~Chapter 45~ Final
“My tears!” you shouted at the top of your lungs when Mathias handed over his cape to your dragon and you gave his brother one of your layers.
“All those hours I spent mourning for you! All of those tears wept and swollen eyes and fits of hiccups! Give them back! I almost went mad, damn you! Give them all back, I said!”
Emil blushed and shied away behind his cape. Lukas, on the other hand, stepped in front of his little brother to defend the both of them from your onslaught of meanderings and punches.
“_____________, you have to understand that if my brother’s body didn’t expire—Hey! Stop that! I mean it! Don’t make me do something drastic!”
“You’re the worst!” you screeched and continued to pummel the How-Dare-He-Lie-To-You Sucker Dragon Dung Fish-Face over and over again. All the while, the other dragons were watching in mild amusement.
Emil tried to step in and hold you back. “______________, calm down. I didn’t mean to make you so upset!”
“You, too!” you snarled. “Both of you! You are both terrible dragons!”
You jabbed a finger at Lukas. “I thought that maybe if you stayed in my heart all of this time, you would have picked up a few things from your brother, but I was wrong! You’re still the stinking, rude, no-good liar you always were!”
Lukas clicked his tongue in irritation. “Mathias are you going to just stand there? Do something!”
“I don’t see any problem,” Mathias replied. It was hard to tell if he was serious or not.
“Useless fool!” Lukas spat.
“I can’t believe you two did that to me!” you hiccupped. “I thought that Emil was really…”
A delicate finger reached up to your cheek and brushed a tear away.
“_____________,” Emil murmured, “I’m sorry I had to do that, but I knew that if my brother and I didn’t convince you that I was dead, then you wouldn’t have allowed my soul to rest. It was necessary in order for the shadow to be completely wiped clean of existence.”
“That doesn’t make any sense!” you wailed. “Nothing makes sense! I thought you died! I thought both of you had died! Damn it all! Do you think it’s funny to make me cry?!”
“No!” the dragons both answered in unison.
You cursed and wiped away your remaining tears with your sleeve. “I’m not going to forgive you guys, you hear me? Thanks to you, I’ve been taken from my home, nearly eaten several times, killed on more occasions than I can account for…! And the tears! How many times have you made me cry?! Have you ever thought about how I felt?!”
Emil bowed his head to the ground. “Many times, _____________,” he quietly confessed. “I’m aware that I’ve been selfish several times since my brother and I took you from the castle. Yet, all the same, I do not regret choosing you as my vessel in the slightest.”
Lukas sighed and crossed his arms. “Nor do I, ____________.”
“Insensitive morons,” you grumbled.
“On another topic, didn’t we say we were going to ask my brother about that, ___________?”
You flinched. “N-No! What in Eliatha could you possibly be talking about, Emil? I never said I wanted to ask Lukas anything!”
Lukas raised an eyebrow. “What’s this all about?”
Emil chuckled. “It wasn’t exactly me who was travelling with _____________ after you died, but I distinctly remember my projection touching on a topic I think you would find quite interesting.”
“Really?” Lukas responded looking less than interested. “Care to enlighten me?”
“Well, my projection asked about whether or not ___________, here, might have considered being in lo—”
“Don’t say another word!” you quickly snapped and smashed your hands onto your dragon’s lips.
“Aw, but I wanted to know what it was!” Mathias whined from behind you.
“There’s nothing worth hearing!” you told him, your face feeling hotter even more than when you had been bathing in the hot springs.
“Actually, I really do want to know what it was you were talking about now,” Lukas said peering into your eyes and trying to break down your defenses.
Emil tried to speak, but your hands held fast onto his mouth.
“I hate to interrupt your reunion, but I think the rest of us have something to say,” one of the dragons spoke. Immediately after hearing that, you took your hands away from Emil who had silenced his voice to allow the dragon to speak.
“Dragonheart,” the dragon began, “in the time we have been inside your heart, we have all been made aware of the remarkable purity, courage, and love the humans are capable of expressing. Your achievements and determination have touched us all in ways that we are not able to describe, but all the same, we feel that it is only necessary that we thank you for everything you have done and opening our hearts to a different side of humans.”
The dragon turned to Lukas.
“Of course, even though your heart has touched us all, not everyone will be willing to admit it aloud. I speak for all of us, Dragonheart. I speak for all of the dragons you had saved.” Then, the dragon bowed its magnificently scaled head to the ground. The rest of the dragons—including Lukas, Emil, and Mathias—did the same.
“Oh…” you blushed. “That’s, um…very…”
What am I supposed to say? These are dragons, not humans!
“You’d be surprised at how much the dragons have opened up to accepting humans because of you.”
Emil! you gasped.
“Just a simple ‘You’re welcome’ will do, _____________.”
“Y-You’re v-very wel—! You’re very welcome!”
“You are granted an audience with perhaps every dragon in Eliatha, and that’s the best you can do?” Lukas groaned as the dragons rose.
You made a face. “Oh, really? Th-Then…why don’t you try telling me what the whole point of that kiss was right before you died? Was that really necessary to pass the flames over to me? And why not? Let’s spice it up by telling everyone since they’re here!”
Lukas froze. The color began to rise to his usually pale cheeks. The only thing that was visibly moving was his pair of sapphire blue eyes. They looked much better being back in his head.
“Well, you see, the reason I had to do that was because an instinctual urge compelled me to be gravitated towards your presence, ____________, and by the time I realized what was going on, you had your lips sealed on mine and—”
“You liar!” you shouted. “That’s not what happened! You told me to get closer to you, and you even held on to the back of my head!”
“Lukas kissed _____________?” Mathias piped up.
Emil buried his face into his hand. “Actually, Lukas, you were the one who kissed ____________. Her memories do not lie.”
His brother cursed. “You’re not getting anything out of me.”
You narrowed your eyes. “Would you like to test me on that?” you growled. “Don’t forget what I can do to you, Lukas.”
The dragon’s sapphire blue eyes glimmered with a mysterious light. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“You want to try me?”
“Stop it!” Emil cried stepping in the two of you before you went at each other’s throats. “This relationship isn’t the kind that will make dragons and humans coexist with one another!”
Lukas snorted and continued to stare at you. “How about this? If you call me ‘Big Brother’ from now on, I’ll promise to never say a bad thing about your dear little Dragonheart ever again.”
“Do it!” you snapped at Emil. “I’m sick of always wanting to go for his throat!”
Mathias’ lips twisted into a mischievous smirk. “That’s not true. You love each other, don’t you?”
“MATHIAS!!!” you and Lukas yelled.
“Oh dear…” Tino sighed as he and the rest of the dragons watched as the two of your bolted after Mathias.
“They can’t run away for long,” Berwald said as Mathias scrambled to squeeze through the dragons in the crater.
Tino chuckled. “I don’t think it will take them too long to realize their feelings for each other with Mathias and the Wings of the Opal Skies with them, don’t you think?”
“Indeed,” Berwald agreed.
“Hey!” Emil gasped as he struggled to keep an eye out for his Dragonheart and his brother. “You guys, cut it out! I’ll call you Big Brother! Just don’t kill anyone!”
Lukas cursed. He didn’t understand how Mathias could get so used to constantly walking on foot, wearing uncomfortable clothes, and eating such tasteless food all of the time. Even though he and Mathias had parted ways a long time ago, life as a human was taking some getting used to. At least he still had most of his previous dragon powers from before giving up the Sapphire Flames.
“What’s wrong?” his younger brother asked noticing how frequently he was sneering.
Lukas fiddled with the uncomfortable cross-shaped pin in his hair that ____________ had fashioned for him. She had said it would force him to practice putting on a nicer face in front of humans since he looked so tense most of the time.
“It’s these damn clothes and this damn hairpin,” he growled. “I hate them. I don’t see how any dragon could put up with this.”
Emil chuckled. “I’m sure you can put up with a few inconveniences for ____________, can’t you?”
Lukas remained grumbling incoherently to himself and crossed his arms. “What’s taking her so long? Didn’t she say she wanted to get to the next village by sundown?”
“It shouldn’t be too long. She’s just telling a story to the villagers.”
The sapphire-blue-eyed dragon rolled his eyes. “That again?”
“Yep,” Emil smiled.
“We don’t have time for this. I don’t want to stay in one place any longer.” He began walking towards the center of the village. “Stay here. I’ll go get her.”
“Whatever you say.”
Lukas gave Emil a cold stare. Emil sighed.
“Whatever you say, Big Brother.”
“That’s better,” the dragon mumbled and continued on his way.
As Emil had mentioned, ____________ was surrounded by a circle of children and even a few adults and elders as she told them the story of her adventures with the dragons. At first, Lukas and Emil had been afraid that the mark on her heart would burn her to ashes, but it would have appeared that it, too, had vanished along with the shadow.
“…Then, the Wings of the Opal Skies looked deep into the Dragonheart’s eyes, and said, ‘I’m sorry.’ And, with a final look of resolve in his amethyst eyes, he lifted a shard of glass as sharp as a knife in his hands…”
The children gasped.
“…and he plunged it straight into his heart.”
______________ paused to let the story sink into her listeners’ brains.
“B-But…” one of the girls sniffed. “What about the promises he made with her? I thought they were supposed to live happily ever after!”
______________ gave the children a reassuring smile. “The story doesn’t end there. The Dragonheart was sad, of course. The Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames was sad, too, but there was nothing they could do for their long lost friend and brother. He had sacrificed himself to vanquish the shadow and bring Dragonfall to an end.”
“And…?” a boy spoke up. “What happened after?”
“Then, the Dragonheart returned to the fire mountain. Her heart felt like it weighed of a thousand stones, and the journey was hard. Even so, she was able to make it with the power of the flames of the world and the guidance of the sapphire-eyed dragon in her heart.”
Lukas couldn’t help but crack a smile.
“When the Dragonheart returned to the mountain, the remaining dragons were sad to hear of the Wings of the Opal Skies’ sacrifice, but before they could mourn, the Dragonheart had to give her dragon back his body.
“But would you believe what happened when she did? All of a sudden, a bright blue light filled the mountain, and then…BANG! The sky was suddenly clear, and the Dragonheart found herself not looking at one dragon, but hundreds.”
The children gasped in awe.
“It turned out that aside carrying the flames of the world, the Dragonheart was also carrying the souls of all the dragons the shadow had consumed. That’s why her heart was so heavy.”
“What about the Wings of the Opal Skies?” a child asked.
“I’m getting to that,” ___________ smiled. “When the Dragonheart realized what had happened, she saw that there, walking in front of her, were the Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames and his brother, the Wings of the Opal Skies.”
“Hooray!” the children cheered in relief.
“But…” _____________ continued, “everything was not completely as it was. In the process of giving the Dragonheart the flames of the world, he also gave up the Sapphire Flames, his very identity as a dragon.”
A girl blinked. “So that means…”
“He wouldn’t be able to turn back into a dragon anymore.”
_____________ giggled. “It’s not as sad as you would think. Why don’t you ask him for yourself?”
Then, all of the villagers turned to the direction of her eyes and fell on Lukas.
“Are you finished, _____________?” he asked feeling uncomfortable being the center of attention to unfamiliar humans. To his shock, the children began to scramble after him and surrounded him in a clustered circle.
“Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames! Is it true that you hate your name because it’s so long?” a girl asked tugging at his tunic.
“What?” Lukas gaped.
“Diviner Keeper of the Sapphire Flames, is it true you really kissed the Dragonheart?”
Lukas angrily turned to ______________.
“______________, what absurdity have you been feeding them?!”
“Just something to spice up the story!” she laughed.
“Lukas, is it true you love ______________?”
“I—Tha—What?” Lukas stammered. “________________!”
“I didn’t say anything about that! Honest!”
“Alright, children, cut it out,” Emil said shooing the young villagers away. “My brother doesn’t like getting all the attention.”
“Annoying little pests,” Lukas hissed under his breath.
“Hey, now, they were good listeners,” ______________ said walking over to examine him. “And you aren’t the most well-behaved person, yourself.”
“He’s getting better,” Emil pointed out. “I’ve been noticing these things more than you have.”
______________ sighed. “I suppose you’re right about that.”
Lukas made a face. “Can we please get going now? It’s going to get dark soon.”
“Alright, alright, mister Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames. I still think you don’t deserve that title anymore.”
“Then I don’t think you deserve my attention.”
“Heh. I got you.”
“Oh, you stupid—!”
“_____________, there are children still present,” Emil whispered into her ear.
“Then we best be leaving so I can give your brother a punishment,” she huffed.
“It’s about time,” Lukas growled.
Once the three of you were on the road again, Lukas began to talk as he normally would. You noticed how tense and awkward he would become when being around other humans besides you.
“Why do we even insist on walking?” he sighed. “We could just have my brother carry us one by one to our destination, and we’d be there in no time.”
“Silly Lukas. What’s the fun in that if we aren’t travelling together? And besides, once Emil is all grown up, we can ride on his back all we want.”
“You make it sound as if I don’t mind,” Emil mumbled.
“I’m sorry, Emil. Did you not want that?”
Emil shook his head. “I don’t mind at all. I just thought it would be strange since I would have thought my brother could be flying alongside me.”
Lukas sighed. “After all of the rotten luck I’ve been through, I don’t think being in a sky would be a good idea anymore.”
“There you go blaming everything on me!”
“It’s because it’s always your fault.”
“Not always!” you huffed. “What about when you insisted we take the other crossroad? How many days did it take for us to get to the other village again?”
“I was tired.”
“Liar! You said dragons never get tired!”
“Your voice makes me tired.”
“I can’t believe I have to put up with this…” Emil groaned.
You gave your dragon a squeeze. “Don’t worry Emil. “I’ll make sure you stay by my side forever. If he bothers you, I can get rid of your brother.”
“Then what would I have been saying ‘Big Brother’ for?”
“Oh, yeah. You have a point.”
“Why in Eliatha should you get to keep my brother?” Lukas growled.
“Because we are connected through our souls and hearts!” you answered with a significant amount of passion.
“And we’re connected by blood,” Lukas reminded you.
“And you two are connected by your love for each other!” Emil burst out saying.
“N-No we don’t!” you squeaked. “We fight a lot! Can’t you tell?”
“That statement is about as valid as _____________, here, is intelligent,” Lukas snorted and looked away. The two of you ended up shutting your mouths to prevent yourselves from saying anything stupid and out of line. Emil didn’t have a problem with the silence. Dragons were prideful creatures, after all.
Dragons, as told to you by Emil, were able to fly above the clouds and see what the world might have been like if Dragonfall hadn’t taken over Eliatha. You, on the other hand, still found the clear sky, the bright sun, and the brilliant mysteriousness of the moon to be all so fascinating. Tonight happened to be a full moon. Emil had also told you that every night the moon would either get bigger or smaller depending on the cycle of days.
“Fancy seeing you up so late,” a familiar voice said. You could hear the faint rustling of the grass as someone walked up to your side and sat down next to you.
“Hey, Lukas,” you smiled.
“Hello, _____________,” the dragon said in response.
“Is Emil asleep?”
“Yes. I think he’s tired of listening to us bickering all of the time.”
“You know I don’t mean half the things I say to you when I insult you, right?”
“I knew that a long time ago.”
“So why do we fight?”
“Maybe we care about each other in ways we’re unfamiliar with.”
“Remember a long time ago, back at Eldur Mountain, Emil was about to say something, but I stopped him?”
“I can tell you about it. Do you want to hear it?”
“You’re not sick, are you?”
“No, it’s just…hard to say.”
“Is someone dead?”
“Then why is it so hard?”
“________________, I’m leaving if you don’t tell me.”
“No, wait! I’ll say it!”
“I love you.”
“Yeah. I knew that for a long time.”
“What?! Why didn’t you say anything?!”
“I was waiting for you to say it first.”
“You lazy liza—hold on. ‘Say it first?’ What do you mean by that?”
“If it’s what you think I mean, then it’s that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense!”
“I know it doesn’t. It’s the most complex human emotion I’ve felt.”
“I do, I do. You don’t have to say it aloud.”
“You’re right, I don’t. You should say it.”
“Because…it’s more romantic?”
“Your lack of knowledge in confessing is disappointing a lot of people.”
“Never mind. Pretend you didn’t hear that last bit.”
“What? So you’re really not going to say it?”
“I am! Just give me some time!”
“Playing the same game, I see?”
“Rgh! Fine! I love you! There! Happy?”
“Your lack of romantic qualities probably disappointed a lot of people.”
“…So now what?”
“I was hoping you would know what to do since you’ve done it before.”
“It wasn’t for romantic purposes…”
“…That’s something you don’t need to know about.”
“Alright, I’m talking about right here and right now. Are we supposed to…you know…do something?”
“I’ve never done it as a human before.”
“Yeah, you ha—Whoa! What did you say?!”
“Be quiet! Do you want to wake my brother?”
“B-But…! What you said about never doing something as a human…what exactly were you referring to?!”
“I was joki—Ow!”
“Don’t joke about stuff like that!”
“I’m surprised you even knew what I was talking about.”
“I’m not a child! I’m old enough to know about that!”
“Heh. And yet you still cry like a baby.”
“That’s because you two worry me!”
“What? Did I say something wrong?”
“You said you were sorry…”
“It’s the first time.”
“Huh. I guess you’re right.”
“That makes me happy.”
“I have no idea how I fell in love with you.”
Thank you so much for reading~!