Arc The Lad Fan Fiction ❯ Aftermath ❯ Chapter 21 ( Chapter 21 )
Don't expect this fast an update next time. (Smiles) I sprained my ankle at work, so I wasn't allowed to do much walking, which means I had plenty of time to write, but I can be on my feet now, so updates will slow again.
It had been a quiet morning in Kharg's house. The group of Deimos and Humans had finished breakfast almost an hour ago, but no one felt inclined to do anything.
Finally Delma got sick of sitting around waiting. "They should be back by now. It's been four days, it doesn't take that long to get to the valley!"
Camellia sighed. "As much as I hate to say it, Delma's right. Perhaps we should go after them."
Delma glared balefully at the sage. "Shut up, weed for brains!"
Paulette broke in before a fight could get started. "I don't think anything lurking around would be able to harm them." She leaned back in her chair.
Maru nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah, Kharg's tough and so is Darc, they could chop any monster around here to little, bitty pieces."
Delma scowled. "What if Darc injured his leg again?"
Tatjana shrugged. "I would think Kharg would find a way to bring Darc home, even if it meant carrying him."
Ganz chuckled at that. "In that case we'd know they were coming from the yelling and swearing."
That made everyone laugh despite themselves. They all knew that Ganz was right.
Volk drummed his nails on the table. "But Delma does have a point. It doesn't take four days to get to Dragon Bone Valley."
Lilia frowned prettily. "Do you think we should go find them, Volk?"
Volk scratched his chin thoughtfully. "I suppose we should, it is strange they haven't returned yet ."
Maru leaped to his feet, knocking over his chair with a loud crash. "Alright! Let's go!" He made a dash for the door.
Ganz sighed. "Calm down, Maru. We have to gather some supplies first."
Maru skidded to a stop. "Oh, yeah. Heh, heh. Sorry about that."
Paulette rolled her eyes. "Honesty, Maru, stop running around like a crazed suskle squirrel."
Ganz slapped his palms on the table. "Let's gather what we'll need then we'll go "
Two hours later they had everything ready to go. Twenty minutes later they were out of Yewbell and walking at a brisk pace. The trip was largely uneventful. Monsters attacked a few times, but the combined strengths of the group defeated them easily.
Eventually they arrived at the entrance to the valley and entered. Wind and snow swirled around them.
Maru hugged himself and shivered. "Brrrr! I hate this place, it's freezing!"
Suddenly Paulette pulled a coat out of her gear and tossed it to him. "This belonged to Kharg when he was your age. Put it on."
Maru eagerly pulled it on. "It fits! Thanks a lot, Paulette."
"You're welcome." Paulette glanced around the group with a grin. "This is my contribution to the sanity of the group. This way we don't have to listen to you complain."
Maru scowled. "I don't complain! I speak my mind!"
That triggered a round of snickers from the group.
Maru crossed his arms and pouted. "Not funny, you guys."
Volk moved forward. "Follow me, I know the way to the cave. The others fell in with Volk and they headed across the valley.
After an hour of walking Volk pointed ahead of them. "That's the cave."
Tatjana looked around the group. "So who's going in first?"
Volk tugged on the neck of his red cape. "I am, if it's safe I'll call you."
Delma came up beside Volk. "You aren't going in there alone. I'm going with you."
Volk gave Delma a nod. Together they cautiously entered the cave, uncertain what to expect.
Delma was very impressed when she saw the statues. "Wow, I wish I could have seen these come to life. It must have been an incredible sight."
Volk eyed the huge statues with obvious trepidation. "Let's not tempt fate with comments like that. I have no interest in seeing that."
Delma noticed the large carving on the back wall and went over to look at it. Suddenly the carving opened a sapphire blue eye. She jumped back with a gasp.
The dragon's voice was filled with amusement. "I'm sorry that I startled you, my dear. Don't worry, I am not going to set the dragons on you." It's gaze shifted to Volk. "You may call the others in."
Volk went to the mouth of the cave and waved the others in. They were just as impressed as Delma had been.
Paulette was the first one to speak. "Please, um, sir...we're looking for our friends."
The dragon chuckled. "Ah, yes, the children of the wind, they were here four days ago."
Delma was a lot less polite. "So where the hell are they?"
"I sent them on a little trip." The dragon spirit seemed to shrug. "They still are at war with each other, there is a link between them waiting for them to accept it, but they refuse. The two must become one or they'll destroy themselves."
Paulette forgot her uncertainly. "Where have you sent them? Please tell us."
The dragon seemed to stare at each of them in turn. "Another continent, that's all I will tell you. If you are all there they will use you as distractions. They are alone and in a situation where they must trust and depend on each other."
Ganz frowned. "Are they safe?"
"If they use their strengths to balance each others weaknesses they will be fine," the dragon said. "You know some of what I speak of, Lupine. The son of Windalf has spoken of the strange things he's felt."
Volk remembered. "Yeah, Darc said he could feel Kharg's emotions, said he could finish Kharg's sentences if he wanted. I have seen such a bond once between twin Lupines."
Paulette stared at Volk. "Kharg's never told me anything like that."
Volk shrugged. "Darc was reluctant to speak much about it, perhaps Kharg felt the same way."
Ganz refused to be distracted from his first question. "You're being very evasive."
The dragon snorted. "Would you feel better if I said yes?"
Maru laughed. "You sort of sound like Darc when you snort like that."
Tatjana calmly reached over and swatted Maru in the back of the head. "Be quiet."
Maru pouted, rubbing the back of his head.
Bebedora looked at Ganz then at Tatjana. "Pale blue of concern, red of annoyance."
Delma stomped her foot. "If Darc might be in danger we should be there."
Volk crossed his arms. "I agree, Darc is my alpha, but he is also my friend and I swore to protect him if necessary."
Ganz frowned and crossed his arms as well. "What are they facing?"
"A war against a tyrant in a land where Deimos are enslaved and often killed much like the one you faced," the dragon said.
Paulette eyes widened with worry. "You mean like Darkham? Please, send us to them, they'll need our help."
The dragon's voice softened with sympathy. "I can't, this is their test, it must be done by them alone. I will bring them back when the test is done."
"But you already tested Darc and he passed!" Delma protested. "We need to go back to Orcoth."
Volk agreed whole-heartedly. "What if Darc is killed? We need him now more than ever."
"Their destiny is intertwined with each other. They are living proof that Humans and Deimos may live together in peace," the dragon said.
Delma scowled. "Darc has his own destiny. He's leader of the Orcon and the Drakyr now that he passed your damned test."
"One's destiny is not always what one thinks, sometimes it leads you down a road you never expected. Trust in the children of the wind. Go now." With that the dragon spirit's eye disappeared.
Camellia sighed and looked around at the group. "End of discussion."
Nothing they did could make the dragon spirit return. Finally they had no choice, but to leave the cave and return to Yewbell. Once there they gathered around the kitchen table.
Paulette played with her braid. "I wonder why the spirit kept calling them the children of the wind."
Tatjana took off her glass and cleaned them. "Could it be because of Kharg's wings?"
Camellia looked interested. "He had wings?"
Paulette sighed. "He cut them off though. I found them on the ground in the castle ruins."
Lilia winced. "How terrible, it must have hurt."
Camellia frowned. "But Darc doesn't have wings."
Delma scowled. "He did."
Everyone stared at Delma questioningly.
Delma shrugged resignedly, deciding not to tell the whole story. "It happened before Camellia and Volk joined us. A group of Drakyr lured us out into a desert area on Aldrow and overpowered us. They wanted the wind stone, but Darc had hidden it. He wouldn't tell them where it was because they'd killed his father."
Ganz rubbed his jaw with a scowl. "I'll wager they weren't very pleased with that answer."
Delma nodded. "They were furious, they threatened to tear off his wings if he didn't reveal the wind stone‘s location, but Darc was stubborn even then. He still refused, so they ripped them off."
Lilia paled and swallowed hard. "That's sickening! I can't believe anyone would do such a cruel thing!"
Delma shrugged. "That's how it is among Deimos. You learn to accept it."
Tatjana put on her glasses again. "There must be more to it than that."
Delma folded her arms. "That's all you need to know. I probably told you more than I should have as it is."
Ganz nodded grimly. "We don't need to know more anyway. We'll just have to wait and see."
Lilia nodded. “We’ll just have to trust in Darc and Kharg and wait for them to come back like the spirit said.”
Maru nodded, managing a grin. "Yeah, they'll be back, they'll kick the bad guy's ass, no problem."
Ganz took a deep breath and stood. "It's well past lunch, I'll fix something for us."
Delma stood. "Someone else can have my portion. I'm not the least bit hungry." She turned and left the house, slamming the door behind her.
Paulette stared after her then got up. "Excuse me for a minute." She followed Delma. She found the Orcon in the ruins, standing in front of Nafia's grave. "Delma?"
Delma gestured to the headstone. "This is where Darc's mother is buried. When did she die?"
Paulette came up beside her. "She died in front of Darc's eyes from what Lilia told me."
Delma scowled. "Damn it! He saw his father die too, it's so unfair. How did it happen?"
Paulette looked at the grave herself. "Shortly after Darc freed her and Lilia from the Megist. He'd gotten in a fight with two soldiers and won, but one was still alive and tried to shoot him in the back. Nafia stepped between them and took the bullet in his place."
“Before all of this I would never have believed a Human would have taken a bullet and died to save a Deimos." Delma's eyes widened as something came to mind. "So that's why he hesitated in one room when we snuck aboard the Megist just before we ran into you guys at the tower. That must have been where it happened! He seemed really upset, guilty even."
"Kharg too." Paulette sighed. "I'm afraid he will never get over his guilt for not being in
Yewbell when the Dilzweld kidnapped his mother. He thinks if he'd been there he could have stopped them."
Delma shook her head slowly. "He couldn't have, they would have killed him."
Paulette nodded. "And Darc isn't responsible for Nafia's death either, maybe some day they'll both understand that."
Two women, one Human, one Deimos stood in front of a grave and even though both knew the vanished spirits couldn’t answer, perhaps could not even hear silently prayed to them that the two men they cared for would safely return.
This is shorter than my other chapters, but this was a perfect ending in my opinion, I think Paulette and Delma are starting to become friends. Sorry about no Kharg action, I’ll go back to him and hopefully Darc as well in the next chapter. My reviews are getting scarcer per chapter. Am I losing you people? (Winks) R/R please!