out to sea. Skarmory wings shredded Drifblims to bits as a Vaporeon ducked low to his Pidgeot's back, a thunderbolt missing him by inches. Back and forth, in and out, the Retrievers wove their attacks through the fabric of their enemies under the leadership of the ancient guildmaster.
Smashing the Spiritomb's keystone with a well-aimed seed bomb, Heroc sprang up onto the boulder as three Rhyperiors emerged from the trees with slow, shuddering steps. "Hey, wrecking-balls," shouted the Breloom as the soldiers flew out from their lean-tos, his patrol around him, his silhouette dark against the silver-gray sky. "This is for my home... for all of our homes!"
Around the camp, the Exile's soldiers rushed at Heroc's patrol as the captain leapt for the nearest red Rhyperior. Angry red seeds exploded against the side of the Rhyperior's head as he swung for Heroc, who vaulted over the sweeping tail with his staff. Glowing green fists smashed into the beast's abdomen, cracking the thick red chestplate.
Snaring a Cranidos' head with her black jaws, the Mawile yanked the dinosaur off its feet and and smashed it down into the ground with a cry. Fire streaked from a Torkoal's mouth and set fire to a Snover's shell. Howling as Purugly claws battered his flank, the Electrike sank his teeth into a moving Kricketune's leg. Streaks of light flew from a Jynx's hands as shadow balls crashed into the back of a Corphish's head.
Screeching in fury, a Vespiquen and a swarm of hissing Combees flew out from the nests under the rocks for Heroc, whose eyes widened as the bees descended upon him. A pair of Nuzleafs sprang for the queen bee from behind, but were caught in the haze of swerving Combees, poisonous yellow nectar searing through their barklike skin.
On the edge of the camp, leading his patrol out from the trees, Shock moved swiftly in a circle around the Rhyperior and the Vespiquen, blue sparks flying from his paws and muzzle. Giving a distant cry, Latias shot up at the Vespiquen with flashing eyes. Thalia landed an arrow in a swooping Staraptor as Sparktail sliced off a Skorupi's tail. Bounding over the river, Amber cracked a long length of bark over a Prinplup's head as Ketrail tackled a Snover to the ground.
Leaping up onto Shock's back, Heroc vaulted onto the second Rhyperior's back, climbing up onto the beast's head. Green plant-shoots burst from the pod on the Breloom's tail and swarmed over the Rhyperior's body. Vines wormed their way into cracks and crevices on the rock-beast's body, parasitic roots sapping the beast's life away in glowing swells.
From the gap in the trees where the stream trickled down the hillside, Lute and his warriors rushed into the fray. Leaping out from behind a tree, the Sandslash slashed at a Monferno with claws and blade as Klesr hacked through a Tangrowth's swarming vines. Leaping back from a Gallade, the Sneasel crossed his heart with his saber, then sprang forward at his foe again.
In the early twilight, Latias and the Vespiquen flew at each other, exchanging bursts of light. Lute darted past the third Rhyperior in a circle, dancing in and out of the gargantuan's reach. Furious, the Rhyperior swung at the swift wolf with heavy blows, shaking the ground as the Pokemon battled around them.
Five miles north, Ruby Battalion moved up the grassy ravine, staring towards the pale morning glory. "Something's not right," said Insyte, frowning. "We've only seen a few pockets of guards. Torrid, take three and check the left ridge. I'll take the right. Marrow, you take the lead."
The two captains nodded, and several Retrievers split off from the rest after Torrid and Insyte. Leading his patrol up the slope, the Flareon glanced back to the Pokemon in the main battalion until they blurred into the distance. Why hadn't they faced stronger numbers? Behind him, Shanala gave Insyte a reassuring prod, but the Flareon remained troubled.
Racing towards the ridge's top, Insyte stared out from the trees into the dim light, to the ridgetop camp where Emerald Battalion fought, the beaches where Rush's fleet battled. In the north stood the temple that once housed Hoenn's finest, but now seized by Garchomp for her fortress. As his own battalion advanced, he could make out other patrols in the wilderness, scurrying along dirt trails, both Exile and Retriever, but all Pokemon to his eyes...
"I've been waiting for you, Vulcanite king," whispered a contemptuous voice.
Insyte whirled around, but the rest of the patrol hadn't caught up to him yet. He blinked as he picked up the dark scents; Exile soldiers were nearby. "Who's there?" called the Flareon, his eyes narrowing. "Come out where I can see you."
"But would you recognize me, see the scars you left?"
At once, his lion-claws unsheathed, his fur standing on end. "Insyte? You still there?" called Shanala, approaching in the distance. "We should get back to the battalion as soon as possible. Is everything all right?"
"You cheated destiny. You escaped your consequences."
The Flareon didn't answer. He knew this voice. It was a voice that haunted him, a voice that he dreaded to hear; and yet he couldn't quite place the memory. Breathing hard, Insyte scanned the surrounding boulders for his unseen enemy. "Embyr?" said the Flareon weakly, his heart pounding.
Without warning, a heavy blow struck the Flareon from behind, knocking him flat on his back, followed by a shriek and a blur of motion behind him. "Shanala?!" gasped Insyte as the other Vulcanites hit the ground. But before he could get a good look at the others, a tall, dark shadow moved in front of him.
As the faintest glow flickered through the darkness above, the Flareon finally saw his attacker's face. Towering over him was a Scizor with half-blackened armor, jagged dark stripes of charred metal between crimson plates. "My name is Scar," snarled the Scizor, his eyes filled with fury.
Scrambling to his paws, the horrified Flareon stared at the black-and-red Scizor, the memories coming in an instant. An Espeon and an Umbreon, his parents dying on the cold ground. A fiery lunge, a rush of anger; a flaming star swallowing their murderer, leaving him to burn on the ground.
"An infant of destiny, a world in chaos; a crimson slayer against two prophets," hissed Scar, his eyes blazing as Insyte stared at him, stunned. "Forged in fire, twisted by death, and forever scarred! Hero and villain, savior and destroyer in one body. Come, let me drag you down to hell!"
Down in the tunnels beneath the island, Lyther and his warriors sprinted down a rocky precipice, listening to the surge of the ebbing tide below. Eerie blue light flickered from Lyther's paw and the four scrawny Raichus in the patrol, casting grim shadows along the cavern wall. Bursts of light struck the rock walls around them from Mesprit and her chasing patrol, a mad fervor in the magi's eyes.
Fireballs, thunderbolts, telekinetic blasts flew between the two sides as Sapphire Battalion continued retreating down the tunnel, the cavern echoing with wild howls and furious shouts. "Sir! We can't keep this up forever," gasped the Flaaffy, glancing up to the Lucario. "The further that we proceed, the more Pokemon we lose. We must make a stand!"
"How many are left?" asked Lyther, not glancing back to the battle behind him, his eyes towards the path ahead. In the distance, a Skitty shrieked as black fire swept from a cackling Haunter's hands, swallowing her whole. A Luxio howled as a psychic wave flung him over the edge and down into the foaming waters below. "If we've lost over half our number--"
"There's about thirty of us, but scents are hard to tell apart," said the Linoone archer from the Lucario's other side. Adjusting her headlamp strap, she fired a crossbow bolt back at a swooping Honchkrow. More cries echoed through the tunnel as streams of electricity flew from a Magnezone and blasted a Glaceon and a Corphish. "We're not outnumbered, not yet, but we will be soon if we can't find cover!"
"No time to find cover," said Lyther grimly, shaking his head. He scanned their bleak surroundings as the tunnel widened into a spacious cavern, a series of rock shelves overlooking a vast river. The Lucario could still hear the cries of his battalion just behind him. "We've got to keep moving--"
Then, as the Lucario entered the great cavern, the cries from Mesprit's patrol abruptly vanished. Stumbling to a halt, Lyther glanced back over his shoulder, but saw only his own battalion. "Right," said the Lucario as he crouched down, listening to the battalion's confused voices. "How many left now?"
"About twenty-five," said the Flaaffy weakly. Nodding, Lyther glanced to his paws as his fur prickled with the hum of aural waves, blurred by the chaos aboveground. Then, looking to the trickling river far below, he continued along the broken precipice. Shuffling behind the Lucario, exhausted Retrievers exchanged glances as they descended the rocky slope, still trying to catch their breath.
Up ahead, the gorge swirled around a piece of the cliff, forming an island of stone, connected by an arching bridge of stalactites. On the island-column gleamed a smooth blue crystal, resting on a slab of dark stone. "Curious," muttered the Lucario, staring towards the crystal, dim light flickering from its glossy surface. "Is this one of the anomalies that Trident spoke of...?"
The hum in the cavern grew stronger as they approached the rock outcropping, a faint vibration growing in the Lucario's bones. "Sir, I would ignore it if I were you," warned the Flaaffy, looking up to the Lucario, water droplets falling from the stalactites overhead. "You don't even know what it is."
Lyther's tail went rigid at the sight of the blue crystal, casting a swirling, watery glow over the rocks like sunlight reflecting off the waves. "No point in wasting time," agreed the Meowth, his paw-grip tightening on his rapier. "We should go before Mesprit comes back."
Taking off his cloak, the Lucario stepped away from his patrol, approaching the mysterious crystal on its stone pedestal, staring into its flickering light. His eyes narrowed. Why did Mesprit come after him? The ancient Wonder Orbs had not been seen for millennia, but the arcana they contained would surely have attracted the three magi to Hoenn.
Carefully, Lyther setting down his spear and raised his paws, his vision glowing with blue streaks. "Don't touch it, Lyther!" shouted the Linoone archer, moving forward. Ignoring her, the Lucario pressed his glowing pawpads to the crystal's cool surface, staring into the orb's rippling aura.
The moment the Lucario touched the crystal, the entire cavern began to hum, and the Retrievers froze. The light inside the crystal quivered, then began to pulsate, picking up speed until it synchronized with the glow from Lyther's paws. Alarmed, the Lucario tried to draw back his paws, but his body did not respond, as if frozen in time.
Far below, the river began to froth and churn, slowly rising towards the patrol, tiny red lights gleaming beneath the swelling foam. In the crystal's core, the light slowly shifted from light blue to dark red, throbbing like a beating heart. Murmurs and cries rose from the Retrievers behind Lyther as the humming aural waves grew stronger and stronger, a melancholy song echoing in their ears.
As the heaving waters sloshed against the rock walls, a crack appeared on the crystal's surface between Lyther's paws. Still spellbound, the Lucario stared at the tiny seam, the red light within the blue glass seeming to push forcefully against his paws. With each throb, the crack widened and grew, splintering open the smooth gemstone. Then, with one last pulse, the entire crystal burst open in a flash of light, flinging Lyther onto his back.
The battalion exchanged glances as the glittering foam-clouds loomed over them, the swollen river's surface splashing onto the rocks by their paws. Scrambling to his paws, the Lucario stared numbly up at the still-glowing Pokemon floating before him with beckoning arms, twirling its tail-like antennae, the shards of its crystalline egg scattered across the ground.
An egg, realized the horrified Lucario. This was no crystal, no magic orb; this had been an egg, a trap laid for him. "You came for me, just like they promised," whispered the Manaphy with its doll-like smile and eyes, its voice soft yet chilling. "You came, you came for me. Now we'll play together, all of us... forever and ever!"
As Manaphy finished speaking, Phiones burst out from the glowing river foam-clouds with melodic cries, rushing at the battalion from all directions. Frantic and terrified, Retrievers lashed out with their claws and blades as the sea-dwellers swarmed them with flashing antennae and surging waves. "Join me in my eternal slumber..."
In the ancient temple nested in the island's sacred hills, the Omega Warrior stood silently in the shadows, watching the scattered battle. His paw rested on his blade, its polished surface gleaming like a jewel. War had come to the sacred isle of Ever Grande.
As the clouds parted, he stepped towards the window as Red Battalion descended towards the temple, the Drifblims falling into the sea behind them. Even now, the Retrievers fed chaos. Even now, they fed death. With every life taken, with blood freshly spilled, they desecrated Hoenn.
He pressed his ear to the double doors, listening to the rise and fall of the terrible dragon's breath. "My lady," whispered the Raichu, watching the approaching haze with a terrible smile. "The defenses are breached, your castle under siege. Your soldiers fall back, but your prey draws near..."
A low, guttural sound came from the darkness of the chamber behind him, the floor rippling beneath his paws. "Ga-a-a-ar...." Slowly, the sounds rose from a rolling growl into a snarling crescendo. "Gar...
chomp." Satisfied, Omega drew his sword and padded down the stairs.
A full-fledged roar shook the temple, shaking thick clouds of dust from ceiling to floor. Across the island, both Retrievers and Exile soldiers glanced back towards the temple, the hills echoing with the Red Dragon's cry. And in the distance, Roathaus's eyes widened as meteors began to rain down from the heavens in a shower of azure fire.