Draykan nodded and gave a small, semi-forced, smile. “That’s what the necklace is for also. I’ll know if he comes by, she may not know what to look for and it’s attuned to pick out his aura.. I got that much even from back then.”
They broke the surface and soon reached the shore, the sapphire dragon shaking himself dry and then shifting to his human form, clothes forming onto him. Too bad Nez didn’t share that quirk, but it was more realistic that she needed to change out. Of course, the laws of reality didn’t apply to Dray.
Nez broke the surface with Cethin, changing immediately as she broke the surface. She coughed a few times while her lungs adjusted to being used once again while Cethin removed his mask, shaking out his wet hair and tossing it back to Draykan. Truly, he hated that thing. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to wear it again.
Finally, Nez gained her footing and stood up out of the water, making her way (rather slowly) to her clothing stash. She didn’t care about her lack of cover- she just wanted to get home and lay in bed. After she was changed, she peaked her head out from behind a tree. “Let’s head back. Savita is probably worried about us.”
Draykan looked at the other two and shook his head, not going to answer who it was. “It’s nobody good, but it’s private. Extremely private, and this is not even close to a good place to discuss it. Let’s just go.”
Fishing around in his ‘pocket’, the dragon pulled a necklace out with his tail and handed it to Kai. “Here, you can use this to contact us if anything happens. And if you even suspect another dragon or non-mer is around that isn’t us, tell us immediately.” His tone and look showed it was extremely important, but he refused to say anything further.
Looking back at Nez, he nuzzled her neck and gestured for her to lead the way out. Hopefully they wouldn’t have any problems with guards.
I’d rather just stay here and drown. The haunting thought passed through Nez’s head before she could stop it. She couldn’t fight him anymore, could she? He was… a different person.
Struggling to maintain her sanity, she decided it would be best to leave this place and stay as far from it as she possibly could. Inclining her head to Kai, she turned to leave through the front doors.
Kai hit the ground with her staff, deactivating the staffs in the entire palace. “You guys should be safe to go. I’ll let you know if anything pops up.”
Cethin gave the most subtle of nods, ignoring Kai’s sheepish wave directed at him, and latched himself to Nez’s back so they could get out of here quicker. More than content with leaving, Nez left, saying not a word until they were closer to the surface.
"We’ll have to keep an eye on her. I don’t trust him around anyone."
It was Draykan’s turn for his eyes to widen and color to seemingly drain from his scales. He was still alive…? It was bad enough knowing who it was and feeling the emotions coming second hand from Nez, it must have been a thousand times worse for Nez.
The look was soon replaced with a low growl, but he didn’t notice Cethin’s look. In a way, he almost looked forward to the black dragon showing up. That way he could obliterate him - and maybe help Nez with the few nightmares he’d been unable to get rid of.
First things were first though, he had to help comfort her. Kneeling down and placing a wing gently against her, he rubbed against her neck. “It’s okay, he’s not here now. He won’t hurt you ever again, I promise. I’m here for you, and will never leave you. I will never hurt you. You’re safe with me.”
Kai and Cethin exchanged confused glances. “Okay, can someone tell me who this is? Obviously it’s not good, but, I’m very confused.”
Nezera flinched. This wasn’t going to be a fun conversation. Cethin didn’t even know about her history with him. “Cethin, I’m-“
Don’t. Just tell me how to kill him.
She smiled weakly at her friend and gently butted him with her nose. He returned the gesture- a light, awkward pat- and returned to crossing his arms over his chest.
Looking up at Draykan, she flashed another small smile and rubbed the side of his neck with her cheek- thanks without words. “Can we just leave this place? I-I don’t want to be here any longer.”
"You’re welcome Cethin." Came the dragon’s chuckling reply, but he looked down at Nez with a fair bit of worry. "You okay love? I can tell you’re really troubled…" The link was useful for things like these, as she couldn’t deny them.
Everyone seemed to be asking her the same thing. Cethin in his head, and Kai out loud. “What was it the king was saying? ‘Say hi to Sarbe when he comes?’ Something like that? Anyone know who that was? I have no idea.”
Nezera paled, even as a dragon, and looked away, her scales shuttering down her back. Even the messed up version of his name sends me cowering. What is wrong with me.
Cethin shook his head. He had no idea who the king was talking about- or to who. But it was obvious by the look on Nezera’s face that she knew. His eyes narrowed, he swam forward to stand before her with his arms crossed over his chest, an eyebrow raised.
She knew there was no getting out of it. With a heavy sigh, she caved in, her eyes shutting as memories assaulted her. “He is the Black Dragon.”
Only Draykan would understood what she meant- he had seen him. All these years, and she never told Cethin about her nightmares. Not who was in them. Nor where they came from. So, Cethin looked to Draykan for an explanation when Nezera didn’t continue.
Draykan caught that expression and placed a paw to her wing, healing it but causing his own wing to snap in response. That caused a small bit of pain for him, double what it normally would have been, since his healing absorbed the pain sent through the link as well.
The emotional turmoil hadn’t gone unnoticed by him either, but he didn’t say anything about it here. He’d question her on it once they got home, but for now he simply nuzzled her neck once he was finished and moved on to Cethin, checking to see how healed he was.
Nezera grimaced as he took the pain for himself, but it gave her the opportunity to heal ‘her’ broken wing. Sure, he could heal fast, but it would make her feel better if she helped. At least, as much as she could feel better after what she was just told.
He was still around.
Why did this happen to her?
Kai had healed Cethin perfectly, bones in place. He simply inclined his head, but his expression turned to anger when Draykan approached.
Nezera tried to laugh and translated the expression and his thoughts for Draykan. “He’s angry you saved me, but he says thanks.”
The Last Phoenix is a beautiful aerial combat adventure game where you control the last remaining Fire-bird who awakens to find the world rotting away. With the once vibrant world covered in ash and frost, you must master your abilities and fight against the decay, restoring the balance between life and death.
Exploring the world of The Last Phoenix is a joy, it really is a ridiculously beautiful place, a wonderfully crafted, vast decaying cityscape full of mystery. As the phoenix flies through the environment, frost and ash are cleared away and vegetation regrows in real time, purifying the land permanently. It features a Metroidvania style of exploration and discovery, and aerial combat against carrion and crows, with a variety of fire and light based attacks at your disposal.
Due for release on Steam this Fall, The Last Phoenix is well worth keeping an eye on (or both of them even). It’s a visually stunning experience that will make your eyes extremely happy.
Draykan growled as the king was finally killed, not really hearing the words he spoke as his body came down from the blood high. His head floated to his body and placed itself on his neck, the scales and bones knitting together until he was whole again.
With that done, he went over to Nez and Cethin, placing his paw on her shoulder and looking down at her. “Are you okay?” His soft voice asked, a hint of tiredness in it. The blood lust left him drained, and he hadn’t heard what the king had said.
"Let me heal you. Ceth, you too."
Nezera was flashing- threatening to shift back into her human form from the emotional conflict that came down on her simply from the name. After swallowing hard, she forced herself to find the courage to stand back up, holding a hand to her broke ribs- she had four, if she was counting correctly. “I’m fine. Help Cethin." Her voice was cold and her emotions dry as a glowing light escaped from under her foot, her eyes returning to their normal color.
"I’ve got him!" Kai shouted from across the room, bending down with her staff held closely to Cethin’s wounds. He pushed her away a few times, but he was too worn and couldn’t fight her hard enough- she was too persistent, and he too tired and hurt.
The half-breed twitched a bit as her bones snapped back into place. But as she reached up to heal her wing, she realized she couldn’t reach it, and looked to Draykan with a pained expression.
The dragon grunted again when he was pinned by the neck, catching Nez’s look but not really registering. He was slowly falling into a bloodlust, and that meant that his mind wasn’t fully there. Just the part that let him continue to deal damage.
The king didn’t realize that Draykan didn’t need his throat to shoot fire or even breathe, and that was evidenced by him opening his mouth and letting out a soundless roar (he still needed his throat for voice though) and another gout of sapphire flames escaped his mouth.
By now he was nearly in full bloodlust, and that meant his nerves were shut off, he felt nothing now. So it didn’t cause him any pain when his body ripped off of his head and smashed into the king of its own accord, the bodyless head floating in the air.
Kai and the king were both momentarily distracted by the sudden loss of his head- and his body moving itself. Nez and Ceth, however, seemed unmoved, and it gave Nezera enough of a distraction to bend the water around her and allow her to slip out from his grasp. Her chest and wings both hurt, and her breathing was shallow but she knew she had to press on before the king regained his balance from the blow.
Cethin called one of his swords back to him, using it to help himself limply to his feet. Kai turned to help him to his feet, and he allowed her- but he ignored her, searching for an opening to kill the bastard before he killed them all.
The headless body was the perfect distraction, leaving an open spot for him to throw his sword forward. He wasted no time to make the decision to take the shot. His sword, acting from his own mind, managed to slide into the king’s left side at an upward angle- easily digging completely through the skin and disappearing inside his body.
The king’s sudden intake of breath was the only confirmation that he needed- he had hit the heart. For extra measure, the sword turned down and went through the stomach and out his side before returning to Cethin’s hand.
However, the king seemed hardly fazed by the idea of death. He almost seemed happy as he fell to the floor. Nezera regained her footing, holding a hand to her chest and watching as the king fell to the floor, slowly shrinking in size.
But what he said to her next would bring her back to her knees.
With a wry, bloody grin, he turned his head and laughed darkly. “Tell Sabre hi when he comes to visit for me.” And with that, he was gone.
Draykan hit the wall with a grunt, feeling momentarily dazed. The blood was turning emerald with his blood, the wounds taking a while to heal. When he finally managed to shake the feeling, what greeted him was not a sight he had hoped.
His mind was torn between the two, help Cethin who was in more immediate danger, or help his love. In the end, practicality won over, Nez could survive the hand, but Cethin would surely be crushed by the tail.
A roar left the dragon’s lips and he slammed his paw to the ground, a small fissure rushing towards the dark swordsman before giant stalagmites burst from the ground, spearing the merman’s tail like a giant eel and then the top growing to try and trap it.
With that done, he turned his attention to the king himself and let out another roar, letting loose a gout of magical flames that burned even underwater. The pain Nez was feeling had finally registered in him, and it was sending him into his bloodlust. So much for trying to not kill the king.
There were no times for acknowledgements. Cethin could thank (or scold) Draykan later. Right now, they had a king to kill, and while they were all slowly tiring, he hardly seemed winded. Proven so as he jumped forward and caught Draykan by the snout with his free hand, twisting harshly and using his now-free tail to bat him aside once again. This time, he caught Draykan and used his hand to pin him against the wall by the neck.
Cethin wanted to get up and help- he did. But while trying to keep from being crushed, he had knocked his knee out of place and broken his arm. He still had his eyes, though, and he turned his swords with his mind and aimed them straight for the King’s neck. However, the reality of the situation hit him hard- if he attacked, he would crush Nez. And although Nez could heal, it would make this fight much harder- and he was proven right when he realized that a few of Nezera’s ribs were broken from the pressure, but she still attempted to use her blood bending to free herself.
But when the tail returned, something got in the way- stopping it in it’s tracks. Only covered by a shadow, Cethin looked up to see Kai standing above him, keeping the tail off of him with her staff.
"That’s it father! Enough! I will not stand idly by while you attack the very people who helped me. You will stop this immediately and allow me to return, or so help me I will let them kill you!”
The king turned toward her and lifted his tail to slam it down again. Nez looked up to Draykan- he had to have something in mind.
The dragon twisted in the water, trying to turn to avoid the spear. But it was too late, the king was too close and his own movements were still too sluggish in the water. The spear rammed into his side and came out the other end, just narrowly missing most of his organs.
For any mortal being, that would be the end of it, but Draykan was no mortal being. A pained gasp left his lips, and he just barely managed to try and limit the connection he shared with Nez so she wouldn’t feel as much pain as he was.
What happened next might have surprised the king though. Instead of being unable to move, a paw slammed down onto the tip of the spear to snap it, while his tail aimed for the king’s own hands, the tip becoming sharper than a sword. Hopefully it wouldn’t kill him, but he could live without hands perhaps.
There was no stopping the pain that Nez felt. She felt it clear as day- and it brought back several memories that she hadn’t wanted to remember. Not here. Not now.
I hope you like the taste of death. With my blade in your stomach, twisting and turning, I hope you taste it. You’ll never achieve it- but you will taste it.
Nez’s eyes flashed red. She saw red. She saw blood. However, her anger was momentarily directed at Draykan. “Stop getting yourself hurt, dammit. You’re going to pay for that later.”
That being the end of her anger at him, her powers surged and she locked the king in place while the attacks came at him. Draykan from the front- Cethin from the rear, aiming to pin his massive tail to the floor with his swords.
This should have been it for the king- every hit landed. He roared out in pain, but he was having none of it. With is free hand, he fought off Nezera’s blood bending to grab Draykan’s hand and rip him away, tossing him harshly against the wall. With a flip of his tail, Cethin followed suit, his back slamming into a pillar and chipping away the stone. His tail came the other way to knock Nez off her feet, but she dodged and tore the thin skin of his tail in the process.
Her claws curled. She hated this man. And she wanted his blood. With that thought in mind, she charged him, but something hit her squarely in the side, then her back. Blinded by rage, it took her a full second to realize he had her pinned under his massive hand. Roaring with fury, she struggled to escape, but he was too big for her size- and the pounding she felt on her left wing told her that it was, in fact, broken.
Cethin attempted to attack again, but the king blocked Cethin’s sword attacks with his tail. Unfortunately, Cethin’s darkness didn’t obey him underwater- meaning that as the king’s tail came down on him, he was powerless.