There's no more messing around.
Going anywhere but Haven feels dangerous.
Whenever I'm on the plane I can feel the Templars scanning for my aura.
It is inevitable that they will find me if I linger for too long.
Haven is one of the only places I feel safe. The barrier prevents them from locating my aura when I'm here.
But I cannot remain here forever.
Not only am I imprisoning myself here until I tackle the Templar issue, I'm doing the same to Yuya.
The Templars are after her as well.
In fact they're probably after everyone, the whole team from back then... back when lucids still came naturally to me.
There is only one solution.
I will fight them.
But not alone; that would be utter suicide.
I will gather the old team, the team with whom I fought the evils of this world back in the days.
I feel like a hero, about to embark on a long and difficult journey.
First I will gather a team capable of surpassing the strength of the Templars.
And then I will have to come up with a plan to beat them.
Because this is what I do. This is what I have always done.
Regardless of how much more powerful my enemy is, regardless of what it takes, I will beat them.
Because I am dragon.
"So... who will we find first?"
It is scary being in company of a serious Yuya.
I'm used to her playful and innocent self.
Not the one capable of carrying the weight of a world.
The whole atmosphere has changed.
"... No. We will find Silver last. I'm not sure how to convince him to join us yet."
"Will he not want to join us?"
"I'm not sure. Back then he fought with us to pay for his sins. But he has already given back so much to this world."
"I will convince him. You know I have my ways with words."
"Yes. If there's anyone who can motivate him it is you. You're the only one he listens to."
"So, if not Silver..."
"You're making me meet her again huh?"
"Yes. We will meet with the goddess of ice."
"Alright then... I know where she is. I sure hope you know what you're doing."
I most certainly do not. Why is Yuya somewhat reluctant to meet with her again?
Did we part on bad terms?
Meh, it will come to me eventually.
These memories have a habit of popping up whenever I need them lately.
Yuya opens a rather odd looking portal and it seems to take her quite a considerable amount of energy to do so.
Right... we'll mask our auras. It should buy us enough time for a meeting and to get back before the Templars find us.
We hop through the portal and end in a rather odd looking place.
It's an old temple of sorts. Parts of it are covered with rather beautiful ice crystals, but most of them are broken.
Right. The goddess of ice. Or rather the person who used to be the goddess of ice.
Back then two gods fought together with us.
The goddess of ice: Shinave; and the god of fire: Ifrit
Yeah... there was 6 of us I think.
The 3 gods Shinave, Ifrit, Yuya, and Silver, Selene and myself.
I will reunite all of us... somehow...
We walk through the old temple, searching for Shinave.
I have a feeling that she's here somewhere, even though I cannot sense any aura besides Yuyas and my own at all.
I can feel the Templars scanning the entire plane though.
Their searching pattern reminds me of that of a computer rather than that of a sentient being.
They are perfectly coordinated.
But it will take them hours to track me down with my aura masked.
"You have some guts to show up here after what you've done."
The voice coming from behind caught me by surprise, but I'm not showing that I was off guard.
I turn around slowly and full of confidence.
Her eyes look young, but she's clearly older than Yuya or myself.
She has long white hair, deep blue eyes, very similar to Yuya's, and a rather pale skin.
A wise woman, once one of the most well known gods.
But now she lives in a seemingly abandoned temple.
And somehow I get the feeling that it is my fault.
"How are you?"
She answers me with a small hand gesture that's not really saying much.
Is she mad at me? Is she mad at us?
I feel that she is in some way, yet it also feels like the complete opposite.
"And how are you... Yuya?"
"I'm alright... mother."
mo... Mo... I... wait what?
Fuck my life.
Goddess of ice, goddess of water... yeah. Am I fucking retarded? How did I not remember that.
And I have... with Yuya... oh my god...
Yeah, I might be screwed.
"You haven't talked to me in a long time."
"I have not. Not after you suggested that I shouldn't try to bring Hyu back."
"It was a bad idea."
"Yet here I am."
"Yet here you are."
"I guess I should be impressed that you managed to find your way back after what happened."
"I should also kill you for what you have done."
She approaches me without changing her facial expression.
I'm at a complete loss. I can't tell if she's serious.
Well. She is. But there's something more. Something she isn't telling.
She stands right in front of me and stares into my eyes.
I don't blink.
She hugs me tightly.
"I hate you Hyu. I hate you so much."
She starts crying and grabs more tightly onto me.
I'm getting mixed signals here.
But somehow I understand. She wants to hate me, but she can't. She cannot help but love me for whom I am.
She looks deeply into my eyes again.
"You've sent my daughter towards certain death you know."
"Stop! It's too early."
"Yes it is! It is too early for him to remember!"
"Maybe. But there's no choice. He must remember."
"And then what? What if he does remember?"
"What if he realizes that he has cheated? Then what? What if he dies if he remembers that?"
"If he abides by the rules then yes, he will die."
I don't like everything I'm hearing, but I do want to know.
And I am so close. I can remember parts on my own. The puzzle is fitting itself together as we speak.
A tiny nudge in the right direction and I'll remember everything.
I look at Yuya and say reassuringly:
"Am I the type who abides by the rules?"
She can't help but smile for an instant, but then quickly puts on a serious face again.
"It's too soon."
"Yes. And bringing him back is impossible, yet here he stands. And yet here you stand."
I'm beginning to remember on my own.
Because I need to remember.
Because now is the time to remember, even though Yuya suggests otherwise.
"We all fought together. We fought many evils. But there was one we simply could not beat."
"... the Templars."
"13 of them there were, and only 6 of us, but that was not the issue."
"The issue was that one of them was a true immortal, and the 12 others had their lives linked to him."
"All 12 of them were unkillable as long as the 13th was alive. And he had perfected the art of combat."
"He was supposedly unbeatable. And even if he would be killed, due to his immortality he would just resurrect."
"So I came up with a plan."
"You did come up with a plan."
"You always did, regardless of how hopeless the situation was."
"But this plan I did not like."
"This plan I did not like."
"But it was yours."
"It was mine."
"I didn't choose it because it was a good plan, I chose it because it was the only plan."
... what a horrible plan it was.
I have trouble saying the words, but they must be said.
"... Yuya would give her life to allow Silver to cast the ultimate spell."
"I would hold the Templar in place."
"And Silver would kill him with this spell, and the both of us in the process."
"This would send the Templars soul to hell. Because that's where immortals go."
"But immortality means you only have to spend a single minute, and then you are reborn."
"And I have the phoenix wings. I can move through the realms. I can go to hell once I am dead."
"Even after dying, my soul should have an afterglow of energy, enough to go there and challenge him."
"One minute to do the impossible. One minute to kill the soul of the only one who ever perfected the art of combat."
"And all of that without any energy left."
"But if I would kill his soul, he would truly die. You cannot be reborn without a soul."
"The plan was ludicrous. All of you would die for certain, for a glimpse of a chance to do the impossible."
"But it would cripple the Templars for years."
"It would... And it has."
"But things did not turn out according to your plan."
"Fortunately they did not. If they did we would be dead."
"So how did you kill him? And how is my daughter still alive. And how are you?"
"How I won the fight in hell... I truly do not know."
"I do not believe in miracles. But if they do exist, then this was one."
"We were joined in hell by our swords, and fought for a full minute without any energy."
"A true old-fashioned sword fight."
"I didn't stand a chance of course. He had figured out the perfect technique."
"But for some reason beyond me, as we danced in the fires of hell with our swords clashing..."
"I stabbed him in his chest."
"He never made a mistake, there was never any opening. I never figured out the perfect technique."
"Yet it happened. Neither one of us did understand. And I released the last bit of energy I had left in me into my blade..."
"And his soul evaporated. He died the true death."
"And then I died."
"If you die you have to pay the price. Unless you are immortal you have to pay your soul."
"That is what dying is."
"But I never had a chance to give my soul."
Shinave's expression changes. She understands.
"The dragon within me. The dragon soul I shared my body with."
"He gave his soul before I had a chance to give mine."
"And with the price paid, I was no longer bound to the world of the dead... so I left... so I came back."
"And then I approached Yuya's lifeless body. And I summoned the true phoenix wings, and I brought back her soul from the dead and resurrected her."
"So you did use your one resurrection."
"So not only is the dragon soul, the one who taught you the ways of the dragon, no longer with you; but you also sacrificed your near infinite source of energy. The phoenix catalyst."
"That is the price the phoenix must pay to perform a resurrection, and the reason why he can perform only one."
"But these were the reasons why you were so strong. The dragon soul and the phoenix catalyst. And now you have none of them."
"A small price to pay."
"A truly huge price to pay."
"Perhaps, but the choice was an obvious one."
"It was not. You could have used the catalyst to destroy the remaining templars."
"And let Yuya be dead?"
"It would have been the logical choice."
"Pff... logic. Yes, I might have noble goals, some people may even have called me a hero."
"But I truly am a fool and you know it. I do not regret having made that choice."
"And I love you for having made that choice. You saved my daughter."
"We all paid a huge price back then. Selene died. Silver managed to get back for some reason which is beyond me."
"The council of gods was destroyed."
"But the Templar died. And now they are mortal."
"And they are after you."
"And I am after them."
"I am Hyu."
Yuya has been awfully silent.
"I understand how you were able to come back and revive me."
"Your soul is taken when you die. But for you, 'a' soul was taken, but not yours."
"But still. After that you should never have been able to come back to this world."
"You are supposed to be dead."
"You have tried quite intensely to bring me back though. Surely you must have believed that it would work."
"Maybe... but what now that you know that you are supposed to be dead?"
"But... what if death comes for you."
"There is only one thing you do if death comes for you."
"... give up... ?"
I give her a disapproving stare and raise my voice.
"You look death straight into its eyes and you say: 'not today'"
Shinave smiles for the first time.
"It is good to know that you are still Hyu. It is good to know that you are still the fool I remember."
"Can he do that... just like that?"
"How would I know? Do I know anyone who has tricked death itself?"
"What I do know is that he is Hyu."
Shinave inspects me from top to bottom.
"You have aged."
"You are weak."
"And you come to me now, which means..."
"I will ask you the impossible."
"After all that has happened, you really dare ask me?"
"And what do you suggest we do if I agree?"
"We will be a dead man walking and 2 gods that are no longer gods up against the Templars."
"How is that going to work?"
"You're forgetting about Silver and Ifrit."
"Ifrit? You are more insane than I thought."
"But even then. That's 2 dead men walking and 3 gods that are no longer gods. My question remains."
"I will come up with a plan of course."
"Because you are Hyu."
"Because I am Hyu."
For the first time in what feels like an eternity I put on a certain smile.
It is a somewhat dark smile. A smile looking forward to a battle that seemingly cannot be won.
A smile that challenges all beliefs. A smile that says that we can do the impossible.
"Will you come with me, oh goddess, and fight with me again?"
"Of course I will."
She looks at Yuya, then at me, back at Yuya, and back at me, clearly understanding what is going on.
Then she faces me and says:
"Back in the days the gods would have killed your for this."
But she doesn't say it in a serious way. I'm not sure if she approves, but I do know that she does not mind.
"I wonder what Ifrit is going to think about this."
I turn around and start walking towards the portal and shrug.
"I'd rather not."
We laugh, even though it isn't really that funny. He's one of the very old gods. He can never know. He would indeed kill me.
"As long as we can still laugh like this, the world isn't lost."
That puts a reassuring smile on Shinave and Yuya's face.
Ha. I still have it in me.
I am still a leader.
And I will do this.
I will end what I have started 15 years ago. I will end the tyranny that is the existence of the Templars.
I just have to figure out how.
Preferably without killing half of us in the process this time.