Chapter 7: The Phoenix of the Four Winds
“Where am I...? I see I am into the Sky Temple… I am flying… Who… a voice he is calling me. I am here. Where are you? I can’t see you.”
“Rise human girl, you have been summoned.” A voice echoed to my ears, I stand up and I am trying to concentrate into its source, but I can’t’ find it. Neither can I sense Monica, Limon, Dings, or even Darth’s warmth. A figure is appearing into my darkness like a drawing on a blackboard, tall, powerful with his hands touching my face. It’s the Wind himself. “Are you Azure?”
“You have travelled a long way in order to find me. How do you call yourself human?” he asks me with his gentle voice
“Lily you bear the star-shaped mark of the Priestess, do you understand what that means?”
“I do, I can become the Priestess.”
“Why do you want to become the Priestess?”
“Do you want power, immortality, eternal youth, limitless possibilities forever, the power to change fate and create life? What do you desire Lily?”
“I want…” but the voices are coming stronger. I can hear them shouting, “attack… who? Elemor? No, it can’t be” and I try to move my legs but I feel paralyzed as if Azure holds me with the winds.
“Answer me Lily, what do you desire?”
“Prepare all possible weapons, catapults, and gunfire we have!” Fiora was giving her commands nonstop as Elemor’s troops were reaching at any minute their location
“Your Highness we have secured the women and the children underground”
“Good go to your position and wait for further orders!”
“Fiora!” Monica’s voices came to her and she turned to see her followed by Darth, Limon and Dings “let us help you!”
“No my Lady you must not involve yourself in this” she said with a protective tone as she prepared her weapons
“Lily is my sister! If I can’t protect her, then who will? Please allow us to assist you!”
Fiora looked for a moment Darth behind her and everything were shown on his eyes. “Very well then. Monica I allow you by my command to assist us. The same goes for the rest of you! The cliffs on the east side are a good location for our archers. You can help them there.” And before she leave she wished them good luck and ran to guide the remaining troops to their stations. Darth guided everyone to the opening of the Palace toward the sky “Monica I and Limon will delay the dragon’s course and you will assist us with the Bloody Tears”
“But how will I be able to help you? The soldiers you said will be falling from above. I am not that fast.”
“You don’t have to worry about that” Dings said and a black cloud covered him transforming the puppy into a huge dog (or wolf?) having the height of a human “You will ride me and we will catch up really quick with them.” Monica looked at Dings thinking that you can expect much more from those with a small size. Dings leaned in front of her, telling her to get up. When she climbed the bow appeared in her hands, while Darth was already on Limon’s back, ready to take off. “All right everyone our first priority is to delay their arrival and protect the Sky Temple at all costs! Monica you will help us from the ground and we will deal with those from the sky. Do you understand?”
“YES!” everyone answered with a voice and ran off with Limon and Darth disappearing at the sky, flying at full speed, and Monica with Dings running at the east gorge jumping from cliff to cliff. “You remind me a werewolf Dings!” Monica said with a smile on her face holding tightly from his fur
“No fair! I am a noble Darvil from the Wolf Clan!” and Monica remained silent astonished from the revelation. She saw the soldiers with Fiora ahead of them aiming at the incoming dragons and she turned to see them. They were black, with the King’s crest on their foreheads, carrying on their backs fortresses looking just like castles floating on the sky. Monica asked Dings how they could carry so much weight. “They were trained to do so, and that’s why they are so gigantic. But you must fear those on the dragons. They are all of them soldiers who specialize on mid-air fighting.”
“So they must be archers right?”
“But also swordsmen and alchemy wielders all of strong enough to wipe out an entire kingdom in 10 minutes!” and Monica looked at the sky to the direction Limon flew.
“Incoming!” Fiora screamed and Dings quickly ran under the rock shelters trying to avoid the falling arrows. “Concentrate, Monica! Find their weakness and fire!” But Monica couldn’t see them as they were flying with incredible speed almost invisible to all of them∙ and then it came to her “Dings, how fast can you run?”
“How fast do you want me to?”
“Fast enough to draw their attention to us”
“You do understand that all the arrows will follow us right?” he said with a scared expression on his face. Monica patted his head and climbed on his back holding him tightly “I must become stronger Dings, my family is in danger.” And Dings found her determination on her voice
“Limon will definitely kill me” he murmured and ran outside ignoring Fiora’s voices calling them back. Monica saw the upcoming cliffs and quickly turned back firing a red arrow to the sky, just before they jumped. Her arrow hit something on the air and they saw a man falling down on the woods. Fiora realized their plan; they had to aim for the wings, and ordered all possible archers to aim at the sky. Their arrows became a cloud of piercing birds as they started to fall on the dragon’s sides hitting the flying soldiers. In the mean time the catapults tried their best shooting the dragon’s heads but with no result. Monica then saw something golden shining as it flew to the central of the three dragons passing inside the soldiers, who now were visible to everyone after Monica shot a couple of her arrows. “Please be safe” was the last thing she thought before she concentrates on those in front of her.
Limon realized that they were not followed anymore and flew toward Elemor’s direction. “It seems that he has no intention to spare their lives” but Darth was appearing and disappearing many kinds of different weapons on his hands, from daggers to swords and axes. Elemor spotted them on the sky and summoned his dragon taking off toward their direction “Darthorian!!!” he shouted with hate toward them and their swords crossed with power. “Finally, finally I am fighting you!”
“Elemor, you haven’t changed at all” he said with bitterness while Limon was trying to avoid the attacks of Elemor’s dragon making their fighting even harsher.
“Why Darthorian, why did you betray us?? Everyone had many expectations from you!”
“Because I found the only thing I was missing in that life!” he said with anger “Don’t you see Elemor? How long will you fight? Until you die? Or until you will be killed by Nevol?”
But Elemor left a scream of hate and rushed on them.
“Choose Lily what do you desire?” Azure was repeating to me again and again. But everyone’s voices came to my head screaming from fear and death. I could “see” their Heart Light dying in front of me and I felt their pain ripping me off. “No!! No let me go Azure!!” and I tried to move but his winds were holding me tightly “Why, would you leave? Would you abandon your duty to fight with them? For those who defiled the lights of my children and destroyed the world my brothers and I created?” I heard him saying with anger and his winds became colder making me freeze.
“I am going to fight for the sake of those I want to protect! It doesn’t matter if they are Darvil or Denmorian I will protect them all! Don’t you see Azure! I want to become strong for their sake!” and finally I broke free from his binding. I felt the wind current leading me inside a building as I could sense it from the wind’s movement and I felt the ground under my feet. Someone walked toward me and he touched my face with his hands. “Truly a remarkable determination, I praise you for this. Your courage will inspire the people around you to search for their freedom. But be aware that you must always be merciful even to those who have lost against the darkness of their Heart Stone.” I felt him hugging me tightly and he whispered to my ear: “I shall grand you the power of the 4 Winds: the courageous North, the noble West, the elegant East and the brave South will be under your command” and I sensed the air filling me whole as I started to fly free and strong as the wind who guided me.
“You will not pass anymore than this Elemor!” Darth said as he was trying to push him back. But Limon could see that the battle was obviously going to be won from Elemor. Monica with Dings also had shot down many of the remaining soldiers but they were still coming at them.
“Why do insist fighting for them Darthorian? Do you still believe that you will be saved? And that Outsider will help you?” and he attacked for once more
“I know that I will not be saved no one would save me. But she… she can be strong enough to save Denmor from Nevol! And perhaps save you too”. But Darth didn’t realize that one of the dragons was heading to the Palace ready to crush it down “Darth! He is heading to the Palace” and Darth ordered him to fly straight there but Elemor was blocking their way leaving them no escape route. Monica rode back with Dings following the dragon, jumping from cliff to cliff trying to shoot the same arrow as before but it repelled back to them making the big wolf to jump high but Monica to fall down. She thought that she was dead already but she felt a strong wind current holding her and letting her down gently on the ground. “Monica! Monica, are you alright?”
“Dings the dragon… the Palace… NOooo!” and the dragon crushed it with its head.
And then the wind blew toward all directions pushing him back violently and the dragon begun losing its concentration to his driver’s orders retreating more and more. The wind came from all over the directions as the giant white bird with the silver wings appeared on the top of the ruined Palace. A strong scream came from its mouth and all the troops paralyzed on the floating incapable to move.
“Yes! The bird from the Entrance of the Temple! But how…?” and then she shouted to the bird “LILY!!!”
“It’s the Phoenix of the Four Winds!” Fiora said when she finally caught up with them.
“Phoenix?” both of them asked
“It’s the most powerful transformation of God Azure. Finally the God has taken our side!” and their war cries became louder. The Phoenix was standing still on the top of the Palace looking down of everyone. Then his wings flapped and strong currents of wind surrounded them all. “Stop… stop… stop fighting” a voice came from the wind. It was Lily’s voice echoing inside everyone’s minds. It even came to Darth’s and Elemor’s side who had stopped fighting and were looking at the bird. Darth could clearly see her amber eyes shining and she also turned her head toward them. She moved her wings and flew to them. Elemor retreated only to see his troop’s confused flying here and there without knowing what to do. Fighting the Golems could be easy but a god was too much for them. “You don’t have to fight anymore” her voice became much clear “Are you satisfied fighting for a King who wouldn’t even care if you died in vain? What about all those who were killed by you? Didn’t they have families just like you? All wars only become a continuing circle of bloodshed in the end” were her words as she flew near the dragons making them obey her command and bow their heads, as a sign of obedience.
“Don’t listen to her attack!” Elemor screamed to his army but they had already dropped their weapons bowing before the Phoenix shouting and begging for her forgiveness. “You shall all live together with the Earth Golems, helping them restore their lands, atoning for your sins” and the dragons started to deplane near the mountains. “She stopped them only with her words! What a charisma!” Darth thought and he turned to Elemor. He was furious, no he was full of hate and he suddenly pierced with his sword his own dragon killing him in an instant. Then a dark cloud covered him and howls started to come from him. “Darth he is going to merge with him!” Limon shouted as he flew away from him
“I know that! We must let them know and run away! Lily!!” And he flew toward the stupendous Phoenix seeing his majestic wings moving with grace under the already dark sky. “Get out of here he is going to transform into something really dangerous!”
“No.” her voice echoed only to him “I will fight him and make him realize his own darkness.”
“Stupid you have just obtained your powers! You stand no chance again him!”
But she turned her head looking at him directly as if see could really see him “Let me save him Darth. You realize too his own suffering and… I when I will become stronger I will do the same for you too.” And she watched his astonished face as she left a loud cry, like a pray to the stars and flew to him. “Darth, Darth what will we do?” Limon was asking loudly without realizing their previous words, it was like telepathy, only he could hear her∙ did she allowed that? Or was it an effort to learn more about him? “Let her fight Limon, it’s her own decision. But if things get worse we will attack him too” Darth answered him leaving no space for him to talk back.
Lily flew to the black dragon making circles around him. He was enormous with black scales in the color of the onyx and red eyes staring at her with malice “Why do you fight Elemor?” she asked
“To kill all those who stand on my King’s way”
“Is that the only reason?” and she avoided his fire breath flying higher. It was like dancing as they both flew high on the sky. “The Heart Stone I felt that day on Namur was the crying of someone who is tormented between his duty and his self. You are suffering Elemor and you also make the others suffer because of your own dilemma. Let me help you please!”
“Who told you I need your help?” and he attacked her again but she also was quick “You come here with those cheap feelings of yours talking about peace and co-existence. You might have eyes in the color of a Love Stone but you too are suffering! Yes I heard those men’s report. That girl couldn’t see anything! That’s the most interesting information I could get for you!”
“Yet you looked at me directly back then why? Weren’t you looking for someone to help you?” and she dodged again his attacks, making strong winds to blow on him holding him still without letting him escape. The Phoenix flew and her wings covered him whole like a hug. “Elemor, everyone feel sometimes the darkness in our heart growing stronger, it is only our decision to let it consume us or fight back. I too, can be consumed by it but I have friends, family who I want to protect. They had always protecting me and I can’t let their efforts go to waste. That’s how I stretch my hands to light I have never seen and keep moving forward. Don’t you have someone you want to protect?” she said holding him with the winds and her wings. For a moment Elemor felt her heartbeat pounding strongly shining on her chest. He felt at peace and warm all over his cold body. But before he could be able to say a word the scars on his back became hotter making him mad and screaming from pain. His red eyes became black as if he was possessed and bit the Phoenix on the base of his right wing. Lily instinctively took his left eye out with her long beak making him scream from pain. Then both of them started to fall from the sky coming closer and closer to the ground. Lily on her pain could sense Elemor’s light fighting the darkness around him disappearing from her sight, now she could only feel herself transforming back into her human form, the wings becoming hands again and the light of her ribbon shutting down. Warm hands grabbed her, holding her tightly as she fell into the woods, landing softly on the warm soil. Someone was trying to stop the bleeding firstly by covering with something soft and then licking the wound. She couldn’t feel the Heart light and she smiled faintly as those big hands were holding her gently. “Darth…” she whispered and fainted.
Chapter 8: Beauty and the Beast under the red moonlight
Monica’s diary: Date unknown (anymore)
Today we left the Earth Golems relieved for some reason. After that battle it was clear that it would become more difficult, especially for Lily. That night we found Lily and Darth collapsed near and old tree deep into the forest. Limon and Dings carried him into the wagon telling me not to worry while I followed Fiora with Lily. She woke up two days later smiling at me when she opened her eyes. I knew that it was thanks to her powers and I am glad for that, because she can almost see her surroundings. Now with the powers of Azure she can command the winds even knowing where someone is standing just by the wind passing though him. I explained to her what happened and together we visited the Stone Square. It was full of people who came closer to us wishing and praying for our protection. I noticed also some of the soldiers I fought working together with the Golems determinate after my sister’s words. I must tell that the men of this Clan are really straightforward (they even proposed to me), but Dings and Limon were always making a mocking face as if I could ever get married! The night before we leave there was a feast to everyone celebrating our victory, and that’s when Darth appeared. He looked exhausted and Limon was saying that he needed rest because of his injury. But Lily offered him a glass of mead smiling and he looked at her gazed for a moment (Love is in the air…).
Now we are heading west where the guarding stations are few and perhaps we find something new on the map.
“Girls, do you know any stories?” Dings asked them as they were driving to the west three days after they left the Southern Mountains.
“Stories?” both of them said at the same time.
“Hmm, I know some but Monica I the best story teller!”
“Well now I am trying to translate this paragraph, why don’t you say one instead. And where did Darth go?”
“Why do you think that we will lose our way Monica?” Limon said in his usual place, pulling the wagon alone even without Darth’s guidance.
“He went to speak with Fin about any new clues, he’ll be back soon. So now the story!!! Lily!”
“Alright, alright, if I had to say one that should be…”
“You look well Darth.” Fin was looking at him though the mirror, obviously mocking him.
“Quit the chat Fin, I must know the next location. Have you learned anything from your side?”
“Mimi was able to locate some clues but it seems that our dear King is leaking false information about the Gods. He is trying to make you appear.”
“So now we must wait for Lily to get better before she…”
“Get better? I thought that she was alright after that battle. Did you do anything to her you pervert bastard?”
“Of course not!” (He could never say that he licked her wounds) and in that thought he lowered his head.
“Also Darth, Limon contacted me about your lack of power the other day. You do realize that the red moon is approaching”
“I am aware of that.”
“Well then say hi to the girls from me and I will contact if I find anything new” and his image disappeared. After that battle with Elemor he started to fell weaker. Was it because he overused his powers trying to save Lily or was it…? “No if the red moon appears it will be trouble for all of them” and he stood up and went up to the others.
“And so they lived happily ever after” Lily finisher her story when Darth appeared taking his usual place in front of them holding Limon’s bridles. Dings and Limon were crying after that story Lily told them and he could easily kick them both but he wasn’t on the mood for that. “Why are you crying guys?” he said bored
“But that was such a nice story It made me cry!” and the puppy went to Lily’s dress whipping his tears. Lily took him on her arms and Monica put the book back into the bag “Don’t cry Dings, it’s just a fairytale.”
“What fairytale?” Darth asked
“Beauty and the Beast.” Lily answered for her.
“And guess what! The beast dies fighting for Belle and she tell him she loves him and the spell is broken! And then…”
“And then what Dings?” Darth asked feeling a weight on his chest.
“He kissed her and everyone was back on their original forms.” Limon continued without looking back at them.
“Is something wrong with that story? You all seem to be depressed” Monica asked them. They said it was nothing but Lily felt pain on their Heart Stones, pain for a lost one.
They came across a small village and they decided to rest for the night. They weren’t able to find not even a decent inn and so they decided to stay on the abandoned barn near the old well outside the central square. With Monica’s help Limon boiled some water and they prepared some tea for everyone.
“Where is Darth? He was here just a while ago.” Monica asked when she looked around as Lily and Dings moved the hay preparing “beds” for all. “Alright let’s drink some of this” and Limon poured the flavored tea into the cups offering them to Lily and Monica “You will not drink?” Lily asked them but they kindly refused. Monica had already drunk hers and went to bed followed by Lily who still was holding her own cup. They lied together on the bed and the lights went off as they all slept peacefully.
Lily woke up when there was still dark outside. Monica was fast asleep so were Limon and Dings. She stood up and went out of the barn walking to the direction the wind was coming “Azure” she whispered and his voice echoed from the wind “What is it my Priestess?”
“I need you to search for a boy around thirteen in this area. Will you be able to do it?” and Azure flew together with Lily on his arms at the sky using the wind currents. The scream made them stop and then get back to the ground only to find the villagers running away from the village “Stay alert Lily something is coming” Azure warned her and she materialized her ribbon on her left hand ready to attack. She walked slowly to the direction the Heart Lights she could feel were running for and she stopped. The smell of blood came to her, but she couldn’t sense anyone hurt. She turned her head left and right but before she decided to leave strong hands grabbed her from the neck and the shoulders pressing her with strength. Lily quickly nodded her ribbon creating a strong wind cutter forcing the one who held her pull back growling Lily turned her back and tried to sense him. The only thing she could sense was a slow beating sound with no light coming from it. “Be careful my child!” she heard one of the villagers behind her “It’s a beast that appears every time the red moon is on the sky!”
“Kill it, kill it!” the villagers were shouting behind her and they threw their spears injuring the beast which was still behind her. “Stop right now!” she shouted
“He will kill us if we don’t kill it!”
“Quiet! Everyone abandon your village now. I will deal with it!” she shouted at them angrily and she felt them disappear from her “sight” running away. She could hear their footsteps and the wind carrying them away. Only two breaths could now be heard. “You could easily kill me with one strike, why did you hesitate?” she asked the one in front of her although Azure was constantly warning her to flee. She heard footsteps and he stood before her, he stretched his hands bringing her closer to him leaning his head on the base of her right shoulder. “Beauty…” he whispered as he hugged her close to his body. Lily could feel his heavy breath, his strong brawny arms covering her body, sticky from the blood on his body, he lifted her and they flew away from the village into the forest. Lily could smell the trees and the wind carrying them until they reached a small pond. He let her down and he fell into the pond. She ran near him and tried to help him get up but with no result• he was really heavy. He pushed her away and he crawled into the nearest tree placing his back on the trunk. Lily approached him and she put her wet hands on his face. He seemed to be hurt, there were bruises all over his lips and his head, his hair was long falling freely into his shoulders. His hands, instead of nails, they had claws and his body was hard like Limon’s scales in some places. She placed her left hand on his naked chest but no light appeared “I am sorry that… you had to… learn it this way” a man’s voice came to her ears
“D-Darth... How…?” and she fell back shocked from the voice she heard. It was Darth’s voice but it seem to be different, a man’s voice not a child’s. “This body is something that used to be my true form”
“You are not a child? Then why…?”
“It’s because of my curse. I have lost all of my powers and my true form, the only that remains is a shadow in the form of a child and the strength of a weapon wielder. Every time the red moon rises I become like this thirsty for blood and killing.” And he covered his head with his hands. He couldn’t feel more disgusted and pitiful in front of her. “Forgive me Lily for what I said back at the Southern Mountains. I yelled at you with no reason, knowing that you weren’t at fault”. But she kneeled near him and hugged him, crying: “Don’t speak anymore. I am so sorry I didn’t realize your pain sooner, you were struggling all this time but still you helped me knowing that you are not strong enough, I knew that when you caught me after the battle with Elemor, so please don’t be sad” and she cried holding him. He cleaned her eyes from her tears and he looked at her face: “Don’t cry you look more beautiful when you smile”
“Is that the reason why Limon put something on our tea?”
“How did you?...”
“When you are blind, olfaction becomes really sensitive, I knew that something was wrong with the tea and also Limon and Dings didn’t drink it at all” she said with a faint smile.
“I will make sure they have enough work for the rest of their lives” he said with a vengeful tone. “Now Lily you must go back, I can’t move for a while until my wounds heal completely, and also it’s dangerous when the red moon rises” and he helped her stand up. Lily stepped back a little and with her ribbon she moved her arm creating a shining blue line drawing more and more circles around “Melur!” (Protect!) She whispered and the blue line surrounded the area around the tree creating a perfect circle around them. She returned and sat beside him” “I promised that one day I will listen to your story, but until then… don’t make me leave and… and let stay by your side” and she leaned her head on his shoulders “I will speak to Monica when the time is right as for the others… I will let them to you. For now rest and I will protect you”.
Limon smiled tiredly and leaned his head on the tree’s trunk. “Hey, Lily.”
“Could you please tell me that story you said today?”
And he slept peacefully for the first time listening to her calm voice.
The next morning they walked back to the barn taking the long way outside the village without speaking to each other, when after a while she asked him if he was angry about finding out his secret he said that he felt a little relieved about that. “But you must understand that I might lose myself again and kill you, so when that happens run away from me.” But she hit his head calling him stupid. “Why did you do that?” he said angrily touching his head
“Don’t say that again! If that time comes you must not run away from me! I will help you no matter what it takes!” and she continued walking taking Darth’s small hand inside hers until they reached the barn.
Limon and Dings were sitting outside near the wagon obviously worried. When they saw them they felt relieved but Darth’s angry gaze looked sinister for them. “Good morning Limon, Dings!” Lily waved her hand to them when she sensed their scared Heart Light.
“Morning… Darth, Lily” Limon greeted them
“Did Monica wake up?
“No she is still sleeping” Dings answered.
“Ok I will be going then” and she went in. Darth hugged the puppy speaking in some bizarre language that wasn’t really pleasant for the others but he calmed down quick and Limon asked him what happened. He replied saying that she found out and she helped him calm down. “It seems that her blood from the last time restrained me from harming other people. I knew what was happening around me most of the time” and he remember last night making him blush and hide his face into his cape. Monica’s voices made them jump from the shock and they ran into the barn. “What happened to you Lily? You look really worn out!”
“I went outside for a walk and I fell… a little” she tried to explain
“On your nightdress, and also barefoot! Are you an idiot?”
“Well Monica can really be scary sometimes!” Dings commented and Limon agreed waving his head as they started to laugh with the scene.