Day Of The Rite.
The group has finally arrived in Altissia, and it looked like they could finally relax for a bit, they could meet Luna and Noctis could receive another blessing. But things took a complicated turn when they met Camelia Claustra, First secretary of the Accordo Protectorate. She told them she had Luna in her care, and that the Empire had demanded them to hand her over, which understandably, made Noctis angry. Luckily, Camelia was not an unreasonable woman, and told them to come speak to her when they are ready. So with no other choice, the next day, the group headed over to her estate. After speaking to the guards, they were allowed inside.
Soon they were gathered in Camelia's office, where she sits at her desk while Noctis stands across from her on the other side of the desk; Asuka, Ignis, Prompto and Gladio wait on the other side of the room; two Altissian guards stand in the middle of the room.
"Thank you for coming" Camelia said.
Noctis nods "No sweat. First things first… Thanks for coming to greet us in person".
"It's the least I could do for a king. Weskham didn't extend me an invitation, so I decided to extend my own. Though circumstances have changed, both the king and the Oracle are finally in Altissia" Camilia said.
"You said that you have Luna in your care. Doesn't that pose a risk to your nation?" Noctis asked.
"Is the king concerned for our relations with the empire? But it's true, the Oracle is a risk, one we are prepared to shed with. Whether we do so depends on you. Now, let me ask some questions of my own. Why does the Oracle seek to awaken the Hydraean?" Camelia asked.
Noctis decided to be honest, they needed Camelia on their side, and can't afford to make an enemy of her "She wants to forge a covenant so I can receive Leviathan's blessing".
"The answer I wanted to hear. And yet, king or not, it can't be a simple affair for you to receive a god's blessing. Let me be frank: the potential chaos worries me. You know better than most what took place in Lucis with the Archaean. Tell me, what happened?" Camelia asked.
Noctis answered truthfully again "I met Titan and he gave me his power".
Camelia nods, happy for his honesty "Just like the legends. Though the empire doesn't like the way the story goes. Even as we speak, they mobilize their forces. It seems there's no avoiding chaos. It will most likely come to war. However, I don't care to host a battle on my soil, the gods and the empire be damned".
"Would be a disaster if a battle took place in the city" Noctis said.
Camelia nods "Indeed. We must be prepared to evacuate our citizens".
"No doubt about it" Noctis said.
"We're in the midst of making plans. And it was to discuss your involvement in them that I called you here. Without further ado, let us talk terms. If you wish to hold the rite, you must ensure my citizens' safety and aid in their evacuation" Camile said.
"Alright. I'll do as you ask" Noctis said, having a feeling this was their best chance.
Camelia smiled "I'm pleased to hear it. As long as the people's safety is assured, I have no qualms with your rite. And that is not all. Once the rite has begun, I will not be accountable for what follows. You are on your own".
Noctis didn't like it, but he was confidant he and his friends could handle it "Not a problem. We know how to take care of ourselves".
Camelia looked relived that he didn't get mad "Thank you. I'm sorry we cannot do more, but as I'm sure you are aware, few armies can stand against the might of the imperial fleet. That is all for the terms. To review, you are to ensure our citizens' safety and engage the empire. Do we have an agreement?".
"Alright. Let's fight together as allies" Noctis said.
"Allies? Such a vote of confidence. Well, you can trust us to do our part to do our part and keep the Oracle safe. A final warning, though I doubt it'll come to it. My duty is to my citizens. Should any harm befall them, there will be a reckoning for both king and Oracle" Camile said as she stands up.
"Alright. You do what you must for your people" Noctis said, not liking what she said, but knew better than to push his luck.
Camelia smiles again "You're just like your father".
Noctis smiles "Thanks".
"You've made the right decision" Camile said.
A Guard spoke "Madam, it's time".
"Assign three of your own for the evacuation effort. Whom you choose is up to you. According to our intel, the imperial fleet will be four warships strong. Steel yourselves for a full-scale battle" Camile said as she walks around her desk and shakes Noctis' hand "I'm glad we could talk. We can each act in our own interest to our mutual benefit".
After wining the first secretary's unreserved trust, the group were allowed to leave.
"Well well Noct. You actually managed to keep your cool and secured a deal with her. Not bad, not bad at all" Asuka praised.
"Yeah, she touched some sensitive spots, nice job dude" Prompto said with confidant smile.
"Indeed, your way of speaking has improved a lot" Ignis said.
"There is a king inside after all" Gladio said in good nature.
"Gee, thanks for your confidence in me, guys" Noctis said a little annoyed.
The others just chuckled and they went to get ready.
The day of the rite, The group are riding a gondola around Altissia's waterways.
"During the rite, we must see to it the empire does not harass Leviathan" Ignis said.
"Gonna be tough to pull off, before the king receives her power" Gladio said.
"And with three of us on evacuation detail, and one keeping an eye on the enemies" Prompto said, as they decided he, Ignis and Gladio were going to handle evacuating the people, while Asuka does her best to disrupt the enemies.
"Indeed. The best we can realistically do is to help the Hydraean help herself" Ignis said.
Gladio looks at him "What kind of help you talkin' about?".
"Just like Titan, the empire will seek to immobilize Leviathan" Ignis began to explain.
"Ah, with the harpoon things?" Prompto asked.
Ignis nods "If we can dislodge them from the goddess, she will have a fighting chance".
"Sounds good in theory, but don't push it. It's pointless unless you can get that blessing" Gladio said.
Ignis nods in agreement "Stay flexible, stay alert".
"Alright, will do" Noctis said.
After that, everyone moved in to position. Noct stands among the throngs in Yureil Plaza before the church here, where Lunafreya is to make her speech; he's on the phone with his friends.
"Noct, you in position?" Prompto asked.
"Yep" Noctis answered.
"Don't forget the plan" Gladio said.
"You guys, too" Noctis said.
"Of course" Ignis said.
"Good luck guys" Asuka said.
Noctis hangs up and begins making his way through the crowd to get close to the podium where Lunafreya will speak "Talk about a crowd… Like the whole city's come to watch".
While Noctis is making his way toward the front, Luna emerges and walks to the podium; many in the crowd shout out to her with adoration; at the podium, she momentarily places her hands before her, as if in prayer, and the crowd quietens to hear her speak.
"Dear friends, I stand before you today with little hope the words I speak shall reach beyond these walls" Luna began as Noct reaches the front and stops to listen "For slowly, but surely, the Light fades from our world. And as it does, the shadows shall loom ever longer until all succumbs to the darkness. Darkness that evokes terror, hatred, and sorrow in the hearts of men. The ashes of Lucis… A dream of peace twisted into a nightmare of death and destruction, claiming innumberable lives and leaving myriad souls to suffer".
Noct looks on at her with sadness in his eyes "Luna…".
"Yet I beg you, do not surrender to despair. Have faith, for our gods watch over us. By their blessings, by the Stars that light the heavens above, our world will be delivered from the perils of the dark. I stand before you here, in Altissia, to call upon Leviathan, Goddess of the Seas, spirit of the deep. By the sacred rite, I will commune with the Hydraean. But first, I offer you my solemn vow. On my honor as Oracle, I will not rest until the darkness is banished from our world and the Light is restored" Luna continued and many people in the crowd clap and cheer "Bless you all".
Noct and Luna make eye contact; she smiles and nods at him; he returns her smile and nod; Luna walks away from the podium- As she leaves Noct's phone is ringing; he answers.
"Noct, the empire's here" Ignis said.
From his spot at the front of the crowd, Noctis looks to the sky; many imperial dreadnoughts and drop ships are approaching "I can see 'em".
"Drop ships are closing in on the port. Look for a vantage point to approach them" Ignis said.
"Okay. Look after the citizens" Noctis said.
"We got 'em covered" Gladio assured.
"So…it begins…" Prompto said.
"This is it boys. Let's do this" Asuka said.
Asuka herself was hiding in an area where she saw several Imperial ships arrive. She also noticed that Sergei Dragunov had also arrived. She knew he was trouble. If he was here, then the situation had just gotten even more serious.
"Guys, bad news, the scar faced bastard is here" She whispers in to her phone, trying to avoid detection.
"Sergei Dragunov... if he is even half as deadly as the stories suggest then we are in grave danger" Ignis said in concern.
"I will make sure he doesn't try anything" Asuka declared.
"Don't do anything stupid sis" Gladio warned.
"We can't let them stop Noct from receiving the blessing. I will do what I can to keep him away... and I think I know how. It's risky, but it's my only chance... But if the worst happens, I love you guys" Asuka said ignoring the worried and scared words of her friends and brother, she hung up and stepped out of hiding "Sergei Dragunov!".
Dragunov looked at her as his soldiers quickly aimed at her. Asuka took a deep breath, here goes nothing.
"I challenge you to one on one combat! To the death!" Asuka said. She knew the risk, but she couldn't fight them all. One on one combat was her best chance to both keep them away from Noctis... and survive.
Dragunov looked bored as he motioned his soldiers to deal with her as he began to walk away. Asuka growls, not only was he looking down at her, he didn't even think she was worth his time. She was annoyed but also desperate. She needed to keep him away from Noctis, at any cost.
"So this is the Grim Reaper of the Empire? A coward?" Asuka asked, causing Dragunov to stop, making her smirk "You are so afraid to face me that you would hide behind your little army? I mean I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You only killed an helpless old man, so it's no surprise that you would be to scared to fight a girl".
Dragunov turns his head, his bored look having been replaced with a deadly glare... it was honestly terrifying, but Asuka couldn't back down now. Dragunov motioned to his soldiers to stand down as he took a few steps towards Asuka before getting in to his fighting stance. Asuka took a deep breath before getting in to her own stance. The chances of her winning this fight was 50/50 at best. But even if she can't win, she should be able to survive long enough for help to arrive... she hoped.
Asuka rushed towards him ready to give him a beat down. Unfortunately for Asuka, Dragunov hit her with a uppercut sending her on her back. She rubbed her jaw, one hit... he put her on her back with only one hit... he was even stronger than she expected him to be. She quickly got back, not about to let one hit keep her down. Dragunov smiled coldly, he was going to enjoy this. Asuka needed to be more focused. This wasn't a friendly spar, this was a real fight to the death. So she focused her fighting senses, she wasn't going to allow herself to be caught of guard again.
Wasting no time, Dragunov ran at his enemy, his fists clenched, he unleashed several punches, which were all dodged and blocked Asuka who did her best to avoid direct hits. Asuka launched several quick strikes, successfully breaking Dragunov's momentum. Asuka proceeded to hit Dragunov with a kick to the jaw, sending him back in a state of shock. She couldn't help but to smirk at the fact she had managed to deliver a hit on him.
"Not so easy as you expected it to be?" She asked.
More annoyed than angry, Dragunov rushed in and hit Asuka with several hard, brutal punches to the stomach, followed by a uppercut that made her her jaw feel like it had been struck with hammer. She fell onto her back, before spitting out some blood. She got careless again, bad mistake, she needs to remember her enemy is out to kill her. She got back up, and this time she was not going to repeat her mistakes. She focused her mind and got back to her stance.
Asuka, ignoring the pain in her jaw, charged at the Empire reaper, her fist clenched, Dragunov prepared for her fist but instead got a knee straight to the face, as well as a kick to the lower torso, sending him back. His smirk was gone, he was taking her seriously now. He unleashed another barrage of attacks, each one targeted, and aimed for vital areas. Asuka was forced back, trying to stay out of his reach, as she knew he was aiming for kill shots, so she leaps back to gain distance, and prepare her own attack.
Asuka quickly pulled her fist back to deliver a hard punch, but he turned his head to the side to dodge the blow and grabbed her arm, tossing her over his shoulders to the ground. He then went to stomp on Asuka's face, but she rolled away before swinging her leg at him. Dragunov backed away, and Asuka kicked a large rock at him, which he leaped over, but landed right in that left him wide open. Asuka wailed on him, striking him with several punches to his midsection and face before punching him across the ground. Dragunov was quick to recover as Asuka launched at him with a haymaker, which he ducked, then hit Asuka in in the face with his elbow, stunning her. Dragunov then began his offense again, striking Asuka with a heavy punch, then followed up with a rapid combination of punches before sneding her away with strong kick to her stomach, sending her stumbling back.
She coughed up some saliva... mixed with some blood. She can't take any more hits like that. But before she could react Dragunov hit her again in the face, before kneeing her in the gut. Asuka fell to her knees, clutching her stomach before she saw Dargunov raise his hand in to a double hammer fist. He brought his fists down right between her shoulder blades, smashing her face first in to the ground which cracked from the force of the blow. Dragunov looked at her for a few moments before he brushed of some dust from his unform and began to walk away.
"Wait..." Dragunov stopped and turned his head in shock as he saw Asuka standing back up, blood running don her face "Why so surprised? What did you think I would just lay down and die from an attack like that? You clearly had no clue who you are dealing with here!".
Dragunov growls in anger. Enough of this! He raised his hand and ordered an fireing squad. Asuka gasped but before they could fire, a massive title wave washed over them. The Leviathan's power was fully unleashed. Asuka found herself under water before she smashed in to the roof of a building as the water lowered of her. She coughs several times as she stood up. Not good, she would need to find her friends quickly and-.
Before she could finish her thought, she was punched in the face from the side, making her stumble. She looked and saw an enraged Dragunov who grabs her by the throat with both hands. He then began to squeeze as hard as he could, determined to either strangle Asuka to death or snap her neck. She had caused him far to many problems for her to be allowed to live. Asuka couldn't breath, and she could feel herself fading... this was it... she was going to die.
But then... she felt something. Her eye snapped open, revealing white light in her eyes. She then grabbed Dragunov's wrists, and to his shock, she pried his hands of her before kicking him back. He looked at her. That light... he had heard of it before... and this made him speak "The Kazama bloodline...".
Asuka screams as she tackled him down. Both fell down, and Asuka ended up behind and underneath Dragunov. She wrapped both arms around his neck, and both her legs around his body, managing to pin one of his arms to his body as he violently punched her in the face over. Asuka endured the growing pain before she used her full strength... and snapped Dragunov's neck... she felt him go numb in her arms and she quickly pushed his body of her, causing it to fall in to the water below... He was dead.
Asuka was breathing hard before she saw an all to familiar figure looming over her "Not bad my dear. Not bad at all. You really are a Kazama. Looks like you could be quite useful to us".
Asuka used what energy she had left and rolled of the roof and in to the water.
But Ardyn only smiled "Until next time then: Asuka Kazama".
Asuka slowly woke up, unaware of how much time had passed. She noticed she was laying in a bed. She groans and then heard a voice "She's awake".
Her vision was blurry but she managed to clear it and saw her brother and boyfriend looking down at her, with Gladio speaking "You alright sis?".
"What... happened?" Asuka asked weakly.
"We found you floating in the water. So relived you are alive" Prompto said, his face made it clear how scared he must've been.
"Dragunov... I... I killed him" Asuka said, not sounding happy about having taken a life.
"You did what you had to do sis. And the empire lost one of their best fighters" Gladio assured before he sighed "But we lost someone even more important".
"What do you mean? What happened?" Asuka asked in worry.
Both of the guys looked sad... and told her everything. Ignis had lost his sight... and Luna... was dead. Asuka felt tears run down her face... they failed... they failed Luna... and failed Noctis.
Later, Noctis was leaning along a railing by the docks; Asuka, Prompto, Gladio and Ignis walk past him, Gladio helping guide Ignis; he stops, though, and turns to look at Noctis, who turned his head to watch them; Prompto puts his hands on Ignis to continue guiding him while Gladio stares at Noct; after a moment, Noctis follows them.
This event marked a catastrophic loss.
NOTE: Dragunov can speak, he just normally prefers not to.
Tell me what you think.