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Chapter 21: The Beginning of Darkness

With the deaths of Mayza, Tourajé, and Shashala as well as Roasch’s departure from the group, Saulstrance and Eig’nia were the only ones who remained that could see to it that Léruc’s goals were stopped. Whatever was to come when they confronted the dragon they once called their master, Saulstrance and Eig’nia just hoped that they would be ready.

Returning home, Saulstrance and Eig’nia stood before Léruc’s fortress. With Tourajé’s body slowing returning to its original form, Saulstrance and Eig’nia had both changed back into their true forms as well to make it easier and possible to carry him.

For what felt like the longest time, the two dragons just stood before the fort, motionless as they became lost in their thoughts. Eig’nia looked at Saulstrance worriedly as she pondered over what he must be thinking about. Saulstrance, with a determined look on his face, contemplated what he would do when he encountered Léruc. While he trusted Tourajé’s words, he wanted to a confession from Léruc himself. He wanted to hear, in Léruc’s own words, that he was the one responsible for taking Saulstrance’s family from him.

“Saulstrance…are you really ready for this?” Asked Eig’nia feeling more worried for Saulstrance and herself than she’s ever felt before.

“It’s not like either of us can turn back now, Eig’nia. Whatever happens is going to happen regardless.” Saulstrance answered, not turning his attention from the fortress.

“I know that Saulstrance!” Exclaimed Eig’nia. “But still I’m worried about you. Mayza, Shashala, and… Tourajé are gone, and Roasch is in no condition to help us. We’re all that’s left and I just…I don’t want to lose someone else I care about. That’s all.”

Saulstrance took notice of his friend’s worry. Finally breaking free from his gazing at the fortress, he turned to Eig’nia and looked at her with a sympathetic look on his face.

“You’re not going to lose me Eig’nia. I promise you that. However, should Léruc say something I don’t like, I can’t guarantee he won’t end up lost.” Said Saulstrance, his tone changing from warm and empathetic to cold and uncaring at the end of what he said.

Eig’nia couldn’t believe what she was hearing. This didn’t sound like the Saulstrance she knew whatsoever. Just a few hours ago, he was talking about how he didn’t want to kill and wouldn’t even kill Agcro, a dragon who had killed countless innocent dragons and now even humans.  Yet, now Saulstrance was telling her how, if Léruc told him something that didn’t sit well with him, he’d kill him. Eig’nia understood that Saulstrance was angry, and rightfully so about what Léruc had done to his parents. However, even then, she didn’t want to see Saulstrance fall the same way Léruc had.

“Saulstrance…please just no more killing, okay? We’ve already experienced far too much of it.” Eig’nia pled with Saulstrance.

But Saulstrance didn’t respond. This brought more worry to Eig’nia. Although she didn’t want to bear witness to any more death, she worried that Saulstrance may actually attempt to kill Léruc.

After awhile of standing and discussing what they would do, the two of them finally made their way inside. In that time, Tourajé’s body had finished changing back to its true form. This made it harder for Saulstrance to be able to carry his friend. Eig’nia backed up beside him, offering her support as together, the two of them supported Tourajé’s weight evenly and continued through the fortress.

“Master!” Eig’nia called out, her yell echoing through the fortress.

“I’m in here.” Léruc’s voice answered from the Leader’s hall.

They headed in the direction of Léruc’s voice. The room where Léruc was waiting for them was the very same room where their exams were held. As they approached this room, a sudden wave of nostalgia washed over the two dragons. Memories from the exam came rushing back to them. Eig’nia remembered her battle with Mayza and how she was able to make Mayza surrender by drooling on her. A small yet sad smile formed on Eig’nia’s muzzle as she reminisced. At the same time, Saulstrance recalled when he and Shashala fought. Back then, he thought that Shashala was extremely annoying and boastful. It was these things that gave Saulstrance the drive to defeat Shashala and become his master’s third apprentice. He remembered how hard he and Shashala fought during their first of many battles. Both dragons have their all but in the end, Saulstrance emerged victorious.

Each one of Saulstrance’s fights with Shashala flashed through his mind, including the ones that ended with Shashala defeating him. Saulstrance smiled as well at these memories. He knew that he had always been Shashala’s biggest inspiration and that he had always pushed his rival to be the best he could be. Saulstrance felt the same way about Shashala. With each battle the two of them fought, Saulstrance believed that Shashala had been pushing him as well, making him stronger and more confident in his abilities.

Both dragons’ smiles changed into frowns. With how much they had thought about the past, in the end it just made them feel worse. Half of their friends were gone and all they wanted was the chance to see their faces again. They would have given anything to just be able to return to the days before all of this happened. To go back to flying with and visiting Cyrus and his family, to return to sparring against Shashala, going on missions together with Tourajé, or simply getting to be with Mayza, Roasch, their families, and the others. Saulstrance and Eig’nia wanted those days back more than anything.

The two dragons stepped into the room where they found Léruc waiting for them in a darkened corner which shrouded the dragon in blackness. He stepped from the corner and approached Saulstrance and Eig’nia.

“Saulstrance and Eig’nia, at last…what has happened to the others?” Asked Léruc as he looked around and glanced behind Saulstrance and Eig’nia, expecting to see his guards or even the dragon who had gone with Tourajé to the human realm.

“They’re gone. We’re the only ones who survived.” Eig’nia answered with a solemn look on her face.

“Even the guards have died?” Léruc asked.

“Everyone is gone. The guards, Agcro…and… Shashala and Tourajé…” The dragoness answered once more.

Léruc was taken back when he learned that Tourajé and Shashala were among the casualties. At the mention of Shashala’s name, he immediately deduced that the dragon who followed Tourajé through the portal he had created was Shashala himself. He wondered if Shashala had heard anything they discussed while Léruc showed Tourajé his memories.

Saulstrance and Eig’nia both gently set Tourajé’s body down before them and Léruc, the latter of whom approached the body and inspected it. As he observed Tourajé’s corpse, he could see right away that he hadn’t been killed by a dragon. The hole that had been left in the side of his head was much too perfectly rounded for it to be done by either a fang or a claw. He also looked over the rest of Tourajé’s body to see if there were signs of anything else that could have ended the dragon’s life but he found nothing else of note. While Tourajé had gotten hurt during the battle with Agcro, he hadn’t suffered anything too severe. Thus, Léruc determined right away that the person who killed Tourajé must have been a human. Léruc was completely bewildered. He would have never guessed that a human would be capable of bringing down a dragon.

“How did Tourajé die?” Léruc asked as he raised his head and looked over at his pupils.

“It was a human who killed him. She…used this thing that she called a gun. At first, she was going to shoot Saulstrance but then Tourajé…” Eig’nia was unable to continue with her explanation. The dragoness began to choke up.

“…He was shot instead of me.” Saulstrance said, glaring coldly at Léruc.

Léruc took note of Saulstrance’s glare but paid it no mind. He had assumed that Saulstrance was still angered by the death of his friend. While he was also certain that Tourajé had revealed the truth about what had happened to Saulstrance’s parents to him, Léruc believed it made no difference. He could tell just by looking into Saulstrance’s eyes that he was experiencing the same pain he felt when he lost his family. It was what he needed to make Saulstrance into his proxy.

“Although we have suffered many a great loss, take comfort in knowing that their deaths weren’t in vain. Tourajé, Shashala, and the guards will be remembered and celebrated as heroes for their role in stopping one of the dragon realm’s most notorious killers. For now, you two should rest. I’m sure the deaths of your friends have taken a terrible toll on you. I will personally present Tourajé’s body to his family tomorrow and tell his, as well as Shashala’s families that their sons died as heroes. In the meantime, you should--“

But before Léruc could finish his sentence, Saulstrance interjected. He felt that Léruc was feigning his sympathies. After all, if he was truly the one who allowed Agcro to escape, then he was indirectly responsible for the deaths of the guards, Shashala, Tourajé, and the humans who were killed by Agcro. Saulstrance realized that even Agcro himself had in the end been a victim in all of this too. He was used just as much as any of them had been.

“You were the one who released Agcro, weren’t you?” Saulstrance asked accusingly, still glaring at Léruc.

“Saulstrance!” Gasped Eig’nia, surprised by how direct Saulstrance was being. She hadn’t been expecting Saulstrance to just come out and ask Léruc.

Despite his pupil’s question, Léruc wasn’t taken by surprise, almost as though he had expected that Saulstrance would ask him sooner or later. With a sad look in his eyes, Léruc turned away from Saulstrance and answered his question.

“Yes. That was me.”

Even with this answer, Saulstrance wasn’t satisfied. His anger swelled as he grew tense, his breathing getting heavier. It was already becoming hard for the dragon to keep himself from attacking Léruc but he did all he could to retain what little composure he may have had left.

“If you’d already suspected me of releasing Agcro, then I assume that Tourajé has told you everything else.” Said Léruc as he walked away from Saulstrance and Eig’nia.

“He did. But I want to hear straight from you what happened, Léruc. I won’t be satisfied until then.” Said Saulstrance in a demanding voice, his focus honed squarely on Léruc.

Saulstrance’s demanding tone annoyed Léruc. He was the Leader while Saulstrance was meant to be the follower. How dare that dragon think himself in a position to make demands Léruc thought to himself. And to refer to him simply as Léruc as opposed to Lord Léruc only served to anger Léruc even further. At that moment, he wanted nothing more than to swing around and slap Saulstrance with his tail but, just like with Saulstrance, Léruc opted to try and keep himself composed. He would answer Saulstrance’s questions and would then continue from there depending on Saulstrance’s actions.

Stopping one hundred feet away from Saulstrance and Eig’nia, Léruc turned around and focused on his two remaining students. The whole time, Eig’nia said nothing. She felt it wouldn’t be her place to intervene. Whatever was to happen next would be squarely between Saulstrance and Léruc.

“I already take it that Tourajé told you I took your parents’ lives shortly before your hatching.” Léruc assumed as he sat down.

Saulstrance didn’t answer. He too simply took a seat on the ground and listened intently to what Léruc was about to tell him.

“I’m sure there isn’t much left I can tell you that Tourajé hasn’t. Your parents did everything within their power to keep you safe. They fled from village to village trying to hide anywhere they could until eventually finding their way back to ours. Eventually I was able to locate them and, upon discovering that your mother had laid your egg, saw that as the perfect opportunity to remove my two biggest obstacles. It seemed as though the two of them still retained a shred of loyalty to me as neither one of them attempted to fight back. Or maybe, they simply knew that no matter what they tried, even if they killed me instead, an outcome where everything was to work out for them simply wouldn’t be feasible. Had your parents killed me, they would have had to retreat to the human realm and live the rest of their days as fugitives always looking over their shoulders to make sure they weren’t being followed.” Léruc explained.

“Perhaps they should have killed you.” Said Saulstrance coldly, staring at Léruc with a cold, icey glare.

While Eig’nia kept her silence, she just couldn’t believe what Saulstrance was saying. She wondered what was going through his mind at that moment and wished that there was something, anything she could do to help Saulstrance. She didn’t like hearing Saulstrance who, before all this had always been so kind and cheerful talking about killing another dragon or how his parents should have killed him. She knew that Saulstrance was in a dark place but she wished that there was something, anything that she could do to help him.

Léruc took notice of Saulstrance’s cruel words as well. The old dragon was surprised by just how quickly these recent events had changed Saulstrance. To him, it was beginning to feel as if he was in the presence of a completely different dragon. While Léruc took some iota of satisfaction in this as he felt that if Saulstrance experienced the kind of pain he had, then he would be more willing to fulfill his lifelong ambitions, at the same time he felt contempt for his actions. He remembered the smiling face of the kindhearted, loving dragon that Saulstrance once was and, deep down, truly wanted him back. Even then, as Léruc had told Tourajé before, it was too late for him and for Saulstrance. He had already fallen into darkness long ago and believed that all he could do was plunge himself even further into it. He didn’t see any way he could ever make up for all the pain he had caused especially to Saulstrance. Even then, Léruc desperately hoped that someday he would be able to be absolved of his sins if it meant that, when his time came, he would be able to see his family again.

“Had your parents killed me, then what would that have meant for you, Saulstrance? Had I died, you never would have met Tourajé, Eig’nia, Mayza, Shashala, or Roasch. Would you truly have been happier having never met them and having to live the life of a fugitive with your parents?” Léruc asked.

Although angered by the question, Saulstrance found himself unable to provide Léruc with a true answer. As badly as he’d wanted to have been with his parents, it wasn’t easy for him to simply pick them over his friends. After all, for Saulstrance, his friends had been just as much his family as his parents were. Saulstrance’s answer was that he simply didn’t have an answer. He just couldn’t pick one over the other.

When Saulstance gave his answer to Léruc, the old dragon wasn’t sure how he felt about it. While he found Saulstrance’s love and dedication towards his friends truly admirable and understandable, at the same time, he truly believed that family was one of the most important things in both worlds, a belief he had held ever since his boyhood.

“Why not give a Saulstrance a third option?” Asked Eig’nia, finding herself no longer able to keep silent and just watch. “What about having never killed his parents to begin with? You should know better than anyone how it feels to lose your family. Why give Saulstrance the same pain that you felt and destroy his life the same way those humans destroyed yours? If what you really wanted was to make both worlds better, we would’ve helped you. You didn’t have to do any of this.”

“Even if I do agree with you, it doesn’t matter now anyway. Besides, Saulstrance’s life was never his to begin with.” Said Léruc, his eyes growing wide.

“Wha-what?” Saulstrance barely managed to say, his voice filled with shock and confusion.

“Ever since you hatched, your life was always meant to be mine. You were always to serve as my proxy and continue my goals when I passed. To make sure you fulfilled the life mission I entrust to you, I had to make sure you felt the same kind of pain I did when I lost my family. I wanted you to have friends, a chance to see and learn about the two worlds, and…to have your friends become the family you never got to have. Then, when the time was right, those things would all be snatched away from you Saulstrance, just as they were taken from me.” Léruc explained.

Neither Saulstrance nor Eig’nia could believe what they had heard. Saulstrance especially was having a difficult time handling what he had just learned. Tears ran down the dragon’s face as his body shook violently, his teeth grinding as he glared at Léruc with intense burning hatred in his eyes. Then, suddenly, something snapped within Saulstrance’s mind. He released a blood curdling roar which rang out throughout the entire fortress.

Saulstrance’s wings unfurled as the dragon took to flight. He roared once more as he launched himself at Léruc. Just as Léruc opened his wings and prepared to defend himself against Saulstrance, he folded his wings onto his back once more and closed his eyes, accepting whatever Saulstrance was about to do to him. Léruc felt that, with everything he had put Saulstrance through, this would be a more than fitting end. At the very least, with this, Léruc believed that he may be able to see his family.

Saulstrance bit deeply into Léruc’s neck, blood trickling from the teeth holes left by Saulstrance’s fangs. Saulstrance flew around the hall with Léruc’s neck still clamped tightly in his jaws, tears flying from his eyes. While he flew, he slammed Léruc against the walls, causing the older dragon to release pained roars. After awhile, the pain became too much for Léruc to take, causing him to lose consciousness. Despite this, Saulstrance didn’t cease. He continued to relentlessly smash Léruc against the walls, eventually breaking some of Léruc’s bones.

All Eig’nia could do was watch with a horrified expression on her face. With the way Saulstrance was acting, she had to wonder if Saulstrance was even in control of himself. She couldn’t believe how relentless Saulstrance was being. She knew that Léruc was finished, he couldn’t fight anymore but despite this, Saulstrance still continued. Eig’nia didn’t want to believe any of this was happening. This wasn’t Saulstrance. This was someone…or something else, in his skin.

When Saulstrance finally finished, smashing Léruc around, the older dragon was just barely breathing. Several of Léruc’s bones were broken and blood ran from different areas of his body. Eig’nia’s mouth dropped open, an immensely saddened look on her face. She was left speechless at the sight of the bloodied, broken dragon she and Saulstrance once called their Leader.

To finish, Saulstrance swooped down, smashing Léruc into the ground. When he removed his fangs from Léruc’s neck, Eig’nia saw that Léruc’s already shallow breathing had halted completely. His neck was broken and his body lay motionless.

Saulstrance was breathing erratically. For a time, Eig’nia just watched, not saying a word to Saulstrance. Then, all of a sudden, Saulstrance swung his head back and emitted a loud, agonized roar. As soon as Saulstrance’s roar came to an end, he began to make a strange sound which sounded like a cross between gasping and crying. Nervously, Eig’nia slowly and carefully approached Saulstrance, hoping that she would be able to comfort him.

“Saulstrance?” The dragoness said softly.

But Saulstrance didn’t answer to her. He continued to make the strange noise while his body shook.

“Saulstrance!” Eig’nia said a little louder.

This was enough to get Saulstrance to turn to her. Slowly he proceeded to stand up. As Saulstrance approached her, something within Eig’nia’s mind was telling her to be careful. She felt a sense of danger coming from her friend. While she didn’t realize why at first, it became clear to her right away: it was the look in Saulstrance’s eyes. No longer the kind, tender eyes of her lifelong friend, Saulstrance now had a look that made him appear more like a feral animal. Eig’nia could tell that even if Saulstrance’s body was before her, his mind wasn’t.

Eig’nia began to back away from Saulstrance as he approached her. Saulstrance raised his tail as it drew closer to Eig’nia. It wrapped around her neck tightly as it strangled the dragoness. Eig’nia choked and struggled as she tried to somehow get free. While she tried to break free from Saulstrance’s grasp, she caught a glimpse of her friend’s eyes. They were filled with unbridled insanity. Eig’nia knew that Saulstrance either wasn’t or couldn’t think properly. His mind had completely collapsed but even knowing this, she also knew that deep down, Saulstrance was still in there and she had to back him back before it was too late for both of them.

“Please Saulstrance!” The dragoness gasped and choked. “Don’t do this!”

But Eig’nia’s words were lost on Saulstrance. She gripped his tail with her paw and tried to pull it off of her.

“Saulstrance…please! It’s me, it’s Eig’nia!” The dragoness cried, hoping that the mention of her name would be enough to snap Saulstrance back to reality.

Saulstrance’s cold, emotionless face soon twisted into a look of shock. With a gasp he released his hold on Eig’nia as the dragoness leapt away from Saulstrance, ran a few feet from him, and tried to get air into her lungs. As she tried to breathe, she watched as Saulstrance swayed back and forth, groaning and holding his head in pain.

“Saulstrance, listen to me!” Eig’nia called to her friend. “I know you’re hurting right now. I can’t even imagine how bad it must feel but please Saulstrance! I’m begging you! Don’t lose yourself to the pain! You’re stronger than this! I know you can overcome it!”

Staggering back a few feet, Saulstrance then stood in place still holding a paw over his face as he groaned and panted loudly. Eig’nia watched feeling greatly worried for her friend. Just then, Saulstrance released another ear piercing roar then proceeded to shoot a ball of fire at Eig’nia. The dragoness easily avoided the attack but was then knocked off her feet after Saulstrance smashed into her. Just as Eig’nia was halfway back to her feet, Saulstrance attacked her again, sending her crashing into the wall. Just as Saulstrance was about to pounce on her, Eig’nia quickly leapt out of the way as he slammed his front paws into the ground.

“Saulstrance…” Said Eig’nia as she rose to her feet. “… I’m begging you. Fight the pain, Saulstrance! I don’t want to have to fight you! Not like this!” The dragoness pled, her voice beginning to strain.

However, no matter how hard she tried, her words could not get through to Saulstrance. He swung his tail at her, causing the dragoness to leap out of the way once again. As much as Eig’nia wished it wouldn’t have to come to it, she was starting to realize she had no other choice. Saulstrance was beyond helping himself now. The only one who could help him regain himself was Eig’nia and to do that…

“There’s no choice then. Saulstrance…I’ll fight you if it means I’m successful in bringing you back to your senses. So get ready Saulstrance because I’m not going to stop until you’re back!” Declared Eig’nia with newfound resolve.

Eig’nia dashed towards Saulstrance, shooting a fireball at him which struck him in the face, staggering him for a second. Her wings unfolded as she flew over Saulstrance and soared high into the air. Saulstrance opened his wings and flew after Eig’nia, shooting a barrage of fireballs at her. While successful in avoiding a few, there were simply too many fireballs for Eig’nia to avoid altogether. Most of them struck Eig’nia which not only caused her pain but also slowed her down somewhat.

The two dragons flew around the room for a moment with Saulstrance following closely behind Eig’nia. The dragoness then swooped down and landed back on the ground as did Saulstrance. Eig’nia swung her tail at Saulstrance, striking the latter in the side of his head. In response, Saulstrance swung his tail, hitting Eig’nia with it except that just as he was about to pull it back, Eig’nia bit down on Saulstrance’s tail. She bit it as hard as she could, hoping that the pain from her fangs going into his tail would be enough to snap Saulstrance out of his rage. This effort, however was proven futile as Saulstrance roared in pain and attacked Eig’nia with a stream of fire which engulfed her head. When the attack stopped, Eig’nia’s teeth were still deep in her friend’s tail. Her head was covered in burn marks, some of which had fumes rising from them. She winced in pain as her fangs slowly retracted from the bite marks they made in Saulstrance’s tail.

Saulstrance swung around. He and Eig’nia headbutted each other as the two of them stood locked in place, each one trying to overpower the other. As they struggled for a time, Eig’nia was eventually able to push Saulstrance back. She then clenched her paw tightly into a fist, hitting Saulstrance in the side of his face. With an angered roar, Saulstrance headbutt Eig’nia then proceeded to slam his fist into her chin.

Eig’nia staggered back several feet. Panting heavily, the dragoness rubbed the underside of her chin where Saulstrance had hit her. As she and Saulstrance stared one another down, she thought back to the very first time she ever met him and the rest of her friends. It was in this very room. The six of them all desperately wanted to study under Léruc and show the world their true potential however, only three of them would go on to become their Leader’s pupils. In the end, Saulstrance, Tourajé, and Eig’nia herself passed the exams and since then, the three of them had been as close as family to one another.

“Saulstrance…” Said Eig’nia in a somber voice. “Do you remember the first time the six of us met? You, me, Tourajé, Shashala, Mayza, and Roasch? It was this exact room where we first met each other. I had no idea back then that the five dragons who had also made it to the final part of the exams with me would become my best friends growing up.”

Eig’nia smiled sadly. Saulstrance rushed towards Eig’nia, launching a stream of fire at her which she swiftly avoided. Saulstrance kept trying to attack Eig’nia, the latter of whom was able to avoid each strike. While she evaded Saulstrance’s onslaught, Eig’nia reflected on everything that had happened to her and her friends.

“I wish it had never gotten this bad. I don’t regret becoming our master’s student or getting to see the human realm, meeting Cyrus and his family, or getting to know you and the rest of our friends. The one thing I do regret is not being able to stop what had happened. Our friends’ deaths, you learning the truth about your parents, our killing Raolef. I wish I could somehow undo everything that had happened. I’m sorry.” Eig’nia finished, sniffling, her eyes filled with regret, looking as though she was on the verge of tears.

Even though Eig’nia knew that not all of it was her fault, she still couldn’t help but feel guilty for having paid witness to these events. She truly wished that there was a way that she could fix everything. However, even she knew that was one spell that a dragon would never be able to use.

It was becoming harder for Eig’nia to keep dodging Saulstrance’s attacks. With a swing of his tail, Saulstrance struck Eig’nia on the side of her head. This was followed by three balls of fire which, despite Eig’nia’s attempts to dodge, all three ended up hitting her left wing.

“Gaah!” Eig’nia exclaimed as the fireballs pelted her wing.

Eig’nia took to the air once more, trying to ignore the pain in her wing. Saulstrance followed shortly after her. They flew around shooting streams and balls of fire at each other. As Eig’nia flew past Saulstrance, she contemplated what to do with Saulstrance should she be able to somehow incapacitate him. Saulstrance wasn’t listening to a word she said and because of this, she couldn’t be guaranteed that he would be back in the right state of mind even if she was successful in knocking Saulstrance out. Suddenly, a possibility crossed Eig’nia’s mind. It was something she didn’t want to consider but knew she may end up having to do: just as it was with Mayza, Eig’nia realized that she may have to kill Saulstrance.  Try as she may have to fight it, Eig’nia knew deep down that this may be the only way. The damage had already been caused. She had seen since Agcro forced Saulstrance to kill him that Saulstrance was changing, becoming colder and more hate filled. With Léruc having confirmed to him the true fates of his mother and father, she feared that whatever remained of the Saulstrance she grew up with may have been gone for good.

Although she knew Saulstrance wouldn’t listen to her, against her better judgement, Eig’nia decided to try one final time to get through to him. She desperately hoped that this attempt would work. She didn’t want to die but she didn’t want to kill Saulstrance either.

“Saulstrance, can you remember Cyrus? He’s the half-dragon we befriended in the human realm. He kept practicing flying, trying to make his wings stronger so that he could fly with the three of us. This didn’t happen too long ago but do you remember when his village discovered he was a half-dragon and they wanted him and his family to leave? All of us, even some of the villagers fought to let them stay. I know they’ll never forget that Saulstrance and you shouldn’t either. Cyrus, Thomas, and Miranda, I’m sure they’re all waiting for us to return.” Said Eig’nia in a desperate sounding tone, hoping that this would be what snapped Saulstrance back to his senses.

Suddenly a gasp came from Saulstrance. His face contorted as if something inside of him was causing the dragon great anguish. His teeth grinding, he lowered his head, groaning and panting. Saulstrance’s wing flaps became more tense as his body experienced several spasms. Eig’nia watched, hoping with all her heart that this would be what it took to snap Saulstrance out of his rage.

“You can do this Saulstrance. If thinking of me and the others are too painful then at least think of Cyrus. Let him be the one to help you through this.” Eig’nia said to herself.  

As much as Eig’nia wanted to call out to Saulstrance and let him know that she would be right there with him, she felt that it was not her place to intervene. Right now, Saulstrance’s battle wasn’t with her but rather with himself and unlike any encounter they had before, this was one that she wouldn’t be able to help Saulstrance with. He had to truly overcome this on his own.

Saulstrance brought both paws to his head, holding it in pain. His groaning and panting grew louder until eventually he threw his head back as another loud ear shattering roar erupted from his throat.  Without warning, a fire stream launched from Saulstrance’s throat which Eig’nia narrowly evaded. Saulstrance rushed at Eig’nia but before he could slam her into the wall like last time, Eig’nia flew above Saulstrance. Not allowing him any time to react, Eig’nia grabbed Saulstrance’s head in her claws.

As Saulstrance roared and struggled to get free, Eig’nia dove straight out of the air and smashed Saulstrance faced first against the ground. With just enough force, Eig’nia was able to knock him out. Panting, Eig’nia observed the unconscious form of her friend. He lay on the ground, his head resting in the same spot Eig’nia had slammed it into. There were several small cracks in the ground that lay underneath Saulstrance’s head. She half expected him to awaken any second and continue to fight her. To her great relief, this wasn’t the case. Saulstrance was truly incapacitated.

Her body feeling weak from her fight, Eig’nia sat down. She considered what to do with Saulstrance now that he could no longer fight. She wasn’t certain what Saulstrance would be like if and when he awoke. Would he be in a better state of mind or would be still be the rampaging beast she had fought just a moment ago? Just then, another thought crossed her mind: even if he were back to his senses upon waking up, would he even want to continue living knowing that his parents and half his friends were dead and that with everything that had happened to him, his life had ultimately been destroyed. As much as Eig’nia wished she didn’t have to do it and as much as she didn’t want to do it, she felt that perhaps, this was the kindest thing she could do for Saulstrance.

As the thought of ending Saulstrance’s life swam through her mind, Eig’nia found it difficult to breathe. She felt tears forming in her eyes as she hesitated. For what felt like the longest time she just sat there, motionless like a statue, trying to summon up the willpower to end anymore suffering Saulstrance would no doubt face.

Finally, she slowly began to raise a paw off the ground. She brought her claws closer to Saulstrance’s neck, ready to slit his throat open.

“I’m sorry Saulstrance.” Said Eig’nia as a stream of tears ran down her face.

Releasing a hefty sigh, Eig’nia held her breath as she prepared to put an end to her dearest friend. However, she found herself unable to move a single claw forward. She continued to keep her claws pointed at Saulstrance’s neck until her paw started to shake. She moved her paw away from Saulstrance and placed it back on the ground.

Eig’nia sobbed as tears rained down her face and spilled onto the ground. She just couldn’t do it. She lowered her head as she asked herself how things became this bad. Shaking her head and sniffling, she saw out of the corner of her eye that one of Saulstrance’s paws was extended out. Eig’nia moved closer and placed her paw over Saulstrance’s. She looked at her unconscious friend one final time then turned her attention to the corpses of Léruc and Tourajé. Seeing the bodies of the dragon she once proudly called master and one of her best friends caused the dragoness’s tears to hit her even harder.

A cold breeze blew past Eig’nia as she tearfully left the fortress. With no home to go back to or any destination in mind, Eig’nia disappeared into the night.

At the same moment, Utzie sat outside of his family cave. The little dragon stared into the night sky, his only thoughts being about how he wished he would get to see his big brother again very soon. Ever since his parents told Tourajé not to return home, Utzie had missed him terribly and wanted nothing more than for Tourajé to come back.

Mayza’s younger sister was also awake then. While her parents slept, the little dragoness couldn’t help but feel as though it just wasn’t the same without Mayza. When Mayza was still alive, she would cover her little sister with one of her wings to keep her warm. Mayza’s sister always loved when she did that for her.

Shashala’s parents hadn’t slept a wink since their son left to help his friends. While he promised them he would return, they still worried greatly. All they could do for the time was hope that Shashala would be back soon and that he and his friends were safe and sound.

Eig’nia’s entire family slept peacefully that night, blissfully unaware of the traumatic experiences that had befallen their daughter and sister as well as her friends.

Like Utzie, Roasch was also sitting at the entrance to his family’s cave, staring up into the sky. Since Mayza’s death, Roasch had been beating himself up, feeling guilty that he had run off and not stuck with his friends to help them. He believed that he truly let them down. Despite Roasch knowing how painful it was for him to lose someone else he cared about, and even though he knew his friends fully understood, this still didn’t help Roasch feel any better.

“Saulstrance, Tourajé, Eig’nia, Shashala, next time I see you four, I promise I’ll apologize for not sticking with you.” Roasch said softly to himself.

In the human realm, Cyrus lay in his bed. He looked through his window into the night and thought to himself about how Tourajé, Saulstrance, and Eig’nia were doing. He knew that the three of them were tough and that no matter what they were dealing with, they would be able to get through it together. He was anxious for the three of them to return.

“I can’t wait to see you again, Saulstrance, Eig’nia, and Tourajé.” Said Cyrus just before he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Dragon's World Past Chapter 21
Well everybody, we're finally at the penultimate chapter of Dragon's World Past. 

This chapter shows the final steps in what changed Saulstrance into the main villain of the series. Upon returning home, Saulstrance and Eig'nia finally confront Léruc, demanding the truth from him. When Léruc confirms to Saulstrance that he was the one who murdered his parents, Saulstrance's mind collapses and he's sent into a blinding fit of rage. Will Eig'nia be able to bring Saulstrance back to his senses? And if she can't, will she ultimately have to put another of her friends out of their misery? Actually, why am I even asking the last part? If you read the other stories, you already know the answer to that. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as DWP nears its final chapter. 
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Hope you all enjoy some delicious food. I know I will.
  • Mood: Pain
  • Listening to: Elegia- New Order
  • Reading: Naruto Volume 72
  • Watching: Scaretheater
  • Playing: metal gear solid 5 The Phantom Pain
  • Eating: Cornbeef Hash
  • Drinking: Water
Well yesterday was quite a fun experience. At around noon yesterday, I had four of my wisdom teeth removed. Now funnily enough, when I was getting them removed, the whole experience felt peaceful. It was as if I wasn't even there. This was because I was under the effects of laughing gas. The only part of me that could even function at the moment (other than my eyes to an extent) was my brain. During the pulling, the dentist stitched my gums in at least two places  marking the first time in my life that I've ever needed stitches for anything (I don't remember the exact amount). Despite this, it still didn't matter to me. 

That is until the process finished. As my dad and I were heading home (glad he was there), I felt nauseous and had him pull over as I puked up a mixture of blood and the only thing I had to eat that day(Apologies for the graphic description). I don't think I've felt as sick as I did then. Simply sitting up proved to be too much for me then as I would start breaking out into a cold sweat just from sitting in a chair. Because of that, I've pretty much just spent all of today laying around working a little on my midterm.

Ever since I lost the last of my baby teeth, my teeth have been crooked. This was nearly fourteen to thirteen years ago when I was in fifth grade.  Until just recently, their being crooked never bothered me much. On the side of my gums, I had two ingrown teeth (that are actually still there) that couldn't really do much since they were...well on the side. 

With that said however, I'm very glad I've finally gotten this taken care of and I'm more than thankful to the dentist and his assistants who pulled my teeth. I'd much rather take a couple day's worth of pain than a potential lifetime of it. Even still though, I do look forward to this pain being gone. It's made me feel like ten pounds of crap in a five pound sack.
Chapter 20: A Window of Opportunity

The four dragons flew for a short time over a large wooded area that was only a little past the village. The surrounding area was namely just trees which provided plenty of area for them to touch down.

With his eyes glued to the ground, Tourajé spotted a long trail which ran from a mine shaft all the way to the town they had just come from.  

“Okay, this area looks good. We’ll descend here.” Suggested Tourajé, pointing down at a set of trees that were just a few feet from the left side of the trail.

Saulstrance, Eig’nia, and Shashala descended into a clearing in the woods at Tourajé’s behest, taking care not to hurt any trees or wildlife that may have been in the area. Once on the ground, Saulstrance, Eig’nia, and Tourajé immediately shifted into human form and sat on one of the few rocks that were in the area. Shashala was awestruck at what he was witnessing. Since he had never been to the human realm prior to their battle with Agcro, he had never been given the chance to see a dragon change into a human or vice versa. He’d heard about dragons possessing such an ability but had never gotten the opportunity to try it himself.

“That’s incredible. Said Shashala incredulously. “I wonder if I might be able to do it.

“NO!!” Tourajé exclaimed, his eyes wide and his palm reached out in front of Shashala to prevent him from trying to change.

“Huh? Why not?” Asked Shashala, not understanding why Tourajé wouldn’t want him to attempt something that they seemed to have become rather adept at.

“Just…trust me, okay? Once all of this over, I promise I’ll teach you how to change into a human.” Tourajé said, looking uneasy about seeing a naked human Shashala.

While Shashala still didn’t understand why Tourajé was objecting to him attempting transformation, he inevitably decided to go along with Tourajé and remained in his dragon form.

As Tourajé had visited the human realm more and more, he slowly began to understand why humans weren’t quite as keen as dragons were when it came to seeing each other without clothing. Much like Shashala, Tourajé at first saw no issue with being nude as he had never worn any clothes as a dragon but the time he spent around humans slowly began to change that.

While the dragons talked amongst themselves, Saulstrance couldn’t stop staring at his hands. Even though they were clean and even though he was in human form, he could still feel the blood in between his fingers and covering his palms. Images of his claws impaling Agcro played through his mind, causing the reddish orange dragon to wince several times as he tried his hardest to get those images to leave his head. Even if it hadn’t been his choice to end Agcro’s life that still didn’t change that he had. His breathing growing heavier and his mind leaving reality, he was only called back when Tourajé shook him several times to get his attention.

“Saulstrance, are you okay?” Tourajé asked out of deep concern for his friend.

“Huh?” Saulstrance replied without thinking, being snapped out of his train of thought.

“I was asking if you were alright.” Said Tourajé, standing up and looking down at his friend.

With a loud sigh, Saulstrance nodded, a look of daze and exhaustion on his face. Tourajé, however, knew better. It was obvious to him as was it to everyone else that Saulstrance was anything but alright. Saulstrance had been trying to make sense of everything that had just occurred. He couldn’t stop thinking about what Agcro said: that Léruc was the one who released him. That couldn’t have been true thought Saulstrance. There was no way Lord Léruc would do such a thing…right? Tourajé’s backing up what Agcro said was beginning to cast doubt in Saulstrance’s mind. What if Agcro was indeed telling the truth?  And if he did indeed get help from Léruc, then did that mean that what Tourajé said was also true? Did Léruc really want him to be the one to kill Agcro? If so, for what reason? Was it just as a precaution to protect Zalphonia or did Léruc have something else in mind for them?

So many thoughts and possibilities swam through Saulstrance’s mind. He was extremely fixated on trying to make sense of everything. Then suddenly, a new thought popped into his brain: instead of trying to figure things out on his own, it may be better to ask Tourajé as he already seemed to know quite a bit about what was truly going on. And so, with another sigh, Saulstrance stood up and approached Tourajé who had just proceeded back towards Eig’nia and Shashala, the latter of whom remained in dragon form and hid behind some trees as a precaution in case any humans came by then they wouldn’t be able to see him as well.

“Tourajé!” Saulstrance called his friend’s name.

Tourajé turned around so that he was facing Saulstrance. “Yes?” He asked.

“Is what Agcro said actually true? Was Lord Léruc truly the one who released him? What’s really going on?” Asked Saulstrance a little frantically.

Tourajé felt wary answering Saulstrance’s questions. He knew eventually he would have to let Saulstrance know everything that Léruc told him although this still did not make things any easier for Tourajé. He worried how Saulstrance would react once he learned the truth about Léruc, what his real intentions were, and especially what had actually happened to his parents.

“Saulstrance, what I’m about to tell you is going to be, without a doubt the hardest thing you’ve ever had to hear. I’m sorry. I wish I didn’t have to tell you any of this.” Said Tourajé regretfully knowing full well that he would no longer be able to keep what he learned a secret from either Saulstrance or Eig’nia.

As Tourajé had expected, Saulstrance did indeed look unsettled. He wasn’t certain just what Tourajé would tell him, however, whatever it should be Saulstrance knew he had to be ready. He steeled himself as Tourajé spoke.

“I guess I’ll start with what you’ve wanted to know about the most Saulstrance: your parents.” Tourajé began.

At the mention of his parents, Saulstrance’s eyes widened as he felt a jolt run through his heart. While he anticipated what would undoubtedly be bad news, Saulstrance still held an inkling of hope that what Tourajé was about to tell him would actually be good news. He hoped that perhaps Tourajé had learned where his parents had been all this time.

“Saulstrance…your parents were never missing.” Tourajé said.

“Huh? What do you mean?” Saulstrance asked, not understanding what Tourajé meant.

“There was a reason you never found any clue as to where your parents were Saulstrance. Your parents…” Tourajé paused for a moment to breathe a hefty sigh and prepare himself for what he was about to say. He just hoped that Saulstrance would be even more ready.

“Your parents…are dead. They were killed by Lo…by Léruc. He then staged it to make it appear as though Agcro had been the one who took their lives.” Tourajé finally managed to say, a glum look on his face.

This news surprised everyone including Saulstrance. They were all speechless. Saulstrance slumped to the ground, a horrified expression on his face. His mouth dropped open, eyes widened as his body shook. He was breathing faster as he shook his head slightly in disbelief. He couldn’t believe it. He didn’t want to believe it. Why would his own master, the very dragon who looked after him his whole life, the dragon he looked up to as a father figure do this?

Saulstrance turned to Shashala. In a straining voice, he asked Shashala if what Tourajé was saying was true.  While Shashala hadn’t gotten the chance to see Léruc’s memories as Tourajé had, he indeed overheard what Léruc told Tourajé. The whole time, Shashala had stood beside the entrance to Léruc’s chambers, listening as he told Tourajé his story. Just like his friends, Shashala didn’t want to believe what Léruc was saying yet the evidence lay right in front of him straight from Léruc himself.

Although he knew how Saulstrance would react to this, Shashala and Tourajé also both knew they couldn’t hide the truth from Saulstrance for much longer. With regret in his eyes, Shashala nodded at Saulstrance confirming that what Tourajé had said was true.

Despair washed over Saulstrance. He lowered his head, squishing his eyes shut as he began to cry.

“No…no…” Whimpered Saulstrance as he wiped the tears from his eyes only for new ones to form immediately after the old ones had been wiped.

The three dragons felt horrible for Saulstrance, especially Tourajé. He remembered yelling at Saulstrance when he was trying to comfort both him and Eig’nia. Back then, he had said to Saulstrance that it was easy for him to tell the two of them that everything would be okay as he never even had a family to lose. Ever since that incident, Tourajé had felt awful for saying such a terrible thing to his best friend but learning that Saulstrance’s parents were dead since before he even hatched made Tourajé go from feeling awful to feeling lower than dirt.

Tourajé, Eig’nia, and Shashala didn’t say a word to Saulstrance. There was nothing they could possibly say to make Saulstrance feel better. What could be said? The three of them still had families to return to. Saulstrance was completely alone. He may have had his friends to call his family but as far as biological families went, Saulstrance had no one.

Rubbing his eyes one more time, Saulstrance raised his head, exposing the most distraught expression his friends had ever seen from him. Tears endlessly rained down his face as his lip quivered.

“Why? Why would Lord Léruc do this?!” Asked Saulstrance in a tearful voice.

With a sigh, Tourajé continued on with his explanation. He went on to tell Saulstrance and the others about how Léruc originally wasn’t born in their world and was found as an egg by two humans who lived more than two hundred years ago. He revealed to them everything that he had learned including how when Léruc was thirteen years old, he underwent a transformation back into a dragon and how as he grew older, he eventually became the father of a little half-dragon girl named Lilly. Tourajé concluded the story by explaining that following the deaths of his family, Léruc spent the next several decades terrorizing the town where the people who took his family from him lived. During his raids, Léruc would kidnap up to five children and eat them as payback to the villagers, their children, and their children’s children for taking his family from him. Eventually, in his desperation, Léruc managed to open a portal that led to their world where he eventually ended up becoming a Leader.

These revelations from Tourajé left Saulstrance and Eig’nia in utter shock. This whole time, they thought they knew the Leader of their village almost as well as they knew themselves. Little had they known that in reality, they knew almost nothing about the true Léruc.

“But then…what is Léruc seeking, Tourajé? Why would he do all these horrible things to Saulstrance? To us?” Eig’nia asked.

“Léruc claims to have the same goal that I do: he wants to unite the human and dragon realms. However, he wants to unite them under himself. He thinks that by doing this, humans and dragons will be able to live together in peace. That was why he had us kill Raolef and why he was going to make us kill the other Leaders.” Explained Tourajé, a troubled, serious expression on his face.

Even with the explanation Tourajé had provided them, Saulstrance and Eig’nia still didn’t understand why Léruc would do such terrible things if he truly had the worlds’ best interests at heart. They would have been more than willing to help if it meant making the two worlds better for both dragons and humans. They understood and even empathized with Léruc over the pain he had been feeling since his family’s deaths. They felt that no one should ever have to go through such a horrible experience as he had. Despite this however, the two of them, Saulstrance especially, didn’t feel it was right that Léruc would inflict the same pain he had felt onto them or the rest of the worlds for that matter.

Just then, the four dragons heard rustling. They could see a figure cloaked in shadow moving through the wooded area that sat parallel to where they were. This person was moving towards them. As this person stepped out of the woods, the dragons saw that it was a woman. Her eyes appeared bloodshot and she was panting heavily. Her clothes appeared slightly tattered, her dress torn slightly on the left side and the right sleeve having a small tear where her hand came out. She slowly approached the dragons brandishing a flintlock pistol which she held out in front of her. As the dragons had never seen a gun before, they didn’t understand what she was holding or what she planned to do with it.

“I finally found you.” The woman spoke keeping a firm grip on her gun and eyeing the dragons carefully should they try anything funny.

“Excuse us?” Eig’nia asked, not having any clue as to what this woman was talking about.

“Don’t think me for a fool. I know what you creatures really are. You destroyed my home, killed my family and friends. I escaped before I met the same fates they did. Where are the rest of your friends? Are they looking for more towns to leave in ruin?” The woman asked angrily.

Saulstrance, Tourajé, Eig’nia, and Shashala had no idea what she was talking about. They assumed she must have thought that they were with Agcro. Slowly, Eig’nia calmly tried to approach her, about to inform her that she was mistaken and that most of the villagers had escaped but before she could tell the woman, she pointed her gun at Eig’nia, telling her not to move and for the others to stay where they were as well.

“Do you not know what this is? Being demons, I suppose I shouldn’t expect you to. This is called a gun. It can kill other humans and beasts like yourselves and before you can change into your demon forms and kill me like you did my village, I’ll use it to kill the four of you!” Exclaimed the woman, growing angrier and more unstable.

“Please, just listen to us!” Tourajé pled. “Your home can still be rebuilt and while some of the villagers did lose their lives, most of them are still alive. If you follow us, we’ll show you for yourself.” The dragon promised.

But the woman wouldn’t have any of it. She didn’t believe Tourajé’s words. She was certain that, if she did as he said, they would kill her. Saulstrance spoke up for Tourajé, promising the paranoid woman that they wouldn’t do that. He pointed towards the village, telling her to look and she’d see for herself that it could be rebuilt and that her fellow villagers would already be returning. This time, she complied with Saulstrance and looked towards her village. While it was indeed still inhabitable, even from as far away as they were from the village, she could still see that there was no one there. When she pointed this out, Saulstrance couldn’t believe it. By now he was certain that the guards would have started bringing the villagers back. Desperately, he pleaded to the woman to believe them and that they never intended to hurt her or her fellow villagers.

“Enough!” Exclaimed the woman. “I’ve heard enough! I won’t be tricked by you monsters anymore!”

She held her gun outright, pointing it at the four dragons who were standing there motionless, wishing there was some way to get through to her. They didn’t want this to end badly for them or for her.

The woman pointed her gun at each of the four dragons. She started with Shashala, then moved onto Eig’nia followed by Saulstrance and then finally Tourajé. Each dragon looked at her nervously. While they knew in the back of their minds they most likely wouldn’t get hurt in their true forms, they didn’t transform as they hoped that by not doing so, they would be able to show her that they had no intentions of hurting her or the surviving villagers.

Slowly, she moved her gun two more times over each dragon before inevitably deciding on the first dragon she would kill…Saulstrance. She held her gun in front of him as she placed her finger over the trigger. Tourajé’s eyes grew wide, his jaw dropping open as he moved toward Saulstrance without even thinking, his reflexes just suddenly taking over.


Then everything fell silent save for a single gunshot that rang throughout the woods.

At that moment, it felt as though any kind of noise that existed within the world suddenly muted.  Tourajé’s body dropped to the ground, blood pouring from the holes that had been left in his head, the blood on the right side of his head spilling onto the grass and staining it a scarlet red. His eyes were still open but there was no sign of life to be found in them and his mouth hung open slightly.

Saulstrance, Eig’nia, and Shashala were petrified. They couldn’t believe what they had just seen. They stared down at their recently deceased friend’s body speechless. The woman who had just killed Tourajé was also left in a state of shock. With her gun still aimed at the remaining three dragons, she lowered her head and stared wide eyed at the body of the dragon she had just executed. Despite her prior boasting about how she was going to kill them, she couldn’t actually believe that she was capable of doing such a thing. While at the time she may have wanted to avenge her village by killing those who killed them, now that she actually killed one of the dragons she believed was responsible, she didn’t feel any form of satisfaction. She just felt empty.

Gasping several times, Saulstance dropped down in front of his friend’s body. He began to hyperventilate as his body shook. He threw his head back and, instead of a loud roar, a pained, horrifying scream emanated from the depths of his throat, emitting all throughout the woods.

Still panting, Saulstrance turned to the woman who had killed Tourajé. With a fierce glare, he slowly stood up and began to change into his true form. Nervously, the woman held her gun at Saulstrance, ready to shoot him if the situation called for it. He slowly approached the woman growling like a wild animal, saliva dripping from his mouth. With each step, the woman grew more and more terrified, finding herself unable to do anything. Her fear had left her completely paralyzed. At that moment, Saulstrance lunged at her, resulting in the woman releasing a scream of her own which also echoed throughout the woods.

Eig’nia and Shashala were left even more horrified once Saulstrance was done. Nervously, they approached Saulstrance who stood over the body of the woman. Eig’nia and Shashala both gasped as Eig’nia brought her hands to her mouth upon observing the remains of the woman.

“Oh my God…Saulstrance…” Shashala could barely manage to say, his body shaking at the sight.

They had never seen a dragon do such terrible things to either a human or another dragon. While Eig’nia and Shashala felt bad for both Saulstrance and Tourajé, they were also starting to become a little scared of the former. While neither of them wanted to admit, deep down, they knew that Saulstrance was changing. They had witnessed it first hand when they first fought Agcro and just now, they had seen it again with Saulstrance’s brutal killing of this woman. They knew this wasn’t the Saulstrance they had known their whole lives. They wished that they could somehow, someway prevent Saulstrance from getting any worse but with what he had just learned as well as Tourajé’s death, they wondered if perhaps it was too late to stop it.

“Saulstrance…” Said Eig’nia softly as she cautiously approached her friend.

Slowly Saulstrance changed into his human form. As his transformation concluded, he turned to Eig’nia and Shashala. They looked into his eyes and noticed that any sign of malice he may have had when he killed the woman was now gone. Without warning, Eig’nia wrapped her arms around Saulstrance and hugged him tightly, whimpering slightly as she embraced him. Saulstrance hugged her back, hoping it would be enough to comfort her.

Saulstrance’s hug was able to not only comfort Eig’nia but also assured the dragoness that even though what they’ve been through may have been changing Saulstrance, deep down he would always be her best friend. No words were said amongst the two of them as they stood there for a time trying to comfort one another. Shashala approached his friends shortly after and nuzzled against them. He wanted them to know that they weren’t alone and that together, the three of them would stop Léruc and allow Mayza and Tourajé’s spirits to rest.

A short time later, Saulstrance figured that the guards must have finished returning the survivors of the village to their homes. Just as he was about to make his way back to the village, Shashala urged him to wait.

“Before we do anything just yet Saulstrance, we’d best plan our next move.” Shashala suggested.

“Our next move?” Asked Saulstrance quizzingly. He wasn’t sure what Shashala meant.

“We know the truth about Léruc thanks to both Agcro and Tourajé. However, the guards don’t. Even if we tell them, there’s a good chance they won’t believe us.” Shashala explained.

“That is true.” Agreed Saulstrance, holding his hand over his chin as he tried to think of up ways to get the guards to believe them.

“Léruc’s got the upper hand here because he has something we don’t: power. If he chooses to, he could turn not just the guards against us but possibly even all of Zalphonia. It would be our word against his.” Eig’nia added.

“Well then what should we do? Even if some of the guards are gone, the three of us by ourselves still wouldn’t stand much a chance against the remaining six and if they were defending Léruc, then we wouldn’t even be able to get close to him.” Saulstrance asked in a slightly frantic voice.

Shashala thought about it for a moment. Saulstrance had a good point. Even if the three of them each faced two of the guards, that still put them at a disadvantage. Just then, two ideas formed in Shashala’s mind, one of which he was sure would work. He shared his plans with Saulstrance and Eig’nia.

“I think I might have some ideas.” Shashala announced.

“You do? Well let’s hear it, Shashala.” Said Eig’nia excitedly, hoping that Shashala’s ideas would be a great help to them.

“Well, I was thinking about what I said before about the guards not believing our word.
Well, there is a chance that we can get them to believe us. However, it would require a lot of convincing. This would be easier if I knew the memory spell Léruc used…I take it neither of you know it either?” Shashala explained.

Saulstrance and Eig’nia shook their heads. Neither of them had even seen this spell casted before. Shashala sighed. Of course this would have been easier said than done.

“What was your second plan Shashala?” Saulstrance asked.

Shashala glanced towards the entrance to the mine shaft. He informed his friends that he would tell them what his plan was inside the mine.

“First, we should move Tourajé out of sight. If the guards see that he was killed away from where we fought Agcro they might find suspect us. There should be another entrance to the mine. Let’s look for it.” Suggested Shashala.

Shashala crouched down as Saulstrance and Eig’nia lifted their fallen friend onto Shashala’s back. Per Shashala’s suggestion, Saulstrance and Eig’nia also climbed onto his back as he felt it might be best to have them hold onto Tourajé’s body so it didn’t fall off while Shashala was flying.

The three dragons circled around the mine, looking for another way in. They kept a close eye out while Saulstrance who was sitting up in front, held his arms around Shashala’s neck while he made sure Tourajé’s body was secured safely in between his arms and Shashala’s neck. It proved hard for Saulstrance to do this especially with what had just happened to Tourajé but he knew that if he didn’t, then Tourajé’s body would more than likely end up unable to be recovered. Eig’nia noticed her friend’s unease and rubbed his shoulder. Saulstrance turned to her as she smiled empathetically at him. She nuzzled her head against his as Saulstrance nuzzled back.

A short time afterward, Shashala found another entrance. This entrance wasn’t too far from where the first entrance being only a couple hundred meters away from it. Shashala swooped down, landing right before the second entrance to the mine. With Tourajé’s arm draped over his shoulder, Saulstrance brought his friend’s body over to a nearby mine cart and propped him up against it. As soon as he did this, Saulstrance kneeled down and watched as Tourajé’s head fell lifelessly to the side. Saulstrance sniffled as he tried his hardest to hold back his tears. He just couldn’t bring himself to believe that his best friend was truly gone. He knew that this was no time to cry but…having learned the true fate of his parents as well as seeing his closest friend die right in front of him and learning that the dragon he had come to look at as a surrogate father was actually the one responsible for taking his real parents from him, it was simply the most unbearable pain Saulstrance had ever been in. He could no longer hold back his tears as he lowered his head and sobbed to himself.

Eig’nia approached Saulstrance. She placed a hand on his shoulder and looked down at the body of her deceased friend with a woeful look on her face. She placed a hand over her mouth as just like Saulstrance, she too felt as though she was about to cry.

“Keep it together Eig’nia. This isn’t the time for tears.” The crestfallen dragoness whispered to herself.

She looked over at Shashala who looked back at her with sad, apologetic eyes. He looked down at Tourajé’s body, shaking his head and tensely biting his lip. Just like his friends, it was hard for Shashala to keep his composure after having seen one of his closest friends die right before his eyes. Before it became too much for him, Shashala turned from his friends and opened his wings. He informed them that he was going to fly back to the village and get the guards. In the meantime, he wanted Saulstrance and Eig’nia to make their way into the mine shaft and memorize the way out in case things didn’t turn out as planned. With that, Shashala took to the sky and headed into the direction of the village.

“Let’s go, Saulstrance.” Said Eig’nia in a sad toneless voice.

“Okay.” Saulstrance agreed.

The two dragons proceeded towards the entrance to the mine. Saulstrance took one last look back at his deceased friend.

“We’ll be back, Tourajé. I promise.” Saulstrance said softly to himself.

The inside of the mine was rather big yet it wasn’t big enough to support a fully grown dragon. Luckily for Saulstrance and Eig’nia, the two of them were still young and small enough that even within these mines, they would still be able to change into their true forms without any compromises.

Lanterns hung atop the ceiling, illuminating the way. The cavern walls were covered by wooden boards which were connected to support beams that held the mine up. The path into the mine stretched for what felt like miles. Neither dragon could determine just for certain how long they had been walking. Eventually, the two of them came upon a much larger section of the mine which they determined must have been the main section.

They waited there for Shashala. While they waited, Eig’nia asked Saulstrance if he was alright. Saulstrance simply shook his head.

“Saulstrance, you know you can talk to me if you want. I want to help you.” Eig’nia said worriedly.

“There’s nothing to help. My family is gone, the dragon who was like a father to me was using me my whole life and killed my parents, and two of my friends are dead. Even if there was a way to help, I wouldn’t want it right now.” Said Saulstrance coldly, a disgruntled look on his face.

“Saulstrance…I just…I’m sorry…” Eig’nia said sadly.

Eig’nia turned away from Saulstrance whose gaze was fixated on the entrance parallel to the one they had come through. She held her left hand over her right arm and looked down at the ground. She looked back at Saulstrance one more time. He simply stood where he was, motionless like a statue. Seeing her friend like this was truly painful for the dragoness. All she wanted was just to help him through this. She knew that even though all three of them had suffered a great deal since all this began Saulstrance was the one who was suffering the most. All she wanted was to let him know that he didn’t need to take on all his pain by himself. She was more than willing to bear some of it with him if he felt it would help and if it would let him know that he wasn’t alone.

Some time later, Shashala entered into the mine section of the mine. However, Saulstrance and Eig’nia both noticed that the guards weren’t with him. When asked about this, Shashala explained that the guards were still helping the citizens of the village back to their home. He informed the guards that they would be waiting for them inside the mine.

“Well while we wait for them, there was something I wanted to ask you, Shashala.” Eig’nia said.

“What is it, Eig’nia?” Shashala asked.

“You mentioned awhile ago that you had a backup plan in case the guards don’t believe us. Does it have something to do with this mine?” Eig’nia asked with a hint of suspicion in her voice.

Shashala sighed. With a forlorn look on his face, he nodded.

“It does. I was thinking about what Saulstrance said. He mentioned that even if the three of us fight two of the guards each, that still won’t guarantee anything. We’re strong but the guards are stronger. If we are unable to convince them to help us stop Léruc then…this mine may be the best way to take them all out at once. I’ll use my tail to destroy the area around us while you two make your escape.” Shashala explained.

“But then what about you?!” Asked Saulstrance, feeling a mix of both horror and worry at Shashala not saying that he would escape with them.

Shashala looked away, an intense look of sadness in his eyes. He didn’t have to say a word for Saulstrance and Eig’nia to know what he had planned for himself.

“You’ll die with them.” Eig’nia stated bluntly.

Shashala didn’t respond.

“No. NO! I refuse to let another dragon I care about die! I’m not going to let another one of my friends be killed!” Objected Saulstrance angrily.

“Do you think I planned this because I want to die Saulstrance?! We might not have any other options. If it does come to that, then you two should be the ones to escape and stop Léruc.” Shashala exclaimed in a straining voice.

“Shashala…” Saulstrance said stunned.

Shashala snickered to himself. “It’s funny. Just right now I thought about all the times the two of us fought one another. Growing up, you were my biggest rival, Saulstrance. My parents always told me that I didn’t need to push myself as hard as I did. They said knew I was good enough as I was. Looking back, I felt like I had something to prove to the world but in reality, I think I just wanted to prove something to myself. I wanted to believe that I was capable of anything, that I could always be the best. But, the more I fought you, the more I realized that nobody could ever be the best at everything. You didn’t destroy my belief in myself or ruin me. You tempered my ego and made me realize that there were some things in this world more important than being number one. Thanks Saulstrance. I mean it.” The dragon smiled a sad smile to his friend.

Saulstrance didn’t know what to say. Hearing Shashala disclose his feelings to him almost brought Saulstrance to the brink of tears.

“If it does come down that, I want you to tell my parents something for me: tell them that in the end, their son was fine with who he was and that he died a hero.” Said Shashala, still smiling sadly at his friends.

“Tell them yourself, Shashala! Saulstrance is right, we’re all coming out of this together!” Eig’nia objected. Just like Saulstrance, she absolutely refused to see another of her friends die.

Shashala shushed the two of them. The sounds of footsteps and voices grew closer. The guards were coming. One by one, each of the six remaining guards came into the larger part of the mine. Being fully grown dragons, they found the pathway to be a little cramped but were still able to make their way through without too much hassle.

“Why did the three of you wish to meet us in this place? And…where is Tourajé? Asked one of the guards suspiciously.

“Tourajé…didn’t make it. Agcro killed him.” Eig’nia said in a saddened tone. She knew that if she told the guards what had really happened they more than likely wouldn’t believe her.

“Ah…I’m…sorry. Tourajé was a good hatchling.” Said one of the guards empathetically, a distraught look on his face after hearing of Tourajé’s demise.

“One of the best.” Saulstrance followed up.

“So why did you three wish to speak to us in here?” Another of the guards asked, confused as to why they would choose a location like this of all places to speak.

The three dragons looked at each other nervously. Now was the moment of truth. Would the guards believe what they were saying? For everyone’s sake, they hoped that they would.

Shashala explained to the guards everything he had overheard Tourajé and Léruc discussing. Although Shashala had provided the guards with a rather convincing (and true) argument, as they had feared, the guards were unable to believe what he was saying. They glared at the three dragons with looks of disgust and disbelief on their faces.

“How could you even say such a thing about Lord  Léruc?! Saulstrance, you can’t truly believe what Shashala says right? Léruc’s been like a father to you!” A guard exclaimed.

“He was.” Saulstrance glared back at the guards. “Until I found out he was the one who really killed my parents. He was also the one who ordered you to kill Mayza, wasn’t he?”

“Well…yes.” Said one of the guards nervously. “But we had to do it per Lord Léruc’s orders. She had attempted to assassinate him.”

“And you truly believe that Mayza, MAYZA of all dragons would ever try to do such a thing?! Mayza was one of the nicest and most cheerful dragons I had ever met. She would never do something like that and if you fools hadn’t so blindly followed every order uttered by that rotten old dragon, you would have seen that too!” Saulstrance exclaimed, his muscles becoming tense as his eyes widened in anger as a vein pulsated in his neck.

“Saulstrance stop! This isn’t helping!” Shashala said, surprised and even a little shaken at seeing just how angry Saulstrance was. Neither he nor Eig’nia had ever seen Saulstrance so angry let alone ever heard him say the kind of things he had just said to the guards.

The guards wouldn’t have Saulstrance badmouthing their Leader. They too grew furious after hearing Saulstrance refer to Léruc as a rotten old dragon.

“No! I won’t stop Shashala! That monster took everything from me! I don’t have a family to return to like you guys do! I don’t have anything left!” Saulstrance continued to yell, the anger in his eyes swelling as he began to breathe at a more rapid pace.

“That’s not true Saulstrance. You do have something. Even if your mom and dad are gone, Eig’nia and I are still here. We’re your family too.” Said Shashala in a soft voice, hoping desperately that his words would get through to Saulstrance.

Slowly, Saulstrance’s rage began to quell. His breathing was becoming less frantic until it had eventually returned to normal. Saulstrance thought about what Shashala had said to him. He realized that indeed there was truth to Shashala’s words. His biological family may have been gone but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a family anymore. His whole life, Tourajé, Eig’nia, Shashala, Mayza, and Roasch, they had always been there. They weren’t just his dearest friends, they were also his family. He apologized to everyone around him including the guards.

However, by this point, the guards had had more than enough of what they perceived as Saulstrance badmouthing their master. It infuriated them to see what they thought was Saulstrance showing no respect for the dragon who took him in and raised him as his own child. They weren’t as willing to accept Saulstrance’s apology as his friends were.

“We’ve heard enough from you and your friends Saulstrance. After everything Lord Léruc had done for you, this is how you repay him?! By insulting him and accusing him of seeking to take over both our world and the humans’ as well as being the one who really killed your parents? Lord Léruc deserves better than to have such an ungrateful whelp as his apprentice. After what you three have said of Lord Léruc, none of you deserve to leave here alive.” Said a guard with an intensely hateful gleam in his eye.

The guards prepared to swarm Saulstrance, Shashala, and Eig’nia but before most of them were able to do so, Shashala stepped in between the guards and his friends. With a mighty swing of his tail, he hit one of the cavern walls and then proceeded to strike another wall. As a result the mine was starting to collapse. The guards all looked around, horrified, knowing immediately what Shashala planned to do.

Small rocks began to fall around them, soon joined by bigger rocks. Eventually even larger rocks fell from the cavern ceiling. The guards tried to avoid the falling debris but soon found it next to impossible to do so as one of the rocks finally landed on top of one of the guards, crushing him under its weight.

“Saulstrance! Eig’nia! Why are you two still here? LEAVE!!” Yelled Shashala in a frantic voice.

“No! I said it before: I’m not going to let another of my friends die! You’re coming with us!” Saulstrance retorted.

“This is the best opportunity we’ve got Saulstrance! Don’t waste it on me! You two are the only ones who can stop Léruc’s plans. Now GO!!!” Shashala yelled even more furiously, sounding almost as though he was begging them to leave him.

As the dragons argued, another guard became trapped under a large piece of the collapsing ceiling. The debris was coming down much faster, harder, and more frequently now. Shashala knew that if they didn’t get out of there soon, Saulstrance and Eig’nia would be killed with him.

“Eig’nia, get Saulstrance out of here! Please!” Shashala pleaded desperately, not wanting his friends to meet the same fate he was about to.

Without giving Shashala any resistance, Eig’nia complied with his final request. She grabbed Saulstrance’s hand and kept the tightest, firmest grip she could muster and pulled him towards the exit as he tried as hard as he could to break free and return to Shashala. Saulstrance screamed Shashala’s name several times as he and Eig’nia disappeared from sight.

“After them!” One of the guards commanded the other remaining guards.

Just as they tried to make their way to the exit so that they could give chase, Shashala stepped in front of them and attacked. The guards leapt back and before they could retaliate, they too met the same fate as their comrades.

Eventually only Shashala remained. Rocks fell all around him, one very large rock in particular eventually landing on his tail, crushing it. Shashala roared in pain as he felt the bones in his tail break. He collapsed to the ground as he tried to get the rock off his tail only for each attempt to be proven futile. As he squirmed more and more, the pain only got worse. Shashala was slowly beginning to realize that he was trapped. He wasn’t going to be getting out of this. He snickered to himself as he realized that when he was going over his plans with Saulstrance and Eig’nia, he had no issue talking about possibly dying if things went bad with the guards. Now that it was really going to happen, he didn’t want to die. As strong as Shashala tried to appear to his friends so that they wouldn’t feel as though they needed to stay with him, in truth, he was terrified. Despite his fear, however, he closed his eyes and chose to face his death with dignity.

“Saulstrance, Eig’nia, and Roasch…please continue to live. Never forget that I, Mayza, and Tourajé will always be with you.” And with this, Shashala was completely crushed by the debris.

Eig’nia and Saulstrance barely made it out of the mine as the wall and wall supports came crashing down, obscuring the way in and out of the mine shaft. They sat on the ground for a moment, panting, their hearts beating rapidly, almost as though they had narrowly escaped certain death.

Saulstrance clenched his hand into a fist and slammed it into the ground. He lowered his head as though he had been defeated and drove his fist into the ground one more time. He screamed in sadness and frustration, feeling like he was about to cry.

“I’m so PATHETIC!! I could have saved him! I could have prevented him from dying!! If only I hadn’t opened my stupid mouth Shashala and the guards would still be alive! And now, in just one night, I’ve lost two of my friends! Tourajé, Shashala, they’re gone and all I could do was watch! You were always better than me Shashala. I’m just nothing. A failure who couldn’t protect anyone!” Saulstrance screamed as he cried, his tears dripping onto the ground.

“That isn’t true Saulstrance. Shashala didn’t die because of you. He willingly gave his life because he wanted you, or rather us to live. Even if he, Tourajé, Mayza, or even your parents and the guards are dead, that doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. What they’ve done, and how you remember them is what keeps them alive inside of you. So, I’m going to try to live and keep those memories of them alive. But in order to do that, we need to stop Léruc but…I can’t do it myself Saulstrance. I need you now more than ever.” Eig’nia said.

Saulstrance wiped the tears from his eyes. He stood up and looked at Eig’nia. To her surprise, she noticed a sudden change in Saulstrance. The recently broken Saulstrance was gone replaced by a more confident and determined Saulstrance. With his fist still clenched tightly, he proceeded away from the recently destroyed mine shaft. Eig’nia grabbed Tourajé’s body which was slowly beginning to change into its original form and draped his arm over her shoulder so that it would be easier to carry him. She followed shortly behind Saulstrance, looking nervously at her friend.

“We’re ending this now.” Said Saulstrance with the most determined look he’d ever had on his face.
Dragon's World Past Chapter 20
Chapter 20 of DWP is finally out and boy is it a big one. I apologize for how long it took (life stuff mostly got in the way) but I do hope it will have been worth it. 

For the past five years, I've hinted since New Dragon's World  that something happened in Saulstrance's past that changed him into the villain he is today. Well, with this chapter, Saulstrance's descent into darkness begins. The tragic event that took Tourajé's life, the reason for Saulstrance's hatred towards (most of) the human race, and what caused a once kind hearted dragon to follow the path of evil is finally shown. Everything in Dragon's World Past has built to this moment. 

Also, with this chapter, there are now only two chapters left to go until DWP ends. I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the story as Saulstrance's downfall is revealed.
I was hoping to get Dragon's World Past Chapter 20 released today but I'd say that's turned out to be pretty unlikely. The new chapter should hopefully be uploaded by tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.
  • Mood: Pain
  • Listening to: Elegia- New Order
  • Reading: Naruto Volume 72
  • Watching: Scaretheater
  • Playing: metal gear solid 5 The Phantom Pain
  • Eating: Cornbeef Hash
  • Drinking: Water
Well yesterday was quite a fun experience. At around noon yesterday, I had four of my wisdom teeth removed. Now funnily enough, when I was getting them removed, the whole experience felt peaceful. It was as if I wasn't even there. This was because I was under the effects of laughing gas. The only part of me that could even function at the moment (other than my eyes to an extent) was my brain. During the pulling, the dentist stitched my gums in at least two places  marking the first time in my life that I've ever needed stitches for anything (I don't remember the exact amount). Despite this, it still didn't matter to me. 

That is until the process finished. As my dad and I were heading home (glad he was there), I felt nauseous and had him pull over as I puked up a mixture of blood and the only thing I had to eat that day(Apologies for the graphic description). I don't think I've felt as sick as I did then. Simply sitting up proved to be too much for me then as I would start breaking out into a cold sweat just from sitting in a chair. Because of that, I've pretty much just spent all of today laying around working a little on my midterm.

Ever since I lost the last of my baby teeth, my teeth have been crooked. This was nearly fourteen to thirteen years ago when I was in fifth grade.  Until just recently, their being crooked never bothered me much. On the side of my gums, I had two ingrown teeth (that are actually still there) that couldn't really do much since they were...well on the side. 

With that said however, I'm very glad I've finally gotten this taken care of and I'm more than thankful to the dentist and his assistants who pulled my teeth. I'd much rather take a couple day's worth of pain than a potential lifetime of it. Even still though, I do look forward to this pain being gone. It's made me feel like ten pounds of crap in a five pound sack.


Is doing TF stories again
Artist | Student
United States
Current Residence: My room
Favourite genre of music: Rock, especially Indie rock, grunge
Favourite style of art: Anime
Wallpaper of choice: Anything I like
Skin of choice: You racist! Just kidding. It'd have to be a dragon's
Favourite cartoon character: Rainbow Dash, Beavis, Uchiha Obito, Kenny McCormick, Shounen Bat, Littlefoot, Minions
Personal Quote: The idea of dying can be scary. But the idea of living forever can be terrifying.

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TeamDominator Featured By Owner 4 days ago  New Deviant Hobbyist Writer
HappyThanksgiving! :D
Animeboye Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student
Happy Thanksgiving to you too my good sir! 
TeamDominator Featured By Owner 4 days ago  New Deviant Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :)
icelucario Featured By Owner May 25, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, nice gallery :D
Animeboye Featured By Owner May 28, 2015  Student
Thank you.
Razzlicat Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Top o' the mornin' to ya sir! *Free Icon/Emote* Fluffershy Pusheen 
Animeboye Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Student
Good evening to you and your Fluttershy kitty madam. How goes things this fine evening?
Razzlicat Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hahaha, you saw my Fluttershy kitty? :3 I honest to God cannot believe it made it onto Equestria Daily. Omg. ; v ;

Things are pretty well this evening. I'll be moving back to Florida sometime in the next month or so (I was born and raised there.)

I had pizza. We all know that's a rad thing.

How are things on your front? How are classes? :3
Animeboye Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Student
Flutterkitty made it onto Equestria Daily? Nicely done!

I didn't know you were from Florida. I was only there once when I was really little, like around two or four years old. My parents had a vacation house that they ended up selling a year or two back since we never used it afterward.

Aww yeah! Radical, bodacious pizza(Also, apparently DA recognized bodacious. Is that even really a word?).

Classes are going fine. The sad part is that the school's actually closing down in a couple of years. I guess it doesn't really affect me too much since I'll be graduating early next year but it still really sucks. That school's kinda become like a second home to me. So yeah, I'm pretty sad about that.
(1 Reply)
Razzlicat Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello~ Llama Emoji-09 (Drinking Tea) [V1] 
Animeboye Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Student
G'day, ol' bean. How are you?
Razzlicat Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm doing alright. :3 Job hunting, trying to get commissions on the side, all that jazz. How about you? Llama Emoji 27 (Awesome) [V2] 
duffer1108 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015
Great stories loved NDW soo much. You are one of the best out there. Keep up the great work cuz im loving it so much
Animeboye Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015  Student
Thanks! I've got a new Dragon's World installment if you want to check it out: Dragon's World Past. I'd say it's currently about halfway done.
Peternators Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
THank You for the Fave!
And happy birthday!
shadowlord19 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday.
Destiny3000 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer

Hope you have a great day!
axelfirekirby Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
happy birthday!
HerbalDrink Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014
Happy birthday! 
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