The path leading up to Mt. Gagazet was cold, and it would only get colder the further they got. Faith was leading the group up the well-known path, and was stopped when five of the Dragon clan stepped in front of them.
"You must leave here at once! This is the Dragon clans mountain, and thus the mountain of Yevon." Aurora Dragon said. " This mountain will not bear the footsteps of infidels! You are Yevon's enemy, making you an enemy of the Dragons. Leave, traitors!"
"I have cast Yevon aside! I will follow the temples no more!" Tara said stepping beside Faith.
"You will die by those words!"
Tara stood her ground "Then, so be it. Yevon has warped the teachings and betrayed us all!"
"Nothing but a bunch of low-down trickster, eh?" Xander said angrily
"Yeah!" Willow and Buffy shouted at the same time.
"As you can see Lady Aurora, we have no regrets." Tara spoke staring down the Lady Dragon.
"You are blasphemers!" Harmony shouted.
"Shut up!" Faith said and started toward Harmony with her spear raised, and was held back when Tara grabbed her arm.
"Please, no." Faith relaxed at Tara's request.
"The Summoner and her guardians-"
"Lady Aurora Dragon, if I may." Anya interrupted. "You've also turned your back on Yevon, have you not?"
Giles stepped forward "And you still guard Gagazet as a Dragon, not a Maester of Yevon. Tara is the same."
"Lady Aurora! Let me rip them to pieces!" Hallie said holding her spear.
"You will not escape!" Harmony said holding her sword.
"Well will not flee. We will fight, and win, and continue on." Tara spoke and raised her rod.
"I do not understand Summoner Tara. Yevon has branded you a traitor, but you will still fight Sin? Lost to the temples, and hated by the people of Spira, but yet you still continue your pilgrimage? With everything lost, tell me, just what do you fight for?"
"My Lady I fight for Spira. The people of Spira want the Calm, and I can give it to them...it's all I can give. Defeating Sin, and ending pain...this I can do."
"Even sacrificing yourself?" Aurora turned to the Dragons "Let the Summoner and her guardians pass." Turning to Tara she smiled. "Summoner Tara, your will is stronger than steel...we bow to you. Now go! Mt. Gagazet welcomes you."
"We thank you, My Lady." Tara said and bowed.
The group moved through the bowing Dragons and made their way to the top of the snowy slope, only to be stopped when Harmony and Hallie stepped in front of them.
"Halt!" Harmony said looking the group over, and settling her eyes on Faith.
"You've bothered us enough, haven't you?" Willow asked with a glare.
"Summoner Tara and her guardians may pass, but Faith may not! Faith is a shame on the Dragon clan, she forgot her family, and lost her honor!"
"She forgot where she came from. A little lost Dragon with no honor!" Hallie said stepping beside Harmony.
"My clan sister is correct. This mountain hates the weak, and the small. So, if Faith is to follow you..."
"Then I must fight and prove my strength!" Faith said readying her spear.
"What? You think you're going to win? Think again!" Hallie said holding her spear up.
"Have you forgotten that I beat the hell out of you last time?" Harmony raised her sword.
"This time, it will be me who wins!" Faith said and ran at the two; blocking Harmony's sword strike she twisted around and hit Hallie on the back of her knee. Harmony turned and struck again, the sword bounced off the spearhead, as Faith swept her feet out from under her. She blocked another hit from Hallie when her sphere came down close to her head. Hallie jumped back avoiding Faith's spear, running forward she and Harmony struck at Faith at the same time. Harmony's sword caught Faith on her right shoulder, as Hallie's spear cut open a wound at the top of her left breast. Faith back-flipped twice and standing up, she glowed dark blue holding her hands with the wrists touching she thrust her hands forward, and four large fireballs shot out. The fireballs raced forward hitting the two girls sending them to the ground, standing up Hallie was knocked back down, when the butt of Faith's spear hit the side of her head. Harmony started to rise, but stopped when Faith placed the spearhead on her throat.
Sighing Harmony looked up and grinned, "I'm happy Faith, you are strong." Faith lowered her spear and let her rise. Walking to the ledge Harmony raised her arm out to the side and spoke "Sacred Mount Gagazet! Faith has gained back her honor and defeated myself and her sister Dragon Hallie."
Hallie stood up and turned to Tara "Faith is strong now, and the mountain knows it. She my pass."
"Summoner! The Dragon clan will stop pursuing enemies from the temples."
"Yes, it will be our apology to Faith for dishonoring her for so long." Harmony said and kneeled
Hallie bowed "Don't worry we will crush the enemies following you."
"And I," Faith said helping Harmony stand "will crush the enemies standing before us."
"Summoner Tara, you have the best Dragon of our clan with you. And I wish you luck...all of you."
"Thank you, Hallie."
"The Dragon clan will shine your statue the brightest!"
"Thank you, Harmony. But I do not think that anyone will make a statue for a traitor such as I."
Hallie stepped beside Faith and smile "Then the Dragons will make one!"
"Yes," Harmony said grinning "we will also put a set of Dragon wings on it!"
Tara laughed, "That would be an honor."
I wanted to see Tara's statue, too. But I wanted to see it...with Tara by my side.
Tara healed Faith's wounds and the group continued to the snowy path as the Dragons gathered around singing the Hymn of the Fayth. Walking carefully over a sheet of ice the group was attacked by four machina guards, and a canine fiend. Buffy jumped over one of the machina and proceeded to tear it apart, as Anya cast a Thundaga spell on another. Willow dodged to the right as the canine fiend snapped at her leg, and brought her sword down cutting the fiend in half. Giles blocked the machina's sharp right limb and cut it off, then turning his body he cut the head off. Xander threw his Thundaga infused ball at the last of the machina tearing it apart on impact.
Giles looked around for a moment before heading to the right up a small slope, and coming back with a sphere in his hand. "Tara this is for you. Mythe left it here ten years ago." Giles said handing the sphere to Tara. Pressing the button an image of her mother appeared looking into the sphere.
"Hello, Tara. Are you fine? By the time you see this sphere, I wonder how much you've grown baby girl. I know you've grown into a beautiful young woman. Both Ira and Giles are fine, so don't worry about them...although I worry sometimes." Mythe said laughing lightly "We are journeying in delight. But of course it's not a happy path, but we have no regrets. If you were to ask 'why', then I would have to say it's my path. Therefore, when you grow up, and find your own path, please do your best as if it's what you ought to do, or it's what you want to do. If you do this, it will be delightful no matter what kind of path you've taken. Okay, Tara? What you make of your future is yours and yours alone. You must remember you're not born to follow any certain thing. So, remember, I will support you no matter which path you chose. I love you baby girl, and I will always be with you."
[End of Recording]
"Thank you Sir Giles... I got to see my mother again, even if only on a recording." Tara said and continued walking up the snowy paths, and coming across three rocks leaning together with a weapon at the top.
"What's that?" Willow asked
"These are graves of Summoners that didn't make it. The Summoners that are buried up also become fiends." Anya said and prayed to the grave.
"Think about it, the Summoner dies up here, so who is going to send them?"
"Ah, I see your point." Willow prayed to the grave and walked on with the group up another steep slick path, and to the top. She slowed down and let the others pass her as Buffy stopped beside her.
"Zanarkand is just on the other side." Buffy said sadly
"And we can't stop Tara from getting the Final Aeon."
"I still haven't thought of anything."
"What are we gonna do?"
"We'll do something! We just don't know how this works, and until we do, we can't really help Tara. Let's get to Zanarkand. I know we'll find something there, and I just know it'll all come together."
"Hey...just now, you sounded like a leader."
Willow put her hands on her hip and posed proudly "Star player of the Zanarkand Abes! Didn't anyone tell you?"
"Ohhh" Buffy bowed grinning, a grin that turned to a look of horror when she straightened up. "What!?"
Willow turned around to see Glory standing behind her. "Buffy, go and tell Giles!"
"I'm not leaving you here to fight her alone!"
"Go! Just go!" Willow said drawing her sword and Buffy ran off to find the others.
"It is your time to die. Prepare yourself!"
"Not if I can help it!"
"Save some for us!" Faith shouted running over with her spear ready.
"Ah, Lady Tara, it is a pleasure as always."
"Tara!" Anya shouts and Tara starts the sending.
"What? Trying to send me so soon? Please allow me to say something to the last Dragon before I leave. Yours was...truly a gallant race. They threw themselves at me to block my path. One...after another." Glory said raising her hand and making a fist.
"No..." Faith nearly dropped her spear.
"Faith." Tara said putting her hand on Faith's shoulder
"You know, you could end the suffering of your poor guardian."
"I don't understand you! What do you mean?"
"Just this, allow Faith to die, and release her from her pain. Spira is a land of suffering and sorrow caught in a spiral of death. To destroy and to heal Spira, I will become Sin...with your help. Come with me, Tara." Glory turns to Willow "Once I've become the next Sin, your father will be freed again."
"What do you know?" Willow screams out furiously
"You are pitiful mortals. Your hope ends here!" Glory said as she jumped into the air and transformed into a blue and gold demon, with a large gray metal body attached to her back. "And your meaningless existence with it!"
"You can't run from your fate!" Tara said and summoned Carbuncle. A hole appeared in the ground and a small green head popped up, Carbuncle looked around before jumping out of the hole. She hopped in front of each guardian and Tara cast a Reflect spell, before she disappeared.
"The spirits of the Dragons will guide my spear!" Faith said and swung her spear cutting Glory's stomach open. She jumped back to avoid the hit from a golden arm, and back-flipped avoiding a giant spear. Glory cast a Flare spell on Tara only to have it bounce off the Reflect shield and hit her, she screamed in pain and screamed again as Willow's sword cut off one of her golden arms. Anya cast a Bio spell poisoning Glory, and cast a Waterga spell on Xander's blitzball. Xander threw the ball hitting Glory on the head and caused a huge ball of water to drop over her. Shaking off the effects Glory raised up and over the group, she shot a yellow laser out of her hands hitting Willow, and floated back down in front of the group. Willow fell to the ground as her body turned gray, and screamed in pain. Giles glowed and jumped into the air shouting "Tornado" the wind picked Glory up and bounced her around before she disappeared in a swirl of souls.
"And stay up there." Willow said weakly when Glory disappeared then flinched in pain.
"Glory cast a Zombie spell on her. Don't try to heal her it'll only kill her quicker." Giles said kneeling down "Does anyone have a Holy Water?"
"I only have one, I picked it up in the Calm Lands." Anya said handing Giles the vile. She watched him open the top, and raise Willow's head up.
"Here, drink this." Giles said putting the vile to her lips. Willow drank the water, and passed out in pain.
"Willow!" Tara screamed worriedly
"She'll be fine, look the color is starting to return to her body." Giles said. The group watched the gray slowly leave, Willow opened her eyes a few minutes later and weakly smiled.
"Hey, what happened?"
"You could have died that's what!" Buffy shouted near tears. "We don't need to lose anyone else!"
"I'm sorry" Willow said and stood up. "Well...let's go."
Tara stayed where she was "She said she will become Sin... with my help."
"Lies. Forget them." Giles said and started to walk away.
"If she becomes Sin, Sir Ira will be saved."
"We're leaving." Giles said forcefully and turned to leave.
"You know something! Tell me!" Tara shouted at Giles who only turned his head "Tell me!" she said turning to Willow.
Willow looked to the ground. "Sin's... my old man."
"You hit your head?" Xander asked surprised.
"No Xander I didn't. Sin is my old man. He became Sin! I don't know how or why he did it. But I felt him, inside...that day on the Djose beach. And when I did...I knew it was true. My old man is Spira's suffering... Sorry."
"Even knowing that Sin is your...father...Still, you know, what I must do." Tara said as a tear rolled down her cheek.
"I know, so let's go get him... I think that's what he'd want, you know?"
"You'd fight your own father?" Anya asked looking shocked.
"Yeah, I have no problems there."
"Uh... 'Bout your old man... You sure this ain't some kinda bad toxin dream or something? Then, Hikari..." Xander said lowering his head. "I, uh... I think I'll just pretend I didn't hear nothin'. I'm getting a little confused, ya? Why... Why'd all this have to happen?"
"We'll learn when we arrive. Soon." Giles said and walked ahead of the group.