The Hero from the Mountain

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Chapter 5

Saphira was still sitting in the tree, not moving an inch. She had made a scarf out of her cape, making it easier to take it with her without using it to hide. There were a few soldiers right underneath her, making it very dangerous for her to either make unintentional sounds or make some of the leaves fall off. They were at first discussing about Prince Marik's search for a princess, Saphira not really paying much mind to what they were saying because of it.

"Oh, while I remember it, have you made sure that everything is ready for the party? We wouldn't want Commander Paul's efforts go to waste, now do we?" the one who seemed to be the highest ranking one asked, the others nodding. When he said this, Saphira perked her ears and listened. "Good. What was the name of the group again?"

"Groups, Halder sir. And it's Dragon Scales and the Shadow Knights. Commander Paul thought it would be best to get them both at the same place, making them look like the bad guys," one of the soldiers said, Saphira almost tempted to laugh. Considering what Flarenix had suggested only a few minutes ago.

"Is that so? Well, he's the Commander, not me. So he knows best, I guess," he said, in almost a teasing voice. Maybe he doesn't like that this Paul guy is in charge. Wouldn't surprise me to be perfectly honest. She thought, hearing another pair of footsteps behind her. She turned her head a little and saw a man with a very fancy uniform and medals attached to the jacket.

"I'm glad that you see it that way, Lieutenant Halder. Although I would be very willing to hear your ideas if you have anything to add," he said, his voice deep and almost sounded threatening. Saphira narrowed her eyes, guessing that this man was the Commander they had talked about a few seconds ago.

"Oh, Commander Paul. Glad to see you haven't been injured. I heard you went with a special group of soldiers to see the situation in Milline. I wasn't expecting such a quick return," Halder said, bowing slightly. The other soldiers behind him did the same thing, though they were showing a bit more respect.

"Yes, we got what we wanted rather fast. Or at least what we could get. When we arrived, some of the area was a little burned. Though none of the citizens or buildings seemed to have been damaged. We also saw traces of a Summon Circle in the forest next to where this was. So it was most likely a Fire Master. So we should be able to easily pick out suspects," he started, Saphira smirking a little. "There were also traces of both Dragon Scale and Shadow Knights, so we know they're in the nearby area,"

"Um…not to be rude or anything, sir. But did you have some trouble going through the area we're in? The people here seem very attached to the land," one of the soldiers said, Saphira feeling relived when he confirmed it. He also mentioned the agreement they had made. He added that they were going to move the town before the party started, Saphira narrowing her eyes. "So where are we heading?"

"We'll be going near Milline, just to catch their attention. I highly doubt they've gotten much further than that anyway. So you need to make sure not to have the area too heavily guarded. That way, they'll think we don't think they'll try and attack us directly," he ordered them, Saphira getting distracted by leaves moving behind her. She quickly turned around and saw a small, blue bird. It had a small scarf around its neck.

"Yes sir!" she heard the say while she looked at the bird, all of the leaving the area underneath her. She moved a little, looking closer at the bird. She noticed a small symbol on the scarf, recognizing it slightly. The symbol was of tree triangles making one with a sparrow in the middle.

"That's the symbol of the Dragon Elders. The Humans made this, thinking this is what a dragon looked like back in the days. It's was kind funny how their reaction was when they first met us face to face," Flarenix explained, laughing slightly as she did. Saphira moved her hand towards it and it flew away, making her a little worried. "It's probably a message bird. Since it has that symbol, however, it'll give it's information to the Masters of the Dragon Elders,"

"So if someone in either of these groups is the Master of the Dragon Elders, then they'll inform them?" she asked, her Spirit nodding in response. She said that they shouldn't focus on that right now. They had bigger problems, and Saphira knew she was right. She looked at towards the balcony she was at before, not seeing anyone there. Not wanting to risk meeting someone while trying to get in, she looked around for another entrance.

"Hey, move faster! The party is close, and we don't have time to dilly dally!" she heard a very stern voice say, searching to find out where she heard it from. She noticed an open window close by, though it looked like it would be a pain to get to. There was only a small ledge right under it, and no other support whatsoever. She sighed, closed her eyes and concentrated. She opened them again and double checked the area to make sure no one would see her if she jumped.

When she didn't see anyone, she went up to a higher branch and ran towards the end. When she felt her weight on the thinnest part of the branch was pressing it down, she used it as a small spring and leapt towards the ledge, just barely grabbing it. It was too thin for her to really stand on, so she moved along and slowly made her way so she was under the window.

When she was underneath it, she slowly pulled herself up and looked into the room. She used the thin ledge as a support for her legs so she wouldn't waste too much strength. She didn't see anyone in the room right then, so she pulled herself through the window and went behind some barrels in the corner in case someone came in.

"What if someone from Dragon Scales or Shadow Knights interfere?" she heard someone ask behind a door nearby, the stern voice telling him that it wasn't their problem. She narrowed her eyes slightly, hearing something from the window. She looked over, three males climbing through the window. She instinctively kept her head down, not really seeing who they were.

"You two, investigate the closer rooms. And don't get caught," she heard a familiar voice say, looking up slightly to see Erik standing and giving orders. The two nodded without hesitation and left the room. She kept her head down again, trying not to breath too hard so he couldn't hear her. She didn't move a muscle, hearing him start walking. His footsteps sounded like gunshots, making her more and more anxious.

"Just stay calm. He wouldn't kill you anyway," Flarenix said, trying to help her Master calm down. Saphira told her she wasn't afraid of being killed. She was afraid of being prevented from doing anything. "Then stay calm or he'll notice you," she pointed out, his footsteps stopping.

"What are they planning? Having a party and not guarding obvious entries. This seems too easy," Erik said to himself, walking around again. His steps echoed in her ears, making her nervous. "I wonder if that fighter from Milline knows about this. If she does, then we're not getting much done," he kept talking to himself, pacing around the room. Saphira looked around, noticing the door was open. She didn't have her cape on at the moment, so he would be able to see her.

Just as she lost focus on Erik, she felt a hand grab her by the neck, forcing her up an pushed her against the wall. She lost her train of thought for a second, but knew who it was and grabbed his arm and made sure he couldn't see underneath the hood. But she was a second to slow and Erik was very violent, making the hood fall of on its own. When it did, his eyes widen in shock when he looked at her.

"You're the girl from Milline," he said, referring to their first meeting. Saphira didn't say a word, remembering that there were people in the next room. "Why the hell are you here, doing this kind of-" Saphira placed her hand over his mouth when he started yelling, telling him to shut up. He was very persistent, and kept trying to talk.

"Do you want to get caught?" she asked, looking towards the door. There were a lot of sounds coming from the other side, making him calm down. However, he put his hand on her wrist and tighten his grip, making her yelp in pain.

"What are you playing at?" he asked her. Saphira didn't say a word, though she had a feeling she couldn't get out without telling him at least something. "Answer me!"

"It doesn't concern you," she said, like she had told him earlier. She could feel his anger from the grip on her wrist, not really wanting to make eye contact. She heard a sound from the other room that made her flinch. It sounded like a cooking pot had fallen down. Erik heard it too, his grip loosening. Saphira took this chance and pushed him slightly so she could get out of his sight. She heard him call her from behind her, but she ignored him and made sure she didn't get caught. She took the cape off her neck and placed it over her shoulders, putting the hood on.

"Kyaa!" a high pitched scream echoed through the hall, Saphira subconsciously taking the hood back on and went towards the sound. She arrived above a big room, looking down. She saw a lot of rich looking people, dressed in fancy clothes and jewelry. She also noticed one of the walls of the room was blown up, and people were walking through.

"Well, well. Looks like we didn't get invited to the party. How rude of you gentlemen," one of the men walking through the opening said, Saphira recognizing him. He was the same man who had talked to the man in Milline before she attacked. She heard a groan from the other end of the room, looking over. She saw one of their foot soldiers holding Prince Marik and another one forcing Nate to the ground.

"You would go as far as this to bring about your ideals? You would bring harm to a member of the Royal Family?" she heard Paul say from the crowd, walking towards them like a hero. Her eyes narrowed, studying the area around them. All of the soldiers in the room had weapons, and all were ready to use them.

"Like you can talk. If you hadn't gone and started killing for no reason, none of this would've happened to being with. You killed anyone you saw as a threat, even though they had nothing to do with it," the man with Dragon Scale said, everyone shocked and mumbling. Saphira knew he had hurt other people that were starting a rebellion, but she hadn't heard anything about him hurting innocent people. He said he had never touched an innocent person, making her feel sick again. Like when Flarenix lied on purpose in Milline.

"That is such an obvious lie it's not even funny," another voice said, Saphira seeing another group of soldiers. Some of the were holding the members of Dragon Scale. While others were near the guest of the party. She saw Erik down there as well, already forgotten that he knew she was there. The one who talked, Zach was leading in the front, standing between the man from Dragon Scale and Paul. "The Shadow Knights won't let either of you cause trouble,"

"You and Dragon Scale have no pride in your actions. I will not allow you to do as you please with these people or with me," he said, like a main character our of a story book.

"Why not just summon me and get this over with?" Flarenix asked, Saphira scolding her. She told her that if she summoned her here, she would defiantly injure a lot of these innocent people. So she couldn't let them be hurt just because she wanted to get this over with quick. "You really are one of the kindest people involved in this war," she told her, Saphira taking that as a compliment.

"We just need to borrow this little Prince for a while. That should be fine, right?" the man from Dragon Scale said, the one holding Marik tightening his grip and moving towards the group. Erik quickly went in front of him so he couldn't get away. "I'm guessing that's a no,"

"Hey, who are you?" she heard a voice behind her, making her turn around. It was one of the two who were with Erik earlier, making her tense. "Wait, aren't you the one who stopped Dragon Scale in Milline? Why are you here?" Saphira heard sword's clashing bellow her, looking down. Erik and the one who was holding Marik were fighting, while holding the Prince. People screamed as they started fighting, the others joining in.

"You should focus more on them than on me," she said, pointing down. She heard the man walking beside her, looking down like she said, She took this chance and jumped on top of the rail and jumped down. She heard the man telling her not to do it, though she completely ignored him and landed right in the middle of the room. Everyone screamed as she hit the ground, the fighting stopping. She quickly used Flarenix's power and made small snakes of fire to search for the ones fighting and disarm them. Since they were so small, it was easy for them to avoid anyone who was not involved. Once all of them were disarmed, she stood up, making sure her hood didn't fall off.

"You're the one who interfered in Sektories. Why have you come here? Protecting your fellow companions?" Paul said, trying to pin the blame on her. Saphira said that she was here to stop them all from fighting because it could harm the people, which surprised them. She looked over at Erik, who didn't seem too surprised that she got involved.

"I heard you were in Milline not too long ago as well. At the same time the Fire Dragon Flarenix appeared and ruined their plan," Zach said, walking towards her. She stood her ground, remembering when she met him last time.

"And what if I was. It shouldn't be inconvenient to you and your group," she said, Zach stopping. She could see that he didn't like her remark at all, getting ready to withstand what he was going to do.

"Zach, don’t do anything in here. If all of these people die, the main boss is going to be mad at us," she heard Erik say, Zach calming down instantly as he said that. Saphira looked over in that direction, lifting her hand slightly and sending a ball of flame towards the one holding Marik, sending him flying and Mark stood there alone in front of Erik. She heard someone hitting the ground a little further away, seeing her brother running up and standing in front of Marik.

Before she could say anything else, she felt someone behind her and ducked, a sword being slashed right over her head. She quickly looked behind her and saw the on attacking her was one of the people standing behind the talking man in Milline.

"Gareke, we shouldn't waste time with this one. We came here to get Prince Marik, nothing else. Don’t lose track of why we're here," he said, his voice cold and emotionless. Saphira clicked her teeth, putting her hand on the hilt of her sword and got ready to fight. However, when her eyes met his, she froze. She couldn't move a inch, her body completely paralyzed. She growled at him, seeing his arm was emanating electricity.

"You're a Lightning Master, aren't you?" she asked, the man telling her she had good observation skills. She tried forcing her body to move, but she felt a sting through her entire body as she did. He warned her not to resist, since it could make her unable to ever move again. She growled at him, feeling someone touching her arm. She looked to her right, seeing one of the soldiers from the Royal Army from under hood. When he touched her, the numbness from her body disappeared.

"I don't really know who you are or why you're fighting, but we're supposed to protect everyone from both Dragon Scale and the Shadow Knights," he said, Saphira thanking him quietly.

"Elliot, your slacking with using your powers. If a simple soldier is able to dispel it just like that, then it's too weak," Gareke said, Elliot apologizing. Saphira drew her sword like she tried to earlier and stood in a defensive position. She noticed Zach's gaze on her, quickly making sure she didn't look him in the eyes.

She heard the sound of metal hitting against each other, looking over to where her brother and Erik were. The two were fighting against each other, Marik safe behind the soldiers of the Royal Army. She guessed that Nate had started the fight to make him back off from the prince. One of the members of Dragon Scale tried once again to make a break to take Marik, but the two took him out effortlessly while continuing their brawl.

Saphira heard the footsteps moving fast, looking towards where the members of Dragon Scale stood. They were making a mad dash for their weapons which she had disarmed earlier. However, before they could reach their weapons, all of them stopped in their tracks. Their eyes grew pitch black and lifeless. She looked closer, seeing a black aura around all of them.

"None of you do anything stupid now," she heard Zach say, Saphira quickly looking in his direction. He looked back at her and a smirk grew on his face. He took a few steps towards her, sheathing her blade. She knew it would be useless to fight him in close combat with his abilities. "I wonder how you plan on cleaning this mess," he said, making her confused. She didn't let her guard down as she focused her power into her palms. When she felt she had enough, she crouched down and slammed them into the ground. Doing this, created a wave of fire and threw everyone who was fighting off balance. Some were injured by the fire, while others quickly used their Spirit's power to shield themselves enough to not get burned.

She saw the annoyed look on the man that was called Gareke, seeing his lips move. She couldn't hear if he was talking or mumbling to himself, let alone what he was saying. But after he was done, Elliot called every member of Dragon Scale into retreat. Zach did the same, staying behind and looked back at her.

"Well, you seem to have a lot of positional. Maybe you'll become a threat to us in the future," he said, making it sound like he was going to kill her now. "But killing you now would make it boring. Especially since you haven't done anything yet," he said, moving closer to her. She tried stepping back before he got too close, but her reaction was a little too slow, feeling his breath on her right ear. "Just keep this in mind. If you do become a threat, I'll hunt you down myself," he said, making her tense. He left after that, making her let out a loud sigh of relief.

"May I have a moment, young warrior?" she heard Paul say, Saphira looking towards him. She heard other footsteps all around her. "We would like you to explain your actions earlier. Seeing how you put the Prince himself in danger," he said, Saphira looking past him. She saw Nate talking to Marik, noticing that neither of them were injured. Saphira didn't say a word, she just used one of the many soldiers surrounding her as a spring board and jumped up to where she was earlier.

"Hey! Get back here!" she heard one of the soldiers calling, running through one of the halls to get to a window. She passed by many people, pushing some of them over. She eventually found an escape route. She didn't bother opening the window, just jumping through it and breaking it in the process. She felt shards of the glass sticking to her skin. She landed on the ground below her and ran full speed towards the exit of the town.

She eventually arrived in the forest outside of the area where the people had earlier been very protective off. She was leaning against a tree and gasping for breath. Her lungs were on fire from running so much. There were shards of glass from the window in her arms, legs, some in her stomach and there was a small one that had cut her cheek.

"I really should think things through before doing stuff like this," she said, slowly pulling out the shards. She closed her eyes tightly every time, feeling a sting of pain from pulling them out. She felt the chills from the blood creeping on her skin form the wounds. "Flarenix, is there a source of water nearby?" she asked her Spirit, Flarenix nodding.

"Yeah. Not too far from where you are right now. Just head straight forward and you should reach it rather fast," she told her, Saphira getting up. Trying not to move too fast in case it could open her wounds even more. She moved in the direction Flarenix had told her. And sure enough, she arrived at a small river. Not wasting too much time, she sat down neck to it and pulled a small piece off her cloak and used it as a cloth to clean her wounds. As well as pulling off her hood

"So, what are we supposed to do now? We don't really have any leads on where to go," she said to herself, trying to recall if she heard someone say anything that could be a clue to where to go. But she couldn't remember anything.

"How about trying to locate either Dragon Scale or the Shadow Knights? Both of them left the palace. So they must be planning something," Flarenix suggested, Saphira thinking about who she should try and follow. She finished cleaning her wounds and threw the piece of cloth somewhere further down the river.

"Maybe it would be best if we try and figure out what the Shadow Knights are doing. We haven't really been paying much attention to what them," she said, Flarenix nodding. "And besides, I get the feeling Erik knows something about me,"

"Oh, that's right. He did seem a bit less surprised than I expected. It would be very bad if they knew about your little secret," Flarenix said, Saphira sighing slightly. She got up and started walking across the river, not too sure which direction she should be going.

She kept walking for a little while before hearing the voices of people near her. Some of the voices she recognized as members of the Shadow Knights. Like the guy who saw her before she got involved in the main mess. To make sure none of them saw her as she got closer, she crouched down and moved slowly between the trees. She saw a small group of them walking by themselves, without really any higher ups nearby.

"Mind if I ask why we're going to Katil again?" she heard a soldier ask as she got nearer. The others looked a little annoyed at him, mumbling something she wasn't quite able to get. She got a little closer, able to get the next bit they were saying.

"Lieutenant Erik is doing something in that town. That's all we know. How can you forget that?" one of them answered him, Saphira noticing how embarrassed the one who asked looked. She was about to move away again, when she felt someone's presence behind her. A second afterwards, a hand covered her mouth and started pulling her away from them. She kept struggling to get out of the grip of the one holding her, but to no avail.

"Acting a little reckless, aren't we?" she heard a voice in her ear, her eyes widening. Damn it. Him of all people. She thought to herself, feeling Erik's grip loosening. Once it did, she forcefully ripped it from her mouth and quickly turned around. But before she could do anything else, he took her hands and pinned them to a tree behind her. "Why are you acting like some kind of hero?"

"What are you talking about?" she asked him, Erik telling her he knew she and the fighter from Milline were the same person. Though she was curious about how he found out, she wasn't going to waste her time asking him. "Why do you care? Aren't you supposed to be stopping this war?" she said, making him rather annoyed. "What are you doing in Katil?" she asked, knowing that it would be useless to act innocent since he knew. Erik sighed, letting go of her and got ready to explain.

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