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Chapter 16 - Peace Restored

After the Battle of Long Valley, the KH team reached the waning stage of their adventure.

Chapter 16 - Peace Restored

Chapter 16 - Peace Restored
Peace Restored

The two now stood face to face, their gaze stern as rock. Kirin, however, came to realize that Fortinbras was a more formidable soldier to contend with than originally thought.
His strength is incredible. Kirin thought to himself. I have to admit, I was wrong about his abilities earlier.
So what do you think? Fortinbras asked with a smirk. Do you find that I am not so easy to combat with as before? It just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving.
Ill admit, you have some skill, but dont let it go to your head.-
Just wait and see.-
Fortinbras attacked again, slashing and thrusting with incredible speed. Kirin had found himself at a loss for words. Suddenly, with an upward slash, Fortinbras managed to cut the front of Kirins shirt. Not close enough to cut flesh, but near enough for Kirin to maintain his guard.
It appears that the high and mighty Kirin of the Flaming Blades is not as top notch as he thought himself to be. Fortinbras attacked again. Youll never be able to stand a chance against me in a one on one fight. In my entire career, there has been no opponent who could best me. And you are no different from any of those preceding you.-
You forget though, Fortinbras, Kirin said with a smirk, Youre not dealing with your average opponent.
Enough talk, The general charged again. Die,
Fortinbras attacked with all his might, the two battled down the hallway without giving in.

In the meantime, Kairi was rushing in and out of different corridors gazing into rooms and seeing battles erupt all around her. She had not gone noticed the batteries of the Aryan carrier were lashed into a frenzy of skirmishes. In the midst of the inward chaos, it was hard to distinguish the difference between the loyalists and the allies.
Suddenly, Kairi found herself confronted by another large force of Aryan soldiers. This time, it was an entire company that stood before her. Kairi had nowhere to go and the Aryans were already on top of her. She drew out her swords and prepared to battle. But before a confrontation could take place, someone amidst the mass called her name.
Miss Kairi? it cried. Kairi lowered her weapons. One of the supposed Aryan soldiers stepped forward. But it was actually one of the enlisted men who accompanied Kirin in the first party. He approached her. Its not safe to wander about the ship alone, Miss Kairi.
Are you a friend, or an enemy?-
A comrade of the Arakis Foundation, Miss. I was with your brother when we first engaged. Kairi, then remembered seeing the young soldier amongst the other troops in Kirins outfit.
Oh yes, I remember you. Youre a corporal right?-
Thats correct, maam. Kairi observed the soldier from head to toe.
But why is it that youre dressed like an Aryan soldier?-
It was the only way to cause confusion amongst the enemy ranks. But you can distinguish us from the enemy by means of the white bans we wear on our arms. He pointed to the cloth wrapped around his upper right arm. Kairi then observed the other soldiers. They too were wearing similar bands.
I see,-
So anyone wearing a white ban is a friend.-
Thank you for telling me that.-
Hey, Kairi, a voice cried out. Kairi turned to see Tidus running towards them. What are you doing here? Its dangerous.
I wanted to find my brother.-
And did you find him?-
Well, yes, but he didnt want me around.-
Im not surprised. He doesnt want you to wear on his mind in the midst of battle. You just stick with us for the time being until this thing is over.-
Alright, Tidus then looked at the soldier beside Kairi.
Is everything secured so far, corporal?-
Yes sir, the trooper replied. We have managed to take over the communication and transmission facilities. The rift between loyalist and Aryans has reached its peak. Now, were on our way to attack the resistance at the batteries.
Very well, then well join you.-
Sir, but we have to move out of here as quickly as possible, our comrades at the batteries need assistance in their overthrow.-
Understood, Tidus looked at Kairi. I hope youre ready for this, Kairi.
Im right behind you, Tidus. Kairi replied.
With the hundred or so men, most of them defectors, the party moved their way to the battery turret, hoping to eliminate what remained of the resistance.

Kirins strength was found equally matched against the might of Fortinbras. For ten minutes up and down the corridors they fought. Slashing and thrusting, jabbing and striking, both combatants did all in their power to outdo the other. Neither seemed to be gaining the upper hand, but for some reason Fortinbras seemed more submissive, using a strong defense rather than offense. He seemed to taunt Kirin as a cat would with a mouse before devouring the prey. They eventually found themselves fighting in one of the isolated chambers. But both were too caught up in their fight to notice, or so it seemed.
Youre starting to stress. Fortinbras said, as he and Kirin continued to fight. I can feel it.
You dont know what youre talking about.-
You believe that? The reason for your aggressive offensive is because you cant fathom my taunts. You want to end this battle with me as soon as possible. But then again, I wont allow such a thing. To be a true warrior is to find the weaknesses of your opponent, mentally and physically. I am helping to wear your body down by allowing you to continue your offensive. This takes up more energy than a defensive stance. Also, I stun your mental abilities by taunting you and forcing you to drag on, thus making you flustered.-
Why dont you stop being a coward and fight me right?! But again, Fortinbras evaded another swing from the young man.
Is that what you think? That Im a coward? There is a difference between being clever and being a coward, young Kirin. A coward will always find ways to avoid a confrontation altogether. A clever opponent, however, will use all in their power to win the fight by any means necessary. They can faint a retreat and then suddenly turn on you with incredible strength just like this.-
The Aryan general suddenly attacked and struck at Kirin. This time, Fortinbras put himself on the offensive. Kirin was overwhelmed by the sudden burst of energy and power. Left and right the general jabbed and sliced. Only by a narrow margin did Kirin manage to evade being cut. He managed to break off from the skirmish. Scraping his blades on the ground, he caused a spark and his swords caught fire, illuminating the chamber to which they combated.
Id be aware this time around, Fortinbras. Kirin declared.
It is you who should be careful, boy. Fortinbras replied. Not unless you want to blow us all to hell. Fortinbras pointed to the chamber around them. Kirin looked and realized that they had been fighting in one of the ammunition storage chambers. Too much heat or one significant impact could cause every ammunition crate in here to detonate. To add, Fortinbras pointed above Kirins head. Kirin eyed above and saw a gas vain which traveled along the chamber ceiling. One careless move involving that pipe and its death for us both.
Damn it, Kirin glared at Fortinbras, a sweat of apprehension on his brow. You did this on purpose. You drew us in here didnt you?!
You see, its not always the strongest warrior that wins. In most cases, its the smartest that wins the battle because they know how to manipulate the environment around them. In this case, if you try to pull off your fancy flame attacks in here; you endanger half of the ship. And who knows, your beloved sister might be on that endangered side. Kirin suddenly felt helpless before his foe. He extinguished the flames before any devastation reaction could occur. The thing about truly skilled warriors is that they know how to probe for their enemies weaknesses and use it to their advantage. In this case, you are a warrior who wishes for a swift victory with an opponent who attacks head on. But simply attacking head on does not always determine victory. In this case, I am one who likes to prolong the battle for as long as possible. I will do whatever it takes to keep my opponent on his feet and moving about. Only when they are at the point of weariness do I go in for the kill. And it looks to me that youve met your limit. You cant use any of your signature techniques within this chamber. Therefore, you must regress to using more simple tactics. And I know that youre not willing to take any action that might involve the death of your comrades and especially your younger sibling.-
Kirin, seeming to be weary and mentally exhausted, backed off from the fight to regain his strength and think of a solution. He heaved in every breath with heavy gasps and fell to one knee, using one sword as a crutch. Sweat dropped down the side of his face. The general stood before him with that arrogant smirk of his.
I bet this is the first time youve ever faced someone like me for this long, eh boy. Fortinbras said. This is the first time in your life that youve ever confronted a foe this powerful and yet so masterfully skilled and clever. So the mighty Kirin of the Flaming Blades knows his utmost limits and he acknowledges that I am more than a match for his own mediocre abilities. Oh how the mighty have fallen. As you know, trying to fight me on sheer strength alone is futile. It seemed that Kirin had finally confronted a foe that had the upper hand over him in every way. But for some reason, his scared and exhausted look vanished.
You talk too much, Fortinbras. Kirin suddenly said, his lip curving up in a clever smile. Fortinbras heard that comment and immediately his own smirk faded.
I beg your pardon?-
I said you talk too much.-
Is that so?-
You say that you excel in combat more than you excel in strategy. Well, if you want my opinion, youre just as lacking in skill of combat like you are in battlefield tactics. Certainly, those blows of yours were strong and I have to admit that you have some ability, but you never took into consideration of knowing your enemy first. Ive already had a thorough analysis of your combat style.-
Is that so? Well, please enlighten me of my flaws.-
For one thing, you talk bigger than you fight. You expect your big words to intimidate your opponent. Then, when that fails, you use strong aggressive blows and extreme swiftness to gain a quick upper hand over your opponent. However, when that doesnt work, you regress to a more defensive way of fighting, maintaining your distance and not engaging too much, so as to preserve your energy, while allowing an enemy to lose theirs. At the same time, you use your taunts and big words to break them up mentally. Then, when it seems that the opponent has no strength of will left to fight, thats when you go for the throat. However, you yourself have a major flaw, and one which plagues every warrior, no matter how experienced. And that is underestimating your opponent. Youve made pretty large assumptions about me, but assuming is a dangerous thing. You said that I couldnt fathom prolonged fights. That was wrong. I may be one to enjoy swift victories, but I have trained myself to endure prolonged battles with my enemies if they come up.-
If what you say is true, Fortinbras inquired, Then why is it that you dont seem to have the strength to stand up anymore?
Thats the thing, Kirins weariness suddenly vanished, To truly be a clever warrior is to deceive your opponent. You failed to exhibit that. You thought that you already had the upper hand in this fight. But how could you make such an assumption without once ever battling against me yourself until now? If you want my opinion, you just say things to boost up your ego. But the reality is that you have nothing to show for it.
You forget though, boy, were still in this chamber. Any false move might prove to be your last.-
Ive already taken that into consideration. Kirin flipped his blades to the under hand position and then struck the floor. He then released his swords, letting them stand erect, hilt towards the ceiling. My swords will catch fire very easily. Therefore, I will have to find some other way to battle you.
And how do you plan on doing that? You plan on fighting me with your bear hands?-
If thats what it takes.-
Foolish boy, fighting me without a weapon has only guaranteed one thing. Fortinbras charged head on. Your death is not only assured, its absolute!
But suddenly, as Fortinbras drew nearer, Kirin drew out his last resort weapons. Raising his right arm, he deployed his infamous grappling hook, which was used again Riku and Sora back at Monsters Inc. Fortinbras was caught off guard. There was no time to react as he was too close to dodge dagger. The hook struck the general directly into his gut, piercing almost straight through his back. Fortinbras flew rearward from the force and skidded along the ground, mortally wounded.
Almost immediately, the blood began to drip from his mouth and he began to cough up a great deal of phlegm.
You tricked me& the general uttered with a sneer.
It just goes to show that you are all talk and no action. Kirin said. An experienced warrior would have known that there was some other scheme behind my action than just disarmament. The young man picked up his swords, So much for excelling in the art of combat.
With that Kirin began to walk out of the ammunition storage. But no sooner had he passed where Fortinbras fell, he heard the general suddenly guffaw in a sinister chuckle.
I have to admit, my ability to fight was rather far fetched, he strained. But that doesnt mean that Im not willing to go to the extreme. The general pulled from under his frock a grenade. He flicked the pin out with a loud ping. As I said, the smartest warrior will always win, using whatever means necessary to emerge victorious. If I am not allowed to win, then no one does.
You idiot, Kirin shouted.
Its too late for that! Youll never get far enough to avoid the explosion! With that Fortinbras threw the grenade into the thick of the ammunition crates without a second thought. Seeing the danger, Kirin quickly withdrew, running as fast as he could from the ammunition shack. He could still here the generals crude laughing, even as his time was about to end. The grenade detonated and its shrapnel pieces struck each box. There was second explosion. Then another and another and another until a mighty eruption bellowed out. The corridors filled with fire and the walls imploded. Kirin looked behind him and saw a wall of fire and speeding debris behind him. Unable to outrun the blast, he was overwhelmed by the explosion, caught in a frenzy of death.

What occurred next could only be described as utter chaos. Within the ship, the opposite side of where the explosion originated, Kairi and her comrades were thrown off their feet by the violent jerking of the hull. Fighting within the battery area halted for a moment as both sides felt the surge.
What was that? Tidus asked.
It mustve been an explosion from within the ship. The corporal replied.
Brother, Kairi thought to herself, fearing for her brothers safety. However, a sudden piercing of dread came over her, striking deep into both heart and soul. Kairi fell to her knees. Seeing her collapse, Tidus rushed to her side.
Kairi, he said, aiding her, Kairi are you alright?
This feeling, tears were in her eyes. Somethings wrong. Kirin is in trouble.-
How do you know?-
This dread, it just came over me.-
Its all a figment of your imagination. Tidus tried his best to comfort her. Im sure that your brother is alright.
I hope so. Dear God, I hope so.-

From Prime Minster Crassus position, he saw a bellowing flame burst from the hull of the Aryan ship.
What the devil happened? he said.
There was a massive explosion. One of the subordinates replied.
It mustve been a detonated ammunition stock. Another officer added. What I know most about these Aryan ships, they run heavily armed.
Well, Imetriarch thought to himself, this guarantees one thing. The Aryans wont be able to resist for much longer. He then turned to another officer. Is there any news about Master Muli? Has he made back it to our ship yet?
Not yet, Prime Minister, a third officer declared.
I certainly hope that his strategy works.-

Back on the bridge of the Aryan carrier, the captain and the rest of the crew present felt the sudden violent tremble caused by the explosion. The emergency lights began to blink.
What in Gods name was that?! the captain asked.
It was an explosion within the ship. One of the operatives replied.
Give me a status report.-
One of our ammunition storage facilities on the port side was detonated. The explosion has managed to pierce through deck levels four through seventeen. The damage percentage exceeds over 84% on the port bow.-
That means that we are permanently crippled. We wont be able to make sufficient repairs with that kind of damage.-
Sir, another operative cried. The defectors have managed to take over our batteries.
Sir, another shouted, Weve detected large objects descending towards the region.
What was that? the captain asked. An onscreen visual was made. To the horror of the bridge and the Aryans on board, what they saw only proved that their inevitable end had come. Three large A class carriers of the Universal Alliance had appeared and were now hovering off shore. The captain lowered his head. Theres no doubt about it, this is the end for us.

Well, well, Crassus said with a grin as he saw the three grand ships of the Universal Alliance appear offshore in the early morning light. It appears that the message got through after all.
Reinforcements have arrived, sir. One of his subordinates cheered.
Yes, victory has been handed to us with extraordinary grandeur. But Imetriarchs joy soon gave way to dread has he thought of the fate which awaited his fellow Oceanarians of the Aryan faction. But sometimes, I wish there could be some kind of middle ground where all can benefit.

The forces of the Aryan faction feared the worst.
So this is the end. The captain whispered to himself.
There is a message from the Universal Alliance, sir. An operative said.
Put it through. The operative opened the line from the Universal Alliance.
This is a declaration to the Aryan Carrier. The Alliance stated. You have violated the rules of sanctuary to the Arakis Foundation and its leading representatives. By order of the president, no one is to hinder those who have been officially guaranteed sanctuary by the Universal Alliance. Anyone who dares to defy this right will be eliminated unless otherwise objected by members of the alliance or those hindered.
What now, sir? the captains subordinate asked.
Theres nothing we can do. The captain replied. In accordance with the Universal Alliances policy on sanctuary, the assailants are thus charged as guilty and will be swiftly executed unless an order is given by a high ranking official of the Universal Alliance or by a leading official of the party sanctioned. In other words, unless someone from the Arakis Foundation or the Universal Alliance comes forth in our defense, we are held accountable for execution.
If thats the case, sir, then let us fight to the end!-
For how long though? Continuing to fight would only be futile for us. Our batteries have been seized by the defectors and weve sustained a great deal of damage. To add, those are class A battle carriers with heavy guns. We wouldnt stand a chance.-
Then what should we do?-
The only thing we can do is wait for a response to be given. But if we take action before that, well be accounted for hostilities and execution is guaranteed.-
But a small flame of hope came to the forces of the Aryan faction. Another transmitted message was coming through.
Theres another message, sir. The operative said.
Where from? the captain asked.
Its coming from the Arakis Foundation.-
This might be our only hope. The captain thought to himself. He openly declared Put it through. And link the message to the entire ship. I want everyone to hear it.
Aye, sir, The message was accepted and the voice of the young Mulian Arakis was heard throughout the ship.
This is a declaration to the forces of the Aryan Faction. Muli began. I am Lord Mulian Nidarach Arakis, son and heir of His late Excellency, Lord Drako Arakis, former member of the Dark Empire. I know of why you have turned against me and why you have fought against me. You do not find my decision of joining and integrating with the Universal Alliance an acceptable one and that is understandable. Many of you have been part of the former Imperial Regime and have wished to see the Dark Empire in its former grandeur. You despise the thought of even joining along with an enemy you have fought against for so many years. But the time has come for us to lay down our arms and begin a new world, a new world where universal conflict does not reign. My father and the Three Excellencies did all in their power to maintain the old Imperial ideals. But look at what has happened. If our ideals were meant to be, then the Dark Empire would not have fallen and former Imperials would not be battling amongst themselves. Even now, the current Three Excellencies do not have any intension of forming a pact with one another. Even now, this new Imperial Axis is faltering. One man wishes to rule over the others, but all want this. This will only lead to more suffering and that is the last thing I want. There was a pause in Mulians statement, but it was enough time for those of the Aryan faction to realize what his hopes were and allowed them to question their own cause.
Rather for what we are fighting for, the question is what should we be fighting against? I have every right to declare you my enemies and see each an every one of you executed for the wrong you have inflicted upon me and my men. But I will do no such thing. You are after all, not only fellow Oceanarians, but fellow intellectual beings who have found purposes in their lives. We detest the thought of change, abandoning the values that we held so dear. However, the times will not allow things to return as they were. We must accept a new change, a new way, to make friends out of old enemies. But at the same time, we must not abandon that Imperial pride. Though it may not express itself as a dominant power, it shall forever remain a part of our hearts. And that in itself is something that no one can take away. I therefore offer clemency and forgiveness to all members of the Aryan Faction who have engaged against us today. You will be allowed to return to your homes, unmolested and with safe conduct without fear of retaliation. All defectors, past or present will be forgiven. So is my declaration and I shall stand by it.
The Aryans were left stunned and spellbound. Never before have they been given such conditions o compassion, and by the enemy commander whom they had tried to assassinate and kill all that time.
Perhaps Master Mulian is more of a leader than what we took him for. One soldier present said.
Perhaps his decision was not for himself and his family, but for all of us. Another added.
Why would he be giving us this chance when he knows we did all in our power to kill him? an officer said.
What shall we do? the captains subordinate asked.
It is an offer that benefits us all. The captain replied. And it is one that I refuse to let go. Open up the line.
But what about General Fortinbras&?-
I fear that he might already be dead. But I will not allow this ships company and its fighting men to perish for the sake of that mans selfish pride.-
Aye, sir,-
Its over for us, my men. Some of the men cried tears of joy. Others wept tears of shame. We have finally been beaten. He lowered his head, though the expression was vague. We fully accept the terms of surrender.

As the sun rose in the sky, greeting the morning, the sounds of battle had ceased. For the first time in going on two days, there was a peaceful lull. From their barracks, the Aryans soldiers appeared. They threw down their arms and trickled towards the foundation trenches. The Foundation soldiers gladly embraced them. With their leader dead and the battle over, there was no need to continue fighting. These were after all former comrades. As the two sides integrated, there were some happy reunions. Brothers came together, fathers and sons were reunited, cousins and cousins, nephews and uncles, and best friends came together. For a while, it seemed as if there were no enemies at all, but rather two sides that reconciled after a night of brawling. There were, however, tragic reunions as well as some had found their friends and loved ones either mortally wounded, or dead on the field. Thus, not only was the atmosphere filled with joyful cheers, butt the wailing of sorrowful mourns. Tidus looked over the field to see this act of compassion. And even amongst the men near him, foundation and Aryan soldiers gave up all former hatred to embrace in brotherhood.
I gotta admit one thing about these Oceanarians. He said to himself. They know not to bear a grudge.
Though they have been fighting against each other, sir. The corporal implied, They never really had an excuse to hate each other absolutely. They could hate each other for having lost comrades and loved ones at the hands of the enemy, but then again theres not a man here who hasnt experienced that sensation.
Just then, Kairi appeared from the mass of men. Tidus spotted her from a distance, being the only other person amidst the crowd that was not wearing black. Kairi looked about as if looking for someone.
Hey Kairi, Tidus cried as he waved, Over here! Kairi saw him and waved back. The approached each other. I was wondering where you wandered off to.
Tidus, Kairi asked with a timid waver in her voice. Have you seen my brother anywhere?-
Kirin, no I havent seen him.-
Ive looked everywhere. No one has seen him. I really hope that hes alright.-
Im sure he is.-
But what if he isnt? What if hes been wounded, or worse? What if he was&? Kairi couldnt speak anymore. Tidus put his arms around her and tried to comfort her.
Itll be okay, Kairi. Kirin is a tough guy. Hed never die knowing that he has you to protect. If you just believe in him, hell come back safe and sound.
You think so, Tidus?-
I know so. Tidus released her and smiled. Kairi returned the gesture with a sad smile.
Yeah, youre right. I just have to believe in him.-
Thats the spirit. Tidus gave a sigh. Well, since the fighting is over, Im gonna go back down to town and see if my house is still standing.
Okay, With that Tidus scurried off back to town.

In the meantime, the three sides converged at the center of the field. The first was the captain of the Aryan faction and his subordinate. The second party representing the Arakis Foundation was young Mulian Nidarach Arakis and Prime Minister Imetriarch Crassus. And the third party in league with the Universal Alliance was none other than the infamous General Arinario Triiken, accompanied by the commander in charge of the western defense during the Oceansburg Campaign, Madam General Gala Devardios.
The three parties converged at the center of the field where the fighting was most intense. They greeted each other, all former followers of the old Imperial regime and the great cause of the Dark Empire.
So here we stand again. Triiken began. Former Imperials reunited.
I am the captain of the Aryan carrier. The captain declared. I have come to give a former surrender to you and your men. He pulled out his sword and handed it to Mulian. I bestow this sword to you whom we have wronged.
Mulian smiled and turned the sword away.
There is no need for that. The young boy replied. I will not act as a dominant force to deprive you of your dignity.
Then I bestow this surrender to the forces of the Universal Alliance. The captain turned his sword to Triiken. But Triiken too refused.
By order of the president, he declared, When this conflict is over, no side will achieve dominance over the other. Therefore, though tempted by tradition, I will refuse this symbol of honor. You have the right to continue bearing your arms, captain.
The captain nodded and sheathed his sword.
My men are in need of rations, sir.-
As are mine. Mulian replied.
By the grace of the president, Triiken said, He has stocked these carriers with provisions for both sides. He turned to Madam General Devardios. Have the supplies transferred to both parties.
Yes sir, The Madam General replied.
Compliments of the Universal Alliance,-
You are too generous, sir. The captain said. If only our higher-ups of the Aryan faction could show just as much compassion.-
Tidus reached the center of the field to see the three sides adjourning their converse. The minute that he laid eyes of Triiken, his eyes swelled up.
Its you&! The young man roared running towards the former Gatler General.
Do you know that young man? Madam General Devardios asked.
Hes merely an annoying little nuisance. Triiken replied. Perhaps hes the raving village idiot.
Who are you calling an idiot, you six foot tall git?!! Tidus bellowed. My arm has been sore because of you! It hasnt fully recovered!
Youre rather facetious today, arent you boy.-
Im not a boy anymore, you ditz!-
An imbecile who was bested by a simple thrust attack is no more than a mere boy.-
Why you& Tidus regained his composure. So what the heck is a guy like you doing here?
Im looking for Riku and Soras young lady friend.-
You mean Kairi?-
I believe thats the one.-
But what do you want with her anyway?-
I have come to give her a message about her comrades.-
Riku and Sora, Tidus was anxious. Well, are they alright?! Tell me!-
Hey you, Madam General Devardios shouted, Be more respectful to the inspector!
No need to raise your voice, Madam General. Triiken said. The boy is just a little anxious about his friends thats all.
Will you stop calling me a boy?! Tidus roared.
Would you prefer to be called a girl?-
Thats not what I meant!-
Then quit your pointless billowing, you weed. Now where is she?-
Well, the last time I saw her, she was up there near the Aryan ship, looking for her brother.-
Whats that? Triiken was stunned. I was unaware that she even had a brother.
Yeah, this guy named Kirin. Immediately after hearing the name, Triiken and Devardios reacted.
Kirin, Devardios asked, Youre not referring to Kirin of the Flaming Blades are you?
Oh yeah, do you know him?-
That young man has gained a notorious reputation as a ruthless fighter. Triiken thought. He was also one of the top commanders of the former Midnight Faction until his declared defection against the Imperial Axis, but to think him as Kairis brother, what a strange twist of fate. Triiken then pondered at Kirins face and compared it with the memory of Kairis face. But then again, they are almost identical.
Triiken said nothing further, inwardly or outwardly, and began his ascent towards the ship.

In the meantime, Kairi now stood alone, gazing out to sea. For some reason, she had halted her search for the moment to gaze out at the beautiful blue ocean with its calm surface and crashing waves on the cliff base. She looked to the sky, thinking of her friends and family who had been affected by this conflict in a way. She then pictured Riku and Sora in her mind.
You guys, she thought to herself, I wish you were here with us.
Her nostalgia, however, was interrupted when the sound of someone approaching from behind was heard. Kairi quickly turned. And to her amazement, she gazed upon a familiar face that rekindled her joy. Kirin had finally returned. He walked slowly, his swords attached to each other as his bow. He walked with a proud stride, a slight smile on his face. He seemed not to have received any damage because his uniform was still in tact, say for a few marks and cuts in the cloth. Kairi ran to him and smiled.
Brother, she said, You made it back alive!
Kairi, Kirin uttered. But his voice did not seem joyful, but rather a sigh of relief. Kairi looked at him funny.
Are you alright, brother?-
But before further word could be said, Kirin suddenly dropped his weapon. A stream of blood appeared on his lips and trickled down his chin. Kirin then collapsed into his sisters arms.
Kirin, Kairi cried, wrapping her arms around him to catch him. But as she felt his back, she felt something sharp protruding from his flesh, followed by a warm, wet substance. Kairi raised her hand and looked in terror. Her hand was covered in her brothers blood. Kirin had in face received a mortal wound. His back had been riddled with shrapnel, striking his vital organs. He did not evade the explosion after all. Kirin went limp in his sisters arms, no longer having the strength to go on.
Kirin, Kairi cried again. She nestled her brother close to her, embracing him. Why are you so hurt?
I was caught in that explosion. Kirin whispered. I thought I was dead for sure, but I had to keep my promise to you. I said that Id come back alive. And so I did.
But why did you put so much stress on your body, you goof? You could have died.-
I had to make myself look presentable. Kirin shuddered, his breathing suddenly giving way to a gasp. The pain in his back was unbearable.
Hang on in there, Kirin. Kairi held on. Keep looking at me, keep looking at me. Kirin looked up at his sister, seeing only a blur of her face. He only smiled.
I did it,-
You did what?-
I did it, Kairi. I protected what was the whole world to me successfully. Now, I can die in peace.-
No, Kirin, you cant die! Kairi held her brother against her bosom and cried. Please, brother, you cant die! Kairi called out to anyone in ear shot. Someone, please help my brother! Please help him! Dont let him die! Dont let him die!
Its okay, Kairi. Kirins eyes were dimmed. Im glad to have been reunited with you, even if it was for only a brief period.
Kairi, a voice cried. She turned to see Tidus and a handful of soldiers running towards her. Along with them were General Triiken and Madam General Devardios. Tidus reached the scene Whats happened&?!
Its Kirin, Kairi replied, hes dying, Tidus. Please help him.
Right, Tidus turned to the soldiers. Get a medic over here now!
Yes sir! a soldier replied and temporarily withdrew.
How is he?-
Hes been severely wounded in the back. Kairi replied.
Kairi, Kirin uttered.
Dont say anything, brother. Save your strength! She tenderly embraced her brother and rocked him back and forth, doing her best to ease the pain.
Im so cold,-
Ill keep you warm, brother.-
The medics here. Tidus said.
Well take it from here, maam. Two Alliance medics appeared on the scene.
Stay back, Kairi. Tidus kept her at bay as the medics took her brother from her arms.
No, Kirin, she cried.
Ill be alright. Kirin replied with confidence. You just have to believe.
Ease up, boys. The leading medic said as they hoisted the dying warrior on a canvas stretcher. In unison they hoisted him off and carried him away.
Itll be alright. Tidus said, hugging Kairi, comforting her. Your brother will be alright. Kairi, unable to speak, only cried. Triiken and Devardios looked on.
Arent you going to tell her? the madam general asked.
Kairi has enough on her mind. Triiken replied. God forbid I burden her with more worries.


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