Note: This is the twenty-eigth chapter of a small novel I wrote.
Tides of Magic - Dragon Tears
Chapter 28 - Decision
Even Bradley stared for long moments on the still growing dragon until he raised his weapon and shot on the black mass. The bullets passed it without any indication that they had hurt it, the holes left by them closed themselves within seconds. After eleven shots she could hear its click-click indicating an empty magazine.
Bradley threw the weapon aside, pulling a glowing spear of stone out of the wall below him, it floating several inches from his hand. Just before Bradley stabbed the beast, it opened its eyes. It reacted within a split second avoiding the spear, his eyes fixated on Bradley.
The golden glowing eyes of a dragon looked down upon them. Yukiko averted her gaze looking back onto Lia. Her body had gotten pale and didn’t move at all.
The dragon growled, making cracks appear within the air around them. Yukiko gulped. She had seen that before in the battle with Dikon. “Lia”, she tried to shout, but her voice was too weak to be heard.
Lightning struck down from above, hitting the dragon and then the spear, but missed Bradley. He had let go of the spear just in time.
Yukiko closed her eyes, trying to shoo the bright light from her eyes. As she opened them again she could see steam rising from the beast, could hear it growl again. Even more cracks appeared in the air around them. Whatever was happening, this couldn’t be good.
What should she do? She looked again to Lia. ‘She will soon need your help’, resounded faintly within her ears. She looked back to the mark on her hand. It didn’t glow, there was no indication of it being active. “But how? How should I help her?” She asked the mark with tears in her eyes.
“Bradley! Flee!” An unknown voice shouted. Then the cry of a dragon. The black dragon that had been at Bradleys side from the beginning, moved its head. Parts of the wall collapsed, flames enveloped the beast that had risen from Lia’s body.
Bradley made a few steps backwards, the other Bradley changing its appearance to Nina. Felix stepped next to them wordlessly and as the flames died down, all three of them had vanished.
The black dragon pushed itself into the air, causing even more parts of the wall to collapse.
The beast in front of Yukiko cried out. She felt a shock go through her body, making it shiver. She pushed herself away from it, crawled backwards until she couldn’t feel any ground behind her anymore. She shook her head, looking up to the dragon in fear. “No”, she whispered. She didn’t want to die. “No!” The beast gazed upon her. “Lia!” Yukiko cried as loud as she could. She once succeeded in stopping her friend like this. But was her friend still alive in that beast? Or had she died and lied beneath it, within the empty shell?
The beast breathed bright white colored flames that enveloped her. She felt the heat searing her body and then ….
Yukiko hesitated in opening her eyes after the pain had ended. The mark on her hand was glowing in a bright light. All around here were the glowing clouds of white flames. She could feel their intense heat. The dragon had closed its eyes while those flames came out of his maw like a river falling onto her.
For a moment she thought that this was a beautiful picture created by a masterful artist, that single moment preserved for all of eternity.
“Are you ready to accept me?” She heard her own voice. Next to her was once again the girl that looked just like her.
“Can you help us?” Yukiko looked up to her.
She shook her head. “We can help her.” Then she smiled. “We defeated him once already, a long time ago and we can do it again.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t have time for long explanations. I slowed down time to almost stop, but our power is limited as well.” She looked down on Yukiko with a serious expression on her face. “I’ll leave you with a choice: Do you want to save yourself or do you want to save her?”
“What will happen if I choose to save myself?”
“You will be given time to escape.”
“What will happen if I want to save her?”
“Then you will have to accept me and we will become one again.”
Yukiko looked to the dragon and then to Lia. She didn’t move at all, but she still looked like begging for Yukikos help.
“I have no real choice. If I choose to escape, the dragon might destroy everything, including myself.”
The other girl shrugged. “That is one of the truths. You will escape his attacks again and again until you are all alone.”
Yukiko felt something hurt deep within her heart. She shook her head and looked up to the girl. “I have been alone for too long. I want to help Lia. I don’t care what happens to me!”
“Aruji”, the other one smiled and kneeled down before her. “Finally …” She closed the distance, looking directly into Yukikos eyes.
She felt the embrace, the feeling of security. She felt the loving warmth of the other, her power. “I have always and will always be your power, my master!” The girl kissed her on the lips, a soft pressure, the feeling of velvet on her lips …
Bradley had teleported himself to the other side of the castle. He was still close enough to see the dragon breathing white flames on Yukiko.
There was no way to defeat it. But he had to defeat it. He had to protect his land, his kingdom. It was enough that he had to sacrifice Yukiko to th…
The flames had died down, the girl now standing in front of the dragon, as if nothing had happened. He looked once again through his binoculars. Not even her hair was signed. Even the wound on her leg had vanished. That couldn’t be. Was Yukiko even more powerful than he had initially thought?
He somehow needed direct control over her once again. He had to get the initial dragon tears back. But how? Rubenheim had built a fake tear and used it to merge the others to a stable black diamond. He got it out of his pocket.
There was an explosion. The stone fell to the ground. His eyes sought the source of that noise and found Yukiko and the dragon floating half a mile above the wall. Both shot spheres of energy at one another. After two collided they burst up into an explosion. He could feel every shockwave they produced. He didn’t even bother to look what the energy balls did that missed their target.
He needed those tears. Where was the diamond? He found it lying on the ground, the crack from before had healed and it looked like a perfect unharmed diamond. He had to destroy it, but how?
There had to be a way! Where was his weapon? Somewhere on the other side. Maybe he could use magic! He formed another drill out of a few stones, making it glow brightly …
The smooth surface of the stone was unharmed. That attack had drilled through the scales of a dragon!
The crack. When had the crack first appeared?
The dragon roared once again. More cracks appeared in the air next to him. His clothing touched one and it cut clearly through it.
He got an idea, scrambled down and picked up the diamond. He held it to one of the cracks, but it survived those as well.
He needed to get the situation under control once again. How could he destroy the diamond? It was that one crack he had seen before. Had he lost Yukiko back then? In exact that moment when it cracked?
He looked to Nina and Felix. He had to make a decision. He would have to sacrifice the control of one of them. He hated to have to experiment like this. He hated it when there was no clear answer.
Ninas ability to teleport was important, but on the other hand, Felix was able to replace Rubenheim.
He looked back to Yukiko, hoping to see an answer from her. The girl danced through the air. She already had eternal youth and now she was able to fly. She had power. Why had she everything?
She pulled some strange purple glowing lines behind her, wherever she flew. The dragon tried to dodge them, but it got harder and harder for him every moment. Whatever it was that Yukiko was doing, she was winning.
Then the dragon roared once again, making more cracks appear, cracks that cut through the purple net Yukiko was weaving.
Bradley clenched his teeth. He knew that Yukiko had to win this one, he wanted her to win. It was the first time that he wanted clearly the same thing as she.
He looked back to his generals. Cracks had appeared between them. It was only a matter of time until someone was hurt by them. The cracks seemed to close over time, but it was slow and the more cracks appeared the slower they healed.
As the panic within him spiked, he decided. He took Felix’ black tear and willed Nina to teleport them both far away. As soon as they had disappeared, he got close to a crack, moving the fake tear over its edge. It left a mark on the tear.
He hoped that he was right and started to saw through the fake tear, using that crack. As both parts fell to the ground, he heard a loud crack. He looked to the black diamond, seeing several cracks in its otherwise smooth surface, even more than before.
He willed Nina to return to him. “Give me your tear and leave”, he ordered her.
He took out the white tear and looked at it, while Nina vanished. He knew from Rubenheim that he could only use one tear at a time. The surrounding dragons would regain their magic at this point, but it wasn’t important.
Bradley received the fake tear and risked another look at the fighting girl and dragon after Nina vanished. Now Yukiko was the one that had Problems dodging the cracks all around her. But she still spun her web and the dragon had problems dodging that.
During their dance there were still spheres of white and black clashing. Those that exploded destroyed cracks and purple magic alike. He just hoped that they wouldn’t miss many of each other’s spheres. He remembered too vividly what happened to a whole city with only one of those spheres.
He started to saw through the last fake as fast as he could and soon enough its halves fell to the ground. Another loud crack and the black diamond splitted into five parts. Only four parts formed themselves into the normal tears, the fifth part became black dust.
Bradley gathered the other four and put them, together with the one he always had, into one of his pockets. The only one he kept was the red one.
Now it was time for an experiment. And no matter how he looked at it, he could only win.
Phobos had landed far from the battlefield. Most dragons had retreated from the battle that was happening right now.
His wound wasn’t life-threatening, but Ray had to patch him up nonetheless. The battle hadn’t gone at all how they had planned it to. Bradley had been able to take away the dragon’s power to transform themselves into humans and the half dragon’s power to transform into dragons. The tear’s power was truly frightening.
At least it didn’t touch his ability to heal. If only he had been able to transform into a dragon, then his wound would only have been half as bad. Not to mention the pain.
Even then he couldn’t join the battle above and was helplessly watching. He hadn’t been able to help Lia, hadn’t been able to rescue her. Bradley had … He curled his hands into fists. At least he could try to revenge her.
But before that, he had to hope that the girl won the battle above the castle.
“It seems that Yukiko is losing.” Aeris sat on a stone next to Phobos.
“You … need to … believe in her …” Phobos answered coughing. He felt weak and every word pained him.
I do believe in her and it pains me to see my daughters fighting like this.” Aeris shook his head. “Normally I would try to stop them, but that battle far surpasses my powers.”
“Yukiko has part of my blood within her as well”, Aeris answered. “That is why I see her as a daughter, too.”
Phobos looked back to the battle within the sky. Yukiko somehow couldn’t do what she wanted to do, while the dragon caused more and more cracks to appear within the fabric of reality.
“If that battle continues much longer, those two will destroy our world.” Aeris got up. “Maybe I can stop that dragon somehow, slow it down long enough for her to complete what needs to be done.”
“That’s … crazy …”
“Besides them, I am the only one that still has a chance. So it falls within my responsibility to do something. Bradley had had one as well, but he has fled.”
“Stay”, coughed Phobos again.
“I have to”, Aeris answered and turned, ready to jump … but then he stopped, staring at the battle.
Phobos looked as well. The beast dragon hesitated, as if he was frozen within the air. Yukiko used that moment to throw a purple thread around the dragon’s neck. She threw more and more threads at him, onto his wings, pranks and even his maw. It didn’t take her long to completely entangle the dragon.
It jerkily tried to resist, pulled on the threads, once … twice … several times more. One thread broke, but was soon replaced by two new ones. Every time one thread broke, Yukiko replaced it with more.
“She… she can do it. Somehow she can do it.” Aeris relaxed, a smile upon his face.
Yukiko raised one hand and spoke some words. Phobos could see a purple sword forming within her hand. She sprinted forwards within the sky, ramming the sword into the dragon. The threads that were around the dragons pranks broke. There was a suppressed roar and smoke leaving the closed maw of the dragon.
Yukiko kept going forwards, impaled the dragon on the sword and the sword into one of the cracks.
Aeris flinched at the display, holding his breast with his right hand.
“What … happened?”
“Nothing.” Aeris shook his head. “I … just thought that that had to be painful.”
Yukiko got closer to the dragon, catching his flailing head with her hands, staring into the eyes of the creature. She spoke a few more words and then floated backwards, a glowing sphere appearing before her.
As she spread her arms, the sphere exploded into thousands and thousands of threads. She danced within the air as if she directed the threads to wrap themselves around the dragon, creating more and more of a giant ball.
The ball hovered like a cocoon above the castle, frozen in place, while the girl floated downwards, dodging all the cracks on her way. She landed next to the place where Lia had died.
He could see her weave even more of those purple threads around something.
“What … is … she … doing?”
“I do not know.”
After a few more minutes, Yukiko ascended with a smaller cocoon, making it join the large one.
The resulting cocoon started to grow until it was almost as big as the castle.
Bradley fell to his knees, feeling utterly exhausted. As soon as he had spoken those words, he had felt a gigantic weight on his spirit. Still he had been able to defend himself against that presence. He was glad it was over. Had it preserved only a few minutes longer …
In the sky above him was that large purple glowing cocoon embedded within the cracks and parts of the web the girl had been trying to weave earlier. Had she won? And what had she created?
Otherwise he couldn’t care less. He exchanged the red tear for the blue one and smiled. He had control over the girl once again and with her all the power she commanded. He began to smile. In the end he was the one that emerged as a winner from this crazy battle.
The wounds that the dragon had ripped into the surroundings were closing slowly, while his old and new most powerful belonging hovered far above him.
Something was happening to the Cocoon. Thin parts of it were parting from the main strukcture, opening downwards like a gigantic flower. Some of the petals ripped apart as soon as they touched the cracks in the reality. Some petals fell off the flower, exploding in the air and falling down to the earth gently, like the first snow in winter.
A black dragon appeared in the middle of the large flower. Bradleys heart skipped one, no two beats. What had she done? What had that god dammend girl done?
The dragon opened his wings, roared …
Nothing happened. There were no new cracks around him. The dragon flapped his wings, holding himself steady where he was and on his back lay … a naked girl.
Was that girl Lia? Had Yukiko stolen her from the clutches of death?
They started to lower themselves as the flower exploded into even more purple snow.
One flake landed next to him. It looked like two waves that were flowing around a sphere in the middle from which they came forth. He knew that picture.
The girl really had taken what she was supposed to steal for him: The eye of flows! That is why she had all these powers, why she didn’t age, why she had all that, that should have been his!
Stuck up like that she floated down, to him. He would find a way to get those powers from her. He enclosed the tear in his hand.
The dragon landed within the courtyard of the castle. There were no cracks in the air where he had descended. When have they closed up?
Next to him a flake hit one of the cracks, making it disappear and the crack heal within moments.
“Edward L. Bradley.” Yukiko landed before him. Her face didn’t show any triumph or rage. Instead it was more that she looked at him indifferently. “I want to thank you for having stopped the dragon of chaos momentarily.”
“You knew what that thing was?” Was she playing with him, thought him an idiot.
“Because of that I am willing to spare your life, if you hand over the dragon tears.” She opened her right hand and held it out to him. The mark on her right hand was glowing in a dark purple.
She really thought of him as an idiot. Why should he give up the power that was within his grasp? He spoke the seven words as fast as he could: “In kagis et seris infinis chikara kaiho!”
He felt the slight cold, saw the blue light emanating from his fist and he couldn’t help but smile. He felt how he was able to move her. He made her lower her hand.
“Have you really thought, that I would give up that easily? I will get what is rightfully mine. Tell me how should I separate the eye of flows from you. Do I need to cut off your hand?”
Yukiko looked at him, her eyes suddenly glowing purple as well. “I had given you another chance to better yourself. Why haven’t you taken it?”
Bradley gulped. That couldn’t be. She shouldn’t be allowed to speak, she shouldn’t be allowed to resist.
The girl raised her hand again. “Give me those tears”, she said seriously. “I won’t ask again!”
This couldn’t be happening! This just couldn’t be happening! What he saw in front of himself … He could see her dress, her long brown hair … and her face! His small sister stood before him once again, taking all that was dear to him, because she knew that she could use their parents, use them to make him do all that she wanted.
He had killed her, killed them! Only then he had felt free, felt as if he had control over his life! And now she was back again, taking it all!
No, he couldn’t give up that fast. He couldn’t lose control again! He tried to reach for the other tears.
“As you wish”, whispered his sister. No … Yukiko. She saw directly into his eyes, ripped the pocket with the tears out of his jacket, throwing them behind herself where they vanished in a small chest. Then she hit his hand with the edge of hers.
The pain made his grip weaker and she managed to free the tear from his fingers. She threw it behind her as well, making the chest close and disappear behind her.
Weakened he fell to his knees. He had lost everything, subject to the mercy of the girl before him, knowing that she wouldn’t know mercy with him.
“I won’t judge you”, Yukiko said and made a few steps back. “Mortals should judge over mortals.” She turned and jumped down the walls.
Bradley was shivering on his whole body. What should he do? He reached out to one of the flakes that looked like the eye of flows. They felt like the petals of a rose.
If only he could turn back time …