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dragonshina
21 Feb 2012





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Posted 21 Feb 2012 03:44
Last edited 21 Feb 2012 03:46
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The Legend of Spyro: Origins_Chapter 32

#32 of Spyro Origins

Read the notes on the text of the chapter

Author's notes:

It has been 3 months since i last updated... but they had been put to good use. I started writing this chapter even before i posted the last one, but i never seemed to finish it because it was just too damn long.

Yes... i broke my own record (yet again) at making the longer chapter i have written thus far. And impressive amount of 118 word pages were written in the making of this chapter... like 100% longer that the other (which was around 50).

Naturally, i needed to split it, since I could not post such monstrosity. Three were the chapters that i managed to create from the single colossal text.  I did as well add some non-related battle scenes as to not make it tedious for the reader.

On with the chapter then and forget about my rambling.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

The Legend of Spyro: Origins_Chapter 32

 

The battle started when a lone 'crack' the human weapon made was heard.

Spyro knew it was the human sharpshooter, or sniper, that had made the shot. He was amazed at the distance the human had managed to kill his enemy. The foe was still somewhat away and the sniper was behind him, in one tower. It could have easily been more than a kilometer in distance!

But Spyro had no time to think more of the situation as the enemy started charging since they knew they were not safe. The original idea had been to meet the enemy on the hills of the plateau, but considering the great expanse that must have been covered; their lines would have been spread too thin if they had done so.  In fact, they could not have covered all the ground. That was why they decided to face the enemy almost on the city's doorstep, where they would defend the stone bridges that crossed from one plateau to the next. The irregular terrain also gave a defensive bonus to the defenders. High cliffs and choke points could be found everywhere. Even with the enemies superior numbers, the fact that they needed to cross the bridge and such narrow places to attack gave the allies a huge advantage.

Right now, they stood on the outer bridges. These ones were one of the biggest, since it signaled the entrance to what was the city territory. There were five bridges that the enemy would have to take without taking a huge detour around the city where other bridges were located.

Spyro heard the distinctive sound of human weapons fire sound of in the nearby distance, as well as explosions from booby traps they had set on the field.

"FIRE!" a human corporal yelled that was near him.

The squad that had been assigned near to where Spyro's was also joined in the thunderous sound that killed. But the enemy kept coming closer. He could hear the battle sounds in the distance, as well as in his own section. He also heard the human chatter from the radio that Parker had attached to his ear hole. It was the same one he had worn earlier, when they had been looking for Shockwave's clan.

Spyro surveyed his troops with a grim face.

Yes... 'HIS' troops.

Kane wanted for Spyro to be command of a whole section, since the llama regarded him with such a high esteem. Spyro's legs had shaken, if ever so slightly, at the mere prospect of so many under his command. True... he had led some dragon on a journey; but a battle? That was completely different! It was... disturbing!

Thankfully, Iciclos, the dragon that had accompanied Spyro on the journey, knew that it was a great burden for him. He suggested against it. So did Parker, who knew that Spyro was still young. But the llamas did not want Spyro as a mere foot soldier.

In the end, thanks to Parker's suggestion of tactics, he was placed in command of one wing, which was a detachment of several dragons that moved throughout the battlefield, taking opportunity strikes and helping where it was needed. Spyro blessed the ancestors that he was put of this command instead of a whole section.

Now, Spyro saw his band of dragons. The dragons that had accompanied him from Warfang were with him as they held serious faces as they saw the approaching enemy. They knew they could die at any moment, but they were bent set into doing their tasks. Iciclos was serving as second in command, since Spyro trusted his judgment.

"What do you think, Iciclos?" Spyro asked with a little hesitation.

"The enemy will try to cross the bridge, and we must stop them" the ice dragon said seriously. "We must help where we can. But, they will most certainly send wyverns to try to kill our foot soldier form the air. We must meet them in the air and prevent it. Otherwise, they could wreak havoc amongst the troops solider"

Spyro nodded. He had thought the same things, but he needed someone else to tell him so he could not hesitate in the moment.

"LOOSE!" the llama officer yelled as the enemy was starting to arrive at the chasm that separated them.

'Twangs' were heard as the bows were released, sending hundreds of arrows flying towards the enemy. Many foes fell from the barrage, but it hardly seemed to make an impact on them as another took its place.

And now, it was the turn of the enemy to shoot their arrows at them.

A slow moving shadow rose from the enemy ranks as arrows left their bows. The great mass of pointy shafts rose into the air that it seemed that it was almost blocking out the sun. Then, it started falling.

"TAKE COVER!!!" Spyro heard a human yell.

The llamas raised their shields, or at least those who had one, in preparation for the storm. Cries of pain rose from their ranks as the deadly rain fell amongst them. Spyro saw soldier fall here and there, impaled by one or two arrows. Some were fortunate that it was only a flesh wound, others were hit in their arms or leg, thus rendering incapable of fighting... but other were not that lucky as it impaled them in the chest or neck.

"They are trying to cross the bridge!" a llama soldier shouted.

"We must not let them pass!" the officer in charge yelled at his troops. "Form ranks!"

Spear carrying llamas rushed to stand to the bridge, where they placed themselves near each other.

"Spear Wall!!!" the officer yelled.

The front row of llamas crouched and placed the rear end of the spear on the ground, making sure they would not lose it when the charge hit them. The second line lowered their pikes at waist level. They were the force that would do the killing once that initial momentum of the enemy charge halted. At the third rank, the llamas raised their spears at shoulder height, ready to support the enemy that came too close.

And not a moment too soon, were they ready.               The enemy charged home and impaled themselves on the pike formation, crashing against the defenders lines.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

"Now stay here, Gale" Cynder told the white dragon reassuringly. "You'll be fine here"

Before the battle had started, Cynder walked with Gale towards a place were civilians were being kept safe... away from the fight. Now, she had to leave him.

"Please..." Gale pleaded.

"I can't stay" Cynder said. As if to prove her point, a particular loud explosion was heard. "I have to return to the others"

"I don't want you to leave!" Gale said, more desperately.

Cynder took a look behind Gale and saw the many non-combatants. There were many of them. Many civilians. Females... children... old ones. Most of them were llamas, but she also noted a female dragon with a child, some panthers and a coyote pair. She also spotted a few soldiers here, with the intent of keeping order.

"I have to go back" Cynder tried once again. "You will be safe here. I promise to check no and then when I can"

"Promise?" Gale asked hopefully.

"Promise" Cynder said.

Reluctantly, Gale entered the big stone room that served as a shelter. Cynder watched him heading into a corner before took a quick look back. Cynder waved him goodbye and Gale answered in kind.

Seeing Gale settled and safe, Cynder nodded towards the guards that were manning the door indicated that she was finished. The guards threw her distrusting looks, but they still did their job and closed the door.

When her vision of Gale was blocked by the big wooden doors, she turned around and, with a mighty leap, took to the skies.

When she was in the air, heading towards the battle, she had a good view of it.  The dark army was trying to cross in force the several bridges that separated one plateau from the next in force. The defenders held fast on the other side as they shot down the enemies that tried to cross. At one point or two, the alliance had given a little bit of ground, but they were trying hard to retake it.

As she surveyed the battlefield, she noted several dots on the horizon heading their way toward them form enemy army.

'Wyverns' Cynder thought grimly.

From the corner of her eye, she saw a purple speck rise to the air from their lines.

'Spyro!' she thought happily.

She immediately turned in a tight angle and headed toward him. Spyro, who was circling above their own lines, noticed her as she approached. Without further ado, she positioned herself next to him.

"We are going to stop those wyverns from causing harm to our own troops" he informed her as he pointed towards the approaching wyverns.

"Figured as much" she replied sarcastically.

"Are you ready?" he asked her with a hint of concern in his voice.

Cynder smiled at Spyro unspoken concern. Spyro always was concerned for her; he always strove to protect her. And now, with battle at hand, he was double worried that something might befall her.

"As ready as I'll ever be" Cynder said confidently with a nod in his direction.

Spyro took a moment to search her expression for any hint that she was not, looking for any excuse to send her back to safety. But Cynder held her emotions and showed a calm face least he send her away, not that she would do it anyway. Still, she was afraid, like always when she faced battle. But she was even more afraid of losing Spyro... and that drove her to be right next to him... to protect him.

'Ironic' Cynder thought with amusement. 'He is trying to protect me by trying to send me back... and I am trying to protect him by going with him. In the end, we both go into danger. But we go together'

"Look sharp!" the dragon called Pyre called for attention. "The wyverns are closing fast"

True. The disgusting flying worms were close.

"Everyone, follow me!" Spyro commanded. "We will meet them in above the chasm, between the two forces"

A chorus of 'yes sir' came from the dragons; and Cynder had to smile warmly. Spyro had grown up in these lasts months... and he was now maturing. He was playing the role of a leader, although he was still a little bit shaken by it.

She was so proud of him. But she could not concentrate on that; she had a battle to fight.

Spyro suddenly shot towards the approaching wyverns with the intent of intercepting them. The wyverns, for their part, took notice and decided that they should face the dragons. In a matter of moment, the two forces would clash in the air.

The Battle of Tall Plains was in full motion now.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

The attackers tried to break through the allied lines and cross the bridge two times, and the same number of times failed. It had cost them dearly, but that did not seem to male any impact on their numbers.  They also tried to use many missiles to wear down the pike wall formation. The pike soldiers had no shields to cover themselves in order to wild the long weapon more efficiently. That was why they retreated during the exchange of missiles. The moment they stepped back, the enemy rushed in again. But the allies were no fools; the pike men doubled back and once again stood their ground, making the enemy charge at a wall of pointy pikes.

That was when they decided to use a new tactic.

Instead of trying to cross the bridges that were being carefully guarded at the other side, they decided to use a different tactic. It took an hour for the third attack to come.

It started as usual, with the horde running at top speed as they tried to cross the bridge like last time. This time however, several troll came into the fight. They carried huge shields that they used to protect themselves. Allied archers peppered the huge monsters with arrows but most of them impacted on the huge shields, and those that did managed to find an open spot, were not enough to deter the huge monster.

The troll slowly marched towards the pike wall. The alliance hoped that the wall of spears would be enough to deter the monster from approaching.  And stop they did, but it did not turned out in the allies favor. Instead, the troll stopped and instead of swinging a mace or hammer like they usually did, they threw rocks at them.

The tight packed formation of pike soldiers stood no chance. The huge rock plowed over them, breaking the formation and opening a gap which the enemy took opportunity of. Orcs started to pour in into the gap made by the passage of the huge missile and they started to kill mercilessly the llamas that had no defense against the close quarter combat with their long pikes.

Allied soldiers started to rush to close the gap; bowmen started to shoot arrows at will to stop for a few precious seconds the enemy, as well as trying to kill the troll that was making a mess of their shattered lines.

Human and dragon intervention managed to save some sections. The high powered human weapons managed to kill several trolls with what they called a rocket launcher. The dragons managed kill other trolls with their breath weapons or overpowering them with numbers and pushing them off the bridge towards the deep chasm below.

But in the end, two sections failed to recover from the troll attack and enemies started pouring in. If the allied forces remained, they would be flanked and massacred due to their lower numbers.

The order was given to abandon the plateau and fall back to the other ones, where they would once again position themselves on the other sides of the bridges. The retreat was organized for those areas where they had managed to repel the attacks, but for those that lines had been broken was made in complete disarray.

To cover the retreating forces, skirmishers were sent to delay the approaching forces. Archers fired arrows before retreating further back. Humans used their long range weaponry to great effect as they coordinately fell back while keeping fire against the enemy.

Here came into effect the hundreds of traps the humans had placed during the night. Explosions sounded in every part of the battlefield, cries of pain came from orcs that stepped into one the many holes the humans had dug and had their feet impaled with the stick they had put there.

Spyro and his dragons played an important role too. The dragons would swoop down from the air and use their elements breaths, or claws, to harass the enemy's forces as the friendly forces retreated to safety at the other side of the bridge.

Spyro would sometimes land, slash with his claws at an unfortunate enemy, and burn another one with his elemental fire, then fly away before the enemy knew who was attacking them. Cynder and the rest of his group was always him just a wing beat behind him, breaking havoc where they landed.

In the end, they brought enough time to allow many soldiers to escape.

Panting hard, Spyro landed near one of the bridges that spanned across this plateau to the one the enemy had just taken. They had been going back and forth at top speed to delay the enemy a few precious seconds as the allies soldiers retreated, but now they were out of breath.

"Look at the bright side" Cynder said between pants. "At least, no troll could get through that bridge" she pointed.

She was right. This bridge was made of wood and rope; it would not hold the weight of the huge monster that was the troll.

As if to prove her observations true, the dark army came marching towards them; and at the head of them a huge troll. It only took one step from the hideous creature on the bridge for the wooden plank to give way, causing the troll to lose his footing and fall down to the deep canyon below.

"That should make the enemy hesitate some" Iciclos pointed out.

But not for long. Once again, the enemy charged, trying to cross in masse.

The pike men, having their number greatly diminished, formed a defense with the aid of the more common swordsmen. This time, Spyro and Cynder were forced to fight ground, with the foot soldier trying to hold the bridge.  With their relative small size, compared to adult dragons, they could maneuver quickly and efficiently amongst the chaos that was the ground battle. Iciclos had taken to the skies, taking with him the rest of the group, taking out any wyvern that came close. And occasionally making a low pass to use his ice breath to freeze enemies or cut their head with a strike of his claws or whip of his tail.

When the dark army realized they could not get through, they retreated to reorganize. In the meantime, archers launched volley after volley at them. Their own archer responded in kind while the rest took cover with their shield or with anything they could find.

The exchange lasted for a while, neither side wanting to do any movement and being content with exchanging arrows.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

"Target down" Ramirez said as he watched through the monocular the huge orc that seemed to be a commander fall dead without a head. "That was a nice shot"

"All too easy" Jason replied.

They remained in the prone position in the tower they had established at their sniping nest. It was dark, dusty, far and most important of all... high. It gave them a clear view of most of the battlefield.

The tower construction was just about to be finished, that is why it had a lot of debris lying around. Wooden pillars that were used to hold the roof while under construction had not yet been removed. There were also dirty cloths and debris that were lying around in heaps. All in all, the perfect sniping spot.

Now, they were mainly focusing north, there the battle was being fought.

They had been in there for a pair of hours, slowly picking off officers and any important looking enemy. It was a tedious job doing nothing but sit here but wait. And that, of course, annoyed Ramirez to no end.

"I'm bored" Ramirez complained as he stretched.

"Get down!" Jason replied angrily as he grabbed Ramirez sleeve and tugged him down. "Do you want them to find out where we are?"

"Come on... how far away they are? One click away?" Ramirez pointed out. "We are far enough that they won't see us"

"Shut up" Jason admonished. "You would never make a sniper"

"Why do you think I left sniper school?"

"Shut up and look for more officers we can kill"

"Target found" Ramirez called for the snipers attention after a few minutes of searching. "Woo-ho... this one's far"

"Were?" Jason asked calmly.

"Some seven meters to the left of the old tree and perhaps three hundred meters behind it"

Jason moved slowly, as to not give away his position, as he looked through the telescope to find his target.

"See him" Jason replied in a calm voice. "How far?"

"One thousand eight hundred meters... more or less" Ramirez said.

"More or less?" Jason looked at Jason from the corner of his eye. Ramirez only looked back without a response. "Fine!" Jason grumbled. "Winds speed?"

"Two kilometers per hour coming from the west" Ramirez said as he checked his equipment.

"Humidity?" Jason replied as he slowly adjusted his telescopic sight to make the shot.

"High! Almost 75 percent" Ramirez said. "In this jungle, it's not something to amaze at"

"Right" Jason said as he once again moved calibrated his telescope.

"At this distance, you have to take into account the Coriolis Effect" Ramirez pointed out.

"I'm not dumb, Ramirez" Jason lashed out. "Unlike you, I DID pay attention and finished sniper school"

"Not that I wanted to" Ramirez shrugged in dismissal.

Both soldiers lay prone on the tower, watching the target intently. The orc moved this way and that, shouting orders and often hitting his underlings. Because of his unpredictable movement, they could not make a shot. So, they waited patiently... or so one of them did.

"Just shoot him already!" Ramirez said, getting impatient.

"Patience" Jason suggested in his clam voice.

"I would have hit him by now" Ramirez pointed out. "Come on, gimme the rifle so I can put a bullet in his head"

"No. I am the designated shooter" Jason replied calmly.

"Who made you the shooter?"

"The lieutenant"

"Why you?" Ramirez asked indignantly.

"Because I finished school and you didn't"

"Who need school when you can learn on the go" Ramirez said. "Come on! Let me shoot a little bit!"

"No"

"You have almost depleted all our ammo" Ramirez pointed out. "We have only three shots left!"

"And it was a good exchange in my opinion"

"I can get you something nice" Ramirez tried to bribe him.

"Thank you, but I think I'll pass. You see, I like shooting very much" Jason replied.

"Please?" Ramirez said.

"No"

"Come on! I asked nicely"

"Quit whining and focus on the target" Jason admonished.

"All right then!" Ramirez grumbled as he gazed once again trough the monocular. "It stopped moving! Shoot the damn orc now!"

"All right, I got him" Jason replied.

The sniper started to take slow and deep breaths to slow his heart rhythm. And slight movement might make the shot go astray and miss its intended target.

"Come on come on come on come on come on fire fire fire fire fire... Ramirez urged.

Jason completely ignored the rambling Ramirez, as the target became his sole world. It was only him, his target, and his sniper rifle.

He watched the orc that was far away move moving around slowly. It suited him just fine. He felt his own heartbeat descend. He had all the time in the world. All the time in the world. He watched his target. He put the crosshair directly upon the orcs chest, following his moments carefully. Then he stopped. Jason took a shallow breath, waiting for the shot to be made.

He released his breath and he pulled the trigger.

Ramirez watched through his monocular the flight path of the bullet. The air being displaced by the missile left a visible trail. He watched how the bullet traveled flew through the air at incredible speeds... and impact in its target in a matter of a seconds.

Ramirez watched with glee how the orc chest was completely blow away by the shot.

"Nice shot! That orc never stood a chance!" Ramirez approved the shot.

"Well, it was shot with a Barret. No enemy can withstand the shot from a fifty caliber; expect maybe a troll"

"Not if you hit it in the head" Ramirez commented. "Shall we try?" Ramirez said in a hopeful manner.

"Why do I listen to you?" Jason said somewhat indignantly before adding in a mischievous tone. "All right! Let's see what this baby does" Jason agreed with a smile on his face.

"I see it" Ramirez pointed out. "By the second bridge"

"Seven hundred meters" Jason said as he looked in his telescope.

The troll was stranding there, unmoving, unable to cross one of the frail wooden bridges.

"This is going to be easy!" Jason commented as he put the crosshairs right between the troll's eyes.

However, just as the Jason pulled the trigger, the troll moved.

Ramirez saw the point of impact just behind the troll, where the ground and dust exploded when the high speed bullet hit it.

"You missed! How could you have missed?" Ramirez asked with a tone that he did not believe it.

"Shut up!" Jason lashed out before shooting the other round.

This time, the shot went straight and true. The troll stayed motionless for a few moments before toppling to the side, dead.

"Well, we know that a Fifty Cal can take them out" Ramirez pointed out.

"Only if you hit it in the head" Jason said. "There was no exit wound, so the bullet must have remained inside. If we hit it in any other part, that monster would still be kicking and screaming" Jason pointed out. "Well, we have run out of ammo. I shall better get down and get my trusty M40 and continue sniping"

"Go ahead. I'll just wait here" Ramirez said in almost tired tone.

Jason looked oddly at Ramirez, wondering if he was feeling all right. But then again, Ramirez was always strange.

"I'll be back in a few minutes" Jason replied as he stood up and took a few steps towards the ladder that would lead him down. "I shall leave everything here; I'll just bring my pistol"

"Don't worry, take your time" Ramirez said as he saw Jason head disappear as he stepped down the ladder. Then, after making sure Jason was far enough away so as not to her him, he said to himself in a smug voice "Take all the time you need.... because I am going to have a little bit of fun"

At that, he eyed the Barret sniper rifle with a possessive look as he procured form one of his pocket one magazine for the weapon. He had ten bullets and they were ALL for himself.

Oh yes... lots of fun!

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Spyro watched as the arches prepared for another volley. They had been at this for nearly an hour, neither side making any move except shooting arrows at each other. Most foot soldiers on both sides, Spyro's dragons included, had retreaded towards where the arrows would not hit them. Still, they were close enough to get into position when the enemy came.

Spyro watched how the missiles left the bows with a twang and made their way toward the other side of the canyon, where the enemy arches were preparing for another volley. Some of them fell when the arrow landed, but they remained in position and launched their own volley at the Atlawas. The llamas took cover where they could to avoid the deadly barrage of black shafts. Some unfortunate soul did not find cover in time.

After the exchange was made, the llamas once again reformed and prepared another volley.

"They are up to something" Cynder said as she arrived from behind him.

"I know" Spyro said since he knew it too. They dark army was too quiet in some sections, and that unsettled him. "How is Gale?" he asked instead, turning to look at Cynder.

She, like he and most of his dragons, looked battle worn. She had blood on parts of her body, though it was not her own. She looked tired, but determined.

After the statement begun, Cynder had gone twice to check on Gale.

"Scared" Cynder answered. "Like the rest of the civilians"

"And why wouldn't they be?" Spyro asked rhetorically.

After that, they remained in silence, away from the exchange of the arrows. Spyro heard the human chatter through the radio that was given to him, saying to go and fetch more ammunition, or the status of some wounded soldiers or something trivial as a hot bath and a comfortable bed.

Suddenly, chanting from the enemy army reached their ears. They were cheering... or encouraging something. The allied soldiers started to rise from their positions to have a good look of whatever the dark army was doing.

"What in the name of the ancestors are they doing?" Iciclos asked.

The foot soldiers of the dark army were advancing at a slow pace. But not one regiment or two, but the whole army! And they were not heading specifically for the bridges they held, but they were moving on a straight line, as if they were marching in open field.

"What the hell are they doing?" Iciclos asked. "Why are they advancing like that? They will only have to stop when they reach the chasm"

Spyro also had his questions.

"Anyone had any idea what is happening?" Spyro head a human soldier say through his radio. "That chanting is giving me a bad feeling"

"Don't know; but it seems that it is coming from all the fronts" another human replied.

"Jason, can you see anything?" Spyro heard Parker say through the radio.

"I have run out of Fifty Cal and I'm not on the tower. Ramirez is however"

"Ramirez?"

"Hold a moment" Ramirez commented.

Just then, Spyro saw the some sections of the army make way to something bigger that was coming from behind. Amidst the horde of the enemy armies, several beasts of burden appeared; and they were dragging something in what appeared to be a huge cart. Behind each of them, two troll followed.

They continued advancing until they positioned themselves at the edge of the chasm. Then, they stated to do something with whatever it was they were dragging.

"Not good!" Ramirez said deadly serious through the radio.

"Ramirez? Speak to me" Parker said.

"Well, it appears that since they couldn't get the bridges they so desperately wanted, they decided to make some of their own" Ramirez commented in a humorous tone.

As if the words were too difficult to comprehend, Spyro tried to understand what Ramirez had actually said. Spyro watched dumbly as huge wooden planks were lifted from the carts. One was placed firmly on the ground as the trolls started to push the plank, lifting the other end. When the huge planked reached ninthly degrees, it looked like as if it would remain there, looming, immobile.

But then, it started to descend and fall. With a thud, the other end of the plank landed on their side.

Immediately, Spyro understood. They had made a bridge for themselves!

"Hurry! To me!" he shouted as he dashed toward where the new bridge was placed, just as the orcs and grumblings started to run across it.

Spyro reached it just in time to kill the orc that managed to set foot on ground instead of wood. The rest of the dragon wing he commanded arrived moment later to stop the enemy form pouring in.

"Spyro!" Iciclos shouted amidst the battle. "Head to the next bridge before they cross! We shall remained here and stop them"

Spyro turned and saw, to his dismay that another makeshift bridge made by the orcs had reached its highest point and was making it way downward to land on their end. The more routes the enemy had to cross, the more their forces would be spread.

"Iciclos, destroy this bridge!" Spyro told the ice dragon. Iciclos gave a nod before turning to face the incoming enemy and releasing his ice breath. "Cynder, help me take down the next bridge"

"I'm with you!" she said.

Both of them ran, hurrying to get in position before the enemies started pouring in. Cynder got ahead of him since she was faster. She got in time to meet the first wave with a fear scream, making the orcs stop dead in their tracks, impeding the advance of those behind. But it only lasted for a moment before they started walking again; but it gave enough time for Spyro to arrive. Spyro arrived at the fray a few moments later, trying to slash and bite at anyone that got close.

Spyro and Cynder defended that pass alone as enemies tried to pour in. Spyro breathed fire at the horde that was coming, making great numbers of enemies catch fire, as they were too tightly packed. But they just kept coming!

'We have to destroy the bridge!' Spyro though urgently as he ducked as a grublin tried to slash at him in a horizontal arc. 'But how?'

Spyro grabbed the small grublin by the arm and he flung it toward the approaching soldiers. Some of the fell of the bridge as the lost their balance with the sudden impact.

"That's it!" Spyro said with a source of inspiration. "Cynder, cover me for a few moments!"

Cynder said nothing as she stepped in front of Spyro, giving him some space so he could concentrate. As for Spyro, the purple dragon closed his eyes and concentrated as he tried to use one of the new techniques the guardians had taught him.

He felt the earth around him, feeling how it pulsed with life... and the many thunderous footsteps that were all around the area. But he could not linger on that; he needed to concentrate.

He slammed his paw on the ground, bending the earth to his will as he used his power. In response to his movements, a huge piece of rock rose from the ground.

'Not exactly a boulder, but it will serve' Spyro though as he opened his eyes and saw his work. 'And now, to shove it'

Spyro rose on his hind legs and concentrated once again. He then slammed his paws on the rock, as hard as when he had brought it from the ground, to try and hurl it toward the enemy.

However, the rock did not move.

"Uh-oh!" Spyro exclaimed as the rock not moved one inch.

"What are you doing back there?" Cynder yelled form the front as she kept at bay the advancing enemy.

"Hold on a second!" Spyro yelled back.

"Whatever you are going to do, you better do it fast!" Cynder yelled in response as she concentrated once again on fighting.

'Move!' Spyro though in exasperation as he tried once again to move the huge rock with his powers. 'Why won't it budge? Damn rock, MOVE!' Spyro thought angrily as he tried once again to push the huge rock with his powers.

"Move over!" someone beside him snarled at him and shoved him out of the way.

Spyro, down on the ground, looked up to see who had actually pushed him out of the way. He was quite surprised to find the petite earth dragoness they had seen a few days back; Gaia.

The earth dragoness rose on her hind legs just as Spyro had done moment before. She clasped her paws in preparation to move the huge boulder. But unlike Spyro, when she was about to use her power, her front paws started to give a green glow. She was about to do what Spyro couldn't; which was to hurl the huge rock towards the enemy Cynder was holding.

'Cynder!' Spyro though urgently as he saw that she was in between the rock and the Dark Army.

"Cynder! DUCK!" he yelled at the top of his lungs.

Thanks to having fought together when they were chained, both of them had learned to trust each other and do what the other was telling without the slightest hesitation. And that was a good thing. Cynder threw herself to the ground just as Gaia's paws touched the huge rock.

Spyro gawked at the speed the rock was sent flying. It flew with the speed of an arrow or a as if it was sent of a catapult! And it did not stop as it smashed it way through the approaching army that was trying to cross the bridge. The huge missile held enough force that even went father that the chasm which the bridge spanned across, taking every soldier that was trying to cross it with it. It even went beyond that, smashing, rolling, squashing and turning to pulp any unfortunate that was in its path.

As last, the rock stopped a good fifty meters beyond the edge of the chasm, leaving dozens, if not hundreds of broken bodies and dead soldiers in a clear straight line in which the rock had flown.

"Now that is how it's done!" Gaia said patronizingly toward the still in the ground Spyro.

'How could she have done that so easily?' Spyro asked in his mind as he gawked at her in amazement.

"SPYRO!" Cynder yelled in warning.

Spyro had been looking at Gaia with amazement that he forgot of his surroundings. He turned to look and saw a small ugly looking grublin was standing just next to him. As soon as he set his eyes on the dark minion, the grublin exploded in a shower of blood and organs. It just seemed to have been disintegrated!

"SPYRO!" Cynder yelled as she ran next to him. "Are you all right?" she looked all over him in his worry

"Yeah! I'm all right" he assured her as he stood up, feeling glad about Cynder's concern. "What happened?" he asked as he surveyed the few remains of the grublin.

"Don't know" Cynder answered truthfully. "Did you see something?" she asked toward Gaia.

"I'm blind... duh!" she answered back sarcastically.

There was a sudden loud boom in the distance, bringing Spyro back to the situation at hand. From the looks of it, one of the bridges the allied forced had been defending was destroyed by the human explosives as they tried to prevent the enemy from advancing.

"Spyro, we have to destroy this bridge" Cynder urged him.

"Right!" he said as he went to the bridge.

The enemy was once again trying to cross it over the broken bodies of it fellows, but Spyro would be done with the bridge before then. He took a deep breath and exhaled a huge tongue of flames, making the wooden bridge catch fire quite fast. The approaching soldier, seeing the flames on the bridge, retreated towards safety. It took a minute for the wood to be weakened enough by the fire to make the bridge collapse on itself and be sent down toward the huge deep gorge.

"Come on!" Spyro said to Cynder and their new companion. "We have to get to other destroy other bridges""

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Ramirez burst out in laughter as he watched yet another grublin disintegrate. He eagerly started to look for the next unfortunate victim through the telescope of the Barret. He soon found one, since there were aplenty.

He put the crosshair on the small grublin before pulling the trigger. Ramirez watched with delight through the telescope as the high powered shot from the fifty utterly destroyed the small body of the grublin.

"Oh man! That was awesome!" Ramirez laughed.

He had used already all of the ten bullets he had and all of them had claimed an enemy. It had been so much fun while it lasted.

"Ramirez!" someone shouted form behind in anger.

Ramirez turned to look in surprise and he saw Jason. The sniper held his M40 sniper rifle on his back, strapped by a bandolier.

"I should have known you would have hidden some shots for yourself" Jason accused as he took the remaining steps that separated them.

"Uh... eh-he!" Ramirez chuckled nervously.

"You are incorrigible" Jason shook his head. "Tell me at least you hit something with that last shot"

"We have one less grublin to worry about" Ramirez stated in a matter-of-fact.

"A grublin? You used a fifty caliber on a grublin?" Jason nearly exploded.

"He was in my sights!" Ramirez defended himself, stating out his reasoning as if it was the most logical explanation.

"What else you got?" Jason asked with a growl.

"I killed four orcs, five grublin, one trolls and one wyvern. One of those was one shot two kills"

"That is really go.... Wait, a wyvern? How did...?"

"I sniped him out of the sky" Ramirez said, not giving it importance.

"You are incorrigible!" Jason growled. "Now move over! We have to get back to killing officers"

"There goes my fun" Ramirez grumbled. "Can I shoot?"

"No!"

"Please?"

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

The battle progressed at a fast paced now that the enemy deployed their own bridges. They moved quickly and efficiently. The humans started to destroy their own bridges immediately, but that was not enough to still the tide that was coming.

The allied forced had retreated to the city itself due to the enemy crossing on the bridges they made. Each time they fell back, they extracted a heavy price from the enemy every time they attempted an attack.

But there was one bigger concern.

Even though they had taken precautions with keeping civilians safe, they had to evacuate them when the battle got to close. Sometimes, it was too close to even see the soldier fighting a few steps away.

Yet... the enemy was sometimes faster.

'What a mess!' Cynder thought grimly as she oversaw the battle from the air.

In the confusion of battle, she got separated from her unit, from Spyro. She had asked directions to get to him from some passing soldiers; but with the chaos of battle they either didn't paid attention, pointed at a random direction, or gave her completely useless instructions.

She had opted to fly and look for a purple spec in the distance. That action got the attention from wyverns, which she had to fight off. She had to test her flying skills to the limits as she was outnumbered in the air. She dodged, dove, slashed, bit and spat poison on her enemies. One by one, the wyverns fell from the sky down to the ground below.

Now, she had a moment of respite to look for Spyro once more.

Instead of Spyro, she found a small group of ten orcs marching quickly amongst the rough landscape that was characteristic of few plains in the area in which mostly was a residential area. They were heading towards one of the building of the city where saw five guards standing guard at. The guards were still unaware of the approaching danger due to the landscape and by the time the enemy was in view, they would be too close for the guards to form an effective resistance.

Cynder realized grimly that the only buildings being protected were those with civilians in it.

She quickly changed direction and flew as fast as her wing could move her towards the civilian shelter. She saw grimly how the dark minions caught the guards by complete surprise, killing them instantly. Then, they directed their attention towards the building itself.

One of the orcs opened the door and stepped inside. By now, Cynder was close enough to hear the screams of fear coming from the inside. She doubled her efforts to get there in time.

She fell atop the second orc that was just about the get inside the building, making his spine snap with her sudden weight. Cynder jumped from the body as the dead one fell to the ground. Immediately after that, she went indie the building.

She saw two dead llamas and a third that was on the ground, bleeding deeply from a lung cut, but alive. As for the orc, he was advancing menacingly towards the helpless victims that were cowering in terror.

Not if she could help it.

Cynder moved as fast as the wind and bit the orcs leg. Before he could do anything, she bent her whole body backward and upward, sweeping the orcs of its feet and lifting him onto the air with the powerful of her tug. In addition to the biting, she willed her poison to come out of her teeth, like a poisonous snake would when it bit its prey. In that move, she ensured the orc would not survive past a minute. She went all moved all the back until her back nearly touched the ground before she released the soldier; who went sailing out the door and collide with another orc that was trying to get in.

Cynder jumped back to her feet and dashed outwards to stop the orcs from entering once again. She was outnumbered, eight to one, and she was surrounded and had her back to the wall. She only moved her eyes, watching each enemy, waiting for them to rush at her. If she hoped to get out of this with her scales incant, she would have to use one of her new skills.

As expected, the orcs charged forwards without any though for themselves. Cynder concentrated briefly and summoned her powers. It took concentration, and a lot of energy, but she managed. Just as the orc were ready to rip her to pieces, she unleashed her power.

Total and absolute darkness surrounded the immediate area around her. Every single object disappeared as the dark cloud settled suddenly over them. To an outside viewer, one could not see what was happening inside; that in itself would make the viewer a little fearful. To an inside viewer it was even worse, since he could even see his own hand if one put it on their noses. Not even a torch would help to illuminate the place.

But that was not a problem for Cynder. She was in her element. She knew where everything and everyone was in the small cloud of darkness that she had created. That allowed her to move freely without fear while her enemies wandered around aimlessly.

She struck quickly and mercilessly, killing them one by one with a quick swipe to the neck, a stab into the abdomen with her tail blade or a slash from her deadly poisoned claws. The orcs where at her mercy, and they could do nothing more than flail around aimlessly. They sometimes swung their rusted swords in the direction they thought she was, but she was a shadow moving through the darkness.

About ten seconds later, she released her power, dissipating the darkness. As the darkness receded, one could see clearly that the eight orcs lay dead on the floor. Vicious cuts and slashes marked many parts of their bodies, showing their helplessness when they were in Cynder's domain.

Cynder observed her handiworks with critical eye. She gave a nod in satisfaction before she turned to face the building where the civilians hid. She saw that some of them were observing her with awe and fear.

"Are you all right?" she asked kindly.

None of them answered as they gawked. However, Cynder relief that no more harm was done to them was short relived as she heard footsteps, many of them, coming her way. To her dismay, she saw that orcs were starting to arrive one after the other.

She crouched low and prepared to defend herself. She knew she could leave flying, but that would make death a certainty to those within the building. She would not leave.

She gave a quick lash with her claws as the first orc came within striking distance.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Incendio sighed tiredly. He never imagined writing a report would be too boring. He tipped the quill in the bottle of ink and continued his report for the City Guard Commander.

Whilst on patrol outside the city looking for any kind of damage the torrential rains that had fallen lately could have caused, they had arrived at a rather large village, where floods had struck the worst. They had set up a headquarters in a building and started searching for missing people, as well as clearing derbies from a pair of building that had collapsed and any other thing the flood had carried. The ground had become unstable with so much rain that some building collapsed.

When Incendio had been looking for the missing people, another building, which happened to be their command post, had collapsed. The officer in charge, a lighting dragon called Electicus, was inside the building when it happened, as well as others. Electicus had been knocked unconscious and was badly wounded and leadership had passed to Incendio since he was second in command.

That had been two days ago. Incendio and most of his unit had returned to Warfang. Immediately, the Commander in Chief of the City Guards wanted to know what had happened; even though Incendio had sent a messenger after the incident had happened.

Now he was stuck writing his report. Writing a report was required for every officer in every unit and since Electicus would not be attending his duties for a while; Incendio had been promoted and took his place.

Luckily, he had just finished writing the tedious long report on the piece of parchment.

With a sigh, Incendio put the quill back into the bottle of ink and arched his neck backwards in an effort to stretch his stiff neck. He stood up from his pillow and left the desk where he had been writing down on a scroll.

It was just a little past noon and the sun was starting to descend towards the horizon. With a rumble form his stomach; he was reminded that he had skipped breakfast and was very hungry. He made his way towards the kitchen, where he hoped to find a snack and enjoy the rest of the day, since he had been giving the rest of the day off.

He took a large plate and placed it in a table in the dining area. He also took a bowl which he filled with water from a small pump. Water ran through the city through countless of aqueducts and each home had access to fresh water whenever was needed, as well as drainage to clear the wastes one produced.

After placing the bowl filled with water on the table, he opened a small room which, by magic, was held at a low temperature to preserve food for long periods. He looked at what he had in store.

Not much. He had only one large piece of meat left; lamb from the look of it. It was hanging from an iron hook that was attached to the celling. There were a dozen other hooks, but those were empty now. Dragons are mostly carnivores by nature and eat many types of mean, though lamb, deer, chicken and beef are the most common choices. But there were also some plants and vegetables that were favorites amongst dragon kind.

'Haven't eaten a lamb for a while' he though with a shrug, eying hungrily a lamb leg.

He unhooked the meat from the rod took and walked out of the cold room, closing the door with a small kick of his rear leg.

He placed the meat on his plate with a smile in his face. He sat comfortably in a cushion and prepared himself to eat.  Just as he grabbed the piece of meat to take the first bite, he heard someone knocking at the door.

"Just when I was about to take my first bite" he grumbled in a low voice. He got up nonetheless.

'Who could it be?' he wondered as he walked towards the door of his small home.

He turned the handle and opened the door. He saw someone he did not expect.

"Hi"

"Doctor Kelly?" Incendio asked bewildered as she saw the human outside his door. "What... what are you doing here?"

"Just wanted to see how you were doing. Haven't seen you for a while" she answered truthfully.

Incendio looked at her. As usual, she was wearing her white doctor garment. Her hair had been pulled backwards and was held in place with a small black band. Her hair looked as if she had a small horse tail.

"I have been busy" Incendio said as he finished his inspection.

It was true, he had been busy with all the duties he had at the City Guards. He had been assigned to outer villages. But he had also been trying to avoid her since he saw her with the other human male.

"As do we all sometimes" she chuckled. "But things have been going slow in the hospital for a while, so I decided to visit a friend"

They remained standing there for a few moments, unsure of what to say. However, a small growl startled both of them, almost jumping for the sudden noise.

"Hehe... sorry" Kelly said as she blushed a little bit. "I haven't eaten lunch yet"

A new growl came from the stomach, but from another body. Incendio looked away in embarrassment, to which Kelly gave a few giggles.

"Uhm... I was just about to eat something... when you showed up" Incendio said somewhat hesitantly.

"Well, then I guess I better leave so you can eat" Kelly said as she started to turn around.

"Wait!" Incendio said suddenly.

"Yes?"

Incendio stood completely blank. He didn't know why he had told her to wait! He though fast, just to say anything.

"Uhm... would... would you like to join me and have lunch?" he said what first came to mind.

"Are you sure? I don't want to be any bother" she said.

"Nonsense!" Incendio immediately replied.

"You are so generous. I thank you for the offer" she smiled.

Incendio took a step to the side and allowed the human entry to his home.

'What was I thinking?' Incendio yelled in his mind. 'I haven't gone to the market in days! I don't know what to offer her!'

Once Kelly was inside, Incendio slowly closed the door, still in his raging thought.

"So this is where you live?" she asked rhetorically.

"Huh? Oh...yes" Incendio replied. "It is a small dwelling, but it is nice"

"Hmmm...." Kelly mused as he looked around the living room. "It could use some more color and decoration" Kelly commented in a simple manner.

Incendio looked at the small living room. It was almost barren except for two red cushions where dragon would sit, a wooden chair in case there was a non-dragon guest, and a small wooden table where appetizers and drinks could be placed. Otherwise, there was nothing else. It was almost barren and seemed to lack the hearty life of a nice living room.

"Yeeaaaahh... about that. I have moved here fairly recently and I have wanted to add more color to it, but I haven't had the chance to add some more furniture, with all the work I have had lately" Incendio apologized as he scratched his head in an embarrassed manner "Besides, I am not an expert on decor, so I wouldn't know what to buy"

"Well, let's see if we can't remedy that" Kelly said.

"Huh?"

"If you have time we can go to the market later today. I can help you bring a little more life to this place" Kelly offered.

"Really?" Incendio asked hopefully. "Don't have any work to do?"

"As I told you earlier; there not a lot going on at the hospital. They could do without me for an afternoon"

"Would it be a bother for you?"

"Of course not. Besides, it would be interesting to see what kind of trinkets this world have"

"Thank you!" he said in gratitude when Kelly nodded.

"You're welcome" Kelly answered.

Incendio smiled before leading the way towards the dining room. As the living room, it was barren of decoration and furniture expect for the essential.

"What were you about to eat?" She asked.

"A nice and tasty lamb leg" Incendio said as he took the piece of meat. "Human eat their meals cooked, don't' they?"

"Yes, we do" Kelly said. "Do dragons?"

"We are partial to either side" explained Incendio. "Many dragons prepare their food; cooking them and putting spices, but also a great number likes to eat their meat raw. Of course, there are some dishes that must be prepared"

"And you? Do you like raw meat or cooked"

"I'm partial to either side" Incendio said. "Whatever I feel like eating"

Incendio took some cutlery and dishware for her friend to use. He had only one set since he didn't receive many visits in his home; but it was enough. He placed them on the opposite end of the small table. Kelly had dragged the chair from the living room since Incendio only had that one.

Incendio opened the cold room once more, only to confirm what he already knew. The only piece of meat had already been taken out. He was fortunate enough to find some cheese hidden between some barrels that used to hold some wine.

'Guess I will have to share the meat, then' Incendio thought, taking the cheese and closing the cold room with a flick of his tail.

He then went to the pantry, where he stored the rest of his food. Dust flew when he opened the cabinets, which made him sneeze. One quick look threw him to the point of despair.

There was almost nothing left! There were some fruits, but it looked to have been overripe. There was also some loafs of bread, but he was sure that they were hard already. Incendio grumbled at his own stupidity for not restocking his food stock sooner. He grumbled even louder about his stupidity of inviting someone to eat when he had no food available.

He took it all out nonetheless and placed it the plates by the table.

With that, Incendio took the piece of lamb and walked towards the fireplace, where it would be cooked is a slow manner. He could use his fire breath too cook it, of course, but he would have to pay attention to what he was doing as to not burn it. Besides, he would much rather spend that time talking with Kelly.

Once they finished preparing the table, minus the meat, they sat on their respective places. Silence fell as soon as they sat, not knowing what to say to the other. They looked this way and that, not sure how to break the uncomfortable silence that had fallen upon them. So, they took the most logical option.

"So... how have you been doing?" Kelly asked awkwardly.

"Busy busy" Incendio replied. "There had been torrential rains in some areas near Warfang and there have been some floods. We have been sent here and there to aid where we can"

"Is it serious?" Kelly asked.

"In some parts it is" Incendio answered. "There are people missing, as well as people injured. But most of the damage seemed to be on property and crops, which have been destroyed by the floods and rain"

"That's horrible!"

"Warfang is sending aid in from of food and volunteers to help where they can"

"Maybe I could help" Kelly said.

"Really?"

"I am feeling a little bit pent up here. I need some fresh air from time to time" she said. "But even if I didn't, I have made an oath to preserve life. And I know I can help. Floods, food shortage and living with low sanitary conditions can bring a few diseases. I could help preventing them, as well as helping those that are ill. Not to mention that I can treat most of the injures"

"Don't I know it" Incendio said, remembering how Kelly have saved him from a fatal wound.

"I will make the necessary arrangements to get out of town for a while" she said.

"The people in those villages will surely be grateful for your help" Incendio said. "So... what have you been doing lately?" he asked awkwardly.

"Me? Well, remember that illness we had some weeks ago?" Kelly asked. When Incendio nodded, she continued. "Well, I have finally found what caused it, as well as the cure to it, not counting the Sky Flower"

"So what caused it?"

"Dragons" she answered.

"What?" Incendio asked in surprise, not really understanding what she said.

"Dragons caused us to fall ill"

"But... how...?"

"From what I was able to gather, a young dragon sneezed on Ramirez a few days prior to the outbreak. I dug a little bit deeper and I took a blood sample form a dragon. What I found was... interesting. You see, the same virus that affected us seemed to have affected the dragon as well"

"But no dragon fell ill during that time" Incendio pointed out.

"That was why I took several more samples from different dragons. Many more" Kelly said. "In each and every one of them I found the same traces of the virus"

"Meaning...?" Incendio trailed off.

"All the dragons fell ill at one time or another of the same thing"

"But we didn't knew the cure of that illness until the Sky Flower, so how can they have survived" Incendio countered. "We would have surely heard if such an outbreak have occurred"

"We have different bodies" Kelly explained. "To dragons it may be nothing more than a small illness where to another creature it can be deadly"

"But how?"

"My guess is that a very common disease plagues dragon kind. It is not deadly, but a great number of you suffer it"

Incendio thought hardly, trying to come up with an explanation to what Kelly had said. A common illness that seem to plague dragon kind? Which one could it be? Thinking hard of the explanation Kelly had told him, a single one gave the answer.

"It is the Dragon Flu" Incendio said suddenly.

"Flu is a very common disease amongst humans" Kelly said.

"So does dragons, but this one is unique"

"How so?"

"It is a disease almost every dragon kind suffers as a dragonling. It is characterized by a more severe case of fever, coughs and dripping noses. But apart from that, it is no different than the others types of flu. Still, that illness is quite severe and young ones have died because of ill treatment or other reasons"

"So, that young dragon that sneezed on Ramirez..." Kelly began.

"Was most likely showing the first symptoms of the Dragon Flu" Incendio finished.

Both remained silent for a few moments, each in their own thoughts.

"I'm sorry" Incendio said in a low voice.

"What for?"

"It was dragons that made so many of you humans die"

"It wasn't your fault, nor was it anyone's" she console him. "It was just something that happened, something we didn't see coming. You see, it is strange that an illness that plagues a species can affect another one"

"I know that it true" Incendio said. "But then why did it affect you? Why not the moles or the cheetahs? Why only humans?"

"Why did it indeed" she mused. "I can't say for sure. To truly understand an illness, one must study it; and that takes time"

Now that the barrier of silence was broken, they continued talking of every topic they could think of. They spent quite a while talking and picking of small pieces of fruits or bread to eat while they waited for the main dish.

However, they waited too long.

"Is something burning?" Kelly asked as she sniffed the air.

"The meat!" Incendio gasped as sudden realization hit him.

He jumped from his place and went to the kitchen. He took the lamb leg from the fireplace, but it was already too late; it was way too overcooked and burned spots covered most of it surface.

"Oh no!" he exclaimed.

Incendio walked back toward the dining room, taking the ruined piece of meat with him. When he entered, he showed it to Kelly, who tried stifling some giggles as she held a hand over her mouth.

"It's ruined" Incendio exclaimed. "I should have paid more attention to the time" he growled to himself.

"It not your fault" Kelly told him. "It can happen to anyone"

"I should have been more attentive" Incendio chastised himself. "Now it's ruined!" he almost whined as he placed his head in his paws. He was near to bash his head with the table at his own carelessness.

"We can always prepare something else" she suggested.

"We can't" Incendio sighed. "There is no more food left. This is everything I got"

"Oh..." she said in understanding.

Incendio had hoped to have a nice lunch with Kelly, but due to his own stupidity and carelessness, everything had fallen apart. He could not even feed his guest! She was his guest after all; so what would she think of him being a host of the most terrible sort?

Sound of cutlery striking each other drew his attention. He raised his head and saw that Doctor Kelly had removed a slice form the meat and had served it in her plate. She slowly cut one piece and, after looking at the obviously burned chunk, placed in her mouth. She chewed slowly and she made faces at the taste. After a few more moments, she swallowed.

"It good" she said in a low voice.

Although Incendio could clearly see the lie, he also saw the intent at cheering him up. He formed a smile in his limps formed because of her attempt than because of her words. His heart felt warmed because here she was, trying to comfort him.

That was what always made her special.

Not wanting to be rude, Incendio sliced a small chunk from the meat with his claws. He contemplated the burnt meat in his hand before, with a snort of amusement, started to eat it too.

Although the meat was burnt, the fruits overripe, the vegetables too old, the bread too hard and the cheese too sour, the pair did share a strangely nice meal.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Spyro took the opportunity to jump to the back of the troll whilst it was distracted. Upon noticing that he had someone on its back, the troll started to trash wildly in hopes of dislodging it. But Spyro held firm as his claws sunk into the troll.

Although his position did not allowed him to use melee attacks, he could use one of Cyril's techniques had taught him back in Warfang. He willed his power to the edge of his body, his temperature dropping to the point of freezing. The Ice Scales technique was in full motion as the point of contact with the troll started to freeze up

The sub-zero temperature space that surrounded his body made anything within it freeze completely. And because he was hanging firm upon the trolls back, the creature felt the chilling bone temperature.

After his disastrous failure at his first attempt at learning this technique, Cyril had also explained another quite useful bonus that came with the technique. If someone touched you whilst using this technique, it would find their limb numb and possibly frozen; but if that time was extended for a prolonged time, the enemy would be completely frozen. Best of all, it took just a few seconds to completely freeze the body of an enemy the size of an ape.

But he was trying to freeze a troll, which would be a little trickier.

Ever so slowly, the ice started to cover the troll's body and the low temperature started to take the effect. Feeling the danger, the troll trashed even more wildly. Spyro held firm, digging his claws deeper into the monster's back as it moved in an effort to dislodge him.

Slowly, the troll's movements started to lessen as his body began to freeze, thin layers of ice forming around its body. Its legs started to freeze too, and one of them broke when the troll tried to take a step, making both of them fall to the ground.

Spyro did not let go until the troll was nothing more than a frozen statue whose fear and pain were forever held still in his face by the ice. With the death of the troll, a cheer went through the allied forces, which started to fight back with renewed efforts.

Spyro took a breather as he lay in place. It had taxed him to take down the troll, but even more so all the continuous fighting. But he could not linger; he must find Cynder. He asked her whereabouts to the humans, which with their radios, they could communicate instantly.

It was a wonder, this radio. One could communicate instantly over the distance. Since Spyro had one, he used it to know how the battle was going in other parts of the city by the human's chatter through it. By the looks of it, the enemy momentum was pushing them deeper into the city itself.

Spyro, along with two dragons from his wing that he had managed to rally, took to the skies once more to look for Cynder. However, there was another section that needed their help and they were forced to assist. They provide aerial support for the ground troops, killing rocs with each pass in an effort to lessen the tide.

He was back once again on the ground, helping some allied troops fighting off some grumblings, when he head Ramirez through the radio.

"Lieutenant, we got a problem" he said with a serious, voice.

"What is it?" Parker demanded.

"Looks like some apes decided to join the party" Ramirez answered back.

'Apes?' Spyro thought with a jerk. 'What are they doing here?'

"And they brought their flying bat pets" Ramirez continued.

'Dreadwings' Spyro thought grimly as he ducked a knife slash made by the grublin before making him a living torch with his fire.

"How many? Where are they coming from?" Parker asked.

"They are coming from the west and they are about two hundreds of them by the looks of it"

'They would gain air superiority with those numbers!' Spyro though urgently.

"Ramirez, keep me posted" Parker ordered.

"Roger" he answered back.

"Spyro..." Parker addressed him through the radio. "See what you can do with those apes. We cannot lose control of the skies. It would make the dragons earthbound, something we cannot afford to since they need to move quickly to assist other sections"

"I'm on it!" Spyro answered, quickly dispatching the grublin he was engaging before turning to the skies.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Ramirez saw how he orc that had been just about to stab a panther fall death with the shot that was so graciously been provided by Jason.

"Another enemy down. I have already lost count!" Jason said, sounding quite amused.

"Nearly a hundred" Ramirez provided.

"Damn... that must be a new record!" Jason said proudly before shooting another grublin with his M40 sniper rifle.

"It's like a shooting gallery at the carnival" Ramirez compared.

"Too true!" Jason replied.

"To the right! By the rock formation that looks like a sleeping dog" Ramirez pointed out. "Looks like there is some serious fighting over there. Jesus... is that Cynder?!"

Ramirez zoomed through the monocular to get a better look. He watched how the black dragoness dodged every blow thrown at her and returned it with one of her own. She spat globs of poison at her foes, whose bodies burned like acid where they had been hit. She used her tail blade to stab enemies that were on her side or back. She would grab a grublin with her paws or teeth and fling it at the others, making them stumble. She even made appear a huge dark cloud over her and, after a few moments, release the energy to reveal all the enemies close to her dead.

She seemed to be the deliverer of death itself as she killed one after the other.

"Come on. She needs sniper support" Ramirez urged Jason.

Jason complied by shooting the remaining bullets into the mass that was approaching Cynder. They instantly felled as the bullets tore their bodies.

All too soon, Jason emptied the magazine and put in a new fresh clip. And those also went out fast. And so did the next one.

"Just don't stand there" Jason reprimanded Ramirez. "Help me feed new bullets into the mags"

Ramirez dropped his monocular and collected the spent magazines near him. He also garbed a 7.62mm ammo box. Hey had been sniping for a while, so they had to get more bullets from somewhere. With what he needed at hand, Ramirez started to put each individual bullet in place as Jason continued firing.

"Mag!" Jason ordered with an extended hand, not looking away from his telescope.

Ramirez, who had just finished loading his third magazine, gave it to the sniper, who promptly put in place, locked the bolt action rifle and fired. He ejected the spent shell from the rifle, the brass cylinder making clinking noises as it fell to the ground, before loading another one into the firing chamber.

"You are burning ammo at a very fast rate!" Ramirez commented on the rapidly depleting ammo box.

Before Jason could answer, a shrill noise ripped the air, making both humans feel a chill down their spines. It sounded close... too close. They looked this was and that, hoping to locate where had the noise come from. They did not have to wonder for long.

Two huge bats suddenly entered their field of vision. Their huge leathery wings carrying fast. Ramirez managed to see the apes that were mounting the beast, each of them strapped with leather to secure themselves least they fall to their death with one wrong move their steed made. One of the bats opened its mouth and let another terrifying screech, making both humans flinch at the noise.

Both bats made a tight curve before heading straight for them. Ramirez realized in a moment that they had spent too much time in the same sniping position; and that the enemy knew where they were.

Ramirez quickly reached for his M4, which he had set aside. However, the huge bats were already on them. Ramirez managed to fire a couple of wild shots without really aiming before the one of the monsters entered the tower, flying at full speed.

The momentum the bat carried made them plow through the construction site. The wooden pillars that were still in the construction site snapped as the huge strain were placed on them. The bat plowed his way all through the tower until he exited it on the other side, dragging wood, rock and dust in his wake.

The hard impact made Ramirez lose his hold on his weapon. He also was thrown back, making him roll all the way back until he fell right of the tower; where the bat had flown out. He was suspended in the air for a few moments before gravity made it magic and pulled him down to the far way ground.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

A loud rumbling was heard above and behind him. Parker turned to look and saw to his dismay, that a huge bat had just blasted his way through the entire length of the tower before flying off. His heard even skipped a beat as he saw a figure, followed closely by another, slipping out and fall down to the ground.

'Shit!' Parker thought as he saw his two snipers fall.

The fall must have been at least a hundred meters. There was no way they could survive that.

But he had to focus. The enemy momentum was making them retreat. They must turn this thing or they would be routed.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Cynder had to jump away to evade the vertical cut that the orc threw her. She momentarily lost her footing as she accidentally stepped over a dead orc. But with so many of the corpses around, it was difficult not to.

About half a dozen took his momentary loss of concentration to attack. In response, Cynder once again used her shadow ability to encompass the area. Like before, the orcs tried to attack blindly, even one of them accidentally killing one of it companions. But that did nothing to deter Cynder from finishing them quickly. Every moment she kept the dark shadow cost her energy that would surely use it if the tide of enemies kept coming.

After she killed them all, plus a few more brave or foolish orcs that entered her dark domain, she released the power and light once again shone upon her form. She was battered, bloodied and tired. Yet, she held a firm determination in her face to keep going.

She looked like the goddess of war itself in her state, not willing to give in even at the hardest of moments. She looked as if she would take down each and everyone one of them.

And by the looks of it, she might just succeed.

Cynder had been doing this for at least fifteen minutes, never for a single second she had stopped fighting the seemingly endless wave of dark minions. They ranged from orcs, grublins a couple of wyvern and even a troll. All those that had faced her, or tried to go past her and into the building at her back, had met its demise. The bodies filled the small area where the fighting was taking place. There must be at least a hundred of them! The blood made the ground slippery, and all the bodies clustered together made it a hard footed battleground. Not exactly a good place to fight.

She used her Siren Scream to make the enemies that were approaching halt for a few moments. That gave her enough free seconds to strike at four of them with her poisoned claws. She watched as how said four soldier fell to the ground, trashed for a few more second before remaining still. That gave her a second or two of respite before the next wave of grublins and orcs dashed at her.

She knew not how much longer how she would be able to keep at this. She was out of breath and her energy was already too low. She could not even think straight anymore! She just reacted.

She fought on and on, never letting the enemy so much an opportunity. She mindlessly slashed, stabbed, bit and use her elements against the horde. Her muscles burned as if they were on fire. Pain erupted form the dozens of small cuts and bruises she received. Blood entered her eyes from a cut she received on the forehead, making her see everything with a slight tint of red.

Her body cried desperately to stop... but she didn't; she kept going.

She jumped at a small grublin that had come up too close, falling atop the small body. Her deep instinct made her go straight for the jugular. She opened her jaws and bit hard on the poor creature's neck. The grublin tried desperately to push her away, but she was larger, stronger and she had him in a disadvantageous position. He could do nothing. With a twist of her head, she snapped the grublin's neck, ending the pathetic struggle. The grublin immediately fell limp with his neck broken.

Cynder released the corpse from her jaws and turned to look up and found the area deserted of enemies. She took a few moments to comprehend what she was seeing, blinking stupidly at the absence of enemies. She had been fighting for so long that she just assumed that there would be one more enemy. But now....

Cynder legs gave underneath her and she fell gracelessly as her energy that seemed to have held her until now gave away. After mindlessly fighting for what seemed to her an eternity, she suddenly found no enemies left in sight. She had done it! Against all odds, she did it!

Her breath was erratic, as she took full breaths in an effort to get air into her lungs. Her heart was beating so hard that she felt that it would come out of her chest.

A sudden shadow fell upon her. Battle insect tried to take over, but she was just too tired. She could do nothing expect move her eyes to face the foe that was surely to kill her.

But it was no foe. It was a llama, and he was looking at her as if he had never seen dragon before in his entire life. His whole face showed awe and disbelief at what he had seen. However, there was also one other thing that Cynder saw on the llama's face, something she could not put her claw on.

The llama turned his head back and yelled for someone. Cynder turned her eyes and she saw that another llama, this one a female, came over her. She knelt just next to Cynder and the dragoness found out that the llama had brought a bucket.

Cynder closed her eyes for a moment in an attempt to rest.

"Here; drink!" the llama female next to her said.

Cynder opened her eyes and saw that the llama was holding in her hands a small wooden cup filled to the brim with water. Seeing how Cynder moved in her weakened state, the llama moved closer the wooden cup and managed to make Cynder drink without causing her any discomfort. The water had come from a well, Cynder could tell by the taste, but she was not going to begrudge it as she drank it greedily.

"More" she said hoarsely once she finished the water.

The llama refilled the cup and Cynder once again drank greedily. She felt how she regained a little bit of her strength by only drinking that water. She managed to lift her head from the blood soaked ground to look around her.

Bodies from the enemy lay everywhere! The blood ran in rivers from the entire amount that had managed to pool up. The heat and humidity started to make the corpses rot, making the area reek of death and insects buzzed in the feast. Cynder remembered why she had done all of this.

She turned to look at the building where the civilians had been hiding. To her surprise, she saw many were standing outside. They were looking at her with more surprise than they did at all the carnage around them. Like the others she had seen, their faces showed awe, disbelief and fear. But underneath it all there was another thing she finally recognized something.

Appreciation.

They knew that she had fought against the dark army. They knew that she had decided to stay when she could have decided to leave. She didn't need to have done all this, but she did. And that was to save them. They were grateful that she had not left them to die.    

She suddenly felt something wet and cool press against her forehead. She turned and saw that the female llama was cleaning the cut she had received on her forehead with a wet and clean strap of cloth.  Cynder closed her eyes and allowed the llama to continue her ministrations as she rested.

Clanking of armor and the hurried footsteps warned her that someone was coming rapidly. She turned to looks and saw a troop of llamas return a corner amongst the buildings. They stopped dead cold when they spotted the carnage.

Cynder managed to see Kane amongst the group. He seemed as shocked as the rest were. The llama leader looked at the death bodies of the enemies Cynder had killed, then at the civilians that had come out of the building then at Cynder. He recovered faster than the rest of the troop and his eyes turned to look at her. His emotions were harder to read once he decided to use his mask to cover his emotions.

The leader of tall plains, arrayed in his battle armor, slowly walked towards her. He sidestepped the dead bodies until he stood in front of her. He remained there for a few moments, not conveying anything of what he was thinking.

Cynder, with shaking legs, started to get up. Kane observed her; neither hampering her or helping her. When Cynder managed to get up straight, she looked at him, her face conveying defiance. In response, Kane looked her back at her impassively.

Kane gave a slight nod in her direction, which Cynder responded in kind. Without saying anything else, Cynder sidestepped Kane and slowly walked into another section. She had yet to find Spyro.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

The battle at Tall Plains continued to rage fiercely. The attackers trying to advance as much as they could while the defender made sure they spilled blood for meter they gained.

"Lieutenant; the mortar team reports that they are out of shells!"

"The center has seen some intense fight and they have been forced to fall back" a llama officer reported to Kane, who had returned to assess the situation on one area.

"Sir, squad four says they are running low on ammo" Another soldier said.

"Try to conserve ammo. Make sure every shot count" Parker ordered.

There was a problem within the human's ranks. The ammunition and supplies they had brought along for the trip was beginning to grow scarce. Even though they had prepared for a long battle, there was only so much they could bring with them.

When the ammo for the weapons they carried ran out, they would have to improvise. The most logical option was to fight with bow and arrow or hand to hand with a sword. The old style of fighting.

"Sir, we have completely lost contact with bravo squad!" one of the soldiers yelled at the top of his lungs.

'DAMN!' Parker thought grimly.

About half an hour ago, a six man squad along with many several alliance warriors had been surrounded by the enemy's forces. Parker had told them to hold on while he tried to ensure they could get out safely. However, the enemy would not relent and in the end, they had succumbed.

"Sir... Spyro is here" Jackson gruff voice came to him.

He turned away from the battle maps and looked at the purple dragon, who was accompanied by two others, gliding towards the high outcropping where the Alliance had their General Quarters. Spyro landed and took several steps to reduce his momentum before coming to a stop.

"Does... anyone... has... water?" he asked between breaths.

One of the soldiers took out his canteen and shook it several times. After making sure it still had water, he unscrewed it and gave it to Spyro.

"Thanks" he said before lifting it and pouring it into his dry mouth.

He drank deeply and emptied the canteen of its contents. After he finished, he passed the empty container to its owner, who grimaced as he knew his water supply was over.

"How goes the air battle?" Parker asked once Spyro finished.

"We could use a little backup" the fire dragon on the left suggested.

"We could use more dragons" Spyro said. "We are outnumbered and are slowly beating us back"

"Can't do" Parker said. "They are needed on the ground"

He knew things were bad. The situation on the air was bad. Since the start of the battle, he knew they would be outnumbered, both on ground and air. There were many wyverns and the arrival of the dreadwings, as they called those huge bats, added more to the difficulty. And the ground was no better either since were slowly being pushed back. He could not spare any dragon to assist in the air because they were already too thin at they were. If he did commit more dragons to the air, the enemy ground forces would most likely break through.

He could also assign some humans to start shooting at the flying creatures, but that would deplete their already few remaining ammo... plus leaving the main battle line.

But if he didn't send any backup, the sky skirmish would be turned against their favor. That would be very bad too. He slowly walked towards the edge of the outcropping to get a better view of the area, hoping to think quickly of something.

Before he could come up with a solution, he heard the steady beat of wings. He looked around, hoping to see the dragon... or whatever that was coming. Suddenly, before him, rose one of those huge bats that had arrived in the middle of the battle.

Parker yelped in surprise at the sudden appearance of the huge creature. He tried to take some steps backward, but he ended up tripping with a rock, making him lose his balance and fall to the ground.

The dreadwing slowly landed on its hind legs on the high outcropping, just in front of Parker. The dreadwing gave a shrill scream that made everyone cover their ears in order to prevent the high pitch scream form hurting them.

All that time, Parker tried to scurry away. When he was far enough, he stood up and managed to free his sidearm and point it at the creature.

"And it's a 'Touchdown'!" someone shouted from the creatures back.

When the dreadwing finished his pose, he let his body fall forwards and used his wing claws for support; just like they do when on the ground. When it did, Parker had a clear view of its rider.

"Ramirez?" he asked disbelievingly.

"Hey, Lieutenant! Missed me?" Ramirez asked with an amused smug voice from the huge bats back.

It took a moment for Parker to comprehend what he was seeing. The soldiers that were in the Command Post didn't remain idle. Parker's yelp of surprise did not pass unnoticed. When people saw the dreadwing slowly land in front of him, they scurried for their weapons.

When the sound of weapons being loaded and safeties being turned off, he regained his senses.

"Hold your fire!" Parker commanded with a strong voice enough to be heard by everyone.

The soldiers, who were on the verge of shooting first and ask question later, seemed to falter when the Lieutenant gave the order not to shoot. They took that moment to look at the rider and any doubt about whether to shoot or not vanished.

"Ramirez! How did...?" Parker tried to ask, but the shock at seeing him alive was still too great.

He couldn't finish to get past his words when suddenly, another creature landed just on the side of Ramirez huge bat. Only this time, it was an ice dragon... but the looks of it. It was an adult dragon, and one who had seen battle if his scars were anything to go by.

"Ramirez? Iciclos?" Spyro asked as he began his approach. "How did...?"

"Hey there, Spyro! How you doing?" Ramirez waved his hand in a form of greeting.

"Spyro" the ice dragon names Iciclos bowed his head.

"How... when?" Spyro stammered, unable to voice his question.

"After we separated, I found myself being pursuit by some dreadwings" Iciclos explained. "Had it not been for this human" Iciclos nodded towards Ramirez, "I would have been dead"

"So... what do you think of my noble steed?" Ramirez asked as he held the reins of the dreadwing.

Parker looked at the hideous creature that Ramirez was riding. He knew one thing for certain: it was anything but noble.

"Ramirez?" Parker asked hesitantly. "What are you doing in that thing?"

"This, Lieutenant, is Batty" Ramirez patted the neck of the dreadwing.

"You even named him?" Jackson exploded after the initial shock. "Private Jose Ramirez, you better explain yourself trooper before I feed you to that thing!"

The dreadwing hissed angrily as Jackson approached. It advanced towards Jackson with the clear intention of attacking. Ramirez, in response, raised the weapon he had in his hand, a shortened shotgun by the looks of it, and slammed the butt against the dreadwing head. Immediately, the dreadwing went quiet and submissive.

"He just need a firm hand" Ramirez informed in a dismissive manner.

"Ramirez!" Jackson yelled as he retreated. "You better..."

"Calm down Jackson" Parker told the Sergeant before looking at Ramirez with an annoyance and relief look. "Ramirez... I think you should better explain yourself"

Ramirez looked at Parker with a lifted eyebrow and a knowing smile.

----(Half an hour earlier)----

Ramirez felt the hard impact of the dreadwing plowing through the tower. He felt himself roll on the ground as he lost his grip on his M4 carbine. Then... emptiness.

He opened his eyes and saw that there was nothing between him and the ground except empty space as he started falling. He momentarily started stupidly at the ground, not sure what he was seeing. However, training and fats reflexes brought he situation at hand.

He moved his body in midair and extended his arms and legs as fast as he could to create drag and slow his speed as most as he could. He had jumped from an Osprey with the Marines twice, so he knew how the stuff of freefalling was done. Only thing... he didn't had a parachute.

The ground was coming up fast and it would surely kill him if he hit it! The tower which Ramirez had been hiding with Jason was near a chasm. So, Ramirez angled himself to go towards the chasm so he would not hit the ground at the base of the tower. He felt himself move away slowly, but not fast enough. The way he was moving, he would hit the ground first before he cleared the edge. He inclined himself more so he moved away faster, but this also came with the prize of falling faster.

He watched the edge, as well at the ground, coming up faster. He greeted his teeth in the hopes that he would make it past.

And he passed by a hairbreadth. When he passed, eh managed to catch a small glimpse of a llama who was preparing some kind of food by the window of the building that he or she was residing in. But as it came, it went as they were both out of sight.

As he cleared away the ledge, he soon faced another problem. He was still falling as a fatal speed. One would ask why bother going to the chasm? It would only prolong the fall. Truth is that he had more time to come up with something.

He tried thinking fast of a solution to his little problem when he saw some fighting below him. There was a blue dragon, trying desperately to escape five dreadwing as they flew though treacherous and narrow places. The ape riders shoot arrow after arrow towards the fleeing dragon, who knew he was clearly outmatched.

As he thought of the rapidly forming insane plan in Ramirez head, something else caught his attention. Sun glinted against something a little bit below and he turned his gaze to try to discern what it was. It took a few moments to him to identify it what object was falling.

'My shotgun!' he though as he watched the shortened twin barrel weapons spinning out of control.

The plan of his escape from this situation took from in his mind. If he could time it right, and with a little bit of luck, he might be able to pull this off.

He inclined his body until he was almost vertical. His speed increased dramatically and the wind whistled by his ear as he drew closer to the ground below. He had to time it carefully; else he would miss the target.

He watched the shotgun spiraling out of control drawing near him. His eyes began to water as the cold wind stung against the, The sun glinting sometimes as it spin around its axis, indicating the way for Ramirez as he descended at incredible speeds.

'Just a little bit more...!' he though inwardly as he closed in with the shotgun.

He extended his hand and, just as he whistled by, he grabbed the shotgun by the handle. He immediately leaned the other side, rapidly heading towards the dragon and the dreadwings.

The fight below was a mess. The dragon twisted and turned in an effort to escape his pursuers, who were biting its tail. In one effort to regain speed and hope to shackle his pursuers, the dragon dove and the five dreadwings followed suit.

Seeing his opportunity, Ramirez leaned until he was almost vertical. He shot as fast as a bullet towards his intended target, hoping to reach it before they level out and shot away and leaving him to plummet to the earth.

The wind whistled by him as he rapidly descended, slowly gaining upon his target. His eyes stung and tears came out of his eyes as the wind mercilessly beat them. But he dared not close them least he miss.

'Almost there...!' he thought.

The group was nearly at the ground when they started leveling, but Ramirez was close enough.

He extended his hand and grabbed the harness that was on the back of one of the dreadwings and he pulled himself into a sitting position... just inches behind the ape rider.

"Mind if I take a ride?" he shouted above the winds towards the rider.

The ape jumped from the fright of haring someone behind him and turned to look back. Just when he did, Ramirez pulled the trigger of his shotgun at point-blank range on the apses back. The force of the blast knocked the rider off the saddle and, luckily, cut the harness that was holding the ape in place. The body slid from the mount and plumed down to earth.

Ramirez immediately moved and seated himself just where the ape had been moments ago, being very careful not to fall from the flying mount, since he did not had anything to secure himself. Once seated, he hastily grabbed the cut rope harness and tied it into a knot to his belt. That way, he would remain in place.

And just in time he finished securing himself; the dreadwing started to trash around. Ramirez quickly grabbed the bridle that surrounded the dreadwing's neck; which was fortunate to be within reach. That was the moment when Ramirez had to quickly tame the beast.

The dreadwing flew this way and that, spiraling and doing corkscrews, rising and falling, doing all sort of dislodge movements he could. The beast had felt that this was not his rider so he attempted to dislodge the new one. But Ramirez would not budge. He tightened his knees it o the saddle and tried to use his experience, which was none, in equitation.

"DOWN, BOY! DOWN!" he shouted as he hit the beat on the head with the handle of his shotgun.

The struggle for domination lasted for several moment, neither side wishing to submit. The dreadwing started to get tired of trying to shake of Ramirez form his back. So, in the end, the most likely outcome was reached: it is the rider the one who prevails over the beast.

"Hehe. Igual que un pequeño potro" Ramirez chuckled, revealing in his victory as he commanded the winged creature. "Okay... now up!" he pulled the reigns to the direction and it followed.

"YEEHAW!!! Ramirez exclaimed as a cowboy.

He was actually flying! He was living what every kid at one age or another dreamt of. He grinned foolishly as he took a peak down. He saw the ground below him, rapidly passing beneath his feet as the traveled the ravines that separated one plateau from the next. Ramirez felt more like a sack of potatoes as the bat rose and fell with each wing beat. But he managed.

A sudden roar caught his attention. Ramirez quickly scanned the area and noticed the dragon he had seen earlier still tried to evade his remaining pursuers. Now there were three of them, obviously one of them had been taken out of commission by the dragon that shot ice shards whenever he could at his foes. Ramirez saw some red marks covered his flanks, evidence that he had been injured by the dreadwings wicked claws; as well as some arrows shaft sticking out from his body.

"Come on boy! We need ruin someone's fun" he said seriously as he turned the reign left.

The dreadwing obliged with an angry hiss as Ramirez yanked the reins. He quickly approached the pursuit and took position behind the rear dreadwing. He opened the shotgun chamber, revealing the two shotgun shells that it fired. He took out and tossed to the side the one he spent by killing the ape which had so graciously allowed him use his mount. Ramirez extracted a fresh slug where he stored the shotgun cartridges, and inserted it into the empty slot. To finish, he closed the weapon with a flick of his wrist, which ended in a satisfying 'clink'.

He urged his mount to fly faster. He slowly gained ground and managed to put his dreadwing next to his, and flew side by side. The ape neighbor took one quick look in his direction before returning his gaze at him a moment later. The apes mouth went slack with disbelief as he saw Ramirez riding on a creature a partner of his had been riding only moments ago.

Ramirez, calmly, leveled his shotgun and pointed it at the ape with an amused expression.

"Hasta la vista... baby!" he said imitating Terminator before pulling the trigger.

The apes head blew off from it neck, leaving nothing but bone and brain in its wake. The headless corpse tilted to the side and started to slip, but was held fast by the safety harness.

The dreadwing the ape had been riding continued flying, still following the dragon as his master had commanded. Ramirez watched how the dreadwing continued on without its rider, silently laughing. It took it a minute or so that his rider was no longer giving commands. He tried to look back at its rider, but with its short and thick neck, he could not turn fully.

In one of those tries at glancing back, he spotted Ramirez. With an angry hiss, he forgot about his rider and flew straight at him. With a yelp of surprise, Ramirez gave the order to dive.

The dreadwing opened it mouth, intending to snap Ramirez out of the saddle. Ramirez was able to see the huge and long white fangs, dripping saliva as it seemed to savor the meat that was sure to come. But instead of tender meat; he was met instead by the cold and hard steel of the short range weapon. As the feral animal flew overhead, Ramirez pulled the trigger, releasing the many small slugs into the mouth of the beast. It didn't even howl in agony. He just went slack and momentum took him to a nearby ridge, where it crashed and fell down to the earth.

"Estuvo cerca! Okay... no more playing around" Ramirez said as he witnesses the final resting place of the huge bat he had just killed. He then looked at the still ongoing pursuit in front of him. "Then again, maybe not" he said with a grin before yanking the reins in the direction of the dragon.

In a matter of moments, Ramirez found himself behind the last two dreadwings that was still following the blue dragon. The pursuit was fast paced, with the dragon doing every twist and turn to try and dislodge his opponents.

"These guys are some serious flyers!" Ramirez told himself. "Well we'll see how those flying lessons come into play then"

Ramirez had won a bet with a friend in the Air Force once. His prize had been the chance to fly his friend's plane... provided his friend was with him at all times of course. It had been a little tricky to get it done, but he managed to get into the plane. He had been seated at the rear seat while they took off and landed. But when they read a certain altitude, he had been given the controls. It was one of those instances when everything seemed surreal and amazing. His friend giving many tips as how to fly combat; what tactics to use, how to turn and when to attack. But he also taught him to do some pretty crazy stunts in the air. He flew until the fuel supply was low, and had to return home.

Now, it was time to put those lessons to the test.

"Ready or not, here I come!" Ramirez whooped as he kicked the bats flanks like a horse.

His head snapped backwards at the sudden acceleration, but he only whooped even more. He ordered his mount to start climbing. Always try to have the high ground, his friend had told him, and attack with a fast swift strike.

The dragon and dreadwing that were fighting each other started to get littler as they got away, but Ramirez knew what he was doing. When he reached a certain height, he leveled his mount and started observing the struggling combatants down below.

It was only a matter of time before the pursuit started rising. And that when Ramirez made his move. He put in a sudden burst of speed, catching up his quarry. As the dragon rose, he shot an ice shard downwards and caught one of the dreadwings in the eye. The shard pierced its brain and it fell without a word. That much could not be said for its rider.

But he was being still in pursuit by the last dreadwing. When they leveled out and started trying to gain speed again, Ramirez caught up with them.  He flipped upside down and managed to get over one of the dreadwing. Upon noticing the lack of sun, the ape looked up, just to look into the barrels of the weapon like some binoculars.

"Aloha!" Ramirez said cheerfully said before pulling the trigger and the apes head disappearing in a red mist.

The dreadwing below screeched in anger as it rider died. Not wanting to have another incident with a feral beast, Ramirez fired the second shot of his weapons on the creatures back. The close range shot was no match for the thick hide of the bat. It screeched in pain as it tried in vain to stay aloft, fumbling its wing in erratic movement.

Ramirez straightened himself and let a sigh of relief upon feeling the comfort of not having all the blood rush to one's head. He spotted the ice dragon, who had heard and had turned around at the sound of the commotion. Once the dragon spotted him, Ramirez waved his hand widely in greeting. He gave a laugh as the dragon missed a wing beat and scrambled to recover himself. Upon getting closer, he saw the dragon's eyes were wide with surprise and disbelief.

And explosion sounded above them, signifying that they could not linger.

"Come on!" Ramirez shouted at the dragon. "We have a battle to win!"

----(Present)----

"So that how we ended up here" Ramirez finished.

The soldiers around him stood silent for a few seconds as they tried to comprehend what Ramirez had told them.

"And you actually expect us to believe that shit?" Jackson finally asked.

"Of course!" Ramirez answered cheerfully.

"And that you actually managed to pull that crazy stunt?" Jackson asked, still holding the imminent explosion he was going to have.

"Yes! You know, sometimes I even amaze myself" Ramirez said with a grin.

Truth be told, Parker himself was having trouble coming to accept it; even though Ramirez was riding the dreadwing.

"So, Ramirez" a soldier said in a playful manner. "I trust that you are going to let us ride that thing once the battle is over?"

"What? After what Batty and I have gone through? Of course not! Batty only answers to me and no one else"

"So you came straight here after you saved the dragon?" Parker asked, still reluctant to believe the crazy story even though Ramirez was riding the dreadwing.

"Santos Cielos... no!" Ramirez said, "I took the liberty of taking some detours and give a helping hand where I could"

"So you decided to have your fun and left US to believe you were dead" Jackson accused.

"I didn't know you cared for me, Sarge!" Ramirez exclaimed in feigned surprise.

"Listen you little piece of..." Jackson started to say as his patience had run thin.

"Enough!" Parker ordered, placing a calming hand on the Sergeant. "Ramirez, it is good to see you are alive and all that..." Parker started to say as an idea came to mind.

"I am untouchable!" Ramirez boasted.

"... but I am afraid that there is a battle to be won" Parker continued as if Ramirez hadn't said anything. "And I just got the job for you; which I believe is going to be to your liking"

"Oh?" Ramirez asked intrigued as his curiosity was poked.

"The air battle is not going so well and we can't divert dragon from the ground" Parker said. "Ramirez; your orders are to have as much fun as you can in eliminating any and all air opposition you can find"

"For real?" Ramirez asked, barely containing his excitement.

"You can be the Lone Gunman as long as you are where you are needed" Parker said. He knew how to push Ramirez buttons. It would be better to set him lose where Parker wanted.

"YES SIR!" Ramirez said.

"Remember, this is only temporary" Parker halted Ramirez took off. "If I tell you to stop, do it; otherwise, no more fun for you. Understood?"

"Yes sir!

"Take this" Parker tossed him a small satchel. "Shotgun rounds. We are running low on ammo, so use them wisely"

"Yes sir!" Ramirez said excitedly. "Vamos muchachos, que se enfría la barbacoa!" Ramirez yelled in Spanish, making the short barrel shotgun spin in his finger as it was no longer than a handgun. "Come on Batty, we need to ruin someone's fun!"

With mighty wing beats, the huge dreadwing jumped from the cliff and started to beat its wings in an effort to take to the skies. Parker sensed that Spyro, the purple dragon, approached from behind and stopped next to him, looking at the slowly retreating dreadwing.

"It seems I got your support Spyro" Parker said with a small chuckle as he looked at the small purple dragon.

"Why doesn't that makes me feel better?" Spyro asked rhetorically in return.

***************************++++++++++1+++++++++++++************************

Author's notes:

Now then... it seems the battle is going baldly for our friends. The enemy is clever and makes our friends struggle hardly to deny the enemy every inch along the way.

Spyro once again was put into a leader's role (albeit a small one). But, he is starting to show his leadership skills that he, as a purple dragon, must possess.

Ramirez... always being himself. Cracking jokes and doing everything he can to amuse himself. It always amazes me how everything turns out his way (one way or another). Even in the most impossible of situations, he managed to do it.  I mean... who is lucky enough to highjack a flying dreadwing in the middle of empty space? No one but him! That guy is so lucky that he could win the lottery without the entry ticket.

I must say that that crazy stunt he pulled was quite fun to make... although I must say... it was too stretched out.

Speaking of Ramirez... people often wanted to see the sniper rifle being used in my story. Well, there you have it (even if dragon did not see how it was used). The Barret is one the most widely used high powered sniper rifles used in the world, capable of long shots. The 50 caliber bullet means instant death if said shot is accurate... as it is shown by the poor grublin that received Ramirez bullet (and it is true that the target blow up due to the immense kinetic energy the projectile carries)

On the story then.

Cynder. She seems to have won the respect of the Atlawa by showing bravery against impossible odd in the defense of innocent people. People that hate her for the crimes she did in the past. But as to how this will turn out, it has yet to be seen.

As you may have noticed, most of the chapter was battle related. I know it can be a little tedious to read so much of the same thing in one sit. That is why i added a few more pages (one scene for each of the split chapters) that deviates from the struggle (those pages are included in the 118).

That is why Incendio made his appearance with Dr. Kelly in this chapter, once again reuniting the two. It is a simple scene where the two of them are together. But it also says the cause of the human illness, as well as the state of some things. I like to write about those two.

Anyway, I shall update the continuation at a later date (not yet defined).

Also, if you have any comment, review, praise, critic or just want to say hello, you can always put the comment below :XD: (I do love comments)



James Matrix 2 years ago 0
Glad too see this is up! Also, I like that Incendio and Kelly get their little "date". :) I also like that Cyndet has earned some respect (as she damn well should for all she did) from the Atlawa. Also, I'll be honest, I can't STAND Ramirez. I guess I just don't have the personality that can put up with that kind of "lone cowboy" undisciplined stuff, which, most of the time, will get you or your comrades killed in battle. Hogging ammo, not following orders, and complaining while sniper spotting is all stuff that would get you in the slammer or written up. I do think he is an amusing and unique character, and fabulously written. So don't take my dislike of him as a symptom of your writing, I just don't like him. Lol And what happened to Jason?
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Incendio-Kelly scene was more or less a little respite from all the battle oriented chapter. It gets a little tedious to read all fighting after a while.
Well, Cynder did something the Atlawas didn't expect. How this will turn out, we will have to see, since she still have some things to answer for from her past.
You are the first person that tell me that does't like Ramirez. Honestly. Every loves the guy... but then again, there are many types of people in this world with many different types of likes and dislikes. Not everyone likes the same things. SO... no offence taken for you not liking him.
Thanks for the review.
James Matrix 2 years ago 0
Yeah. Still a good character though! And while I do see errors, your grammar is getting better. And your stories have fabulous plots lines, so it's easy to overlook the small stuff. Cheers!
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thank you. I have improved a lot from the start of the story, yet i still have thing i must wok on.
xXDracoXx 2 years ago 0
Well planned, terrible grammar. Grammar with the hardest part if english to to learn. Keep writing, love the stories. It's sad that the copyrighted spyro doesn't have this much detail.
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Gah! Every time i think i have done it good, there comes someone who point out my mistakes. I had trouble with English grammar whilst in school (you see, English is not my native language), but i managed.
Such criticism, although sour and sometimes a little hurtful, is necessary for the writer. Thanks for pointing it out.
Nevyn the Blackavatar 2 years ago 0
haha Remirez is just hillarius(?) XD who but him can pull a stunt like that and live? hope to see the rest soon shina :)
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Of course he can. he is Ramirez? He must have seen a lot of James Bond movies in his youth from where he learned all that stuff.
Dycle 2 years ago 0
Glad to see this up at last. I hope the next few come quick, because as they said, we have a battle to win. I've been wondering when the human's ammunition supply would start to run low, yes their weapons are advanced and powerful, but what will they do once they are out of bullets?

I see Incendio is finally scoring some points with Dr Kelly. Way to go big guy.

Once again we have Gaia showing off her strength and skill over her earth element. I'm just glad she didn't try to hit Cynder with the rock. Maybe she does know who her real enemies are. (Don't tell me she didn't know that it was her, Spyro called her name at least twice)

It is always pleasing to see Cynder redeem herself in the eyes of others. Good thing black-dragoness-death-incarnate seems to have done the trick.

Can't wait to see the next.
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Glad i posted the next chapter too. It was too long since i did.
When the humans run out of ammo they will have to improvise. They might gab a bow and arrow, or maybe even a spear. Who knows.
Incendio-Kelly scene was more a break up from the battle oriented chapter. It get tedious to read fight after fight for a long while.
Gaia... there are still some thing about her that we do not know. Is she just like that or does she has some past? But we can saw some thing for certain... she sure knows how to fight.
As for Cynder... we will still have to see how it will turn out her relation with the Atlawas. Will they accept her.... or with they still condemn her for her past actions?
joshuabassett 2 years ago 0
a master piece
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thanks!
TheZero 2 years ago 0
"At this distance, you might have to take the coriolis effect into account." Now where have I heard that before? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yqe-hUn_GQ Hehe... Noticed how you and I usually upload at exactly the bsame time. Spooky, huh?
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
You got me there. Hehehe.
I just loved that part in Call of Duty 4. And when i put the sniper team... i just had to put it in there.
Now... i hadn't noticed. Perhaps it is just coincidence.
TheZero 2 years ago 0
Just received your comment *WTF*! I loved that part aswell... Anyway. I want to say, I loved this chapter, and I absolutely can not wait for the next one! The long wait is definately worth it when it comes you.
Reaper52 2 years ago 0
Finally the new chapter. It took a few sittings to read it all but it was worth it. Can't wait for the next chapter.
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thank you.
Think about it... i had to split my 110 pages chapter into three parts (this being the first). Imagine if i uploaded the whole thing in one chapter? It would take days for someone to read it. Hehehe.
Nevyn the Blackavatar 2 years ago 0
not for me :P i can clear 400 pages easy if given a day.
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
So do I (if it is good reading) XD
Kotaro50 2 years ago 0
Hehe, been missing this series :)
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
I been missing the reviews.
Sword tail 2 years ago 0
Another well written chapter
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thanks!
Silverblade18 2 years ago 0
Wow, great job hun, I loved it. I eagerly look forward to the next one.. Tho I am waiting for Spyro and Cynder to finally settle down and have some " Fun " Lols... Great job!
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thank you very much.
As for that particular moment... it is approaching. I have already set my sights in it.
Silverblade18 2 years ago 0
Lols... I can't wait to see your stories continue, you are getting better and better. ^^
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thanks! Still, i know i am making mistakes. If you find any, point them out so i can avoid them in the future. Especially those that i make a lot.
lovelydragons 2 years ago 0
Better then the series my friend is making. He's going to post it it on here but can't say when. I'll let you know when he posts it. Ok?
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thanks!
And sure... why not?
The Dark Wolf 2 years ago 0
Ah ramirez...hehe you've got to love him
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
That' s right. Or you just hate him.
It is a love-hate person. No middle ground.
John_blaze0915 2 years ago 0
Hey dragonshima when's the next chapter ?
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
I don't know.
I want to advance on the next chapter before posting. But i haven0t written much, though.
John_blaze0915 2 years ago 0
Nicely played, I like how cynder redeemed herself but what of gale, will he ever find the courage to use his wind powers? well I'm gonna be waiting for the next chapter.
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Well, Cynder did a good deed. But is that enough to convince the Atlawas?
As for Gale... you will have to wait and see..
John_blaze0915 2 years ago 0
I'm sent you a PM

John_blaze0915 2 years ago 0
That ramirez is so funny and humorous, you've got to love him.... :) lol
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Of course. That guy just have everything done his way.
DarknessDraco 2 years ago 0
Dude this story is one of the best I have read since hahaha especially that Ramirez is funny as fuck man, but sometimes it makes me wanna slap the shit out of his ass lol. Even though I can't complain without him in this chapter it wouldn't be interesting, or funny which I'm glad he's in it. XD
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thank you!
Ramirez is a loose cannon. You never know which way he will roll until it is atop you! But he is also a pain in the ass. I mean, who does someone tolerates that guy? But i guess that is just him.
DarknessDraco 2 years ago 0
You welcome and true even though he irritates a lot of people, but without him it would not be the same.
jerico32 2 years ago 0
awesome series shina, you are one of the best writers I have seen, I have to ask though, when will the next chapter come out?
dragonshina 2 years ago 0
Thanks a lot.
As for when the next chapter comes out, i want to advance first on the chapter i am writing (something that i gave not done so)
jerico32 2 years ago 0
well, I hope that you do post it soon, this series is awesome