Xeann set up a strict training schedule for everyone for the next fortnight to help everyone build their strength up to go against Florence and her court. The first day was mainly focusing on everyone’s personal strengths and weaknesses, Xeann mostly hoped it would prepare the girls for their limits as none of them, aside from Amber and Sheela, have reached that point in fighting yet. Then for the next week she placed them in groups. Amber was placed with Sarah so Sarah could help her train in the martial arts. Sarah may be a bit clumsy and ridiculously unlucky but Amber found it useful to go against someone from her own category with more experience. Saphira and Vienna worked together to hone their fighting abilities in their feral werewolf forms whilst Sheela worked by herself to refresh herself on spells she couldn’t use whilst under the Nightmare Blanket.
Xeann spent the first week training with Cedric. His fighting style was eerily similar to Nightmare’s, Xeann almost drowned poor Cedric in holy water once she gained her limit in one training session. Amber could remember one of their fights vividly. She and Sarah were focusing on different kicks to use in battle when they heard a loud crash. They looked up to see Xeann and Cedric running up the crater wall and having their battle vertically. Cedric displayed his skills in demonic magic against Xeann who had just gone into her limit form, Amber concluded that he had been the one to kill the Flaregona. Half demon or not, demonic magic was something that shouldn’t be messed with. Same went with divine magic. Everything just went blank for Xeann apparently when she heard Cedric’s laugh. It eerily matched Nightmare’s laugh so she threw some holy water right in the face. Luckily for them, Sheela had been working on conversion spells so managed to convert some holy water into satanic water to heal Cedric. Xeann then decided to change their training groups on the spot.
So for the second week Amber fought against Sheela to practice fighting against a sorceress. Amber was very impressed with Sheela’s skill in sorcery, though the modest young woman denied that she was very good. Amber thought the training to be very useful in preparation to go against Florence who was also a mean looking sorceress. Vienna teamed up with Cedric whilst Saphira and Sarah were put together. Xeann was left to herself to focus on controlling her emotions for the battle against Horror and Nightmare.
Two weeks went too slowly for Amber but at the same time she felt it had gone by too quickly. On the eve of the designated day of the battle, Amber found that sleep eluded her. So she got up and climbed up the crater wall to take a look at the scenery. She saw Relevein Town nearby, preparing to wake up to another day of terror and fear. Amber sincerely hoped she’d be able to defeat Florence so the Nightmare Blanket would disappear and no-one would have to suffer any more. Her eyes trailed up to the Hyacin Mountains across the wasteland and she remembered the time spent in Stiraia Village and Magia Town. Then eventually she spotted part of the mountain range that surrounded the Sol Desert, where her village was. She hugged herself and shivered. Her heart was racing like never before. She felt so nervous but she couldn’t think of a reason why.
‘Amber? Are you feeling alright?’ Amber blinked and turned to see Xeann approaching her. The vampire smiled down at her and ruffled her hair. ‘Is there anything you’d like to tell me?’ Amber looked down and sighed.
‘I can’t sleep,’ she mumbled and hunched her shoulders.
‘Feeling nervous?’ Xeann sat them down, their legs dangling off the edge of the crater.
‘Yes but I don’t know why,’ Amber pouted and folded her arms moodily. Xeann tittered lightly.
‘Dear, everyone can feel nervous whenever something big is coming up,’ she explained and looped an arm around Amber’s shoulders ‘I was nervous myself when the day that I would kill my parents came for me.’
‘Why did you kill your parents?’ Amber looked at Xeann ‘Didn’t you love them?’ Xeann pulled a grim face and looked ahead.
‘Let’s save that story for another time,’ she said ‘It was sixty-one years ago after all and I can’t remember all the details.’ She smiled down at Amber. ‘Come on, you need your rest.’ Amber sighed tiredly and got up.
‘Alright then,’ she said and let Xeann take her back down to the caves that they were resting in.
It was a beautiful morning for a battle. Amber and the others lined themselves up in front of Florence’s ominous looking tower. They waited for the opposition to come out. Some waited patiently, others not so patiently. Amber felt her heartbeat race in anticipation and looked at the others. Xeann, Cedric and Sheela were the only ones with calm expressions and firm stances. Sarah was clenching and unclenching her fists nervously, hopping from one foot to the other. Saphira and Vienna sheathed and unsheathed their claws impatiently, glaring at the tower. Amber jumped slightly as the iron doors creaked open. Florence came out first in her dark purple tank top, shorts and ballet slippers. Amber eyed the dark purple claws she wielded on her hands warily. Xeann and Cedric straightened their spines when Nightmare and Horror made an appearance. Saphira growled under her breath as Cody came out with a grim face. Sarah went stiff whilst Sheela sighed softly as Iris and Cecilia came out after Lavender took her place next to Florence. Lavender stepped forward and cleared her throat.
‘The main aim is to knock out your opponent rather than killing them,’ she said as Amber cracked her knuckles in anticipation when she locked eyes with Florence ‘Hopefully the battles will be over by the end of the day. If not, then we continue into the night. Forfeiting the battle will result as a loss.’
‘Are you ready, Amber?’ Florence asked as she blew some imaginary dust off her claws. Amber held her fists up in front of her and began bouncing on the balls of her feet. Her eyes were burning with determination, her heart was pumping her body with blood that burned eagerly, telling Amber to fight Florence and go on to find her family so her life could go back to normal.
‘Let’s go!’ she cried and ran towards Florence.
‘Now that’s what I’m talking about!’ Florence grinned widely, the sun making her teeth shine, and charged towards Amber with a fierce battle cry, their wrists hitting against each other once they met in the middle of the meadow.
Amber glared fiercely at Florence whilst the others around them engaged in their individual battles and swung a kick into Florence’s stomach. Florence intercepted it and twisted Amber’s arm around, making the poor girl flip and land on her back heavily.
‘Oopsie daisy!’ she giggled as Amber groaned in pain and growled at her in contempt. Amber quickly jumped to her feet and punched Florence in the chest.
Xeann and Cedric charged next towards Nightmare and Horror. Nightmare idly stood still whilst Horror took up his sword and charged towards them. His blade collided with Cedric’s and the two engaged themselves in a staring contest.
‘I am stronger than you,’ Horror sung as he pushed against Cedric.
‘Oh yeah?’ Horror roared in pain as Xeann dug one of her blades into his stomach. ‘We are smarter than you,’ she sung in the same tone, making Horror grin at her.
‘That’s my little birdie!’ he said and picked her up, spinning her above his head. Nightmare cackled from his place and applauded the performance.
Saphira and Cody morphed into their feral wolf forms the moment Amber and Florence had clashed. Saphira lunged for Cody’s neck and yelped when Cody hit her in the side and sent her flying to the crater wall. She landed heavily, snorting and shaking her head. She let out an angered snarl as Cody stood still and watched her recover.
‘Saphira, I don’t want to do this,’ Cody said as he walked over to her.
‘Oh grow a pair, this is supposed to be a battle!’ Saphira snarled at him in contempt. Cody blinked and shrugged.
‘As you wish.’ Saphira looked up in alarm as dark clouds formed above the crater. It flashed with lightning and Saphira scrambled up to her feet quickly. The temperature dropped and Saphira smirked as a surge of power flowed through her. The winds began blowing and snow and hail descended from the sky rapidly. Saphira used the elements to create a small vortex to attack Cody. Cody’s golden fur sparked with energy as he sent thunderbolts to rain down on her. Saphira threw her hands up immediately and formed a thick ice barrier to shelter her from his attacks. She folded her arms and sniffed.
‘You’re going to have to do better than that,’ she sneered and Cody smirked. He held up his hands and formed an electric shield around him. He folded his arms and sniffed in a similar manner.
‘You’re going to have to do better than that too,’ he said and Saphira snarled.
‘You copied me!’ she howled ‘That’s plagiarism!’
‘Iris, I don’t want to do this,’ Cecilia mumbled as she clutched onto Iris’s arm.
‘Trust me, I know what I’m doing,’ Iris smiled down at her and kissed her forehead ‘I’ll take care of the both of them first and you jump in when I need your help, OK?’ Cecilia still looked uncertain as Iris stepped forward, black magic sparking around her hands. Sheela sighed softly.
‘Iris, it doesn’t have to be like this,’ she said and Iris smirked.
‘No, it doesn’t,’ she agreed ‘So why don’t you join the court? Queen Florence said she offered you a place but you rejected it.’
‘I fight for freedom,’ Sheela said as anger flashed in her eyes ‘Iris, if you come back home with us, we’ll understand the relationship you’ve chosen with Cecilia. We won’t judge you.’ Sarah nodded her head in agreement, making Cecilia look up at them hopefully. Iris, however, snarled and shot dark energy at Sheela. Sheela blocked it with a powerful barrier spell and Sarah ran forward, punching Iris in the stomach. Cecilia covered her mouth in horror as Iris recoiled and scowled at them.
‘You’re going to regret that!’ she shouted as one fist lit up with dark energy crackling around it. She swung it at Sarah’s face. Sarah grabbed it on quick reflex and stared Iris down. Iris blinked in confusion and gasped as a beam of blue light was fired at them. Sarah swerved her head out of the way and Iris brought up a small dark shield which blocked the attack but pushed her back a couple of feet. Sarah brought her fists up.
‘Come at me, sis,’ she said in a deadly serious tone.
Vienna tried to jump in to help Amber fight Florence but Lavender landed in front of her and grabbed her by the scruff. With a small smile, she dragged them to an open space in the meadow. Vienna yelped as she landed on her back heavily but scrambled up to her feet, gnashing her teeth at Lavender menacingly.
‘Looks like we’re going to be fighting together,’ Lavender shrugged as golden energy engulfed her body ‘Please, don’t take this too personally.’ Vienna jumped back and morphed into her feral wolf form. She towered over Lavender menacingly who just looked up at her coolly. Then with an innocent giggle, she ascended into the air so she at eye level with Vienna. She then punched Vienna straight in the eye with a golden fist. Vienna howled and stumbled back, her eye crackling with golden energy. Lavender smirked and her hands glowed gold, ready to attack again. Vienna ran towards her, the earth shaking with every step she took.
The snow and hail hit both brawlers as they fought hand to hand. Amber ducked and dodged as Florence swung her clothes to try and stab her. Her face was already marred by some scratches that Florence’s claws had scraped onto her. Xeann had warned her beforehand about what the claws did once they came in contact with her skin. So the illusions of seeing her dead family didn’t faze her so much to let her guard down. This impressed Florence, encouraging her to attack in a more frenzied style. Amber was getting fed up of blocking and dodging Florence’s menacing claws and was getting so frustrated that Florence left so little openings and opportunities for her to strike back without getting injured. With gritted teeth, she narrowed her eyes and risked swinging a punch into Florence’s face. Florence snatched the fist with a hand and giggled.
‘That’s just too cute,’ she simpered as Amber’s eyes narrowed in concentration. Amber swung a kick at her but fell over once Florence let go of her fist and twirled out of the way with the elegance of a prima donna. When Amber got back to her feet, Florence did a curtsey. Amber found her deftness just as annoying too.
‘You can’t stay still can you?’ she asked as she brought her fists up again and Florence just cackled. Amber took a deep breath and focused solely on Florence who pirouetted tauntingly to show off her skills and elegance. Florence gasped in surprise as Amber rushed forward with a new surge of power and her fist impacted her stomach harshly. She stumbled backwards in shock and Amber pulled herself back into a neutral stance. Florence smirked and her body glowed a blue aura. Amber stepped back warily as Florence’s attire changed from dark purple to neon blue and purple. She came out in a neon blue breast plate and neon purple metal plated trousers. Her claws had turned sky blue and her ballet slippers had been replaced by neon blue boots. She rushed forward towards Amber and struck her in the belly, sending the poor girl flying into the crater wall. She clapped gleefully as she heard a resounding smack.
‘Score one for the Queen of Nightmares!’ she cackled and stretched her arms out with a satisfied smile. Amber twitched as she lay in the small dent that she had created in the crater and began to feel light. Florence perked up when she saw Amber’s body glow white and brought her claws up as she began rushing towards her. A silver thin blade clashed with her sky blue claws and Florence’s eyes widened in excitement as she gazed up at Amber’s amber eyes through her newly acquired visor.
Xeann was in her limit form already when she finally reached Nightmare to attack him. Nightmare stepped to the side and pushed her over with little difficulty. He laughed loudly, mocking her.
‘Oh, dear, dearie,’ he grinned ‘Looks like I’m just too strong for you! Why don’t you just give up now?’ He yowled as he felt something burn his calf and jumped away from Xeann turning on the spot. Xeann had swiped her sword which had its edges glowing light blue to show the holy water had been drawn out. Xeann got to her feet and readied her blades for a fight.
‘Fight like a man,’ she challenged. Nightmare threw his head back and cackled shrilly as the battle between Cedric and Horror continued behind him.
‘But I’m not a man,’ he shrugged ‘And what if I don’t want to be a man? What if I just want to be a demon like I’ve always been?’
‘I don’t fight cowards,’ Xeann snarled then suddenly smirked ‘How about we have a little bet?’
‘Oh, oh! I love bets!’ Nightmare clasped his hands together gleefully ‘I’m listening, dearie.’
‘How about you fight me and if you win…’ Xeann sighed heavily, already regretting her decision. ‘You may do as you wish with me.’
‘Yahoo!!!’ Nightmare pulled his sword out and charged towards Xeann who intercepted the attack and they began duelling ‘You’d better be prepared, dearie! I don’t go easy on people who make bets with me!’
‘Yeah?’ Xeann grunted as she pressed her sword against Nightmare’s with all her strength ‘Well same here!’
She swung a punch at Nightmare but Nightmare kicked her stomach before she could touch him. She stumbled back and managed to intercept the next blow that was coming for her.
Saphira and Cody were knee-deep in snow as they clawed, bit and scratched at each other. Saphira sported more bites than Cody but it didn’t deter her from lunging and attacking more. Cody jumped back for a small break and caught his breath, looking down at Saphira. He chuckled loudly and Saphira raised an eyebrow.
‘What’s so funny?’ she growled.
‘It’s just so cute, you look like a giant blue fuzzy fuzz ball,’ Cody snorted in amusement and Saphira growled, frantically combing her fur down so she could get rid of some of the static electricity that Cody’s thunderbolts had transferred into her. Saphira glowered at him and let out an ear-splitting howl. Her whole arm lit up in a white aura and Saphira felt her paw grip ice. Her arm came out of the light to show it had been encased in an ice armour. Spikes sprouted from the shoulder part of the armour and across the knuckles. Saphira gave Cody a sly smirk and the blonde wolf shrugged, lunging for her. He let out a yelp when Saphira stepped forward and landed a blow right in the stomach, sending him flying into the tower, causing it to shake.
‘That’s for calling me a giant blue fuzzy fuzz ball,’ she muttered ‘Idiot.’ She yelped when a sudden thunderbolt landed near her and snarled as Cody landed on the ground after peeling himself off the tower. His body let out a golden aura and his whole arm was encased in golden armour that crackled with electricity. They both let out their individual howls and ran at each other, Cody tackling Saphira into the crater wall.
Iris grunted in pain as she was pushed back by another one of Sheela’s well-aimed and powerful spell. She gasped for breath as Sarah hopped from foot to the other, ready for another attack if Iris was still up for some more fighting. She felt frustrated, she didn’t think Sheela was this powerful. And Sarah was such a klutz, where did this sudden amount of power come from? Iris looked to Cecilia and held her hand out for her. Cecilia seemed reluctant and took Iris’s hand and Sheela perked up.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked slowly and stepped back warily. Iris just smirked as her body glowed a dark purple aura. Sarah stepped back as Cecilia’s body glowed white and Sheela’s eyes widened.
‘Sheela…’ Sarah said fearfully and Sheela began chanting a quick powerful barrier spell. Their sisters soon began just light and darkness which rushed to them quickly. They collided against Sheela’s barrier and Sheela stumbled at the force of their attack, her arms straining to keep the barrier up. Sarah yelped as the barrier cracked and Sheela let out a scream of agony as Cecilia and Iris burst through and engulfed them. Cecilia and Iris circled them for a minute or two before retreating, retaining their bodily forms as they landed. Sarah and Sheela lay lifeless on the ground and Cecilia shrieked.
‘We killed them!’ she screamed and Iris just kissed her temple, shaking her head.
‘Nah, we just knocked them into a coma,’ she reassured her ‘They’ll wake up in a couple of days. But for now, I say we’ve won.’ Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement and snapped her head back to them. Sheela slowly pushed herself up to her feet and swaggered unsteadily, gasping for breath.
‘If we weren’t preparing for this battle for the last two weeks, I would have most certainly have been in a coma,’ she rasped and closed her eyes, lacing her fingers together in a small prayer. The girls shielded their eyes as Sheela emitted a bright silver glow. Sheela opened her eyes as she stepped out of the glow in a silver dress, that somewhat resembled Siegfried’s mother’s wedding dress, which reflected the girls’ reflections. She raised her hands, that had their nails coated in silver, and began shooting spells at them again. Iris pulled up a quick barrier spell to deflect them then shot a ball of dark energy towards Sheela. Sheela stepped back as the energy ball entered her dress then shot itself back at Iris which hit her square in the face. Cecilia let out another shriek as Iris collapsed onto her back.
‘Iris!’ she began crying and knelt down to her sister.
‘Cecilia, I think this is where we draw the line,’ Sheela said as she walked over to her ‘Let’s talk. I sense that you’re uncomfortable.’ Cecilia looked up at Sheela uncertainly and sat down with her to discuss her relationship.
Lavender was using levitation spells to keep herself off the ground so Vienna’s elemental powers were useless. Vienna kept on getting more and more frustrated as she jumped and tried to claw Lavender down. However, Lavender would always just be out of reach, smirking down at her.
‘Getting tired down there?’ she asked and Vienna snapped at her with a loud snarl ‘Oh go on then, tire yourself out. I’m not particularly interested in fighting.’
‘Get down here now so I can maul you!’ Vienna snarled up at her menacingly ‘This isn’t a fair fight if I can’t even touch you!’ Lavender just tittered and imitated shooting her with a pistol with her hand. Small golden circles shot out from the tip of her index finger and clamped down on Vienna’s muzzle to prevent her from talking any more. Vienna mumbled in frustration and paced around, trying to get them off.
‘There, that should keep you busy for a while,’ Lavender smiled and looked up when she heard a loud roar. Vienna froze and looked up when she heard the roar too and tucked her tail in between her legs as her eyes wandered to where Amber was fighting Florence.
Amber and Florence were lunging and attacking each other like feral werewolves battling over the last scrap of meat. Amber found it easier to land blows onto Florence now that her visor was helping her pinpoint Florence’s weak spots and Florence’s armour was slowing her down. Florence would strike her whenever she got too close and the nightmares seemed to be more graphic with these new set of claws. Once, Amber felt that she really was back in her village and she had killed her own mother. When she realised it was a nightmare, she got more furious with her attacks. As Amber fought, she noticed the different scars decorating Florence’s body. Some looked really nasty, Amber wondered what kind of battles Florence had gotten herself into.
‘You’re so impressive with a sword, Amber,’ Florence praised as her claws fought against the silver rapier Amber wielded ‘I’ve never had a challenger like you. I like you, you’re so persistent!’ Amber lowered her rapier slightly, putting Florence off balance and swung a high kick into her neck, sending the young sorceress tumbling down the slope. She slid down after her and thrust her rapier into Florence’s exposed stomach. Florence grunted in pain and Amber gripped her shoulder, leaning into her ear.
‘Game, set and match,’ she whispered. Florence spat blood onto the ground and looked up at Amber with a grin.
‘I don’t think so,’ she whispered back and pushed Amber away. Amber stumbled as Florence’s body grew black whilst the sky turned from blue to red. Amber began walking backwards away from Florence as her body swelled and grew. Her eyes gleamed magenta and wings pushed themselves out of her back. Her claws swelled with her hands, turning into talons while scales replaced her pale skin. Amber’s body left the ground when Florence landed with a heavy thud and looked up at the transformation. There stood a mighty dragon, standing tall and triumphant. Its scales were dark green like Florence’s hair and its bright magenta eyes stood out, staring down at Amber who was feeling considerably smaller than ever before.
‘She…can turn…into a dragon…’ she whispered as Florence snorted amusedly at her ‘Who knew…?’
She yelped when Florence roared loudly and ran up the crater wall so she could at least fight at a higher level. Florence’s large spiked tail lunged for her and tried to hit her as she scaled the crater wall. Amber managed to avoid any serious damage, getting a small scrape up her rapier wielding arm. Florence eventually gave up using her tail and shot light green fire at Amber instead. Amber took shelter underneath her massive shield and evened her breath as she felt the heat of the flames. Florence roared again and Amber’s eyes widened as her talons pierced her shield. She immediately detached the shield from her arm and climbed further up the crater wall. Florence flicked the shield off her talons and growled under her breath as she watched Amber climb up the crater wall and roared, pulling one claw back and slammed it into Amber, pushing her against the wall. Amber’s roar of pain echoed throughout the crater.
Xeann’s eyes widened as she heard Amber’s scream whilst fighting against Nightmare. She looked up at where she was and grunted as Nightmare pushed his sword harder against hers. Cecilia and Sheela looked up in horror as they saw small streams of blood leaving Amber’s body. Saphira floored Cody and looked up with wide eyes as she saw Amber’s state. Vienna could only watched silently with tears brimming her eyes. Suddenly, the bonds that kept her silent snapped.
‘Don’t give up, Amber!’ she howled.
Amber barely heard Vienna’s howl in her pained daze. She saw Florence’s bright magenta eyes, looking down at her as she lay still, impaled by the three massive talons. She felt like giving up, dying and leaving the world. The pain was just too much. How could she possibly go on like this?
‘Amber, hang in there!’ she heard Xeann scream.
Amber didn’t want to hang onto the little life her body possessed any more. She wanted to stop fighting, it seemed pointless. Dragons were just too strong for the likes of her, she should just die quietly. Amber grimaced as she felt the claws dig in deeper. Dragons were sacred beings anyway, she shouldn’t be fighting them.
‘Amber, remember what you’re fighting for!’ she heard Sheela cry.
Amber’s eyes widened as she remembered Jasper’s face. He was waiting for her to come back and take him home. She remembered her mother, waiting to be taken back home too. And her father, she remembered her father is still out there, somewhere. She had to find him. They were waiting for her. They were all waiting for her. And the only obstacle to get to them was Florence.
‘We believe in you, Amber!’ she heard Saphira’s howl.
Amber couldn’t just give up now, she had to fight! She had to fight! Dragon or no dragon, Florence was going down! The very woman who tore her family apart and sent the whole world into a miserable state! Amber grunted as she slowly raised a hand and gripped one of Florence’s talons that dug into her body.
‘You can do it, Amber!’
Amber pulled Florence’s talon out of her body and roared her loudest war cry she had ever roared. Florence stumbled back as her whole body burned a bright shade of amber. Everyone stopped, even Nightmare and Horror, and watched as Amber’s glowing body lifted itself up and ascended into the air. Florence’s wings spread out and she flew up towards Amber.
Amber opened her eyes and gasped silently as she saw that she was floating up and up into the air. Had she died? Was she going to Heaven? No, she wasn’t. She stopped eventually and Amber saw Florence flying up towards her. Her whole body was encased in a soothing warm amber aura. To the people who watched from the crater, the aura around Amber took the form of a phoenix. Amber watched as Florence reached the same level as her and spread her arms out. The phoenix around her spread its wings and cawed loudly. Florence roared back at the beautiful creature and grinned. Amber felt her body move by itself and she took off, charging towards Florence as the phoenix screeched loudly. Florence opened her maws and let out a stream of light green flames that collided with the phoenix’s burning aura. Amber felt herself travelling through the flames and gasped as she tumbled into Florence’s gaping mouth and down her throat.
Amber groaned as she woke up, sitting up and stretching her body out. She gasped as she floated off whatever she was lying on and looked around, eyes widening when she saw green flames and a ribcage over her.
‘I’m actually inside a dragon?’ she whispered.
‘Nice of you to drop in.’ Amber turned her head sharply and saw Florence standing a few feet away from her. She offered a warm smile and Amber pulled her fists up. ‘Lower your guard, I just wish to speak with you.’ Amber still kept her fists up and Florence giggled. ‘Your final limit is quite something,’ she complimented and ran her fingers up and down the side of the dragon belly ‘I would really appreciate it if you joined my court.’
‘No,’ Amber said defiantly ‘I refuse to join your court. I am fighting to restore balance back to Ethylias and have it the way it was before. We don’t need you as our Queen and we don’t need demons running about as your henchmen, making sure everyone is following your laws!’ Florence put on a solemn face and approached Amber.
‘We could be an unstoppable force, you and I,’ she said and held Amber’s fists, lowering them down ‘We could unlock all the secrets of the universe together. Maybe find other worlds and conquer them like we’ve conquered Ethylias. Amber, think of all the boundaries that have held you back, we’ll be able to surpass those boundaries!’ Amber stared hard into her bright magenta eyes and pulled away.
‘I said no!’ she shouted, her voice echoing in the dragon. Florence’s face fell and she stepped back, green flames engulfing her. Amber was thrown out of the dragon’s body, spiralling into darkness.
‘Florence!’ Lavender cried out as Florence let out a pained roar, her whole body going up into flames.
‘Amber!’ Xeann shrieked as she saw the phoenix disappear and Amber’s body fell ‘Cedric, catch her!’ Cedric nodded once and took off, his wings sprouting out from his back.
‘Time to go,’ Nightmare sung as he and Horror began running off. Xeann turned to them and snarled.
‘Oh no, you don’t!’ In a quick burst of energy, she released her wings from her armour and swooped in front of their paths. She brought her fist back and released all her frustration and fury into a single punch that impacted Nightmare straight in the jaw. Nightmare fell over backwards and Horror gave a sexy wolf whistle.
‘Damn, that was hot,’ he grinned and Xeann would have readied a second punch towards him if she hadn’t been so drained. Nightmare clicked his jaw back into place and grinned up at her.
‘Let’s get together some time,’ he winked suggestively and disappeared in a flurry of blue flames before Xeann could kick his smile off. Xeann snarled at him in contempt as Horror disappeared in a flurry of orange flames.
‘Cowards,’ she muttered and fell to one knee ‘The both of you! Fight me and…give Bella back…’ She fainted and fell forwards, her armour disappearing back to the shadows.
‘Amber!’ Sheela cried as she and the other girls that were conscious circled Cedric as he landed. She let out a horrified gasp as she saw the large wounds across Amber’s torso. ‘No…Cecilia! I need your help!’ Cecilia scrambled over and Sheela grabbed her hands. They stood over Amber and began chanting a joint healing ritual. Everyone else backed away from them as they chanted under their breaths and formed a light green circle around themselves with Amber. Amber’s minor wounds from the battle with Florence began fading away slowly but she didn’t show any signs of waking up.
Cody watched as Saphira shrunk back to her human form, shaking her limit form away. He watched as she hugged Vienna close to her, watching Amber getting healed by Sheela and Cecilia. He turned his head over to Lavender who knelt by the pile of ashes that had been Florence. With a whimper, he padded over to her in his tame wolf form, after shaking away his limit power away, and nuzzled her to comfort her. He braced himself as Lavender raised her hand then wagged his tail happily when she hugged him close to her.
‘I told her to not do it,’ she whispered into his ear ‘But she didn’t listen. Nightmare had already tricked her into having her body used to carry her child. She wasn’t turning back from anything. I could have noticed her struggles earlier…’ She cried into his fur and Cody licked her cheek, whining and pawing at her leg. Cody looked up when he saw a shadow and saw Saphira and Cedric standing over them.
‘Miss Lavender,’ Cedric addressed Lavender ‘Where’s Miss Florence’s child?’ Lavender looked up at him and stood up, wiping her eyes. She took a moment to compose herself and breathed softly, looking up at him with a brave smile.
‘In her room, I’ll go and get her,’ she said and went into the tower. Cody turned into his human form and looked up at Saphira.
‘Saph…’ He yelped as Saphira tackled him into a hug and clung onto him tightly, not wanting to let go.
‘We did it, we won,’ she whispered ‘Now you’re going to have to come home!’ Cody smiled and hugged her back.
‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered. Saphira smirked and buried her face into his neck.
Sheela and Cecilia took deep breaths when the healing ritual was over. Cecilia fell to a sitting position, panting heavily whilst Sheela collapsed.
‘Sheela!’ Cecilia cried and Sheela looked up at her with a warm smile.
‘I’m OK,’ she said and giggled ‘I can’t believe I’m using Sarah’s catchphrase.’ Cecilia paused and smiled back at her.
‘Did it work?’ she asked as she looked at Amber’s sleeping form and Sheela nodded.
‘She just needs some rest,’ she whispered as her limit form faded away ‘Like me…’ She promptly fell asleep as Vienna nosed Amber curiously in her tame wolf form.
Evening fell and everyone huddled themselves around a large fire. Xeann rested next to Cedric, drinking the Golju Berry juice Cecilia made to speed up her recovery time. Saphira, Cody and Vienna had morphed into their tame wolf forms and bunched altogether in a big pile of fur. Iris and Cecilia slept, Iris embracing Cecilia tightly. Sheela smiled warmly at them as she carefully patched up Sarah’s bruises. Sarah yawned tiredly, half asleep but kept waking up whenever she heard Amber moan. Sheela looked at Amber sadly and sighed.
‘I hope she wakes up soon,’ she muttered. Cedric sat up as he heard footsteps and saw Lavender approach them.
‘Miss Lavender?’ he frowned as Lavender sighed and sat down next to him.
‘She’s gone, Nightmare must have taken her away,’ she sighed and Cedric bowed his head.
‘Ah.’ Xeann grimaced and placed a hand on his shoulder.
‘Don’t worry about it,’ she whispered ‘I’m sure Nightmare has plenty of half demon children in Hell.’ Cedric slouched and Xeann turned to Lavender. ‘I’m curious, what was the child’s name?’
‘Forget-Me-Not Amber Serenity Fox,’ Lavender recited the child’s full name. Xeann blinked and chuckled.
‘Forget-Me-Not?’ she snickered ‘An unfortunate name.’
‘I think it’s a lovely name,’ Sheela frowned and Lavender nodded in agreement.
‘Still, it doesn’t matter now,’ Lavender sighed and lay down on the grass ‘She’s long gone now and all the demons have unusual names in Hell anyway. She’ll fit right in.’
‘I feel sorry for her,’ Cedric muttered as he bowed his head ‘Her mother is dead and her father is going to treat her like dirt.’
‘What has happened has happened, Cedric,’ Xeann placed a hand on his shoulder ‘There’s nothing we can do now. Unless you know how to get to Hell.’
‘Half demons can’t open the gates,’ Cedric shrugged helplessly ‘I can’t follow Father and Uncle Horror down there, even if I wanted to. You have to be created by Lucifer himself to open the gates of Hell.’ Xeann sighed in disappointment and shook her head.
‘How’s Amber?’ Sarah asked Sheela who sighed helplessly.
‘Still in a coma. She could be like that for years considering the power she displayed.’
‘I’m surprised such a fragile body could sustain that much power and not get killed by it,’ Lavender raised an eyebrow. Everyone fell silent as Amber lay still on the grass bed made for her.