The Hero

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Chapter 3: Stories

“So, if you’re a royal, then were you after Dragonborn?” Hugh asked. They had been on the road for a week now and they were only half way there.

“No, I’d only heard of them at my last ball,” replied Josh. “Who is ‘the hero’?”

Hugh sighed. “My brother… well more like my brother’s brother. It’s complicated.”

“Well, I don’t have anywhere else to go, so can you please explain?”

Hugh sighed again. “My brother is a Dragonborn and before I was born, my parents were friends with a woman that married a dragon, well my—”

“Your brother’s mom married a dragon?!”

“Yes, dragons can turn into humans. If a human male marries a dragon female the woman doesn’t die, but if a dragon male marries a human female, the woman dies.”

“So, your brother’s mother died?”

“Yes, a long time ago, dragons and humans lived together in peace, one male dragon boy was concealed inside a dark castle because he couldn’t get control of the onyx crystal heart, he was adopted by a king and queen after his parents died in a war against the rising rebellion of humans that thought dragons and humans should never live as equals and that humans should rule, the Battle of Thira. The dragon boy’s name in the human language was Drake, his younger human brother was named Nix and they were best friends. His parents worked with him to try to get his powers under control because humans were hunting dragons, but nothing worked, anything he touched with his bare skin would turn to black smooth stone, but not instantly, and as he grew up, it got stronger. They gave Drake gauntlets and every ball they had, he wouldn’t come down from the balcony outside his room, in fact, he stayed away from everyone. He stopped talking to his brother and wouldn’t touch anything, especially his parents. One day his parents were going to sail to another country, he begged them not to go, because he had a bad feeling. His parents reassured him, and then they left. At sea, a terrible storm happened and a sea battle with pirates, the entire crew went missing, so everyone thinks they are dead. Nix went to the funeral, but Drake locked himself in his room, crying his eyes out. Nix tried to convince Drake to come out, but there was no answer.” he saw the questioning look on Josh’s face. “What is it?”

“So let me get this straight, a dragon turned into a human and was adopted by humans, but Drake couldn’t control his power, so he isolated himself by stop talking to his brother, then his parents died and he locked himself in his room?” asked Josh.

“Basically. Any other questions?”

Josh thought for a moment. “Nope, please continue.”

“Nix went to the funeral, but Drake locked himself in his room. Nix knocked on Drake’s room, but Drake stayed silent. Four years later, the day of his coronation had finally come. The kingdom was in celebration, people from all over the world showed up, from dukes to kings.

Nix hadn’t seen his brother in years, so he was very excited, finally he would see light again, and he couldn’t wait to meet everyone.

Drake touched a table without his gauntlets and it quickly turned into black stone, so he put his gauntlets back on and sighed. All of the servants knew about his powers and he made sure they didn’t tell anyone else. A few hours later the ceremony took place and he had to take off the gauntlets. With shaky hands, he took a deep breath and he picked up the golden scepter. It started turning black, but just in time, the speaking stopped and he quickly put it down. The crown was carefully put on his head and the ball started.

Nix, being young and arrogant got engaged.” Chill will tell you the rest of the story in a more ‘detailed’ style.

Chill nodded. She showed them an image of the ballroom and the story playing out in front of them.

“Drake, I mean, Your Majesty, may I present, the Princess Genevieve of The Eastern Lands.” Nix had a smiling girl on his arm.

“Nice to meet you,” said Drake. He bowed slightly putting a hand on his chest.

The couple exchanged glances of admiration.

Drake raised an eyebrow at Nix. Sensing there was more than just an introduction. “Was there anything else?” Drake replied.

“Yes, I have asked this beautiful young woman to marry me,” Nix said. he was blushing and he had a beam in his eyes.

“What?” Drake asked, but Nix completely ignored him.

“I’ll make a list of the details we must attend to, but at the top of it there must be uniting the kingdoms… but if we held the ceremony here,” Nix was getting excited.

There was a lot more talking until Drake finally got Nix to be quiet. “No,” said Drake.

“What?” asked Nix.

’Can I speak with you privately?” Drake asked.

“No, if you have something to say, you can say it to both of—,” Nix replied.

“No, it’s fine,” said Genevieve.

Nix and Drake walked out of the ball room and Drake closed the door. “

“Now, you can’t marry a girl you just met, especially a princess, just think about it Nix, if you understood you wouldn’t be asking me,” Drake said.

“What’s wrong with it?” Nix asked ignorantly.

“First of all you would have asked her father, second of all this isn’t love. Did you think of what father would do?” Drake asked. “This isn’t love!”

“How would I know?” asked Nix. “And how do you know what love is? All that you’ve ever done is make me feel like I’m inferior to you! You didn’t even go to mom and dad’s funeral!” Nix.

Drake that statement hit him in the chest like a poisonous arrow. He wanted to go to his room and destroy it or something. Reality stepped in as nix waited for his reply. “You wanted my blessing, but this is idiotic. My answer is no,” Drake said coldly, and he started for the door.

“Wait, Drake! You are not walking away from me this time!” Nix said angrily, he grabbed the gauntlet.

“Hey, let go!” said Drake, pulling but Nix held firm.

“Sires, are you alright?” Princess Genevieve asked, coming into the room.

Drake pulled harder. “

“Guinevere, I think you should know something, why this castle has been locked away for years,” said Nix. He started undoing the straps that kept the gauntlet on Drake’s wrist.

“Stop it Nix!” Drake said quickly, almost yelling, but then the gauntlet slipped off his hand. Black mist was swirling around it. He ran out the door into the ballroom and made his way into his room, he walked onto the giant balcony outside his room and let out a loud shriek, his hands turned into claws, his boots broke because his feet grew.

Nix witnessed it all and then grabbed his wrist again, but this time touching Drake’s bare skin.

Genevieve had followed the chase, but was just in time to see Nix turn into stone, she screamed and guards rushed in, just as Drake got out of Nix’s stone grip and did a vault over the railing. The guards and the princess ran over to the edge and looked, but fell back as Drake flew up and disappeared into the night, he hadn’t been in his true form ever since his real parents died,” Chill ended the image with a shrug of her large shoulders.

“So you’re saying he found a way to escape, and left, leaving behind his stone brother?” asked Josh. “What happened to Nix after that?”

“Drake had killed him, so he was left a statue in the courtyard of the castle.” both Hugh and Chill answered at the same time.

“What?”

“The princess went after Drake and found him in an onyx stone fortress in the Desert Mountains and tried to kill him. Drake told her about being a dragon and how it was an accident, but war had already broken out between her and him. She shot her bow, but he caught it and it turned to stone, she pulled out her knife and then charged, he breathed out shadow fog and flew up onto a balcony, a throwing knife shot right by his head,” replied Hugh.

The screen appeared again.

“You killed him!” Genevieve yelled. She shot another arrow after the fog cleared and it shot far above his head, there was a rope attached to it and she swung up and kicked him to the balcony floor, she held her knife at his throat and made sure she wasn’t touching his skin.

“I’m sorry, I can’t control it,” Drake said, then he made shadow swirl around him, and he went through the floor. Drake then let the beast take control and—” Chill stopped talking just as guards came into view.

“Identifications please,” said one of the guards, holding the mike up to Hugh’s mouth.

“Merchant brothers from the west,” he said.

Hugh held his breath. Josh used to be a celebrity and knows how this sort of traveling worked because he’s gone on business trips with his dad before, hasn’t he? Hugh thought.

Josh used sign language to say yes.

Hugh let out a sigh of relief as the guard let them pass, then they traveled for a few more miles in silence.

“What happened to princess Genevieve?” Josh asked.

“What? Oh, they got married and had a kid,” Hugh replied.

“What!”

“Just kidding, he escaped into another dimension after stealing the statue, in fact, he turned into a villain because the first people he met were villains,” finished Hugh.

“Did he ever turn his brother back?”

“Well, sort of, but that’s a story for another time. Go into hipper drive, Chill.”

Chill opened up her wings and flew upward, having the cart still attached. Then she was getting ready to drop it.

“Jump, Josh!” Hugh yelled. And he did a flip onto the back of his dragon and cut off the strands of the carriage. Josh jumped off, and Chill caught him on her back. Hugh helped him up and they made a sonic boom across the sky.

Jethro

“Cromose, Jethro help me!” Gem yelled, she was turned into a cyborg by Cromose. She was getting crystalized and this other girl made a wall between her and everyone else. She was on her hands and knees crying. They had to get to her or Gem would be trapped.

“Victoria!” yelled the boy with black hair and looked just like Jethro. He was on the other side of the crystal wall. “I couldn’t control it ether, then I turned evil, that was the biggest mistake of my life, don’t make the same mistake I did.”

“Firefly, melt Gem out of there!”

“I got wet!” he yelled.

“Jethro, you can get her out!” said Cromose.

“How?”

“It’s a key, your gem is the key,” Cromose replied.

Jethro found a hole that his purple crystal fit into perfectly. He turned it and she was free. Then they started to run, but his feet were stuck to the ground. Then something picked him up and black clouds swirled around him.

“Gem!” Jethro yelled, but he’d been transported into a dungeon, where only an onyx dragon could get out. He had chains around his wrists and ankles and his powers were useless. There was a mirror on the wall and it swirled and showed all of his friends, captured and imprisoned. “No, let them go!”

“Give me your crystal, or I’ll kill him,” boomed a deep voice from the darkness of the room.

The mirror swirled and showed Cromose unconscious.

“He’s my enemy,” replied Jethro.

“Well then, I’ll take of the mask and show you who he really is.” The dragon took off the helmet of Cromose and Jethro couldn’t believe what he saw… himself, except with white strands of hair.

“Cromose is me?” Jethro shook his head. “No, this is just one of your tricks!”

“He’s not you, he’s your brother.” the black dragon stepped forward, but not as a dragon anymore, but as a human.

“That’s not possible, you’re—”

Jethro was now on an operating table, secured to it. The used to be dragon took a knife and cut his skin open. Jethro screamed pain. He was about to reach inside of him and pull out the crystal from inside of him.

“Jethro!”

“Firefly?”

“Jethro! Wake up!” Firefly shook him awake. “Dude, you were shaking like you were being cut open, you okay bro?”

Jethro looked around, then relaxed. “Yeah, just a weird dream.”

“You should have seen it, last night I felt a chill and then saw an ice sort of palace grow from the mountains,” said Firefly.

“What?”

“I don’t know how to describe it, it almost looked… beautiful.” There was a distant look in his eyes as he looked at the mountains.

“What do you see?” Jethro asked.

“A girl, young, blond—no ice blue long braided hair, beautiful,” Firefly said. “By her swirling power, I’d say Dragonborn.”

“Huh? We need to go to the south mountain pass, not a castle!” snapped Jethro.

“Right, the problem is, the place he told us to go is in that mountain.”

“How do you know?”

“He came back last night.” Firefly spread out his wings. “If we never get back to our dimension, then we should try to bring peace to this one.”

There was a long pause before Jethro broke the silence, his gaze was toward the mountains. “Fi, do you think we’ve been here before?”

“Can I doubt it?”

Jethro looked at the mountain base, then ran to it, reaching the base of the mountain in seconds. “Whoa,” he said, sliding to a stop. He wasn’t out of breath because of his crystal pendant around his neck. He saw Firefly in the distance, flying to him with his fire lit.

Firefly finally landed next to Jethro a few minutes later.

“Dude, how did you do that?” Firefly asked in awe of Jethro’s new found speed.

“I just though I wanted to go to it, and I automatically did it,” Jethro ended with a shrug. He looked to the distance and saw a dragon of ice flew up onto the balcony up on the castle with its rider. Somehow it didn’t look unnatural. “Did you know that dragons have riders?”

Josh

Chill landed on the balcony and they were met by a girl with a staff made of ice and diamond.

“Why have you come here?” she asked in a bit of a deeper voice then he expected. The staff was pointed at them in an offensive position… like she could crystalize them.

Hugh hopped off Chill and pulled up his long sleeve, showing ice scales.

“Funny, you have dragon scales, but you’re not a Dragonborn,” she replied coldly.

“I’m Fey’s brother,” said Hugh. “But I am not important in your destiny.”

She let down her guard for one second and then it was like a blur. Hugh had an ice sword and she was blocking it. Then the battle started, Hugh slashed at her side and she blocked. Then she backed up and stared at him. His movements were slow then and he then froze in place. She walked up to him and then nodded.

“Yeah, you can leave now,” she said.

“It’s his dad’s workshop.” Hugh pointed at Josh. “Just remember, if you meet him again, it might be someone else.” Chill pushed Josh off her back and then Hugh did a vault off the balcony and the dragon climbed over the diamond railing and dropped to catch her rider.

There was a long silence and Josh just stood there awkwardly. “So, hi, I’m—”

“Human,” she interrupted. She wasn’t holding her staff in a defensive position, more like on guard.

“Yes, but my name is—”

“I don’t care who you are, get in your workshop and do whatever you do.” Her words were as cold as ice, chilling him to the bone. She was dressed in a midnight colored skirt with a lighter colored cloak, she pulled the hood over her head and he saw the paisley pattern on the left and right with a diamond shape in the middle, and swirls on the sleeves. Her skirt and cloak had stars that looked like it was a dragon breathing fire and ice.

“Where did you get the outfit? It’s beautiful,” he said.

“I made it, now are you going or not?” she asked.

Josh started for the door and turned the nob. “Before I go down there, what’s your name?”

“Cre,” she replied. Then she pointed her staff at him. “But I’m now known as the Diamond Queen.”

“I’m Josh,” he said as he walked down the stairs and closed the door behind him.

Cromose

It had been a few months and he finally gained Gem’s trust and her friendship. “I biologically enhanced you, so now you are stronger, faster and smarter,” said Cromose. “My worst enemy is Jethro Flint.”

“What did he do to make you his enemy?” Gem asked. “Is he your twin or something?”

“He killed my best friend when I was twelve,” Cromose thought for a moment. Could he be? There’s only one way to find out. “If you want to find out, find him and take a small blood sample, I figured out a way to look on everyone’s past, I found it that it’s in they’re blood.”

“Where do I find him?” she asked.

“You’ve got a tracker in your arm,” said Snowfly, she came out of the shadow of the cave.

“How long have you been standing there?” asked Gem.

“The whole time,” Cromose answered. “Snowfly, can you hand the green crystal we found last night?”

She took it out of her pocket and tossed it to him. He caught it in midair as his reflexes kicked in. What would happen if I let my reflexes take over? he asked himself. He examined the green glowing crystal in his hands. “Life crystal, it can heal any sickness, except a cut from an onyx stone blade. Thanks Snow.” He tossed it back to her and she walked back into the darkness. “You’ve also got a clocking devise, use it, find him and bring back the sample.”

Jethro

It took them a long time to fly to the mountain and Firefly was exhausted when they finally landed on the balcony.

Firefly dropped to his knees, breathing hard. Jethro still had the strength to stand.

“Who are you?” asked a girl with her hood up. The pattern pretty impressive to Jethro and the staff she was pointing at them with looked like Jack Frost’s, except the swirl design at the end of it.

“Jethro Flint and this is my friend Firefly,” Jethro replied. He took off his hood and she looked surprised and confused. She took off her hood as well to reveal ice blue, braided hair.

“Fey?” she asked. “You got taller, and, wait, stay away from me royal!” she shot ice and diamond out of her staff.

He caught the blast with his shadow energy and redirected it back at her. “Fi, get down!”

Firefly moved just in time to dodge crystal spikes. Then he ignited his fire.

She jumped out of the way of the blast and then shot ten-thousand spikes. Jethro created a shadow shield and protected both him and Firefly. She jumped up and spun, creating higher ground. Then she took her staff and at the end, she scooped up part of the ground and fired it at them. Jethro created his shield again, but the stuff she fired exploded on contact, launching him to the wall. He dropped to the second floor of the castle as he was pushed down the stairs because of her blasts, as he kept rolling, she hit him in the leg and he staggered as he tried to get up. She shot his foot and he felt like his leg had frozen from the inside, she swung her staff to finish him off, but he caught it and pulled, he flipped her over and she landed with a loud THUD. Then he held the staff at her neck and cuffed her to the floor with shadow energy.

“Go ahead, kill me, but I know you’re not a royal, and you’re not a villain, but you could call me one,” she said. She closed her eyes, ready for the blow.

Jethro didn’t move.

“Wait!” a boy with brown hair stepped in-between them, pushing the staff away from her.

“Josh, get out of the way,” said the girl. “He’s a Dragonborn.”

“You’re the reason I’m in hiding!” boy exclaimed in a defensive position.

She sighed, then broke the cuffs. She stood up. “He’s not that guy,” she said.

“What do you mean?” the boy replied.

“He’s one of the brothers I told you about.”

He glared at Jethro, then he sighed and relaxed “I’m Josh,” he said holding out his hand.

Firefly limped down the stairs, but then nodded that he was okay.

“I’m Jethro Flint, this is Firefly,” said Jethro, shaking the hand.

Josh took out a green crystal and touched Firefly’s hand; he observed his hand and then tested his leg.

“Ok, that’s new,” said Firefly.

“It’s a healing crystal. I haven’t found its limits yet,” said Josh. “One touch to the skin and it can heal any wound.”

He touched Jethro’s hand next. The icy pain left him immediately.

“What’s your name?”

“The Diamond Queen,” she said.

“What’s your real name?” asked Firefly.

She didn’t reply, she just put her hood back up and Jethro handed her back her staff. “For all that’s good for you, stay away from me.”

“Why?” Firefly asked.

“Just stay away.” she walked up the stairs and was no longer in sight.

“I’m going to find out who she is,” said Firefly.

Josh sighed. “Look kid, she needs some space, don’t bug her.”

“What are you a leader or something?” asked Firefly.

“N-no,” Josh replied. He opened the door that lead inside the mountain.

Jethro read his mind. I don’t want to be a leader, my sister died because I tried to be a leader. Jethro decided to keep his mouth shut. He would ask him about it later.

Victoria

She was sitting on the edge of the roof she had created, alone. All she wanted to be is left alone, to be who she was without having the fear of killing anyone with her powers. She had never hit anyone with her powers before. Jethro being the first, she thought she could have killed him. Her fighting had been all automatic. She never felt anything like it before. “I wish Emerald were here,” she whispered to herself. She closed her eyes. “Fey.”

He was sitting next to her watching the northern lights “Victoria, they need you to help them save the two girls,” he said.

She looked up as well. “Are you going to tell him you’re his brother?”

“Not until he sees Cromose’s face, then he should figure it out.” He stood up and let out his wings. “He has no idea what he is capable of. He has the amethyst stone.”

They stayed silent for a while, then she piped up, “Is it possible for me to fly?”

“No, only male Dragonborn can do it,” he replied. He stepped off the roof and plunged toward the ground.

Victoria knew what he would do, but she wanted to watch anyway. He let out his wings at the last second then did his famous thundering noise and left a trail behind him. She had decided that after she helped Josh, Firefly and Jethro that she would break every law that nature had put for a Dragonborn. She would ask Fey what the rules were and then try them out. At least try. She knew that she would first have to control it and figure out how to make it disappear.

The Soarenborn landed behind her.

“Hey, I was just wondering—” he started.

“Leave me alone,” she interrupted.

He stayed silent for a little while. “Not until you tell me why.”

“No,” she replied.

Jethro pulled Firefly away, but he fought back.

“Fi, she told you to leave her alone!” Jethro whispered.

“Why?” Firefly asked. “Don’t you want to know who she really is?”

“Give her a little time to get use to us,” Jethro replied. “This is her home anyway.”

I may live here for the time being, but this is not my home, Victoria thought. She heard them through the ice and they had no idea what she was capable of. I don’t even know what I am capable of.

“Hey Vic,” said Josh.

She didn’t hear him climb up. She remained silent.

He sat down next to her. “I was just thinking, you don’t really have anyone to talk, so you don’t have to listen, I just want to get it off my chest.”

Since he didn’t really want to invade on her personal story, she decided to at least let him talk.

“I think I can make a ship that’s crystal powered, but more like a bike. I haven’t worked out all of the tweaks yet but I might be able to make it fly.”

He has the same goal, deify the laws of nature, she thought. “Josh,” her voice was small.

“Yeah?”

“What happened to your parents?” she thought she was being unfair in asking him, so she decided she would tell him her backstory after he had finished.

“Uh…” his voice trailed off, he didn’t want to tell, like she didn’t.

There was a long pause; the wind blew in a slight breeze.

“I’ll tell you my story if you tell me yours,” she said, her voice was low and steady.

He took a deep breath. “My mom was a dragon rider, my dad a duke. During the battle of Thira, my mom rode out on her dragon and my dad invented an air scooter that fired torpedoes from the sides of it. They were on the front lines fighting for the dragons. The battle raged on as they fought for freedom, they were losing. All of the dragons and there riders retreated, but the royals pursued them with their tech, the dragons quickly lost them and hid in the caves and mountains. During this time my mom was very pregnant with my little sister and I was being babysat by my uncle in the desert. Just letting you know my uncle is an eagle shifter and we stayed with the prince. The dragon riders found out where the royals were going to strike next, they’re location so they had to evacuate the mountain, but this was a hospital for the injured and no one in it were well enough to move to a safer location. Some of the dragons remembered stories passed down to them generationally of crystals hidden inside mountains, with powers like their own. The ones that could still move tried to find them, but were too late, the enemy had already found its way into the mountain. My mom died defending the dragons and having a baby at the same time and my dad just barely escaped with her,” he ended.

“Its wearied how cruel someone can be for what they believe in,” she said.

“Yeah, my dad actually had to be pushed out of the room as the door was sealed behind him,” he said. “And I have no idea what happened to the rest of the dragons. When the word got back to me, I cried for weeks, but then my dad told me I had to be strong for my little sister.”

“What happened to your sister?” she asked. She wanted to be careful, but she also wanted to know.

“Uh...”

She felt the awkwardness of the air. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” she said that a little too quickly and wanted to change the subject. “Maybe another time?”

“Yeah, it’s your turn.”

“Ok.” She took a deep breath. “I used to be the princess of Athia, and my siblings are hunting me down because my best friend turned me into a Dragonborn.”

“Wait, slow down… you’re the lost princess of Athia?” he stared at her for a long time.

She nodded.

“Your sister came to my party a few months ago!” he said.

Victoria looked down at the frozen valley below. “She did?” her voice was smaller than ever.

“Everyone in this entire world thinks you’re dead!”

“Well, princess Victoria is dead, I now call myself the ‘Diamond Queen’, and that’s just the way things are and were meant to be.” She paused for a long time. Once I‘ve finished helping these guys out I am going to go into the unexplored and build a house on another mountain, she thought. I just want to be left alone.

“Once all this nonsense is over, I’ll tell them that you’re alive!”

“Don’t!” she spoke quickly and powerfully.

“This isn’t how life has to be for you! You can return to your family and be happy!”

“No!” She was upset and ice and crystal flakes began to swirl around her.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Is there a problem up here?” asked Firefly.

She had to get inside her own room to release it or they would know the truth about her… the uncontrollable, limitless power lurking inside of her. She was up and gone in a flash, already in her room, locking the door and letting it out. The prison she built for herself, the only thing keeping the others safe. Everything after that was a blur, then the blackout.

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