PROLOGUE


Dren will not live to see another day after all. Their enemy is too powerful - even for the likes of them.

The Soul Reaper walks toward Dren wearing a confident smile upon her face, carrying her long, messy, faintly glowing purple hair behind her. How can she be so strong? There were three of them and she is alone. Now, one of them has already perished while the other is still fighting this hopeless battle. Dren, after taking an unexpected, powerful attack, is currently sitting on the tiled ground. He is unable to get up, helpless. This is it.

He feels his heart beat faster as moments pass. Everything is beginning to blur, except the soul reaper closing in. The dark, cloudy sky turns into an insignificant blend of black and purple, broken up by bursts of bright, red lightning. His fears magnified.

The Soul Reaper stops near him. She towers over him, her shadow dominating him. Her hair moves chaotically as the gales were unpredictable. She tightens her grip on her whip with her left. That is the least of Dren's worries, however. Her right hand transforms to a more disfigured, monstrous arm with globes, some of them glowing with different colors each.

He knows this too well. A Reaper takes a part of a soul and stores it in one of the globes in their hand, for them to use it for their own purposes in the future. It normally takes twice for a Reaper to rip away a Chosen soul, but just long enough of their touch will do the same.

But a soul is a soul. Chosen or not, it is still important to have it, or one would just be a biological automaton. Dren is sure now that soon, he will be one.

The Soul Reaper breathes out, and with much indifference, she reaches for Dren with her right hand.

Suddenly, a stream of blue flame splits the two of them, interrupting the formerly easy theft. The ground catches blue fire, slowly turning yellow, and then red. The Soul Reaper looks to her right, and hissed at the fire's maker.

Dren searches through the flames, and finds another of his companions. The middle-aged man had short, electric blue hair and wears the same dark gray jacket as his. It's Huon.

Huon looks at the Soul Reaper and then to Dren. He instinctively prepares himself.

The Soul Reaper charges and rips at Huon with the claws of her right arm. Huon dodges her attack, and then threw a kick right to her stomach. The force of his attack causes her to fly quite a bit across the flat tower-top, but she reaches for the floor and does a backflip. She lands on the old stone tiles before she manages to reach the edge, to a very long fall.

Huon runs toward Dren in order to help him. He then helps Dren up until he can stand on his own.

"Are you alright, Dren?" Huon asks him, gasping.

"I'll be fine. I guess I was just frozen in fear," Dren replies, rather cheerfully.

"Not the time for jokes, Dren," Huon says.

"I wasn't joking," Dren returns.

Huon takes his arms off Dren, who doesn't seem to need his aid anymore. As they separate, a whip lashes between them and hit the ground with a sharp, alerting snap. At that moment, Dren, Huon and the Soul Reaper locks eyes with each other.

The Soul Reaper charges, and so did Huon. They meet at the center of the tower- top and the Soul Reaper attacks with her right hand once again. Huon avoids it by crouching, but there he sees her right knee aiming for his head. Impulsively, he lifts his head and gets hit at his chest instead.

He stumbles backwards from the power of her kick. She takes that opportunity to spin around him so their backs meet. She spins again so she can strike him with her right hand with great force, but he dodges the attempt by jumping and rolling away from her. She attacks him with her whip. While he turns to see her, his right arm is hit by the whip, and it latches onto his arm. Huon lets out a shout of pain.

The Soul Reaper pulls Huon towards her. However, Dren interferes directly while Huon is halfway there. He runs across the whip and grabbs Huon on the way. He turns to the Soul Reaper and breathes a huge stream of red fire.

"Thanks," Huon says. Dren nods in acknowledgement.

Dren grabs a circular gadget from his jacket's pocket and throws it to the Soul Reaper. Electricity surges within it as it begins spinning by itself and zooms towards the Soul Reaper. The device finds its target with ease, and then explodes.

After a brief silence, the chunks of rock from the explosion fall, making noises. A sudden rain follows. Dren and Huon look at each other in silence.

"You worthless punk!" a voice echoes.

The Soul Reaper appears from the smoke and instantly goes for Dren and grabs his neck, all in great unmatchable speed. She raises Dren up in the air. Dren is terrified: panicking, not even knowing whether to be concerned for air or his soul.

He feels his power diminishing. His soul is fading. At this rate, he would be technically dead even before he suffocates to unconsciousness.

"NO!" Huon yells as he squarely hits the Soul Reaper in the face. She loses hold of Dren, and he falls down on his knees.

The Soul Reaper finds her balance after stumbling backwards. She smiles.

"Why would you protect this worthless, piece of disgrace who calls himself one of the Chosen?" the Soul Reaper asks Huon, touching her face where she was hit.

"As their leader, I vowed to protect them." Huon replies. "I already failed once tonight, and I will not do it again."

The Soul Reaper looks down at Dren, then to Huon. "You are the fabled Dragon of Blue Flame, correct?"

Huon glares at her intensely.

"You shouldn't have come here, Huon." The Soul Reaper tells him. "You know how valuable your soul is."

"We came here to end you," Huon replies.

"Hmm… You're not doing a very good job, are you?" the Soul Reaper laughs. "You know, it's too late."

"We'll see," Huon growls under his breath.

The pupils of his blue eyes turn to slits, and blue glowing smoke envelops him. The smoke flickers, alternating the silhouettes that are revealed between a man's and a grand creature with wings.

Dren looks to him in awe. He hasn't seen Huon initiate the transformation before. He turns to see what expression the Reaper is wearing. She remains calm. Can she even match him like this? He thought.

"We were sent here to eliminate you, Solace," a low voice speaks, which seems to be from Huon.

Solace, the Soul Reaper, smiles. "Try."

The creature behind the blue smoke roars, revealing an enormous blue-scaled dragon. The dragon's build is huge and muscular, the neck slightly longer in proportion to a human's. The long head has a squared, spiky jaw, and the chin sports two small horns curving down. The head has two more horns starting from between the dragon's eyes that curves like a ram's horn. The dragon seems to walk on two or all four legs; the front limbs seem to have hands with opposable thumbs. The wings extend out with each wing covering more than fifteen feet each, and are also very wide. The dragon itself is around eleven feet tall.

A mix of violet and orange glowing smoke surrounds Solace. "My turn," she says.

She transforms into a huge black bird, with an orange and yellow underbelly. The ends of the feathers are tipped with a violet shade. The bird also has a garish violet crest on its head, and its glowing eyes are emanating smoke. The entire body is covered with a faint, otherworldly violet, black and orange flame, with sparkles moving slowly within it. The bird is barely half the size of the dragon, but it attained as much magnificence.

"Do you know who used to own this spirit?" Solace, now the bird, says.

The dragon growls in anger. Huon growls in anger. Without hesitation, he opens his mouth and shoots blue flame at her.

Solace flies up to dodge. Huon follows. Solace retracts her wings then spins rapidly in mid-air. She opens her wings again afterwards, turns around, and flaps her wings towards the charging dragon.

Huon is halted; he is stopped by what seems to be an invisible wall. He falls, but he stops again in mid-air, as if the ground was there. The powers of the bird are clear to Huon.

Solace dives down towards the downed dragon. As the bird enters where the invisible wall should be, violet lights rippled like disturbed water. Solace, unhindered, glows in white light and turns back into her small, normal human form with her right, monstrous arm extended down.

Fwoop! She disappears.

The dragon, however, reacts as if he was hit by a human-sized bullet.

Solace reappears under Huon, with blue smoke surrounding her. Her eyes turn into slits and before she hits the tower, she turns into a blue dragon, the same as Huon.

Huon seems to be unharmed, but his soul isn't. Half of his soul is gone, and while he is still only slightly less powerful than before, having someone like Solace use the same power, is very, very bad.

Solace flies down to the top of the tower and turns back to her usual self. Tufts of her purple hair turn electric blue, seemingly mimicking Huon's. She brushes the dust off her clothes and then looks at Dren, whose jaw dropped in horror.

The invisible barriers disappear, and Huon falls down. He regains his flight, attempts to charge at Solace and breathes the intense blue flames once again.

The attempt was futile. Using her newly obtained powers, she swats the flames aside as if they were nothing, quickly dissipating it. In pain, Huon flinches, and crashes on top of the tower. He turns back into a human.

Solace looks at Dren and Huon, shaking her head. "Tsk, tsk, tsk."

Dren stands up. He then hurls two of the homing explosives. Solace dodges the first, but the second one explodes at her feet. She instantly materialized in front of Dren. He draws his hidden blade, a katana, from within his jacket.

Out of rage and fear, Dren slashes blindly at Solace, who in turn did not expect it. He slashes Solace on her face, one through her left eye and another from her left ear to her lips. Solace retreats, as she is bleeding heavily.

"DAMN YOU!" Solace roars in anger.

She starts to charge towards Dren, but like before, a huge stream of blue flame separated them. Beyond the flames he sees Huon once again, and realizes that he's throwing a differently colored circular device to him.

"No," Dren breathes.

In a pop, Dren disappears along with the device.

Solace is breathing heavily, still enraged. Huon looks at his feet, and sees that one of his ankles is twisted. He is bleeding from his thighs too.

He can't let Solace win here.

Solace turns to look at him. Her wounds are already scars, but her left eye isn't healed at all. "At least I still have you," she says sweetly. Her loving voice, while false, turned into true anger, "Your soul is more than enough to pay for that red-haired boy's damage."

She limps towards Huon, laughing hysterically for her supposed victory and priceless reward.

Huon reaches for his pocket, and takes out a kris.

Solace's eyes widens. "What are you doing?"

Huon raises both his arms, the long knife firm in his grasp.

"I'm too old, and too weak," Huon says. He stares at Solace with eyes filled with determination.

"No," Solace whispers in disbelief.

"You will never get my soul and my spirit, Solace."

"NO!"

Huon stabs himself to his heart, with all his remaining strength.

A great blue light shoots out to the sky from his body, piercing the clouds. It fades after a few seconds. After that, Huon's body falls limp, down to the ground, cold. His electric blue hair is drained of color, turning into white.

Dren saw the faded light from a distance. The tower is nothing but a dot from where Dren is, but the light was still luminous enough to be seen, and it was beautiful.

Dren knows what happened.

With a heart filled with sorrow, he walks away from the tower and across the windy wasteland. Under his own breath, he silently vows to himself and to Huon's soul that he will find the next anchor of the Blue Dragon's spirit, and prepare the Chosen for the future.