I know I said that I was done with this fic, but then it occurred to me that I have just one more thing to take care of. Also, there was something I wanted to do for all of you, but I'm not technically allowed to do it unless I say that it's an author note added to the story. So…surprise! I have one more entry for New Frontier:

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Epilogue

Spyro and Cynder stood on a balcony of the restored Temple, looking out over the village in the valley below. "It's amazing, isn't it?" Cynder asked, smiling. "Four months, and look at what we've done…"

"Everyone pulled together," the purple dragon replied. "That's what it was; none of us could have done this alone. Even Raj's old gang helped out."

"They just had a bad leader. Now that Thor's in charge they're not so bad." Cynder giggled. "Would you believe Daeven asked me out the other day?"

"So what did you say?"

"I turned him down of course," Cynder gave Spyro a quick kiss on the cheek. "Like I'd trade you for anyone."

"Excuse us."

The pair turned around to see Ignitus and Erika standing in the doorway.

"Hi Ignitus, Erika," Spyro was blushing furiously. "Can we help you?"

"Actually," Erika began hesitantly, her eyes downcast. "I…I wanted to talk to Cynder…if you're not too busy that is?"

"That's fine," the black dragoness answered. "What's up?"

"I-I kind of wanted t-to talk to you alone…" she stammered.

"That's fine," Spyro made his way to the door, Ignitus waking alongside him.

"So," Cynder asked once the others were out of earshot. "What's on your mind?"

"Well," Erika began slowly, still not meeting Cynder's gaze. "I wanted to say…I'm…" the copper dragon took a deep breath. "I'm sorry; I haven't been fair to you at all. I was upset about Raj, and I blamed you for him leaving. I know it's a lot to ask, but can you forgive me?"

Cynder placed her hand on Erika's shoulder, looking warmly into the young dragoness' eyes. "Of course I forgive you. I understand what you went through: your whole world had just been shattered, you'd have to be crazy for that not to get to you."

"So it's okay?"

"It's okay. Believe it or not I went through something similar myself."

"Really?"

"After Spyro rescued me from Malefor, it took me a long time to get used to how different my life was. It was also kind of hard to accept the idea that my 'Master' had tried to kill me for failing him. There were actually some times when I was angry at Spyro for taking me away."

Erika was silent for a moment. "Why are you telling me this? Are you saying that you want to go back to the Dark Master?"

"Never. I'm just saying that I know what you went through, and I understand how you feel."

"Thank you, Cynder," Erika said, smiling at last. "That's a weight off my shoulders. Tia was right when she said I should talk to you."

"Yeah, she's good at solving this kind of problem."

OO

"Spyro, could I talk to you for a moment?"

"Of course Ignitus; what did you need?"

"I just wanted to say how proud I am of you. You've taken the roles of hero, leader, warrior, and friend…and performed them all admirably. I'm sure that if Darius were here now he would agree that you are everything he could hope for in a son and more. And I feel the same way."

"Thanks Ignitus, but you're being too kind; I don't deserve that kind of praise. I just do what needs to be done."

"That's all it takes to be a hero, Spyro. And you do so much more than that, even if you don't realize it. You stand and fight where others would flee, and that kind of strength is inspiring. You're a beacon for the rest of us. Before you appeared, we had given up hope of defeating Malefor, or even surviving the war. You gave us the courage that we needed to go on. You may not think so, but we'd be lost without you." Ignitus smiled at his 'son'. "Especially Cynder."

Spyro's face went pure red. "And I wouldn't know what to do without her," he muttered, looking away.

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OK, now that I've dealt with the mandatory story content, here comes one Hell of an Author Notes segment.

Special Features

Quotes/References:

A list of all of the quotes and references I included in the fic, sorted by chapter.

Chapter 2:

Spookily close parallel to a scene from Naruto. I forget which episode exactly (it was during the Chunin Exam), but replace Cynder with Sakura, Spyro with Curse Mark lv 1 Sasuke, and the apes with the Sound Genin…it's kind of scary that I wasn't even planning this one.

Chapter 4:

'I didn't want to lose you like I lost Malefor.' Reference to Star Wars, specifically The Empire Strikes Back, if I remember right. I may not have the line exactly right, but close enough that most people I've asked got it. As soon as I found out that Mark Hammel (Luke Skywalker) was voicing Malefor, I knew I had to fit at least one Star Wars reference, and Obi Wan's line seemed to the best fit.

When I was planning the conversation between Spyro and Ignitus, it felt very Harry Potter, especially the part where Spyro's father was Ignitus' best friend, but it felt right, particularly with Gary Oldman playing both Ignitus and Sirius Black, so I ran with it.

Chapter 6:

'My studies of the Forbidden Arts have granted me with powers that some would deem…unnatural.' Another Star Wars reference, I hope I don't need to explain more.

Chapter 8:

'Brace yourself, you're about to become very popular.' The line came from Disney/Pixar's Robots. I know that the movie has nothing to do with my story, but I liked the line and it is something Antares would say.

Chapter 9:

'Ready, steady, go!' From the Fullmetal Alchemist opening by the same name. Basically I made it the Front Guard's battle cry.

Chapter 10:

'sweet girl…bad judge of character.' Jim Carey in the live action Grinch movie. No particular reason for using, it just fit.

Chapter 11:

Cynder's crack about them being chained together is a DotD reference; I'm also commenting on how in eleven chapters I'd hardly done anything where Spyro and Cynder weren't together, so it's kind of a shot at myself. (btw, that chain was nothing but trouble for about 90 percent of the game)

Chapter 13:

'It's been a long time, Dragon.' I toyed around with making an Advent Children reference here, but I decided against it and changed the line, partly because I wanted to save that for later, partly because I'd get hurt if certain people I know read Gaul quoting Sephiroth.

Chapter 14:

'This is gonna be…interesting.' The Star Wars TV series. This one wasn't intentional (it's actually something I say myself when I think a situation's gone bad or is about to), but again, the parallel is there so it works. Also, like I said I'm trying to fit in some SW references.

'Oh yeah, real sure.' Quote from the first Bionicle movie. Once again, just switch the characters and you have the same scene.

'It's impossible…nothing works!' Blatant .Hack reference. From the first game, when Orca is fighting Skeith and none of his attacks hurt it.

'Ready, steady, go!' [see chapter 9 section]

In case anyone doesn't know, Dual Techs are from Crono Trigger (and I think Crono Cross but I never got to play it so I'm not sure). Since many of them rely on mixing different elemental powers, it just kind of makes sense that dragons could use them.

Chapter 15:

'Stand together, and draw strength from each other.' I mentioned earlier in the story that Orion seems like a younger Ignitus, and so I decided to have him say the Fire Guardian's last words.

'Arise, my new apprentice.' I shouldn't even have to explain this one.

These are all of the ones that were intentional and a couple that I caught after I put them down. If you find any others, let me know in a PM or Review.

OO

Soundtrack: Just a few songs that go with the story and/or characters.

Black Fire (piano remix): during the battle with Dark Cynder

Raising Fighting Spirit: defending the village; starts when Spyro, Baho, and Cynder leave the prison

Strong and Strike: Baho's battle theme

[Sango's Theme]: in the forest, when Spyro is comforting Cynder

Wind: ending song

If you want the tracks (except Sango's Theme, I'm looking for it right now), send me a PM.

OO

Deleted Scene: Here's a scene from Chapter 11 that was cut out for story purposes.

What's with this headache? For the last hour or so Cynder had had a dull throb in the back of her head. Come to think of it, it started just after Baho gave me this necklace…

You still haven't figured it out? A strangely familiar voice sounded in Cynder's mind. I thought you were some kind of genius. I mean I am, after all.

Wha? The pain had spiked for a moment when the voice appeared, and she shook her head trying to ease it. What's going on? Who are you?

The voice laughed softly, accompanied by another spike of pain. It also felt like the necklace was heating up. I'm you, or at least a part of you.

Cynder shook her head again, blinking in confusion. What do you mean? Who are you?

I hate repeating myself, you know…

"Cynder," Spyro asked. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," the dragoness lied.

Stop toying with her. Cynder recognized this voice.

Malefor?! But how?

She really isn't that bright, the first voice broke in, is she? Well, just to stop you from repeating yourself like an idiot, you can call me Shard. And as for what I am…let's just say that I'm the part of you you'd rather say doesn't exist. And I'd like to say, it's good to get out again after so long.

Shard, Malefor broke back into the conversation. Stop playing around; we have work to do.

Yes master.

Suddenly, the pain became so great that Cynder fell to the ground, clutching at her head and crying in pain. Then she felt her consciousness being pushed back as Shard began to take control. At the same time she once again felt Malefor's dark power flowing through her from the pendant, which was now glowing purple.

"Cynder!" Spyro knelt down next to her.

"No," the dragoness moaned, feeling her control of her body slipping away. "No!"

Spyro reached for the pendant, but the dark energy was too strong and he had to pull his hand away.

Yes, Shard taunted, pushing her control further, while Cynder's body began to grow larger.

Shard, Malefor commanded. Deal with the child first, then raze this village to the ground.

With pleasure!

No! Cynder fought vainly, putting everything she had into forcing Shard back, and resisting Malefor's control. But it was no good; with the amulet bolstering them, Cynder didn't have the strength to prevail.

Poor girl, Shard thought in a mocking tone. She doesn't want to watch her friends butchered. How about this, little Cynder. Cynder's vision began to darken. Go to sleep, and when you wake up it will all be over…

No! Stop! Cynder fought with all she had, but was powerless to resist Shard's spell. "Ready for Round 2?" she heard herself ask as everything went black…

You know how the rest of the scene goes. I put some real thought into a split personality that takes over when Cynder is in Dark Form, but the more I looked at it, the less I liked the idea. It would have been too confusing to write, and it sounds like I'm saying that Cynder's innocent because she really never did anything, when we know that she did, albeit under Malefor's influence. That's why she feels so guilty.

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Well, now I'm really done. I plan to start writing the sequel by Spring Break, and I'll also be doing some work on my profile page.