“Cave of Old; the Golden Dragon chooses a Host”
This chapter is dedicated to Crimzon5
“So, Firelance, I trust you have the twenty-five gold to stay a night here at the inn,” A figure at the desk inquires as a man in silver armor walks through the door and closes it.
“It took me forever to find this gold, so I expect a good stay here,” the figure identified as Firelance grumbles, obviously tired.
The innkeeper laughs at his comment, replying, “Your room is the third on the right. Do not forget to never disturb those working on the third floor and if you need a drink, you know where to look.” With those words of advice, Alix Firelance walks up the wooden stairs to the second floor and enters his room. He is better known just as Firelance, as his former powers involved a lance of the Fire element. Now, however, he is powerless and trying to find the answer to his new life. “A life with no power is not a life at all…” He slowly mutters as he finds his room to be of low quality.
“I had to work all day to get this pitiful room? Oh, I miss the ages where I owned billions of currency and the age when currency meant nothing. Both of those ages were a good time…” Jumping into his straw bed, he lies down regretting his decision. “I was advised that the best way to proceed would be to explore not only the realm around me, but also my mind. I was an expert at it before, so how hard could it be?”
With those words, he tries to meditate the way he did before, receiving nothing but dark images and battles long-since passed where he did unthinkable things. His eyes are up in his head, his arms are motionless at his side, and his legs are numb from the meditation; this is what he had wanted. However, the results are far from what he had wished. “Coming from where I did, my sense of good was clouded until I was defeated. Before then, I lived for battle. It was a year later that I chose to come here, convinced that all evil in the third was gone. I did it mostly for power, and it got me stuck here.” However, his opinions still are not as clear as he’d like. Why did he come here? Was it really to become more powerful? If so, he deserved to loose his powers. But what if there was something more to it? He might never know. His thoughts are still on the subject when his candle burns out and he presumably falls asleep. When dawn breaks, he is wide awake, still pondering the thought he had before. “I got only three hours of sleep; that was plenty in the old plane. But now, I’m still feeling the effects of tiredness.” He does a crunch to sit up, eventually putting his knee up before pushing with his hand. Once up, he dons his armor and ‘sheaths’ the whip on his belt. When he finally gets up and out of the room, the inn is beginning to be filled with those wishing to get a fresh start to a new day. The chatter is rather noisy, though the room knocks off a couple notches in volume when he descends.
“Mornin’, Firelance.” Firelance prefers his last name because it is a nice little reminder of his old life. He, of course, had used a lance as his primary weapon, the whip he now carries being his second. Ignoring the chat, he merely walks through the bar—dodging the rectangle and circle tables—to the exit a few feet in front of him, opening the door as he had before.
Once he walks out—he carries only the armor on his back and his whip, so no need to pack—he decides to continue heading towards the mountains. The inn is at the edge of the town, so it takes him only a few paces before he is out of what can be considered the town. By now, he is on a hill some many feet above the village, so he begins to stare at the mountains he aims for. The brilliant blue mountains stick out above all; white peaks too high to be noticed. At the bottom, the lush green hills provide a nice distraction, though he knows that they provide no answers. His current hill is just a fraction of the size as others, but it does provide a view that many coming from where he was from—though not him—would admire. What drives him towards the mountains? He can’t tell, but perhaps it may have something to do with the fact that his whip seems to be glowing with a slight golden aura the closer he gets. It had been invisible until he woke up, at which he had not even noticed the glow until he had left town. Only then did he look down at his whip, since it seemed to be feeling unusual. Yet he had been left Aura-less, so this means hope. Auras from weapons don’t necessarily mean that the user has any aura, but it does mean that their weapon is being attracted to something. He takes one last look at the village below him—now hundreds of feet below, as his new hill is even higher than the last—and proceeds to walk away. “I better find something soon; I’m flat broke.”
The light brown gravel pathway he had traveled before is disappearing, replaced by a dark brown path, then briefly by a green grass-cut path, then a gray gravel path. He can’t see anything further, but knows that the snow would eventually replace the gravel, signaling he would be close. However, yet again something catches his eye before he can go much further when he hears a horse galloping from the path that he had just come from. He pays no attention to it at first, instead turning his head back towards the mountain and walking a few steps, but when it speeds over the hill directly at him, he notes that the rider is none other than the innkeeper. He had been staring at the village—not to mention the pathway—less than fifteen minutes ago, so how did he get here? One answer that is a certainty is trouble; he is covered in blood. Now blood never comes out of anything but trouble, so this disturbs Alix Firelance greatly. This horse had been from the stables and was the best available. Not even the innkeeper’s riches would afford him such a beauty, so why the sudden change? Desperate does not describe how it must be; the stableman would never surrender this wonderful enigma.
The innkeeper stops when he reaches Firelance, collapsing to show the arrow through his gut, muttering “Firelance, you have brought the village to destruction. From where you came, an army followed. They…destroy…everything…inn…gone…I managed to steal this horse to get away…you will not be forgotten as the destroyer…help me, Alix. Help…anyone still living…” Firelance stares in horror at the man who seems to have gone insane with fear. He is staring at Firelance with such intense eyes, crying not from the physical wound, but from the mental one. His left hand is clenched over the arrow; he obviously had met someone who had shot in an area to let him live just long enough to get a message. The innkeeper’s shirt is covered in sweat and blood, though most of it seems somewhat dry. No, not dry, scorched. Something had baked all the blood on the shirt except that from his wound. The fact that he held a bunt parchment just proves this. The innkeeper had been on his knees—facing down, though desperately keeping his head up despite the pain—but now lies on his back, cushioned by Firelance’s hands. However, Alix just can’t accept that he had seen the village moments earlier in perfect condition. What could have happened?
“He must be delusional! An army? Follow me? Why would anyone wish to do that? And why would such a force exist? This land is supposed to be free of evil!” Alix mutters to himself, directing most of it at the innkeeper. However, he will receive no answer; the innkeeper is dead. Taking his hands off of the innkeeper’s shirt—he would have no need to interrogate this young man—he lets the poor soul rest, the body flat on the ground. A burial would be nice, but that can wait. The largest matter of all: what if there are still attackers? Alix Firelance mounts his new steed and plummets down the hillside, revealing smoke and flames bellowing from the village. Whatever the innkeeper had said, it must be partially true. He knows that the village has no defensive fortification; the only defense is the militia guild. Once he reaches the village, he finds that whatever force had been there is already gone; the village is dead. No need to stay when there’s nothing left at all. He looks around in utter shock, dumbfounded at the sheer scale of this massacre. How could—in less than an hour—a force do this then suddenly disappear? Not a building left is not aflame and he has yet to find a soul fighting. The whole area still has many supplies; these could not be random raiders. He even finds a pile of gold in the burning remains of the inn.
And raiders would not cause so much carnage. They would pillage, take what they want, then leave, possibly hoping to raid the village again later. He finds traces of blood everywhere; practically every spot in the town that isn’t burnt contains that crimson liquid. The very brown ground is soiled with this stain, which isn’t burnt already, that is. Splatters of blood are found on what few walls are even standing; in this short period of time, the buildings had been leveled already. With that in mind, either fire users had been there, or the buildings had been toppled by this ‘army’ the innkeeper spoke about. For all he knows, it is both, but the simple fact is that—at this early time of day—not a single building except for one wall of the inn has even a wall standing; the lucky ones have roofs, but nothing more. The blue sky and bright yellow sun can barely be felt through the smoke; Alix admits to himself how the bellowing smoke is harming him. The rays of the sun are no longer the worry of burning, at least not in comparison. There had been a couple white clouds in the sky before, but now, those would likely be pure black. Alix Firelance coughs a little when he accidentally inhales some smoke, now putting the headband he salvaged from the innkeeper to cover his mouth. Another odd thing about the innkeeper—as if he knew that it may be needed—is that he had a pair of goggles with him. Alix had taken them as well, discovering their purpose when his eyes dry up when a whiff of the black air touches them. Alix continues his search, only managing to spot what appears to be a battalion leaving to where it once came, too late to catch.
An arm of a victim is found; the scar down the middle finger tells Firelance that this is all that is left of the militia force leader. What had befallen to the rest of his body? Likely mutilated if not burned. A few long swords lay scattered around the ruins, but most have been raised to temperatures too high to wield or shattered by weapons likely used by the invaders. The silver blade of the militia leader is glowing red hot, miraculously still in tact. A few daggers are stuck deep into the ground; possible to use if the need arises. When Alix searches closer, he spots a few daggers in what once was a wall, though why he cannot say. Of all the landmarks in the city, one particularly gruesome one stands out. One pike is in the center of the town; a person he recognizes not has their head upon it. He finds a few bodies on the ground—hands dripping down blood and massive gashes existing in their heads, chests, and waists—about to be consumed by the flame, leaving them to be cremated with the rest of the village.
As flames consume the once-beautiful town and an unnatural blackness engulfs this small area—despite the fact that it is broad daylight—Alix realizes that this could not be just some random act. Something was after him, but who? The smoke could not blot out the sun on its own; dark magic would be needed. This had been such a coordinated strike with powerful individuals leading an army of weaklings. Even if the village had a massive defense, they still would not have put up a battle; it still would be a massacre. But who would do this to get him? It would require someone who actually knows his identity from before, yet he has no enemies from back then alive. All his friends from then are good, so what could do it? He can’t receive an answer, but one figure—not just a head, arm, or body but actually a living soul—stands in the ruins of the inn, causing Alix Firelance to realize that he is most likely responsible. He is rather surprised that he didn’t notice his new opponent before, but the shadow—features hidden by his chosen position—has a visibly strong aura. “I am a messenger of a much larger force, Alix Firelance, and I come to tell you…
“The hunter of old shall return again.
The power locked away is an ancient gem.
You came to slay this foe.
Yet you are not the hunter; you are the doe.
“…My master isn’t much of a poet, but this is what I was instructed to tell you. Now, you can ponder what this means…that is, if I wasn’t here to also kill you.” The figure in the dark gives no expressions, merely delivering the message as if the scene before means nothing. In fact—while Alix lost his powers—he can still sense auras and knows this one is evil, so he could very well not. If anything, he is smiling at the sight of the massacre, though this can only be assumed by his mocking tone. The part about killing him means little to Alix; even at zero power, he’s more than a match for any normal human, even those fidgeting with magic.
The thing is, Alix can’t help but think about those words. “A terrible poem that makes no sense. I was never a hunter, nor do I know one. I know of no such gem and I certainly did not come here to slay a foe. But now, he may be right.” Alix doesn’t have time to think about it any further, as the man—still in the shadows—draws a silver blade and attacks. Alix merely dodges, knowing that he doesn’t even have to wield his whip.
“Afraid, Firelance? You should be. Kindly die so I can go kill some more. Draw your weapon to make this fight more interesting.” The part about ‘kill some more’ enrages Alix, causing him to throw a punch that actually connects. The figure wipes his jaw, laughing at his own carelessness. “It appears that you are more of a threat than I thought, so I shall give you an honor,” the figure states, revealing that he has a fire dragon spirit within. The dragon-colored aura that he has purposely made visible tells Alix all he needs to know; this is bad and he could possibly be outmatched.
With a single swipe of his sword, his opponent in the shadows now has a tail. This is just the first part of what Alix knows will be a complicated level of power; on the scale of powers from the third dimension, this person could be an L to M class—low to medium. “Oh, great. A fire dragon. That is just what I needed!” With those thoughts, Alix draws his one form of defense. With his whip in hand, he charges into this threat, trying to disarm him. Whip meets sword more than a few times, Alix not being able to see his attacker. His opponent’s weapon is all that is visible, as that silver blade stands out. The hilt is too shaded to see, but the guard is most likely red, easily blending in with the scorching fires. In the center of the silver blade—from tip to end—there also seems to be a black streak in the middle. One last thing setting this weapon apart from others: The guard/blade separator seems to be carved to be shaped like a dragon head and bottom of the hilt seems to have a red tail entwining around it. Alix makes contact again, this time putting great effort into his blow. He grits his teeth and exerts his muscles to try and keep the blade above his head from just bending through his whip. Sure, he had attempted to wrap around the sword a few times, but after his last attempt, he was wide open. His opponent took advantage of this, swinging his arm over Firelance’s head, nearly cleaving it in half.
After a few brief clashes, Alix is successful in disarming his attacker—finally wrapping around the sword long enough to pull it out of his half-dragon friends’ hands—only to find him ready again. The sword is on the ground, yes, but this won’t stop him. All half-dragons are skilled at the arts of magic and the dragon tail can easily lash out at Alix, preventing any attempt for proper attack on Firelance’s part. Alix dodges fireball after fireball; this man is obviously skilled. A yellow glow surrounds his right hand as yet another orange blade is sent at Alix, followed by a glowing left hand. Firing yet again, this man has the advantage. Alix is then almost consumed by flames as his opponent manipulates them to surround him. Alix jumps through, only to find that the tail which he had to dodge three times is not exactly where it was. Instead of a sword, Alix sees his opponent—still hidden in the shadows—wielding a bendable structure. No, he realizes, not any form of weapon; he had transformed his hand into a dragon tail. The original thick tail had only lashed out three times, all of which were jabs.
One had had managed to parry—nearly disarming himself—one he had managed to swerve his hip to the left, avoiding the strike, and the last he had to let graze his left arm. But now—in addition to the jabs—he would also have to face an extendable whip on-par with his own, except this one enchanted by dragon aura magic. As if it wasn’t bad enough, the whip-arm can also be used as a heavy blunt object, something that could break Firelance’s whip. However, Alix is enraged at this man so decides to stop holding back. Why he had just been enraged is unclear, but he knows that this must be some kind of bottled up rage. He whips out at the figure, latching onto the arm. With a single pull, the figure is within his reach, so he salvages a charred knife from the ground and plunges it into this thing. The figure cries in pain as it had been careless; it may have not been fighting at full power, seeing as how the tail-whip still seemed somewhat like an octopus tentacle instead of a devil tail. For some reason—once on the ground—the figure disappears in a brilliant dark—almost black—shade of red, orange, yellow, and blue.
Panting as he is, Alix runs out of the blaze, back to the hill he once was at. He cries at the sight of the burning village below, many of the rooftops still in tact enough to spot the yellow straw used in many. He offers the innkeeper a proper burial and decides to keep the steed from the village. She has nowhere else to go and horses do not fare well in the wild, so he might as well make use of her. He had learned to be good with animals, telling his new friend that he will let her go when she is incapable of taking him where he wishes to be. “I finally know my purpose,” he declares as he rides off in a slow trot, “and that is to slay the evil of this land. I did not come here to become more powerful; now my morals are clear. I cannot let the evil live in this land. This act is far worse than any that I have done and I’ve done atrocious things. I have a purpose, so now I need to make myself more powerful!”
Alix Firelance had been traveling for days, avoiding all habited places. The mountains are only a day’s journey on foot and he is not on foot. On his horse—who he now calls Mirth, a word that means speed in the old runic tongue—he should arrive within two hours. Already, the pathway is turning white with light coats of snow, the previous colors long-since gone. The mountains linger over him, intimidating any who are not determined. For all he knows, he’ll have to climb all the way to the top, well above the clouds. He can already feel the cold air lashing out at him, feeling of being refreshed never coming. It had gone strait from warm to slicing cold and that is just the temperature. Already, his short brown hair is flying back from the wind and his vision has narrowed from his eyes naturally wincing. However, he continues, encouraged by his whip’s golden glow.
At the base of the mountain, he instructs his horse in the same tongue he used before to wait here for his return. The horse nods in response, since that is the only language that everyone—even animals and inanimate objects—understand in all four dimensions. With his horse dutifully waiting, he dismounts and lets her loose, still with nothing but his whip and armor on his personnel. All the items he had salvaged from the town are in the green and brown travel bags dangling on both sides of Mirth; he knows he probably will have no use of them. The daggers he had found may have made good picks, but they had been shattered in a little incident two days ago. No rope was found, so the only way to get up: by hand. At the beginning, there is a pathway slowly curving around this particular large rock, well traveled by the fact that the grey and brown rock has not been covered with snow. He begins his ascent, pacing himself well. The cold air rips into his veins, stealing away his life, yet he pushes—in by inch—forward. The breeze is so strong that it removes the oxygen from his lungs, yet he pushes forward. One knee slowly moves a few inches, then the other follows. This can’t go on forever, yet he tries anyway.
Soon, the snow returns, blinding his vision as it covers everything. He can feel it is already ankle-deep and the pathway is coming to an end. After struggling another dozen or so feet, he collapses, observing how just inches ahead, a massive piece of ice had just collapsed onto the pathway below. “Well, that was lucky,” he notes as he attempts to stand up but fails. To conserve what little heat he has left, he puts his knees up and wraps his arms around them. He has no winter equipment; his face is still showing ice-blue. Had he gone five steps further, he would have plummeted to his death or had he been too slow, he would have been buried by that fallout. He had noticed that the glow of his whip had been giving him the only source of light; it is bright enough to pierce the fog of snow. Had he used any other source of light, it would have just blinded him more than the snow with the intense reflection, but this whip seems to have anticipated that. Thinking of the whip’s determination to reach his goal, he looks up. He can’t see anything, yet he knows he must climb. He grabs an ice spike on the mountain—which quickly shatters—yet is undeterred. He casts away the ice spike he held in his had from the last attempt, only realizing that it may have been a useful pick after discarding it. He tries again, this time hand staying firmly on, but this ice spike cracks then explodes into millions of not-so-deadly fragments. Too much of a pull, then too much of a grip, so he lightens it greatly when he finds a third. However, he slips when his grip is too loose, again falling. “Adjustments, adjustments,” he comments as he tries again. This time, he gets it right, moving on to the nearest handhold he can find.
The process takes a while, but after about fifty feet of climbing, he has the hang of it. However—when he has gone another fifty—his foot slips off a previously steady foothold. He finds another and tries yet again, this time meeting success. The grips he is using—theoretically, if he remembers his old lectures from an ice-type companion of his—should be getting stronger. At about 500 feet, he reaches a small breaking point, allowed to rest for a few seconds. Weaving around a little more, he continues to find that—seventy feet to the left—there is another place suitable for climbing. He sets out yet again, ignoring the fact that his strength has long-since failed him; his adrenaline and what little power is being emitted from his whip are all that keep him going. A mile up, he finds that there are no further footholds, finding only a small ledge to rest on. He moves a little to the right, only to find the ground now collapsing beneath him; he had been on loose ice. The ice is collapsing, the brilliant white chunks surrounding Alix Firelance. “If only I had some of my fire powers,” Alix mutters as he falls, knowing that he might survive only if his reflexes are quick. Looking, he sees a large brown spike extending out, so he reaches out and pulls his whip out, lashing out at the spike below. However, he is not trying to destroy this spike; he wishes to have the whip wrap around the spike. It works, as when he holds onto his whip and falls beneath the spike, he is stopped dead. The force is so great, it dislocates his shoulder, yet he still holds on for life. The spike breaks in half at the base, allowing the whip to loosen as it falls with the wielder. However, he again lucks out as the whip’s golden aura protects him from the spike and he lands on a small ledge below.
Four figures walk on a common tanned pathway, the light gravel offering them smooth sailing over the terrain. The figure behind the lead man questions, “So, Dragonsting, did you hear?”
The man in front looks back—revealing his gray armor, red cloak, and dragon head helmet—and simply replies “No, but I can sense it. And for the thousandth time, it is now just Dragonslayer; I lost the title ‘Dragonsting’ when I came here.” If his eyes were visible—the jaw of the dragon is closed so ‘Dragonslayer’ has no visible features of his face; even the eyes are covered—they might have shown pain.
“Oh, sorry, ‘Dragonslayer’. Bad habit; you have done worse.”
The third figure in the party stares at the Dragonslayer and at the figure that contains two dagger sheaths strapped to his elbows—quick access in a fight—and curiously asks “What are you two talking about?” The two turn around to face their friend, smiling—or in the Dragonslayer’s case, appearing to be smiling—back at him.
The figure that began the chat then drops the smile, looking more serious as he comments “Firelance is here.”
The third to drop into the conversation holds back his surprise, inquiring “He actually came?”
The dagger-wielder then replies “Yea. But he came powerless, as unlike with us—who loose the ability we hold highest and/or the most powerful of our abilities—he lost everything.
The Dragonslayer decides not to comment on that little fact, keeping to himself, “In many cases that is the same thing. I miss that ability,” before he states to his two friends, “I’m not so sure; his power seems to be rising.”
A fourth figure finally drops a comment, stating, “You three think too much; I can tell that he just fought a pawn of a threat we are discovering. Quite impressive for a level zero, but he still has no idea what he’s getting in to. He is on the way to discover his true power. He is already half way there; he knows his goal. And pretty soon, he’ll likely reach the location of his guardian as well.”
All give a nod at the fourth’s wisdom, the dagger-wielder then asking, “So does this mean we should go after him?”
The Dragonslayer answers this with a simple, “Just give it some time.” The third figure simply nods his head with an “Agreed. We need a fifth member, yes, but it can wait until he is powerful enough to stand up.”
By now, all four are practically in a council chamber, the four all facing each other in a square. “One thing that worries me: Is he a leader or a follower?”
At this comment, the dagger-wielder replies “Dragonslayer, you are just asking that because you are our current leader; you lead us well.” The four laugh a little, taking that comment—probably mostly true—as a nice little joke.
However, the Dragonslayer has other motives, stating, “True, but honestly, I can't get a reading on him. Will he follow me, or will he be forced into a position of leadership?”
The fourth merely states in his normal cold manner, “It is a possibility. It probably depends on weather you get yourself massacred in that time.” However, that last part—like many conversations and comments the four have—is not just a joke. Sure, it was meant to be humorous, but was dead serious. Like normal, the four laugh at this, the Dragonslayer trying to muster a response.
The dagger-fighter comments on this with a “Yea, Dragonslayer, he has a point. We each fight individually, but in the one in a trillion scenarios that we need to focus our power on one target, we rely on your guidance.”
Finally, the Dragonslayer decides to accept the fact that he may not be leader forever, stating, “Agreed. So now, it is only a matter of whether I get injured to the point where I can't fight or not.” With those words, the four again set off on their path, a plan silently being formed. Such councils are short, but always produce results, so there really is no point in going any further in that conversation.
Back at the Mountain:
Alix Firelance gets on his knees, wobbling greatly as he manages to stand up. Looking around, he can see a discoloration around; there is a large brown spot in the mountain. Walking to this point, he bends his back over a little and leans on his left foot—his right about 45 degrees in the air for a few inches of view—finding a cave. Entering the cavern, he finds only pitch black, again taking his whip out to shed some light on things. In the center of the chamber, however, there is one figure that is brilliantly dancing through the air.
In a deep tone, this figure illuminated declares, “Welcome, Alix Firelance. By the fact that you have made it this far, you are indeed the one who I was meant to be wielded by.” Alix takes a closer look at this figure, obviously a snake-type dragon. The size of this beast is at least three times that of a human, the long golden figure displaying brilliant features. The dragon’s core body reveals why it is a ‘snake-type’ dragon. In appearance, a normal snake dragon resembles the forgotten land of earth’s Chinese dragons. However, the dragon does have a chest of sorts similar to a real dragon. Something making this dragon different from normal snake dragons, however, is the fact that it has its body made primarily from dozens of golden scale links. Muscles fill the gaps between each of them. Like normal snake dragons, this dragon has feet identical to normal dragons, except about half the length. Thin wings extend from just behind the chest of this great beast, the thin membranes being attacked by the same links making up the body. After the back legs, this being’s tail is just a slightly smaller size of the larger body.
To further this great display of power, this drake has energy and light pulsing in a glorious aura, making the wings stronger, the chest much larger—so much so to the point of looking like a regular dragon—and the limbs larger. The head of the dragon seems like a small cylinder, but the aura emanating from it makes this being appear to have a rather normal head. Teeth are barely visible, as it is unclear whether the cylinder visible is the skull of this beast or the actual head, the outside being nearly see-through. Coming from the skull/head, there is a tongue resembling the body, always hanging out as if to hiss a terrible curse.
All in all, this glorious beast could pass for a normal dragon, but with the light reflected from the wall, the drake’s own power forces what must either be the skeleton or actual body to show itself. To him, Alix wonders, “Is that solid part a skeleton, or the core?” Either way, it would not matter, as this dragon seems to be that of pure in nature and wishing for a wielder.
“Firelance, you lost your power. You have seen the horrors of this world, yet are powerless to stop them. I can merge with you, become your strength, and help you with this goal. I have searched your heart and found you worthy of a noble cause. You have overcome all doubts about your old nature; it will not plague you any further. Do you accept?”
Alix considers the offer, the doubt in his mind disappearing. Holding his whip high in the air, he simply mutters “I accept.”
With this, the dragon says “Very well, Alix. I, Gardrake, shall merge with you.” The aura/body of the dragon is infused with the core/body of the dragon as it plunges towards Alix, seemingly bent on attack. Showing no fear, Alix lets the tongue of Gardrake imbeds just below Alix’s throat, the rest of the body wrapping around him. The body squeezes down on Alix’s arms and chest, crushing and cutting his very body to shreds. Alix grabs the head/skull of the dragon in his right hand, dropping his whip in the process. In a split second, the dragon becomes the whip, modifying its form only slightly in the process. In this moment, a brilliant golden light shines so brightly, it pierces the whole mountain and extends for many miles above. The mountain glows as the beam continues into the sky and even the group of four can observe it. In this moment, Alix G. Firelance shot far above what he once was at, going not from Z to A+, but to a level off the known scale of the world. His power in that moment jumped to a level ten fold more than what he once was, reflecting his will. In that moment, a hero is born…