-Of Darkness and Light-

Tallas was defeated, and what was more astonishing was that it was not done by the hand of the Dragonmistress. Nall finally found his voice. "That was strange," he said quietly.

"I guess a Dragonmaster wasn't necessary," Ayin said under her breath.

Rykea looked at her. Was she right? It all seems so weird; everything was almost, dare I say it- Too easy?

Daleth chuckled to herself. "Yes, it seems that way, Ayin," she said with a smile.

Denyx, who had still been on the ground, stood up and dusted himself off. "What are you talking about?" he inquired. "Ayin, you've been a lot of help. I mean, we couldn't have done anything without you!"

Daleth started to laugh, and Denyx stared at her quizzically as if she had gone nuts. "Yes, Denyx is right, Ayin. Without you, Dragonmistress, you all wouldn't be sitting ducks right now."

"What are you talking about?" Ayin exclaimed. Daleth's smile was sinister and her crimson eyes glowed.

Nall took a step back. "No way!" he exclaimed, slowly piecing things together.

Daleth nodded. "Tallas was merely in the way, so I befriended you to help me be rid of him. Hahahaha! Fools! It was not really Tallas who was the threat-but me!"

Denyx could not believe what he was hearing. Neither could anyone else. Ayin's eyes narrowed, and she looked at Daleth. "How could you just use us like that!? I won't have it!" she shouted, gripping the Sword of Althena tightly before her.

Daleth sneered at the Dragonmistress. "Well, Dragonmistress Ayin, I'm so sorry to disappoint you. All of you, especially my 'dear' Denyx. You understand now, don't you," she said calmly, turning to the Black Dragon.

Denyx still looked bewildered, he shook his head defiantly. "Daleth... You can't be serious! I thought-"

"Yes, you thought , thought WRONG. But don't worry Denyx," Daleth said menacingly, "I still have uses for you." The Black Dragon had no idea what she meant by that, but he knew that it couldn't be good. Daleth brushed her hair back and closed her eyes, mumbling something. Before her, the dust on the ground began to swirl around, faster and faster, creating a mini-tornado. Its size increased with each passing second. The others watched in dismay as the whirling dust cloud towered before them. Daleth had opened her eyes and now smiled, satisfied at her creation. She glanced at the Dragonmistress and then she raised her hand towards the sky. "ARISE, NEO-VANE!! SOAR THROUGH THE SKIES OF LUNAR ONCE AGAIN!!!!" At her words, the huge ruins shifted suddenly and rocked as it began to loosen itself from the rocky precipice. Ayin and the others tried desperately to maintain their footing as the city broke free and began to gain altitude.

"I can't believe it," Rykea said. "She's actually done it! She's returned this monstrosity to the skies!"

Ruby gritted her teeth and hung on for dear life as the floating city continued to rock and tremble beneath her feet. "Nall! DO SOMETHING!!!" she yelled. However, Nall was too busy at the moment, trying to prevent himself from being knocked over the edge of the city. A sudden jolt caused Ayin to fall, but she landed safely in the arms of Rykea. He held her firmly, and Ayin gaped as she saw how high up they had gone. Lumiya, who had been ducking her head all this time, looked up.

"Hey, we stopped moving," she said, upon noticing that the horrendous shaking had stopped.

Tsadde helped her up. "Whoa, I think I know why," he gasped, as he pointed at the open sky that surrounded them. "We must've reached the top floor."

Jerin cautiously made her way towards the edge to take a peek of how high they were. "Oh boy..." she breathed, backing off immediately.

"As soon as you are done admiring my handiwork," Daleth said, all attention focusing on her again, "then we can continue where we left off. So far, so good." She motioned towards the open skies. "I have Neo-Vane restored to its rightful place."

"Rightful?! Hah! It was in its rightful place when it was stuck down there!" retorted Rykea.

Daleth stared at him, but made no remark. Instead, she continued with her business. "Now, this is where the dragons come in..." she said darkly.

Denyx shook his head. "Daleth- What are you?! You're obviously not just some mercenary; I mean, with powers like that-"

Daleth cut him off. "Your talk bores me, Denyx. Now you will help me destroy the Dragonmistress and her friends." Before any of them could question her further, Daleth held her hand before her, and there appeared a jeweled circlet with illegible inscriptions on it.

Nall strained his eyes to get a better glimpse of the item. "What is....?"

Daleth smiled in her sinister way. "This," she said, grasping it in her hands, "Is the Dragon Meld." Ruby raised an eyebrow.

"'Dragon Meld '? Hah! What's that--some kind of tonic? 'Cuz it sure sounds like it." Nall hissed at Ruby to quiet her, and for once she complied.

Daleth glared at them. "You dragons won't be joking around when you find out exactly what this does," she said mysteriously. Rykea pondered furiously over what the strange circlet was for.

Denyx gritted his teeth. "Daleth! Whatever that is, it ain't gonna stop us! We're here to prevent any psychos from destroying Lunar, and I guess that now includes you. I really wish it didn't have to come to this," he said, drawing his sword.

Daleth nodded. "The feeling is mutual, Denyx--but don't worry, perhaps this will change your mind..."

She flung the circlet into the air, directly above the dragons. There it hovered, a golden disk glinting with the various jewels that reflected from the sun's light. Daleth's eyes flashed again, and she rose her hand towards the floating disk. "DRAGON MELDER!!" Bolts of energy flew out from the spinning circlet at her words, and each sought out the four dragons.

"Watch it!" cried Denyx as he spun away from one bolt, only to be caught by another.

"Denyx! Nall--what is this?!" Seren shouted as she desperately tried to avoid being struck. The bolts were numerous, and they were too many to keep track of. "Kyaaah!" wailed the Blue Dragon as she too was immobilized.

Rykea conjured up a magic shield to protect Nall and Ruby from the same fate as the other two dragons. He was shocked when he saw that it was useless, as the bolts passed through the shield as if it hadn't existed, capturing the red dragon. Nall looked around in dismay. Ayin tried her best to keep the bolts from finding their target, but they seemed to pay no attention to her, as if she wasn't even there.

Daleth tapped her foot impatiently. "Come now, Nall--your friends need you, as well as I do, in order to begin the next step."

"Never!" Nall spat, leaping over another bolt. He landed at an angle, and fell to the ground. "Oh no," he said under his breath, as he too was finally taken.

"NALL!!!" screamed Lumiya, starting towards him, but Tsadde held her back.

"No Lumiya! It's too late!"

Daleth laughed. "Yes, indeed it is. Observe!" she shouted, motioning towards the dragons. The four were drawn together, and the circlet that had been hovering above them now expanded, until it was wide enough to encircle them, and it did, causing a sudden blast of blinding light.

Ayin and the others shielded their eyes, and as the light died away, they all gasped at what they saw. A massive dragon stood where there four friends had once been. Rykea shook his head in disbelief. "It can't be...." The four dragons had become one large dragon with four heads, each head of a different color. The terrifying beasts roared, their ear-splitting shrieks caused more parts of the city to crumble.

Lumiya stared at the dragon in awe. "Oh no... Nall... Ruby, Seren... Denyx-"

"The 'Dragon Meld'," Rykea said, now understanding what had happened.

Daleth stood before the dragon, laughing maniacally. "Now Denyx," she said, looking up at the largest head, the main one, "why don't we finish things off, hmm?" The Black Dragon drew back his head, and then flung it forward again, unleashing a powerful blast.

"Watch it!," Jerin yelled, and they all scrambled to get out of the way. "White Dragon Protect!" she cast.

Lumiya could not take her eyes off the beast. "Denyx, no! What are you doing?" she asked, not expecting an answer.

Ayin glared at Daleth. "Obviously she has regained control of Denyx right under our noses! You've just been playing with him all this time! Well, our fight isn't against them, but you, Daleth!," she gnashed, and practically threw herself at the estranged mercenary.

Daleth retaliated with her scimitar, and after the two fumbled a bit in swordplay, Daleth leapt away from the Dragonmistress and called on her dragon-ally to fire. Ruby flared her nostrils, and let out a long plume of fire. Ayin used the Red Dragon Shield to deflect the blast, but was knocked aside by the dragon's flailing tail. "Ayin, watch out!" shouted Rykea as he saw the huge dragon lift its mighty foot to crush the Dragonmistress. The young mage tackled her to the side just in time, the dragon's foot had only stepped on part of his cloak, which he managed to wriggle out of before he was squished.

"That's another one I owe you," Ayin said as she brushed her hair back, still eyeing the giant monster.

Rykea shook his head. "No need, Dragonmistress. We still have a fight to finish."

Ayin nodded. "Let's do this," she said firmly.

"Dragon Bolt!," shouted the Dragonmistress. It struck the gargantuan being's side, and the dragon growled angrily. The Blue Dragon threw out a blast of water. Jerin was thrown back by its force, as the shield had failed.


Rykea shot a look of concern at her, but she smiled weakly and shook her head. "I'll be okay, Ryk. Just worry about yourself!"

On the opposite side of the dragon, Lumiya stood by Tsadde, both armed and ready to act at a moments notice. "Tsadde, I-I can't!" Lumiya stammered. "I don't want to hurt them!"

Tsadde sighed. "I know, Lumiya. They're my friends too, but-" He was interrupted by the dragon's roar. The White Dragon lashed out his head, knocking Tsadde against a rocky precipice.

"Tsadde!" cried Lumiya, but the White Dragon lowered his head before her, glowering at her with hard, cold eyes. Lumiya took a deep breath. "Nall! Listen to me, you've got to! We're not your enemies, we're your friends! Please Nall, remember!!" she said, looking at the White Dragon with pleading eyes.

Nall tried drastically to regain control of himself. The Black Dragon's will was strong, and not easy to break away from. Neither was Daleth's power. Lumiya... I'm trying- Help me...

Lumiya heard his pleas, and she closed her eyes and clasped her hands on the White Dragon's muzzle. Together, we can fight this! Nall, hear me; I'm here to help!

Daleth had become aware of what the young daughter of Lucia was doing. "You shall not foil my plans, dear. I will make certain of that," she said coldly, holding up her scimitar. She prepared to strike the young girl down, however, found herself held back.

Tsadde had managed to stand again, and now hung on to Daleth's arm firmly. "You leave her alone you witch," he hissed.

Daleth was surprised at how strong the boy was, yet not strong enough , she thought. She flung Tsadde over and kicked him back as he tried to get up again. "Stay down, for your own good," she growled.

Lumiya still stood by Nall. The White Dragon's head began to glow and soon, the Red and Blue Dragon's heads began to glow as well, all of them fighting to break free of Daleth's power. Daleth made her approach, she raised her scimitar above her head. "Lumiya!" shouted Nall. He thrust his head forth, breaking Lumiya's concentration, but hitting Daleth just before she could strike.

"Aah!" exclaimed the mercenary as she fell back.

Lumiya looked up at the White Dragon. "Nall...."

The White Dragon seemed to smile at her. "Ayin," he said, turning his massive head towards the Dragonmistress, "You have to destroy the circlet! Destroy the Meld, and we'll be free."

Ayin nodded in compliance. She raised her sword high. "Okay, here I go!" she shouted, springing into action. The Dragonmistress raced towards the dragon, towards the enormous jeweled collar around the Black Dragon's neck. Denyx moved to intercept her, but Nall swung around, winding his neck over the Black Dragon's to prevent him from attacking. Denyx fought back hard, and Ruby and Seren aided Nall, entwining their necks about the Black Dragon's. Ayin saw her chance. She launched herself at the huge circlet, aiming for the largest jewel located in its center. "Haaaaaaaah!" Her slice was clean and true, plunging right through the jewel. Light seethed from the cracks, and everything seemed to freeze for the slightest moment as dead silence came... and then went. The jewel, along with the circlet, exploded.

Back to The Calling of Ayin.

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