Sorry for the long wait. Now, the confrontation with Mithos and an explanation of why Lloyd can use magic now.

Chapter 17

Mithos' power

Mithos' new power had caught everyone off-guard, but they managed to recover in time. As Mithos brought out a hidden dagger, he infused it with light energy to make the blade's reach double. This didn't faze the group at all. Sheena was about to charge in when her fatigue had caught up with her and made her head spin. Just as she was about to fall to the ground, a hand covered in a black glove caught her.

"Hey now, you shouldn't be trying to fight," Zelos was about to pull her over towards Rutee and Garr when the young ninja pulled her hand away.

"Let me go! Everyone's fighting except for me! I need to-" She suddenly cut herself off when a wave of nausea hit her.

"See? You aren't fine. Just sit down and try to relax. Hold on." The redhead cast Healing Stream before setting her down.

"I won't just because you tell me to! I'm goin-" As Sheena got up, she was once again cut off and knocked out. Zelos used the butt of his sword to hit her in a pressure point. She wouldn't be getting up for a few hours. The young Chosen picked her up and led her to the two foreigners, who were watching him the whole time.

"That was a bit cruel," Garr stated. Zelos gave him a grim smile.

"I know. But, she's my best bud's future girl. I can't let her get hurt too much, can I ?" The redhead gave the prince a two fingered salute before running off into the battle.

During the little scene, the rest of the party were trying their best to fend off Mithos. Since Mithos and Yuan were, in a way, fused together, one single body had eight-thousand years of combat experience. Altogether the entire party had barely over half that much experience, so of course the battle was extremely difficult.

Raine was constantly healing as Mithos was dodging all of their attacks and counter-attacking. Genis didn't even bother casting low-level spells, since he knew that they would have very little to no effect.

Presea and Regal were combining their attacks. The two had become a formidable pair of destruction. Kicks, axe swings and swords clashed many, many times. The pair were dodging the angel's blows just as he was dodging theirs. Unfortunately, their was a huge difference between the genetic code of an angel and the genetic code of a human.

Angels didn't need to breathe.

Mithos was taking full advantage of that fact. The axe-wielder and martial artist were getting tired. Regal grimaced.

"Those two need to hurry up. We haven't much time left before we collapse..." He thought.

The two spoken of were no one else but the father and son duo. Lloyd had taken a serious blow to the ribcage, and now was finding it very difficult to stand. Kratos had cast three of the most powerful healing streams that he could muster up, but it didn't seem to help much.

Zelos was already helping Presea and Regal by Kratos' fifth spell. The ancient one was getting frantic.

"Why isn't anything working ?!" He thought. By then, Kratos wasn't thinking straight. He failed to notice the red outline on Lloyd's body. Lloyd didn't fail to notice it, though. He weakly tugged on his father's cape and told him to hand him an anti-magic bottle.

At first, Kratos was confused. When he looked at Lloyd's body a little more carefully, he noticed the red outline and understood. After giving his son the item, he cast Healing Stream once again, bringing Lloyd's health up substantially. The twin swordsman got up and glared at Mithos, promising death.

"...Cover me," That was the only thing that he said. It was all that needed to be said, as his father got the message and ran into the fray to continue the relentless assault on his former friend.

Zelos and Kratos took Regal and Presea's places. Since both used the same techniques, their different sword styles easily merged with each other's. Mithos was now on the defensive, not swaying under the accomplished swordsmen's mighty blows.

Although it seemed that Mithos was struggling against the two, he was only using about forty percent of his power, amusing himself by watching the group's futile attempts to defeat him.

A powerful intake of mana caught the blonde one's attention. It felt familiar, but something seemed...off. He turned around and saw Kratos charging towards him...but wasn't that him taking in mana? Mithos looked past his old friend to see Lloyd... preparing a spell.

What the hell?!

As Mithos was caught off guard by this revelation, Kratos used the blunt end of his sword to push the blond one back. Presea also used the blunt end of her axe to push Mithos back more. Zelos used the sharp end of his dagger to leave a slightly deep cut on Mithos' stomach. Finally, Lloyd finished charging his spell.

"Explosion!" Mithos saw this coming and hastily teleported to the other side of the room.

" Dammit...change in plans. It looks like you used that old trick on Lloyd that I taught you, Kratos," the angel sneered, clutching his gut.

"I'll leave you alone...for now," He vanished.

The group plopped down, exhausted by the past day's events.

"Can we eat? I'm starving..." the redhead complained. The prodigy groaned.

"Sure, but it'll take a while. While I'm cooking, Kratos, can you explain how Lloyd can use magic now?" He replied.

"Everyone(except Sheena) looked at Kratos. He cleared his throat and told them of an event that happened after finding the Cruxis Crystals.

"After my original group found the Cruxis Crystals in an unknown cave, I had found out about some unusual changes in my body. I discovered that I could use magic after accidentally lighting a tree on fire. Wanting to control these changes, I asked someone who was naturally used to using magic."

"And so you sought out Mithos' help," Raine said.

"Correct," Kratos replied, giving her a slight smile, causing her to blush.

Lloyd groaned.

"I think I might have a new mother," he whispered to Rutee, who snickered.

"After getting experimented on in what is now Sybak, we found out that I had Aionis in my blood. After getting key crests, Mithos taught me how to calmly focus on my mana and Aionis, fuse them together since I wasn't naturally attuned to the elements, and release them to create magic," Kratos explained, ignoring Lloyd.

The original group gaped at him.

"So, let me get this straight," Zelos started. "You taught Lloyd, our country bumpkin-" said bumpkin scowled, "-all of that since his exsphere is evolving in the span of nine hours?! He shouldn't be able to use such high level spells!" Now the group gaped at Lloyd, who rubbed his neck in embarrassment.

"The low-level spells are boring. The high-level ones caught my interest. Using Explosion finally lets me say 'Burn to oblivion!', like Sheena does when summoning Efreet, y'know?" Lloyd explained. The group sweat-dropped.

"Y-you never paid any attention like that in class!" Genis exclaimed. The twin swordsman shrugged.

"Eh. Classes were boring," he replied. A vein popped up on the professor's face. Lloyd sweat-dropped.

"Uh, professor, shouldn't you wake up Sheena? She needs to eat too!" the young man nearly yelled. The teacher sighed.

"You're not off the hook yet," she said. She walked over to the unconscious ninja and used Resurrection. Slowly, the girl came to.

"Ugh...what happened...?" She said, getting up. Zelos sauntered over to her.

"Are you okay, my honey...?" he cooed. Suddenly, she remembered everything.

She punched Zelos. Hard.

The group gasped, save Kratos, who merely widened his eyes. The girl fought back angry tears as she stormed off. Zelos sighed. He knew that this was bound to happen.

"Sheena!" Lloyd called out, chasing after her.

"Wait!" Collete cried out, fixing to go after him. Kratos stopped her.

"Kratos-!" Collete started, but said mercenary cut her off.

"Let him go. You had your chance, and missed it. He moved on." he said. The group merely watched Lloyd and Sheena get farther and farther away as the maiden silently sobbed into her hands, the angel rubbing her back...

Well, that's that. Let me know what you thought of this chapter.