Hey guys! Sorry about being MIA. School has really been eating up my time and driving me crazy. But now it's winter break and I'm a super bundle of happiness right now (: and will get right to this next chapter!
Chapter 22: The Battle to End It All
"Take care of them for me." I said to Troy and quickly exited the room, not once glancing back. I needed to move. I needed to end this. Everything that's happened needs to stop right now. Too many bad things have happened and too many people have been hurt. My feet pounded down the stairs leading to me tower.
I burst out of the door at the bottom of the stairs and snapped, my gear instantly appearing on my person while my sword began thumping my thighs. My gaze lowered to one of the passing windows. There were men and women in black mounting their dragons as soldiers swarmed about preparing for what was about to come. I heard the pounding of footsteps behind me and continued looking forward.
"Taylor!" I heard my beloved's voice say, his desperation apparent. I bit my lower lip. I will not cave. I will not cave. "Taylor!" His voice yelled again, sounding much closer. A strong hand grabbed at my upper arm and stopped my movement, not risking myself by looking back. I knew that I might cave with Troy. No matter how strong my resolve was, there were just certain moments when I could not deny Troy no matter how unreasonable his demands were. Arms slid around my waist from behind and my eyes widened. "Taylor," he whispered in my ear. His breath was warm on my ear and I felt my face heat up. "Stay with me during this whole things. Please, please, Taylor."
I sunk into the body behind me, my head resting upon his shoulder. I looked up into his dark blue eyes. "Love…"
The arms tightened and he buried his face into my hair. "I know. It's a stupid request"
I slid out from the embrace and wrapped my arms around his neck. On my tiptoes, I rested my forehead against his. "Yes, it was, but it lets me know you care." I smiled and kissed him lightly. As I was about to pull away, his hand pressed into the back of my head, prolonging the kiss. I sunk into him, gripping him closer. His other hand slid to my lower back and pressed me to him as he ended the kiss, pressing my head against his chest.
"Stay safe." He whispered. I nodded and he let go, linking his fingers into mine. We walked hand in hand with no longer any words to say between us. It was time and there was no more turning back.
I jumped onto Axel's back, his greeting felt in my mind. "Hey, big boy. How about we get this show on the road?" I could feel him rumbling underneath me in affirmation. "Go." I said and Axel's large white wings snapped out and we lifted with one big flap. Once airborne, I sent a message to the wild dragons, calling on them for help. I felt Virtus' affirmation in my mind.
I felt a gentle caress from inside my mind and immersed myself in it. Troy. The sky was an endless blue with a few clouds in the sky, almost perfect. There had been a slight breeze in the air and the temperature today could only be described as perfection. What complete irony to the horrible battle that was about to ensue. Further surveying my surroundings, I noticed Troy and his dragon flying below me and to my right. His hair was blowing in the wind and his face tense. I didn't bother trying to send my mind to his in an effort to relax him. There was to be no relaxing today.
Looking further around, I noticed the wild dragons, each carrying a couple of soldiers, along with some more riding with multiple Contractors. I saw Summer, Josh, Adam, and David. They were decked in black gear, their faces set with determination. The more I looked around the more I noticed how large our force was. We were one thousand strong, but that might not even be enough to tackle the forces of black dragons and Contractors we were about to face.
My gaze returned forward and concentrated on what we would be able to see in a few more minutes—our destination. My hand reached out to Axel's hard scales and I petted them. It's time, big boy.
Yes, my little Contractor, yes, Axel's deep voice said back in my head. I'll be with you always.
I shut my eyes, my hair whipping around in the wind. Reaching to my side, I slid my sword from its scabbard.
"Steady." I heard in my mind, recognizing it as my father's. I saw black dots in the sky in front of us. "They're waiting for us. Stay in groups and trust your instincts. Good luck to you all."
I broke from formation, Axel and I flying above the main group, before they too broke up into sub groups. I glanced around, looking for my family. Father and Rayden were each leading their own groups. "I love you." I sent to them. I felt their love in my mind in return. Both of them told me to be safe and I smiled.
Moisture hit my skin as I passed through a cloud and I shivered. I saw a flash from below. Troy...be safe, my love. The sounds of battle began and I bent low in the saddle. "Faster." I commanded. Our speed increased. There was a loud roar from below and I looked down. The ex-Headmaster's eyes locked onto mine. "Axel."
"I am ready, little Contractor." His deep voice replied.
Axel roared loudly and the air vibrated with the sound. He dove down towards the Headmaster and his dragon. White fire spewed from Axel's mouth and the two dragons met.
"Left, Axel, left!" I screamed. My loyal dragon followed my command and banked left, avoiding the red-eyed dragon's fire. I locked eyes with the Headmaster before flying down towards the school. I looked around the destruction happening around me. A dark green dragon was thrown towards the school wall, its body denting the stone. It roared in pain, its Contractor still remaining on its back, and in one powerful stroke, took off towards the air, its wings tucked against its sides.
Axel's feet touched the ground. The dragon field I saw the first day I was here was spread out around me. The ground shook once again, a dragon had landed. I slid off Axel and my boots thudded hard against the ground. I heard a similar sound coming from my left and the sound of metal rubbing on metal. I lifted my own sword and met the Headmaster's sword with my own. Steel met steel in a loud distinguishable sound. A sound that could be heard from anywhere on this battlefield as dragon fought dragon and human fought human.
The wind whipped around me as Axel took off.
I jumped back, my sword held out in front of me. "This wouldn't have to happen." He said. "No one would have to die. Look all around you. Bodies. Everywhere. You could've prevented this." I shook my head, not wanting to look at the massacre happening around me. Both sides had suffered heavy losses already and I could not bear to look right now. Mourning could be done alter.
I shook my head at the man. "You're the one who could've prevented this. You turned your teachers, your students, the dragons against you. You're the one who chose this path and you're the one who caused all these deaths. Don't blame this on me, you deceitful bastard. Don't you dare blame this on me."
Fire lit in the man's eyes and he charged me, I parried, narrowly escaping the deathly blow. I sliced, my sword meeting air as the Headmaster jumped back. I stepped forward, each swing making contact with the old man's. With every step forward, he was forced to take one back. Our swords locked and he shouldered me, forcing me back and making me lose balance. He took the opportunity to swing at me, unsuccessfully making contact with nothing. My feet swung out, tripping him and he fell, his sword falling a couple feet away. The old man was rusty.
"Surrender. Call your dragons off." I said, the point of my sword at his throat.
"Never." He spat. "He will come back in full power and take over everything whether I still exist or not. I am merely but an extension of his power."
"You chose this fate." I swung down, but the pains started. No. No. Not now! I dropped my sword, gripping my head with both hands in pain. The needles pricked at me and I was stabbed over and over with a million swords. Collapsing upon the ground, I colors began to swirl into an indistinguishable blur. I screamed. "Stop it, stop it, please," I begged, "stop."
There was a roar and the familiar sound of metal meeting metal. Something warm hit my face and the pains began to ease. My vision focused and before me I saw someone in black standing in front of me, the end of a sword sticking out from their back. Their head turned and I saw dark brown hair and green eyes. Adam. I gasped as the sword began to be pulled out and his body fell backwards. I stood my ground and caught him. "Adam…" I whispered, putting his head on my lap.
He smiled up at me. "Sorry for all the mean things I've said and done." His hand reached up towards my face. Everything began to blur a bit with the tears. "Forgive me," he said with a smile. I nodded, my tear falling onto his cheek. I smiled wider and his eyes closed. "Take care of them for me." He whispered before fading away. I kissed his forehead, the tears pooling and falling steadily. I made no sound. I hugged his head and leaned over, the tears falling harder.
"Oh, my dear, I apologize." A sarcastic voice said. "I hadn't known he had meant so much to you." I wiped my tears to face by opponent. The ex-headmaster's face came into view, the sword in his hand dripping crimson. "I didn't know you meant so much to him, either, though. Perhaps you were…cheating? I think that is the word for it, am I right, Miss Evans?"
My eyes narrowed at the man and I charged forward. "Shut up! You don't know anything." With adrenaline-filled stroke his bloodied sword left his hand. The blood left on it, flinging around as a drop hit my face. He came at me. I sliced with my sword, but it missed as he kicked my side, my sword falling from my hand. I landed on my back and watched as my own sword went through my body. I gasped, the pain greater than the ones I get from my tainted magic. I looked down and watched the blood seep through the white of my gear. I heard a roar in my mind and from above. A white dragon purposefully dropped from the sky, its pure white wings tucked against its side. I smiled at my beloved dragon, knowing he would see with his superb vision. "Tell him I love him." I said to Axel.
Heat surrounded my body and I screamed in pain. The Headmaster laughed beside me. "Oh, dearest little Taylor. Your luck has run out." The flames licked up my body and I screamed, the smell of burning flesh entering my nose. The pain was so great and much more than anything I would ever experience. Pain would be the last thing I would ever feel. The pressure inside of me burst and I felt empowered.
A hysterical laugh left my mouth. The Headmaster looming above me looked frightened. The flames around me stopped and black flames entered my vision. I laughed and laughed and laughed. The more I cackled the more frightened the old man looked.
"Behold my power, little Headmaster." I mocked. I summoned my magic to cover him in flames and watched him scream in pain as I had just done before. "Do you feel it? Do you feel your skin burning off? Do you feel the pain?" I threw my head up and laughed. Axel landed beside me and looked him in the eyes. His eyes turned red before me and I reached my hand out to him. His head lowered to my hand, still lit with black fire. The moment we touched, Axel's body was lit in black fire and he roared, fire spewing form his mouth black outlined in white. It was beautiful and enchanting.
I watched as the Headmaster screamed in agony. "Please, please." He begged, "stop, please stop it! Make it stop!" I laughed at his pain and misery. Such a puny and weak creature in his rightful place: bowing before me.
I forced hit me from behind and I felt arms wrap themselves around my waist. There was hard breathing in my ear and choking sounds someone holding back from screaming. "Taylor, Taylor, my love. Please, please, please, regain control of yourself. Push it back. Don't give in. Please, Taylor. I love you," he said desperately. I turned my head around and saw Troy's head on my shoulder. I watched in fascination as the flames burned his gear away. So beautiful, I thought. Turning back I saw the screaming from the Headmaster stop as his dead body hit the ground, charred beyond recognition.
My breath stopped and the black flames surrounding me instantly disappeared. I turned to my dragon and his eyes returned to their normal color. I broke away from the Troy's hold. His forgiving dark blue eyes looked into mine. I shook my head. "No, no, no, no, no," I repeated over and over. "That wasn't me. That wasn't me. That wasn't me." But I knew. I knew it was me and that I had burned someone alive. I fell onto my knees and turned my palms up, looking at my hands. They shook. Warm hands covered mine and they were still in the other person's hands. I looked up at Troy and I began to tear up. "Was that…me?" Troy's calm expression didn't change but his eyes told all. I had done it. I examined my lover. His arms were covered in burns and his clothes had char marks, burned completely away in small patches in some areas.
I broke away from his grip and covered my face, crying.
Troy's strong arms wrapped around me. I felt the wind pick up around me and the sound of dragon's landing. I heard my brother call me name and I buried myself into Troy, not wanting to face anyone else. Suddenly, I felt an immense pain coming from my stomach. I broke away from Troy and looked down to see my white gear darken as it was weighed down with blood. "Taylor…" Troy said and he reached a hand out, pressing it lightly against my stomach, pulling it back to find it covered in blood.
I fell backwards, screaming in agony. It hurt so much. "Make it stop! Troy!" I screamed. His face appeared over mine and I continued to cry out to him. His eyes and face were pained, knowing he could do nothing. I felt the wind pick up around me as more dragons land. I turned to see Virtus above me.
"I can heal you, Taylor." His voice said in my mind.
"How? It's too deep, Virtus."
"I can do it."
I gave him a puzzled look. He flooded his emotions into mine and I felt double the pain. Virtus was hurt somewhere. He was going to die. Not now, but eventually. Most likely he would die in a couple of years. I reached out to Virtus' head, which was looming over me, next to Axel. His head met my hand and I gave him a look that said not to. He still had time to live. He black dragon shook its head at me and put his snout on my wound, pushing Troy away in the process. I struggled. Virtus was not going to give his life for me. I tried to move more, but the pain was too great. My eyes closed and a golden light washed over me. I felt the presence of Virtus in my mind begin to disappear. "No Virtus!" I screamed. The presence disappeared almost completely and I saw Virtus before me. He was fading away in gold light. "Virtus!" I screamed.
He was no more. His body was not even there. Golden sparkles filled the air.
I sat straight up, no longer feeling any pain. The tears that had been on pause began once again as I cried for the loss of a great friend. The warm, familiar arms of Troy wrapped around me.
"He's gone, Troy, he's gone." I cried and buried myself into his shoulder.
"I know," was all he said.
I will forever live with the stab scar and burn marks to remind me of this day. I would forever live with my tainted magic and live the rest of my life, knowing that it had been given to me by a great and loving dragon. Dragons came into my life and saved me. Dragons came into my life and changed me. Troy came into my life and I became a new person.
Sorry guys, did it get a little rushed in the middle? Super sorry about that. I needed to finish this story once and for all. I felt that it was beginning to drag a bit. Hope you all enjoyed this and check out my other stories.