Once the Rooks approached the checkpoint at Fenririn Outpost close to nighttime, the guards snapped to attention and saluted Major Irina, who saluted back as well.
The pair noticed a familiar face in the floodlight, and widened their eyes with disbelief, as one pointed at Sirius.
The young woman raised one of her brows and asked if they knew him from somewhere.
“He was here with some friends, ma’am,” one answered. “Another man and two women.”
Major Irina smirked and looked over her shoulder at her captive. “This just keeps getting better and better.”
Sirius flexed his cheeks and pursed his lips. He was afraid Chiara’s life may be in danger as well, so he hoped she stayed inside the Fenririn Lodge out of sight.
The Rooks’ horses flooded the plaza, as the people backed out of the way so they could take to the center of the pavilion.
Lucien held his sword in front of him, while holding Aisling’s hand.The young woman was captivated by the metallic gray appearance of these strange beings she encountered once before.They didn’t take the shape or color of her shadow, but upon their silvery bodies had the same eyeball designs with multicolored irises. They were taller and slender too, with their heads shaped like seeds.Lucien instinctively backed away slowly, but Aisling was showing some resistance, believing they could be of help to her. The young Knight, however, was skeptical, recalling Sirius’s previous encounters with them in the cave and the mines before. He remained on guard, while firmly holding Aisling so she wouldn’t slip away, since she continued to marvel at these visitors’ appearance.“Hello again, Aisling,” one of the three beings greeted. “It is so nice that you have sought our help at last.
The following morning, Sirius was abruptly woken up to a jerk in his arms, as he was descending from the pole. The only sleep he mustered last night were brief naps lasting no longer than mere minutes. Bags had formed under his eyes, and Sirius’s body felt cold and numb. The Knights were lowering him down towards the cluster of mounted Rooks and Major Irina at the crack of dawn.The unrelenting woman gazed at him with a triumphant expression—a smirk that showed how proud she was of her accomplishments.They were ready to head out, but first had to bind the Forsaken Bishop yet again.After Sirius’s limp body was unshackled from the pole’s chains, he collapsed forward onto the pavilion, barely breaking his own fall, but still face planted into the ground. He could feel the blood returning to his arms again, as he tried applying pressure to push himself up to no avail.Major Irina and the Rook
The following day came, and the Rooks continued to make their way through the mountains. Along the gravel path, made convenient for travelers to trek through, they stopped and overlooked the scenery to their left. It had a particular arrangement of stony pillars and structures which, to the common person, looked like nothing but ruins from ancient times, when in reality it served a much bigger purpose than anyone in Chesslandia could even think of.“We’ve finally arrived,” Major Irina gleefully commented, pointing ahead, and then directing her entourage carefully off of the trail and down some loose rocks.The Rooks were hoisting the reigns of their mechanical horses so they didn’t use the full extent of their combined weight as they descended, otherwise they’d trip and roll through the uneven rocks, and down a steep hill. Such was the fate of the first few who ventured before Major Irina, as she sent them to try and scour a
Back on the platform amidst the Roks Mountains, Sirius’s wrists were chained, as he remained on his knees.Major Irina held onto the chain that cuffed the young man at the throat, while she gave a speech and spoke with such passion. “For six long years, attempts to capture the individuals known as the Forsaken Ones have been a fruitless endeavor—a passion project left behind by the late Captain Drake Clarke, whose many attempts lost the favor of the Royal Government.”Her voice was reverberating in the mountains. “I, Major Irina Fujibayashi, have recently taken up this mantle with the prospect of finishing what he started, because he failed and had nothing to show for it.” She then yanked on Sirius’s chain, lifting his torso up, as he’d been slouched over from physical depravation.Even though his spirit was strong enough to withstand everything that’d happened to him
“You’re making a mistake!” Sirius urgently informed Major Irina. “Combining the two mana signatures doesn’t seem to bode well—”“For you it might not!” she retorted. “But I’ve had enough of people trying to tell me what to do.”“Don’t do it! It’s too risky!”“Just watch me!” She looked up at Holymach and transmitted her thoughts to the automaton.The silent bond between them resonated volumes, as the golem proceeded to draw its mechanical arm towards Sirius.“It’s over,” Major Irina muttered.“Stop, Irina!” he pleaded.Just before the claw could latch onto the young man, another rumble jolted everyone upon the platform.Holymach retracted its claw so it could brace itself upon the mountain. It then directed its attention to the area on the other side
Lucien was continuing in his battle against Major Irina, as the young woman indulged in both offensive and defensive skills. “There’s something off about you!” he shouted when they clashed their swords again.She cackled, “It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out!” and then made sure he was seeing the black symbol on the back of her right hand.It threw Lucien off guard, as Major Irina pushed her sword on his, before delivering a front kick to his stomach. He stumbled back, and collapsed to the ground.The young woman swung her left hand vertically, emitting an air shard that was cutting through the platform on its way to Lucien, to which he rolled to the side to avoid being harmed again.He rolled to his feet, and manifested a dark circle beneath him, as he proceeded to invoke a spell.Likewise, Major Irina employed the same tactic, except with a lighter circle forming beneath her.
One of Holymach’s spell missed Magimach, and was shot over its head. It landed on the mountainside, which began collapsing over the spot where the Rooks stood at the edge of the dais.The soldiers in white retreated towards the center, but the rocks cut off their escape.Aisling and Lucien were standing closer to the opposite end that wasn’t hanging over the cliff, while Major Irina stood on the end opposite of that, but that one was hanging over the edge.As a result, the spot where the young woman unleased the earth spell to create a fault upon the dais began breaking off, as the boulders added weight to it.The Rooks were screaming and climbing over one another to try and claw their way to safety, but their fingers couldn’t hold onto the crumbling rocks.The dais also tilted downward more, throwing Major Irina off balance, as she began sliding towards the rim
For some moments, the crumbling of boulders from the mountainside continued. The platform where the ancient Promotion Ceremony for the Forsaken Ones took place one was no more, and only some pillars and walls of it remained.The golems’ bodies appeared to fall down with the wreckage as well, and dust clouded the entire area for a while. “Where is he?” Lucien yelled, frantically looking around for his friend. He then coughed, as he held his cloak to his mouth, while he scoured the area for any traces of Sirius’s mana signature. Aisling looked around from atop his back as well, squinting towards the spot where he was last seen, but there was nothing in its place. She watched, trembling and speechless, as the pressure and thought of losing someone dear to her was building up inside of her. With muffled groans