Note: This is the twenty-second chapter of a small novel I wrote. If you would like to read it off-site, you may download a PDF. The PDF will be updated every week with the next chapter. This project is now also available on DBooks
Tides of Magic - Dragon Tears
Chapter 22 - Gathering
They also had to find Aeris somehow. But how do you find a white dragon that wanted to stay by himself? What should he do, if not even the son of the white dragon knew his whereabouts? Could they find another dragon? Could that one do the same things that Aeris could, or hat it to be him? Maybe if they could persuade the other one to help them find Aeris …
Then again, they first had to find one and it seemed like they were running out of time. Maybe Ray could somehow help Lia to get her memories back. It would at least help in some regards. But he just didn’t know the rules on how this all worked. His mother once said that some things would make sense as soon as he had children of his own.
All that thinking did nothing! He needed a plan. At least something that he could do that would help them later on! If they just could deal with the dragons somehow …
He turned to Dikon: “Where have you put your sword? Can it be repaired? Can a new one be forged?”
The other one shook his head. “The sword was inherited through generations in our family. The blacksmith back then claimed that he had cooled the blade using the blood of a golden dragon.”
“There are no golden dragons!”
Dikon shrugged with his shoulders. “At least not any more. But using the blood from other dragons doesn’t do the trick, our family has tried.”
Phobos sighed. He couldn’t count on Dikon at all. Loosing that sword had changed him. That and his sorrow for his daughter. Though the latter should make him eager to help. But instead he just sat in the corner with his shoulders slumped.
The door to the throne room was opened and someone entered with a brisk pace. “Phobos!”
“Barnett Dias, what a pleasant surprise”, Phobos smiled and looked at Serin that was close behind him, once again nervous.
“I … I am sorry, but … after you left the city … it was taken. I fl…”
“What did you do to my daughter?” Barnett stopped Serin’s words, jumping on Phobos. “Where is she?”
“She is on her way here right now.” Phobos looked into Barnett’s eyes. There it was once again, that passionate fire he showed back as he left him with the small half dragon child. He had said something about being perverse after Phobos had told him that he planned to marry Lia.
“What do you mean, she is on her way?” Barnett shouted. “You disappeared with her, knowing that I disapproved of it! Even Felix disapproved! She is much too young for you!”
Phobos growled. “This is a decision that should be left to her and myself. I don’t let anyone tell me, who I can marry and whom not!”
“But not my …”
“That is unimportant right now!” Phobos raised his voice, his authority stopping Barnett. “We have a larger Problem than that.”
“Oh? Why is that?” Barnett squinted his eyes.
“Someone has conquered my city, wants us to capitulate and Lia.” The last word made Barnett listen closely. “That one names himself Bradley.”
“Brad … ley?” The fire in Barnetts eyes died, replaced by fear. “How did he …? Why are you …?” His voice showed signs of panic.
“You know Bradley?” Phobos squinted his eyes. His old friend seemed to have some more secrets. Maybe he could shed some light on this whole story. Maybe he knew some of Bradleys weak points. Still, his reaction was unsettling.
“Its … a longer story.” Barnett sighed. “Why does he want Lia? Is it because of those … ?”
“I am not sure. We surmise that he is searching her because of that dragon tear.”
“The dragon …” Barnett looked to Phobos, not saying anything for a few long moment. “You know of that gem?” He sounded angry. Surprised. Questioning. “What do you know?”
“Tell me what you know about Bradley and I will share my knowledge of the dragon tears with you.”
Barnett turned. “I will wait until Lia is here.” Without saying a word he went over to a wall and leaned against it, staring at the ground.
Phobos shook his head, he hated to wait.
Serin stepped forward again, sweat on his forehead. “Sir? About the city …”
Yukiko landed directly in the castle's courtyard, making the dragon wait there. He had crushed a few buildings and walls, but she didn’t care about that at all. She had to find Lia as fast as possible. Bradley had noticed her absence by now, calling through the tear towards her. She ignored his call as good as she was able to. She had decided to do this and she was determined to follow through.
She started searching the castle as fast as she could, breaking down locked doors, running into all rooms she could find. Nobody. There weren’t even servants in the castle. The home of the regent was empty. She was already too late.
Bradley had gotten angry, she could feel it. He would search for her. Here. She had to do something. If only she could find Lia. Or defeat a half dragon. She had to do something extraordinary to get back on Bradley’s good side.
She ran back towards the dragon as fast as she could. “We will fly to Letoa”, she called while climbing on his back.
“What? Immediately?” The dragon growled.
“If you don’t want to be grilled from me now or Bradley a bit later, then you should fly off immediately!”
The dragon growled again, but followed her order.
Yukikos heart was pounding. A part of her regretted her decision, but another part, a smaller one, liked her rebellious behavior.
Lia thought she knew already everything there was to know about Rikos life. But somehow the girl found more and more stories to tell. She couldn’t remember everything that was thrown on her head.
It was a relief seeing their target in the distance, but it still took long enough for Riko to tell four more stories, before they descended into the Courtyard of Dikons castle. Aeris started to transform back while they were landing, the courtyard was too small for a full grown dragon. Finally they were back on the earth and Riko was looking around, her eyes wide and her mouth shut for once.
“Welcome to Letoa.” Phobos entered the courtyard with Dikon in tow. Behind both of them was … her father or more foster father. Lia left Rikos side and ran to Barnett, hugging him tight.
“You are alive”, she sobbed loudly, while he embraced her as well.
“So that little worm has crawled out of its hole.” Aeris grunted.
“Father!” Lia shouted at the dragon.
“You are right. I’ll wait”, he answered frowning.
“Have you got your memories back already? Where is my daughter? What happened in Magneis?” Dikon stepped quickly in front of Phobos, but still preferred some sort of distance between him and her.
“I guess Aeris is informed and you got your memories back?” Phobos sounded hopeful. “I need to know what Bradley did.”
Lia pulled herself closer to Barnett. “Bradley … well, we thought we had won, we reassembled the astral diamond … but then everything went … bad. The diamond turned black, pushed us away from it. As we came back to, we were under Bradley’s control.”
“Impossible.” Aeris shouted. “There is no way the astral diamond turned black.”
“It was black. Is black! I am sure of it! I saw it!” Lia felt tears rising in her eyes.
“What happened next, how did you escape?” Bradley stroke gently over her back, his voice soothing.
“Bradley … he wanted me to kill … Jan”, she answered, tears now streaming over her face. “That’s when I started to resist him, when I realized that I had a fake tear around my neck and ripped it off … and then I started to chase him, using … strange magic.” She started to shiver, reliving the moments, where any rational thought had escaped her. “He escaped.”
“What happened to Jan?” Barnett’s voice was almost a gentle whisper.
Lia felt her heart cramp up again as she saw once again her magic sucking everything in … She shook her head, hoped that was answer enough.
“I see”, Barnett kept her in a warm embrace.
“So that is why the city is no more.” Phobos sighed.
“Bradley”, Barnett said again, parts of his body shivering. “It is not the first time I heard that name, not the first time I met him. I had hoped to never see or hear of him again.” He pressed Lia close to his body. “I will now tell you what I know about him, what happened about twenty years ago.”