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The passage was pitch black, and so Tyght went to the front of the group. In his mind the figure was still subdued, and so he could still access his night vision ability, although even that only gave very limited visibility, and so he led the party very slowly down the passage.

The passage twisted round in a spiral, and they had only walked a few dozen metres away from Bahamut’s cave before it became incredibly cold.

There were no turnings off of the path, it just kept going on and on, round and round, further and further into the depths of the mountain. The party all walked along in silence, on a journey that seemed to take an eternity.

Gaian was thinking about their goal, both their immediate one and their long term one. He just wanted to reach the Earth Crystal, restore it, and then find a way back to the Wind Crystal. He blocked out all other thoughts as best he could. Sianna was at his side, holding his arm. He longed to embrace her, but their quest was far more important. He was dreaming of a time when it would be over, their world restored, and he could live happily with Sianna.

Sianna was thinking about the soldiers that Bahamut had warned were somewhere near the Earth Crystal, and who they would have to defeat. Not only that, he had said that the Wind Crystal had sent out beasts that had almost wiped out the Imperial Guard’s 4th Unit. Should the Earth Crystal be doing the same they would have to contend with them as well. If this was the case she would probably be called upon to deal with them. But if there were too many, it could drain all of her energy, and she might not be able to deal with them all. There was, of course, the Ultima spell that Lisa had given her, but she was fearful of using it. It sat there in her mind, waiting to be manifested, and she could feel its immense power. She dreaded what the effects of casting such a powerful spell would be.

Bevern was walking behind Gaian and Sianna. Even though he couldn’t see them, he could tell that they were close, and he had to admit to himself that it made him jealous. But there was nothing to be done about it. It was clear that Gaian would never have the same feelings that he had, would never look at him in the way that he wanted to, and so he just had to accept that and move on. But move onto what? The world had been so badly devastated that even if they were successful with their quest it wasn’t clear just what would be left. He had no thoughts as to what he would do once their quest was over. He was only here now because there was nowhere else to go. And so he would just go on until the end, and, if he was still alive by then, that would be when he would try and figure out what he would do next.

Tyght was thinking about how he could realise Leven’s dreams. The figure wanted him to kill Gaian, and he assumed that it wanted him to prevent Sianna and Bevern from restoring the Earth and Wind Crystals – either that or let them restore them and then kill them as well. But he knew that he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Whilst he hadn’t got on with Sianna at first, he could see that she wasn’t using her magic frivolously, she was only using it when it was necessary. Yes, when she did so it was putting a strain on the planet, but there were ways that she could balance that out – such as not casting so many fire spells at once, using water spells instead where possible to balance out the effects. All it took was a little education. But, if they were able to restore all of the Crystals, all of the world would have to be educated, and he knew how impossible that would be. No matter how much you told people able the effects of the magic that they were using, they would just end up going back to their old ways. No, that could not be allowed to happen. Once all of the Crystals had been restored their power should be collated in one place, through him if need be, with people’s access to the powers that they bestowed on the world severely limited to only essential uses. Some would try and come to take their power by force, and when that happened they would have to be put down. There still may be no way to resolve this without there being some kind of war.

After what seemed an eternity the path that they were travelling down levelled out and stopped twisting. In the distance they could see what looked like a dull orange light. They all instinctively quickened their pace.

Suddenly, a siren sounded, its sound echoing throughout the passage. Gaian and Bevern drew their swords and Tyght drew his staff, but they didn’t slow down their pace. Sianna moved towards the back of the group, hoping that she wouldn’t have to use magic in this confined space.

They heard voices up ahead, and then men in armour running towards them, blotting out the light. “They’re coming!” said Gaian, “Get ready!”

They ran down the passage until the soldiers were only a short distance ahead. Tyght once more tapped into the red-mist, and engaged the soldiers. There appeared to be hundreds of them in the passage, far more than even he could handle, and so Gaian and Bevern also took part in the fight, dispatching many soldiers between them.

The confined space helped to act in their favour. Whilst the soldiers did vastly outnumber them, only a small handful could reach them at any one time. But as each soldier was wounded and retreated if they could, he was replaced by another, which made the task exhausting and their passage through the tunnel slow.

Sianna was fully aware of this fact. At this rate they were sure to be exhausted long before they reached the end of the passage, and so it seemed that it would be a near certainty that she would be forced to use magic.

However, a second, deeper siren sounded, and when the soldiers heard this they all fled back down the passage, and soon all that was left of them were the dying and the dead.

“What just happened?” asked Bevern.

“I don’t know,” replied Gaian, as he walked over to one of the wounded soldiers. He asked him, “What did that second siren mean?”

The soldier struggled for breath, “Run... Get away... It is coming... Can’t harm it... Already killed many... Worst than what happened to the 4th... No... no hope... left... for this... world... It’s all... over...” The soldiers head slumped to one side as he breathed his last.

Bevern said, “I don’t like the sound of that. Whatever it is down there, if an entire Imperial Army can’t harm it, I don’t know what the four of us can do!”

Gaian responded with, “Don’t forget that we’re the Warriors of Light. We were given the swords Excalibur and Masamune, far more powerful than any normal sword. Plus mine also has the Fire Crystal’s power. Then there’s Tyght with his strength that has saved us more than once, and his staff with the power of the Water Crystal. And if they’re not enough, we’ve got Sianna, who was given the Ultima spell, which we haven’t even needed to use yet. Sianna, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming that it is an immensely powerful spell.”

Sianna nodded, nervously.

“So there we have it. Whatever it is down there we can handle it, we must handle it! The Earth Crystal is there and we have to reach it. And so we have to try, or we may as well just kill ourselves now, because the world will be doomed otherwise. So, come on! Let’s do this!” He raised his sword in the air, and looked to Bevern to do the same.

Bevern looked at him and said, “Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound. Better to die fighting than die as a coward!” He too raised his sword, touching Gaian’s with it. He looked at Tyght, but he didn’t think this would really be his sort of thing.

But Tyght surprised him and simply said, “For the good of the world.” He raised his staff and touched it against the swords.

Sianna stepped up, and merely raised her hands as she said, “Whatever happens, this has been good. Let’s all do our best, it’s the very least the planet deserves. Let’s hear it for the Warriors of Light!”

“The Warriors of Light!” the other’s said in unison. They lowered their weapons, and then started to run down the passage.

As they got towards the end they could hear the shouting of the soldiers and the sounds of fighting. When they emerged into a large cavern at the end they could see that it was the Earth Crystal that was the source of the light.

However, the most dominating thing in the room was what the soldiers were fighting. Standing over fifty feet tall was what looked like a giant rhino standing on its hind legs. It was wearing heavy armour, and wielded a huge battle axe with a blade that was about ten feet across. The soldiers were standing back, firing arrows and launching rocks from catapults at it. But none of them seemed to be taking any effect. When the rhino turned towards any particular group of soldiers they turned and fled in terror, but those who were too slow were either swept aside by its axe, or crushed under its feet.

One of the soldiers fled towards the party. He screamed, “There’s nothing to be done! See if you can do any better! It probably would have been a mercy if you had been killed in the tunnel!”

Suddenly they heard a huge roar and looked up. The rhino was looking in their direction, and started walking towards them.

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