Last chapter . . . thank goodness . . .

Chapter Twenty Six – Fire and Ice

Brandon breathed deep as he shifted nervously from one foot to the other. He and the other sophomores were positioned in various places around the quad with the juniors and freshmen's while the seniors and archery battalions watched the walls ready to face the Army of Decay head on. Everyone else was to wait inside the quad for the monster that would inevitably get passed their defences. They had heard the wailing of the stingrays for some time now, but were yet to get visual contact with the enemy and the suspense was killing the squire.

"Oh c'mon," he hissed, still fidgeting. "Let's just get this over with already."

"It'll start soon enough," Timmy said softly, his eyes fixed in the direction of the invisible road. He was just as eager to get this over and done with, but at the same time he was dreading the fight starting. Theoretically, they still had no way to defeat the decay monsters for good and if the Trix were leading the attack themselves this time their chances of surviving this battle deceased dramatically unless something drastic happened in the favour. In short, they were stuffed unless their luck changed.

"Everybody pay attention!" Codatorta growled. "Ms. Faragonda is now your Commander and Chief! Understood?!"

"Fairies, witches and heroes!" Ms. Faragonda addressed before the Red Fountain students could reply with a 'yes sir'. "As we face our final battle I want you to find all of your courage and all of your strength, and then take it and turn all its power on Icy Darcy and Stormy! If we have any hope of survival those three must be defeated!"

"It doesn't sound like she's too fond of those three witches," Brandon commented, hearing the venom Faragonda had in her voice when she mentioned the Trix Sisters.

"And you are?" Riven asked.

"No, but it's still weird hearing Ms. F talk like that," Brandon said casually. "I mean, she looks like an old granny or something."

"Yeah well, that's one old granny that I wouldn't want to cross," Timmy commented and no one argued with him. They had seen Ms. Faragonda's power over the last few days, and when she was paired up with Miss Griffin they made a relentless force.

"Contact!!" one of the seniors shouted and everyone tensed. "We have visual contact with the Army of Decay!!"

"Whoa!" Brandon gasped as the army came into sight. "You've got to be kidding?!"

There seemed to be no end to the massive hoards of rot monster that marched towards the gates of Alfea. A third of the ground troops were the smaller, tentacle mouthed monster, but there were still a vast number of headless monsters marching in between the ranks of smaller ones. Each step the monsters took churned up dust so the army appeared to be blanketed by a haze that made it impossible for anyone to estimate numbers. And in the sky above, the little amount of sunlight that managed to break through the clouds was blocked out by the screaming, wailing stingrays.

But it was the figures at the front of the army that chilled everyone's blood. Three, massive columns of rot loomed above the gates of Alfea, and perched upon them like a ruler seated on a throne were the three Trix Sisters.

"Oh, that is both disgusting and tacky," Riven noted, glaring at his ex.

"Not to mention a tad pretentious," Brandon added.

Both Darcy and Stormy were grinning maliciously, but Icy seemed to be putting on a rather bored façade. She regarded the force that was waiting to oppose her and her sisters, and her face became somewhat disappointed. Calmly, she ordered her army to attack in a bored sounding voice.

With a scream, the flying stingrays instantly descended onto the students and either knocked them to the ground or picked them up to drop them. Not expecting such a sudden attack, many of the students were overwhelmed by the bombardment of the flying rot monsters and fell before their attack.

"This is a good start," Brandon muttered sarcastically as he cut through one of the stingrays that managed to get past Timmy's laser gun. Ms. Faragonda and Miss Griffin quickly reacted and conjured up a magical shield that zapped anything at touched it. The flying stingrays tried to break though, but as soon as they touched the barrier they went completely limp and fell to the ground where they were absorbed back into the soil. The stingrays that were still inside the barrier were quickly blasted out of the sky by the fairies, witches and any Red Fountain student who had a gun or some kind of bow and arrow.

"Wow, that was affective," Brandon said as he stared up at the stingrays who were still trying to break through the barrier but the result was always the same.

Timmy nodded in agreement. "Yeah, let's just hope it holds."

Stormy stared screeching something about her being the new headmistress of Alfea and then summoned up the Dragon Fire in the form of electricity. So far the only usage of the Dragon Fire that any of them had witness had been Icy's Dragon of Frost which she had used to destroy Red Fountain and unfortunately Stormy's Dragon of Electricity wasn't any weaker. Transforming into a bolt of lightning, the dragon hit the barrier with all its force, and the headmistress's magic started to splinter.

"Make room fairies! We're moving in!" Stormy laughed as the shield crumbled and the Army of Decay moved in. The boys noticed Flora try to blast Stormy with her winx, but they never had the chance to see if it hit since the rot monster suddenly swarmed the front gate.

"Everybody attack now!" Palladium ordered, waving his elegant looking sword around and for once his students did as they were commanded. Fairies flew into the skies and witches levitated themselves up to join them. A way of magical blast, hexes and spells suddenly rained down on the Army of Decay, causing large numbers of the rot monsters to fall but there were countless others to take their place. The Red Fountain archers also helped to hold the army back, but they were quickly losing ground.

"Oh c'mon. Let 'em in already," Riven growled through clenched teeth, flexing his wrist. He had traded his sabre for his Morning Star and knife but was forced to wait with the others till the monsters broke through their defences.

"Now, now, Riven. Patience is a virtue," Brandon reminded his friend as he shifted his grip on his broadsword. Truth be told, he wanted to get into the fight as much as Riven, but orders were orders.

"I really don't think this is the place for a lesson on morals," Timmy said, shooting at a bunch of stingrays. "And I'm sure we wont had to wait very long for – "

Timmy was cut off by a sickening sound as one of the headless monsters massive fists collided with several of the Red Fountain archers. The students – one of them Bourne – were sent hurling backwards and hit the ground with a sickening hard sounding thud and all lost consciousness. (1) And the Army of Decay swarmed through the gap.

"Finally," Riven breathed as he started spinning his Morning Star. He waiting until some of the other students had dragged the unconscious archers out of the battle zone and then released his weapon, smacking one of the tentacle mouth monsters square in the face.

"Let the games begin," Brandon grinned, running forward and meeting his enemy at a dead sprint.

Sky had used various forms of transportation in the past, but the one that he disliked the most had to be fairy wings. He didn't know how the girls could stand having all that space between you and ground. He figured it must help if the wings you were using happened to be attached to you and therefore eliminate the risk of you suddenly losing your grip and plummeting to the ground, but he didn't have that luxury. All he could do was cling onto Blooms hand and try to keep his food in his stomach.

"Look! There's Alfea!" Bloom shouted, breaking Sky's thoughts that simply kept repeating 'don't look down, don't look down'. But when he was the school for fairies, he felt nauseous again, only this time it had nothing to do with the height and speed that they were travelling at.

The front gates of Aflea were swarmed with countless rot monsters. The size of the Trix's current horde dwarfed any of the other battalions they had sent in the past, and a large bulk of them was pressed up against the front walls as they tried to burst through. Sky could see that the senior fairies, witches and heroes, along with a few of the students in the younger grades, were responsible for holding the wall while the rest were left to face the monsters that would inevitably get in. But with the Trix powering and commanding the rot monsters in person, the resistance was quickly becoming over whelmed.

"We've got to get down there!" Sky shouted over the noise of the battle that increased the closer Bloom flew.

"No! I've got to go after Icy!" Bloom told him, recalling all the tactical advice she had been give over the last few days, as well as her own personal hatred of the witch. "If we stop her then we'll win!"

"Well then, put me down and I'll help the guys defend Alfea!" Sky suggested, but instantly regretted his words as Bloom nodded and then suddenly started descending rapidly. The ground was getting closer at an alarming rate and just when Sky was certain that they were going to crash, Bloom pulled up and almost jerked Sky's arm out its socket. Letting go, Sky dropped to the ground and resisted the urge to kiss it. Instead, he looked up at the fairy hovering above him. "Go, and be careful."

"You too," Bloom smiled before taking off again. Sky's legs were still trembling from the flight, but he set off at as fast a run that his wobbly legs would allow him. The trees that surrounded Alfea acted as perfect cover from the Army of Decay, so Sky managed to creep by unnoticed. He was about to try and scale the side wall to get inside the quad, when Stormy's spoke and she sounded so close that Sky jumped.

"Having the Dragon Fire so rules," the witch and her sisters laughed from their thrones, but they suddenly stopped when a blazing light that burned more intensely than the sun appeared in the sky.

"That's not the Dragon Fire!" Bloom unmistakable voice shouted, and Sky stopped where he was in order to look up at her. The Dragon Fire was burning with full force, and the spirit of the Great Dragon surrounded her. "This is the Dragon Fire!"

The spirit dragon let out a mighty roar and a massive wall of fire suddenly appeared between the Army of Decay and the school of Alfea. The students managed to jump out of the way of the sudden inferno, but the first few ranks of rot monsters that had been trying to break through the front walls were instantly incinerated.

"That's going to make getting into Alfea a little more difficult," Sky noted to himself as the students inside the walls cheered and Bloom apologized for being so late. The witches, however, looked absolutely furious at Bloom sudden appearance, though Sky couldn't help but notice that Darcy looked a tad worried.

"You think you can invade my school, mess with my friends and get away with it?" Bloom spat viscously as the witches as she gathered a ball of fire between the palms of her hands. The Great Dragon surrounded her again, giving its strength to her. "As if, witches!"

Sky couldn't deny the fact that he found watching Bloom send a hurling ball of fire at Icy very pleasurable. The top of her throne was instantly turned to cinders, and when the smoke cleared, there was no sign of the Ice Queen.

But she wasn't gone. "Stormy! Darcy! Get over here!" Icy commanded, and all looked up to see her safe and well in the sky. Her sisters quickly did as she bid. "Give me your share of the Dragon Fire! I need it to take care of this uppity pixie!"

The Winx Club chose that moment to abandon their efforts to defend Alfea and moved into the sky to aid Bloom with the Trix. Wordlessly, everyone seemed to agree that Bloom would face Icy alone, and the rest would go head to head with Darcy and Stormy. But even though their generals were distracted, the Army of Decay continued their attack on Alfea. The flames that Bloom had put between the army and the school had died slightly and the rot monsters had started to dissolve themselves into the ground only to reappear on the other side of the walls.

"I've got to get in there," Sky hissed, moving around to the side of the school. The fire hadn't moved around to that side yet, and only enough neither had the Army of Decay. If he had the time, Sky would have probably laughed at the Trix's pathetic attempt to command an army, but right now, all he could focus on was getting inside the walls to help his friends. The walls were impossibly high so it was completely out of the question to consider jumping it, even for someone as athletic as him. Luckily there were plenty of trees surrounding the school so after scaling a few branches, Sky was able to swing himself onto the lower roofs.

The heat from the fire was intense so Sky wasted no time in dropping down into the quad. He landed not far from where Lex was fighting and the short student swung around quickly, his short staff raised and ready to attack. Lex realized at the last second that Sky wasn't his enemy and tried to pull up short, but the momentum he had built up was so great that Lex ended up throwing himself head first into the ground.

"You alright man?" Sky asked, pulling out phantom blade as Lex remained in a heap on the ground.

"Er, yeah?" Lex groaned uncertainly, trying to stand. His efforts were hindered by Dominique, who came speeding out of nowhere to stand directly where he was lying.

"Take your time," she spat at Sky as she completely ignored the pleas of the boy she was standing on. "Do you realize how much your stupid friends were bugging me if I had seen you while I was scouting for the Army of Decay? If we didn't need all the help we could get I would had relocated them to the center of the Black Mud Swamp."

"Sorry. I got held up in Magix," Sky apologized.

"Well don't let it happen again," Dominique told him as if an attack from the Army of Decay was a yearly occurrence. Without another word, the witch bolted off and Lex was allowed to stand again.

Sky quickly left Lex to try and find any of his friends, hacking at any rot monster he came across as he went. Although he knew that his friends could look after themselves, he still wanted confirmation that they were alright and he found some when he spotted Riven through the mayhem of the battle.

Sensing something approaching him from behind, Sky turned around just noticed a flying stingray that had try to drive bomb him. Putting his blade out in front of him, Sky sliced directly through the center of the rot monster who exploded in a flash of yellow light.

"It didn't dissolve into smaller bugs," Sky noticed as he started to edge backwards. Did that mean that they were finally able to kill these things? Not that it really matter since the numbers of the Army of Decay were so great. One little stingray wasn't going to do much difference, but at least it was a start.

Moving further back, Sky suddenly ran into someone and without looking, he knew who it was.

"Dude, you made it," Riven growled a greeting, not stopping the swing of his morning star. He was skilled enough not to let it hit Sky by mistake. The two friends remained back to back so they could cover each other and talk at the same time. "I was getting worried about you."

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Bloom. She saved me," Sky told him without any traces of embarrassment. He didn't care that he – a Red Fountain sophomore – was saved by a freshmen fairy. He doubted there was anyone at any of the three schools in any grade that could best her now. "She's so awesome."

"She's way powerful," Riven agreed.

Sky frowned as he ran his sword through a rot monster that had tried to attack him. The monster crumbled like dried clay and didn't get back up again, but Sky was no longer interested in it. He had expected some kind of snide comment from Riven about him being saved by a girl. (2) Riven agreeable attitude didn't seem normal to him, so he decided to try and bait Riven again. "When this is over I want to take her out on a real date. I'll get her flowers and everything."

Riven would have normally responded with some comment about him being whipped, instead he said, "With that kind of power you better treat her right, know what I'm saying?" Sky frowned again, but didn't have time to dwell on it as a shadow suddenly fell over him. Riven noticed it too. "Watch out, bro."

Looking up, Sky saw the tank like headless rot monster raise its massive fist to try and crush the two closely spaced teenagers with one hit. But before it had even started to lower it, there was a flash of green and the hand of the monster slide off its arm.

'What the . . ?' Sky thought as he ran the monster through and it crumbled to the ground. But when he saw the green double beam saber, he knew the answer to his own question.

"Hey, just thought I'd give you a hand," Brandon joked as he caught the beam saber that had returned to him like a boomerang. "And that is how it's done, fellas."

"Yeah right," Riven scoffed, accepting the challenge that Brandon had thrown down. "This is how it's done."

Releasing his morning star, Riven managed to wrap it around the body of one of the flying stingrays. Pulling the cord that connected him to the orb in just the right angle, Riven managed to send the lassoed stingray crashing into one of the tentacle mouthed monsters. The two rot monsters crumbled into to pieces at the impact and Riven smirked smugly as he retrieved his morning star.

"Yeah, not bad," Sky shrugged indifferently. He wasn't one to ignore a challenge either. "But trying beating this."

Pulling out his boomerang, Sky sent it flying directly into a group of stingrays and seconds later, three yellow blasts of light filled the space where the stingrays had been. The boomerang then arced down, sliced the heads off of five tentacle monsters and then ripped through the chest of one of the headless ones before returning to the boy who had thrown it.

"Are you kidding me?" Riven growled as he ran his saber through a rot monsters stomach. "All you did was throw that bent stick of yours! Mine still wins!"

"No way! I took out nine monsters in one go!" Sky argued while he took on a rot monster of his own.

"So? You had no style!"

"What? As if that had anything to do with it! It's about being effective!"

"No, it's about both!"

"Well, in that case, I win!" Brandon said as he stabbed the under belly of a stingray as it flew over him.

"You?" Riven and Sky demanded in unison.

"Yes! Not only did a managed to throw my saber and make it return to me, but I also managed to effectively save the two of you. Both effective and stylish," Brandon told them.

"All you did was cut off a hand," Riven reminded him. "Sky had to finish it off the rest of it."

"Uh huh. Are you going to keep complaining or are you going to do something about that stingray?" Brandon asked casually.

"What?" Riven said stupidly. Looking back over his shoulder, Riven's violet eyes widen as a stingray swooped down out of the sky and aimed directly at his head. He didn't have enough time to counter with his morning star, and his knife really wasn't long enough to block the monster completely. Bracing himself for impact, Riven thrust his knife out in front of him and waited for the stingray to dive bomb him. But before it came, a small bullet of energy ripped through the monster, making it explode. The blast was both close and unexpected, so Riven lost his balance and crashed to the ground. Blinking, Riven's eyesight returned to him and looked up to see Timmy grinning with gun in hand.

"You guys talk way too much," Timmy smirked. He had been fighting with Codatorta, but when he had spotted his friends and had moved away from his professor to aid them.

"Thanks," Riven grunted as he quickly scrambled to his feet.

"You got here just in time, Timmy," Brandon grinned, cutting through the stomach of the headless monsters. "We're just having ourselves a little competition on who can defeat these things the best and I'm winning."

"As you are," Sky argued.

"Alright, we'll start the tally from now," Timmy told them all. "Highest number at the end wins."

"You are so on!" Brandon laughed, swinging around to stab a monster with his double beam saber. Just before his weapon contacted with the monsters shell, however, every rot monster flashed white in colour for half a second before returning back to their normal burgundy colouring. And when Brandon hit the monster, his saber didn't cut through and left only the smallest dint in its hard shell which it quickly repaired. "What the . . ?"

"The Trix must have given them stronger protection," Timmy noted when his weapons made no impact as well. Even Sky and Riven's swordsmanship couldn't make a dent. "This makes it a little more difficult."

"So does that!" Brandon gasped as Stormy and Darcy conjured up a twister with both their magic. The funnel touched down in the middle of the quad and ripped through the students who all made a dash to get away from it. Darcy's dark power lashed out at a few students as they ran, covering their skin with dark, whip like bruises. (3)

"Ouch!" Riven hissed, flinching as he watched a junior from Red Fountain get cut across the back with the dark magic. He knew from experience how much Darcy's magic stung. In the sky above them, Tecna shielded her friend with her World Wide Web attack and it was strong enough to cancel the twister.

"I wish we could help them," Brandon said, looking up as Stella threw a burst of sunlight at Stormy and the duplicated Darcy's.

"You worked out how to fly yet?" Riven asked, also glancing up at the fairies. Brandon decided there was no need to answer that.

"Hey, where's Bloom?" Sky asked, deflecting a stingrays attack.

"No doubt off fighting Icy," Brandon answered.

"I'm worried about her."

"I think we should be worried about ourselves," Timmy said, jumping out of the way of one of the headless monsters massive fists. With their new armour, the rot monsters were quickly gaining the upper hand on the battle.

"I got you Timmy," Sky said, once again pulling out his boomerang. "See how you like the boomerang!" The weapon hit its mark, but it made no impact on its enemy. Sky felt his hopes start to sink as the boomerang returned to him. Looking around, he saw countess of his class mates trying to take on the rot monsters, but ended up just focusing on not being squished by the giant fists. "I can't stop these iron pumpers."

'Stop it!' a part of him that sounded surprisingly like Codatorta commanded. 'Heroics 101; always keep a positive attitude!'

Sky noticed Brandon get cornered between two headless rot monsters. Forcing all negative thoughts out of his head, Sky threw his boomerang at one of the monsters chest, but it only just chipped its shell. And those negative thoughts quickly returned. "They're too tough!"

Riven rolled his eyes at his friends panic. Pulling out his double throwing stars, Riven decided to finish off Sky's monster. "Let me show you how it's done, bro. Double star!"

Like Sky's boomerang, the double throwing stars hit their target directly and yet made no impact on the monster. Riven couldn't hide his disappointment and in turn Sky couldn't hide his delight at the failed attack.

"No this is how it's done," Timmy said, taking aim and firing at the monsters with his gun. A bright, yellow light filled the area where the monster was, but when it faded it showed that Timmy's attack was as fruitless as Sky and Rivens.

"This is getting ridiculous," Riven grumbled. "How are we supposed to beat these things?"

And then, as if answering his question, the ogre Knut ran into the battle, picked up the monster they had all been attacking by the waist and dropped it to the ground. The massive rot monsters may have been unstoppable while they were standing, but when it was on the ground it couldn't seem to find its feet again. Knut ran off again, leaving behind him the struggling rot monster and four speechless students.

Finally, Brandon laughed. "I guess that's how you do it."

Sky grinned as well, but that smile faded when he noticed Stormy spinning in the sky above them. She was moving so fast that she literally became a blur, and around her the air shifted until it formed a massive wind funnel. The twister touched down in the quad, sending monsters and students running. A few unfortunate students got swept up in the wind before they were thrown out of the wind funnel. "That doesn't look good."

"Stella!" Brandon suddenly exclaimed in horror as he watched Stella and her friends get caught up in the twister. With no real idea at what he was doing, Brandon started to run towards the tail of the twister, but Sky stepped in his path.

"Don't be stupid!" Sky ordered his best friend. "You'll get killed!"

"I have to help her!" Brandon shouted, side stepping his prince and trying to make another dash towards the wind funnel that had trapped the Winx Club within it. But he was stopped again, only this time it was by Riven who opted to take hold of Brandon's cape to ensure that his friend didn't run headlong into danger. His plan worked rather effectively, though he did manage to choke Brandon in the process.

"Riven! The idea was not to let him kill himself, not help him!" Sky scolded as Brandon rubbed his throat and gasped for air.

Riven shrugged. "It worked, didn't it?"

"Lemme go," Brandon panted as soon as he found his voice. "Stella . . . we've got to help them."

"We can't fly, Brandon," Timmy reminded him. "And besides, they can take care of themselves. Remember, those girls managed to take out a fully grown Minotaur, and that was without power. I bet most Red Fountain seniors couldn't do that."

"They are pretty awesome," Sky agreed, blocking a stingrays attack. "I can't believe the power Bloom's throwing out."

"All of them have some amazing power," Brandon said with a slight smile, looking up at the fairies who were trying to counter the witches' twister. "Hell, they probably save us more than we save them."

"Oh I wouldn't go that far," Riven told him, though he silently did agree with his friends thinking. The Winx Club was made up of some one of kind fairies. Even he had to admit that they could probably handle any situation just as well if not better than him. Except Stella. She was the only one he refused to admit was capable of doing anything right.

"Look!" Timmy shouted as Stella, Flora, Musa and Tecna all stared to glow a bright yellow colour. Two thirds of the rot monsters instantly paused as the twister began to move backwards towards Darcy.

"What are they doing?" Riven wondered out loud as he watched with a fairly large level of delight as Darcy was sucked up into the spinning wind funnel.

"Stormy and Darcy's magic is weakening," Sky noted as the twisting air began to die down and falling out of the centre of it were the two Trix sisters. The Winx Club's spell had caused the Trix's dark magic to bounce back at them and getting caught up in Stormy's twister had left to two of them extremely dizzy. Too disorientated to react, the two witches plummeted towards the ground. But before they could either recover or land, Ms. Faragonda and Miss Griffin trapped them in a flying dungeon spell that crashed into the ground with such force that the student standing on the other side of the quad could feel the tremors it made on impact.

"No way! They did it!" Brandon cheered as he jumped into the air and punched his fist above his head. All around him, rot monsters were disappearing into thin air now that Darcy and Stormy were no longer powering them, but countless of rot monsters that were back by Icy still remained.

However, fighting the remaining rot monsters no longer interested Brandon. Descending from the sky, the Winx Club girls landed on the ground not far from where the two imprisoned Trix Sisters were being held. The four girls collapsed to the feet, exhausted and completely drained after their run in with Darcy and Stormy. "Stella!" Brandon gasped, his concern clearly covering his face. He took no notice of the stingrays that were still swooping at him overhead, and headed over to the girls. Timmy and Riven followed half a step behind.

Only Sky seemed to take notice of the danger that still surrounded them.

"It's not over yet," Sky thought aloud, but none of his friends heard him. Glancing in the direction that Icy and Bloom had gone, he felt his blood chill as he spotted a large pillar of ice looming above the trees in the place where Lake Crysalous was. A sickening feeling of dread suddenly swelled in his chest. "Oh no."

There was no question of who created that mountain of ice, and there was also no chance of that witch constructing it just for decoration. Bloom had told Sky at the start of year dance how Icy had attacked her for the first time in Magix and encased her in a block of ice, and it looked as though Icy had tried the same form of attack on her here, only this time she had gone completely over the top. Though he didn't want to admit it, Sky could see no way that someone could survive something like that.

But before he could let the horror of the thought sink in, Sky's attention was caught by an advancing rot monster and the prince's dismay quickly shifted the anger. He couldn't go help Bloom fight Icy directly, but this monster had to be powered by that witch and Sky had every intention of taking it out on this tentacle mouth freak.

"I've had enough of this!" Sky shouted, turning to attack the rot monster and in doing so, turned his back on the ice tower so he didn't see the spirit of the Great Dragon appear and wrap itself around the ice until it shattered. Brandon, Riven, Timmy and all the Winx Club saw it, however, and all of them froze and watched the explosion of power with awe.

"That can't be . . . Can it?" Riven stuttered as an intense white light filled the sky.

"It must be," Brandon replied in as equally as amazed voice. Who would have thought that the same girl that they had first met on Earth all those months ago would now hold the fate of the universe in her hands?

"The monsters," Timmy suddenly pointed out as the remaining monsters, including the one fighting Sky, vanished into thin air in the same way the other monsters did when Darcy and Stormy were detained. "They're disappearing."

"What does that mean?" Riven asked.

"It means we're winning!" Brandon cheered as a sly grin spread across his face. "And now to reap the rewards."

Both boys got his drift and returned his sly grin with one of their own.

Victory was a strange drug. It isn't normally classified under that term and yet it can give you such a high that can cause you to act outside your bodies' natural behaviour, which is very similar to the basic definition of a drug (4). Later, Riven would claim that he was acting out of the high the victory gave him and not his own initiative when he walked up behind Musa and offering her his hand so she could stand. "Hi. Need a hand?"

Riven didn't care that he was going against his normal judgment. Musa's smile made it all worth while. She really didn't need his help getting up, but she accepted it anyway. "Yo," she grinned, trying to keep her cool act going, but Riven could see right through it, and for once he didn't make a comment on it. She still hadn't let go of his hand.

Timmy was another person that had been affected by the victory. His mouth was completely dry and his heart was pounding rapidly as he also help out his hand to help Tecna stand. He just hoped to the gods that she didn't notice that the palms of his hands were sweating slightly.

"Hey Timmy," she greeted coyly and Timmy swallowed hard.

"Er, hi Tenca," he replied and for once he couldn't seem to be able to focus his mind. Instead he just stared into her beautiful turquoise eyes, completely lost for words, and she didn't seem to mind.

Brandon, however, was never lost for words, but he knew that only two needed to be said as he helped Stella to her feet. "Hey princess."

"Hey," she beamed back at him, her eyes filled with delight. Everything about her seemed to glow, and Brandon didn't think it had anything to do with the fact that the clouds were finally starting to break up.

"Look the sun's coming out," Flora noted and Brandon wrapped his arm around the blonde princess who turned to watch the sun break through the clouds for the first time in days. But it wasn't the only thing radiating in the sky. Descending down from the clouds, and unconscious Icy in her arms, was Bloom.

"Bloom!" all the girls squealed in both delight and relief.

"You did it Bloom!" Flora cheered.

"You rule!" Stella added as Bloom landed gracefully on the ground. All around her the pollution of the Army of Decay was vanishing. The black clouds that had hung overhead for days cleared and the sun that had been hidden for so long finally shone down freely on the school of Alfea. The Winx Club – no longer interested in the guys – moved over to greet their victorious friend. "Hey you."

Bloom lower Icy to the ground and then promptly forgot about her. Brandon couldn't help but notice that danger signs with doing that. "She is not going to be happy when she wakes up," he muttered to Riven under his breath.

"You got that right," Riven agreed. If you thought battle mode Icy was scary, wait till you see morning Icy.

"Oh, I'm so happy your okay, Bloom," Stella said, brushing away a tear of happiness.

"Is so good to see you guys," Bloom greeted her friends, though Sky couldn't help but notice that she seemed too looked past them to him.

"Bloom, you're awesome! That was the most amazing thing I've ever seen! You've got to give me five . . ." Sky told her as he ran over to her, but she words trailed off when he stared into her eyes which were still the most intriguing shade of blue Sky had ever seen. They were pale, though not chilling like ice blue eyes, and they were soft and deep, though without darkness. And above all, they seemed to burn with a fire that Sky now recognized as the legendary Dragon Fire and even after staring into them for a whole school year, it was still difficult for Sky to even breathe as he held that beautiful gaze.

Slowly, Sky leaned forward and brushed his lips across hers.

On the odd occasion when he had kissed Diaspro, Sky had found nothing amazing about the contact like in the way movies and books would lead you to believe. His kisses with his ex fiancée were always emotionless, awkward, some what forced and not to mention a tad on the slimy side due to all the lips gloss and lip stick she wore. Kissing Bloom, however, was a mind blowing experience that Sky knew he was never going to get tired of. His body reacted like a shock of electricity went through him. His skin tingled and he got goose bumps on his legs. The entire world became hazy and distant as he was quickly flooded with Bloom's intoxicating aroma. He couldn't remember ever tasting anything as sweet as her lips, and that was including Jacob's delicious glazed donuts. In fact he could seem to remember anything other than how fantastic this amazing girl from Earth made him feel.

The kiss ended quickly (5) since both parties were rather shy when it came to expressing how much they did actually liked on another, and also because there was currently three whole schools watching them. Beaming up at Sky, Bloom suddenly laughed out loud as moved into his embrace, and Sky found her laughter infectious.

And he wasn't the only one laughing.

"Did he just say 'You've gotta give me five'?" (6) Dominique snickered maliciously.

"Yes he did," Riven smirked. "And I am so gonna torment him with it for the rest of his life."

"No you're not," Brandon commanded firmly. "We're on a victory high so none of us can be accountable for the embarrassing things we say."

"Oh, can't I just – "


"But I – "

"You are such a – "


"Witches, fairies and heroes!" Ms Faragonda announced from the center of the quad, cutting of the little argument. "The Army of Decay and the threat of the Trix Sisters are no more! We have won!"

The cheer that arose from the students was deafening. Fairies and witches filled that air with firework like spell and hexes. Heroes hit one another on the back with enough force to make their balance waver and leave red marks for hours afterwards. Girls from Cloud Tower and Alfea embraced the boys of Red Fountain – though never one another – and a few of the boys were lucky enough to receive kisses with those hugs. Dominique, caught up in the moment, grabbed Lex by the face and kisses him soundly, before relocating him into the sky to join the fireworks.

Some things never change.

"Magix is back to normal," Dominique reported to Ms Faragonda and Miss Griffin. A few minutes later, the rest of the scouting party that had been sent to Magix arrive, looking very annoyed that one of their party had bolted ahead of all of them and stolen the joy of giving good news. The witch was thrilled by their annoyance.

"Thank you Dominique. You may leave now," Miss Griffin told her. The young witch didn't question her dismissal and simply ran off to prepare for the witches departure back to Cloud Tower. The two headmistresses then continued to discuss their plans for the future and how they were going to recover from this attack. Sky and Brandon watched all this from a far, while Bloom and Stella spoke with the ogre Knut.

"I can't do it," Knut whined.

"Yes you can," Bloom told him with an encouraging smile. "Just be honest."

"But it's impossible."

"Dude, we just beat an undying army of rot," Brandon pointed out. "Anything's possible. Now the old ladies are coming so here's your chance."

"I don't think you should call them old ladies," Sky advised his friend. He had seen those two 'old ladies' fight and they were nothing to be underestimated. Saladin, who had just joined the pair, was another old timer that Sky would always look at in a different light. Although all the students at Red Fountain knew of their headmasters magical abilities, very few if any had ever seen it displayed like that. Rest assured that forever more, students would jump to attention a lot sharper than usual.

Hesitantly, Knut made his way towards the trio, but then lost his nerve.

"Don't be so shy," Stella told him.

"Come on," Bloom also encouraged. "It can't hurt to ask."

Ms Faragonda looked at the ogre inquisitively. "Yes?"

When the big brut didn't say anything, Stella took control of the lead. "Knut has a question for Miss Griffin."

"Alright, what is it?" the master witch asked in what was actually her friendly voice, though none of the teenagers would know it since they were not her students.

"I really like it here at Alfea. Everyone's been so nice so can I stay please?" Knut begged her nervously. "Flora had a magical herbal shampoo that would really help with the OBO."

"There's also a new potion that might work," Saladin added. "I just read about it in Wizards Digest."

"It's fine with me," Ms Faragonda told the witch. "He'd be our first ogre in residence. What do you say?"

"Well, I don't see why not. It would certainly be a wonderful inter cultural experience," Miss Griffin said, and Knut laughed out loud in delight. It was funny how at the start of the year the boys had begun with fighting the ogre and now he was their friend . . . er, of sorts.

Ms Faragonda put Knut to work in cleaning up the school for prom as word spread that there would in fact be a Red Fountain next year. Funds had already been promised and everyone knew that Saladin was going to use the chance to redesign to school to its fullest advantage. While the old man loved the historical fort more than anyone could know, he always hated the fact that it would get damp and drafty in the winter.

"So they're still going ahead with prom?" Timmy asked watching several fairies flutter around the quad. Prom had been planned to occur today months ago, and it looked as though the committee planned to go through with it. And despite the fact that everyone was completely exhausted, everyone was up for it since they were all still riding on the adrenaline rush of victory.

"Yup. The girls on this years prom committee are a group of very determined fairies," Brandon said. "Even if we were still fighting the Army of Decay I have a feeling that prom would have still gone ahead."

"At least they'd have an original theme," Riven noted dryly.

"Do you think they're going to invite the witches to stay?" Timmy question, looking over at the Cloud Tower student body, who were once again all cloaked and were waiting in the quad while their headmistress talked with Ms Faragonda.

"I don't think they'd want to stay even if they were asked," Sky commented and right on queue Miss Griffin clapped her hands together sharply, and the slight chatter of the witches instantly died.

"Girls, it's time we got going!" Miss Griffin informed her students who started to make their way over to where she stood.

"Are you sure you don't want to stay from prom?" Ms Faragonda asked pleasantly. Despite the fact that they were supposed to be fierce rivals, the two head mistresses seemed to have come out of this ordeal with a connection that one might even dare to call friendship.

"We don't do prom. We crash prom," Miss Griffin declined sharply. "So enjoy it. This will be the one year we don't try and ruin it."

Ignoring the cold tone of Miss Griffin's voice, Ms Faragonda laughed out loud. She had known the master witch long enough to realize that what she had said was as close to a nice comment as she was going to get.

"Come on girls, we have a school to clean up tonight."

"We get to party while they have to clean?" Brandon smirked as Miss Griffin conjured up another vorpal tunnel. "Harsh."

"I bet there's going to be a lot of unhappy witches," Sky nodded.

"Enter the portal," Miss Griffin commanded and the witches did as she bid. Both Brandon and Riven glared at the vorpal tunnel in disgust. They'd sooner take on another horde of rot monsters that travel that way again. "I've thought a lot about what to do with those three witches and I've decided to send them to Do Gooder's Boot Camp where they'll sweeten the evil out of them."

"I hear everything there is terrible cute," Ms Faragonda noted as Stormy was lead into a portal by her new guardians. Not long after the three witches were imprisoned by Miss Griffin and Ms Faragonda, several strange looking men had arrived at Alfea at Miss Griffin's bidding. They were tall – taller even than Codatorta – with long hair and massive arms. But what stuck out the most was the fact that they all wore skirts. They had dressed the Trix Sister's in some truly horrible robes and adorned them while special crystals that notarized their powers. And now they were being sent away to Light Haven where they would – hopefully – be no longer a threat to society.

"It is. They're going to be absolutely miserable," Miss Griffin almost grinned as Darcy was lead away.

As Icy was escorted to the portal, she glared dangers at Bloom with enough hatred that Sky could almost swear he heard the air sizzle. If Bloom or her friends felt anything though, they didn't show it. Stella even went as far as waving them off cheerily. Icy's pale blue eyes burned with immeasurable hatred that almost screamed for revenge.

"I am so not done with you," the Ice Queen promised Bloom, and then she was gone.

Most of the ice had melt off Red Fountain thanks to the dragons fire power. The giant beast, once released from the witches hold had amused themselves by blowing fire onto the ice to make it melt and steam. Several of the younger dragons splashed and rolled in the chilly water merrily, slapping their tailings in the water to send droplet up into the air where they glistened like diamonds.

Riven, however, felt no joy as he surveyed the ruins of his school for the first time. This was his home, and he had had a hand in its destruction. And that was not a pleasant feeling. "I think I'm gonna be sick."

"Oh, it's not that bad," Brandon said, trying to lighten the mood, but Riven shot that to pieces with a filthy look. "Look on the bright side; we get a completely new school next year."

"I like the old one more."

"You haven't even seen the new one," Sky pointed you.

"Yeah, quit livin' in the past bro!" Brandon grinned and Riven made no attempt to deliver any kind of threat which was very unusual for Riven but no one had a chance to comment on it since at that very moment, a fat little welsh dragon dropped out of the sky, roaring happily.

"Monty!" Toby cried, hugging the snout of his pleasant little dragon. "I missed you buddy!"

The building had already deemed safe for the students to enter, but the foundations had become extremely weak after the witches attack. Several ceilings had fallen in and some of the dorm rooms – including the one Riven shared with Bourne and Kane – was completely ruined. Riven actually didn't seem to mind since he didn't really own anything of importance anyway, and also because the main bulk of the ceiling had collapsed onto Kane's bed.

Brandon, Sky and Timmy's room, however, was left pretty much in tack, though water from the melting ice had flooded their room which had unfortunately lead to a casualty; Timmy's computer.

"Oh, I'm sorry man," Brandon said, putting a comforting hand on his friends shoulder.

"It's alright," Timmy lied, trying to put on a brave face though Brandon and Sky could see right through it. "I mean, I've got a lot of it backed up on my computer at home. But still . . ."

"It's gonna be okay," Sky told him, also grasping his shoulder. Lady, who had been watching all this from the door, sensed that Timmy needed comforting and trotted over to Timmy and licked his hand.

A ghost of a smile brushed over Timmy's lips at the affection of his friends. "Thanks guys. Now come on, let's go find Riven before Kane tries to kill him."

"Well, it's sure been an interesting year," Brandon sighed as they walked through the flooded corridor. "I mean, it didn't exactly go as I had hoped for, but it was interesting none the less."

"Actually, you did kinda get what you wanted," Sky mused, thinking back to Brandon's toast at the start of the year. "I mean, we got adventure in the form of say going to Sparx, danger with the Army of Decay and we eventually did get the beautiful women."

"Yeah, but friendship was also it there and that was a massive balls up this year. I mean, at one stage none of us were talking with one another," Brandon pointed out.

"I know, but maybe we'll all walk away from this stronger because of it," Sky shrugged.

"Dude, that is the cheesiest thing I have ever heard you say."

"Well, may that teach you a lesson to be specific with you're toasts," Timmy said slyly.

"Good point," Brandon laughed out loud, but his smile quickly faded when he saw who was walking down the corridor in the opposite direction to them. "Oh gods."

"Well, well, well. If it isn't my most favourite squire in the whole realm," Justin spat maliciously. "I've seen what happened to your room. Does that make it feel more like home now?"

"Piss off, Status Crow," Sky ordered.

"Oh I don't think so. See Sky, you've got to understand that there is a set social pecking order and commoner scum like Brandon here are supposed to get stepped on by people like us. And yet you fail to understand that. If you ditch these losers, I might be willing to show you the ropes."

"Yeah, not gonna happen," Sky snarled. Glancing over Justin's shoulder, Sky could see Riven walking up the corridor towards the little confrontation, but neither Justin nor his goons realized this.

"Figures. You three really are the most pathetic people in this school. I mean, a computer nerd acting like a hero? A prince pretending like rank doesn't matter? And a squire thinking that he's worth something? It's a joke!" Justin laughed cruelly, before glancing down at Lady, who was cowering behind Sky's legs. "And don't even get me started on that stray you like to call a pet."

Without even issuing a threat, Riven managed break through Justin's goons and grab the son of a duke by the collar. Before any of the lacrosse team could react, Riven threw Justin forcefully into the wall in much the same way he had done when he had first arrived at Red Fountain at the start of the year. The major difference between that start of year and now, however, was that the foundations of the school were not as strong as they used to be. So while Riven had thrown Justin with equal strength as what he had done all those months ago, this time the wall crumbled under the impact and Justin went crashing into the senior Frankie's room, who turned and kicked Justin in the ribs in an unconscious reaction.

"Whao!" Riven gasped. He was not expecting that. Brandon, however, burst out laughing. Digging into his pocket the squire pulled out his wallet and removed ten dollar note.

"Here," he laughed, grinning from ear to ear as he slapped the note into Riven's hand. "You lost the bet at the start of the year by doin' that, but I am paying you now because that has to be the best thing I've seen all year."

"Yeah, well, no one insults our dog," Riven told them all. "The ships are leaving to go to Alfea now."

"Well, let's not keep the lovely ladies of Alfea wait then," Brandon smirked as the group headed for the hanger.

The previous year, prom had been a bit of a let down for the boys. None of the were really interested in any of the Alfea that year except for Brandon, who spent the whole night sulking because Stella had been sent home early after blowing up the potions lab. But with the presence of the Winx Club, coupled with the high everyone was on for defeating one of the most dangerous magical armies the universe had ever seen, this years prom was something Timmy wasn't going to forget easily.

"So, you'll be heading back to Zenith, right?" Timmy asked Tecna somewhat nervously. The digital fairy nodded sweetly. "So, can I write to you some time?"

"You certainly may," Tecna giggled as she nervously touched her hair. "It's going to be very weird to go home to peace and quiet after all this. And to have my own room again . . . wow. I'm not sure how I'm going to go to sleep now that I've gotten used to the music Musa likes to play as she's going to bed. It'll be a bit of a change not to be living in a dorm."

"Tell me about it. I've got two older sisters and after spending a year at an all boys school it was a massive shock to the system to come home to hour long bathroom sessions and having to listen to boyfriend dramas," Timmy said. "The oldest one has moved out this year so hopefully this summer isn't as bad. Least they can't gang up on me."

Tecna laughed as she lowered her drink. "They do that often?"

"More than I'm like to admit," Timmy confessed bashfully. "When I was younger they used play dress ups, and they didn't want me to be left out if you get my drift."

"They didn't?"

"They did," Timmy sighed regretfully, and then realised what he had just disclosed to her. "By the way, this doesn't go passed us. If the guys ever found out . . . "

"What's the matter? Didn't you trust me?" Tecna asked in a playful tone."


"Oh Brandon!" Tecna called, making Timmy jump slightly. He made an attempt to cover her mouth, but her put up her hands and blocked him. "I'm just teasing. I don't even think he's paying attention."

"He better not be," Timmy warned, looking over at the squire who was currently completely enthralled in the blonde princess next to him. "I'd never hear the end of it."

"We'll just have to get you some new clothes, now wont we. That way your sisters won't be able to try and dress you up since you'll look so good already," Tecna said, her hands still being held by Timmy's.

"Hmm. A shopping trip with a girl?" Timmy pondered. "I'll no doubt need to take with me a weeks worth of previsions and – "

"Excuse me?" Tecna laughed.

"You're excused."

"Are you suggesting I'm a shop-a-holic like Stella?"

"No, but you are a girl so it must be in your genetic composition," Timmy grinned. Tecna feigned outrage, trying to get her hands free from his. He held on, believing that if one of her hands got loose she may try to hit him. It would all be in fun, of course, but he was a Red Fountain sophomore, and they do not allow themselves to get beaten up by Alfea freshmen's.

"If it wasn't for us girls, you boys would currently be enlisted into the Trix's private servitude."

"We wouldn't let them get that far. We would have stopped them."

"I highly doubt that," Tecna laughed as she continued to struggled to get free from his hold. Though her smile didn't fade in the slightest.

Sky grinned at the pair as he walked over to where Brandon, who had had Stella stolen away from him by Musa, and Riven sat. Strangely enough, the two boys had their eyes fixed on the teachers table. "What are you doing?" Sky asked them.

"Watching Saladin get drunk on 'milkshakes'," Brandon answered, raising his fingers to do the inverted commas.

Riven snorted a laugh. "They don't look like any milkshakes I've seen."

"Whatever, have you guys seen Bloom?" Sky asked them.

"Are you engaged or something?"

"No man, I called that off."

"Oh that's good cause I would have ripped on you so bad if you were," Riven told him in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.

"What? Why?"

"Dude, that chick was Princess of the Realm of Quartz which you – if you had married her – would have become king of."

"What's that got to do with anything?" Brandon asked him.

"Well it sound's almost exactly like warts."

"Oh real mature Riven," Sky said, but Brandon was currently howling with laughter. "Now, have you of have you not seen Bloom."

"She's over there."

Heading off to where Riven had pointed, Sky found Bloom by one of the more secluded wells Alfea had on offer (7). Sky didn't know exactly why a school needed more than one wishing well, but he really didn't care at the moment. Bloom was staring up at the moon, and for some reason she looked sad.

"Hey, there you are," Sky greeted. "I was looking for you. They were playing that song you like."

"I just needed some fresh air," Bloom told him.

"Are you okay?" Sky asked her, walking over and sitting down next to her on the edge of the well.

"I dunno," Bloom sighed. "I started thinking how summer's about to start and everyone's going away for a couple of months and I got really sad. Like, this is going to sound cheesy, but I'll miss you."

"Hey I'm totally going to miss you too but the school year's not over yet," Sky reminded her as his finger tips edged closer to her until they touched. "We still have time to dance. Wonna get back to the party?"

"Ah, yeah. Okay."

Sky managed to steal a few dances with Bloom, but it wasn't long before Bloom had exhausted herself and demanded that they returned to their friends so she could get a drink and catch her breath. They found their friends sitting at a table with Knut and Aflea's newest student Mirta. Stella was trying to explain to Riven what was so wrong with his taste in clothing, and Brandon, Musa and Tecna were finding it to be rather entertaining, though Riven seemed to be lacking his usual sharp edge when it came to arguments. Timmy and Flora were talking with Mirta and trying to make her feel welcome in their little group, while Knut and Kiko seemed more interested in the food.

"Oh wow," Bloom sighed as she collapsed into her chair. "I am so tried but at the same time I'm having an absolute blast!"

"I'll say," Flora agreed. "This is the best party ever!"

"I'd like to purpose a toast," Bloom told them all, raising her glass in the air. "To friends!"

"To new friends and old ones!" Sky added, glancing at Riven. He managed to lock onto those violet eyes for half a second, but Riven quickly averted his gaze. Sky couldn't help but notice that, although Riven was sitting at the same table as them, he was still keeping his distance and unfortunately only time could change that.

Brandon, unaware of his princes thoughts, decided to add his own little bit to the toast. "And to princess."

"Let's toast to non royalty people to. We can not forget about them because you know they can be pretty cute," Stella said, latching onto Brandon's arm.

"Huh?" Brandon said dumbly, not prepared for her sudden affecting, and his friends found his confusion to be hilarious.

"And to Bloom!" Tecna added cheerfully.

"A special shout out to Bloom," Musa agreed.

"When she got here she didn't even have wings and today she saved the whole realm of Magix," Stella remind them all as Bloom's rabbit Kiko tried to make a break for it with a mini mountain of fruit.

"To Bloom!" everyone toasted in unison. Bloom blushed slightly at the attention and Kiko collapsed under his huge pile of fruit.

"You guys, we're going to be sophomores next year," Flora reminded the rest of the Winx Cub. "And you know what they say; sophomore year is even more thrilling and more exciting than the first year."

'It's something, alright,' Brandon thought to himself, and with Stella still attached to his arm he couldn't seem to stop grinning.

"To next year!" both Sky and Bloom said at the same time, raising their glasses in the air. But right now, the next school year couldn't be further from their minds. All they wanted to do was enjoy the night and have a good time with their friends

The End.

Finished! slumps over keyboard in exhaustion Oh my god, that was a big task. And I just couldn't think of a way to end it all. I was thinking about this some time back and worked out the perfect way to end it, but then I realized that I was thinking about the ending to the second season, not the first.

(1) Do you ever notice that throughout that whole battle no one seems to get hurt?

(2) I figure after betraying his friends, Riven's feeling a bit guilty so he doesn't pick as many fight. It just makes him a bit more agreeable in this chapter

(3) We never see Darcy's magic in that twister, so I made my own version of it

(4) The most basic definition of a drug according to my high school health teacher is anything that alters that body from its natural state

(5) Like too quickly for anyone to write anything good on it. How are we meant to make a passionate moment when the kiss is like half a second long?

(6) That has got to be the lames line in the history of the universe. You've gotta give me five. Who says that to the girl that they like?

(7) I swear that well moves. I was certain that it was located in the middle of the quad, but then this one is more secluded so it can't be the same one since the quad's got a party going on. I dunno ay?

Anyways, that's it from me for a couple of months. I'm off to work at the snow as a super liftie, but I'm taking my laptop with me this time so I'll probably keep writing. I just need to come up with a new idea for a story. Maybe I should just finish a few of those ones I've started but abandoned after the first few chapters. Oh well, I have three months to work it out. But I want you all to keep writing so that there's are some great stories for me to read when I get back. You've got all winter (or summer depending on where you are in the world) to crank out some good fic's. Don't let me down guys.

So, I'll catch you later, guys.

Cheers, tears-in-rain