|Breath of Fire II: The Complete Story
Author: metroid21345 PM
The entire story of Breath of Fire II, as done through my take on it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 20 - Words: 121,204 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 05-24-12 - Published: 06-19-05 - id: 2445493
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Breath of Fire II: The Complete StoryPrologue: The Gate Incident
As I lay in my cold, hard bed, located in the upstairs bedroom of the Church of the Dragon, in the town of Gate, I saw visions in my head. Visions of something evil…
There was nothing but darkness. All around me, surrounding me, binding me, threatening to suffocate me. A deep, overwhelming, brooding, constricting darkness. The kind of darkness you only see (or imagine to see) in the deepest pits of hell. I could see no light, could see nothing at all that, not one single penetrating ray of iridescence that would illuminate a way out of this stifling prison, nothing... I stood, continuing to search desperately for anything that would light a path for me, for I knew I did not want to be down there.
And then, something mysterious appeared; something that would change my life forever, though I would not figure that out for many years. This "thing" was nothing at first, just a slight deviation in the texture of the air in front of me, one that I could hardly discern in the dark. And then, it slowly began to materialize. Whatever it was, it looked to be stretching the air sideways, as if coming through some interdimensional portal. And then, suddenly, so damn suddenly I fell over backwards from surprise and bruised my rear end, a great orange eye appeared at the point where the air had begun to separate. Its veins stretching in a sickening fashion, the eye stared intently at me for a bit, as if searching my soul for something, I suppose. It then began to talk, though, strangely, not where my ears could hear, but only my heart (kind of a bad description, I know; but that's the only way to describe it).
"So you are Ryu," the eye said in a surprisingly normal voice; I had been expecting it to have a deep voice, to complement its menacing appearance. I wasn't feeling well enough at this point to notice that the thing knew my name, and merely waited for what it would say next. Though I was frightened quite a bit, the creature still looked quite interesting—after all, it's not every day that a huge eye appears, even in your dreams, and speaks to you and even knows you by name. And besides, I was a kid; we're all interested in weird stuff like that at that point in our lives. "We have been awaiting the time when we could finally communicate with you," it continued. "Hear me now, Ryu, destined child. You will never be able to defeat our God, for he is all-powerful—even more powerful than the greatest of the dragons, those evil creatures. He has lain dormant many years, gathering power from the prayers of his disciples, and when he strikes, all the non-believers will believe in the power of our God, and he will be worshipped throughout the world. Even so, he has slowly started to lose that strength which he has been gathering, for there are many of his followers that are beginning to disbelieve, and are turning instead to the Dragon God for their prayers. He is quite displeased over this lack of faith being exhibited, and once he comes back, he shall be sure to take care of those pitiful beings. You must fear him, Ryu, and fear him greatly. Your fear, the fear of the destined child, shall give great strength to our God, and when he comes back, his vengeance against you will be terrible…" And with that, the eye began to close up slowly, keeping an eerie watch on me until the very last bit had disappeared from view.
Suddenly, my dream was over, and I was snapped back into the real world. I quickly sat up, my small chest heaving up and down with some of the deepest breaths I had ever taken. That vision scared me, quite badly at that, and I was afraid I might have wet my bed from fear. I hastened to check, and was relieved to see I hadn't. After doing so, I sat there for a bit, still panting heavily, and thinking that if I moved to get out of bed, something horrible might take me into the darkness and eat me up; or worse, make me talk to that disembodied eye again. What was it that thing had called me… something like the "destined child?" What the heck was that? Whatever that was, I knew I was not one. I was just Ryu Bateson, son of the local priest, Ganer, in a crummy little town with about 10 citizens. A nobody, basically. I had no idea who the God was that the eye kept referencing, either. I had a God myself, of course, but he is a kind and gentle one, or so I had been taught. I had a feeling my God would not have such a scary apparition working for him. I made up my mind that, evidently, people believed there was more than one God in the world. That was cool with me. Different strokes for different folks, eh? However, since I did not know the God the eye referenced, I made up my mind to forget what the eye had told me and believe it had never happened. And I did. At least, for a while.
So I turned on my side, back to my normal sleeping position, intent on getting back to my nap. I figured it was probably already morning, but that didn't matter. I was tired, after all, and I would probably have to do some laborious nonsense work today. So, I might as well get in a decent bit of shuteye.
Unfortunately, my reverie didn't last long. My father's booming voice snapped me back to reality, calling from the downstairs with that commanding tone that I was all too familiarized with. From the sound of things, I was wanted downstairs for some reason. Just as I had suspected. Another menial task to do. I sighed, a deep sigh for such a small child, and clambered out of bed, my bare feet recoiling instinctively at first from the cold floor. One again, I sighed heavily. Everything, it seemed, was cold here in the town of Gate; the floors, the walls, the air, and the people most especially. Just waking up reminded me of that terrible reality, and I hated that. I detested living there, for there was nothing at all for a pent up nine-year old to do, but since this was the only Church of the Dragon for miles and miles, my father, and thus me and my sister, Yua, was forced to take up residence here. Everyplace else my father had looked, I remember, had strictly believers in that stupid St. Eva, and they had turned away my father at every opportunity, though they did do it as nicely as possible. It was a source of constant irritation to me to be stuck there in that crummy little town, for the townspeople all looked down on me and treated me as if I was some stupid creature without a brain cell in my head. There weren't even any kids there other than me, except for Yua, and she was hardly any fun at all. All she did was run around and go to the back mountain. There hadn't even been any exciting things happen in the four years my family had been there, except for one, and that turned out to be a tragedy, for my mother had died then…
"RYU! Get down here already! What, are you still asleep?! I need your help!" There was my dad's voice again, and I had been alive long enough to know if I didn't get down there now, I was going to have a hard time sitting down the next week. Realizing that, I made a mad dash down the stairs, and nearly collided with my father, who was standing right at the bottom of the stairs (What was he doing so close? Usually he was at least a couple of feet away).
"Ryu, I need some help," he said, looking flushed and sweaty. I grinned to myself, a small grin that I knew would get me a smack if my father noticed it. Yua must have had him chasing after her like mad. "Your sister's run off again instead of taking her nap, and I need your assistance in rounding her back up. I tried to catch her, but you know that I'm too old to keep chasing her around town. My ancient bones just won't allow me to run very fast anymore, you know? And, after all, you usually know where she's hiding, so will you do this favor for me? Please?"
I nodded my assent, saying yes, I would once more go get Yua back from wherever she had gone. I turned to my left and made my way out of the church and out into the town. I figured she was probably in the mountains again, playing with that awesome dragon she was so fond of.
As I stepped out and breathed the fresh fall air, I noted with a glum look the arch that signaled the entrance, and thus the exit, to the village. How I longed to go out there and see what it was like again! However, there was a guard, a stupid, fat, moronic man, permanently stationed there by request of my father, and I knew that it was pointless to ask him if I could leave, for it was "too dangerous for little kids without any knowledge of combat" out there. I knew that phrase well enough; every day for about 2 years I had asked to be let out of the village, and every time I had been sent away with a ringing in my ears and those words whirling around my head. I groaned and began to head on to the back of the village, where the entrance to the mountains lay. It was covered with a bunch of fake grass so that Yua and I wouldn't go in there, but we had long ago figured out how to avoid that stuff and slip in.
As I was heading back, I saw the town's few inhabitants all outside, talking with each other or just walking around. I prayed right then and there that my life wouldn't become like these peoples' when I grew up. Here they stood, day after day, year after stinking year, just talking their boring talk to one another. Only one or two of them ever even walked around. The rest stood rooted in their spots for all of eternity. It was as if they were in comas, just ones that you could talk in. Their lives were empty and devoid of anything resembling life except the breaths of air that they drew. They had nothing at all going for them, no families, no jobs, no anything; and though I pitied them somewhat, I still did not want to share the experience with them. I wanted, I needed, I craved adventure and excitement, not the dullness that was offered me if I stayed there in Gate.
After my little thinking spell, I went up to where the mountain path was. There were three paths up there, but only the center one led to where the dragon was. As far I could tell, the other two paths were useless. The dragon's hands (claws, I guess) were on both sides, guarding something mysterious, but the center led to the head, which was far more interesting than the hands, and thus I went there first.
After arriving in the clearing, I saw who I expected to be there. Yua, who, as small as she was, looked even smaller than usual there next to the huge dragon's head, was apparently deep in meditation, or something like that. She was sitting down on the ground cross-legged, and was staring up at the dragon. She might have even been talking to it, I don't know for sure. All I knew was, she had no idea of her surroundings. I grinned evilly. I figured I would be a good big brother and give her a good scare in order to pay her back for making me drag myself out of bed and out here in the cold.
I started to sneak over to where she was, but before I got halfway there, there suddenly popped out, to my astonishment, a monster. A monster! I hadn't seen one of those since I had moved to the village; my father had taken special care to eradicate every single last one around the area so that Yua and I could play safely. Guess he missed one, I thought ruefully as I desperately looked around for a weapon to combat the creature, a blue, spiny, floating creature I knew to be called Beak. I finally found a sturdy stick just before the monster closed in on me. I gave the thing a good whack across the face, but the blow hardly seemed to faze the creature. However, I could see I had succeeded in making it pissed, and it charged me, mouth open in a feral scream. I yelled out and tried to dodge, but the creature's sharp beak ripped through my shirt and into my flesh before I could get away, causing me to cry out in pain and a gash to appear on my shoulder. As I went down, it came back, and began circling me, searching for the best angle at which to hit me again.
I slowly stood up, wincing from the pain, and moved to smack it again, but suddenly I beheld a number of lightning bolts zipping down from the sky to connect with the creature. As I watched, my jaw hanging open as I did so, the lightning caused a brief illumination of the creature's skeleton, and then it fell out of the air, dead.
I turned to thank my savior, and saw with little surprise that it was my father. I should have known right away, though; Ganer was the only magician in Gate capable of producing such a powerful blast, after all. Heck, he was the only magician in Gate, period. The rest of the people probably had no clue what magic even was. He put away his staff he used for conjuring spells such as that one, and reverted it to its walking stick mode. He then hobbled over to where I was, looking as casual as could be, if a little worn out. Though he was still quite a capable wizard, my father was getting old, and he couldn't perform magic as easily as before. He looked me over to make sure I was good and intact, gave me a smile to show he was proud of what I had tried to do, and moved on to Yua, who was oblivious of what had just taken place and was evidently still deep in concentration. My father tapped her on the shoulder with his stick, causing her to jump a little. When she turned around and saw that it was her daddy, and not some bad guy intent on killing her, she quickly opened her mouth to explain just what the heck she was doing out there, but before she could start, Ganer began berating her.
"Yua! What do you think you're doing, scaring your brother and I by running off out here? Don't you know there are monsters out here? I just killed one, and it almost had Ryu! You nearly caused your brother's death, young lady! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! You are a very bad little girl! I nearly had a heart attack thanks to you!!" She hung her head down low. I could tell she was truly sorry. On the other hand, Ganer wasn't really mad at her. Sure, he was talking like he was furious, but I could tell he was still somewhat happy; his little girl had only come here to talk with the dragon, and not do some darn foolish other thing, like try to climb the mountain. But Yua couldn't discern his hidden joy, so she just stood there, silently absorbing his lecture.
Suddenly, catching a break in my father's reprimand, she looked up from the spot on the ground she was staring at and exclaimed, "But Daddy! I just wanted to see Mom! She's here, and she'll come into my thoughts if I concentrate. I think that Mom's the dragon, or the dragon knows Mom, or something, 'cause Mom will only be in my thoughts if I'm close to the dragon. It might sound dumb, but it's true!"
It didn't look as though Ganer was paying full attention to her, however. He was, rather, staring at the dragon with a mistiness in his eyes. "Mom, huh? Valerie… how I miss her. Curse the demon that made her trans… er, killed her. I will never forget him, just as I will never forget your mother. He caused me unbearable pain that day three years ago. I just wasn't strong enough to keep his claws off your mother. He was too much for me to handle. It's a damn good thing this dragon here was able to help us, for if it had not come when it did, this whole town would have been destroyed, and you all wouldn't be here right now. It was all the dragon's doing; I did nothing. I had thought I was powerful, thought I was the greatest magician around, but when I used my powers, that demon just laughed at me, spit on me, cursed me. I was…weak. Too weak to help." I felt terrible at this moment for my father, for I still believed him to be the strongest man I had ever known, and yet there he was, talking down to his own self.
Yua looked up, eyes shining, ready to defend her father, whom she thought was the strongest person she had ever seen. "No, Daddy, you WERE strong! All the townspeople say so! You and the dragon both helped defeat the demon. You're the best, Daddy! Don't say that you're weak, 'cause you're not! Right, Ryu?"
I nodded, only paying half-attention to the conversation. My main focus was on the dragon's head directly in front of me. It seemed familiar somehow, and yet, if there had been a dragon in my past, I surely would have remembered it. I studied its huge, black eyes intently, for they seemed to be trying to tell me something, but no images or words came into my mind. Maybe it only works for Yua, I thought. I looked away, sensing it was almost time to go.
When I turned, I saw that Ganer had Yua by her hand, and she was still jabbering about the dragon and Mom. I didn't really hear what he said right then, because, for some strange reason, it seemed far away, but my father said something about how he was taking Yua home and that I needed to get back too, for it was dangerous out here, what with the monsters and all. I nodded, my mind still zeroed in on the dragon, and said, yes, I would come soon.
As soon as they left, and all was quiet, a deep feeling of sleepiness came over me. What is this? I just had a nap. A pretty good one at that, too, even with that stupid eyeball showing up. Why am I sleepy again so soon? Is it the pollen? All the running I've been doing? The fight? The pain? What is it? Unfortunately, I was not able to figure out the answer to these questions right then, and so I slid down into unconsciousness.
And there, in that void of nothingness, for the second time that day, I saw that terrible eye again, but this time, it was there already. No opening up or anything; once I was pulled into the dream world, I saw it right away, gazing at me, never blinking. I was not as scared as I was the first time, though, for it did not attempt to communicate with me. Rather, it just stared at me, for what seemed to be a long, long time…
"Wow! That was a good nap!" I said to no one in particular as I awakened and began to stretch. I felt a heck of a lot better now that I had taken a nap, even if it had been plagued by visions of a scary eyeball. I probably hadn't slept too long, but whatever; my brain told me I had, and I listened to my brain when it told me things. So now, refreshed and ready, I began to make my way back to the village, intent on getting back to my room at the church (even if I was feeling peppy, I could always get more sleep).
However, as I arrived back into the town proper, I sensed something was up. I could feel it in the air. Something bad had happened in the few minutes I had been asleep, I just knew it. When I looked at the people, their faces seemed vacant (of course, their faces were always like that, but this time it was different). It seemed even colder than usual, like the town had suddenly gone through a major blizzard and was still recovering. The people were not frozen or anything like that, though; they were, surprisingly, moving around more than before. I approached the annoying gossipy duo of Sue and Mel, who were forever parked in front of Mel's house, to see if they knew what was up.
"Hey, misses," I began. "Sorry to sound like a nut, but do you know if anything strange has happened here recently? Like, any sudden weather changes or stuff like that?"
They halted their conversation, turned, and stared down at me. "Who on earth are you?" Sue demanded. "Are you another one of those orphans, boy? Another one of those thieves, hmmm? Get away from me, you filthy boy! Or else, I shall have to call the guards. You all are supposed to be inside the church at all times, not wandering around trying to steal from nice citizens such as myself and Mel. And you know that, too. So, go on. Get out of here!"
I was genuinely puzzled. What the heck was going on here? Had Ganer told them to play a trick on me or something? "B-b-but, ma'am," I said. "Don't you recognize me? It's me, Ryu Bateson. You know, Ganer's son? The one that's lived here for four years? The one's that tried to talk to you nearly every day of those four years? Any of that ring a bell?"
"Ryu? Ryu Bateson? Nope, that doesn't ring any bells, and neither does Ganer. How about with you, Mel? Any ideas?" Her companion shook her head, and Sue shrugged. "Who is he, anyways?"
"Well, Ryu's me, and Ganer's my father and the preacher at the only church in the town."
"The preacher?! No, no, young man. The preacher of this town has always, and will forever be, Father Hulk." She sighed dreamily. "He is the greatest man I have ever seen."
"Father?" I was puzzled. A father? In our town? She had to have been mistaken. Still, I had to make sure. "You mean, a priest? A Saint Evan priest?"
"Exactly. Oh, how I do love Saint Eva, don't you?"
"Uhhhh…not exactly. I'm a believer in the Church of the Dragon."
"You are? Interesting. I haven't heard of anyone professing to that doctrine in years."
That was odd. The Church of the Dragon was the biggest religion in the world, though St. Eva was slowly catching up. It's membership numbered in the millions. But I still went on. "Oh. Right. Well, thank you for your time, ma'am."
"You are quite welcome… I guess. Now run along back to the church, and stay there this time."
Well, that had been strange. Before, every time I had ever talked to them, usually when I went out to play or look for Yua, they had always told me that Yua was playing at the back mountain (as if I didn't already know) and not much else. Now, however, they had changed their tune, and quite drastically at that. I was confounded. What in the holy name of the Dragon Lord had they blabbing about? Saint Eva? Father Hulk? My father never allowed any of the followers of St. Eva in his village, for he knew they were crazy, and would probably try to raze the town to the ground for being "heathens" and what not. I was getting spooked. I decided to make my way to the church to see if what they were saying was a lie or not. It had to be. Probably some great big practical joke they all decided to play on me. Sickos.
When I arrived at the little building and peered in, it appeared normal, which meant cold and dead. Then, my eyes flew to the pulpit, and there they confirmed my fears. Standing there, reading the Holy Book of the Dragon (well, probably not that; most likely it was a St. Evan text), with a bald head, orange robes, tiny glasses, and a smiling expression, was a man who looked nothing like my father. Now, I was starting to get a little scared. The priest noticed me standing in the doorway, and, his smile widening, asked me, "Are you an orphan?"
I began to have this bad feeling that maybe my family had deserted me while I was sleeping in the back mountain, and so I figured I might as well answer the way he wanted to. "Yes, sir, actually, I am. You see, I was just in the back mountains a few minutes ago, taking a rest, and when I woke up, my dad and sister are gone. Just disappeared. And now I'm scared for them, sir."
The priest nodded benignly. "I'm sure you are, my good child. I would be, too, if that ever happened to me."
"Sir, may I ask you a question?"
"Go ahead, my child."
"Who are you?" Suddenly, I began to get a little hysterical. This strange person was standing in my father's spot, had taken my father's place of power, and though I had been feeling fine a second ago, I was suddenly overcome with emotion. "Where's my father? WHERE'S GANER?! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HIM?" I felt like crying, but I couldn't. Not here, in my father's house.
The priest looked nonplussed, though I was now shouting in his face. "Unfortunately, my son, I can only answer one of those. My name is Father Octavio Hulk. I have been a preacher for St. Eva for over 30 years now. I have been here in this quaint little village about six years. I like it here; it's got a strong sense of bonding and familial connectivity. The congregation is small, true, but that doesn't matter in a house of God. As long as there are believers, he will continue to grant miracles, for he is gracious.
"As for your father, Ganer, errrr…well, I'm terribly sorry, but I don't have the slightest idea who or where he is. And I assure you thus that I have had nothing to do with his disappearance."
I had calmed down a little by then, but I still felt ready to snap at any second. "Well, he used to preach here. That is, he was the preacher before I went to the back mountain and took a nap there."
"Hmmm. That's very strange, my son. He was the preacher, and then you went to the back mountain, took a nap, came back, and now he's gone?
"Strange…very strange. I will keep my eyes open for him."
"Thank you, sir."
"What is your name?"
"Sir? Do you know me?"
"No, I do not think so.
"It just sounds like a name I have heard before, a name I should know. It's the name of someone famous, I know that. But what he is famous for, I can't remember."
"Don't worry too much about it, sir. It's just a name."
"Yes, you're right. Anyways, lad, do you need a place to stay for the night? Or possibly longer? You are an orphan, after all; someone needs to take care of you." I hadn't even had a chance to reply before he went on. "Well, you can be assured St. Eva will never turn away orphans such as yourself, even if you are thieves." He said that last part the same way as he did the rest of his speech, but there was something about it that made me angry. He sensed my disapproval, for he quickly added, "Not that I'm saying you are one. It's just that so many of the orphans we take in are little more than thieves. I'm sorry if I offended you."
I shook my head. "It's all right, sir. It's understandable you thought that."
"Thank you, Ryu. Anyways, there's a spare bed upstairs. However, you will have a roommate. I don't know his name, but he looks like a dog. Take that as you will." I must have put a confused expression on my face then, for the priest laughed and said "Hahaha. I thought you would be a little perplexed. You'll see what I mean soon. Anyways, go on up, get some sleep. You need it. So, good night, young man, and welcome to the Church of St. Eva in Gate. Enjoy your stay with us."
I thanked him profusely and went upstairs. The light was already out, but I had good enough night vision to confirm that the priest was telling the truth. My roomie was indeed a dog-boy, a juvenile member of the rare Grass Runner clan. I had never seen one before, but this guy looked nice enough, in contrast to the descriptions I had heard of them being untamed, wild beasts, little more than monsters. Being careful not to disturb him, I crept into my bed (my old bed, I thought) and turned over onto my normal position on the side in an attempt to get some sleep.
However, my companion appeared to be restless. Soon after I had gotten in, he had heaved himself over the side of the bed. He looked around quickly with a distasteful look on his face and, apparently not seeing anything worthwhile, began heading for the stairs, muttering agitatedly all the while. I figured he was probably doing something bad (or else why would he want to leave?) and so myself jumped out of bed and blocked his way. I was all prepared to ask him what he was doing when he looked at me and grinned. "Hi buddy!" he said excitedly. "How are you doing? Are you what I am: a thief pretending to be an orphan?" I shook my head. "No? You really are an orphan? Sorry about that, man. Hey, you want to come with me? This place is a dump; all it had worth stealing was a dinky candle. Anyways, how about this? We'll leave and explore the world, become a couple of first-rate adventurers and thieves, let the wind take us where she may. Whadya say man?"
I thought about it carefully, weighing my options. If I stayed here, with no family and everyone hating me because they think I'm a troublemaker and a thief, I truly would have no future, but I would be safe, thanks to the church. If I left, though, it would be incredibly dangerous, but fun as well. I made up my mind in a split second after thinking on it. "Okay, dude, let's hit the road. I'm Ryu Bateson, nice to meet you." And I held out my hand to shake the other boy's.
The dog-boy grinned and took my hand in his own. "I'm Bow. Just Bow is all you need to know. It's good to finally meet another kid. I'll hope you'll enjoy the ride, Ryu, cause it's gonna be one sweet motha." And with that, we went down the stairs, out the church, and past the arches into the wide world beyond.
Oh! Finally! Freedom at last! No more of Gate! No more of being told to do this and that by the stupid townspeople! I was finally free from their cloying presence! Yeah, I missed my father and Yua, but you know what? I would find them eventually, when I would be out exploring the world, and then we would all be happy again. But right then, I simply could not dwell on the negative, not when such a great thing had happened. Yes yes yes! Life was definitely looking up!
As we walked out onto the open fields, me with a slightly more giddy bounce to my step than my newfound buddy's, Bow turned and looked at me strangely. "Ryu? You all right? You look really happy. Too happy, as a matter of fact. All we've done is get out of the village. Was it that bad to you or what?"
I could see Bow was honestly perplexed, so I decided to explain to him my situation as quickly as possible. "Yes, Bow, that's exactly it. You see, I've been trapped in that mind-numbingly boring town for the last three years now, and it has been hell for me to live through. And now, I've finally been freed from the horrible grasp of Gate, and I get to see the world, something I've been waiting a long time to do. So, jah, I am happy, man. Don't mind me, though. I'll try not to let my enthusiasm interfere with our journey."
Bow grinned. "It's cool, Ryu. A little enthusiasm never hurt anything. But just try to keep it toned down, is all I ask." I nodded. "Good. Now, are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?" I gave him a wide grin, and nodded happily. "Great; so am I. It's been a while since the last time I've had one," he said, and as he did so, began to sniff the air. I was a little confused at first, but then I also sensed something with my innate powers. Dang it; I knew something like this would happen. It always does when something awesome happens to me. A rain storm was headed our way, and by the feel of things, it would be a big one. And sure enough, before we could move one step further, it began to pour. A lot. With no thought at all, both of us, little legs pumping furiously, began running wildly north, where Bow had mentioned something earlier about a cave.
We made it in, thoroughly drenched. Unfortunately, it was pitch black, I'm talking like black as all hell, and not even I, with my advanced night vision, could see in this enveloping darkness (much like in my dream, I thought). However, luckily, my buddy had an idea to get us out of the dark: the candle he had swiped from the church. He looked up at me and grinned. "Boy, it sure was lucky I thought to bring this candle, eh, Ryu?" He lit it with a match he had in his back pocket, and we proceeded forward cautiously.
However, we had not gotten very far (only about 3 or 4 steps, actually), when both of us saw the sharpened end of what appeared to be a very long and dangerous looking tail. It seemed to sense our presence and moved away, scales dragging noisily along the ground. I gulped, having a very bad feeling about what was attached to that tail. Bow was excited about it, though, the twit. "Hey, man! Let's follow that thing and see where it leads! How about it? It can be our first task!" I nodded slowly, intent on being cautious about this thing even if Bow wasn't, and we went off, him in the lead, me a safe distance behind.
There appeared to be no end in sight. The cave seemed to keep stretching, like some big mouth, and the tail was kept tantalizingly close for a bit, and would then move away. I could just picture whatever it was attached to laughing maniacally every time it did that. Eventually, though, the tail stopped moving. I looked over at Bow, shrugged, and proceeded forward. I learned in just a second that I should not have.
There, standing in the cavern, was the biggest monster I had ever laid eyes on, and even now, after having seen hundreds of different creatures, it still holds that distinction. I mean, it was absolutely HUGE! Its torso was separated by what appeared to be a lump of flesh from its bottom half, and each half I estimated to be about 10 feet high when the creature stood up. Of course, it had to hunch to fit in the cavern, but it still towered far above our puny forms. There was a hard, grayish shell surrounding the entire body, which looked like it could repel any attack. It did have more than a few dents in it, though; I suspected that many a warrior had tried without success to down the demon—I did not, however, want to envision what had happened to them, for I feared that would be happening to Bow and I real soon if we weren't lucky. On its head, it had three large, ugly, yellow eyes, two on the sides and one above them and in the middle of the face. There were sharpened fins jutting out of the back of its head and its back, like those growing off a fish, as well as six crab-like legs, three on each side. Its neck looked like that of a snake's body; it was all coiled back, ready to strike forward at any moment. Its tail looked to be about the length of its body, and it was covered with small, razor-sharp ridges. Its hands were armed with green spikes; possibly poisoned, judging from the color, but anything that sharp was deadly enough by itself without the addition of poison. Overall, it looked to be a very bad monster indeed.
I saw Bow drop his jaw open in amazement and horror upon spotting the creature. He had time to yell out "Oh Ladon! It's a demon! Run, Ryu, run!" before the creature, whatever it was, knocked him to the wall with one flick of its powerful tail. He slid down and lay very still.
I quelled a tremendous urge to rush to my injured friend's side, and instead faced the hideous monster, intent on getting revenge, insane as that might sound. It seemed to grin at me, evilly at that, and I could feel immense dark energy coursing from that smile. This was not false evilness—it was pure hatred. "Are you the destined child?" the creature roared down to me. "You are the one I was talking to earlier? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! You're just a boy. Probably not even a whelp yet, let alone a Kaiser. I see my master greatly overestimated your threat! Had he but known, I never would have had to degrade myself and talk with you. You present no danger to us! Not now, and after today, not ever! Hahahahaa!!!" As he was booming out his taunts, I surreptitiously slipped my hand down to my waist and untied the string that held my small weapon. However, he noticed what I was doing, though he was still laughing it up. "Ah-ha, I see you are unsheathing your sword! Getting ready to fight me, eh… no wait, it's just a stick! Ahahahahahaha! You are quite amusing, boy. What can you possibly hope to do against my God?" He continued to roar with laughter at me, and I stood quaking with fear, mouthing as many prayers as I could remember to Ladon.
"Now," he said a few seconds later, all the laughter gone and his tone deadly serious. "Enough with the games. My master calls, and I must have something to present for the day's work. So, come, Ryu, show me the vaunted power of the destined child! Show me the power that will make our God tremble! Show me the power that will shake the foundations of the world and make everyone remember the days of the dragons! SHOW ME!!!"
As the monster finished its speech, it reacted with a speed greater than I could have imagined such a huge creature possessing. It moved quickly forward, knocking me to the ground and causing me to throw my stick away, and then, as I was sitting up, still ready to fight, raised one of its arms and fired a shockwave of enormous energy at me. I felt it hit me, felt my body absorb the impact, felt that I was very close to death. I was conscious just long enough to hear the creature taunt me again, asking me once again (in that very scary voice of its) to show it my power, the power of the destined child (whatever that is, I thought). I heard something more about God, and then, mercifully, collapsed into the welcome oblivion…
10 years pass…