Didn't take me long to get started on the sequel eh? Well, anyways, the sequel to my hit story, Curse of the Dark Stone, is here. We'll be following on from the previous story and believe me when I say this story is going to knock your socks off. It's going to change everything and the ending will leave you gobsmacked...
Chapter 1: Not A Good Day
General Gong found himself sighing rather irritably at the task he'd been given.
As the leader of the Royal Magister of Shang Tu's army, he'd much prefer it if he was marching around with the army or trying to track down any thieves, assassins or whatever so they could be locked away for their crimes. He would rather be doing either of those things then bringing a lowly prisoner its next meal.
General Gong was a large, bulky panda with great strength, tough armour and a giant shield that he wielded to perfection. He was very loyal to Shang Tu's ruler, The Magister, and he often obeyed orders without question. Gong enjoyed his position as general and he loved his city. But there were things he didn't like about his duty. For some reason, it was always his task to bring prisoners of The Magister their meals. Maybe it was because General Gong would actually be strong enough to overpower them if they attempted to riot. The heavyweight panda had often stopped prison riots when they had been attempted. He still wished that somebody else could bear the insufferable cheek and banter of the prisoners that he had to feed.
Today though was different. So far, Shang Tu had one prisoner locked up in the Royal Palace Dungeon. And this prisoner wasn't like the usual batch of scum that Shang Tu kept locked up. This one was quiet, accepting and above all, polite and pleasant. Gong hadn't experienced any cheek from this prisoner in the two weeks it had been locked up. He still didn't like having to be the one to feed the prisoner though but he knew that moaning about it wouldn't change anything.
It was hard to believe that two whole weeks had passed since the incident with the Red Scarves escaping and the whole Dark Stone fiasco. The general remembered how the Red Scarves's leader had expertly broken into the dungeon, fought him and the Royal Priestess Neera Li into unconsciousness and then made off with the scarves. To top it all, the Red Scarves had also blown up the drainage tunnels and caused considerable damage to the city. Most of it had been repaired now but there was still a lot of work left to be done. Some roads still hadn't been fixed yet and some houses were still waiting to be repaired. One had actually fallen over and crushed another nearby house before it could be mended. Shang Tu was repairing but it still needed a crutch to lean on. As for the Red Scarves themselves, Gong had been hunting them down like wild animals. He had been told they were in Shang Mu, Avalice's red city and the home of the narcissistic Mayor Zao, two weeks ago but upon arriving there, he had found nothing. The drainage tunnels of Shang Mu had been completely empty. Gong had assumed the person who had tipped him off was lying but the tipper had pointed out that she had sent a letter to the new leader of the Red Scarves, Spade the Panda, to tell him that the scarves were disbanded. Obviously, Spade had assumed the Red Scarves were compromised and they had fled to a new hideout to avoid being arrested again. And now, General Gong and indeed, Neera Li also, were trying to find the Red Scarves so they could be locked away for good. Without their original leader, they wouldn't have a chance.
Gong arrived at the dungeon and he let himself in, walking towards the one cell that was lucky enough to have an occupant. The cell was the largest cell in the dungeon, meant mostly for comfort to those who have a fear of small spaces or those who deserved some humility despite their crimes. The cell also had the best kind of bed, much more comfortable than the beds the other cells contained. The general arrived at the barred door of the cell to meet the prisoner inside. The prisoner was a mauve-skinned dragon with four horns, red eyes that seemed morbid and depressed, a slender body and a battle prowess that defied all belief. This prisoner was Natalya the Lead Scarf. She was the former leader of the Red Scarves, ruling over them with an iron fist and a fierce disposition. She had been utterly ruthless, smacking down anybody who dared to defy her and treating even her own subjects with hostility. That had all changed when Lord Brevon had come to Avalice. He had made Natalya realize that her ambition, to rule Avalice and make it a more civilized planet, was an impossible task and her life had been nothing but a forlorn attempt to achieve the impossible. Because of this, Natalya had become a very changed woman. She no longer had any qualms with anybody, was no longer cruel and ruthless and was now just a morbid wreck. She hadn't smiled once since letting herself be arrested for her crimes. It was as if she no longer knew how to be happy. The only emotions she ever displayed now were sadness and despair. Gong wondered if she even considered life worth living anymore and wouldn't be surprised if he came to Natalya's cell one day to find her dead body slumped with her head in a flooded sink.
Gong looked into Natalya's cell now and saw a rather surprising sight. Natalya had stripped off her trademark trench coat and leather top to reveal a black sports bra that she wore underneath. The bra complimented her figure, showing off her chest, part of her cleavage and a well-toned stomach that seemed too flat to be real. Gong had never seen Natalya looking so graceful before. Her body displayed more of its natural beauty now she was just in her sports bra and black leather trousers. Natalya was exercising, throwing punches and doing stretches by the dozen. This was the first time in two weeks Gong had seen Natalya doing anything other than lying miserably on her bed. He was mesmerized as he watched Natalya bend over backwards, arching her back and pushing out her belly. Then the dragon straightened up and threw a kick that could crack spines had anybody been unfortunate enough to receive it. Natalya spun around on the balls of her feet in a perfect circle and then leapt up gracefully. She kicked out again, her right foot shooting out as if fired from a gun. Then she landed perfectly on her feet, not showing any signs of imperfection. This woman was well-trained and well-disciplined. How long she had been training for, Gong had no idea. All he knew was that this was a woman who took great care of her body. Natalya straightened up again and turned around. She gasped as her eyes set upon General Gong and she blushed bright red. She quickly covered up her bare chest and ran over to the bed to pick up a black tank top that she also wore under her leather top. Gong was surprised. He'd never seen Natalya act so embarrassed before. He imagined what her reaction would be like if he'd stumbled in on her while she was naked.
"Oh my goodness! General! I had no idea you was here!" the dragon spluttered, still blushing as she picked up the vest and slipped it on, covering up her stomach and bra.
"No, no, it's OK! I'm sorry! I just picked the wrong moment to come in!" Gong blustered, blushing himself without realizing, "I guess you're not that keen when people see you…less covered up." he said.
"I don't let anybody see me like this. Not even the Red Scarves…" Natalya murmured, sitting down on her bed, "So what brings you down here then general?"
"It's breakfast time." Gong announced, "I've been sent to bring it to you again. It's fresh so I hope you like it."
He reached his hand through the bars and put down the grey box of food he had been carrying at the foot of Natalya's cell door. On the first few days of Natalya's imprisonment, Gong always expected her to suddenly lash out and seize him by the wrists the moment his hands entered through the bars. But the dragon had done nothing of the sort and this was now her second week in prison. The panda still remained vigilant for Natalya could be playing for time and waiting for the right moment to strike. Thus, he'd set down the box and moved away from the cell door quickly so Natalya wouldn't be able to grab him. But as usual, the woman didn't move until Gong was a safe distance away. She got up, picked up the box and opened it. It was full of fresh fruit, some ham slices and carton of orange juice. Normally, the prisoners of the Royal Palace wouldn't get such food. They'd mostly be given generic bowls of soap or gruel. But because Natalya had played a part in saving the world two weeks ago, she was rewarded with proper food, as well as the best cell in the dungeon. The mauve-skinned she-dragon appreciated it and she tucked into her breakfast rather eagerly. If there was one thing that was certain, she hadn't lost her appetite. She always ate everything without leaving anything behind. Gong supposed she wanted to remain in good shape in more ways than one. Natalya sank her teeth into a slice of ham, enjoying the taste of it. It was purely organic ham, the best kind one could eat. Freshly farmed and freshly made.
"Quite nice general. Thank you." Natalya said casually.
"Welcome." the panda replied, "So how do you feel now Natalya? I've never seen you active in your cell before so I suppose your mood is improving?"
"No general, I'm no different than before." the dragon replied, "Today is just the first time you ever got to see me exercising. I mostly exercise when nobody's around. You just timed your arrival wrong or I dragged my exercises on for longer than intended."
"Oh…" Gong murmured, "Just out of curiosity Natalya…do you think you'll ever be happy again?"
Natalya popped a grape into her mouth and chewed it up before answering.
"I dunno." the woman admitted, "Given how twenty-five years of my life has been nothing but a waste, I doubt I'll ever be happy again. I had good intentions for Avalice and yet they were all nothing but a fantasy. A fantasy I should never have delved in. Maybe I don't deserve to be happy again…"
"With that attitude, you certainly won't ever be happy again." the panda muttered, "Natalya, you don't have to keep letting the events of the last two weeks eat at you. Your ambition wasn't something you could achieve. Well, find a new ambition. That's what I was taught when I was trained to be the general I am now."
"Wise words…" Natalya complimented, "You're smarter than you let on general."
The panda wasn't sure if he should accept the black-clad woman's compliment but he decided not to be ungrateful towards her.
"Thanks." he said, "So maybe if you ever get out of here Natalya, you could find a new purpose. Start a new life and leave the old one behind. I think that'll do you a lot of good."
The dragon took in the general's words and turned them over several times in her mind. The panda definitely had some very good points. Maybe she could just leave her old life behind and start anew. But what could her new life be about? And how could she live her new life? Natalya wasn't entirely sure but she would definitely think about it.
"I appreciate your suggestions general and I will definitely give them a think-over." said Natalya, "So, when do you think I might be released?"
"I dunno." Gong admitted, "But The Magister has said that if you keep behaving yourself as you are now, you could be freed before the month is over."
He wasn't sure if he should have told Natalya this but since she wasn't evil anymore, he supposed no harm was done.
"That's good." the dragon replied softly, "And when I'm freed, I shall start anew. No longer am I Natalya the Lead Scarf. I will be Natalya…a force for good and…"
She paused as a sudden idea came to her mind.
"Maybe…I could be the mother that Lilac lost…" she murmured, "I always did love that special little dragon…yes…that would be the perfect new life for me, as the adopted mother of Sash Lilac."
Gong raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Mother? Are you considering…adopting Lilac?" he asked.
"I am now the thought's come to my head." Natalya said, nodding, "You see, Lilac has no mother. She was heartlessly murdered by a vile and wicked man about six years ago. Her father was murdered too. It's part of the reason why Lilac became a member of the Red Scarves. With no parents and no shelter, she had no choice but to join my group in order to survive."
"Wow…I never thought of it that way…" Gong said, surprised to hear this, "She never talked about her parents…"
"I assume she wants to just move on rather than dwell in the past." Natalya murmured, "So general, would it be OK if you could give Lilac a message? Tell her I'd love to meet her in my cell as soon as she's available. I'd like to talk with her, and to tell her that I would be happy if I could adopt her."
"Well sure, um, OK." Gong said, "Don't be surprised if she says no though. Given how beastly you've been to her in the past, she may want nothing to do with you."
"Just let me now if she gets the message." the dragon said casually.
The panda nodded and left Natalya alone in her cell to finish off her breakfast. As Natalya tucked into a juicy orange, she imagined herself embracing Lilac warmly like a mother always does to her child. Adopting her favourite and best student of the Red Scarves. What a lovely thought. Lilac would be the perfect daughter for her. Natalya had never had children and she wondered what it would be like if she could have one at long last. She just hoped that Lilac wouldn't refuse…
It was a beautiful day in the city of Shuigang. Shuigang was the green-coloured city of Avalice, one of three kingdoms that had been built to honour a huge, majestic dragon that had blessed the world with its grace and beauty. The dragon had even become the Kingdom Stone, the very thing that Avalice depended on for survival. The stone itself was no longer a stone, just a swirling vortex of energy that appeared every so often and fed new energy to each of the three kingdoms of Avalice and even the world outside of those kingdoms was blessed with the vortex's energy.
Three young girls were getting the pleasure of enjoying such a nice day in the city. Their names were Lilac the Dragon Girl, Carol the Wildcat and Milla the Hound. Lilac was a purple-skinned dragon with long whippy "hair" tendrils and a fierce amount of loyalty and love for her world. She left no crime unanswered and would happily meddle in affairs that had nothing to do with her. She had once been a Red Scarf but had left that criminal life behind her for good.
Carol was the dragon's best friend with a tomboy personality and not quite as much loyalty and love for her world as Lilac. She preferred to just spend time with her best friend than get involved in some adventure that could spell doom on them but she loved Lilac and would follow her through thick and thin without problem. Carol also had been a Red Scarf too but like Lilac, she had abandoned them.
Milla was Lilac's other best friend, a young child who had been through things no child should go through. She was magical, being able to summon shields and fire energy beams from them and she was very loyal to her friends. She liked adventuring, even if the adventures she went on were life-threatening, and being with Lilac and Carol always made her feel safe no matter what was happening.
The trio had saved Avalice on three occasions. One was last year when the nefarious Lord Brevon had crash-landed on the planet and tried to steal the Kingdom Stone in order to leave the planet and continue his evil conquest of the universe. Lilac had beaten him and sent him packing. Last year still, the trio had saved Avalice from Natalya, who had executed a nefarious scheme to take over the three kingdoms during Christmas. And now this year, two weeks ago, they along with the two Chasers Torque & Terra and Milla's parents, Miguel and Lela Basset, they had saved the world from Lord Brevon after he had come to the planet to destroy it for ruining his reputation. He had attempted to use the Dark Stone, an evil gem that played on negative emotions, to achieve this. Lilac had destroyed the Dark Stone and killed Brevon. Now his body was on-board the Chaser fleet and likely to be incinerated or disposed of now the Chasers could see he was finally dead. Things had been very peaceful since the Dark Stone incident had ended. But not everything was perfect.
Lilac, Carol and Milla were in Shuigang to buy some new supplies for their treehouse. They needed some more food and Carol wanted some sodas to drink with meals so they were in the city to do some grocery shopping. Lilac had also promised Milla that they would visit the Shuigang Toy Shop so the hound could buy any toys to play with. They had crystal shards that they would use to buy the items. They had plenty to go around thanks to being handsomely rewarded by The Magister and Shuigang's native ruler, King Dail, for saving the world and destroying the Dark Stone and Brevon. Since Brevon had been the one who murdered Dail's father, thus forcing him to become king before he was ready for it, the panda had been thrilled to hear the news and was more generous in his reward than The Magister. Mayor Zao hadn't given the trio a single shard though Lilac wasn't too surprised given what had happened in Shang Mu two weeks ago. She pushed aside the thought and looked around to see where the grocery shop was.
"Man, given how big Shuigang is, I'm amazed anybody finds anything!" Lilac muttered.
"Lemme guess, we're lost." sighed Carol.
"No Carol, I'm just not sure where the grocery store in this place is. It's that big that it's hard to memorize everything." the dragon murmured.
"Maybe I can find it!" Milla offered, "I could smell the store out!"
"Nah, you'd need the store's scent first for that." the wildcat sighed, "We should ask for directions."
"Good idea." Lilac said, "Hey! Excuse me sir!" she called out.
She ran over to a stork who was looking at a Shuigang stall that sold pottery that looked too wealthy to be on a simple market stall. The stork turned his head and stared at Lilac with fearful eyes. He looked as if he was seeing a ghost and not a sixteen-year old dragon girl before him.
"Y-y-yes miss?" he asked nervously.
"You alright sir?" Lilac asked, "What's wrong. You look frightened."
"I-it's nothing." the stork stammered, "W-what d-do you want?"
"Do you know where the grocery store is?" the dragon asked politely.
"I dunno if I should tell you that…" the stork said feebly, "You might go all dark and crazy and destroy the store like you destroyed Shang Mu."
Lilac sighed a loud, annoyed sigh of anger.
"Fine, don't help me." she growled, "I'll ask somebody who actually knows me as the dragon I REALLY am!"
She stormed off in a huff, anger boiling through her bloodstream. This was why life wasn't perfect for her. Two weeks ago, Natalya and Brevon had inflicted emotional and physical pain onto Lilac. The pain had been so great that she had cracked and fallen victim to the Dark Stone's evil power. She had become a monster and had rampaged through Shang Mu. Mayor Zao believed Lilac was a traitor and wanted her arrested. But Avalician law stated that "As long as the Avalician is outside of your kingdom, no arrests can be made". Zao could not touch the dragon. As long as she stayed away from Shang Mu, she was safe from his wrath. Lilac didn't understand why people were still afraid of her. The Magister had just given proof of her innocence, including a photograph of Brevon's dead body and yet people STILL believed she willingly destroyed part of Shang Mu! Shuigang and Shang Tu had heard from Shang Mu what had happened. Of course, Shang Tu knew the truth since their ruler did. Half of Shuigang believed the truth, the other half believed Shang Mu. It enraged Lilac. She had saved the planet THREE times already and this was how she was being treated?! One kingdom and half of another kingdom acting like she was a bomb waiting to explode any moment?! How could these insolent people be so ungrateful for what she had done?! Two weeks ago, Avalice wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for her! Some gratitude!
Carol and Milla read the anger on Lilac's face and hugged her comfortingly.
"Lemme guess, another idiot thinks you're a bad guy." Carol said softly.
"Yes." Lilac grumbled, "And I'm getting damn well sick of it! Which part of "I unwillingly destroyed Shang Mu because of Brevon and Natalya," do these idiots NOT understand?! I mean, The Magister himself confirmed my innocence and Shang Mu STILL thinks I'm evil and now half of Shuigang is on their side while the other half rightfully believes The Magister! I love my world and I love these kingdoms but some of these people are really making me doubt my love for the world."
"Please don't say that Lilac." said Milla comfortingly, "They'll soon realize you're good and that you're no baddie. They'll understand sooner or later."
"It's just taking them time to get over it." said Carol gently, "I bet when Zao realizes you're no traitor after not doing anything evil for a while, he'll simmer down and realize he's wrong."
"I sure hope so…" Lilac said worriedly, "I don't want the world being scared of me. I'm not gonna life comfortably if I'm feared and hated…"
"Just know Little Miss Heropants that we don't fear you at all." the wildcat said kindly.
"We love you Lilac!" Milla exclaimed, "And we will never be scared of you!"
The dragon smiled. She had the best friends in the world. What more could she ask for?
"Aww, you girls are too kind for me." Lilac said appreciatively, "Thank you so much."
"Anytime." Carol said, "Now then, let's find that…"
"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!" barked a fierce voice that made the three girls leap up into the air in amazement.
The girls turned around and saw somebody striding up to them. Striding however was not the right word. More like stomping towards them, every loud footstep radiating anger as if somebody had ticked the person off and was in for the high jump any moment now. The voice belonged to that of a turtle. He was very old with a withered face, grey eyebrows that looked too large for his small head and a hard shell that indicated the turtle's age. He wore only a sash around his waist and a small hat and spectacles that like his eyebrows, were too big for his head. He had a walking stick in one hand, the stick possibly as old as he was. The turtle looked very cross as if the presence of the three girls had somehow offended him. Milla was frightened whereas Lilac and Carol weren't sure what to make of him. The old reptile stopped before the girls and glared at them with aged eyes.
"And what do a bunch of tramps like you three think you're doing in a place like this?!" the turtle growled.
"TRAMPS?!" Carol exclaimed, "Ooooh why I oughta…"
"No Carol." Lilac said hastily, "Don't hurt him."
She held her feline friend back and stood forward to greet this rather grumpy, rude and impertinent old man before her. The turtle's eyes narrowed at the young dragon.
"We beg your pardon sir but we are not tramps." explained Lilac, "We're civilized people like you and the rest of Shuigang. My name is Lilac sir."
"I don't like the look of you young lady." the turtle grumbled, pointing his walking stick at Lilac's face, "Your eyes are too close together! And you have the filthy stink of dragon all over you!" he added, sniffing the air around the dragon.
"That's because I AM a dragon…" the Avalician teen muttered.
"I knew it! I knew you was a dragon!" the turtled exclaimed, pointing his cane and waving it around like a rapier, "Are you that one who destroyed part of Shang Mu a couple of weeks ago?"
"Well, yes but I…"
"THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" the reptilian old geezer cried out, "Have you come to destroy Shuigang as well?! You dragons disgust me!"
"No! I haven't come here to destroy Shuigang at all!" Lilac yelled back, her voice loud enough to attract the attention of the whole crowd around her, "Why the hell would I destroy a city after I just saved Avalice from certain death again?!"
"Yeah! Use your logic you old turtle!" snapped Carol, "Who the heck are you anyway Mr. Grumpy Guts?"
"My name is Timothy James Junipero Hamilton Franklin Turtle you impudent little brats and I will not tolerate you young hoodlums talking to me like that!" the turtle snapped angrily.
"Why on Avalice do you have such a long name?" the wildcat snorted.
"Never you mind you simple-minded girl…" Timothy muttered, his voice dangerous and almost threatening.
"Look Timothy sir, we were just minding our own business and when you're finished being rude to us for no reason, we'd like to carry on our own way thank you very much." said Lilac tightly, trying to keep the conversation from getting any more uncomfortable and hostile.
Timothy gave Lilac a look that suggested he wasn't about to let the conversation end so civilly. He was going to carry on and the dragon could tell from his face.
"You don't fool me dragon…" he said, his voice soft but dangerous, "I know why you're here. You're plotting something. That's what you dragons do, plot something. And when you plot, it usually involves people getting hurt, buildings crumbling and fires burning! If you want to make me happy at all young lady then you'll leave this place and never come back! We don't want a repeat of what happened in Shang Mu two weeks ago now do we?"
The crowd, who had gathered around to watch this intense argument infold, began to murmur amongst each other. Lilac could hear them all now. What were they saying? She was sure it wasn't good. Milla seemed to be having enough of the conversation. It wasn't often the young pup lost her temper but right about now, she looked as if she was ready to punch Timothy in the face. She stormed up to the old turtle and pointed at him.
"You leave Lilac alone you big bully!" she yelled, "Lilac's good and you should be ashamed of yourself for being so mean to her!"
Carol stared at the dog, unable to believe she had actually had the gall to stand up to Timothy like this and actually sound legitimately enraged. He'd clearly crossed a line that you do not cross with Milla. Timothy however looked unimpressed as if he was used to children talking this way to him.
"Children really should be seen and not heard." the turtle snorted, pointing his walking stick at Milla like a rifle, "And you seriously expect me to believe that this "Lilac" woman is good? There's no such thing as a good dragon…"
The crowd murmured some more and Timothy paused as if wanting to hear what they were saying. He continued.
"…I've seen many dragons in my life and they're all the same kind of scum. They're big, ugly, monstrous, FIRE-BREATHING DEMONS! And also very smelly." he ranted, waving his arms about and gesticulating wildly.
Lilac took a moment to sniff her armpit before retorting.
"Well I'm not a big, ugly, monstrous, fire breathing demon!" she snapped, "And I certainly am not smelly! I'm small, pretty and I don't breathe fire! I'm a water dragon!"
"Yeah so in your face you old coot!" jeered Carol, "You need to learn more about dragons and stop going by dumb stereotypes!"
Timothy's face turned to the colour of a volcano that was about to erupt. Presumably, he was hoping all his lava would land on top of the three girls when it happened. His wrinkled face contorted with anger and his eyes were narrow slits of annoyance behind his absurdly large spectacles.
"You insolent little brats! You impertinent young hoodlums! You vexing little maggots!" Timothy ranted crazily, practically going crazy with anger, "How dare you speak to an old man such as myself like that! And I'm disgusted you have adoration for this evil creature before us!" he added, pointing at Lilac as if he wanted to stab her in the heart with his own cane.
"I'M NOT EVIL!" Lilac bellowed, her face turning redder than a ripe tomato, "In case you didn't hear, I only did the damages I did to Shang Mu because Natalya and Brevon used the Dark Stone on me! I didn't do all that willingly for the love of Avalice! Why can't you people just accept the truth already?! Do you seriously believe for a minute that me and The Magister of Shang Tu are lying?!"
"Of course we do!" Timothy snapped, "You seriously think for a minute we believe that nonsense?! Lord Brevon was sent packing after his atrocities against our world were foiled!"
"Atrocities that LILAC foiled!" noted Carol.
"And Natalya, the supposed leader of the Red Scarves, I hear she's a dragon too!" the old-reptile ranted, ignoring Carol, "That just proves my point and how evil you dragons are. She's the one behind the Christmas Raid of last year…"
"Which I put a stop to!" snapped Lilac, "You can't just accuse dragons of being evil just because of her! And besides, she's not evil anymore! She helped me save Avalice from Brevon and the Dark Stone!"
"Rubbish and poppycock!" Timothy retorted, "I've never heard such nonsense in all my life! Natalya was the very woman who attempted to murder the rulers of our three kingdoms! You expect me to believe she's miraculously turned good all of the sudden? Nice try Lilac but we're not falling for that…and the fact you and The Magister both conveniently seem to believe this story just proves one thing…you're both orchestrating one big conspiracy! And you're trying to lead us away from the truth! Well mark my words young lady; we are NOT falling for you and The Magister's manipulations! So you can stop trying to fool all of us, it isn't going to work!"
Once again, the crowd began murmuring though their voices were much louder and some of the murmurings sounded like they were about to explode into arguments. Half of the crowd was on Lilac's side and the other half was on Timothy's side. The dragon girl could feel herself boiling up to the point of exploding. Just when today looked as if it would be a nice day, this obstinate old man comes in and demonizes her and now Shuigang looked as if it might kick up a giant argument over her! Lilac began feeling sick and unwanted. She didn't want to be here anymore. Glaring at Timothy, she spoke to him in a voice that was uncharacteristically threatening for her.
"Alright…if that's what you think Timothy…then I must congratulate you." Lilac growled, "Congratulate you on proving what a colossal idiot you are! But I guess we're not going to break through that thick head of yours so I'm not going to waste anymore of my precious time with you."
She turned on her heels and grabbed Carol and Milla by the arms.
"Come on girls, let's go to Shang Tu. At least THAT city knows the truth and actually APPRECIATES us for what we've done for the world!" she ranted, clearly wanting Shuigang to feel guilty over the way it had been treating her.
Those last words seemed to have an effect on the crowd. The half that sided with Timothy began to soften up, wondering if they had indeed got it wrong and were being needlessly cruel and hostile towards the heroine of Avalice. The half that sided with Lilac gave the dragon sympathetic glances as if they wanted her to stay and felt sorry that she didn't feel welcome in their city anymore. They also glared at Timothy, their faces saying "Thanks a lot jerk! Now you've gone and upset her!" without needing to say the words themselves. The turtle didn't seem to care. He just turned his shell on everybody and walked, or rather staggered, away with his old cane. With the argument now over and nothing to see anymore, the Shuigang crowd parted and went back to their daily routines.
As Lilac, Carol and Milla walked away, the dragon girl darted behind a nearby house and sat down against it with her back to the wall. She then suddenly put her hands over her eyes and cried. The tears rolled down her cheeks and into her palms. Carol and Milla knelt down beside their draconian friend. Lilac's sobs were like a knife through the heart to them. It pained them to see their friend looking so sad and helpless. Carol put an arm around Lilac softly, her face full of concern.
"Aw don't cry Lilac, you're letting those ingrates get to you." the wildcat said sadly.
"I'm sorry…but I just can't help it!" wailed Lilac, "I've fought long and hard on three separate occasions to save our world but now it feels like my attempts are all for nothing! I feel like an outcast because of people like Timothy! Some people are afraid of me as if they're so stupid and idiotic to believe that I really destroyed Shang Mu on purpose! Why can't they just accept the truth?! WHY?!"
She threw her arms around Carol and wailed into her shoulder. The wildcat allowed the dragon to soak her fur with her tears, hugging her back and wishing that she could perform some miracle that would make everybody love Lilac again. Milla hugged Lilac with Carol, the dog looking as if she was ready to cry for her friend. But then suddenly, the three girls found themselves getting a surprising visitor. Somebody came around the corner and spotted the trio. It was none other than King Dail, Shuigang's ruler. He had been out shopping himself and had heard all the commotion earlier. The crowd had parted before he could say anything so he had decided to see if he could catch up to Lilac and friends before it was too late. He had been lucky and he put his shopping bags down to approach the girls.
"Good morning Lilac, Carol and Milla." Dail said softly.
The girls broke up the hug and Lilac did her best to dry away her tears as they turned to greet the king.
"G-good m-morning y-your majesty." Lilac said, trying to keep her voice still.
"Is there something wrong?" Dail asked concernedly, "Why are you crying?"
"Some stubborn old man named Timothy just came up to her and started demonizing her." muttered Carol, "And what was worse is that everybody started watching."
"Timothy was very mean to Lilac! He thinks she's evil and refuses to believe that she's not!" Milla complained, "He's a nasty old man!"
Dail shook his head sadly. He knew full well that his city had doubts about Lilac's innocence. He smiled kindly at the crying dragon.
"Well Lilac, you shouldn't listen to this Timothy person or anybody else who doubts you." the panda said warmly, "You know you're innocent, the Magister knows your innocent…and I know you're innocent. I believe every word the Magister said in his letter he gave me. I know you'd never willingly use the Dark Stone like some people think and I believe that you were manipulated by Brevon and Natalya. Just remember Lilac, you still have friends and I'm one of them."
Lilac smiled graciously, touched by the king's kind words. At least he had some sense and could see the truth before his eyes.
"Oh thank you Dail. Thank you!" Lilac said, shaking his hand appreciatively, "Oh I'm so glad that you believe me and the Magister!"
"You saved Avalice and beat up the man who murdered my father. What reason would I have to doubt your allegiance?" Dail shrugged, "Also, I believed the Magister when he said Brevon was involved with the Dark Stone and that you killed him. That photo of his dead body was all I needed. I will say, I'm glad that you killed him. It was the most he deserved for his atrocities against our world last year."
"I'm not happy I had to kill him but I admit it was better that he did die." Lilac murmured, "That way he can't menace our world again."
"Agreed." said Dail, "Now Lilac, if you don't wanna come to my city anymore than I understand but don't have any ill will towards me or the people who actually know you're innocent. Just know that Shuigang doesn't totally hate you. And I promise that if anybody in my city dares to try and hurt you, they will be severely punished. You're the heroine of Avalice, you deserve better than this."
"Thank you." said Lilac kindly, "I'll maybe come back after a few more weeks pass by and see if the tension simmers down at all. I don't want to stop coming here full stop, Shuigang's a nice place."
"Well I'm glad you think that." Dail said brightly, "Well it's been nice talking to you Lilac. May you and your friends continue to do good for our world and I hope we meet again."
"Goodbye Dail, see you again soon." the dragon said, waving as Dail turned to leave.
But it seemed that Dail wouldn't be leaving Lilac, Carol and Milla behind so soon. Just as the royal panda picked up his shopping backs and left, a razor-sharp playing card suddenly whizzed past his nose and buried itself into the wall. It was an Ace of Spades card. Dail grabbed the card and glared at it with disgust. He knew what it meant. Before he knew it, he was surrounded by red-hooded ninjas with weapons of varying kinds and all mounted on motorcycles. They came racing in on their bikes like bullets fired from a gun and skidded to a halt in a circle around the panda and the heroine trio. Lilac, Carol and Milla stayed close together and gritted their teeth angrily at the arriving ninjas on bikes. They recognized them immediately.
"The Red Scarves!" Lilac snarled.
"Just when I thought this day couldn't get any worse!" Carol sighed.
"My brother must have a death wish if he and his team dare to come here and pillage my kingdom!" Dail growled, "Girls, we'll fight them off! We won't let those thieves steal anything or kill anybody!"
"You got it!" Lilac declared, "Ready girls?"
"Aye-aye captain!" Carol exclaimed.
"For Shuigang!" Milla cried.
The girls bent down into battle-ready stances with Dail doing just the same. The Red Scarves got off of their bikes and prepared to do battle. Before anything could happen though, somebody emerged from behind the ninjas and stepped forward. It was Dail's criminal brother, Spade the Panda. He had a deck of cards in his hands as always and a confident smirk on his face. He stood before his brother, the two Red Scarf traitors and the puppy-dog girl that he didn't care about.
"Good morning brother. Nice day for a raid and a kidnapping is it not?" Spade purred sinisterly…
Talk about a rough start. Lilac's dealing with paranoid nutcases and now the Red Scarves are here to cause trouble! Maybe this could work to Lilac's advantage...but will it? Find out next time...