Tsadde had never thought that he'd actually be riding on the back of a dragon. Sure, he'd always wanted to see one, but upon seeing the black dragon up close and in person, he wasn't even sure that that was a good idea. Ayin, however, looked perfectly calm. Well, at least we'll find out what all this 'Nall' business is about, he thought.
Rykea surveyed the ground below. They were heading out of the Katarina Zone East, and were now entering the Katarina Zone West. He got a little uneasy as he noticed that they were headed straight for a giant iceberg. Okay, so maybe it was a little larger than an iceberg. Denyx took them down, and they landed near a small entrance to a cave. "Brrrrr," Tsadde shivered, upon their landing. "It's freezing!"
"No duh," Denyx said, once again in human form.
Ayin scowled at her brother. "You're cold? Hah! You're not wearing shorts and a sleeveless!!" Rykea generously offered his coat to her, and she accepted it gratefully. Then, they entered the cave.
"Stick close," Denyx said. "It's easy to get lost in here, with all these warps and stuff." Taking his advice, the three followed closely behind him. It did not take them long to find the White Dragon's lair.
"Yo, Nall?" Denyx called into the darkness, but received no answer. He motioned for the others to follow. Ayin thought she saw something deeper in the lair. Denyx investigated. "Nall!" He rushed to his fallen friend's side. "Nall! Hey, what happened?" Denyx noticed his wounds. "He's been badly injured. Someone must've ambushed him." Ayin came to his side. She tore some strips from her cloak for some makeshift bandages for Nall, at least until they got him to a doctor. Denyx hefted him onto his back. "Come on. We'll leave the back way; it's a shortcut." They hurried out.
"What's taking them so long?" Ruby wondered aloud as she paced up and down the hall.
Seren was just as worried as Ruby. "I'm sure they'll return soon," she said confidently.
Just then, they heard the beating of wings coming from outside. The two rushed to see who it was, although they knew quite well. "Denyx! Did you find Nall!?" Ruby cried out, upon stepping out onto the balcony.
Ayin hopped off and helped Rykea lower Nall off Denyx's back. "Nall! What happened to him? Is he okay?" Seren asked.
Denyx changed once again. "I'm not sure exactly. We found him unconscious in his lair. It's a good thing we didn't run into his attackers; we wouldn't have been prepared."
Ruby looked concerned. "We'd best get him inside," Seren suggested.
Everything seemed hazy. Just waking up had hurt. Nall slowly began to recall the past events. Tallas ... The name repeated itself over and over inside his head.
"I think he's coming to," Ruby said.
Ayin and the others rushed over to her side. Nall opened his eyes ever so slightly, looking straight into the eyes of Ayin. "Y-you're the one." He closed his eyes again. "You are the next Dragonmaster."
Ayin stood speechless, as did everyone else. "'Dragonmaster'?! I can't be a Dragonmaster!"
"Dragonmistress then," Nall said calmly, a slight smile spreading on his face. "You have the green eyes. Ayin, you were destined to become the next Dragonmas-er, mistress."
Ruby raised an eyebrow. "So it's a girl? Well, I say it's about time!"
Nall slowly fumbled around in his coat pocket, and produced a small ring. He dropped it into Ayin's hand. "Here, Dragonmistress Ayin."
Ayin looked at the ring. "Wow. So this is why Nash wanted me to find you."
Nall sat up. "Nash?! Where'd you meet him?!"
"In a dream," Ayin said softly.
Nall cocked his head to one side. "Ah. See Ruby! Told you it was Nash that helped them get through the caves!"
Tsadde had been silent for quite some time now. "So my sister is going to be a Dragonmaster. This is cool!"
Rykea also looked impressed. "Congratulations Ayin. It is a title that is worthy of you indeed."
Nall smiled. "Yeah, well I'm no good at this ceremonial stuff. I'll just leave it at that, plain and simple. Dragonmistress Ayin, your duty is to confront Tallas, whom I just recently found out the hard way, is the cause of all this monster business. Of course, you can't be a Dragonmaster-or mistress, without the Dragon armor."
The dragons all looked at each other. "We haven't had to worry about that for years!" exclaimed Ruby.
Nall sighed. "True. Yet, it's part of the whole Dragonmaster deal, and being it that we're having a real crisis, I suggest that we obtain all the armor pieces, and fast!"
Denyx looked as if he were deep in thought. "Hmmm, Dragon armor, Dragon armor... Where is the Dragon armor?"
Nall nearly fell out of bed. "IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE IN YOUR LAIR YOU DOLT!!!"
"It is?" Denyx asked, pretending to ignore Ruby.
Nall groaned. "Last time I checked. Whoa, wait-a-minute; that was over 6,000 years ago!! Come to think of it, I haven't seen the Dragon armor since the times of Dragonmaster Alex!"
"Ah, the memories," said Ruby, sarcastically.
"So, in other words, you're saying that you have no idea where the Dragon armor is now?" Tsadde asked.
"Actually, I know where my part of the Dragon armor is," Nall answered. "I gave the White Dragon's Wings to Hiro."
"That thing didn't work anyways," Ruby commented, and Nall gritted his teeth.
"The thing was already how old!! Sheesh, it's not like it had a lifetime warranty!"
Ayin slid the Dragon ring on her finger. "Well, if that's the case, then I guess I can't be a Dragonmistress."
"WHAT?!" exclaimed Nall and Ruby.
Seren nodded. "This is a fact, unless we can somehow get new armor. Is this possible, Nall?"
Nall sat there for a moment. "You know, I've never actually thought about that. Hey! It might be possible! We can form a new armor; we just have to get back to our lairs to do it."
Ayin shook her head. "You won't be able to do anything if you're hurt like that. We should take you to a doctor."
"I have a friend who's a cleric. She lives in Meribia," Rykea spoke up.
"Well then, let's go to Meribia," suggested Denyx.
Nall nodded reluctantly. "Meribia it is."
Daleth walked through the ruins of Neo-Vane. It was terribly quiet, but she did not mind. The wind whipped her dark green hair about her face. Native to the city of Horam, Daleth had learned the Black Karate of Death, a fighting style that was thought to be long forgotten. Now she served as Tallas right-hand, his only trustworthy accomplice. Tallas had told her to keep an eye on things while he took care of other business. He did not know yet, that a Dragonmaster had been found. He did not know of the dragons' plans to create a new Dragon armor and overthrow him. His mistake. Tallas was not as observant as he thought. Daleth smiled, something that was rare. Tallas was not fit to rule Lunar. If he wanted to, he would have to shape up.
Upon hearing a sound behind her, Daleth whirled around, preparing for a battle encounter. Tallas stood before her. Surprised, Daleth dropped her stance and bowed her head. "Master Tallas, I had not anticipated your arrival so soon."
Tallas stood silent for a moment, then spoke. "I have found out that Nall still lives. Apparently he is tougher than he seems. I guess we will have to find another way to be rid of the dragons. Hmmm." Daleth secretly hoped that his plan would be better than the last one. "The dragons will be expecting an attack from an outsider. However, they would not suspect one from inside their ranks..."
Daleth listened closely. This was beginning to sound interesting.
The trip to Meribia had been noticeably easier than any of the others that Ayin and Tsadde had taken. This was because there were no monster encounters on the way, for a change.
They soon entered the crowded streets of the busiest city in all of Lunar. Meribia was a gathering place for many traders and dealers, as well as sight-seers and travelers. Rykea scanned the crowds of people in search of his friend while the others took in the sights and sounds of the city. Denyx, whom Nall had been leaning on for support all this time, was beginning to get sore.
"So where's this cleric? My shoulder's getting numb here!" Nall scowled at his anxious friend.
"What, you think I enjoy this?"
Rykea waved at the group. "I've found her!" he called.
"It's about time!" Denyx exclaimed.
Upon entering a small building, the party found it easier to relax, now that the hustle-and-bustle was behind them. A girl stepped into the room. "Welcome to Meribia! I'm Jerin Mortasia. So you're all friends of Rykea?" They nodded, and soon everyone was introduced. "So," Jerin began," Who's the patient?"
"Him," Denyx piped up, shouldering Nall, who nudged him back.
"Okey-dokey! This won't take long, don't worry. Help me get him upstairs." Jerin then hopped up, and brushing her long golden locks out of her face, skipped up the stairs.
Denyx took Nall up after her. "Just lay him down right there," Jerin said cheerfully.
Nall groaned. Her sweetness is sickening , he thought with a disgusted look on his face.
"Do you hurt that much?" inquired Jerin at seeing the look on his face.
Nall laughed nervously and shook his head. "No, no. Just uh, thinking about something."
Denyx stayed in the doorway. Obviously this was getting boring. He sighed. "I'll go outside, if you don't mind," he said, and Nall waved him off.
"Go on, get lost. Just don't get into trouble," he said, knowing full well just how capricious that Denyx could be sometimes.
Denyx stuck his tongue out and then went downstairs.
"So where were we?" pondered the vivacious cleric. "Oh yes, I remember. Rest Litany!"
Nall felt a soft, refreshing sensation as all his wounds were completely healed. "I haven't heard that one in a lo-ong time." He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Downstairs, everyone was getting restless. "What's she doing? An operation!?!" Ruby complained.
Tsadde suppressed the urge to giggle, and even Seren had to hide a smile. Denyx had gone out to browse and keep himself occupied.
Boy, when they say to watch out for the crowds in Meribia, they ain't kiddin'! He pushed and shoved along with the crowds and finally found space to breathe. "Phew, this is not fun." Denyx entered the tavern, which had developed over the years. He sat down at an empty table, not aware that his every move was being watched. A young woman came and took the empty seat next to him. Denyx couldn't help but admire how beautiful she looked; her long, dark green hair, her deep crimson eyes. She suddenly turned and looked at him. He moved back, instinctively.
"Oh, I'm sorry, did I startle you? I didn't mean it. So who are you? You're not from Meribia, I know that much. My name is Daleth."
Denyx tried to speak, but found his mouth was dry. "Uh, uh..... I'm Denyx."
Daleth smiled. "Denyx...."
It was working. Tallas' plan was working. Soon they would have the black dragon under their control, and then he would take care of the other three dragons, without them having to get involved. Daleth laughed quietly to herself. Denyx found himself helpless, unable to do anything. His will slowly drifted away...
"WHERE IS HE?!!? HE'S BEEN OUT FOR HOW LONG!!!"
Nall sighed. It was a rude awakening. Ruby was downstairs ranting again. He got up. At least he was healed. Soon they would head to their lairs to get the new Dragon armor. We'd better split up though. No telling what that Tallas might have in store for us next. He went downstairs.
"What's all the fuss about now, Ruby?" he asked, upon entering the main room.
"Denyx has been gone for over two hours! I doubt he could get lost--but then again, with him anything's possible."
Nall looked around the room. Sure enough, Denyx wasn't there. "Maybe we should split up and look for him. Ayin, you come with me. Tsadde, Seren--you go another way, and the rest of you go that way. If you find him, bring him back here and we'll have everything settled."
Ayin and Nall decided to check out the eastern side of town. "That Denyx better have a good explanation for all of this," Nall said under his breath.
Ayin stopped abruptly. "Look! Isn't that him?" Nall looked towards the tavern, and sure enough, there was Denyx-and some other girl.
Nall thought she looked vaguely familiar. "Denyx!" he called out. The girl turned and narrowed her eyes. She then smiled menacingly, and with a quick movement, disappeared.
"Where'd she go?" Ayin asked.
Nall shook his head. "I don't know, but I don't like this. Something's up."
They ran to meet Denyx. "Denyx! You all right? Where have you been?"
Denyx was silent. Ayin noticed how empty his scarlet eyes seemed, and began to feel a little uneasy. Nall didn't seem to observe this, and continued to question Denyx.
"Hey Denyx! I'd like some answers. Any ti-" The speed at which Denyx moved was incredible. He grasped Nall's collar and tossed him aside.
"WHA-!?!?" Ayin gasped. "NALL! Denyx, what are you doing!?"
Denyx whipped out his sword and advanced towards her. "AHH!!" Ayin shouted, bringing out her own sword to counter his blow.
Nall got to his feet. "Denyx? Aw, now I know where I've seen that girl before! She was with that Tallas guy!! She must've done something to Denyx!" Nall reluctantly drew his own sword.
"NALL!! DO SOMETHING!!!" cried Ayin, still parrying against Denyx's fierce attacks.
Nall charged. "RRRRRAR!!" Their two blades clashed. Ayin had fallen back. "RRRrr, Denyx-get a hold of yourself!!! <Ka-chink> Will you QUIT IT ALREADY?!?! <Shink> DENYX!!!"
Something was wrong. Seren stopped in her tracks. "What's wrong Seren?," Tsadde asked, stopping shortly after her.
"It's Denyx. Hurry, this way!" She took off down an alley way.
Boy, she can run pretty fast with a dress and high-heels , Tsadde thought as he followed her. They ran past Ruby, Jerin and Rykea.
"Hey!! Where're you going?!?!" Ruby shouted after them.
"I think we found 'em!" Tsadde called from behind his back.
Ruby nodded to Jerin and Rykea, and they tore down the street after him. They turned a corner and stopped, certainly not expecting to see Nall battling Denyx. Ayin stood off to the side. "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!" Ruby yelled.
"Not now Ruby! Can't you see I'm <Ka-shink> busy!?!" shouted Nall. The force of Denyx's blow knocked Nall down. "Whoa!" He rolled to the side to avoid being sliced and diced.
Ayin jumped in and took over for Nall as he got to his feet. "Denyx! It's us! Don't you remember?!" Ayin said through gritted teeth as she stood firmly, their swords locked. Denyx didn't seem to budge, much less remember.
"DRAGON FIRE!!" Ruby's attack blazed forth, straight at Denyx. He lept out of the way; the unexpected release of his blade causing Ayin to fall forwards-and directly into the line of fire. Ayin's eyes grew wide as the fire came closer and closer. She was suddenly swept up and out of harm's way. Rykea had rushed forward and grabbed her just in time. Denyx, however, did not wait for them to recover. He came at them, his scarlet eyes ablaze.
"DRAGON TEAR!!" cried Seren. The blast hit Denyx head on and knocked him aside.
Nall went over to his fallen comrade (turned foe). "He's knocked out," he said, upon a quick check.
"Will he recognize us once he comes to?" Ruby asked doubtfully.
Jerin stepped forward and placed a hand on Denyx's forehead. "Mental Litany." A soft ephemeral glow enveloped Denyx. "That should do it. Hopefully. I'll tend his wounds now."
Nall turned to the others. "Okay, as soon as he comes to, we'll have to go. Tallas isn't easing up. We need a Dragonmaster and we need one now. Obviously it isn't wise to go to our lairs alone, considering the fact that they ambushed me. So this is how we'll do it; we'll pair off. Seren will be accompanied by Tsadde, and Rykea will go with Ruby, and Ayin, maybe you should go with Denyx. Hmm, that leaves us one short... Hey Jerin," he said, turning to Jerin who had just finished healing Denyx.
"What is it Nall? Did you get hurt too?"
Nall shook his head. "No, it's not that. What I wanted to ask you was if you would care to accompany me when I return to the Katarina Zone West?"
Jerin looked at him. "Why would you want me to go with you? Who are you anyways? You guys are definitely not normal, that's for sure. I mean, with those super techniques and all."
Nall shrugged. She'd have to know sooner or later anyways. "Jerin, I am the White Dragon. Seren is the Blue Dragon, Denyx, the Black Dragon, and Ruby is the Red Dragon."
"Sure, put me last," grumbled Ruby.
Jerin was astonished. "T-The four dragons! I can't believe this! Oh wow-I mean, um, aren't you supposed to be a lot bigger?"
Nall rolled his eyes. "Ye-ah, but right now we're in human form. So will you come?"
Jerin nodded excitedly. "Sure! Why do you need me to come though?"
"Ain'tcha ever hear of strength in numbers?" Ruby said sarcastically.
"Jerin, I'm asking you to come because, well, you've heard of the recent monster raids-"
"So you want me to be your bodyguard?"
"No!! I, well, not exactly. I just think it'd give us a better chance against any um...unwanted visitors," Nall interjected.
Jerin folded her arms. "Okay... I'll come! Let me get my stuff!" she said, and started towards her house.
Denyx started to wake up. "Owww, my achin' noggin. What's going on? There was this girl and then-"
"Just relax, Denyx. That 'girl' was with Tallas. Come on, we're getting ready to go," said Nall.
"Already? Sheesh, where has the time gone?"
Jerin came running back. "I'M READY!!" She had tied her hair into a ponytail and now donned a brightly colored shawl over her shoulders. A knapsack was slung over one side. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
Back to The Calling of Ayin.
Back to the Library of Vane.
Back to the Shrine to Ghaleon.