"So it's just us?"
Nightshade nodded sadly in response to Zirra's question, "Yes..."
Frillisean turned away fro the group and muttered to herself, "Four heroes..."
It was then that Pyron stated their first obvious problem, "Anyone know how we are supposed to get past this Ring of Fire?"
Zirra sighed, "I tried flying over it, but I got burned."
Frillisean put a claw on her head in thought, "I don't know. All the books said was that the Heart is activated with the blood of a dragon. This ring is created by it."
Pyron brightened up, having come up with an idea, "Malefor's blood, the same that flows through Nightshade?"
Frillisean and Zirra both gasped, "Of course!"
Nightshade blinked, "What?"
Frillisean grinned, "Perhaps, Nightshade can make it through... He is Malefor's son after all."
It was then that Nightshade realized what they were thinking, "No! No way, you are not throwing me in there."
The others looked at each other and then back at Nightshade, grinning like mad-men. They grabbed Nightshade and threw him into the fire, which parted to accommodate him and a few ore dragons. Nightshade gasped as he looked around, "Darn it!"
Zirra chuckled, "I guess that worked out."
Nightshade whined, "You could have killed me!"
Frillisean nudged him, "I'm sorry Nightshade, but what else could we do?"
Pyron nodded in agreement, "Yeah, chill out, she knows what she was doing."
Nightshade glared at Pyron, "Of course you'd take her side."
Pyron glared back at hi, "And what does that mean?"
Zirra shoved the two apart, "Can you two ladies break this up? We kinda have stuff to do, I'll personally deal with you later Nightshade."
Nightshade blushed and looked away, "Uh... O...K..."
As they started walked through the ring, Frillisean whispered to Zirra, "Did you see that? He so likes you..."
Zirra shrugged, "Yeah I know... I'm still not sure about how I feel about him."
Frillisean rolled her eyes, "Right..."
Frillisean was about to continue, but didn't say anything when Zirra glared at her fiercely.
It wasn't long before they silently reached the burned lands at the foot of the volcano, a dark and desolate wasteland that was once full of life. A mere shadow of it's former self. It sent shivers down Zirra's spine, "Let's get moving..."
After hours of wandering, a subtle glow revealed the Eternity Gem's location, as if it were responding to Nightshade's presence.
Zirra pointed in it's direction, "I see something..."
They all looked, and indeed, there it was, hidden in a rock that appeared to crack and then shatter as they approached.
Frillisean closely examined the Crystal and frowned, "Perhaps, this too acknowledges your lineage Nightshade..."
Nightshade growled, "Why was I cursed with his blood?"
Zirra looked away, "I wish I knew..."
As Frillisean removed the bomb from her pouch, the scuffling of rocks startled the group. Apes approached from all sides, they were surrounded.
Pyron sighed, "Why is it that we always get taken by surprised by these guys?"
Frillisean looked down at the bomb, and then at the Apes, her face showed and expression of determination that hasn't been on her face in years, "Get going guys... I'll hold the off..."
Nightshade frowned, "Why should we! We are in this fight together... Aren't we?"
Pyron shouted as the Apes drew their weapons, "Go! I'll keep an eye on her, don't you worry, we'll catch up."
Frillisean gazed lovingly at Pyron before becoming serious once more, "Just go..."
Nightshade and Zirra looked at each other before leaping over the Apes blocking their path and heading up the volcano. They both exchanged worried glances as they ran, unsure if they would be alright.
Frillisean knocked and Ape away with her tail as she looked back at Pyron, "Pyron... I'm sorry... But I have doomed us both..."
Pyron batted away two Apes before responding, "What do you mean."
Tears streamed down Frillisean's face as she spoke, "Orniaucien said... That we would die here... You should have left when you could..."
Pyron shook his head, "If you are to die, I shall die with you... Together forever... Just hang on!"
Minutes later, Zirra and Nightshade halted in their tracks as an explosion shattered the profound silence between them.
Nightshade clutched his chest as if he had just lost a part of himself, "Zirra, I... I no longer feel them..."
Zirra frowned, "They... They're gone?"
"That is the least of your worries."
They both looked up to see Gaul, the Ape King, standing in their path. His drew his sword and raised it at Nightshade, "We have unfinished business whelp."
Zirra growled and draped a wing over Nightshade, "You'll have to go through me first."
Nightshade shook Zirra off, "No Zirra, there isn't time... You have to face Malefor."
Zirra looked down on him, "I won't leave you."
Nightshade growled and clawed at her right eye, "We don't have time for this. It was you... It's always been you."
Zirra covered the right side of her face and frowned, "You... You too..."
Gaul laughed, "It never ceases to surprise me just how fast you dragons can turn on each ot-"
Nightshade roared, "Shut up! She fights better angry, and I know... I know how much it hurts to be betrayed by someone close to you. But Zirra, know this... I love you, and that is why you must Fight Malefor."
Zirra growled, "Nightshade, I will get you back for that. When this is over, you'll wish you actually did claw my eye out."
Zirra rushed off, leaving Nightshade and Gaul to clash. Nightshade smiled as he watched her go, "That's my girl... Get angry. You fight better when you're mad."
Gaul laughed, "I see... You nearly claw her face off and claim she fight's better because of it. Your logic is as flawed as your species."
Nightshade chuckled, "Now that is where you are wrong, it is because of Her species that this logic is sound. You-"
Gaul lunged in before Nightshade could finish. Nightshade rolled to right as Gaul's blade smashed into the ground. With a small shuffle of his feet, Gaul was already spinning around, catching nightshade on the left side of his face.
Despite Nightshade's efforts to fight back back, he was no match for Gaul. Some thing was different about him, they had fought merely weeks before and Nightshade schooled him, but now, it was like Nightshade was a child again, completely at the mercy of his ape oppressor. It was then he realized, it wasn't Gaul who changed, it was him... He was still far too weak from his fight with Malefor to win.
Nightshade soon became desperate as the seconds turned to minutes, and minutes to hours. To his horror, in the distance the destroyer loomed on the horizon. Malefor had to have been using his own power to bring it here.
Nightshade was knocked onto his back while he was distracted and pinned to the ground with Gaul's blade. Gaul smiled and stepped away, "There, now you won't interfere..."
Nightshade squirmed to try to get himself off the blade, "Dang it! What are you planning... TELL ME!"
Gaul huffed, "Quit moving or you'll bleed out before you're allies find you... If your friend somehow wins that is."
Nightshade continued to pull himself off the blade as Gaul walked away, "Stupid kid... You're lucky I don't have plans for you. Your friend on the other hand. She has potential..."
After minutes of struggling a familiar chill crept down his spine, "I see you are in trouble again..."
Nightshade tried looking at the azure dragon, but couldn't, "Who's there!"
The dragon knelt down and pulled out the sword. Blood quickly pooled around Nightshade as the dragon put a claw on his wound which quickly sealed itself. Nightshade blinked, "Who are you?"
The Dragon smiled, "Flameo, and old friend of Frillisean..."
Nightshade blinked, "Frillisean! Did she really?"
Flameo frowned, "Yes and no... Look."
Nightshade looked as Flameo pointed towards the summit of the volcano. Zirra and Malefor's fight has reached it's climax. Both were barely able to keep each other in the air. In a last ditch effort to finish each other off, they both used their most powerful furies.From this distance it was difficult to see, but he did see... Malefor was sucked into a portal that was torn in the fabric of time and space, while Zirra lost her body. He sensed her soul was still there, but in what form, was difficult to ascertain.
Flameo sighed, "Sad... Zirra will not 'walk' down this mountain, but she will live."
Nightshade glared at Flameo, "You didn't tell me what happened to Frillisean. Do you know, or not?"
Flameo looked back at him, tears streamed down his angular face, "You think it was easy to watch as my best friend laid there dying when I could have saved them... I could have saved them both, but no! I had to save you!"
Nightshade growled, "I never said anything would be easy... wait, what?"
Flameo scratched his right eye, "They were never supposed to leave this place alive. I wish I could save them, but it was written... But I did help them live long enough to see the end. I gave them the time to die as mates..."
Nightshade held his face, "This doesn't make any sense."
Flameo frowned and turned away, "Time isn't supposed to make sense, such is the life of a time lord... Funny, I never called myself that before... I must say this though, take heart, When a dragon dies they do not truly leave this world."
Flameo whispered something in his ear and walked off. Nightshade twitched as vanished from sight. Perhaps he had imagined the whole thing... Nightshade shook off the pain and ran up the volcano, Zirra had to be there! but alas, she wasn't.
The next day-
Nightshade frowned as he looked at the large crowd that had amassed at Frillisean's memorial. He wasn't good with speeches, no one ever really is. He took off his helmet and said, "Friends, comrades, countryman... I know that this is a sad time for us all. Losing a beloved guardian during the siege, and losing our beloved commander. I don't really know what to say. But I know... that Frillisean and countless others sacrificed their lives with hope of a brighter future."
He roared, "Let us be that future. Let no one's sacrifices be in vain. Let our heroes be honored, revered, but most importantly. Let us learn from their lives. For if we do not learn, if we do not prepare... We will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and squander this world that many have died to save."
He implored all who gathered there, "Please... Don't let Her sacrifice, be in vain. She deserves better then that... They all do..."
He then stepped away from the stand and went to the temple, wanting to avoid having to talk to anyone. Sanchez rushed up to him from behind, "Hey! There you are."
Nightshade sighed, "What do you want?"
Sanchez slowed down to a crawl, "I just wanted deliver Frillisean's diary to you, like you requested."
Nightshade blinked at him, "I didn't..."
He looked at the open book and flipped through the pages, many of them had had folded corners. Each shed new light on her life, but that wasn't the interesting part, each one had one thing in common. Flameo was there...
Sanchez blinked, "What's so interesting?"
Nightshade scrambled to find an excuse in the book and ran across what Flameo told Nightshade on the volcano, "This... I want this to be on the plaque for Frillisean's statue."
He pointed to a quote, 'When a dragon dies, they do not truly leave this world. Their spirit lives on. Binding itself with nature, offering hope for the future.'
Sanchez smiled, "Seems perfect!"
Nightshade sighed with relief, he just dodged a cannon ball... But one question remains, just who was this Flameo, and how did he miraculously show up in all of these important events, even Aren's death...