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


18. Final Chapter

Saphira exited the room she had been given at the castle and began to head outside. She had overheard Henry and the other Shadow Knight plan for attack on Dragon Scale. Her father had offered his assistance and had even gotten some of the other warriors from their village to help.  Arthur had already placed Nate as a temporary General until he could properly pick a new one, the Prince being guarded by other soldiers instead. Saphira had been asked to follow their plan as well, but she already had another job. So, she would use them to get to the area, and then go on by herself.

"You think this is a good idea?" Flarenix asked her as she arrived at the exit. Saphira knew this plan was risky and really didn't think it would work. But it was the only thing she could think of. During her fight with Paul, she had been completely taken off guard that he was a Aolis, let alone able to achieve Sulos to a degree. The leader of Dragon Scale, the Brain, was also an Aolis. And Saphira knew he was a strong one. So she had to be prepared to fight off a just as strong, or stronger, Aolis.

"It's the only plan I can think of without having any idea how strong the Brain actually is. You saw him when we saved the Princess from Katil, he used his powers when he killed his men. How much of his power did he actually use then?" she said, Flarenix agreeing with her reasoning. Saphira looked around, but didn't see anyone else where she was. They were supposed to meet here before they left. Maybe she was early this time. "Besides, with any Aolis, anyone without enough knowledge are sitting ducks against those with a lot of experience. So really, I have the best chance,"

"You sounded exactly like your mother then," Flarenix muttered, Saphira caught off guard. She didn't expect to hear about similarities between and her mother. "You remember what you father said? About Natallian former role?"

"You mean about them being a part of the Royal Army as Spirit specialists?" Saphira asked, Flarenix nodding.

"Your mother was the best of the best, even among the other villagers. That's probably why that insane General saw her as such a big threat," Saphira couldn't deny that her mother was strong. Even in the few years she knew her, Misa was always using her Spirits power to help the people of the village or just entertaining her and Nate. Being able to use one’s power that frequently, even if in small doses, isn't easy. And it takes so much energy from the Aolis.

"Oh, you're already up," Saphira turned around when Erik's voice echoed behind her, the Lieutenant looking at her with a small smile. "I was just about to head over to your room to wake you up. But I guess you got up on yourself this time," he teased her, Saphira just giving him a small glare. She didn't get a proper chance to talk to him after the fight was over since he was with Henry all the time, planning their attack.

"It's not as early as it was yesterday, so that might have something to do with it," she said back, not letting him get the enjoyment of annoying her. Erik just laughed a little as his expression slowly grew more serious.

"Today is it. This war ends when Dragon Scale falls," he said, more so to himself than to her. Saphira just looked at him and stayed silent. She didn't know for how long exactly this war had been going on for, but she had been fighting against it for at least a month now. And the war had already gotten pretty bad. "You don't have to get involved, you know. We can't force you," Erik said after a while, Saphira looking towards the ground. She hadn't told anyone about King Arthur's request, and she didn't plan on it either.

"I know, but I have already gotten this far. I might as well see it through to the end. Besides, I need to make sure you guys don't get out of hand as well," she partly lied, Erik just snickering. It was true that she wanted to see this through to the end, but wasn't worried about Shadow Knight right now. Her father would keep them under tabs, so she didn't have to worry about them. "Anyway, where is it we're actually going?"

"A place called Dark Tower. Apparently, darkened Humans built it as a safe house during the First War in an attempt to hide themselves from the Light Spirits while they planned their attack. It was also built so that Dark Spirits strength were increased and Dark Aolis' powers were enhanced," Erik explained, Saphira remembering something about a tower in some of the old books, though there weren't many details about the Dark Aolis during the First War written down. "Commander Henry and Flint, an old military captain, have planned a way for us to attack when we get there," Saphira found it a bit funny that he explained to her who her father was, but he wasn't aware of their relationship. "So you don't have to worry about a plan, that's already covered,"

"Right," she muttered to herself, a set of footsteps walking towards them. she moved her attention from Erik to behind him, seeing both Zach and May walking towards them. Commander Henry and Jiro following right behind them.

"Well, aren't the love birds enjoying themselves," May teased them, both glaring at her in response. May just giggled innocently, Zach showing some annoyance in his expression. Commander Henry completely ignored her comment, however, and walked towards Saphira and Erik with a serious expression.

"Are you two ready? The rest of the troop and army are at the exit to Castrelia," he asked them, both of them nodding as the six of them headed towards their destination. Saphira hung behind the Shadow Knights along with her father, who was constantly looking over at her.

"You have no intention of following the plan," he whispered carefully, catching her off guard as she moved her gaze to look at him. "I can tell. You wouldn't be as cautious if there was nothing for you to think about," He had a small smile on his face when he said that, Saphira looking at the ground. "I will not stop you, as it will only do more harm than good. But you have to promise that you will be careful and think properly before you go through with this,"

"I already have," she answered in a small whisper, Flint only nodding. "And don't worry, I have no intention of dying if that's what you're worried about," Her father let out a small chuckle at her comment, Saphira smiling a little as well.

"Make sure you do not lose that humor of your as well," he joked, Saphira only smirking in response. It was odd that the two could talk like this, considering their situation. The only thing in this entire journey that has stayed the same. "No matter what happens after this, you are still my daughter and I will always support you in whatever you do,"

"Thanks, dad. I appreciate it," she smiled at him, the neither saying a word for the rest of the way. They could talk more about the future after this was done. Now, it was time to finally end the war.

After a long march from Castrelia, the large army of Shadow Knight, the Royal Army and Natallian fighters were preparing to strike at the Dark Tower. Saphira had gone off by herself and checked her blade. She hadn't had a chance to get a blacksmith to look at it since she met Jak in Holie. Her blade was still sharp, but she was worried it might be damaged after all of the fights. She could faintly hear Commander Henry's motivational speech from where she sat, but she didn’t pay much attention to it. Nor had she gotten a real grip on the plan. All she knew was that there were quite a few soldiers in front of the entrance. So that was their first target.

'Once they strike at the defense in front of the entrance, I need to get into the building without anyone following me. With so many people on the outside, there won't be too many on the inside.' Saphira thought as she put her katana back in its sheath. 'And once inside, I need to find the Brain and take care of him in some way.'

"I don't believe killing him is the best option. That will only prove his point. Besides, I was their inspiration if we believe what they said back in Milline," Flarenix told her, Saphira stopping her action for a moment.

"Why are you their inspiration? I still can't figure that out," Saphira asked, Flarenix only sighing. Which meant she also had no idea.  Saphira fastened her katana to her back and placed her cloak on, fixing it so it wouldn't fall off.

"Why wear the cloak? It will only get in your way," Saphira looked up at Zach, who she hadn't even noticed was there. This was the third time he had popped up without her noticing. She was starting to think he might be using some of his powers to hide his presence. "We are about to attack, so get ready,"

"Right," Was all Saphira answered before she followed Zack. They walked over to where Henry, Flint and Nate were, the Commander ready to give the signal to attack. He looked over at Saphira, who nodded.

"Attack!" he shouted, and all of the med charged at once towards the tower. The Lieutenants followed the leaders, Saphira pulling the hood over her face before she also followed after them. It didn't take long before they met resistance from Dragon Scale members, Saphira not pulling out her blade. She wasn't going to fight, not against these guys anyway. She fought some of the guys in close combat next to Erik and Nate, occasionally looking over at the entrance. The door was closed, and possibly locked, so it wouldn't be worth it to try and enter now. She occasionally saw Shade attacking some of the soldiers, but Zach quickly intervened and the two of them had a fight by themselves further away from the rest of the fight. So she placed her trust in the violent Lieutenant and not worry about Shade during this fight. She continued to fight against some of the members until she heard the sound of the door opening.

"Saphira, you need to fight properly or you'll get hurt!" She could hear Nate calling over the people, Saphira looking over at him for a quick second.

"Sorry," Was the only word she said before she dashed towards the tower door.

"Saphira, get back here!" Nate called over all the shouting, most likely getting someone else's attention. but she didn't care. She ran right past all of the members, too fast for any of them to really stop her. Once she was on the other side of the door, she quickly turned and slammed the door shut, noticing a wooden plank on the right side of it. Wasting no time, she picked it up and placed it on the door hangers. Luckily the door was a push on the outside, so it wouldn't be easy for them to open it. She let a small sigh before she turned to examine her surroundings. The tower was emptier that she expected. Not just of life, but anything. There were just cold, stone walls. It didn't seem like anyone was staying here.

"There aren't many Humans inside here, so it shouldn't be too hard to find his presence," Flarenix said, making Saphira a bit more relaxed. She suddenly felt a strong source of Leot from above her, Saphira looking up. She could faintly see some traces of it falling down, which mean that her target was most likely on the very top.

"What's with men in charge being on the highest possible place?" she sighed as she began making her way upwards. The tower was rather linier, so she didn't have much trouble getting to the top. But the state the tower was in made her more concerned every moment. The higher she got, the more desolate it looked. She saw that the Leot became thicker as she made her way up. And an odd smell hung in the air, making her a bit nauseous. She moved faster up the last few stairs and finally arrived at the top, entering the door in front of her. But she was completely frozen in place by what she saw. The small room she had arrived in was filled with purple, ominous plants that covered the entire room, floor to roof. And in the center stood the Brain, who looked as he was caring for the plants.

"They are beautiful, are they not? So filled with life and energy," he said suddenly, Saphira instinctively reaching for her blade. "But they can only be used for evil, no matter what anyone else believes. After all, the Spirit that cares for these beautiful plants is a Darkened Spirit. Nothing she does could ever be considered good," Saphira wasn't sure what he talked about, but something about it sounded familiar. "Do you not agree, Aolis the Great Flarenix choose?" He moved his attention from the plants and to her, making her even more cautious.

"What does Flarenix have to do with any of this, Brain?" she asked, the Brain only sighing and laughing a bit. He didn't seem as crazy as Paul in appearance, but that only made him more unsettling to her. He was so calm, yet she could sense how dangerous he actually was.

"Please, call me Farel. 'Brain' is a name only my men use when they speak to me," he introduced himself, Saphira still glaring at him from other her hood. "The Great Flarenix is the reason why I began to see what the Dragon Circle was actually doing to Spirits such as my own, and the one the young Lieutenant Erik has," She didn't expect him to know who Erik's Spirit was. She hadn't even seen him summon it at this point, nor had she heard anything about it. So how did he know about it? "Her actions to defend a Darkened Spirit against the Dragon Circle, despite knowing the consequences, was admirable. And remarkable to see," he said as he moved around in a circle, almost like he was dancing by himself.

"So you're following her footprints by killing innocent people and manipulating them, like you attempted in Milline?" she pointed out, the man stopping when he had his back to her and snickered to himself.

"My dear child, I do not think you know what I am trying to do. Tell me, who are the ones closest to the Dragon Circle in our Realm?" he asked her suddenly, Saphira not sure what he was getting at. "None of the Spirits in the circle have a Aolis, so they resort to give other Aolis power to protect us. And they are the Guardians," Saphira's eyes widen when he mentioned the Guardians. She knew that they were put into the role of protecting this Realm, but not that they were directly connected to the Dragon Circle. That was completely new information. "Of course, that does exclude the one that is more powerful than any of them. The one that has the largest burden on her shoulder,"

"'Her' shoulders?" Saphira asked stepping a bit more into the room. He slowly turned and pointed at her, Saphira flinching.

"You, Saphira of Natallian. The Spirit Guardian that has tasked with protecting all of Savia," he said calmly, a small grin on his face. Saphira was completely stumped. How did he know who she was, she had never had her hood down around him or any of the Dragon Scale members? Not only that, but how did he know where she was from and about her being the Spirit Guardian? "It's such a shame for the Dragon Circle that you were the one chosen. You, being Flarenix's Aolis, would never agree to their way of operating, would you?" Now she understood what he was doing. He was trying to manipulate her, to make her sympathize with his ideals.

"It's true that I don't like how the Dragon Circle do things. But your way isn't any better. In fact, you're worse," she said, suddenly sensing movement behind her. She instantly and ducked, a purple vine from one of the flowers nearly hitting her. It quickly turned and wrapped itself around her stomach. Soon, other vines came and wrapped themselves around other parts of her body and held her tightly. All of the vines had thorns on them and stuck deep into her skin, Saphira biting her lower lip as the blood dripped down her body.

"You do not need to support my ideals, dear Saphira. All you need to do is stay right there while I commence the second stage of my plan," he said, Saphira confused by what he meant. "Didn't you find it odd? How all of my soldiers were outside and there were so few people inside, none of them guarding the way to me?" Saphira did find it strange, as she had sensed that there were people in here. "All of them are outside, following my plan. You see, I was the one that lead Paul's desires they became so strong he would kill an innocent woman. That would make him the bigger threat, and I would be left to prepare for my next plan,"

"Wait, you're the one who made Paul attack my village?" she asked, Feral grinning evilly at her.

"Yes, child. Though him killing your dear mother was not a part of the plan. In fact, it set me back a few pegs, as I believed she would be the Spirit Guardian. But it mattered little, as you appeared so many years later, right when my plan was going into its final stage," he confessed, Saphira not believing what she was hearing. Her mother's death, this war, all the innocent deaths. All of that was not because of Paul, but because of the man in front of her. Feral, the trigger that set off the war. "Now, the second part has to do with you," He placed her finger right under her throat, the vines glowing a dark purple. As the glow became stronger, Saphira felt an intense pain throughout her entire body. "And that is to separate you and the Great Flarenix,"

"What?" Saphira asked, the pain growing stronger. She could feel something trying to pull Flarenix out of her mind, making her unable to think at all. She could also hear Flarenix's agonizing pain echo over her own, Saphira trying her best to fight back. "Why are you-?"

"If a Spirit is extracted from their Aolis, they die. When they die, they turn into Leot and try to make it back to the Spirit Realm before they truly die. If I take her Leot before it can reach the Spirit Realm, I can take her power and use it as my own," he explained to her, Saphira closing her eyes in pain. It was too much for her to handle, but she couldn't give up. If she did, Flarenix would die.

"I won't let you!" she yelled in desperation, feeling fire throughout her entire body. The pain from the vines subsided and she released all of the energy that was pooling in her body. A tall circle of fire separated her from Feral and his vines, the flames engulfing her and began to change her arms like they had before in the fight against Paul. But it didn't stop at just the arms this time. Saphira felt the energy envelop her entire body. As it enveloped her, she lost all of her senses. She couldn't think at all, and her body felt numb. Almost like she was nearly unconscious. But her body moved, without her controlling it. Something fell into her side view as her head moved to look at it, a dark red dragon wing handing by her side. Her head moved to look over to the opposite side and saw that she had another one. Soon, the flames that surrounded her dissipated, Feral's shock expression being the first thing she saw.

"That's impossible! You shouldn't be able to achieve the full form of Sulos! You only just learned the steps!" he said in disbelief, Saphira's body moving towards him on its own accord, like a puppet on a string. Feral stepped back and surrounded himself with his flowers and prepared to attack her. "Do not think you have won just because of this,"

"You sure love drawing things out, bastard," Saphira could faintly feel her mouth move when those words were said, though she say any of that. Nor was it her voice. Feral seemed to have noticed the same thing, and looked at her in confusion. "You do know what the full form of Sulos is, don't you?"

"Wait, then you are… the Great Flarenix?" Before she answered, Saphira's body moved towards him at alarming speed and swung a claw at him, which sent him flying to the end of the room. He coughed up some blood as a large claw mark was on his stomach. Saphira couldn't control anything, Flarenix was the one deciding what would happen.

"That's right. This is the little 'present' Humans get for being a Guardian. Though so far, only we are able to pull it off," Flarenix said, Saphira's lips forming into a smirk. "So, any last words before this ends?" From those words, it seemed like Flarenix would kill him. Saphira hoped she wouldn't, as it would still be her body committing the act. But before the Spirit had a chance to finish him, something pierced Saphira's neck, Flarenix falling to her knees and clutched Saphira's neck. Saphira could feel Flarenix's energy slowly vanishing, the dragon glaring at Farel.

"Thankfully, I have devised a serum that will kill a Spirit inside of the Aolis' body. While I would prefer to have her powers as my own, her death will also be a useful predicament for me," he said, though he didn't sound or look cocky anymore. In fact, he seemed more cautious than Saphira expected. "You could've lived on inside me, yet you choose to fight against me,"

"Don't think you've beaten me yet," Flarenix growled, Farel looking at her in shock. Flames began to surround Saphira again, climbing along the walls and burning the flowers. "This place won't be standing once I'm done with you!" the Spirit roared, the flames growing out of control and began to damage the room. Pieces of the wall and roof began to wall down, the sound echoing around them. Flarenix spread the wings that had formed on Saphira's body and flew at him, Farel dodging before she was able to hit him. His movements were clumsy, thanks to the wound in his stomach, but he was still fast.

"It seems you are stronger than I first anticipated," he said quietly, more purple flowers growing underneath him. "Then it seems my plan is not yet out of question," Flarenix ignored all of his words and flew straight at him again, but he used his powers to create a hole underneath him to escape. Flarenix wanted to go after him, but the serum was taking effect on Saphira's body fast and soon she was unable to move it anymore. The flames in the room slowly died down, and Saphira could feel that she was now in control of her body. The wings and scales disappeared as Saphira slowly felt every pain her body was suffering. She heard the sound of thundering footsteps going up towards the stairs before she finally passed out.

Her heavy eyes slowly slid open as she laid on what she assumed was a bed, her vision blurry. Her entire body was sore, especially the places where Flarenix's scales and the place on her back where the wings were. Luckily, the soft mattress she was on made the pain more bearable.  She slowly moved her head around to look around the room she was in, but she couldn't recognize it. It was pure white and there were jars filled with some kind of substances inside of them.

'Is this…some kind of medical room?' She though, trying to get herself up into a sitting position. Though with little success as her body felt weak. She soon gave up and instead looked at the roof, still trying to figure out where exactly she was. 'I was at the Dark Tower, and pulled of a Sulos where Flarenix was the one in the lead. We were able to wound Feral, but he got away before Flarenix…' Saphira's thoughts trailed off as she thought of her Spirits actions. And said Spirit hadn't said a word since she woke up. Before she could try and talk to her, however, the sound of a door opening pulled her attention from the roof towards the nurse that entered the room.

"Oh, you're finally awake! What a relief!" she exclaimed, placing the tray she was holding and rushed over to the bed. Saphira didn't understand why she sounded so happy. Had she really been that injured when they found her. "You haven't shown any signs of waking up for the past four months,"

"Four months?" Saphira almost yelled and sat up in bed, her body immediately yelling at her for moving so fast. The nurse quickly tried to make Saphira lie down again, but she refused. "How can I have been asleep for four months?"

"You were in a Spirit coma. Both you and your Spirit were almost dead, and we found that someone had injected a fatal serum into your neck. After we extracted it, you and your Spirit have been in a comatose state in order to regain the Leot that the serum erased," she explained, most of it flying over Saphira's head. She still couldn't believe that she had been out for four whole months. Before she could ask anymore question, however, the door was practically hammered down as a large wave of people entered the room and ran towards her.

"Saphira! You're alright!" Nate was the first person that hugged her, Saphira wincing slightly in pain at the contact. She looked over at the others who had entered the room: Erik, May, Zach, Henry, Flint, Shadow, Zane. Even the Guardians were present. Which she didn't expect.

"Aren't you four supposed to be protecting your designated areas?" Saphira asked, Mizuko smiling warmly at her.

"We would be pretty bad Guardians if we abandoned one of our own. Especially the Spirit Guardian," she said, the other three nodding in agreement. Both May and Erik had a mixed expression of worry and stern, most likely since she ignored orders and charged on ahead by herself. Zach seemed relatively relieved, as did Shadow and Zane. The only ones who seemed indifferent was Commander Henry and her father.

"We should let her rest. She hasn't recovered completely yet," Henry said, Flint agreeing with him. The two men did have some trouble getting the others out, but they were finally able to convince the more concerned party that Saphira needed to sleep. Once all of them except for Henry had left, he turned to face her. "Saphira, you ignored my orders, in order to fulfill a personal request from the King. And thanks to your selfless actions, peace has been brought to Savia once again. You have my eternal gratitude," He bowed to her before he left and closed the door behind him. Once she didn't hear his footsteps anymore, Saphira laid down on the pillow and closed her eyes with a sigh.

"Finally, some peace," she said before she fell into a light slumber.

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