A Different World Chapter 10
Through the transparent ceiling Michael and the others watched the ominously swirling clouds. They spiraled overhead like an upside down whirlpool, but this whirlpool was miles across. In the very center of the vortex, which was directly overhead, there was a pinprick of pure darkness. Michael had no doubt that the black spot was Zophars location. In fact it was probably Zophar himself.
The familiar voice of Zophar floated down from the vortex. It was muted somewhat due to the magical walls of the tower, but they could still hear its unearthly warble clearly.
Where are you little rats hiding? Zophar mocked them. I can sense your presence, but I cant see you. No matter really, whatever magic your using wont stop my eyes forever. Its only a matter of time and a short one too. His horrible laughter rained from above.
Michael drew his sword. Send me up there, Star Dragon. If its a fight Zophar wants, Ill give it too him.
You cannot win, the Star Dragon said, Zophars power is beyond your imagination.
I dont care! Michael screamed, I wont wait for him to seek us out and kill us. I wont hide like a dog!
If it is truly your desire I will send you above, the Star Dragon conceded, As long as you understand that to do so is to die.
Im going, Michael said, his voice almost a growl.
So am I, said Kevin.
Were all going, Ruby said, Hopeless or not, were all in this together.
It is apparent that I cant persuade you otherwise. Very well, farewell brave citizens of Lunar. I only wish things were different.
The Star Dragon statue began to glow a bright shade of bluish green. Michael felt his feet lift off the ground. His body was suddenly as light as a feather, and it felt like he was being stretched upward.
Stop, Ghaleon said. Immediately the Star Dragon quit glowing and everyone dropped back to the floor.
Nall spun around to face the god, cold fury in his eyes. What are you doing? We have a right to die for Lunar if its what we choose!
Ghaleon sneered at the White Dragon. Die if you want, but dieing for, and saving, are two separate things. Ghaleon turned to the Star Dragon. Is it certain that Althenas plan would have worked. Could humanity really have defeated Zophar?
The Star Dragon answered, When humanity is involved nothing is for certain, but I have seen glimpses of that future, the future that never was, and I can tell you that they would have had a fighting chance. More than what we have now.
But none of that matters anymore, because of you there is no chance, Nall spat.
Ghaleon looked at Nall for a moment. To Nalls surprise the look on his face was not angry, it was apologetic. White Dragon, you have the right to hate me. All of you do. For what Ive done I am truly sorry. But there might still be a way for me to correct my greatest mistake.
Nall narrowed his eyes, but the anger in his face faded a little. What do you mean?
Star Dragon, Ghaleon said, I know of your powers, and you have abilities that I do not.
The Star Dragon responded before Ghaleon could finish. I know what you are thinking, and it is not a possibility.
Yes it is, Ghaleon said, You have the power to alter time. We could go back and change the way history played out.
I told you no. Time travel is forbidden. The Laws established by Althena and I prohibit it. Time is not to be tampered with, absolutely no exceptions.
Ghaleon drew himself up and stood tall before the Star Dragon. Althena is no more! I killed her myself and with her all of the Laws she might have made! I am god, and I approve this breach of time travel.
But I do not, answered the Star Dragons voice.
Then you are a bigger fool than I, Ghaleon said, his voice deadly calm.
There are dangers in time travel that no one understands. It is a powerful force. You and I have no more authority over time than a human does over the ocean.
Ghaleon smiled. Im not suggesting we conquer time, only that we sail across it.
If we alter the flow of time we are taking a tremendous risk. There is the chance something could go wrong.
And if we dont take that risk, Ghaleon said, There is no chance. The outcome is already decided.
There was a long pause before the Star Dragon responded. The only noise was the explosive thunder from above. Ghaleons stare never left the statue of the Star Dragon. Without warning the tower shuddered as a massive bolt of lightning struck. Zophars laugh shook the heavens. There you little rats are! I have found your tower! Come out and play! The tower continued to shake as Zophar repeatedly struck it with lightning.
Now! Ghaleon demanded, Choose now! Do we die here and let everything come to an end? Or do we take a risk and give Lunar a chance to survive?
The door in the back of the room flew open. I will grant you your wish Ghaleon god of Lunar, and alter time. Go into this room, all of you. Time is short.
The soldier inside of Michael kicked on and he ran into the newly opened room, there was no time to question orders. The others followed Michael without hesitation. Ghaleon swept into the room last of all. On the floor in the rooms center was a large golden circle two meters in diameter. Like in the other room the Star Dragons voice seemed to come from all directions at once. Ill need your help to speed up the process. My power is compatible with the dragons. The four of you gather around the circle, and focus your powers on me; Ill do the rest. Ghaleon, tell whichever of your servants you want to send to get inside the circle.
Michael turned to Ghaleon curiously. What is our objective?
Ghaleon place his hands on his Dragonmasters shoulders. Today you have learned much about me that I am not proud of. I was blinded by my own foolishness, and by trying to save the world I inadvertently doomed it. I want you to know that no matter how wrong my methods were, my intentions were pure.
Michael nodded. His faith in Ghaleon had dimmed considerably after learning the truth, but looking into the gods eyes now he could see the sincerity of his words.
Nonetheless, Ghaleon continued, I was wrong to distrust Althena, and my mistake must be undone. Dragonmaster Michael, I hereby give you your final mission in your service as a Dragonmaster: travel back in time and kill me.
I..I cant, Michael stammered.
You must. You understand this, Ghaleon said.
After a moment Michael gave a single nod. Your will be done.
Good, Ghaleon said, Now I want you, Kevin, and Ryan to get into the circle. No one must see you during the battle. Dragonmaster Alex and the others might not trust you if you show up in the middle of our final showdown. Kevin, right before you are sent I want you to cast a spell of invisibility on the three of you, that is your only job, keep everyone invisible.
Michael, you must do everything in your power to insure that I am killed. Ryan, do all in your power to keep Alexs allies alive. There will be a blond girl, she is a priestess of Althena. Heal her first and then strengthen her healing magic with your own. Ghaleon turned to Nall, I hope this will make up for me taking your friends away from you before. Nall said nothing but nodded in appreciation.
The three gathered inside of the circle as the dragons surrounded them. Michael looked over at Ghaleon suddenly. What will happen to the people in this future?
It was the Star Dragons voice that answered. This future will no longer exist. The three of you will be stuck in the past for the rest of your lives, but everyone else from this future will simply disappear. All things will be rewritten.
Michaels gaze snapped over to Ruby. She would be gone forever? The thought of losing her this way was as unbearable as losing her to death. He couldnt spend the rest of his life without her. Ghaleon followed Michaels eyes and knew his thoughts. The god smiled. Ruby, you go to.
If she goes with them, the Star Dragon announced, She wont be able to help me open the time gate. Zophar will have shattered the tower by then, and our only chance will be lost. As if on cue the tower shuddered again as Zophar continued his assault.
Hes right, Ruby said, tears forming in her eyes, Im sorry Michael, but I have to stay.
I said go, Ghaleon said firmly, I will deal with Zophar myself. You will have all the time you need to make a gate with only three dragons.
Ruby looked unsure, then she stepped into the golden circle and embraced Michael. The Dragonmaster looked at Ghaleon and said, Thank you.
I cant share my power with the Star Dragon, but I can share it with you, Lucia said to Ghaleon, Ill give you all that I can, hopefully it will be enough. She walked up to Ghaleon and took his hands in hers. She began to glow with a blue aura. The aura flowed from her into Ghaleon.
Thats enough, Ghaleon said.
No, Lucia retorted, Im dead anyway. If were to have a chance, you need all the power you can get. Once all of her energy was gone she collapsed. Ghaleon took her in his arms and gently laid her on the floor.
Ghaleon turned and walked. The door slammed shut, and the Star Dragons voice echoed through the small room. The three of you focus all of your energy on me. I dont know how long Ghaleon can last. Michael realized that the next time that he saw Ghaleon they would be enemies. No, they would be allies; Ghaleon just wouldnt know it.
* * * *
Ghaleon ascended into the air, rising out of the Star Dragon Tower like a beacon of light. Show yourself, Zophar! he commanded. The darkness in the center of the vortex gathered together and took form. This time it did not take the form of Dyne but instead took on its true form. The form of a demon.
Now Zophar only vaguely resembled anything human. He had two arms, two legs, a head and a torso, but the resemblance ended there. The demon was over three meters tall and towered over the god. The inhuman beast floated down to Ghaleon and hovered before him. I see that you lived. No thanks to your worthless Dragonmaster.
I will not tolerate your insults any further. Your mockery of Dyne and your insult to Michael will not go unpunished, Ghaleon promised.
Zophar laughed at the threat. And who exactly will punish me? Ghaleon didnt answer but thrust his arms forward sending a pillar of light crashing into the demons torso. Zophar flew backwards for a moment, then vanished reappearing behind Ghaleon. The god spun around and launched a volley of fireballs. They exploded on Zophars body, but the demon didnt even notice.
Your powers have grown weak, and your people have been utterly decimated. Join with me, however, and you shall be spared.
Again Ghaleon didnt answer, instead he flung himself forward kneeing Zophar in the face. His head snapped back, but then he brought both of his monstrous arms down onto Ghaleons head. Ghaleon plummeted downward, but Zophar intercepted him partway down and hit him with a magical explosion of black energy. Ghaleons path switched to horizontal and he soared a hundred meters through the air before stopping.
Last chance to join with me, Zophar offered. A moment later a ball of white hot energy exploded in his face. A grotesque smile appeared on his demonic face. I will enjoy hearing you scream, Zophar said.
* * * *
Time slowed to a crawl inside the Star Dragon Tower. For Michael and the others the minutes that oozed by were the longest they had ever felt. The tower had stopped shaking, and that could only mean that Ghaleon had confronted Zophar. But how long could Ghaleon stall for?
After the longest wait in his entire life the room began to vibrate wildly. It wasnt the walls and floor like it had been when Zophar was attacking. Everything was vibrating now. The floor, the walls, the air, Michael even felt himself vibrating. The room became a huge colorful blur. Then he heard the Star Dragon call out. Now! Cast the spell of invisibility.
He heard Kevin chanting and for a moment felt the telltale tingle of magic, but by this time everything was a blur and he couldnt be sure if the spell had worked or not. There was a sound like ripping cloth, only a hundred times louder. Then it was a thousand times louder, then ten-thousand, then a million, then there was the feeling of being sucked into a tornado, and that was fallowed by blinding multicolored lights, and that was followed by blackness.
* * * *
Zophars hand was clamped tightly around Ghaleons neck. He tried to break the demons grip, but it was too strong. Zophars grip eventually loosened a allowing a small amount of breath for Ghaleon. There, now you can breath. Now you can scream.
Electricity coursed through Zophars arm and into Ghaleon. The god began to spasm and scream with what little breath he had. The demon laughed. He was superior! This pathetic little god was nothing compared to him. He was victorious! Something was wrong.
The last thought struck Zophar as odd. Nothing was wrong. Everything had gone completely as he had planned it, but something was going on. He could feel it in the core of his blackened soul. Something was very wrong.
The world started to blur out of focus, all the colors melting together. There was a high pitched squealing noise that ripped through the air. It was almost a nails on chalkboard type of noise, the kind that drives a person insane. The world, everything, began to vibrate violently, and bright explosions of color began consuming up the world. Zophar looked down and realized that Ghaleon was laughing. Wild fury contorted Zophars face into an insane grimace. What have you done!? he demanded, What have you done!?
Ghaleon continued to laugh as he stared the demon straight in the eyes. Ive atoned for my sins.
Zophar let the god drop, laughing as he fell, and watched the world get consumed as everything began to end. The demon let out a howl of agony as he realized what was happening. Somehow against all odds the pathetic little god had figured out a way to beat him.
Zophar continued to howl, Ghaleon continued to laugh, the world continued to end.
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