Fear the Flame
“Now what?” Musa yelled.
“Just…just fall back! Bloom’s got this!” Stella cried as she winced at the searing heat.
Attacking minions and defending soldiers scattered in the erupting inferno’s wake. A younger Stella would have continued on the offensive with the enemy on the run. Yet her desires for victory were superseded by her wariness of the Dragon Flame.
Stella’s fear of the ancient power had worsened as she became a more adept fairy. The rest of their allies seemed oblivious to it but as a light aligned magic user Stella was frightfully aware of how that power radiated with a primal and ravenous bestiality.
Motioning the rest of her friends to remain at a safe distance, Stella neared the flaming barrier while shielding herself with her own magic. As she peered through the blaze she looked at the two opponents locked in confrontation.
Witch and Fairy. Ice and Fire.
Yet it was hardly a contest of equals. The princess of Domino was the only fairy who hadn’t transformed in this battle and her magical pressure was already nauseating. It was more evidence of Bloom’s abilities continuing to evolve without limit to the point even Stella questioned why anyone wield such power.
Even if the wielder was supposed to be her friend.
“You can’t defeat me Icy!” Bloom stated nonchalantly as the circle of fire surrounding them raged. “Struggle all you want but this Dragon’s Flame your accursed bloodline has craved for centuries will never be yours!”
The silver haired witch laughed. Her laughter was so loud could be heard above the din of the inferno.
“That’s where you’re wrong!” Icy pulled out a hastily wrapped box. “It’s taken much longer than it should have but I’ve learned from my mistakes! I’m going to fight fire with fire and for real this time!”
“Really? What could you possibly–”
Before Bloom could finish her sentence Icy tore off the cloth and froze the box before shattering it with a cold snap. What was left in her hand was an ornate black dagger with a wickedly sharp edge.
“Is Icy holding something?” Aisha yelled from a safe distance. “I can’t hear or see properly with these flames! What’s happening in there Stella?!”
The Solarian princess didn’t answer. Though the fiery barrier obscured her vision Stella could tell Bloom’s face had twisted with offense when the dagger was revealed.
“What’s wrong?” Icy taunted. “You almost look disgusted. Do you know what this is?”
Bloom didn’t answer and the encircling flames roared louder and rose higher. Several of the Trix’s straddling minions were incinerated as the barrier extended with the redhead’s agitation. There was something about the flames that was putting everyone on edge and both friend and foe fell back further to avoid the fiery torrent.
Meanwhile Stella poured more energy into her shield as she pressed against the barrier to see what was happening. At this point the two people within the inferno looked as good as silhouettes.
“What the hell? Is Bloom doing this?!” Stormy hissed to Darcy as they began magically shielding themselves. They didn’t want to retreat too far from their sister.
“I haven’t seen the fairy use the Dragon Flame like this before. It’s almost like the fire is exuding emotions.” Darcy frowned.
“Really angry ones.” Stormy agreed. “She must have shown Bloom that thing she stole from Domino’s palace when we crashed her sister’s coronation day.”
“Well I’m getting a bad feeling I should have insisted on making Icy tell us what it is before we attacked Magix because–”
The encircling flames flared up again when Bloom stopped hovering and planted her feet on the ground.
“Why are you threatening me with that wretchedly sharp thing? No one should know about it. Its existence was erased from official records.” She stated in a passive aggressive tone that for all their conflicts Icy wasn’t used to.
“I found out about it the same way you did. Surprised?” The witch returned.
“And what use is that obsidian dagger to you?” Bloom grated. “It may be the only thing capable of injecting Dragon Flame essence permanently into one’s being but you need–”
“I’ve already infused the medium with Darkar’s Dragon Flame. I spent enough time in Realix gathering most remnants of the Shadow Phoenix’s essence.”
“You…you’ve been planning for this moment since then?” Bloom asked disbelievingly.
“So what? The only thing that matters is that you’re going to be destroyed! GET READY TO DIE!” Icy shrieked as she extended her arm for a fatal blow.
“STOP IT!” The redhead’s voice flared with desperation. “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING!”
The suddenness of Bloom’s cry was enough to stop Icy from stabbing herself. The witch responded by laughing again, mirthlessly this time.
“It’s too late for that fairy! After I use this I’ll become far stronger than you’ll ever be!”
“Is that all you really care about?” Bloom asked in a subdued tone. The flames surrounding the pair became less vicious to the point everyone else could see and hear the pair more clearly. “You’re about to make an irreversible decision and become something far less than a human being. Whether for Light or Dark the deal’s the same! A beast is a beast regardless of their allegiance!”
“You do realise you’re calling yourself a beast right?” Icy snorted incredulously.
“Yes I am!” The redhead hissed. “Do you have any idea what I’ve done in order to get my powers to this point? What this Dragon’s Flame requires…”
The witch nearly cocked an eyebrow as a moment of silence fell between them. Bloom heaved nervously before she found it within herself to continue talking.
“Valtor, the Black Wizards and even some of the minions they commanded...I killed them. I killed them and fed their essence to this Dragon Flame in order to become stronger. Each and every one of them died in agony. I felt it and for a time revelled in it! I…I…” Bloom’s voice faltered and she found herself unable to look anyone in the eye.
Icy could almost feel her power-crazed euphoria dampen as she watched her mortal enemy turn from anger to guilt ridden pain.
For years Bloom couldn’t deal with the truth of her actions and she felt ashamed coming out about them. She had confessed to her perceived crimes far too easily. It sounded so wrong to hear herself admit what she had done out aloud. It was a similar experience for those who heard Bloom’s confession.
“W-what is Bloom saying?” Flora managed to gasp as the rest of the Winx struggled with shock.
“No one deserves to die the way I made them.” Bloom looked at Icy again with sad desperation. “Can’t you see? Only a monster is capable harnessing the Dragon Flame.”
“If that’s true what does that make your sister?” Icy asked flatly.
“Daphne kept the flame and didn’t use it. You’re not supposed to and I was warned not to. You develop other abilities to keep the Dragon Flame contained. But I didn’t listen and I’ve been hiding the fact I broke that secret rule until now.” Bloom explained ruefully.
Icy’s grip of the dagger only tightened as the tainted fairy struggled to find more words to express her remorse.
“But I wasn’t being ignorant. I did it because I’m a coward. Look how far you have come without the Dragon Flame! Are you so unable to bear the weight of your own life? Is this the fate you want? To become weak like me? Will you use those fragments of flame to become nothing more but fragments of flame?!” Bloom shouted.
The fire surrounding Icy and Bloom simmered menacingly.
“Don’t do it witch.” the fairy begged. “Don’t use that Dragon Flame and throw your life away. Don’t become a monster…a monster like me.”
Stormy looked at how her enemies were reacting to these revelations. Then she looked back at the opposing pair.
The Trix had spent most of their lives wrecking kingdoms and ruining lives for their own ends. And yet here was Bloom, celebrated heroine of the Magical Universe, telling Icy that the witch was better than her because she had relied on nothing but her own strength to achieve her goals?
“Icy? Whatever you want to do…maybe we shouldn’t be hasty about it!” Darcy yelled.
But her sister never looked back. She never let go of the dagger either.
“I’ve never wanted anything more than to be power itself.” the witch finally returned. She looked at Bloom without sympathy for her plight. “What’s the point in being a person if you’re in my position? All my life people have hated me because of who I am. All they wanted me to be was the demonic force that they could blame all of their problems on.”
Icy raised the sinful weapon in defiance against her nemesis’s pleas.
“So that’s exactly what I’m going to become. Because a natural disaster doesn’t need feelings, pity or self-awareness. A cataclysm has no obligation to care for what it destroys. If this Dragon Flame can turn me into such a divine threat...I’m happy to let go.”
And with that Icy plunged the dagger into her chest faster than anyone could react. Darcy and Stormy shrieked as their sister’s body fell apart. Icy’s flesh, bone and muscle melted away into dark fiery wisps almost like the ghosts of their ancestors. Only the dagger and the heart it had pierced remained in their physical state.
“ICY!” Stormy cried falling to her knees.
Most of the defenders couldn’t watch the scene and with gasps of horror turned away or shielded their gaze. The Winx had seen plenty of atrocities before now and not even they could stomach Icy’s transformation.
Bloom was the only one who didn’t flinch or look away. She was utterly shocked someone chose a similar fate to her own despite her warnings. But her incredulity lasted only a moment. The circle of flames screamed back to life like her rage that was more horrendous than it had ever been.
“You’re such a fool! YOU’RE SUCH A BLOODY FOOL!” the fairy grated as she walked forward with clenched fists.
Suddenly an ice-tipped shadowy tendril nearly severed Bloom’s arm completely had the fairy not dodged in time. It remained attached to her body by a few strands of meat.
Bloom sucked in her breath and spat out a continuous stream of fire in retaliation. Her Dragon Flame was the only force capable of harming the disembodied Icy. The flames forced the spectre backwards and even diminished its size but the witch found a way to push against her attack. Icy slashed at the fairy with several tendrils which buried themselves in Bloom’s body and one managed to decapitate her.
But it wasn’t the end.
Bloom’s muscles reached out like grasping fingers and pulled her body back together. The anger in her eyes burned incessantly as to everyone’s horror the fairy began exuding a dark aura of her own.
“What have they done to themselves?” Flora cried clutching her face.
“We’ve both crossed the line now. This will only end when we destroy the sickness in our hearts.” Bloom answered in a semi-ethereal voice as she glared at Icy’s solitary mortal organ.
With a piercing scream Bloom released the abysmal aura collecting around her and threw the city of Magix into midday darkness. People panicked as sources of light faded including the circle of flame Bloom had conjured up.
Then she reappeared all aflame. Like a vengeful deity. Some defenders fell on their faces at the sight.
The greater the shadow, the brighter the flame.
Bloom was burning like a sun in space but it only filled people with fear. She had transformed into a form none of her allies or foes had seen. It appeared as if she had donned intricate armour with fire filtering from between the grooves. Fire burned in her eye sockets and in her mouth like furnaces. Her ashen wings dripped with fairy dust embers.
The spectre Icy also began exuding an aura, one of cold blue fire. It simpered on her shadowy body just barely distinguishing her from the magical darkness surrounding the pair.
Then they rushed at each other.
The two enemies clashed with terrifying regenerative speed. Neither one wasted time on ranged magical attacks and traded blows with sickle-like tendrils and flaming fists. Bloom seemingly disappeared and reappeared in the darkness. She deliberately snuffed out her flaming form and reignited it as she tried to attack Icy from different blind spots. However the disembodied witch was able to anticipate the fairy’s attacks and dodged and blocked with relative ease.
But Bloom had used the Dragon Flame longer than Icy had and was more adept with using it. She also had the greatest advantage though no one could comprehend it.
Just like how she used the circle of fire to define the battlefield the darkness shrouding Magix City was also under Bloom’s control. The passive darkness ensured that she was fighting in a space where her opponents wouldn’t be able to use significant advantages. She could devote all of her energy to just wearing them down with blow after blow.
Steadily she hacked away at Icy’s defences until finally she passed through the witch’s defensive aura and grabbed her heart. Shadowy strands kept grasping the vital organ as the fairy yanked it out.
Bloom squashed Icy’s heart between her fingers until she was clenching the obsidian dagger by the blade. With her mortal tether gone Icy’s spirit shrieked out of physical existence. As she died the darkness Bloom had unleashed slowly dissipated and natural light filtered in with nightmarish gentleness.
And what was left was a monster. A monster that mourned another monster who had denied her the death she too so desperately wanted for herself.
“But there’s only a monster.” Stella kept telling herself over and over.
Author Notes: This scene was originally part of the plot of my other Winx fanfic “Death Came for the Princess” before I felt it was a bit too out of place and cut it out. As of posting on this site I’m still in the middle of rewriting DCftP extensively and I intend to post it on this site as well when I’m ready.