Dominic stood in the middle of the destroyed forest and breathed a little quicker than usual. This was due to him forcibly holding back the destructive power of the Destiny Blade technique. The reason for his doing was simply due to him not willing to take the life of someone that was not really his enemy.
He stared down at the Air Dragon King, who was collapsed on the floor and was groaning heavily. His black glasses were shattered and Dominic realised why the warrior wore them in the first place.
“You’re blind…” he said slowly with a sad look on his face.
The Air Dragon King groaned a little before he said, “Yes…”
“Why…?” Dominic asked simply.
Without needing to know what the question was for, the Air Dragon King turned his head slowly to face him with his blank eyes staring straight at his foe.
“I did not want pity for my blindness,” he replied in a rather firm voice. “As one of the Dragon Kings, I do not need people feeling sorry for me because I can see better than the people with eyes.”
Dominic raised an eyebrow in surprise and said, “Oh… You’re one of the Dragon Kings… That means, you’re the Air Dragon King since you constantly used air techniques. Still, if you could see better than most people, then why did you not see the depth of my power?”
To that, the Air Dragon King opened his mouth to respond, but faltered as he realised whatever he wanted to say was feeble. It, finally, dawned on him that he attacked his enemy without the slightest idea of the potential power his foe was masking.
“Face it; you gave into your pride as one of the Dragon Kings,” stated Dominic and the Air Dragon King looked startled. “All that power, pride and ego would really make any man feel ridiculously confident in themselves, making them look down on the potential of others. There is no justice in your actions!”
The Air Dragon King remained silent for a moment as he remembered his past. Since birth, he was rendered blind and everyone made fun of him throughout his growing years. Even his father ignored him for most of his life while his mother was the only one that cared for him.
“I was… angry…” he began in a rough voice as his expression changed to that of great dislike. “They treated me as if I was nothing, made me feel like I was insignificant and even my life was a waste. I hated it… very much… That’s why, I trained hard for years before earning my current title.”
Dominic sniffed slightly and said, “Yes. They looked at you with strange eyes and treated you very differently. After all, you are different from them; they have friends while you do not, they had families while you didn’t have contact with your father and they could understand each other while they couldn’t understand you.”
He smiled slightly and said, “Yes… I know how you felt because I faced the same kind of situation.”
“You did?” the Air Dragon King asked through narrowed eyes.
“Yes. My parents died when I was a kid and my relatives sent me into orphanage because they did not want to take care of me while taking all the assets that my parents had for themselves. I could not trust anyone because of the betrayal I suffered and the other kids at the orphanage didn’t like to make contact with me.
So, I trained by myself to survive in this harsh world where I could not trusty anyone. That all changed, however, when a man adopted me and I would come to treat him as my master. He trained me to live in this world and encouraged me to reach the goal of earning his title of the Sword Titan.”
The Air Dragon King’s blank eyes widened with shock and he exclaimed, “You’re the Sword Titan; one of the Nine Pillars of Power?! What’re you doing in a place like this?!”
Dominic sniffed and said, “I came here on a mission entrusted to me by the Phoenix Titan and since you’re not capable of doing anything, tell me where the Dragon Titan is.”
“The… Dragon Titan…” the Air Dragon King said slowly as he closed his blank eyes to think about it. He remained silent for a few seconds before he shook his head and replied, “Forgive me, Sword Titan; I don’t know…”
“Huh?!” Dominic said in surprise. “You, one of the Dragon Kings, don’t know the whereabouts of the mighty Dragon Titan?”
The Air Dragon King breathed a sigh and shook his head before he replied, “I’m sorry, but most of the Dragon Clan members don’t know where he is and they wouldn’t care to know anyway. You see, he is believed to be a traitor for some reason, which led our race to arrive in this world when our world collapsed.”
Dominic looked at him with a frustrated expression on his face and said, “Don’t give me your ancient history! Tell me where he currently is!”
The Air Dragon King shook his head slowly and weakly said, “I’m sorry… I don’t know…”
“Great!” Dominic said loudly in annoyance. “All this effort and still, I don’t know where the hell he is!”
“You… You might have better luck asking the Dragon Emperor about him,” suggested the Air Dragon King weakly as he seemed to be drained of a lot of energy. “His family know the full history of our race and will surely know the whereabouts of the Dragon Titan.”
“Mmm… Fine,” said Dominic with a finality tone in his voice. “I guess I’ll pay him a visit since I got nothing better to do than search for the remaining members of the Nine Pillars of Power.”
“I think you do,” said the Air Dragon King and Dominic blinked at him in surprise. “There’s an army headed this way.”
Dominic was surprised and at that moment, he also sensed the presence of a large number of warriors headed his way. He sensed that their power levels were strong and three of them had a power levels matching the Air Dragon King.
“Yes. I sense them now,” said Dominic as he looked up at the clear blue sky. He looked down at his defeated opponent and said, “Thanks for the information and I’ll leave you to rest.”
Without another word, he kicked off the ground and rocketed into the sky at high speed. It sent a shock wave and wild blowing wind in all directions while the Air Dragon King stared after him with a puzzled look on his face.
“That Sword Titan is strange…” he muttered weakly, but he smiled before closing his eyes and falling asleep.
Dominic soared high into the sky at high speed and stopped to float after reaching a certain height. Turning around, his eyes widened when he saw a mass of flying dragons headed in his direction.
“Wow…! That’s quite the number…” said Dominic with a small smile on his face.
“What’s the plan?” his Destiny Sword asked telepathically in a curious voice.
“Simple; Attack them head on!” Dominic said in a confident voice with a smile on his face. “After that, I can make a personal request off the Dragon Emperor to tell me the whereabouts of the Dragon Titan.”
“Okay, but hold that thought and get out of the way!” the Destiny Sword replied telepathically as she shouted the last few words in alarm.
“Huh? What are you—?” Dominic asked in surprise, but he was cut off from something shocking.
At that moment, he sensed a huge surge of power soaring towards him and he saw a massive wave of destruction heading his way at high speed.
“Ah!” Dominic said in shock.
He got out of the way in time and the wave of destruction flew past him with incredible force and power. Its sheer power caused him to shake where he hovered in mid-air as he used his Destiny Sword to defend his right side at which the wave was passing by.
Once the wave passed away, Dominic straightened up and stared angrily at the army flying towards him.
“Dragon Drive Cannon,” stated the Destiny Sword telepathically with a sigh. “Quite powerful.”
“Don’t praise them!” Dominic said with an angry expression on his face. “They will pay for trying to seriously injure me!”
He began surging with power while radiating golden aura that surrounded him as he unleashed his energy. Shock waves and wild blowing winds were sent in all directions as he powered up to his max before he rocketed towards the dragon army at high speed with his sword held at the ready.
As he raced to wage war against the entire dragon army bearing down on him, Lakshman, his wives and the entire Phoenix Clan were attending Floria Sargold’s funeral.
It was evening when the previous Floria Kingdom Queen, Floria Sargold’s remains were placed in a casket. That morning, Lakshman had ordered several of the kingdom soldiers to inspect the site at which she was murdered. After being informed of her findings, he left to bear witness to the tragic death of his wife, Venezuela’s mother.
He had steeled himself for the worse, but it still shook him slightly to see how gruesome her murder was. Having seen enough, he ordered her body to be covered and had the Phintex Rajas carry the body to where the Phoenix Clan reside, which was hidden by the Phoenix Sanctuary barrier spell.
Returning to the kingdom, he quickly recovered his smiling face upon seeing Sonia Angloid, the Angel Princess and her maid, Natasha.
“Hello!” he greeted them cheerfully upon reaching them as he pushed his sad feelings aside. “Have you been waiting for long?”
“Not all at,” replied Sonia with a smile on her face. “I was actually going to apologise for arriving late, but I was kept busy due to several meetings that I had to attend.”
Lakshman shook his head firmly and said, “No need for apologies. It’s only natural for someone with your title to be busy in their community. I was also busy, which was why I was away from my desk for so long.”
She looked interested at his words and she curiously asked, “Busy? Doing what?”
“Uh… You see…” he began hesitantly and explained the situation of his deceased mother-in-law to her.
Once the explanation came to an end, she looked sombre as she nodded her head in understanding.
“I see. I am sorry for you lose,” she said in a heartfelt voice as she looked sadly at him. “It must be terrible for your wife to cope with the loss of her mother as I, too, have lost my mother at a very young age.”
“Oh,” said Lakshman and he looked very sad as he looked at her. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
A small smile appeared on her face as she said, “It’s alright. That was a long time ago and I was very young to remember it. Anyway, staying depressed about it won’t bring her back, will it?”
“Yes,” replied Lakshman with a small smile on his face, but he thought, “Even so, I wish my parents were here at this moment…”
With that thought, he remembered his father and mother from this life time and his first incarnation as the first Phoenix Titan as Asura Rangavardan. As Asura, his parents died at a young age and as Lakshman, his parents died when he, himself, was believed to have died. He was unable to protect his parents of both times and it grieved him very much.
“Phoenix Titan…? Hello…? Lakshman!” Sonia said sharply and snapped him out of his reverie.
“Oh…! Sorry…!” he said quickly in an apologetic voice. “Were you saying something?”
“Yes,” she began with a slight hint of eagerness on her face. “I wish to attend the funeral of your mother-in-law so that I may know of how the Phoenix Clan conduct their funerals.”
“Sure,” he replied without pausing to think about it, which caused her to blink at him in surprise.
“You responded without hesitation or denial,” she stated with a puzzled expression on her face. “Why?”
He smiled at her and said, “To form a relationship between our disconnected races, I believe that we must first know, learn and understand each other. That is the fundamental step to form peace between different groups, societies and communities.”
Sonia smiled at him and simply said, “I see.”
Lakshman smiled and said while gesturing over his shoulders, “Besides, I’m sure this observer will not leave me alone until I allow him to bear witness to the Phoenix Funeral ceremony.”
Sonia looked surprised and she looked from his side to see the angel observer, Atem standing behind him. He was looking at the back of the Phoenix Titan with a firm expression that clearly stated what he was thinking.
“It is my mission to observe you in almost whatever you do,” he stated in a clear firm voice.
“Sure. Do your job and observe me to your hearts content,” replied Lakshman in a slightly exasperated voice with a smile forming on his face.
That evening, they left the kingdom and entered, what appeared to be a dense forest. Lakshman led the small party of the people to attend the funeral. This included only the important people while leaving others out due to their presence not necessary during the funeral.
The newly appointed Phoenix Emperor, Zen Phylon upon receiving orders to return from Lakshman. Walking behind them were Lakshman’s wives and they attempted to console Venezuela, who was weeping silently. Lakshman had asked if the Magic Titan, Amaranda Lefrity, would attend, but she declined and stayed with her Eternal Turtle, Telker.
They walked for a few minutes before passing through an invisible barrier, which was the Phoenix Sanctuary. Sonia, Atem and Natasha managed to enter through it by holding each other hands and placing a hand on Lakshman’s shoulder.
Once they were through the barrier, Sonia and Atem were greatly taken by surprise by the sight that greeted them. There were phoenix birds flying high in the sky as tall buildings, made of stone, were placed on either side of what appeared to be streets. People walked in and out of the buildings while many walked on the streets.
The populace of the Phoenix Clan began to murmur as the Phoenix Titan led the group through a largely spaced area. Sonia, Natasha and Atem had their wings out and had their Angel Glow deactivated at the request of the Phoenix Titan. He wanted them to appear in their true forms to show everyone that he had accepted the angels as friends and make them feel comfortable with it. Even so, the three of them were feeling uncomfortable by the stares that their presence was attracting.
Before their arrival, Lakshman ordered the Phintex Rajas to inform the Phoenix Clan that three angels were coming with them. They showed their disapproval greatly by the angry expression they showed as their eyes lingered on the three angels following behind the Phoenix Titan. Lakshman, however, glanced around and glared at his people, causing them to become shocked and cast their eyes to the ground. He was not going to allow anything that will hinder the slowly building relationship between their races.
They walked through the large street area for a few minutes before arriving in a very spacious area. At the centre of it was a casket, which surprised Sonia and Atem while Natasha looked on without a change in her expression as they spread out to form a large circle near the perimeter wall.
“Are you going to bury it?” Sonia asked and she gestured towards the casket while Atem listened intently.
Lakshman shook his head and grimly said, “No. We send off the dead in a blaze of fire.”
Sonia gasped in shock and Atem stared at him in disbelief as they continued to spread out. At the same time, the Phoenix Clan members began to gather around them to form a perimeter circle near the perimeter wall that surrounded them.
A few minutes later, Lakshman turned to them and said, “I am leaving to perform the ceremony.”
Hearing those words, Venezuela began to sob into her hands with the rest of his wives standing around her. Lakshman patted her shoulder gently with a sad smile on his face before turning away to walk towards the casket. Standing near the casket were six sages that were wearing robes that covered them from head to foot, except for the arm holding up their staffs.
“Is it always the Phoenix Emperor to conduct this ceremony?” Sonia asked with a puzzled expression on her face. “If so, then how were the previous funerals conducted?”
Zen, who had his wife, Sasha, and her mother, Rasha, at each of his side, turned to speak to Sonia and Atem.
“Normally, it’s the responsibility of the Phoenix Titan to conduct the Phoenix Funeral Ceremony, but it had become the responsibility of the Phoenix Emperor due to his disappearance for over 8000 years.”
“I see,” replied Sonia with a nod of the head as the ceremony commence.
Lakshman and the six sages stood in a circle with the casket in front of them. The sages were murmuring incantations in the Phoenix Language as large magic circles formed beneath them. As the magic circles appears, blazing fire erupted out of the glowing lines and formed a connection between Lakshman, the six sages and the casket.
The Phoenix Titan had his eyes closed and had his palms clasping together at waist height. It seemed that he was in deep meditation while standing and a moment later he slowly raised his clasping hands together up as he began an incantation.
“Through the light and fire is the hope of truth that guides all life forward. That hope is the shape of fire that burns brightly in the heats of all those that breathe. Each life is protected by the flames of truth and so shall life be guided towards the flames of redemption.”
He opened his eyes in a flash and sharply said, “I beseech the burning phoenix of light and hope to arise and create a safe passage for this innocent soul to rest in peace!”
His clasped hands, which were formed like a triangle, came to rest at his face height when he finished the incantation. There was a sudden burst of fire from the flames and a screeching noise of great volume could be heard as the flames took shape of a burning phoenix. The large bird of fire with red eyes, flapped its burning wings and flew around the area several times, causing a great gust of wind to blow in all directions.
“My god!” Sonia exclaimed in shock as she and Atem stared up at the large burning beast with wide eyes.
“Incredible…” Natasha muttered with an astonished look on her face.
The burning phoenix flew around the perimeter several times before coming to land in front of the casket. It stared at it through its fierce red eyes for a moment before breathing fiery inferno at the casket.
When Lakshman saw that happen, his eyes became serious and he clapped his hands together as he said, “Phoenix Funeral!”
The burning phoenix screeched loudly and flapped its wings, creating yet another wild blowing wind that swept through the area in all directions. It lifted into the air and began to circle around and around the burning casket. Very soon, a tower of fire formed and the phoenix became part of the wild spinning tower of flames.
While the tower of flames raged in front of all those present, a single person out of them saw something different. Out of the tower of flames, a single tread of light was extracted and it speeded its way towards that single person while leaving a golden line behind. It soared for a few seconds before coming in contact with the person’s forehead, causing a flash of light to take place.
Venezuela opened her eyes in surprise and was startled to find herself in a very strange place. The ground was littered with beautiful flowers and surrounding her were six portraits that showed the time she spent with different parts of her family; her childhood with her parents, her teenage life with her parents, her adult life with her family, her marriage with Lakshman, her union with his other wives and the portrait of all of them together.
“W-Where am I and what is this place?” she asked in an anxious voice.
“No need to worry because this is your Unconscious World,” replied a friendly familiar voice, causing her eyes to widen and she spun around to see who it was.
Standing at the opposite end of the circle of portraits of her family was the person she deeply missed. It was the family member that she had recently lost and thought she would never be able to see her again. That person was none other than her dear mother, Floria Sargold.
“M-M-Mother…?” Venezuela asked slowly as she stared at her mother in disbelief. Then, as all feelings got released, she rushed forward and hugged her mother. “Mother!”
They hugged each other warmly for several seconds in silence, except for the tearful sounds coming from Venezuela. It was a heartfelt moment for those two as their feelings and bonds surrounded them. A moment later, they broke away and Floria smiled as she looked at her tear faced daughter.
“Oh my dear. You’ve grown up, but you still cry like a child. Did you have to be so dramatic about my death and release all the water in your system through your endless tears?” she asked curiously.
Venezuela attempted to wipe her tears away as she said, “O-O-Of course…! You were mercilessly murdered by that monster and I couldn’t do anything to save you! So, it’s only natural for those that have lost their families to cry like me.”
Floria stared her with a sad expression on her face and shook her head before she said, “This is what I kept telling you that you’re doing wrong.”
“Eh?” Venezuela said and she blinked in surprise.
“You focus so much on one thing that you completely forget about the other!” Floria scolded critically with a disapproving expression on her face. “You may have lost me, the mother that gave birth to you, but you did not lose your family.”
Seeing the confused expression on her daughter’s face, Floria sighed heavily and said, “Don’t you get it? Your husband and sisters are there for you!”
Venezuela finally understood what her she said and at that moment, a portrait to the side began to glow. It drew her attention towards it and her eyes widened in shock at seeing the portrait of she with Lakshman and the rest of his wives. The truth, finally, dawned on her that they were her only family left and she felt both happy and sad as she turned back to face her mother.
Floria looked keenly at her daughter’s face and saw the troubled expression lingering on it. With a smile, she began patting her daughter on the forehead, which surprised Venezuela.
“They are your only family left to you, but with you being so miserable, you will only manage to push them away than be with them,” said Floria soothingly. “You should be even more grateful for your husband because he created a passage for me to see you, one final time, before I move on to the Higher Plane.”
Venezuela looked alarmed by her mother’s last words and she slowly said, “No…! Don’t go…!”
“Deciding to go and not go is not up to me,” said Floria and she gestured upward with a sad smile on her face. “Still, if fate is good to me, I hope to born as your daughter.”
Venezuela looked surprised and she said, “Mother…”
Her mother grinned at her and said, “I don’t think you remember, but when you were a kid, you used to never eat food unless I pleaded with you and guess what my pleadings were?” She waited for a moment while Venezuela looked confused before she revealed it by saying, “I pleaded with you by saying that I’ll be born as your daughter after I die.”
Her daughter looked amazed and tears formed in her eyes as she said, “Mother…”
Floria, suddenly, looked annoyed and she said, “No! Seeing you cry like this won’t make me happy. In fact, no mother would want their beloved daughter crying at their funeral! Now, smile and be happy.”
“M-Mother… I can’t…” said Venezuela in a weak voice, which annoyed Floria greatly.
“I’m running out of time, Vena!” Floria said while looking frustrated. “I want to see you smiling happily, otherwise, I swear I will never rest in peace!”
Venezuela was alarmed by her mother’s words and she cast her eyes downward helplessly. She hesitated for a moment longer before realising that fulfilling her mother’s last wish was the best thing she could do. So, she lifted her head and started to smile at her mother the best she could and when her smile did not expand any further, Floria began to issue orders for her to smile widely while pointing at her.
“Smile. Smile. Smile. Smile. Smile,” said Floria repeatedly until Venezuela was smiling widely and looking happy.
Upon achieving it, Floria moved forward and hugged her daughter warmly. She was happy to have led a life full of happiness and sadness, but most important of all, to have a daughter like Venezuela. They remained like that for a few seconds before breaking away and smiling warmly at one another.
“Keep smiling like that, Vena. You look very beautiful like that,” said Floria as she slowly disappeared.
There was a flash of light and Venezuela was brought back to reality, causing her to look around in surprise. At that moment, all of them heard a loud screeching noise of the burning phoenix as the tower of flames rose high into the air. After reaching a certain height, there was a build-up of fire before a jet of fire rocketed into the sky at incredible speed.
Down on the ground, Venezuela watched the jet of fire flying away into the distant sky with tears in her eyes, but she was smiling nonetheless. She was finally happy after meeting her mother one last time before her spirit was carried safely away to the Higher Plane by the phoenix of light and hope.
Hello my dear readers and thank you for reading this chapter. I think that most thought that I given up or disappear for good, but the fact is that I had lost quite bit of motivation to write this story due to a lack of comments. That all changed, however, when I watched a familiar entertaining movie and its climax moved my heart to the point that made me cry. It was similar to the ending that I had planned for this story and that was how my motivation returned to me and allowed me to write this chapter. So, I hope that everyone loved this chapter and will read the next chapter as the story continues!