"It will all be worth it, soon. I'll become the strongest in the world, once I see him," said a fatigued small boy as he scaled the steep, rocky edge of a mountain deep in the wilderness. "I will be the strongest in the world," he repeated softly to himself. His tan, dirty backpack was almost out of food and his canister was low on water. It was the third day of his journey, and his body was too worn out to continue the climb up the incline.
When the child reached the edge of a cliff, his stinging hands gripped as tightly as they could to the sharp angle. Pain shot through his entire body, when he pulled himself up. The boy's chapped lips moved, but he spoke in his mind, "Only a little further, Lipagron." He laid on his back on the snow-covered slab of rock that he climbed to. His big, amber eyes looked at the clouds above release white, glistening flakes. "Only a little further..."
Prologue: Lipagron's Decision
-THREE DAYS AGO-
"Haaaaappy Birthday to you!" sang the children who attended Lipagron's party. The boy smiled, made a wish, then blew the wisping flames from each of the eight candles on his cake. Everyone cheered. After the gathering came to a close, LeMarrqueo, Lipagron's father sat down with him to discuss what the youth had been hoping to talk about.
His father was a skinny man, who wasn't very tall. He sat with a slouch and his eyes were overly relaxed. He sighed and said, "I remember when I was your age. My pop parked me in a wooden chair, stared deep into my eyes, and gave me the same talk that I'm about to give you."
The child could hardly contain the grin that his face wanted to express. He knew that this was something important, but it's also something extremely cool.
"Our family is the last remaining wielder of the Light Beast's abilities. Did you know that?" asked LeMarrqueo.
The boy let his smile emerge as he replied, "Yeah, dad. You and mom tell me every day. I can't wait!" He had to just shout it. He was soon to have special powers like the majority of people in the world.
A weary smile appeared on the father's face in response to Lipagron's enthusiasm. "Then you must know why we're some of the only few left. Many years ago, those who held the Light Beast's abilities were beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, and even killed. People were afraid to accept the Light Beast's abilities for those reasons, and those few who had them never used them. Eventually, centuries passed and the most that the Light Beast is to anyone this day and age is merely a child's fairytale. We know differently though, don't we, Lipagron?" asked LeMarrqueo playfully as he put his hand on his son's head and messed up his short, stringy hair.
The child's smile had faded. Now, Lipagron was thinking beyond the awesomeness of being one of the only kids his age to have powers, like his friend, Buey. He looked away from his father and asked, "How do I know different from them? I've never seen you or mom use your powers at all. You never showed me, dad. Why would I want to have powers that people are going to want to kill me for anyway?"
LeMarrqueo leaned back in his seat for a moment and thought to himself. He had an idea. "We don't show our powers, because they soooo powerful that they would blow whole house up!" his father exclaimed with a laugh.
Lipagron looked back at his father in amazement. "Really!"
LeMarrqueo smiled and replied, "Yes! They are just too powerful to use all the time!"
Lipagron regained a bit of his energy and stood up. He had no idea why his parents couldn't accompany him on this journey. All they did was took him into the wilderness and told him to walk towards and climb the mountain that he saw in the distance. That's where they claimed the Light Beast would be. That's where he'd be able to receive its abilities.
The boy looked around and realized that he made it to the peak, but all he saw was a big, dead tree. "Light Beast!" he yelled. "Where are you? I came to be granted your powers!"
There was only silence. The wind blew fiercely for a moment, but everything seemed hopeless. There was no Light Beast. He figured that his parents only desired to abandon him by lying and deserting him far from any civilization. Lipagron turned around and started to search for a way to get down from the mountaintop.
Suddenly, a very soft voice spoke from behind the old tree. "Very well."
Lipagron quickly turned around to see a small, frail sheep emerge. "I am the one you are seeking. I am the last Light Beast."
The boy stood in disbelief. "Y-You are the one my dad spoke about? You are the Doubutsu that gave my parents the abilities they have?"
The sheep walked towards Lipagron saying, "No. I am not the one who gave your father and mother anything. My father was the last Doubutsu to grant humans his power, but he's not here anymore. You were correct on your assumptions, though. They did lead you here, but it's so you could be weakened."
"But I found you. That means that they didn't lie," said the boy in slight frustration. "So, grant me your abilities and I'll be on my way."
The sheep started to shiver. "I have no abilities to give you, but-"
"What the heck! You mean I walked for three days to find you, but you have nothing to offer me?" Lipagron saw that the other side of the mountain was less steep, so he walked in that direction. "I'm going to go find the real Light Beast; not some stupid sheep Doubutsu," he grumbled under his breath.
The sheep watched as the boy walked away.
About five minutes later, Lipagron found a cave a short distance down the mountain. His body was fatigued again and his stomach growled. He played with the thought that he should have eaten the sheep, while he had the chance.
Inside the cave's entrance, the child sat on the chilly, rocky ground and hugged his knees. "It's getting cold," he said to himself.
"Yessssssss, I agree," Said a voice from deeper into the cave.
Immediately, Lipagron jumped up in fear as he saw a long, black snake with glowing eyes appear from the shadows. "Who are you?" the boy asked in a shaky voice. His boy trembled in a mixture of fear and chill.
"My name isss Vibora. SSSo, you're looking for the Light Beassst?"
He slowly nodded.
Vibora smiled, "That sheep you sssaw isss not the lassst of the Light Beastsss. There wasss only one and he'sss dead. Nobody ever had the abilitiesss of the Light Beassst."
A giant, brown ox entered the cave behind Lipagron. With a deep voice, he said, "The snake is correct. The Light Beast is long-since dead. You came here in vain if you intend to find him and have his powers. However, if you accept me, then I'll happily give you my strength. I'm the same Doubutsu that granted your friend Buey his powers, and I'm willing to give you the same as well."
"I wasss going to offer him my abilitiesss, Bovid. SSStay out of thisss," warned Vibora, giving the giant ox an angry stare.
Lipagron watched as Bovid chuckled and said, "Oh ease up, Mr. Lisssp. I'm sure the boy has grown tired of listening to your speech impediment."
"Why you-!" Vibora yelled in his scratchy voice before being interrupted.
"I've made my decision," Lipagron said. "I'm going to accept the abilities of the Great Ox. Buey is my best friend and it would be cool to have the same powers as he does."
"What!" Vibora screamed.
"Then all you must do is raise both your hands as high as you can and say 'Ox Doubutsu, I desire to be granted your power!'" explained Bovid, ignoring Vibora's response.
Lipagron smiled, raised his weary hands, and said, "Ox Doubutsu, I desire to be granted your-"
"Wait!" yelled another voice. The small sheep ran into the cave. Lipagron stopped speaking and looked down at the sheep that stood panting before his feet.
"What do you want?" Lipagron asked impatiently.
"Bovid the Great Ox and Vibora the Great Serpent are nothing compared to my father! They took the opportunity to try to convince you while you're still weak from your travel! Doesn't that show how pathetic they are?" exclaimed the sheep.
The ox growled and looked down at the sheep as well saying, "Little lamb, don't make me angry. If you speak low of me again, I'll crush you. I am more powerful than a dead Doubutsu."
The sheep ignored Bovid and continued speaking. "What I say is true. Accept me, the last Light Beast, and you'll need no other Doubutsu's abilities."
"But why?" Lipagron asked. "You said earlier that you had no abilities to give me."
"Plusss, there isss no one in thisss world who hasss shown proof that they have the powersss of that fairy tale animal," added Vibora.
The ox nodded saying in his powerful voice, "Not even we have seen the Light Beast in person. The sheep doesn't even have proof that he's the son of such a creature."
"You don't need to convince me, Mr. Bovid. I'm still going to accept you power," Lipagron reassured.
The sheep yelled, "These two are the weak ones! They don't care about you nor any human. All they care about is having the largest number of people with their powers. See, they offer you their abilities, but I will offer you my life if you accept me!"
The ox let out a wild roar, "That's it, punk! I warned you to to speak low of me nor my strength!" Bovid charged past Lipagron and rammed the frail sheep with his huge horns. Vibora quickly slithered away as the giant ox continued mauling and thrashing the lamb. After he was sure that the sheep was dead, he lifted it up in his horns and threw it off the mountainside.
The boy gasped in shock at Bovid's swift change in temperament. Bovid turned and looked at Lipagron with blood on his horns and hoofs. "Are you ready to be granted my ability?" he asked with a stern voice.
The child closed his eyes, shook his head and started to run deeper into the cave. It wasn't long before he felt the ox catch up to him and bash its head into his back. Lipagron fell face first onto the rocky, cave ground. It was dark and cold. There was nobody there to save him.
"Accept my abilities, boy! If you don't want to end up like that stupid sheep, you'll do as I say!" yelled Bovid.
There wasn't much Lipagron could think about. All there was before him was chilly, hard darkness and death breathing down his back unless he did as it said. The boy started to cry. Just a few days ago, he turned eight years old. The gifts he received that day meant nothing to him, because he wanted the greatest gift of all, the abilities of a Doubutsu. As his freezing teardrops ran down his nose, he lifted his arms and said, "You are the Doubutsu of my best friend. You are the Doubutsu of his entire family and some of the strongest people of the world. Still, you are as weak as the sheep said! I desire to be granted the power of the Light Beast!"
Nothing happened. Anger raged through the giant ox's entire body. He lifted his horns and prepared to strike. "Too bad..."
Everything went black.