Overlord Rising (Part 1)
by Burnout Beau
Note: The story takes place before "Faster than Fear".
Chapter 1: Discovery
For almost two hours, Lokke and his purple pack-class dragon, Dodjj, walked at a fast pace along the desert road towards Dragon City. Since the start of their journey, Dodjj has been running non-stop from their home, besieged by a mysterious army without warning. It was only after an hour that Lokke ordered Dodjj to slow down to prevent his dragon from over-exerting itself. Sitting behind Lokke, on Dodjj's back, is Alecksandyr and his sister, Danyelle. Danyelle, who is five years younger than Aleck, was asleep in Aleck's arms while Aleck looks on at his sleeping sister. There are bruises on his face near his left eye and his temple while his right arm is bandaged.
Lokke looked at Aleck and asked his nephew, "How's the arm?"
Aleck looked at his bandaged right arm before looking at his uncle and replied, "It doesn't hurt anymore. It's a good thing nothing is broken."
Lokke smiled at his reply. "And Dany?"
"She's fine, just tired," Aleck answered and looked down at his sister, stroking her brown hair softly
Lokke nodded at Aleck's reply before focusing on the journey ahead. Aleck then asked his uncle, "How long is the journey to Dragon City?"
"We should be arriving soon," Lokke simply answered, without turning back. "In fact, I think we're here already."
Aleck looked ahead and saw a signboard that loomed over their heads, with a statement that says, "Welcome to Dragon City". Beyond the signboard, buildings started to appear in their view. As they continue on, Aleck noticed that these buildings are rather tall, much taller than the ones in his hometown.
"The city ahead of us is Sun City, the most advanced city. This city is also home to the .Your new home, however, will be in Mid-City, which is located below Sun City," Lokke told his nephew.
Aleck stared at his uncle in disbelief, "Below another city? How is that possible?"
Lokke chuckled at Aleck's response and simply said, "Engineering marvel, I guess."
As they entered the city, Aleck can only stare in awe at the magnificient-looking buildings between them. The city is buzzing with the citizen's daily activities. The streets are packed with people and dragons alike. Some are hanging around with friends, some are trading gears with each other and some are discussing about races. There are also people driving cars along the road, which Aleck guessed that these people don't have dragons. Despite all the activities going on, Dodjj doesn't seem to be interested.
Lokke guided his dragon to a particular area of the city, where three platforms are visible on one side of the street. Each platform have railings on two of its sides, with the other two sides being the opening for users to enter and exit the platform. They stepped on one of the platform, but nothing happened. Before Aleck can ask his uncle about the platform, it jerked a bit before sinking down to the ground. The street they were on earlier is now above them as the platform dscended further down. Around them, concrete poles which support the suspended streets of Sun City rose from the abyss below. The descent lasted for less than a minute before finally reaching the lower floor. Once the platform stopped, Dodjj moved ahead towards the road ahead of them. Once they're off the platform, it moved back up to Sun City for other people to use it.
Aleck looked around at the new surrounding. Unlike Sun City, the atmosphere here is not as bright as Sun City, but still receive sufficient sunlight from the sun. The buildings are not as tall as in Sun City either, and they are slightly older too.
So, this is Mid-City, Aleck thought to himself. Not as great as Sun City, but it should do.
"Are you hungry? I'm thinking of stopping at a food station first before heading for home if you are," Lokke asked Aleck, who is still looking around. Upon hearing that question, Aleck could hear his stomach growling, as if answering that question.
"I guess that's a yes," Lokke chaffed upon hearing his nephew's response, which left him embarassed a little.
To add further insult, Danyelle stirred in her sleep before waking up and looked at her brother and asked, "What was that sound?"
Now Aleck's face is flushing red and only gave her a silly smile. Lokke simply laughed at her question. Even Dodjj chuckled upon hearing that as they headed for the nearest food station.
Aleck leaned at the railing at the side of the street, looking down at a race that was going on below him while eating a cheeseburger. One particular rider that caught his attention is the one racing on a blue and red dragon. He has never seen anyone race on a dragon with such skill and talent before. The way he overtook one racer after another and the moves that were executed by his dragon is simply stunning and breathtaking.
My parents would be proud at this person's performance, Aleck thought to himself, remembering how his parents used to train him intensively in riding a dragon properly.
"Enjoying the race?" Aleck spun around to see his uncle walking towards him; Danyelle was at his side munching on a candy bar.
"You can say that," Aleck answered back, returning his focus on the race. Lokke and Danyelle joined him at his side. Aleck pointed out, "I must admit that I'm impressed at that rider on the blue and red dragon. His moves and style of racing is so...smooth."
Lokke looked at where Aleck is pointing while Danyelle tried calling out to the racers below and even waving at them. Upon seeing the rider, he let out a sigh and said, "That rider is Artha Tannis Penn, one of the hottest prospects in dragon racing. His father is the great Connor Penn, a former racer himself. That lad got a bright future. His dragon, Beau, is perhaps the best dragon I've ever seen. But life's not easy for the boy. Already without a mother, his father disappeared suddenly when his stable was attacked, or so that's what I heard from other people. I believe someone else could be tutoring him. But then again, I'm not the kind of person who stucks his nose in other people's business."
Aleck nodded and replied, "Yeah, life must have been tough for him without his parents, and especially with all those high expectations placed on his shoulders. I understand how he must've felt." Aleck looks on as Artha and his dragon Beau crossed the finish line, past the chequered flag to claim first place, much to the delight of the crowds.
Lokke turned away from the race and called out to both Aleck and Danyelle, "Come on. The race is over. We better get moving."
Danyelle turned and ran to her uncle while Aleck stayed a little while to finish his meal, watching Artha celebrate with his friends at the same time, before finally leaving to join his uncle.
By the time they reached Lokke's house, it was already late afternoon. Fortunately for them, it wasn't very hot here in Mid-City, unlike Sun City which was totally exposed to the sun's heat.
Aleck and Danyelle got down from Dodjj's back while Lokke was magged gently off his saddle and onto the ground. He went to the front door and unlocked it. He motioned the two of them in and said, "Go ahead and help yourselves while I bring Dodjj to his stable." He left silently and bring Dodjj to his stable.
As Aleck entered the house, Danyelle called out, "Aleck, how long do we have to stay here?"
Aleck turned around, seeing that his sister was still standing outside staring at him with an innocent look on her face. Aleck went back out and crouched in front of his sister and said sympathetically, "By the way events are turning out, looks like we'll be staying her for a long time."
Danyelle looked down for a moment before replying, "I miss mum and dad."
Aleck embraced her and whispered, "I miss them too."
Suddenly, there was a loud crash at the back of the house where the stable is, startling both Aleck and Danyelle.
"What was that?" Danyelle asked Aleck, but he did not answer her question. Instead, he immediately went to the back to see what is happening.
When he reached the back, he saw Lokke trying to get to his feet. Aleck looked around to see Dodjj growling at something in the stable. Apparently something inside the stable must have hurled his uncle to the ground with great force. Aleck went to where Dodjj stood and looked inside. What he saw inside made him feel pity and shocked.
Inside the stable, an oddly-coloured quadripedal dragon stood before them, snarling at both Aleck and Dodjj, ready to attack anyone who venture too close to it.
Note: "human language" / :dragon language:.
Chapter 2: Remnants of the Past
This dragon is not in good shape, Aleck told himself.
The dragon in the stable was indeed not in good shape. It's body was covered with scratches, ranging from shallow ones to deep and bleeding ones. Most of the serious gashes were at his right side at the rib cage area and his hind legs. The dragon was also bleeding from the side of it's mouth and dripping down to the ground. It crouched low to the ground, panting hardly with it's mouth slightly open. It dug it's claws into the ground, ready to defend itself if anyone ventures too close.
But for Aleck, although the dragon is badly wounded, it was it's appearance that makes it look magnificient. Unlike the dragons he encountered in his hometown, this dragon was mainly metallic silver and red in colour. On it's sides were black streaks that runs from it's shoulder to it's hind legs. The dragon also has fins on it's tail. Aleck also noticed that there's a gold collar placed around it's neck near the base of it's head. It was then that Aleck realised something familiar.
It looked like Artha's dragon, Beau!
:Stay back! Don't come any closer:, the dragon hissed at them. It's yellow eyes showing signs of anger and fear.
To the humans, the dragon's conversation merely sounds like barking or grunting. Lokke joined Aleck at his side and when he saw the dragon, he could not believe at the dragon's appearance.
"Have you seen any dragons like this before?" Aleck asked his uncle, unable to peel his eyes of it.
Lokke shook his head and replied, "No. Never had I seen anything like it before." Lokke and Aleck then noticed that Dodjj seems to be trying to converse with the injured dragon. Lokke continued, "Looks like Dodjj is trying to communicate."
Dodjj, noticing that the dragon is a male, took a step forward and asked him, :Who are you? And why did you attack my rider?:
The silver dragon backed up to the wall and continued growling at them.
Dodjj realised that the injured dragon is in fear and replied sympathetically, :You are afraid of something, isn't it? Something that could be responsible for your injuries.:
:None of your business,: the silver dragon growled.
Danyelle soon joined her uncle and Aleck by the stable entrance. When she saw the injured dragon, she gasped, "Oh, that pitiful dragon!"
Lokke extended his arm in front of her and warned, "Careful, Dany. It might hurt you if you come too close." Dany obliged by moving back slightly.
Dodjj continued, :There is no need to be afraid of me or my human friends. We may not know who did this to you, but my rider can help you treat those injuries of yours.:
The silver dragon looked around for a way out, but realised that his only way out is blocked by the purple dragon and the three humans beside him. :How can I trust you?:
Dodjj paused for a moment before replying, :If you don't trust me,: he slowly approached the silver dragon, :then you may strike me, like how you did to my rider.:
Aleck saw that Dodjj is moving towards the silver dragon and tried to stop him, but Lokke grabbed his shoulder and replied, "Don't worry, he knows what he's doing."
The silver dragon crouched lower as Dodjj approached him slowly. He feared for his safety; his instincts told him not to trust anyone, especially strangers. But what if his words were true; that they are willing to help him and not related to the threat he's facing?
Who should I trust? My instincts or his words?
But before he reach a decision, his head suddenly felt dizzy and his vision getting blurry. He felt his whole body getting weak and tired due to his injuries. He tried shaking his head to clear off the dizziness, but to no avail. It wasn't long before his legs felt too weak to support his body and he fell to the ground on his left side.
He saw the humans rushing towards him, but before he can do anything, he blacked out.
Somewhere outside Dragon City, a small group of nine people and dragons stood silently, observing their surrounding. They were dressed mostly in black or darker colours. These people wore cloaks that concealed their faces from view. They were also armed with weapons ranging from staffs to energy guns. Their dragons are all black in colour; with fiery red eyes, long fangs and menacing-looking fins that ran along their legs and tails. Just like their riders, some of the dragons are armed with fearsome weapon gears that were never seen before. Some of them stood quietly, waiting for their rider's orders; while others were snarling and growling, ready to attack anything that stood in their way.
Ahead of the group, a man was observing the city through his binoculars. Unlike the other people, he wore a menacing red-and-black mask that can make some people cringe upon seeing him. He observed the city on his own dragon, which is about twice the size larger than the other dragons. It sniffed the air curiously, before letting out a low growl. It's rider gently stroked it's head, calming it down.
He was soon joined by another man from the group. The man asked, "Our dragons seem to pick up it's scent, mi'lord. And by the looks of it, the scent sseems to lead us to that city. Should we move in?"
The masked man put down his binoculars and replied sternly, "No. I don't want anyone of us to be seen. We might raise suspiscion, considering this is a huge city. I suggest it's best to release the Drag-hounds first. Let them track down and confirm that our target is in the city. As for now, we wait here."
The man beside him nodded. He turned to the group and yelled out, "Release the Drag-hounds."
At the back of the group, a carriage was opened, and eight reptilian-looking canines were led out to where the masked man stood. Upon seeing the Drag-hounds, he leaped down from his dragon and knelt beside them. He whispered to them, "You know who to look for. Go find him." Immediately, the eight Drag-hounds darted towards the city at a lightning pace.
The masked man stood up, watching the eight Drag-hounds disappear into the horizon. The man beside him then asked, "Do you think they can track down our target?"
The masked man said calmly, "They are born to track down anything they are told to. They are fierce and strong, capable of wounding a dragon. And just like us, the shadow is their ally." The masked man continued to observe the city, feeling disgusted at it.
When the time comes, I shall destroy this great city and everyone will soon learn to fear the shadows, fear the Legion of Shadows, and fear...the Shadow Overlord.
The silver dragon stirred is his slumber. His body felt as it was on fire. His leg muscles were burning like mad and his head feels light.
He opened one eye to peek at his surroundings. He realised that he is still in the stable, perhaps at the same spot where he fell unconcious. He lifted his head and looked at his body. There are bandages wrapped around his rib cage area, where most of the serious scratches were, as well as around his hind legs. The shallow scratches, mostly at his back and fore legs, were left alone as they are not serious or bleeding.
It was already dark outside. The stable was illuminated by a single lamp, bright enough for the dragon to look around. The stable is big enough to accomodate two dragons comfortably.
:How are you feeling now?:
The silver dragon turned to where the voice came from. At the corner of the stable, Dodjj lay comfortably on his side; the tip of his tail tapping the ground lightly. The silver dragon responded, :Uncomfortable. My body ached all over and I'm really hungry.:
Dodjj chuckled softly, :Don't worry, our meals should be arriving soon. In fact, they should be here by now.:
There was a sound outside the stable as the door opened slowly. Both dragons turned to the door to see Lokke and Aleck carrying food for their dragon. They placed the food inside a large trough at the corner nearest to the door. While Lokke filled the trough, Aleck walked towards the silver dragon and crouched in front of it. The silver dragon just stared at the teenager.
"Hopefully you're feeling better now, I guess," Aleck said, reaching his hands out to stroke the dragon under it's rather huge chin. The silver dragon tensed a bit.
Aleck reassured, "It's okay, there's no need to be afraid of us."
Feeling slightly assured, he allowed Aleck to stroke his chin softly. Aleck continued, "I must admit; you're perhaps the most strangest-looking dragon I've ever seen in my whole life. I don't remember seeing any dragon with such odd colours before."
The silver dragon smiled weakly, :Everyone said that wherever I go.: Dodjj heard his comments and chuckled too.
While Aleck stroked it's chin, he noticed the gold collar around it's neck. He looked at it closely and tried to touch it. The silver dragon tensed his neck muscles a bit, as if ready to jerk his neck away from his hands.
Aleck observed the collar for a while before saying, "Hm, this collar looks pretty tight around your neck. Don't mind if I try taking it off?"
Immediately, the dragon jerked it's head away from Aleck's hands and shaking his head repeatedly. :Please don't, I beg you.:
Aleck was suprised by the dragon's sudden reaction. Upon seeing his reaction, he eyed him curiously, "That collar looks pretty uncomfortable and tight for your liking. You sure you don't want it removed?"
The silver dragon shakes his head again. Dodjj eyeing him curiously at his sudden reaction.
"Very well, if that's what you want," Aleck just shrugged and got up to his feet.
When the food was ready, Lokke got up and said to the two dragons, "Dinner is ready. Hopefully there's enough for the both of you." He turned to Aleck and said, "Come, let's have our own dinner."
Aleck nodded and joined his uncle as they leave the two dragons to their own meals. When Lokke closed the stable door, he went to Aleck and asked, "How's the arm?"
Aleck looked and touched it and said, "It doesn't hurt much compared to earlier."
Lokke sighed softly, "Best to just leave it on until tomorrow." He placed a hand on his nephew's shoulder as they returned back to the house. "Speaking of tomorrow, I'll be heading to the Dragon City Security Forces' headquarters in Precinct to report if that silver dragon we found is a missing dragon. I don't want to be accused of stealing dragons. So you will be taking care of it while I'm away."
Aleck simply shrugged, "Sure. Not a problem."
Back in the stable, Dodjj said to the silver dragon, :Since you're hungry, go ahead and eat first. I'll join in after you're done.:
The silver dragon looked at him and said, :You're not joining in now?:
Dodjj simply replied, :I'm not really hungry anyway. Besides, the trough is only large enough for one dragon.:
:Thank you for your kindness,: the silver dragon acknowledged Dodjj's kindness. The silver dragon got up slowly; his body ached as he stretched them. As he walked, the pain from his wounds started to radiate throughout his legs and body, causing him to flinched a little. Dodjj's body tensed, ready to come to his aid if needed. Despite the pain, he walked slowly to the trough and dipped his head to pick the food into his mouth.
Dodjj waited patiently as the silver dragon gulped down the food hungrily. When he was done, he backed away from the trough and turned to Dodjj, :I'm done. And, uh, sorry for keeping you waiting for so long.:
Dodjj just chuckled and got up and walked towards the trough, :There's no need for apology. I'm just doing a favour for a fellow dragon.:
As Dodjj watched the silver dragon returned to his corner, he asked him, :I must admit; I'm quite curious with that gold collar around your neck. What is it for?:
There was a long pause as the silver dragon lay down on the ground quietly. Before Dodjj can repeat his question, he replied, :Nothing. Please stop asking about it.: He looked at Dodjj with sad eyes.
:Fine, but one more thing I would like to know; who caused those injuries on you. Is it other dragons?: Dodjj asked the silver dragon curiously.
The silver dragon stared at him for a moment before looking away. :You have no idea who you are dealing with.:
Dodjj stood firmly, not giving up. :But if you don't tell me, how am I going to help you?:
:Hush! Not to loud. They might hear you. They could be anywhere, even outside. If I mention their name, I'm afraid they will know where I am,: the silver dragon whispered. He stayed silent for a while, listening to anything suspicious, before continuing, :But I can tell you this; night is their favourite time of the day. They can suddenly appear out of nowhere, and when you finally realise it, it's too late.: He let out a yawn and lay his head on the ground, sleepy-eyed. :I'm grateful for your help, but trust me, you might not stand a chance against them. Throughout my life, I was hunted by them like a wild beast. But my saviour is ,perhaps, the only one who can stop them dead in their tracks.: Soon, the silver dragon closed his tired eyes, allowing sleep to take over him.
Dodjj went on to eat his meal. While eating, he paused and turned to the silver dragon and asked quickly, :If you don't mind, may I know who is this saviour of yours?:
The silver dragon let out a soft sigh and said only one word, :Beaucephalis.:
Chapter 3: Confessions
Aleck found himself among the ruins of what used to be a town. Brown dust clouds, caused by strong gusts of wind, swirled uncaringly into his face, preventing him from getting a good view of his surroundings. With eyes shielded by his arms, he can still see the wreckage of buildings that lay around him. Large debris scattered the ground, undisturbed by the wind; but the smaller debris were being dragged by the wind along the sandy ground.
He looked around, wondering how he ended up here. It was then that he realised a horrible fact; this town was his hometown.
As Aleck was looking around, despite the dust clouds, he saw two human figures on bipedal dragons on a defensive stance. He tried to contemplate the two figures but without success. One of them, which looked like a woman based on her long flowing hair, seems to notice Aleck and waved at him. Aleck tried to walk towards the two figures. As he came closer, he noticed that both of them has black hair and that both their dragons are red, with the woman still waving at him. A few more steps later, he got a good view of the two human figures and stared at them in disbelief.
It was his parents.
His mother yelled in desperation, "Get out of here! Now!" She waved him off frantically.
Before he can react, a huge black dust cloud loomed over them, engulfing them without warning.
"Nooooo!!!" Aleck screamed in agony as the black cloud raced towards him, engulfing him in total darkness.
Aleck woke up in a cold sweat. He was breathing heavily, his heart beating vigorously. He looked around, ready to defend himself, but found that he was in his room all the while. It was still dark outside.
It was a nightmare all the while, he thought silently, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his left arm.
He looked at the clock by his bedside. It was only 12.15 a.m. Sighing softly, he fell back to bed, pondering over the dream he had. It wasn't long before sleep overcame him again.
Mid-City was already quiet before midnight. Most of the stores were closed for the day, with the exception of certain restaurants and snack bars that are still open for business. But not everyone is willing to go out at this time of the night, considering the crime rate at that time is quite high. Despite patrols by Dragon City's own security force, there are still criminals out there challenging the law. And tonight was no exception either.
At one part of the city, a small group of black dragons and their riders gathered in front of a gear shop. All of the riders' clothing has an insignia of a black reptilian eye, symbolising that they are the Dragon Eye crew. Just like all the other crews in the city, they are racing crews. But unlike the other crews, they were the most hated crew in the city. They often resolved to dirty racing tactics to win races, much to the disgust of spectators and racers alike. The Dragon Eye crew is also notorius for commiting crimes in the city and they are also linked to the kidnapping of other dragons, but there were no evidence to back up those statements. Worse still, the crew was led by Moordryd Paynn, son of Word Paynn, the most powerful man in Dragon City, and owner of Paynn Incorporated.
Moordryd got down from his dragon, Decepschun and, using a glass-cutting device, started cutting in a circular pattern through the glass that displayed the gears. Once it was done, he removed the glass with the device and ushered his crew to take the gears.
"Take all if you can. They will be crucial for our races," he commanded, watching as his crewmates take whatever gears they can. He turned to Cain, his second-in-command, and ordered, "Be on the look out for any security forces. But most importantly, be on the look out for-"
Cain yelled and pointed up, "The Dragon Booster!"
Moordryd looked in at where Cain's finger pointed and clutched his fist in anger. Standing on the roof of a store opposite the gear shop was his nemesis, the legendary Dragon Booster and his powerful black-and-gold dragon. In reality, the Dragon Booster was actually Artha Penn who, ironically, was also Moordryd's race rival, and the black-and-gold dragon is in fact Artha's dragon, Beau. Fortunately, Moordryd did not know that.
Beau leapt from the roof down to the street and stood in front of Moordryd and his crew, growling at them. :Don't you guys ever take a break from crime for one night?:
Artha yelled to Moordryd, "Give it up, Paynn! Might as well just leave all those stolen gears behind."
But Moordryd simply laughed, "Oh, I will. Providing if you can beat me in a duel."
"We've gone through this before. You were no match for me in a one-on-one duel. In fact," Artha paused for a moment to think, "you've never beaten me before since we first met." Beau chuckled at that fact.
Moordryd gave a furious look at his nemesis. It was true that he had never beaten the Dragon Booster in a one-on-one fight, and it was always the latter who ruined all his father's plan, which sometimes resulted in Moordryd getting a good scolding from his father for failing to achieve his plans.
But Moordryd calmed himself down and replied calmly, "True that you always beat me in a one-on-one duel. But this time, let's try something else; a five-on-one duel." The white-haired teenager was magged onto his saddle by Decepschun and with his other crewmates, started converging on the Dragon Booster.
Artha and his dragon prepared for a massive attack. Beau crouched to the ground, ready to unleash his fury at his opponents. He made eye contact with Decepschun and growled, :You don't have to follow what Moordryd want. You could have just walked away.:
Decepschun simply grunted, :Walk away? Who do you think I am? A coward? Besides, I have been waiting for this moment to get my paws on you, just like Moordryd on your pathetic rider.:
Before the Dragon Eye crew can launch an attack, growlings echoed throughout the street. Everyone on the street froze upon hearing that. The five black dragons froze in their tracks and tried to listen where or what that sound was.
"What...is that sound?" Cain stammered, looking around as his dragon, Coerschun trembled slightly.
Moordryd looked around anxiously for the source of the sound. Then, he turned to the Dragon Booster and asked angrily, "What kind of trickery are you up to this time?"
Artha, who was also looking around, retorted, "Trickery? I have nothing to do with this. Honestly." He soon noticed that Beau was growling at something. He looked at where Beau was growling and was stunned at what he saw.
Out of a dark alley facing them, eight reptilian-looking canines stepped out to face the six dragons and humans. These canines are much smaller than the dragons and they have jet-black scaly hides. Their yellow reptilian eyes were fixed upon the suprised group. They bared their yellow fangs, snarling and barking at them as they walked slowly towards the group.
Cain stammered, "I don't know what those are, but I don't like the looks of it. Let's just get out of here!" Without thinking twice, he urged Coerschun to make a dash.
Upon seeing Coerschun running off, the canines charged at the group at an incredibly fast pace. Immediately, the other Dragon Eye crew bolted off as Moordryd yelled out at them to stay put. Before he can follow them, he was almost thrown off his saddle when Decepschun reared back suddenly. Moordryd tried to calm her down, but saw that one of the canines took a bite at her left foreleg and refused to let go. Decepschun tried to shake it off her leg and succeeded. Once the canine let go of her leg, she bolted off to join the rest of the crew.
While they were running away, Moordryd turned back and realised that the Dragon Booster is also making a run in their direction, which gave him an idea. Similing evilly, he used his energy whip and whipped it at Beau's legs. It made contact with his legs with a loud crack, causing him to yelp in pain as he tripped and fell hard to the ground.
Artha hold on as Beau crashed to the ground. He can only look in disgust as Moordryd darted off into the night. He looked back to see the eight canines approaching him fast.
"Come on, boy! Let's get out of here fast!" Artha urged his dragon on. But before Beau can make a dash, one of the canines pounced at his rider. With quick reflexes, Beau swatted the canine away with his tail. By that time, the other canines arrived and pounced at Beau.
Some of them pounced and bit his legs while others attempted to get at Artha. Using his Jakk Stick, he swung it at the canines, sending them crashing to the ground. Beau twisted his body around, swatting any canines with his tail and even kicking them with his hind legs. At the same time, he tried to dislodge any canines that bit his legs; shaking them hard and slamming the canine's body to the ground.
:It's no good. These creatures keep coming back, unless,: Beau focused his energy as his body glowed a brilliant gold. Before the canines could back away, bolts of mag energy erupted from the dragon's body, sending all the canines around them flying and sprawling to the ground.
Both dragon and human looked on as the eight canines got up slowly and gathered together. Instead of charging at them, they looked at each other; grunting and nodding their head. They turned their attention back to Beau and his rider. Both dragon and rider prepared for another onslaught, but the canines did not attack them. Rather, they let out a growl before turning back and running off into the darkness of the alley where they came from.
Thinking that it was safe, Artha leaped down to inspect any injuries that Beau picked up during the fight. Many of his wounds are only shallow scratches, but blood were seeping out from the bite marks on his legs.
:I'll be fine,: Beau grunted, licking his wounds.
His rider got up and said, "We'd better head back home. Those bite marks need treatment." He shrugged, "At least Moordryd left empty-handed again for the night."
Beau magged him back up onto his saddle and took off. Artha took a quick glance at the dark alley.
What were those things anyway? he wondered.
The silver dragon stirred in his sleep as he felt something bothering his eyes. He opened his sleepy eyes with a squint, trying to figure out what is bothering him. But all he saw was a bright light shining upon his half-opened eyes. Thinking that he was discovered, he quickly got to his feet, fully awake and ready to defend himself from harm.
He looked around and saw nothing. In fact, the stable wasn't dark anymore. He looked up at the small opening at the top of the stable wall near the ceiling and saw light shining into the stable and onto where his head was. It was morning.
Silly me. It was only the sunlight, the silver dragon sighed in relief. He let out a yawn and stretched his body like a cat; stretching his leg and body muscles. Fortunately, it doesn't ache anymore, much to his comfort.
He noticed that Dodjj was not in the stable. He looked at the door to see it slightly opened. He walked to the door and using his head, pushed it open slowly and peeked outside.
No one outside. Should I make a run and leave this place? The silver dragon wondered. But that would be rude, considering how they treated me well.
From where he stood, he saw no one at first. As he goes further out, he saw Aleck and Danyelle at the open space between the house and the stable. They seemed to be doing some sort of fighting ritual that he doesn't understand. The silver dragon looked on in interest as the siblings performed the strange ritual in a synchronised manner, which involved executing rhythmic and unique patterns of punching, kicking, blocking and leaping. The steps were so well coordinated and executed, pausing is not a necessity for them. As he continued observing the siblings, he realised that this ritual is divided into two elements; defence and attack. They moved quickly from one element to the next as they executed their next move. Their movements were so agile and fast, he was having trouble in trying to intepret each of their moves properly.
Uhh, I think I'm feeling dizzy again, the silver dragon thought to himself, shaking his head at the same time. By the time he felt better, the siblings were done with their fighting ritual.
Danyelle, who was wiping sweat from her face, saw the silver dragon and told her brother, "Hey, look! That dragon is awake already." She rushed to where the silver dragon stood with Aleck sauntering behind her. Danyelle gave the silver dragon a good scratch under his chin. The silver dragon let out a deep purr in response to her actions. Aleck looked at the dragon's reaction and smirked, keeping himself from laughing.
"Wow! You're one awesome-looking dragon! I've never seen anything like you before. Were you looking at us earlier?" Danyelle said in excitement.
:Yeah, and I must admit that the both of you are impressive,: the silver dragon replied with a nod.
She turned to her brother and asked, "What do you think we should call it?"
"Well, I don't know. It might be someone else's dragon," Aleck replied, rubbing his chin.
"Or it could be a stray."
"Could be. But it's best to wait until uncle Lokke return."
It wasn't long before Lokke did returned. The silver dragon turned his attention to the approaching purple dragon and asked, :Where did you go?:
Dodjj just snickered instead. The way he snickered makes the silver dragon feel slightly uneasy. :Somewhere. And speaking of places, looks like you'll be going nowhere.:
:Nowhere? What do you mean by that?: the silver dragon asked, sounding suprised.
Dodjj did not respond. He magged Lokke down his saddle as Danyelle ran towards him and pleaded, "Can we keep it, uncle Lokke?"
Lokke smiled at his niece and stroked her brown hair. "Well, considering that no one lost such a dragon...why not?"
Danyelle smiled happily at his reply. "Thank you so much."
:WHAT??: the silver dragon gasped in disbelief, his jaws hanging open. For the humans, all they can hear is a "wha" sound coming from the dragon's mouth. He was so shocked, he barely even flinched when Danyelle hugged and locked onto his right fore leg. Dodjj couldn't help laughing at the silver dragon's stunned look on his face.
Aleck went to his uncle and inquired, "So, there are no reports of any missing dragon of this kind?"
Lokke shook his head. "Nope. None at all. The security officer gave me a full list of missing dragons for the last two months and none of them matched this one."
Danyelle finally let go of the silver dragon's leg and stroked it's neck. She turned to Aleck and repeated her earlier question, "So, what are we going to call it?"
Lokke briefly studied the silver dragon's physical appearance and said, "It seems to be a male. So, give him a male's name."
Aleck looked back and replied smoothly, "Well, I'm not really sure yet." He paused for a moment and closed his eyes, deep in thought.
After a moment, he slowly replied, "I'll call him...Sygurd."
The silver dragon shook it's head upon hearing the given name. :What kind of a-: Before he can finish his question, Dodjj swatted his head with his tail. :Ow! What's that for?:
Danyelle and Lokke stared at him silently. "Are you sure, Aleck?" Lokke asked, breaking the silence
Lokke sighed softly, "Very well, if that is what you intended to call him from now on."
Danyelle walked to her uncle and held his arms. "Come on. Let's have breakfast." Lokke smiled and followed her back to the house as Aleck followed slowly behind them.
Sygurd watched as the three humans went back to the house. He turned to Dodjj and asked, :That Aleck looked slightly disturbed when he gave me that name. What's that all about?:
Dodjj answered sadly, :He named you after his father's dragon. Sygurd was a great and wise dragon in Aleck's hometown. He's very well respected by the other dragons and was even chosen as their leader. But...:
Sygurd cocked his head. :But what?:
:But tragedy struck. He and his mate, Aleck's mother's dragon, was killed trying to defend their home, which was besieged by some mysterious group. They attacked before sunrise when it was still dark. Despite their small number, they defeated almost anyone that stood against them. Only Aleck's parents provided the most resistance against the attackers, but not even their strength and teamwork can repel the attackers and they both fell with their dragons. Aleck would've been killed if it wasn't for Lokke's intervention.:
Sygurd's blood froze when he heard Dodjj's story. Shell-shocked, he quickly walked away.
Dodjj was suprised by Sygurd's sudden reaction. :Sygurd?: But no reply came from him. Instead, he continued walking towards the back of the stable. Concerned, he followed the silver dragon to the back of the stable.
Upon reaching the back, Dodjj saw him leaning slightly against the stable wall with his head hanging low and tail drooping. :Are you okay?:
Sygurd stammered without looking at Dodjj, :T-t-this group that attacked Aleck's home, are they...dressed mostly in black? Both human and dragon alike?:
Dodjj simply replied, :Well, from what I heard and saw, yes. How do you know this?:
Sygurd turned his head to face the purple dragon. With tears watering his eyes, he spoke softly, :My worst fears have come true. More innocent lives were lost because of me. It's all my fault...:
Dodjj shook his head. :I don't get it. Why are you blaming yourself for something you didin't do?:
:I will tell you something that you may not believe.: Sygurd paused for a while before continuing. :The group that attacked Aleck's home...is the same group that wounded me. I passed through a town three days ago unnoticed where I stayed for the night, and left before dawn broke out. I thought the Legion would just pass through the town rather than attacking it.:
Dodjj was not really convinced yet and asked, :But...how can you tell if the town you passed is indeed Aleck's home? There are several towns scattered around Dragon City.:
:Because it was located north of this place.:
The purple dragon was stunned. No words can desribe his feelings when he heard Sygurd's confessions. Aleck's hometown was the only town located to the north of Dragon City.
This means Sygurd did pass through the town!
The silver dragon continued, :You see...because of my presence, the Legion thinks that I'm seeking shelter in the town and this what provoked them to attack. Because of me, innocent lives were lost and homes were destroyed. Now...I fear the same fate will happen to Dragon City.: Tears slowly trickle down his face.
Dodjj stood silent for a while, contemplating what he had just heard. After a moment, he said sympathetically, :I feel sorry for you, but I don't think you should blame yourself for that. I feel that what you did was, in fact, unintentional. Think about it; if you knew that this Legion were to harm anyone whom you come across with, I'm sure you would prefer staying away from them to avoid any harm being done.:
Sygurd contemplated on what Dodjj said. He raised his head slightly and said, :I...I guess you have a point there. But still, I don't deserve to be named after a great dragon that was killed partly because of me.:
Dodjj let out a sigh and said, :If you don't like it for yourself, at least do it for Aleck. He is without a parent now, and he do need a partner, a trusty companion. He gave you that name because he feel that you can achieve the greatness as his father's dragon. He has confidence in you.:
Sygurd was about to open his mouth when he thought of something. Aleck lost his parents partly because of me. Now is perhaps the best time to redeem my mistake.
Upon that realisation, Sygurd's expression changed from that of guilt to determination. He wiped the tears on his shoulders and said, :You're right. Aleck do need a companion; not only a trustworthy one, but also a protective one. He lost his parents partly because of me, and I will redeem my crime by protecting him from any harm, including the Legion of Shadows. I will not cower anymore from them. If they want to hurt Aleck, they would have to go through me first.:
Dodjj smiled. :I'm not really sure about the last part, but glad you made the right choice.: He turned back and headed straight for the stable. :You hung-: Dodjj's question was interrupted by a rather loud growling. He looked back to see Sygurd giving him a cheesy smile.
:I think that answered your question.:
Dodjj simply laughed at that and walked off, with Sygurd joining behind him. However, he was slightly bothered by what Sygurd had said earlier.
Is Dragon City really going to be destroyed as well?
Chapter 4: Trial Run
Sygurd laid cosily on the ground outside the stable, enjoying the feel of the sun's heat on his rough skin after his meal. Unlike in Sun City, it wasn't too hot in Mid-City and the condition actually fits to his liking. With eyes half-closed, he laid on his belly, exposing his back and allowing the sunlight to bathe his back.
As he was enjoying, he heard the sound of footsteps coming towards him. He lazily opened one eye and looked up to see Aleck walking slowly towards him, a smirk appearing on his lips.
Aleck stopped right in front of Sygurd's head. He crossed his arms and said teasingly, "Enjoying your sun bath?"
:You can say that.: The dragon smiled and sighed loudly, expressing his comfort to Aleck.
Aleck chuckled softly at Sygurd's response. He said, "Sorry to interrupt you, but can you get up to your feet for a while? I would like to check your wounds."
Sygurd obliged, getting up to his feet slowly despite his mind's protests. Sygurd stood silently as Aleck slowly unwrapped the bandages around the dragon's chest. When the bandages were removed, Aleck was quite suprised that the wounds had already healed, and without leaving any scars behind. He proceeded in removing the other bandages on Sygurd's hind legs and found the same thing; all the wounds had healed without leaving any scars.
"Your wounds heal fast, considering how badly wounded you are when I first saw you," Aleck said in a suprised tone, as he bundled up the old bandages and put them aside. He continued, "Normally, a dragon would take between three to six days to fully recover from such injuries. You, on the other hand, only took one night to heal. That's some feat I never seen before."
Sygurd simply shrugged his shoulders, as if not knowing anything about this.
"By the way," Aleck stood up, carrying the bandages in his arms, "uncle Lokke wants me to ride you around the city today. He's off to get a new saddle and should be back soon. Hopefully you're ready to go for a long walk." He went off to dispose the bandages.
After a while, Aleck returned with the new saddle in his arms as Lokke and Dodjj followed behind him. Sygurd eyed the saddle curiously. Unlike Dodjj's black saddle, the new saddle was grey-and-red in colour. Besides the colour, both saddles are quite similar; with the usual seat for the rider, and the control sticks and panels for controlling the gears and dragons themselves.
"Okay now, Sygurd. I want you to try and mag the saddle to the back of your head, just like Dodjj," Lokke explained as Aleck presented the saddle to Sygurd.
Sygurd considered the saddle for a moment before focusing his mag energy at the saddle. With ease, he took it from Aleck's hands and hoisted it above his head and placed it firmly behind his head. It fits perfectly.
The humans and Dodjj were amazed when they saw that the colour of Sygurd's mag beam was grey, a rather uncommon colour.
Odd. If Sygurd has grey draconium energy, does that means that he's a grey-bone dragon? Lokke asked himself, a suprised look carved on his face.
"Uncle Lokke, doesn't grey draconium colour represent imbalance or something? I'm just afraid it might go...berserk at some point," Aleck asked nervously. Grey dragons have a bad tendency of going berserk, especially when their draconium energies were unstable. He could not imagine himself being chased around by a rampaging grey dragon.
"Yes, it does. But this doesn't seem to make any sense; grey-boned dragons are thought to be extinct a long time ago. If that's the case, he could be the first grey dragon to appear in modern times," Lokke pointed out. " As for the second part, I don't think he'll go berserk. He looks okay to me."
Aleck gave Sygurd a questioning look, uncertain whether he could be trusted. While Sygurd, on the other hand, smiled innocently back at Aleck; hopefully to convince the teenager into trusting him. Even Dodjj gave him a curious look.
There was a long pause between the humans and the dragons.
Finally, Aleck replied, "Fine, I'll ride him. I just hope that he doesn't end up chasing me instead."
Sygurd let out a silent sigh. :Don't worry. That won't happen.:Then, he magged Aleck up into the air and onto the saddle without complications. He noticed that Dodjj was still looking at him. :Why are you staring at me like that?:
:Nothing...just curious about your mag colour,: Dodjj said, quickly shifting his gaze away from the silver dragon.
"Danyelle! We're ready to go. You ready?" Lokke called out to his niece.
"Coming, uncle!" was the reply, as Danyelle came running out from the front of the house. She passed the house key to her uncle and let Dodjj mag her onto the saddle, followed soon with Lokke who settled behind Danyelle.
"It's best for you to follow me. I'll show you around the city," Lokke said, and then urged Dodjj to go. Sygurd followed shortly behind the purple dragon as they left the house and towards the street.
The street they were in was not busy or crowded, which gave Lokke an opportunity to test Aleck and also Sygurd's capabilities. He whispered to Danyelle's ear, "Hold on tight. I want to give Aleck a little suprise." A smile crept on Danyelle's lips and she obliged, holding onto the saddle.
Lokke then whispered to Dodjj, "You know what to do." Dodjj grinned at his rider and with a sudden burst of acceleration, he sped off and left Sygurd and Aleck trailing behind.
"Wha-" Aleck gasped out in suprise as Dodjj suddenly sped off, leaving them in the dust. Not wanting to be left behind, he urged Sygurd forward as well. "Come on! Let's see how fast can you go." Sygurd nodded at Aleck's urging and also started accelerating forward.
Sygurd started running as fast as his legs can carry him. He pushed his mind and body as hard as he could, straining every bits of fibre in his muscles, both body and leg. He started panting hard, increasing his intake of oxygen into his demanding lungs, while his heart started beating vigorously, pumping and supplying blood and oxygen throughout his body. Despite the strain he's placing on his body, he felt much better compared to yesterday; probably his healed wounds no longer troubled his movements. But somehow, he felt entirely different compared to previously. He felt somewhat...heavier.
Must've been the saddle and Aleck's weight; something that I will need time to get accustomed to, Sygurd thought.
As Sygurd started chasing after Dodjj, Aleck realised that he's slowly catching up with the purple dragon. He was amazed by Sygurd's speed. Whoah! You're one fast dragon! Perhaps faster than the ones I used to ride back home!
Their racing has caught the attention of a few people on the sidewalk, watching in amazement at the two dragons zoomed past by them; winds breezing behind them, rippling the pedestrians' clothes. As they sped through the rather empty streets, it was clear that despite Sygurd's speed, he's still about four seconds behind Dodjj but that gap between the two dragons started to close up slowly. Ahead of them was a right turning. Without a turning gear, Dodjj has to slow down a little to avoid crashing into the concrete wall during the turn. Dodjj slanted his body to the right at an angle which allowed him to execute a clean turning. Seeing Dodjj made the turning, Sygurd sped up as he approached the turning. You're not getting away that easy.
"Uh, Sygurd? I think you should slow dooowwwnnn!!!" Aleck yelled out, holding on tight as Sygurd prepared to execute the turn. As he neared the turning, he slanted his body a little to the right, shifting some of his weight onto his right legs, which allowed him to make the turn. As his right side were now carrying extra burden of the weight, he has to balance his left side, straining his claws to grip the ground hard to avoid slipping and sliding into the wall at the other side of the road. He cut deep into the turning, running over the edge of the sidewalk on his right and going slightly wide off to the opposite side of the road as he made it pass the turning; fast but reckless.
Before Aleck can praise Sygurd, he noticed that they're fast approaching the wall on the other side. He yelled out, "Incoming!!!"
Sygurd noticed that he's now on the other side of the sidewalk to his left and about to crash into the wall. With his body still slanted to the right, he managed to steer to the right, but his left shoulder scraped hard against the wall that lined along the sidewalk. Despite the scraping, Sygurd barely flinched at the sudden heat that radiated from the friction on the wall, and managed to get back onto the road.
Aleck was slightly stunned as the silver dragon narrowly crashed into the wall. He joked, "Do anything like that again and I'm the one who wiil end up carrying you back home instead."
Dodjj heard the sound of hard friction behind him and took a quick glimpse to the back. A grin curled on his lips as he thought, Impressive, Sygurd. Very impressive. Not many dragons can execute such cornering at high speed, but somehow you managed to pull that one off. Pretty suicidal, aren't you?
Lokke looked back and saw Aleck and Sygurd hot on their trails. Danyelle looked up at her uncle and asked, "Aleck's behind us, right?"
Lokke said quickly as he turned his attention back on the road, "Yup. He's behind us all right...and approaching fast too." Danyelle tried to get a glance of her brother behind. She smiled as she saw him and Sygurd charging towards them. Meanwhile, Lokke bent forward slightly and spoke to Dodjj, "I guess we underestimated their capabilities. Let's show them what we're trully capable of."
With pleasure, Dodjj nodded and started increasing his speed, kicking up dust as the purple dragon charged forward.
Sygurd saw Dodjj slowly increasing the gap between them. Unfazed by Dodjj's sudden burst of speed, the silver dragon also charged forward, replying to Dodjj's challenge.
Both dragons barreled down the streets towards the center of Mid-City, where most of the activities were. They dashed past pedestrians, dragons and humans alike, who were along the side of the road and on the sidewalks. They were at first busy with their own activities when they saw both dragons approaching them at top speed. Dodjj dashed past by them, sending a breeze of dust swirling in the air. They watched as Dodjj made a turning to the left and towards the city center. Before they can wonder who that was, Sygurd arrived, galloping past the pedestrians at high speed and also followed the purple dragon into the left turning. Just like before, Sygurd again executed the same manouver earlier during the turning, but this time, he did not scraped against the wall. The pedestrians were left speechless by the silver dragon's fast but reckless manouver.
As they got nearer to the city center, the streets are starting to fill with more people, dragons and vehicles. Lokke slowed Dodjj down and raised his right arm, signalling Aleck to slow down due to the traffic ahead. He looked back to see if Aleck got the message.
Aleck noticed that Dodjj is slowing down and he saw his uncle raised his right arm. But before he can ponder, Sygurd zoomed past both Dodjj and Lokke without bothering Lokke's signal.
Aleck looked back at his uncle and muttered, "What the..?"
"Aleck! When I raised my arm, I was signalling you to slow down!" Lokke yelled out desperately.
Aleck nodded and quickly turned his attention back to slowing Sygurd down. But before he can make his request, both Aleck and Sygurd saw a boy on his blue dragon, heading straight into their path after coming out from a junction. When Sygurd saw the boy, he gasped out, :Yikes!:
"BRAAAKEE!!!" He cried immediately and pulled back hard on the control sticks. This caused the saddle on Sygurd's head to be pulled back, which, in turn, also forced Sygurd to rear his head back as well. At the same time, Sygurd jammed his heels to the ground hardly. He lowered his hind legs a little, adding some weight to his rear in hopes of further reducing his speed. Slowly, the silver dragon managed to reduce his speed drastically, but still closing in on the boy fast.
"Uh oh," was all Danyelle could mutter.
The boy turned his head and saw the oncoming dragon and screamed in panic. The boy's dragon also saw this and let out a gasp, closing its eyes in fear. By the looks of it, an accident was inevitable.
With teeth gritting hard and eyes screwed tight, Sygurd desperately attempted to brake himself, still not giving up yet. He tried pulling and straining his body and legs back to counter the force of his speed. At the same time, his paws felt like it's on fire as the friction between his paws and the road generated a huge amount of heat.
Somehow, against all odds, Sygurd did managed to brake in time; his chin was just inches from the boy's face as dust and smoke swirled around Sygurd's legs from the intense friction. He panted hard, sides heaving in and out as he slowly tried to calm himself down. When he opened his eyes and saw how close it was, he sighed in relief. That was close...
Aleck, who was still gripping the control stick, realised that they had stopped. He bent forward to look past Sygurd's head and, to his relief, the boy and his dragon were safe. He sighed out loud and patted Sygurd's sweaty head. "Good job."
The blue dragon slowly opened it's eyes, legs still trembling slightly and teeth clattering softly, as it stared at the strange dragon in front of him. It stared in awe and with jaws agaped, eyeing curiously at Sygurd. Whether it was staring at his physical appearance or at his weird colourings, Sygurd could only wonder.
The boy, who was earlier frightened, now also stared at the silver dragon that stood just inches away from him. He gasped when he saw the dragon. He stared and admired at its appearance. "No way," he muttered and tried to extend his right hand out, touching the silver dragon's rather sweaty chin.
Hoping to calm the boy down, Sygurd allowed the boy to touch him. The boy ran his fingers softly along the sweaty, rough skin. The longer he touched the dragon, the more amazed he became; with eyes widening and jaws hung slightly open.
Aleck leaped down from his saddle and went to check on the boy. He noticed that the boy is wearing a red helmet with a rather cartoony-looking dragon on it. He went to him and asked, "You okay?"
The boy was startled when Aleck asked him. He nodded his head and quickly replied, "Yeah, I'm fine, just...shaken." He paused for a while before asking Aleck, "Is this your dragon?"
"Yes. I owned him this morning. Now I'm just going for a trial run with him around the city," Aleck turned to the boy, "that is, until we almost crashed into you." He turned back to see Lokke and Dodjj coming up to him.
"Wow! He's trully one of a kind. In fact, my brother also has a dragon similar like yours," the boy said.
"Your brother?" Aleck asked curiously. But before he can get a reply, he heard someone coming from his right; from where the boy came from. He turned his gaze to his right and saw a teenager, dressed in a white and blue racing suit and wearing a white helmet and on a red and blue dragon, running towards them. Following behind him were two other teens, one was on a green bull-class dragon and the other on a red magma-class dragon. They came to a halt behind the boy's blue dragon.
"Lance, I told you not to wander off just like that. You could've gotten hurt if you're not careful," the teenager on the red and blue dragon scolded. His dragon then magged him off his saddle and onto the ground.
Lance gave a dejected look and apologised, "Sorry. I guess you're right. I almost did get myself hurt."
When Aleck saw the teenager, he gasped softly, covering his gaping mouth with his hand. He could not believe that he is looking at a potentially great future racer. He felt his hands tremble a little and his palms getting sweaty. He asked Lance's brother, "Are...are you...Artha Penn?"
Lokke was grinning when he saw Aleck's reaction upon seeing Artha while Danyelle stared at the young strangers in wonder.
"That's me. And you are?" Artha asked curiously, wondering how this person knew about him.
"I'm Alecksandyr, but you can call me Aleck," Aleck answered and extended his right hand out as Artha shook hands with his. He then pointed to his uncle and sister, "That's my uncle, Lokke, and my younger sister, Danyelle."
Both of them waved at Artha, but Danyelle seemed to be waving more to Lance than Artha. When Lance saw her waving at him, he waved back and quickly tried to look away, obviously shy. Danyelle saw that his face was slightly red and giggled at that.
Aleck continued, "I've heard a lot about you from my uncle. He seems to be observing you in most of your races-"
"All of his races," Lokke corrected, still grinning.
"Uhm, yeah. All of your races." He paused for a moment, rubbing his chin with his fingers, and continued, "I must admit, although only seeing you race once, that your racing skills are...phenomenal. A young guy like you racing like a pro is something that's quite rare. Raw talent, I think."
Artha smiled at Aleck and said, "Gee, thanks for the compliment, Aleck. It's not really uncommon for some people that I had not met before coming up to me and saying things like that."
"Yeah, and he never seem tired of that," the rider on the red dragon, who was a girl, said out loud.
"You just have to annoy him like that, don't you?" the teen on the green dragon retorted.
Aleck chuckled at their comments on Artha. The latter then said, "By the way, I would like you to meet my friends. The girl on the red dragon is Kitt Wonn and the guy on the green dragon is Parmon Sean." He then pointed to the boy, "And that's my little brother, Lance"
The three of them waved at Aleck and Aleck waved back in response.
"As for the dragons, Kitt's dragon is Wyldfyr; Parm's dragon is Cyrano; Lance's dragon is Fracschun; and mine's Beau," Artha pointed out.
:Hi!: the four multi-coloured dragons made a soft grunting sound, trying to greet Aleck. Aleck knew what's their intention and just waved at them.
Aleck then said in an apologetic tone, "By the way, I'm sorry for almost endangering your brother's safety."
"Nah, it's okay. At least no one gets hurt, right?" Artha assured, then focused an eye on Lance.
Lance just nodded slowly, realising how fortunate he was. After a while, he said, "Hey, Artha. Did you check out Aleck's dragon? He's one drac dragon!"
Artha looked behind Aleck and saw Sygurd standing firmly. He let out a gasp when he saw the silver dragon. Kitt and Parm also gasped when they saw Sygurd, while their dragons made some sort of sound which is similar to a dragon's gasp.
"He looks just like Beau," Artha said softly, slowly walking towards Sygurd and tried touching him. When Artha's hand made contact with Sygurd, the silver dragon suddenly felt a small rush of energy flowing through his nerves, especially around his neck. He felt a slight tingle under his skin where the gold collar was. Artha continued, "This is one fascinating-looking dragon you have here, Aleck."
Aleck just shrugged his shoulders in reply as Kitt, Parm and Lance joined besides Artha.
"Whoah! That's one drac dragon indeed. Never seen anything like this before my whole life," Kitt said.
"Interesting, any idea what colour was it's draconium energy?" Parm asked.
Aleck answered, "Believe it or not, I found out that it's grey."
"What?" Artha and his friends replied in shock.
"I know it's hard to believe. Even I, too, find it hard to believe myself,"Lokke answered to them. "I've seen many different kinds of dragons during my time as a racer, but this is something new to me."
While the humans were busy in their conversations, Beau and the other dragons went closer to inspect the oddly-coloured dragon. Fracschun moved his head back and forth between Sygurd and Beau, and joked, :He looks just like you, or rather, exactly like you.:
:Yeah, I didin't know you have a twin brother,: Wyldfyr joked as well, chuckling at the same time.
Cyrano continued from Wyldfyr, :How come you didin't tell us that you have a twin?:
Beau quickly shook his head hard. He denied, :I never had a twin, well, from as far as I can remember. But really, I don't.: He then turned his attention to the silver dragon and asked, :Who are you?:
Sygurd did not reply. Instead, he just stared at Beau, jaws gaping slightly and eyes fixed on the blue and red dragon that stood in front of him. Could it be him? After a while, Sygurd still did not reply.
:Uh...hello? Anyone there?: Cyrano called out.
:Maybe I should give him a knock in the head to wake him up,: Wyldfyr suggested.
:But that's rude,: Fracschun objected.
Sygurd eventually managed to shake himself up and quickly replied to Beau's request, :Oh, sorry. I'm Sygurd. And you are?:
:I'm Beau,: Beau replied as he introduced his other dragon friends to Sygurd.
:You realised that you're named after Beaucephalis, the great Dragon of Legend himself,: Sygurd said excitedly and continued, :Are you related to him?:
Beau paused for a while. He wondered, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to tell him the truth. Beaucephalis is my ancestor and I'm proud of that fact, but there's no telling of what his intentions are if I told him the truth. Best to just give him the usual reply as I did before to the other dragons that asked me that same question. He finally answered, :No. Not at all. I guess it's just a coincidence that I was born like this and that my rider gave me that same name.:
:Hmm, I see,: Sygurd replied, still feeling slightly suspiscious at his appearance.
Beau observed Sygurd closely. He soon realised something that struck him hard; Sygurd's bodymark is very similar to the bodymark of his black-and-gold form. Rather than black and gold, his was metallic silver and red. Besides the colours and marking, Sygurd's tail also has a fin. But the one thing that caught Beau's eyes is that gold collar. He eyed the collar closely.
:Nice collar. Where did you get it?: Beau asked curiously.
Sygurd just answered, :Uhm, my rider put it on for me as a...decoration. He insisted on putting it on me.:
Beau felt a great but familiar energy within the collar. But when he observed it longer, he suddenly felt weird, as if his body was trying to remind him of something. The energy within his body pulsed slightly stronger than usual, flooding his head with a sudden rush. It was then that he realised a startling fact.
That collar was highly concentrated with gold draconium!
Suddenly, his mind was flooded with bits and pieces of memory; past memories from Beaucephalis' time due to the hidden gold bonemark on his head. This was how he remembered Beaucephalis' encounter with the Furox. But this was different. The memory that flooded his mind was literally in pieces.
A desperate struggle, a hard-fought battle, a lot of pain and the presence of a powerful adversary. What does all of this mean? Beau wondered to himself. As he tried to grasp and piece the memories together, he suddenly felt his body started to ache terribly. He tried to ignore it, but it just got worse. Finally, he couldn't bear it anymore and lost his grip on the memory that circulated in his mind as he woke from his trance.
When he did woke up, the other dragons were staring at him. He shook his head and said with a smile, :Sorry. Daydreaming.:
:Daydream a little longer and I would've whacked your head with my tail,: Wyldfyr exclaimed. Fracschun and Cyrano laughed at her exclaimation.
Before they can continue their conversation any further, Artha called out to them, "Come on, Beau. We'd better leave now." Beau and the other dragons obeyed and headed back to their riders.
Beau said to Sygurd, :Hope to see you soon.:
:You too,: Sygurd said as the group of humans and dragons began to break up.
Artha greeted Aleck goodbye and said, "Hope we can see each other soon."
Aleck replied, "Don't worry. I won't be going anywhere." Artha chuckled at his reply and boded them farewell and left with Kitt, Lance and Parm on their own dragons.
After some distance, Fracschun asked Beau, :What was that all about?:
:Yeah. The way you're staring at Sygurd looks as if you're hypnotised or something,: Cyrano said.
Beau replied slowly, :I don't know myself. Have you seen the collar around his neck?:
Fracschun nodded, :Yeah, I realised that. So what's so special about it?:
Beau continued, :When I saw that collar, the memories of my ancestor started flooding in but it's in pieces, literally. I couldn't fully understand it, but what I can feel is that it's not a pleasant one. Besides that, I also sensed a high concentration of energy in the collar.:
:Energy? You mean draconium energy?: Wyldfyr asked.
:Not only draconium energy, but gold draconium energy.: Beau corrected and never said anything else. Wyldfyr, Fracschun and Cyrano stared at each other, slightly in disbelief as well.
Meanwhile, Aleck went to Sygurd and patted him. "Enjoy meeting with the other dragons?"
:Yes. But I'm still slightly suspiscious on Beau. I don't know why, but that's just how I'm feeling.:
"Ready to continue on?" Aleck turned to see Lokke and Danyelle already up on their saddle.
Aleck looked around and saw that a small crowd of people and dragons were starting to gather around Sygurd. Without asking, Aleck was magged by Sygurd onto his saddle immediately. He gave a thumbs up to his uncle, signalling that he's ready. Immediately, both dragons darted away from the gathering crowd.
From a road above the street was Moordryd, who was watching the spectacle through his binoculars from Decepschun's back. His lips curved into a wicked grin and said, "Interesting dragon you have there, kid. Very interesting indeed..."
When Aleck and Lokke returned home, their dragons were panting hard. They magged their riders off their saddle and lay on the ground to get some rest.
Lokke came up to Aleck and suggested, "Why don't you take part in racing?"
Aleck gave a suprised look and blurted, "Racing? You mean dragon racing?"
"Why not? It looks fun," Danyelle said, hoping to soothe her suprised brother.
"It's not only fun, but also the best way to earn money and get new gears. That's how I earned my living. Come on, just give it try, I'm sure you'll enjoy it," Lokke said.
Aleck took a moment to consider before replying, "I don't really know, but I think I'll just give it a try. But first, can you teach me some racing techniques?"
Lokke answered, "Sure. But I have to let you know that the next race is in three days' time. Although it's only a level 1 race, it still won't be an easy, especially for an amateur like you. But despite the rather short time we have, I'll try to teach you what I can."
Aleck nodded, "Thanks."
Chapter 5: Race Day
Within the days before the race, Lokke taught whatever racing skills that he knew that would be crucial for Aleck to stay in the race and avoid being clobbered by other racers. Within those time period, it may not be enough for an amateur racer like Aleck to create an upset on his debut race, but it may be enough to at least stay in the race and not retiring halfway through, even if it was a level 1 race.
Most of the time, Aleck's training included racing throughout the city, duelling with weapons with his uncle and building trust and teamwork with Sygurd. It was his first ever race in his life. In the past, he only watched races on TV and even though his hometown once had small racing competitions before, he was too young to participate. He can only watch Lokke and his parents raced with each other as well as with other local racers. From what he remembered seeing, the races look really harsh on both riders and dragons. Both of them would try to knock each other off their feet or saddle to gain the upper hand over their rivals. For him, he personally felt that that tactic was just plain dirty. He really wished that the racers would race more fairly with their own skills rather than trying to takedown one another with gears or brute force. But like it or not, that's part of the race.
After training, he would try to meet up with Artha or Kitt to get some advice regarding the race. He hoped that their explainations would benefit him in the upcoming race. Of course at the same time, he would hang out with them and also with Lance and Parm. He felt very grateful for their help and soon his friendship with Artha and his friends grew stronger, as does Sygurd with Beau and the other dragons. For Aleck, they were the closest friends he ever had outside his hometown. He did not know of the fate of his hometown friends when his hometown was attacked, but he feared for the worst. Despite the tragedy that his life has faced, their kindness and friendship gave him the hope and strength to carry on with life; to began a new chapter of his life.
But what Aleck was not aware of was that he was observed by Artha's rival, Moordryd Paynn. When Aleck went out training with Sygurd, Moordryd would be watching him from a higher position. He was slightly impressed by the younger teen's training and development, but Aleck was not his main concern. It was Sygurd that Moordryd was observing all the while. As he observed, he would devise a plan to kidnap Sygurd, at all cost.
Your dragon shall be mine, kid. And there's not a single thing you can do about it, Moordryd thought, smirking to himself as he and Decespschun left their spot and headed off into the streets.
Outside Dragon City, the Shadow Overlord and his Legion of Shadows camped far away from the main road to the city. Since their arrival, they waited patiently for the Drag-hounds that the Overlord released to return from their duties. The Legion were trained to be patient in their mission; they prefered waiting for the perfect time to move in rather than rushing for an opportunity.
As the Shadow Overlord stood beside his black bipedal dragon looking at the city, one of his men went up to him and asked eagerly, "How long do we have to wait here? It's been days since you deployed those Drag-hounds to find your target."
The Shadow Overlord glared menacingly at the man beside him. He was about to yell at him, until his mind reminded him of the past, They are not like the ones that used to serve me during the war. Unlike my current recruits, the ones who served me during the war were more disciplined and well-trained. Too bad they were all gone, either killed by dragons or dispersed by the emperor. This new group is still not accustomed to the Legion's way.
He paused for a while to lower his temper before replying calmly, "I have confident in those Drag-hounds. They will return to confirm if our target is hiding in the city. Since this city is huge, they will need some time to track down our target. For now, we wait."
When the Shadow Overlord finished his sentence, another man came up beside him. He was dressed in a black tunic and pants and with a brown cloak draped over his head. He came up beside his leader and requested, "Let me go into the city and check them out, just to be sure."
"You know of the possible suspiscions that you might arouse if you enter the city, Dimitrius," the Shadow Overlord said. Unlike his other recruits, Dimitrius is the most disciplined of all. He was the Shadow Overlord's second-in-command. His black psi-class dragon, Carnajj, was one of the meanest dragon in the Legion. Perhaps the meanest of all was the Shadow Overlord's own black bipedal dragon, Corrupschun.
Corrupschun was slightly bigger than the other dragons in the Legion. Just like it's rider, it also wore a grey mask with black stripes running across it that covered the top of it's head. The grey mask sported a long, sharp horn at the tip of it's snout. It's eyes were yellow in colour with black reptilian pupils. It's rows of teeth was as sharp as that of a shark's teeth. Unlike any other bipedal dragons, Corrupschun was unique in terms of it's fore claws, which looked more like human hands with four dexterious human fingers which allow it to hold and grasp objects that no other bipedal dragons can. At the tip of it's "fingers" were short but razor-sharp claws, capable of inflicting damage to it's opponents. Lastly, it's tail was rather long and at it's tip was a venomous sting, similar to that of a scorpion's sting.
Dimitrius nodded in agreement. He responded, "True. But I'm willing to take that chance for the good of the mission. Besides, I can hasten the search and help out the hounds at the same time."
The Shadow Overlord thought for a moment; rubbing the part of his chin which was not covered by his red-and-black mask and closed his eyes, deep in thought. Finally, he replied, "Very well; but try not to attract too much attention. When you find our target, do not attempt to take him out on your own. You will need my help."
Dimitrius nodded and leaped onto Carnajj. Soon, they were off, spearating from the group and headed towards Dragon City.
Word Paynn watched quietly at the numerous screens behind him in his citadel. All the screens were showing the same images as he studied and watched them with interest.
While doing so, he heard footsteps coming towards his desk. Without turning around, he simply greeted, "Glad you came in just in time, my son."
Moordryd sauntered towards his father's desk. As he approached closer, he asked, "Something urgent, father?"
"Yes. I have an important assignment for you," Word said.
Before Moordryd opened his mouth to ask his father, he noticed that the screens that his father was staring at all projected the same image of a dragon; a familiar-looking dragon.
It was that kid's dragon, he thought. He was referring to Sygurd, Aleck's dragon.
"Oh, that dragon. I've been observing it for the past few days. A really weird-looking one indeed, but incredibly fast. I presume you wanted me to capture it?" Moordryd asked plainly.
"Why, yes. But before that, tell me, what do you know of this dragon?" Word asked his son.
"Well, besides realising that this dragon looks exactly like the Penn brat's dragon, not much."
"Let me tell you something that many humans don't know," Word took a deep breath and continued, "During my short time with the Dragon Priests, I learned that there's once a dragon who has very close relations to the first Dragon of Legend. Some people believe that this dragon is Beaucephalis' twin, while others think that it's just a freak of nature. But regardless of what they think, no humans know the truth since this lore was more familiar to dragons. Furthermore, this dragon lived in the early years of the Dragon-Human War and it mysteriously disappeared before the Dragon Booster was even founded. However, from eyewitness' accounts, this dragon," Word pointed to the screen, "seems to fit their description perfectly."
"Wait a moment! How can any dragon lived for such a long time? If it's still alive now, that makes it over three thousand years old!" Moordryd said with a suprised look.
"I'm not sure. Even I myself can't believe it when I realised that this dragon matched the descriptions."
Word got up to his feet. "But if it's true that this dragon do lived during the time of Beaucephalis, he must've possessed valuable knowledge and secrets of the black-and-gold dragon, which could be very useful for me to capture the black-and-gold dragon. Not only that, this dragon could be the best Wraith Dragon I can ever have!"
He turned to his son and said quickly, "I want you to capture that dragon at all cost. You hear me; at all cost!"
"As you wish, father," Moordryd nodded and quickly left the citadel, grinning at the prospect of capturing a very important dragon, which can be useful against the Dragon Booster and his dragon. But for Moordryd, perhaps the most important of all was impressing his father by accomplishing this task.
As Moordryd left, Word turned back to the screen. But now he was looking at the images with closer detail. As he studied closely, something on the dragon caught his attention.
Now what is that gold collar for in the first place?
Lokke waited patiently outside his house with Sygurd besides him. Lokke was holding a wrapped object, which was moderately-long in size, in his hands while Sygurd stood silently, equipped with the appropriate gears and Aleck's saddle. They waited for Aleck as he made his preparations for the race ahead of him.
When Aleck do appear, he took a deep breath and stepped outside to meet Lokke and his dragon.
Lokke handed Aleck the object in his hands and said, "For you. You may need it for the race."
Aleck took the wrapped object and inspected it for a while before opening it. He opened the wrappings and inside it was a flash stick. He gave his uncle a weird look and asked slowly, "A flash stick? What can this little thing do anyway?"
"That 'little thing' can actually stun and blind a person temporarily. It may not be much, but use it wisely and the results will be worth it."
Or I can use it to whack people, Aleck snickered at that.
Lokke then passed him a helmet; which was purple and white in colour. "You definately need this. It's my helmet, the same one I wore during my racing days. Normally it's for safety, but I would prefer calling it as for good luck."
"Thanks, uncle Lokke. I do need all the luck I have." Aleck put on the helmet and it fits perfectly.
:You can count on me,: Sygurd suggested, making a grunting sound to grab Aleck's attention.
Aleck looked at Sygurd and said, "Hopefully you're ready, Sygurd. We're going to have the ride of our lives." The silver dragon agreed with him and nodded his head.
As soon as Sygurd magged Aleck onto his saddle, Artha and Beau arrived to meet Aleck.
Sygurd saw Beau arriving and greeted him cheerfully, :Good day, Beau! Nice to see you coming.:
Beau simply smiled at him. :You look cheerful today. It's a good thing you're not nervous for the race. Are you ready?:
:Kinda. Actually I'm being cheerful just to kill off my nervousness, not being excited about the race.:
Beau laughed at that comment. :It's okay to be nervous a little, especially for a first-timer.:
Aleck was stunned when he saw both of them arrived before him. He tried to keep his cool and asked calmly, "Artha? What brings you here?"
Artha just shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Well, your uncle called me to escort you to the race earlier. So, I accepted his offer. He wants me to observe your performance in the race."
Aleck turned to his uncle and asked nervously, "You're not coming?"
His uncle shooked his head and answered, "Danyelle wanted me to take her to the mall later." He paused for a while before he assured, "Don't worry about the race. Just have some fun, enjoy it. Besides, a level one race is not really that difficult."
"He's right," Artha said. "A level one race is not that bad compared to higher levels. Those levels can not only be difficult, but bruising too." Beau nodded in agreement, remembering all too well how he and Artha were always getting bruises in those races.
:It does?: Sygurd asked curiously.
:Trust me. It hurts a lot, and I mean a lot!: Beau replied.
"Just remember what I taught you and you should be fine," Lokke assured Aleck, who only nodded his head slowly in acknowledgement. "It doesn't matter if you win or lose; the most important of all is getting the experience of it and learning from your mistakes. That's what make a great racer."
"Thanks for the encouragement. I feel slightly better now," Aleck thanked his uncle.
"We'd better get going Aleck, or you might be disqualified for not arriving in time," Artha said quickly as he and Beau moved out. Aleck waved goodbye to his uncle and urged Sygurd to follow Beau and Artha.
"Good luck, Aleck."
Aleck and Artha headed quickly down the streets towards the race track. The race was about to start in twenty minutes.
"So, how was your feelings on your first race day?" Aleck asked curiously at Artha as Sygurd moved at a constant pace, side-by-side with Beau.
"Just the same as how you're feeling right now," Artha replied plainly, grinning at Aleck. "Let me guess; you're nervous?"
"Well, I think I'm ninety-eight percent excited and two percent nervous. Or maybe it's the other way around. I don't know," Aleck admitted, shaking his head. Beau chuckled when he heard Aleck saying that.
Both riders fell silent for a moment, until Arth asked, "I noticed that you're living with your uncle only. What about your parents?"
Aleck did not answer that question. Sadness and sorrow filled his emotions, remembering all too well about their fate. Even Sygurd understood his feelings, for he felt he's partly to be blamed for their deaths.
Fighting his emotions, he finally answered softly, "They're...gone. And before you ask why, please drop that subject."
Artha nodded, understanding how he felt since he, too, "lost" his father. "Sorry about that. I didin't know."
"It's okay. I don't blame you for not knowing."
At the same time, Sygurd noticed that there were small scars on Beau's legs. He asked him curiously, :How did you get those scars?:
:What?: Beau asked him confusedly before looking down at his legs. :Oh...err...I got those while racing. Like Artha said, the races we're in were really bruising.:
:Hmm.: Sygurd tried to look closely at the scars. Those scars seem to resemble that of bite marks! Upon realisation, he started feeling worried; worried for the worst to happen.
By the time they arrived, the race was about to start in five minutes. The stands were not at full capacity, as many people normally doesn't bother much in watching the lower level races. Those that do arrived to watch the race were probably die-hard race fans or race analysts looking out for new talents. As it was a level one race, the track is pretty straight forward with no ramps or pits that were normally present for higher level races.
Upon arrival, Aleck saw that Kitt, Lance and Parm were waiting for them near the side of the track with their dragons.
"Ready for your first race?" Kitt asked Aleck.
Aleck just shrugged, "Well, you can say that. But we'll see."
"I'm sure he's ready. His uncle taught him everything he needs to know in staying in the race," Artha said confidently.
"There shouldn't be anything to worry about, Aleck. It's only a level one race. I'm pretty confident you can do well," Parm said, placing a hand on Aleck's shoulder to assure him.
Kitt smirked. "Yeah, let's just hope he don't mess it up. Otherwise, it would be an embarassment."
I hope not, Aleck thought to himself.
Artha gestured to his friends, "We'd better leave the track now. The race is about to start." They nodded and got onto their dragons and prepared to leave the track.
"Where are you all going?" Aleck asked nervously.
"Don't worry. We'll be watching the race from the sidelines. We'll be watching the race from a higher platform over-looking the track," Artha said soothingly. Aleck just nodded.
As they left the track, both humans and dragons greeted good luck to Aleck and Sygurd, leaving them on their own on the track.
Aleck patted Sygurd's head to comfort him and urged him towards the starting grid. "Looks like it's just you and me now. Let's show them what we're capable of."
At the starting grid, Aleck was joined by four other racers; most of them were about his age or slightly older. They glared at each other, realising that they will be rivals when the race started; eyeing nothing more but a victory.
When the red lights turned green, they dashed off the starting grid, accelerating at full speed on the straight road. The small crowd roared in excitement, cheering and standing on their feet, as the race got under way. Within seconds, the racers were out of view of the crowds and they now turned their view to the giant screen located opposite the stands, which showed the racers' position.
As Aleck and Sygurd burst off their starting position, two of the racers were much faster in acceleration and they soon left the three other racers behind, much to Aleck's dismay. To make matters worse for him, another racer overtook him, leaving him in fourth place.
From a higher position, Parm and Lance watched the race through their binoculars while Artha and Kitt watched from their saddle. Kitt asked impatiently, "So, how's Aleck now?"
"Well he's in third place-" Parm paused and continued watching.
"Make that fourth now," Lance corrected.
"This doesn't look good," Kitt said, placing a hand on her forehead.
"Relax, Kitt. It's only the start of the race. It's the later stages that matters most," Artha said calmly.
The four racers started to pull away from Aleck. He clenched his teeth furiously and called out to Sygurd, "Faster! We're losing sight of them!" Sygurd obliged and started running as hard as his legs can carry his weight. Soon, they were closing in on the third-placed racer.
Suddenly, Aleck was rocked on his saddle by a sudden, hard impact. The impact almost knocked Sygurd unbalanced, but he managed to regain his stability. Aleck turned to his left to see the last-placed racer on his blue energy-class dragon was beside him and Sygurd. Again, his blue dragon rammed into Sygurd, shunting him slightly to the right in an attempt to knock the silver dragon down.
:Move over, freak!: the blue dragon hissed at him.
Sygurd growled at the sudden intrusion and returned the favour, slamming his weight into the blue dragon's side. The impact sent draconium shards flying from the gears that were attached on both dragons' body. Aleck and the other racer, who was a male racer, hold on as their dragons slammed hard into each other for about four times, littering the track with tiny broken gear pieces. Aleck noticed that the other racer was taking out something from his saddle. He pulled it out to reveal a mag staff.
He's going to battle me!
The racer's blue dragon saw it's rider's intentions and magged him up above Aleck's head. Without warning, he dived down with his staff above his head, ready to attack Aleck. With just seconds left, Aleck quickly grabbed his flash stick with both hands and managed to block his attack with a hard clang. With all his might, he pushed the other racer away as he backed off, still magged by his dragon.
"Sygurd, mag me up now!"
Sygurd magged Aleck up to meet with his challenger. Before he can aim his flash stick, his challenger launched another attack, forcing Aleck to block his attacks. His challenger kept on attacking as Aleck kept on blocking with his flash stick, unabling him to use it effectively as their furious fighting became the highlight of the race. The crowds were sitting at the edges of their seat as they watched the fight. One of them was bound to fall.
While the battle between the riders raged on, their dragons ran side-by-side each other. This gave Sygurd an idea.
If I can ram into the other dragon, that might give Aleck a-
Before he can even implement that idea, the blue dragon rammed into his side. Although the ramming wasn't that hard to knock Sygurd down, the damage was done. The ramming has caused Aleck to lose concentration in his duel as he tried to stabilise himself. While doing so, the other rider took this opportunity and, with his mag staff, struck Aleck hard on his shoulders.
On queue, the blue dragon magged it's rider down back to his saddle and, with tremendous force, shunted hard on Sygurd's shoulder, causing his legs to buckle underneath him as he tumbled to the ground, kicking up dirt and dust in the air. The crash also caused Sygurd to lose focus of his mag powers, resulting in Aleck to fall hard to the ground. As they skidded to a stop some distance later, Aleck can only look on as the other racer left them in the dirt, or rather, in last place. Fortunately, they're not hurt in the crash.
Artha tried to strain his neck to look forward. "How's he now?"
"Not good at all. He's just got knocked down by another racer; worse still, he's in last place," Parm reminded dejectedly.
Kitt groaned in disbelief as she covered her face with her hands, "This is going to be embarassing for Aleck."
Artha leaned back quietly in his saddle. Come on, Aleck! Don't let us down. Or rather, don't let yourself down...
Even the dragons were also having their own thoughts about the race. Fracschun turned to Beau and asked, :Sygurd's not doing too well, isn't he?:
Beau shook his head. :For now. He may be struggling, but despite that letdown, I still have confidence in him. He can still get a good result here.:
Wyldfyr replied, :I hope you're right, Beau. Otherwise, he's going to be the laughing stock among the other dragons.:
Aleck watched helplessly as the fourth-placed racer started to disappear from view. He slammed his fists down to the ground hard, expressing his frustration and anger.
"Now we'll never catch up with the others."
Before he could get up, a sudden gush of wind flew past by him and saw that Sygurd was back onto his feet and running.
"Hey! You forgot me-eeeeeee!" Aleck was magged forward by Sygurd with sudden force and within seconds, he was back onto his saddle, and in the race.
:No point letting out your frustrations without doing anything. Might as well save it for later,: Sygurd suggested. He surged forward as fast as his legs can, pursuing the racer that knocked them down earlier. He pushed his body to the limit, straining every bits of muscle and burning every bit of energy to power up his ever-demanding body.
They took a series of turns and corners of the track in hot pursuit of the other racers, much to the delight of the crowds, who were now cheering them on for their commitment...and their insane manouvers. Normally, Aleck would've protested about Sygurd's reckless manouvers; but under such intense pressure in catching up with the other racers, he no longer bothered about it.
It wasn't long before they caught up with not one, but two racers; the fourth-placed racer that knocked them down earlier, and the third-placed racer, another male racer on his turquoise sonic-class dragon. Both racers were battling each other from their own dragons; the blue dragon on Aleck's left side and the turquoise dragon to his right. As Aleck and Sygurd gave chase on both racers as a tunnel loomed ahead of them. The tunnel wasn't very dark as it was partially illuminated by broad daylight. All three racers entered the tunnel. Sygurd and Aleck were still behind the two battling racers, who did not realise of their presence.
"Sygurd, I have an idea. Try to move to the blue dragon's exposed side, " Aleck ordered. Sygurd grunted in approval and increased his speed, slowly catching up on both racers before moving to the blue dragon's left side. As Sygurd slowly gained position besides the blue dragon, Aleck took out his flash stick and aimed at the rider, who was still occupied in his battle with the other racer. Aleck yelled out furiously, "Hey! Remember me?"
The racer besides Aleck was startled by his call and turned to meet Aleck. As soon as his face was in view, Aleck activated the flash stick. A sudden and intense flash of light was emitted from the lens of the flash stick, temporarily blinding the racer. This allowed the other racer besides the blinded racer to knock him off his saddle. The blue dragon was stunned when it's rider was knocked off the saddle, which allowed Sygurd to take his chance by slamming hard into the blue dragon's shoulders, sending it crashing down to earth in a heap of dust and dirt.
:That's for calling me a freak!: Sygurd roared out with satisfaction.
The turquoise dragon and it's rider managed to avoid tripping over the tumbling blue dragon. When the road was clear, both Aleck and the his new competitor were side-by-side, speeding towards the tunnel's exit. Once they were out of the tunnel, both Aleck and his new opponent took out their weapons and duelled from their saddle. They traded blow after blow with their weapons as they passed the stands and across the line, completing the first lap. It's now the final lap of the race. The crowds cheered them on when both racers sped past by them. Even Artha and his friends were cheering Aleck on from above.
Aleck noticed that his opponent seems to be getting exhausted from trying to hit Aleck and blocking his attacks at the same time.
He's getting tired, perhaps from the earlier battle. Time to finish this off once and for all.
Upon this realisation, Aleck began to increase the intensity of his attacks, unleashing powerful blows upon his weary opponent. Finally, he executed a furious move; spinning his flash stick around several times to confuse his opponent before striking his opponent on his chest with the tip of his flash stick, and knocking him off his saddle. Once his opponent was taken down, Aleck activated the red thruster gear attached to Sygurd's shoulders and accelerated past the turquoise dragon at full speed. They were now in third place.
"Woo hoo! Now that's a cool move!" Lance cheered out.
"He's now in third place and still has a chance of catching up with the two other racers ahead of him. Things are certainly looking good for Aleck," Parm said with satisfaction.
Artha turned to Kitt and said, "See? I told you he can get better as the race progresses."
Kitt just grinned. "Right on, stable boy."
Halfway through the race, Aleck came across the second-placed racer on it's red magma-class dragon. Rather than wanting to pick another fight with the rider, he activated the red thruster gears and blasted forward at top speed in hopes of overtaking the racer. But to his disappointment, the racer ahead of him also activated it's own red thruster gears and surged forward. It's now a battle of speed. But rather than just relying on the thruster gears, the dragons themselves also played some role in determining the overall speed.
Sygurd tried to boost his speed further, running as hard as he can. Although he's closing in on the red dragon, it still managed to pull away from him at some point, thus the gap between Sygurd and the red dragon kept alternating, much to his dismay.
Great. This dragon managed to keep its distance away from me. If this goes on, I'll never be able to overtake it. Unless...
As both dragons continued their race, the track led them to a sharp but wide right turn. Realising this opportunity, Sygurd suddenly veered to the left side of the road, which is the outside of the turn.
"What are you doing? You're going to take the outside turning," Aleck complained. He knew that taking the outside cornering means covering more distance compared to the inside cornering.
:Trust me. I know what I'm doing.:
The red dragon slowed down as it approached the turn. Its rider turned down the thruster gears to prepare to make the turn. Suddenly as the racer slowed down, Aleck and Sygurd zoomed past by them, much to the suprise of the the racer who was now dropped to third place. When Sygurd was about a hundred meters away from the turning, he veered further to the left without slowing down.
"I hope you know what you're doing this time," Aleck muttered, gripping the control sticks tightly and bracing himself for the turn.
When they came to the turning, Sygurd slanted his body to make the turning. He slanted his body to an angle of about forty to forty-three degrees to his right. Considering that he's running at top speed, he has to slant his body at such an angle to counter the force that was exerted on him and to ensure that his body weight can force himself to turn into the corner. With his body slanted, his weight will be shifted to his right side, particularly his right legs. But with those gears attached to his body, he's considerably shifting much more weight to his right. He gritted his teeth hard, trying to provide extra support for his tired right legs and not dragged down to the ground by those extra weight. His left legs and claws had to be strained further to get a good grip of the ground to avoid toppling over.
Come on...come on..., Sygurd muttered under his breath. Finally, to his relief, he managed to execute the turn. The turning was tiring for his legs, but the speed he's in ensured that his legs, especially his right legs, won't have to endure the brunt of the extra weight for long.
When he did made the turn, he managed to veer from the outside towards the inside of the turning, but at that time, the red dragon was also making an inside turn. To its horror, it saw that Sygurd's turning was veering into its path and its rider immediately forced its dragon to brake to avoid colliding with the silver dragon. Aleck also saw the oncoming racer and he gasped, realising that an accident seems imminent.
From the corner of Sygurd's right eye, he realised the threat of the red dragon colliding into him. But there's nothing he can do, except closing his eyes and hoping that his speed was fast enough to clear the red dragon's path.
After a second, he felt no hard impact on his body. He slowly opened his eyes and looked back. To his relief again, he managed to get away from the racer's path. Behind him, the red dragon stopped some distance into the turning, obviously shaken from its ordeal while its rider was left staring in disbelief at the silver dragon's insane turning.
Back at the stands, the crowds were going bonkers when they saw Sygurd's move. They could not believe how close an accident could occur between both dragons. An instant replay of the manouver showed that Sygurd managed to escape collision by just inches of his tail away from the red dragon.
Above the race track, Artha and his friends let out a sigh of relief when Aleck and Sygurd were clear of danger.
"That...was a close call," Parm said nervously. He looked as if he's going to pass out.
"No, that was drac!" Lance cried out happily. He turned to Artha and asked, "Don't you think so?"
"Yeah, it is," Artha replied. "How about you, Kitt?"
"Wow," was her only reply.
Aleck also looked back to check on the racer's condition. When he's satisfied that the racer is fine, he turned his attention back to the race with a shocked but excited look on his face. He commented, "That was unbelieveable! I don't know how you did it, but that's the most insane move you've ever pulled!"
Sygurd simply nodded his head, smiling at his rider's comment. For once, he felt really proud of his achievement.
Aleck continued, "Come on! We might still have a chance to steal a victory."
They continued racing along the track in hot pursuit of the last racer ahead of them. With no opposition behind, they felt slightly comfortable and less worried about being attacked from behind. But despite that fact, they still can't afford to relax too much as they are now halfway through the final lap, and running out of time in catching up with the first-placed racer.
As they were racing through the darker section of the race track, they were unaware that they were being watched. Aleck noticed that Sygurd looked slightly alert and tensed. But he didin't bother much as he was focused on the race. Once they were out of the darkness and into the brighter part of the track, Aleck quickly took a glimpse back to see anything behind them, and found nothing. But when he wasn't looking back, several pair of yellow eyes appear from the darkness, accompanied by several growling noises.
It wasn't long before Aleck and Sygurd found their target; the first-placed rider and its black psi-class dragon. Aleck eyed them in his sights and said, "Let's finish this off." Sygurd just growled in agreement.
Before they can close in on the racer ahead of them, Aleck heard shuffling sounds coming from behind them. He turned back again and saw eight black reptilian-looking canines chasing them. Aleck quickly warned Sygurd of the oncoming threat, "I think we got company."
Sygurd looked back to see who's behind them. When he saw the eight black creatures, his face grew pale and growled, :Hold on. This is going to be rough.: Immediately, Sygurd increased his speed.
But despite the silver dragon's speed, the eight reptilian creatures, or Drag-hounds, were quickly gaining on them. When one of them was near Sygurd's left hind leg, it took a bite on it, sending the larger dragon crashing down hard. Within seconds, they were all over them. Two of them ripped off the red thruster gears from Sygurd's shoulders.
Sygurd desperately tried to get them off his body and prevented them from harming Aleck while his rider was trying to knock them off with his flash stick. Mustering all his strength, Sygurd shook the Drag-hounds off of him and roared in anger at them. Aleck was panting hard, flash stick in hand, as he glared at the strange-looking creatures that stood before them. They were all hissing and growling at them menacingly and pounced once again on them.
Up above the track, Parm noticed the commotion between Aleck and the Drag-hounds and quickly alerted the rest, "Uh oh. Looks like Aleck got into trouble again."
"What kind of trouble?" Artha asked as Parm passed his binoculars. When he saw the commotion, he quickly said, "Wait a minute, it's those creatures again; the ones that attacked me and Beau a few nights ago. I have to help them. They might not stand a chance."
He quickly returned the binoculars to Parm and pulled out the Dragon Booster amulet. Before he can place it on, Kitt interrupted, "But you can't just interfere a race."
"Those creatures aren't supposed to be in the race. Come on, Beau, let's go!" Artha said and, with the amulet in is hands, he yelled, "Release the dragon!"
Sygurd magged every single Drag-hounds that were charging at them, but it wasn't enough as the Drag-hounds tried to bite his legs and pull him down. Aleck quickly responded by blinding them with his flash stick and Sygurd pawed them away. When their attempts failed, the Drag-hounds quickly regrouped and prepared for another charge. Aleck was panting, but still prepared to take them on, but Sygurd was getting exhausted as fatigue slowly kicked in.
There's too many of them. Even if I tried to run, they'll be all over me soon, Sygurd thought to himself. The situation looks difficult for him and Aleck. There seems to be no way out.
Suddenly, a black dragon landed out of nowhere between Sygurd and the Drag-hounds. It was Beau and Artha; the black-and-gold dragon and the Dragon Booster respectively. Beau roared loudly at them, trying to scare them off. :Remember me?:
Aleck was stunned by the sudden appearance of this strange figure and his dragon. He gasped, "What the?"
"Go on and finish your race, I'll take care of these trouble-makers," Artha said seriously as he took out his jakk-stick.
Aleck simply nodded and called Sygurd to move, but somehow, he won't budge. He was staring at the black-and-gold dragon with his jaws hanging open. :Beaucephalis?:
Beau was still growling at the eight Drag-hounds before him. When he heard his name being called, he just replied, :Get out of here with your rider before those creatures attack again. Go!:
Sygurd nodded and ran off with Aleck to continue with the race. Once both of them were ahead, Artha and Beau went to a defensive stance, preparing for the Drag-hounds to attack them. The Drag-hounds looked at each other and grunted something before charging into Beau's path. Artha stood up and said confidently, "You're no match for us, whoever you all are. So, I suggest that you-wha?"
To their suprise, the Drag-hounds just ran past by them as if they weren't there. In a matter of seconds, they were all gone.
"I don't understand. Why didin't they attack us?" Artha said confusingly.
:They're going after Sygurd and Aleck!: Immediately, Beau gave chase on the Drag-hounds.
As Sygurd was approaching the tunnel, Aleck heard familiar sounds behind him and knew that the Drag-hounds were onto them again. He rolled his eyes and thought to himself, Here we go again...
"Just keep running. I'll handle them," he told Sygurd and took out his flash stick. He turned his body so he's facing the back and keeping a good view of any approaching Drag-hounds. When he saw one of them approaching Sygurd's tail, he activated the flash stick and took it down. Two more homed in from each side and Aleck took them both down with ease. But now the remainder were all over Sygurd's sides. To make matters worse, when Sygurd entered the tunnel, they were well-hidden in the darkness.
"Scales! Can't see where they are!" Aleck complained as he frantically tried searching in the dark. Suddenly, Sygurd gave a yelp as one of the Drag-hounds attacked his left side. Growling furiously, Sygurd suddenly veered to the left towards the wall and slammed hard against it. The creature was caught by Sygurd's sudden move and was squashed between the wall and Sygurd's weight, causing it to lose its footings and tumbled to the ground.
Beau avoided the fallen Drag-hounds and entered the tunnel. Soon, he caught up with Sygurd and the four remaining Drag-hounds. As they aproached the closest one, Artha called out, "Beau, magged me forward towards the closest creature."
:As you wish.: Beau magged Artha forward. With jakk-stick in hand, he ambushed the Drag-hound and knocked it down hard to the ground. Once that's taken care of, he returned to his saddle.
Once they were out of the tunnel, Beau launched another mag blast, taking down another Drag-hound. But this time, the last two stopped their pursuit on Sygurd and Aleck. Instead, they turned to face Beau and Artha. With teeth bared, they snarled viciously at them, ready to attack them despite the lack in their numbers and size.
A whistle suddenly echoed in the air, alerting the Drag-hounds. They got off their attacking stance and headed straight towards Artha and Beau. But rather than attacking them, they fled into the darkness of the tunnel, along with the other fallen Drag-hounds. Soon, they were all gone.
Although they were gone, Beau continued to growl at the darkness of the tunnel. "Let them go, Beau. At least Aleck and Sygurd is safe," Artha said soothingly. Beau nodded and headed off to meet Aleck.
When they caught up with Aleck at the side of the track, he was patting Sygurd's shoulders, trying to comfort him while Sygurd was panting very hard; his sides were heaving hard and heavy and his legs were trembling slightly from exhaustion.
"Sorry that you failed to win the race. If it wasn't for those creatures you would've won the race," the Dragon Booster said sympathetically.
"Nah, it's okay. At least finishing second wasn't that bad for a debutant like me. Besides, at least I, or rather, we," he put his hand on Sygurd's head, "live to race another day." Sygurd nodded his head slowly. "By the way, who are you?"
Artha posed proudly and said, "I'm the Dragon Booster."
Aleck stood silently as memories about this legendary hero began to fall into place. "So it's true. My parents once told me about the legend of the Dragon Booster. He was seen as a saviour for both humanity and dragonkind; ending the Dragon-Human War through peaceful negotiations between the two races. At first I didin't believe it, but after hearing a lot of tales about you from my towns' folk, I started to believe that you do exist and not just some myth. Well, since you're back, are you going to stop another war from brewing?"
"Well, you can say that," Artha replied, shrugging his shoulders.
While their riders were conversing, Beau went up to Sygurd and asked, :You okay?:
:Yeah, I'm fine, just...pretty banged up,: Sygurd replied between pants. He turned to meet the black-and-gold dragon and said slowly, :After thousands of years later, I can't believe that we are reunited again, Beaucephalis.:
:Huh?: Beau shook his head, trying to clear things up. :Uhm, I'm sorry. I don't understand what you're talking about.:
:What do you mean you don't understand? We fought side-by-side during the war. Don't you remember any of that?:
:During the war?: Beau asked, looking rather shocked. He replied, :Uh, I think you've mistaken me for my ancestor. I'm actually Beaucephalis' descendent.:
:His descendent?: Now it was Sygurd's turn to be shocked by that fact. :Wow. It is an honour for me to meet with the descendent of the Dragon of Legend.:He bowed his head down in front of Beau.
:Well, err...good for you.: Beau said with a sheepish grin.
Before they can continue their conversation, Kitt, Parm and Lance joined them. Parm asked Aleck, "Are you all right? You and your dragon took some hammering from those creatures."
"I'm fine. Thanks for asking," Aleck assured. He noticed that Artha wasn't with them. "Where's Artha?"
"He...uhh...have something important to attend to. Too bad he can't meet you," Lance replied. From a distance, Artha felt sorry for not telling Aleck the truth for who he really was.
Before Aleck can ask more, Artha quickly interrupted and suggested, "Why don't you head back home first? I don't think it's safe here, since there's no telling if those creatures would return again. Besides my friends are willing to accompany you home." Kitt, Parm and Lance nodded in agreement.
"Thank you for your kind offering," Aleck said gratefully.
He climbed onto his saddle and urged Sygurd to go. Before he left, Sygurd said to Beau, :Hopefully we can meet again in the future.:
:Yeah, me too.:
As Aleck left the track, Parm and Lance followed behind him but Kitt stayed back and asked Artha, "You're not coming?"
"No. I think those black creatures are getting out of hand. I'd better tell this to Mortis. Maybe he can shed some light about those mysterious beings."
"Very well. See you later," Kitt sighed and left Artha to join the others to accompany Aleck home.
At the top of the entrance to the tunnel, Dimitrius and Carnajj stood silently. Earlier, it was Dimitrius who whistled to the Drag-hounds to halt their pursuit. Now, he has summoned all the Drag-hounds below him; some of them were limping and whining from the beatings it received. Once all of them were gathered together, Dimitrius looked over the horizon and saw Aleck and Sygurd walking away from the track, accompanied by his friends, while Artha headed off in another direction. He slowly turned his gaze back and activated the comm-link on his saddle.
"Mi'lord. I've found him."
On the screen, the Shadow Overlord replied with a menacing grin behind his mask, "Excellent. I'll try to meet up with you as soon as possible. For now, your duty is to stalk him and make sure he doesn't leave your sight."
"As you wish." Dimitrius turned off his comm-link and urged Carnajj and the Drag-hounds to follow the group.
Chapter 6: When Myths Are True
Artha and Beau, in their usual form, exited the elevator and walked quickly along the dark corridors of the Dragon Temple. The temple was located under the stable, initially unknown to Artha until Beau brought him in. The temple was built before the war by the mysterious Dragon Priests in an effort to remind society of the ancient ways.
They walked passed the several Dragon Priests statues that lined along the corridors towards the center of the temple. There, the mysterious Dragon Priest, Mortis, stood in the middle of the platform. He was watching the screen that was hanging above the platform.
"Mortis?" Artha called out slowly.
"The Dragon Priest turned to meet the teenager and asked concernly, "I presume it's the same problem again regarding the reptilian-looking creatures."
"Well, yes. How do you know I was about to mention that?"
Mortis turned back to the screen. "See for yourself. It appears that these creatures had been causing lots of problems to other people too."
Artha watched the screen. It showed several eyewitnesses describing their experience with the black canines. Artha couldn't believe that those creatures were causing even more problems than he once thought. Beau could only growl in annoyance.
"Looks like I'm not the only one having a similar problem."
"Indeed. So, what had those creatures gotten into this time around?" Mortis asked seriously.
"Well, a friend of ine got attacked this time," Artha said as he described the events that occured earlier regarding the creatures' interference in Aleck's race. But while Artha was describing the events, something that Artha said had caught Mortis' attention.
"Wait," Mortis interrupted, "did you mentioned something about a silver dragon?"
"Yeah, Aleck's dragon, Sygurd."
"Can you briefly describe Aleck's dragon?" Mortis requested.
"Well, I must admit; it's really one strange-looking dragon. It's mainly metallic silver and red in colour. The weird thing about it is that it looks almost like Beau and it's wearing some sort of gold collar around it's neck-"
"A gold collar?" Mortis cut off Artha suddenly.
"That's what I said," Artha said calmly.
But Mortis wasn't calm. He immediately excused himself in a hurry and he left both Artha and Beau alone while he went to his quarters. Artha was left slightly baffled with Mortis' sudden reaction when he mentioned about the mysterious gold collar, while Beau looked a little concerned and worried too.
:Something doesn't feel right.: Beau shook his head to try to clear his worries, but it just won't go away. It's as if something in the back of his mind was trying to reach out to him.
After a while, Mortis returned with a very old but well preserved scroll in his hand. He said in a very grave tone, "Do you realise what Aleck has gotten himself into?"
"What? What did he do wrong?" Artha asked confusedly.
"It's not that he has done anything wrong, but it's his dragon, Sygurd. That dragon of his was the most dangerous and most violent dragon to have ever walked this planet."
Mortis said slowly, "The Berserker Dragon."
"The Berserker Dragon? I've never heard of it before," Artha admitted without much concern. But not Beau. When he heard Mortis mentioned about the Berserker Dragon, all the worries and memory fragments that had bugged him earlier and before began flooding his mind again. But this time, the fragments began to form a much more clearer image of the past. What he saw in his mind was grim.
"According to ancient legend, the Berserker Dragon was a powerful and terrifying dragon that roamed the planet during the early period of the Dragon-Human War. It will ambush, attack and even kill anything unfortunate enough to cross it's path without warning. According to eyewitness account, it attacked both humans and dragons alike and not many of them managed to escape and live to tell about it."
"Where does it originate from?" Artha asked cocking his head.
"I'm not sure. The fact is; no one knows where it came from. Some believe it could be the result of a deformed offspring but I don't think that's the case."
"But Sygurd doesn't look anything like a mean or terrifying dragon at all."
"That's because its Berserker form was contained within him by the gold collar around his neck. It was mentioned in this scroll," Mortis handed the scroll to Artha, "that the original Dragon of Legend met and fought with the Berserker Dragon."
Artha unrolled the scroll and, with Beau looking over his head, viewed the scroll's contents. There were ancient scriptures of eyewitness' accounts of the Berserker Dragon and it's nature of attacking and killing innocent humans and dragons. Further down, the scriptures described in detail that the original Dragon of Legend went to confront the Berserker Dragon in a town and fought it. They fought in what the eyewitnesses described it as a "very gruelling and chaotic" fight; with more than half of the town in rubbles as both dragons fought savagely with their own mag powers and teeth and claws. Below one of the sentence was an image of two dragons fighting among the ruined town. One of them was definately the Dragon of Legend (with his distinct large chin and gold star bonemark on its head) and the other dragon looks like Beau; but it has spikes on its back and it bore a razor-sharp fang as well as a spade-shaped club on the tip of its tail.
This is some freaky dragon, Artha commented to himself.
When he saw the image, Beau had had enough and turned away. He walked a short distance from Artha; his mind trying to comprehend what he has just saw. Suddenly, through his own eyes, a vision of the past began to unfold...
Through his eyes, he saw his great ancestor fighting the Berserker Dragon in a town now mostly in ruins. He saw that both dragons were really beaten up with bruises and cuts covering their bodies. Both dragons roared at each other in an intimidating way and Beau saw the Berserker used it's grey mag energy and tossed a huge piece of debris at his ancestor. However, the Dragon of Legend managed to catch the oncoming debris in his gold mag beam and returned the favour. The debris was flung back to the Berserker and the debris caught the savage dragon in the face. Seizing his opportunity, Beau's ancestor made a lunge for his nemesis' neck with claws extended and teeth bared. But before he can reach his target, his left shoulder was caught by the Berserker's spade-shaped club, sending him crashing through the wall of a building. Exhausted and badly hurt, the Dragon of Legend tried to get up but the Berserker was soon upon him and pinned his rival down by his injured shoulder. Beau watched in horror as his ancestor was about to be killed by this savage dragon. But before the fatal blow could be done, a piece of rock flew out of nowhere and it hit the Berserker's head. The Berserker swirled back and growled at whoever who dared interfere him.
Before the fearsome Berserker stood a small boy. The boy has blonde hair that was long enough to cover the back of his neck. His eyes were blue and innocent, staring without fear at the Berserker. The Berserker stared back at the boy with a cold and menacing look, growling as it shifted it's attention to the boy. It let out a roar in an attempt to show him who's in charge; but to it's disbelief, the boy barely flinched. Beau admired the boy's courage, but he was worried that the boy may also be making a foolish mistake.
With fists clenched, he muttered to the Berserker, "Leave that poor dragon alone."
In anger, the Berserker let out another roar and mag blasted the boy. The blast sent the boy flying back a few meters and he tumbled hard to the ground.
The Dragon of Legend saw his chance and quickly got to his feet and leaped onto the Berserker's back, which wasn't really a bold move as there were spikes lining along the Berserker's spine. The Berserker tried to get up, trashing around furiously as the black-and-gold dragon pinned his opponent down. As blood began dripping from the spike wounds on his foot, the black-and-gold dragon laid all his weight down on the trashing dragon, pinning it to the ground. Suddenly, his body began glowing bright gold. Beau saw his ancestor quickly placing his bloodied foot around the Berserker's neck and released the energy in a blinding flash that almost blinded Beau himself. When the flash faded, Beau saw a familiar sight; the Berserker Dragon was no longer it's savage form, but a normal-looking dragon...like Sygurd.
Immediately, Beau woke from his trance with a gasp. His gasp suprised Artha, but not Mortis.
"Seems like Beau managed to remember his encounter with the Berserker. And by the sound of it, it doesn't sounds nice," Mortis said.
:Indeed,: Beau grunted.
"Then we must get to Aleck before anything bad happens," Artha said determinedly. "Come on, Beau. Let's go."
"Before you leave, I have one word of advice; if you do meet with the Berserker, do not engage it into combat. Get away from it as far away as possible," Mortis warned sternly.
"You mean run away from it? Come on, I'm the Dragon Booster. Why should I be afraid of it?"
Mortis sighed. "Because it may be too strong and vicious for you and Beau to handle. The both of you may not have the power to stop it yet."
Artha eyed the Dragon Priest irritatingly. "You're doubting us now?"
Beau nudged Artha with his chin. :It's best to just follow what Mortis said. I don't even know if I'm good enough to beat it.:If only my ancestor was around to help me...
"No. I'm not doubting you, Artha. I'm just concern for you and your friend's safety. If you can get to Aleck quickly and warn him of the danger he's in, we might be able to avoid this catastrophe from happening. Trust me, Artha. Trust me."
Artha just sighed in response, "I understand. Let's go, Beau."
Beau magged Artha onto his saddle and galloped towards the elevator.
Chapter 7: Old Foes Return
"Life must've been really tough living outside Dragon City, isn't it?" Parm asked curiously as he, along with Lance and Kitt, accompanied Aleck home. They took an alleyway which was wide enough to accomodate four dragons. Although the alley wasn't their best option, but it's definately a much shorter route around the city compared to the main roads.
"Yeah, it is," Aleck sighed, remembering all too well of the chores that need to be done everyday for his family. Sometimes, he would be helping his parents in their chores; but most of the time he and his sister would be doing the chores together as his parents preferred the both of them to work together.
"I bet it's similar to living in Squire's End," Lance said quickly. He turned to Kitt and asked, "Right?"
"Almost, but minus the crime. The crime rate outside Dragon City won't be that high compared to otherwise," Kitt answered confidently.
Suddenly, another reply came, but it wasn't from any of them. "All too true."
The reply suprised them all. Before they can figure out who said that, four dragons appeared before the group in an attempt to block their way. "Well, well, well. What a suprise to see the stable brats here," Moordryd teased with a sneer. In his right hand was his trusty energy-draining whip.
"Paynn! What are you up to this time?" Kitt glared menacingly at Moordryd.
Aleck was suprised by the appearance of the band of humans and dragons blocking their path. He turned to Kitt and gave her a quizzical look, pointing to the white-haired teenager. "Who's he?"
Kitt simply sighed, " Moordryd Paynn, leader of the Dragon Eye crew."
"And I bet the other three are his merry men?"
"Who you calling us merry men?" Cain yelled at Aleck with a shaking fist as Lance stifled a laugh. Even their dragons were chuckling, much to the Dragon Eyes' annoyance.
"Enough! We're here for a more serious matter," Moordryd snapped. He pointed at Aleck, "You. Hand in your dragon to me. Cooperate nicely and no one gets hurt." On queue, Cain and the other two Dragon Eye crews activated their mag staffs.
Sygurd growled at Moordryd with teeth bared as Decepschun returned the favour with her own growl, making sure that he gets the message that she's serious too.
"Who do you think you are? You have no right to command us what to do," Aleck responded with fury and took out his flash stick. Kitt and Parm did the same by activating their mag staffs, and so does Lance with his own flash stick.
"You have just made a big mistake, kid," Moordryd sneered and gestured his crew to engage.
Immediately, Cain launched three trapping gears at Lance, trapping both Lance and Fracschun to a wall at the far end of the alley. Kitt and Parm retaliated; their dragons magging them forward as they knocked down the two other Dragon Eye rider off their dragons. Once done, they now focused their attention to Moordryd and Cain.
Meanwhile, Aleck attempted to blind his opponents with his flash stick. Moordryd saw this coming and used his whip to knock the flash stick from Aleck's hand. This followed soon with Coerschun magging Cain up into the air, ready to clobber Aleck with his mag staff. Sygurd saw this coming and magged Aleck up into the air to face Cain despite being disarmed earlier.
Scales! No weapon to fight back. Guess I have to go for the next best thing...
As Cain and Aleck closed in, Cain raised the mag staff high above his head, ready to swat Aleck off the air. But before he can slam the staff down, Aleck leaned his body back and managed to use his leg to kick the staff out of Cain's hands. He followed this up with a punch to his opponent's face. The punch left Cain dazed and unbalanced.
Upon seeing this opportunity, Sygurd charged forward and rammed into Coerschun, sending both dragon and rider down to earth in a heap of dirt.
"Great job," Aleck called down to Sygurd, giving him a thumbs up at the same time.
But before Sygurd could bring Aleck down, Moordryd launched his whip towards the silver dragon. The whip caught Sygurd's right foreleg and began draining his energy away.
:Urgh. N-not g-good...Not g-g-good...at...all,: Sygurd groaned as his energy level started falling slowly. The effect was immediate; the mag energy that held Aleck aloft in the air started to flicker and before Sygurd could bring Aleck down, he lost concentration and the mag energy was cut off.
"What the-" was all Aleck could mutter before he ended up falling flat on his back on the ground. Oww, he grumbled to himself, trying to get to his feet despite the pain.
Moordryd let out a wicked laugh as his whip continued to drain Sygurd's energy. The silver dragon got so tired that his legs won't be able to support his body weight any longer. Worse still, the race earlier has already consume more than half of his energy level, making things even more difficult. It's only a matter of time before he ended up lying on the ground motionless.
"That's enough, Paynn. You're outnumbered. Might as well just give up," Kitt growled at Moordryd, her hands clenching her staff tightly.
"Hey! What about me? I'm still stuck,"Lance whined from where he was stuck to.
"Hold on, Lance. We'll get you out...once we deal with Moordryd."
"I think not," Moordryd grinned as he turned to Cain, who managed to get to his feet. In an instance, he launched another trapping gear. Kitt managed to dodge the oncoming gear, but Parm wasn't so lucky. The gear caught Parm square in the chest and he ended up stuck to the wall; right next to Lance.
Lance simply rolled his eyes. "My "hero". Great."
Kitt was stunned by Cain's sudden move as Aleck got to his feet and stood next to her. Aleck managed to recover his flashstick earlier and was now more than ready to use it.
"Looks like we're even now, stable brats. Now hand over the silver dragon."
Aleck turned to Sygurd, who was not in good shape. He's really exhausted. I don't think he can even use his mag energy for a long period of time.
Before both sides can make a move, two canisters fall out from nowhere; one on each sides' feet. Without warning, the canisters let loose a cloud of white choking gas. From a distance, Lance and Parm watched as the thick blanket of smoke shrouded Kitt and Aleck as well as Moordryd and Cain.
"What's going on?" Aleck coughed, his eyes started to water.
"I...don't know. Is this...some trick of yours?" Kitt accused Moordryd, coughing between words.
"Me? I think...I should be the one...asking you that!"
Their dragons didin't fare any better either. Wyldfyr choked and coughed, the smoke caused her eyes to water and her throat terribly itchy and irritated.
:Sygurd....Where are you?: But all she heard was a loud thud. She looked around frantically and saw Sygurd laying on his right side, unconcious. Soon after, she heard another softer thud. She looked down and saw Kitt laying on the ground motionless. Soon after, Aleck was also on the ground unconcious, followed by Moordryd and Cain and their dragons. It was happening all too fast for her.
Eventually, even she started feeling the effects of inhaling the gas. She felt dizzy at first. Then, her eyelids felt heavy and her whole body increasingly tired. Lastly, she felt her legs buckled beneath her weight and before her head hit the ground, her vision went dark.
Lance and Parm were fortunate. Although stuck to the wall, they were out of range of the gas and in a matter of minutes, the gas dissipated. They were stunned to see everyone on the ground, unconcious.
"Quiet, Lance! I think I heard someone coming," Parm interrupted while gesturing Lance to stay quiet.
Both of them remained silent from where they are. Surely, the voices of several men can be heard coming from the front. A black dragon suddenly landed near where the rest had fallen. A man dressed in black leapt off his dragon and inspected the situation. When he's done, he raised his right hand and motioned someone forward. Moments later, a group of men on black psi-class dragons came forward, led by a masked figure. His menacing look was enough to give Lance the chills, but he tried his best not to clatter his teeth in fear. Even Parm gulped at the sight of the masked figure.
This is not good.
The men gathered around and seems to be having a conversation with the masked man. Although far from the group, Lance and Parm can hear the conversation.
"I have to act, mi'lord. They were going to engage in a battle and I can't let things go beyond my control."
The masked man knelt down next to Sygurd and ran his fingers along the gold collar. He sneered and nodded, "Very well. Take him to the abandoned warehouse in Down City. But at the same time, let's bring along a guest, shall we?"
Parm gulped, "This isn't good at all."
Lance nodded slowly, his face expressed fear and panic. Where's Artha? He's taking too long...
Artha, as Dragon Booster, was getting nervous.
He found out that Aleck wasn't home yet when he reached his uncle's house. He tried contacting his friends but to no avail. Something must be wrong.
He urged Beau faster as they tried to trace the path from Lokke's house to find any possible route. He and Beau traced along the main roads but found no clue to their whereabouts. But Artha realised that the main roads can be very congested at times, and today was no exception. It could mean one thing.
"They must've used the alleys. Come on, boy. Let's trace through the alleyways."
Beau nodded in agreement and turned away from the main road and into the closest entrance to the alley. He trotted slowly, allowing Artha and himself to spot for any clues or traces that can lead them to the rest of their friends. Beau relied on his dragon senses, which were more keen compared to a human's, while Artha looked high and low, at junctions and at corners.
A slight breeze blew across the empty and narrow road, sending dust and pieces of paper flying around. Suddenly, Beau's nostrils caught something in the breeze. A scent. A familiar scent. He paused and sniffed the air again to be certain as Artha realised that Beau caught something.
Artha looked over at Beau and asked, "Caught something, boy?"
Beau sniffed cautiously before nodding his head quickly, his face showing great urgency.
Artha gestured his fingers forward. "Lead the way."
In an instance, Beau sped off quickly as Artha held on tightly. They took a series of turns, past corners and junctions without losing speed. Artha was really impressed at Beau's manouverability, even in narrow areas. After several corners and turns, something caught both Artha's and Beau's eyes as they made a turn.
It was Lance and Parm, stuck to the wall by a trapping gear.
Artha was suprised and shock to find them in this situation. "Lance? Parm?"
Both heads turned to him and yelled out loud, "Artha! Get us out of here!"
"Hang on. I'm coming!" Beau turned in their direction and skidded to a stop right beside the pair. Artha leapt off his saddle and, with a swipe of his jakk-stick, removed the trapping gears, freeing his brother and friend and their dragons. "What's going on? How did you guys ended up like this?"
"We're on our way to Aleck's home when Moordryd and the Dragon Eyes ambushed us. They wanted to take Aleck's dragon and this led to us battling them." Before Parm could continue, they heard groans coming from further down the road. Artha turned to see Beau nudging Wyldfyr, Kitt and Aleck, trying to wake them up. They hurried quickly to their friend's sides.
Artha went up to Kitt and helped her up. "Are you okay?"
She replied, still feeling a little groggy, "I'm fine. Just a little sleepy."
He nodded. "You'd better rest for a while. Let me check on Aleck." He stood up and went to Aleck's side. He was sitting with his arms around his legs; his right hand still holding his flash stick. He looked rather distraught.
"Aleck? You all right?"
"No. Someone has taken Sygurd. And I bet it's Moordryd."
Artha looked around. True enough, Moordryd wasn't around, but Decepschun was. He found it odd as Moordryd never leaves his dragon alone, even when he were to steal one. "I'm not betting on anything yet. Moordryd never ditched Decepschun for another dragon. He won't do such a thing to her. Someone else must've been behind this."
While Artha was checking on Aleck, he saw Parm coming up to him with a cylinder-shaped object.
"What have you found, professor?"
"Some sort of canister." Parm shook the canister and continued, "It's empty now, but I suspect something inside it must've knocked everyone out. Perhaps sleeping gas. "
"Thanks for the info, Parm."
"Hey, Artha!" Lance yelled. "Over here!"
Artha and Parm went to where Lance was. Suprising to them, he was helping Cain up to his feet. When Cain got to his feet, he looked around and started panicking. "Moordryd's gone!"
Cain yelled out Moordryd's name, but no reply came. He turned to Artha and accused, "What have you done to Moordryd?"
Artha was stunned by Cain's accusation and responded, "Me? I just came here to find everyone out cold." Parm and Lance cleared their throat loudly, causing Artha to flinch and corrected his statement, "Well, not particularly everyone, though."
Cain gave Artha a suspiscious look. "How can I trust you?"
Lance stepped forward and replied seriously, "That's because we saw everything. When you trapped us and was about to fight Kitt and Aleck, two objects fell out from the top and landed on your feet. Those things released...uhh..." Lance scratched his head and turned to Parm.
"Sleeping gas," Parm continued, "Those canisters released sleeping gas which basically knocked everyone out cold. But that didin't end there. Afterwards, a group of evil-looking men and their black dragons came and captured Moordryd and Aleck's dragon, the one you're going after. They took them to an abandoned warehouse in Down City."
Artha looked at Cain and said, "Well, that summed things up for you."
Cain looked terribly upset when he heard Parm's explaination. "What shall I do now?"
"There's been a lot of sinister things going on around lately, and things might get worse. As for now, you'd better head back to your compund and stay away from trouble. I'll-" I hate saying this."I'll rescue Moordryd for you."
Cain nodded slowly and got back up onto Coerschun's saddle. Before he left, he warned, "You'd better bring Moordryd back in one piece. Otherwise, Word's not gonna be happy with you and the stable brats."
"Don't worry. We'll bring him back safely." I hope...
As Cain and Coerschun left, he turned to Lance and Parm. "Come on, let's head to Down City." They climbed onto their saddle while Artha told Kitt of his plan. He was concerned that Kitt might not be fit for this, but she assured him that she's fine and got up onto Wyldfyr's saddle, ready to join him.
Artha was about to climb onto his saddle when Beau called out to him. He went to Beau and asked, "What's up, boy?"
:What about them?: Beau gestured with his head, trying to show something. Artha looked at where Beau was pointing to and saw Aleck, with his arms crossed, standing besides Decepschun.
"I'm coming with you too. Sygurd's my dragon and I can't leave him," Aleck said sternly.
Artha nodded, still suprised to see the two individuals together. "I understand. But, what about Decepschun?"
"That's not my business," Aleck replied as he eyed Decepschun before rolling his eyes and looking away. The black dragon did the same to Aleck.
Beau realised that he has to intervene in this matter. He came up to Decepschun and asked gently, :Why are you still here? Weren't you supposed to follow Coerschun back to your compund?:
Decepschun shook her head furiously and replied, :No! I can't leave without Moordryd. I want to find him too.:
Beau was a little suprised by her reply. :Are you sure you want to come along? It could be dangerous.:
:I'm willing to risk my life to save someone I cared for.:
Beau didin't reply. Instead, he turned to Artha who was watching the two dragons conversing with patience. Based on his dragon's expression, Artha knew what was going on and said, "She's worried for Moordryd, isn't she?"
Artha sighed, "I understand how she felt. If that's the case, I guess there's no harm bringing her along. Just make sure you look after her."
:Not a problem.: He gave her a cheesy grin, much to her dismay.
They had to travel along a vast network of tunnels and platforms to get to Down City. Once there, they began their pain-staking search of the warehouse which they believed Moordryd and Sygurd were held captive, especially one that looked abandoned. To make things easier, they relied on Parm's tracking device, which was meant to detect draconium energy signatures. With it, they hope that the device can detect Sygurd's grey draconium signature, or the kidnappers' black dragons' draconium signatures.
After several minutes of searching, they reached a compound where three warehouses stood side-by-side. The warehouses looked old and uninhabited for years. The paint on some parts of the wall was scraped off. The front door of the third warehouse was slightly opened, but it was too dark for them to see, even through their binoculars.
Parm and Cyrano stepped forward and Parm checked his tracking device. It detected grey draconium and four black draconium signature coming from the third warehouse. But Parm's tracking device also caught something else; a large black draconium signature from the second warehouse.
Artha and Beau went up to Parm. "Found anything yet?"
"Yes. Grey and black draconium signatures coming from the third warehouse," Parm answered, pointing to the building to their right.
"Then Sygurd must be in there. Come on," Aleck urged hurriedly.
Kitt turned to him and smiled. "You know, I think the both of you looked good together." She was referring to Aleck and Decepschun, in which the former was forced to ride on.
"Oh, please. The only reason I ride her is because I have no dragon and she wanted to come along as well. Instead of walking, might as well hitch a ride on a riderless dragon."
As Kitt stifled a laugh, Decepschun sneered at that statement. Even the other dragons seem amused to see Decepschun forced to let a stranger ride her.
:How's it feel to have someone other than Moordryd riding you?: Fracschun teased.
:Miserable. Given the chance, I would've ejected him right now...:
Decepschun was about to mag Aleck off of her when Beau glared at her and cleared his throat, reminding her that he has authority from the Dragon Booster over her.
She turned to Fracschun and continued, :...if it wasn't for that pesky Dragon of Legend looking over me.:
Artha patted Beau's head and turned to his partners. "Okay, looks like we may have found Sygurd and perhaps Moordryd too. Lance, for your safety, stay outside and look out for any trouble."
"He's right. These people could be dangerous. You'd better stay away from them," Parm warned on Artha's behalf.
"Fine," Lance said annoyingly.
Artha nodded to the others. "Let's go."
The four of them headed towards the compound. The front gate was slightly swung open, the chain and lock that held the gate was found lying on the floor. Someone must've broken in earlier.
Artha led the group as he gestured them to the warehouse to his right. Beau pushed the front gate open and led the group forward. When they reached the front door, Artha leaped off his saddle and together with Beau, they slid the door open. The door slid open with noisy creaks and they peered into the building's interior. There were no lights on and the interior was too dark for the dragons to see through the darkness. Artha made the first steps forward, accompanied by Beau and the others.
"Moordryd? Are you in here?" Artha called out.
Immediately, the darkness was illuminated by dimly lit lights flickering from the ceiling. Although the light wasn't fully bright, it was enough for them to see the interior structure. However, their view of the whole interior was obstructed by a stack of crates. When they got around it, they found that the interior was rather large. There were many more larger crates arranged neatly. Some of them were wrapped in plastic while some were strapped together by ropes and cords, stacked on top of each other. Old, rusted machineries were left untouched at the right corner of the building. There were also old gears, apparently broken, lay scattered near the machineries.
"This place is huge. It's gonna take a while to search for him," Artha commented.
Suddenly, they heard anxious cries for help coming from the center.
"Maybe we found him already," Parm corrected.
Artha leapt onto Beau and together, they headed to where the cries came from. Instead of going through the maze of crates arranged throughout the building, their dragons opted to jump onto the crates. They hopped from one crate onto another and in a minute, they arrived at the location of the cries.
From the top of the crate, they saw a large open space which was wide enough to accomodate five dragons. In the center was Sygurd, stuck to the ground by five trapping gears, and nearby is Moordryd, stuck to a stack of crates by a trapping gear. Moordryd saw the Dragon Booster and cried out in desperation, "Get me out of here now!"
"Hold on! We're coming!"
"Hurry! They could be back soon!"
Beau leaped down and landed in front of Moordryd, followed by Parm, Kitt and Aleck. He activated his jakk-stick and disabled the trapping gear, freeing the teenager. "Who did this to you?"
"How should I know? I was knocked out, and when I woke up, I found myself trapped here." He saw Aleck on Decepschun and yelled at him furiously, "Hey you! What are you doing riding on my dragon? Get off her now!"
Aleck immediately muttered, "Umm, right." He quickly dismounted off Decepschun, much to her (and his) relief.
"Well, well, well. Look who we have here."
Everyone looked up. From the top of the crate where Moordryd was trapped earlier, a man in a red-and-black mask stood tall over them. His frightening looks was made even more scarier with his long black hair running down the back of his head and up to the base of his neck. A few strands of hair remained hanging in front of his face. The mask covers his face except his mouth as he sneered menacingly at the teenagers below him. In his left hand was a long-hilted sabre.
"If it isn't the so-called hero, the Dragon Booster and his meddling pet, the Dragon of Legend."
Beau growled furiously at the evil stranger. Everyone was suprised to see Beau being like this. Artha immediately calmed his dragon down. He looked up and demanded, "Who are you?"
"Don't know me? I'm flattered, hero. But it's not suprising to me. In fact, I think your dragon knows me better than you do," the man replied with calm as he watched Beau glaring at him with fury. He continued, "I'm the Shadow Overlord, leader of the Legion of Shadows. Soon, you all shall bow down before the Legion." He raised his right hand and snapped his fingers. In an instance, five men and their black dragons were surrounding them from the top of the crates. They were further reinforced by four Drag-hounds appearing from between the stacked crates.
Aleck stepped forward and asked, "Why did you steal my dragon?"
"Your dragon?" Overlord chuckled softly. "This dragon doesn't belong to anyone. In fact, it belongs to...me."
Aleck shook his head in disbelief, "I don't believe you at all. I found him wounded in my uncle's stable."
"Have you wondered why he's wounded?"
Aleck did not answered that question. He faced Sygurd with a sad but questioning look. Even Sygurd did not make any sound when his rider stared at him.
Overlord did not wait for his answer. Instead, he asked aloud, "Let me ask you all one question. Does anyone one knows about this dragon's origin?"
There was a moment of silence among the teenagers. Moordryd then broke the silence, "Well, my father did mention that this dragon had some close relations with the original Dragon of Legend and that it disappeared before the Dragon Booster was founded...," Moordryd paused, not knowing what else to say.
But Artha continued, "A friend of mine mentioned something of a ferocious Berserker Dragon that once terrorised people and dragons alike in the past. He also mentioned that the original Beaucephalis faced the monster and managed to defeat it. He thinks this silver dragon is the Berserker Dra-" He stopped himself abruptly.
Something is terribly wrong here.
The Shadow Overlord lowered his head as a wicked smile curled on his lips. "Both of you are right there." He turned to Artha and continued, "As for your answer; yes, this silver dragon is the Berserker Dragon. But there is something else that you should know. This dragon...is Beaucephalis' clone."
Gasps sounded among the teenagers. They couldn't believe the revelation they had just heard, especially Aleck who looked as if he has just seen a ghost.
Beau's jaws were hanging open in total shock as well. He turned to a dejected Sygurd and thought, A clone? Of my original ancestor? This could explain a lot.
"But how is that possible?" a confused Parm asked.
Overlord continued, pacing back and forth, "It's no easy task creating a clone. To create a clone, I need cell samples from the Dragon of Legend. So I lured him into a trap, where he was forced to fight my dragon. Although he escaped, my dragon got what I needed; his cells through his blood. With the cells, I can create my own Beaucephalis. The only reason why the clone doesn't look exactly like him was because I made changes. I changed his draconium colour as well as his behaviour to be more ferocious, uncontrollable and unbalanced. And that's how the Berserker Dragon was created. I have no intentions of keeping him due to his uncontrollability, so I set him loose. But I was suprised that the black-and-gold dragon managed to end it's rampage."
Artha clenched his fists in fury. He knew the outcome of letting the monster loose, and he couldn't believe that this wicked man would do such a thing. "Your creation has killed many innocent humans and dragons. DO YOU KNOW THAT??" he yelled at Overlord with full anger. Everyone wasn't suprised to see Artha being this mad but no one blamed him. If it wasn't him, someone else would be doing the yelling. But he wasn't done yet.
"I can see what you're planning now. You're going to unleash this monster in the city and destroy everything in his path. I'm not going to let you do this! Beau, mag me up! Now!"
:With pleasure.: Beau magged Artha up and launched him at Overlord, who was suprised by the hero's move. Artha managed to knock him off his feet with his fist and was soon standing over the fallen leader with his jakk-stick pointing at him. He was seething with anger.
Now, everyone in the building was ready for their next move, humans and dragons alike. Aleck, Kitt and Parm was ready to defend but Moordryd was unsure of what to do. He could either make a mad dash to escape or fight his way out, although the former sounds more tempting but dangerous. He looked around at his potential opponents. They were also ready to attack, but unlike him or the stable brats, they were armed with halberds, staffs and an energy rifle. He then turned to Decepschun. She and the rest of the other dragons were also ready for an attack. Now he's trully stuck in a battle that he wants no part of it. The atmosphere was getting increasingly tensed.
Up on the crate, Overlord was stunned by the attack. Although pinned down, he giggled evilly at the Dragon Booster, "So you do found out what I'm planning. No suprises there. But I'm afraid it's too late for you to do anything now." Without warning, he raised his palm towards Artha and a black ball of energy erupted from his palm and hit Artha square in the chest, knocking him down dangerously close to the edge of the crate.
Overlord quickly got to his feet and pressed something on his wrist. In a second, a terrifying roar sounded from nearby, followed by a rumble and then, a deafening crash. The wall facing the second warehouse was demolished. Standing amongst the rubble was the Shadow Overlord's dragon, Corrupschun. It let out another one of it's terrifying roar and stomped forward.
On cue, the Legion charged at the teenagers with weapons drawn. The black dragons magged their riders towards their opponents at an incredible speed, followed by the charge of the Drag-hounds with teeth baring.
Parm turned to Kitt with a startled look and stammered, "W-what are we going to do?"
"Fight. Fight like you'd never fought before," was all she answered as she immediately drew out her mag-staff and parried her attacker's move. Parm wasn't sure about her reply but immediately got the idea as he too was forced to defend himself from the attackers. Both of them parried blow after blow from their strong opponents, forcing them into a defensive mode.
Aleck was not sure on what to do at the moment. He was in a chaotic situation; worse of all was that his flash stick may not be useful in a massive battle like this.
"Aleck!" He looked around and saw Kitt looking at him while holding off a halberd with her mag staff. "Don't worry about us. You rescue your dragon. We'll handle the fight." He nodded and ran towards Sygurd to free his friend.
Aleck wasn't the only one looking lost at that time.
Moordryd was still unsure on what to do, but he didin't bother waiting around. As soon as the attack began, he quickly jumped onto Decepschun's saddle and ordered her to move. But as she turned, she was blocked by the four Drag-hounds that accompanied the Legion. She hissed at them and mag blasted one of them away. This prompted the other Drag-hounds to attack. Moordryd saw the Drag-hounds charging at them and muttered annoyingly, "You're really bugging me now, mutt."
To Decepschun's suprise, Moordryd used his energy whip and whipped the Drag-hounds away. He blinked when he realised his actions. Did I just attacked them?
He looked at Decepschun, who gave him a smug look. :Not bad, Moordryd. Your anger got the better of your fear.:
Moordryd was still a little blur over his action. Before he can tell Decepschun to make a run, all four Drag-hounds were back to their feet and charged at them again.
Scales. Looks like my quick escape plan backfired, he thought as he prepared his energy whip to attack.
As everyone was fighting below, Dragon Booster and the Shadow Overlord engaged in their own fight. Their battle was far more intense as both of them fought valiantly; their weapons clashed loudly enough to echo throughout the building. But Artha was having more trouble getting to his opponent. He was constantly in defence, blocking with his jakk-stick against Overlord's sabre attack. He couldn't find a way to attack the Legion's leader without risking getting hit himself, especially from a sabre.
This guy's tough. Much tougher than anyone I faced before. But no matter how tough he is, there must be a way to get past him. But I have to be careful in my attack. Any misjudged move can be hazardous.
While Artha was forced to defend all the time, he was getting tired and impatient to make his attack. But the thought of that sabre hitting him was enough to boost his discipline and not to hurry things. Impatience can only bring more harm than good.
But eventually, he saw the benefit of defending all the time. This gave him the chance to read Overlord's move. He focused his mind, carefully reading his moves while parrying his attack at the same time. He soon noticed a pattern in Overlord's fighting style.
Hmm. Hit fast, hit hard. So that's your style. Doing so means pinning me down all the time and hoping that I'll wear down quickly. Unless I do this...
As the next blow came, Artha blocked with his staff. At that exact moment, he pushed his staff forward and sideways, pushing Overlord's weapon and his arm out of the way, exposing his body. With a clear-cut opportunity, Artha delivered a spinning kick with his right leg. But to his suprise, Overlord freed his right arm and blocked his kick with his fore arm. Once the block was done, he disengaged and jumped back to the edge of the crate.
"I'm impressed, Dragon Booster....You'd spent your time defending so you can read my move. You are indeed a true fighter," Overlord responded between pants.
Artha panted, "I must admit...I only thought of that halfway through. Before that I was only...thinking of defending myself."
Overlord sneered with delight. He turned back to look down the crate and back to Artha again, "Looks like someone else wants to join the fight." A sudden burst of mag energy erupted from below and it lifted Overlord upwards. He contiued to sneer at Artha as Corrupschun joined the fray, leaping onto the crate and roared at Artha as it gently placed Overlord on his saddle.
Upon hearing the roar, Beau leaped up onto the crate and responded with his own roar. He magged Artha onto his saddle and prepared to fight the black dragon.
Aleck reached Sygurd in the nick of time as he heard shots fired towards him. He quickly took a peek to see the remaining attacker aiming his energy rifle at him and fired another round. Aleck managed to duck as the energy ammo whizzed over his head. He stayed on his knees and hands as Sygurd groaned beside him.
:Hurry. Get me out of here. My legs are getting cramped,: Sygurd complained.
Aleck didin't say anything. He waited for a moment for the coast to be clear. Sygurd groaned again, prompting Aleck to make a calm-down gesture with his hands. He heard the sound of mag energy being activated and when he looked up, he saw the shooter was above him, aiming his rifle at Aleck.
Realising the flash stick in his hand, he aimed the lens at the shooter and activated it. The shooter couldn't act quickly enough and was temporarily blinded. Aleck seized the opportunity and tossed his flash stick at the mag energy that held the shooter in the air. The flash stick managed to disrupt the mag's connection to the shooter and he fell hard to the ground, loosening his grip on the rifle as it slid onto the floor. Aleck pounced onto the rifle and tossed it further away.
The shooter got to his feet and activated his mag staff. "You shouldn't have done that, kid," he growled and charged at Aleck. Aleck saw this coming and slid out of the way, evading the staff. He leaned onto Sygurd's body and was about to use his flash stick again when the shooter knocked it off his hands.
The shooter then raised his staff and bring it down with full force. But Aleck was expecting that and rolled out of the way. The staff landed hard onto Sygurd's back and the dragon yelped in pain. Not satisfied, the shooter swung his staff at Aleck but Aleck again rolled away, and again the staff whacked Sygurd in the hindquarters, much to his displeasure.
:Take your fight somewhere else, Aleck!: He grumbled with a snarl but his snarl turned into another painful yelp as the staff whacked his tail this time.
As another blow was to be dealt, Aleck jumped forward and fought the shooter for the staff. But the shooter was much stronger than Aleck and he shoved Aleck back and attempted another blow on Aleck. Instead of jumping away, he raised his right arm and his arm absorbed the blow from the staff. Despite the pain, he wrapped his right arm around the staff and delivered a kick to the shooter's abdomen. The shooter staggered back in suprise over the teen's move.
While the shooter was reeling in pain, Aleck went beside Sygurd's head and patted his head before disabling the trapping gear.
"Sorry for the all the troubles, Sygurd. I have no choice."
:You'd better be...:
Before he can remove the third trapping gear, the shooter returned with a vengeance and hit Aleck's back with his staff. As Aleck was trying to recover from the blow, the shooter was about to deal another strike with his staff. But Aleck knew he was in a favourable position and waited for his chance.
"Say goodnight kid," he yelled and brought down his staff with full force.
Aleck leaped out of the way, leaving a still-trapped Sygurd to face the shooter. He saw the oncoming blow and his eyes burned with fury.
:Oh no you don't!: He snarled and mag-blasted the shooter back and out of the building through the gaping hole on the wall.
Aleck looked at Sygurd and gave him a thumbs-up. Sygurd didin't see that. He was still seething in anger.
:That's for hitting me!: he growled.
Beau was ready for anything. Even a dragon twice his size.
Beau glared at Corrupschun with a determination to beat it, no matter how big it was. He doesn't know the black dragon, but that is before Overlord revealed that Corrupschun has met and fought his ancestor in the past.
:We meet again, Dragon of Legend. It has been millenias since we last met. And even though my hunger for victory over you remains unfulfilled, that is about to change today.:
:You may have mistaken me for someone I hadn't met before in my life. But regardless, I am determined to beat you.:
Corrupschun hissed at Beau menacingly, :So, you're his great grandchild, I presume? All the more reason to beat you; perhaps a good way of embarassing your ancestor.:
Beau roared at him, :Stop talking!:
Artha stared at the large black bipedal dragon in amazement. He knew the odds were currently stacked against him.
"Try beating him if you can," Overlord laughed as he sat back and let his dragon do the fighting.
Artha looked at Beau in the eyes and muttered, "Okay boy, looks like we need to work together if we were to beat it. Ready?"
"Let's do this." Artha prepared his jakk-stick and commanded, "Mag me!"
Beau magged his rider forward, towards the giant. Corrupschun retaliated by using his mag blast at Artha, but the Dragon Booster just dodged it with ease. Artha was closing in on Corrupschun and was within striking distance, but there's one thing Artha has forgotten; the black dragon's human-like claws. The black dragon caught Artha in his claws and grasped him tightly.
"Finish him," Overlord ordered.
Artha struggled to break free from the black dragon's grasp but it's no use. As Corrupschun was squeezing the human, Beau charged forward and headbutted Corrupschun in the belly, causing the black dragon to release Artha. Artha landed on his side hard, gasping for breath. His dragon tried to mag blast Overlord's dragon but he manages to dodge the blast. Beau tried again and again, but Corrupschun managed to either dodge or cancel it with his own mag blast.
My mag blast is not working. That's just great. Looks like it's back-to-school fighting for me...
Beau decided to distract his nemesis from Artha at the moment by engaging in the traditional claw-to-claw combat. While Beau relied on his claws and teeth, Corrupschun has the distinct advantage of using claws or fists.
Beau, as a quadripedal, may need to stand on his hind legs if he were to deal a heavier blow; but it's much less the same when he's facing a bipedal dragon much taller than him. He tried doing so to claw at Corrpuschun's face, but the black dragon simply swatted his attempt and this revealed another weakness in his technique; it causes instability especially if aimed to push him aside. But he managed to prevent himself from falling over by planting his forelegs back to the crate and jumping backwards, away from reach.
How am I going to hit him without revealing any flaws in my attack? If I stand on my hind legs to attack, he can just push me by the side and I'll fall over. If I don't, I won't be able to hit him except his leg-...his legs...
Beau smiled at that realisation. Without waiting any further, he charged at Corrupschun at full speed. As he was approaching, he launched another mag blast. The black dragon easily dodged it, but it was, in fact, a distraction so that Corrupschun cannot attack Beau without getting hit by the blast. Once that's settled, Beau sped his charge and rammed hard into Corrupschun's leg. But to his suprise, the ram only sent Corrupschun staggering a few steps back, near the edge of the crate. Before he can do anything else, he was grabbed by the neck and tossed back. He landed on his left side and got back up immediately, only to meet a punch to the face. The black dragon balled his claws into a fist and punched Beau several times in the face and neck. As a dragon, he was never punched like that before. He only saw humans getting punched, but not from a dragon and not in this way.
With a sudden burst of energy, Beau used his forelegs to parry away any punches directed at him. He stood on his hind legs and returned the favour by clawing at his opponent. Now, it was Corrupschun's turn to try and parry Beau's claws. Despite his efforts, Beau was slightly faster and some of his clawing met his opponent's face. From a few hits increased to many hits as Beau intensifies his clawing and Corrupschun not being able to hold them all off. To add more stability, Beau used his tail to balance himself as he remains standing on his hind legs longer than usual.
Artha watched in awe as he slowly got to his feet. He was very impressed at Beau's style of fighting. If only he could fight like that in a race, he wondered to himself, grinning.
Apparently, Corrupschun has had enough of this beating and grasped both of Beau's forelegs in his claws. Both dragons struggled to gain the upper hand in this grapple. But Corrupschun has a stronger grasp while Beau has nothing to grasp. The black dragon squeezed Beau's forelegs, cutting off the blood supply to his claws. Within seconds, Beau started to feel severe numbness on his claws as the blood supply was blocked off. He struggled to break free but to no avail as the black dragon grinned at his discomfort.
As the numbness became intense, he started losing feeling on his forelegs. He has to act now. He looked around and noticed he was standing on his hind legs, and nothing stood between it and Corrupschun's chest. Not wasting any chances, he did the unthinkable, much to Corrupschun's and Artha's shock.
When he was ready, Beau transferred all his strength to his hindquarters and slipped his hindlegs up and forward. The momentum of him swinging his hind legs forward caused his upper body to swing backward slightly. He tucked his hind legs as close to his belly as possible and hoped that his legs can reach his intended level; to Corrupschun's chest. When his legs did reach that level, he let all of his energy flow to his hind legs and unleashed a devastating drop kick.
The pain was instantaneous and Corrupschun let go of Beau's legs, but it doesn't end there. The force of the kick to the chest was so powerful, Corrupschun was sent flying off the edge of the crate and crashed down onto the smaller stacks of crate, smashing them to pieces.
Beau landed on all four legs with ease, but the numbness to his forelegs caused him to buckle and he fell to his side. He closed his eyes in displeasure and pain as his blood resumed moving throughout his numb forelegs. As he recovered, he felt someone coming towards him and when he opened one eye, saw Artha standing before him with an excited look on his face.
"Whoah! That's one drac move, Beau! You gotta teach me that someday!"
Beau only afforded a cheesy smirk. :Providing you ask first.:
But the fight wasn't over yet. The duo heard a thump and standing at the edge of the crate, the Shadow Overlord stood with his sabre at the ready. He was panting hard and was obviously not impressed.
Although he was boiling mad, he remained calm. He let out a chuckle and said, "You may have won this fight. But next time, it won't be so easy for you." A roar came from below the crate as Corrupschun got to his feet and magged his rider up.
Artha prepared for another attack from the Shadow Overlord. But he noticed something; Overlord was magged too high up to meet him upon landing.
He's not aiming at me.
True enough, Overlord jumped over him and Beau and over the edge of the crate. As he approached landing, he aimed his sabre at someone below the crate.
"He's going after someone down there," Artha said as he quickly went to the edge of the crate. For a brief second, he saw Overlord's sabre hitting his real target.
The fighting was not favouring Kitt and Parm. They were getting exhausted from the constant barrage of blows from their attackers. But they had to buy Aleck time to free Sygurd. They were willing to sacrifice for their friend's benefit. If Sygurd was freed, at least an extra dragon can help ease a little pressure.
Moordryd and Decepschun fared better. They managed to defeat the four Drag-hounds that were blocking their way. Without wasting anymore time, he urged his dragon to make the escape.
But all that was about to change when they heard a shriek.
While Aleck was about to remove the last trapping gear, he heard something coming at him from above. He turned and saw the Shadow Overlord plunging at him with his sabre pointed downwards. He hurriedly took up his flash stick and aimed at the oncoming Overlord.
Wait a minute...
For some reason, he froze in place. Not because he's petrified, but because Overlord was not aiming at him. He was aiming at Sygurd. Time seems to freeze by as Overlord's sabre met contact with Sygurd with a loud clang. Once he's done, he sommersaulted and landed on his feet.
Aleck was horrified and glanced at Sygurd. Although he noticed he wasn't stabbed or wounded, he noticed something else; the gold collar around Sygurd's neck shattered and broke off his neck.
There was an eerie silence around the silver dragon.
But all that suddenly deteriorated as Sygurd let out a heart-wrenching shriek. He struggled madly against the trapping gear with so much force that the gear was eventually severed and fell off. When he's free he got to his feet and let out another shriek as his mind was shrouded with nothing but rage and fury. The Sygurd that Aleck knew was slowly twisted into something more sinister.
Everyone stopped fighting and stared in disbelief as the silver dragon slowly transformed in size and appearance. His golden eyes turned blood-red as his pupils dilated. Two razor sharp fangs sprouted and slid down from his upper jaw. His body changed colour from metallic silver and red to black and grey, with gold streaks running along his back and on his legs. His claws elongated to twice it's normal size and was razor sharp. Spikes also began sprouting along his back and on the shoulders of his forelegs. The two short horns on his head grew in length, becoming razor sharp like his fangs. And lastly, a spade-shaped club grew at the base of his tail. The Berserker Dragon was unleashed once again.
He glanced around at the humans and dragons around him. First, he looked at where Kitt and Parm were. Then he turned to Aleck, who was leaning against the crate in fear. His hands and legs trembled as the monstrous dragon glared at him with blood-red eyes. He tried to control his legs from buckling over.
Aleck stammered, "U-uh. S-s-sygurd? C-c-an y-y-you..." But his attempt to make contact with his dragon was awarded with a earth-shattering roar. He immediately shut himself up, knowing that the Sygurd he knew was now gone.
While the Berserker Dragon was occupied with Aleck, Moordryd took this chance and called Decepschun to make the run. But it was a bad move, as Artha saw him trying to make a run.
Moordryd, don't! You'll attract the dragon's attention, his mind screamed, hoping it would reach Moordryd, which wouldn't happen.
Decepschun make a mad dash out of the building. The clicking of her claws alerted the Berserker and it's reptilian eyes were now fixed on Moordryd. Kitt and Parm saw this, but they were too late to yell out as the Berserker charged at Moordryd and Decepschun. The black dragon made several turns around the maze of crates, but to her horror, the Berserker just smashed right through the stack of crates without stopping.
"It's gaining on us. Faster, girl!" Moordryd screamed in panic. But that command came too little too late as the Berserker caught up and rammed his head into Decepschun's shoulder, knocking her off balance and she skidded along the floor before crashing into the crate.
From above, Artha watched in awe at the Berserker's strength. But his awe turned to terror as the monster smashed into Decepschun. He turned back to Beau, who was back on his feet. "Come on, boy. Moordryd's in trouble!" he said, climbing onto his saddle and they went off to save Moordyrd.
The Shadow Overlord saw the carnage that the Berserker has made, and was satisfied with the outcome. When he saw the Dragon Booster and his dragon heading towards the Berserker, he ordered his men to pull back at once and they obeyed without question, much to Kitt's and Parm's suprise (and relief). They escaped through the gaping hole on the wall as Overlord and his dragon slowly made their way out of the building. Before he left, he turned back and muttered, "Enjoy saving the city, hero..."
Meanwhile, Moordryd tried to get to his feet, but soon felt pain radiating from his left shoulder. Not caring for his injured shoulder, he begged Decepschun to get up, but she was too hurt to get back to her feet. Before he could do anything, he saw the Berserker slowly approach with his teeth baring at him and claws raking the ground.
"Please...leave me alone. I've...nothing to do with this," he begged. But the monster didin't hear his pleas.
Fortunately for Moordryd, Artha arrived in time and ordered Beau to mag-blast the Berserker. He did so, and the blast stun the monster. In anger, he turned his horned head to whoever dared to attack him. When he saw Beau, he paused and stared at the black-and-gold dragon with fury in his eyes.
:Ahhh. Arrre my eyesss decsseiving me? If it wasssn't my old foe, the black-and-gold drrragon,: the Berserker hissed at Beau.
Beau barked back, :You may have returned, but I'll make sure you're reign of terror will be a short one.:
The Berserker snickered at that comment, :Trrry me..: Once said, the Berserker let loose an intimidating roar at Beau and turned and fled out of the building, smashing through several crates before exiting the building through the front door.
As Beau was about to give chase, Artha stopped him and said, "No. We'll get him later." His dragon whined and tried to reason with Artha, but his friend was more concerned with Moordryd.
Artha leaped off his dragon and went to Moordryd and Decepschun, who managed to get to her feet. Parm, a shaken-up Aleck and Kitt also joined him.
"Are you okay?"
Moordryd tried getting to his feet, his hands on his injured shoulder. "I'm fine."
Kitt commented after seeing Moordryd's injured shoulder, "You don't look fine to me. You'd better get to a hospital for a check-up."
"She's right, Paynn. That shoulder of yours looked pretty banged up."
"I said I'm-" Moordryd winced, his words got cut off by the pain.
Parm said assuringly, "Come on, Moordryd. There's no harm going to the hospital. By my observation, there could be a tear in the muscle in your shoulder, which can cause severe bleeding and swelling on your shoulder. Or perhaps it could be-"
Kitt quickly cut him off, "What he's saying is, just get to a hospital for a check-up to make sure you're shoulder's all right." She looked at Parm, who only replied with a sheepish grin.
Moordryd tried to protest. He turned to Decepschun and saw worry in her eyes; worry for him. In the end, he sighed, "Scales....Fine, I'll go." He slowly clambered onto his saddle, while Decepschun paced slowly out of the building.
Artha turned to the others and ordered, "The rest of you head back to the stables first. I'll accompany Moordryd to the hospital." He turned to Kitt and continued, "Kitt, take Aleck back home first."
Aleck protested, "But what about Sygurd? I can't let him destroy the city."
"Neither do I, Aleck. But for your safety, remain at home."
"Very well. But I'm not guarenteeing anything," he replied and he climbed onto Wyldfyr's back.
Before they left, they suddenly realised someone was not with them. Artha looked around and realised in horror. Oh no! Lance!
His horror was fortunately a brief one as he saw Lance and Fracschun bolted towards them at top speed, their faces filled with sheer terror.
"Artha! I heard a t-t-terrifying roar from inside and-and-and then later this giant dragon ran out of the building and t-t-towards us so-so we hid ourselves behind the dumpster outside as the dragon charged past us and towards the main r-r-road..." Lance muttered, still shaken from his close encounter.
Artha just smiled and patted his little brother's shoulder assuringly, glad he was unharmed.
"It's all right, Lance. It's over. He's gone..."
But for how long?..
Chapter 8: Clash Of The Titans (Part 1)
Back in the Dragon Temple, Mortis listened with patience while Parm and Kitt explained to him regarding the events that had happened recently. He shook his head and sighed gravily, "This is bad. Very bad. The Berserker's release could spell trouble for all of us if nothing were to be done."
Parm gulped when he heard this. But he kept his calm and responded, "Couldn't Beau stop it?"
"I'm afraid not, as of now. The original Dragon of Legend struggled to cope with this beast; and if he struggled, I'm not sure if Beau can even face it. He's not ready for such a massive clash."
Kitt cut in, "But, who's this Shadow Overlord? And his so called Legion of Shadows?"
Now Mortis shifted his gaze to Kitt. "The Legion of Shadows was the ancient Black Draconium Empire's elite guards, led by the ruthless Shadow Overlord. They were initially formed as the emperor's own personal guards, but when the war broke out, they were turned into special commando units. However, the Shadow Overlord has a personal agenda of his; to take over the throne of the emperor. Eventually, the emperor found out about his plan and the Legion was disbanded. But according to records kept by the Dragon Priests, when the Shadow Overlord was captured, he kept blaming the original Dragon of Legend to be responsible for the Legion's fall. But regardless of his reason, he was sealed in a cave far away from Dragon City, trapped in suspended animation for the rest of his life."
"Until now, that is. Someone must be responsible for his release."
"Quite true, Kitt. I believe the person who released him must've learned about the Legion's past.."
The sound of heavy footsteps echoed throughout the temple's interior. Mortis looked back and was suprised to see Artha, panting heavily and his hands to his knees. From the way he looked, he was terribly shaken.
"Artha!" Kitt cried out and ran towards him. "What happened?"
He panted between words, "Berserker...ambushed us...on the...way..."
Mortis stepped forward to check on him and realised something, fearing the worst. "Where's Beau? Is he all right?"
Artha looked up dejectedly and began revealing the truth.
Beau galloped along one of the many highways that stretched throughout the city with Artha (as Dragon Booster) holding on to his saddle. They had just dropped Moordryd at the hospital and was now making their way back to the stable. Time was running out for the city, and they had not a second to lose. They had no idea where the Berserker Dragon was or how much destruction it could cause to the city. Even if they did formulated a plan to stop it, they still had to find it and that will certainly consume more time. There's just too much at stake, and currently for them, time was not at their side.
As Artha held on and urged Beau faster, he felt something large coming at them. He knew Beau felt it when he tensed his neck muscles and tried to look back. And whatever Beau saw, it came with a bang.
The black-and-gold dragon was hit hard from behind with such force that he tumbled head over tail, flinging Artha off his saddle as both human and dragon crashed down to earth. After they came to a standstill, Artha looked up and was stunned at what hit Beau; a carriage.
"How did-" Artha muttered, but his words were cut off by a loud stomp, followed by a jolt that he felt it spreading throughout the ground. He lifted his head to where the sound came from and saw the Berserker Dragon slowly walking to where Beau was. He watched with amazement as his dragon slowly got up to his feet, despite being whacked from behind by something as big and heavy as a carriage. For the teenager, Beau has never failed to impress him. Since he was chosen as Dragon Booster, Beau has unveiled many abilities that all present-day dragons don't, ranging from the ability to change colours to the ability to fly. Now, Artha was amazed at his dragon's super vitality.
Artha desperately got to his feet. He planned to make a dash to his saddle and take off before the Berserker could get to them. However, as he was about to make his move, he saw Beau trying to communicate with the approaching Berserker based on the way he was barking at it. The Berserker paused a short distance from the smaller dragon and replied with a series of grunts and growls. Artha has no other choice but to watch and hope Beau can get something out of this conversation. What he didin't know though was that the Berserker has a big grudge on the Dragon of Legend and definately won't let him get away that easily.
Beau then started growling at the Berserker, who responded with a hiss, and Artha knew that the situation has deteriorated badly now. For a moment, he thought he saw the Berserker eyeing him with it's right eye and an evil smirk crept along it's lips. Whatever it's planning, it came like a lightning strike.
The Berserker suddenly turned it's head towards Artha and launched a blast of mag energy. Artha hasn't had enough time to evade the blast and it sent him flying through the air...and off the highway platform. Beau also saw this and gasped in horror as his friend was tossed off the edge of the highway.
Artha's face was white with pure terror when he saw the railings at the edge of the platform flew past under him, replaced by a thousand meter drop to the bottom. He had never expected the Berserker to had such massive power channelled into it's mag blast. For him, being hit by a mag blast was normal, but being hit by a mag blast and off the highway platform was considered a worst-case scenario, even in racing events.
"BBBEEEEEAAAAAUUUUU!!!!" Artha screamed at the top of his lungs, plunging down at incredible speed. He looked up and hoped that Beau can forget fighting the Berserker and save him.
Beau rushed to the platform's railing from where Artha was thrown off. Before he can reach the railing, the same carriage that hit him earlier landed right in front of him, blocking him from reaching the edge. Not wasting any time, he skipped to the side to avoid crashing into the carriage. When he did reach the edge, he leaned against the railing and peered down and saw Artha's figure slowly fading into the abyss. :Hang on! I'm-: Beau was suddenly lurched back from the railing and was left laying on the ground.
For a brief moment, Artha saw Beau at the edge, ready to make the dive and save him. But his hopes was quickly dashed when he saw a sudden burst of mag energy from behind Beau yanked the dragon back. From then on, Artha knew he was doomed.
He was free-falling for several seconds now, the air beating at his sweaty face. His survival instinct began to kick in; he tried to run through his memory and remember his experience he had in such situations. Then, he found the breakthrough needed.
The glider pack!
He closed his eyes and focused his mind, relaying his thoughts throughout the armour as if commanding it. Within moments, the two blades on his back wiggled and sprouted outwards before they enlarged into a pair of wings.
Artha sighed with relief as he glided his way through the air. Eventually, he landed on a lower highway platform with ease. Once he's settled, he looked back up and realised he has fallen a long way down.
Scales! I'll never be able to reach Beau from that distant! Artha grumbled in his mind. He looked around for a way up, but there wasn't. He now realised that he has to make a painful decision; leaving Beau behind and seek Mortis' help. However, his mind argued that if he leave Beau behind, the Berserker may kill him. But he also knew that even if he did return to Beau to face the Berserker, they don't have the knowledge and strength to defeat it, and it would certainly won't let them escape without a fight. After pondering over his decision for a minute, he has no other choice but to go for the painful one.
He gritted his teeth in disgust and ran along the highway, back to the stables. He turned back to where his friend was and muttered, "Sorry, Beau. Sorry for ditching you at this time. But I promise I shall return for you..."
Once Artha's done telling the whole story, he sat on a piece of rock with his head in his hands, feeling ashamed of his actions.
"You left Beau on his own? Are you out of your mind? Why did you do that for?" Parm complained with his hands stretched out, not believing Artha's actions.
"Beau's gonna be in deep touble," Lance said shaking his head.
Artha looked up with a hurt look. "I know how everyone's feeling right now. But I've got no choice; I'm stuck on a highway thousands of meter below where Beau was, and there's no shorter way up. Even if I do get to the top, there's no telling what can happen to Beau or me with that monster there. If only I can do something to redeem myself..."
Everyone was silent when they heard Artha's confessions. After a while, Mortis stepped forward to where Artha sat. He placed a hand on the teen's shoulder and said sympathetically, "I understand how you're feeling now, Artha. Sometimes in life, we may face a situation when we have to make difficult decisions; what's more if those decisions doesn't favour us at all. If that happens, we may have to make sacrifices and hope that the sacrifice we make will be a worthy one."
Artha argued, "But, now I'm risking a friend's life. Is sacrificing a friend's life worthy?"
"If the sacrifice benefits others' life, it will be. But today will not be the case."
"What do you mean?" Artha eyed his mentor with confusion.
Mortis just smiled. "I may have a plan to stop the Berserker Dragon."
"You do? What is it?" Parm asked eagerly.
"It's like this," Mortis turned to Artha and asked, "Artha, do you still remember the text that you'd read earlier?"
Artha nodded. "Yeah. The one which historically accounts the meeting between the original Dragon of Legend and the Berserker Dragon."
"And what did you find out?"
Artha didin't describe the whole story. Instead, he ran through it in his memory. Deep in thought, he closed his eyes and tried to remember what he had read. After a while, he opened his eyes and replied with a gasp, "The gold collar!"
"The gold collar? How's that gonna help?" Lance eyed his brother with one eye.
Mortis answered on Artha's behalf, "That's no ordinary collar, Lance. It contained a high concentration of gold draconium in it. I believe that the stable gold draconium energy can help balance the Berserker's unstable draconium energy."
"Just like the case with Libris," Parm said, remembering their encounter with the giant grey-boned dragon.
"Yes, just like Libris. But unlike it, the Berserker was born to be unstable. Therefore, the only way to ensure permanent maintainance is to put that collar on."
But Kitt was in doubt. "One big question; how are we going to get such a collar? Beau's not here now."
"I'm aware of that, Kitt. What I can do is to create another collar out of normal metal. This metal collar will then be strapped around the Berserker's neck and Beau will use his mag powers to transfer some of his gold draconium influences onto the metal collar."
"Thereby creating another gold collar," Artha concluded.
Mortis nodded with satisfaction. "Exactly."
"Then we have to find Beau."
"I agree. Here's my plan," Mortis faced everyone and continued, "Lance and Parm will stay behind and help me build the collar, while Artha and Kitt will go out and find Beau." He paused for a breath. "If this plan fails, Dragon City will then be under the Berserker's mercy."
"Not while Beau is still alive. Come on, stable boy!" Kitt gestured Artha to follow her and they headed to the temple's elevator.
I hope Beau's still in one piece...
Beau leaped to his feet and ready to put his life on the line to save his friend. He planned to make another dash for the railing.
:It'sss too late forrr that. Yourrr frrriend isss long gone by now,: the Berserker spoke up, grabbing Beau's attention. The evil black-and-grey dragon sneered at his black-and-gold counterpart, :Now, let'sss sssettle thisss issssue oncsse and forrr all. Jussst you and me.:
Beau didin't reply the Berserker's challenge. He was too overcome with emotions for him to even hear the Berserker's last sentence. But he has a point; by now, Artha may have fallen to his doom. He gritted his teeth in anger and frustration, his eyes screwed tight. He felt a sour taste building up in his mouth when he tried to deny that point, adding further insult to his grief.
When Beau didin't reply, the Berserker asked without feelings, :Why do you ssstill carrre forr that usselesss human?:
That question hit Beau's head like a tail swat. His eyes shot wide open, glaring at the Berserker with unimaginable fury that he never had before. :Useless? You refer to humans as USELESS?: Beau showed further anger by raking the ground with his claws, hard enough to create a faint screeching sound. :Humans have helped dragons a lot in many ways. Their inventions had helped to improve our lifestyle and our teamwork with humans has helped overcome many difficult obstacles in the past. But most importantly, if it wasn't for the help of a certain human, the Dragon-Human War would never end. How DARED you call humans useless?!!:
The Berserker just shrugged, :Hmph. I'm flatterred, gold one. You carrred too much for thessse humansss, jussst like in the passst, and all otherrr drragonsss asss well. Thrrrough my eyesss, humansss are weak and trrroublessome. If drragonss arrre intelligent, they sshould've sssaved themssselves rather than trrying to ssave thessse weak beingsss, esspecssially from me.:
:Because we are not foolish!: Beau replied sternly, and paused. Somehow, he remembered something striking that it managed to cool his temper down. To the Berserker's suprise, Beau smiled wryly at him and said, :How ironic. You despised humans, yet your "good side" accepted them. Maybe you're not that bad after all.:
Upon hearing Beau's point, the Berserker frowned and hissed at him, :I'll make sssure that my "good ssside" will neverr rrre-sssurfacsse again!: With lightning reflexes, the Berserker magged the carriage that was left at the edge of the highway and flung it at Beau.
Beau saw this coming and jumped backwards; the carriage just missing his head (or rather, his chin) by inches as it smashed through the opposite side of the railings and plummets down into the abyss. But the danger was far from over for Beau. The moment the carriage missed Beau, the Berserker charged forward and, with a swing of his horned head, whacked Beau in the head. The impact almost knocked Beau down to his side, but he quickly regained his composure and planted his feet back down. But Beau realised that his head was within range of the Berserker's spade-shaped tail club. The Berserker grinned and swung his tail club straight into Beau's face.
Not a chance I'm kissing that!
Beau lowered his legs and crouched, his belly touching the rough asphalt. The tail club flew over his head harmlessly and then, he eyed an opportunity. Summoning all of his mag powers, he unleashed a powerful mag blast which struck the Berserker's side at point blank range, sending him flying several meters back. He tumbled along the ground violently before coming to a halt.
When he's satisfied with the result, Beau made his move and stepped forward, cautiously approaching the Berserker. He was amazed that the Berserker managed to get to his feet without any difficulty. If a normal-sized dragon were to be hit by such a mag blast, it would've knocked them out cold!
The Berserker panted, shaking his head to clear out the effect of the blast. His shoulders and sides were covered in light bruises from the hard landing he had. He turned to an approaching Beau and thought, He must've charged that mag blast with a lot of energy. No dragon that size can have so much power to knock down a dragon bigger than it. This is going to be fun...
The evil black-and-grey dragon stared at Beau and grinned. Beau stopped on his tracks, not knowing what was the Berserker up to, until he darted off towards the railing of the highway...and jumped over it.
No way! He's not going to jump!
But the Berserker did jump. As soon as his feet left the ground, he discharged his mag blast downwards from his hindquarters, boosting his jump further and higher than a normal jump. The mag energy remains connected to the ground from where he made the jump and it propelled him forward. His jump eventually landed him on another highway platform, located on a higher level from the highway where he once was.
Beau didin't move, he was staring up at where the Berserker landed. After a while, he saw the Berserker's head peering down on him. He let out a dominating roar and yelled, :If you carrre about humansss, trrry ssstopping me!.: After he made that challenge, he left, stampeding away from view.
He's heading for the city center! I've got to stop him! Beau thought determinedly.
Beau soon realised he has no choice but to make the jump if he were to catch the Berserker. He headed to the railing and studied the distance and height between the two platforms.
It's quite some distance. But I have no choice. I gotta try...
Beau left the railing and ran back to the other end of the highway before turning back again to face the higher platform, his intended destination. He lowered his legs slightly, front claws scraping the ground in anticipation, and takes off. He ran as hard and fast as possible, building momentum for the mag jump. As he approached the railings, his body glowed and Beau prepared to let loose his mag energy. He must have perfect timing for the jump and avoid any calamity; any miscalculation in his jump would be a disaster.
He leaped onto the railings to add more leverage and jumped off. The moment his legs left the railing, he released his mag charge and it rocketed him forward and upward. He now has to focus his concentration on maintaining the mag stream, and hoped he had done enough to reach the other side. After ten agonising seconds, he made it to the other side; landing just behind the railing of the platform.
Huh. That was a close one, Beau sighed to himself. His decision to jump from the railing may have made a difference in his jump, but just managed to scrape through.
The sound of panic people screaming woke him from his relief. Beau knew where it came from and proceeded to where the Berserker was last seen. He galloped at top speed along the highway, as fast as the muscles in his legs can carry him. When he approached the city center, he was greeted with the sight of chaos. People were running and screaming with sheer terror, some of them were hiding inside buildings; the dragons yipping and whimpering in confusion, not knowing what to do. The streets were littered with debris from buildings damaged by something large and powerful. Some of Dragon City Security were at the scene, helping out those who were injured. But Beau didin't have time to stop and help everyone at the same time; he knew it's best to tackle the source of the problem first.
Beau ran through the dirty streets without pausing, careful not to trample over the injured and jumping over debris. All he had to do was to follow the trail of destruction left behind and he should be able to find his target. After taking several turns, jumping over large debris and aiding lost and confused dragons to safety, he reached a sharp right corner. He was greeted by the sound of mag energy humming from behind the corner, followed by three Dragon City Security officers thrown back onto the sidewalk. The Berserker must be close by.
The dragon shifted his body to the side and skidded along the road, waving the fins on his tail to slow down his speed, until he was past the corner. Ahead of him, the Berserker stood on top of a four-storey building facing a T-junction, looking down at his adversary with delight. He grinned at Beau and roared, trying to show off his supremacy.
Beau replied with his own roar and made his long charge forward along the long narrow road. Between the road were several shorter buildings, sitting side-by-side each other and leaving no space for any cover. Beau soon found out why the Berserker chose this road to confront him.
As the black-and-gold dragon continued his charge, the Berserker eyed the several carriages parked below him. He powered up his mag energy and fired at one of the carriage. With a strong surge of his mag charge, he lifted the carriage and tossed it at Beau like a toy.
Beau saw the "missile" coming at him and dodged sideways. The carriage smashed beside him with a loud crunch, it's body totally crumpled by the impact. The Berserker wasn't satisfied with his efforts and repeated the same action again with another carriage. But again, Beau saw this coming and sidestepped to his left, the carriage missing him and smashed to the ground. Now the Berserker was getting annoyed and proceeded to toss not one, but two carriages together.
:Trrry dodging thisss!: the Berserker challenged Beau and tossed the two carriages simultaneously.
Beau looked up and gasped in panic. Both the carriages were almost equal in everything; height, speed, and acceleration. He can try to speed up and hope he can get past under the carriages.
But I have a better plan.
Beau charged up his mag energy and launched it at the carriage he's facing; the left one. The mag stream caught the carriage and slowed it's descent while the other continued on descending. His plan was to catch the carriage that he's facing and slowed it down. This will leave an opening for him to carry on his charge while the carriage to his right will surely miss him. And surely enough, his plan worked brilliantly.
The carriage to his right crashed to the ground harmlessly beside him while the left one remain suspended in the air. When the coast was clear, he gently moved it away from his view and put the carriage down on the sidewalk, resuming his long charge to the Berserker.
Impressive, gold one. Very impressive. Let's see how you're going to escape this! The Berserker fired his mag energy, but this time, he aimed it at a giant billboard attached onto the roof of one of the buildings facing the narrow road. He grunted and groaned, channeling all of his strength at the billboard's foundation. Slowly, the steel foundation began to crumble and creak under immense stress and the rivets holding the steel together began popping out of their sockets. The whole billboard slowly began to gave way and broke free from it's foundation.
Beau heard the creaking and snapping sounds from above and looked up. All he saw was a large, flat board coming down on him. :Oh, no,: was all he could mutter and closed his eyes. His gold bonemark shimmered brightly, but the billboard eventually landed on top of him, kicking up a huge amount of dust as the billboard broke into few twisted pieces.
The Berserker laughed hysterically, thinking that he had finally defeated his opponent. But all that changed when the dust settled. Amidst the twisted wreckage of the billboard, Beau remained standing tall, well protected by the gold mag shield that he managed to conjure up seconds before impact. When all was settled, he powered down his shields and gasped in relief. He glared at the Berserker furiously and growled, :I'm sick of you and your antics already.:
The Berserker merely grinned wickedly at him and replied, :So do I with you...: Once he replied, he tossed another carriage at his adversary. But Beau didin't flinch and stood his ground.
I'm not going to cower in fear before this wicked monster! His mind flared up as a new strength began surging through his body and soul. He powered up his mag energy and fired at the oncoming carriage. Just like before, he slowed down the carriage's descent and stopped it in mid-air. But at the same time, he channeled another mag stream and fired it from his left foreleg. It was directed towards a steel bench on the sidewalk and Beau flung the bench upwards and towards the Berserker.
The bench flew literally at the Berserker like a missile. The black-and-grey dragon saw this coming, but realised that there's no other way except down. Hissing in displeasure, the Berserker was forced to leap down from the building and the bench narrowly missed him by inches off his head.
Beau gently placed the carriage down and when he saw the Berserker landing hard on the road, he made his move. Now's my chance! He let out a cry and charged at the Berserker. His opponent was caught by suprise and Beau landed a headbutt at the Berserker's right side. The impact sent the Berserker staggering back but not fall to the ground. He whipped his head in anger, face-to-face with his gold counterpart and attacked with his claws and teeth. Beau also retaliated with his claws and teeth.
Now, both dragons engaged in basic claw-and-teeth fighting. The dragons clawed, pawed and attempted to bite at each other's neck; their weakest spot. But everytime when one dragon attempted the neck bite, the other would either smack his opponent with a paw or arched his neck away, out of range.
Beau landed several fast blows with his claws on the Berserker compared to the latter's fewer but heavier blows. For Beau, being hit by the Berserker's paw was like being whacked by a mace. Besides worrying about the Berserker's claws, he also had to worry about the spikes along the Berserker's spine and shoulders; he has to be careful not to lay a foot onto those nasty-looking spikes.
The Berserker too responded with a series of heavy blows onto Beau. Both dragons trying to gain an edge over their opponents, but this fight was soon taking it's toll on both dragons' body. After clashing for ten minutes, both dragons inadvertently broke off and leaped backwards and away from each other. Both Beau's and the Berserker's body was covered in bruises; most of them were on Beau's face and sides and on the Berserker's chest, forelegs and sides. They were panting loudly, their sides heaving heavily and their mouths hanging open with exhaustion.
The Berserker said between pants, :I mussst admit.....yourrr fighting wasss imprrresssive...gold one...:
Beau snorted, not impressed by the Berserker's comments, :Admire...as much as you want.....But mark my words...I'll do whatever it takes...to banish you...for good...:
:Then...I'll make sssurre you don't!: The Berserker gathered his mag energy and mag blasted Beau in the chest. The blast sent Beau skidding along the street and he ended up smacking against the wrecked billboard. Once that's done, the Berserker lowered his head until his horns were pointing in Beau's direction and galloped forward, thrusting his horns like a sword.
Beau grimaced from the pain radiating from his chest where the blast hit him and his back where he smacked against the twisted edge of the billboard. He rolled onto his legs and slowly got up. While he's still recovering, his eyes caught the Berserker charging into him head first, or rather, horn first at high speed. With superdragon efforts, he managed to roll out of the way just when the Berserker thrust his horns forward, where his body would've been. Due to the momentum, the Berserker ended up trudging onto the wrecked billboard.
Got you! Beau saw the Berserker's back was facing him and with split-second precision, launched a mag blast which hit the Berserker's hindquarters. The blast caused the Berserker to lurch forward and he ends up tumbling head over tail down the pile of twisted metal and onto the street. Beau gave chase, trudging through the wrecked billboard to meet his fallen opponent. But all he saw was an already-battered carriage facing perpendicular to him. Without warning, the carriage rocketed forward towards him, tyres screeching along the road. What Beau didin't see was the Berserker was magging the carriage sideways like a battering ram.
Beau immediately ran forward, knowing who's behind this, and jumped over the moving carriage. He knew who's behind this, but he didin't know what was coming soon after he jumped. While he was about to land behind the carriage, he saw the Berserker has already unmagged the carriage and was expecting him, smirking. Then, he did the unthinkable; he performed a spinning low kick, all too familiar as Beau's trademark move. Supporting his weight on his left foreleg, the Berserker made a hundred and eighty degree spin; his kick catching Beau in the jaw and bashing him into the building to his right.
The impact on the building formed a large circular crack on the wall, like a spider's web. The black-and-gold dragon was left sprawling on the sidewalk, writhing in pain from the kick and not noticing the Berserker slowly walking towards him. That kick really left him dazed and disoriented.
He felt his body being moved until he was laying on his back and suddenly, a strong pressure was applied onto his chest and it started to compress slowly. He gasped in suprise and with blurry vision, saw the Berserker's head looking down upon him, smiling evilly. Beau realised he was pinned down, with the Berserker's large body standing tall over his smaller form. His left foreleg was placed on his chest and was pressing down slowly and hardly with every second.
:Therrre'sss no essscape forr you!: The Berserker taunted Beau with grim satisfaction.
Beau grunted and heaved, trying desperately to peel the Berserker's paw off of his chest with both his forelegs. His hindlegs instinctively tried kicking at the Berserker's body but it was in vain. The pressure was building gradually in his chest cavity; his lungs were slowly constricted, cutting off his air supply with each passing second. He groaned in discomfort, pushing every bit of his strength to his forelegs to remove the pressure off his chest. He even summoned his mag powers to try and mag blast the Berserker off him. However, he ended up using his mag energy to lift the Berserker's paw off his chest instead.
But with every effort he put in, his strength slowly diminished and was soon gasping for air. He heard the Berserker letting out a maniacal laugh and this time, he planted both his paws on top of each other to counter his mag powers. The added weight was too much for Beau to bear and was losing the struggle, his mag powers began to dwindle.
I...I c-can't...lose to him now....L-losing to him means...losing my life, Beau thought. He grimaced as the pressure in his chest turned from uncomfortable to painful. He felt his strength began to diminish, his mag energy dwindling in strength, his mind screaming at him to not give in. In other words, a conflict was brewing within himself; between mind and body.
He closed his eyes, trying to soothe this brewing conflict while maintaining his struggle with the Berserker. He calmed his mind and body, closing his eyes and easing the pressure he's applying on his body without withdrawing his strength and energy from the struggle. When he felt more relaxed, Beau then focused on how to overcome the Berserker's strength. With eyes still closed, he tried to reach deep down inside his body to find that hidden power that he knew was present recently. He scoured through every part of his mind and body, like scouring through a beach for lost treasures, for that one power that can save him and defeat the Berserker. He has used it before to save his friends (and himself) from that pit fall in the Wasteland, and he's not hesitating to use it again.
Come on,...I know it's...inside...somewhere....Got it! His mind roared with joy as he found that hidden power that he so desperately need.
:Time to meet yourrr end, gold one!: The Berserker bellowed aloud.
Beau opened his eyes and grinned weakly, :Time to meet my other form!: He released that hidden power and it started rushing throughout his body like a wildfire. The sudden surge of energy in his body was exhilirating, he can feel the energy in the form of heat signatures, travelling through his veins and incorporating with vital parts of his body. He felt his body energise and due to the effect of the new power on his body, this caused his body to undergo transformation.
Before the Berserker, he saw the black-and-gold dragon's body began to glow and change in appearance. The fins under his chin and at his legs began to take on a more fiery-spiky design; two small aerodynamic "wings" formed near the tip of his chin, pointing outwards; his gold claws began to elongate to razor sharp, much like the Berserker's own claws; the large fin on his tail was replaced with a spiky-looking tuff at the tip of his tail. Furthermore, his body colour also underwent some slight changes; the gold markings on his body also took on a fiery design, forming on his lower lips, at the tip of the fins, around his elbows and digits of his paws, and on his tail tuff. Although the black remains unchanged, there were additional grey patches on his shoulders.
To sum things up, Beau has just transformed based on the Furox design; and that hidden energy that he released was the energy gained from absorbing the Furox bonemark.
The Berserker was stunned, as if he saw something even more frightening than himself. Seizing this opportunity, Beau tucked his hind legs as close to his body as possible and, with all his might, catapulted the larger dragon off him, kicking him in the belly. At the same time, he also boosted his mag energy and it blasted the Berserker. The Berserker was thrown back by the kick and the blast, crashing into the top part of the building opposite them. For Beau, he wasn't done yet.
When the Berserker was dropping down to the ground, Beau grinned and muttered, :This is how it should be done!: He then performed his trademark spinning low kick and his kick caught the Berserker square in the face before he even touched the ground. The kick was powerful and again, the Berserker was sent flying to the building at the T-junction, where he was standing on earlier. He crashed hard into the building with such force that it created a large, gaping hole.
An eerie silence filled the now dirty street. Beau paused for a breath, obviously exhausted from his struggle. When he felt better, he walked quickly to where the Berserker was last seen. Beau tried to look through the thick cloud of dust and rubble that scattered the streets. He saw the outline of the hole, but no sign of the Berserker. So, he trudged carefully through the rubble, his eyes started to water a little due to the dust shrouding his vision.
As Beau peeked into the hole, he was taken aback when a claw swung out from the darkness and nearly hit his face if not for his quick reflexes. He leaped back and, growling to himself for his carelessness, fired another mag blast into the hole. Nothing came back in response from the Berserker. No retaliation, no movement, no sound. Beau was starting to feel a little disturbed by this unusual silence.
Suddenly, a rapid movement in the darkness caught his eyes, breaking the standstill. Beau prepared himself for an attack. But instead, he saw the Berserker turning his back against him and headed the other direction. The Berserker smashed another hole through the wall and escaped through the other side of the building.
When the dust settled, Beau was left staring at two gaping holes in the walls in front of him. He was furious that the Berserker fled, but soon became anxious when he realised his nemesis was heading to a more populated area of Mid City, where more people might get hurt. Or worse.
Beau followed the Berserker's trail through the building and back on the other side of the building, where he found himself on a long stretch of road. In front of him, there was a low railing lined along the side of the road. He heard screams coming from below the railing and quickly walked to the railing. There, he saw the Berserker terrorising people and dragons alike on the lower levels of the city. He simply shook his head in annoyance and jumped down.
"Where could he be?" Artha said aloud, turning his head left and right.
He was forced to hitch a ride on Wyldfyr's back throughout the search. Kitt didin't say anything, all she could do was show some sympathy to her friend and hoped they can find Beau.
They traveled along one of the highways leading to the city center, Dragway 20. It was the closest highway from the stables that can take them to the center of Mid City. Just like other highways, this one was also linked to other highways nearby.
As they approached an intersection, five blue dragons appeared ahead of them from the intersection. Artha knew who they were and called out, "Captain Faier!"
Captain Faier turned and saw who was calling him and immediately halted his dragon. The other officers with him also followed his move. He has a suprised look on his face when he saw the Dragon Booster on someone else's dragon.
"Dragon Booster? What a suprise to see you here!"
Artha gave a quick greeting to the captain and immediately got to the point. "Captain Faier, have you seen my dragon?"
"You mean the black-and-gold one? I was about to mention that."
"You mean you saw his dragon?" Kitt asked with eagerness in her voice. "Where is he now?"
Captain Faier sighed, "Well, one of my officers claimed that he saw it in the city center, fighting some giant dragon that I've never heard of."
Which means Beau could still be there, Artha thought. "Thanks for your help, Captain Faier. I think I know where my dragon is now."
Artha then nodded at Kitt to go ahead and she urged Wyldfyr to continue on with the search as Dragon City Security followed behind them. All of them were heading for the city center.
Kitt assured, "At least we know where's Beau now."
Yeah, but now the question is are we too late? Artha wondered worriedly.
It was only a hundred meter drop from the top to the lower level. Beau landed on the street without much problem. There, he continued on with his pursuit of the Berserker, following the trail of destruction left behind.
The trail led him to the edge of the city, somewhere near the entrance to Down City. Unlike other parts of Mid City, this part was more darker and secluded, a suitable environment for an ambush. The buildings here were placed some distance from each other, creating narrow alleys between the buildings. The appearance of the building also somehow provided a gloomy feel to the area. Rows of street lights were lined along the empty road, illuminating pale-white lights.
Beau slowed down his run and started pacing instead. He paced cautiously, knowing the Berserker was a sneaky opponent despite his large size and can't be caught off guard, especially in an area like this. A scream suddenly echoed around Beau. He whipped his head around to find the source. The scream sounded again, and Beau heard it clearly this time. It was coming from a left turn ahead of him. Beau charged forward and turned to his left, where he believed the scream came from. From where he stood, he saw the Berserker magging a woman up in the air and dangling her dangerously close to his sabre fangs.
:Let her go this instant!: Beau demanded.
The Berserker glared at him. He didin't reply and he deliberately threw the screaming woman towards Beau. He gasped in shock and quickly caught the woman in his mag energy before she collided into him. Then, he gently placed the woman back on the ground, who immediately bolted out of sight without saying anything.
After watching the woman running away to safety, he set his sight on the Berserker, who taunted him. :Ssstill carring forrr humansss?:
:I care for everyone around me, both humans and dragons alike.:
The Berserker snorted in disgust, :Hurrrhh...how foolisssh.: He then galloped straight for Beau while firing several mag blasts at him. Beau evaded by rolling or jumping away from the blasts. He knew the Berserker was charging into him, perhaps wanting to engage in another claw-and-teeth fight. But Beau was confident he can get the better of the Berserker this time.
When they were within striking distance, the Berserker swung his head sideways and tried to swat Beau with the side of his head. He managed to duck low and rolled away before pouncing onto the Berserker's side. But Beau's pounce failed to knock the Berserker off balance. Hissing in fury, the Berserkser swung his tail club at Beau's face. The smaller dragon managed to leap away, out of range of his tail club, but right into the Berserker's view. The Berserker's body immediately glowed grey and he fired a mag blast straight into Beau, hitting him in the right side. He was sent tumbling and rolling on the ground some distance away from his opponent.
Unknown to Beau, the Berserker then eyed a street light beside him and with a twist of his jaws, snapped the street light off the sidewalk. He then let his mag energy grab the street light from his mouth by it's base and began swinging it around in the air like a bat.
Beau got up to his feet, growling in pain. When he saw the Berserker approaching him with a street light in his grasp, he started panicking a little.
Aw, scales! He's got a weapon! I wasn't expecting that-
The Berserker stamped forward towards a stunned Beau and started swinging the street light at him. Beau was forced to leap back in evasion, but everytime he leap backwards, the Berserker would move forward at a similar pace as his leaping, constantly keeping Beau within range of his weapon. Due to that, Beau has to continuously dodge and leap away from the swinging street light, keeping him pressured all the time. The Berserker swung his weapon furiously, pushing his opponent constantly on the edge and hoping that he will make a mistake in the process.
While evading one of the close swings, Beau accidentally mistimed his step and nearly tripped over. The Berserker saw this mistake that he hoped for and swung his weapon hard, whacking Beau's right shoulder. The impact affected Beau's concentration for a moment, but for that moment, he was whacked again on the back of his neck. Now Beau realised he's in deep trouble.
The whack to the back of his neck disorientated his movement. He tried shaking his head clear, but three more hits to his back, left shoulder and lower jaw was enough to knock him down. His legs buckled beneath him and he was left laying on his belly; his body was racking with pain, his vision blurred from tiredness. From the top corner of his eyes, he saw the Berserker grinning menacingly at him and raised his weapon high in the air, ready for the final blow. However, his eyes caught an object to his left and saw it as his lifeline.
As the Berserker lashed down his weapon, Beau immediately magged the object, which was a dumpster, and moved it over his head, blocking the street light from hitting him like a shield. He forced himself up to his feet despite the pain, raising the dumpster higher off his head. The Berserker pulled the street light back and tried to hit Beau at a different angle, but again Beau managed to block the attack.
For several minutes, Beau was forced to defend himself with the dumpster as the Berserker continued his assault without a pause, constantly swinging and lashing with his weapon. Although the dumpster protected Beau, it was draining his mag powers by the seconds; the heavy weight of the dumpster plus the hard hitting street light means he has to add more power to his mag energy just to hold the dumpster in mid-air compared to the Berserker's light weight weapon.
I can't...hold on like this forever! Beau was getting frustrated. He has to disarm him or he will lose this duel.
He looked up and observed the Berserker's next move. The Berserker has just raised his weapon and was preparing for another blow. As he was bringing it down onto him, Beau angled the dumpster to his right and swung it hard. The dumpster met the oncoming street light with a loud clang, but due to the force of the swing, the dumpster knocked the street light off course, and out of the Berserker's grasp. While the Berserker stared in shock at the loss of his weapon, Beau threw the dumpster at his opponent, hitting him in the face. Immediately, Beau followed this up by summoning all of his powers to his bonemark and fired a powerful mag blast that hit the Berserker's chest with such force that the Berserker flew a hundred meters back.
Beau's legs were trembling slightly from fatigue. He has poured every ounce of energy into that blast, which would've knocked a normal dragon out cold. He stared at his opponent, hoping that he was finally subdued. But to his shock, the Berserker still managed to stagger to his feet. His legs were also trembling, but not from exhaustion. Beau noticed that he was also breathing heavily, taking in very deep breaths and exhaling loudly.
:Verrry well done...Dragon of Legend....Dessspite all the beatingsss you recsseived,...you ssstill have lotsss of powerr....: He turned his head slightly, his pupils were dilated until they were almost invisible. :But if you think you have gained an advantage, you'rrre sssadly misstaken....:
The Berserker turned to meet Beau face-to-face. For Beau, he noticed something unusual in the Berserker's behaviour. Just like all gold star dragons, Beau has empathic powers; the power to sense others' feelings and emotions. And now, he sensed a strong change in the Berserker's mind, and this wasn't good news for him.
The Berserker's body glowed an eerie bright grey. He was glaring at the fiery-looking dragon with pure hatred in his eyes. Letting out a bellow, he charged straight for Beau. :Now, you ssshall feel the trrue wrrrath of the Berrrssserrkerr!!:
Beau crouched low to the ground, not showing any fear to his rampaging opponent. But deep in his mind, he started having doubts.
This is going to hurt a lot, Beau thought to himself and he quickly conjured up a mag shield just as the Berserker slammed into him.
The Berserker was slamming his paws down without mercy onto his mag shield. He was constantly pawing, clawing and biting at the shield relentlessly like a predator attacking it's prey.
Beau struggled to maintain the shield, his bonemark channeling the mag energy into the shield. But this repeated pounding was literally giving him a headache. Everytime the Berserker slammed onto his shield, it sounded like a loud but dull thud as the shield absorbed the force of the impact. If he didin't provide enough energy, his shield would either break down or fail to absorb the poundings.
This onslaught continued on for almost ten minutes, and the Berserker was getting increasingly furious. Not satisfied, he began attacking with more power than ever. Judging by the amount of force applied, Beau thought he saw his shield actually bending inwards for a second everytime it met contact with the Berserker's attack.
Eventually, the mag shield couldn't withstand the constant barrage of poundings it received and after receiving the final hard blow, it just flickered and disintegrated. Beau's head was hanging with exhaustion, the bonemark on his head still shimmered with energy. Now he was vulnerable to the Berserker's attack.
Before he can even lift his head up, a sharp blow to his chin sent him reeling unsteadily on his feet; another one to his back sent him writhing on the ground. He was too tired to even conjure a mag blast.
The Berserker never gave Beau a chance to get up. He continued assaulting his opponent with his paws and claws. Too weak to do anything, he followed his instincts of survival; protecting his head and neck from the Berserker's pawing with his forelegs. Compared to other parts, Beau knew his head and neck were the two most vulnerable spots for a fatal blow, especially from a dragon much bigger than him.
Bruises began covering his body from where the Berserker struck him; from his forelegs, along his back, and to his hindquarters. Suddenly he felt a strong, painful grip on his neck and he was thrown back. As he landed on his hindquarters and was staggering to get back up, his tired eyes caught the Berserker standing with his head held high, as if proud of his dominance.
:Now, you ssshall witnesss my full powerrr!: His head remained held high, but his chest started glowing bright grey as he summoned all of his available mag energy. The glow on his chest started growing in size, bulging outwards and pointing at Beau. With a powerful roar, the Berserker let loose his contained mag energy and fired a mag blast as thick as Beau's body.
Beau closed his eyes and fired everything he's got left, but judging by the thickness of Beau's mag blast, it won't do any good. The Berserker's highly-charged mag blast easily erased off Beau's mag blast and without resistance, headed straight at Beau and it hit him like a cannonball.
His whole body was racked with the most intense pain he'd ever felt. For a moment, he thought he had lost all his limbs because of the severe numbness of his joints and muscles. His mind went blank, his eyes were staring at the blinding mag blast with total disbelief; not because of the intense power of the blast, but mainly because he felt he has finally met his match. He has lost the battle.
But it wasn't over yet. The mag blast also sent him backwards at high speed. He saw the Berserker's figure getting farther and farther away from him and before he disappeared from view, his body smashed through a wall at the far end of the road. Eventually, the mag blast ran out of power and he tumbled awkwardly on the ground like a rag doll. Again it wasn't over, for as he was coming to a standstill, his body weight broke through a railing and he felt the ground beneath him being yanked away from under him.
Fortunately, despite the numbness on his limbs, his right foreleg managed to catch the edge and he was dangling dangerously over a bottomless plunge. He looked down and quickly turned away, shuddering at the height. Despite being battered, he clung onto the edge for dear life with his razor claws. His mouth has a familiar metallic taste to it as he felt something dripping down from the corner of his mouth but he ignored it, knowing what it was.
He tried moving his left foreleg, but they hurt like mad. He heard stomping coming towards him and he frantically tried lifting his other dangling foreleg. When he did manage to lift his left foreleg and clung on, the Berserker was already staring down on him. His fangs were bared wide, his mouth hanging loose. Without warning, he stomped onto Beau's left foreleg and Beau lost his grip in an instance, groaning in pain. Looking up, Beau saw the Berserker has positioned his paw above his right foreleg; his last lifeline.
He peered down with the most evil expression he can give and whispered, :Goodbye.:
Beau gasped and closed his eyes, fearing that the end has come for him. He waited; a second, five seconds, ten seconds, but nothing happened. He slowly opened his eyes and looked up. From where he was, he saw the Berserker was still there, but was distracted by something behind him. He didin't know what it was, but as suddenly as it started, the Berserker has forgotten about him and ran off in the other direction.
However, the Berserker's hard stomping has caused him to loose further grip. His claws dug deep into the ground, but he was too weak to carry himself up and his grip was slowly slipping away. He cried agonisingly and gripped the ground with his claws so hard, there were deep furrows forming along his claws. Eventually, due to the huge stress on his foreleg, his claws slipped off the edge.
Beau's eyes were still staring at the edge as he began his plunge to his doom. He saw the ground getting farther away from his sight, his forelegs flailing effortlessly in the air. He felt the wind teasing his fins, his body twisted and turned in the air until he was diving down head first. He was so drained of energy that he couldn't even summon his wings and fly to safety. As he spiraled out of control, he sighed in resignation to himself, Looks like this is the end for the Dragon of Legend, beaten by an old foe. At least I did my best. I'm sorry, an-
Suddenly, his body was jerked hard and his plunge was halted. He was staring at the bottomless environment with gaping eyes, not believing what has just happened.
-cestor? He tried twisting his head to look up and he saw a hook grappling his left hindleg. The hook led all the way up from where he fell. Slowly, the cord that held the hook and his body began hoisting him up. He remained calm as the cord jerked a little everytime it hoisted him up due to his heavy weight.
After five long minutes, he felt his hindlegs within reach of the ground and managed to get his feet on and pulled his whole body back up on ground. His legs were shaking from his ordeal and he laid himself on the ground, gasping. Although he's safe on the ground, his ears were still ringing from the fall. He thought he heard someone calling his name and he soon felt a warm embrace around his head. When his vision cleared up, he smiled with relief on his face.
"I'm glad you're safe, boy," Artha whispered to his friend and patted his head gently.
Beau raised his head and looked around. He saw Kitt sighing with relief, rubbing her face with her hands, and Wyldfyr panting hard. They were glad that the Dragon of Legend was safe.
Still staring at Wyldfyr, Beau noticed that she has a white rappeling gear on her chest, with the cord leading all the way to the hook that was still holding his left hindleg. He grinned weakly at her and teased, :Looks like someone's the hero for the day.:
:You mean someone's hooked up with the hero,: she corrected his statement and snickered at him.
Beau wiped the blood from his mouth with his paws. :How did you find me?:
:Let's just say that wrecked carriages and damaged buildings are straight give-aways...:
Kitt leaped off her saddle and inspected Beau's body. She shook her head in disbelief and turned to Artha, "Beau's really banged up. His body is covered in bruises and I'm not sure if he needed treatment."
Artha then inspected Beau's injuries. He looked at his dragon in the eyes and asked, "Are you okay? If not, we'd better take you back to the stables for treatment."
Beau nodded his head with a grunt, trying to persuade his human friend that he's fine. But in reality, he's pretty exhausted; physically and mentally.
Artha sighed and turned to Kitt, "He claims he's fine, but I'm not sure. If Beau were to return and seek medical treatment, how are we going to defeat the Berserker if he's recovering?"
"You've got a point there, stable boy. But remember, it could be dangerous for Beau if he pushed himself over the limits. It could end up killing him."
Artha was speechless. He stared into Beau's eyes, fearing that if what Kitt said was true, then he's facing a dilemma that could determine Beau's fate. Just then, someone appeared behind them and asked slowly, "Is he all right?"
Everyone turned to see Aleck standing before them with his flash stick in his hands.
"Aleck? What are you doing here?"
Aleck simply replied softly, "I followed the Berserker's trail, which led me here. He was fighting your dragon all the while. When he was about to finish him off, I stood out and distracted him with my flash stick. He eventually turned and tried to chase me, but I managed to seek cover before he got to me. Besides, like I said earlier, I can't guarentee that I'll just stay home."
Artha asked worryingly, "Where did you last see it?"
Aleck scratched his head, trying to recall the incident, "Not sure, but he headed somewhere that way." He pointed to his right, where there's a right turn behind him.
Artha shook his head. "That path leads to Down City. Now Down City's in danger."
But Kitt reassured, "Look at the bright side; at least Beau's safe."
Aleck continued, "I know you told me to stay home, Dragon Booster. But like I said earlier, I can't just stay home and let my friend destroy the city. That's just not right; I just can't let that happen. He's my friend, regardless of what he has become now, and I'm willing to do anything to bring him back."
Both Artha and Kitt didin't say anything. After a while, Artha broke the silence, "We understand what you mean, Aleck. If that's the case, come along then. Let's see what you can do to help us."
"Thanks, Dragon Booster."
Just then, Artha's wrist link sounded. Artha excused himself and went to a corner, out of hearing distance. He activated his wrist link and Parm showed up.
"Artha? Have you found Beau yet?"
"Yeah, he's with me but badly injured. What's up?" Artha asked.
Parm continued, "Good news. We managed to build a new collar for the Berserker and we're on our way. Where do you want us to meet you?"
Artha thought for a while and replied, "Meet me at the entrance to Down City. The Berserker was heading there."
Parm nodded and went offline.
Artha returned to Kitt and Aleck and said, "Parm's on the way with the collar. He'll be meeting us at the entrance to Down City. But..." He trailed off.
"I know. You're worried for your dragon's condition. But I'm afraid we've got no time for that now. All we can hope for now is that he can have the strength to carry on his duties," Kitt assured.
"I hope so too." Artha then turned to Beau and asked, "You sure you're all right?"
Beau nodded slowly with a determined look.
Artha then leaped onto Beau's saddle and Kitt did the same on Wyldfyr. The red dragon then magged Aleck onto her back and they all moved out.
Beau caught up besides Wyldfyr and said, :Thanks fo saving me, by the way. That's a nice catch.:
Wyldfyr just rolled her eyes and answered back with a huff, :Next time, please loose weight. You're heavy...:
Beau didin't say anything after that.
Chapter 9: Clash of the Titans (Part 2)
Parm and Lance met Artha, Kitt and Aleck by the entrance to Down City. By the time both of them had arrived, it was already evening; the sun was setting beyond the horizon of the city and night was slowly creeping in. The moment the atmosphere was too dark, street lights all around the city lit up automatically. By now, the streets should be bright enough for both people and dragon. But not in Down City, where most of it's street lights were either dim or fused out.
"Well, about time you got here," Kitt said with impatience. They had been waiting for almost half an hour.
"Oh, excuse me! We had a torrid time trying to find our way around streets that weren't either blocked by rubbles or closed off by Dragon City Security officers. Otherwise, we would've reached here earlier than you do," Parm exclaimed with irritation.
"I understand how you're feeling, but at least you made it," Artha assured, calming down his friend. "So, is the collar with you?"
Parm nodded. "Yes. Well, sort of. Lance?"
In his hands, Lance revealed two rather large half-ring shaped objects. By it's appearance, it's obviously a collar separated in half at the middle. It has a very simplistic design to it and has no markings or patterns along it's circumference. At the two ends of the two halves of the collar was a clip that will connect both halves to form a complete collar, large enough to wrap around the Berserker's neck without strangling him.
"That's some collar you guys came up," Artha commented
"I wonder how are we going to put this on; especially on a rampaging dragon," Lance said lamely.
Artha thought for a moment before answering, "Looks like we have to find a way somehow."
"What's with the collar?" Aleck pointed out. "I mean, how's that metal collar going to get my dragon back?"
Artha explained to Aleck about their plan on using the combination of the collar and Beau's gold draconium powers to stabilise the Berserker's draconium powers. He also explained how Sygurd's unstable grey draconium influence was the main reason for his transformation into the Berserker Dragon.
Aleck rubbed his chin slowly. "Hmm. That helps explain a lot. But-," he eyed Beau, who's still in his Furox form, "-do you think your dragon has enough energy to power up the collar after that gruelling battle?"
When Aleck brought up that topic, both Artha and Kitt had a concerned look on their faces while Parm and Lance looked at Beau and gasped softly at his condition.
"W-what happened to Beau? Was the Berserker responsible for this?" Parm stuttered, placing his fingers to his lips.
Aleck became attracted by what Parm has just said. He leaned forward and whipered to Kitt, "Dragon Booster's dragon was also named Beau? But I thought Beau was Artha's dragon."
Kitt leaned backwards and simply replied softly, "Coincidence?"
Artha shook his head with disappointment. "Yeah, kind of. In fact, if we arrived a second later, Beau would've been dead."
"I think Aleck has a point there. Do you think Beau's strong enough to power up the collar?" Lance asked with worry on his face.
"I don't know. I seriously thought of wanting to rest Beau initially, but there's just too much at stake right now. If I rest him, there's no telling what the Berserker might do to Dragon City. You've already seen what he has done to Mid City."
"You got a point there. But I'm very afraid that Beau might suffer serious consequences if he pushed himself over the edge. He could-"
"I'm fully aware of that, Parm. Kitt did remind me about that risk too." Artha slowly patted Beau's head and continued, "But like I said, I don't have a choice if I were to save the city. Furthermore, Beau claims he's all right and should be able to handle the task." What's up your mind, boy? Are you seriously sure you're all right? I'm very worried for you right now...
Beau nodded his head, hoping that he can convince Parm.
"Like it or not, professor, looks like we seriously don't have a choice," Kitt said.
"Yeah. After all, he is the mighty Dragon of Legend, right?" Lance added.
Parm looked at Kitt, then Lance, and sighed, "You're right. We don't have much of a choice."
"Then let's get moving. Let's go, boy." Artha moved the control stick and urged Beau to began their search for the Berserker, with the others following closely behind him.
Behind Beau, Fracschun caught up beside Wyldfyr and whispered low enough that Beau didin't heard him, :I'm not sure about this. Beau doesn't look too good.:
:I agree. He looked pretty hurt to me,: Cyrano added in.
Wyldfyr just sighed and whispered back, :Hurt or not, he don't have a choice. It's his mission in life to protect both humans and dragons from danger, regardless of how much pain he has to go through.:
Fracschun realised something disturbing and asked, :Even if it means...sacrificing himself?:
:I'm afraid so. But all we can do is hope that nothing serious happens to him. Otherwise, Dragon Booster will be out of the job for good.:
Suprising to everyone, they weren't greeted by the chaotic scenes that they had witnessed in Mid City. Down City was just the way it was. There were neither signs of panic nor destruction left behind by the Berserker. It's as if nothing has happened.
"Something tells me the Berserker didin't pass through this route," Aleck commented, hoping that he can find some signs that can prove his comment wrong.
But Kitt knew more about Down City than Aleck or anyone else in the group. "You can't tell just because there's no sign of his presence. Down City's less populated compared to Mid City or even Sun City, which means there's a lower chance the Berserker will stumble into some unfortunate pedestrian, especially when night falls."
While Kitt and Aleck were discussing, Parm reached for the side of his helmet and told Artha to halt. When Artha stopped, everyone else followed.
Artha turned back to meet Parm and asked, "What have you got?"
Parm didin't answer immediately. After a few seconds, he responded, "There's been a report of a fight going on nearby. If I'm not mistaken, it's to the east of the city."
"Wait! There's more!" He paused again for a while to listen closely before replying quickly with urgency, "Oh, dear. This is not good. Looks like that fight seems to involve the Berserker...and the Down City Council!"
"Then there's no time to lose. Go, boy!" Beau nodded and galloped at top speed, followed by Wyldfyr, Fracschun and Cyrano.
They tried to find the shortest possible route to the presumed location of the fight. To save further time, they opted to take the shorter but narrower alleyways that cut through several streets within a shorter time frame. But these alleyways has a tendency to be blocked by garbage and abandoned carriages. If they stumbled upon a blocked alleyway, they may have to turn back and take to the streets instead.
Fortunately, the alleyway's path was clear and they were soon back to the streets. Upon entering the street, they were greeted by faint noises coming from some distance away from them. The noises sounded more like a fight.
They relied on the noise as their guide to their intended location. The dragons ran as hard as their legs could carry, hurrying to the scene as soon as possible. The more distance they covered, the more apparent and louder the noises became and for Artha, it doesn't sound good.
If I'm right, those noises must be coming from that left turn straight ahead, Artha's mind reminded him. He steered Beau into making the approaching left turn. When he passed the turn, he couldn't believe the sight that greeted him and his friends.
"Oh, no," was all Kitt could say.
Before them, Pyrrah, Wulph, Marianis and Vociferous and their dragons were down to the ground but not knocked out. And further ahead of them, Khatah and Phistus continued their fight with the Berserker Dragon. They were the only ones left standing, but judging by the way the Berserker was pounding them with mag-blasts and claw swipes, they may not last longer than five minutes.
Beau growled at his nemesis and without waiting any longer, he charged forward. Although Artha would've thought the same thing as Beau, everyone else didin't.
"Where are you going?!!" Lance yelled out loud to his brother, not wanting to call him by his name for fear of revealing Dragon Booster's identity to Aleck.
"You're going to get clobbered if you're not careful!" Kitt shot back.
"What a brave fellow this Dragon Booster is," Aleck commented as eyes around him were staring at him. "What? It's just a compliment."
Artha didin't hear his friends protesting his action; he was too eager to help Phistus and Khatah from becoming minced meat. His hands gripped the control stick tightly. If he had red thruster gears now, his feet would've pressed the pedal down and activating the gear. As Beau was closing in, his right hand reached for his jakk-stick and he activated it, ready to get his hands on the dragon who dared to hurt his dragon.
The Berserker let out an anguish roar and slammed his forelegs down, creating tiny tremors on the ground. However, both Brutaris and Shock-Ra weren't intimidated by the Berserker's aggression. They maintained their mag-stream on their riders as both Phistus and Khatah tried to attack the Berserker with their weapons but it failed to do any serious damage to the monster dragon. Due to the Berserker's aggression, they can't get too close without getting bitten and this also means limiting their weapon's effectiveness.
"It's no use! There's no way we can deal any serious damage without getting closer!" Khatah yelled to Phistus in desperation.
Phistus didin't say anything. He knew that Khatah has a point; the only way they can deal more damage was to get closer, but that also means taking the risk of being mauled. For now, he has ran out of ideas.
The Berserker has had enough of holding the two humans at bay. He summoned up his mag powers and unleashed two mag-blasts from his head and chest. He managed to direct the two blasts separately; one at Khatah and one at Phistus. Both humans couldn't act in time and they were swatted off the air like flies, crashing to the ground beside their dragons.
:Pathetic humansss.: The Berserker was about to fire another round when he saw Beau running towards him. Upon seeing the approaching black-and-gold dragon, he hissed with total fury; his temper boiling over the limit.
WHAT? How is this possible? They're supposed to be dead!
For some unexplained reason, the Berserker Dragon took a step back and fled from the scene, much to Artha and Beau's suprise.
"Huh?" was all Artha can blurt out. He initially thought of chasing after the Berserker but now he's more concerned with Khatah and Phistus. "Beau, hold on."
Beau skidded to a halt besides the two fallen riders as Artha looked over them and asked, "Are you two okay?"
"We're still in one piece," Phistus assured.
"Great to hear that."
Khatah managed to get to his feet first. "But what about that monster? How are you going to defeat it?"
Phistus interrupted Khatah, "That dragon is capable of wiping us all out. I, as council leader, can't allow this to happen. What should we do?"
Artha thought deeply before answering. He looked at Phistus first. "I understand your concern, Phistus. It is your responsibility as a leader to protect the council's best interests. But I'm afraid there's nothing you can do to stop this dragon. However, what you can do is to help members who were injured in the fight. That's all I can suggest." Then, he turned to Khatah and replied, "As for that dragon, leave it to me." Artha turned back to his friends and whistled at them to follow him.
Khatah and Phistus can only look on as Artha and his friends left them on their own, continuing their pursuit of the Berserker.
"I don't like the looks of it," Khatah commented, shaking his head. "If I'm not mistaken, his dragon looked hurt."
Phistus nodded. "I agree. His condition doesn't look good." He clenched his fingers until his hands formed a fist. He turned to Khatah and suggested, "I'd better help Dragon Booster."
"But he told us to help the others," Khatah objected.
"Yes, I know. If everyone's fine, I'll go after him. In the past, he helped me restore my position as leader of the council. Now, it's my turn to return the favour."
Everyone followed the Berserker's path, relying on Parm's tracking device.
Parm's eyes focused on his device closely and observing the street they were in at the same time. After they passed through a junction, his eyes brightened with hope and he mouthed a silent "yes".
"What's with the excitement?" Aleck asked curiously.
"Great news. Based on my tracking device, the Berserker didin't turn into the junction that we had just passed by. What it didin't know was that this road leads to a dead end."
"Good to hear that. Now there's no way it can get away this time," Artha said excitedly. Their dragons sped up, knowing that if they can get there sooner, they can trap the Berserker.
They passed through several blocks of building and in a minute, they were at the dead end. The dead end practically consisted of several electrical billboards arranged in a vertical position and side by side, forming a hexagonal-shaped space within it.
And within it, stood the Berserker Dragon.
He looked baffled and was clearly furious at his carelessness. To compile matters even more, his only exit was blocked by the approaching Dragon Booster. He turned and glowered at the approaching humans and dragons, not willing to surrender yet.
:It's over! There's no way out now! Might as well just give up,: Beau ordered in a non-threatening manner.
The Berserker hissed with displeasure. :Neverrr! Not while I ssstill drraw brrreath!:
:This doesn't have to end bitterly. Just surrender now and no one will get hurt. I promise you that!:
The Berserker didin't respond. Clearly he wasn't happy with the condition of surrendering himself. For someone like the Berserker, he would rather fight to the end than surrender; something that Beau and everyone else wanted to avoid.
"Looks like it doesn't look too happy to see us," Lance muttered with one hand gripping his flash stick.
"Any idea how are we going to put the collar on?" Aleck asked while staring at his dragon (or what's left of him).
Artha didin't reply yet. He was looking around at his partners, formulating a plan based on the type of tools they had currently with them and their abilities. A moment later, he gestured everyone to gather around him. When they did, he revealed his plan. "Listen up. I think I may have a plan to stop the Berserker, but I need your full cooperation. Lance and Aleck will use their flash sticks to blind the Berserker. While he's temporarily blinded, Kitt, Parm and I will charge and attack the Berserker with our mag staffs."
"Attack it?" Parm stammered.
"Yes. But the problem is that a single attack may not be able to do much and he may be able to recover in time to counter-attack us. But here's the catch; we'll be attacking in waves. Everytime the Berserker recovered, we'll split off to let Aleck and Lance use their flash sticks again on him. When he's blinded again, we continue our assault. I'm not sure how many waves it take, but if we can maintain this rhythm, the Berserker will weaken down eventually. Once he's weak, I suggest Aleck will be the one going in to put the collar on. Once that's done, leave the rest to Beau, he'll know what to do. Clear?"
Everyone understood. Parm, Lance and Aleck nodded while Kitt gave the thumbs up.
"Here. You'll need this." Lance passed Aleck the metal collar and Aleck grasped it firmly in his hands. He knew Sygurd's fate now lie in his hands. He must get it right. There's no room for errors.
I'm going to save you no matter what, Sygurd. I've lost my loved ones before and I'm not going to lose another.
All of them were observing the dragon's next move with precision. Aleck and Lance held their flash sticks in a stand-by position, waiting for the right opportunity.
The Berserker was losing patience by the seconds. He bellowed in fury in an effort to ward off the humans but they firmly stood their ground without budging. Not wasting anymore time, he charged forward and decided to ram his way through.
"Now!" Artha commanded.
Aleck and Lance immediately held up their flash sticks and aimed at the Berserker's face. With two strong flashes of light, they blinded the Berserker and stopped him in his tracks.
"Mag me!" Artha ordered Beau and his dragon magged him forward. Wyldfyr and Cyrano did the same to their respective riders. The three humans were soon swarming around the Berserker's front like bees, hitting every part of the Berserker's body with the combination of mag staffs and a jakk-stick. Due to the blindness, the Berserker couldn't hit any of his targets. Every swipe of his claws and swing of his head had failed to hit anything.
Artha was closely observing the Berserker's attack at the same time. After a while, he noticed the Berserker's attack was getting increasingly accurate and that's the queue for them to split.
"Split off now!"
When they split off, this provided an opening for Aleck and Lance and they used their flash sticks on the Berserker again. With the dragon blinded, Artha, Parm and Kitt moved in again and continued their barrage of attacks, not giving the Berserker any chance to recover.
After four waves of onslaught, the Berserker began to stagger. His head feels extremely light and try as he might, he couldn't keep his feet steady. He looked as if he's about to collapse any second now.
When everyone saw the Berserker staggering back and forth, Artha ordered everyone to halt the attack and called out to Aleck to prepare the collar. Aleck obeyed, holstering his flash stick and prepared the collar.
"I'm ready," Aleck said confidently
"Move in now!" Artha commanded.
Aleck acknowledged and whispered to Wyldfyr, "Mag me." The red dragon obeyed and magged Aleck upwards first before launching him forward to his target; the Berserker's neck. With each hand holding a part of the collar, he carefully positioned his hands and the collar. He can feel the adrenaline flushing throughout his body, his heart beating vigorously in anticipation. Part of him was anxious in facing the monster dragon face-to-face, while another part of him was determined in freeing his dragon friend and imprisoning this monster for good.
But Aleck was alerted by a sudden change of event. Oh, scales!
It was a trick all the while. The Berserker was feigning his defeat in an effort to stop the attack on him, which allowed him to recover (if not fully). Now the Berserker's blood-red eyes, wide open and showing no signs of surrender, was glaring back into Aleck's own eyes.
"Wyldfyr! Pull Aleck back now!" Kitt yelled desperately to her dragon. But she was too late.
The Berserker powered up his draconium energy and launched it fiercely at Aleck. The blast caught Aleck in mid-air and Aleck was sent flying backwards as he tumbled to the ground, knocking the wind out of him. Everyone turned back to check on Aleck. He was still on the ground and was having difficulty getting back to his feet.
Lance quickly held up his flash stick to blind the Berserker again but the latter was faster this time and he fired another mag-blast. The blast caught the flash stick square in the lens, disabling it instantly. With a yelp, Lance released the damaged tool, the force of the blast sending it flying off his hands.
"Lance! Get out of here now!" Artha ordered immediately.
Lance didin't reply and Fracschun quickly retreated back. It was a good move by the blue dragon for another mag-blast just narrowly missed Lance's head from where he was. When Lance fled, the Berserker now focused on the three remaining humans and dragons before him.
"Parm, check on Aleck. He looked hurt," Artha inquired.
"But what about you?"
"Just follow what Artha said and let us handle this," Kitt barged in while activating her mag staff.
Not wanting to start an argument now, Parm obeyed and urged Cyrano to break off from the group. When he was far enough, Artha and Kitt turned their attention back to the Berserker.
"What's your plan now, Artha?" Kitt asked without turning to Artha.
Artha gritted his teeth and replied determinedly, "The usual plan." Kitt knew what he meant by that and in an instant, both Beau and Wyldfyr magged their respective riders toward the Berserker with their weapons drawn.
After a short gallop, he hopped off Cyrano's saddle and jogged to where Aleck was. Lance was already by his side, holding his left elbow for support.
"Are you all right?" Parm asked with concern.
"I'm fine....Just not being used to getting hit like that," Aleck assured with a weak smile. He managed to get back on one feet with Lance's help.
There was a loud bellow which startled both Lance and Parm. They looked up to see Artha and Kitt in mid-air duelling with the Berserker. Both humans relying on their weapons while the Berserker used a combination of mag power and his own physical weapons. Despite their best attempts, Artha and Kitt just narrowly dodged the Berserker's attacks.
"We've got to do something. They can't last like that forever!" Lance pleaded.
Parm stood quietly. He was too shaken to face such a dragon; not to mention a dragon that has killed people before.
"I...think I have a plan," Aleck said between breaths. When he got Lance's and Parm's attention, he continued, "While the Berserker was distracted by Dragon Booster and Kitt, we can sneak up beside him," he lifted the collar parts, "and place the collar around his neck. He'll never realise it."
"But what if the Berserker discovered your attempt?" Lance asked with worry.
"We don't have a choice. This is our best chance. If they fail, there may never be another chance." He looked around and inquired, "Who's with me?"
Both of them didin't say anything yet, until Parm gave a stern look and replied firmly, "I'll go with you."
Aleck smiled and nodded. "Thanks. But I need a dragon."
Lance got up and brought Fracschun to his side. "You can ride on Fracschun."
"That'll do." Aleck staggered back on both feet and climbed onto Fracschun's saddle. He passed the other half of the collar to Parm, who was already on Cyrano's saddle. "Let's do this." With that, they made their way to the battle scene.
They moved silently and slowly, not wanting to alert the Berserker with sudden movements. While the dragons moved, both Aleck and Parm were looking up at the Berserker, making sure that he was still distracted. After seven pain-staking seconds of slow sneaking, they were on level where Beau and Wyldfyr stood. They were suprised to see them but quickly hide their questioning grunts when the two humans gestured them to stay quiet. Once that's settled, they started sneaking in again, but this time they were dangerously within the Berserker's sight. They knew that composure and luck will play a role within this agonising moment.
Fortunately, the Berserker was too distracted to notice them. Finally, they stopped beside the Berserker's forelegs but near the end of his range of sight. Aleck turned on the comm-link on the saddle and whispered, "Okay. Now simultaneously, we make our way to the Berserker's neck." On the screen, Parm nodded slowly, looking a bit shaken for being this close to a monster dragon.
Aleck looked back and saw both Artha and Kitt still fighting valiantly; swiping and slamming their weapons on the Berserker's head. But that didin't last long when the Berserker intercepted Kitt's attack and snatched her mag staff in his teeth. Kitt yelped in shock and pulled back, watching as the Berserker snapped the staff in his teeth into two pieces. Now Artha has to fend for himself. But when he saw what Aleck and Parm was doing, he smirked and maintained his position.
We're running out of time. Dragon Booster may be in trouble, Aleck's mind reminded him. He turned to Parm and motioned him to move now. With their dragons' assistance, they magged their riders up and near the Berserker's neck. When they were on level near the head, Aleck and Parm positioned the collar in place around the Berserker's neck.
"On my count to three, we place the collar and clip it immediately," Aleck instructed. When he saw Parm nodding, he took a deep breath and began the procedure.
"One....Two....Three!" Simultaneously, Aleck and Parm wrapped the metal collar around the Berserker's neck. The Berserker's reaction was immediate; he started thrashing around by swinging his head like an out of control crane in a desperate attempt to remove the collar from his neck.
Aleck tried to clip the collar parts in place. He can hear Parm chattering in fear but despite his fear, he was still doing his task. However, the Berserker's thrashing has made the situation difficult for them as they had to struggle to clip the collar parts together. After several difficult seconds, Aleck succeeded in clipping one part of the collar and proceeded to help Parm clip the final part. Finally, the collar was in place and their job was done.
"Okay! We're done! Let's get out of-" Aleck reminded Parm but the latter has already left with Cyrano. "-here." Aleck looked down and gestured Fracschun to make his move. Without hesitation, the blue dragon magged Aleck down to his saddle and fled from the scene. When they were beside Artha, Aleck yelled out, "It's now your call!"
Artha gave him the thumbs up and returned back down to his saddle. He looked at Beau's eyes and whispered, "Your turn now, boy. Give everything you got."
Beau stared at the Berserker with determination to end this for good. He summoned his remaining mag energy and fired a mag-stream at the collar. The effect was instantaneous; the Berserker started writhing and bellowing like a trapped beast as the metal collar was slowly coated by the influence of Beau's gold draconium in a brilliant flash of gold.
"It's working!" Kitt said excitedly beside Artha. Behind them, Aleck, Lance and Parm watched with amazement at the Berserker's reaction.
"What's happening to it?" Aleck asked. His question was almost drowned out by the noise of the bellow.
Parm managed to hear his question and answered loudly, "It's the effect of Beau's gold draconium influence! It's slowly stabilising the Berserker's unstable draconium powers! If that happens, the Berserker's definately going through some sort of transformation at the same time!"
"How much more does it take to fully power up the collar?" Lance asked, almost like a yell.
Parm checked through his tracking device and honed it directly at the collar. The device picked up the signal from the collar and Parm studied it. He then replied, "The collar now has thirty percent of gold draconium influence...and still climbing!" After a while, he reminded, "Thirty-five percent now!"
"Come on, Beau. You can do it," Lance muttered under his breath. Everyone around now was feeling the same thing as Lance was; anxious, eager and concerned.
Beau channeled every ounce of his energy into the mag-stream as part of the collar slowly turned from dull black to bright gold. He looked up and eyed the Berserker, who was overwhelmed by the intense changes that he's experiencing. Beau smirked and roared, :It's over, Berserker! You lost!:
The Berserker heard Beau's comments and screamed with rage, :N-n-neverrr! Not until I sssaid ssso!:
Everyone held their breaths. They can clearly see now that the front part of the collar was coated in gold, but it's far from over yet. They watched as the Berserker continued thrashing about; his clubbed tail smashing into the electrical billboards and sending sparks flying all over the place.
"Fifty percent-" At the moment Parm finished his reminder, the Berserker let loose the loudest roar ever and his body suddenly glowed bright grey. Before everyone knew what was coming, the Berserker unleashed a torrent of mag-bursts from five points of his body; head, neck, chest and shoulders. For them, the bursts looked random, but they were wrong.
Each one of the blast managed to hit their targets accurately. Artha was the first to be hit by the blast, knocking him off his saddle. Wyldfyr tried to retreat, but she was caught in the blast and she crashed hard to the ground as Kitt fell off her saddle beside her dragon. The three "stray" blasts headed straight for the rest of them. One caught Cyrano, who was hurtled into a wall and the other caught Aleck and he ends up rolling on the ground. The last one headed straight for Lance, but Fracschun was quick enough to mag Lance out of the way and onto his saddle.
Lance sighed with relief. "Thanks, Fracschun." Fracschun smiled and chirped happily for Lance. But that happiness was quickly wiped off.
Besides them and Beau, everyone else was lying on the ground.
Beau was suprised when he felt lighter than usual. He glanced back and saw Artha on the ground, along with Kitt and Wyldfyr. Further back, he saw Cyrano against the wall while Aleck was rolling on the ground in pain. Despite his shock, he maintained his mag-stream on the collar. But not for long.
When Beau returned his gaze to the Berserker, he saw him already charging forward and the Berserker slammed into him head first, knocking him backwards and sending him rolling onto his sides in a heap of dust. As he ended up on his right side, he moaned and tried to get up, shaking his aching head. He looked around with a disoriented look and saw the Berserker staring at something below him. He tried to get his vision clear, so he shook his head again. By the time his vision cleared up, he saw the Berserker swinging his clubbed tail at....
:Wyldfyr!: Beau gasped and scrambled to her.
Unaware of the danger, Wyldfyr got back to her feet and nuzzled Kitt to get up. When Kitt looked over her dragon's shoulders, she saw the Berserker turning his back onto them and swinging his clubbed tail forward, straight towards Wyldfyr.
"Wyldfyr! Look out!" Kitt screamed in agony. Everyone else saw this coming and yelled (or tried to) at the red dragon to move.
Wyldfyr looked back and saw the brutal spade-shaped tail club homing in on her. She was rooted to the ground, too stunned to even gasp. Knowing she couldn't escape in time, she closed her eyes and expected the worst.
She felt a hard blow to her side and she dived down to the ground face first. However, she realised something was not right; the blow came from the opposite direction of the tail club and she felt no pain. But during the blow, she thought she heard a sickening smack close by, followed by a painful cry. She lifted her head and saw everyone with mouth agape plus a horrified look to their faces. She turned to where they were staring at and what she saw made her cry out in despair.
Leaning against the battered wall to her right, Beau lay among the debris from the wall. He was laying on his belly, his forelegs lay firmly by his sides, his head leaning against the wall. He was barely conscious, his eyelids were close to a slit as blood started dripping profusely from the side of his mouth, cascading down his chin fin and pooling on the ground. Beau tried to get up, but his body refused to respond, not even a twitch from his tail. Against his will, his body spasmed every minute. In every spasm, he felt pain spreading all over his body like fire, especially from the abdomen where he was hit.
Come on, Beau! Get up. Get up! Darn, can't even get my own body to move! Just great..., he growled at his own body's refusal to budge. Through slitted eyelids, he saw a large figure approaching him slowly. But his view was quickly obstructed by another figure which he recognised.
Artha rushed forward with a cry and knelt besides his injured dragon. He gently lifted Beau's head and asked worryingly, "Beau, are you all right?"
Beau responded with a weak whimper and a cough. Before Artha can even check Beau's condition, Artha heard and felt heavy breathing down his neck. He slowly turned back and saw the Berserker with a nasty grin, growling at him without remorse. He knew what the Berserker was planning to do and he stood up bravely between Beau and the Berserker with jakk-stick in hand.
"If you want to kill Beau, then you have to get through me first."
:If you insssissst!: The Berserker opened it's mouth and was about to take a bite on Artha when someone else stood up against him.
"Sygurd, stop! Stop this instant!" Aleck screamed at the top of his lungs. He saw the Berserker stopped in his tracks and turned back to face Aleck. The dragon glared at Aleck with annoyance in his eyes, but Aleck didin't care anymore. "This has gone too far already. How many more people must get hurt before this madness can end?"
The Berserker roared in retaliation to his comments. :Insssolent fool! Who do you think you arrre?:
The roar sent Aleck staggering a few steps back, but remained standing tall. His anger for the Berserker somehow provided extra strength to his mentality. He glared back into the Berserker's eyes and said, "You may be the Berserker. But I know, deep inside you, you're still the Sygurd that I cared; trapped by the monstrosity of the Berserker."
He paused for a breath and continued, "Sygurd! I know you can hear me. You have to stop now! Fight the influence of the Berserker if you can!"
The Berserker didin't move. He was staring at Aleck with fury in his eyes. He wanted to strike Aleck down now, but something in his head was bothering him. For a moment, he closed his eyes and tended to his "mind-bothering business". At first, Aleck thought he had succeeded in reaching out to Sygurd's trapped mind, but was given a shock when the Berserker grinned menacingly at him.
:I think not!: Without warning, the Berserker magged Aleck up and dangerously close to his sabre fangs. :I'll make sssurrre you will rrregrret talking to me like that!:
The Berserker lunged his head forward, but what he didin't know was that Aleck has his flash stick holstered behind him. When the Berserker was about to bite him, Aleck seized his flash stick and jammed it between the Berserker's jaws. This stunned the Berserker and while thrashing his head around to get the tool off his mouth, he involuntarily flung Aleck back and into a dumpster.
The Berserker got tired of thrashing his head and with all his might, he snapped the flash stick between his teeth. Once that's cleared, he returned to Artha and Beau. But now, they're joined by Artha's friends. They were determined to fight to the end for the safety of the Dragon of Legend.
"If you want to kill them, you have to get through all of us!" Kitt replied harshly. She then noticed Parm and Lance staring at her blankly.
"Are you sure that's the right thing to say?" Lance asked sheepishly. But his question was answered by a loud roar from the Berserker. But instead of attacking them, he turned back and growled at whoever's behind him.
Artha moved aside to get a good look at the newcomer. "Phistus?" He saw the leader of the Down City Council on Brutaris, facing the Berserker with his hammer in hand.
"Dragon Booster! I'm here to help you, but I may not be able to take this dragon down on my own. I need your assistance too. What plan do you have?"
Artha don't know what to say, or plan. With Beau in bad condition, there's no way they can subdue the Berserker. Unless they can buy him time.
"Try and distract him from my dragon. But make sure he didin't escape," Artha relayed his order to Phistus, who acknowledged his order and did what was told. Artha then turned to his friends and decided, "Kitt, Parm; go out and help Phistus. Me and Lance will try to help Beau."
Parm and Kitt, on their respective dragons, left to help Phistus without a word. They realised that this was a crucial moment for them and Dragon City. If they can't stop the Berserker, no one can. Unless Beau can get back to his feet.
And that was what he's trying to do now. Not wanting to throw in the towel yet, Beau grunted and moaned in an attempt to move his battered body. When he did succeed, he tried getting up but his legs were trembling with extreme exhaustion and he nearly toppled over. However, he managed to lean his aching body against the wall to gain support for his body weight. He was panting hard. But with every pant, he groaned loudly in pain. The pain in his abdominal area was undescribable, even worse when he was breathing in. He can't tell which part of his abdomen hurts most, but he suspect it was somewhere near his left side where he took the blow.
Lance called out to Artha, who immediately rushed back to Beau. He was speechless when he saw Beau's condition. For him, it was already emotional to see his dragon going through so much pain for the sake of his, or rather their, mission.
Beau tried to stand on his own, but his legs were still too tired to support his weight and he ends up leaning against the wall again. Fracschun came to Beau's side with a sad look.
:Beau, don't force yourself. You're badly hurt already...: Fracschun trailed off, looking like he was about to cry.
But Beau defended his actions, coughing between words, :I...must, dear friend....If not,...: Beau tried again to make his stand, but failed again. It was heart-wrenching for those watching him.
Lance placed a hand on Beau's shoulder and begged, "Beau, please. Don't force yourself like that. You can die if you push yourself too hard." He turned to Artha and pleaded, "Artha, you have to do something."
Artha was still speechless, but not because of Beau's condition. Rather, he was unsure of what decision to make. He can either help Beau up and carry on their duties to subdue the Berserker which can be hazardous for Beau in this state, or let Beau rest and risk letting the Berserker making his escape. Artha turned to where the Berserker was. He saw Phistus, Parm and Kitt distracting the Berserker from him and Beau. They managed to trap him again within the walls of electrical billboards, but they can't hold on forever.
This is just great. I'm stuck with two decisions, and none of them are favouring me or Beau...
While Artha contemplated his decisions, Beau weakly turned to Fracschun and asked, :Fracschun...: When he got the blue dragon's attention, he continued, : Do you believe in me?:
Beau repeated again, : Do you believe me...that I can defeat the Berserker?:
The blue dragon answered but with less confidence, :Yes, but...you're really hurt. I can't bear watching you getting hurt even more.: He pleaded, holding back tears in his eyes, :Please, Beau. Don't fight anymore. If you do...you're going to die. I can't let that happen. I just can't!:
Beau remained silent as blood continued dripping down his mouth. He knew Fracschun has a point to prove. He coughed tiredly and said, :Fracschun....There's something I wanted to tell you.: When he saw the young blue dragon's eyes looking into his, he continued, :When I was young, Mortis told me many stories about my great ancestor; how he risked his life fighting for both human and dragon kin alongside Dragon Booster. I never really took them seriously, until I started having dreams of my ancestor. I was scared at first, not knowing why this is happening. One night, he came to me in my dreams, saying that a war is coming and that only the return of the black-and-gold Dragon of Legend and his Dragon Booster can stop it. When I awoke from that revelation, I started pondering over everything Mortis has told or showed me and that's when I realised my true mission in life; to stop the war from happening...and to protect both humans and dragons from harm.:
Fracschun wasn't certain of what else to say, but he still wanted to object Beau's decision to carry on. Seeing Fracschun's look, Beau assured with a weak smile, :After all, getting hurt is part of a hero's job, right?:
Fracschun nodded weakly and sighed, :You're right there. But...:
:Don't worry about me. I'll be fine, I promise you that.: Suddenly, his attention was diverted to the Berserker, where he saw Phistus being knocked off his saddle by a mag-blast.
I'm running out of time, Beau thought. He looked around for a plan, but soon realised that his plan was already laid close to perfection. Now all he needed was himself. He groaned in pain and tried to stand on his own again. With his strong will and determination, he managed to pushed himself away from the wall and stand on his own feet again.
Artha, Lance and Fracschun was stunned to see Beau back to his feet, despite the punishment he took from the Berserker.
"Artha, why aren't you doing anything?" Lance asked worryingly.
"He's got a plan," Artha said to Lance. "I'm not sure how, but that's just how I felt."
Beau magged Artha onto his saddle, and then glanced back at Fracschun. He simply said, :Come with me if you want.: With unsteady feet, he wobbled his way to where the Berserker was, with Fracschun following closely behind him.
Beau and Fracschun slowly made his way to where Wyldfyr, Cyrano and Brutaris were. They were suprised to see an injured Beau standing by their side, but the latter simply hushed them and told them of his plan.
"Artha, what are you doing here with Beau?" Kitt inquired unhappily.
"Beau was the one who dragged me here. But regardless, I think he has a plan." Artha then reminded his friends, "Remember, it was Beau's plan that defeated the Furox, and I'm confident he can do so to the Berserker again."
After a while, the five dragons nodded in agreement and began powering up their draconium powers. The Berserker saw this coming and did the same with his own powers.
Without warning, the Berserker saw mag-blasts being fired towards him and he retaliated with his own. He added more power as his mag-stream pushed against his opponents' mag-streams. That's when he realised his mistake.
He noticed that something was amiss in the mag-streams and he looked down. To his disbelief, Beau didin't launch his mag-blast at him although his body remained glowing. Then it hit him; the four mag-blasts were a diversion so that Beau can use his own mag energy to power up the collar.
:That'sss imposssible!: He bellowed in anger. He was now totally cornered, being unable to get to Beau without turning off his mag-stream and getting hit in the process.
With no obstacle, Beau closed his eyes and channeled his energy reserves to his bonemark. When he's satisfied, he unleashed his mag-stream onto the collar at full power. The Berserker writhed in agony as he goes through the whole uncomfortable process again. This time, there's no way out for him.
"He's going to make it!" Parm exclaimed with excitement while staring into his tracking device. He silently counted the draconium energy precentage on the collar and about five minutes later, he shouted with joy, "100 percent! He did it! He did it!"
:Nooooooo!!!: The Berserker roared in fury, not believing that he was being tricked by the black-and-gold dragon. He can feel the draconium energy in him slowly being moulded and stabilised by Beau's gold draconium influence through the collar. Soon, both he and Beau were engulfed by a blinding flash of gold light as the transformation took place.
All the humans, including Aleck who managed to climb out of the dumpster, watched in wonder at the event unfolding before them. They were forced to cover their eyes as the flash suddenly erupted with such intensity that it was bright enough to light up a building. The spectacle lasted for about fifteen seconds and when the flash dissipated, they were left gasping in amazement.
The Berserker Dragon was no more; standing before them was the gentle Sygurd that they so dearly fought for. He was panting hard, obviously shaken by what had just happened. He looked weakly into Beau's eyes and collapsed to the ground in exhaustion, not being able to say anything in time.
The incident also left Beau totally drained. His extremely low energy reserves means he couldn't maintain his Furox form and has reverted back to his original black-and-gold state. He was gasping for air, despite the pain that was still lingering in his abdomen.
While Artha checked on Beau, Kitt hopped off her saddle to check on Sygurd's condition.
"How's he?" Lance asked with concern.
Kitt looked up and confirmed, "He's fine, just sound asleep. Looks like we're going to need a carriage to transport him."
"I can send you one from my crew's compound if you want," Phistus volunteered.
"Thanks, Phistus. We appreciate your help."
When Phistus left with his dragon, Artha looked at his gang and said, "The rest of you stay here with Aleck and Sygurd until Phistus arrive with the carriage. I'm heading back to the stables first with Beau."
"Aren't you staying with us first?" Lance asked his brother.
"Artha's got a point," Parm interrupted. "According to my tracking device, Beau's draconium energy level was down to a dangerous five percent, which can be dangerous to his health-"
Beau let out a weak cry as his black-and-gold body started shimmering, faintly revealing his red-and-blue racing form.
"-and identity," Parm completed his sentence.
Not wanting to risk their identities, Artha leaped onto his saddle and sped off after saying, "See you later at the stables."
After Artha left, Aleck hobbled and joined the rest, watching Beau and the Dragon Booster leaving the scene. Aleck sighed, "Huh. Never even got the chance to thank him."
"Don't worry. I'm sure that won't be the last time you're seeing him anyway," Kitt assured.
Aleck nodded and walked to where Sygurd lay. He placed a hand on his neck, watching his dragon sleeping soundlessly. Feeling tired himself, he sat down with his back against Sygurd's right side, waiting with the rest for the carriage to arrive.
They were unaware that two parties were watching them...
Above a building, Dimitrius watched the whole event from Carnajj's saddle. He couldn't believe that the Berserker was successfully subdued by Beau after a hard battle. But despite the failure, he remained vigilant.
The Drag-hound on Carnajj's right growled with anger, but Dimitrius hushed it. He doesn't want it to attack without his order.
Dejected by their plan's failure, he left the scene quietly on his dragon as they disappeared into the darkness of the night.
A wraith dragon watched the Dragon Booster leaving the area from a dark alley.
What it saw was then transmitted to the various screens in Word's citadel. He watched silently as the Dragon Booster left with his dragon, leaving his friends behind.
Word then slowly moved the controls of his wraith dragon as it slowly honed in on an exhausted Sygurd. He eyed the silver dragon with glee, not believing his luck that the dragon that he wanted his son to abduct turns out to be the Berserker Dragon.
"So, that silver dragon turned out to be the infamous Berserker Dragon? This is just getting even more exciting for me," he snickered as he flicked a switch on the panel, ordering his wraith dragon to return.
When that's done, he browsed through all of his available mind-control gears through the computers. After browsing through all of them, he concluded, "It appears none of my gears are suitable for a dragon like it. But no matter, I can always upgrade one for such an occasion. Furthermore, I'll make sure my new powerful mind gear will be Dragon Booster-proof!"
He got up from his seat and said to himself, "Once I can gain control of the Berserker Dragon, I'll make full use of it's presence by first eliminating the Dragon of Legend. And without him, I can start my Dragon-Human War!"
Chapter 10: Eye of the Storm
Artha (back to his normal self), kneeled over Beau and tried to tend to his wounds. He considered Beau to be very fortunate for surviving such an intense battle; a battle which not all dragons can escape with their lives.
"I'm proud of you, Beau. Your bravery and skill has trully amazed me, beyond anything I've ever seen. Even for a dragon," Artha spoke softly while checking for any signs of internal injuries. When he pressed down on his abdomen, Beau's body tensed and he cried painfully and Artha quickly withdraw his hands, not wanting to hurt his friend further.
"That area must've hurt a lot, isn't it?"
Beau sighed and nodded slowly as he relaxed himself, resting his head on the ground of his stall. :Yeah, a lot...:
Artha heard someone approaching him from behind and he whirled his head back to see Mortis approaching him with two vials, both filled with liquid gold draconium which Mortis used for healing injured dragons.
"Here. Let Beau drink this down. It will help him heal any internal injuries," Mortis explained.
Artha took one of the vials and opened it. Then, he urged Beau to drink it down. With a little effort and some help from Artha, the injured dragon lifted his head wearily and gulped the liquid down with ease. When he was finished, he resumed resting his aching head as he slowly fell into a slumber, letting the gold liquid circulate throughout his body and tend to his injuries.
Satisfied, Artha returned the empty vial as Mortis handed him the other one and said, "This one's for Aleck's dragon. Pass it to him when he arrives. Also at the same time, bring Aleck to me. I have some advice for him."
"Not a problem."
After handing the vial over to Artha, Mortis congratulated him and Beau, "Well done to the both of you. Your heroism has saved Dragon City from an impending destruction and, most importantly, stop the Berserker Dragon's reign of terror."
"Thanks, Mortis. But I think most of the credit should go to Beau. He's the one doing most of the work." Artha stroked his hand along Beau's neck, but that didin't bother the dragon from his sleep. He continued, "I wish I can do something in return as a favour for his courage."
Mortis smiled, "There is." He saw Artha staring at him questioningly and he continued, "By releasing the dragon. Releasing Beau's true powers. But only when that time comes. There's still plenty for the both of you to learn."
The Dragon Priest turned and was about to walk out of the stable when Artha called out and asked, "By the way, I'm curious about something. When I read the scroll earlier today, I noticed that a little kid came and tried to protect the Dragon of Legend from the Berserker. Who was that kid?"
Mortis turned and met Artha with a smile. "That boy...is the chosen one."
"The chosen one?"
"Yes. Chosen to be the Dragon Booster..."
Artha waited by Beau's side for his friends to arrive. He almost fell asleep when he heard sounds coming from outside.
Just to be cautious, Artha took his mag staff and headed out. When he saw who was outside, he relaxed and greeted the newcomer, "Took a long time for you to come."
"At least we made it back before bedtime," Kitt retorted. She leaped down from Wyldfyr's saddle and stood beside her tired dragon, who was panting softly.
"So, you accompanied Phistus back here too?"
Kitt shook her head, "Not really. He left soon after dropping Sygurd and Aleck here." She then led Artha to one of the several empty stalls in the stable.
There, Artha saw Parm and Lance standing by Sygurd's side. They were wiping sweat from their faces with the back of their hands. He looked around and noticed someone was missing from view. "Where's Aleck?"
Parm answered, "Outside by the stable entrance. He's talking to his uncle."
Artha went out to look for Aleck. He saw the younger teenager standing by the main entrance, talking to his uncle through his wrist link. He decided to join Aleck's side, just to be sure that he's all right.
"Are you certain of your decision, Aleck?" Lokke asked Aleck, looking a little suprised.
Aleck replied back through his wrist link without worry, "It's already late at night and Sygurd's completely burned himself out. Looks like I'll be stuck here for the night."
Lokke sighed and admitted, "I guess I can't blame you for getting stuck in such a situation. Very well. I'll see you tomorrow morning. Good night, then."
"Good night, uncle," Aleck greeted back and turned off his wrist link. Just as he was done, he turned back and saw Artha walking silently towards him.
"Having a word with your uncle?" Artha asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah. He was worried for me after what happened in the city today. Glad he and Danielle weren't affected by the chaos earlier." Aleck then walked back into the stable to the stall where Sygurd was, with Artha following behind him.
When they were in the stall, Aleck kneeled by Sygurd's head and stroked his head softly, still relieved that his dragon was back and fine. Artha came to his side and handed him the vial containing liquid gold draconium.
"Here's something that can help your dragon recover. Let him drink it."
Aleck whirled back and saw Artha handing him the vial. He eyed the gold liquid contained inside with curiousity etched on his face. Trusting Artha's words, he took the vial and tried to wake his dragon up. Sygurd groggily woke up from his deep slumber and looked at Aleck sleepily.
"Drink this down. Artha says it will help you get better," Aleck spoke softly to Sygurd while supporting the dragon's head with his free right hand.
Sygurd didin't object and opened his mouth, just wide enough for Aleck to pour the liquid down. Sygurd drank the liquid without complaining despite the odd taste of the liquid to his tongue. After the flow of liquid stopped, Sygurd closed his mouth and returned to his slumber as Aleck gently placed his head down to the ground.
Seeing that Aleck was done, Artha went to him and whispered, "Can you follow me for a moment? Someone would like to see you."
Aleck looked up at Artha. "Who?"
"You'll see." He turned to his other friends and said, "The rest of you can go to bed first if you want. I've got some matters to attend to with Aleck."
"Yeah, you go on with your matters. I don't think I can last another minute being awake," Parm replied and he stifled a yawn. "Good night, Artha." When Parm left, Lance and Kitt baded him good night and they too joined Parm back to the stall, where their dragons were already sound asleep inside.
When everyone else has left, Artha showed Aleck the way to the back of the stable. Aleck was led to a small yard behind the stable, where there was a balcony overlooking a section of the city. The wind whistled gently past his ears and the scenery of the city at night was beautiful. But before he can enjoy the breath-taking look of the scenery, he saw a figure standing by the balcony overlooking the city. He appeared to be dressed in green and he was holding a staff; the glow of the city lights in the dark background from below provided a mysterious aura to his presence.
The mysterious person knew who was coming and he greeted, "Hello, my dear friend. You must be Aleck."
Aleck stopped in his tracks, suprised that this person knew his name before he even opened his mouth. "How do you know my name?"
"From the Dragon Booster." The figure turned to meet Aleck. "My name is Mortis. I am from the ancient order of Dragon Priests."
Aleck's ears processed what he had just heard and he looked stunned at the person's revelation. "You're a Dragon Priest? But from what I heard from my home town, I thought the Dragon Priesthood was gone with the war."
Mortis just smiled and corrected, "Those are just rumours, Aleck. The Dragon Priesthood is still very much alive after three thousand years. The reason why such rumours appear was because they had never seen a Dragon Priest before; until now, that is." He continued, "The reason why I wanted to see you is regarding your dragon. I'm sure you know by now about your dragon's dark secret."
Aleck nodded. "Yeah, the hard way. He's the Berserker Dragon, right? All I know is that the collar helps contain the Berserker's spirit and as long as the collar stays on, the Berserker cannot threaten anyone."
Mortis stepped forward until he was close enough for Aleck to see him clearly through the darkness. "Very true. That is why I wanted to advice you to be extra careful with your dragon. After the attention and chaos it created, I'm afraid that other evil forces might try to get to your dragon too."
Aleck shuddered at the thought of being chased by whoever who wanted his dragon to fulfill their evil deeds. He asked, "Then, what should I do?"
"Just be extra cautious. If you need help, contact Artha or any of his friends. They're close friends to the Dragon Booster and he will come to your aid. That is all I can suggest."
Aleck looked at where Artha stood and saw the latter nodding in his direction, confirming Mortis' claim. For Aleck, he knew what was to come in the future.
Looks like my life here in Dragon City will be a wild one.
A sudden but faint shuffle outside caused Beau to wake from his sleep. He wearily opened his still-sleepy eyes and looked around the darkness of his stall. Despite his body's protest, he slowly lifted his head and scanned the interior. He faintly saw Artha sleeping at the other side of the stall, undisturbed by the sound that woke him up instead.
Fearing it could be the Dragon Eye crew or worse, the Legion of Shadows, he rolled from his side and got up to his feet. He grunted softly, his body still feeling the effects of the beating he had received earlier. But thanks to the liquid gold draconium, it wasn't that bad anymore. He cautiously made his way outside; his walk looking more like a stagger. Due to this, he has to control his weary steps and not slam his paws down noisily, thus alerting anyone who was outside. When he took a peak outside from the darkness of his stall, he was a little suprised at who he saw.
He stepped out of the darkness and revealed himself to the stranger outside and whispered, :Sygurd?:
Sygurd was standing at the center of the stable grounds, his golden eyes staring up into the night sky and admiring the beauty of the two moons. For Beau, what's even more stunning was the effect of the moonlights on Sygurd's skin. As his primary skin colour was metallic silver, some of the moonlight bounced off his metallic silver skin and the result was a faint but eye-catching radiant glow emitting from his body. Anyone seeing him from a distance might mistaken him for a ghost.
When he heard his name being called, he whirled back and saw Beau approaching him. :Beau? What are you doing awake at this time?:
:Maybe I should be the one asking you that. I was awaken by your presence.: The blue-and-red dragon stood beside his ancestor's clone, something that he finds it creepy.
:Nothing. Just...nothing,: Sygurd lied and looked back up at the two moons in the sky.
Beau looked at the silver dragon questioningly. He noticed that Sygurd was keeping something from him, judging by his behaviour. So, he inquired, :Are you sure? I sensed that you're concerned over someone. Is it true?:
Sygurd replied without looking at Beau, :It's true.: Not wanting to tell the whole truth (despite the irony), he continued, :I heard that the black-and-gold dragon got into a fight with some dragon bigger than him and got seriously injured. I'm so concern for him now that I can't sleep.:
Beau knew what he's referring to. But now, he's wondering if he should tell Sygurd the truth about him. Should I reveal myself as the black-and-gold dragon to him? I normally won't do that to anyone else except my friends. But now, after what I heard from the Shadow Overlord, I think Sygurd was more than just a friend; he's perhaps the closest individual to my ancestor, regardless if he's a clone or not.
After a minute of debate with his thoughts, he finally admitted, :He's fine, and very much close to you.:
That caught Sygurd's attention. He darted his gaze back to Beau and blurted, :How do you know? And what do you mean by 'close'.:
:Because I know who I am.: Beau then closed his eyes and his body was enveloped in a faint, gold glow. Through the glow, Sygurd's mouth dropped open when he saw Beau's red-and-blue body flickered. Between flickers, his body briefly revealed his black-and-gold form. Furthermore, Sygurd also spotted an outline of Beau's gold bonemark on his head. After five seconds, Beau powered down and he returned to his normal form. He was slightly tired but, otherwise, fine.
Sygurd stammered, :S-so, you're Beaucephalis' d-descendent? And you also know that I'm the B-berserker Dragon all the while?:
:You can say that. But about the Berserker Dragon thing, there's no need to fear about him. That matter was settled already.:
Sygurd was still shell-shocked over Beau's revelation. So, after all this while, Beau was the legendary black-and-gold dragon? He grunted with dissatisfaction and demanded, :Why didn't you tell me this earlier?:
Beau explained, :I have a very good reason, Sygurd. This isn't like the past, when everyone knows of my existence. According to the prophecy, a second war will happen and only the rebirth of the Dragon of Legend can stop the next war from occuring. But things aren't as simple as that. There are evil forces out there that are willing to do anything to get rid of me and thus, ending any hopes of stopping the war. That is why I can't simply reveal myself to anyone, unless I have good trust on that individual.:
:So, you're disguising yourself to hide your true identity from these threats?:
:I think I know what you mean now, Beau. I understand how it feels like to be hunted down like a beast,: Sygurd admitted, remembering all too well of his experience of being hunted down by the Legion. :Beau, about today, I'm terribly sorry for hurting you and your friends. I'm just powerless to do anything at that time-:
:It's okay, Sygurd. It's not your fault. You don't have to blame yourself for something that you trully didn't commit. You must remember that the Berserker's personality has taken over your mind when that gold collar fell off your neck. Keep that in mind,: Beau assured. :But I'm curious, just as the Berserker was about to gobble Aleck up, he hesitated for a while. Did you play a role in that?:
Sygurd sighed weakly and replied, :Yes. At that time, I was partially free from the Berserker's control. When I felt Aleck was in trouble, I tried to interfere, tried to regain control of my body. But he proved to be too strong for me and I lost. I felt so weak compared to him.:
Beau assured again, :It's okay to be weak, Sygurd. Being aware of your weakness is perhaps the first step to be stronger.:
Sygurd nodded. :Thanks for the advice, Beau. I'll remember that.: He stifled a yawn and looked over Beau's shoulder. He smirked and said, :I'd better be off now, because someone else wanted to see you.:
Beau turned back and saw Wyldfyr walking towards him slowly. By the time she got to his side, Beau realised that Sygurd has already went back to his stall.
:What's all the talk about?: the red dragon asked her friend.
Beau just smiled. :Nothing. Just having a little chat. Why are you here for?:
Wyldfyr blushed a little and replied, :Oh, just wanted to say thank you for saving me earlier. That's the most selfless thing you ever did for a friend.:
:Yeah. And I hope I don't have to be in that situation again.:
Wyldfyr chuckled at Beau's comment. When she saw Beau started yawning, she decided to keep the conversation short and before leaving, she got an idea.
While Beau was still yawning, she leaned her head forward and kissed him on his chin. Beau was startled by Wyldfyr's move and before he can close his wide-opened mouth, he saw Wydfyr mouthed a quiet :thank you: and turned back to her stall, leaving Beau tongue-tied.
When he saw Wyldfyr's tail disappear into the dark stall, Beau smiled and said, :You're welcome.:
Meanwhile, down in the Wasteland, the Shadow Overlord stood in a dimly-lit hall, watching over his men doing their task in clearing out the area. The hall was rather large (large enough to fit fifty dragons inside comfortably) but messy, with craters and various kind of tools littering the cold floor. His dragon, Corrupschun, was standing guard outside the building they're in along with the other dragons and Drag-hounds.
While observing his men, Dimitrius came up besides Overlord and greeted him with a salute. When he was cleared to talk, he reported, "Mi'lord, I'm afraid our plan has failed. It appears the Berserker Dragon was successfully subdued by the Dragon Booster and his dragon."
He glared at Dimitrius with fury in his evil eyes, his mask adding a more scary look to it. But instead of yelling, he calmly responded, "Is that so? Hmm, looks like that hero is no fool after all. But no matter, if the Berserker Dragon cannot fulfill my desire, then I'll have to look elsewhere, starting from here." The Shadow Overlord looked high up at the titanic structure that stood before him. Dimitrius followed his leader and gazed at whatever Overlord was looking at.
Standing before them was a colossal cannon. It's about the height of a four-storey building and it's base was wide enough to cover a small house perfectly. It's twenty-inch wide muzzle pointing upwards to the sky.
Pointing to Dragon City.
END OF PART 1