The Frozen Ascension of the Saint
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As Shantotto gracefully floated through her secretive sanctum, Zeid, with determined strides, attempted to catch up. The sorceress, perceptive to the urgency in his steps, decided to indulge in a whimsical display of agility, opting to work her legs for a change.

Amidst the echo of Adachi's and Lion's steps trailing behind, Shantotto halted, allowing Zeid to draw near. She turned to him, a regretful glint in her eyes, and uttered words that hung in the air with an air of apology.

"Listen carefully, Zeid," she began, her words carrying the weight of hidden truths. "You're now one of the outcasts, and it's a fortunate thing you brought the kid with you. She won't be able to return, and I'd wager your house is being ransacked as we speak. I might always seem to have a plan, but leaving her friend to rot there wasn't an option, to me at least."

Zeid, perplexed, responded with a furrowed brow, "What do you mean? WHAT happened to the goblin!" he said that as he was thinking about Brayflox.

Before he could delve further, Adachi and the young girl caught up to them. Sensing the need for discretion, Shantotto gestured to Zeid, silently conveying that the discussion would have to wait for a more opportune moment. 

Adachi, sensing the clandestine nature of the conversation between Shantotto and Zeid, decided it was time to introduce a little mystery of his own. With a sly smile, he reached into his bag, a familiar school bag he carried everywhere since the day Shantotto saved him, and pulled out a notebook along with a mechanical pen – a stark contrast to the fantastical realm around them.

Clicking the pen to extend its ink ball, Adachi started jotting down notes in his notebook, casually narrating his observations out loud. "Two mysterious adults engaged in a secretive talk," he mused, casting a sideways glance at Shantotto and Zeid. "Conversation halted as soon as the kids arrived. Making the knight feel awkward, I'd say."

Shantotto, her curiosity piqued, observed Adachi with a raised eyebrow. It was the first time she had revealed the contents of his bag to her, and she couldn't help but be intrigued by the mundane objects he wielded.

To her astonishment, Adachi held what looked like a feather but was, in fact, a mechanical pen. The grimoire he brandished was refined and clean, a stark contrast to the chaotic nature of magic in her world. The sorceress, on the verge of fainting, couldn't resist expressing her bewilderment.

In her theatric style, Shantotto exclaimed, "All you have to do is give me what you hold, and I'll reveal all!" Her eyes sparkled with mischief.

Adachi, playing along, responded defiantly, "Who wants to know? Certainly not me." With that, he swiftly stashed his items back into his bag and sauntered away from the scene, leaving the sorceress intrigued.

As Shantotto floated behind Adachi, frustration breaking through her theatrics, she couldn't help but express her exasperation. To her discerning eyes, Adachi appeared as a different person, a transformation triggered by the arrival of the knight. She didn't shy away from vocalizing this observation as she followed the young boy.

Meanwhile, Lion, displaying her childlike energy, raced ahead, surpassing even Shantotto in her efforts to catch up with Adachi. Zeid, recognizing the opportunity to resume their interrupted conversation, extended his arm toward the sorceress, gesturing for her to slow down.

The sorceress, for once compliant, landed gracefully on her feet. With a twirl, she resumed her theatrical voice, "Now, where did I stop? Ah, yes. This sorceress holds the secrets of the kingdom known as San d'Oria. I served as the royal magi for over 200 years, although I still find myself in my thirties. The Tarutaru refined their arcana throughout my years of service. However, a certain event shattered the oath I had sworn, when a certain prince, harboring disdain for any race other than Hyur, painted a friend of ours as a traitor. That was 31 years ago."

As Shantotto continued her tale, Zeid felt a surge of anger coursing through him, a tempest that threatened to overwhelm his senses. Yet, he restrained himself, not daring to interrupt the sorceress for fear of losing the thread of the story once again. The prince she talked about in the events 31 years ago was King Traut after all; and he knew this.

She recounted how Brayflox, once considered close friend to previous king, became a pawn in Prince Traut's scheme to brand all races as lesser than his own. She said "The prince, driven by a desire to seize the crown, orchestrated an excavation mission with Brayflox. In the depths of Gusgen Mines, the prince sought to summon Shiva, he broke the party and leaving the knights to disrupt the mines' shell on the mountain."

Her facials changed, as she looked more angry

"Him and Brayflox went to excavate the lower parts of the cave, as it was known to be safe"  her expression went back to her theatrics "She had a blind trust in the royales" 

She began to cast an illusion magic to share her memories with Zeid. As the magical energies swirled around them, she recited a haunting poem that told the tale of a little magi commanded to bring the royal prince and his party, unaware of the impending danger.

"In the realm of shadows, a magi small,
A duty bestowed, heeding the royal call.
To the prince and his party, danger unseen,
Little magi embarked, with loyalty keen.

Through corridors dark, where secrets dwell,
A tale unfolds, where betrayal would swell.
The prince, once revered, his trust misplaced,
Stabs a comrade true, in a treacherous haste.

Into a pit, with wolves hungry and wild,
The friend is thrown, a fate reviled.
Witnessed by the magi, her eyes wide,
A scene of betrayal, in shadows, they hide.

The spellbound echoes, a haunting tune,
Ra Na Gen Megid Doran Reso Fanbi Shu."
Illusions unfold, memories laid bare,
The sorceress's past, a tragic affair.

The words painted a vivid picture of the sorceress's  journey, guided by a sense of duty and loyalty. The illusion unfolded as she reached the prince, witnessing the shocking betrayal with her own eyes. The prince, once trusted and revered, stabbed her friend and callously cast her into a pit teeming with wolves, sealing her fate.

The poem reached its climax as Shantotto chanted the spell, "Ra Na Gen Megid Doran Reso Fanbi Shu." The incantation resonated dark power, and the illusion manifested, revealing the tragic scene. The sorceress's memories played out like a sorrowful tapestry, etching the betrayal and cruelty into the fabric of their shared consciousness.

Zeid, gripped by the gravity, as bore witness to the events that had transpired 31 years ago. The illusions painted a stark reality, he was one of the knights on the site, at the time of the events.

Shantotto's words dripped with disdain as she revealed the prince's ruthless betrayal. "With no prior knowledge of summoning magic, he stabbed the poor goblin in her back and threw her into a hole with a wolf, intending to let her be devoured alive."

"I reckon he wanted his Shiva, but a Shiva he did not get, it was a cold Wolyo Fenrir, trying to find his soulless mistress"

Zeid looking at Shantottos casted magic, that showed him her memories, witnessed the stabbing and the wolf, consequently observing the wolf metamorphosing into Fenrir, driven to protect his new Shiva "bRAYFLOX! Brayflox is the new Shiva!?."

As Shantotto, with an air of inevitability, divulged the truth to Zeid, she calmly stated, "You know that he knows I'm telling you this. Which means, my dear knight, you're one of the outcasts now." referring to king Traut.

Zeid, overcome with disbelief, shouted at her, his composure slipping away. "Why should I trust a Tarutaru, and a sorceress on top of it? For all I know, you might've summoned the Fenrir yourself!"

Unfazed by his outburst, Shantotto retorted, "You don't have to believe me. Just go back, and you will see." A challenge to Zeid to confront the reality that awaited him if he dared to return. The tension in the enchanted grove escalated.

Ignoring Zeid's skepticism, Shantotto briskly declared, "Out we go! We have a dog to catch," a sly undertone suggesting that she had no intention of killing Fenrir. She then shifted her focus, contemplating the necessity of arming the young duo.

"We need to give the kids weapons."

With a whimsical incantation, Shantotto cast her floating spell once again, "Na Zan Neutral Dual," this time enveloping Zeid in its magical embrace. The knight, bewildered by the sudden change in his surroundings, found himself floating alongside the enigmatic sorceress.

They glided gracefully to where the kids walked ahead. Shantotto, her floating robes trailing behind her, directed her attention to Adachi with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. "Now, young Adachi," she began, "what sort of weapon do you fancy? We have quite the selection in the armory."

Adachi, confused question, but realizing that he might need a weapon, and that he might the upcoming fight. After a brief moment of thought, he chose something familiar from his school days – a long bow.

"I'll go for a long bow and some arrows," Adachi said, his confusion giving way to determination. "I used to do archery back in school, so I'm more comfortable with that. What do you have in your magical armory, Shantotto?" His attention shifted to the array of bows, looking for one that would suit his preference for long-range combat.

Zeid's surprise flickered across his face as Adachi casually mentioned his school days. It was a subtle revelation that clarified Adachi's background for the knight. The notion of Adachi being a royal was now more than just speculation.

Not one to let a moment slip by without her theatrical touch, Shantotto jumped into the conversation. "Oh, so you are from royal blood," she stated, her words hanging in the air with a mix of intrigue and mischief.

Adachi, caught off guard, responded with a puzzled expression. "What do you mean?"

Curiosity overtaking him, Zeid felt compelled to answer Adachi's confusion. "Only royals and some nobles go to schools," he explained.

Adachi's laughter at the moment caught both the sorceress and the knight off guard. "Where I'm from, everyone goes to schools. Only the royals and nobles do not," he clarified with a chuckle, leaving the two perplexed figures in a state of heightened curiosity.

Adachi, steering away from the spotlight on himself, redirected the focus. "Enough about me. Shouldn't we give Lion a weapon as well?" he suggested.

Shantotto, with an air of assurance, responded, "Leave the young one to me." Zeid, sensing no ill intent from the sorceress, trusted her judgment and decided to leave his daughter in Shantotto's hands.

Both Shantotto and Zeid harbored a shared curiosity about Adachi, sensing that there was more to his story. However, as Adachi visibly steered the conversation away, it became clear that he wasn't inclined to divulge further details at the moment. Catching each other's side glance, the sorceress and the knight tacitly agreed not to press further, at least for now.

Shantotto, with a determined glint in her eyes, began casting a spell that involved a rather unconventional ritual. Drawing a dagger, she made a deliberate cut on her hand, the crimson droplets falling in rhythm with her whispered incantation. The sorceress recited a poignant poem about the lengths one would go to protect a loved one, emphasizing the significance of blood in such a pledge.

Zeid, uneasy with the display involving blood, moved to intervene, but Adachi, sensing the knight's discomfort, held him back. "Trust her," Adachi urged, his voice carrying a conviction that prompted Zeid to withhold his objection, albeit with lingering concern etched on his face.

In the language of whispers, her spell begins,

"A dagger's dance, a crimson vow, where blood and magic spins.

Protect, the cherished ones we hold so dear,
With bonds of blood, unbroken, through every joy and tear.

Rub el Hizb, a sacred symbol, squares entwined in grace,
Encircled by the mystic rings, a shield in time and space.

Characters akin to tell a tale untold,
In the language of blood, their secrets they unfold.

Between the circles' silent hum, a pledge in characters inscribed,
The sorceress, with steady hand, weaves destinies described.

Il Ver Sak Gen Gra Dual Diga Deband,

the spell begins to sing.

In blood and incantations, a shield for a fresh start."

As the poem unfolded, Shantotto, using her own blood, meticulously traced geographical shapes around Lion. Two squares stacked atop each other formed Rub el Hizb, encircled by two more circles. In between the circles, characters resembling Kanji were inscribed with precise strokes. The intricate ritual continued, culminating in Shantotto placing Lion at the center of the symbol she had created.

The magical tableau unfolded as Shantotto's incantation wove through the air. The circle surrounding Lion began to shimmer with a mesmerizing light, a delicate dance of light blue and golden-yellow hues. Shantotto, with a flair, continued to release drops of her blood at the edge of the circle, each droplet enhancing the brilliance of the magical aura.

To the delight of the young adventurer, water started flowing from the squares, creating a gentle bubble around her. Lion, unaware of the gravity of the enchantment, giggled with excitement, thinking Shantotto was putting on another magical display just for her amusement.

Yet, the circle's aura began to crack, forming hexagonal patterns all over the protective bubble that surrounded Lion. The magic intensified, creating an intricate lattice of shimmering hexagons.

As the spell reached its zenith, Lion found herself encased in a turtle shell, its hue a serene sky blue. The golden hexagonal patterns continued to gleam, casting a protective glow across the aquatic shell. The circle of blood, once present, dissipated into the air, leaving behind only the residual magic that adorned Lion's newfound shield.

After a few moments, the water shell vanished, leaving Lion unscathed but now adorned with a gentle, lingering magic

Shantotto, her grimoire in hand, tore a page from its depths with a swift, practiced motion. Fixing her gaze on Zeid, she calmly stated, "The spell I used is called Succor." As she spoke, she shifted her attention to Lion and uttered a single word, "Ruin."

Zeid, familiar with some of Shantotto's arsenal of combat spells that she keeps on her grimoire , knew that Ruin was a potent offensive incantation, typically involving the launch of two fiery projectiles towards the intended target. In disbelief, he instinctively moved to shield his daughter, positioning himself between Lion and the impending magical assault.

As the torn paper in Shantotto's hand disintegrated without a flame, a subtle magic began to unfurl. Two circles materialized in front of the sorceress, collecting and channeling ethereal flares. The flares coalesced into projectile-like forms, aimed directly at Lion.

In a protective surge, Zeid intercepted the projectiles, standing steadfast in front of his daughter. However, to his astonishment, the magical flares seemingly defied the laws of trajectory, curving around him and striking Lion instead. The unforeseen twist left Zeid in a state of shock, grappling with the inexplicable assault.

The world seemed to slow down as Zeid prepared to leap towards Shantotto, fueled by a mix of anger and desperation.

However, before he could make his move, he heard the joyous laughter of his daughter. A perplexed expression replaced the anger on Zeid's face as he witnessed Lion unharmed, her laughter echoing through the cave.

Shantotto, with a mischievous glint in her eye, intervened, "Oh, please forgive me. I forgot to mention that Succor is a blood shield." This struck Zeid with a mix of relief and astonishment, realizing that what seemed like an offensive spell was, in fact, was Shantotto showing her shield off.

A wry smile played on Shantotto's lips as she continued, "It's always amusing to see the reactions. Now, let's get back to our little Adachis weapon, shall we?"

Zeid, still grappling with a mix of emotions ranging from anger to relief, directed a stern gaze at Shantotto. In a voice laced with a tinge of frustration, he expressed, "I'm trying to trust you here. Just don't pull such a thing again." The knight's words carried the weight of his concern for his daughter's safety, a sentiment that lingered beneath the surface of his carefully chosen words.

His stern words hung in the air, and Shantotto responded not with a simple nod but with a raised head-to-the-side laughter. Her mouth was hidden by the back of her left hand, assuming her iconic stance when acknowledging something important.

Adachi, always the voice of reason and eager to diffuse tension, decided to intervene. He casually approached Shantotto, wearing an indifferent expression, and said, "Alright, Shantotto, let's put the theatrics aside for now. How about that bow I asked for?"

His attempt to steer the conversation towards a more practical matter was met with a sideways glance from Shantotto, who, with a sly smile, oscillated between amusement and indulgence,

Responded, "Oh, lovely Farya, let's head to the armory. I believe I have just the right bow for you."

Her gaze then shifted towards Lion, and she continued, "And as for you, my dear, shall we let your father teach you the art of wielding a short sword or a dagger?" The sorceress, led the way, leaving Adachi and Zeid to follow her as she led the young girl with her.

From the armory, Shantotto pulled out a bow, roughly half the height of Adachi. Crafted from osage orange wood with a slender string. aAs she was handing him a quiver filled with feathered arrows, she couldn't resist a curious inquiry as if she demanded an exchange for the bow, asking Adachi, "What other wonders do you carry in that mysterious bag of yours?" Despite her prodding, Adachi simply took the bow and distanced himself, leaving the sorceress ignored.

Unimpressed by Adachi's nonchalant response, Shantotto decided to shift her attention. From the armory, she took out a stunning dagger, adorned with a radiant ruby. Presenting it to Lion with theatrical flair, she exclaimed in a voice intentionally loud enough for Adachi to overhear, "Behold, a dagger as exquisite as your fiery red hair, my dear!" The sorceress relished the moment, her sassy tone echoing through the cavern.

Shantotto wore a mischievous smirk on her face, relishing the anticipation of Adachi's reaction as she presented the ruby-laced dagger to Lion.

Adachi, playing along with Shantotto's theatrics, decided to indulge her curiosity. With a confident yet measured tone, he declared, "I'll do this only once—just once, mind you. So, don't ask me to repeat it." With that, he pulled out his phone from his bag. The device, previously powered off due to the lack of charging options in this unfamiliar realm, although he has a power bank on him, but he decided to conserve the limited amount of power he has left.

The trio gawked in astonishment as Adachi extracted a peculiar object from his bag. A metallic ingot, predominantly black, adorned with a glass surface and adorned with a few mysterious holes scattered here and there. The bewilderment in their eyes mirrored the enchanted confusion of encountering such an otherworldly artifact.

As soon as Adachi powered on his phone, the screen illuminated, prompting Shantotto to hastily assume, "Oh, it's a Pandora's box." Adachi retorted with a casual "Not really."

Then, he requested the trio to strike a pose for a few seconds and positioned the phone on a cave crevice, activating the camera. With everyone in place, Adachi directed them to smile, raising his hand to signal the device to capture the moment. The device initiated a countdown - 3, 2, 1 - followed by a cheerful click.

In the midst of collective confusion, Adachi retrieved the phone and displayed the captured image to everyone.

Lion, wide-eyed, exclaimed, "Am I trapped in the drawing?"

Shantotto, studying the image, pondered aloud, "Is this some form of memory magic?"

Meanwhile, Zeid, opting for directness, simply asked, "What is this?"

Adachi responded, "This is a picture. It's similar to a drawing but captures an exact likeness of the person it was taken of." Adachi then quickly turned off the phone to conserve its energy. Shantotto, eager to explore further, insisted, "Not yet, I need to know more."

Adachi firmly declined, stating, "I have to preserve the energy. If it runs out, I'll never be able to use it again." Just as Shantotto was about to offer more thoughts, Lion interrupted, asking, "Where does the picture go now?" Her question lingered as the phone's screen turned black.

Adachi replied, "It stays in the phone's library forever, or until I decide to destroy it. But if it runs out of energy, I can't use it again. That's why I'm closing it now."

Adachi clarified by physically shutting down the phone, aiming to make it easier for his companions to grasp, considering none of them were familiar with the concept of turning a phone off.

Shantotto inquired, "Does it only create artworks?"

Adachi chuckled, "Nope, it's not just an art machine. This thing is a grimoire. It's got a massive library, bigger than any place we've been so far in Eorzea. I can talk with people if they have their own phone even when they are not nearby, use it as a light, jot down info—it's like a super handy tool."

"And the best part? It never runs out of paper, unlike a regular book. Only hitch is, it's a bit of a diva when it comes to electricity, and, well, you know we're lacking in that department here." gesturing to the lack of the energy source on this universe.

As the party neared the exit of Shantotto's hideaway, she locked eyes with Zeid and posed a question, "Are you ready?"

Zeid cast a fleeting look back at her, his gaze then shifting to Lion. "I don't know what awaits us in the moments to come, but for now, let's go and put an end to the wolf," he stated.

Zeid turned his attention back to Shantotto, cautioning her, "Avoid mentioning the catalyst's name; she was Lion's dearest friend." Shantotto acknowledged his words with a solemn nod.

Adachi shot an annoyed glance at the duo and directed his frustration at Shantotto, questioning her, "It was the Gusgen Mines, wasn't it? How do we get there?" in protest of them having secretive conversations behind his back.

With a reflective awareness of the shift in Adachi's demeanor, Shantotto began chanting her spell, concluding it with "Il Zan Lanner Enkindel." Her majestic lanner appeared one more time, summoned for their transportation, as Shantotto resumed her floating stance next to the magnificent bird.

Shantotto shot Adachi a pointed look, as if to say, "Did that answer your question?" before turning away.

As they soared through the air on the back of the lanner, the sorceress began recounting the tale of the Patron Saint Shiva. Her voice, carried by the wind.

"The young girl, destined to be the Patron Saint Shiva, was offered as a symbol of peace between her kingdom and that of the phoenix eikon, betrothed if i may say"

Adachi noted the work Eikon, but did not ask Shantotto about it.

Shantotto narrated. "She was five years older than the phoenix, Joshua was a just a new born when she was given away.

Her voice resonated with an enigmatic cadence. "Joshua, the fledgling phoenix, was not alone in his royal family. At the tender age of five, he had an older brother, born into the same fiery lineage. Yet, destiny played a capricious hand, for the elder sibling exhibited no signs of Eikonic powers."

"The older brother, devoid of the mystical flames that defined their heritage, became an unfortunate outcast to his mother. Fueled by the fervor of Eikon-driven power, she harbored resentment towards him for his apparent lack of abilities. However, contrasting this disdain, she showered affection upon Joshua, the younger brother, who exhibited the promising flames of an emerging phoenix."

"Now, mind you, Joshua's mother wasn't exactly known for her compassionate heart,"

she declared with a discerning tone. "In her eyes, anyone devoid of Eikonic powers was deemed as lowly as a mere servant. The young girl, betrothed to the burgeoning phoenix as a peace offering, found herself caught in with the older prince, devoid of power, she herself was a slave to the mother too."

"On the night of Joshua's coming of age, treachery unfolded in his kingdom," she narrated, her words carried by the breezy currents. "His own mother, fueled by betrayal, orchestrated an ambush, betraying the king and seeking to abduct her son back to her own home country. The dark echoes of deceit resonated as her royal servants severed the head of the king, plunging the kingdom into chaos."

"And then, in the midst of this turmoil, the phoenix eikon, still in his infancy, was confronted by another primal—an unbridled manifestation of fire known as Ifrit:; this was the first recoding in history of its appearance. The clash of these forces reverberated across the  planes, an elemental fire that would seal the fate of everyone who stood close to them."

Shantotto's voice resonated with melancholy as she continued the tale, "As the echoes of battle subsided, and the flames of conflict dwindled, the once-majestic realm lay in ruins. No witnesses remained to attest to the tragic conclusion of the primal confrontation."

"The queen, guided by the smoke-kissed winds and the waning echoes, arrived at the scene. Gazing upon the aftermath from afar, she felt the cold realization settling in her heart. Her beloved son, Joshua, the phoenix eikon, was no more. The flames of his essence extinguished in the inferno of Ifirit."

In the haunting stillness, the fallen feathers of the phoenix lingered in the air, a poignant reminder of the extinguished flame.

Shantotto's narration continued, "The queen, bereaved and burdened by the weight of her choices, found solace in the survival of her older son. Yet, in the twisted corridors of her heart, love and disdain intertwined. She no longer saw him as a son worthy of royal inheritance. Instead, in the shadow of tragedy, she viewed him as a mere slave, a tool to be wielded for her own purposes."

"But enough about the brothers," she declared, her voice resuming its storytelling cadence. "I was talking about Jill, Or shall I Saint Shiva, her fate was no sealed farm from Cliff, the older prince." she sighted and then continued "She herself was sold as a sex slave to a group of darkness worshippers, she was only fifteen." 

"Locked in the embrace of a dungeon, Jill's fate took a chilling turn," Shantotto continued, "As she faced the torment of being violated, a single tear escaped her eyes, falling to the ground below. Little did she know, that drop held a great power."

Shantotto's voice carried a mix of awe and anticipation as she narrated the unfolding events. "That solitary tear transformed into a cascade of diamond dust, a glimmering testament to the extraordinary within the ordinary. The dungeon, once a realm of darkness, succumbed to the shimmering frost, freezing every man within its confines."

"Jill, bewildered by the sudden manifestation of power, found herself standing amidst the crystalline stillness. As if guided by an unseen force, she willed a flick, and the frozen figures crumbled to dust."

"In the crucible of adversity, the Saint was born. From the icy shards of despair, Saint Shiva emerged."

Shantotto, continued her narrative as Adachi pondered the elusive term "Eikon." "While Jill discovered the extent of her newfound abilities, she remained oblivious to the true nature of her powers. She attributed it merely to her mastery over what she believed was ice magic."

Adachi's curiosity lingered, but Shantotto pressed on with the tale. "As a young woman, her destiny took a twisted turn. The slavers, recognizing the potential within her, manipulated Jill as a pawn in their war. In a cruel twist of fate, she found herself in the company of her slavers, forced into a confrontation with a figure from her past – the older prince, her childhood friend."

Shantotto's words unfolded a scene. "Forced to battle against each other, the enslaved prince, driven by the bonds of friendship, hesitated to harm Jill. In response, his slavers, merciless in their pursuit of victory, unleashed a pack of wolves with a single command – to end her life alongside her captors."

Shantotto's narration carried a haunting tone as she depicted Jill's desperate attempt to escape the relentless assault of the wolves. "Drenched in the aftermath of her powers, drained and weakened, Jill found herself unable to fend off the relentless wolves any longer. In a desperate bid for survival, she trailed behind her slavers as they scaled a steep cliff."

The sorceress paused before delivering the tragic end. "However, her plea for salvation met a cruel twist of fate. As she reached out, her hand trembling in desperation, the slavers callously stepped on her outstretched limb. With a heartless shove, they cast her back into the waiting jaws of the wolves, sealing her fat..."

Adachi's frustration seeped into his voice as he interrupted Shantotto. "Wait a minute, Shantotto. Is this story real? What happened to Jill after that? What on earth does 'eikon' even mean? Why did she have to endure all of that?"

Shantotto, perceiving the confusion in Adachi's reaction yet sensing a peculiar warmth in it, responded with an enigmatic smile. "Jill is no more, but before her departure, she saved countless lives as the Saint Shiva." She paused briefly, allowing the weight of Jill's transformation to settle, before resuming her tale.

"Eikons are primal beasts, akin to the Fenrir we are about to confront. What sets them apart is their manifestation within humans. Throughout history, there are known to be eight of them. However, only Shiva and Phoenix are still held by humans. The mystery lies in the fact that the families possessing these Eikons are lost to time, passing the divine essence through the bloodline."

Feeling the chill in the air, Lion cut through the conversation, tugging at her father's cloak. "Papa, it's cold!" she looked at him, her breath visible in the frosty atmosphere.

Shantotto's gaze shifted, and a determined glint appeared in her eyes. She turned to Zeid and stated, "It's time." Shantotto then shifted her attention to Adachi, her voice carrying a mix of instruction and assurance, "You will stay with the young one. Me and Zeid will go for the hunt."

Adachi nodded in agreement, recognizing the decision. He understood that his presence, coupled with Lion's, might complicate the confrontation with Fenrir.

 

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