The Final Strike

Darkdale. A haven for the weary traveler from Copperhorn Mountain. The pale tan sand blew across the rugged terrain, revealing the small village located is a small canyon as a shelter from the surrounding desert. The walls of the village kept out the dangerous monsters of the dangerous mountains outside. Due to this, many people have died from the trek both to and from the village, depending on their experience levels. In one of the homes, a young Sylph Blademaster lay resting peacefully with her sapphire pet at her side.

Summerstream rouse as per normal in her old home in Darkdale, even though she should be with her friend Nothgiel. Then again, it was her idea from the start to do this on her own. She had wanted to finish the quest she had started when she was 20, only 5 years ago. One never forgets what they learn of the past. As she got ready, a small and familiar voice sounded.

"Good morning!" the small blue turtle said, standing and jumping off of the bed. Well, someone seemed cheerful in the mornings.

"Morning Hidekio-kun!" Summerstream replied, fixing her brown hair into a ponytail that fell to her mid-back. As she looked at Hiedekio-kun, her violet eyes met the small coal black ones of the young sapphire pet. Breaking the glance, Summerstream pulled her Orchid gown over her head to conceal both her armor and the cross branded upon her back.

Walking outside into the mid-morning day, her gaze was attracted to the green space in front of her home that seemed to be out of place in the dusty town that had been carved out of the sandstone rocks. The center of the town was marked with a massive spire. This allowed a spot for people to gather to talk to people like the Darkdale Elder and the Darkdale Destroyer. It was also a place for people to go to the Careers Advisor to change their jobs. As she walked, Summerstream heard the friendly calls of the local merchants, returning them with a friendly wave.

Much friendlier that the merchants in Eversun... she thought, remembering her last trek through that city. Never again would she go through that traffic accident waiting to happen. Shivering at the memory, she continued to float gracefully forward, traveling down a set of stairs as her gaze drifted towards one of the landing pads for those people taking flight.

"Don't fly..." Hiedekio-kun put in, as if reading her thoughts. "We don't even know where the frog is!"

"I never said I was going to Hiedekio." Summerstream replied, speaking just as they passed the Darkdale Destroyer. Waving, she smiled at the Shura male, who waved back. Turning north, she began to descend the two sets of stairs, each being 25 to 75 steps in total length. Through the upcoming gate, lay the deserts on Copperhorn Mountain.

A sound erupted from a blade blocking teeth, like nails on a chalkboard. Summerstream had blocked a blow from a Lizard Leader, one of the many creatures populating the deserts of Copperhorn Mountain. Hiedekio-kun was at her side, fighting just as strongly.

"Growling Tiger!" Summerstream yelled, finishing off the over-grown lizard. As it fell backwards, Hiedekio-kun looked up at the Sylph.

"You look a little tired." he noted, grinning childishly.

"Spring Cleaning!" she said quickly, a green and yellow aura surrounding her in a spiral formation. Looking at Hiedekio-kun, she narrowed her eyes at him. "Not really. Just a little mad that I got aggroed yet again."

"Just checking Master." Hiedekio-kun said, looking at her. "Just don't get sarcastic like you usually do. It's the worst form of humor."

Continuing forward, she saw the Sandstone Ladybug in combat with another person of the Sprite race. It was Twig, one of her friends. What am I going to do? The question appeared before she could stop it. She knew that Twig couldn't hold the fort against the creature for very long, let alone for much longer. Rolling her shoulders back, she ran forward, landing to gain more traction.

"Lash Out!" Summerstream yelled, rushing into the heat of combat. "First Aid!" She had both increased her attack speed and healed Twig.

The Sandstone Ladybug turned to face the young Sylph. Narrowing her already narrowed eyes, the massive bug charged forward, with her clawed hands outstretched to attack her. However, Summerstream was ready for the attack.

"Berserker Blow!"

The blow struck the ladybug strongly, sending it staggering backwards. In reaction, the creature ran forward to attack. Although the attack was blocked, Summerstream was still sent backwards into a stone pillar. A sling of curses escaped her lips as she looked up at her foe. There was no sign of Twig, to her relief. In that one moment of distraction, in that window where she wasn't paying attention, the Sandstone Ladybug ran forward and forced the Sylph into the pillar behind her. Yelling out with pain, Summerstream kicked forwards to try and get the creature off of her stomach. No effect.

Hiedekio-kun growled loudly, springing forward. "Blow Off Steam!" he yelled, attacking the Sandstone Ladybug. Noticing Summerstream go down on one knee as soon as the monster turned to face him, he stood before the Sylph protectively. No one hurt her without paying for it in blood.

As Summerstream crouched down, she felt anger and shame wash over her. She was stronger than this! Pushing aside the pain, she stood gradually. "First Aid!" her voice rang out, feeling strength come back to her as her wounds were healed. Running forward, she used her burning rage to an advantage. "Burning Rage!" A red aura surrounded her. Letting out an angry cry, she ran forward as energy fell into her tired limbs. "Menacing Moo!" she yelled, attacking like an angry bull. The Sandstone Ladybug couldn't compete with the swiftness and power of the attacks and eventually, after parrying as well as the creature could, the massive monster fell defeated to the stained earth. The battle was finished.

Hiedekio-kun turned, going to Summerstream's side a she went down on one knee once more. "Are you okay?" he asked, pushing his nose into her leg. Speechless and tired, Summerstream nodded in reply. Using her blade to assist, she weakly stood before floating into the air so it wasn't as strange to see. As the pair continued, Summerstream took out a chuck of dried lizard and nibbled on it to help her get her energy back. In honest truth, she was really tired from the fight.

The pair continued for a while, still heading north. As the day wore on, it became hotter and hotter. It was nearly mid-afternoon before they stopped. Hiedekio-kun was perched upon Summerstream's shoulder, right beside a massive blade. The blade was called the Heartsinger, Summerstream's blade that was made with the help of a weapons' smith at the completion of her Trials. The style of the weapon was a saber, the weapon of the Blademasters of the Mirror World. At 5 feet long, the Heartsinger was only a few inches shy of being it's wielder's height of 5 foot, 8 inches. Even more so, the blade was nearly 150 pounds. Massive for a mere Commoner to wield when they're just beginning. This massive weight was just the right amount for a Blademaster, depending on the years they had spent training. For Summerstream, that was 15 years and counting. Despite how heavy the blade seemed to be, the weight felt like a feather for the Sylph.

"Let's rest here." Summerstream finally said, pausing by a tree that over looked a river. In the sunlight, the river appeared to shimmer like a diamond. This one spot was one of the remaining green spaces with grass in the massive canyon-like mountains. The other two areas were around the Guild Castle and Grizzly Garrison. After setting Hiedekio-kun on the ground, Summerstream took the Heartsinger off of her back and sat down at the base of the tree. After placing her bare feet into the water after taking her shoes off, she placed the blade on her lap to begin cleaning it. The cloth had been dampened by the river's water, leaving a small trickle of water as the cloth was dragged over the surface. To the young Sylph, it felt nice to relax for a moment in a hectic day.

Hiedekio-kun was at her side, watching her as he took a drink from the water. "What are you thinking about?" he asked, noticing the pondering look in her violet eyes. It made him curious to know.

"Nothigel. I wonder if he's okay..." Summerstream replied, not looking up from her work. She was working on a scratch on the beautifully crafted blade's surface.

"He'll be fine." Hiedekio-kun said reassuringly, "I know Thorn is helping him out like he did during your Trials." He loved watching Summerstream clean her blade, even though it usually took a good hour or two.

"Thanks Hidekio." Her voice sounded, glancing up as she continued to work. The more she worked with the blade, the more it seemed to reflect like the water. The ripples of the blade going into the water were like the sandbars of shallow waters. They seemed to not move, although everything around them was shimmering with life. It seemed to emit from the blade itself... As if it was giving off a light of it's own.

After Summerstream finished polishing the Heartsinger, the two began to travel north once more. This time, they would know have to watch out for the mammoth Warrior Whipping Grasses. One was enough to deal with, but three was more than enough for a job without an AoE or Area of Effect skill to handle. Summerstream glanced back every few yards to see if anything was following herself and Hiedekio-kun. Satisfied nothing was following them, she turned her gaze forward to keep a lookout for the violet grasses that were 8 feet tall. Ahead, there lay the stone arch that showed the grassy plains of Swan Lake Basin. The path appeared to be full of harmless Orange Whipping Grasses, until three purple grasses came into sight.

"Uh oh..." Summerstream said quickly, stopping. There was no way around but up. It was either that or to engage in yet another fight... That was, unless they moved. "Hiedekio, can you see an opening?"

"No... Even if we were to fly we would end up in Tranqulation before we could land." Hiedekio-kun replied, his voice plainly worried.

"And I'm not too fond of teaming up with other people... I would much rather take on a solo attempt." she added on. Summerstream sighed. Flying on her old sword was a bad idea, leaving the option of fighting. Not being in the mood, she realized she would have to wait for them to move.

One of the grasses turned, scanning the landscape. Summerstream froze. Hiedekio-kun growled. Appearing not to notice the two observers, he turned back to his other friends and resumed the conversation. Both Sylph and pet let out a sigh of relief. As Summerstream landed, the pair ran forward as to not be noticed by the grasses. They didn't stop running until Summerstream felt grass under her feet.

It was pitch black in Swan Lake Basin. Night. Two small eyes opened, as if sensing something familiar... Something from the past. What the creature had sensed was a presence from the past that had defied him for nearly 24 years now. The moonlight shifted, revealing a green body with a cream stomach. His large brown eyes moved, showing they were at the sides of his head. It was a frog, the Pearly Frog. He would leave his hunt to the next day, wanting to finish what his workings did early.

The two awoke at the same time. The sun was just peaking over the trees to hit the lake and make it shimmer like a diamond necklace under the same conditions. The elegant, yet dangerous Neptune's Tower rose from the center of the lake, the only way of getting there was to fly. However, this was of little importance to Summerstream. As they looked around, the dew that had gathered on the young Sylph's body rolled down like raindrops on a window. Even the grass was bending from the weight of the water.

Hiedekio-kun shook his body, scattering water droplets everywhere. Looking up at his master, he saw that Summerstream was pulling her Encyclopedia onto her back. He could tell that the Heartsinger was beside her, resting delicately against the tree.

"Are you carrying your blade?" Hiedekio-kun asked, watching as she stood with the massive blade in hand.

"Yes, I am carrying my blade Hiedekio." Summerstream replied, pulling the blade up so she could rest it on her shoulder. This moment reminded her of her Trials, the memory coming up different from what had happened.

It was during the Trials. The second day to be more exact. She had been fighting two demons, one male and the other female. She was seeing the fight as if she had received broken bones from the kick to her chest instead of a couple bruises. Summerstream had failed to block a blow from the female's scythe, leading her with a large gash on her chest over the broken bones. There was no energy that she had left to lash out with a stronger attack, or even heal her. Hiedekio-kun was lying off to the side unconscious. The two demons moved in as the vision faded.

Summerstream shook her head to clear the fake memory out of her mind. If she could survive that, then she could win the fight. Walking forward, the young Sylph pushed the memories back so she could focus on the upcoming fight. As she came to a crossroad, she looked around. To the east was the Guild Castle, as well as a farming area. To the north-west was the small village of Trranqulation where Summerstream grew up.

A rustle sounded from the trees, causing both the sapphire pet and Summerstream to look in that direction. Only a few seconds passed before a large green figure jumped out into the path.

"Good to see you, young Sylph," the figure ribbited, the mid-morning sun revealing the Pearly Frog in full living colour, as well as size. With his green body and his stomach being a light cream in colour, he appeared to be harmless when he was actually quite dangerous. Under normal circumstances, he would 'aggro' or attack anyone who attacked the creatures around him, among the Orange Whipping Grasses and Dairy Pu Dadas. This Sylph was a different story though. This frog had killed both her parents when she was young, but missed the chance to kill the youngest daughter, a baby at the time.

Summerstream narrowed her violet eyes at the frog. When she was 10, she had managed to avoid contact with the frog as she ran to Eversun City. She had wanted to get one of her job qualifications as a Doctor, but she decided to change into a Blademaster after a few months. It even took her a little time for her to become a Musician and a Shaman. She wasn't even sure on how she had managed to do so, seeing as she had run past a clearing similar to this where the Pearly Frog traveled to. Most likely, it was her timing that had allowed her to do so.

"I suppose you also know why I'm here…" Summerstream said, bringing her blade off of her shoulder. As she spoke, her voice was dull and emotionless, showing her uncanny calmness in these situations.

"Vengeance," the Pearly From replied, springing forward to attack the Sylph. In reaction, Summerstream swung the Heartsinger around to block the blow with ease, 150 pounds of metal crashing against teeth. This was she wanted, and expected. By letting the enemy attack first, it allowed her to gage where she should be fighting at, a very useful tactic. She had learned this during her training and applied it during her Trials. From this, she also pushed the frog back, making the Pearly Frog step back a few feet.

How did she become this strong? he thought, attacking again. A hit. Although the Rhino Armor she was wearing under her costume prevented a fair amount of damage, there was still some damage done.

Summerstream narrowed her eyes, slicing the Heartslinger at the Pearly Frog to deal a high damage blow. Hiedekio-kun watched before acting.

"Blow Off Steam!" he yelled, attacking the frog. He always fought alongside Summerstream, no matter what happens in the fight, or any fight for that matter.

"Eagle Shriek!" Summerstream yelled once more, attempting to take down the frog's attacking power. She managed to do so, but was unprepared for the next attack from her enemy.

"String Cannon!" the Pearly Frog finally yelled, the attack hissing Summerstream in the upper stomach.

She was thrown into a tree from the impact. There was a bad wound on her stomach, appearing to be more like a really bad burn than an actual cut. Sitting there half-dazed, it felt like Summerstream had lost a fair amount of blood, but she wasn't too sure. From the rough bark on the tree, there were small cuts on the exposed back areas on her back. The frog was laughing at his foe, mocking the female Blademaster. Two choices came to her. Run or continue fighting. Picking up her blade, she chose the later one. Using both her blade to stand, she leaned against the tree behind her. "I'll never give up…" Summerstream whispered quietly, "Be it my death or my savior." Taking the blade and turning her body after recovering, she lifted the massive 150 pound blade to be parallel with the earth as she turned her body.

"Burning Rage; Berserker Blow!" she finally yelled, a red aura surrounding her as she ran forward, swinging the Heartsinger with speed, strength and skill in spite of her injuries. There was a pained scream and then silence. The Pearly Frog had been defeated as Summerstream began to float in the air, one of the characteristics of her race.

"First Aid!" she called out, healing what she could of her wounds. Picking up the dreamstone that had been dropped, she felt Hiedekio-kun come to her side. The pair had no clue they had been watched by the people in Tranqulation…

Hidekio-kun ran forward, running into the small village of Tranqulation, which was built alongside the beautiful lake. Summerstream had limped into the village behind him, showing a leg injury from the fight. Several familiar voices sounded at various times.

"Thank you for doing that task!" one called out, seemingly male

"Yes, thank you for that!" another yelled. "Defeating the Pearly Frog is a big accomplishment! I heard the Darkdale Elder was looking for someone to defeat him."

The pair looked at each other. "Huh?" Summerstream said, surprised at the happenings. "All I did was avenge my parent's murder..."

"Sharon and Shaun?" another voice yelled, walking outside. It was the Hunter. "Appears my prediction was right. You were and did going to become a master of the saber, or a Blademaster. I'm the Hunter that was with them when they had been attacked. Even I couldn't take down that frog." The pair smiled in union.

"Thank you." Summerstream replied, dipping her head respectfully. There was a taught smile on her face. She could feel that her trust was starting to run down. That was able to be blamed on her past.

"I think those boys are sorry for beating the living daylights out of you to the point where you could of died. I believe that Summerstream." the first male said once more, a Shura. "Still, if your trust is wearing thin, you should leave."

Summerstream smiled. They remembered her trust problems, as well as her name. "I will. Thank you for that." she said, sheathing the Heartsinger before taking out the sword she now used for flying. Picking Hiedekio-kun up, she mounted the blade. As Hiedekio moved onto her back, she waved goodbye before ascending into the air.

The pair was headed to Darkdale, taking the chance to fly instead of walking. Finally, after all of these years the Sylph could move forward in her life. She didn't know what was next, but she knew that she was ready for the challenges that the Mirror World would throw at her next. That was the one thing she was completely sure of these days... The fact that something can and will happen to her every day and week she lived. All that mattered now was getting home.

The end, for now...

Stephanie Docs, 8S