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Sianna had long since given up trying to free herself from her gag by the time the soldiers came to take her away. After having seen Gaian and Bevern taken away and not returned she dreaded to think what was about to happen to her, especially after the incident with the pirates that could have been a lot, lot worse if it wasn't for Tyght.

The soldiers were much gentler with her this time than when they had entered the airship. They still placed a bag over her head, but this time they were walking at a much slower pace, they didn’t have their swords poking into her back, and slowly directed her when they needed to turn a corner, rather than drag her round roughly.

Before long they entered a room and she was gently coaxed into a chair. Once she had sat down the bag was removed from her head. The room she was in was carpeted and cosily decorated. Sitting across from her, on the other side of an ornate table, was General Catrix. The soldiers closed the door, but two of them remained in the room with their swords drawn.

In the corner of the room she could see an image contained within a box, and the image was moving. She got a shock when she saw that it was Bevern strapped to a table.

The General smiled at her, “Don’t worry, I don’t intend to hurt him, well, not any more, now that he’s told me all that I need to know. But that could change if you don’t co-operate. We need to talk. Now, if I remove your gag I need you to promise that you won’t try and use magic. If you do, these soldiers will kill you before you’ve even got the first syllable out. Also, if you try anything, or you don’t co-operate, you friend in there will die a most painful, and shocking, death. So, do I have your promise that you won’t do anything stupid?”

Sianna nodded – there could be no harm in merely talking to the General, and she didn’t want to be responsible for anything bad happening to Bevern. The General looked at one of the soldiers and nodded, and the soldier subsequently removed her gag.

“Now,” said the General, “I know roughly where the Water Crystal is, that you had no control over the entrance to the shrine containing the Fire Crystal, and that you are on a mission for some being called Lisa. I know that she refers to you as ‘Warriors of Light’, and that you are able to somehow restore the balance of the Crystals, and have some of their power transferred to you. As there are four Crystals and four of you, it would appear that you are able to absorb the power of one Crystal each.

“I saw Gaian absorb the Fire Crystal’s power, and your friend Bevern tells me that your other friend Tyght absorbed the power of the Water Crystal. This just leaves Bevern and yourself.

“We believe that these Crystals can be controlled. Our Emperor has had some success in this area, which is bringing about the new world order in which we will dominate. But there is more that can be done.

“First, we’re going to find all of the Crystals and gather them in the Imperial Capital, Galvatron. Then we intend to use them to maintain balance in the world, whilst still maintaining our hold over it.

“This is where you can come in. I had been observing your work in the RDF for many years, right up to the Regellan incident. I am well aware that you are one of their most able magic users, and, between you and me, there would be few in the Empire that would be able to match you. I will allow you to absorb the power of one of the two remaining Crystals. Bevern will eventually take the fourth. But before he does you will use your considerable skills in the workings of magic to find a way to control them. Once you have found this way, you will teach it to the others, after we have turned them to our way of thinking. Of course, if they refuse, they will die. We’re not sure what will happen to the Crystal’s power once a ‘Warrior of Light’ in possession of its power dies, but it may free it up for someone else to absorb.”

The General paused, allowing Sianna the opportunity to speak. She took a deep breath and said, “I don’t understand, you’re going to trust me to obtain the power of a Crystal? What if I go along with your plan, and then use the power against you?” Sianna knew that there was something not quite right about this.

“Well, your friends Gaian and Tyght have so far obtained their power, and they haven’t proved a match for us. No, their power will only truly be yours once all four have been restored, and we won’t allow that to happen until you have completed your work in learning how to control a Crystal. Your only choice is to co-operate with us. If you do not, your friends will suffer and die, and once they’re all gone, we’ll move onto you. And by that time we hope to be able to find a way for us to be able to absorb their power for ourselves – if this Lisa being enabled you to do so, there will be a way that we can.

“We are about to launch for Galvatron. I will go and supervise the launch. In the meantime, I suggest you have a good think about my proposal. When I return I will expect your decision.” And with that he left the room, although the soldiers remained.

None of this seemed right to Sianna. Why capture them, only to have them absorb the Crystal’s power anyway? Did they seriously expect her to just co-operate, to come around to their twisted way of seeing the world?

And the way that he spoke about Lisa was bizarre. She quite clearly wasn’t like the other people of this world, that she had some special, maybe even godly powers. And Sianna was sure that the Crystals wouldn’t just give up their powers for just anyone, it was only the “Warriors of Light” who could do so, she was sure of that. And surely the General knew that as well. His story simply did not add up.

But that still didn’t change the fact that he had given her a decision to make, and that she had to make it quickly. The ship had started to shudder, and so the launch was clearly in progress. She didn’t feel comfortable in assisting him without knowing what the real situation was. But what was the alternative? Watching Bevern suffer and die? She could still see the image of him. She couldn’t be responsible for his suffering, no matter what.

She decided that she would play along, at least for now. She was bound to find out what the Empires real plans were sooner or later. Until then she should do all that she could to find out the truth, and do what she could to protect her friends.

Before long the General returned and sat back down in his chair. “Well?” he asked.

“I’ll do it.”

The General grinned, “Excellent, I’m glad that at least one of you can see sense. Come, we will start work at once.” He stood up again, and the soldiers lifted her arms, and she also stood. She was marched out of the room, but this time they didn’t bother placing the bag over her head.

During the march through the airship she contemplated casting a spell. But she thought better of it – they might kill her before she could finish it, and then the others would surely be doomed.

They ended up entering the engine room. To her shock and surprise she saw one of the Crystals at the heart of the engines. The General said, “This is what powers the airship – the Wind Crystal.”

There was a large post in the room, and the soldiers took her towards it and then tied her to it, with her facing the Crystal. The General continued, “Before I allow you to touch it I’m going to amplify its power, and I want you to look into it, right into the very heart of it, see if you can feel it, and then try and see if there’s any way you can control it.” And without another word he flipped a switch.

There was a loud whirring noise, and a bright green light shone out from the Crystal and hit Sianna. She could feel its power. She could feel it calling out to her. Even though she wasn't in contact with it, she could sense some of its power transferring towards her. It was still out of balance, but it was giving her a new power...

Suddenly she heard the door burst open. She looked away from the Crystal and saw Gaian, Bevern, and Tyght entering the room, fully armed. She was then drawn back to the Crystal.

She heard a soft voice in her head, “You know what to do.”

And she did. She cried out “BAHAMUT!!!”

A white light burst from her and up through the ceiling, going right up through the floors of the airship, tearing them apart. Then, in the distance, heading towards them at a frightening speed, was an almighty dragon.

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