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“Is this thing supposed to fly?” asked Bevern.

“Well, not fly exactly. It’s launched along this track here, and shoots off the side of the cliff. But it doesn’t fall, its wings cause it to glide along the air currents. When you want to land you dip its wings and you descend. At the moment it only has skis underneath, and so you can only land on water, which is good enough for you to get to your island and then back to the mainland. Although, with these winds it will be dangerous, and the waves that these winds are whipping up will make it had to land on the water. But if you can defeat a great Crystal Guardian Beast I’m sure that this will be no problem for you.”

The glider only had five seats, and so Sianna asked, “Who’s going to stay behind?”

Cid answered, “That would be me. I’m too old and tired to keep having adventures. I’ll show you how to fly the glider and land it, and I’ll help you to launch it. Now, who wants to be the pilot?”

Gaian volunteered, and so Cid took him through the controls, although there weren’t that many. The design of the glider was simple yet functional.

Once Gaian felt confident enough to be able to fly the glider the party and Captain Blax climbed in. The Captain gave orders to the other soldiers to escort Cid back to his cottage and to then return to the unit. They were then to march around the forest to the coast at the base of the hill, where he hoped to rejoin them later.

Once everyone who was going to the island was in the glider, Cid walked over to a control panel a few metres away. “Good luck, Warriors of Light. The world is depending on you.” And with that he pressed a button that started the launch.

An engine beneath the tracks began to whir, and once it had built up enough energy it catapulted the glider forward. It shot over the side of the cliff and, just as Cid had said, it started to glide through the air.

Despite the strong winds it felt strangely peaceful flying above the sea. The party knew that they had to savour this peaceful feeling. Once they reached the island they would have to face the General and his soldiers, and they knew that they wouldn’t give up the Wind Crystal without a fight.

Before long they could see the island in the distance, and Gaian slowly lowered the glider and steered it towards the island. But as he got lower it was buffeted by stronger winds. “Hold on everyone! This is going to be a little bumpy!” And as he saw the large waves he added, “And prepare to get wet!”

They were almost at the island, and he lowered the glider for landing. He aimed to touch down on the water at the top of one of the waves. However, he misjudged it and went crashing right through one of them. The glider toppled over and they were all thrown out of it.

They quickly swam to the surface, and fortunately they were all present and correct. However, the glider had been badly damaged, and was slowly sinking. They could see the shore of the island just a short distance away, and so they made their way towards it.

As they dragged themselves out of the water they saw that the Imperial soldiers from the airship were waiting for them. At the front was General Catrix, who was slowly applauding them. “Well done,” he said, mockingly, “I wasn’t expecting you to come back here and offer yourselves to me willingly. That was quite a landing. That thing looks like Cid’s handiwork if I’m not mistaken. That old fool has pushed his luck for the last time – I’ll have him executed once we return. No, I’ll torture him first, force him to build a new airship, and then have him executed.” He then turned to look at the Captain. “And who is this that I see before me? Captain Blax, please tell me that these people are your prisoners. Really, there was no need to bring them here, you could have taken them straight to Galvatron, or, better yet, just kill them.”

The Captain responded with, “Catrix, you should listen to them. The Emperor has been deceiving us. This catastrophe wasn’t the work of the Republic, it was because of the Emperor himself using the Crystals!”

The General laughed for what seemed like a long time. Eventually he said, “But I already know that!” There were gasps from the soldiers. “The Emperor is going to replace this world with a new one, one that is in the Imperial image.”

“You don’t understand! It wasn't just the Republic that was destroyed, the Empire has been as well!”

“I didn’t expect to hear lies to come out of your mouth, Blax.”

“It is the truth! I have just come from there! The entire world has been devastated. What the Emperor’s true aims are is a mystery, but what I do know is that we need to fight against him!”

“Those words are treason, Blax! We have all sworn an oath to serve the Emperor!”

“But he has failed us! He has destroyed the lives of everyone on the planet! These people have been sent here to help, to restore the balance to the Crystals, and the world. We need to help them, Catrix. The future of the world depends on it!”

The General drew his sword, “I don’t help rebels, Blax. I’m prepared to ignore you treasonous talk – brought about by some very convincing lying on their part no doubt – if you kill them now and help us return the Wind Crystal to Galvatron.”

The Captain then drew his sword, “Never! I have seen them fight, I have seen them restore the Earth Crystal. The ground was brown and barren before, but now the grass grows again. They truly are here to save us, and I will defend them!”

At this the other Imperial soldiers drew their swords, but the General raised his hand, “No, this is between me and Captain Blax. Captain, I challenge you to a duel to the death.”

“I gladly accept!”

Everyone stepped back to form a circle, with the General and the Captain at the centre. Sianna whispered to Gaian, “Shouldn’t we help him?”

“No, they need to resolve this themselves. But you might want to have one of your spells ready in case the Captain loses.”

The General and the Captain circled each other. The General said, “I always suspected that your commitment to the Empire wasn't as strong as it should be.”

“I was always committed to the Empire! We have a great and noble history. But all that has been ruined by Calistan. He hungered for power and domination, and in doing so he has become consumed. He has destroyed our world Catrix, why can’t you see that?”

“Whatever the Emperor does he does so for the good of his people!”

“But he has destroyed his people!”

“Don’t lie to me!!!” He lunged at the Captain, who was able to parry his blow.

“It’s the truth, Catrix. If you ever see the Empire again you will see that I speak the truth. You need to open your eyes!” He then lunged at the General, who was able to turn and dodge him before kicking him in the back, causing him to fall to the ground.

“Stupid fool! Living in the Empire is simple, just do what the Emperor instructs and you will be provided for. But you think you know better, you think you should challenge our Emperor. This world will be a much better place without people like you in it. One last chance, Blax. Return to the Emperor’s side, fight for him, and the glorious future that he has planned for us.”

“Never!” The Captain had got back up onto his feet and now charged at the General. He started to attack him, with the General parrying his blows. But he wouldn’t relent. He twisted and turned, not giving the General a chance to get a blow in himself.

“I see that I have trained you well, Blax! But you forget that I am still the master!” The General leapt up into the air, and landed to the back of the Captain. He quickly raised his sword and prepared for what would be the fatal blow.

But the Captain was quick to react. He swung round, took the force of the blow with his sword, and turned it so that his sword found itself by the Generals side. He found the weak point in his armour, and the sword found flesh as blood started to pour out.

The General collapsed to the ground. “Blax, you fool. Why do you wish to doom as all?”

The Captain went to his side, “You’re wrong Catrix, I want to save us all.” The blood was pouring out now, it was clear that his sword had gone deeper than he first thought. “It’s not too late, you can still come back to us.”

“No, it is too late. I obviously taught you too well. This looks like it will be the end for me. I only hope that you see the light in time.”

“Catrix, I already have. The Emperor has been lying to us, to all of us. These people that came here with me, they are known as the Warriors of Light. They are close to achieving their quest. Once the Wind Crystal has been restored they’ll be able to bring order to the world once more. The time for the Emperor is nearly over. But we’ll build a new and better world in his place. I just wish that you could see it.”

There was a long pause before the General said, “So do I, Blax, so... do... I...” His head slumped to the side, and a tear rolled down the Captain's cheek.

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