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Chapter Eight
Guardian of Hopes and Dreams

  Tear materialized on the transporter pad and slowly looked at her surroundings. She was obviously very confused, having seconds prior been in the forest investigating a teleporter. She had wondered if the teleporter was eatable, and when she stepped on it, she suddenly found herself in her present surroundings. The walls were metal, and had streams of light coursing in patterns all over them. A massive metal door marked the only entrance or exit from the room.
  With a sudden flash of light Tear’s mag, Pitri, appeared on the teleporter pad, looking just as confused as Tear. It began to almost schizophrenically look around in all directions with great fervor. The large door opened and Iris entered the room. She looked happy to see Tear.
  “Finally! Tear where have you been?”, Iris inquired.
  “Um... sister?! What happen? Where this?” Tear asked. Tear walked to the nearest wall and extended a hand out to touch it. “Cold, not eatable...” Iris sighed deeply, she was relieved to have been reunited with Tear, and she quietly congratulated herself on having the forethought to modify Tear’s Datalink.
  “We’re in the Mines”, Iris said quietly, “Almost at the ruins...” Iris abruptly stopped speaking when she noticed Tear’s mag, Pitri, still erratically looking about the room. It suddenly stopped, and stared at the teleporter. A giant red question mark appeared above the creatures head as it examined the teleporter. Iris noted to herself that she would have to someday ask Tear how her mag did that. Iris regained her composure and resumed explaining the situation to Tear. “Ah, as I was saying, we’re almost to the entrance to the ancient ruins...”
  Tear interrupted, “What ‘ruins’? Ruins eatable? Like rappy? Ruins eatable like rappy? Rappy delicious!” Iris lowered her head, closed her eyes, and smacked herself in the forehead with her palm.
  “Look Tear, I really need your help right now. I need some help fighting some machines in an area not far from here. You can get some food when we’re done.” Tear stopped looking at the wall, and turned to face Iris.
  “Sister promise? Get eatables?”
  “I promise Tear, when we’re done, you can have all the ‘eatables’ you want.” Tear’s eyes opened wide upon hearing Iris’ words.
  “Okay! I help! Get eatables!!” Tear smiled, and turned to face her mag. “Pitriiiii!! We help sister, get eatables!” The Mag hovered for several seconds looking at Tear. “Of course!” Tear proclaimed, “is sister, sister promise!” The Mag hovered for several more seconds before smiling broadly. A giant red musical note appeared over the creature’s head, quickly moved up and down several times and disappeared.
  “Ah, Tear...” Iris began, “Your mag, um, Pitri... how does it do that?”
  “Pitri very smart!” Tear proclaimed. She extended out her hands and grabbed the pudgy creature. She drew it in and held it tightly against her chest, giving it a playful hug. She then released the Mag, and it returned to hovering near her left shoulder. “Okay!”, Tear cheerfully shouted, “We ready sister!”
  Iris and Tear walked to the room’s solitary door, and out into the hallway beyond. For several minutes they walked through many alike looking rooms of green metal walls with oddly glowing designs on the floor, past untold piles scrap metal littered everywhere--the remains of wave after wave of robotic enemies Iris and many other hunters had defeated journeying through the mines. Eventually, they arrived at in a room with a no piles of metal on the floor. Iris instructed Tear to wait by the door.
  “Okay Tear, we’re here. Now watch...” Iris looked at her mag, which had been following obediently all the while as they trekked through the mines. “Churel”, Iris spoke, “Trigger the motion detectors please”, Iris pointed to the center of the room. The Mag obeyed and quickly flew to the center of the room, four large green heavily armored machines immediately teleported in surrounding the Mag. “Tear”, Iris instructed, “I’m going to go fight those machines, they’re called Granzes. When I get close enough, they’ll all begin to fire missiles at me. I need you to destroy the missiles as they’re fired so I can destroy those things.” Tear appeared perplexed.
  “Missiles? What missile?”
  “Listen, when I get close, alot of flying pointed things are going to appear. Just destroy them okay?”
  “Flying pointes? Okay, yah!” Iris breathed a sigh of relief, and drew a large sickle weapon from her null space item storage. Once it appeared in her hands, Iris began walking in the direction of the Granzes. Iris’ Mag, Churel, flew back to Iris and hovered near her left shoulder. As Iris approached them, the four large Green Granzes turned to face her. They each launched a barrage of 4 slow moving missiles from upper chassis side mounted launchers. Iris picked up her pace and began to run towards the Granzes. As the first wave of missiles was about to strike Iris, Tear extended out a hand. From her hand, Tear shot a bright yellow bolt of electrical current which struck the first missile and then in a looping arc struck every missile, destroying them in the air, and causing some collateral damage to the Granzes. As Iris violently tore into the first Granz with her sickle weapon, it’s massive armor began to disconnect from it’s frame to reveal more missile launchers. Iris swing her weapon in broad movements striking all of the now closely situated together Granz machines. With each successive hit, more pieces of armor dropped to the floor to reveal more launchers. As Iris continued her attack each Granz fired a second volley of 8 missiles apiece, which Tear skillfully destroyed with more electric arcs. The collateral damage from the multiple explosions struck Iris, and were absorbed by her mag. The Granzes broke down as Iris tore through their central support chassis with her weapon. The room now contained four large green piles of scrap metal.
  Iris turned to face Tear, who was still standing by the door. “Whew... Thanks Tear, i wouldn’t have been able to do that without your help.”
  “Iris Welcome!”, Tear cheerfully remarked. Iris waked to the far end of the room, and opened the only other door in the room beside the one they had entered in. The door led to a room containing large multi-person transporter. “Tear, come here please.” Tear obeyed and walked across the room to stand next to Iris. Iris walked to the transporter and stood in the middle of the transport pad. “Okay Tear, let’s go.”
  “Go where?”
  “We need to take this transporter, there’s someone we have to deal with before we can go to the ruins.”
  “Oh... okay!” Tear walked to the transporter and stood on the pad. Both Tear and Iris vanished in a flash of light. When they rematerialized, they were standing in a large circular room, the circumference of which was a continous line of computer screens and data terminals. From the ceiling in the center of the room a Photonic core hung, the source of power for the massive computer system that controlled the mines.
  “Volt!”, Iris shouted. “Volt! I know you’re here. I know you can hear me! Show yourself!” The largest of the computer screens in front of Iris and Tear began to glow, and a massive red face appeared on it.
  “Solsiris”, a hollow metallic sounding voice reverberated throughout the room as if emitting from all directions. “You may not pass, the master is busy at the moment.”
  “You cannot stop me Volt, I will find your master, I will carry out my mission. Others have passed you, and so shall we!”
  “With each defeat I have been handed in combat”, the voice began, “I have recorded the actions and styles of my opponents. With each ensuing regeneration of my core, I have adapted my systems. Neither you nor any creature of flesh can defeat me. Your life and your mission, end here.” As the voice trailed off twelve two meter tall cylindrical objects emerged from the floor along the perimeter of the room. For several seconds they remained silent, before emitting powerful bolts of energy at the photonic core hanging from the ceiling. The core glowed brightly, and shot two streaking beams of energy directly at Tear and Iris, striking them both and knocking them to the ground. As Tear screamed from the pain of the blast, her Mag’s eyes suddenly lost their pigment and became pale white.
  “Tear...”, Iris moaned, “Your mag... it’s Photon Blast is charged... hurry...” Tear slowly stood back up. The cylindrical objects again fired beams of energy at the photonic core, and as the second blast began, Tear shouted at the mag “Pitri! Help!”
  Hovering above Tear the mag suddenly emitted a faint red glow. As the Mag glowed, all the light in the room disappeared, the photonic core shot a second blast at the Mag, which was immediately absorbed by an invisible energy barrier surrounding the mag. Above the now stationary mag, a swirling mass of smoke and vapor appeared, streaks of charged energy flashing within. As if suddenly filled with fireflies, hundreds of glowing red balls of light appeared in the room, and began to gravitate towards the vaporous mass. With a striking speed the lights sped toward the vaporous mass, and were absorbed by it. Seconds later a massive spherical energy blast emanated from the vaporous cloud, when it hit the walls it shattered all the screens. The photonic core hanging from the ceiling imploded and fell to the ground. The room was violently shocked by cascading explosions as a second energy sphere tore through all the remaining computer systems. Then as quickly as it had begun, the vapor disappeared. A few remaining red emergency lights switched on.
  Iris slowly rose to her feet. “Careful Tear, it’s not over yet...” As Iris spoke, from the darkness of the ceiling a massive electrical grinding noise slowly rose in volume. A massive red metal machine slowly appeared from the blackness of the upper ceiling. “I’ve heard about this... Your combat form Volt? Your armored core? When I’m done with you, there’ll be nothing left for you to rebuild from!” Iris swung her sickle weapon at the giant machine, only to have it bounce off the polished armor plating.
  “Your endeavors are in vein”, the metallic voice spoke. “I will not fail my master.” A panel in the rear of the armor dropped down to reveal several missile launchers. From what iris discerned to be it’s sides, two panels rose slightly. It fired twenty missiles. Tear, still in pain from the earlier energy blast, was slow to respond. She shot an electrical bolt at the missiles, but the technique was too underpowered, and several missiles exploded very near Iris. Iris was thrown to the ground by the force of the explosions. She stood up and began to attack with her sickle weapon again, only to experience further failures. Tear began to attack the armored core of Volt Opt with a variety of different elemental techniques. None met with success. As Iris was trying to figure out an attack strategy, the side armor panels suddenly made a brief whirring noise. Seconds later a massive column of metal scrap descended from the ceiling missing Iris my less than a meter.
  “Tear!”, Iris shouted, “Run!” Tear did as instructed, seconds later another massive cylindrical column of metal scrap impacted the area where Tear had been standing. Iris looked at the base of the machine. “No legs”, she thought to herself, “No legs, and no anti-grav cells...” Iris looked at the top of the machine and noticed a massive column of wires and support cables leading from the top of the machine into the darkness of the high ceiling. “That’s it, it has to be”, Iris thought, “Not armored, that has to be the support...” Iris steadied her weapon, and charged the front of the hanging machine. As she was just upon it, Iris jumped and landed on top of the machine. “No more!” Iris screamed as she swung her sickle weapon, slicing through the cables and wires. With it’s support cutoff, Volt Opt’s armored core fell to the ground with a loud thud.
  “You... may defeat me... but the master... already has a host... you are... extraneous... expendable...” the voice grew quieter and trailed off as the last of the energy reserves in the core were expended. A section of wall behind Tear suddenly slid down into the floor, revealing a passageway leading down. An Erie oscillating light could be seen emanating from further down the passage.
  Iris jumped down off from the top of the core, and landed near Tear. Iris breathed a sigh of relief. ”Aright Tear”, Iris said, “The entrance to the ruins should be at the end of that passageway.”

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