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Captain Blax insisted on burying General Catrix’s body by himself. Once he had done so he faced the Imperial soldiers and said, “I will now assume command of this unit, unless there are any of you who object.” There was silence. “I see that you have made quick work of building these rafts. Good job, this demonstrates one of the positive aspects of our Empire. But, as you are all by now aware, our beloved Emperor has lost his way. It is our duty to return to Galvatron, and to challenge our Emperor. The Warriors of Light who are now among us will shortly restore the fourth and final Crystal, but before they fully restore balance to our world they will need to neutralise the primary source of the imbalance, namely, out Emperor. We must do all that we can to help them, for it is for the good of the planet.” He raised his sword and shouted, “For the good of the planet!”

The soldiers all raised their swords and said in unison, “For the good of the planet!”

The Captain returned to the party, whilst the soldiers returned to finishing the rafts that would take them back to the mainland. “It is time to restore the Wind Crystal. Which of you is it to be?”

“Me,” said Sianna.

“Very well, follow me.”

He led her through the crowd of soldiers towards the centre of the island. They climbed a small hill, and once they were at the top they could see the ruins of the airship. There was a green light emanating from it.

The Captain said, “I believe you can take it from here.”

Sianna nodded, and walked towards the airship. She made her way through the rubble, and into the airship itself, heading towards the light.

A few of the corridors were still passable, although they were tilted heavily to one side. Before long she had reached what was left of the engine room. Miraculously, the Wind Crystal appeared to have been undamaged in the crash.

She walked up to it and, as she didn’t possess any weapons, she placed both hands on the Crystal. There was a bright light, and she closed her eyes.

She could see the ruins of Galvatron – the Emperor’s destruction had been felt even here. There were still some people living as best they could in the ruins, even though disease was starting to take hold here. Whilst many of the houses had been destroyed, somehow the Imperial Palace had survived the devastation. Above it the clouds were slowly spinning around, the centre of their vortex was over the palace.

Next she could see inside the palace. The only person here was the Emperor, although she could only see the back of him. In front of him was a Crystal, similar to the four elemental Crystals, only this one was black. He was drawing his power from it.

She could sense that he was aware that the four elemental Crystals had been restored, but this didn’t appear to concern him. His plans were near their fruition. Soon the world would be his, and there would be none who could stop him.

The next thing she saw was beyond Galvatron. There was a huge army of not only giant beasts, but of beings from other planes of existence. She didn’t recognise any of them apart from the dragons, of which there were many. She realised the enormity of Bahamut’s task.

She then opened her eyes and found herself back in the airship. And she felt incredibly strong. Normally she felt that she could only cast a few spells at a time, but she now felt that there was almost no limit to amount of magic that she could use. And all of the spells that she knew also felt like they had gained in strength, so that if she were to cast them now they would have a far greater effect than before.

She then heard a soft voice in her head say, “Warrior of Light, all four Crystals have now been restored. But there is yet one more task for you to perform. You must face the Emperor, who has been building up his power in the Central Crystal. We will give you our power to enable you to defeat the Emperor. Go now, for the fate of the world is now in your hands.”

Sianna bowed her head towards the Crystal, and then made her way out of the airship. Once she was outside and had walked a few metres away from the airship there was a bright flash behind her.

The airship was sinking into the ground, which then quickly covered it up. Within seconds there was no trace of it to be seen.

Captain Blax ran over to her and said, “What just happened?”

“The Wind Crystal was restored, and so it’s now protecting itself by going underground. Hopefully it will be safe there, and no one will come to disturb it again. Come on, we should be getting back to the others.”

They quickly made their way back to the rest of the party, and once there she told them what she had seen in the Crystal.

“So,” said Gaian, “What we have heard is true. The Emperor is planning to strike.” He turned to face the Captain, “How long will it be before we can set sail?”

“Not too much longer. We should be able to set sail at first light tomorrow.”

“Very well. Thank you Captain, and please convey our thanks to your soldiers. I’m sure that if we work together we will be able to restore the balance to our world.”

The Captain nodded, and then turned to continue supervising the work of the soldiers. The party moved away to the side of the hill, where they prepared to set up camp.

Bevern said, “I tell you what, with these soldiers around to keep guard, I’m looking forward to being able to get a full night’s sleep!”

“You and me both,” said Gaian. “You should make the most of it. Tomorrow will be the day that we travel to Galvatron and face the Emperor. By this time tomorrow we will know what the ultimate fate of our world will be.”

Sianna said, “That’s a scary way of putting it. Just 24 hours to save the world.”

“And save it we must,” said Tyght, “And once the Emperor has been defeated, we will need to make sure that we can find a way to ensure that such a calamity can never happen again.”

“Agreed,” said Gaian, and Bevern and Sianna nodded their agreement. “Once this is all over I expect that Lisa will show herself to us again, and then we’ll need to sort out what happens next – how we go about rebuilding the world. I think one thing’s for sure, the Republic and the Empire are going to have to work together as one, and put aside any mistrust there has been over the years.”

The others nodded, and then they all prepared themselves for sleep.

They all slept soundly that night. They were awoken to the sound of a bird singing in a nearby tree that had survived the catastrophe. “Listen to that,” said Sianna, “I didn’t think that any of the birds would have survived.”

Gaian said, “The influence of the restored Crystals can already be felt in the world. But if we fail in our mission to defeat the Emperor, all of our hard work will have been for nothing. Come, let’s see if the Captain is ready for us.”

They walked back around the hill to the coastline. There were several of the makeshift rafts ready to take them and the soldiers back to the mainland. The Captain went up to the party and said, “We are ready to leave whenever you are.”

“There’s no time like the present!” said Bevern.

They all got into the rafts, whilst some of the soldiers pushed them out to sea before jumping in themselves. They had also been able to fashion some crude oars, with which they started to row. The sea was a lot calmer now that the winds had died down. If it weren’t for the black sky overhead it would have been a fairly pleasant journey. They all longed for a time when they could see the blue sky once more.

It only took about two hours to reach the shore. The Captain had guided them perfectly, and when they approached the shore they could see the soldiers that had come from the Earth Crystal mountain.

Once they were ashore he addressed them, “Members of the Imperial Guard. It is with great sorrow that I have to inform you that General Catrix has died. He fought in the name of the Emperor, and for what he believed to be for the good of the Empire. When we all joined the Imperial Guard we all swore an oath to the Emperor and the Empire, to protect it. This disaster that has befallen the world has greatly damaged us. But these Warriors of Light have fought bravely and have restored the four Elemental Crystals. But their task is not yet over. Whilst the winds have died down, the rains have stopped, the grass grows once more, and the magma no longer flows, balance can only truly be restored to the world once our Emperor has been confronted, for it was he who brought about this imbalance. You may feel that this goes against our oath. Well, let me assure you that it does not. For whatever reason, our Emperor has lost his way, which has brought great sorrow not just to the Empire but for the whole world. We must do all that we can to try and lift this sorrow, and help our Emperor to find the right path once more. And so, to keep our oath, we must help these Warriors of Light.

“My fellow soldiers, we must march on Galvatron.”

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