The explosion caused by the contact of my sword and Ignus’ armor pushed me backwards but my flame wings kept me balanced. Ignus remained inside the explosion, surrounded by thick smoke and flames. I choked back my tears, trying not to lose my focus but I ended up thinking about her.

“I’ll be your shadow, so be my light.”

It felt like someone punched my stomach. I’m just hoping, praying, that Phoebe’s fire will save her.
I was startled when I heard a sudden growl from the fire. Ignus broadsword cut the explosion and I saw him clutching his chest with blood dripping down his armor. He glared at me while summoning a fire on his hand, then he thrust it in his armor, probably to close off the wound.
With the burning anger and frustration inside me, I glared back at him.

“That was for Arsen,” I said and like him, I summoned a blue fire on my hand. “This is for Phoebe.” I flicked my hand and the fire danced, turning into a huge phoenix.
“Hell,” he snarled and just like what I did, a dragon made of fire was conjured.

We waited for each other, observing and being aware of the other’s attack, when he chose to strike first.


Our guardians, immediately responding to our calls, charged toward each other at their full speed, but before the phoenix comes in contact with the dragon, I chanted.

Ekrixi.” The phoenix exploded into hundreds of flames and it enveloped the dragon. “Synkro,” I whispered and the flames collided with each other, extinguishing the fire dragon. Without stopping, I changed their movement and directed them to Ignus. With the wound on his chest and his gradual aging, his actions became slower.
“Is this your futile act of revenge?” he said while waving his broadsword and it started to change its appearance. “Morfo tou,” he chanted and he was suddenly cocooned with lava and fire.

My flames plowed into him but his cocoon protected him. Seconds after, he came out with a different appearance. His armor dwindled into a mere chest and arm guard, covering his wounded area, with fire and lava spouting from his smaller sword.

“I guess that Spirit Master died in vain,” he said while holding his sword downward with both hands, as if he’s going to thrust it.
“She isn’t dead,” I growled and the fire behind me began to sway wildly. “And she’s not going to die.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll see her immediately in the afterlife. Aperi cael!” he chanted and thrust the sword to the fire and lava below him.

There was a crackling sound from the air and the sky parted, revealing an unbelievable sight—molten lava was gushing out of the sky and the atmosphere turned into a huge cloud of fire. The heat was scorching and suffocating that I had to move downward just to breathe.

“I told you didn’t I? You, as well as the people you try hard to protect, will experience the taste of hell.” With his thunderous laughter, the molten lava cascaded toward the Capital.
Skinia incen!” I yelled and hurriedly flew toward the lava. Without wasting any time, I summoned a kilometer-long fire sheet to impede the lava’s flow. I felt a thump in my stomach, as if someone pulled something out of it, but I focused on the defense.
“Try to hold it back,” he snickered and dove to the sea of blue fire. Before the contact, his black wings covered and protected his body from being burned. My lips and hands quivered but I chanted and held out my hand.
Verbin deno!” A rope-like flame came out of my hand and extended until it reached Ignus. The rope twisted its own to his wings and I heard him yell as the fire started to consume them. “You aren’t going anywhere,” pabulong kong sabi habang hinahabol ang hininga ko. “I won’t let you. Aug hyva hino!” Gamit ang natitira ko pang lakas ay nagbago ang anyo ng apoy sa likuran ko. They all gathered into a large fireball, almost the size of his meteors a while ago, and pointed my finger at him while holding onto the rope. “Vlast,” I whispered and the fireball dashed to his direction.
“Ravas! Cies yvri kai!

Nagulat naman ako nang marinig ko ‘yon. His guardian, the magma dragon, was released from his hybrid form and materialized in front of Ignus. He smiled at me as I watch the fireball advancing toward them.

“N-no . . .” I silently pleaded.
“Protect me. That’s your last order,” he commanded and the dragon spread its wings, covering Ignus behind its back. The dragon bellowed as the fireball plunged to it and I closed my eyes as the explosion silenced its voice.

“These guardians were once humans.”

Phoebe’s voice rang inside my head and even though Ravas was Ignus’ guardian, I still felt sorry for the dragon. It just did everything for its master and in the end, the guardian had to sacrifice its own being, just to save Ignus.
Napatingin naman ako no’ng narinig ko ang biglang pagtawa ni Ignus. Tinignan ko siya nang masama dahil parang wala lang sa kanya ang nangyari. He just lost his guardian but I didn’t see any grief at all. As expected, he’s really a heartless creature.

“And there goes your last shot,” sabi niya habang nakangiti. Nawala na ang armor niya sa katawan at ang espada niya, at tanging ang pakpak at apoy na nakapaligid sa kanya ang natira.
“If you can’t even respect your guardians, then you don’t really deserve this power. The world will be destroyed if someone like you becomes Phoebe’s owner.”

Pagkatapos kong sabihin ‘yon ay iba’t ibang incantations na naman ang tumatakbo sa isip ko, pero wala akong gustong gamitin mula roon kahit isa.

“That power isn’t for a soft-hearted kid like you, either,” sabi naman niya at naging seryoso ang expression niya. “I won’t give that power up even if I die.”

I am still holding back the molten lava from falling to the Capital and the sheet of fire is eating up my remaining stamina. Natulala naman ako nang makita kong unti-unti nang natutuklap ang balat niya sa mukha at nagiging mas maputi na rin ang buhok niya. Nauubos na ang oras niya, maging ako.

Katan exedo vies ignis han!” He chanted and the fire started to consume him. “Our time is up, kid. If you continue to block that, you’re going to die.”

Hindi ko na siya makita dahil sa lakas at init ng apoy na halos bumalot na sa buo niyang katawan. After some time, I just looked at him, stunned taken aback, because his physical body was nowhere to be found. He became fire itself.

“Farewell!” He yelled and the fire raced at me.

My mind went blank for a moment. With my remaining strength, I can’t win against him. Freeing my other hand isn’t an option because of the lava.
Just when I thought everything is going to end for me, an incantation at the back of my mind suddenly surfaced. But when I read it inside my head, I know it’s going to consume all of my stamina . . . and even my life. Naalala ko tuloy bigla ang sinabi ni Adrielle tungkol sa incantations dati. Sabi niya, may levels ang incantations na pwedeng sabihin o gawin ng isang Divian at naaayon ‘yon sa lakas niya.
So this is why Phoebe is the only one who can do it.
Huminga ako nang malalim at pumikit. Tinanggal ko lahat ng laman ng isip ko sa sandaling ‘yon at tanging ang mga salita lang sa incantation ang inalala ko. The tranquility almost reminded me of home . . . of my parents . . . and then I finally felt how died.
To protect the people they love, they tapped their own life force to carry out a high-level incantation, for their death means others will live.
I smiled as I reminisce my memories with my parents, friends and mentors. When I felt the heat coming toward me, my eyes fluttered open and I chanted.

Uro mea vim vitae illumina quo cael. Phoebe, rivus.

Suddenly, the world was engulfed by blue fire and I’m at its center. Ignus, with his plasmic body, hovered in front of me and his fire was starting to extinguish.

“Do you know that blue fire is hotter than orange or red?” I asked him but he didn’t answer. He charged at me but the sphere of blue fire encircling us is evaporating his fire.
“What did you do?!” he yelled, exasperated.
“I’m making their wishes come true,” sabi ko naman.

With a flick of my hand, blue flames gathered around him and diminished his fire volume. He howled and tried to expand his fire but my flames keep on extinguishing it.

“The world will be safer without you in it,” I said as white lights, similar to spirit particles, came off by body. “So disappear, just like what you did to your guardian.”

I moved closer to him, as well as the white lights. When I looked at my hands, they were gleaming, just like what happened to Phoebe when I claimed her. I touched Ignus and he tried to move back but my flames kept him in place.

“But white fire is the hottest of all.” He screamed when I extended my hand to his immaterial body and during that time, his tangible and physical body started to reappear. “Burn,” I whispered and the white lights covered his body.

His ringing howl was as loud as the explosion and both of us were pushed away but Phoebe’s wings kept me balanced. The burning sky finally opened and I saw Ignus along with Hell, falling and disintegrating at the same time.
With that last attack, my stamina ran out and Phoebe’s wings disappeared from my back. Exhaustion finally kicked in and I, too, fell from the sky. The only thing that keeps me from falling rapidly is the mass of white lights around me. Suddenly, I saw a red phoenix and black pegasus above and I smiled because I know them.

“Flare . . . Aron . . .” mahina kong tawag sa kanila. They were my parents’ guardians. I was about to call them again when I saw familiar faces on their backs. My tears started to fall when I saw my parents smiling at me. “Mama . . . Papa . . .”

Ah . . . maybe they’re going to get me . . . maybe I’m dying . . .

Reika, anak,” rinig kong tawag ni Mama habang nasa likod siya ni Aron pero nagulat ako nang makita kong umiiyak siya. “We’re sorry for leaving you behind, for leaving you alone, but this isn’t the right time for us to be together.”
Reika,” tawag naman ni Papa kaya napatingin ako sa kanila ni Flare. “We’re proud of you. Thank you for saving the world, my princess,” sabi niya habang nakangiti. “Even if you aren’t born as a real one, you will always be my princess. So stay strong and always remember that we’re always here for you.
Reika.” This time, nakita ko si Phoebe sa itaas nila, kasama si Arsen, at ngumiti siya sa akin. “Thank you for everything.

All of them dissolved into thin air and I continue to fall. I closed my eyes, waiting for my body to hit the ground because I can’t save myself anymore, but I suddenly felt something.
Naramdaman ko ang paghinto ng katawan ko.

“Lagi na lang ba kitang sasaluhin?”

I willed my eyes to open and I saw a familiar face staring at me. When I looked at him, it felt like all the fears and frustration I kept while fighting alone resurfaced. I was scared but seeing someone I can depend on melted it away. But then I realized that the white lights were still with me. I tried to push him away but my strength betrayed me.

“P-put me d-down,” bulong ko dahil unti-unti na ring nawawala ang boses ko. “Y-you’re going to burn yours—”
“Don’t worry. Kon’s scales are just as strong as the other dragons.” I realized his arms were covered with dragon scales.
“The dragon should always protect the princess,” sabi niya kaya nagulat ako. How did he know that? “So just sleep and let me protect you for once.”

Pagkasabi niya no’n ay lalong bumigat ang mata ko kaya agad akong napapikit. I fell into deep slumber and his words lingered inside my mind.

The dragon should always protect the princess, and the princess should always be with her dragon.