The title of this chapter will cover many bases, because we prepare for everything, including life itself.


Chapter 27: Preparations

With a vast array of vivid images running through his dreams, Spyro has a wide smile across his muzzle. Flying alongside Cynder, and holding his son in his arms, the purple dragon can almost tell he is dreaming, and enjoying every second. Nothing could wake him from such a powerful image.

The purple dragon, still sleeping with his wife in the rear chamber, has his back to the ground. Cynder is lying beside him, her entire left side resting on his gold belly. She also has her head down to the side of Spyro's, so he could lean against it.

A weird position for a dragon, Spyro actually enjoys sleeping on his back, with his left wing stretched out and the other curled around his love, as she holds him tightly. Exactly like there are positioned now...ALMOST.

However, Cynder is a foot taller, because of her imprisonment in a dimension of fast-moving time, and this became very helpful when Spyro laid all the way back. The Purple dragon would always prop his head up on his long gold horns, like a pillow, but he forgot he was missing half of the right one.

Cynder smirked, as her husband's neck creaked to the right, and quickly stretched her now longer frame up to hold his head level. A deep comfort of support came from this immediate gesture, and both dragons fell back into a peaceful slumber. Husband and wife experiencing the same dream, a wonderful effect from the spiritual magic they felt from Diamond eariler that day.

Both dragons, in their dream, land outside of their home in the Valley, and Sparx looks around with wonder. He turns around to his dad, and Spyro lowers his head for his small child to kiss his cheek.

However, knowing he is dreaming, a chill shoot down his back, as he can actually feel his son lick the side of his face several times, then the pressure of weight on his neck and chest. Suddenly he notices that he can also smell his son's scent, something you cannot do in a dream. Finally he hears his voice.

"Dad...wake up!" Sparx' whispers, and Spyro is startled out of his slumber by such a weird statement.

He opens his eyes to see his son, standing on his chest staring down at him.

"Good Morning!" The young dragon says with a smile, and Spyro jumps up immediately. Cynder also hearing, seeing, and feeling the same emotions, jumps up with her husband. Spyro holds his son tightly, and Cynder wraps them both in her arms. They are amazed to see their son wide awake, and finally looking healthy with a vibrant glow to his scales.

"Thank the Ancestors!" They say in unison, holding him tightly, never wanting to let go.

"They always get the credit for my work!" Diamond's voice barks from the entrance of the sleeping chamber, startling Spyro and Cynder to look in his direction.

The white dragon slowly strolls into the room with a smug grin on his features.

"It's never...'Thank the Great Elder!'" He remarks with pure sarcasm, and Spyro smiles.

The purple dragon stands up, leaving Cynder alone to shower Sparx with her love, for a moment. Spyro grasps Diamond tightly, lifting him up off the ground.

"I can't thank you enough...my friend!" Spyro says with tears of joy flowing, holding the elder with a spirited grip. "You gave me my..."

"No my friend..." Diamond cuts him off, hearing what he was going to say before spoken, and not allowing Spyro to finish such a pointless thought.

"It was you and Cynder, that gave you back your family..." He says aloud so his wife can hear, then looks back into Spyro's eyes, and continues with just his mind.

"...I only gave you a push in the right direction!"

Spyro lowers his head down to Diamond's ear, while placing him back on his feet.

"Well then...Thank You for pushing me, Great Elder!" Spyro whispers with a little sarcasm of his own, and Diamond returns his smug grin.

"Your Welcome...Great Hero of Avalar!"

After a momentary pause, showing the Spirit dragon a grateful stare and a million dollar smile, Spyro jubilantly spins around and heads back to his family to share in the joy. He places his paw upon Cynder's neck, and she shows him her smile as the same joyful tears flow from her sparkling green eyes. The purple dragon kisses his wife, and hugs his family tight.

Diamond squints his eyes at the over-flow of energy, filling the room with a rainbow of color. The white dragon can feel the love, and does not want it disturbed...yet.

He can feel an aura approach from down the hall, and walks out of the sleeping chamber to intercept this dragon before he ruins a good moment.

"What is it Excelcius?" The Elder remarks to the head Palace guard, stopping the large red dragon from barging in.

"We will be ready to depart in fifteen minutes, Great Elder!" The Fire dragon remarks with a stern tone of order in his voice, then his entire body rest at ease as he looks into the eye of the albino dragon.

"If Monsoon is still hurt, from what ever happened to him last night..." He says with a sudden flow of emotion, looking down, unable to ask while stare into the great dragon's eyes, and hesitating with his words.

"...I just wanted you to know...that it would be an honor...if you allowed me to carry you back to New Warfang!"

Diamond smiles seeing his aura rise with just asking this simple request, knowing what a privilege it would be to the Head Palace Guard.

"I would be the one that was honored my friend..." He says, then places his paw upon Excelcius' chest. "...but I'm sorry to say, that will not be necessary!"

The powerful Fire dragon lowers his head, felling rejected, and his aura drops with him. However, a quick pulse of spiritual power and an explanation comes quick to heal his soul.

"I'm not going back yet, my young friend..." Diamond remarks, and stares into his eyes. "...but you can still bring me back later, because you are staying here with me!"

The Great Elder can see the expression on Excelcius change to shock, and places his paw upon the muzzle of the red dragon before he barks with surprise.

"I want you to see something with me Excelcius...ALONE!"

The fire dragon nods his head, and hears several thoughts come from the Great Elder's mind, a list of simple chores to perform. He pauses for a moment, wondering why, but does not question him. With a new feeling of duty in his heart, the Head Palace guard returns to the living room, where his troops have gathered.

"Attention everyone...you will depart for New Warfang in ten minutes, but I will be staying behind." He remarks to his soldiers, and several quick gasps of confusion fill the room.

"Ampere!" Excelcius commands, staring at a slender yellow and orange dragon. A powerful female, mentored by Volteer himself, this dragon possess incredible electric power, and knows how to use it. It is the reason she was second in command.

"I hereby promote you to the Head of the Palace Guard." He remarks with pride, and Ampere stands at attention, being given such an honor. "You will take charge until my return...that is all!"

The yellow and orange dragon goes to thank Excelcius for his belief in her abilities to lead, however, the former Head of the Palace Guard runs from the cave, as soon as his short speech is concluded. With a request from the Great Elder echoing in his head, the fire dragon is consumed, and leaves in a blaze.

"You heard him everyone..." Ampere remarks, taking control of the moment with her stern voice. "We move out in ten minutes, so grab everything you brought, and make sure this place looks like it did when we arrived...Understood!"

"Yes ma'am!" The group replies in unison, and quickly begin picking up after themselves, but Ampere turns her attention outside with a bit of concern, as her leader leaves in a hurry.

Diamond watches with a smile, as the harmony of the group, shows in their spirits. But more so, seeing the shining aura of a certain fire dragon, leaving the cave with a new purpose. However, he does see one spirit drop from the room, and slowly make his way to the lost soul.

With a quick touch to her side, the elder can feel Ampere's pain.

"Do not worry for your friend..." He says, and the young dragoness looks at him with shock.

"If he can pass this simple test, young one..." He says to her with his mind. "...Then I think his honor will finally be acknowledged"

The white dragon removes his paw from her side and finishes a special thought to himself, knowing the test he is going to be giving Excelcius today, will determine his future greatly.

"We may have finally found a replacement for Ignitus!"

Diamond gives the yellow dragon a very wide smile, and turns back to the large group under her control.

"He is going to be fine, Ampere." He remarks, then gives her a stern look from his light-purple eyes. "The question on my mind is...Will You?"

The yellow dragon's aura tightens up and shines brighter, as her focus returns to the duty at hand.

"Of course I will, Great Elder..." She remarks with a bit of concern, hearing his query, and feeling a bit of doubt, however the fierce dragoness pulls herself together, and stares back at Diamond with a look of assurance. "...you'll see, I will make you proud of me!"

Diamond touches Ampere's jaw with a soft paw, and sends her a quick thought before walking away.

"I'm already proud of you, my dear!"

The white dragon does not need to look back, as he walks from the living room and into the hallway. He can feel the new Head Palace Guard's spirit rise with pride, and all those around her as she snaps them to attention.

"Lets go everyone!" She remarks, turning to her own area, and making sure it is clear of everything she brought. Placing several item into a satchel, and hanging it around her neck. Ampere turns her head to those placed in her charge

"I want everyone ready in five minutes..." She continues, then looks outside again. "...Excelcius is counting on us to show our best, so I want his last orders carried out to perfection...Understand!"

"Yes ma'am!" The guards return, again in perfect unison, then picked up the pace of their action with a heightened feeling of duty.

Diamond can see the group of dragons, leaving the cave one by one, as it sends less light down the dark hallway. However, the brightness from the other end of the hall is enough to light his way with ease.

The blind dragon strides back into the rear sleeping chamber, and gives the happy family a smile as they return their attention to him.

"Your son has a very healthy appetite, Cynder!" Diamond remarks, having just watched Sparx devour everything that he placed before him. "I did not know such a small dragon could eat so much, but then I remembered who his father is!"

Spyro smirks at Diamond, then places his paw upon Sparx' head.

"He was starving!" Spyro retorts, knowing how little Sparx ate in the medical bay of the Portal Station. "The poor kid has barely eaten a thing for three weeks, and is finally feeling better now..."

Spyro looks down at his son, smiles at him, then returns is eyes back at Diamond.

"...I would eat like a pig too!"

"You always eat like a pig!" The Elder retorts with barely a pause.

Spyro's smile grows wider, but suddenly the elder gestures his head to the back of the room, and a specific rock on the wall behind the three dragons.

"I think we should show Excelcius your little secret today..." Diamond remarks and turns his head to make sure no one is coming down the hall. "...I believe this couldn't be a more perfect test to determine a would be Guardian's poise!"

Spyro, knowing exactly what the old dragon means, stops what he's doing, and quickly strides to the back wall of the master sleeping chamber. A magical green energy coming from the purple dragon's mouth, envelops this large stone, and Spyro walks backward, pulling it from its resting place. A passage way to a secret room is uncovered, and the young father returns his eyes to Diamond.

"Try to push him today Spyro..." The white dragon says looking into the purple eyes of the great hero of Avalar, and one of the dragons in charge of testing a new Guardian. "...I know you still have your doubts, but I assure you he is pure of spirit, and I want your blessing before we proceed!"

Spyro nods his head with acceptance.

"I have only one more test Diamond, and it will be very hard for him to pass!" The purple dragon replies, looking back at his wife. "...I have made this last year a living hell for my student, and even I am anxious to see what he does!"

"Thank you my friend..." The white dragon says with a nod of his own, then turns his attention to Sparx. "...give me a few minutes alone with him, before bringing Sparx back. I need to speak with him first, then your son can see his friend again!"

Spyro can see Sparx' eyes light up, realizing who they are talking about, and still feels a bit of regret in this emotion from his son.

"Easy Daddy!" Diamond says with his thoughts, seeing a small spot of darkness in Spyro's heart, and quickly finding a way of stopping it from getting any larger.

"You know how he feels about YOU, and it would only upset him if you show that this bothers you!" Diamond says with his mind, and Spyro, even though it feels like it weighs a ton, keeps his chin up.

"He just wants to see the one that helped him to realize his dream..." The Spirit dragon continues, keeping his thoughts pure as he touches the purple dragon on the right cheek. Diamond turns to Cynder and Sparx. "...and it is the dream he is living, my friend!"

The albino dragon returns his light purple eyes to Spyro, and gives him a stern look.

"Now I want you to go and hug your family, young hero...for you have a long day of difficult emotions ahead of you!" Diamond says, knowing the roller coaster Spyro will ride today, during the dedication of a park to his brother. The purple dragon again has darkness set in, and once more the Spirit dragon uses his unique ability and wisdom to ease him.

"You will find support in all around you today Spyro, and I know you think Cynder will be your crutch to lean on..." Diamond looks over at Sparx, and can already see concern on the young dragon's features, as his father dropped his head slightly with depression.

"...However...you will see it is your son that will feel his Father's emotions more, and be there to provide the most light in the darkness. I think at that very moment you will understand, and why you should never worry about Malefor and your son's love!"

Spyro raises his head and smiles at such a thought. Sparx raises his head a blink of an eye later and begins wagging his tail. The young father can see the change in his son's emotion, match his own. Suddenly, he feels no bitterness about his visitor in the rear of the cave, all he can see is his son's feelings for his father.

"See what I mean, Daddy!" Diamond remarks out loud, and Spyro shoots him a smile, before going back to hug his family as instructed.

The spirit dragon heads to the rear of the mountain, with a bounce in his step. It has been years since he has had to use his powers so much, and the ancient dragon begins to feel young again.

His eyes being to lose sight, as he gets further from the glowing family behind, however, they suddenly pick-up on the faint light of Spiritual energy before him, guiding the blind dragon to the rear of Spyro's home.

A massive room, hollowed into the mountain by a hundred Manweresmalls, the rest of the cave could fit inside of it, and then some. The walls are lined with countless racks of armor for dragons, cheetahs and moles, and several other areas for storage of weapons. There is also a wide open area in the center of the room, nearly the size of the great arena of New Warfang itself. This room can become a staging area for battle quickly, if the need ever arose, or an enclosed training facility to hone his skills at home. But for now, this room is a safe for Spyro to keep his most valued possessions, or his most important secret.

The aura of two dragons begin to fill the eyes of Diamond, as he walks further to the rear of the enormous room. One, shining brightly with a slight swirl of darkness, the other scattered around the room and very diml.

"Malefor..." Diamond remarks, and the swirling energy, turns his attention to the dragon walking towards him. His aura flinches for a second, being spooked by someone else in the room, but quickly returns to the bright harmonious swirl, Diamond saw when he entered.

"...how is Monsoon doing?"

Malefor stands up, and walks over to the white dragon with a bit of concern on his face.

"I had stabilized him, my old friend..." He remarks, then lowers his head with depression. "...but then he did nothing but attack me for the rest of the night!"

The large purple dragon looks down at his right paw with regret in his eyes, then shows that regret to the Great Elder.

"I had to stop him, Diamond!" he remarks anxiously with fear in his eye, hoping his aggression will not anger a dragon he is begging help from.

"I didn't what to hit him, but he wouldn't stop...and we were beginning to make too much noise. You told me not to let the guards hear us, so I had..."

The white dragon holds up his paw, and Malefor calms his voice, and sit down on his hind quarters.

"You did nothing wrong, old friend, and I want you to remember those words!" Diamond remarks with an easy tone in his voice, but Malefor shutters for a second.

The white dragon stares into his eyes, seeing his uneasiness, and burns the same words into his soul.

"You...Did...Nothing!" He says aloud to drive his point home, but Malefor's Spirit darkens at this thought, and is shot back at the old dragon with anger at those exact words.

"YES...I DID NOTHING..." Malefor yells back with his mind, lowering his head with a barrage of thoughts he has gone over in his head for millions of years, all focusing on this one thought.

"...and because...'I did nothing'...I lost everything!"

The Spirit dragon becomes flustered with Malefor, and can see his aura begin to darken, but tries to calm his friend of long ago.

"I've known you since you where a little whelping, Malefor..." The old dragon remarks, staring down at the ground, and conjuring up many memories of his young life for the purple dragon to see. "...that dragon did all he could to stop an impossible opponent, and gave so many time to flee the city...so don't tell me you did nothing."

The purple dragon rolls his eyes, then looks up at the high ceiling of the room, so not to show his anger to the elder.

"And what little good did that do!" The purple dragon retorts with a deep feeling of regret in his voice. "I knew where everyone would hide, and was forced to give that information as well. I then hunted them down...and killed my friends...and my wife!"

Diamond places his paw gently upon Malefor's flank, and rubs the large dragon softly under his wing.

"Listen Malefor..." Diamond begins to say with his thoughts, but the purple dragon knocks the white paw from his side, not allowing the Great Elder to make contact.

"OK...You want to do this the hard way...then fine!" Diamond remarks with anger, and his scales begin to darken a bit. Malefor becomes shocked, as this dragon that he remembers as the Great Elder in his day, flips a switch, and squares-off in front of his face.

"I don't want to fight with you, Diamond..." Malefor remarks, standing up and taking a stride back. "...Please, Don't..."

Suddenly, the purple dragon can feel his chin horn grabbed tightly, and his head yank down eye to eye with a now grayish-colored dragon.

"He had a hold of your spirit..." the elder bellows with anger, placing his paw on Malefor's chest, and holding the purple dragon's soul with a his power. Malefor can feel the pain shooting throughout his body, and the visions of his past, forced back into his mind.

"...You had no control, and he was able to do what he wanted." Diamond scowls, and Malefor becomes consumed with emotions. The elders voice calms slightly, feeling total control of Malefor, and trying to make him understand

"And he made you do unthinkable things... things that you received the blame for, casting a dark cloud on the legacy of the purple dragon..."

Malefor lowers his head with depression reliving every painful moment in a blur of memories.

"...however, this was not my friend's fault...because you were not in control!"

Diamond returns to his white color, and releases his grip on the horn in his paw. He uses that paw to softly lift Malefor's chin.

"HE forced you to betray your kingdom...HE made you destroy the city...and HE killed your friends...and Aeriel..." The Great Elder says with a sympathetic voice, and Malefor can feel an immediate pulse of spiritual energy passed into his soul. "...But he still could not break my friend's Spirit, because I see and feel it standing before me now!"

Malefor pauses and blinks his eyes, allowing several collected tears to drip down his muzzle to the Elder's paw.

"My friend..." The white dragon says, then stops. He looks dead into the purple dragon's eyes and his voice becomes very calm with his demeanor. "Malefor...I want you to stop remembering these images as you are doing, believing that you were at fault..." Diamond says with pain for his friends emotions, hearing a cascade of regret in Malefor's soul for his inability to fight back.

"...there was nothing that could have been done to stop him, and I can see nothing in this dragon's heart that tells me he is a ruthless killer."

Again Malefor has tears fall from his face, but can also feel a deep cleansing of his spirit. He has achieved what he thought impossible when Spyro first offered him a chance of coming back to his home. Hearing from someone who actually remembers his old life, and telling the purple dragon he was not to blame.

Diamond smiles seeing Malefor's aura swirling together again. However, The large dragon suddenly pushes the white paw from his jaw, so Diamond can no longer read his thoughts.

"Why do you do that to everyone?" He remarks with a stern tone, staring into the surprised eyes of the Great Elder.

"What are you talking about?" He replies with a question, not understanding where Malefor's anger is coming from.

The large dragon's aura fades to black, leaving Diamond in the dark, and his voice fills with skepticism and anger.

"Do you purposely make everyone you help feel worse...so they only think you're doing something with that simple power of yours!"

Diamond pauses, giving Malefor a stunned look, and the purple dragon tries to hold a straight face, but cannot. Seeing the reaction of the Great Elder, he begins laughing, and his aura fills the room brightly again. Malefor's laughter echos in Diamond's ears, and the old dragon gives him a dirty look.

"I have waited to do that to you for years." Malefor quips with continued laughter, and quickly feels the sting of an old paw across his left cheek. It moves his face only slightly, and he looks down at Diamond a bit startled, but then continues to laugh.

"You should see your face!" the large purple dragon remarks, and wraps his arms around the smaller Diamond. He lifts the elder in the air, holding him tightly to his chest, and quickly one thought is passed in his mind.

"Thank you my old friend, you always knew how to brighten my out look on life"

Diamond can feel a surge of energy in his body, helping so many dragons in one day, something a Spirit Dragon thrives on, and something he has been privileged to do more since Spyro defeated Malefor. Because of his power, the Spirit dragon was hidden away, never allowing the Dark Master to see he was still alive. It was the only reason, so many other souls were not lost, and the dragons were able to survive such a long war. HOwever, Diamond was never the same, watching Malefor's spirit corrupted, and watching his friend destroy their future.

Now, feeling his old friend's spirit once more, his joy and his feelings pass over to the purple dragon, giving him another boost of energy. The former Dark Master increases his embrace, and suddenly a thought begins to build in the elder's head, one Malefor quickly picks up on.

"I'm not as young as I once was, and you're starting to hurt my back!"

Malefor, as soon as he hears this thought echo in his mind, loosens his grip, and lowers the old dragon back to the ground with a smile.

"Sorry about that!" He remarks, looking down embarrassed, as Diamond stretches with some pain, but is still smiling.

"I forgot how old you are for a momen..."

"HEY!" Diamond shouts with a bit of anger, and his grin fades fast, however his sarcasm returns in the next breath. "Not all of us can be immortal...cheater!"

The Great Elder looks down at himself, and flexes his right paw.

"I want to see any dragon look this good at forty-three hundred years old!"

Malefor smiles, suddenly feeling like he is back in the past, and talking to his life long friend...his best friend.

"And you don't look a day over forty-one hundred!" He retorts with pure sarcasm.

Diamond lowers his paw back to the ground, and gives the purple dragon a nasty gaze with his light purple eyes.

"This old dragon can still whip your butt!" The Elder remarks, taking a step towards the taller dragon, and Malefor lowers his head down closer so the old dragon can hear his next taunt clearly with his old ears.

"Do you want me to get you your walker, or should we wait for Monsoon, so he can hold you up, Great 'Old'..er!"

Diamond stops in his tracks, his eyes opening wide with shock, and Malefor again begins to laugh in his face. However, this time Diamond cannot help but laugh as well, remembering a name Malefor would call him years ago. He can hear his old friend's sarcasm, and Diamond once again feels a boost to his Spirit.

Before an unknown entity stole his soul, Malefor was considered the most remarkable Purple dragon ever born, and the first ever non-guardian to be named the city's ruler. He was generous and kind, never allowing anyone to feel beneath him, regardless of his power and title. Diamond can now see that exact aura, he saw in Malefor before an unprovoked attack on his soul, and his laughter now echos with the feelings of having his friend stand before him once more.

"I have missed you..." The white dragon says with tears in his eyes, and again hugs his former enemy, and best friend. "...I had hoped someday to see your spirit shine brightly again...and I could not be happier!"

The old dragon, holding his friend, can see a glow coming from the entrance of the cave, and he breaks his embrace, looking up at Malefor's eyes. "And now, it will get even brighter!" Diamond quips, and gestures his muzzle behind him.

Malefor turns his head around to see three dragons...Cynder, Spyro, and Sparx, now running full speed into the room. The young dragon's eyes lock on his, and he smiles wider then Diamond.

"Malefor!" The two-toned purple dragon yelps, and leaps at his former foster-father with arms spread wide. The small dragon smashes into the gold chest of Malefor, forcing his own arms to wrap around Sparx. The impact drives the large dragon back a step, but is quickly dispersed throughout his large frame, and the two dragon sit still for a moment in a tight embrace.

"I missed you, Dad!" The young dragon says, and Malefor is startled for a moment. He grasps Sparx with his paws, pulling him from his chest, and holding him in front of his face.

"I am not your Dad, Sparx!" He remarks with a serious tone in his voice, seeing Spyro only a few feet away, and not wanting to aggravate the young dragon that was gracious enough to let him stay in his home.

Sparx gives Malefor a sad look, and readies to open his mouth with an understanding reply, however, Spyro is first to speak, startling both of them.

"He knows that I am his Father, Malefor...and now, without a doubt in my mind, so do I!" The purple dragon remarks, as he and his wife sit down beside the former Dark Master.

"But it was you that raised him, like my father raised me..."

Spyro looks deep into Malefor's eyes, showing the purple dragon the same resolve he sees in his own reflection.

"...I know my father is not my real father, but I am still happy every time I get to call him Dad, because that is what he is to me!" Spyro says with tears flowing, and Malefor's eyes show emotion as well.

"You saved his life as well..." Spyro remarks and pauses, unable to speak any further. Everyone around him remains quiet, but Diamond smiles seeing the purple dragon's spirit shining brightly with this painful emotion, and knowing Spyro is not upset, just overwhelmed with gratefulness

"I am no longer upset at his love for you..." He continues with his chest out, showing both Malefor and Sparx his pride. "...he can call you Dad anytime he likes, and I will understand completely."

The large dragon's jaw opens wide with shock, and suddenly the young father is slammed with the same hug Malefor just got, but this one much tighter.

"I love you Dad!" Sparx whispers, practically digging his talons into his father's back, not allowing him to move from his grasp.

Spyro raises his right paw up, placing it on the back of his son's head, and gently rubbing under his horns. "I know you love me, Sparx..." He says softly, staring at Malefor, showing the large dragon exactly what he means.

Spyro closes his eyes and lowers his head down against his son's back, wrapping his wings around himself and Sparx. His voice softens only for him to hear. "...and I love you too!"

Spyro can feel Cynder's paws against his side, and he just holds this moment for his memory to absorb, as does Sparx.

However, when he hears his wife gasp, and pull back her paws, Spyro quickly unfurls his wings to see what is going on. His eyes quickly noticing, Malefor has disappeared.

"Where did he go?" Spyro asks with shock.

"Where did who go?" A voice from behind startles the momentarily stunned dragon.

Spyro spins around with his mouth open ready to fire his Fury breath at the intruder in this special room of his home, when his eyes recognize the red dragon before him.

"Well, Master Spyro?" Excelcius asks with no fear, ready to dodge any blast from the purple dragon. His eyes lock upon Spyro's almost hoping he would start a fight.

"I was looking for my son!" Spyro replies sarcastically, and the Fire dragon rolls his eyes.

"HE...is in your arms Spyro!" The Palace Guard remarks staring at the young dragon, then looking back up his father with anger. "You know I'm getting tired of the way your treating me, Master Dragon."

Spyro returns a deadly stare, and his voice becomes very taunting. "I would say do something about it, but as you pointed out...I am holding my son."

Sparx shows a bit of confusion sitting in his father's grasp, and hearing him talk like this to any dragon. Then suddenly Spyro hands him over to Cynder, easily plucking him from his chest.

"There!" He remarks with pure sarcasm, taunting the fire dragon further. "Now I don't have my son in my arms...so do something!"

Sparx looks at his father with more surprise, and his mother as well. She is doing nothing to stop this, and his confusion sinks in further. The young dragon begins wrestling around in Cynder's arms, and Spyro can see it in the corner of his eye.

The purple dragon purposely turns his head to this distraction, showing Excelcius his left cheek, leaving it exposed for the powerful dragon to take the first punch.

A flash of power fills the room, and both Spyro and Cynder flinch, as they know he is about to strike. However, the power fades fast, and Spyro opens his eyes with a bit of shock. He turns his head towards Excelcius, and can see depression on his face.

"That was your chance to beat me..." Spyro says smugly, walking over to the Fire dragon with anger in his eyes. "...why didn't you take it!"

The larger red dragon looks down at his Mentor, and does not flinch, instead he breaks down in tears.

"I give up!" Excelcius says with pain, and lowers to his stomach as his muscles give out from what he has said to his teacher.

"It's been a year Master Spyro, and I know I cannot defeat a dragon with your power. You have made me look so bad at times that I stand no chance of beating you fairly..." The red dragon raises his head from the ground and stares at Spyro with a set of shaky eyes. "...and now I almost took advantage of you while you were distracted, just so I could win!"

Excelcius lowers his head again in disgust.

"There is no honor in a victory like that, and I feel it is the only way I could ever beat you!"

Spyro can see the pain in his face, recalling the moment that has led to this point, and the joy he now feels in his heart.

It was when he first returned from his first tour with the Skylanders nearly a year ago, and was asked only one task to perform by the Guardians and the Great Elder .

Test the strongest Fire dragon in the city for one purpose, to replace Ignitus as Guardian.

He proudly accepted, and when about the task in a very strange way. He mercilessly beat the fire dragon in the temple before everyone, with very little effort, and walking away leaving a challenge.

"If you can beat me, I will train you!" He shouted, and left everyone except Diamond surprised at his actions.

Excelcius now goes over many assaults he has made on Spyro, all of them leading to frustrating losses in the past year, since the purple dragon left him in the Training Hall with a broken spirit and a broken paw. However, even seeing his opportunity to take his victory in one powerful punch, the fire dragon could not force himself to strike a defenseless fighter.

"I am not strong enough to be your student!" He says with depression, and lowers his head to the ground again.

Spyro turns, and looks over at the Great Elder. With a simple nod, Diamond understands his task is complete, and the purple dragon has finally given his blessing.

Excelcius jumps as Spyro's paw is placed on his shoulder, and he looks back up, surprised to see a wide smile on his mentor's face.

"You are stronger than you think, my friend..." Spyro remarks, then turns to his concerned son, and rubs his head with a soothing paw. "...and you will need that strength in the future...Master!"

Spyro continues to calm Sparx with a gentle rub of his paw, while Excelcius ponders why he was just called Master by his teacher.

"Excelcius!" Diamond barks, getting the fire dragon's attention. "Did you bring what I asked?"

The Palace Guard snaps his head to his right, and looks at the Great Elder, still bewildered by Spyro's statement.

"What did he call me?" The red dragon remarks with curiosity, and walks over to his elder. "I don't understand why..."

Diamond holds up his paw to stop the stammering dragon, and focuses on the red eyes of Excelcius.

"Do not worry about that for now...I asked you a question!" The Elder barks with a bit of anger, and the fire dragon tenses up, quickly answering this time.

"Yes Great Elder...I have them in this satchel!" He replies, and pulls the leather strapped case from around his neck. He places the sack on the ground spilling a variety of colored crystals, then looks back at Spyro still in disbelief.

The purple dragon continues to smile in his direction, stroking his son's neck with his paw. Excelcius can see the pure pride in his eyes, but is still clueless of what is on his mind.

Suddenly his jaw is grabbed, and his eyes snapped back to the elder before him.

"What is on you mind!" Diamond barks into his head, and Excelcius scrambles to send his thought out quickly.

"Why would a Master Dragon, call me Master!"

Diamond smiles and releases his hold on Excelcius. The white dragon suddenly walks over to the satchel and grabs a green crystal.

"Yes! That was odd of him to say that!" Diamond remarks, tossing the green gem in the air and catching it with the same paw.

"I have a question to ask you, My friend..." The white dragon remarks, and looks at Spyro with a smile. "...How well do you listen?"

Again a deep confusion sets into Excelcius' mind, but the Great Elder smiles further, and stands directly before the large dragon, with an answer of his own.

"I'll tell you this...if you can pass this simple test great dragon, then I will agree that Spyro did say something ODD!"

Diamond stares dead into Excelcius' spirit, and can see the fire burning within his heart. "I believe by the end of this day, he will have to address you as...Master Guardian!"

"What!?" The Fire dragon remarks with shock, hearing the words pass from his mouth, and looking at Spyro again. He can see no surprise on the purple dragon's face, and can tell, at that moment, this is not a joke.

Diamond holds the green gem in his paw before Excelcius' eyes, and his attention is returned to the elder dragon.

"You must pass this one test that I have, Excelcius..." The white dragon remarks. "...and it involves listening to your heart, and letting it tell you the truth."

Diamond turns his head around, and gazes at the wall behind him with a smile.

A strange gasping sound fills the Palace Guard's ears, and his eyes befall a sudden distortion behind the great elder. With a flick of his wrist, The white dragon tosses the green crystal over his shoulder, and Excelcius' eyes lock upon the magic powered gem, following its journey to the ground.

However, shock fills his eyes as it shatters, and the magic energy disappears into the same distortion.

A sudden pleasure-filled moan at receiving a pulse of ancestral power, uncontrollably spills from the camouflaged dragon's mouth, and his outline becomes more clear. Malefor also stretches his muscles to accept this boost of magic, and this allows the Fire dragon to see his movement with relative ease.

"Who is that?" The large dragon barks with fear, seeing the size of this distortion, but his eyes fill with shock, as Malefor drops his light bending cloak.

"WHAT THE F..." Excelcius begins to yelp, but The elder's paw is quick to shut his red muzzle.

"Easy young dragon...there are children here!" Diamond remarks, and looks into his fired up eyes.

Excelcius pulls the Elder's paw from his face, staring at him, then looking at Spyro with the same anger in his eyes. He begins to ramble off question after question with rage in his voice.

"What is going on here? I thought you killed this bastard, Master Spyro...Why is the Dark Master in your home?"

The Palace Guards then snaps his head around to the Elder before him.

"Why did you tell me to wait for all the guards to leave, before showing me this, and why did you give him our ancestral power?"

Suddenly his eyes open wide with fearful shock.

"He's controlling your mind!" Excelcius barks, and Diamond again grabs his muzzle, this time tightly, making the fire dragon yelp in pain.

"If you are going to listen, you need to keep quiet!" The white dragon shouts into his head, and Excelcius' eyes are focused on his, in a second.

"Please young one...I am not under his control..." He says, looking deep into Excelcius' eyes, trying to calm the truly frightened dragon. "...and he is no longer under the Dark Master's control either!"

The fire dragon can see the truth in his elder's eyes, and turns his head towards Spyro. The same unbreakable stare is given from his teacher, and Excelcius settles down for a moment. However, when he sees the other set of purple eyes staring at him from Malefor, a weird sensation fills the young dragon's heart.

"This is not Malefor?" The fire dragon remarks with confusion, not seeing the snake-like pupils of the dragon that declared war on his kind.

"This is not that same dragon...What is going on?" He says with a note panic in his voice, staring at the Great Elder for answers

Diamond places his paw on the red dragon's shoulder, giving him a pulse of his energy, and staring into his eyes with a look of guidance.

"I am not going to give you an answer, my young friend, and I will tell you but one thing..." Diamond says through his mind, then turns the fire dragon's eyes to Malefor. "...you are right...he is not the same dragon, and only by listening to him will you be able to understand that."

Excelcius forces his head against the white paw holding him to look left, and his eyes lock back upon his Great Elder. The negative energy swirling into his soul is very apparent in the eyes of the Spirit dragon.

"You disagree, I assume!" Diamond remarks sarcastically, seeing the Palace Guard's anger.

"Excelcius!" Spyro remarks from behind, walking forward and nudging his son to walk with him. Both father and son stand by Malefor, and Spyro looks back at his student.

"I didn't want to believe a word from his mouth either, when I saw him again..." The purple dragon says looking up at Malefor, and shaking his head with disgust. Spyro returns his eyes to his son and rubs his paw between Sparx' horns, then looks over at Cynder with thankfulness in just seeing her alive.

"...but this dragon saved my family!" He continues, then focuses his stern eyes back to Excelcius. "I owed it to him just to listen, and when I did, I learned more than I ever thought!"

Spyro slowly walks over to the fire dragon and rests his paw upon the larger dragon's shoulder.

"The test of greatness is to be open-minded and fair, even in the face of such an overwhelming personal feeling. To find the truth in everything for one's self!"

Spyro lowers his head for a moment to collect his emotions, then looks back at the red dragon with pride in his eyes.

"The Great Fire Guardian Ignitus taught me that, and I found it to be my friend's best quality..." Spyro again turns his head to look at Cynder, a dragon that was to be put down after her defeat at the hands of the new purple dragon, but she was quickly defended by the Fire Guardian. "...he saved Cynder, by giving her a second chance, and now I am asking you to find that same quality, and do the same thing a guardian would."


Hope you liked this chapter, lots of things to prepare for.

Preparing to leave for the city, preparing a dragon to become guardian, and a family preparing for the future.

Time for me to prepare another chapter, so we can answer some questions.

Does Excelcius listen? Do we get a new Guardian? And for a body-guard, Monsoon sure is useless huh?

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