The ground rumbled.
Julia stepped forward through the burning flames of the Elven village. Everything was burning to the ground as she walked along with arrogant steps. A wicked smile appeared on her lips, looking into the burning houses.
An orc marched forward with a struggling elf in its hand.
“I found one.” The orc grunted.
With a heavy hand, the orc threw Elven in front of Julia. A painful groan escaped out of the elf.
“Where is the Hydra’s stone?”
The elven woman glared. “I’ll never tell you!” She snarled.
“Oh, really?” Julia walked over toward her and leaned in. She grabbed the elf’s chin and turned it toward her face. “I’ll get it out from you with or without your permission.”
In that instant, Julia summoned dark energy from her body, shooting into the elf’s mind.
A horrible screech escaped the elf’s lip, making her shudder. Dark energy swelled and entered her mouth, nose, and ears, completely overwhelming her until the elf fell backward.
Julia stood still with her eyes closed. She didn’t even budge from the screech. Finally, when the darkness overwhelmed her, it sucked out her soul and into Julia. She opened her eyes.
With a thud, the elf fell to the ground, all shriveled up and dry. The elf’s hair turned white, and her skin sunken. She was dead.
“I found it,” Julia stated with a glee. Her eyes brightened as darkness swayed around her.
“Where would that be?” The orc asked curiously.
“Toward the tree of life.” Julia’s head swiveled toward the location where a giant tree was present. “Let’s call in some backup, shall we?”
The orc uncomfortably looked at her. “Is it wise to summon all of them here?”
“Yes.” Julia looked at him, offended. “I don’t do things half heartedly, and the tree of life isn’t something to ignore.” She grunted.
“I see…” The orc uncomfortably squirmed under her gaze.
“Get the troops ready. We will be moving now.”
“Yes, mam’n.” The orc hurriedly disappeared.
Julia took a moment as she gazed around, satisfied about the destruction around her. Then, she raised her hand, causing more dark energy to spew out of her fingertips. It surrounded her completely, becoming bigger and bigger, inflating like a giant balloon.
With a loud clap, the circular darkness shifted shapes, turning into an oval gate. With a fluctuating flicker of energy, the gates fluctuate in strength.
“Come,” Julia spoke out loud.
The gate shivered from her command.
Stepping out was the Titan. His heavy steps rumbled with weight as each step shook the ground around him. Fierce, angry gaze cast out toward Julia. He had grown exponentially since the last time he had spoken with Julia.
“You.” The Titan spoke in displeasure.
“What about me?”
“Why do you have to call me here?”
“Why not?” Julia snorted at the Titan’s words. “We have a job, and you work for me.”
The Titan snorted, but he didn’t say anything back.
The next to appear violently with a burst of black fire was the phoenix. It flew out with the fury of a firestorm. Each flap, causing a heatwave of energy to spit out with a flurry of emotional anger that scorched the ground as well.
“Well,” Julia smiled. “Good to see you heed my call, my old friend.” She waved her hand over her head.
The phoenix fluttered over, flying above her. It didn’t say anything but stare back at her with a dark flurry of emotions.
It didn’t take long for the third legendary creature to appear out from the black gate. This time it was three humanoid beings. The first one to step out was a gallant and handsome-looking man with long black hair and black eyes. His face was enchanting to the point it was even more beautiful than most elves.
Stepping behind him were Crow and Raven walking proudly behind.
“Father, why are we here?” Crow asked; he was displeased that he stepped out of a muggy forest. “It smells.”
“Quit your whining, Crow.” Raven rolled her eyes. She briskly walked out with her hand on her hips. Her nose perked up, sniffing the air a few times. “It smells like death. The perfect ingredient of what we all stand for.”
“I don’t know, sister. Our mother doesn’t condone this.” Crow sighed. He shook his head at his sister.
“Who cares? We are the descendants of the Black Gryphon. Who would dare go against us?” Raven puffed up her chest arrogantly.
The bickering between the two siblings went back and forth to the point where th Black Gryphon halted. He spoke. “Enough.”
Both children went silent. They did not want to anger their father.
“Well, well. If it isn’t the Black Gryphon.” Julia spoke. “I thought you would not heed my call because of your injury.”
The Black griffin glared down at Julia. “My injuries are of no concern to you.”
“Is it? I heard my niece has harmed you.” Julia goaded. “I know such power does not heal so easily.”
When he heard Julia’s niece, he pulled out his blade, placing it on her neck.
“Your niece is a bane of this world.”
“I agree.” Julia chuckled. “But…”
Julia raised up her hand. She grabbed the blade, and at that moment, her hand started to change into black claws. The Black Gryphon eyes widened when she saw the change in Julia’s hand.
“You can’t be.” The Black Gryphon was surprised.
“Why can’t I?” Julia smirked.
“Because your turn should have ended.”
Julia pushed the blade aside. “I am not like my other predecessor.” She took a step forward. “I am greater than the previous ones before me. Look around you,” she waved her hand in big motions.
The Black Gryphon looked around, noticing that there were other legendary creatures before them.
“How?” The black Gryphon put away his sword. He curiously observed the Titan and the Phoenix. “The curse had made it only possible to be able for one legendary creature to be out at once; a few times, there were a handful of us, but never this many.”
The black Gryphon was amazed.
All the others wondered as well as this was an unusual circumstance. Never in history were they brought together in such a way.
“What do you need us for?”
“To awaken the Hydra, I need assistance in bringing down the tree of life.” Julia’s word struck through all three of the legendary creatures. To hear such a bold plan to take down the sacred tree was never thought of, nor could they by themselves.
“Is it possible?” The Titan asked, completely baffled by her words.
“Yes, I am the one who summoned you all,” Julia stated with arrogant words. “Now, all we need is for you to do your jobs, destroying the saplings that are blooming around the sacred tree of life to allow us to get closer.”
“Where do you suggest we go?” The Black Gryphon did not argue. Instead, his body quivered in delight at the thought of destroying the tree of life. Something nobody was able to do until now.
“Come closer, let me show you what I have found out.” Julia evilly grinned. The mischievous malice in her eyes glimmered in her eyes, excited to share her plan.
I had a strange dream. It wasn’t like the usual dream that I usually have of eating delicious food and having an adventure.
This one woke me out of my short nap.
I was flying in the air, looking over the battlefield. The elves were fighting against the swarm of monsters that tried to overwhelm us. I blew fire, landed, and even destroyed whatever I could to slow down as much as possible.
A thundering roar resounded through the forest. My head snapped toward the direction of the roar, and at that moment, I saw something horrible.
The sacred tree had fallen.
From it, a burst of black shadow encompassed the whole forest ground. A black shadow with large wings appeared from the darkness. It stared at me. I could feel its malice growing with each beat of its wings.
At that moment, I woke up. Breathing hard, trying to figure out what went wrong.
There was nothing I could do; the malice was so strong that it shook me to my very core. It was as if the shadow knew who I was as its gaze bore into my very soul. I didn’t want to meet this terrible creature. Honestly, I tried to run away.
Such cowardly thought made me feel small. My tail, wrapping even tighter than before around my body, trying to protect myself. The dragon in me grumbled, telling me repeatedly that such things weren’t something I should be afraid of. It was a battle of will for the next few minutes, reminding myself I was stronger than this.
I don’t know how long I was in my mind, but the sun rose, which confused me at first. The time we arrived back in the city was close to the evening.
When I was finally able to pull myself out of the hole of the disgusting loop of negative emotions, I gazed around to find what I missed.
Everywhere I looked, they were elves busily moving around. Even the civilians had armor on as if they were all ready to go to war.
The children have ferried away toward safety.
Hundreds of soldiers were heading toward the edge of the city wall.
I got up, following the soldiers. Curious about what was happening.
I was glad that Phil could push them forward, or I would have caused ugly trouble that would have not ended up with goodwill.
Nobody paid attention to me. They were too busy and focused.
Eventually, I followed them and appeared in front of the giant wooden gate. Thousands of elves were uniformly worn, waiting for the orders of the council.
I saw Cathy and Phil in the group of an elven soldier.
When they saw me, they acknowledged my existence but did not come over.
Instead, I watched and listened. Eventually, Phil and Cathy came over.
“You’re awake,” Cathy chirped. “I thought you would sleep like a log.”
“It’s okay, Berry. We had everything done before you woke up.”
I shrugged and nodded my head.
My mouth was strangely dry. I smacked my lips a few times, trying to figure out what to say, but nothing came out.
What was wrong with me? One moment, I was swirling with rage, but the next, I felt a budding worry. The dream brought a sense of urgency. I must do something. I knew it deep in my soul, but what was it?
Cathy looked at me worriedly. “Are you alright?”
“I think so, for now,” I replied back.
“Is there something that you need to talk about?”
I shook my head. “Not at this moment.”
“Okay, if you need to, I am here.”
“Thanks.” It was nice to hear that other people were thinking about me. “When I am ready, I will.”
Cathy walked over. She looked at me for a moment, a smile plastered on her lips. Then, opening up her arms, she came over to hug my neck. She felt so small compared to my giant body that could completely overshadow Cathy.
But Cathy’s small body felt bigger compared to mine as her warmth spread out onto mine, becoming bigger and bigger to the point where it melded into me.
A shiver escaped me. My head dipped down, resting on her shoulder. Breathing in and out, letting my emotions too slow down.
Cathy pulled back. She patted my shoulder. “I know you can overcome it.”
I couldn’t help but feel grateful for her words. She was right. It was all in me.
I steeled my resolve, the power of my will getting stronger.
Suddenly, the world around me became silent.
Everyone stood still; everyone could feel the uncomfortable feeling of something dangerous lingering in the air.
A burst of birds scattered, crying out wildly with fear; even the animal rushed out of the forest, past the guards, and headed straight to the tree of life.
I flapped my wings, pulling myself up into the air. The smell of fire was heavy in the air.
The smell of the start of a blood bath.
My mind sharpened.
The war was coming, and it was coming at tremendous speed.
With a heavy shake of the ground, I saw something emerging far off in the distance. A shadow was appearing, getting bigger and bigger. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
As the figure was getting clear, I instinctively knew who it was.
I took in a sharp breath.
This was not good. What was Rei doing here?
“Quickly! Get Started!” I shouted in a roar. Everyone turned their attention to me, wondering why I was looking for Stryd.
“The Titan is here!” I barked again. This was a serious problem. A Titan to appear here out of nowhere was something serious.
Some of the elves broke off, running to find Stryd.
Not even a few seconds, a screech of a bird rang out throughout the forest.
I flapped my wings, pushing myself up into the sky, and there I saw a black flaming phoenix flying straight toward us.
“Shit,” I mumbled under my breath. What was going on here?
The phoenix screeched again. It blew a sea of black fire into the very forest. Instantly, the ground was tarnished black with fire.
Another screech followed right after. My heart clenched.
The familiar sound of the Black Gryphon rang proudly through the forest. But, unfortunately, Don and Ginger were not here to deal with them, which was a big problem. Only one was here.
“Oh my…” I was in disbelief. “Three legendary creatures? Here? Why!?” I blurted out in complete confusion. They never worked together.
Something grave was happening here; there was no other reason than they would all be working together. Someone was calling the legendary creatures all here.
Instantly, I knew who: Aunt Julia.
I cursed so hard that I faltered in the air. Then, with a quick beat of my wings, I had to bring myself back up.
“Berry!” Phil shouted from below.
I looked down as he was waving his hand for me to come down. Quickly, I landed. It was a terrible landing as I was in a rush that I stumbled. Almost tripping down onto my feet.
“What’s going out there? Is there a problem?”
“Yes,” I babbled. “Three legendary creatures are here! I’m even sure Aunt Julia is here as well.”
“What?!” Phil said in disbelief.
“I know, it’s weird. I don’t get it.”
Phil was silent for a moment. Then, the crinkle on his eyebrows became even more apparent.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I growled. “I can see them coming with my own two eyes.”
Phil swore as well, his fist curled up.
“You know something, do you?” I asked. It was a nagging feeling that I was getting from his expression.
“Yes,” Phil replied. “But I might be wrong.”
“Don’t hold it in. What is it?”
Phil didn’t respond at first.
“Phil, don’t hold it back. Tell me.”
Phil opened and closed his mouth. “There is another Legendary Creature here.”
I gaped. I couldn’t believe it.
“You’re joking, right?”
“Do you think I am?” Phil looked at me funny.
“I’ll be back.” He sprinted off into the distance, disappearing.
Coco, Tart, and Moca were already beside me. They didn’t say much as they watched the surroundings as if they were guarding me against someone or something. It made me uncomfortable to see them so silent.
Cathy ran over. Her hand waving her head over her shoulder. “Take me with you!”
I turned around, realizing who it was.
Cathay nodded. She gracefully got up onto my back.
“Wait!” Strom shouted. He rushed over, huffing and puffing.
“Wait for us as well!” Khor bumbled forward with his stocky feet. Gorum was following close behind, but he didn’t look as pleased.
All three of them stopped next to me.
“We heard about the Legendary Creatures coming,” Strom replied with a heavy breath. His beard was quivering.
“Yes,” I replied. “The Titan, The Phoenix, and The Gryphon are here.”
A sharp gasp could be heard from both Khor and Strom. Their expression deeply darkened.
“I would like to come and fight with you,” Strom said with commitment.
“What?!” Khor replied, baffled at what Strom said. “You’re out of your mind. What can you do?” He reached over to grab Strom by the shoulder, pulling him back.
“You aren’t a hero!”
“So?” Strom replied, shrugging him off his shoulder. “I know what I stand for. The Phoenix is here. We are its natural enemy; why not fight back? Instead, we cower inside the mountains?” He
said with a fierce commitment.
“No,” Khor replied back. “You’re insane. We don’t have the power to combat something so deadly!” He threw up his hand in frustration.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m going to fight for what I believe.” Khor shot back. He started to climb up my back as I watched them squabble. His foot slipped as he fell onto the ground.
“You can’t even get up!” Khor shouted back.
“Enough, Khor.” Strom got up, brushing the dirt off his pants. “You were always telling me I can’t do this and that. When are you going to wake up from your limited belief? I decided that I’d change such thoughts and live for my own beliefs and rights. It’s the only thing I have. I allowed you to step over my thoughts, but I need you to listen. This is my choice, not yours.”
Strom reached up. This time, he got a stronger end of the straps. Pulling himself up, he was assisted by Cathy.
“You’re making the wrong decisions,” Khrom said again. This time, he took a step back. He didn’t want to get on my back.
“You don’t know that.” Strom stared down at Khrom. There was a hint of dedication and confidence bubbling in Strom’s behavior.
I could feel that something was changing in Strom.
“Mark my words; you’ll regret it.”
“No, I won’t.” Strom turned away, not looking at Khrom anymore.
Khrom shivered in anger. He glared at Strom as he couldn’t reply back. Instead, he turned his back, leaving Strom behind.
I turned my attention to Strom. “Are you sure about this?”
“Yes,” Strom replied back. “I made my decisions.”
Next was Stryd, who climbed up my back. Stryd made herself as comfortable as he could. His expression has changed to a more serious expression. He had grown a lot in the short period that he had been here with me.
I was proud of him.
“Let’s go.” I started to flap my wings. Opening and closing as I pushed myself into the air.
The air around me started to beat heavily to the point where the elves around me were being pushed back so they wouldn’t get blown back.
“Hold on tight, guys.” I lifted us up into the air.
The wind was blowing, whipping us around.
Even the flames grew bigger and bigger to the point where they quickly ate away at the forest before us.
My heart tightened. I knew this was a bad sign.
Already, the Black Gryphon and the Phoenix were destroying trees left and right, killing anything and everything they could get.
We were in a time crunch.
The closer these three got to the tree of life, the worse it was.
“What are we going to do?!” Strom asked, holding on time.
We could all feel the dangerous energy coming from the very black flames that would melt our very bones if we fell into it.
“We’re going to need to split up,” I replied. We could not fight all three at once. “Stryd needs to go fight the Titan. He’s the only one that can.”
Stryd instantly understood what I meant. He nodded a few times, gripping my spine.
“I’ll go with him,” Coco spoke up first. “I can tolerate the Titan’s smell. Moca will be better to go against the Black Gryphon with Tart. I see that the Black Gryyphon’s children are here as
well.” She pointed out.
Off in the distance, the Black Gryphon had two new specks of form flying near it.
“We can take upon the father and his pup,” Moca spoke up, his usual gentleman expression was gone, and his features were slowly turning into his true form. Extra eyes were appearing on his face.
“Yea~ I have been waiting to hit these idiots’ faces for a while after what they have pulled.” Tart pounded his fist.
“I can assist as well,” Cathy spoke up. “The three of us could assist in slowing them down.”
“Then Khor and I will take care of the Phoenix,” I said.
I headed straight toward the Titan first.
The Titan looked at me with an evil glare, but when he saw Stryd’s Asphalt in his hand, the anger in the Titan’s body and voice exploded.
“You!” The Titan roared, pointing at Stryd.
“Good to see you too,” Stryd smirked. He jumped off my back, and Moca cast his spider web straight at the Titan’s body. He then swung toward the Titan as he turned to his true form.
Suddenly, from the right, the Titan’s hand came rushing to the right. I dipped just in time before I could get clobbered out in the air.
I wished Stryd the best as he fell toward the Titan. In midair, both Asphalt and the Titan’s fist collided together. A loud thunderous bang was heard as both clashed together, sending out a shockwave of energy.
“Watch out!” Cathay yelled, her blade smashed into the Black Gryphon’s claws, causing an unexpected shockwave that pushed me into a funky twirl. I had to recorrect myself. She jumped off my back as she battled with the Black Gryphon.
Coco and Tart were the next to jump off my back. Coco shifted into her black horse form. She glided downward as if she was floating in the air, while Tart jumped onto Coco’s back as they descended downwards while fighting against the Black Gryphon Siblings.
I headed straight toward the Phoenix.
Khor held on tightly, his eyes angrily glaring.