"Damnit, why won't they respond?"
"Wait a bit more Nova..."
Nova stood on one foot, then another, adjusting her stance, then set back down and raise her paw again, flashing a soft greeting signal. She waited a minute, but there was no return greeting. The sun was starting to glow in the eastern horizon as the first vestiges of morning came along.
"This isn't good." Spyro said.
"Something must have happened to them! They had to have been captured, or something like that!" Nova began to freak out suddenly.
"Ease up Nova, we'll help them. I'm just worried about how were going to do that. We haven't got enough to change that." Spyro said, rubbing the horn under his chin, "We need about triple the force we have right now, and that's an issue."
"Well were are we going to find two full squads of warriors?" The two stared at each other contemplating the question, when all of a sudden, a voice broke out.
"The answer may be closer than you think lass!" Spyro didn't hesitate, there was a streak of convexity, a shout, and then violent swearing.
"GODDAMNED PURPLE DRAGONS!" Nova didn't know whether to laugh or cry or do both, or leap on the gravity dragon cowering beneath where the beam had burnt a hole in the tree he had been standing in front of. But that wasn't the only thing. As her eyes readjusted from the convexity's light, she didn't see just Bane, but a ton of dragons, all hiding in the brush. Nova got off from on top of Spyro, whom was seen clutching his heart, and gasping heavily from the surprise and following adrenaline rush. He was both chuckling and silently swearing under his breath.
"Damnit. Sorry Bane, but you could have announced yourself a little less suddenly." Spyro said, rolling to his feet.
"I've learned me lesson. You should look before you leap."
"It's a weakness, but it's kept me alive sometimes." Spyro said, also letting his eyes adjust by placing a paw over them. When he looked around again, his jaw dropped.
"Did you bring the entire blasted force with you?"
"Nay, just the dragons, and a few human friends." He said. Behind him were what amounted to at least fifty dragons. Beam and Photon were among them. Many Nova had never even spoken to, and some she didn't even know their names. The un-named wind dragoness from the airship from what seemed like ages ago was there. And the most surprising thing was that even Zeus was there. He was the next person to approach Spyro, tail drooped and head hung low.
"I deffer to your leadership. But I just want you to know, these are my people, from my time. If any one of them is harmed because of incompetence, I'll have your head, even if it means my own life. I was chosen because of my power, not because of my knowledge in combat. I've seen my fair shair of fights, but nothing of this scale. My position was not one that I wanted, nor have I done spectacular in it, but like every other leader, I do not want to see the demise of any subjects by my, or anyone else's, claws."
Spyro, amazingly, found new-found respect instantly there for the young dragon. It surprised him, but not nearly as much as the next surprise. A female, of the same hide appeared next to him then, and despite being somewhat attracted to Cynder, Spyro couldn't help but notice that this dragoness was incredibly beautiful.
"You'll have to excuse my brother, mighty one. He can be incredibly arrogant during war times, but it's only because sometimes it's needed to control his subjects and advisers." She said with an air of an Italian accent. Spyro smiled and nodded.
"Hestia. When my brother has other affairs, then I control the various dragon held lands." She said. Unlike her brother, she did exude a faint air of power. Spyro could also detect a much better underlying flow of Convexity, showing a much greater knowledge of the element. As far as Spyro could tell, she was slightly more powerful than himself.
"I still might find a place for you yet." He said. He looked up then, and addressed the group as a whole.
"Listen to me! All of you!" He declared, reminding himself of Ignitus. He had a sudden upwelling of nostalgia, but suppressed it quickly. He knew where those feelings led, "This isn't the final battle, but it is a turning point! For most of this war, we have been on the defensive, always running, always watching our back! Now we have a comrade in there! And I'll be damned if I leave him there! However, for you, this battle isn't about him! It's about you, your families, your children! For the first time ever, we can see a bright spot. For the first time ever, we aren't outnumbered ten to one! For the first time ever, we shall be the ones to go on the defensive! For the first time ever in this war..."
Now every eye was on him, even the members from Alpha squadron. Cynder's eyes shown especially bright in the darkness surrounding them. Behind himself, he could feel the warm rays of the rising sun, and he felt a certain finality as he knew this was a new day, and possibly a new tail...
"We shall be victorious!" And with that phrase, resounding cheers echoed throughout the clearing. In the back, Cynder gave him a warm smile. Something she hadn't done since they had had victory the first time against Malefor. He felt the warmest shiver run from the point of his nose to the very tip of his tail. For some reason, this time, would be different. This time, the plan he had been working on would work.
Cynder smiled as her commander and her mate walked away with Zeus and her sister, as well as Katana, whom had joined them, probably to talk battle plans.
"Now that's the Spyro I know and love."
Ezio woke with a start. However, even after he woke, he wasn't really sure he was awake.
"Hello?" His voice echoed nearly indefinitely into the distance.
"Hello?" Still no response.
"Am I dead?" He asked himself. And this time, a voice responded.
"Oh your not dead. Not yet your not. But by the time I'm done with you, you'll wish you were." Malefor. Of course. This meant his situation was very very bad. Suddenly, a violent hot pain screamed across his back, as if he had been whipped. This was far worse than he imagined though. He didn't feel his skin break, or any blood flow, but it felt as if his bones were on fire, as if his marrow had been turned into molten glass. His muscles felt like they were popping and straining repeatedly, ripping his skin. His blood felt as if it were boiling. The attack left him drained and worn.
"OK, so what do you want?"
"I want Them." Malefor said mysteriously. Spyro and Cynder. More importantly, Nova. Another lance of pain drove across his back, this time slower. The time it took was agony. Then he realized their plan. The new interrogation technics were thought of as state of the art, but he remembered his training now. Far more effective to cause more pain than a man can bare. Not only was the pain going to get worse, but it would also last longer.
"Oh, if you want to tell me, it'll make my job easier, but I know that they'll come to me, just because of you."
"Like I said, good luck." Another shot of pain. They kept coming from different places. There was something missing from this though. Something that made this a Malefor interrogation...
"Actually, they already came, a surprise attack on the same tunnel you used. Spyro and Cynder were able to escape, barely, but that pathetic runt, Nova. Hehe, well, they'll be cleaning up her remains for weeks. Should make good food for my 'Projects' maybe I'll slip a bit into your IV supply."
There it was. Least he was prepared for this one. Now he had to find a flaw, to search the validity of the arguments.
The attack was obvious, Kali and Ezio having used it. He'd also use that, to keep it basic. It could be easily defended, as if a battle were to take place, it would be a fish in a barrel scenario.
However, one thing WAS missing. Why he was still being kept alive. Spyro and Cynder obviously thought him in here. Why keep him when Ezio had the option of breaking out? There were two explanations. One was Malefor really did want something. If he did, then Nova was dead, and he was better off with the same fate. If not, which he had already stated, then he knew they'd be coming.
"I don't believe you."
"Of course not. But you must realize Ezio, where you are, you have no clue. You could be at the core of the planet for all you know, or with my teleporting, anywhere in the universe. You have no way to escape, as you are completely restrained, and we have nothing to do but whittle away the hours while I slowly draw you closer to insanity.
Ezio had to admit, he was right.
He still didn't believe that snake though.
"What makes you think you'll be victorious this time Ezio? Victory has never favored your side."
"Because this time feels different."
Katana took her post on the hill, silently nodding to Ion whom had been watching the quiet fortress. Watch duties were better now with more people helping them. They only lasted for two hours now, and it meant an adequate amount of sleep. She had been watching for the better part of an hour now, dividing the mountainous countryside beneath her into sections. She had surveyed the area before and gathered intel on the ranges, and thus was accurately able to make a guess on how far out she'd have to fly if something threatened them. Her time element couldn't be used to hurt anyone, but she could use it to fly faster than any bullet could.
Suddenly, there was a rustle in the bushes behind her. Slowing time down she whirled on the intruder coming up the hill, but saw that it was only Spyro. Letting her element rest a bit, she let time resume it's course and the purple dragon walk up the hill.
"Try not to cut my head off next time please." He said, smiling and drawing abreast of the smaller female. He sat down at the top of the hill and also surveyed the land.
"You knew." It was not a question.
"I know a lot of things, but only through careful observation and steady firm logic. For instance, I know that earlier today you went out and gathered information on the ranges from our camp to the base of their fortress using your time element. Very ingenious. But what you failed to notice is this: by doing so, you were confident that there were no patrols looking for us." He said, looking out over the hills.
"And there are?" She said, also turning and staring out over the hills.
"Oh yes, but you won't see any of them. You forget our enemies. Shadow dragons have a natural ability too see clearly on all but the darkest of nights. That's how I know." He answered, looking over next to him at the younger female.
"Cynder. And I'll bet you probably got the ranges from Nova too?" She asked, glancing at him as well.
"Naturally. You could have simply asked her. Don't worry, I might not see them either, but I know where every single one has bunked for the night, and I know their ranges. I've also posted Cynder in one of the taller trees. She's set up a counter-intel group of shadow dragons, and they seem most adept at their craft. I already have information on all those new defenses. We're in for one hell of a fight tomorrow." He said, breathing deeply.
"I'm guessing you didn't come up here to reprimand me." Again, not a question.
"Katana, I'm in a bit of a not. On one hand, I want us to win, but on the other hand, I don't want to push Cynder away. There are many dragons whom don't have a leader, and I need someone for them to rally behind. I - "
"You need someone to lead Alpha Squadron. Specifically, me."
"There is no one out there with better qualifications then you. This is something I wouldn't ask of any other person, so I'm more really begging. And I've also begun to trust you." He said, looking up at the moon letting the wind run across his face, and listening to the distant roar of the waves.
The quiet solitude of the early morning pervaded the mist that was hanging in the valley. Not much was alive at this hour, all was sleeping. Up on top of the wall, several sentries patrolled the area, their eyes scanning the ground for any movement. They were well disciplined, and had been told the enemy would be coming, so don't let your guard down.
No guard though could prepare it's mind for the pure shock of looking down though, and suddenly seeing a group of earth dragons drawing back the massive pointed boulder, and slamming it into the front gate.
Brooklyn himself heaved back on the massive stone with his power, and slammed it forwards, beating a crack of daylight through the compound. As the sun rose, so did Spyro, rising to te canopy of the forest, and then propelling himself into the clear air, his wings shining through with golden light, with him were all the dragons whom could control convexity, Cynder, Zeus, and his sister, Hestia. The four acted as a unit, as the group moved forwards, pounding on the energy shield. The shield protecting the top of the compound went down, it's security breached. The earth dragons split the stone open at the front, and Frost, followed by a group of Ice dragons jumped out and froze the hinges on the gates, keeping them open, as the first wave flowed into New Warfang, war cries streaming from their lips.
About this time, the sentries finally got the alarm going, alerting everyone that a battle was at hand. The first group of shadow dragons, including the general in charge were the first to come under combat. It was Spyro's group that met him and quickly snuffed his life out with the combined power of four beams of convexity. The shadow forces had been told it would be a small encounter, with no more than seven or eight dragons. What they found themselves up against was a fully fledged army. Artillery from a ship far off shore was pounding into the area, and Alpha squadron suddenly streamed in overhead, F-35's with flaring gun tips for ground attack blazing in the early morning light. Puffs of dirt rose from the ground as the new AGU-10b Grinder cannons opened up and shattered anything in their path.
At last, Alpha squad reformed, and with Katana in the lead, fed into New Warfang, using a delta formation to spread the enemy apart. Blaze was ripping through swaths of shadow dragons as his plasma darts exploded, acting as rocket propelled grenades. Brooklyn kept close by, using stone to the stomach to push the enemy back and box them up. A particularly large explosion split the ground where a group of shadow dragons had been trying to sneek up on Brooklyn form above, where he couldn't see them. He didn't see the explosion either, but he certainly heard it, and he knew where it came from. Turning and throwing the quickest salute he could he roared to Blaze.
"Thank you brother! I'll keep the swarms off you if you keep the enemies off my back!"
"Deal. Drinks are on the person whom has the least kills." Blaze said back with a smile.
Ion, Frost, and Nova were working in a similar fashion. Nova was blinding the opponents with random strobes of light, protecting her comrades in the same process. Frost would then launch several vollies of Ice along the ground, making it slippery and difficult to walk on, and then ion finished up with a burst of electricity, zapping the dragons until they were dead. Because of the confined spaces, they could only take on three at a time, but because of the confusion they were going through, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Each time Nova heard a sizzle and crackle of energy meant the death of another dragon. Suddenly, almost by accident, Nova spotted a group of heavy cannons on the far ridge. The idea had been to get in through the defenses so the artillery couldn't pound on them.
"Frost! We need to take out the arty on ridge sigma!" Frost stopped for a bit, and peered towards the outer wall. She nodded at Nova, and the three took to the skies, where they were joined by three members from Ariel squadron. Bolts of shadow lanced up at them, but the evading was easy. Suddenly, a chirp pounded in Nova's ear.
"Mistress of light! We need you to guide our bombs in! We can take them all out in one blow!" It was the radio from one of Ariel squad.
"Roger that Ariel unknown, laz going up in three.. two.." Nova flared her wings then, and pointed her palm at the center of the artillery group. She saw three bombs from the jets drop, and lance ahead of the target, glide fins keeping them in line. The jets broke away, and spiraled upwards, powerful engines keeping them aloft. Nova could also see out of the corners of her eye Frost and Ion keeping enemies off her back, while she kept the laser steady. At last, the bright flash and cloud of gas erupted from the bombs as the flew over their target. The gas ignited and went up in a huge fireball, and Nova could feel the concussive blast.
And through all this, not one of them couldn't help but be inspired. Katana knew how to fight, but not only that, she knew how to look good doing it. No shadow dragon could even bring up a defense against her, and when they encountered her, she always used a different fighting tactic than before, to keep her enemies guessing. One moment, she was slamming her hardened elbow into a dragons chin, sending him flying head over heels, never to rise again, and another, she would jump up, using her element to speed her forwards, and then turn and lance back down, exceeding super-luminous velocities, and flying into the dirt, using her body as a massive artillery shell. There was one point where Nova saw her take on a group of five shadow dragons, and take them all down without ever being seen.
She was so good that after this battle, shadow force lieutenants would refer to her as the Phantom...
And as thus, Alpha squadron pushed forwards as one. They knew their objective. Earlier this morning, before the sun had risen, a shadow dragon from Cynder's group had returned with news that Ezio was still alive, and he knew where they were keeping him and Kali. Spyro himself had given the order to each of Alpha Squadrons members. And this time, they reached it.
"Were at the Door Katana! Stop being a bad-ass! We've reached phase line beta!" Katana was at Nova's side instantly, lancing out to hit an enemy, then returning, keeping the shadow force off of their back. When she spoke, her voice was calm.
"Blaze, set for breach, left side stack, go. Brooklyn, Nova, you're point." Nova and Brooklyn stationed themselves in front of the huge stone slab, and Blaze, using one of his plasma darts pushed into the wall, shattered it, leaving the way clear. The group rushed inside then, and Brooklyn used his stone powers to close off the gap.
And suddenly, all was quiet...
"Man, took you guys long enough." The group turned to find Spyro leaning against a nearby wall, smiling, with Cynder next to him of course. A smoking hole had been formed in the ground, where Spyro had used his earth powers to breach. The inside was a stark white, in high contrast to the exterior rocky wall. It seemed more like a lab, till Katana spotted the strangely twisted instruments lined neatly along the wall. The torture lab sent a chill up her spine.
"Come on, lets move. Alpha squad, standard urban procedure." It didn't take long for them to realize how massive the place was. There was room for the largest of creatures, all the way down to the tiniest manweresmall, and every type of device for torturing available. At last, they reached point where one of them shouted out.
"I have it! Prisoner Alpha and Beta! Scheduled for termination, maximum power! This is them!" It was Frost, in roughly the center of the facility. When they had all gathered everyone, Blaze drew out another plasma dagger.
"Hang on Blaze. Katana, what if we're walking into a trap?" Cynder said suddenly, "To be honest,t his seemed to easy. And if I know Malefor, he'd probably use Ezio as bait."
"Trap or not, we still have to do it!" Nova said suddenly, "I'm tired of waiting, this has got to be done, and done now."
And with that, she flung her weight against the door, and it fell easily, with broken hinges. The room inside was different from all the others. The center was made up of a massive bowl with a ceiling higher than the outer ring, which had glass in front of it for viewing. The outer ring went all the way around, but a smaller room was on the far side. It looked like a small control room. There was another door, made of glass, directly opposite them, for accessing the bowl. Nova ran forwards, flinging herself into the door. IT didn't break, but it flew outwards with a bang.
And the Ezio and Kali were chained to the floor, one right next to the other. Nova ran up to Ezio first. The two were wearing small cloth bags on their heads, but they conformed tightly to the face and skull, showing every detail. Nova ripped the bag off, and Ezio gasped suddenly, his eyes snapping open. There was no pupil in his eyes, but rather just all iris, as if his eyes had glassed over. The dragon closed his eyes, shook his head, and opened them again, and he was fine. He could see everything, but he saw the dragoness in front of himself most clearly. She leaned upwards, and kissed him lightly, stroking the back of his head, but he broke the embrace quickly.
"Get that thing off Kali now. It's pain beyond words. And then get us out of these chains." Nova ripped the hood off Kali, whom reacted similarly to Ezio, a gasp of breath, and then shaking off the effects.
"Man, that was worse than last time..." She muttered to herself.
"Whats it like?" Nova asked curiously.
"Forget that, Malefor's here. Nova, get me out of these chains, I can't fight like this." He said quietly, almost in a whisper. The chains didn't take long to come off, on both Ezio or Kali. Nova turned towards the exit to lead them out...
Except there was no exit...
The glass had been tinted on the outside, so they couldn't see in. Nova didn't remember it being tinted when she came in. She took one step forwards, and then a bright red dot appeared on the ground, and moved, quivering, upto her chest. Then another, and another. Soon hundreds were on her, in various places. She turned to Ezio, whom had similar dots all over him. Kali was of the same likeness.
Ezio didn't hesitate, he grabbed Kali by the legs, jumped, and tackled both females at the same time, throwing a vertical convexity shield up in one direction, and another slanted over them. The sudden wall of rapid fire bullets pounded on his shield, making his already low energy wan to a point where the energy shield flickered but came back up. The ricocheting bullets absolutely destroyed the surrounding glass, Spyro was also holding a convexity shield up, defending Alpha squad. Cynder had even layered a shield beneath his. The glass on the control room had also been destroyed, and Ezio saw a purple tail that was all too familiar slip from the room. There was a loud clang, and blast shields went up all around them, containing them inside the room.
"Spyro, help, we need out!" Nova cried out to the group above as Ezio's shields dimmed more and more. Nova felt something wet, and looked down to find that she was hit through the ankle. Ezio however, had been hit in his gut, right by his leg. His muscles were twitching violently. The bullets were still leading up on their relentless barrage.
"Hang on Nova, were trapped! We can't use our elements on these walls, it's just absorbed! Katana and Brooklyn are working on it!" He said over his radio, then he re-tuned it and spoke into it again.
"All units, this is Leadership. Primary enemy has arrived, all units are ordered to retreat. Ariel squad, we are under heavy firepower, requesting close air support. Follow the emergency beacon!" The response was fuzzy.
"Roger that lead, ariel does respond, we are in retreat, coming to cover your escape vector." There was a massive BOOM, and Nova saw the walls shudder, taking the weight of whatever ordinance was being thrown against it. Another boom followed, then another. The light dragoness looked up too see Katan take a mighty swing, and then the wall of metal cracked. There was a final boom, and the two dragons were thrown backwards, as the wall bent outwards, both picked themselves up. Both looked like they were hurt.
A final explosion reported, and a chunk of the wall flew outwards, impacting on Ezio's shield in the center. With that, the dragon collapsed, and the shield died. The piece of metal though had actually flown over them in an incredible bit of luck, and the bullets were ricocheting off the outside, making the din inside rather loud. Nova grabbed Kali by the tail, whom had been trying to stay inside Ezio's shield, and pulled.
"I need help moving this thing!" She said. The two dragonesses heaved themselves against the slab, and it inched forwards. As it moved more and more, it became easier and easier. Finally, a convexity shield was seen passing through the inside, and when they were on the other side, , Nova turned upwards, and punched with all her strength, and the dome lifted enough for a green claw to grab underneath and lift even higher. Nova dragged Ezio out, and Kali followed. Everyone else except for Spyro and Brooklyn were gone, the others having gone through the breech.
"We gotta move! Go guys, get out!" Spyro fed a bit more energy into the shield to keep it up longer and then jumped through after everyone else, jumping to the side as well. As soon as he was out, the bullets stopped flying.
The group ran back to the entrance, Spyro shouting into his mic all the way, giving orders. Nova was supporting Ezio, with the help of Kali and Frost, whom was trying to patch him up.
"God it seems like I just trade one type of bad luck for another!" He said, as they rounded the final corner and came t the blast door Brooklyn had thrown up.
"Got it! That should do Ezio. Try and keep weight off of it!" She said as Brooklyn lowered the earthen shield, exposing them to the elements.
Of course though, Malefor was waiting.
"Took you people long enough!" He said, exposing the burnished steal of a spearhead..."
"Damnit Ezio, you just had to go and open your mouth, didn't you?" Nova whispered in his ear...