The Last of the Dragons
Chapter 4: HOLY FUCK ITS BEEN 6 YEARS
AN: So.. yeah... Hi... How's it going... DON'T LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEE...
So, I was writing a story, as I randomly do, and actually managed to finish a chapter, and I was thinking over the past little bit of how I wanted to eventually finish this and the Hunt for the Red Pigtail. I went onto my author page today, and I saw, that the last ACTUAL story I had put up, was in freaking 2006, and that I haven't updated this story since 2005...
All I can really say is that it's not because I lost interest, but because for one, school sucks, and because I became addicted to READING stories, but not so much writing them. I've read a lot of fanfictions over these years, and my life has changed quite a bit. Got a girlfriend, got engaged, going to college, all that fun stuff. It's been a long time, and for anyone who's actually been waiting for this (if they still exist), then I'm really sorry.
So, to those who may or may not exist, I present:
The Last of the Dragons
Chapter 4: The Tower of Blue
They had been travelling for four days now. The first day, they had watched for every shadow, listened for every snapped branch, and smelt for any signs of life. The second day, they lowered their guards, but still remained vigilant. The third day they spent talking, talking of what life was like in the forest, or in the castle, what life was like as a princess, and what life was like as a mercenary.
And on the fourth day, they simply tried staying together.
Out of nowhere, a storm began which cut off their sight. The rain was coming down so hard and fast that it was difficult to see even ten feet in front of them. The numerous and quick flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder further hurt their ability to stay vigilant. If they were attacked now, then their enemies could easily overtake them.
Luckily, Karina knew the area where they were, so she was taking them through less heavily travelled roads. They were much less likely to be seen if they kept up their pace and stayed together, out of sight.
The only problem was that they were getting tired. It had been an unspoken promise that they would only sleep when the moon had come out, so they could see around them, and they would only sleep where it was open. It was much more difficult to hide in plain sight than it was in an area where there were many obstacles. However, that worked both ways, so someone always had to stay on watch, and since Nina simply wasn't physically up to it, the task of guard duty was broken up into two, and the lack of sleep was getting to them.
They hadn't been able to rest yet because with the path they were on, there was no open area, and the moon wasn't shining, leaving everything in perpetual darkness. In other words, they had no choice but to trek on.
The dirt road had become muddy, so travelling was difficult, especially on Ryu and Nina. Nina because of her upbringing, which mostly consisted of sitting in a chair all day, learning about something or other, and Ryu because he was both already exhausted, and because he was carrying the heaviest pack.
Karina looked back at her companions and saw that neither were going to last much longer. Nina had already misstepped twice, and Ryu's feet were moving slower and slower. If this kept up, then one of them was going to drop from exhaustion. "We need to stop!" The mercenary yelled back at the two.
"We-we can't!" Ryu panted out. "If we stop, then there's no knowing what could happen to us!"
Nina's feet slipped again, driving her to her knees. "I... I can't move my legs anymore... Ryu... Please..."
The man moved over to his best friend and grabbed her arm, pulling her up. "Just... A bit further... We need to keep moving..."
Karina saw it first.
One of the reasons this road was not heavily travelled was because of its dangers. It was essentially between two mountain-sides, one which sloped downwards onto the trail, and another that sloped downwards off the trail. She hadn't expected it to begin raining. If she had known it was going to rain, then she would have taken the other side around, even knowing it would have left them more open.
And that was because this path had a tendency for mudslides.
The lightning first illuminated it, and the mudslide was visible. It was kareening down the mountain towards them, and she knew that they had to move now, or else they might not survive.
"MUDSLIDE! DROP THE PACKS, RYU, GRAB NINA AND RUN!"
They immediately did as they were told, throwing their packs behind them. Ryu lifted the princess in his arms and began running towards Karina, who dove behind a large outcropping which would take the brunt of the mudslide, and should keep them safe.
When she looked back though, she knew Ryu wasn't going to make it.
The mud blasted over top of the outcropping, and her vision was taken from her as she huddled down as far as she could, before she heard it... It was unlike anything she had ever heard before, and it was audible even above the rushing mud, the storming rain, and the breaking thunder.
Hello little one.
"Who... Who's there..."
I am someone who has been watching you for many years.
You are the fifth. The last of the fifth. Your fate is different from the four though. You, you are destined for the Gold.
Yes, the Gold. Now, I believe it is time for you to wake up little one.
"What? But what do you-"
"Who... Is that?"
The one who has been waiting for you, Kaiser.
Ryu's eyes flew open, and he sat up straight. Suddenly, pain shot through his chest. He looked down, and there was mop of blonde hair on his stomach, crying into his body.
The girl jumped up as well, sadness mixing into relief on her face.
"RYU! You're alive!"
The fog that had filled his mind began to fade. "Ni...na?"
Suddenly, the princess threw her arms around him, pushing him back into the ground.
"You wouldn't wake up and-and I thought you were dead! There was blood, so much blood, and I-I didn't know what to do!" Nina cried into his chest, pushing her face into the blood that was flowing from it.
It took the royal guard a few seconds to realize what had happened. The day before, they had been travelling on the road, and it was raining... And there was a mudslide! He grabbed Nina, running towards Karina, but he didn't move fast enough... And then... And then...?
What happened after that?
Ryu finally took a good look where he was. The mudslide had took them to a riverbed. There was a small river flowing beside them, most likely higher than it was normally after the heavy rainfall. The water wasn't even dirty. It was amazing what nature could do, and how quickly nature could simply reverse the damage done.
He looked down at his chest. There was blood coming from a fair sized hole. It was jagged and uneven, so it was likely caused by a rock or something similar. Where then was the rock? "Nina, did you clean the wound?"
She shook her head on his chest. "I don't know what caused it. It was like that when I woke up, and then I tried waking you up, but you wouldn't-" He cut her off before she started crying again.
"Nina, listen very closely to me. I need you to rip up my shirt. Tear it into small strips, cut it with my knife or sword if you have to. Then, go clean it in the river, but try not to use too dirty of water. We're going to need to wrap this so it doesn't get infected. Then, we need to get to a town where we can get someone to take a look at it. Can you do this for me? Do you think you can do this?"
She nodded into his chest after a second, then did as he told. Soon enough, he was wrapped up and they began walking.
It wasn't until after they began walking that the adrenaline seemed to finally leave the man, and he realized, with an incredibly red face, that his arm was squished into her chest. He tried moving it slowly, but she would have none of it. It seemed like she was thinking that if he left her, he'd die or something.
'Oh god it's ! Training with teacher, training with teacher, having a nice warm bath after training, having a nice warm bath, her smooth skin on my back-! Master in his underwear, MASTERINHISUNDERWEAR!'
It was going to be a LONG trip.
Later that day, Karina finally found some tracks. There was blood, but there were only two, right below where they most likely fell. They were leading in the same direction as they had been originally going, so all she could do was follow them.
"Be safe you two..." The way they were going was in the same direction as... Blue Dragon Tower.
The first bulding they came across was an enormous blue tower. They knocked on the door, but there was no answer, so they walked inside.
The first floor had nobody on it, so they made their way to the stairs. The second floor was an enormous corridor, filled with dozens of doors.
"Hello? Is anyone there?" Those were the first words they heard from anyone inside the tower, so the Princess and her Guard went over in the direction of the sound.
"We were starting to wonder the same thing." Ryu called out. "Where are you?"
"I'm in the dungeon! It's the last room on the left!"
"Dungeon?" Nina wondered out loud. "Why is there a dungeon?"
Her guard shook his head. "I don't know, but lets be careful. Who knows WHY this person is in the dungeon."
The two made their way into the dungeon room, but calling it a dungeon wouldn't do a normal dungeon justice. The dungeon at Wyndia was a large area, with over twenty cells, each cell populated with a single small bed and a wash area. This room was itself a single cell, with nothing but a large slab of stone at the side.
Inside the cell was a man far too large in proportion to the rest of the room. His skin was grey armadillo-like-man. Ryu had never met one before, but the man was surely of the Shell Clan, a tribe known for their armadillo-looks. The man was easily over 7 feet tall, and was practically twice the size of the young guard. "Are you the one who was calling for us?" Ryu asked, almost rhetorically. After all, who else could it have been?
The man nodded. "Yeah, I've been locked in here for almost a week now, and I was starting to think I was gonna die in here. But then I heard someone crashing around downstairs. The name's Dhan, what's yours?"
Nina perked up. "I'm Nina, and this is Ryu. There's another girl with us too. Her name is Karina, but we got separated after a huge mudslide."
Dhan nodded again. "Well, its nice to meet you, Ryu, Nina. Now, what are you doing here in this Blue Dragon Tower? Looking for the bastard who runs the place like I was?"
"'Blue Dragon Tower'? I've never even heard of that before... And who runs it?" Ryu asked, wondering what kind of place they had come to. If there was someone who was a danger to Nina...
Sighing, the armadillo-man began. "This was once the tower belonging to the lord of this land. He was as kind as could be expected, but he was fair enough. But then, one day, some bastards in red killed him and took over. They started heavily taxing the people, and if they couldn't pay, took them away to their slave camps where they made them work till they dropped dead."
Nina gasped and Ryu's fist clenched. "Tha-that's horrible..." The princess muttered.
"Aye, and that's not the worst of it. If they were normal people then a revolt would have been expected, but the bastard running this tower now is a Dragon."
The word pinged inside Ryu's head. There was once a clan of dragons who were named the most powerful tribe on the entire continent. Then, almost like they had never existed, they simply vanished.
If the person who ran this tower was a Dragon, and was aligned with the men in red...
Things could get real ugly, real fast.
"I came to this tower to try to kill the bastard, but I was taken prisoner and thrown in here until the next caravan comes for the newest slaves."
"First things first, we need to get you out of there."
Ryu took his sword and, with all his strength, pried open the door, helped along by Dhan pushing. The door creaked loudly before breaking open, letting the man free.
"We need to get the hell out of here." Ryu told his companions. The other two nodded and they began creeping out of the dungeon room.
But a voice stopped them as soon as they were over the threshold. "Well well well, what do we have here? The missing princess Nina, the slave, and, what's this? The guard that killed so many of my men."
Ignoring Dhan's shock and whisper of 'Princess?', Ryu turned to the voice. There, in the middle of the corridor, was a man wearing a blue robe, with red hair that had a shock of blue through it. "I guess you're the master of this tower then?" The royal guard asked, his hand slowly moving towards his sword.
"Yes, yes I am. And you've walked right into my grasp. How perfect for me that you would so willingly come here. Now, give me the princess and I won't kill you, but I'm sure the slave work will!" The Dragon-man leant his head back and laughed insanely.
'This bastard... There's no way he's getting Nina!' Ryu moved backwards slowly until he was in front of Nina, Dhan shortly behind her. "Dhan... Take Nina and run. I'll hold him off until you can get away and then follow after you." The blue-haired man whispered.
"But if you do that, then you're practically asking to die!" Dhan whispered back to Ryu.
"I'll be fine. In this small area, there's no way he could become something as large as a Dragon, right?" Dhan hesitantly nodded. That was as good a guess as any. Who knew how large a Dragon could actually be?
Ryu turned to the Dragon-man. "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'll have to decline your sincere request. DHAN, NOW!"
The Shell Clan member grabbed Nina around the waist and ran backwards, moving into the door on the opposite side of the room he had been locked up. He moved towards the window, and heedless of Nina's scream, dove through the window, wrapping him and the girl up in his thick skin.
The Dragon-man screamed, but in fury and not terror. "HOW DARE YOU! YOU WILL DIE LIKE THE DOG YOU ARE! THIS AOI OF THE RED DESIRE CLAN WILL DESTROY YOU!"
Then, before Ryu's eyes, the man... Changed. His body seemed to grow outwards, and in the place of where there was once a man, emerged a Dragon. It didn't seem possible, but the corridor was just big enough for the Dragon to fit. But there was no more time for reflection as the beast breathed ice.
Ryu leapt out of the way of the freezing breath, hitting against a wall. Originally, Ryu thought the man wouldn't be able to change in account of the corridor being, hopefully, too small for a Dragon. But the corridor WAS large enough, and it made it much more difficult to dodge, as Ryu had only way to go. Backwards.
And as he and his companions had come out of the last room on the left, there wasn't much room to move back either.
Which meant, the only thing Ryu could do was make a stand, and hopefully strike the beast hard enough to incapacitate him for a time.
Nina's guard brandished his sword and, as soon as the Dragon breathed another torrent of ice, moved. He rushed forward, beneath the frost, and came under the belly of the beast. With his sword in hand, he thrust upwards with as much strength in his body as he could, piercing into the Dragon's body.
But the cut was too shallow. Ryu's sword was wrenched from his fingers when the beast roared in pain and his body was thrown to the ground. Stars flashed through his head as his skull smashed against the ground, and his breath was torn from his lungs.
The Dragon leered overhead ominously as Ryu's thoughts began to darken, leaving only a few words.
FIGHT KILL FIGHT KILL FIGHT KILL FIGHT KILL FIGHT KILL!
The Dragon stopped when he saw a golden aura swimming around the blue-haired man. Could it be... The fifth?
Ryu's hands stretched outwards, his nails pointing and sharpening. "DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
And as Ryu's clawed hand pierced into the heart of Aoi, he let out a single last roar, heard and understood by only three others. *The fifth, is alive*.
And this seems like a good place to stop. This is honestly, nothing like the original of this chapter went. Originally, Ryu's pack forced him into the mud and the girls forgot about him, where he was found by Dhan (not yet named), went to the tower, and most likely fought and killed a sorcerer or something, kinda, Breath of Fire 1 style.
But as I was writing this (in a single day no less), it became this, and I like this more.
Sure, the battle with the dragon was kind of anticlimactic, but I liked how it went. It was either Ryu ripping out his heart or piercing it with Dragon-induced strength, but either way this was more or less Ryu's first Dragon act. There was the mudslide thing too, but that was inspired by Breath of Fire 3 where Ryu becomes the Defender dragon to save Nina when they're rolling down the hill.
Well, let me know what you all thought, and until next time (which will definitely be less than six years), enjoy!