Chandler immediately reacted, running toward Kannon and the others in an
attempt to wake them up, but what happened next surprised Paul. In one swift movement, Ledian swung at the smaller dragon with his arm and knocked him aside, interrupting his dash at once. Momentarily dazed, Chandler did not get up right away, but when he did, he looked at Ledian, who now had
now turned to face the incoming dragons, with disbelief.

"You have to tell Kannon! The Korusians, they -"

His sentence was cut short after Ledian turned his head and blew a great flame in Chandler's direction, completely singing the dragon and causing him to collapse in pain as the heat forced its way through his scales. The
airborne fire passed overhead and hit the hut that Paul was leaning on,
making him reflexively push himself off of the hut and stand up.

'Great, safe,' he thought to himself, then remembered something. Katie and
the rest were in there!

He valiantly rushed toward the door, but suddenly stopped as memories flowed back to him. The door... Kynn Forest... pain... another door... more


Pushing all memories aside, he barged through the door and looked around. The inside of the hut was already in flames and the smoke was overwhelming. Lion was already awake and running to and fro frantically. As Paul entered,
he ran toward him, obviously fearful, as if he didn't even know he was
showing his fear. "It's burning!"

"Thanks for pointing out the obvious," Paul muttered, followed by a fit of
coughing as the smoke began to burn his lungs. "Damnit... Lion, go wake Raven, Draxis, and Nexus. I'll take care of Katie and Dione... damnit, this

Lion did as told after a small moment's hesitation and woke them up by way of biting them lightly, which was enough to wake at least Raven and Nexus. Though, Draxis refused to wake up. "Noo... go away, fuzzy-buns... I want my
big, chewy steak... and all the fixin's, mumma..."

Lion growled and barked in Draxis' ear, which immediately woke her up.
"AAH! The hell is your problem, wol - whoa! Fiery..."

"Get serious!" Lion forcefully advised just as Paul was waking up Dione.

Dione growled. "Why the hell are you waking me up in the middle of the
freaking night!?"

She then noticed the fire. "... oh. That's why."

Nexus looked greatly surprised at first, then angry. "Why in Ultimus' name
is the damned hut on fire!? RAH!"

"Nexus, instead of being a confused idiot, try getting out!" Paul yelled from the corner of the hut where Katie was. Nexus followed his advice and
exited the hut hastily, followed by Katie, Raven, and Lion. Dione ran halfway toward the door, but then remembered something important. Charlie was still unconcious and there was no way he was getting out in his current state. She immediately ran back toward him with Paul quietly watching. She began to try and drag him out, but it wasn't quite fast enough. The hut was
already falling apart and some of the rafters had fallen to the floor, blocking the entrance where Kannon had led them through to enter the hut. Luckily, there were two doors and the exit was still open. Wanting to take advantage of this before another piece of flaming debris fell and blocked that passage too, Paul rushed to the aid of Dione and started to help her
drag Charlie outside.

"Go," the half-dragon shouted to Dione, seeing that the smoke was getting
to her. "Now!"

She shook her head and raised it to stare at him angrily, but with a small,
mischevious smirk on her face. "Don't you get forceful with me! I'm not
going anywhere without Charlie!"

Paul looked up at her for a minute and was about to repeat his command, then reconsidered, nodded, and, returning the smirk, proceeded to help move
his surprisingly-heavy ally.

The hut was falling apart even faster now as the fire ate away at it like a
swarm of rabid termites out to feast. Finally, with Dione's greatly- appreciated help, Paul dragged Charlie's slightly-charred body out of the hut, only to be met with an ongoing battle between the three previously- asleep dragons and Paul's allies. He had forgotten about the Korusians...
had he remembered, he would have thought of a different solution to the problem of the burning hut than going out that way, if there actually was
one at all. There was that stupid brain again...

Dione realized she had forgotten something else... or, rather, someone
else. "Zane!! He's still in there!"

She was about to run in when a silver figure, running at the speed of a cheetah times two, dashed past her and threw her off her feet. "What the

Paul was just as confused as Dione about what had just run into the hut, so
he looked over to the raging battle. Katie, Nexus, Draxis, all of the dragons and the Korusians. He, Charlie, and Dione were right here. "No, it
can't be..."

The hut collapsed just seconds after the unidentified being had raced into
it, causing Paul to reflexively run forward to save the creature, but stopped himself when he saw the same silver figure standing atop the cliff
where Sevenia's cave was perched. Paul had to take a closer look. "...

The silver wolf had a distinctively different look now. Instead of being
filled with arrogance and cowardice, his eyes showed valiance and fury.
Backed by a sea of glistening stars, he appeared positively daunting... intimidating, even. In Lion's mouth, held by the scruff of his neck, was Zane, looking as innocent and scared as ever. On the wolf's back was Paul's entire set of new armour. The moment didn't last long, however, as a large dragon landed near Paul and took his attention away from the canine. A deep orange dragon which he didn't know... could only be a Korusian. The teen
instinctively leapt backwards and drew his sword. He struck the orange dragon with all his might and only then did he realize how cheaply-made and
flimsy the sword really was as it cracked down the middle and became
majorly chipped at the edges and point. "... shit."

The opposing dragon laid a great blow to Paul's chest, knocking him back a few metres and leaving the boy defenseless in all aspects. The dragon took
note of this and moved toward Paul, but was stopped suddenly by a
powerfully-charged, magic blast that literally took its head off and, needless to say, killed it. This blast came from none other than the solar mage, Dione, which very well saved the half-dragon's life. As if to avenge the orange dragon's gory death, three more dragons of an even larger size
landed nearby and began to close in on the three near the house with
malicious expressions on their faces. At this point, Paul regained composure from his formerly-dazed state and swiftly got up, pushing himself painfully forward to stand, back-to-back, with Dione, as if to protect her
from rear attacks. "Paul! You don't have a weapon to fight with!"

"I know, but... I can distract, can't I?" Paul grinned deviously. "I'll run around like a nut and make them turn their attention to me while you blow
their heads off, okay?"

"You really think it's that easy?" Dione inquired, almost sarcastically by
the sound of it.

"No, but... hell, I'm not standing over there while these guys gut you!"

"Allow me to provide my assistance!" an unidentified voice suddenly exclaimed, followed by a snarl directed at the dragon which its owner was
facing. Lionheart, with his back to both Dione and Paul, stared at the
crimson dragon menacingly.

"Gladly," Paul answered, turning his head briefly to see the wolf
positioned where he was, then turned his attention back to the golden
dragon he was facing. "On your word, Dione."

The solar mage nodded. "Go!"

In three separate movements, Dione aimed a blast of even higher power at the magenta dragon's head and fired, killing it on contact. Lion, having a
much smaller composure than his opposer, seemed to have an advantage in speed and he used it well. Leaping over and under the dragon, he succeeded in confusing it and, while its back was turned to him, fit its long tail in his mouth and bit down with the hardest force he could muster. The dragon howled in agonizing pain and turned around, only to provide enough force
for its tail to be completely ripped off. The wolf spat out the great reptile's tail and, without a moment's hesitation, jumped on its face and dug the claws on both of his front paws into its snake-like eyes, blinding it and rendering it practically helpless, at which point the wolf swiftly dove aside as another powerful blast of solar magic spouted from Dione's
glaive and beheaded the dragon. Lastly was Paul's dragon, who he was distracting quite effectively, as he said he would. The half-dragon pulled down his lower eyelid and stuck his tongue out in a teasing manner. "Hey,
fat-assed lizard!"

The dragon angrily rushed at Paul, only to be left open and to connect with Dione's third solar blast, which separated the dragon's upper half from its
lower. "Nice shot!" Paul cried out.

With the last Korusian dragon disposed of, Paul, Lion, and Dione looked
over to the battlefield where Draxis, Katie, Raven, and Nexus were previously fighting, only to witness a sea of blood and lifeless, draconic corpses. Nexus beat his chest proudly and laughed. "The dragons were never
a match for the great Nexus Zefyre before and they still aren't! HA!"

Katie looked exhausted and had a few scratches on her, but was okay
nonetheless and happy to be alive. Raven looked neither triumphant nor
terribly hurt. He was just normal Raven; the emotionless, quiet komodo.
But, for once, Draxis had lost her ever-present, toothy grin and was
overcome with a face devoid of any evident emotion or feeling.

While Nexus continued to boast to no one in particular and let out random war cries, Paul and Lion approached the victorious party and joined in the
celebration with hoots and hollers of their own, moreso from Paul than Lion. Dione preferred to stay by Charlie's side, as if she thought he would wake up at any second, and was soon joined by a worried Zane, who perched
on her shoulder and made sure she was alright in his own way.

A slightly-wounded Sevenia limped toward the group and bowed her head
respectfully. "I apologize..."

Katie looked up at the dragon curiously. "Apologize? For what?"

"I thought you humans were the same as the others. I wanted to kill you
before. I'm sorry."

Draxis shook her head, still without any emotion. "They're all the same and
I'm the same as them..."

Sevenia peered down at the blue dragon with a confused look. Draxis sighed and walked off, somberly saying one thing before leaving. "When you're all
ready to leave, I'll be by the entrance to Zoyan."

Oblivious to Draxis' sudden mood swing, Nexus continued to carry on a one- man celebration, but it was cut short with a powerful blow to the face from
the dragon's closed fist, which knocked him back and caused the massive
ogre to put his hands over his nose and howl painfully, while Draxis
continued her walk to Zoyan's entrance.

"The hell was that!? NOSE! OW! Damned dragon, I'll kill you!" Nexus shouted
loudly and pursued the dragon.

Kannon struggled forward in a heavy-laboured walk toward the burnt cadaver of Chandler. "Such a young and kind dragon to die... this is a black day
for Zoyan indeed..."

He forced himself to look away and toward the party. "I thank you for your
aid in defeating the Korusians, my friends... had you not been here, we would not have lived to see another day... but, the war was not a war that benefitted the Zoyani entirely. Our meadows," he explained, looking toward the formerly-beautiful secenery which was now scorched beyond any possible recognition, "will never attract anymore prey for our remaining citizens to eat. Our shelters are crushed and destroyed, even that small hut you were
all meant to stay in for the night, which I am glad you all got out of
unscathed. Our beautiful forests will never bear fruit again and all tranquility has been lost. And Sir Chandler has perished." Kannon sighed in
grief. "We have won the battle, but we have lost the war."

"Couldn't you rebuild?" Paul asked, concerned for the fate of Zoyan.

Kannon shook his head sadly. "No... there are no materials left to build
with nand even if there were, what good would that do? There is no food
left for us at all. We would starve."

"That was our plan to begin with, you senile bastard," a dark voice suddenly sounded from behind the group, causing them all to turn around and
find the source of it.

Kannon looked appalled at the sapphire dragon's sudden, harsh words.
"Ledian? What is the matter with you?"

"You stupid, senile bastard... place your trust in someone like me and what do you get? Hm? You get betrayal." Ledian stopped to let out a malicious, echoing laugh. "I killed Chandler. I orchestrated this entire battle. You
see all these corpses? All good dragons, willing to die by a single
command. My command."

"What... what are you saying?" The aged dragon seemed unable to believe
that one of his closest allies would betray him and even admit to it.

"I'm saying that you're not as superior and intelligent as you thought you
were. You're just a sadistic, worthless treasure hunter."

"Treasure hunter?" Paul raised a brow in confusion and turned to Kannon.

Kannon closed his eyes and nodded, re-opening them again. "He's not lying... I go to the man-made shrine nearest to Zoyan every three nights
and bring back treasure for the Zoyani to live off of."

"Tell them the whole story, why don't you? Don't you also ruthlessly kill any being who gets in your way while you're inside that shrine? Don't you maim and gut them and bring their entrails back as trophies? You're proud
of killing, aren't you, Kannon?"

Kannon stammered nervously. "I... no, I... well, I..."

"Hey, knock it off!" Paul intervened in the degrading conversation, saving
Kannon from further embarassment by Ledian's words.

Ledian looked down at Paul unappreciatively. "Damned human. Learn your
place and keep your mouth shut in the presence of your superiors."

"Superior? You? Hell no!"

It was clear and evident that the teenager's words were angering the
traitorous dragon. "This is your last chance, boy. Watch your tongue or
I'll make sure you'll never speak again, you hear?"

"Kiss my ass," Paul responded daringly, taking equal offense to Ledian's

That was the last straw. Ledian's anger overflowed as he conveyed in his next phrase, "God of war, Acules... I offer to you the blood of a human, for it shall be spilled tonight." With this short-yet-vengeant prayer to
the heavens, Ledian lowered his head so he would be able to give Paul
another unsettling glare. "Now, say goodbye, human boy."

No sooner was this said, Paul was gouged straight through the torso by Ledian's razor-edged horns and the dragon held him high in the air for the
heavens to gaze down upon, followed by a careless tossing aside of the bloodied body. Before the next move could be made, a blade had been driven through Ledian's skull and he was killed on contact. As the grand dragon
fell for the last time, all could see who was his killer. Atop Ledian's neck stood an infuriated Charlie with his hands loosely gripping the hilt of his berserker blade. After the enraged look left the half-dragon's face, he fell to his knees and buried his face in his hands. "I have failed..."