Chapter 1: Welcome to the World of Dragonoids Part IV
When Ash opened his eyes, he was no longer in the bedroom but in an empty plane that only consisted of fire and stars that clouded the night sky.
“Ahhhh!” Ash screamed as it was a gut reaction that only he seemed to have as the rest of Squad S gave him distant stares.
“Ash, it’s ok. The fire won’t burn you.” Scott reassured him.
H-He’s right. Ash took a deep breath as he noticed that the flames were hot, but for some reason, they carried a soothing warmth. Looks can be deceiving. “Weird. How did you guys all know that?”
“Because, unlike you, we actually listened to the teacher. Now can you shut up the ritual isn’t over.” Lissandra then bowed her head, and the others except Ash followed until Baron pulled him down.
Ash had no clue why they were bowing, but soon enough, a figure appeared from the fire. A woman of exquisite beauty, hair of burgundy, neatly coiled with a crown upon her head. Ash knew right away that was the Queen. Only she had such a radiating aura that made the hellish landscape seem like a winter wonderland. Though her emerald eyes had a certain familiarity to them as she looked over the entire squad.
Wait, she was telling the truth? Ash glanced at Lissandra, who glared at him with her own emerald eyes. Yup that confirms it they’re related.
“So this is your squad?” The Queen said, locking eyes with Lissandra. “It suits you. Hmm, and it seems you have a Halfbreed among you.” She chuckled. “I wonder what position he will have. Now, what role will you each perform?”
Roles? Ash wanted to ask, but even he knew not to speak unless spoken to in front of the Queen, so instead, he kept the question to himself as Baron kneeled. Somehow watching the big guy kneel to the Queen looked like something out of a fairytale, and sure enough, when he spoke, it sounded like one too.
“I, Baron Steelwing, will be the Support of the squad. I will assist and protect them with my life.” Baron said as ruby scales began to proliferate his arms, ripping through his tight school uniform. His silver eyes sharpened, and thick dragon horns grew from his skull.
The Queen looked around, waiting for an objection. Yet when none came, she held out her hand over him, and a white flame showered Baron, who didn’t move a muscle. Once done, a tattoo of a dragon skull appeared on his cheek right under his eye.
“Well done, my child. Very resilient.” The Queen clapped once. “Now, who wants the position of Scout?”
This time Scott kneeled, following Baron’s example, but as he entered his Draconic state, he only grew small horns. There wasn’t any other real change besides the fact he had to cover his blue eyes with his trusty goggles.
“I, Scott Sightsear, will be the Scout of the Squad. Foreseeing the dangers ahead, promising to find a safe path for my friends to travel even at the cost of my life.”
“Well said my child. You must really care for them to say that in Delakai’s Domain.” The Queen held her hand over Scott, who was slightly embarrassed by the words he had said. But he meant them, and the Queen knew it too since the white fire deemed not to turn him to dust. Instead, it left him with the same tattoo as Baron’s.
“Now, who will become the Specialist?” The Queen said, hoping for something to happen, yet Alexis was the only one who kneeled beside Scott.
“I, Alexis Sparkfang, will be the squad's Specialist.”
“You do know you must be able to use your element for this role.”
Alexis took off her hood, revealing her unkempt blond hair, and took a deep breath. In a flash, she entered her Draconic state, her teeth sharpened, and her amber eyes narrowed as jagged horns grew from her head.
Alexis gave them all a wildish grin as she could finally release the sparks hidden behind her fangs. Aimed upward, she breathed a long stream of fire, and with a backflip, she spat out a series of fireballs, each exploding like fireworks until she landed back in a kneeled stance. With her hood somehow managing to return and cover her head.
“Well done,” The Queen clapped, slightly amused by the performance. “Well done. You are most worthy of this position. I’m glad you still manage to live up to your family’s name Ms. Sparkfang.”
Alexis bit her tongue at the sound of that, but with her facing downward, no one but the Queen herself noticed. Which only made her chuckle as Alexis was engulfed in the white fire, gaining the same insignia as her squad. The Queen, no longer able to contain herself had a devilish idea. Knowing her daughter and feeling the tension in the air, she skipped the role of Vanguard and asked.
“Now. Who wants the role of Leader?”
Ash’s ears perked up. He may have been a Human, but if he could lead the squad, he’d be able to show off what a person without the blessing of Dragons could do. That Humans were more than they appeared. And most of all, he was definitely not going to let that loud-mouthed Princess be in charge. That would be the worst outcome. This may end up in a fight, but I’d only regret it later if I let her lead.
Almost like it was planned, Lissandra and Ash both kneeled, declaring their desire for the daunting task of leading a team as they said: “I do.”
“Oh my!" The Queen gasped. "We can’t have two leaders, now can we?”
“What do you think you’re doing Halfbreed?” Lissandra said with her head bowed, but Ash still felt her glare.
“I’m making sure I don’t have to deal with your crap for the rest of the school year. Can’t have you stepping all over me.”
“Ha! You know what, actually, I’m glad you did this because I can finally put you in your place.”
Ash may not have paid attention to the academy’s policies and whatnot, but he knew how things worked in the Kingdom. He still had that morning’s exciting show burned in his mind. Disputes are settled with a contest of strength, the oldest in the book. And he, believe it or not, was strong.
Everyone was taken aback by the Queen’s sudden fit of laughter.
“To think my own daughter would be challenged by a Halfbreed, you really are a disgrace.”
Wow, mean mom. Ash thought. Almost makes me feel bad for her. Almost.
The Queen clapped her hands, and the room changed to that of a gladiatorial arena with a wide-open center surrounded by seats for an audience. It was almost like watching a movie if you were a non-combatant.
Standing in between Ash and Lissandra, the Queen asked. “What weapon would you like, my child?”
At first, Ash thought she was referring to Lissandra but seeing the Queen’s eyes narrow, he had a feeling it was him. “Your child?”
“All those born within my Kingdom is my child, even Halfbreeds such as yourself. After all, a mother must take care of even the ugliest of ducklings. Now ask me for your arms. Both of you.”
“I already have my weapon.” Lissandra’s eyes narrowed, and the air around her made Ash sweat.
If she thinks she’ll beat me with just that. I can’t wait to drag her down from those clouds. “A sword and shield, preferably with fire resistance,” Ash said just in case Lissandra was planning something.
“Good choice.” The Queen snapped her fingers, and Ash was immediately engulfed in fire that quickly passed, adorning him with an iron sword and shield.
“Now the rules are simple you fight until one yields or is incapable of continuing. Do not worry about leaving lasting injuries as I’m sure you know by now this is a different plane of existence as such, no real harm will come to you physically.”
Ash did not like the sound of that. “What about mental damage?”
The Queen gave a devilish grin. “Well, I’d suggest you give up before you die.”
In a blaze of fire, the Queen joined the rest of Squad S in the audience, where the three seemed to have mixed feelings about the fight about to take place…. Ok, let’s be real, only Scott had mixed feelings.
“Do they really have to fight? Why can’t we just get along.” Scott said as he nervously shifted in his seat.
Alexis shrugged her shoulders. “It’s better they get this out of their system now rather than later.”
“But, but, but—”
“Hey Baron, want to continue that bet from earlier.” Alexis held out two golden dragon coins. “I got fifty gold on Ash getting knocked out in the first minute.”
Baron thought for a moment as Alexis played around with the change. “Hmm, sure, I’ll take that bet. He’ll definitely last at least three minutes.”
Baron and Alexis shook hands as she sort of felt bad for stealing from him. But Baron wasn’t known for his smarts. “So, what makes you think he’ll last that long?”
“Lissandra will probably toy with him.”
“Fuuuck. Can I change my bet?”
“Nope. We already shook hands.”
“Did I hear betting?” The Queen said, appearing in a seat behind them.
They both stared at the Queen in silence. Scott sighed in relief. Finally, a voice of reason—
“I’ll double your wagers for the Halfbreed to last five minutes total.”
“Oh you’re on!” Alexis said, regaining her spark. “Kick his ass Lissandra!”
Baron smiled wryly, unsure how the Queen got involved, while Scott slumped in defeat. It seemed that everyone expected Ash to lose in the bout, all except Ash himself.
Scratching his head at Alexis’s outburst, Ash spoke. “So when can we start—”
Ash lost sight of Lissandra then felt the wind get knocked out of him as he skidded against the ground, stopping face first. “Ch-cheap shot.”
“All’s fair in a battle, Halfbreed. I thought you’d at least know that, but alas, guess I have to teach you.” Lissandra slowly walked towards Ash, who struggled to stand. She didn't even need to take off her cloak to beat him.
Ash looked up from the ground as she reached down at him. He swung his sword, only for it to be snatched away and tossed to the side.
“Pathetic,” Lissandra said, lifting Ash with one hand. Her jet-black hair now ignited into a blazing red as horns grew from her head, resembling a crown. “To think you thought you had a chance.”
Ash’s dark amethyst eyes stared down at her in defiance. His will still unbroken by Lissandra’s display of force, yet it only added fuel to her fire.
“Tch! You can still look at me like that!” Lissandra dropped Ash. And with a kick to his chest, feeling his insides ripple, she sent him flying into the arena wall, cracking it.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Ash was part Dragon, he’d have already been down for the count, but no matter how much he called himself a “Human,” he still had draconic ancestry. True humans were a thing of the past.
Ash knew that, yet he hated being called a Halfbreed as if he was somehow a lesser creature. Something the world reminded him as he could never leave the walls, as he was stuck to a certain strata where only his parents treated him like he was a Dragonoid.
Once more, Ash was lifted by Lissandra. But that time, Ash felt the searing heat against his cheeks, forcing his eyes open.
“Halfbreed. Say it with me. You are half of what you should have been. Which is no fault of your own. You should curse the parents who brought you into this world. Now say it!”
Ash gazed into Lissandra’s rage-filled eyes as she let her inner dragon take control. Her hair like charcoal now a blazing scarlet, black round irises now daggers, and worst of all, her once beautiful smile now twisted as she adorned a crown of bone.
Sure these things had happened all day, but Ash had never truly looked at her since the café. Then a thought occurred to him… that was probably the first date he ever had, and it was with a girl he hated. Ash couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it.
“What’ssss sssso funny?” Lissandra said, unable to control her lisp.
Ash smiled at how easy it was to shake her up. “I take back what I said from earlier. You really are a weak girl.”
Ash braced himself and flung his head against hers. The sound reverberated through the arena over the crackling of flames. Blood ran down from both of their foreheads, making Ash the first to draw blood in the conflict.
Lissandra let him go backing away while she gripped her head. “H-How hard is your head?”
“The old man always said I didn’t listen.” I’m just lucky she didn’t have scales, or else I’d be unconscious right now. Ash noticed her presence shift, almost like she had lost her Draconic state. That was his chance as he heard a loud noise come from the stands.
Rip Alexis. Ash thought as he ran and grabbed his sword. Just in time too, as Lissandra’s hair reignited the moment she regained her Draconic form.
“Do you think that you’ll win with that!”
Again Lissandra appeared in front of Ash, but that time, she was a little slower as he raised his shield, blocking the blow then countering with a slash that grazed her stomach. Lissandra jumped back, searing her wound shut as she bit her tongue.
“What, you scared?” Ash taunted.
“As if I’d ever be scared of you.”
Ash, feeling the blood drip down from his head, somehow felt lighter as he finally got used to the weight of his weapons. His parents always stopped the conflict the moment blood was drawn, as that was a sign they were going too far. Even though Ash insisted on continuing, they always stopped without fail, but no one stopped him this time.
A wide smile plastered across Ash’s face. His teeth weren’t sharp, nor did his irises lose their round shape, yet the darkness behind his amethyst eyes grew.
Lissandra watched as Ash got into some weird self-taught stance that left many openings but without a weapon of her own, she could barely exploit them. Especially with her vision slightly blurred. How is he still standing fine after that? Lissandra shook her head. Guess I have no choice.
Lissandra threw off her cloak and ripped open the top of her uniform, showcasing some of her cleavage where the marking of a dragon’s skull was tattoed. She placed her hand over it, saying the words: “Purify my foes, Ignis!”
Ash watched as fire gathered around Lissandra, taking it from their surroundings. To think she can still do that, what a scary princess. And as his thought finished, Lissandra pulled a long jagged sword made of obsidian out of her chest. It glowed an emerald light akin to her eyes.
“Now, I’ll show you why you’re meant to obey.” Lissandra dashed forward once more and even telegraphed her attack the same way. Ash didn’t like it but raised his shield anyway, only for Lissandra to smile as she hopped back, swinging her blade from a distance.
What is she—
The blade broke apart, connected together like chains, and wrapped around Ash’s shield. Its green glow was now red, then Lissandra tugged, ripping the shield away from him.
“Wyvernshit!” Ash said as the whip-like blade almost took his arm with the shield. “How is that fair?”
“Ahahaha, did you really think you could hide behind your shield the whole time!”
She’s right, but at least I’m a little bit lighter. Ash’s eyes started to blur as his concentration broke, forcing him to shake his head. Now’s not the time to worry about her tricks.
When Ash looked back, he felt her radiance before he could see her. Instinctively slashing his blade in her direction. With a clang, their blades locked.
“What the hell is that? How!”
“Right back at you, Princesss.”
There they continued to trade blows, to the amazement of the audience. Where most expected Ash to fall immediately, he still stood there beyond the five-minute mark. They tried to make sense of how he could stand up even after the cuts and possible broken bones, but no one had an answer. Not even Ash himself, who seemed to be just going with the flow of his body. It screamed at him, telling him more, fight more, keep going, don’t stop. The Queen was the only one who saw it and smiled with interest at the Halfbreed.
“Hah… hah… hah… had enough, Princesss.”
“Hah… hah… hah… as if. I’m just getting started.”
Lissandra disappeared once more, but Ash knew she would come from behind him. He met her blade, and chips from his sword flew in his direction, cutting his cheek.
“You don’t even have a Draconic state, so how?” Lissandra said, drawing her face closer to Ash within the deadlock. “How is a Halfbreed like you still fighting!”
“You’re asking the wrong person, Princesss,” Ash said, smiling as he felt his body losing steam. “But I can say this. I’m not a Halfbreed.”
“I’m not calling you a Human.”
“I’m not that either.”
“Then what? And don’t say you don’t know!”
Ash started to laugh. “No it’s nothing like that. I just realized I’m a Dragonoid like you. I just don’t have a Dragon form.”
“…” Lissandra backed off, and fire gathered from the arena flowing into Ignis, igniting it to life just like Lissandra’s hair. “That’s the same thing as being a Halfbreed!”
Ash watched how Lissandra controlled the flames and how the fire took the shape of a twinkling star. It was amazing. How was he ever going to stand up to something like that? Ash could only chuckle at the unfairness of the world. Yet something’s been on his mind for a while since his second wind, and it wasn’t the fact that he somehow fought better through injury but rather the amount of fun he was having.
Ever since Ash had met Lissandra, it’s been a blast. Sure they argued a lot, but if it was anything but entertaining to butt heads with someone, he’d be a liar. Honestly, racism aside, Ash couldn’t think of someone else he’d rather hang out with. To the point, he laughed at how this was only his first day of school.
Ash got into his makeshift sword stance with his trusty chipped blade that he felt would break with the next attack. Where anyone would be scared to go against a towering flaming sword with nothing but a dull blade not even made of steel. Ash could only get excited, knowing he had to make it flashy. Mom. Dad. I’ll be alright. Especially if she leads me. Though I won’t make it easy!
“Lissandra!” Ash called out over her roaring flame.
“What the hell do you want!” Lissandra called back as her blade had almost finished charging. If it wasn’t for the plane being made of fire, she probably would have lost, but—No, she wouldn’t have lost. She would never lose to a filthy Human. Never again. Ignis was proof of that. Her pact to never be fooled again.
“After I win. Let's do this again sometime. Ok.” Ash smiled but not the one filled with darkness or the one he gave his friends at school, but the one he had whenever he gave the old man a piece of his mind for using up all of the hot water!
“Ash!” Lissandra created a crater as she charged him with her flaming blade.
Ash closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then opened them. His eyes shined a bright violet losing the shadow that once covered them. There the Queen saw it, the ripple he made to the domain itself as his shadow rolled into his blade.
And when their swords—their wills—collided, Ash received a vision. One that was not his own. It was a moment in time but what happened felt like an eternity. Yeah, I’m not Human but rather a Dragonoid, so you don’t have to worry, Princesss.
His blade snapped like a twig, and Ash did the only thing he could do before dying.
“I yield,” Ash said with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes mimicking Lissandra’s.
In an instant, the plane shifted back to the way it was before the fighting. Lissandra and Ash were both restored back to their prime as if the fight had never occurred.
“It looks like the winner is my daughter. Took you a bit longer than expected.”
Alexis high-fived Baron since no one had to give up money.
“But you won, so that’s all that matters... Lissandra?”
Lissandra paid the Queen no mind as she wiped her eyes and glared at Ash. To which he could only return the stare.
“I’m sorry for not meeting your expectations,” Lissandra answered, waiting for the blessing.
“Oh, no kneel?” The Queen raised an eyebrow. If it wasn’t for the fact that she was in a particularly good mood from their show, she would have disciplined that ungrateful child right there, but alas, she was at that age.
Lissandra dropped to one knee and received the origin fire’s blessing.
“And you, Halfbreed, come here and receive the last role.”
“Which is?” Ash said, kneeling.
“The Vanguard, you’ll be in charge of forging the squad's path or die trying.”
“Sounds like cannon fodder….” Ash said, rethinking the whole trusting Lissandra to lead him thing.
“Almost like it was made for you.” Lissandra laughed.
“Want to go again, Lissandra?”
“I’ll fight you any time Ash.”
“Could you guys please not fight anymore,” Scott cried.
“I got dibs on Liz winning,” Alexis said, jingling a bag of coins. “Baron, how much you putting down.”
Baron shook his head. “Why do you always drag me into this.”
The Queen stared at the rambunctious group and decided that the unruly team truly suited her third-rate daughter. And with a wave of her hand, Ash was engulfed by a white fire that seemed to tint as it left him, giving him a tattoo like the others. Of course, only the Queen noticed the fire’s change in hue. Where she smiled in anticipation for the things to come.
“Now that your squad has all the roles granted. I shall bid you all farewell.” The Queen turned around to leave, but a sudden feeling came over her as she glanced at her spawn. There she wore a fiendish smile more ferocious than Lissandra’s and more deranged than Ash’s as she said something to sate her inner desires. “Oh, and Lissandra. Try not to get your subordinates killed this time.”
The Queen then snapped her fingers, and like that, Squad S was back in their dorm room.
Please log in to leave a comment.