The Hero

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 5: Dreams and Disasters

“Hey Cromose, remember how you told me that when Gem’s light on her eye glows red that means someone’s coming,” said Snowfly over the comm.

“Yes,” he replied. “I found something very interesting though. I’ll be back in five minutes.”

“Ok,” she replied.

Cromose examined the four tunnels in front of him he had gone down three of them which just lead him back to the same place. He raced down the last one and figured that it was an escape route to somewhere far underground. This tunnel leads to a dead end, he though. He slid to a stop. He felt a slight change in temperature though so he put his hand on the wall and calculated that it was about seven feet thick. He tried to find a secret panel or something as he moved his hand up and down. He stumbled back, felling heat from the inside out as his skin started to glow the color of fire and then wall opened up. What just happened to me? he thought as he ran down the tunnel to try to find answers.

Someone slammed into him and the both toppled over.

“Ow!” said the boy. “Who are you and how—oh, you’re Dragonborn aren’t you?”

“Uh, yeah,” Cromose replied. “Who are you?”

“Honiccu, I too am a Dragonborn. Sadly though, I can’t fly,” he replied.

Cromose stood up and walked a circle around him. Honiccu was tall, had dark skin and had black hair with golden streaks in it. “Why do you have different colored hair?”

Honiccu stared at him blankly. “You haven’t been around many of your kind have you?”

Cromose nodded.

“As a Dragonborn I have different colored hair and eyes based on my parents, my mother was one of the desert dragons from the stories, my father was a well-known warrior from the east,” said Honiccu. “Why don’t you come with me and I’ll tell you all about it around a fire and we can drink tea.”

“Uh, I have two friends with me and I’m, uh, being followed,” said Cromose.

“What Dragonborn isn’t these days?” Honiccu asked. “Are you in or not?”

“Uh, alright,” said Cromose. He lifted up his wrist to signal Snowfly and Gem.

Honiccu had a curious look on his face. “Where you a royal or something? Wait, nothing in this world has that kind of technology, where’d you get it?”

“I made it.”

Honiccu’s jaw dropped. “You should join my squad. I’ve needed a technician.”

Snowfly and Gem finally showed up.

Cromose looked at them, then back and Honiccu. “Do you have room for two more?”

Honiccu nodded. “I sealed the entrance after your friends came through.” He moved his head, gesturing them to follow him, then he turned and ran down the tunnel.

They followed him for several minutes, weaving down and up and all around. Finally they came to a stop and Honiccu’s skin glowed for a moment, then opened up to another, but well carved huge gates. He roared and it echoed through the stone walls, the call was echoed back on the other side, but sounded like a whisper, then the doors opened up to a cave made of large natural forms of crystal stone stalactites and stalagmites. The place was full of dragons and Soarenborns and what looked like humans, but he guessed they were Tameth.

Whoa, now this is cool, a city made of crystal and multiculture, what could be more perfect? Cromose thought. If only Night had lived to see this. He sighed, remembering the good times with is best friend. He would have loved this place.

“Who are you?” came a voice inside his head.

Uh, Cromose, I’m a new member of Honiccu’s squad, who are you? he thought back.

“You’re my new teammate?” asked a boy in front of him. He was lying back on a crystal house. He had large golden eagle wings and leather combat boots and coat with brown dusty hair and a sideways grin. “Honiccu, you always pick the most interesting of the bunch.”

Honiccu chuckled. “Is Draya back?”

“Yeah, just got here,” the boy replied.

The three were lead inside with that boy following closely behind. There was a fire pit in the middle of the medium sized room and pillows around it.

“Wow, was this place completely made out of crystal?” Cromose asked.

Honiccu nodded. “Please have a seat.” He had the other boy go get Draya as he made tea over the fire. When they were all sat down he introduced himself.

“I’m Conner, but you can call me Talon, the desert eagle and bounty hunter,” said the other boy.

“I’m Cromose, the, uh, inventor,” Cromose replied.

“I’m Snowfly,” Snowfly said.

“Gem.”

“What are you?” asked Talon.

Gem didn’t know how to answer to that. So Cromose replied for her, “She’s like an assassin.”

“Uh, Hon, we don’t need another assassin,” said Talon, gesturing toward the other girl. “By the way, that’s Draya, she doesn’t talk very much.”

“So, obviously you three are from this world, but you don’t seem like it, tell us where you’re from,” said Honiccu.

“Well, we came from another dimension called ‘Ira’ and I made a machine that can transport you from this world to that world. But I have no idea how Snowfly and I got to that world in the first place,” said Cromose.

“I may be able to help you with that,” said a dragon peaking his head in and showing his silver colored scales.

“Alaric, sir,” said Honiccu, standing up.

“You can sit down if you want to Honiccu,” said Alaric. Honiccu sat back down.

“To what do I owe the pleaser?” asked Honiccu.

“I’m actually here to help Cromose,” said Alaric.

“Oh, ok, I thought you were going to make our squad do more teaching on how to escape,” said Talon.

“That would be because you are the best for that kind of mission. Now, Cromose you are one of three siblings and your mother was a skilled warrior,” said Alaric.

“You knew my mother? I have two siblings?” Cromose’s head hurt. Honiccu handed him a small cup of tea and he sipped it slowly. “What were they like? What were their names?”

“You and your two brothers are in this world, they look just like you except one has purple locks of hair and the other just had black hair. Sadly your mother was human and died after your births. One of your brothers was left behind and you and your brother were separated by a vortex.”

“How do you know all this?”

“I’m your uncle,” said Alaric.

Cromose didn’t know what to ask next, he was in serious shock.

“Can you tell us the names of his brothers?” asked Gem.

“Jethro and the other one made me swear never to tell you or anyone,” replied Alaric.

“Jethro is my brother? I guess it’s not that surprising, but who is my other brother and why would he not want me to know?”

Honiccu looked at him, then Alaric. Alaric nodded.

“There is a song, a poem that has been passed down from generation to generation called ‘The Hero’, it goes:

“Out of the darkness and into the light,

“Out of the cave and into the night,

“Out of the shadow and into the fight.

“Out of the darkness and into the light,

“The touch of ice come’s with fire so bright.

“Out of the blaze and into the light,

“Ice like the fire shall burn in the night.

“Death shall come to the hero –at dawn or at night?

“The hero will come in an unlikely form,

“With a strength in his soul that can withstand any storm,

“With ice shall he rise up from the ground,

“And all that knew him shall utter a sound,

“Like the trees in the morning after the frost,

“After he pays the ultimate cost,” Honiccu finally ended. “What do you think it means, sir?”

“I don’t know, but you should find your brother, in fact, he’s in the city right now,” said Alaric. “Well, I’ll go so take care and good luck.” He left.

Cromose’s eyes got wide. “We have to go.” Gem and Snowfly got up and they started for the door. Cromose peeked around the corner, searching for Jethro, then he saw him asking and a Tameth pointing in his direction. “Oh no,” he whispered.

“What is it?” Talon asked.

“Hon, you know how I told you I was running from someone?” asked Cromose.

“Yeah, why?”

“Well, despite being blood related, he’s after me to lock me in jail for the rest of my life, so do you have any way of escaping?” Cromose asked, his words running faster than his mind.

“Well, when you put it that way, I have a few extra cloaks you could use. I’ll lead you out of the city and into the desert,” said Honiccu.

Talon had gone up the stairs and came back down in seconds, he had cloaks for everyone and handed them out quickly. Then Honiccu had everyone follow him as he peaked around the corner. Cromose knew Jethro was right in front of the door as Honiccu bumped into him. Cromose used his super speed to hide above them and Snowfly and Gem hid on each side of the doorframe.

“Oh, sorry, I’m looking for a guy named Cromose. He’s about this tall.” Jethro held his hand up to a little shorter then he was. “Has red eyes and gray hair, have you seen him?”

Cromose used his super speed to get out of the house so that Honiccu didn’t have to lie.

“He’s not here,” Honiccu replied. He had seen Cromose leave the room.

“Well, if he comes by, let me know,” said Jethro. He left to continue his search.

Cromose put up the hood of the cloak and accidently bumped into Jethro.

“Sorry,” they both said at the same time.

Cromose move around him and walked back into the house.

“Whew, that was close, he looked back at you after you got around him,” said Tolen. “I also got you guys masks for if that ever happens again.” he handed each of them a bandana and gave Gem sunglasses, for obvious reasons.

Honiccu let them put the masks on, then he lead them out of the house and into the city. They weaved around buildings and kept an eye out for Jethro or his buddies.

“I don’t know if you guys know, but we’ve been being followed by someone from the beginning of our escape,” said Tolen.

“I could feel the sensation of being watched, but where is it?”

Darya looked up and started climbing.

“Where’s she going?” asked Gem. Her voice had become slightly more robotic.

What did I do to her? Cromose asked himself. She needs to feel like a human again and I’m pretty sure I can’t do that.

Hey Cromose, I’m sure she’ll be fine, in fact, why don’t you give them her back to them? Snowfly thought to him.

Since when can you use telepathy? Cromose asked.

When I got here it triggered my power and I figured out how to use it, Snowfly thought.

Could you guys keep it down in your thoughts, I’m trying to find the watcher with Draya! Talon thought. Almost every Soarenborn can read minds at will, so keep your thoughts to a minimum.

Will you shut up! I’m trying to find out if Hotaru/Firefly knows about his past, and who his parents are! Honiccu thought.

His name is Hotaru? Isn’t that the son of— Talon started.

“Shh,” said Honiccu. He stopped at a corner. “Nobody think.”

“Who is it?” asked Talon.

Honiccu opened up a sewer lid. “Get in.” he held it open for everyone. Talon jumped in first, then Draya came up from behind and jumped in. Snowfly shrugged her shoulders, then jumped and after her was Gem and Cromose.

It was dark for a few moments after Honiccu jumped in and closed the lid, then Cromose heard a splash and he went into a diving position. He hit the water and checked to see if everyone swam up. He smiled when he saw that his water tech he’d installed to Gem worked. He swam to the surface and as he emerged, he found that there was a slight current in the water flow and perceived that it lead out into the ocean… maybe even under it.

“How long can you three hold your breath?” asked Honiccu.

“Well, uh, about ten minutes,” said Cromose.

“Thirty minutes,” said Snowfly.

“I have no idea,” said Gem. “But, I’ve won every holding your breath contest.”

“She has an air tank that can hold five hours’ worth of breath,” said Cromose.

Honiccu’s jaw dropped. He forgot to tread then he started to choke on the intake of water.

“Ok, I’ve gone down these tunnels thousands of times so follow my lead, the fastest way is under the ocean which takes about forty five minutes give or take. There will be breathing holes every fifteen minutes; if you go down a wrong tunnel then you’ll meet up with us every five minutes and be able to change courses. But at the end if you don’t cross over then you’ll end up seven hundred feet underground. Got it?” asked Tolen.

Everyone nodded their heads.

“Then let’s go,” said Tolen.

The current sped up past a tunnel and Cromose fell to the back of the squad. He was bumping into the wall as the water sped up faster and faster. Cromose lost sight of the person in front of him and was being pulled down a weaving tunnel. He saw them as he cut right by them. The sense of panic grew as he passed them once more. He tried to swim against the current but it continued to sweep him farther under the water, he attempted to swim back up the surface, but he went farther and farther down. He heard someone call his name as his air was giving out. The farther he went down the blacker it became. He desperately need air, but none was to be found as he let out his last breath and sank to the bottom.

Jethro

“We lost them! I can’t believe it!” Firefly shouted. “I was telepathically tracing him and we lost them!”

“Since when have you had telepathy?” asked Jethro.

Firefly thought for a moment. “Since I got to the city.” He shook out his wings because he’d flown through a water show a dragon was preforming.

“Did you find them?” Josh asked from his father’s ship above the surface.

“We did, then we lost them,” said Jethro. He too was frustrated at the fact that he’d almost had Cromose if he didn’t think twice about asking the guy that he bumped into to take off his hood.

“They’re heading to the desert,” said Fey. He’d come out of nowhere again and had a mask on.

“How do you know?” asked Jethro.

Fey just walked away like always.

Why is he so distant and why can’t I read his mind? Jethro thought.

“Uh, Jeth, you know everyone here can hear your thoughts right?” said Firefly.

Jethro was silent for a few moments. “What?”

Firefly turned around. “They’re gonna leave without us if we don’t get going.” He spread out his wings and shot upward into the tunnels above them and Jethro followed in hot pursuit. The turns were tight and at one point there was a wall filled with tunnels, but Fi kept going, he didn’t even do his regular guessing. They went faster and faster through the tunnels, so fast that Jethro ran into the wall at one point. They stopped for a minute or so, then continued and at a moment Fi was going so fast that he created a sonic boom. Jethro started running instead and I was difficult going across a gorge, but he made the jump. Then, finally they made it into the light of a rising sun.

“Dude! How did you know the way around those tunnels?” asked Jethro.

Fi looked at him, then flew up to the battleship (Josh’s ship).

“You guys took your time,” Josh said teasingly. He was wearing polite goggles and was at the steering wheel.

“Hey Fi, where did you learn to—” Jethro started.

“Don’t call me Fi, my real name is Hotaru,” Fi replied.

“What’re you talking about?” asked Jethro.

Josh hung his mouth wide open.

“What?” asked Jethro. He seemed to be the only one who didn’t know, and he needed an answer. “How do you know what your name from this world is?”

“You are the lost son of the Tameth kingdom,” Josh muttered. “Who told you?”

“My sister, the Tameth leader of the ‘Sand Empire’,” Fi replied. “A boy gave me a message and it explained everything and gave me a map to where she is.” He pulled it out of his pocket and carefully laid it on the table. “In fact, now I have to save Snowfly more than ever. She’s also my sister.”

The map showed a picture of the stars.

“How are we supposed to read that?” asked Jethro.

“It leads to the old ruins of the previous sand kingdom,” Fey appeared right next to him. He walked up to Josh. “Turn ninety degrees and head east.”

“Roger that,” said Josh. He turned the wheel then set it on auto pilot. “Can I talk to you, privately?”

Fey nodded. They strode to the captain’s private courters.

“So, Jethro, if we ever go back to our world, I don’t think we’ll be ever to be able to readjust, given this is where we came from,” said Firefly.

“Well, I think we’d actually know how good we have it back home,” said Jethro.

Josh

“So, I was going to ask if you could lead the team you created,” said Josh. He didn’t want to lead, he just wanted to help.

“I can’t be the man you’re supposed to be,” said Fey.

Josh was speechless. He had created and invented so many things, but when he had tried to be a leader, his sister died. “I never signed up to be a leader!”

“You can tell me what happened, I know you don’t really know me but if I lead it then all that would happen will kill you all,” said Fey.

“What if I end up killing them?” asked Josh. There was a long silence. He sighed. “My little sister had a friend that would get her into trouble, so I tried to be the good big brother and told her that her friend was a trouble maker, she didn’t listen so she tried sneaking out through the window, three stories high, I tried to have her climb the rope back up, she was just out of reach when it broke and she died.”

“So you think she climbed out the window because you told her that her friend was a bad influence?” asked Fey. He had an even tone and showed no emotion.

Why is he so cold? Josh thought. He nodded. “I don’t want to have anyone else die because I tried to lead.”

“What if she was trying to meet her friend anyway and didn’t listen?” asked Fey. “I have issues with my father because he changed my brothers’ memory gateway and I watch my mother die, I forgive him, but if I don’t set it right then they’ll kill each other like in the poem. I know you can do it, so if you want to give up on your future then everyone you love will die or be enslaved by the darkness.” He looked at his hand, then clenched it.

“You were cut by the blade, weren’t you?” asked Josh.

“I have two days to live, if you want a dead man to lead, then go ahead, captain,” said Fey.

“So your mission includes your death?” asked Josh. He grabbed a sword hilt from the wall and handed it to Fey. “Are you good with a light sword?”

“Never tried, let’s take it to the roof,” said Fey.

Josh grabbed a hilt, and then opened the door to get to the ladder that leads to the top of the battleship.

“Where are you going?” asked Hotaru/Firefly.

“The roof,” said Josh. He grabbed a hold of the metal bars of the ladder. “I do warn you, Fey, I took sword lessons from a man that fought an army and won.”

Fey took out a small journal.

“You write?” asked Josh.

“Just in code,” said Fey. He put it back in his pocket. “It belonged to Victoria.”

Josh opened the hatch and climbed out. Fey came up moments later and handed him a skateboard.

“What’s this for?” asked Josh. He examined it a little more closely. It looked burnt.

“I found it in a crate in the docking bay,” said Fey. “I saw your cousin flying one a long time ago.”

He examined a particular part of the board that looked like it needed a crystal to power it. “You met my cousin?”

“Yeah, he’s my best friend,” said Fey. “It was damaged a few years ago and if you can fix it then I’ll tell you what you’ve wanted to know since you first met me.”

“Deal,” said Josh. He was starting to like Fey, but there were still so many questions he needed answers to. He strapped the board to his back, then pulled out his light sword hilt. He attached a sapphire crystal to the end of the hilt and it glowed blue by the power of the crystal. Josh figured that the stronger the crystal the stronger the blade.

Fey held up his blade and it reacted to his crystal heart by turning the blade black as night. He did a guardian pose, as if it was natural to him.

Jethro and Hotaru came up the hatch to watch.

Josh knew it was Fey who was going to win, even though he’d never fought with a sword before. Everyone expected it. I can’t be a man you’re supposed to be, that thought ran through his head several times as he and Fey circled. Josh charged, he took the offence while Fey took the defense. Fey only blocked, but he could’ve struck at any time. What is he up to?” Josh thought as he landed another blow. They were closing on the edge of the battle ship and Josh looked into Fey’s eyes, they were in pain. Fey was dying. Then Fey started fighting back, his blows were strong and he had perfect balance. What is holding this guy up? Josh thought as he blocked another blow. Fey shook his head, as if trying to stay awake. Josh kicked him to the ground and then put his foot on his wrist.

“I concede,” said Fey.

Josh blinked and Fey was gone. How is he still able to move?

“Was he ok?” asked Jethro.

“It’s Fey, what do you expect?” asked Josh. He went to his personal lab, then pulled the skateboard off his back and tinkered with it.

Victoria

She’d thought it was just a dream, just a weird thought. Her feet touched the ground and she opened her eyes to see the Furray completely immobilized in diamond ice. She had also blocked the cracks in the wall with her powers. Her eyes grew wide as she stared at her hands. Everyone was silent. She felt a stinging pain in her shoulder, but when she looked down at it she saw a black arrow in it.

“Sleep well,” Victoria heard, then she blacked out.

“She’s dead, killed by a Dragonborn,” said Andeck, Victoria’s brother. They were around a table

“Did you find the body?” asked Jaclyn.

“No,” said Andeck. “But we have been looking for six months and her body is probably decayed by now!”

“But if our scientist theories are correct and she’s still alive then Zane can bring her back!” said Jaclyn. “He is the one who will bring peace to our kingdom by keeping all of the dragons and Tameths on the other side of his portal.”

“But if he does that, what will happen to the rest of our kingdom? What if one gets left behind in the secret city?” asked Andeck.

Jaclyn scratched her chin. “I guess we’ll kill it.”

Andeck nodded. “Ok, I’ll go test on our latest project, the one we found in the forest.” He let the room and went into the laboratory. There was someone under a blanket strapped to the table, lying motionless. “So, what should I call you now?” he took off the blanket and revealed a girl with a full face gas mask on and iron armor with tubes sticking out of it. “Emerald?”

“Victoria!” someone yelled.

“Where are you?” Victoria asked. She looked around to see who was calling her. “Emerald?”

The girl on the table moved her head. “Don’t wake up yet,” she said in Victoria’s mind.

“Emerald is that you?” Victoria asked.

“Victoria!”

She woke up drowsy. Her head was pounding, her shoulder was in pain, her arms were aching and were being held in Jet stone, her mouth had been gagged and her legs were held in a force field.

“Oh, you’re finally awake. If you even try to escape, all of your little team will die,” said a woman dressed in all leather.

“What happened to you Elisabeth?” asked Tarak. He sneezed.

“You died,” she replied. “For a twenty-two year old you’re pretty tough. You got shot in the heart so I moved on.” she walked over to Victoria and grabbed her chin; she turned it to the left, then the right. “Wow, for someone so powerful, your structure is weak, but we can change that.” she let go of Victoria’s chin. “If you work for us, we will let them go.” She pointed to the other four in the dungeon cells next to hers. “You have ten minutes before we move you, I’ll let you decide their fate.” She left the dungeon and Victoria heard the loud closing of the door.

“Don’t do it Victoria!” said Dusk. “I know that right now you can’t talk so please don’t do it! We can always come back after we die!”

Victoria was confused.

“Alistair, you can explain it all now,” said a Man she hadn’t met yet.

“Ok Tkar, Victoria, to explain all of this nonsense is a little difficult so I’ll try to explain it in a way you understand. Make a noise if it doesn’t make sense. So, we are all in a prison that’s healing our real body. If you die in this world, you’ll, uh, reincarnate into someone else. So if you die, you forget who you used to be and turn into someone else. You met Night right?” asked Alistair.

She nodded.

“He has to kill everyone who enters so their memories are wiped and they think they have grown up here, in Traum, so I found a few people that would listen to me and told them about it. You and I are the only ones who haven’t died the first time. Make sense?”

She nodded again.

“And if you’re wondering, Elisabeth used to believe, but then I think she died and Night restored a few of her memories, but something is wrong, I just know it,” said Tarak.

“Is anybody wondering why she gagged Victoria and none of us?” asked Rogan.

“That would explain why she can’t talk,” said Alistair.

“Oh, sorry dude, we totally forgot you were blind,” said Tarak.

I’ve already made up my mind, I can’t be a monster and keep them here, and if they kill them at least they’ll live a life they don’t know about. But if they keep them here then I’m the one to blame. Never, thought Victoria.

“Victoria?”

Her head shot up.

“Why are you so sad?” asked Dusk to her.

“Someone’s coming,” said Alistair.

Everyone ceased all chatter that they were engaged in as the woman named Elisabeth and a familiar face walked down the stairs.

Night! thought Victoria.

“Your answer is?” asked Elisabeth. She took off the gag.

“I will join you, just let them go,” said Victoria.

“Don’t do it! We may never cross paths again!” Dusk exclaimed.

Victoria closed Dusk’s mouth with her powers, but accidently put a diamond gag over all of their mouths except the two standing in front of her.

“Nice to see you again,” said Night. “I never caught your name.”

She stayed silent. She guessed that’s what Fey would do. He told me once that Josh was supposed to be the leader. I wonder if he’s filling his role. So, why do they want me?

“Four is not clear,” Night whispered in Elisabeth’s ear.

Only Alistair and Victoria picked it up.

“Lead prisoner four, three, two and one out,” Elisabeth said over her wrist communicator.

“Yes ma’am,” came the reply.

Six tall men in black leather took Tkar, Dusk, Rogan and Tarak out of the dungeon and slammed the door shut behind them. Victoria then broke the mouth pieces she put on the four.

“So, what is your name?” asked Night.

“Stop it Night,” said Alistair.

Night turned his head. “Why? You’re not even going to remember who you are, Alistair,” Night replied.

No! Victoria thought.

Elisabeth looked directly at Victoria. Her black hair and deadly green eyes made Victoria want to shrink down into a ball in terror.

“So, what do you hide under your mask Alistair?” asked Night. “Fear? What do your eyes hold?” he took out the same ice knife he had earlier to stab Victoria. He touched the flat part of it to Alistair’s face. “Guess where I got this knife from?”

Alistair pulled away. “You have the power to manipulate and create new things out of old stuff. You don’t make things cold. Where did you get that blade?” he was so pale his lips looked purple, when he breathed out of his mouth it was a white cloud. “No one in this world has that power!”

“Except the only other one who knows,” said Night. He twisted the blade in his hand and turned it into an ice/diamond flower… just like the one he made after Victoria tried to blast him with her powers.

“No, it can’t be. I gave you that blade?” Victoria’s voice was small and weak. She had had it.

Night put it in her hair, behind her ear. “I also have a power to teleport any object I want and, the power you have is quite remarkable.” He had another ice/diamond dagger in his hand. “This is from the gag you put over your companions.” He stabbed Alistair in the stomach. Alistair groan in pain, then started to shake out of the chill running through his veins.

“No!” Victoria screamed. She broke the solid smooth stone that held her arms up and disconnected the force field. She landed on her knees and then was shot at by something that was supposed to stun her, but she turned it into diamond and then crushed it. She destroyed the dagger of ice and diamond, then everything that held Alistair up. She continued blocking the bullets, but one hit her leg. She didn’t even feel it. She made a diamond sword, so cold that it started to burn like fire. She held it high, then she made it let out a blast that blew her to the wall and black out.

Hugh

I wonder when he’ll wake up Chill, thought Hugh. He and Chill had taken Cromose ‘out of the darkness and into the light’. They were now in a cave and the sun was about to set. Who knew drowning could cause a coma? He stood up and petted Chill on her icy scales. “So, if Victoria’s asleep under the ice, what is she dreaming about?”

“She is a diamond Dragonborn, who knows what kind of dreams she can have,” Chill replied.

They sat in silence for a while. They were pretty far above ground and could see the entire valley, but something was in the air, a sense of danger.

“Do you feel it?” asked Hugh.

Chill nodded. I don’t know who it is, but I know they must be powerful to have been able to track her. She looked at the boy that looked just like Fey.

He sat up and coughed. He shivered and then started to heat up the room. “Who are you?” he asked. He ignited his hand on fire and pointed it at Hugh. “Tell me where I am or I’ll turn you into ashes.”

“Hey, I’m Hugh, a friend, this is Chill, and you really don’t want to kill me,” said Hugh. He petted Chill once again.

“Are you on my side?” asked the guy.

“Nope, but I’m not against you ether. What’s your name?” asked Hugh.

“Uh, Cromose.” He balled his hand into a fist and smoke arose from it. “So where am I?” he looked around, then walked over to the light. “Why is there only one specific spot that has frozen over?”

“That’s not ice, that’s diamond,” said Hugh.

Don’t tell him who Victoria is or anything else, I don’t trust him, said Chill in Hugh’s mind.

Ok, thought Hugh. “A friend of my brother’s made it.”

“Whoa, who is your brother?” asked Cromose.

“You’d probably know him if you saw him,” said Hugh. He did everything he could to stop himself from smiling.

Hah, very funny Hugh, thought Chill.

“How did I get here?” Cromose asked.

“My brother pulled you out of the water and told me to make sure you weren’t dead, so I took you here so that you could heal and I could do my job,” said Hugh. He’d changed a lot after his parents had died, so he was basically the scout that watched over what Fey could not see. “But if you hurry now, and head east by the teleporting thing on your wrist, then you might be able to catch them.”

“How do you know about my quantum reactor teleportation mechanism?” Cromose asked.

“Uh, your what?” asked Hugh. “I was just guessing what that thingy did.”

There was silence that filled the air and Hugh felt it getting hotter. “Why is it so hot?” he asked. Chill bumped him with her tail and Hugh turned around. His eyes got wide. Down by where Victoria was stuck under diamond ice, were two hundred metal men and one dragon fighting. Night had fallen and a battle was taking place. “If you don’t go now, you’ll be caught up in the middle of a battle,” said Hugh.

“I can fight on my own,” said Cromose.

“If you come down to fight, then that’s your own stupidity,” said Hugh, he climbed onto Chill’s back and flew to the battle.

Out of the cave and into the fight, though Chill. She flew straight into the battle and used her ice breath to freeze so of the metal men. She also made Hugh a spear to defend himself if necessary, he’d learned fighting skills from Fey’s best friend and got pretty good with the art of attack. One of the metal men fired a canon at her and Hugh was launched from her sight.

Hugh could no longer see Chill and was now on the ground. He was just slightly dazed but recovered quickly when a man tried to shoot at him with a gun. He’d never seen a gun before, but only heard about them in stories of the battle against dragons and humans. He spun his spear above him because he was shorter than the metal men and they all fell backward, then got back up to try to shoot at him again. He dodged them and continued to try to keep them down. He stabbed one in the head, but then it kept coming. He made it crash into the ones around it, then launched it over his head and it fell into the sea. It came out of the water a few moments later. How do I stop them? He thrust it and stabbed the armor of one, but it chipped the tip of his spear. The metal men kept coming. He was grabbed from behind and he kicked it’s chin, then flipped and landed on his feet. He continued to fight, but then his staff melted and Cromose appeared behind him.

“Their weakness is a button at the elbow,” said Cromose.

“You just turned my staff into liquid!” said Hugh. He caught the arm of one and found the button. The metal guy fell to pieces. “What are they?”

“Machines that are programed to be unstoppable,” said Cromose. He pushed the button and another fell apart. He fell to his knees, holding his head.

“Cromose!” Hugh yelled. He was grabbed from behind by two of the metal men, the fighting had stopped between all of the metal men and himself and his dragon, only the purple dragon and the leader were left.

The leader dashed forward with his sword ready to kill. The purple dragon blocked it with his tail and then clawed at him, but the other guy blocked, cutting through his scales and hitting a vital organ. The dragon roared in pain, then unleashed his power on the leader of the metal men. A gigantic ball of purple glowing furry was blown at the leader and it definitely hit its target. What came next was never expected by anybody, even Fey probably didn’t know about it. What appeared out of the smoke was the onyx drake, the most powerful dragon that ever ruled in the old days.

The purple dragon stared at the onyx one and tried to step back, but toppled over.

“Kill the human,” said the onyx drake to Chill.

She looked at Hugh, “Never,” her reply came as cold as her scales. She was stuck to the ground by onyx stone. It climbed up her legs and started to cover throughout her whole body.

“Chill!” Hugh screamed. She let out one last roar, then it covered her head and she looked like a perfect statue, she was dead. “No!” he screamed once more. Tears were streaming down his face, the scales on his jacket glowed and he felt a super strength from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. He tore off the arms of the metal men that were holding him down and destroyed the entire army. He tore into one and found the core of it, then he stopped and dropped to his knees and held his face.

“Capture the boy,” said the onyx drake to Cromose.

Cromose had an emotionless expression, like he was brainwashed. He grabbed Hugh’s shoulder, but then retracted his hand when Hugh’s ice scale started to grow a spike.

Hugh punched him hard in the face and Cromose flew across the air and made a splash as he hit the water.

He came back up and his eyes got wide. “What happened here?” he asked as he climbed out of the water. He saw the onyx drake, and stumbled back. “What is that?” he fell back to his knees and then arose, but this time was a little different. He looked like he could kill anyone in his path.

“What did you do to him?” Hugh asked the onyx drake.

“The same thing I’m going to do to you and all of the dragons,” said the onyx drake. He opened a portal and sucked the purple dragon into the swirling vortex. He put Chill through as well, then Cromose jumped in.

“Why would you want me? I’m just a human, and you killed my dragon so I have no use to you,” said Hugh. Then he fell into the swirling lights and found himself seeing the floor, he landed in a crouching position and saw Victoria out of the diamond ice and in a tank in the middle of the large room with tons of other tanks. They all had dragons in them. Then he saw his dragon in one of them and ran to it, she was no longer a statue. “Chill,” he whispered. She was going to turn into a mindless beast in the control of the onyx drake.

“This is the hospital for the dragons that were barely alive and are healing. But I have a more special place for you,” said the onyx drake.

“Why are you doing this?” Hugh asked.

“Because I am the rightful ruler to this world,” the onyx drake replied. He grabbed Hugh and took him down stairs and into darkness. Hugh was then locked in a room that was completely black.

The sound of the onyx drake’s footsteps could be heard walking away. Hugh felt his way around the room. It was completely empty except the scratches on the wall. He curled up against the wall and thought about Chill. She must be alive. He kicked something across the room and went to pick it up. it felt like it was for his mouth. He put it on, then liquid of some sort filled the room up to the top. He closed his eyes, but when he opened them, he appeared in an underwater city.

“Welcome to Sapphire Metropolis,” said a girl with blond hair, pale skin, blue eyes and a tail like a dolphin. “My name is Kai.”

“Uh, hi, I’m Hugh. How did I get here and how do I get out?” he asked.

“Well, um, I guess the way out is to beat the nine levels of this crystal sea and unlock the key to the other world,” she said. “But all have tried and none have actually made it through.”

“How do you know? Could it be that a person made it through and just never got the chance to talk about it?” he asked.

“No. You see that tower in the middle of the city,” she asked, pointing at a tall building with a giant ball on top of it.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“It’s supposed to light up every time and show all across the ocean that someone made it,” she said. “At least that’s what it says at the base of the tower.”

Hugh had trouble remembering that he was from another world. This was like a dream that felt so real. “What is this world called?”

“Traum,” she replied. She gestured him to follow her. “There is a ball at the castle in a few minutes, do you want to come?”

“Uh, sure,” he said. He followed her as she led him through the beautiful golden gates of the city and through the streets of pearl, the houses were made of sapphires and joy filled the air. There was someone singing and others playing instruments of precious stones. It seems happy here, why is this city happier than reality? Hugh thought. He was led through all of the beauty of the city. In fact, there were no poor parts of this city, she was giving him a tour of the whole thing! “Uh, didn’t we go this way?”

“Yeah, I wanted you to see the place, so that if you changed your mind you’d have a place to stay,” she said.

They continued down the alleyways and highways of the beautiful city, then everyone headed for the castle. They joined the crowd and swam with the flow of the people. They entered the castle that had no roof, and Hugh felt like a krill fish in the middle of ten thousand krill fish. Then they all met at the sea floor and twirled with joy and dancing.

“I’ve never been at a ball before,” said Hugh. “I like it.” he realized he too had a tail. It wasn’t shocking like he thought it would be, but it was just natural how he swam about.

“So, are you still gonna go?” Kai asked.

“I’m still thinking about it,” he said. “I wonder if this is what it’s like with royals.”

“With what?” she asked.

“Uh, royal people,” he replied.

She laughed. “You are one strange guy, don’t you know who runs the parties?” she went over to the tables full of food to feed the entire city.

He chuckled at his thought. Of course a royal person runs this place, he thought. “This is a strange question. Why is this city so happy?”

She looked at him with a smile on her face. “Because this kingdom used to be ruled by an evil king named Titan, but king Epic fought against him and everyone in this city helped him. He turned us all into warriors and we are all free because of one man trying to make a difference.”

“Wow, that’s so cool!” said Hugh. “How did he transform the entire city?”

“He was the first person to show us kindness and compassion. This is probably the best place in this entire world. I know it’s a small city, but we’re hoping to expand it to the entire world,” she said.

“Hello everybody,” said a man over the crowd. Everyone cheered. “Give a special Sapphire Metropolis welcome to our visitor Hugh.”

Hugh’s jaw dropped when everybody cheered again. Man these people are sincere! They are all so nice.

“That’s king Epic,” said Kai.

He listened as the king welcomed other people that had come for the second or third time and every one was so happy.

“Why is everyone so happy?” Hugh asked.

“Because we were set free,” said Kai.

The evening hit and the party was over, so they went to the courtyard and went on with life as they laughed and talked. He’d totally forgotten the life he used to live; she had made him smile for the first time in a long time. He didn’t want to leave anymore. “I wonder if I could take you with me to fight all nine levels, would you come with me?” he asked.

She looked at him blankly. “Why would you want to leave?” she asked.

“Because I want to show this kind of joy to my own world,” he replied. Do I sound like a fool? He though. “If you want to stay, that’s ok too I guess, but I have to free all of these people in my world. My older brother being one of them.” he smiled. He wanted Fey to experience something like this. “If you want to come, meet me at the base of the tower tomorrow morning.” He was about to swim off, but she grabbed his arm.

“You do know where the armory is right?” she asked.

“Uh…” he scratched his head.

She smiled. “I’ll take you to it. As small as this city is, you still can get lost in it very easily.” She swam in front of him and took him to a place where it looked like under water lava and a forge the outside of the building had golden pillars and the rest of it looked like beautifully carved out stone, they went in and all of the weapons were made out of rock and stones and other stuff like gold and rubies.

“Whoa,” was all he could say. he went to touch one of them, but hesitated.

“Go ahead, try it out,” said the blacksmith, he was a taller man (merman) and had a black tail, he also was very muscular. But somehow he seemed very friendly.

Hugh picked up a staff and it seemed heavy, when he swung it around it perfectly felt like it could be a very fast weapon. “Whoa, I’ve never fought under water with a weapon like this, how fast are your weapons and what are your fasts?” He asked.

The tall man scratched his chin. “Well, I’ve never tried to make any faster weapon then my hammer, but if you come back tomorrow, I’ll have one or however many you want,” he said.

“How much will that cost?” Hugh asked. He put the staff back on the wall.

“Well, I guess it will cost you depending on what you’re after,” said the blacksmith.

Hugh though for a moment, “I want to finish level nine so that I can get to my world,” he replied.

The blacksmith scratched his chin once more. “Well, how much do you have on you?”

“Uh,” he felt if he had any pockets, then he remembered what he did have. “I can give you an amethyst pendant tied around my belt.” Fey had given it to him.

“Fair enough, meet me back here tomorrow morning and I’ll have your weapons for you, and you’ll bring your payment,” said the blacksmith. “So, what kind of weapons do you need?”

“Well, I guess I need a bow that can pierce right through the water and an enemy’s armor,” said Hugh.

Tarak

He heard it calling, the sea in front of him was calling his name. They had let him go but she tracked him down and tied his hands and feet together to push him off the dock and into the dark dangerous water.

“Any last words?” asked Elisabeth.

“Yeah, I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry for almost dying and that you were one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” he replied. “Night ordered you to kill me didn’t he?”

“Yes, but I really don’t want to,” she replied. “If I let you live he’ll hunt me down and kill me, but if I push you in then I will find you again.” she looked around, then back at him. “My answer is yes,” she whispered.

“Huh?”

“You asked me to marry you, my answer is yes,” she said. “I’ll find you again, and we’ll fall for each other again.”

Someone was watching. Three men grabbed her from behind, two others came to through him into the sea.

“Elisabeth!” Tarak screamed.

“How pathetic Elisabeth,” said Night. “You have failed. Now if I throw you into the water then you two will find each other again.” he had a wicked smile on his face.

Did he think this was a game or something?

“Well, it was fun toying with you two, but I guess I’ll have to lock her up in the dungeon and throw you into the sea, Tarak.”

“No!” Elisabeth yelled. She struggled against the three guards with no avail.

“Throw him in,” said Night.

“No! Tarak!” she yelled as she was being pulled away.

“Why do they always scream?” Night asked himself.

Tarak tried struggling, but the men just threw him in. he sank farther and farther under, then the strangest thing happened, he had a tail! He felt like a fish stuck in a net as he tried to swim upward. He was still holding his breath, but when he hit the floor he breathed in and expected to cough out, but he was fine. What? Oh you are such a fool Tarak! I’ve always had water powers, why didn’t it occur to me that I might be a merman! He thought. He used the water around him to soak the ropes, then he broke them. He swam as fast as he could to the surface, but when he got above the water line he skin felt like it was burning. So he went back under. He was only able to see a hint of them dragging her around a corner and away. No, he thought.

“Hey you, why are you so close to land?” asked a merman with purple hair.

“Believe it or not, I used to be on land,” said Tarak.

“That’s… interesting,” the merman said. “Well, you can ether follow me to my city or you could get hooked by surface dwellers.” The merman started swimming off and Tarak followed. “Under water they call me the purple dragon, but you may call me Typhon.

Victoria

She opened her eyes and saw that there was a giant metal chain that held her whole body down. She struggled but they got tighter. She tried freezing them but they got hotter. She looked around, but saw no one. “Where am I? Alistair?” she stayed still until her eyes adjusted.

“Welcome to the lab,” said a voice in the dark, it was a girl and she sounded like she was in agony. “Your friend is dead.”

“Alistair’s dead?” Victoria asked.

“Yeah, I’m so sorry, he died after they tried to make him tell them what he was feeling ’cuz he got stabbed by some sort of blade.” The girl sounded sad, like this had happened before. “I’m Chessie, by the way.”

“Victoria.” She tried looking at the girl, but she was hidden in the dark. “Usually I can see in the dark, what exactly is this place?”

“The place where they keep all of the survivors from the real world,” Chessie replied. “Night tries to extract our powers so that he can achieve so sort of goal of his. I think he said that he wants to live in the real world. So, do you have any siblings who miss you?”

“Uh, I don’t really know, I do have siblings though,” Victoria replied. She felt the chains loosening a little bit. “Sometimes I dream about seeing them outside of this world.”

“You can see things out of this dream world? What kind of dragon are you?” Chessie asked.

“I don’t really know, but I think I’m something to do with diamonds,” Victoria replied. He knew she could break the chains that held her down if she could make it colder fast enough so that the heater would rupture and collapse. When have I started thinking this way?

When you entered this world and found a telepathic link to Night, you might even be able talk to him, someone said it in her mind.

Who are you? she asked.

I am the dark that everyone fears, said the voice. The thing that keeps you up staring at the ceiling, I am in your dreams, good and bad. I am Night.

“How long have you been here?” Victoria asked.

“Huh?” Chessie asked.

“I’ve been here from before you woke up,” said Night. “Raise security, Chessie’s brother is on his way to Turquoise Village.” He held his communicator to his mouth, then put it back on his belt. “So, your name is Victoria, pretty name.”

“Why do you want me or anyone else in this prison?” Victoria asked. She tried getting out once more, but it still heated up and tightened. She let out a groan. She kept trying, but it got hotter and hotter. It started to burn, but she kept going.

“It’s never going to work,” said Night.

The chains started turning orange, then the heat became unbearable and she stopped. It took a long time to cool down and she felt the burn marks. She could finally breathe after a few moments of suffocation.

“Are you willing to take your freedom to the grave?” he asked. She could sense his curiosity and his deep sadness.

“Yes,” Victoria replied.

He looked up in surprise. “So, then you’ll be the perfect experiment.” She sensed that he was trying to be evil, like his father.

How do I know that? I shouldn’t know that, Victoria thought. Why do I know that?

Telepathically linked has a side effect, I know everything about you, and you know everything about me, almost like we’re brother and sister, except I’m not a royal.

Neither am I, if you know my past then you should know why I’m not a royal anymore. Victoria Cre is dead, I’m not a dragon slayer I am a Dragonborn, she though.

“You two have been staring at each other for a while. Anything you want to share?” asked Chessie.

“No,” they both replied at the same time, they even had the same tone of voice.

“Now that I have one of the diamonds in the rough, I can make you shine,” he said.

She’d never noticed before, but Night wore black gloves.

“I will find out all of your secrets, even the things you don’t know about yourself,” said Night. He took off one of his gloves and touched two of his fingers too her forehead.

She started to feel something, like every thought of his flushing back to him. She saw Night, when he first opened his eyes. He started to suffocate by the breath he breathed and his father brought him through a portal and brought to a laboratory and gave him a mouth piece to breath. He was three when he discovered how to make his own helmet and he made one for his cousin, Cromose. They were best friends and partners in crime as they stole technological gear from stores and they had the best of times together.

“Never will we ever follow what the hero’s do,” said Night in his memory. Looked unsure of himself and at a point in Night’s life, when he was twelve, he got in an argument with Cromose and went to go steal from a computer store, but a guy in a hood called Nightfly ruined it and they got into a fight above the abandoned part of the city, an oil factory. Nightfly blew him through the ceiling of it and the blast blew open his helmet and he started suffocating, the oil lit on fire and both Jethro and Cromose went flying from the destruction of the oil refinery, while Night turned into a dragon. He was pulled out of the flames and put into a tank filled with liquid. While he was unconscious, he had a dream of a world where you could have anything happen, like, fly and swim with other mermaids and mermen, he could go to a place of fire, and then there was the shaded area. That was a world that he could see things that others couldn’t, but others could see what he couldn’t. When he woke up, he found that he could only live outside of his tank for about ten minutes, so he started to create the system called ‘the dream world’, nickname ‘Traum’. He upgraded it several times, then created a portal to the dimension he was originally from. One human he found blinded from a battle and brought him back to the world and put him in a tank. They became good friends and Night showed him the entire world he’d created. Alistair remembered everything by touch and was a fantastic jungle forest guy. Later on, when Night’s father brought in an entire platoon full of dragons to the world, telling him to wipe their memories, and when they all started wanting to get out, so Night quickly created a new program where if you died you’d be able to come back with your memory completely wiped and become part of the system, but when they all would finally wake up, they would remember who they were. Night had to slaughter them all, and the ones he didn’t he took them away and hid them in Turquoise village. He had deep sadness in him that he bottled up, all he could do is what his father made him do. He wanted to talk to Alistair and ask for his forgiveness because he was one of the first to be taken into Turquoise village. But Alistair had escaped. Then, a long time later he met Victoria. Night took his fingers off her forehead.

“Why?” she asked. “If you really wanted me to know, why would you do that?”

“I didn’t realize you could see my past as well until I got to your part,” Night said. He put back on his glove.

“Why did you kill Alistair?” Victoria asked. She hadn’t realized when her sight in the dark came back until just then.

“If I didn’t then he would have escaped this world, and my dad would have killed him,” Night replied.

“Why do you care? I thought you were just like him,” Victoria said.

“I don’t want to be!” he shouted, then he calmed down. “But I have to be.” He grabbed a mask and put it over her mouth. “Now, just relax.”

She tried to shake it off, to move away from it, but then she felt the burn again, this time she wasn’t doing it on purpose. She fell asleep as the sleeping gas filled up the mask, but she still felt the burn.

Hugh

He was leaning against the doorway to the levels. Is she coming or not? He thought. He checked his gear again for the fourth time in ten minute. He had the fasts sword ever made, the strongest staff that could make him go into super speed under water by propeller and turn into a bow and arrows, best knife in all of Traum, and a satchel to carry anything he might want to pick up, maybe a weapon that’s really good perhaps? He looked into the crowed again. No sign of her. Oh well, he thought. He left a note on the gate, and then he swam through it and made his way into the first level of the tower. He pulled out his sword as he entered a large low lit coliseum. When he got to the middle, all of the lights went up and a big blue beast with the face of a pig appeared.

The beast roared and charged at him. He flipped over it and stabbed it in the gut, it collapsed on the floor, dead. Another jumped out at him, he used his bow and shot it in one of its vital points, it too was dead as it floated to the ground. Five more jumped out and he pulled out his knife. He blocked and spun as he nailed all of them with his sword. That was all for this area. He continued down hallways of interesting design. The walls were white with blue designed seaweed, one more jumped out at him while he wasn’t expecting it and it scratched his face. He stabbed it, then checked to see the wound. I should have brought a helmet, he thought to himself. He had bought light armor with him, but he had forgot the face mask. He knew at least one of the monsters had to have a helmet, or they would be totally too easy. He heard a footstep around the corner and got ready to strike, when he spun around it, he stopped the blade because he realized it was another boy a little older then himself.

“Whoa, dude! You almost killed me!” said the boy. The blade was a centimeter from his face.

Hugh put his sword back in its sheath then noticed that he had a band around his eyes. “So sorry,” said Hugh. “Do you know the way to the boss?”

“I have been looking for him for two months. I sell weapons and armor,” said the boy in an annoyed tone. “By the way, I’m Alistair.”

“Hugh,” he replied. “Do you think you might be able to help me out a little?”

“Yeah,” said Alistair. “What do you need?”

“A helmet,” Hugh replied.

“Let me see,” Alistair started digging through his bag of treasures and pulled out one of his helmets, it looked like it was made of solid gold with seaweed designs. “I think this will do the trick.” He handed it to Hugh.

Surprisingly it was very light and when he put it on, it fit around his ears perfectly, like it was made for him. “I’ll take it, how much do I owe you?”

“Five gold coins,” said Alistair.

“Done.” He’d picked through the dead corpses and found what little treasure they had, which was exactly how much he needed to pay Alistair for his hard work of serves. He handed the coins to him and then said his goodbyes as he headed down further into the level. He fought two more monsters and they had a little more gold then what the other monsters had, and they seemed more experienced. As he continued, he found rooms full of monsters and he shot most of them with his bow, and the others he was battling with his sword. He got nicked once or twice, but nothing too severe. He went farther and farther down, leaving a trail of dead monsters behind him. He felt like he was going in circles, until he found another group of monsters. He battled his way into the center of the entire tower. “Where is the boss?” he asked himself. He readied his bow to shoot at the first thing that moved.

Black fog rotated around him, then a giant squid appeared and tried to eat him. He jumped back and realized it had blended into one of the plants growing under water. He took out his sword and made himself ready for the next move of the enemy. When it extended its tentacles toward him, he cut one off and it blew its ink once more. It came at him again and he swung his sword at it again, but this time it felt harder to cut it. The next time it lunged at him, he ran up its tentacle and stabbed it in the round part of it. It sank to the bottom of the sea floor and disappeared; a golden key appeared to unlock the door to the next level. He had sweat running down his face and he decided to take a breather before he went into the next level. As he went through the door, there was a flash of light, then he stepped into a town that felt peaceful, he kept his guard up for any enemy attacks.

“Hey you,” said a man with green hair.

Hugh held his sword out to the man, taking all precautions. “Friend or foe?” he asked.

“That depends on if your friendly.” He wasn’t armed with any weapon and he looked friendly. “If you’re wondering where you are, this is the in between level, it’s where you’ll end up after you defeat the boss on each level, so even if you decide not to stick around for a while, you’ll see this town again.”

“So someone here could know how to defeat the next level and possibly be on level nine to?” Hugh asked.

The man nodded. “I’m currently on level eight, but if you want to speak to the leader then come with me.” He started walking through the small village/town and in the middle of it was a water fountain, and somehow it was pouring out liquids.

Hugh looked at his feet, then he realized something. I have legs again! “Uh, why can I walk again?”

“No one knows, but maybe the leader will be able to help,” said the man. The lead Hugh into a small building with a short table in the middle of the room and a single cabinet in the corner, the room was dimly lit with a floating blue light above the table. “Wait here,” said the man as he walked out of the room.

“Hi,” said a voice from the dark. The boy was only about fifteen and was leaning against the wall, as he walked into the light of the floating thing; Hugh noticed his dark red hair and green eyes. “I’m one of three that we know of who has ever gotten to level nine. So, you’re from level one?”

“Uh, yeah, I’m trying to get back to my world so I can help my brother,” said Hugh. He scratched the back of his head and yawned. “I hear you know how to get through most of the levels?”

“Well, I did some of the levels over again so that I could help and I just haven’t been able to find the boss of level nine,” said the boy. “By the way, the name’s Shade.”

“Hugh,” he replied.

“Your name is me?” asked Shade.

“Not you, it’s Hugh!” Hugh replied.

Shade laughed as they shook hands and smiled.

“So, how did you become the leader of these warriors?” asked Hugh.

“Well, it’s kind of hard to explain,” Shade replied. “A guy name Night was standing on the water fountain and every one was having trouble getting along with each other because we didn’t have anyone to help out the level ones and people were dying. So he announced they make a leader, I, being the only one at the time who made it to the highest level at the time became the leader by vote. We got organized and set up teams and places for people to sleep. My guess is that others have made it to level nine, but didn’t make it out alive.”

“Well, so you’re saying the light on the tower has never lit?” Hugh asked.

Shade nodded his head. “At least not in my life.”

“But you’re at level nine, how long have you been fighting?”

“Since I was eleven,” said Shade. “My dad went to find money for us to eat because we were so poor, a job with these five rich warriors opened up for any man to join, but you had to know how to survive. The jobs also included food for your family and promised that we’d be taken care of and work in kitchens and serve higher up people in the rich part of the city.”

“So like royals?” Hugh asked.

“Well, I guess you could call them that,” said Shade. He gave him a sideways look.

He doesn’t know what I’m talking about! I saw the tanks, did something happen to their memory? Hugh thought. “Sorry, please continue.”

“You had to be above ten to join and at the time I was nine. There were also a few warnings, but my dad didn’t let that stop him, he told me that someday he would come back to get me and we would both finish level nine together. I practiced sword combat with my fire ability every day for two years and finally on my birthday the rich people saw talent in me and asked me if I wanted to join a few people in the levels to fight beside the people who have gone before me. I accepted and we defeated the first level, but when we got into this village I found out that all of the teams that had been there had died in level seven. I refused to accept it for years, and I still think he might be out there, but I’ve been searching for over five years and I still haven’t even found a trace.”

“So, are you saying that it took you five years to finish eight levels?” Hugh asked. He felt tired and it was hard to stay awake anymore.

“It won’t take you as long if you know how to do it right, and if you want to get your feet wet in level two I’d suggest you find a partner.” He paused for a while. Hugh almost nodded off. “You can bunk in the attic if you don’t have a place stay,” said Shade. He pulled a rope in the ceiling and a hole appeared with a brighter light peering through it. “Just walk into the light and it’ll lift you up and in.”

Hugh walked in and it took him up quickly and he found a mat on the floor and collapsed on it, he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

He tried to open his eyes, but all he saw was the dark. He swam to the top of the black room and felt his way around to the wall. Everywhere he touched he felt the same smoothness, except the scratches on the wall. He tried punching the wall, but his movements were slow, he sank to the bottom of the room and slowly got on his knees. How do I get out of here? It feels like the last person that was in here went crazy. I wonder what happened to him. He touched something in his pocket. Fey had given him a scale off his arm. He lost hold of it and it glowed and spun in circles around him, then it attached itself to his forehead. He felt it in his mind and then could see in the darkness of the water. He closed his eyes and Fey appeared, standing up and looking directly at him. Hugh opened his eyes and saw the dark room again. He once again closed his eyes.

“Hey Hugh,” said Fey. “You’ve always wondered how I came into your life and today I’m going to tell you the real story, but first, do you want to know how the war first started?”

“Uh, how are you here? Did you get captured too?” asked Hugh. He seemed almost panicked. If Fey got captured, then there was no hope of getting out.

“No, I’m just fine, but where are you?” Fey asked him.

Hugh was shocked that Fey didn’t know where he was, he always knew. “I fell through a portal that the onyx drake created, He’s got Victoria here and he also has the purple dragon.”

Fey stared at him blankly. “The onyx drake?” he finally said.

“Tell me you knew, please tell me you knew he was alive before I mentioned him,” said Hugh. Fey always knew who and what they were, even when they were growing up, he was king of hide and seek and he knew everything about everyone, without ever being known.

“I’m sorry Hugh, I failed you,” said Fey. His image started fading.

“No, don’t go!” said Hugh.

“I’m not going, the visual of me is disappearing,” said Fey.

Hugh let out a sigh of relief. “So, how did the war start?” he leaned against the wall, ready to hear the amazing story Fey would tell him.

“Once, a hundred years ago, twin brothers were alive in a kingdom of peace,” Fey started.

Hugh fell into a dream sort of state, like all of Fey’s stories go.

It was a peaceful castle, everyone was asleep. The king and queen had twins, a boy and a girl, they all were in human form to go to the next night’s ball they were invited to.

“Andria!” Epic sat up in his bed and his powers shot all around him.

She ran in, getting hit by one of the blasts. She hit the hard floor and laid still.

He got up from his bed and ran to her, in a flash he was there. He was hesitant to touch her, but he held her close to him. “Andria?” his voice shook. He always knew what to do, but at that moment he didn’t, and no one would ever know what to do.

Hours later, Epic’s parents decided that they would still attend the peace treaty ball, but they would leave Andria behind. His parents gave him the ‘she’ll be ok’, but he could sense the doubt in they’re words. He tried to convince them that he would like to stay as well, but they made him go.

“You will go and you will enjoy it,” said his father in a sharp tone.

Epic put his head down and followed orders. As they were leaving the castle he saw the box they were riding in, his mother kept on insisting it was called a ‘carriage’, but he just smiled and made sure he was putting on a good show, by calling it ‘the big red box’. The carriage ride was long and bumpy, not like flying anywhere. It seemed like a sunny day, only a few clouds in the sky. The sun rose higher and higher in the sky, Andria would have loved watching the landscape from the ground.

“Hey mom, why did we take the big red box instead of flying?” asked Epic, he’d been wondering this for a long time.

“It’s call a carriage and it’s so that humans don’t start running and screaming when they see us,” his mother replied.

“Imagine hundreds of people coming in to a beautiful palace,” said his dad.

“Ok,” said Epic.

“Now, imagine three dragons descending from the sky like a war has started and everyone would be trembling at our footsteps and only the king would be able to save his land,” his dad said sarcastically, this was a matter that was always joked about, in fact, dragons were a little more terrified of humans, they just wouldn’t admit it.

They laughed for a while. Andria would have loved that joke.

The sun was now beginning to set behind the mountains and the moon was just peaking in through the darkness.

“Are we going to take the carriage home with us?” Epic asked. He began to feel tired.

“Hopefully not,” said his mother.

“This is a human’s professional way of transportation, but it also was hired for a one way trip, so no,” said his father.

“Yes,” said Epic under his breath. When the sun had fully set, they had arrived.

“Alright, Epic, just go make friends and have fun,” said his mother.

As they entered the ballroom, Epic looked around at the crowed. All of the women had fancy dresses that all looked the same, except for different colors, and all of the men had fancy suit coats that matched. The boys around his age were nowhere to be seen.

“Hey, uh, where are you from?” asked Epic to a young man a few years older than he was.

“Well, I’m Prince Roy of this castle, tell me are you a dragon?” he asked.

“Uh, yeah, my parents are here to sign a treaty that will unite humans and dragons, your highness,” said Epic.

“What’s your name?” asked Prince Roy.

“Ep—Prince Epic, your highness,” said Epic.

“How old are you?”

“Uh, twenty, your highness, but for a dragon, my appearance changes slowly,” Epic replied.

Prince Roy looked him up and down. “Do you know exactly what signing a treaty is?”

“Uh, righting on a piece of paper your highness?” Epic replied in a questioning tone.

Prince Roy got close to his ear. “If you scream I will punch you, but signing a treaty in this land means joining the kingdoms by marriage.”

Epic’s eyes got wide. He was in shock, but still caught a falling girl that had tripped on her dress by the shoulders.

She looked at him and she quickly recovered. “I am so sorry.” She gave a polite curtsy and then quickly left.

“That’s my little sister, she’s almost nineteen and she’s a little klutzy,” said Prince Roy. “So, I heard you had a sister, is she here tonight?” he looked around.

“Uh, no, she was a little sick back at home, so she didn’t join,” said Epic. “But I’m sure you’ll be able to see her in the further. She’s nicknamed the gem of the kingdom, but I say she’s more the heart.” Epic smiled. He hoped she was ok. “Why was your sister trying to get out of the ball room?”

“She has her reasons, but it was probably because she heard the same news you did,” Prince Roy replied. “So, do you love your sister so much that you would die for her?”

“Well, I’m not as proper as you, so I don’t really know how humans would act, but if someone were to ever hurt my sister on purpose, he’d find me in his dreams and I would turn them into a nightmare,” said Epic.

“Is that your best threat?” asked Prince Roy.

Epic stared at him for a while, then replied, “Dragons don’t make threats, they make a promise.”

“Well then, I guess that goes for both of us, except I can’t enter into people’s dreams. But to live in the future, I think I’ll stay off your bad side,” said Prince Roy.

“Can I call you Roy?” asked Epic.

“Sure.”

They stared into the crowed, for a while, they also talked about each other’s sister’s weird habits, like beating the pots and pans of the kitchen with two wooden spoons or climbing onto the roof just to slide off and spread out wings to get her leverage and wind speed. When Roy’s sister got stressed she would go to her room and invent a totally complete set of grenades, when Epic’s sister got stressed, she mapped out all of the stars and calculated when the next star would shoot across the sky. Roy’s sister invented things, Epic’s sister would do art.

“I feel like we’ve known each other for ever,” said Epic.

“Yeah, I never thought it would meet someone like me,” Roy replied. “I bet my sister would love to meet you, in fact, wait here, I’ll go get her.” He left the ballroom and headed for her room. When he reached for the handle, he heard a crystal powered drill and opened the door.

“If you want to come in, why don’t you knock?” asked Casandra.

“What is that?” he asked.

“My last contraption’s wing’s broke, so I recreated the mechanism to make it lighter and faster, but I just can’t figure out how to boost the power of it,” she replied.

“I Have a friend that you might find interesting, he’s from that dragon family that’s visiting tonight and—”

“You met the dragons? What do they look like? Do they have wings?” she went on and on with questions, until Roy stopped her.

“Why don’t you just come with me and meet him?” he replied.

She put down her invention and followed him to the ballroom.

“Epic, this is my sister Casandra,” said Roy.

“Uh, pleased to be in your, uh, what’s the word humans use? Antique? No, that’s not it, uh, Apatite? Uh,” Epic stuttered.

“Acquaintance?” asked Casandra.

“Oh, acquaintance!” Epic said a little too loudly, the people around him stopped talking and stared at them, then went back to chatting. He scratched his head of black hair. “I didn’t mean to attract attention, I’m sorry,” he said to Casandra.

“It’s ok,” she said.

There was a moment of silence.

“Anybody hungry? They have a table full of chocolate dipped strawberries and sandwiches,” said Roy.

“What’s chocolate?” Epic asked.

“You’ve never heard of chocolate before?” asked Casandra. “Did you grow up in a cave or something?”

“Uh, well my relatives live in a cave under the sand in the east,” said Epic. “And only a dragon can open the door.”

Casandra slapped her palm to her forehead. “Just come on.” she grabbed his wrist and lead him to the table full of small foods.

“I’ve never seen a table full of dark rocks before,” said Epic.

“Those aren’t rocks, their chocolates,” said Roy. He picked one up and put it in his mouth.

Casandra bit into a red and black looking rock. “It’s a chocolate strawberry.” She handed him one and he cautiously took a bite.

He covered his mouth, then said, “Whoa, this is good.” He chewed and swallowed. “That was good. Do you mind if I take one home for my sister?”

“Of course,” said Roy. “So, what is your sister sick with?”

Epic stayed silent for a little while, thinking to himself that it was an accident, but it really depended on where he struck her. “Please excuse me,” said Epic. He found a balcony outside the ballroom and climbed over the fence. There were a few stone pillars in a line and a garden with recently bloomed flowers. He jumped off it and latched on to the stone pillar in front of him, then he pulled himself up and sat on it.

“How did you get over there?” asked Casandra.

“I jumped,” Epic replied. “If your brother where to hurt you accidently, and you fell unconscious, what would he do?”

Silence filled the air.

“Uh, well, when I would wake up I would hug him and tell him that it wasn’t his fault and that it always will end up ok,” said Casandra. “But that really doesn’t answer your question, does it?”

“Nope, but I need to ask you this question, what if you couldn’t wake up to tell him that, what would he do?” asked Epic.

“Well, I guess I would find a way to do it in my sleep,” said Roy. He just walked out of the ballroom. “I’m guessing you just jumped off the balcony to get up there.”

“Yep.”

“So, does your question have something to do with your sister?” asked Roy.

“Well, yes,” said Epic. “How’d you guess?”

“I’ve read tons of books on body langue, so, you’ve hurt your sister accidently?” Roy asked.

“I had a dream we were in a prison camp and she was being tortured for a question they asked me,” replied Epic.

“What was the question?” asked Casandra.

“Where is the diamond heart?” Epic relied. “So this guy raised his sword to behead her, then I woke up and yelled her name. She came rushing in just as I let out a wave of my power. Then she fell unconscious.”

“Whoa, so is she ok?” asked Roy.

Epic looked at the stars and closed his eyes. “I can still feel her life force, but I think she’s asleep.”

“Will she be alright?” asked Roy.

“I hope so,” said Epic. A shooting star flew across the sky and his eyes got wide.

Casandra noticed. “What is it?”

Epic stood to his feet. “Please, please no.” he jumped off the pillar and stated running to his own castle. “Please no.” He turned back into a dragon and rocketed back to it. The gates were opened by his power and he raced to his sister’s room. He turned back into a human and opened the door to her courters, when he opened it he saw the moon shining in and a man standing over her.

The man looked up. He was masked and wore all black and he was carrying her.

“Put my sister down!” said Epic. He held his hand out to strike the man if he were to move.

“I’m looking for the diamond heart, if you tell me where it is then I’ll let her go,” said the man.

Epic’s dream came back to him. “It’s just a myth, a dragon’s tale,” he replied.

“It’s real, and if you don’t tell me everything you know, I’ll let you watch her die,” said the man. He put a knife to her throat.

“All I know is a poem,” said Epic.

The man gestured him to continue.

“Diamond shall be cold,

Ice shall be stone,

The form of her is untold,

But she is the key between human and dragon,

The heart of her is the heart of the hour,

She holds it as part of her uncontrollable power.

Inside her is the heart of diamond.” Epic wanted to destroy the man. “The poem was never finished, because the writer wanted ‘her’ to finish it.”

“What kind of dragon is your sister?” he pulled the knife away from Andria.

“Onyx, please put my sister down,” Epic replied.

The man put her down, then jumped out the window.

Epic ran over to Andria and made sure she was still alive. He let out a sigh. Somehow he thought the stars shooting across the sky were the sign of death. He didn’t know where he had gotten the idea. But for him, it was a good thing at that moment. He put her back under the covers and put the chocolate covered strawberry on a plate by her bed stand. He smiled at her, then he went back to the ball and told Casandra and Roy what had happened. He scratched his head, then he asked Casandra for a dance. Epic enjoyed the rest of the night with Roy and Casandra.

“Epic, it’s time to go,” said his father.

“Ok,” said Epic. He said goodbye to his new friends and then they joined his mother outside and they turned into dragons and followed the stars home.

“So, did you have a good time?” asked his mother.

“Yeah, but right now I’m really tired, can we talk about it tomorrow?” asked Epic. He yawned and stretched.

“Sure,” said his mother.

Five days later, Andria was still unconscious. Epic was sitting by her bedside and held her hand. He’d tried to retract his power, but it didn’t work… nothing was working. It became longer and longer as the doctors came in and treated her, but nothing was working.

One day, her heart stopped beating.

“No!” Epic pounded on the wall to make it crack. His sister was dead because of him. He cried for days.

A few years later, he got married to Casandra and he’d gotten over Andria’s death.

“Hey Epic, I’m pregnant,” said Casandra. She turned to him and laughed.

“What?” asked Epic.

“Your eyeballs look like they could be as big as watermelons,” she replied.

Nine months later,

She was screaming in pain.

“You are going to be ok, just breath,” said the doctor. “Ok, now push.”

Epic was about to jump out of his chair and strangle that doctor.

About ten minutes later, he was holding his brand new baby boy. “Hey, little guy, I think I’m going to call you Drake, and I’ll name you Den,” he said to his twins. Den was crying, but Drake was silent.

Casandra looked at him, then her heart rate dropped and she fell unconscious. Doctors rushed to her, but her heart had completely stopped beating.

“No,” Epic whispered. He had a tear run down his face. He was about to go on a rampage, but somehow he got control and calmed down. “Please no.” the same words he’d said when he thought Andria was dead.

Roy had taken the throne and Epic came by Roy’s request.

“You promised to protect her, I trusted you with her life!” Roy yelled.

“She died in child birth,” said Epic. “It was an accident.”

“Like the accident that caused your sister’s death?” Roy mocked.

Epic was speechless. How could he respond to that?

“Every one that has ever been close to you is dead, you are a threat to this kingdom and I banish you from this land,” said Roy.

“What of my sons?” asked Epic. “They are the result of the peace treaty.”

“I will raise them as my own, now get out of here!” said Roy. Two maids came into the room with his sons.

“No!” Epic turned into his real form and charged at Roy, ten armed guards somehow through chains over him and stuck him to the floor.

Roy got up off his chair and stood over Epic. He crouched down to Epic’s level, then held a blade to him. “This blade is deadly to dragons, but it’s untested, shall I try it on you?”

“What happened to you?” Epic asked. He tried to get out of the chains that held him down, but the more onyx power he let out, the more they held him tighter. It was like whatever the chains where made of, they reversed his power.

“You happened to me. My sister died because of you!” said Roy, his tone was as if he were to break out in tears. “Lock him in the dungeon, but keep him alive.”

The guards carefully got him up and dragged him into the deepest depths of the dungeon.

The other dragons assumed that Epic was dead, but they heard rumors that he was alive, so they came to King Roy, but he killed them, thus starting the war. The battle of Thira was the worst that made most of the dragons disappear.

King Roy married a woman and made sure that the two twins never heard the truth, he raised them until they were seven, but then the boys started wondering about their strange powers they were experiencing, and they started hearing the call of a dragon.

The two boys entered the lower levels of the castle as the voice kept getting stronger and stronger. Then they entered the lowest level of the dungeon and found him.

“Den? Drake?” asked Epic.

“How do you know our names? Who are you?” asked Den. Drake was mostly the quiet one.

“I’m just a forgotten memory, a dragon of the old times,” said Epic.

“Why do you look so familiar?” asked Den.

“Come closer, please,” said Epic. He turned into a human. “Look anymore familiar to you?”

Den got really close. “You look just like me and Drake.”

Drake took a long look at Epic. “You sound like the first voice I heard, who are you?”

Epic smiled as tears ran down his cheeks. “You remember?” he asked.

Drake nodded. He tilted his head to the side and frowned. “Are you our real dad? I remember a man that yelled ‘no’.”

Epic was still smiling. “You two were born of dragon and human, I guess I’ll call you Dragonborn,” he replied. He looked at Den.

“Drake, he must be lying to make us betray our parents, let’s go,” said Den.

Drake looked like he wanted to know more, but followed his brother.

“Please, wait,” said Epic, but they kept going. “Please no,” he whispered.

Drake turned to look at him, then caught up with his brother.

Hugh woke up in Shade’s attic and wanted to go back to sleep to know what happened next.

“Hey Hugh, get up, I made breakfast,” said Shade.

I have to get out of this world in order to help Fey, Hugh though.

Josh

“So, last day to live huh, Fey,” said Josh. He was at the wheel of the ship and Jethro and Hotaru had started working on upgrading a part of it.

Fey nodded. “We have to get there before night fall, then you’ll have to lead the team to stop Cromose.” He’d warped a black cloth around his hand to make sure no one could see the scar.

“So why is it that you just don’t go to sleep like Victoria?” asked Josh.

“I can’t, I’m not that kind of Dragonborn,” said Fey. “I don’t have that power.”

“What? You can do almost everything, but heal yourself?” Josh asked.

Fey nodded. He pushed a button and the battleship got a lot faster.

“Whoa, what did you do?” asked Josh.

“There was a button that had a dragon symbol on it that read ‘thrusters’, I do wonder why your father wrote in dragon code,” said Fey.

“What don’t you know?” asked Josh.

“I would tell you if I knew what I didn’t know,” said Fey.

Josh looked at him. “That’s one of the best answers I’ve ever heard.” He pushed the auto pilot and then put his goggles on. “I’m going to go upgrade the thrusters, I might need your wings.”

Fey nodded and followed him to the back of the battle ship. The door to the back looked small and copper. He tried turning the wheel, but it was jammed.

“Could I try?” Fey asked. This was rare of him to ever ask a question. Josh stepped aside to let him give it a go. Fey grabbed the wheel and turned it, it came open in the first try.

“Why don’t you want to lead?” Josh asked, yelling over the wind as he secured a rope to his belt and climbed out to the thrusters.

“Can you trust me?” Fey asked.

Josh nodded.

“I just can’t lead.” Fey grabbed onto the ladder that was built onto the ship. Then he tampered with the geared mechanics of the thrusters.

Josh worked on the other side of it and saw that a gear was loose, so that side of the thruster wasn’t working. He grabbed the gear and screwed it in, then, put a small purple speed crystal in the center and then the ship seemed to go into hyper drive. He held on to the rope as tightly as he could as he was spinning into the fire of the engine. Fey caught him, untied the rope and flew back inside, closing the door behind him. Josh looked at Fey in awe. “How are you dying but still so strong?”

“You’re dying?” asked Jethro. “When did this happen?”

Fey looked at Josh, then back at Jethro.

Hotaru looked at each of them. “He got cut by that blade when he was trying to save her.”

They all turned their attention to Hotaru, except Fey. He undid his black band and showed them the scar.

“Why didn’t you say anything Fi?” asked Jethro.

“I wasn’t sure if he’d been cut or not, so I kept my mouth shut,” Hotaru replied. He tried to touch Fey’s scar, but Fey pulled away. “I’m trying to heal you!”

“I know,” said Fey.

“Just give me your hand!” said Hotaru. He reached for Fey’s hand once more.

“No,” said Fey. He once again pulled his hand away.

“Dude, he’s just trying to help!” said Jethro.

Josh looked at Fey. I think I know why he’s pulling away. “Hey!” he yelled. The attention turned to him. “The reason why Fey’s so reluctant to you healing him is that it has a catch.”

Hotaru gave him a questioning glance.

“The catch is that if you heal him, all of the poison will reverse and enter into the healer. It’s a lot like ‘the Drain’, a thing that dragons and Dragonborns use. Am I correct?” Josh asked.

Fey nodded. “It happened to a friend of mine once, and she completed ‘the Drain’ turning her human best friend into a Dragonborn.”

“Your friend, what was her name?” asked Jethro.

Fey looked at him, expressionless. “She and I were best friends from birth, and she made me promise to protect her friend. Her name was Emerald.”

Cromose

“You can’t keep me in here forever!” he yelled. “I invented this cage!”

The scientist looked at him and had one of his darkest smiles. “That cage you’re in will counter your powers and when you want to follow me again, I’ll let you out.”

He calculated that the containment field also had a transmitter that allowed the scientist to see if he was lying or not. I know how to counter act the effects of this prison, all I have to do is do it fast enough, then the cage won’t be able to keep up with the heat. It will explode though, so I’ll have to do it quick. There also was another idea he had, he could always go into berserker mode and destroy the lab, but he knew that would work, but there was no guaranty that he would snap out of it. He just had to wait until the scientist left the room.

Two hours past and the scientist was still in the room. Cromose calculated that he would have to light up to the speed of at least point zero to the one billion sixty-fifth power and one in order to reach the speed he needed, and he needed to have the temperature of over five thousand and seventy five to melt the cage.

The scientist was still there five hours later. Cromose had gone over his plan several hundred times. He also calculated that this time line went about one year faster than the other dimension, so when he got back to the team, he could make it seem like he was never gone.

Five days passed and the cage Cromose had built allowed you to not have to eat. He was growing restless, so he decided to recalculate and get out of the scientist’s grasp. Now, not only did Cromose have to break the cage, he also had to escape the scientist. He grabbed the bar and tried, but the electric field shocked him and he fell back. As he stared at the ceiling a thought found him. How did I get here in the first place? I thought I was facing a large group of robots with a kid named Hugh, I guess I just thought that they captured me, but what truly happened? If I can access my forgotten memory then I can find out what happened in the empty space. He closed his eyes and noticed every little noise in the room, then he shut it all out and concentrated. I felt pain in my head, that’s when I blacked out, but I think I can remember what happened. I got on my hands and knees because of the pain, I think Hugh’s dragon was turned to stone by… wait, the scientist is a dragon? How? When? He can control me. I’ve got a chip in my head, fused to a nerve system, making me black out, but look like I’m awake. That’s ingénues! Why didn’t I think of that? He shook himself. Ok, that complicates things, he could just activate it any time and I would become fire breathing death to everyone around me. I don’t know what to do, I still need to escape. I’ll figure it out later. He began to melt the bottom of the cage and it started to feel cold. Then he felt time slowing down and come to a complete stop. He smiled to himself and the metal began to bend, then it broke and he was free. He landed in a crouching position and ran to the portal, he rewired it and plugged in some other things to make sure that only his DNA would allow him to pass through. He pushed the button and jumped through the swirling portal. Time caught back up to him and he saw the floor closing in and landed, then summersaulted.

Now I just have to find a helmet, he thought. He looked around him and found that he had landed in some ruins of a desert.

“Hey Cromose, I thought we lost you in the tunnels, how’d you get here?” asked Honiccu.

Cromose scratched his head. “Uh, I’m not really sure.”

“What are these ruins from?” asked Snowfly.

Honiccu turned to Talon.

“They’re from a long time ago, some say that a passage way led to a chamber that could heal any sickness, but only if you found the key,” said Talon. “The king and queen abandoned this place in search of their son, Hotaru. But I think the ruins are from a beast that tried to get into the chamber by force, and failed.”

“How did you figure all that out?” asked Cromose.

“Tameth leave writing on the wall,” said Talon. He pointed at a left over pile of bricks and a skeleton of and giant creature. “That’s bones of a scorpion, deadly creatures that sting you with their tails, only a few have been able to tame them.” He knelt down by a large rock. “This castle is only about a hundred years old and these ruins are from about fifteen years ago.”

“How can you tell? Does it say that?” asked Cromose.

Talon nodded his head from side to side. “I also use to be a detective.” He took out a microscope. “If our son returns to this place, he will not have a clue on why his name is Hotaru. Some will call him Firefly, for that is the meaning of his name in one of the translations from the portal. We think that is where he disappeared to after the castle was attacked by the humans. The king and queen went willingly into the new land in search of their lost son.”

“That would explain Firefly’s wings,” Cromose muttered to himself.

“You knew him?” Honiccu asked.

“He was my enemy in that world. I don’t know if his parents ever found him though,” Cromose replied.

“We set up camp here. Talon, you find food and water, Draya, search for that hidden chamber, Cromose, Gem and Snowfly, help me gather materials for a shelter, but don’t use any of the wall fragments,” Honiccu ordered. “You have till night fall. Move!”

Why? I can always use my technical side and create a basic heating system for the night, Cromose thought. He was obeying as he grabbed an old rag about a hundred feet away from the structure.

“Sandstorm! Fifteen minutes away!” yelled Talon.

Everyone hurried and grabbed whatever they could find for the shelter. Cromose felt it coming fast and he used his speed to build the shelter big enough and everyone fit in perfectly. It was a good thing to, because the storm had hit and Cromose, by instinct had anchored it down.

Honiccu looked to see if everyone was there, all was accounted for… except Draya.

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