The Light Wand and the Ice Blade Chapter 4


By Silveran

Razan and Bow appeared in front of Arushan's gates. Bow supported a still unconscious Razan as they walked through the blinding snow that blew all around them. His cape fluttered furiously in the wind and his purple eyes squinted through the snow. His bow hung on his back for he needed both of his arms to assist his companion. "We're home but I'm afraid Bram wouldn't like what I'm about to report," he whispered as he walked the few feet toward the gates. "You're lucky that you won't have to face his wrath."

As they approached the gates, they found a ghoul waiting for them. "Come," it said. "Master Bram is expecting you." Bow nodded as he stepped through the portals. The ghoul slammed the gates shut against the biting winds. "This way," it indicated pointing ahead. It went ahead of them across the courtyard.

"Wait!" Bow shouted as he continued to drag Razan's body. "At least take him to his room. I know where Bram is and I will go straight to him." He threw Razan's body on top of the ghoul, who collapsed under the weight. "Have some Fesel Zeins help you with the load," he said as he went into the castle.

He walked through the many hallways of the dim-lit castle and rode the elevator to the upper halls. As soon as the elevator stopped, he continued on pass the icy rooftop to a room with four flights of stairs leading to an archway. Two lion heads stared at him from the doors in the archway when he finished climbing the steps. Taking a deep breath, he pushed one of the doors open and shut it behind as he entered the room. He suddenly felt nervous as he slowly walked to the throne.

Bram sat on the charred throne, leaning on an elbow while his fingers of his other hand drummed endlessly on the burnt arm of the throne in a sign of boredom. He raised his head and the drumming ceased as Bow approached.

"What in Hiades happened to you?" he asked, surprised to see him all bruised and bloodied. "Certainly those humans shouldn't have given you any trouble?"

Bow nearly jumped at the sound of his voice but he maintained his composure. He stood up straight as he answered Bram's question. "Those humans?" Bow snorted and waved a dismissive hand. "They were child's play."

"So you have taken care of them? Permanently?"

"Well . . ." Bow's voice trailed off as he tried to search for an answer pleasing to Bram.

"You haven't taken care of them?!" Bram rose from his throne, his hand moving towards his sword on the side of the burnt chair.

"Wait, wait!" Bow answered frantically as he took a couple of steps back, ready to run. He looked toward the doors and wished that he were in Razan's shoes right now. "Let me explain!"

Bram stopped and looked at him, prompting him to explain. Bow stopped retreating and stood still, his legs positioned to run if he had to. "We went to the festival, as you had commanded. When the sun reached its peak, we attacked. And had fun doing it too. We wrecked booths, killed some people, blew up everything . . ." He continued to list all the things they did.

"Yes, yes, get on with it," Bram interrupted impatiently.

"Of course," Bow continued. "The real fight didn't begin until the whole plaza was empty of people except for five. Jack---was that his name?---sent two people away while we faced him and the other two weaklings. We fought and were about to kill them when the two he sent away intercepted our deathblows.

"For the first time, we had a closer look at the two. They resembled Jack and Cecilia. Razan and I think that they are their children. But Bram, these two are not anything like Jack and Cecilia. Though they may look like them, they do not have the same power as them. They possess something far stronger.

"It was they that defeated us. The battle had drained Razan's power, that's why he's not here with me. During the battle, however, we managed to injure Cecilia. The blow we inflicted would have killed her if it weren't for one of the strangers. The stranger, the one that resembled Cecilia, managed to close the wound. I also managed to take out Jack as well. He wouldn't be a bother to us anymore. Besides, he must be a cripple by now with the poison my arrow had possessed.

"Our mission wasn't a success, but it wasn't a failure either. Either way, we have a new problem in our hands."

Bram sat back down after hearing the report. He tapped a finger against his cheek in thought. "Very interesting," he mused. "Especially the part about the two being the children of Jack and Cecilia. How could two weaklings bear two powerful children? Interesting indeed." He continued to tap his cheek.

"What do we do, Bram?" Bow asked.

Bram stopped his tapping and looked at him. "For now, we do nothing. I must wait for Valta and Seth to return from their errands. You may go and rest now. I will need you at full strength when the time is ripe."

"Of course," Bow nodded. He stepped back and quickly turned, eager to be out of the place. He shut the door as he left, leaving Bram alone with his evil thoughts.


Jill frantically paced in front of her parents' bedroom. She glanced at the door when she heard her father scream in pain. She cursed herself for not checking on his leg. They had found out that the arrow was poisoned. Now she wasn't sure if he could walk again or be crippled forever. "Damn it!" she swore under her breath. She continued to pace again, continually cursing herself. She stopped as she saw two figures emerge from the stairwell. "Cecil!" she exclaimed, relieved that her brother survived.

"How is she?" Cecil asked as he and Rudy walked over.

"You mean they," she said softly. Cecil and Rudy looked at her questioningly when another scream pierced the air. All three cringed at the sound. "Father's leg may be infected with a poison," she answered their looks. "He may never walk again. I don't know about mother's condition."

"I see," Rudy whispered. "It will be hard on all of us." Cecil nodded in agreement.

The door then squeaked open and a young man in his mid-twenties stepped out. He was slightly tanned and had short cropped black hair. Black eyes gazed from atop a slightly pointed nose. He wore a white robe with brown sandals. A small pouch hung on his left hip. A small red cross on his left breast indicated that he was a doctor.

He gently closed the door behind him and faced the group. They all looked at him expectantly. The doctor felt nervous under those stares but he took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He looked at them and smiled. "They are very fortunate to survive a battle like that." His smile faded, replaced by a sad frown. "But I'm afraid they won't be able to fight anymore. Your mother, prince and princess, is lucky to have survived that blast. It's to your quick thinking, princess, that you managed to close the wound in time. The bad news, however, is that I'm afraid she won't be able to recover her full strength and there's also the matter with her eyes."

"What about her eyes?" questioned Cecil remembering his mother's cries about them during the battle.

"When I examined them, they wouldn't respond to the light," the doctor explained. "Which suggests one thing; that she is blind."

"So that's what happened," Jill muttered to herself. Everyone looked at her urging her to explain. "Bow fired an arrow that we couldn't see."

"I remember that," Cecil said. "I saw him pull the string with no arrow nocked. I thought he was just bluffing."

Jill shook her head. "That wasn't a bluff. That was a real arrow that blinded mother."

"There's nothing we could do now," Rudy said. "What's done is done. Just thank the Guardians that she's alive."

The doctor coughed, interrupting their conversation. "There's also your father," he continued as he gained their attention. "His leg is beyond repair. Fortunately, the poison that was on the arrow did not spread about his body. If it did, he wouldn't be with us today. I have managed to dress it as best I could but the fact is he'll be crippled. I'm sorry for the bad news." He bowed and led them to the door. "You may see them if you wish. I'll return periodically to check on their wounds." He bowed again and left.

They stood quietly outside the door absorbing the news they had just heard. Jill fidgeted, Cecil clenched his fists, and Rudy looked sullen. He then looked up and took a hold of the doorknob. Both looked at him as he turned the knob and entered. He held the door open for them as they silently filed into the room. Rudy silently shut the door and followed them.

The room was dead silent. The only sound they could hear was the crackling of the four braziers burning in the room. They saw Jack standing in front of the huge window, overlooking the trees that ran behind the castle. He leaned against the windowsill gazing at the view of the sun setting towards the western horizon. His left hand rested atop the windowsill, clutching a wooden stick to aid him in walking on his injured leg that was bandaged up to the knee.

Cecilia lied in bed, breathing softly, her chest heaving up and down in rhythm. Both her arms, from wrist to elbow, were wrapped in bandages from minor injuries. A bandage was about her face covering her eyes. She was tucked under a blanket, her arms out to the side. No one could see her grisly wound much to everyone's relief.

Jill and Cecil went to stand at the foot of the bed while Rudy went up to Jack. He placed a hand on his shoulder and said, "I think it's time to tell them everything, Jack. For their sake and Filgaia's."

"Yes, I know," the king whispered under his breath. He continued to stare at the glowing red orb, which is the sun, as it completely disappeared below the horizon and night took over. Many stars dotted the sky and the moon was full. He slowly turned with the help of the wooden stick he held. He looked at the twins and said, "I owe you an explanation, my children."

Rudy let go of Jack's shoulder. It was time for him to leave this important matter to his friend. "I will have food brought," he whispered to him as he bowed.

"Thank you," Jack murmured, recognizing that he wished to leave him alone with the twins. The door squeaked open as Rudy stepped out into the hall and clicked softly as he shut the door behind him.

Jack looked at his children, his face drawn with worry. He pulled at his ribbon and Cecil noticed that he had not yet changed from his festival clothes, his pants brown from their mother's dried blood.

"Please sit," their father instructed. He indicated the table at the corner of the room, a few feet away from the foot of the bed. They did as they were told. Jill took a seat followed by Cecil, who unbuckled his sword belt and let it hang on the back of the chair. Jack came more slowly, hobbling with his walking stick. He pulled out a chair in front of them and slowly sat down. He sighed, apparently tired from the simple act of walking. It wasn't easy for him to accept the fact that he was crippled, and it was harder still for him to accept that he could not walk again on two strong feet. He fingered the golden band around his left ring finger, the same ring that Cecilia had exchanged during their wedding, as he collected his thoughts. He then took a deep breath and looked again at his children.

"Your mother and I agreed that you should hear this after the festival," Jack commenced. "We had hoped to tell it together, for I am not sure I can explain as fully as she. But the festival has passed and circumstances dictate that I should be the one explaining everything to you."

He took another deep breath and continued. "Let me begin my tale because it's getting very late and I know we all need our rest. I'll answer any questions you have after the telling." They nodded in agreement and Jack continued. "I haven't told you any of this even when you were young. I was a different person before I met your mother, before I encountered any demons. I was a knight in the forgotten kingdom of Arctica. Jack isn't even my real name. My name is Garrett Van Burace of the Fenril Knights of Arctica."

Both twins were shocked at the revelation. Cecil now knew how his father had come to know the Fast Draw Technique and why he had rebuked him of wearing his sword on his back instead of on his waist. Jill was more intrigued. She had a feeling that her father wasn't from around the area. His accent was that of the forgotten northern region. That would explain why she hardly heard anyone talking like him.

Jack waited for them to calm down before continuing. "Arctica was an industrial kingdom. It used to be called a paradise in ice and it was truly a paradise. But one terrible night, during a snowstorm . . ."


The flames licked the brick walls of the ancient castle. The heat was not as bad for they were in the middle of a snowstorm. Monsters were everywhere, killing and destroying everything in sight. Three shadowy creatures chased four people down a long corridor and were nearly upon them.

The group was able to get onto the elevator at the end of the corridor before the monsters could catch them. As the elevator door shut and descended, a person in the group slumped to the ground. He had white regal robes with black smudges dotting the hem of his garments. He had an air of authority around him that the other three respected. He had a lean built and his face was gaunt. His head was framed with shoulder-length brown hair and his eyes were a piercing blue like crystal ice. "I'm exhausted!" he gasped as he tried to catch his breath. He looked up at the person before him. "Can't we slow down?!"

The person he was looking at turned towards him. His dark brown eyes showed sympathy for the man. "There's nothing we can do as long as we are in the dark about their intentions," he answered. His red armor shone bright as it reflected the burning flames' light. His black hair matched the scabbard of the sword he was clutching on his left hip. "Our duty as Fenril Knights is to protect the king."

The man abruptly stood up and cried, "Preposterous! I am the king, now that my brother has fallen!" He lowered his voice as he continued, "With or without a crown . ." He turned to his right when he heard someone snort in contempt.

". . . Huh!" the man grunted under his breath. He had his arms crossed in front of his chest. He had short blonde hair and was garbed in green armor. He also had a sword sheathed on his hip. "Then try to get out of here on your own!" he challenged the king.

The man in the red armor glared at him. "Stop that, Garrett!" he berated. "We are in the presence of the king!" As soon as he finished, the monsters that were chasing them dropped down at the unsuspecting group. All three knights drew their swords while the king crouched behind their protective circle. The monsters approached but they were defeated in less than a minute. Each faded into nothing when they were struck a deathblow.

The knights sheathed their swords as the king rose from his crouched position. "Bravo, Fenril Knights!" he commended them with a smile. "Bravo!"

A blue-armored man that stood behind the king turned to the black-haired man. "A surprise attack within the snowstorm . . ." he thought out loud. His hair was that of Garrett's but unlike him, he was more cautious of his words. Two swords hung on both sides of his waist, which was most unusual for a knight. A sudden thought occurred to him. "Maybe they're after . . .?!?! Chief Coldbird, maybe the demons are after the cocoon?"

Coldbird turned to him, his head lowered in thought. "The cocoon . . . It's a possibility." He raised his head and looked at him. "Do you think the cocoon is worth something, Ryan?"

The king was listening to their conversation. When they mentioned his cocoon, he jumped forward. "What?!" he exclaimed. "They came to get my cocoon?" He rushed to Coldbird and pleaded, "No Coldbird! Do not let them take it! They'll use it for no good!!" He heard the one called Garrett snort again. He ignored him and continued to stare pleadingly at Coldbird.

Coldbird stared at his liege. He never saw him so crestfallen and so he nodded. The king smiled and turned as the elevator shuddered into a stop. They waited for the door to open. Coldbird stepped out first followed by the king. Garrett and Ryan came out last, acting as rear guard.

Soon they were walking along a hallway that opened up into a huge room. They could hear the heartbeat of whatever resided within the cocoon as they entered the room. The king walked towards the cocoon. It was huge in size. It hung on the back wall of the room, held by thick cables. "Good . . ." he sighed in relief. "My cocoon is safe . . ."

A young lady with fiery red hair and orange armor limped into the room from the eastern doorway. All gazed at her except for Garrett who rushes forward. "Elmina!" he cried. "Your leg . . ." He held her as she leaned on him.

She smiled at him. "Now I'm holding you back?" she asked. "Me, the 'Sword Princess'?" He smirked at her comment. Elmina then lowered her voice as she asked, "Was the rest of your party . . ."

Both Garrett and Ryan lowered their heads as they answered, "Yes." Suddenly, an axe whirls into the room and lands in front of Ryan. All gaze at it as Ryan cautiously steps forward. His hand reached for the handle but as he took hold, a strange force invaded his body. "Wha What?!" he exclaimed as he disappeared into nothingness.

"Ryan!" Coldbird called out to his second-in-command as he rushed forward. He was too late in saving his friend.

"Aahhg!" the king coughed as he lowered to the floor. He shook his head as he mumbled, "The knight . . . with a single stroke . . ."

Everyone ignored his rambling as they turned to see a sphere of white light appear in the room. It just floated in front of them for a moment before it began to transform. Huge claws began to form followed by a white robe that concealed the demon's true form within. Lastly was the head, which was covered in gold metal. Red eyes gleamed from beneath the shadow of the golden helmet and a huge tail swished back and forth behind the demon. "Nice to meet you," it greeted. "I am the demon, Alhazad."

"But the Demon Race is only a legend?!" Elmina exclaimed as she limped next to Garrett to get a better view of the creature.

Alhazad's red eyes gleamed in amusement. "And yet, here I am right in front of you . . ." he declared. His tail swished back and forth in impatience. "I don't have much time . . . so let me get to the point. All right?" When no one answered, he continued. "Will you give me that thing you call a cocoon?"

"Yes! Yes!" the king answered immediately as he crawled on his hands and knees towards the demon. "I'll do whatever you want!!" he pleaded. "You can have anything. Just let me live . . ."

Coldbird drew his sword in defiance. "No, your majesty!" he cried. "You must not do that!"

Alhazad looked at the pathetic creature that groveled at his claws. His eyes flared as he summoned his energy. He raised his claw and pointed it at the king. A wave of energy struck the king. The king didn't have time to yell as he felt his body explode. "I'm sorry . . ." Alhazad apologized sarcastically. "All I can give you in return is a 'Painless Death'. You will have to live with it. Hee hee hee hee!"

"You bastard!!" Elmina cursed as she saw her lord killed. She glared at the demon as she got into her fighting stance.

Coldbird was more enraged. The king was the last of the royal family. He knew that Arctica would be no more as a kingdom. His red armor seemed to glow more brightly as if his anger fueled it. He drew his sword back preparing to strike. "Garrett! Elmina!" he called behind knowing that he was about to give his last orders as Chief Knight. "You must escape from Arctica Castle!" he instructed. "Let everyone in Filgaia know what has happened here!"

Both nodded and began to run away. Garrett glanced behind as he ran towards the door. He saw the demon approach Coldbird. The Chief Knight jumped and struck the demon and that was the last thing he saw before leaving the room.


Garrett and Elmina stood in an isolated hallway that led to the exit. "Damn, our chief is . . ." Garrett muttered as he bandaged up Elmina's wounded leg. "That bastard probably got the rest of the knights too . . ."

"Hey Garrett!" Elmina whispered. "You're a bigger coward than I thought . . ."

Garrett had finished dressing Elmina's wound. He looked up in astonishment. "What?!" he exclaimed offended. "What are you saying?! Me, a coward?"

"Yes," Elmina nodded as she looked into his eyes. "You have no 'Courage' . . . You're probably thinking of a way to defeat them even now."

"Of course!" he blurted as he stood up abruptly. "No matter what it takes, I'll kill that thing!" He clenched his fist in righteous anger and his eyes flared at the thought.

Elmina stood up and turned her back on him. "So, you call throwing your life away 'Courage'?" she asked in a low tone. "We will not be able to defeat them yet. I know it's hard to admit . . ." Garrett lowered his head in shame. He admitted to himself that Elmina was wiser than he concerning these things. Elmina turns and pats him on the shoulder. "What a terrible wound . . ." she smiled.

Garrett glanced up at her. "It's not as bad as yours." He returned the grin.

Elmina crossed her arms across her chest and held her head high. "I won't hear of it!" She looked down at Garrett and her eyes softened. "You think that fighting an unbeatable enemy is 'Courage'?" She turned away from him as she uttered, "I don't agree with that!"

"So, what do you consider 'Courage'?" he asked imploringly. He was never so confused in his life. He had always thought that courage was the ability to face one's fears, to fight with no fear, and yet Elmina said that he'd be throwing his life away. To her, that wasn't 'Courage'. It confused him even more just to think of the word. It seemed that his mind would explode when Elmina interrupted his thoughts. "Enough chattering," she said. Garrett looked at her and she smiled. "Let's go, Garrett!"

They began walking down the empty corridor, slowly at first but Garrett decided to go a bit faster. He never noticed Elmina lagging behind him. Snow littered the latter part of the hallway as they neared the exit. They felt the cool wind blowing into the already dark castle. Garrett passed through the gateway but Elmina stopped. When she saw him a few yards into the wilderness, she decided to close the gate. She limped to the lever at the side wall and pulled it down. A portcullis lowered to the ground, blocking entrance or exit into the castle.

Garrett heard the rumble of the gate lowering. He turned to see the gate already lowered. "Huh?!" he cried as he rushed towards the barricade. He saw Elmina standing next to the lever. "What are you doing, Elmina?!" he demanded.

"I can't get away with this wound!" she exclaimed. She clutched her leg and winced to convince him.

He wasn't convinced. "Open the door, Elmina!" he shouted as he clutched the metal bars. "You're the one who said wasting your life is not 'Courage'!"

Elmina lowered her head in sadness. "Funny for me to say, but you gain nothing from war. But Garrett . . . I fight to protect something important to me. I won't gain anything, but I will not lose anything . . . Protecting something important is not a waste of life." Tears were brimming around her eyes but she was the 'Sword Princess'. She will not cry in front of a fellow knight. She shut her eyes, the tears threatening to run wide. "Garrett . . ." she whispered, "I don't want to lose you."

He saw that she was on the verge of tears. He moved closer to her and said comfortingly, "Nor I you . . . Open the door, Elmina! I'll fight with you! Open the door, Elmina!" His voice rose with each sentence, demanding her to open the gate.

Elmina turned her head and looked at Garrett. All sadness has left her face replaced with determination. "You must tell the world what has happened here . . ." When she saw him look at her worriedly, she grinned confidently. "Don't worry . . . I have no intention of dying here. I am the Sword Princess." She pointed at a ribbon tied around his arm. "The ribbon I wrapped around your arm was expensive . . . I can't die until I get that back."

The sphere of white light that appeared in the cocoon room materialized in front of them. It took shape before it spoke. "There you are," Alhazad said as he floated above the floor. "You were hard to find. You are the last humans left in the castle. Are you ready to die?" His eyes flared in anticipation of the kills.

Elmina drew her sword in answer. "Have 'Courage'!" she shouted to Garrett. "Deliver the Fenril spirit to our friends! Run Garrett!! You can overcome anything!"

He looked at her back for a long while. He knew he couldn't do anything to aid her. He took a few steps back. "I promise . . . I will return . . . your ribbon," he vowed before running towards the snowstorm.

Elmina looked up at the demon. If she's going to die, she's going to die fighting. If Alhazad had a mouth, he would be smiling in delight. "It's a dead end," he stated. "There's no way out. Hee hee hee hee hee . . . You are noble and beautiful . . . Can't you see? My body is trembling with joy." Elmina had enough of his chattering. She charged at him, her last thoughts on Garrett.

Garrett walked grudgingly through the whipping arctic winds. His arm was raised in front of his face to protect him from the blowing snow. His hatred for the demons grew with every step. The wind got so strong that he fell to the ground. He slowly got to his knees and raised his arms to the heavens, crying out in anger to the stars and cursing in rage. The wind howled louder to his cries and it continued for most of the night.


"Garrett Van Burace of the Fenril Knights died that night," concluded Jack, "and Jack Van Burace the treasure hunter was born. This all took place twenty-two years ago." He paused, waiting for any questions to burst forth. The twins were awestruck by the tale. He hadn't told anyone of this but to Cecilia and Rudy only. The past must be told to understand the present. When he received no questions, he decided to continue.

"I've wandered the world searching for the 'Absolute Power'," he went on. "I lived for revenge only. I believed that if I found the 'Absolute Power' I would be able to defeat the demons. I've stumbled upon many things in the various ruins. One of the few things I stumbled upon was a sprite-like rat named Hanpan. It was very intriguing at first but what was startling was that he spoke. I asked him if he knew anything about the 'Absolute Power'. He replied no but offered to join me in my search. He was very knowledgeable about the ancient ruins and so I let him accompany me to many of the sites. I did this for two years.

"During the second year of our search, we stumbled into the Temple of Memory. Stumbled is not quite the word but should I say, gone there on a lead. What we found there was an Elw device. I turned it on and a holographic image of an Elw appeared. Hanpan concluded that it must be some type of data-storage device. The image warned us about to 'seek not Lolithia'. We were intrigued when it spoke of the 'Land of Light' and 'an absolute destructive power'. When it said absolute destructive power, I was sure that I have found what I had been looking for. Hanpan told me that the 'Land of Light' may be Adlehyde because Adlehyde means light in an ancient tongue. We decided to go try our luck there.

"We arrived and that was the first time I saw Rudy. He was standing in front of the inn staring at all the people around him. I walked up to him and asked if he knew anything about Lolithia. He shook his head. I thanked him for his patience when suddenly Cecilia appeared saying that she's searching for anyone that would accompany her to the ruins. I told her if it's not Lolithia's Tomb she could count me out. She said that it was the tomb that she was heading to so I decided to join. She then gazed at Rudy and asked if he was the one that caused an earthquake a few hours ago. Rudy nodded sadly ashamed for what he did. Cecilia smiled and offered him to come with us to right the wrong he did. He agreed and we went to the tomb, north of here.

"My purpose of going to the tomb was to find the 'absolute destructive power' the Elw spoke of but of course you know that by now. We explored the ruin but at the end, it was only a giant golem. You know what golems are, right?" He looked at them and they both nodded remembering their history lessons. "It was a big disappointment for me. I decided to stay at Adlehyde for a while before moving on to the next ruin. Cecilia left and Rudy stayed with me at the inn. In the morning was the Ruin Festival that King Adlehyde arranged. There were many games and artifacts, much like today's festivities.

"But as like today, the festivities abruptly ended. Dark clouds hovered over the city and lightning struck the ground. Where the lightning struck, monsters appeared. Rudy and I were given a choice: to run to the castle or to save the people. The treasure hunter in me said to run but the knight said to fight. Those feelings won over and so we rescued ten people from the monsters. We then found Cecilia surrounded by monsters at the gates to the castle and we saved her as well.

"We entered the castle and heard that the king was wounded during the attack. Cecilia took us to him. She talked to him and I was amazed and yet angry that she was the princess of this kingdom. I was also fascinated about what she was saying about the Tear Drop, hearing that the demons wanted it. What was so special about a crystal that glowed? I knew something was amiss and was about to investigate when suddenly the guards threw all three of us into Cecilia's room. We were to remain in the castle until the demon would go away.

"I had no plan in staying in the castle but I had no idea how to escape. Cecilia didn't plan in staying either and told us about a secret passageway that led to the city from the kitchen. We agreed to go there. We snuck out of the room and unto the battlements, running away from the guards when they were too close. We reached the kitchen and the chef opened up the way for us. We jumped in and landed in some sort of underground dungeon. We went through it and surfaced back into town. Cecilia had decided to give the Tear Drop so she could save her people. I, however, knew it to be a trick.

"Belselk was the name of the demon. He looked like a giant lizard with a gaping maw filled with long pointed teeth, the size of daggers. He wore a tattered green shirt and tattered tan short pants. His tail patted the ground as he swirled his ball-and-chain around. His white orbs glared at us and only I glared back. Cecilia handed him the Tear Drop and he bellowed at our foolishness. He would attack the castle as soon as the gates were opened.

"Your mother protested but he ignored her pleas. My hatred for his kind then was boiling during that time. I didn't care what happened to the kingdom, what happened to the people, and what happened to my companions. All I cared was that I would be rid of one demon at that moment so I challenged him. He laughed as he accepted my challenge but Cecilia would not have me fight alone. The three of us, including Rudy, fought against him until he was bored with our feeble attempt in killing him. He disappeared along with the Tear Drop and I knew that Cecilia had made the biggest mistake in her life. She had to crawl back to her father and tell the bad news. It was an unpleasant scene that happened in this very exact room . . ."


Rudy and Jack stood a few feet away from the foot of the bed. Cecilia moved to her father's side, next to where Minister Johan was standing, and took a hold of his hand. "I'm sorry, father," she apologized sadly. "I disobeyed your wishes. The Tear Drop is in their hands."
King Adlehyde looked at her and squeezed her hand. He took a deep breath before speaking. ". . . It's done. But the Tear Drop must not be used for evil. We must . . ." He started to cough in a fit, grimacing from his wound.
"Please don't talk, father," Cecilia said as she squeezed his hand. "Save your strength." King Adlehyde winced as he tried to turn to her. He settled down and nodded, too tired to even argue. "It's my responsibility to reclaim the Tear Drop," she continued when she saw her father settled.
"Princess!" Minister Johan exclaimed as he reared back in shock. How could she do such a thing at a time like this? It was her duty as heir to see the safety of her people first.
Cecilia turned to the minister. "I have made my decision," she said firmly. "Our resources must be conserved for the reconstruction of Adlehyde!" Minister Johan gazed at her skeptically. Cecilia smiled reassuringly. "I have trusty friends. With their help, I will reclaim the Tear Drop." She turned and walked forward toward the Dream Chasers. "Rudy, Jack," she implored. "Please help me. I need to reclaim the Tear Drop for the future of Filgaia."
Rudy and Jack looked at each other deciding whether or not to fulfill the princess' request. Jack made a decision and stepped forward. Cecilia walked up to him and they gazed at each other for awhile. "I understand," Jack nodded. He pointed at Rudy. "I'm sure Rudy is with me as well. We were going to volunteer anyway, but," he shook his head, "you shouldn't come. You'll just slow us down."
Now it was Cecilia's turn to rear back in shock. She was offended by the insult this arrogant Dream Chaser had given her. "What? I don't mean to . . ."
Jack turned away and snorted. "If I had known who you were, I would have thought twice about working with you. I don't trust royalty. I never have and I never will." He looked at her from the corner of his eye and smirked. "I kind of had an idea, but you still haven't told us the truth from your own mouth. Hide your identity and roam the land . . . eh?" His voice was dripping with sarcasm. "How romantic . . . You can count me out."
Cecilia lowered her head in shame as Minister Johan jumped in defiance at the Dream Chaser's words. "That's enough, Dream Chaser!" he shouted.
Jack turned to him but turned to Cecilia as she spoke. "I apologize for my behavior," she whispered. "If people find out who I am, they become distant. I was lonely . . ." She looked up at Jack with determination burning in her eyes. "But my passion to save Filgaia is no lie. How can I convince you?"
King Adlehyde was restless in bed. He stretched a hand towards his daughter. "Cecilia . . . Please . . ." he begged as he struggled to get up. "Ohhh! . . ." he cried out in pain when he tried to move.
Everyone turned to his cry then Cecilia turned to Jack. "Your sword . . . May I please use your sword?" she asked.
Jack turned to her. Rudy turned as well when he heard her asking for Jack's sword. "What do you want with it?" Jack asked suspiciously. "It's far too heavy for you." Again, he smirked as he taunted her.
Cecilia ignored his arrogant demeanor and begged again. "Please . . . the sword!!!" By then everyone was watching the drama. Jack hesitantly drew out his sword and held it before Cecilia horizontally across his hands. Cecilia placed her hand around the hilt. Jack smirked as he let go of it. Cecilia nearly fell forward as the weight of the sword pulled her down. She grimaced as she held the sword aloft in her hand. She took a few steps back, gazing at her reflection on the blade.
Jack saw her struggle under the weight. "It's heavy . . . with the weight of its destiny," he protested. "It's not for you! Give it back! Princess, you can't support it on your own." He moved towards her to reclaim what was his. Before he could reach her, she did something unexpectedly.
She flipped her long flaxen hair over one shoulder and sliced it with the sword. She looked down at the pile of hair at her feet. It took all her life to grow it that long but she decided to cut it to convince the swordsman. Everyone was paralyzed with shock. They never expected her to do such a thing. Cecilia turned back towards Jack and held out the sword to him. "Your sword has severed my past . . ." she said. "I plead again, please join me in reclaiming peace."
Jack looked at her in astonishment. There was also a flash of admiration before returning to his cold self. He took his sword she held before him and sheathed it. "Once you do this, there is no turning back . . ." he warned her.
King Adlehyde watched in pride of his daughter's decisions. He knew he could leave this world without worrying about the future of the kingdom. It was in good and capable hands. "Be strong, Cecilia," he smiled. He took a deep breath and sighed, "Protect what is yours," before leaving the mortal world.
Rudy and Jack walked towards the foot of the bed. Minister Johan and the knight that was across from him gazed upon the king. The knight felt for a pulse and shook his head when he found none. They knew that the time had come for King Adlehyde to pass on from one life to another.
No one was more devastated than Cecilia. She lowered her head, her eyes brimming with tears. She had just gotten home from the abbey yesterday and this had to happen. She lost her mother at a young age and now her father.
". . . We can't just sit around feeling sad," Minister Johan said as he turned to look at the king one more time. He turned to them and said in a grave manner, "We must honor the dead . . . Our beloved king and the men who fought so bravely." He quietly left the room to make the necessary preparations.
Cecilia was deaf to those words. She thought about the ten years she had lost without her family. It would be a difficult time for her. It would be even more difficult on the journey with the arrogant swordsman and the quiet boy. She was indeed lonely.
"I was an arrogant fool," Jack continued. "All I could think of was revenge for the lost of Arctica, for the lost of my knighthood, but especially for the lost of Elmina. As you would have guessed, we traveled all over Filgaia searching for the demons. But when I look back at it, I think we were really searching for our souls. We found out many things about our world's past that no one ever knew. The Guardians did and still do exist. The forgotten race of the Elws also exist but in another dimension. We also found out the secret of flight, hence, the Gullwing.
"But the most important thing I found was Elmina. I found her but not the way she was when I left Arctica. Somehow, they managed to turn her into one of their kind. She was deadly with the scythe they equipped her with. Not only were her looks different but also her name. She was Lady Harken of the Quarter Knights. I was devastated to learn that she was my enemy.
"We met on several occasions. Our fight then led us to where it all began: Arctica Castle. I fought her there, one-on-one. It was hard for me to come to blows with my former love but I knew that it was the only way to free her from their control. That's when I learned the true meaning of 'Courage', the power to conquer the past. I killed her with my own sword. It was devastating for me to find her and to again lose her.
"A few weeks afterwards we stumbled upon the Illusion Temple. The Guardian of the Rings of Timespace resided within. I discovered that Elmina could be revived but I thought about the memories that she would retain of being the Lady Harken. I asked the Guardian to remove all her memories of becoming a demon. The Guardian warned me that it would erase her memories of me also. I accepted the stipulation and so Elmina was revived. She now lives in Milama Village working as a waitress at the pub there.
"I had found the goal of my journey when I found Elmina. I could have decided to leave Rudy and Cecilia but I couldn't. I decided to continue with the journey and it led us into the Sea of Stars. The New Moon, Malduke, was their final attempt in world domination. We defeated Mother, the demon queen, and the leader of the so-called Quarter Knights, Zeikfried. We returned to Filgaia, our travels coming to an end.
"But my journey continued afterwards. I have told Cecilia that Rudy and I are continuing our journey to help those who still might need our assistance. We left Adlehyde but a few days later, Cecilia decided to join us as well. We wandered around the wilderness for a month until they came out of the sky.
"Bram and the others arrived here on Filgaia in what seemed like falling stars. They landed in the Arctican region. We investigated and encountered upon his ragtag group of demons. We've found out that Mother, the leader of the Metal Demons, sealed them in the light and banished them to outer space, condemned to travel the universe forever.
"The only way for the banishment to be broken is for Mother to die. If we had known that such an act would bring more chaos to this world, we would not have killed Mother. But we did and another threat is among us once again. We were strong enough to kill Mother but not strong enough to kill these new Metal Demons. We retreated, thinking that one day we will defeat them.
"Two years later, I married your mother and crowned king of this kingdom."
"But you said you hated royalty," Cecil interrupted. "Why did you decide to marry mother?"
Jack smiled and took off his crown, placing it on the table in front of his children. It was a simple golden circlet with the engraving of a horsehead in the middle. The horsehead was the symbol of the Guardian of Adlehyde, Zeldukes. Blue sapphires twinkled as the eyes of the Castle Guardian. "I did not marry your mother for this," he pointed at the crown, "but for this." He pointed at his own heart. "You see, I did not marry her to become king but I married her because I love her." He saw Cecil was about to say something but he motioned him to be silent. "Yes, I had no love for her when we first met.
"During our adventure, I realized that we shared something in common. I had rebuked her for hiding her identity but in truth I was hiding from myself as well. I was cold-hearted to realize that. When Elmina was revived with her memory of me lost, I knew I had lost her and never regain her again. I was devastated, in turn becoming indifferent to people. I wouldn't have anyone's kindness.
"Then your mother told me that I had done her a great service. A great service? I laughed at the notion. What great service have I done her than to kill her with my own sword and to request for her to forget about her past? What service was that? Then it hit me. I had done the right thing for her to forget about becoming a demon. If she didn't forget, she wouldn't have lived without feeling any guilt for all the innocent souls she had taken. I had felt better after realizing that thought. I had admired your mother even more after that.
"When she had joined us after our journey to Malduke, we stood on a cliff that overlooked the land. There was a river that ran in the middle with forests on both sides. Mountains lined across the horizon and the sun was at its peak. I understood why I had taken the journey, not for Elmina but for our world. We didn't want to see it destroyed. We looked up at the azure sky and saw the birds flying free. We swore to protect this world from any forms of evil. I also made a silent vow to protect Cecilia from any harm that may come. I knew that something in me changed during our travels. It was as if a heavy burden was lifted from my shoulders. I felt more alive and free as those birds we saw so long ago. So you see Cecil, it was our adventure that blossomed into a relationship." Cecil nodded in understanding.
"A year after our matrimony, you were born," he continued his story. "We were thrilled at having children and we faced the challenge of raising you two together. But that thrill was diminished as soon as we heard what Anje had to say about you two.
"We had forgotten about the demons in Arctica Castle but Anje reminded us. She came one morning, bringing a huge and crumpled book with her. We, including Rudy, gathered in the Council Room. She opened her book and told us of a prophecy that was written long ago, before Curan Abbey was founded.
"It told about the Legend of Filgaia and the second coming of the Metal Demons. Then it continued to tell about a third coming. The third coming will be worst than the first or the second. It said that the Light and the Ice had joined to become one. Out of this union, they will forge two weapons: the Light Wand and the Ice Blade.
"Adlehyde means Light and as you know, your mother is of the Adlehyde bloodline. As for me, I came from Arctica, the Ice. Out of our union, two weapons will emerge: you.
"You are the ones that have the power to defeat these demons. We've seen a small portion of your power today. Your mother, Rudy, and I had the power to stop the second coming, and your ancestor, along with the Guardians and Elws, had the power to stop the first coming. You have the power to stop the third. You must realize that by now.
"You are our only hope. Our only hope for Filgaia. This is your destiny. Are you willing to fulfill it?"
Cecil and Jill did not notice the request: their heads were spinning with the magnitude of their father's words.
They were the only ones with the power to defeat them?
The reunion that they had longed for was not as they had pictured it would be. They felt like children again. And they were very afraid.


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