"Halt!" A guard shouts, as the group walked up the steps "The likes of her are not welcome in this hallowed place." He said pointing to Buffy.
Giles steps up the Guado "She is a guardian."
"That is preposterous! An Al Bhed, a guardian?"
"I've decided to be Tara's guardian from now on, and that's all I want." Buffy said looking at the Guado
"And that's all one needs to be a guardian." Giles said staring the Guado down.
"Very well she may pass."
Shelinda pulled Willow to the side when the group entered the temple.
"There you are! Lady Maester Glory and Lady Tara getting married! I couldn't be happier even if it was my own wedding. Now the victims of Sin will have something to be joyful about." Shelinda said excitedly.
Willow looked to the floor "I guess so."
"You're not happy? Why not? This is a joyful occasion.
"It's complicated. Hey, do you know where Tara is?"
"She has gone into the Cloister of Trials with Lady Glory." Shelinda says as a Guado runs out of the right room and falls to her knees.
"Lord Jyscal! A sphere, in Lady Tara belongings." The Guado woman said.
Giles runs into the room with the others following, he pushes the button on the sphere and an image of Jyscal appeared.
"What I am about to tell you is the unclouded truth. I swear it on my honor as a Guado. Listen to me very carefully, for I shall tell you the truth about my daughter, Glory. Her mind is closed even to me, a Maester of Yevon. But I can feel flames of darkness burning in her heart. She is using Yevon, the Guado, and even the Summoners. If she is not stopped, she will surely bring destruction and chaos to Spira. I will leave this world soon, killed by my own daughter. But I do not fault her. Because I was not wise enough she has suffered, and become twisted. I could not protect her and her mother from the world and its cruelty. I will accept death as punishment for my deeds. But whoever is watching this...I implore you to stop Glory! Stop my daughter." The recording stopped.
"Wonderful." Giles says pacing the room.
"Fucking great!" Faith says and grips her spear.
"Tara! Will she be all right?" Buffy asked worriedly
"Without us there to protect her? No." Giles says and walks out the door.
"Hey! Where ya'll goin'" Xander asks watching Faith and Buffy leave.
"You saw it, didn't you? Glory is bad news!" Willow nearly shouted
"But...she is a Maester!"
"Fine then! Stay here if you want! But I'm not letting the woman I love stay with that murdering bitch any longer. I was stupid not to stop her in the first place!" Willow runs out of the room.
"Xander, come on. Tara could be in trouble!" Anya said and grabbed Xander's arm dragging him behind her.
"This just can't be happening."
"If she truly did kill Lord Jyscal, it must be done." Anya pulls Xander up the stairs to the Cloister door, and goes in.
"Faith and Buffy are up ahead. Let's go." Giles says and leads the way down the hall. They run into the Chamber and find Glory standing beside the Fayth's Chamber door.
"Glory!" Willow shouts causing Glory to turn around.
Be silent! Lady Tara prays to the Fayth."
"Make me!" Willow yells as Tara steps out of the Prayer room. "Tara!"
"We saw Jyscal's sphere." Willow says gripping her sword.
Giles glares at Glory "You killed your own father."
"Yes. What of it?" Glory says waving her hand around in a board manor "Lady Tara, you knew of this, correct? Well, why have you come here?"
"I came...I came here to stop you!" Tara says walking down the stairs.
"Oh, I see. You came to punish me, then." Glory says watching Tara back up, Willow and Faith step in front of Tara. "Ah, of course. 'Protect the Summoner even at the cost of one's life' The Code of the Guardian. How admirable. Well, if you're offering up your lives... Then, I will just have to take them."
"Lady Glory. I trust my guardians with my life. But they are also my friends, and I will not stand by and watch them be hurt. I will fight you, too!" Tara says raising her rod.
"All right!" Willow shouts.
"Lady Glory, please, we must stop this." Xander says pleadingly
"So be it! I will show you true power."
Two Guado stand on either side of Glory and cast a Protect barrier and a Shell barrier around her, as she casts a Thunder spell on Willow. Willow falls to the ground, but grits her teeth and stands up glaring at Glory. "I knew you were bad news the first time I saw you!" Willow says and runs to Glory and swings her sword, Glory steps back only getting her robe cut open. Xander hits the right Guado on the head with his ball knocking him out. Anya casts Fira spell on the left Guado, setting him on fire. He falls to the floor and rolls putting the flames out before passing out in pain. Faith runs at Glory with her spear held out, Glory grabs the spear and throws Faith over her head, and into the wall knocking her out. Buffy tries to punch her, but she caught Buffy's hand and shoved her into Xander, knocking them both to the ground. Giles sneaks up from her right and swings his sword, cutting Glory's stomach. She casts a Thunder spell on him knocking him to the ground.
"Have it your way. Feel my pain! Come, Anima!" Glory calls on the Aeon that she used in Luca. Anima rises up out of the floor and roars.
"Tara! Use the new Aeon!" Willow shouts
"O Fayth, lend me strength!" Tara prays as three huge blocks of ice appear and fall into the floor, one standing straight up, and the other two leaning to the right and left sides. A woman with a light blue body and dark blue hair, and a silver cape floats down and lands behind the ice. She tosses the robe to Tara and throws back her hair, breaking the ice. "Shiva, please help us." Tara says to the Aeon. Shiva raises her right hand in the air and a block of ice hits Anima shattering on impact. Anima roars as its eyes glows red and a laser shoots out hitting Shiva. Shiva puts her hands together and a bright light surrounds them, she raises them above her head, and twirls around throwing a path of ice at Anima freezing the huge Aeon. Shiva holds her right hand up and snaps her fingers, causing the ice to shatter and Anima disappears. "Thank you, Shiva. You may go now." Tara says as Shiva disappears.
"That power that defeated Anima...I must have it!" Glory said casting Blizzara spell on Anya; she did not see Willow slowly walking up behind her. Willow thrust her sword into Glory's back, and jerked it out when Glory fell to her knees. Tara runs over to Glory and knees down.
"Tara? You would pity me now?" Glory asked before she died. Tara reached over and closed her eyes, as Amy and two Guado’s ran through the door.
"Lady Glory!" Amy shrieks, "What happened here?"
"By Yevon, what...what have I done?" Xander says falling to his knees.
"Wait, just a minute! It's not our fault! Glory struck first! She's the one who started it!" Willow shouts.
"What! You all did this?" Amy angrily asked
Giles steps forward "Tara, send her."
"No! Stop! Stay away from her, you...you traitors!" Amy shouts as the two Guado’s pick up the body.
"Traitors?" Tara quietly says.
"We're finished." Xander says still on the floor.
"Wait! Hold on! Glory's the bad guy, right? We'll just explain to everyone what happened!" Willow says taking Tara's hand.
"It won't be that easy." Giles says from beside the door. "Let's get out of here."
Willow and Tara follow Giles out the door as Anya and Buffy help Faith walk, with Xander following behind. Reaching the hallway the group watches the floor disappear.
"Oh come on! Gimme a break!" Willow grumbles and walked down the slope leading to the Trials, with Xander and Giles following leaving Faith to rest, and the others to watch over her.
At the bottom of the ramp Willow looks around, then to Giles. "You've been to this temple before, right? Well then how do we solve this?"
Giles carefully looks around the room "I don't know...the Cloister has been changed."
"Well, then. Let's solve it and get the hell out of here." Xander says taking a blue sphere from one of the columns. "I think I got this part figured out, ya?" We put the sphere into the pedestal over there, and push it down the ramp, over there." He does exactly as he explained and watched as the pedestal smoothly slid down the ramp to the lower level. They follow it down, and Willow takes the sphere from the pedestal, and finds a slot on the wall. Placing it there makes a small section of the wall to slide up reveling another sphere.
"Don't touch it. There is a sphere up top exactly like that one, I'll go get it." Giles says and runs up the ramp, he takes the sphere from the slot on the far wall, and heads back down the ramp. He places the sphere in the pedestal and pushes it over to a half column, when it locks in place a section of the hallway appears. Willow and Xander grab the other two spheres. Xander runs over to the far column and puts the sphere into it, causing the second section of the hallway to appear. Willow runs up the ramp and puts her sphere in the slot on the central column, and the last section appears. Out of the corner of her eye Willow sees a purple glow, turning she sees that its one of those sphere that makes the wall explode. Taking it she examines the each empty slot, and goes back to the lower level. Finding an empty slot she places the sphere into it, causing part of the floor to explode, reveling a chest. Opening it she gets a Luck Sphere, and runs back to the group. When the group enters the main temple they see ten Guado standing behind Amy.
"Please..." Tara lowers her head.
"At least give us a chance to explain." Giles says as he steps in front of Tara.
"There is no need for that, I already know what I'll tell the other Maesters."
"And that means?" Giles said with a glare
"Lady Glory was the leader of the Guado before she became a Maester."
"I'm going to take a wild guess, and say...That you're not going to let us go." Willow said and gripped her sword hilt.
"Let you go? Ha! Lady Glory would never forgive us if we did."
"Hey, wait! Jyscal's sphere! We can show it to them!" Buffy said taking a step forward.
"You mean this?" Amy asks holding up the sphere. "Guado take care of Guado affairs." She said and shattered the sphere, as the Guado men advanced on the group.
"Stay away, you bastards!" Faith said shoving two of the men away from Tara.
"Run!" Giles said and shoved a Guado out of his way.
The group rushed past the Guado, and out the door. With no time to start up the snow sleds they leave them, and run up the pathway with several Guado following. When they reach the lake area the ground shakes causing the group to slide down. When they stand back up and turn around they see two Guado men approaching with a huge ape-man like fiend. The fiend has a blue body, with white hair covering its arms, legs and head, and the hands and feet have sharp brown claws.
Xander hit the left Guado on the head with his ball knocking him out, and Anya cast a Thunder spell on the right Guado sending him flying back ten foot into a snow bank. Willow and Faith rush at the fiend, the fiend ducks under Willow's sword and blocks Faith's spear. Buffy runs up and hits it in the mid-section, with her spiked glove. The fiend swings at Buffy knocking her back, and had its arm sliced open when Willow made contact with her sword. Giles swings his sword cutting the fiends’ chest open, and ducked under the clawed hand. Anya cast a Fira spell setting the fiend on fire, and Faith took advantage of its distracted state, and thrust her spearhead into its side. The fiend let out a roar and raised it's hands above it's head, and brought them crashing down on to the frozen lake breaking the ice. The ice fell to the bottom of the lake taking the group down with it.
When Willow awoke she noticed three things, one she was laying on her back on the bottom of the lake, two she was freezing, and three, she had the worst headache ever known. Groaning she sat up and rubbed her face.
Praise be to Yevon. That's what I would have said, if I was a follower of Yevon. We were all there, and in one piece. Even if I did have one hell of a headache from wondering what was in store for us next.
Willow slowly gets up and walks over to Anya. "We're under the lake, aren't we?"
"Yes, see there. That's the bottom of the temple." Anya said pointing to a cone shape in the distance. "We fell a long way down."
"Yeah, we have." Willow said and groaned when her head started pounding again. "Hey, Giles? What's up?"
"I'm thinking about what we should do now."
"What? You're the kind of person that acts first and thinks later aren't you? You know you could be a little more responsible; we're all depending on you. You know?"
"Are you giving me a lecture?" Giles asks turning to face her.
"No, no, no!" Willow said waving her hands in front of her face. "It was just a suggestion. That's all."
"You need to trust your friends, because you can't expect someone to protect you all the time. You'd do well to remember that."
"Now, are you giving me a lecture?"
"No. Just some advice."
"Yeah, thanks." Willow walks over to Xander.
"Would you cheer up? You look like a fiend ate a baby Chocobo. We only did what we had to, if it wasn't for Glory...we'd already be on our way to the next temple."
"It doesn't matter any more! I've always walked the path of Yevon... but now, I'm a traitor. How could this happen?" Xander says and starts shaking his fist at Buffy "Damn!"
"Hey! It's not Buffy's fault either!"
Xander lowers his head "You don't know how I feel... Please just leave me alone, for now."
"Okay, Xander. Whatever you say." Willow sighed and walked over to Faith and Buffy, who were watching over Tara. "Tara! Is she hurt? Do we need a Potion?" She asked when she saw Tara laying on a piece of wood asleep.
"Don't worry, Tara will wake soon." Faith said and leaned on her spear.
"You okay?" Willow asked looking Faith over. "Do you need a Potion?"
"Thank you, but no. I'm fine just tired."
Willow nodded and checked Tara's pulse. "I'm sure Tara's fine, she's breathing fine and all. How are Anya and Xander?" Buffy asked kneeling beside Willow.
"Xander's in shock... really can't blame him, either. And Anya, well, she's just the same as always."
"She's so together. All grown up, I guess."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. She's as young as we are, but she is mature."
Buffy runs her hands down the sides of her body causing Willow's eyes to go wide "Well, give me a few more years, and I'll be just like her."
"So, uh...Faith, how do we get out of here?" Willow asks turning from Buffy.
"Hey, don't change the subject!" Buffy said lightly shoving Willow to get her attention.
Faith grinned, "We climb up to the top."
"You too, Faith!" Buffy said
"Buffy, I think you should stay just like you are. It was the way you were made, and besides...I like you just the way you are." Faith grins and winks at a blushing Buffy, as Willow laughs.
"Hey! How can you laugh at a time like this?" Xander asked shaking his fist.
Willow rolls her eyes "Tara!" she says when Tara's eyes open. Faith and Willow help Tara to stand.
"Tara, I want you to tell us what you were thinking?" Giles says as he steps around a block of ice.
"I-I wanted to confront Lady Glory about her father. I wanted to convince her to turn herself in to Yevon's judgment."
"In exchange for marriage?" Anya asked.
"If that's what it took, then yes."
"So, what did Glory say?" Willow asked as she gently rubbed Tara's hands to keep them warm.
"She didn't say anything. And now...now I don't think it was even worth trying. I guess I should've told you what I was going to do." Tara said looking at the ground.
"That is enough. Dwelling in the past if futile." Giles says glancing at Tara.
"You don't have to say it like that!" Buffy glared at him.
"I'm with Buffy...Tara isn't feeling good, and you go and make it worse!" Willow said shooting her own glare at him.
'What? Do you want to waste time listening to her regrets?"
"You still could have said it a little nicer.'' Faith said picking Tara's rod up.
"Look, our immediate concern is Tara's pilgrimage." Giles turned to Tara. "Are you still willing to continue?"
"Yes. But...do you think Yevon will allow it?"
"It is the Fayth that gives power to the Summoners. Not the teaching or the temples. And if the temples try to stop us...then we will defy Yevon if we must."
"Whoa!" Willow said with wide eyes
"I can't believe you just said that!" Buffy nearly shouted.
"Sir Giles?" Anya and Faith said at the same time.
"You can count me out! We have to atone, to make up for the sins we have committed. Of course...I didn't like Lady Glory. And there's no way I'll ever forgive her for killing Lord Jyscal... and trying to kill all of us too, you know? But still...just our group going against Yevon? There's no way!" Xander said shaking his head.
"We have transgressed and must face our punishment." Anya said in a firm voice.
"We must go to Bevelle, to speak with Maester Snyder, and explain what has happened. There is no other way." Tara said to Giles.
"And I'll agree to that." Xander nodded.
"So you have decided." Giles says and pulls his samurai robe closer to his body.
"Sir Giles...will you come with us?" Tara asked hopefully
"I am the troublemaker, after all." He replies with a chuckle.
"Yeah! You can always count on Giles to complicate things!" Willow grinned.
"I never asked you to follow me."
"Oh come on, Giles! That's that friends are for. Right?"
"Yeah!" Buffy jumps into the air.
"Thank you everyone." Tara says and takes Willow's hand.
"How can you all act like nothing's wrong?" Xander sighed, "You've all got nerves of steel I think."
"Listen to the Hymn and calm down. You're a little to edgy." Anya said patting Xander on the back.
"Hey, is that coming from the temple?" Willow asks hearing a female voice singing.
"Yes, it is Yevon's gift. It soothes the hearts of the faithful." Tara said leaning into Willow.
"Not as soothing as some things I can think of."
"What kinds of things?" Tara asks laying her head on Willow's shoulder.
"Uh...umm...you know just things."
"Tara can we speak to you?" Anya asked as she and Faith approached.
"And that's my cue to go and talk to Giles...I think." Willow says and walked over to where Giles was leaning against an ice block.
"Ira...he used to sing this song." Giles said as she approached.
"Yeah, I remember...but he didn't sing it this good, that's for sure."
"Another trait you share." Giles chuckled
"What!? You were listening?" Willow asks as she remembers
Willow is sitting on a boat dock singing the Hymn, when she spots Giles leaning on a post.
"Damn...can't I get a little privacy?" Willow asked standing up.
"I'm sorry, it's just that your singing reminded me of Spira."
"Oh, that's right. You not originally from Zanarkand, are you? You homesick?"
"Maybe a little."
"Giles? I've been wondering something... how'd you get to Zanarkand anyway? Was it Sin?" Willow asked and received no reply. "Yeah, I thought so." She said sadly.
That proved it. Sin was the link between Zanarkand and Spira. Which means, that if we kill Sin, then I'll never be able to go home.
"Why has the singing stopped?" Anya asked confused before the ground started shaking.
"There's something here!" Xander shouted.
"The ground!" Giles ran over to the group.
"It's Sin!" Tara said looking around trying to find Sin.
"Watch out for the toxin!" Anya said and took Tara's right hand, as Faith took Tara's left. The group passed out, leaving Willow the only one awake.
It was then I knew... that Sin really was my old man. For the first time, I was finally able to believe it.
"You were listening to the song, weren't you?" Willow asks and feels something inside her head "What is it this time?" Willow sees a flash of Zanarkand. "You homesick, too? That isn't you world anymore...you're Sin now." Again another flash, this time it was of her seven-year-old self. "Hey, I'm older now, you know?" Another flash and she saw Ira "I know... You want this to end. I'll find a way. That's a promise." Willow says before she too went unconscious.