War of the Spirits

Saphira is the future leader of the isolated mountain village Natallian. However, just as she left to being her training, an incident takes place in the naboring town that changes her course of life forever

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11. Chapter 11

Saphira still felt some dread when she saw the blood dripping from Ruby’s mouth, but she could tell that the Kyni was being truthful towards her. She remembered something one of the soldiers said, something she hadn't really thought about before.

"One of those guys said you were an exile. What did he mean?" she asked, Ruby growling slightly. She moved her gaze towards the sky, towards Hentil Mountain.

"We are not allowed to have much Human contact, as there have been some trouble between our pack on Humans in the past. I assisted a Human that had gotten themselves lost, and I was thrown out of the pack. Nothing more to it," she explained, Saphira not sure if she should believe that or not. But it wasn't worth questioning further. "So, where are we headed? You are not packed for a small journey,"

"No, I have quite a bit to travel in actuality. But are you sure you want to follow me?  It's not going to be a very friendly journey," she asked, wanting to be sure Ruby know what she was getting herself into.

"Yes, I can tell from your blade. But I will repay the debt that I owe to you and will serve as your partner," she pointed out, Saphira unsure if she agreed with Flare's logic. But she didn't think more about it. She moved over to where she had left her bag before, and noticed the wound on Ruby’s eye was still slightly bleeding, a bit worried it might get infected.

"How about I take care of your wound before we get much further?" she suggested, Ruby contemplating before she answered. She sat down on the ground and closed her other eye.

"That would be much appreciated. It would be troublesome if it bleeds out," Ruby said as Saphira put her bag down and began to dig around in it. She soon found some herbal cream that could get rid of infections. Before she added the cream, she ripped a small piece of her cloak and used the water from her bottle to soak the cloth and began to clean the wound. Ruby hissed when the cloth touched the wound, Saphira flinching a bit. "Relax, I can take something like that,"

"If you say so," Saphira said as she continued to clean the area around her wound, and soon the blood was washed away. She opened the jar with the herbal cream and carefully added it to Ruby’s injury. "It wasn't as bad as it looked, but it'll still take some time before it heals completely," Saphira said as she closed the jar. She pulled out a roll of bandage and added it to Ruby’s eye. "There, that should do it,"

"You are a lot more knowledgeable about injuries than I believed," Ruby commented, Saphira packing up her bag, including her cloak, and swung it back onto her shoulder. "Now, you were on your way to the town not far from here, correct?"

"Yeah, I need to meet with someone," Saphira answered, Ruby standing up on all four again. A bright light came from her, Saphira instinctively covering her eyes to block the light. Once the light died down, she looked back at Ruby, who had shrunken in size. She leaped onto Saphira and sat on her other shoulder.

"It would be easier if I stay in this size. That way I can conceal myself if it becomes necessary," Ruby said, Saphira surprised that Ruby was able to change her size like that. But if she though it was better like this, then Saphira wouldn't stop her. She exited the woods and arrived back on the path as they continued on their way.

As they made their way to the town, Saphira had filled Ruby in on the situation and Saphira's place in it. If the two of them were going to work together, Saphira thought it would be best if Ruby knew about it. Saphira was a bit surprised about how little Ruby knew about the war. But Saphira didn't bother asking more about it.

A short while after their conversation, they arrived at the entrance to Dulis as it said on the gate. There were very few people around, and most of them were clothed in thin fabric and had a net attached to their belts. Saphira knew this was a fishing port, but she wasn't expecting everyone to be fishermen. Even though there were a small amount of people, they were all very cheery and it seemed like they were completely unaware of the war.

"It seems quite calm. The war you informed me of must not have arrived at this town yet," Ruby theorized, Saphira agreeing with her. The two entered the town and Saphira kept her ears sharp for any information on the Guardian in the area. The scent of the ocean was everywhere, and Saphira saw fish in every stall they walked by. But she didn't hear anything about the Guardian. "Why not just ask someone?"

"I don't think it's a good idea to ask about that out of nowhere. Besides, they might even not know anything about it," Saphira said, though that would seem unlikely as the Guardian has shown some kind of act that made them worthy of the title. "Let's just wait and see if we can find something," She continued down the road and tried to listen for any kind of useful information.

"Damn it, how desperate are those morons getting? They should know better than to try and upset the Hulik of the Ocean," A voice caught Saphira's attention as she turned to see two men talking to each other. One of them had a few fresh scars on his arms, Saphira assuming he had been in a conflict with someone.

"I honestly don't know. All I know is that we can't let them interfere with the Hulik. Or everyone is going to suffer," the other said, Saphira unsure what they meant by 'Hulik'. She vaguely remembers hearing the word before.

"It's an old word to describe a Spirit. Humans used it in the past to referrers to the Spirits they saw as Gods. So, I assume that's what they're talking about," Flarenix told her, Ruby growling slightly in Saphira's ear.

"What's wrong, Ruby?" Saphira asked as the fox's growl grew louder. Saphira moved her gaze to see what Ruby was growling at. But she couldn't see anything.

"Brother! Brother!" A young boy came running at the men in full panic. "The Army is back! They're by the lake again!" he yelled, both of the men cursing as they ran out of town. Saphira waited a bit before she followed after them. It didn't take long before they arrived at the ocean, and Saphira saw a large group of Royal Army soldiers. Saphira went behind a small hut right by the ocean and pulled her cloak out.

"Why do you hide yourself?" Ruby asked as she jumped off Saphira's shoulder so she could put the cloak on.

"Because this is how I started, and I might as well ride it out," Saphira said as she covered her face with the hood.

"You cannot take water from this ocean! The Hulik will not let you leave unpunished if you disturb their ocean!" Saphira moved from behind the house and saw the two men standing in front of the soldiers. The boy had hidden himself behind his brother, Saphira noticing that the soldiers were a bit hesitant.

"We apologize, but General Paul has ordered us to gather water supply from the nearest source. And that is this ocean," one of them said, Saphira carefully making her way over to them with Ruby right behind her. She wanted to see if she could get some more information, as it seemed like there was more to it than the soldier said.

"This water is sacred to the Hulik and all other Spirits. If you contaminate it, they will punish all of you. This warning is for your own safety," the man said, Saphira unsure of what he meant. The water looked just like any other water. What was so special about it. Flarenix didn't say anything either, so Saphira assumed her Spirit didn't know anything either.

"Sir, we can't waste much more time. General Paul is already irritated from the encounter with those rebels and the one in the cloak. They have been nothing but a thorn in our side," another one of the soldier said, the one who spoke first giving him a nod. Saphira narrowed her eyes as some of them began to walk towards the three who stood in their way and forced them down. They struggled to get loose, but the soldiers were stronger than them. One of them began to walk towards the ocean with something wrapped in cloth, Saphira unable to see what it was. She pulled out her knife and threw it towards the soldier, making him step back in shock. Saphira wasted no time and attacked the three who held the villages down.

"It's not nice to talk about someone behind their back, you know," she taunted as she stood between them and the water. Saphira was still unsure if this was really as important as the villager had said, but she didn't want to take the chance. The soldiers drew their swords, and Saphira kept her hand on the hilt of her own. Before anyone was able to make any move, however, a loud sound from behind her. Soon, a wall of water separated the two sides. Saphira turned around and saw that the water came from the ocean, and the water was also above her. Cautious about what could happen, she moved away from the water in case it came crashing down at her.

"Who is doing this?" Saphira heard one of the soldier’s yell, another loud sound from the ocean. Saphira turned her attention to it again, a large serpent exiting the water and flew into the sky. Saphira's eyes widen as she was able to see what it actually was; a dragon. It circled the sky before it landed on the water in front of the soldiers and made a tsunami that washed all of them away. Saphira went over to the three from Dulis and moved them further away, Ruby transforming into her larger form to help Saphira move them. Soon, the dragon came closer to the ground, Saphira still unsure if she was actually seeing things or not.

'Dragons died out in this Realm during the first war between the Darkened Spirits. There's no way any of the Dragons were able to live in hiding for so many years. Then this must be a Spirit, that is in the Human Realm. Which means its Aolis is summoning it from somewhere. But there's no one in sight.' Saphira thought as she tried to find whoever had made an Aoltes circle. But there was nothing, she couldn't sense anything either.

"Humans never change. They talk big and threatening, but they are so easy to push away," Saphira felt her breath stop for a second when the dragon spoke suddenly. It landed on the ground on its hind legs, Saphira noticing that it didn't have any wings. "Now, what about you, stranger? Are you here to cause trouble as well?"

"No, I'm not," Saphira answered rather quickly. "Are you a Spirit?" The dragon visibly flinched at Saphira's question, but it did not answer her question. Instead, it went back into the sky, then went back into the ocean. Saphira just raised her eyebrow in confusion, not sure if she wanted to know what the dragon was thinking.

"What exactly was that?" Ruby’s voice pulled Saphira away from the ocean. She turned and looked at Ruby and the three that were behind her. They looked relatively fine, and seemed unharmed. "You said that it was a dragon?"

"Yeah. But whether it was a living dragon or a Spirit, I don't really know," Saphira answered, the three getting up on their feet again. The young boy seemed a bit shaken, which was completely understandable after what happened. Before she got the chance to ask them anything, the dragon shot out of the water again and sat itself down by the edge of the water. Saphira noticed a Human on its head, who she assumed was her Aolis. But there was still no Aoltes Circle.

"Well, not what I expected. I heard from Waterillia there was an interesting person here. But I only see children," the one on the dragon, Waterillia, said as she jumped off its head and onto the ground. It was a woman with blue, wavy hair that went to the end of her back. There were plats on either side of head, Saphira assuming they joined at the back. The woman looked about the same age as Zane, so Saphira wasn't entirely sure what the woman meant when she said children.

"You must be an Aolis, as Waterillia is a Spirit," Saphira concluded as she looked at the dragon behind her. Ruby had gone back into her smaller form and went onto Saphira's shoulder. The woman looked at her with genuine surprise.

"Huh, didn't expect you to draw that connection so fast. Most people just believe I tamed a dragon," the woman said, as she moved closer to Saphira. "Yeah, I am an Aolis, and Waterillia is my Spirit. But don't think I'm your run-of-the-mill Aolis, I'm one of the Guardians. Mizuko's the name," she introduced herself.

"Lady Mizuko, please forgive us. It was not our intention to disturb you," Saphira turned around and looked at the three from the village, the two adults bowing while the boy hid behind his brother.

"Relax, it's not like you could've done anything about it. Your fishermen, not soldiers," Mizuko reassured them, the two of them bowing one last time before they left with the boy to head back. "Honestly, those villagers are always like that. I can take care of things just fine on my own," Saphira turned back to Mizuko, who had walked over to Waterillia again. "Anyway, you are?"

"Saphira, and I came here to ask you something," she answered as she got back on track. "You said you were a Guardian, correct?" Mizuko looked back at Saphira, a confused expression on her face. "Is that why you are able to keep your Spirit in our Realm without an Aoltes Circle?"

"Oh, that? Nah, nothing to do with each other, it has to do with her death,"

"'Her death'?" Saphira hadn't heard about any Dragon Spirits dying, but she knew that when Spirits did die, their souls went to help their Realm grow. And if they died while with an Aolis or in the Human Realm, their remaining Leot would go back to the Spirit Realm in an attempt to survive. So how would it be connected to this?

"Oh, right. Guess you wouldn't know. She was at the verge of death after being suspected for treason by the Dragon Circle. In order to survive, she needed an Aolis so she could channel the rest of her life source into someone else. And it's impossible to do that to other Spirits," Mizuko explained, Saphira widening her eyes. She had read that Spirits will, in very few cases, give their entire life force into an Aolis to live in the Human Realm, but the thought never crossed her mind.

"It must be difficult to control her power if her life source is inside of you," she commented, Mizuko shrugging her shoulders in response.

"It was hard to keep it a secret when I was younger, but now it's like second nature. Anyway, was there a specific reason you needed to see me?" Saphira had almost forgotten, but so she was glad Mizuko said that.

"Yeah, I need your help. I'm, apparently, a Guardian myself. And I have to end this war before it becomes too out of hand," Saphira explained, Mizuko looking at her with a slight shocked expression. But her expression soon changed and a large smile was on her face.

"Well, what do you know. I thought I felt something special from you," she exclaimed as she moved over to her. "Well, I'd be more than happy to help you. The other three, I'm a bit unsure about. They're, how do you say, rowdy. I'm kind of the peace maker between the four of us," Saphira was already not looking forward to this. "I can't tell you where they are, but I can say that you should be able to sense their presence. Like I felt something in you,"

"Alright, thank you so much for your time, Mizuko. I appreciate it," Saphira expressed her gratitude with a light bow as she took off her cloak and placed it back in her bag. Ruby had gotten off her shoulder to let Saphira remove it."Hopefully we'll meet again,"

"You better count on it!" Mizuko laughed as she was about to jump into Waterillia's head. "Oh, almost forgot. I'm supposed to teach you the second step of Sulos," she said, Saphira not expecting her to say it like that. Then again, Shadow did say they would teach her something. "Well, it's really easy to learn. All you have to do is focus your Spirit's Leot into your eyes. Like when you focus it into her hand or somewhere else specific,"

"Just focus it into my eyes?" Saphira asked, Mizuko nodding. Saphira closed her eyes and did as she was told, her eyes burning from the Leot. She winced, not expecting it to be as painful as it was. It didn't take her long before it subsided, but it was still an odd sensation. She slowly opened her eyes, her sight rather different from how it was earlier. The world looked the same, but she could look much farther than she could before. Also, there was a faint red color on everything she looked.

"Wow, you learn faster than I thought. And it didn't take you long to get it done either," Mizuko said, Saphira stopping the Leot as the red she saw before. Her eyes stung a bit, and they felt a bit dry as well. "It will take some time before you get completely used to it, but I have faith that you'll be fine," Before Saphira could say anything, Mizuko jumped onto her Spirit's head as the two went back into the ocean.

"She as certainly interesting. Though it would be most efficient if she had informed us on where we should go," Ruby commented, Saphira laughing a little.

"It's fine. Besides, it gives me a chance to practice sensing other Guardians and Aolis in general. So there really isn't any harm in it," Saphira said as she smiled at the fox. She walked through the forest where the soldiers had come from to see if she could find a road of some kind. She wasn't able to find one, but she did see a trail of footprints that seemed to belong to the soldiers. "Let's just follow these prints for now," she said, Ruby nodding her head.

"I will follow the scent. It could be useful for me to become acquainted with the scent of these soldiers," the Ruby said, Saphira nodding as she followed the small Kyni.

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