Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Episode 15: The Cave of Darkness

Note: Since this is a long episode and almost could be two episodes. I'm going to give the audience more time to read this one and allow other to catch up. As a result, the next episode won't be released until next Wednesday, August 6.
Episode 14 Recap:
          After introducing Jenny to everyone, the party met a new member named Emily, who was determined to face David in a duel. David accepted the challenge and despite her demands that he use Sudron and the Elite Stones, he refused and defeated her very skillfully with his best form yet, proving he was ready to enter the Cave of Darkness to go after what they will need to face the Dark Master.

EPISODE 15: The Cave of Darkness

When the morning came, Emily led everyone to their destination along the less traveled roads. Along the way, Jenny inquired about how Reid how he met Emily.
 “Just by chance really,” David’s old friend began to explain. “I found her fighting some Daelians as Drame and I dropped in just as she finished. She assumed I was another one of them and proceeded to attack me. However, she was already worn out from her fight and I easily neofied her.”
“I had no chance,” Emily stated in her defense. “I had only just received my form maybe a week before that while Reid has had his for a few months. Definitely a mismatch.”
            “I’ll agree with that,” Reid laughed. “I was able to train with Dyl and my Asen, Xander, provided some exercises for us to do. We eventually found Nathan as well and had him join us. For a while we didn’t even know if there were Daelians until the incident in Kelinor concerning the scroll. Xander just warned us that we would need to be ready.”
           “Speaking of your Asen, how come we haven’t seen him yet?” Jenny asked, eager to see another one like Zel. However, David intervened and answered, “Most Asens only reveal themselves to their partner. Zel is unique in that he showed himself but only to explain the situations to those that needed to know.”
            “Hmm, and then Emily has been staying with you, Reid?” Jenny added in.
            “Yes,” the orphan responded, “They’ve taken good care of me. I guess that’s one blessing out of this world full of curses. So how do you like being the ‘damsel in distress,’ my lady? How did you end up being it?”
            Jenny glared at Emily trying to figure out where all the spite was coming from. It was quite evident from her tone that Emily had some issue with Jenny. The sarcasm did not help the cause either. She wanted to ask about what happened to her family, but now it was her turn to answer questions instead of ask. “I became the Shining Princess after my dad found the scroll. I handled it and the next thing I knew, Zel appeared and showed me where I could find the Guardians Ring David is wearing and then told me about what I needed to do and what was going to happen. He even told me that we needed to go to Kelinor to find David. How he knew that was where we would find him, I do not know.”
            “And all you do is stand around waiting to be rescued?” Emily struck again.
            Jenny glared again and finally spoke out. “I may not like feeling useless, but I am not stupid to try and do anything that might hinder everyone else. I will wait until there is something I can help with. Until then, I guess I shall be a ‘damsel in distress.’” She spoke with such force that everyone was impressed and even Emily flinched. Silence followed for a minute until Reid broke it.
            “A scroll, eh? That’s how Dyl and I got our forms too. Nathan said he had the same experience,” Reid declared.
            “You found scrolls?” The professor interrupted. “Do you still have them? I would very much like to examine them,” he pleaded.
            “Yeah, we can show them to you,” Reid said. “They’re a bit different actually. We tried to compare them, but we couldn’t figure out anything. Our Asens said they couldn’t tell us too much about what was written either, funny as that is. It’s almost like they were secret instructions they were told not to read until the time came.”
            “Perhaps it’ll help explain why the Daelians took the one we did have,” Jenny’s father muttered to himself.
            Soon, they arrived at the warehouse they were at before, to the surprise of the group besides Emily.
            “We were just here yesterday!” David exclaimed. “You’re not saying the cave is here, are you?”
            “It’s been here the entire time. You just weren’t ready for it,” Emily explained. “Or you might have been, but not miss posh girl here. It’s not like she was expecting that she would have to go through a trial all by herself from the very start. This is her test to see if she is indeed worthy enough of being our ‘princess.’”
            The orphan opened up a panel on the floor of the warehouse and revealed a passageway. “What I’ve heard from the streets is that this used to be a headquarters for the mafia. They found this cave and thought it to be a great hiding place and ideal for secret dealings. So they built this warehouse on top of it. However, something happened and they left this place. Are you ready now, my lady?”
The sarcasm in Emily’s voice was seriously beginning to bother Jenny, but she nodded and was about to go in when David stopped her. He took a couple items out of his pack and handed them to Jenny. They were a flashlight and a ball of string, though the ball was a bit rough.
“I know I can’t go in with you, but you might need these,” he explained. “Sorry about the string. It was a last minute preparation. I also brought sandwiches that Reid and his mother helped make for when we get hungry. I’ll try to hold some for when you get back.”
Jenny smiled at these thoughtful gifts and graciously accepted them. Feeling prepared, she then entered the cave while everyone else waited outside. She no longer felt the sting of Emily’s remarks for she really did feel like a princess at that moment.
Inside the cave, the princess could not see anything. She learned that the darkness in the title was literally true. However, the flashlight helped a great deal. Before proceeding into the labyrinth, she tied the end of the ball of string to the entrance post. Navigating the labyrinth was by far a tedious task. There were many turns and corridors that led to dead ends and sometimes the same spot. If patience was her trial, then she was lasting by a hair. Luckily, being the daughter of an archeologist, she inherited a fascination of mazes and ancient culture. However, this seemed to take forever.
After some time to her, she finally made it into a room where on a table laid a bow and arrow. It was a beautiful bow, crafted elegantly and glowing phenomenally. Next to it was a ring that appeared to complement the Guardian’s ring. She walked towards the set to examine it. She was about to pick it up when she heard a voice call out, “Don’t do it, Jenny!” She spun around to point the flashlight but then the battery died. The princess was about ready to be frightened until she realized her eyes had either gotten adjusted to the dark, or the light from the bow had made it bright enough that she could make out a shape. It was the shape of a female about her height, however, the darkness kept her from distinguishing anything else.
The shadowy figure spoke again. “The bow is not what you were meant to find, Jennifer Elaine Lokaf.” It took a step closer, but the figure did not get any clearer.
“Who are you? And how do you know my name?” the princess inquired with a shaking voice. I’m sure anyone would be confused when called by their full name, especially when they never tell anyone what the middle one is.
“Don’t be afraid, Jenny,” it said reassuringly. “I am what you were sent to find. I am your Asen. I’ve been waiting for you to come for a long time.”
“But if you have been here, how do you know about me?” Jenny asked again.
“There is always a special connection between a person and her Asen. While we may not always be able to speak, the Asen knows who its partner is and all about him or her.”
“If I were meant to find you, then what was this bow for?” the princess gestured toward the source of light behind her.
 “The bow is merely a deception. Meant to lead people like you astray. However, I know you are my partner and that is why I have come to stop you from picking it up. Once you do, you are trapped. You must realize that for someone as pure as yourself, you can’t be meant to find a weapon that can kill, right?”
Jenny just stared at the figure. She didn’t move nor said anything at those remarks.
“I can see your heart,” the shadow continued. “I sense the loneliness that pains you. You don’t have to worry anymore. I am here with you and I won’t leave you. I know you care for the boy and you want to help him. That is why I am here. When we are together, we will be strong and will not need to depend on him anymore.”
Still no response from the princess. There was something tugging her heart to not believe this shadow, but she couldn’t pin it.
“I know how much you care for the boy, but you know he is going to leave you.”
Jenny finally perked up and stared even harder at this figure.
“You cannot expect him to love you, can you? If he did, then wouldn’t he have told you already? In fact, now that he has met that other girl, you are already on your way out of his mind. You know it’s true. Eventually, he’ll start to be annoyed with having to save you all the time. However, we can prove them wrong. Let’s go and we can show that we are better than them.”
The figure extended its hand toward the princess. Jenny slowly extended her hand out as well. However, as she put her hand forth, she noticed she was still holding to the string that David had given her. In fact, her hand was clutching it hard. She opened her hand to find that she had come to the end of the ball. It was just the amount needed to get to the chamber. There was something else there too. There was a note at the end. She unfolded it to the protests of the shadow and was able to read it with the light there. It said, “Good luck. I have faith that you can do it. –David.”
At that moment, Jenny brought back her hand and stepped back toward the bow. The shadow was approaching but came no further. The light of the bow seemed to frighten the figure. The princess then called out to it, “You are not my Asen. You are a deceiver! I know that even if David does not feel the same for me as I do for him, he is a friend and you are trying to poison that! Now what will the light reveal about you?!”
She grabbed the bow and pulled the arrow aimed at the shadow. At that instant, the figure was revealed. It was not a female figure of her height, but far from it. It was a huge monster! It had the shape of a man, but the head of a bull and was clad in full armor. The helmet permitted a dark red glow to come forth. To Jenny, this was the most terrifying figure she had seen. She released the arrow of light and it pierced the dark figure, making it no more.
The princess then put the ring on her right hand and proceeded to follow the string to the exit using the bow for light. As she got into the view of the others, she was surprised to hear Dyl comment, “It seems she didn’t need those items after all, David.” Nathan added to it saying, “That maze must not have been very difficult for her to do it in a couple of minutes.”
She looked at them thinking they must be joking, but she responded anyways, “What do you mean a couple of minutes? I’ve been there for at least an hour if not three.”
“Actually… it’s has only been a couple of minutes, Jenny,” Reid responded.
The princess gazed at them with disbelief and confusion. Finally the professor spoke up and suggested, “Perhaps that cave is a portal to some magical world where time flows differently.”
“Like Narnia…” David added.
“What?! I never heard of travelling to another world with Neostriker before!” Dyl blurted out, but then he calmed down and looked at David and muttered, “But if David says it’s so, then I guess it probably is.”
“Why if David says it’s so?” Emily asked, picking apart the word choice of the loose tongued Dyl.
“Uhhh…”
“Because David’s theories may seem nonsequitur, there is some logic that is possible,” Zel intervened. “Considering all the interesting things that have happened, it could be possible, though I am certain it’s not Narnia that Jenny went to.”
“Either way,” Reid stepped in, “if Jenny has been in there as long as she says she has, she might want that sandwich now.”
True to Reid’s words, the princess readily accepted and devoured the food. After walking through the dark labyrinth for a long time, she was indeed hungry. She asked David how long the ball of string was and he estimated about a mile though that was only a guess since it took him a long time to roll it up. She then tried to offer him the bow, assuming that it was for him, but he declined saying that it must be for her.
When Jenny was rested, Zel spoke up and informed them what they needed to do. “David and Jenny must enter that cave again. The bow is for her to carry. David, you must still act as her guardian, for the bow has no power at this time. But I must warn you. You cannot use the Elite Stones or Sudron until you reach the end of your trial. In fact, you should not need to fight until then. Also, I will be unable to assist you until that time comes. Are you ready?”
They listened and nodded. David asked if Jenny was ready but before they went in, Reid stopped them and handed something to David.
“You might not be able to use it now, but it might be good to have.” It was the Elite Stone of Water.
 David accepted the stone and then entered the cave with Jenny. It was a little dark, but David used his torch sword for light. Jenny couldn’t remember him entering forms but they continued anyways. They went through the maze and were soon in the light of day. However, when they looked around, they were certain it was not San Diego.
They had come out to and found themselves up quite a ways on a cliff of a gray mountain. There, they could see over a forest with the morning dew rising as the sun emerged in the colorful sky. What caught David’s eye, however, was the black tower he could see not too far off.
“Wow! What a beautiful view!” Jenny exclaimed with a look of childish ecstasy in her face. They both wanted to stay and enjoy the sunrise, but they knew they needed to move on.  Seeing no other option on where to go, they took a path further up inside, leaving behind a spectacular view over a forest. As they walked, Jenny made a quip saying, “Good thing we had breakfast.”
The paths were confusing. Some went down only to climb again, while others were the opposite. Not to mention many paths went for quite a ways only to be a dead end or, worse, a cliff. They continued to walk for some time. Soon enough, they were lost in a thick fog. It’s amazing how you can be in light but cannot see. The two youths had to hold hands just so they wouldn’t lose each other. It was almost as if they might as well have been in a dark cave.
 They ascended as far as they could on several paths for hours. The breakfast comment seemed to be useless as they were beginning to feel the pain of hunger. They decided to stop after almost falling off a few times until the fog was gone. As they sat, David asked Jenny about her experience.
“So what was it like when you entered the cave before?”
“Not much different than this. Though my legs sure preferred the flat maze over all of this climbing.” She looked down and finished, “But it’s nice to do it with a friend.”
David agreed and the two then heard a growl. Realizing that it didn’t come from their stomachs, they looked around. Jenny spotted a shadow of what looked like a mountain lion. David readied his torch sword. Then, Jenny made a remark that made him think.
“Looks like you do need to fight after all,” she exclaimed. David glanced at her and had her explain. She reminded him how Zel said he shouldn’t need to fight. When he remembered, the guardian thought for a second while staring at the snarling shadow. After a moment of a showdown, David put away his sword and they heard another voice.
“Travelers I see. Stay, Keros.” The threatening sound ceased. There appeared a girl, a very beautiful one with flowing black hair and silver eyes about their age.
“Are you lost?” her perfect voice asked. “Don’t worry about Keros. He’s just my protector. Who might you be?”
  Jenny and David looked at her for a while. Finally, David answered, taking off his helmet, “We are travelers from afar. We don’t even know where we are. This is Jenny, and I am David.”
“Welcome then, Jenny and David. I am Ami. My friend here is Keros.” With that, the lion appeared. It wasn’t like a normal mountain lion. Yes, the shape was the same, but this one was more majestic and had symbols over its body.
“A lion?” Jenny asked, stepping back behind David.
“No, Jenny. It’s a real neomon,” David said analyzing the beast.
Ami looked at David and then at Jenny and the bow she was carrying. She smiled and said, “Keros comes with me when I come to pick some from the tree that’s behind you. Come.  After I pick some, I’ll lead you to my village.”
In awe that there was a huge fruit tree not ten feet from where they stopped, they accepted the offer. As they followed the maiden, she explained that they were going to Kerillia, a village that was pretty much protected by the fog. The mountain they were in was called Mount Malyn. Jenny didn’t pay too much attention to what she was saying. She was intrigued by the clothing Ami was wearing since it was different from theirs. Yet David didn’t appear to mind the clothing. It was a nice dress yet casual and seemed tailored in order to permit doing some work. When they reached the village, there was no fog. Instead, there was the sunny sky spotted with well placed clouds that make any day look nice.
Ami introduced them to the village elder, a small framed sage-like figure. After that, they toured Kerillia and saw it was actually a pleasant place. There was a big shrine in the center of the city but Ami told them that she will show that to them the next day and that they should stay the night at her place. The big that that was on David’s mind, however, was the black tower that loomed in the distance. When they reached Ami’s home, she showed them a little brown fox pup.
“It’s so cute!” Jenny exclaimed in joy as she saw it and the pup yawned.
            “Another neomon,” David stated contemplating and Jenny stepped back.
            “Wait! Then doesn’t that mean it’s a threat and a Daelian ally?” Jenny asked a little bit afraid.
            “Don’t be afraid of this one,” Ami assured them. “What you are thinking about are the dark energy neomon. Those are neomon created by the Dark Power for destruction. This is a regular one. His name is Lumecyx.” Jenny’s nerves calmed down and Ami continued to ask, “So there are neomon where you are from?”
            David answered, “Yes, but only DE neomon.”
            “That’s so sad.” Ami’s countenance turned to that of feminine sorrow, the kind that shows the sadness in their hearts but with no tears. “I fear that is happening here as well. The DE neomon are attacking these normal ones as we speak.”
            “What’s the difference besides the dark energy?” Jenny inquired, playing around with the little fox.
            “Neomon are simply animals blessed with special powers,” their hostess explained. “The DE neomon were created in mockery through the Dark Power with the intent of destruction. They only appear like animals to create confusion. It is said that neomon were made to be protectors of the land and animals but, as you know, the Daelians corrupted that and used the Dark Power to create them as weapons.”
            “So neomon will die but DE neomon would only vanish when defeated,” David concluded from her words.
            “That’s right. I guess I should expect you to know something about that, seeing that you are a Neostriker. You don’t need to be in forms here.”
            “How did you know that?” Jenny asked curiously as David de-formed.
            “You will find out tomorrow,” she replied. “Until then, relax and rest here tonight. My parents are at the tower tending to it so there’s space.”
            “Ami, do you mean the tower that stands out here?” David inquired as that tower has had his attention for some time. “What is it for?”
            “Yes, that’s the tower. We honestly don’t really know what it’s there for. It has been under our care for generations, though, and the Dark Power is strong there. Only my family has been permitted to go in and take care of it. Some say that it might be a seal to keep the Dark Power contained. I personally don’t know, but the duty will likely pass to me in a few years. Don’t worry about it, though. I’ll go prepare something for us to eat.”
With those words, their hostess went off. Jenny continued being amused by Lumecyx and playing with it. When Ami was gone, she turned to David and asked, “Do you think we can trust her? It feels weird here.”
“What do you mean by weird? Like there’s some evil here?” David responded.
“No… like I might belong here,” she replied. “It’s just a feeling, but I am a little at lost why they seem so easy to trust us. But then again, they are nice people. Also, can we wait a day? Won’t the others get worried about us?”
“Slow down a bit,” the guardian motioned her. “Yes, I think we can trust them. And I don’t think we need to worry about the others. You say you were gone for a few hours but it was only minutes over there. One day might only be like an hour to them. Besides, I think that shrine is where we need to go.”
“Not the black tower? Your eyes have lingered to it ever since we first stepped out of the cave.”
            “No. I don’t think that’s for us. At least not now. I can’t explain it, but I’m sure that’s the case.”
            Jenny accepted his answer and focused again on the little pup. She muttered that it might only be twenty minutes when they return. David joined in on playing with Lumecyx, but in his mind he was thinking. “Kerillia, eh. That’s weird. That’s from a different one of my stories, not Neostriker. What’s going on here?”
            They enjoyed their stay that night. Ami showed them a book which listed and described the various neomon they knew of, regular and dark energy ones. She later took them to a community feast and made them feel welcomed. They played around with the children and few neomon in the village. The air was so clean that the two of them felt very refreshed as they awoke the next day. After Ami provided some breakfast for them, they went to the shrine.
            The shrine was an amazing place. It was furnished with bronze and the finest lumber with intricate design. When they walked in, the two travelers stood in awe at how impressive it was. The closest that could be explained would be someone walking into a great cathedral or the Sistine chapel. Sure, this was not as impressive as the chapel, but it was certainly a sight to behold. The hallway was free space save for a giant fireplace in the center. Along the walls were statues and tapestries with amazing art describing history. Jenny, being the daughter of an archeologist, was amazed, but not nearly as much as David. He ran up to some of the statues and tapestries and then to others. Only a few did he recognize while the rest were completely new to him. The two girls laughed at how childlike he was being in a special place.
            “This is the Shrine of Heroes,” Ami began. “These are the heroes of the Nellenion Kingdom while it still stood.”
            “What happened to it?” Jenny asked. David overheard the question and stood still for a moment. Ami, nonetheless, answered in a grave tone.
            “It was conquered. The last Nellenion King, Phyreon, was a great king…”
            “Phyreon? This guy?” David interrupted gesturing to a statue of a very angelic warrior.
Ami smiled, “Yes,” but then continued in her serious tone and the two travelers listened intently. “However, when his son took the throne, he failed the trial that would have made him heir to the power. For a long time, there was no war, but the people became corrupt under his rule. Before his son was old enough to take the trial or the throne, they were invaded. It was a long war with the king’s son serving as an excellent commander. Some say that if he was given a chance, he would have been as great of a king as his grandfather. The war ended, however, with the invaders’ victory. One of the most trusted warriors of the kingdom betrayed the Nellenions and let the invaders in.”
            “How horrible!” Jenny exclaimed. “Why did he do such a thing?”
            “Yes, he’s famed for being a traitor. In fact, we do not even remember his name because of it. Yet, his story is too of tragedy. His motives became complex as he fell to the enemy’s lies. Some say it was because the kingdom he was defending became too corrupt and he could no longer fight for such a kingdom. It is sad how it took only a few years to undo what generations had built up and withheld. The Nellenion Kingdom used to be a shining example of a perfect society. Others say it was because the king had done something evil to him. Still others say that it was through his brother that he was tricked into betraying his kingdom and great friend, the prince. We don’t know much more about what happened as our village was formed by people who fled into exile when the war ended.”
            “What happened to the great prince that you spoke of?”
            “He was able to flee as well with his family. After the invaders broke through the walls and ravaged through the city, there was no hope left. The treachery dug deep and cost the lives of many of the warriors until there were but a few left. Those remaining, including the prince escaped and went off to new land. It is said that an heir to the Nellenion Power will return to the land. Meanwhile, we wait and tell the stories of our heroes.”
            “That’s amazing,” the Shining Princess declared. “How long has it been since then?”
            “About two hundred years,” Ami answered. “But come, let me show you the greatest of our heroes.”
            She led them to the back of the shrine and into another room big enough to easily seat all of the villagers plus some. It was lighted more but only two statues stood while the wall was covered with various tapestries.
            “These are our two great heroes. Zel, the Xagem, and Mastra, the great Nellenion King.”
            Jenny glanced at David at the sound of Zel’s name, but he didn’t budge. He looked in awe of everything there. At the end of the room, in between the two statues was a stone table with a great book of writing on it.
            Ami continued. “Zel and Mastra were the first Neostrikers. Rather, Zel was the first, but Mastra inherited it. Zel suffered an incurable disease as a child. It was later discovered to be the Dark Power attacking his body. Just as all seemed lost, a wise man appeared and crafted an armor made with Shining Power and gave it to him. With the armor, Zel was able to live and was granted special powers and virtual immortality.
“It soon came to be that a wicked advisor went to the Daelian king and told him of what happened. It is believed that this advisor was who infected Zel with the Dark Power as poison to begin with. The Daelian king had a similar armor forged for him using the Dark Power. He became known as Zenoth since he became a monster of great evil. He was able to use the Dark Power to create numerous warriors and dark energy neomon. For that reason, he is referred to as the ‘Dark Master’.”
The two travelers looked at each other, realizing the significance of the name. Meanwhile, Ami continued her story.
“Zel, thanks to the armor, was a powerful warrior. He fought against the Daelian lord and his monsters, but he could not do it alone. The wise man revealed that if he sacrificed some of his power and the immortality he had gained from the armor, then they could make suits for the knights to use against the Dark Power. Zel did this and the wise man forged special rings that activated the magical armor. This is how the Neostriker came to be with an unexplainable power to materialize armor out of thin air to fight in.
“Soon, Zel led his army to fight Zenoth but was killed in battle. At that time, Mastra took his friend’s armor and, blessed with power of his own, defeated the Daelian lord, sealing him away. After that, Mastra became the first Nellenion King.”
“How did he defeat Zenoth?” David asked, making the connection.
“With the Elite Stones,” she told them. “They house the power of the elements and with them, the Great King Mastra overpowered the Dark Master.”
Jenny looked a little confused. “Elements? I can see how stuff like Fire and Water are considered elements, but what about the others like Speed and Night?”
“Oh? So you do know about them,” Ami said pleasantly as if she knew something about her guests already. Nevertheless, she answered Jenny’s question.
“The Elements are divided into eight, as the legend goes. Speed is one of the names we give to Motion, which can then be considered Life. Night likewise refers to Shadow which the logic for fire and water still applies. The reasoning for Ice is that it represents cold.”
“Wow,” Jenny said impressed, though realizing there was more to the explanation than that. She then turned back to the two statues and asked, “So which one is which?”
“The one with the armor is Zel. The other is Mastra,” Ami explained. “Mastra is actually more famous for his deeds outside of battle as he was a ruler of peace. He was so great that it is said that the neomon willingly fought for him whenever he needed them to.”
“I must say, this whole place seems very magical.”
“I guess I should take that as a compliment,” their guide smirked. “The village gathers in this room once a week and we read from that great book on the table. In there is the chronicles of the great heroes in this shrine. It ranges from the story of Zel and Mastra to the fall of the Nellenion Kingdom.”
“Once a week? Doesn’t that ever get tiresome to hear the same ones over and over?” David asked surprised at this cultural event.
“Why should it?” Ami responded. “I love these stories and there are so many to hear. It has everything in it; Adventure, Love, Wisdom, Songs, and even Mystery. This tradition has made our community stronger. Besides, how else can we honor our heroes of old? If we forget about them, then we do them a grave dishonor.”
“What if they didn’t really exist?” David continued.
“Does it matter? It’s important for us to remember the good deeds of our heroes. By remembering, they continue to inspire us in our everyday lives. We may not have adventures like they did, but their stories help us act like them. Even if these heroes didn’t exist, the principals they stood for do. That is the beauty of a legend. It becomes a symbol and creates heroes for beyond their own time. People need heroes to look up to; to keep them strong, to give them hope. Even if I were to discover that everything was a lie, I would still tell their stories for those reasons and would continue to believe in them.”
            “I will admit, you are a far better person than I, Ami,” David stated switching his attention back to the two statues. “After all, your people welcomed us into your home yet we are strangers and bear weapons.”
            “Don’t be silly,” Ami said with a smirk. “If you didn’t carry any weapons, you would have been suspicious. It’s dangerous out there. Besides, it’s the weapons you carry that make us trust you.”
            “What do you mean?” the young princess spoke.
            “Take a closer look at these tapestries. Do you see it?” their guide pointed to specific ones on the wall. David and Jenny examined it and saw it. The bow and Sudron were there! Well, Sudron was sort of there. Some details were a little different, but it was definitely similar design.
            “These were weapons of your heroes?!” Jenny exclaimed with disbelief.
            “Whether they are, I cannot say. But their similarities are too close. I believe they are. Since you bear them, you must be special people. We feel that you are here for a reason. Do you know that reason?”
            “I believe it has to do with Shining Power,” Jenny answered. “We seek a way to cure David of the dark energy that flows through him.”
            “Then you must go up to the stone table,” a voice called out. The group turned around and saw the village elder by the entrance. He walked closer and said, “That table is magical. It contains a magic that is deep and beyond our understanding. Perhaps it was a magic written in before our world’s beginning.”
            “I don’t see the connection, but I’ll take a look,” the guardian commented. He went up to the table. He looked back at the elder, Jenny, and Ami. Nothing special seemed to happen. As he stepped back, however, to return to them, something did happen.
            A Nellenion field appeared and took up the entire room save the entryway where the others stood. David turned around and saw a shadowy figure. It soon took shape and became recognizable. It was the demon Neostriker from both David’s vision and from Jenny’s experience from the cave. The horns and glowing red eyes pierced through their hearts.
            “It’s you,” David declared. “You’re the one who tried to make me activate the beast.”
            “I merely tried to make you accept who you are,” the dark figure answered.
            “What would you know about me?” David refuted.
             It laughed. “Can’t you see? I am you!” and with those words, the Daelian Asen turned into a mirror copy of David. “You cannot defeat yourself,” it mocked.
            “You may be a part of me, but I am not you! And with my sword I shall purge you!” David declared authoritatively. He performed neoformation and became Cyonex once more, drawing his sword of flame. The demon changed forms as well and molded into a shadow copy of Neocyx. The youth then heard a voice.
            “Are you ready to face your Dark Side?” it said. It was Zel.
            “Yes, you here to help?” David responded.
            “Certainly. This Nellenion field is special. Those outside will not hear or see anything. This fight is important. Don’t lose your concentration.”
            “Got it. Let’s do this.”
            The duel began. The demon drew out twin swords against David’s Sudron. They clashed blades and went about a few bouts. This was by no means an easy fight for the youth. His Dark Side was able to counter his moves and even improved some others. At one point, Cyonex’s adversary used two sonic swords to fire four sword waves. David was only able to avoid damage due to his armor neocards. In addition, the Dark Side was able to vanish for instants only to reappear at another point. 
            “This is tough,” the guardian declared. “How do you fight against yourself?”
            “With help,” came Zel’s reply. “We’ll need to work together.”
            “I’ll buy that.”
            “Behind you!” Zel cried out.
            Just in time, the Falcon countered an incoming blow with his own slash and launched his opponent back. With Zel’s help, David was able to land a few more blows with good use of his neocards. However, the demon form had another trick. He multiplied! There soon were Neocyx Dark Side clones everywhere. David tried to overcome them but learned that they were merely shadows. He would attack one, but then the real one would strike and vanish. It definitely made the youth lose his cool.
            “How can I fight this?!” he cried out.
            “You need to calm down,” his Asen responded.
            “How can I keep calm against this impossible fight?!” David yelled out.
            Zel didn’t budge. Like a wise master, he merely kept his composure and said, “Remember what you told Brian about the Dark Power. It amplifies your passions. It uses them against you. You must remember though that passions are momentary. They get strong fast, but they also fade fast. You need to endure the storm. Focus your mind. Listen to me and let me help you.”
            David did remember. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Zel then gave him cues and the youth managed to avoid and parry his enemy’s attacks flowingly. He did this for a few moments. The number of shadows increased at first, but soon they vanished one by one. Then, when there just a few left, David opened his eyes in focus and said in synch with his Asen, “Now!” The guardian drew his legendary sword and slashed his opponent about ten feet away in an instant, defeating his Dark Side.
            “Was that…” David began recognizing his feat but Zel finished his words for him.
            “…Full Power? Yes. The ability that happens when an operator and his Asen are synched granting a boost in speed and power when the synchronization energy is charged.”
The Nellenion field disappeared and David exited out of forms. What was where the demon form stood was now a sphere of light. The sphere then moved and encircled Jenny only to disappear inside of her.
“What was that?” Jenny inquired of the elder.
“That must have been Shining Energy. It has granted you some of its power. Go to your friend and place your hand over his heart.”
The Shining Princess did as told and David embraced it.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes, that feels good actually,” David said with some joy in his voice. “The dark energy gone now. It appears you can now purify. Congrats.”
She nodded. Meanwhile, Ami stepped up.
“We were right. You are the heir to the title ‘Warrior of Fire’,” she declared with a sense of peace around her.
The two travelers told the elder and Ami that they must get going back to their home, but knew not how to return to the cave that they came from. Ami asked about the cave and smiled. She led them back to it and they realized that it was not too far from the village. In fact, it was right in front of it. They just needed to take a different path than they did at the first fork they came across. They said goodbye and went through.
When they came out of the cave back in their world, they saw Reid and Nathan groan while giving Dyl a few bucks.
“What’s going on?” the newly purified youth questioned at this sight.
Emily sighed and explained, “Dyl just won a bet, that’s all. He said it that you two would be back in twenty minutes while Reid guessed five and Nathan, thirty.”
“I wish we had a chance to join on that bet. I would have won too!” Jenny triumphantly declared.  
            After that little commotion, everyone asked how it went, but the two decided to leave them in the dark about what happened. The only thing they found out was that David had been purified. Zel then appeared and revealed that David and Jenny’s adventures in the cave had not finished. There were now three trials for them to accomplish and he warned to spread them out at least a little. They accepted the notification and then took the rest of the day off.

Episode 16: Jungle Adventure

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Episode 14: The Orphaned Girl

Episode 13 Recap:
            After talking with Zel, David learned more about the nature of Neostriker and how the root word "Neo" means "Spirit" in the Nellenion culture. With a new form and legendary sword, David is more powerful than before, but not enough to defeat Crawn. However, Crawn reveals how he is Jenny's older brother and spared David's life so that he can protect her.

EPISODE 14: The Orphaned Girl

             Just as David finally arrived home, a car pulled up and honked at him. It was Reid with his father, Dyl and Nathan.  After greeting them, David brought them inside where everyone else was preparing dinner. When Nathan and Dyl saw Jennifer, they were impressed.
            “Dude,” Dyl whispered to Nathan, but loud enough for everyone else to hear, “David’s got good taste.” The dreamer of course blushed at that comment and made a hasty comment that it wasn’t like that. Nathan replied, “Sure it’s not… We’ll give you some time on that.” While Dyl and Nathan were teasing David about how pretty the princess was, no one save Mary and Reid noticed that her face turned a bit red as well.
            After introductions, they ate dinner. It was a bit amazing that there was enough for everyone since it was almost like a Christmas party. After dinner, the people began separating into groups. The fathers began talking to each other while the teenagers gathered and started to discuss the whole Neostriker affair.
            “I’m still amazed that Jenny here is the Shining Princess,” Dyl exclaimed. “Though I hope she isn’t just a pretty face for us to save.”
            “Come on,” Nathan butted in. “Even if the plot is as simple as rescuing the princess, they do a good job of making games that are fun and timeless.”
            “I’m not saying that the games are bad,” the loose-tongue Dyl defended himself. I have too many fond memories playing those games. I’m just saying sometimes I would like more character depth from the princesses.”
            “I think it’s great that Jenny is the princess,” Reid threw in. “From what I know about her, she should be an excellent one, maybe providing the depth you desire, Dyl.”
            “Did you meet before?” Nathan asked before David could. Jenny answered, “We went to a camp together once. That was fun.”
            “Yeah, it was,” Reid consented. “Anyways, David, our numbers are growing faster. We are having our base be in San Diego which isn’t too far from here.”
            “No, it isn’t,” David agreed. “Hopefully we’ll have enough to go up against the Daelian army before they grow too strong.”
            “I think we will,” Nathan pitched in. “There are four of us big guns now, and we have six Elite Stones. That should give us an advantage.”
            “Crawn is still a powerful opponent and the governor is on their side,” David reminded them.
            “We also don’t know who else is working with them. There can even be foes more powerful than Crawn in their ranks,” Dyl muttered, thinking about the possibilities from far back.
            “Anyways,” David began, “I think the next order of business for me is to find a way to free me from the dark energy inside of me. The new form did not provide a cure.”
            “Can’t Jenny do that if she’s the Shining Princess?” Dyl asked, curious as to why she hasn’t yet.
            “I’m sorry, my powers haven’t developed,” Jenny answered with her head bent in shame for not being of any help, after which, Dyl apologized.
            “How about the Cave of Darkness?” Reid suggested only to find out no one else knew what he meant and so had to explain. “My Asen told me about a cave located somewhere around here. I think it is still hidden, but I think that might be where David and Jenny may need to go to fix both of their problems.”
            “How is it that a society that was supposedly located in the Atlantic have a special location by the Pacific?” David asked aloud knowing that he did not come up with such a place.
            “We had efficient means of transportation,” David’s Asen finally answered. “You don’t think that Columbus was the first to explore this continent, do you?”
            With no one responding, Zel continued.
            “The cave is where they need to go. There, they shall undergo a series of trials. If they succeed, Jenny’s powers will develop, and David shall obtain new skills.”
            “What exactly will these trials be?”
            “The main ones will be to recover three special neocards. They will be necessary should you need to face the Dark Master.”
            “Shouldn’t we only need the Elite Stones?” Reid asked.
            “No. As you are now, you cannot defeat Zenoth. There is no guarantee that these cards will be enough, but they will aid you nonetheless.”
            “Whatever,” the dreamer carelessly replied, having expected this for some time. “So where exactly is this place?”
            “I don’t know exactly, but I think I do know who would,” Reid responded. Dyl and Nathan inquired who and Reid answered, “Emily.”
            “Who’s Emily?” Jenny asked, figuring she may be the only one who didn’t know since David already had connections with these guys. However, she was wrong; David did not know anything about Emily either. Needless to say, it felt awkward for him to need to learn so much about his own creation.
            “Oh, Emily is a girl we found back home in San Diego, an orphan actually,” Dyl started to explain. “She may be a bit rough around the edges, but she is gorgeous. She could even give Jenny here a run for her money if they were to compete in a beauty contest. Actually, I still think it’s possible that she and Reid might hookup sometime,” he finished with a smirk.
            “Dyl, it might be best if you keep your mouth closed for a while before you say something completely out of line,” Nathan stated with the approval of everyone else. Jenny then said, “At least we’ll know who to blame for the wisecracks coming from the shadows” and everyone laughed as Dyl bowed as if he had been accorded with some great honor.
            With that said and done, Reid continued, “Yes, that’s Emily. She’s had a bit of a rough life, but she’s on our side. I think she does know where to go, though.”
            “Alright, then we should go find her as soon as possible,” David declared wondering about who this person may be and how she may know where the cave is located.
            “Well, if David is to enter the Cave of Darkness, then he’s going to need to pass a trial first,” Zel stated. When asked what kind of trial, he merely replied, “I can’t say, but if a warrior is to enter the cave, he needs to prove that he is ready. Only when the time is right will he know.”
            With that note, the discussion on Neostriker ended, but the teenagers still stayed up talking about other things deciding that they should probably wait until the next day to start.
            When morning came, the teenagers got up and packed to travel to San Diego where they were planning to stay for a while. After dropping some stuff off at Reid’s house and finding Emily had already gone to where Reid instructed her to meet, they proceeded to an old warehouse. When they entered, they saw a teenage girl who matched Dyl’s description just fine. She was indeed a bit rough, but she was certainly pretty as well. When people think of blondes, it is not common that someone would imagine a girl like Emily. Then again, having a rough life and being an orphan should probably change any expectations one has for a girl. Reid did the introductions and while David tried to shake her hand, she simply nodded and glared at Jenny, particularly the pink skirt she was wearing.
            “So this is the fair ‘damsel in distress,’” she spoke with discontent. “Figured it would be some helpless girl. Have you gotten your manicure today, princess? What use are you anyways?”
            None of the guys could figure if she really had it out for Jenny for some reason or was simply baiting her to see how she would react. Perhaps it was a bit of both, but one thing for certain, she did not seem to be a fan even though they had just met. Perhaps the more interesting part was that David did not step in to defend her. Probably best that he didn’t or it might have proven the orphan’s point about her being helpless. Instead, Jenny answered her accusations saying, “I may not be able to do anything now, but that’s why we’re here; so I can use my powers and so we can free David of the dark energy that curses him. So do you know where we can find the Cave of Darkness?” While she did not lose any of her charm while speaking, there was a bit of fire in her eyes sparked by the contempt her similarly fair “adversary” exhibited.   
            The roughed up female did not respond directly to Jennifer. Rather, she then began to size up David and spoke in the manner common when someone did something stupid, “So you brought a traitor? A Daelian?”
            “He’s not an enemy,” Reid reassured her. “In fact, he’s probably our greatest ally. That’s why we need to find that cave and, hopefully there, find a way to purify him.”
            “Come on, him? A good ally?” she replied with disbelief. “I could easily floor him.”
            “Haha, that’s probably true,” David finally spoke out. “But that might be because I wouldn’t fight you except in forms.”
            That last comment incited the orphaned girl. “So are you a coward or do you really have that much disrespect for the female gender?” Jenny was ready to make a comment when Emily lashed out, “Shut up, posh girl.” Then back to David, she said, “I think I’m going to need to teach you a lesson. If you think you need to fight in forms then so be it. I’ll still wipe the floor with you, as Drame.” 
            “Then let’s do this,” David replied, having already expected this result.
            David and Emily entered forms and brought up the Nellenion field. Emily took on a light purple and dark pink armor. The helmet had an opening for her blonde hair to come out as a ponytail. Her armor was highly decorated with embroidery.
In her right hand she gripped a sword and in her left a hard solid yet decorated shield. She was so beautiful in that armor, that it would be possible some guys would not wish to fight just because of it. David could not help but at the sight of her mutter, “And I thought she was a dame before.”
            The two introduced themselves by their forms’ names. Emily had become Drame and David, Cyonex. Soon, their fight began, or at least it should have. Drame charged in with her sword ready and made the first move. Cyonex, however, merely parried with a left-handed neo sword and did evasive maneuvers. This repeated a few times with little to no variance
            “Are you going to fight?!” the dame called out to her supposed opponent. “Pull out your sword and fight, you coward!” Sudron stayed sheathed and Emily became pissed and continued to yell at David. “Don’t you dare go easy on me because I’m a girl! Fight me like a man!” she yelled. Still no reaction from David. He merely stared at the dame with piercing eyes.
            “David’s going to win,” Reid stated out of the blue. Jenny was surprised by this statement considering that David had not yet swung a sword, much less draw Sudron from its sheath. She inquired Reid of how he came to this conclusion so early in the match. Adding to the comment, Dyl placed a bet that David would win without even getting scratched. Still confused, Jenny was about to ask again when Reid finally began to explain.
            “Look at them,” he started. “Emily isn’t thinking properly. David’s skill is beyond hers and he knows it.”
            “So he is going easy on her by not drawing Sudron?!” Jenny asked with a bit of contempt at David doing this.
            “Not at all,” Dyl chimed in. “He’s not pulling back anything. He’s gonna go in with ‘full’
 force.” Jenny was still confused and proceeded to ask why he wasn’t drawing Sudron if he wanted to go all out. Continuing from Dyl’s response, Reid answered, “Because it would be his disadvantage to use that sword. It’s not his style.” The princess then inquired about what is David’s style and the old friend replied with one word, “Style.”
            Now Jenny was getting annoyed with these confusing answers to her that really just brought up more questions. To her it was like reading book in a foreign language with no dictionary. It’s not uncommon for people focused to start speaking in what they think are common terms without realizing that the people they are talking to may not understand what they mean. Unfortunately for her, this was the case, though maybe if she thought about it for a while she may have had understood it all.
            Nathan finally ended her torture and began to explain what his friends were saying. “David’s been analyzing Emily since before the battle started. He’s being very thorough. It may seem like to some people that he’s holding back, but he’s really just preparing to attack. However, because Emily does not seem to realize what he is doing, she’s getting anxious and rash. David, on the other hand, is still calm and collected. He’s running in his mind probably four to five different scenarios five to ten moves ahead. Emily is only probably thinking about two moves ahead. David is seeing her openings and is about ready to pounce.”
            “And the fact that he’s doing this shows he’s being very thorough,” Reid added on. “David’s known about Emily’s strengths and weaknesses since before the match begun. He’s only confirming it.”
            “And just because of that you say he’s going to win?” Jenny asked further.
            “It’s their Warrior’s Intuition,” her father stated. “It’s like a tennis match where the skilled player knows where his opponent will return the ball before he even hits it. Apparently, David has some of that.”
            “But he’s never fought like that before,” Jenny exclaimed.
            “No one ever fights the same against every opponent. It wouldn’t be human,” Reid stated. “This is a rare opportunity in which David is calm and the circumstances allow him to be composed. That itself gives him the advantage because Emily is losing her patience and will start to act even more rashly and so make more mistakes. The other reason why he’s probably doing this is because of that shield.”
            “Yeah,” Dyl muttered.  “He already knows that shield can block most of his attacks. To use Sudron would give Emily the advantage. One of the properties of the legendary sword is that it’s the only sword that can be used when drawn. Either way, it’s not like him to prefer to use force over style. He’s gonna try to defeat her while looking good and being effective… like a fox.”
            “Using Sudron would only ruin that sense of style,” Reid exclaimed. “He’s going to use twin swords to counter her sword and shield combo.”  
            David finally started to attack. It was more like a sparring match for him than a fight. He was like a strategic boxer gauging his opponent the first round preparing his tactics for the second in full force. He fought like one too, sneaking a jab in here and there while blocking all attacks and counter strikes. While Drame’s shield serve mainly to block, Cyonex’s twin swords were adaptable and he was able to effectively use Drame’s shield to his advantage. It’s pretty difficult for a boxer to win with just one fist and the other blocking his sight. That is exactly how David planned it and played the tactic to its fullest forcing Emily into that situation. Sometimes he would put away his swords only to draw them again after crossing his arms. At one point, he forced Drame to bring up her shield and he dropped a bomb at her feet and jumped back while she suffered the blast.  He quickly defeated Drame without drawing Sudron or even using an Elite Stone.
            David de-formed and walked towards the fallen dame. He offered his hand for assistance but Emily just glared. He laughed and then began to speak, “There’s no disrespect intended by me not wanting to fight women. It’s because I have respect for women that I refuse to fight. Fighting is how guys get through each other’s pride, make a point, and earn respect. Women, however, bypass all that through their charm and beauty. In fact you should consider yourself honored to be thought of as the more ‘civilized gender.’ That and also by me never fighting a girl, I assure myself that I would never physically abuse my future wife should I have one. With that principle instilled as a habit, there is a strong restraint against ever doing such a horrible thing.”
            As he finished, he looked to Jenny and her neck. Feeling shame, he focused on his hand. His resolution on the issue had grown.
            With those words, the look in Emily’s eyes finally changed from contempt to the kind that is willing to give a chance. She turned aside and sighed a laugh saying, “You’re an idealist, but I guess that’s okay.” As he helped her up, she muttered, “I still say I can floor you,” and David laughed without a care. As they returned to the others, Emily declared, “I’m still upset with you not drawing your sword nor using an Elite Stone.”
            “To use an Elite Stone would have been cheating,” David began his answer. “If I did use one, you would have said I couldn’t win without it.  As for the whole sword thing, in order for me to fight at my best, I needed my twin swords. Sudron would have been the wrong weapon to go against you. You think I can handle those trials now?”
            “All I know is that you are better than me,” Emily commented pretending not to be impressed. “I would assume whatever lies in the cave would be far better. You might have a chance.”
            “He will,” Zel spoke up. “The trials will test his and Jennifer’s abilities. However, before they can start, Jennifer has a trial that she must do alone. She must traverse the labyrinth inside and find a special item.”
            “If you say so, Zel,” David responded and then turned back to his friends. “So how about we go get some food? All this fighting and thinking can make a guy hungry.”
They all agreed and walked towards the car. Jenny, however, had one more question she had pondering the whole time and ran up to David to ask.
            “So why would you only fight if she was in forms?”

            The Guardian took a glance at her then faced forward and responded, “I’ll explain later, but it’s because I recently learned that forms are not physically based and I knew she wouldn’t get harmed. Sometimes it’s better to take care of something before it becomes a big problem. Don’t worry about it, let’s get some food.” He walked on but the look on his face stated that something was on his mind.

Episode 15: The Cave of Darkness

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Episode 13: The Warrior of Lightning

Episode 12 Recap
          After being subdued by the Wolf, Cepos, and Knaidow, David learned that two of them were actually old friends of his. However, with dark energy still inside him and with no form to use, David decided he is useless to help and returned home. Along the way, the youth had a dream where he could talk with his grandfather. Before the professor and Jenny leave to continue their journey, David's family convinced them to stay for a picnic but they are ambushed by Celonret, who is determined to tame David. Things looked bad and David was tempted again to use the Dark Power to fight, but he resisted it and instead discovers the legendary blade Sudron and reunited with Zel to become Cyonex the Falcon, the Warrior of Fire!

EPISODE 13: The Warrior of Lightning

That night, Jenny and the professor spent the night at David’s house. On the evening news, his parents were being interviewed about the incident. The reporter began by talking about the background. She said, “The police are baffled at the latest string of events that have transpired across the state. The latest happened here, at Lake Park. A man was out with his family on a picnic when it happened. Mr. Gallaback, can you tell us what happened?”
The camera turned to face David’s father as he began to talk. “Um, yes. As you said, we were on a picnic when we were attacked by this strange man. He became a spider-like creature and trapped us. But then some knight-like form came and rescued us. He fought off the man and afterwards the man fell dead but with no wound.”
“Thank you,” started the reporter. “Is there anything else you noticed?”
“Nothing else to say,” the father answered, keeping his word to David. The reporter finished her story and the family turned off the TV. David’s mother turned still waiting for it all to be explained. The travelers all contributed to what had happened and what was going to happen. David, however, still refrained from saying anything about him knowing about Neostriker beforehand. During the conversation, the professor told David that if he still wanted to tag along to protect Jenny, he could. When all was said and done, David went to his room.   
He lay in his bed for a while thinking. Soon, he took his phone and flipped it open saying, “Zel, it’s good to have you back.” “Thanks,” was the response from the Asen. The youth hesitated for a second but then finally asked, “There’s something you are telling me, Zel. You’re not just an Asen, are you?”
“Yes and no,” Zel answered calmly. “I’m not the kind of Asen that you originally came up with but the kind that that has entered your mind. I’m not a program but a celestial being sent to protect you.”
“An angel…” David blurted as if he knew but only needed some confirmation. “I take it that means that one black Asen I saw was a demon.”
“Yes.”
“Then that means Neostriker isn’t highly advanced technology either.”
“No, the “Neo” in Neostriker is not how you originally intended. It is not the Greek word meaning ‘new,’ but a new word meaning ‘spirit.’ The complete word is ‘Neomaen” which translates into ‘spirit striker’ or ‘spirit warrior,’” the Asen explained.
“Which in turn means my form is determined by my spirit. That’s why they are customized to how we would like them,” David said, following a chain of logic. “But I hadn’t fully developed this yet,” he remarked. “I only recently came up with the concept, and even then it was just a fleeting idea.”
“Yet it is the one that is being used. It also isn’t a game. These events will have an effect on your life and those around you,” Zel stated.
“Well, that explains why you can understand so much despite supposedly being in isolation for centuries,” the warrior laughed.
“And why there are guns when they didn’t have them back them,” the Asen continued. “The weapons and armor are formed based off the individual’s spirit and what he knows.”
“Alright. I guess I can deal with that. It makes things connect better at least. Thanks for the explanation, Zel. Glad you’re my guardian.”
“It’s my pleasure.”
  A few seconds later, there was a knock at the door. Jenny came in to talk to David privately. She asked, “So David, you’re going to come with us, right?”
Sitting up, David replied, “Yeah. Are you okay with that?”
Shyly, Jenny answered, “Uh huh. I was hoping you’d reconsider and come with us. Everything is okay now. That beast is gone… right?”
David got up and walked to her. Reassuring her, he said, “Yes. If anything, that beast is under control. The ring you gave me has isolated the dark energy. It still courses through my blood until it can be purified, but it’s safe. I have a new form and Zel to help me. Besides, the fear of harming you is enough to keep me from touching the dark energy.”
“Do you think it’ll ever be purified from your body?” the shining princess asked.
“Yeah,” David replied optimistically, “when your powers grow. You’ll be able to purify it for me.”
“T-then I’ll work harder for those powers!” Jenny proclaimed with authority. David wasn’t sure he ever saw her so determined before. However, it would be a lie if I were to say that he did not admire her enthusiasm. He then made a remark that she hadn’t realized before.
“I guess it’s time for the next phase,” he stated.
“What do you mean?” Jenny inquired confused.
“Now that I know where all the Elite Stones are, there’s no need to search for them. They’ll eventually come to us. Just need to be ready when that time comes. What we do need to focus on is working with Shatl and the others. The war is coming, and we need to prepare for it.”
“Do we know for certain we can trust them?”
“Yeah,” the youth affirmed. “Unless they have been toying with us since I first encountered them, they’ve had every opportunity to take advantage of us and haven’t. Besides, I found out that they are old friends. I called them earlier and explained what happened. They said they have some business to take care of first but they should be here by tomorrow night.”
“Really?!” Jenny exclaimed very surprised that David knew who they were. She then gave a sigh of relief and smiled. “That’s good news. I guess I’ll go to bed then. Your family is very nice by the way.” With that, she left the room. David could not figure a proper response to that statement other than a “good night” but nonetheless went to sleep pleased.
The next day was pretty much laid back. David, Jenny, and the doctor couldn’t do anything until Reid and the others arrived. As David told Jenny, the Elite Stones were accounted for and the two the Daelians held would be difficult to retrieve. The youth decided to go on a run. Mary had convinced Jenny, though the word “convince” indicates there is at least some effort of persuasion, but there wasn’t much at all, to go shopping with her. Otherwise, one might argue that Jenny would have tagged along, changing the events that would have happened.
As David ran around town and passed an alleyway, a rock came and hit his shoulder. He, like most people probably would, stopped and looked at who threw it. He saw a man somewhat older than him, maybe about 25. He had longer brown hair than normal and clothing was somewhat worn out. There were scars over his face and a couple of burn marks, but his composure was firm. His eyes definitely told that he had been through quite a bit, but they also were piercing; like a fighter evaluating his opponent before the first move. At last, the man who threw the rock spoke saying, “That was quite a performance you put on yesterday, Cyonex, codenamed Falcon.
            Shocked at this statement, David didn’t know how to react. He had only turned into Cyonex once, and that was the day before. No one else was at the park as far as he could have told. Who was this man? How did he know who he was?
            The man, seeing David’s lack of a response, continued, “Come. Follow me. There’s no point for me to embarrass you by defeating you in front of all these people.” And so David followed the man. They walked about for a while, generally avoiding the crowds. They eventually ended up at the graveyard. No one was present or even close, but the location gave David the chills. However, that was nothing compared to what happened next. The man transformed into Crawn!
            “Prepare yourself,” Crawn said, taking out his sword. “Let’s see how much stronger you are now, Guardian.”
            Shocked, David wasn’t sure what to say. It seemed like a bad nightmare come to life. He saw the gravestone of Jordan, the sibling he never had, in the distance. Taking up courage, he rebuked Crawn by saying, “You wish to fight here?! Have you no respect for the dead?!”
            Crawn simply answered, “My respect for the living outweighs what I have for the dead. Do you wish that I had defeated you in the sight of everyone? Or how about yesterday after you defeated my comrade? I have done you a courtesy out of honor. Now you should respect that and accept my challenge.”
            David acknowledged the kindness his enemy had shown him and performed neoformation. Then, out of respect for the dead and protect the property around them, he activated a Nellenion field. He then drew Sudron and posed for combat. He charged in and crossed blades, but to no effect. He stepped back tried using the mega sword combo but missed. He tried sword combat again, but Crawn was able to read his moves and parry each one. The Daelian then shifted his weight and flipped the youth over and dealt a strike. This repeated a few times. However, David continued to fight and finally got one in using Elite Fire. Crawn, impressed, said, “So you got one. Alright, I’m done with this trivial matter. Lightning Storm Slash!”
            A yellow aura surrounded the Daelian’s blade and with one quick swipe, de-formed Cyonex. The Nellenion field disappeared. David fell face-down and his three Elite Stones to the ground before him. Crawn de-formed and picked up the three stones saying, “By all rights, I can take these. However, I have a different purpose in mind.” He then handed them back to his fallen opponent. David got up and inquired what he meant.
            “My respect for comes only from what you did yesterday and that was defeat that bastard Celonret,” Crawn declared. Continuing, he said, “I was watching from afar when I saw him threatening that girl. I could not make it in time to stop him, but you stood in the way of his attack.”
            “Who are you?” David requested. To that, Crawn answered, “I am one who awaits a worthy opponent. But also one who wants to protect his family.”
            David took another look at the man, analyzing him. Finally, the youth asked, “Are you Zack?” The rugged man took out an emerald pendant much like Jenny and Brian’s and nodded. “I also heard that you helped my brother as well. For that you have my thanks.”
            “So you think by fighting for the Daelian army, you’ll protect Jenny? Did you not see how the Dark Power nearly caused your brother to kill her?”
            “I cannot fight the Dark Power. It’s what keeps me alive.”
            “What?!”
            “Did Jenny tell you about the Power Plant incident? I survived because they inserted dark energy into my bloodstream. By fighting for the Daelians, I have influence to keep them from harming my family. Besides, there are warriors stronger than I in the Daelian Army. Even though the dark energy is what saved me, it is now my poison. Without it, I will die, but it’s influence is gradually becoming stronger. I still resist using the Dark Power, but I am at a loss unless I am cured of it. But there’s a problem.”
            “What is it?” the Guardian asked now interested in what Zack was leading up to.
            “Everyday, I forget something, including my sister. Only by looking at this pendant do I remember. But even that is losing its effect. More recently, my memory gets foggier. Guardian, I want you to hold on to this. If we ever fight again to the death, hold it up so that I may remember.” David nodded and accepted the pendant. Zack then continued, “I feel that I can trust you on this. I hope that if my mind comes to the point that I even attack Jenny, you will intercede and defeat me. But in order for that to happen, you will need to get better. I see you have a legendary sword, but you have not mastered ‘Full Power.’” He then looked up at the setting sun. “I must be going.”
            David then asked, “Wait! I think I understand how you knew I was Cyonex, but how did you know I was who you called Guardian?”

            Zack smirked and replied, “I didn’t. It was a hunch. I just needed you to confirm it. Your voice hasn’t changed and ‘Neocyx” would be a rearrangement of ‘Cyonex.’ Lastly, you used Elite Fire just like before.” And with that, the colonel of the Daelian Army left.

Episode 14: The Orphaned Girl

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Episode 12: The Warrior of Fire

Episode 11 Recap
          Brian, Jenny's little brother, under the influence of Celonret used the Dark Power to activate forms after being enraged with the people's remarks against Neocyx. However, being blinded by the Dark Power, Brian begins to attack everyone, including Jenny. After David steps in, he's able to extract the dark energy and it causes him to become a violent and uncontrollable beast that takes the Wolf, Knaidow, and Cepos to step in and defeat him.

EPISODE 12: The Warrior of Fire

It was later that day when David finally came to. He woke up to find himself in a cave with soothing music being played. He sat up and saw across the room, three guys his age playing cards. When they saw that their guest had awoken, they got up. “Man, David. You sure know how to make trouble,” one remarked. He had rough brown hair and was wearing dark clothes. “So how are you feeling?” asked another. It was the guy that David had seen with Jenny in Plotarch. He was wearing green and beige clothes. The third guy, also wearing green but with brown and a military haircut, stood staring at David.
David gazed at them for a second and said, “Wait… who are you guys?” The two that had spoken were a little surprised but the third laughed. The one with the dark clothes then said, “Really? You don’t remember us? That’s harsh.”
“Don’t worry about it, Dyl. It’s been a while,” the other commented. Then, David remembered just who they were. “Dyl?! Reid?! No way!” he exclaimed.
They then smiled up and replied, “Finally you remembered.”
David answered for his defense, “What has it been? Three… four years? Dude, how have you guys been?”
Reid was the first to respond, “Good. Of course we would like some explaining about what’s going on here.” But before David could answer back, Dyl jumped in, “By the way, David, meet Nathan. Nathan, meet the maker of the Neostriker world.” The military haircut guy stepped forth and waved.
“So you made up Neostriker. Good job then,” Nathan complimented.
“Thanks,” David replied. “However, this whole thing confuses even me. And I also never thought that…”
“We would get the same forms we had when we were little?” Reid interrupted.
“Yeah,” David expressed. “Though you did make some changes.”
“Well, they are our forms,” Dyl smirked. “However, in case you forgot, I’m Knaidow, the stealth master. Nathan is Cepos, our tactician and long range support. And our glorious leader, master of the sword is Reid as Shatl the Wolf.”
David nodded. If he didn’t know two of them already, they might as well have been the same guy with three different forms.
“Technically, the leader should be David,” Reid commented. “That is as long as he doesn’t go wild again. So are you feeling okay? You took in a lot of dark energy,” Reid asked.
“Uh… yeah,” David answered. Everything that had happened was foggy in his memory, but things were starting to return.
“Do you even remember the fight?” Nathan put in.
“Sort of, but it still feels like a bad nightmare,” the questioned answered. “Wait! Were you able to get rid of the dark energy from me?!” he all of a sudden asked anxiously.
“Uh, some,” Reid responded. “At least, we hope. We brought you here to see if we could do anything, but we can’t.” Gloom appeared on David’s face. “But,” Reid continued on, “it appears that the Guardian’s Ring you have is keeping the Dark Power at bay.”
David looked at the ring; He had forgotten that he even had it. “Wow, Jenny. It looks like you saved me this time,” he thought.
“However,” Dyl butted in. “That is just a theory. You should have better knowledge on the subject.”
“I think Reid is right,” David exclaimed. “I got this from the Shining Princess so it may have some Shining Power inside that can control it.”
“Well, if Reid is right, then the Dark Power will only come when you seek it,” Nathan expressed. “You’re gonna need a strong will to resist the temptation of using it,” he added. This was true. The Dark Power was being contained by the Guardian’s Ring, but if David decided to use the power, the ring wouldn’t be able to stop him.
“Guys,” David started, “just to warn you, not everything that is happening is like how I planned it when I came up with Neostriker.”
“We figured as much,” Reid expressed. “By the way, when did you change the name?”
“Maybe a year or two ago? I figured it sounded cooler.”
“Definitely!” Dyl blurted out laughing. “So, I think we need to figure out if we want you on our team.” David’s ears perked up.
“Yeah,” Reid began to explain. “We’re forming a Nellenion Army to fight the Daelians. It’s going slow but each Nellenion soldier is about ten times better than a Daelian hollow form.”
“That sound great,” David said, but his tone then went down. “However, I don’t think you need to waste time considering me. I can’t become Neocyx anymore.”
“What?” all three cried in unison. David then had to explain what had happened the past couple of days and how he decided to stop fighting. The only form that he currently had was the beast one and they knew that he couldn’t use that for their advantage. They talked a while longer about what they were doing but soon decided to take David back to the city. They dropped him off in an alley and he walked the rest of the way to Jenny’s mother’s house. The whole time he was frightened of what may happen, but he needed a way to go back home.
When David reached the small house, he saw Jenny waiting out in front. She saw him and they stared at each other for a while. David started to apologize for had happened but Jenny ran up and embraced him saying, “Thank you for saving Brian.” It was almost like she had forgotten about him attacking her. That wasn’t the case, but she knew that he was fighting the beast inside of him. She was just glad that he came back safe and unharmed.
Jenny soon finally gave the boy breathing space, but when she did, David saw the marks on her neck from his grasp. His heart sank and he looked down. He felt awful for that and told himself that he would never use the beast mode ever again. He was determined that he would protect Jenny and that he would do whatever it took to make sure she was safe. He told her that he needed to go home.
The professor came out to see David. He had learned of what had happened and agreed with David’s choice. After all, no good father would like the risk of uncontrollable beast around his daughter, as much faith he may have had in David. He was ready to leave at once and told Jenny that she should stay until he came back. However, Jenny protested against this suggestion and forced her father to let her tag along. If this was the last time she was going to be with David, she wanted to make it as long as she could.
Since it was late and the drive was long, they stopped in a hotel for the night about halfway. At this time, David had a dream; a dream more like a vision if it wasn’t. In this dream, the youth was floating around in white space. He called out, “Hello? Where am I?” and then he heard a soulful voice answer, “You can figure that out. Can’t you, David?”
            “It can’t be!” David exclaimed with utter surprise. He couldn’t believe it. It was the voice of one he cared for so much. “Grandpa?!” he shouted out into the vastness.
            It was then when in front of David an elderly figure of a man in white garments appeared. His snow white hair was combed to perfection as an old loving wife would do out of habit. His form was very grandfatherly and his face had that look of care that pierces through the soul of those who met it with their own eyes. David out of jubilation sprinted to him calling out, “Grandpa! Grandpa!” He embraced him like a little child does when he sees a family member he missed greatly. “So you’re not dead?” he asked innocently wanting to believe it to be true.
            The response came and it did not please the boy. “No, I am dead. But yet I still live.” Oh, the talking in riddles. It’s something old people love to do, whether they intend to or not. It’s a wonder why they do. It is possible that they never want to give a straightforward answer and let their tortured peers figure it out. Perhaps when they see their peer discover the answer, their pride loves it. Or perhaps they simply want them to work for the answer that they likely worked for themselves. All I know is if a person wanted to make hints for something, going to an old person would probably be best.
            “So you aren’t really with me?” was all David could muster up. The expression in his face was almost like a lost puppy or a child who was deeply disappointed but for some reason feel like that face might get what they want.
            “No, I am not, but at same time I am,” he said. It was the same as before but in another way. The heart of David knew what he meant, but it still saddened him. He started to respond but could not find any words to say. His grandfather then rebuked him saying, “Jeepers Creepers. Listen. My spirit still lives and it sees some things that are saddening. Your faith is missing. You’re angry at Him and even doubt.”
            “Why shouldn’t I?” the youth defended. “Where was He when you died?! How could he let someone like you die like that?” The tears were pouring down; Tears that had been held in for so long with no one to release them to. “You devoted your life to His service and He just let you die. Why couldn’t he spare you?! At least for one more week.” As he finished, his voice had collapsed as one does when the thing he has held inside for so long finally comes out. He was still a child whose spirit needed guidance.
            “David, David,” he simply said. “Everyone has to go some time or another. That’s how nature works. It was just my time to go.”
            David’s face had a river flowing down, and his legs were weak. He raised his voice asking, “But why couldn’t you have waited until I came? I had so much to talk to you about. I still have so much to ask your guidance for. I miss all the times we had when I was younger. I miss them all. The dandelions, the planes, the cards, the talk. I just want them back!”
            The old man embraced his grandchild and spoke with a heartfelt voice, “David, I got your message through your father. I was happy to hear you wanted to be there, but everything was in the way. But it was my time to go. It’s part of His mercy to let us die. You know that this world is full of sadness as well as happiness. I was ready and praying.”
            “B-but Christmas wasn’t the same!” the crying boy declared. “We only wish all the more that you were still there, even if we would lose sleep to take care of you. I always wanted to be at your house for Christmas. Even though that came true, I didn’t want it for that reason. I wanted one more Christmas with you.”
            “David, it would have been nice, but it wasn’t to be. I guess I couldn’t live in the world anymore. I was ready. It’s not right to take your anger out on God. There is no logic to it. Remember. He blesses us to show His love. He blesses us so that we may come closer to Him. And He tests us to see if we love Him back. Those who are meant to be the greatest must suffer the greatest pains. As it is, I am not that great. But David, you and everyone else are still blessed and have the rest of your lives to be great. God is ready to grant you and everyone else as many blessings as needed.”
             “Can you tell me this? If I am angry with Him, why does he still bless me?” David inquired. The tears were slowing down. His grandfather needed no time to think about the answer. He simply responded, “Do you need to be in His grace for Him to do something nice for you? Are you what determines his kindness? He loves you and wishes for you to return to him. You still have things He wants you to do.” He let go of his grandchild and set him up tall. He then said, with a hint of annoyance in his voice, “Now be a man and stop crying like a little girl. Shall I go to God and tell Him that my grandson is a failure in being a man?”
            The youth laughed and did his best wipe the streams from his eyes. “You’re right,” he began with a sniff. “I guess I just didn’t want to accept the truth. If I convinced myself that He didn’t exist, you dying would have been easier to deal with. At least I thought that.” A thought then entered his mind that made him chuckle. “Funny how things turn out. You always told me you were gonna send me to orbit. Sure I guess I was a pain at times, but I think you’re closer to orbit.”
            “Oh I haven’t gone yet. I’m waiting for you” was his humored response.
            “Grandpa, I missed you so much. I miss the good times we had.”
            “I saw you didn’t forget them at my funeral. You threw a dollar bill and the Queen of Spades in my grave,” he chuckled.
            Just the memory made David smile. “Yeah, I remember how I wanted to get mail so much that you would send me a dollar bill using the postal service. Then I remember how we would play Hearts and you would give to whoever gave you the Queen of Spades with the phrase ‘What goes around comes around’.”
“That’s it, David. Are things better now?”
“Yes. Thanks, Grandpa. Will I ever see you again?”
“As long as you have my picture,” he answered with a joking tone. He then gave a more serious reply. “That isn’t up to me, but if you work hard, we will see each other when your time comes. Until then you must deal with memory. It is a great thing. It is how the dead live and how we learn from them. For guidance you’ll have to turn to that or someone else who is wiser.”
“That’s right. Every time the clouds are gloomy and it rains, I think of you. That is how it was when you died. It was as if even the heavens were crying and trying to hold back.”
“Do not let those memories keep you away from enjoying the present. Now I must go. Perhaps we will meet again and it will be more joyful.”
“Wait, Grandpa. I have one more question to ask you,” David called out. “Is Jordan with you?”
“I’m not permitted to say. Keep praying though. Good bye.”
Choked up, David said farewell, but a light of hope came on his soul that it would be as he said. David then woke up. It was still night and the moon was shining in its full glory. A tear was still trailing down his face as he silently wept for his grandfather. 
            When dawn came, David was all ready and looking out the window deep in thoughts. On the way to David’s house, the youth decided to ask the young woman what was on his mind.
            “Jenny, I was wondering. What do you plan to do after you drop me off?”
            Jenny looked over at him and responded, “I’ll continue what I have been told to do. It will be hard. I still have no real power, but I’ll find a way. If I have the opportunity to do some good, then aren’t I obliged to do it? If we all ran away from it, then society would never improve.”
            “Sorry,” David muttered as he turned away, ashamed. Jennifer, however, said consolingly, “It’s okay. You made your choice and I made mine. They just happen to be different.”
            “Yeah,” David spoke under his breath as he looked out the window. Turning back to her, he stated, “Hey Jenny, if you need help, I know some guys that are good. I know you can trust those three who stopped me. They are definitely on the right side.”
            “Alright,” Jenny replied with a smile, though in her heart she wished that David would somehow change his mind.
            Some time later, they arrived at David’s house and were greeted by his family. His sister was most curious about whether or not David had found for himself a potential girlfriend and had fun teasing him about it. For a welcome back celebration, they decided to go for a picnic and invited Jenny and the professor along. Jenny had to coax her father but he eventually succumbed to it. He enjoyed talking with David’s father about the events happening.
            The park was beautiful. David forgot how nice it looked and plenty of childhood memories came back to him. It was dismaying though to see no one else was there enjoying it. It was a big area too, just deserted.
            They had a good time. David occasionally glanced at the fair Jennifer chatting with his sister Mary. As time goes on, each glance became longer as he began to realize that it may be the last time he may see her. His heart began to conflict on whether to leave her or not. He knew that Reid and Dyl would be suitable to aid her. However, he still did not wish to separate from her. Adding to his conflict was the fear of harming her again; something he never wanted to do again.
            A couple of hours passed and it was afternoon. They were beginning to pack up and David had left to use the restroom when a man in black appeared. Jenny’s stomach knotted as she recognized the aura that surrounded him. The man laughed out maniacally and finally exclaimed, “At last! I’ve found you!” Everyone else was confused but it didn’t take long for the man to speak again. He called out, “Now where is your guardian, my dear? I have something to discuss with him.”
            Jenny answered back with force saying, “Leave us alone, you creep!” The man cackled and continued to walk towards them. His walk was not normal but with his arms hanging, body leaned forward, and his face was slightly distorted as if he had gone insane. “Oh don’t say that, my pretty,” he began with a serpent’s tongue. “I have no care at all for you. Though, that spunk of yours is tasty. Your friend, however, must come with me. I will tame him.”
            David’s father stepped in and admonished the man, “I don’t know what is going on, but it’d be best if you leave, or we’ll have to call the cops.” Why he said that, he didn’t know. He had already figured out that this was likely related to his son’s mission. The man laughed out even harder than before with that insane laugh that freaks out everyone. “You foolish old man. You have no idea who you are dealing with.” And with that, he began to crack up again hysterically and then transformed into a black creature of a half spider and half of his old form. It was like a centaur with the body of a spider instead of a horse.
            When everyone saw this, they stepped back with shock. But then, another voice cried out, “Leave them alone, Celonret! You want me?! Here I am!” David came down from the hill with a strong glare in his eyes. The giant arachnid licked his chops and smiled. “Well, well. You recognized me even in this new form. You are special indeed.” The youth’s composure didn’t change. The Daelian continued, “My web was weaved for that other child and yet it caught you instead. A much better result. Instead of a cub, I found a roaring beast! I will tame you!”
            “No,” David answered. “I will never join you.”
            “Oh, but you already have. Since the moment you extracted the Dark Energy from that foolish child.”
            Jenny enraged at this yelled at the Daelian, “You bastard! You’re the one who twisted my brother?!”
            The sick minded man cackled even more. “Oh yes, and what joy it brought me. No one has ever resisted the Dark Power for so long. This will be by far my greatest achievement. I will break your spirit, boy, and you will be mine!”
            With those words, he fired off a web that trapped everyone except David. He stood contemplating. There was no action he could do to fight if it came down to it. Sure it was possible to call out Faldrak mode, but would he dare risk Jenny’s safety again?
            “David…” Jenny began, trapped by the sticky web that held her stuck, but she couldn’t think of what to say. She knew as well that David never wanted to become that form again for fear of not being able to control it like last time. Celonret, with one last crackle, decided to attack and fired a powerful blast at Jenny saying, “You’re gonna have to choose!” At that, David instantly jumped in front of her with his arms spread out to take the blast. All of a sudden, a flash blinded them.
            At that moment, David saw himself inside a dark and murky land. The trees around were dead and scorched. The swampland was ghastly and horrible stench came from all around it. The boy recognized this land as the one he dreaded the thought of returning. A figure appeared and the youth knew what it was; the dark armored Neostriker with horns of a bull.
            “You have returned,” it stated with a voice of a devil, arrogant and conniving. “You wish to save your friend once more,” it began. “I can offer you the power again if you wish.”
            “No. I don’t want your power,” David responded with defiance. “The last time I took your offer, I almost killed the one I wished to protect. I will not fall for your scheme.”
            “You know you cannot fight without my help,” the Bull-headed Neostriker replied. “She is as good as dead as we speak. You are running out of time.”
            “I will not become that beast again and risk harming her,” David stood his ground.
            “Is it not better to take a risk and know you can at least save her?” the conniving Neostriker asked.
            “Not if I become something worse!” the youth answered back with authority. “Now be gone and never return!” He commanded. His spirit stood strong as his heart prayed, “Zel, please come back and help me. I need your help, not this demon’s.”
           The black figure persisted saying, “Accept my offer and save your friend!” But David resisted and called out, “No! I will not become something she’ll despise to save her. I would rather die to protect her!”
            At this proclamation, the land around him began to change form. Soft grass appeared beneath his feet. The swamp became a crystal lake with water so clean and so fresh. The trees once more had life in them and bloomed while the sun shined bright. The wicked Neostriker vanished and coming forth from behind David was Zel! David turned and ran to his old Asen crying, “Zel! I need your help to save Jenny!” His voice had anxiety in it fearing that what the evil Neostriker had said was true in that he had no time.
            “Relax. Breathe,” Zel responded. “Where we are there is no time. But if you wish to save Miss Jennifer, then follow me.”
            With that, the Asen raised his arm over the water and the land began to tremble. The youth did not understand what was happening until he saw what was emerging from the water. It was a passage through the lake. Vines covered the walls as if it had been undisturbed for centuries. Zel motioned him to follow and went in. The youth, though slightly uncertain if he should trust his old Asen entered.
            The passage was formed of connecting flat stones that also formed a set of stairs. No water entered as the entire passage was sealed with four walls. Only vines filled the well crafted tunnel and even they were located where they wouldn’t be inconvenient to walk through. At the end of the passage, the staircase went up again and the two figures emerged through some foliage into what seemed to be an ancient yet simple shrine. Only trees and flowers encompassed the area they had entered. The sun shone through and focused in the middle where a sword in a pedestal stood.
            Zel and David walked toward the blade covered with moss so that it only retained the shape of a blade. The area must have been abandoned for at least a millennium. The Asen then began to explain. “If you wish to save Jennifer, then this sword is what you will need.”
            “This sword?” David asked a bit surprised. Could a sword that must have lost its power help?
            “Let me present you the situation,” Zel continued. A chessboard appeared with the white queen trapped and being attacked by a black knight supported by another piece. “As it stands, the queen is lost as only the king in position to aid. However, as you should know, you cannot put your king cannot be put into check or you lose. Now let me show you another situation.” Another board appears with only the kings.
            “A stalemate,” David declared.
            “That is right,” Zel responded. “In this situation no one can win. And it is possible this is how it will end. But if you pull that sword, then the kings will have to fight each other to the death.”
            David takes a look at the board and then at Zel. His mind had come to realize the true situation of all things. Returning to the first board, David took the king and took out the black knight.
            “You cannot do that,” Zel stated. “With that move, you would lose your king.”
            David smiled, “There are a few things about war that chess does not implement. First, humans can put themselves in danger. Second, there are reinforcements. And third, the fighters can defend themselves, including the king.”
            David walked up to the pedestal and gripped the sword. He spoke aloud and said, “This sword. I know what it is. It is a blade meant to protect all that is good in this land. I know the responsibility that comes with it and I am now finally willing to accept it.
            Zel smiled at the response And David pulled the sword from the stone. As he pulled it from the pedestal, a flash of light emerged. David was back in the real world and a shining barrier appeared to protect him and Jenny. To Celonret’s dismay, they were unharmed. David looked up, glanced at Jenny, who was surprised, and answered back, “This is my choice,” and with a loud voice cried out, “Activate now! Mega Neoformation!”
            With that call, another bright light surrounded the man as he entered into a new form. A magnificent combination of crimson red and blue sapphire armor appeared over him. A blue jetpack attached to his back as it was with Neocyx. Two bronze converging plates decorated his helmet with a diamond-shaped ruby in between them.
He then pulled out his sword which had become something magnificent itself. It was no longer covered in moss but shining with the sun. The golden hilt had the design of the sun with a ruby piece carved into it and clouds acting as the guard. A ruby red strip ran across the center of the blade, called the fuller, and David raised it high.
            David walked towards Celonret as a Nellenion field appeared to set them both apart from everyone else. He spoke again saying, “Celonret, this is my choice. I will take the responsibility handed to me as Cyonex, codenamed Falcon, Warrior of Fire. I will fight the return of your Dark Master and this sword of the purifying flame, Sudron, is testimony to that.”
            Celonret anxious and surprised at this new transformation fired a couple more blasts but with the swing of his new blade, Cyonex slashed through and negated them. The Nellenion field then appeared and separated the Neostrikers from the rest. David with his trusty well-honed blade slowly but confidently walked toward the human arachnid. The Daelian took a step back with uncertainty. Then, finding some inner strength, he took a strong stance and transformed. The four hind legs rose up at a right angle and the legs turned to face forward. The Daelian looked almost like an insect version of a tank.
            No words were exchanged between the two combatants, at least not uncommon or meaningful words; just taunts.  David stopped and switched his blade to his left hand while raising his right. His hand became an arm cannon and after charging it for a while, he launched a red and yellow blast called a “falcon’s blast.” Celonret could not move as form required him to be solid and so he withstood the powerful assault.
            The Daelian made his move, the four raised legs extended to half of the Nellenion field in attempt to stab the knightly figure. David easily avoided them and slashes them with his blazing sword in a motion called a “sun slash.” The spider tried to crush David by slamming the weaponized legs together but the Slayer of the Twin Dragons leapt into the air with his jetpack and into the sun’s glaring light. From there, he emerged again and landed on the Daelian’s back with Elite Fire.
            After the flame quickly subsided, Celonret’s arachnid form broke apart, leaving him with just the anthropomorphic figure. The Daelian then took out his remade staff and faced the knightly youth. They then clashed weapons, but Cyonex was able to thrust his blade through and produce a heavy blow. The Daelian backed off and swung his staff, which unleashed a flaming wave. The youth charged forth with no worries as he ducked through the wave and continued his assault. Celonret’s skills were subpar with the youth’s and he was shortly after defeated.
The neofied Daelian fell on the ground. He pushed himself up to curse at David but collapsed again dead. With the Nellenion field gone, David freed everyone from the web. With no more reason to stay in forms, David put Sudron in its scabbard and de-formed. Speaking to his father he said, “Dad, knowing you, you’re probably going to call the police. However, for your report on what happened, leave us out. Professor, Jenny, I say we should get going.”
“Wait a second,” David’s mom interjected. “Are you going to explain what is happening here?”
“That should be done later. But David’s right. You three get out of here. Mary, your mother, and I will stay behind and give a story to the police on what happened without implicating any of you.” With that, the three travelers left the park.

Episode 13: The Warrior of Lightning



Note: This episode marks the halfway point of the series. Since it is long and because it is the halfway point, I'm giving readers a chance to catch up. And since I cannot think of any edits that need to be made for the rest of the series until the very end, the only breaks that will happen is to allow people to catch up. With that, Episode 13 will be released be released on July 23rd. Thank you for your patience and continued support. 
J. D. Nyle