"For Guardia!" Chapter 20
The Difference Between White and Black
By Master Odin
1022 AD; EARTH R0-9SNES
The Epoch landed on the south beach of a small island northeast of the El Nido mainland. In the center of the island was a large oak tree, and built within the branches of the tree was a large tree house. Resting in the water near the beach was Sleipnir and a old style galleon.
"Are you sure this is where they are?" Lucca asked as she jumped out of the right side of the time machine.
"Affirmative," Robo responded in his robotic tone as he too leapt out of the Epoch. He motioned to Sleipnir. "That golden craft resting in the water appears to far too advanced for this time period." He reached into the back of the Epoch and pulled the White Dragoon out. "The odds dictate that it is the vehicle as to which our friends from the other universe used to journey to our world."
Lucca shrugged. "Sounds reasonable enough." She walked over to where Robo was waiting to hand her the White Dragoon. She took their fallen friend from him with a grunt and some effort. "But why are they here and not"
She was cut short by the sound of metallic footsteps behind her. "Who goes there?" the owner of the footsteps demanded.
Lucca turned to see Scorpion standing there with his laser gattling units moved forward over his fists into attack position on his arms, and with a unit trained on each of them. "We"
Again she was cut off by Scorpion yelling, "Oh shit!" as he noticed her burden. His guns slid back up his forearms into their deactivated positions as he pressed his right hand to the side of his helm. "Thunderer and Sean topside! White is down! I repeat: White is down!"
Within moments a panel in the trunk of the great tree opened and Thunderer and Sean ran out. Amy was right behind them. They ran to where Lucca, Robo, and Scorpion waited. In one quick motion Thunderer took the White Dragoon from Lucca and laid him on the sand of the beach. He and Sean both kneeled over their fallen friend, Thunderer's visor and Sean's left eye glowing green as they examined him.
"The wound is fatal," Sean noted aloud as he continued to examine the body. "No blood of any kind, though. Whether that's good or bad, I don't have a damn clue. His physiology is unique to him and his damned counterpart."
"There is still Earth energy within him," Thunderer noted, "but it is fading." He looked up to Lucca and Robo. "How did this come about?"
Without a word Robo reached into the back of the Epoch and pulled the Black Dragoon out and laid him next to the White Dragoon. The others needed no further explanation. They knew what had happened.
"The battle between the Dragon Knight Brothers has ended," Scorpion informed them with a solemn tone. "Neither are the victor." At that, Amy collapsed to her knees and buried her face in her hands as she began to cry her eyes out. Her husband was dying.
"We may still be able to save him," Walter informed him. "The energy from the Earth Somony Orb may be able to heal and revive him." He turned to Lucca. "You! Go into the underground shelter and tell Cylgoi to bring the Earth Orb."
Without a word Lucca ran to her task, and Robo followed her. They entered the trunk of the tree and ran down the spiral staircase into the underground shelter. It was a simple place, with three beds to her right on a raised level above the dirt floor of the shelter. It had a round wooden table with a few wooden chairs around it. It also two wooden benches. The rest of the Zecronean Knights and Sacred Warriors, as well as Crono and his family, the Dragon Devas, Schala, Serge, and the Magus waited in the shelter for news of the White Dragoon's condition.
"Who's Cylgoi?" Lucca demanded as she entered the base of the shelter.
Crono's, Marle's, Schala's, and the Magus' heads all shot up at the sound of the familiar voice. "Lucca!" Crono, Marle, and Schala yelled in unison as they got up and ran to her. They all wrapped their arms around their best friend.
They released her. "But, how" Schala began.
"Not now," Lucca interrupted. "Which one is Cylgoi?"
Cylgoi stepped out of his corner. "I am he. What is it?"
"They want you to take the Earth Orb to them, whatever that is."
Cylgoi nodded and made his way through the crowd that had gathered at the entrance to the stairs and climbed them. He exited the trunk of the tree and walked to where the Dragoon Brothers laid on the ground. As soon as he examined the situation he turned to Thunderer and took an orange baseball-size glass orb from his satchel. "Is this what you wanted?"
"Yes, thank you," Thunderer answered as he took it from him.
He was about to place it in the White Dragoon's hand when Amy stopped him by softly saying, "Give it to Kain."
"Wh-what!?" Thunderer, Scorpion, and Sean questioned in unison, completely astonished by what she had ordered.
She glared at Thunderer, tears still flowing from her eyes. "I said give it to Kain!"
Thunderer made to protest, but Amy tore the Orb from his hand and placed it in the Black Dragoon's left hand. His hand immediately placed a death grip around the orb. What they had not noticed was that the White Dragoon's right hand gripped the air in the same fashion. "The deed was done now," she said with a sob. "Not even Jerome's Herculean strength or Scorpion's mighty arsenal can take it from him now." With that said, she got up and ran into shelter, madly weeping the whole way. Scorpion ran after her.
"What do we do now?" Sean asked.
Thunderer did not hesitate with his answer. "We place the Black Dragoon in the brig on the ship, leaving Serpent and Cyclone to watch over him, and take White to the shelter to rest. There I shall continue to monitor his ascent to Valhalla."
Rebecca, Marle, and Dragon Claw were trying to comfort Amy at the table inside the shelter and Crono and Schala was prying information from Lucca when Thunderer entered with the White Dragoon's body in his arms.Those who were in the shelter watched with grief as Thunderer carried the White Dragoon's body to the nearest bed and laid him down there. Amy's weeping only seemed to increase at the sight of her husband. Crono, Marle, and Schala, who had been happy at the return of Lucca, now looked on with sad eyes as they watched Thunderer lay the warrior down.
After placing his fallen leader's body on the bed. Thunderer made his way to Amy. "Your actions lacked logic," he stated plainly once he arrived at the table. "Why did you give our enemy to right to live and deny it to our friend, your husband?"
Amy made a futile attempt to wipe the tears from her eyes, but only more flowed. "It" she said with a sob, "it is what Jeremiah would have wanted."
This answer seemed to satisfy the Zecronean Knights, for they knew what it meant, but it was not enough for the others. "Why?" Lucca asked. "Why would he want his enemy to live and not himself?"
"The Black Dragoon is not the brother Jeremiah claimed him to be," Thunderer informed them.
"No," Amy added with another sob. "Kain is his son."
The jaws of everyone except the Zecronean Knights and Magus all dropped. "Wh-what?" Lucca asked.
Thunderer turned to Amy. "Amy, if I may." Amy gave a weak nod. Thunderer took of his helm as he turned to the others, revealing his serious demeanor, and cleared his throat. "The White and Black Dragoons were not always as they are now. In the year 1997 AD our world was conquered by the alien civilization known as the Demno Empire. Because Jeremiah had been the one to originally contact the aliens, he felt that it was his fault that Terra, or the earth, was conquered. Because of this guilt he decided it was his duty to fight back. We other Zecronean Knights, being his friends and knowing that there was no deterring him from this task, decided to aid him.
"We were not known as the Zecronean Knights then, nor did we have any real power, with the exception of Amy, Cecil, and Keiko, and maybe even Jeremiah, for he had already been training as a Dragon Knight. It was not until Odin and Amenzut-Tome decided to intervene that Jeremiah, Benjamin, Christopher, John, and myself received the power of the Elements according to our ancestry. After training in the use of our new powers and weapons Jeremiah, then code named Golem, decided it was time to strike. With Demus visiting Terra it could be our only opportunity to bring an end to the Demno Empire.
"With some help from a most unexpected source, we were able to force a confrontation with Demus in his ship. During that battle Jeremiah was killed as he protected Cecil from an attack. After his death a new fire burned within us. We were able to destroy Demus' ship and, or though we thought, Demus with it.
"We soon discovered that Demus was no mere mortal, but that he wielded a most dark power. We would at a later date discover that this power is known as NightFire. With this power Demus had defeated us in battle, but before he could finish us off a living being made of silver-colored metal appeared and challenged Demus. He called himself the Silver Dragoon, and after he had defeated Demus in a glorious battle, we later discovered that he, in fact, was Jeremiah reincarnated.
"He told us later that due to his battle against the forces of NightFire and with Odin's intervention, he had been granted a second lease on life. Odin then gave him the ability to make himself appear as he had before he died.
"Almost a year later Amy had been abducted Demogyth, Demus' right hand and the one who had helped us before force the confrontation with Demus. As we went to rescue her we five Elemental Knights were drawn back in time almost two thousand years and to a planet called Yeolde. It appears that at that time the forces of NightFire wanted that planet, but we did not know that. We appeared in different places, and even at different times, adverting the deaths of others who were to play important roles in the upcoming battle.
"While we were there Jeremiah had been capture himself. During his captivity someone was able to divide Jeremiah into two parts, his good side and his dark side. His good side, still named Jeremiah, became the White Dragoon and his dark side, whose name was Kain, became the Black Dragoon. We later would learn the Kain was actually an alternate personality in Jeremiah's mind that was formed due to all he had suffered during the war against the Demno Empire, including the loss of his family before his very eyes.
"The Black Dragoon joined the forces of NightFire, while the White Dragoon escaped and continued his journey to find the rest of the Zecronean Knights and his battle against NightFire.
"Before the final battle to drive the forces of NightFire from Yeolde, Jeremiah was able to break NightFire's hold over Kain. He helped us win the final battle.
"After witnessing the deportation of Cecil Dogonaz the First from Yeolde for his brother's role in the NightFire attack we were allowed to return to our own time and rescue Amy. It was then that we learned that the Cecil and Amy we know were descended from Yeoldeans. It wasn't long before we also learned the Jeremiah and Kain were one soul torn between two bodies.
"Kain had returned with us, but decided to go off on his own to find his own life. While Jeremiah and Amy were on their honeymoon a few months later he discovered Kain had joined NightFire once again, this time of his own free will, and they have been battling ever since until today, when the battle came to an end. Jeremiah always thought that he and Kain would die at the same time, but I doubt he ever thought it would be because they would slay each other."
Lucca looked at the White Dragoon's still form. "So, the Black Dragoon is really his clone...."
"And thus, his son," Thunder finished.
"He loved Kain as a father would any child born of normal birth," Amy said with a sniff. "I lost count of the nights he stayed up crying because of what Kain had become, and, like he had with the Demno Occupation of earth, he blamed himself for it."
Rebecca patted Amy's hand. "Well, he will no longer have to worry about that."
After a few moments of silence a weak smile formed on Amy's face. "I remember when he proposed to me. It was shortly after he had returned from Yeolde. That night I had decided to go out onto the balcony of my room to watch the stars. As I did I heard the sound of a horse's hooves striking the pavement approaching my home. There was Jeremiah, with the form the White Dragon from the neck down. He was riding Sleipnir, Odin's eight legged horse.
" He drew his sword and pointed it to the night sky. 'Hail! Fair Maiden!' he yelled up to me. 'Grant me that I might take thee from thy prison tower to mine castle in yonder hills!'
"Of course his 'castle' was his mansion and 'yonder hills' was about a block down the drive, for Cecil and I had been living in one of Jeremiah's guesthouses. He was making a fool of himself, and we both knew it." Amy sighed. "I called down to him, 'What boon do you give me, good sir, that I might let thee take me to thine castle in yonder hills?'
"He reached into his saddle bag and pulled out a little black box," Amy reached into her pocket and pulled out a ring with a two karat diamond in it, and she began to cry anew, "and opened it to reveal this ring. He shouted back to me, 'I give to thee this treasure, though it pales in comparison to thine own beauty. I give to thee also my heath, my hearth, and my most prized possession: my heart!'
"What he said was so romantic that I started to cry. He was giving me my greatest dream: to be carried away by a knight in shining armor. I yelled down to him, 'Then take me, good knight! Take me to your castle in yonder hills!'
"At that he dismounted Sleipnir and jumped onto the balcony. Once up there he knealt before me put this ring on my finger. He then stood and we kissed. Then he lifted me up in his arms, jumped down to the ground. There we mounted Sleipnir and rode back to his 'castle,' where we celebrated our engagement with some champaigne in front of the fireplace."
Marle gasped. "Oh! How romantic!" She turned to Crono. "He could give you a few tips."
Crono crossed his arms. "What's the big deal about knights, anyway?"
Marle sighed as she craddled her chin in her hand. "Should've married the frog."
Lucca was still curious about some else though. "I hate to interrupt this tender moment, but I'm curious about these NightFire people. What do they want?"
"Jeremiah told me he had heard from somewhere that they want revenge against Odin for something," Amy answered. "He went to talk to Odin about something, but when he returned he was very upset and wouldn't talk about it."
"I wonder why...." Thunderer said as he trailed off in thought.
"That, my friends, is because Odin is hiding something from me." Everyone turned to see Jeremiah sitting up in the bed. "And I don't remember making that much of a fool of myself that night
Amy jumped out of her chair and ran over to where Jeremiah was sitting and wrapped her arms around him. "God!" she sobbed. "Don't you ever, ever do that to me again! Do you hear me!? Never again!"
"I promise," he said as he wrapped his arms around her. "Next time I'll make certain I die." That smart remark got him a punch in the chest from his loving wife. He yelled in pain as he rubbed the still tender area.
He looked up to the others. "My question is, how did I live? Kain and I should both be dead."
"According to your theory, yes, you both should be dead. We took a gamble anyway that you might be wrong and were going to give you the Earth Orb. Amy, though, insisted that we give it to Kain, and did so with her own hand."
"Which is how I would've wanted it." Jeremiah thought for a moment. "My theory is correct, sorta. It's not that if one dies, the other dies; but if one lives, so does the other. This could be a problem." He thought for a few more moments. "Where is Kain?"
"We have him in the brig," Scorpion answered. "Chris and John are watching over him."
"Give me my cane," Jeremiah ordered. "I want to go talk to him."
Alone, Jeremiah limped into the brig of Sleipnir, using his cane to support himself, where he saw his mirror image sitting behind force field. Jeremiah smiled as he saw that he was awake. "Kain."
Kain Judas Aran didn't move. "Are we alone?"
Kain stood up and looked at him. "Father...."
Twenty minutes later Jeremiah exited the brig with the Orange Somony Orb in his hand. Almost as soon as he exited the ship there was a large explosion and the Black Dragoon came running out. "Later, suckers!" he yelled as he jumped into the distance.
Scorpion and Serpent jumped onto their jetboards to give chase, but Jeremiah stopped them. "Don't worry about it. He won't cause any trouble."
"What makes you think that?" Scorpion asked as he returned to the ground.
"He has no quarrel with anyone here but me, and we're both recovering from our last battle. He'll probably just find some place to hole up until we leave."
That night it stormed over the city of Porre. A fat, balding, middle-aged man sat relaxing in a hot tub with several beautiful women in his mansion. The man laughed as he watched the women playing and splashing each other. He had each arm wrapped around a woman.
"So," the woman in his right arm, a short and slender brunette, coaxed, "which of us is going to be tonight, Ulric?"
"Ohoho!" the man squealed with delight.
With a flash of lightning the lights in his mansion went out. All the women ran off screaming. "Wait! Wait!" he yelled. "I'll protect y" He was cut off by the sound of metal scraping against the marble floor. He saw two points of red light floating before him on the other side of the hot tub."Wh-who g-goes there?"
The lights flickered back on and he saw the Black Dragoon on the other side of the hot tub leaning against the long, glowing red spear in his left hand. "Howzit goin', sparky?"
Outside the mansion no one heard General Ulric's terrified scream.
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