There was another scene to watch on with mixed emotions. The black dragon lay forward with his head tilted and his wings spread out. The white dragon was on his side and his legs with erratic scarlet stripes brought horror to a select few of his followers. Though blood was hard to see on black clothes, the dark sorcerers of Ares’s clan and those of Kage Shinja could make out where the ebony behemoth bled. There was a severe gash on the side of his neck, and made a small crimson reflection. This left Kuro terribly worried. His fearful eyes were welling up. He lost his father figure. He couldn’t bear to lose the child of the night himself. The snow that still descended, did nothing to ease any of the onlookers.
As he fought back the tears, the young mage pressed his hand against the open wound in the ebony behemoth’s neck, and generated a black plate, desperate to make the bleeding stop. He thought distraughtly, “Please don’t die, Yami… Please…”
Suddenly, the pale-blue dragon, along with the black dragoness, deliberately shoved any sorcerer aside, disregarding their safety, and looked with unease at the self-proclaimed god of war. Ares’s friend and Ares’s love stood next to each other. Hecate couldn’t take it. She burst into tears and leaned her head against Viktor. The Ice Dragon, struck with his own solemnity, tried his best to conceal his feelings whilst he placed a wing over Hecate’s shoulder. The Water Dragon, accompanied by sailors that heeded her call, was overwhelmed by sadness and burst into tears. The slaughtering of the creatures of her home country was unbearable to her. Seeing the dragon named after the war god had sent her over the edge again. Even from countless miles away, Tai Jun the Fire Dragon could see the scene through the eyes of his followers and felt like the roaring red fire of his burning heart was reduced to a single blue flame. Even though there were mortals in the audience and felt threatened by the behemoths, they couldn’t help but share the somber expressions that all the magic users showed.
Kuro suddenly felt the black dragon jerked, but hissed as the pain in his neck. The young mage, instantly aware, spoke, “Save your strength.” Ares ignored him, and struggled to pull himself up and stand up if for one last time. He strained and grunted as he shook himself just from pulling his weight as if his entire body was made of lead. His eyes were only opened to slits, but his blood-red gaze still came off as menacing to the mortals. It was no surprise that the light sorcerers were all hesitant to strike him and finish what their master started. All the men and women clad in white military suits now made grey by the dust of debris or by soot as a result of fire, merely stared. Hearing his opposite rise to his feet, the Light Dragon, who must’ve been as weak from the overwhelming force from dark energy, managed to open his one eye, and looked up to see the self-proclaimed god of war, and was too weary to make a move. The ebony behemoth limped toward the white beast in an endeavour to shut out all the pain in his body and the open wounds which couldn’t heal so easily, just like what weakened his opponent in the first place.
When finally looking right down at the Light Dragon, all rage had returned to him. He thought, “Sisyphus was one of the many to trick the death god Thanatos. He did by making Thanatos take his place in the realm of Hades, infuriating the war god as no one could die in conflicts that he started. Even though I lived up to the personification of violence and aggression, I must be the better dragon.”
Impatient, the white dragon said with as much strength as he could momentarily muster, but still rasping, “What are you waiting for…? Be done with it!”
“The past is the past”, Ares said lowly. “But it looks so much better than before all this.” He then looked up to the wizards and witches in their white military suits, showing his earnest. They took defensive stances. Seeing that Kuro was right by his side, in preparation for another fight to the death, Ares sensed that other necromancers behind him, were prepared to strike as well. Without looking back, he spoke, “Stand down.” He was addressing his side. Focusing on the light wizards and witches, he orated, “I had no choice about this. I was hesitant to face your master once again, but I had to do this. It was a matter of balancing nature. There will always be conflicts somewhere in the world, be it between us dragons, between you sorcerers, or between other animals. We all have our reasons to fight.
“The light wizards back in London met their gruesome fate, but they had every right to feel threatened by me. I have learned about dictators in history, and Zeus, named after the father of all gods, has been no exception. Think about it: you have all followed his orders. Which of you have been loyal to him which of you have been afraid of him and what he would do if you disobeyed him or fled from him? What has he promised you? And how many of those promises has he not met? Ask yourself. How many of you have kept to yourself the false paradise that he gave you decades ago? How many of you were too afraid to speak out about it, because of his ego build on pride and arrogance?
“We all know what leads to one’s downfall: arrogance. Just like my doubt, arrogance is something to get the best of us, and is like a monster more powerful than I or he. You have all carried out what he wanted. Now, ask yourselves about what you want.”
Even the speech wore him out. He was panting after, and had his eyes closed whilst he caught his breath. From seeing nothing, his other senses took a hold. He could sense an aura that matched his own. The ebony behemoth couldn’t believe it himself. The light aura was overpowered now by the dark aura. It was finally over. He hoped that when the aura was to balance out, nature would be restored. He had carried out his promise to bring snow before Christmas Day. He took the moment to embrace the snow descending upon him, along with the cold air.
When opening his blood-red eyes again, he looked down at his opposite and hissed, “In ssspite of all that you have done Zeusss, killing you will not undo your sssins. Thisss isss not my decision.” He gave an expression telling the Light Dragon to feel shame as he turned away and approached his clan’s new future. Kuro still walked beside him, to ensure that he would stand as long he wanted to. The black dragon stumbled, given the reminder of the gash in his neck. His energy was slowly fading. He wanted to make what chance he had count.
Looking into the lovely aquamarine eyes of the black dragoness that was Hecate, Ares expressed more than just his hope. He said lowly, “Hecate… You believed that you could give hope to any necromancer… Promise me-promise me that you will do just that… Be the one to keep my clan alive for this next generation.” He looked to Kuro and asked him, “I assume you know how to absorb life energy and how to transfer it?”
“Hai… Mate, nani?!” Kuro instantly grasped what Ares what getting at, and gave an expression of distaste.
Hecate, wanting to deny what Ares was proposing, shook her head several times, objecting, “No… No, Ares, this must not happen!”
Ares, maintaining his low tone, said, “I have no time to argue about this. My body weakens only from standing up now.”
The one that he cared about, protested, holding back tears, “What about your duties?”
“I have already accepted my fate of declaring the war of chaos. You may be lost with how to lead, but the answers to other questions will come to you… And even though you would have difficulty controlling the powers with which I gift you, you will learn.”
Still afraid of the terribly wounded drake’s demise, Hecate pressed on, “This is too much… Stay with me…”
The Dark Dragon hissed calmly, “Pleassse… I am already bleeding out and shall not last much longer… I want this… I want this…”
Hecate interrupted, “There must be a way to save you!”
Kuro shouted in Japanese to hush her even though she wouldn’t understand it. As much as Kuro didn’t want the Dark Dragon to die, a choice had to be made fast before the dragon’s heart was to stop beating. Ares went on, “You bear the next generation of my family, along with my clan. If your offspring shall not have my powers, there will be another chosen drake. You are the one I trust… with my role in nature…”
The young eastern necromancer asked, “Are you sure about this Yami-sama?”
“I stand by my choice…” Ares hissed. He closed his eyes.
Kuro then put his hands together, whispering a short Japanese prayer. He approached the Dark Dragon and placed his hands against the drake’s chest. The spell was well beyond his capability even though he knew how it was done. Never before had he performed it with a being willing to sacrifice himself. So, with his sheer focus, he felt the dark energy given off by the ebony beast. He spoke very lowly the Japanese incantation and almost instantly he felt the dragon’s life energy along with the dark energy course into his body as soon as he started speaking. Despite what little force remained in the dragon, the young mage felt overwhelmed by the power he absorbed. Yet, he still uttered the incantation, resisting any urge caused by the additional power. Hecate watched as the dark energy enwrapped the sleeves of the mage’s tattered robe. He repeated the incantation multiple times, louder with each repeat until he could feel no more dark energy coursing through the drake.
Wanting to avoid any incidents, Kuro leapt toward the dragoness, so he could press his hands against her chest. With Ares’s energy as the focus, Kuro uttered another Japanese incantation. The same kind of thing happened. The dragon aura began to leave him the second he began the spell. From only a spark of the energy, the dragoness felt herself become stronger. Ares watched this, fighting to keep his eyes open, long enough to make sure that the spell would work. Tears began to fill his eyes, lamenting that he would never see his future offspring grow up. Even now, all the onlookers were still there, watching all this, all wizards, witches, and dragons comforting one another.
When all of Ares’s energy was now Hecate’s, the black dragon turned to announce, “I made my choice. Make yours.” He looked back. Since Zeus still didn’t get up, Ares hoped that Zeus’s fate would be decided. He looked around, focusing on Viktor, his best friend; then Aquarius; then Jade, to whom he could relate; then to Hecate, who was blinded by tears; then Kuro, to whom he said, “Promise me that you will tend to Hecate, and her offspring.” Kuro, caught up in the atmosphere of solemnity and now crying as well, nodded quickly. The young eastern mage was reluctant about this, for the request was sudden. However, he had no time to ask about it. Still, the young mage wanted to fulfill it. He took out a small, flat knife—for he was certain that the occasion would come for him to slit an enemy’s throat—with which he drew blood from his right hand, and said through his sob, “I swear.”
Ares made a weak attempt to bare his teeth as a grin while flashes flared behind him. He then stumbled forward like a common animal, and Kuro and Hecate could see that all the light sorcerers had given their master a beating before finally slaying him together. Marlene, Zeus’s mate saw from a distance, and expressed her content. That wasn’t on their minds at the moment. Hecate and Kuro rushed toward Ares. The black dragon still had his eyes open to a slit, and rasped to the dragoness, “I love you…” Then, his eyes were fully closed. His last breath had escaped him. The mage reached around the dragoness to embrace her, as they both let their own rain fall from their eyes.
There was sound carrying, though faint at that. Every human and dragon bowed their heads and took a moment of silence, as it was the ritual of an elemental fallen. The ones present that took it hardest, were the Ice Dragon, the Water Dragon, and the Poison Dragon. The Wind Dragon was finally caught up in the crowd. Though he did watch the fight—as did the Harpies—he was indecisive on whether he would witness the final actions. He finally saw it: both the Light Dragon and the Dark Dragon had fallen. Now that their mortal combat had concluded, a new question sprang to mind: what was to happen next. In spite of feeling like he became a statue consisting of his own element, it was Viktor who approached the dragoness and eastern mage to state, “I believe there is posthumous custom of Ares’s clan.”
A Welsh mage in a trench coat over a black suit with a loose tie and open collar, was the one to join in and reply, “Aye, the Parting Ritual.” Mihangel had learned of it from his father. “According to my long-since-passed grandfather, the Dark Dragon shall be buried below a structure of worship.”
Hecate whispered, “As ‘twas believed that the nigh-divine body would aid the earth in growing new life.” Ares died, but he managed to leave something behind for her.
Kuro thought about this when hearing Mihangel add, “It must be a place anyone would pray, whether other humans are buried on its land or not.”
The eastern necromancer wiped his tears and raised his head before speaking, “I would suggest Westminster Chapel. As my… Sensei… and I stayed in London with him, that one seemed to be his favourite.”
Viktor weighed in, “Seeing as how Ares was hatched in park in Scotland, might I suggest chapel in Scotland?”
Mihangel nodded, “We also have Scots that can find a suitable church.”
Kuro stood up and looked at the Welshman to speak, “We should move him now, at least to London for the time being-“
The eastern mage was cut off by the Welsh sorcerer raising a hand and stating, “This is our business. You tend to yours. Hope you understand.”
Curious about how Kuro quickly changed his attitude, the dragoness asked, “Are you sure that you are ready to go home?”
Mimicking what he was just told, Kuro replied to her, “The damage to the cities in not our business. We tend to ours. Surely you understand.”
“Would you argue?” Viktor butted in.
Kuro called out in Japanese to all of his men still standing and let them all know that then was the time to return to their country, to their temples. Though many of them were wounded, they still had enough energy to just teleport. He turned to Hecate once more and said, “Seek me out when Ares is laid to rest. I wish to pay him my respects.” He put his hands together and bowed, saying, “Abayo”, before he became black smoke that quickly blew away. His men followed suit and all wizards and witches of the Kage Shinja were gone instantly.
Aware that the Japanese, and then the Chinese, had departed, the others decided to do the same. The other elemental dragons called for their followers in their languages, telling them as well that they were going home. Because of the many that were wounded and couldn’t teleport, carriers were built, so they could be transported. The Water Dragon had her company of sailors gather as many of the mortals serving the Earth Dragon as they could, to get to their ships on the coast of New York, which of course the dragons helped on.
Getting back to Russia was to be no problem for the Ice Dragon. He was a good swimmer, and would tow the ship that his men arrived on if he had to. He couldn’t wait to get back home and rebuild his empire on Severny Island. He was willing to do it all night and then use what energy remained to breathe on his melting ice castle before giving in to sleep.
Jade would fly back to her homeland, her forest of meditation. She had been sighing sadly since the preparations for departure started. She was to feel as alone as she ever had been in her life. She could tell that the late Dark Dragon meant a lot to Hecate even though their time together was short. She couldn’t help but wonder if Ares had planned to sacrifice himself all along. She had time to ask questions like that to herself, something that she normally did as she would have no other visitors.
The Poison Dragon went up to Hecate to say, “I am sorry…” It was all that sprang to her mind. Having been isolated for so long, she seemed to lack social skills. She could speak to Ares, but she couldn’t lecture like he did. She offered a consoling hug, caressing her wings over the black dragoness’s shoulders. That was when she took off, going back to her personal world, eager for the humidity of her country’s summer.
As for Hecate, she stayed in her spot even after the dark sorcerers of the United Kingdom had departed with their late master and the crowd had cleared. She was already overwhelmed by duties that she didn’t even know. She couldn’t tell how much pressure she felt before Ares gave her the last of his energy. She still wanted time to think. She just couldn’t get his last words out of her head.