The Hero from the Mountain

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Saphira was still following the young woman who appeared out of nowhere, barely able to see through the thickness of the trees. We've been walking for maybe half an hour now, just where is she heading? She thought, getting her answer right after she thought it. It was a small, green house, blending very well in with the area. It didn't seem too big, and rather run down for that matter. However, Saphira felt an odd feeling when he got close to it.

"This is a special training ground used millenniums ago by Masters as means to truly control their powers. It is also my current home. I've lived here, in contact with all the Spirits of Fire for years now, only now sensing a Master of Fire nearby. There are very few Masters that dare walk through these woods, seeing how the war makes this kind of place very dangerous," she explained, Saphira walking closer.

"If it wasn't for the pipe, I wouldn't have noticed it," she said, pointing at the small, gray colored pipe coming out of the roof.

"I always leave that out when I'm out. Even though I live here, even I have trouble noticing this place," she told her, walking towards the door.

"I don't really know about this, I've never heard of Humans having special training places where they learned to control their Spirits," Flarenix said, not too trusting of the woman. You've never had a Master that fights before me either. You were always the peace-maker. Saphira painted out as she followed her through the doors. The room was dark, pitch black in fact. She was barely able to see with her eyes, just barely making out the woman's form.

"You're unable to see clearly, am I correct?" she asked, Saphira saying yes since she didn't know if she could see. "You do not need to speak, I can see you clearly with the help of my Spirit," she said, Saphira looking confused.

"How? I don't think I remember hearing of people that use their Spirits to let them see better," she asked, the woman moving closer.

"Young one, some things aren't in books and can only be learned by doing. You're very talented, I can already tell. But to let out the full potential of your strong, Dragon Spirit, you must train under other Spirits," she said, Saphira walking backwards.

"How do you know what kind of form my Spirit takes?" she asked, not knowing if she should trust her. Usually, you'd only tell someone you truly trust who or what kind of Spirit you have. If a stranger knows, then it means they've either been stalking you, or they've talked to other Spirits that's told them. Either one wouldn't be good if you're doing something you shouldn't.

"My Spirit was very close to yours, which is why I'm going to teach you how to use her full potential and still fight for what you believe in," she said, then suddenly changing her tone. "However, this will take a long time, there's much I must teach you. From being able to use all your abilities, to using your Spirit's eyes,"

"How long exactly are we talking about?" she asked, the woman suddenly behind her and whispering in her ear.

"2 months at the least. That's the fastest anyone has ever been done. By then, this war might have gone out of control," she said, Saphira moving forwards in surprise and thought a bit after she heard what she said.

"Saphira, if you don't take this training, you won't be able to end this war. I can already tell seeing how their strength is growing and you're is stuck at one point because you don't know mine or your full potential. Just take up her offer and we'll end this war after we're done," Flarenix encouraged her, Saphira still unsure. Although she knew her Spirit was right, she couldn't shake off the feeling of doubt. On the other hand, she couldn't really think straight with everything going on around her. She closed her eyes for a moment and opened them.

"Fine, I'll accept your offer," she said, almost regretting her words. The woman only smiled, moving in front of her. "But what's your name? I don't really like training under someone who I don't know the name of," she added, the turning so she was facing her.

"My name is unknown to all. All you need to know is that Faith, the one who gave you a gift yet a curse, is very close to me. Until I know you're able to use your powers how they're meant to be used, you'll have to do with just that," she said, snapping her fingers. And as in response, a lot of candles were lit so Saphira could see her surroundings. She noticed a huge training hall, filled with many different training tools.

"Whoa…" she said, in awe of what she saw.

"Now, let's start your training," she said, Saphira looking up, narrowed her eyes and nodded.

2 months have passed since then, when Saphira accepted the offer to train under this mystery woman. And since then, a lot has changed. Not just the war, but the thoughts the people had about the war.

Dragon Scale had almost killed the Prince, twice. And even went after the ill King, who just recently got better. However, thanks to Dragon Scale, he's unable to think straight or even talk his own mind. No one really knows how they did it, but there's defiantly something stopping him from talking. So his son is in charge of taking care of the war, which only made this war more of a bloodbath.

With Commander Paul still in charge, there would only be lives lost and pointless murders. And also, a lot more rebellion. Small villages, who have lost everything due to the Royal Knights ripping everything off their hands and taking everything they saw, have had enough and some have even broken into the Royal Castle to get some information to end this war. Many lives were lost, but the rebellion just keeps growing. And it seems to make Dragon Scale's forces even stronger.

The Shadow's Knights have been having their handful as well. Since their way of doing things seems to bring more harm than good, people have started making weapons themselves to keep them out. With innocent people in the way, the one in charge refuses to go into villages that have own made weapons because of how weak they are. Which is kind of odd since they didn't hesitate to harm them before, so they're acting a bit off.

Erik himself hasn't really been himself either. Though everyone has had a tough time, he hasn't said a word in over a month. Zack and May are getting very worried, even asking the boss if he knew something about it. But when they first told him, it was the first time hearing, wondering why the one in charge of Erik didn't tell him. Each of them had a special 'guardian' of sort since none of them, except maybe Zack, were considered adults.

As for Nate, he's been more active, being Paul's new right-hand man. He's been very busy causing more trouble than he should be doing, still thinking that the either Dragon Scale of The Shadow's Knights are the reason for their mothers death. Although he hasn't really tried proving this yet or asking some of the Commanders about it for some reason.

As for Natallian, it's been left out of the war so far. However, Dragon Scale has caught wind of it, so now the men have to train in fighting with their Spirits. This is something Natallian hasn't needed in over a thousand years. The one in charge, as in Saphira's father, isn't too happy about it. He has even said that he himself would fight to protect the village.

While in the little wood, in the green house where Saphira was training, everything was quiet. Like the woman had said, no one ever came here. No one bothered since it could be death trap if the enemy has something planned. So Saphira had no clue about this at all because of how quiet her surroundings were.

In those two months, she has defiantly changed. Her emotions were harder to read, and she also thought she would have some trouble connecting with other people after being 'isolated' for 2 months. The only one she's been talking to was that woman and Flarenix, which isn't enough to make her as social as she used to be.

Although her social status isn't going well, she's gotten a lot stronger, and gotten better control of her Spirit. She learned a lot from the woman, who she still didn't know the name of. She was able to use Flarenix's eyes if needed, and learned to control herself in the air like skating on ice, but with her fire. She was also able to allow Flarenix to be longer out when she was in her physical form.

She also stared training on something called Soul Fusion. Something which hasn't been done since the war between The Light Spirits and the Dark Spirits. And no one has been able to do it since then either. According to legends, this form fuses the souls of both the Master and the Spirit, making them both more powerful. And depending on the bond of the two, depends on how well the form works.

Saphira was sitting with her eyes closed against a wall. Her breathing was heavy and her body had bruises all over it. The woman who had been training her walked up to her, her arms crossed.

"Well, you finish a lot quicker than I expected. There's not much else I can teach you. Unless you want to know how to do more damage," she said, Saphira letting out a big sigh before getting up and shaking her head.

"Then I wouldn't be any different form the ones creating this war, now would I?" she said, the woman smiling and snapped her fingers, the door opening. Saphira got up, facing the woman. "Thanks, for everything," she said, bowing in respect and left without saying another word. As Saphira came out, she had to cover her eyes with the small sunlight beam hitting her in the eyes. Being inside for so long out of the sun, it's only natural that she's not used to the strong light. "Now I know how Zane felt when he came out after being inside for years. It feels like I've been in there for a lot longer than I actually have," she said, Flarenix answering to her thoughts.

"That's because technically, you have. That's a special place for Masters to train and the time goes faster in there than it does out here. So when you think about it, you've been in there for maybe a bit over a year and two months here," she explained, Saphira looking surprised.

"That's very interesting. How about we have a look around to see what's happened the last 2 months?" she suggested, Flarenix not looking very happy.

"I actually took a look around while you were training a bit on your own physical strength, and it's bad," she started, coming out in her physical form to finish her explanation. "The war has gotten worse, a lot worse. Normal Humans are starting to rebel because of the Royal Army sudden thirst for more control. Not only have they basically taken everything that most small villages have, but they're also taking away young boys to fight for them.

Dragon Scale hasn't been resting either. They're using that new hatred for the Royal Knights to their advantage and are gaining more willing forces. With every day, there's probably 5-6 new recruit, which if you think about it, is actually a lot.

As for the Shadow's Knights, they've been a lot less active because of the people sudden change into rebelling. They're willing to fight in their own area to protect their homes. They don't have real weapons or fighting skills, so there's not much they can do.

There's also a new group called Wings of Freedom that's fighting against all sides with force and killing their forces. Like the Shadow's Knights, just doing it a bit more direct. They were established not too long ago," she said, Saphira looking a bit worried.

"Now what are we going to do? There's four sides to a war, one in the center of it all, people are going insane and fighting the war themselves and the Royal Army have lost their honor and are fighting using inexperienced lads that could get killed in an instant. Not to mention that Dragon Scale's forces are growing with each passing day. So much has happened," she sighed, suddenly thinking of something else. "What about Natallian?"

"I was afraid you would ask that," Flarenix sighed, her Master instantly looking worried. "So far, no casualties, so that's good. But Nate has been going up there now and again to get more recruits, trying to convince your old man that staying out of this war isn't going to work.

Which he has agreed on, but not on the same page as Nate. He said that he was going to get involved, but to do what you've been doing," she said, Saphira looking surprised. "Word spread thanks to Faith. She went up herself to give him the heads-up, and he plans on continuing what you started while you were training. And he's done a good job,"

"Our town has the most skilled Masters due to the close bond they all have. Although fighting with a weapon isn't something everyone can do. Unless they use the weapons their Spirits have so they can help, they're more or less defenseless," Saphira pointed out, though still looked worried. "Where are they now?"

"Heading towards where you last were, to see if they can get support from the loyal servants of Kathinia," she said, Saphira nodding as she remembered the way there from the house she was at. Even though it had been a long time since she was here, everything looked the same.

As she walked, she heard the sound of metal tanks from below the cliff she was on. She looked around where she was, seeing the end of the forest and jogged over there to see what was going on. When she arrived at the tip of the cliff, she saw heavily modified tanks in gear and getting ready to depart. Something must've happened. She thought, going slowly down the cliff.

"Have you heard? Those mean Dragon Scale have captured the princess of the palace. What kind of monsters would do that," she heard someone say, hiding in an alley way to hear the rest.

"I know, and people say that her father going this far to get her back. Who knows how much danger she could be in," the other said, Saphira narrowing her eyes. She moved quietly passed them and everyone else in the town, hearing a familiar voice talking.

"Fighting like this won't do any good. I'm well aware that your daughter was taken, and I would've thought of doing the same if it was my daughter. But this isn't the time for you to start only thinking about her. By attacking like this, a lot of other people will suffer," a man said, Saphira's eyes shot open.

"Was that dad? I didn't think I would see him here," she said, Flarenix appearing behind her.

"It seems like there's something going on, and your old man seems to be trying to prevent it," she said, Saphira nodding. She moved a bit closer, seeing other people from the village as well.

"As much as I wished it wasn't true, seems like people from Natallian really have been getting involved. And the old man's not lying either. He has almost attacked a small group of travelers before that went past when I went missing a few years back," she said, trying to speak very quietly.

"I remember that, you wanted to go exploring, almost letting people know that there was life up here. At that time, no one knew about the village closest to the Spirits," she said, Saphira smiling at the memory of the villagers running around in circles. She turned her attention back to their conversation.

"You say that, but it's not as easy as that. You weren't the one who could've protected her if it wasn't for that meddling girl 2 months ago. If she hadn't burned the marriage agreement papers, my daughter would be safe," Jiro said, Saphira's father sighing.

"And the war would've been a lot worse. She did that because of the weapons that Shadow's Knights would've gotten. I know she did it for the hope of this war to end," she hear him point out, Jiro not answering. "Which reminds me, I haven't introduced myself. My name is Halberd, leader of Natallian,"

"Natallian? That small village way up in the mountains? Why are you and your people down here?" Jiro asked, seeming shocked.

"Because I believe the girl who stopped the marriage was form out village, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure her actions don't go to waste," he said, Saphira moving behind the rock in case she got caught. "Don't make this war worse over one girl. Sure, she's your daughter. But think of all the innocent people you'll be putting in danger by attacking them without thinking,"

"So what do you suggest I do? Sit back and hope that she'll be saved. I know the location of her, won't that go to waste then?" he said, Saphira sharpening her ears as he said that.

"Then tell me the location and I'll see what we can do about it. Anything is better than using your weapons against them. It'll only do more harm than good," he said, Saphira hearing Jiro sigh

"They're on the highest mountain, right next to where you live. They've got a weapon facility there as well, although they don't know about your village as far as I know," he said, Saphira smirking and quietly going to the forest right next to where she was. That makes things even easier. Since I've been up there before. But I don't remember seeing a weapon facility. She thought, Flarenix answering her suspicion.

"They built it once they thought about getting their hands on Mariallie. But I don't know why they want her," she said, Saphira starting to run,

"I do, because she's the next heir to the 'throne' I guess you could say. Since she's the next leader of the town that has the closest connection to one of the strongest Spirits, it's no wonder they want her. As well as the towns weapons," she pointed out. Flarenix nodded as she started to slow down. She looked around, seeing the exit of the forest and walked over to it. When the strong light hit her eyes, something she wasn't expecting appeared.

A group of fighters were fighting off the Royal Army, being led by someone in the front who was constantly trying to get to Paul. What the hell is this? I know you told me that they started fighting against them, but I didn't think it would be like this. They look like they want to kill them. She thought, looking at the one charging forward. She found him familiar, but couldn't quite see with the hood covering his face.

"You'll all pay for the pain and sorrow you've given everyone because of your stupid war!" he roared, Saphira going down and staying low so they wouldn't notice her.

"You're the one who'll pay for your insolence towards his Majesty!" Paul roared in the same manner. The others shouted out words against each other, taunting themselves as well as their enemy.

"This isn't how things should be. Even I admit that the Commander has a lot of screws loose, but this isn't how you should deal with it," she said to herself, wanting to get in the middle of it. Then, something else crossed her mind. "Flarenix, can you figure out who that man is leading this rebellion?"

"Why do you want to know that?" she asked, not understanding her reason. She told her Spirit about how familiar he felt and that she needed to know if he as an ally or an enemy. Or a bit of both for that manner. "I'll try sensing what his Spirit is," she told her, Saphira thanking her.

"I really hope it's not who I think it is," she said to herself, getting her sword ready. Flarenix let out a low growl, Saphira expecting the worst.

"It's that boy we met before we went to the cat place, Zane," she said, Saphira biting her lower lip. I was afraid of that. Fighting him isn't the easiest thing in the world. In fact, it might be one of the hardest. She thought, pulling the hood over her head. As she moved quietly to the battle, she saw Zane breaking through Paul's defenses and was heading straight for him. Saphira gasped and quickened her paste.

"Time to die," he said, aiming for his head. Saphira drew her sword and was able to make it go a bit of course, cutting his cheek instead. "Who the hell are you? And why are you protecting this rat?"

"Protecting is the wrong word. But you don't need to kill him to bring an end to his cruelty. There's better ways to do it than making a bigger bloodbath," she said, Paul drawing his sword and getting ready to strike her. However, she still had that small knife she got from Jak way back. She held it up while still holding off Zane. Her muscles were more capable of holding off physical attacks after the training she went through.

"You're a lot stronger than last time. Is that why you haven't been bothering with us for 2 months? You've been training up to become a weapon?" he asked, trying to make her seem like the bad guy.

"My 'weapon', as you call it, is for protecting the ones who have nothing to do with the war. And thanks to the rebellion you've forced out, there's a lot less people to protect. However, even though that's my goal, I'll still protect all those I see need it, good or bad, as long as their heart is still pure," she said, giving a very convincing speech that made everyone but those three stop.

"Pure of heart? This is a war, not a playground. Name one example on someone who's pure of heart in this God forsaken war?" he taunted, Saphira's eyes moving right over to Zane, who looked surprised.

"You said that I protected him, you're half wrong. I did protect someone, but it wasn't him. It was you," she stated, pushing them both away. "If you would've killed him, your heart would've grown dark. It's already on good way, but not quite there yet," she explained further, Zane narrowing his eyes.

"And how exactly am I supposed to know you're not some fake? Like someone trying to be a brave Hero form fairy tales?" he asked, Saphira sighing as she started making flames portals underneath all of them.

"You're memory is pretty bad, Zane. And I thought you'd still recognize my voice only after 2 months. Guess I had nothing to worry about," she said, Zane looking more confused. But before he could say another word, the portals sent them to each their way, Paul and his Army going back to the castle and Zane and his men going to wherever they called home.

"This is only the beginning, you know this. So why show them that you can use your flames to teleport people already?" Flarenix asked as she came out behind her, pulling off the hood

"So they could stop fighting, I'll take care of myself after this is done. How far to the mountain?" she asked, Flarenix sighing.

"Not far from, just past this field. Be careful, though. Dragon Scale are probably the most ruthless of them all," she said, Saphira nodding as she narrowed her eyes and headed for the mountain once again.

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