31 Jan

I plummeted into the water before I even knew what hit me. In shock I struggled for a breath, water infiltrating my lungs where the sweet relief of air should have been. 

I kicked my way to the surface, heaving. 

What just happened?!

Leesa, and Rak were further down the beach, unable to have hit me. 

Above, I could see several winged bodies flying towards us at an alarming speed. One of which I was all too painfully familiar with. 

I activated my ability into its second state and blasted myself towards my two friends right as ten tons of Tokar came crashing into the water. I just narrowly avoided getting hit; instead crashing into Rak and Leesa, us all rolling into the grass right off the shore. 

“What is your problem man?!” Rak exclaimed.

“Did you slip and knock your brain around or something?” Leesa chimed in.

“Enemies, above, now!” is all I could muster, but they seemed to get the jist. My cheek throbbed in pain as I watched each of their elemental tattoos given to them by Hope light up, activating their abilities. 

Leesa summoned a whip and giant shield made out of the plant-life from the lake while Rak dove into the water. There was a brief moment of silence as Leesa and I braced ourselves; Tokar bashed through Leesa’s defense as if it was nothing. Before we could get a chance to think, a whip made out of stone flew past my face and hit Leesa across the shoulder. On instinct, I summoned a column of flames and fired it right where the whip came from. The man behind it narrowly dodged my attack, retracting the strange weapon into his hand as he did so. 

Tokar swung at my head with his massive stone fist and I ducked, rolling forward away from him and towards the man with a whip. Leesa stole his attention away by grappling his shoulder in the barbs of her vine whip and yanking him towards her, braced to the ground with roots she controlled at her whim.

“Not bad! You at least seem like you’ll be a challenge,” the Pouli killer said, landing gracefully in front of me.

I sent another fire blast towards him but this time with as much power as I could muster. The blaze at point blank was seemingly unexpected and unavoidable, sending the bastard flying. The Pouli’s wings lit on fire in the process. He forced them down, trying to gain some altitude and distance from me, but the feathers spread the fire like dry grass. His eyes bulged in alarm and he shrieked. 

Good. Be afraid.

I ran towards him, lighting my fist ablaze and punching the man straight in the jaw. He hit the ground and didn’t get back up, even as the fire spread across his flesh.

“Who else wants some you fucking cowards!” I screamed at them, adrenaline coursing through my veins.

A punch from nowhere hit me in the gut; I ignited my fists and spun around catching air with my first swing. I whipped my head from side to side, but my opponent was gone.

Had there even been an opponent? Was that a ranged attack?

Gravel crunched behind me as another fist wedged itself in my back. Clearly it was a fist, but when I swung again, they weren’t there. I groaned; I thought I heard a crack on that last blow. The sharp pain that throbbed with my heartbeat made me think the bastard cracked a rib. 


The gravel crunched again, but this time I paid more attention to it; as best as I could with all the chaos around me. I swung and made a near miss with something invisible- it must be this pouli’s power. Invisibility.

I waited a second but the person didn’t go in for a blow that time. I must’ve scared him. 

There was only one way I could think to fight something I couldn’t see. I’d just have to make them visible again.

Once I heard the gravel crunching nearby me again, I spun around, blasting fire from my palms in a circle of destruction around me. I chuckled at their agonized scream as the silhouette of a person caught the flames. 


Two punches; one to the stomach and another in the throat sent them to the ground. Then I proceeded to stomp on them several times for good measure before throwing them into the water, both extinguishing the flame and leaving their survival up to chance. 

Before I could turn around, my body clenched up involuntarily. I couldn’t move an inch. 

What was happening to me?

“It's one of the enemies! They have gotten a hold of your shadow, I’ve seen her use it before!” I heard Leesa yell to my left, but I was unable to look towards her. 

“You're mine now, little dragon.” A low, gravelly female voice cackled. 

I felt phantom fingers brush up against the back of my neck and shivered. Shivered, despite the warmth of my flames.


“Now. Be a good boy and do what dragons do: burn them all.” 

My stomach sank with dread as I began spitting flames toward Leesa, who barely managed to move out of the way with the help of her wings. My unrelenting flames caught Tokar in the struggle, his stone surface cracking just slightly at its intensity. His attention whipped my way, but not directly at me. He gritted his teeth in annoyance. “SHOA!!!” He screamed.

“Oops,” she said cheekily.

All the while, I was unable to stop from breathing fire. I felt the phantom hand direct my aim back towards Leesa, who flew in my direction. I thought I was seriously going to get my friend burned, charred to a crisp, yet I was powerless.

Leesa moved faster than my flames could be redirected. I watched as Leesa swooped down and kicked Shoa in the face, Shoa in return grabbing Leesa’s leg and slamming her down and knocking the wind out of her with a single stomp to the chest. I gasped as her grip on me released; I closed my mouth and fell to my knees for just a moment. 

The next moment seemed to move in slow motion. Even though my body remained on the gravel by the shore, I seemed to get a scope of every inch of this conflict. Shoa continued to wail on Leesa, and Tokar, who’d finally regained his composure, now rushed in my direction. Meanwhile, Rak-li underneath the waves weaved and dodged the attacks from two more pouli assailants. 


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