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


13. Chapter 13

After the travelers had made some headway, Saphira and Ruby had begun their own trip towards the Volcanic Terrain, Ruby leading the way. She noticed that there was less wildlife and the ground became less vegetated as well. The soil had gradually become more red as they walked. Saphira continued to follow the Kyni, the ground suddenly giving way under her. She quickly moved to the side and saw that she was right at the edge of a lava pit, not even noticing the temperature rising.

"We are now within the Volcanic Terrain," Ruby said, Saphira looking towards the fox. "And this is the volcano that gave the land its name," Saphira looked up and saw the volcano. It wasn't especially large, but there was a certain sense of dread that emanated from it. "The pack that lives nearby said that the volcano is connected to a Phoenix Spirit named Hooni. It is said that his domain is parallel with this area. Though I do not know if it is the truth,"

"That sound about right. It's not uncommon for Spirits who dislike Humans to make monuments so that they can gain strength in similar ways that Spirits that have Aolis do," Saphira said, Ruby not asking any further questions. She instead moved further ahead, her nose in the air. "Is there something wrong?"

"There is a Kyni nearby. And it is injured," Ruby answered without a second glance before she ran forward. Saphira quickly picked up the speed to try and catch up with the Kyni, but Ruby was much faster and Saphira quickly lost track of her when she turned the corner. Saphira tried to run faster and came around the corner as well. She saw Ruby standing over a rock a bit further ahead, a tuff of fur poking out from the side. "It's alright, little one. You are safe," Saphira carefully made her way over, trying not to scare the Kyni that was hidden. "Why are you so far away from your pack?"

"Some Humans showed up and came through our territory. I got separated from my mother and got scared, so I ran here to hide from them. But Shakaku scares me as well," The voice was high pitched, but it sounded like a small male. Saphira hadn't heard the name Shakaku before, but she thought that it might be the Guardian of Fire that Sarudoshi mentioned before. Ruby looked back at Saphira, who already knew what Ruby wanted to ask.

"Go ahead, I'll see if I can find any clues to who the Humans the cub saw was," Ruby gave her a nod as she picked the young Kyni up in her mouth and began to head back the way they came. Saphira made sure to check the area around her before she continued on her way.

"The only ones that it could be is Shadow Knight or Dragon Scale. The Royal Army don't have any sort of duties this far out," Flarenix said, Saphira agreeing with her. The Volcanic Terrain was very different from the areas the army tend to hang around. Not only that, if Castrelia were to come here, the Royal Family would be in danger.

"So our biggest contender is Shadow Knight, since they were just on the edge of this place," Saphira concluded as she made her way back that Ruby ran off to before. As she did, she could feel the air around her becoming hotter by the second. But it wasn't a natural increase in heat. Saphira could feel a faint trace of Leot in the atmosphere. "There is definitely a Fire Aolis in the area,"

"Not just any, their power is on the same level as Sarudoshi and Mizuko," Flarenix added, Saphira nodding as she carefully checked around the corner.

"Hurry up! We don't have the whole day!" Shade's voice caught her attention and saw a group of Dragon Scale members being led by the Shadow Aolis she fought against in the mountain base. She noticed that some of them were further behind, pulling something with them. It looked like a cage of some kind, and she could barely see something behind the bars. She saw fur, but she couldn't tell what it was. All of the men were fully clad in armor and weapons, Shade prepared to use his Spirits abilities whenever. Like they were expecting to be attacked at any time. But what were they doing here?

"What are they after? This area literally has nothing except for the-" Saphira stopped herself s she realized. "The Guardian. Is that who they're after?"

"It's the only thing they could be after. And it seems they're expecting a lot of resistance from her," Flarenix confirmed, Saphira slightly moving to try and see what they had brought with them. Whatever it was, they must've thought it would help them. Just as she moved, however, someone from behind covered her mouth and pulled her back. She instantly began to struggle as a second arm snaked around her stomach to keep her still. Saphira continued to struggle, which only resulted in the person's grip growing tighter.

"Make anymore unnecessary movements, and I will kill you," Saphira froze completely when Zach's voice echoed in her ear. She slightly turned her head to see his face, which was as emotionless as usual. "For what reason have you come to a place like this?" he asked, Saphira unsure of what to say. Erik obviously hadn't told Zach or the others who she was if he didn't know already. She made sure not to make eye contact with him, in case he recognized her from their first encounter. But for now, she needed to come up with an excuse to be here. He slowly moved his hand to let her answer. "Well?"

"I heard rumors that there was a strong Aolis here so I wanted to see for myself," she said, not lying completely. Zach didn't say anything, but he also didn't let go of her so she could leave. Which meant he didn't believe her. "But then I saw them, so I couldn’t get any further," As I gestured towards Dragon Scale, trying to pull his attention away from her. When he saw them, a slight growl came from him as his grip loosened on her stomach. She turned to face him a bit more. His eyes had grown dark, his expression filled with anger.

'I've never seen him express this much emotion. Not even when we first met and he enjoyed torturing me with my nightmares.' Saphira thought, unable to fathom what could have suddenly made Zach so furious at Dragon Scale. Before she could ask any questions, however, he let go of her completely and dashed at Dragon Scale, killing half of the soldiers with one slash of his blade. Saphira just looked at him in shock, having trouble comprehending that someone could kill so many lives so easily. 'I guess I was really lucky he wanted to toy with me back when we first met.' She carefully made her way over to the cage as Zach kept Dragon Scale occupied. As she reached the cage, her eyes widen in shock. A black furred Kyni with bat wings was lying in the cage, its reptile eyes fixed on the fight.

"A Chimera? That's impossible. It's taboo to create Chimeras anymore!" Flarenix yelled, Saphira just as shocked. She had heard stories about Chimeras from the few researchers in her village. They are creations from a brutal experiment where animal parts are just thrown together into one being. This is why Chimeras are such violent creatures, according to them. Its eyes shifted from the fight to her, Saphira feeling a chill go down her spine. It quickly got up and began to snarl at her, Saphira unsure of what to do. "If it stays in here, Dragon Scale will have one heck of a trump card. You have to let it go,"

'But if I do that, it could attack the ones here already.' Saphira commented, Flarenix just groaning.

"Look, it's either letting it go now or wait until Dragon Scale unleashes it into a town or a highly populated area and going on a murder spree. You're call," Saphira didn't like her choices, but she knew which was the better option. Without any more hesitation, she looked around for a keyhole or something that could let her open the cage. She then noticed chains around all of its legs, all connected to the bar of the cage. Pulling out her knife, she went over to where all of them connected and used Flarenix's power to melt the chain where she cut at it. As soon as she chains were melted, the Chimera let out a chilling scream than rang in Saphira's ears. It broke the cage effortlessly, the bars going in Saphira's direction. She quickly ducked to avoid them, carefully looking up once the sound of metal hitting the ground died down.

"Meat," the Chimera whispered in a low tone as it starred right into her eyes, Saphira's entire body freezing in place. She tried to force herself to move, but her body refused to move.

'It's…paralyzing me!' She thought as the Chimera began to carefully make its way towards her. She still had the knife in her had, an idea popping in her head. She tried to move her right wrist, using all of her strength to move the knife. The Chimera hadn't noticed as it still walked towards her rather slowly. As it began to prepare itself to pounce on her, Saphira was able to get a small cut on her arm to snap her out of the paralysis. Just as she did, the Chimera jumped up and headed right towards her. Panicked, Saphira threw up her left arm to protect herself from its bite, its teeth sinking deep into her arm. Saphira let out a painful scream, the pain a lot more intense than she expected. The Chimera didn't flinch at all, instead it bit even harder into her arm. Saphira tried to get it off, but no matter how much she punched and kicked at it, it refused to let go. Her strength began to fade, and her head was heavy and dizzy, and it felt like it was going to rip her arm off.

Just as she was about to give up, the Chimera let go of her arm and grunted in annoyance. Saphira let out a groan in pain when the teeth left her arm as well, as they had been pretty far into her arm. She held her wounded arm in an attempt to soften the pain, the blood sliding down her right hand. Her vision was blurry, so she couldn't see how bad the injury really was, but she could tell from the amount of blood gushing out. The arm began to become warmer as well, making the pain even worse. She felt someone picking her up, unable to really resist at this point. The arm was on her shoulder and supported her head, which had become too heavy for her to hold up on her own. Unable to fight the tiredness, she closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Saphira opened her eyes, the warmth of a blanket covering her body. She felt something around her felt arm and on her forehead, the cloth on her forehead slightly wet. She examined her surroundings, noticing that the entire room was made entirely of metal.

'Where am I?' She thought as she pulled herself into a sitting position. She looked down at her left arm and saw that it had been completely taken care of and wrapped in bandages. Even with the bandages, the arm looked swollen. 'Did it get infected?' She placed her hand on the arm and felt the heat through the bandages. She let out a small sigh and laid down back on the pillow. She still felt a bit dizzy, so she wouldn't try her luck just yet. As she laid there, she could hear voices nearby. She looked over at the door on the opposite side of the room and listened.

"She was lucky to survive such an injury. The wound was deep, and it had even become infected. How long had she been there before you brought her here?" an unknown voice asked, Saphira assuming the woman was talking to the one who saved her.

"The injury was fresh when I brought her there. She was wounded in front of me. And what do you mean 'infected'?" Saphira recognized the voice, it belonged to Zach. Was Zach the one who helped her? He was there, so it was definitely possible. But why would he help her?

"That's odd. When I treated the wound, it had already become infected," Saphira remembered the sensation of her arm become more heated before Zach had picked her up. Did the air infect her arm in such a short period of time? She looked up at the roof as she let out a loud sigh. How much trouble had she gotten into since her first encounter with Faith in Sektories. Why was she continuously but in situations like this?

"It might have been the ash in the air, but it does not matter. Is she well enough to be questioned?" Zach asked, Saphira just clicking her teeth. A thud sound could be heard from behind the door, Zach groaning.

"That's no way to treat a lady, Zach. No wonder you never had a girlfriend," Saphira could hear May's voice, an annoyed sound she assumed came from Zach. "The poor girl needs to have some proper rest to heal. And being questioned by an insensitive guy like you won't help her," Saphira couldn't help but smile. The guy she had seen as terrifying and intimidating was being ridiculed by the Flower Empress. Just the concept was funny in her mind. She heard footsteps fading from the door and she sat up in her bed. Just then, the door began to open and she jumped. She hadn't heard any new footsteps, so she wasn't expecting the door to open.

"Ah, you are awake. That is a relief," Saphira's eyes widen in surprise when she saw the man who destroyed the boulder for the travelers enter the room. He closed the door behind him as he walked towards her bed. "How do you feel? You were writhing in pain last night so we began to worry,"

"I'm fine, I guess," Saphira answered. She was honestly not sure what to say in this situation. The man gave her a warm smile before he sat himself down on the side of her bed. Saphira quickly pulled her legs closer, not trusting him just yet. He just let out a small laugh at her reaction.

"I suppose you are a bit vulnerable in this situation. This is the first time you've ever been this close to one of the three parties since your little adventure," Saphira froze at his words. How did he know it was her? The first thing came to mind was Erik, but then why didn't Zach know? Had he just told this man?

"Who are you?" she asked, the man still smiling at her.

"You do not need to worry, I have no intention of exposing your secret. My name is Henry, and I'm the Commander of the Shadow Knight," he introduced himself, Saphira finally having a name to put on the Commander. "I suppose you don't know much about me, as I have kept myself in the shadows as much as possible so that I can assist the people instead of fighting the army and Dragon Scale. Like the situation by the trail near the Volcanic Terrain,"

"Wait, why are you talking about it as if I was there? You don’t know that," she asked, confused by his choice of words. He looked at her with a serious look all of a sudden, making her uncomfortable.

"I've been keeping track of your little incidents since your involvement in Sektories. Faith brought you somewhere, right? At that time, I had my Spirit follow your movements and report to me of your movements and decisions. So I knew exactly where you were, and what you have been doing," he informed her, Saphira not understanding at all. She thought she would've sensed a Spirit following her. And Flarenix would have told her as well. "I know every piece of information you have gained over the course of your travels. From when you entered Holie until you met with the Guardians,"

"So what you're trying to say is that there's no point in trying to trick you," Saphira concluded, not liking the situation she was in. Henry knew everything about her, yet she was still completely in the dark concerning him. "Are you the same as Faith, then? Believing I'm some hero that's going to end this war,"

"I do not believe it, I know it. Your efforts to cease this war outdo anything we have done, including Dragon Scale in their early stage. Which is why I have come to speak with you," Henry said as he got up from the bed. Saphira still kept her knees close, still not trusting him. "I would like your cooperation with a plan we have to finally bring down Commander Paul's tyranny and heal His Highness," Saphira was initially surprised he knew about the theory behind Paul, but he did just say that he knew absolutely everything.

"You already know what my answer is going to be, if you really were telling the truth when you said you knew everything," she answered, Henry just giving her a soft smile instead of getting annoyed with her. He went towards the door and opened it, a man she didn't recognized on the other side. Henry whispered something before the man bowed before he left.

"You are free to leave if you so wish. And you are now considered and ally among my men," He turned to face her again, Saphira carefully getting out of the bed. "We are right by the path near the Volcanic Terrain, so you do not need to go far to get back to where you were,"

"Is your Spirit's going to continue following me?" Saphira asked as she reached the door and stood beside him.

"Yes, though for a different reason. You may be stronger than most of my men, but you are still only one person. If I feel that you need assistance, I will be able to know where you are," he told her, Saphira not arguing there. In fact, it felt a bit relieving to know that someone had her back through this now. "Make sure to take care. Your arm has yet to heal completely," Saphira gave him a short nod as she exited the room and made her way down the hall. Flarenix lead her to the exit and she was soon outside.

"That was certainly a revelation I did not expect," Flarenix commented as Saphira made her way to the Volcanic Terrain again. "The Chimera was chased away from the volcano by Zach, and entered the Kyni territory. So it might come to attack you again,"

"Let's hope not," Saphira sighed as she lifted her injured arm. "If I get more injured than this, I'll really be in trouble,"

"But now, we're not alone. Looks like things are finally looking up," Flarenix said, Saphira agreeing with her. She arrived at the path where the boulder was destroyed by Henry, stopping for a moment.

"Let's just hope this means this pointless war is coming to an end,"

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