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Phantasy Star 2: The Shards Of The Broken Blade
by Draco


Rolf knelt, darting the Neisword back and forth to protect himself from the larger parts of the flying debris. Behind him, Rudo held the Neishield high to shelter himself, Anna and Amy. Abruptly the explosion stopped - and Mother Brain was, in a manner of speaking... dead. The agent, using the sword to steady himself, slowly rose to his feet. The sound of movement suggested that his friends were doing the same.

"So... I guess that's it. We won!"

"Yup." Rudo strode up to the spot where the giant computer had stood, examining the great heap of scrap metal. "Algo's free. We did it!"

"If only Nei was here to see it..." Rolf whispered to himself. He hadn't meant the others to hear, but his whisper was too loud for them not to.

"Hey, Rolf!" Anna said, "I'm sure she IS watching us. She wouldn't miss this."

"Yeah... thanks."

They turned away from the irreparably broken computer and -

-There is still someone in the ship- thundered the telepathic voice of Lutz in their heads. -You cannot return again-

"What?" asked Amy. "Others - where -"

"There's a door here." Rudo pointed to the wall. "Behind that panel. It's been well hidden, but the explosion revealed it... and seems to have destroyed the hinges. I think it's worth checking... Rolf?"

"Yes... Let's have a look."

The hunter dug his gloved fingers into a crack in the door, put a foot to the wall, and pulled. The door protested loudly, but opened an inch or so. Rudo pulled again, the metal yielded - he found himself lying on the floor with the door on top of him. He had pulled it from its hinges. Taking the lead, Rolf led his friends through the hole - and found himself facing hundreds of Palmans... or were they? They didn't look quite like Palmans; almost, close enough to fool most people, but not exactly. Who are these people...?

"Welcome to the spaceship Noah," one of the men, the one who appeared to be their leader, greeted the four.

"Wh... who are you?" Rolf asked them. The man took a step forwards, making an inviting gesture. Rolf walked closer, not seeing the men who placed themselves in front of the door, blocking the exit.

"I don't like your tone of voice," the man said. "Are you here because you think we are enemies?" Rolf and the others exchanged glances. The agent cleared his throat, embarrassed.

"Ehm, well... I don't know. I hope not."

"Thanks to the Mother Brain, which we created, Algo prospered."

"So you are the creators of the Mother Brain!" Anna exclaimed. "You are hardly what we expected!"

"We are not people of Algo. We are from a place called Earth. Our planet was green and lovely, and we had a highly advanced civilisation. We are the last of our race."

"The last...?" Amy whispered, visibly shocked.

"Yes. Our planet was destroyed. Do you want to know why?"

"Yes," Amy breathed.

"We were a weaker people then," the earthman said. "Even though we knew about the evil inside us, we didn't suppress it. We took joy inn controlling nature; we didn't realise we were destroying ourselves... until it was too late.

"The death rattle of our planet alerted us to our failure. With the time remaining to us, we built a spaceship to wander among the stars. Then we found Algo. We found the people here living in simple happiness.

"We decided we want this planet. And do you think you can stop us, we who destroyed Palma? You will die!"

The man smiled an evil grin, and Rolf blinked, trying to comprehend what he had just heard. Suddenly a bright light flared to his left, and took the forms of three human beings - three beings he knew well: Hugh, Kain and Shir.

"Very clever," the earthman snarled. "But it is only a matter of time before Algo is destroyed!"

"Silence!" Rolf roared. "Be quiet!" As the man proceeded to draw a weapon, the agent swung his Neisword, separating the earthman's head from his body. "Ho, Rolf!" said Hugh, a bewildered look on his face. "What's happening?"

"Death, by the looks of it," Rolf told him. "This is for all of Algo - they are the source of all the trouble! Nail them and we are done with this!"

"Final battle, is it?" asked Shir. "That's good - I'm getting sick of killing."

"Don't be so sure it's over, Shir! We still got to deal with those -yeouch!"

A metallic bullet struck Rolf's shoulder, spinning him around, almost making him fall, but was deflected his Laconian armour. A surprised man to their right lowered an old-fashioned firearm, staring at Rolf as if the agent was a ghost.

"Here they come!" shouted Amy. "Ready!"

And hell broke loose.

* * *

Lutz sat alone in his room, still shivering after the long cold-sleep. But it was only his body that existed on Dezo - his mind was floating above and looking down at the battle at Noah, so he knew well what was happening; he also knew what was going to happen. All according to plan.

* * *

"Retreat! They are too many!" Rolf shouted, voice strained to reach his companions' ears through the noise. Looking at the odds, it was a small miracle that they were still alive, all of them, but that could change - and change fast - if they stayed longer. "Shir!" he yelled. "Get Hugh and Kain out of here! I can only transport four at a time!"

The green-haired girl nodded and sheathed her knife, then laid her hands on Hugh's and Kain's shoulders.

"Hinas!" she commanded.

Nothing happened. The thief, looking slightly annoyed, tried again:

"Ryuka!"

There was a puff of thin smoke, and they were gone, leaving three rapidly fading green afterimages. Rolf wasted no time as he gathered Anna, Rudo and Amy around him. Calling out for the three to hold hands, he grabbed Rudo's arm and shouted, "Ryuka!"

Again, there was a puff of smoke - and Rolf found himself staring at one of the space ship's walls. They were still in space!

"What happened?" asked Shir. The thief stood behind him, a slightly puzzled look on her face. Somehow, they had at least managed to teleport to the same place. "Why didn't it work?"

"Lutz." Rolf frowned. "There's probably some kind of barrier... and he's the only one who could do that. But why... Shir!"

"What- Yes, Rolf?"

"Stay here! Make a stand with the others - I'll try and find the control room for the ship! Maybe I can make it land on Dezo."

"Be careful, Rolf! At least take this with you..." Shir handed over a small glass vial the size of Rolf's hand. A dark greenish blue fluid that Rolf recognised as starmist swirled in the bottle. "Starmist," she confirmed. "It's the last one I have - I... ehm, got it from a merchant in Zosa... guess I forgot I had it. Use it wisely!"

"Thank you, Shir." He clasped her hand for an instant, then let go. "Ryuka!"

And he was gone.

Yeah, be careful, Shir thought as the green light faded. Be as careful as to return in one piece. Damn you, agent!

She turned around, flipping her knife up into the air and catching it again. Damn him indeed! But she could buy him some time, at least.

* * *

Lutz frowned. What? This could not happen! The ship and it's contents could not get back to Dezo...

It would have to be destroyed.

* * *

"No controls, damn!"

This was the fifth room he had teleported to, but he hadn't found anything useful - though he had found several earthmen. He had won the fights, but was very tired now. Rolf muttered "Ryuka!" under his breath, and the room faded.

And suddenly, he stood in the control room! Great! But...

"Kill him!" an armoured man shouted, pulling a gun from a holster and aiming it at Rolf.

There were earthmen as well. At least twenty of them.

Rolf gripped the hilt of his sword, and prepared to die fighting.

* * *

"Shir!" yelled Kain. "They are way too many! What are we going to do?!"

"Stay," the thief commanded. "Stay and fight! Like Rolf told us." She pointed her dagger at one of the onrushing humans and cast: "Nagra!" The man - along with over a dozen of his comrades - fell, crushed by the sudden increase of gravity brought by the technique - but they were not alone. More earthmen came...

And more.

And more.

* * *

Rolf was surprised to be alive - but that was nothing, compared to what he felt when he saw what had happened to the men he faced - "surprise" just wasn't enough. One of them had hit him with a strange kind of firearm. Then what? Oh, yes... the bullet struck his hip... his pocket. And crushed the bottle of Starmist Shir had given him... The mist had been released, he had breathed it and it had healed him.

It had not, however, healed his enemies. As Rolf looked around, he saw that most of the bodies around him were unmarked. That meant...

Starmist must be poisonous to them! he thought. How strange...!

Wasting no more time, the agent turned his attention to the controls. There were flashing lights, and buttons, and...

Well, he didn't know how to fly a space ship, but he'd observed the controls in their own shuttle and thought he knew enough to take the ship down. How complicated could it be? He sat down in the pilot's chair - after first picking the dead pilot out of it - and started to change the station's orbit. One landing on Dezo, coming up... or rather coming down. All the same, they were going back.

* * *

"It... moved!" Anna whispered as she fell down beside Amy, who was using a fallen earthman warrior as a shield as she attacked the ones still alive with the fallen one's gun.

"What? Anna, speak louder!" she asked, but then saw the large wound in Anna's leg. "Damn! Be still, I'll fix this..."

"The... ship. It's... moved. I felt it..."

The doctor placed her hands on the wounded warrior's forehead. "Nares!" Bright purple light flared, almost blinding her. Anna gasped as the immense power of healing flowed through her body, then sat up, narrowly avoiding a stray bullet that ricocheted of a wall. "It moves! Don't you feel it?!"

"I feel it too!" yelled Hugh, ducking behind the Neishield. "He did it!"

* * *

Indeed, Spaceship Noah was moving - but not in the way Rolf wanted it to move. He was struggling at the control board, but the ship's orbit became more and more unstable. That was of course the reason he did this at all... but at this course, they wouldn't just land - they would crash land, in Skure! Pounding his fist on the instrument board, Rolf tried to calm down. It wasn't working! He couldn't control the ship very well from the start - but now, it didn't even respond to controls. No good!

"Damn you, Lutz!"

Calm! Be calm, you fool! he told himself. But it was hopeless - they were all going to die, and it was his fault - his... and Lutz's! He had to get back to his friends - they had the right to know. But could he manage to teleport there?

"Ryuka!"

Miraculously, he could.

* * *

"So you're saying... we are crashing? Again?" Rudo sighed, recalling the crash of Gaira.

"Yes." Rolf shut his eyes wearily, and was just barely saved from another bullet as Shir flung her emel at his head, knocking him backwards.

"Don't get yourself killed!" she shouted. "We'll fight! If we win, maybe Lutz will bring us back!"

Rolf doubted that. Lutz had turned from and betrayed them for some reason; hoping for help from him was futile. And this time, no one was going to come and rescue them.

"Maybe..." he said. "We will fight, then."

* * *

In Skure...? Lutz frowned. No, he decided, not in Skure - that could destroy Dezoris as easily as Palma was destroyed by the crash of Gaira.

Whispering ancient words of spells - magic, not techniques - long forgotten to all but the Espers, this particular Esper called an asteroid from its orbit and aimed it at the crashing ship. Algo had to be protected, at all costs. Even if that cost was the lives of its Protectors.

* * *

Shir crawled out from the heap of dead earthmen she had been lying under. How she'd gotten there, she did not know... But what had happened? There was no fighting...

"Rolf?" she called. There was no answer. She got to her feet... and stared in utter horror at the scene in front of her. All around, there were earthmen - all dead. But among the dead bodies, she spotted six shapes she knew.

"No!"

Scrabbling over corpses, almost blinded by tears, she almost fell down by Amy's side. The doctor was utterly pale, and most of her covered in blood. There was no sign of movement.

"Amy!"

Shir tried to wake her friend, but her efforts were wasted. Slowly, it dawned on her...

Amy was dead.

And so were the others.

She was alone - alone on a crashing space ship. Shir tried to rise, but was too shocked to move. That was when she felt the absence of weight on her shoulders... Strangely, Shir was distracted by this fact. How? She had been wearing the Neicape, she knew that...

There was a movement in the air, a tone felt rather than heard. And then there was another tone, blending with the first in perfect harmony. And a third. As Shir looked around, she saw the various items of Nei start to glow - and for each new item there was a new tone; tones that seemed to play a tune, almost but not utterly perfect. Something was missing, but the thief couldn't even begin to understand what. Nor did she care. The glow deepened into a brilliant white, and the items of Nei started to disintegrate. Leaving only a tingling sensation in its wake, the Neiemel disappeared from Shir's left arm. Around Amy's head, the Neicrown burned brightly, then faded and left tiny sparkling motes in her red hair. In the hands of Anna and Rudo, the Neislasher and Neishot blinked out of existence, adding new tones to the wholeness. Seconds later, Rudo's armour disappeared too, creating yet another tone. Kain and Hugh both seemed to shimmer as the Neishield left Hugh's arm and the helmet suddenly disappeared from the wrecker's head. Shir shifted uneasily - but froze as she saw Amy's hand stir a little.

"Amy? Amy!"

"...Shir. Where are we?"

"You live! I was so..."

Suddenly speechless, Shir could but watch as four of the other still shapes started to breathe and live again. Either Algo protected its own, or maybe it was just a parting gift from Nei. They had been healed... All but one. "Rolf?"

The agent had not moved, nor did his sword show any signs of disappearing. The only item of Nei he had been carrying was the sword; the only item of Nei that had not disappeared was the sword.

"No... this can't be! Amy, do something!" Shir pleaded. The doctor didn't need that encouragement; she was already preparing to cast the healing technique that would bring Rolf back to them. Placing her hands on his chest, she muttered the name of Rever, and bright sparks danced around her hands... And vanished. Amy slumped forwards, barely catching herself in time, as the restoring magic failed her.

"...can't! ...I haven't... can't... summon enough... power!" she gasped. The try had almost knocked her out.

"No! Rolf!"

But Rolf was silent - silent as death itself.

And outside, unseen by the grieving Protectors, a meteorite was rapidly closing on the ship.

* * *

"You were going to let them die!"

Lutz jumped to his feet, startled - no one was allowed to come into this room; he'd seen to that. At his fingertips, sparks of long magic long unused crackled.

"You can cast all spells you want, Lutz! It will do you no good!"

Suddenly, a semi-transparent image of a beautiful girl with long, purple hair, luminescent eyes the colour of the sky, and long, pointed ears, was standing in the middle of the room. She stared defiantly at the several-hundred-years-old Esper. "You were going to let them all die!" she repeated. "You... Oooh! Never reveal the origin of Dark Force, is it?" When she saw the look of terror on Lutz's face, the girl smiled coldly. "Oh, yes, I see! We can't let people know the truth, can we? It's just that! You are afraid! I was willing to sacrifice my life for this victory, yet you can't give up your pride and sense of security? You should be ashamed! If people don't trust the Espers when they find out you cannot defeat Darkness, then so be it! At least they tried, and that should make even you worship the very ground they tread on! Now bring them back!"

"But..." Lutz tried, "People might panic if they know... how easily we might all be destroyed! Think of it, Nei!"

"I have!" she snapped. "And I have seen! 'People' are stronger than you think, Lutz - they will make it, even if they get to know! Redirect the asteroid, and let the ship land safely!"

"...no. I am afraid I can not do that." Lutz sighed deeply. "I am sorry for this - you know I am. But the truth of Dark Force must never be told."

"Have it your way, then!" she whispered. "I will do it myself!"

And as suddenly as she appeared, she was gone again.

* * *

"What... what is that noise?" Rudo asked, a question only meant for himself. He managed to tear his gaze away from Rolf's still shape and look through one of the small thick-glassed windows set in the craft's outer wall. "No!"

"What is it?" Anna asked silently.

"Look for yourself," the hunter whispered. "Now... we may join him sooner than we thought."

Anna, putting a hand on Kain's shoulder for support, rose slowly and made way to the window. She paled as she saw the great fireball speeding towards them.

"Yes..." she breathed. "I think you are right this time."

Rising to look through the window, the companions left Rolf. They didn't see the first flash of power ignite deep within the Neisword, but they did hear the final note - the tone that, at last, made the melody perfectly whole and completed the circle. Turning slowly, they saw the blade start to crack - not disintegrate, as had the other items, but fall to pieces. The hilt, still in Rolf's hand, remained solid, but the shards of steel started to break down into smaller parts, all emitting a bluish glow. They didn't fall to the ground, though, but spun around Rolf, creating a sphere of what looked like bright blue snow. As the companions drew nearer their fallen leader, the sphere widened to encompass them as well.

Seconds later, the meteorite struck the ship.

Shielded inside the cocoon of sparks, they saw the ship's walls turn into fire, heard the metal melt and crack - but it all seemed to happen a long way off. Suddenly, they were falling through space - and then, there was just darkness.

* * *

He was dreaming - he had to be dreaming! Nei was there, as were his parents - and they were dead... or were they? Nei smiled - but as he tried to approach, she shook her head. Instead of advancing towards Nei, Rolf stood still as she took the few steps separating them.

"Nei... I-"

"Ssh. Not yet, Rolf, it is not yet your time."

"But I want to be with you -"

"It is not your time. Not yet. As time passes, you will join me soon enough - but not until the day your time is up. Rolf, live... for me. Live. Please...?"

"Live..." he repeated, slowly. "Live." Looking straight into Nei's bright eyes, Rolf smiled. "Yes - I will live!"

"Farewell, then... for now," she said softly, returning the smile, then reached out to touch his hand. At the moment when her fingers brushed his, Rolf woke up - seeing not Nei, but the sword named after her in his hand. The hilt of it, rather - only about half an inch of the blade remained - and only for a little while, as it soon disappeared in a bright flash.

He sat up. He recognised his surroundings, but couldn't place them at first... Paseo! That was it, he was right outside Paseo; a Paseo that was dark and silent, now without electricity... And with him...

Rolf looked around and saw his friends lying beside him, all in various states of waking up.

"Hey!" he said, "What - how did this happen?"

"I don't know..." Rudo confessed, pulling himself up. "It might be better not to know, though... I was with my... family..." He trailed off.

"And I saw Nei!" Rolf whispered. "We did it! We really won this time!"

"D'ya really think so?" asked Kain, yawning. "I sure hope yer right."

"As do I," smiled the agent. "As do I."

But the words of Nei rang in his ears, and somehow, he knew. It was over at last. As Shir and Hugh, the last ones, started to open their eyes, Rolf smiled, and, for the first time since Nei died, felt hope.

* * *

In his chamber, Lutz regarded the hilt of a sword with some distaste.

"I told you!" a voice emitting from the sword said.

Lutz stared at the remains of the Neisword, not knowing if he had indeed heard that.

"I told you," the voice repeated, followed by a girlish giggle. "I told you I'd do it!"

Then she was gone again. Rising unsteadily, Lutz walked over to one of the walls in the chamber and touched it gently. The wall swung open, revealing a passageway. With a faint smile, Lutz entered.

It was a short walk. One level below Esper Mansion, he reached the Room of Heroes - Alis' grave, and the Place of the Sacred Sword. The ancient Esper looked with sad remembrance at the statue of a woman, Alis Landale, the Protector - a woman he had known and travelled together with. Alis herself had demanded to be buried here, so that her spirit could guard and guide the Protectors of Algo. Still, thinking of her made Lutz's heart ache. A thousand years, but even though he was not the first to wear the name Lutz, the sorrow brought by her death had not left his memory.

But that was a burden he had accepted along with the power Lutz commanded, and so the third Esper Lord gently placed the remains of the Neisword in the statue's hands.

"You need a new name," he told the sword, another rare smile - or possibly the same smile, lingering - on his lips. "A new name... well, how does 'Elsydeon' sound?"

The sword, what was left of it, sparkled in response, as if accepting its new name. As the Esper turned his back to it, he failed, like the Lutz:s before him, to see the small but clearly visible smile on the statue's face.

Over the years, the shards of the broken blade would gather here, rebuilding the sword, so that when it was once more needed, the Neisword - the Elsydeon - would be ready.

As it had always been.

*END*

After reading several stories about the heroes dying at the hands of the earthmen, I just *had* to write one with a happier ending (Okay, I confess: the Hollywood trend got to me too... sadly)! While this story is certainly less likely to actually "have happened", as it were, you'll have to agree with me: after saving all of Algo (well, minus Palma...), Rolf and friends really deserve better than getting killed by a bunch of earthlings! Yuck!

Also, if Elsydeon is the Neisword, then why not? (Afterall, it managed to teleport Chaz and co. in PSIV.) There's nothing in the (English version of) the game that says it is (and no, I haven't played the Jap version), but then there isn't anything saying it isn't, either!

Please note that this is an old fic - I wrote it just as soon as I finished PSIV, which I got as soon as it was released (and finished rather quickly, playing 25 hours per day...). All I've done is correct some spelling and grammattickall errerrs (YES, it was a joke!). I wasn't very used to writing at the time, and this story probably is the worst I've written... Still, please mail me your comments - I want to know what *you* think! Well, that's it for this time - sayonara!

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