As the long, tiresome battle at long last concluded, Jake stood before his father’s defeated Champion as well as the rest of the Apprentices. Thanks to his as well as everyone else’s efforts, Saulstrance’s ambitions had finally been laid to rest.
With his hand held out in front of him, Jake panted heavily, his legs shaking, barely able to support him. His last attack had seen him using as much fire as his lungs could muster. The young half-dragon was willing to push himself to his limits in an attempt to incapacitate the Apprentices.
Jake’s legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground. Titus and the others rushed over to Jake as the former helped Jake up onto his back.
“I’ve got you kid.” Titus smiled as he hoisted Jake onto his back.
Weakly, Jake smiled back at his adoptive father as he lay on his back panting. Everyone else gathered around Titus and Jake. Sarah approached her adopted son giving him a big hug and patting his tail which was draped over his left leg which let him know that she thought he did good.
“You did awesome Jake!” Drake complimented his adopted brother.
“We did awesome, man. I couldn’t have beaten the Champion if it wasn’t for all of you helping me.” Jake corrected.
And indeed Jake was right. While he had battled the Champion, Titus and the others contended with the other Apprentices. The Apprentices had been formidable opponents although not quite as strong as Saulstrance was. Just as Saulstrance and his Followers had done long ago, the Champion and the fellow Apprentices had pushed Titus and the others to their limits but through their struggles, Titus, Drake, Jake, Eig’nia, and Titus’s parents, Cerquil, his father, and his mother Minasha were eventually able to overcome their enemies.
“So then, this is…really the end huh?” Crystal asked as she glanced around at the unconscious Apprentices.
“I suppose so…” Wondered Lucas. “I mean, we’ve stopped Saulstrance and his Followers and now we’ve defeated his Apprentices and Champion. But…”
“I think I know what you mean Lucas.” Jessie said. “This is it but…it doesn’t feel like it is.”
Suddenly, the Champion, whose head was now facing Titus and the others, laughed at Jessie’s statement.
“That’s because it isn’t.” The Champion laughed knowingly. “Do you really think that Saulstrance was the only one behind all this? There was another.”
This news surprised Titus and everyone else. Could the Champion’s words be true? Was there really someone else behind the atrocities Saulstrance had wrought on the human and dragon realms? Eig’nia was certain that she knew who the other person was the Champion was speaking of.
“You mean Léruc, don’t you?” Asked Eig’nia in a troubled tone.
The Champion laughed at her question and assured the dragoness that it went much deeper than Léruc. With another laugh, he gestured towards a cave.
“If you want to know the truth behind everything, just go look in that cave. You’ll find all your answers there. But I wonder- - are you going to like what you find? I guess that’s for you all to find out.” The Apprentice said with a toothy grin.
Choosing to heed the Apprentice’s words, Titus, Drake, Jake, Sarah, Crystal, Lucas, Sean, Tim Kyle, Jackie, Ben, Jessie, Eig’nia, Rick, Cerquil, and Minasha approached the entrance to the cave. There they noticed a stairway which led underground. The entrance was dark with only several torches to light the way. The stairs looked as though they could go on forever.
The group journeyed down into the deepest darkest catacombs of the cave. As they did, they considered what they had been told by Saulstrance’s Champion. Was there really someone else behind Saulstrance’s attacks on the human and dragon realms? And what exactly did the Champion mean about liking what they would find? Titus and the others couldn’t help but wonder just what was waiting for them at the bottom.
After what felt like hours, the group had come across two sets of large wooden doors. These doors had a medieval appearance to them and appeared to be held in place by the cavern walls.
“Doors huh? You don’t see those in this world.” Kyle noted.
“You sure don’t.” Responded Titus’s father, just as surprised to see doors in their world as Kyle himself was.
Titus and the others stared at these doors nervously, pondering if whatever waited for them behind those doors really did contain all the answers to their questions.
“Well I…suppose we should open it?” Asked Ben unsurely.
“We’ve come this far, haven’t we? We can’t just turn back now.” Rick said.
Both Titus and Eig’nia agreed with Rick’s sentiments. Whatever was behind those doors, they knew they had to be willing to face it. If whatever it was was the true reason behind everything, then they needed to confront it. Only then would they truly be able to put Saulstrance’s goals to rest for good.
Sarah and Ben gripped the door handles and pulled the doors open. When they saw what was inside waiting for them, everybody’s jaws dropped, eyes wide at what they were seeing.
“Oh my God…” Titus uttered in bewilderment.
Everyone else couldn’t bring themselves to form words. They simply stared in shock at the figure that sat before them. Sitting at a rock which was being used like a desk was a small blue dragon. This dragon had blue scales and also had red impish looking eyes with only reptilian slits in the center. The insides of his wings, finned ears, horns, claws, and underside were the same red as his eyes. However, what caught everyone’s attention was the green hair nestled atop the little dragon’s head. Despite being dragons themselves, Titus, his parents, and Eig’nia never even knew that it was possible for dragons to have hair.
The dragon looked at the large group nervously. Slowly he turned away from them and placed his left paw over his mouth.
“Umm…pay no attention to the small dragon you see before you for he is…uh…just my pupil. Now if you will, please avert your eyes.” Said the small dragon, throwing his voice in an attempt to make it sound loud and booming.
But when the dragon glanced back, he saw that none of them had looked away. Annoyed by them not listening to his instruction, the dragon turned back and placed his paw over his mouth again.
“Seriously, look away from the small blue dragon. If you do not, then I will be forced to…to…” The small dragon tried to think of an intimidating threat to get them to stop looking at him.
“What is he doing?” Sean whispered to Drake.
Drake shook his head. He was just as clueless as to what was going on as his friend was.
The dragon let out a frustrated sigh. He turned around so that now he was facing the rock that he had been using as a desk.
“I didn’t want to do this but I guess there’s no other way.” The dragon said to himself.
Closing his eyes and focusing, the dragon’s body began to undergo a transformation. His tail, horns, wings, and claws retreated into his body as he grew bigger. When his transformation came to an end, Titus and his friends and family were left even more surprised than they had been prior. This small dragon had become a human! His hair was no longer green but had instead become brown much like his eyes. He sat in front of Titus and the others without saying a word. He simply watched as the group tried to make sense of what they had just witnessed.
“So wait a minute. Is this guy a human or a dragon? I mean, he had hair in his dragon form and no other dragon I know of has hair so…” Said Lucas, thinking out loud as he tried to comprehend what he was seeing.
“Back when I was turning back into a dragon, Angela told me a story about a human who was turned into a dragon by a dragoness. She said that no one knew what happened to the dragoness or the human she turned into a dragon, but… I think this is him.” Titus explained.
“So then he never really went missing. But then what happened to the dragoness?” Ben asked.
Before they could get any answers the dragon turned human (or human turned dragon), turned towards his desk. He grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and jotted something down. Before they got the chance to ask him what he was writing…
Titus awoke. He yawned and rubbed his eyes. He shifted onto his side as he contemplated the strange dream he just had. Titus had had dreams before that felt real to him but never to this extent. It almost felt as though he and the others were really there, fighting Saulstrance’s Champion and Apprentices but…that couldn’t be he thought to himself. And then there was that dragon…the one who turned into a human or rather the human who turned into a dragon. Titus wasn’t able to think of the right way to describe it but that person seemed much different than anyone else he had ever encountered. It was almost like this person wasn’t from either the human or dragon realms. But that made no sense, Titus thought to himself. If that person from his dream wasn’t from Earth or Zalphonia then what could he be? As Titus continued to lay in bed and mull over the meaning behind the person from his dreams, a strange thought suddenly crossed Titus’s mind.
“Wait what? Say that again?” Asked Sarah confusedly as she raised an eyebrow at her husband.
Titus, Sarah, Drake, and Jake were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying breakfast together. Drake and Jake had chocolate milk and cereal while Titus and Sarah drank white milk and ate apples.
Sarah, Drake, and Jake stared at Titus with surprised and confused looks on their faces. He had told his family of the dream he’d had that night and what he thought it might have meant. The three of them thought his theory on the meaning behind his dream sounded rather crazy.
“Alright so just hear me out. After I woke up, that dream got me to thinking: what if all of this is just fictional? What if our two worlds were just created by a guy who’s obsessed with dragons?” Titus wondered.
“Titus, you say some weird stuff sometimes but that’s weird even for you. Not to mention, pretty oddly specific.” Sarah retorted.
“Yeah dad! If we weren’t real then how can I be talking to you?” Drake asked.
“Or how can Drake and I turn into half-dragons whenever we want?” Added Jake.
When Titus thought about it, he decided that the three of them did have a point. There was no way their worlds could be made up. The four of them were flesh and blood or scales and blood depending. Same with their friends and the rest of their family. Perhaps it was all just some strange dream. It wouldn’t have been the first time Titus had a bizarre dream.
Meanwhile, in a certain part of the dragon realm, a certain blue scaled dragon with green hair breathed a hefty sigh of relief. The last thing he wanted was for Titus and the others to learn the truth behind their world. Thankfully for him, so long as he was the writer of their stories, they’d never find out the truth. With that thought however, something suddenly crossed the dragon’s mind: how did they almost find out the first time?