Destiny: Part Three
WThe wailing alarm made Elmist’s heart beat faster, if that was even possible. He thought his ribcage would break any time.
Zaldron was so weak that she needed Drake to support her as they rushed down the stairs of the Brightvale castle. “Easy,” he soothed from the bottom of his heart. “I know you can do it.”
As soon as they got to the base of the tower, the spy members, twenty in total, assembled in columns of four with their boss in front of them, who prepared to give a quick announcement that everyone expected was about the battle strategies they were meant to follow.
Instead, they were surprised to see Drake with tears in his eyes.
“I hope you all know that I’ve been trying hard to see that you will fight your best today, for the country, for your friends, and most of all, for yourself. I want all of you to promise that you will keep this at the back of your head as you fight.” Murmurs quickly turned into cheers, the mood of the spies instantly cheering, even if just by a small bit. Drake took the opportunity to continue. “Good. Whatever happens today…”
He was interrupted by a sudden shocked silence and fearful stares thrown to whatever was in the distance behind him. This went on for a few seconds, before the youngest spy burst into tears, and ran off towards the castle in sheer panic. The others barely noticed, each floating in his own cloud of deepest worry. Elmist and Zaldron, for their part, were trembling like the newest creations from Jelly World, eyes wider than ever. As the command for the commencement of battle was given, and all the spies automatically burst away towards their opponents (whilst trying unsuccessfully to keep to their battle formations), the boss of S.P.Y. was left alone for that one single moment.
“…I will always be proud of you,” he finished, silently. Then he turned around to face the opponents and whatever hope he had turned into despair.
There was no army. Drake thought his eyes were playing tricks on him, at first. For standing less than a few kilometres away was a large mass of huge Wraith warriors, dressed in armour of the darkest void and equipped with weapons of the thickest metal. They would be extremely challenging to fight, with no one having any solid experience on their strengths or weaknesses of Wraiths and thus, not knowing their enemy well enough.
But, alas, Drake’s speech made an impact on them. And much to the surprise of everyone, it was Zaldron who first started taking leadership. “All right, everyone, split into groups of three and let’s do Formation Ultranova!”
Reacting quickly, the spies followed Zaldron’s instructions and managed to reflect, beautifully, a fireball that had been hurled their way, shocking many of the opponents to the point that they were rooted to the spot. In an instant, almost a tenth of the army had been burned.
Elmist quickly took charge. “That’s one weakness we’ve seen, and perhaps their only one. Let’s prepare fire spells, quickly!”
Under these clear-cut instructions, the spies efficiently came up with adapted battle strategies involving the use of fire. As a few members rushed off to roll in a catapult which would launch fire bolts, others stood guard to reflect other fireballs carelessly thrown their way (which, indeed, did occur). Their most impressive attack was yet to come, however: Two spy members collectively opened up the sky with their skills as another summoned the sun while, still, a fourth generated superpowered energy for them, burning over half of the opponents with the ridiculously hot sunbeams. It was an impressive sight to behold, to say the least.
But the enemies were learning, too, and pretty soon, the remaining army had split up to prevent collective damage while advancing more quickly, covering over three-quarters of the distance to the spies. These time-taking abilities would have to wait, as it was time to prepare for close-combat battle. Last-minute enhancement to weapons were made, such as sharpening swords against a nearby rock and even breathing fire on them to heat them up (and hopefully do more damage).
Bracing themselves for the worst, the spies launched themselves into battle.
Most spy members had expected an armour tougher than anything they had come across and were surprised to see that their swords slashed right through the opponents as if they were a slab of butter. It was a pleasant surprise. Why, if everything were that easy, they had had no reason to worry at all! They proceeded to slice Wraiths into halves like nobody’s business.
But there was something wrong, and only the most observant spies noticed. By the time they had slashed about twenty opponents, there was a resistance, one so slight that it was impossible to notice. By the time they had slashed about fifty, the resistance grew stronger and this was where most spies felt the difficulty with handling their swords, yet choosing to attribute this to their fatigue. However, by the time they had slashed about a hundred enemies, the resistance was so strong that it was impossible to hit, much like slice through a Wraith. A quick glance at their sword revealed that it was covered with dark energy, poisonous to the touch (as an unfortunate spy fainted upon a mere finger contact with the blade) but which the opponents were apparently immune to. And much to their dismay, there were still about a hundred opponents left. Whom they could not attack. Only a few brave spies tried to engage the opponents in combat, though their attempts were futile and they were rapidly defeated. The other spies just dropped their weapons and ran for all they were worth, letting their swords join the mound of knives from the defeated Wraiths.
The mound of knives from the defeated Wraiths.
The mound of knives.
Elmist felt his heart surge, and almost fainted.
At that moment, he could have really used a hug, or anything to comfort him instantly, like music. Instead, he got the last thing he would expect: a furious tackle from Zaldron. They fell to the ground in a heap.
In the next instant, Elmist heard a crash and felt a wave of heat. He picked himself up from the ground in confusion, but saw the defeated Wraiths in the wave of fire just in front of the area where he had been standing, and understood immediately. Even before turning around, he knew the catapult was there. Zaldron got up too, and the two friends exchanged smiles.
It was a special moment. Partly because they were the only ones around.
Elmist started, looking around. It was true, but how on Neopia did he know that? Had he just… detected it? And come to think of it, he was a rather slow thinker in general. How could he have understood what had happened in just a few seconds?
Oh no, he thought, panic rising in his chest yet another time. This can’t be a symptom. That my far-future is approaching. And yet I’m positive it is.
When the ultra-bright sunlight from the previously summoned sun washed over Zaldron’s face, he saw only tears and an expression of sincere gratitude. But why? Was the battle already over? Had they won? She seemed to be speaking, but he couldn’t hear a word. Elmist didn’t understand, and yet he was afraid he did…
And then Zaldron gave him a wink, and teleported to the position behind him (as he could tell using these mysterious instincts) before giving him a fierce kick with her hooves (that, again, he expected). In that moment, he fell near a pile of knives, and very luckily, not on them. The silver from my visions, he realised.
He turned around quickly and saw only Zaldron smiling weakly back at him, and he knew that she had just defeated the last opponent on the battlefield.
At the expense of her life.
Elmist gasped, and leaped forward to catch the fainted Nightsteed that had been his best friend. This he stammered unlike anything he had ever said. “Please… get up. You’re… you’re my best… best buddy and you just… you can’t go away from… from me!”
Cheers erupted from the remaining spies as they realised they had won, but Elmist barely registered this in my mind. Neither did he register that his eyesight was blurring, just like in the vision.
With tears of pure sadness, and nothing less.***
Drake had been preparing for this moment. His Talent was unlike any other.
As he approached his fallen friend, he closed his eyes and made a wish to the heavens. The wish he had been saving up for a guaranteed chance of working, and the wish he would have wanted to come true more than anything in the world.
For a moment nothing happened. Then, in the next moment, Zaldron rose, by some unseen force, slowly, gradually, gracefully.
With a nudge from the already grinning Lupe, Elmist opened his red-rimmed eyes and gave a loud yelp of astonishment upon seeing Zaldron getting up. Within the next second, he had wasted no time in throwing his arms around Zaldron, who flinched at the sudden embrace. Then she returned it heartily. The trio stood there for a long while, in mute understanding.
“I heard what you said,” whispered Zaldron with a trace of excitement in her voice. “Because I know what you’re thinking.”
Elmist gasped in amazement, but recovering quickly, he cleared his throat and responded with a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh, I knew that already.”