Book 6 - Mystery of Shadow Mountain - Chapter 49: Nothing is as it Seems

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

Sorry for the delay in this chapter.  But by the end of it, you will see why I wanted to get this right.  What did not help was having writer's block towards the end of the chapter, not to mention the first week of my Junior fall semester starting.

 

All that aside, I finally got the chapter I wanted.  I hope you all enjoy it.

 

Also, I have the end of the story I want.  And that being said... Only two more chapters left of the Mystery of Shadow Mountain.  However, Chapter 50 may or may not be a two-part chapter, so technically up to three chapters.  But it all depends on how the next chapter is in length compared to how I want to end the story.  Chapter 51 will be an epilogue to hopefully answer some questions of the soon-to-be-solved mystery and look forward to the next book.

 

Again, I hope you enjoy the chapter!

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Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

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The Wedding

New - Part 4

 

Book 8 Coming Soon!!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

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Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
I guess the homework I did on this chapter is what slowed me.

         Vixxen slowly goes for her sword, but I quickly grab her right wrist as she grabs the hilt from the sword in its sheath off her belt.  The dragons start to growl as they saw our weapons.

         “If we show we are not a threat, we won’t become one,” I tell Vixxen.  “Most people did not think the Foreverwings were real.  I’m still not convinced.  However, if these dragons are Foreverwings and you recognized them, you of all vikings should know that they are a docile dragon, only controlling other dragons out of a mutual benefit and living their days mainly sleeping.”

         “I think they’re Foreverwings,” Vixxen takes a figurative step back.  “Foreverwings are supposed to be as large as islands but these dragons are not that large.”

         “Still,” I add.  “They are big enough.  We need to get off this floor.  Since there is nothing under the floor for who knows how far, if too much weight is applied, it could crack, and we go bye-bye.”

         Vixxen, in a joking manner, “Do you expect us to just walk past them as if they are just statues?”

         “Great idea,” I answer.  “You go first.”

         “What?!” she exclaimed.

         “Fine,” I smile.  “I’ll go first.  Don’t say I didn’t offer for the lady to go first.”

         Vixxen rolled her eyes.  The look she gave me is again the same as either Annabeth or Asvord.  That look must be universal or something because no matter what girl or woman hears one of my jokes, puns, or my sarcastic and literal statements, they roll their eyes and look at me as if to ask, “Did you just go there?”  What can I say, I like being funny in an annoying way; depending on who you ask, that may be annoyingly funny in an annoying way.

         I start walking towards the Foreverwings and it seems to be taking forever to get past them.  I try the Hiccup thing, but the dragon on m y right shies away and growls.  I did not press the matter.  The big dragons simply watch Vixxen and I walk past.  They do not like us here, but may be surprised to see vikings.  With what I understand about the Foreverwing’s demeanor, they will stay docile unless provoked.  So far, they are living up to it.

         One past the large dragons, five minutes later, Vixxen and I turn our attention in front of us; yet, the feeling of someone looking over our shoulder is present.

         As I looked at the dragons as I went past them, I observed something, and then said now, “Their nostrils are big and deep as those pools.”

         “Are you saying-?” Vixen said disgusted.  I nod and continue.  “On quick glance I noticed their nasal canal is quite small for such a large dragon.  The small canal would nearly fully explain why their noses can hold water and not drain.”

         Vixxen held her arms up as if she is covered in something disgusting.  Well, I guess she was.

         Vixxen shakes her arms a few times before saying, “Nearly fully?  Well, at least we’re in the clear.”

         As she finishes her statement, the ground starts vibrating and I hear a faint rumble.

         “Famous last words,” I exclaim.  “Run!”

         At our sudden movement, the Foreverwings censored and charge after us!  They are sensing the aftershock of the bridge collapse happening right now and that probably triggered them beyond just our sudden movement, and the first to be blamed is us.

         There is a slew of pools that are actual pools and some that are holes like before.  We have to navigate them while four huge dragons bear down on our necks!  Oh, and we are still more than forty yards away from a tunnel, or we think a tunnel.  The pools are small enough that by running, we have enough speed to jump over them.  We have a ten-yard lead on the dragons.  The Foreverwings are about the same speed as us, maybe slightly faster.  Twenty yards later, the rumbling sounds like thunder overhead and the ground is shaking as bad as someone who just drank Yaknog.  The shaking gets worse to the point footing is precarious and jumping the pools is no longer an option.  This causes the Foreverwings to gain ground.  Speaking of the ground, the aftershock and the mere weight of the dragons causes the ground to start cracking underneath us.  Ten yards away.  I can feel the Foreverwings breathing on me.  Five yards away.  I hear the dragons take in a deep breath.

         “Jump!” I yell.

         Vixxen and I jump head long into a tunnel.  Upon entering we are greeting by a slippery descent.  As we land, the Foreverwings crash into the cavern wall, knocking dust and dirt off the tunnel ceiling and a flash of fire light.  They must have fired but missed.  I bet the floor fell through under their weight after being compromised from the cracking.  Vixxen and I slid downwards for two minutes before the tunnel slopes upwards for ten feet, causing us to shoot across a floor.  Good thing there were no stalagmites in our way while we slide through the tunnel.  After a few uncontrolled tumbles, we come to a stop, stand, and dust our clothes off.

         Vixxen says, “I thought we were supposed to go into the tunnel the Foreverwing came out of; not this chute.”

         “You try staying on target when four massive dragons are literally breathing down your neck,” I quip.  “and try to get around the maze of pools too.”

         Vixxen rescinded her statement, “I meant, ‘I hope we are in the right place.’”

         Surprised to hear a “sincere” apology come out of her mouth, I reply, “Oh.  I hope we are too.”

         Looking at our surroundings, we are in a small room, no bigger than ten feet wide and thirty feet long; our tumble arrived us to the middle of the room.  There is a rectangle type door against the far-left wall, about three feet wide.  On the wall right next to it on its left, our right, is a message.

         I just read for myself, it says, “You are almost home.  Four more trials you must face until you are worthy of our knowledge.  With this power, you can reshape a land, turn a generation, change the future.  But you must find it first.”

         Vixxen asks what it says, so, I reluctantly tell her.  She calls me out questioning my truthfulness.  I tell her that if I had lied, she would have known.  Telling the truth is more profitable then keeping her in the dark.

         “Like Klarp said,” I inform.  “When everyone is in the know, new opportunities arise that were otherwise buried.”

         “True,” Vixxen replies.  “I’m just not used to someone who deals in truth so much.”

         I quip, “Try it sometime.  Might be surprised.”

         Vixxen did not answer nor had a reaction; she just looked at me wanting to continue on the path.

         We walk through the tunnel, which is only ten feet long itself, and are greeted by a honeycomb maze of ledges and gear shaped platforms.  Instantly, I think of how we, my friends and I, got our first clue on Mystery; this is just three times bigger.

         “Can there ever be a mystery staying, ‘You made it to the location to solve the mystery,’” I retort.  “‘Here you go.  Now you can go home.’”

         If I heard correctly, sounded like Vixxen chuckled at that, though she tried to stifle it.  I left it at that, although I know she knows I know that I heard it.  So, knowing she knows, I play it like I do not know although she knows I know.

         This honeycomb maze is in a dome shaped cavern, thirty yards in diameter thirty to forty yards high.  The maze only reaches maybe fifteen yards high.  There is no pit to fall in as it is built of the ground; only if one goes to the top and falls off.  There is a path around the maze but to continue a door of some kind has to open because we see no way of moving forward.

         Remembering how my friends and I got our first clue, we had to go to the top of the maze.  Maybe there is a weight sensitive stone or something we need to press.  The maze is perfectly still.  All Vixxen and I have to do is climb to the top.

         Each platform and gear are within arms-reach of the other three to five feet up for each level.  I also see some wooden beams extruding out from the center of the maze.  Fifteen minutes later, we are finally to the top.  With every level, the platforms became smaller.  The top one is only five feet wide.  But there is a distinct one-foot circle with the Speed Stinger symbol on it.  Stepping on it with both my feet, to insure I am using enough pressure, the button slowly sinks down a few inches.

         A sudden jerk of the platform knocks me down, Vixxen keeps her balance, and the levels start to rotate.

         Every other level rotates one way while the levels in between rotate the opposite way.  Vixxen offers her right hand to help me up.  A bit surprised, I take the kind gesture.

         “Thank you,” I say.

         I must be seeing things, because I think Vixxen just gave a light smile.

         Turning my attention to the situation, I excitingly say, “This looks like fun.”

         I am slightly winded from the climb up but feel fine.

         The first platform below us is a simple gear shape rotating to our right.  Next there are four left rotating platforms on the next level with equal gaps between each one.  Hopping onto one, I study what is next.  The first group of rotating beams, going right, is next with a gear platform below that is going left.  I can either hop down, wait, and jump over the beam to then hop down to the next level.  Or wait for the other right rotating platform and just skip the two.  Timing it right, I do the latter.

         Now on the tenth platform from the bottom, going left, the next level is the second group of beams.  Six right rotating beams stick out and only two platforms going left.  Although the platforms are longer, there is only two with a larger gap on both sides.  Then the seventh level is a gear shape.  Same as before, I skip the two and land on the gear.  The beams are slower than the previous set and because of the larger radius the space between the beams are about the same.  But if you hesitate…

         Humph!  A beam clips my right leg, I twist in the air, and land taking one to the rear.

         Standing back up on the platform, I notice the beam level, above me, sticks out further than the rest.  The length is what got me.

         I look down at the last set of beams, going left.  There are eight of them, fatter, but the lowest of all three sets of beams.  The level below is only one platform yet stretches to half the circle.  More room to work with but more time to wait for my opening.

         Now on the fourth level, it is merely a climb down each level until the ground.

         After finally reaching the bottom, Vixxen and I end up to the right of the entrance we came in at.  Circling around to the right to get to the other side, we find a door.  Going through it we come into a very dark room but feel a cool draft like an open-air cave.  Good thing we only took a few steps in as Vixxen points out the drop off.  There is a ledge which we are standing on.  However, we still have a path forward:  A bridge.

         The most obvious is the next set of instructions written in the blue glowing algae.  Upon further inspection the message is varved into the stone ledge with the blue algae poured into the lettering.

         I read out loud, “First trial passed, three to go.  You have crossed many bridges to get to this point and have made many connections.  There is one last connection.  Some things are not as they seem.”

         Vixxen comments, “That is a bit cryptic, but we do have a bridge in front of us.  Is this literally our last ‘connection?’”

         “Maybe,” I say but then make the connection I believe this message is trying to make.  “If some things are not as they seem, then this bridge is more than a bridge.”

         “Traps?” Vixxen suggests.

         “Most likely,” I say.

         Vixxen drives her right fist into her left palm, “Bring it on.”

         The bridge has no safety guards on the edge and I have no idea how long it is because this area is so dark.  Kneeling at the edge, I run my hand across the top.  It feels like just dirt and dust.  A bit randomly and off topic from what I just did, an idea comes to mind.

         “I forgot I had my weapons with me,” I say as I pull off my main bow, not my bow-sword, and grab for an arrow.  “I am so used to having them on that when you confiscated them for these couple of days, I got used to figuring stuff out without my tools.  A challenge that was refreshing.”

         Checking the arrow head, I did pick the correct one:  My fire arrow.  The shaft of the arrow is filled with Monstrous Nightmare Gel.  This does make for a heavier arrow, however, with a skinnier shaft, feathers, and head, the arrow will travel through the air just as good as the regular arrows.  But with the added weight, the arrow will not track as far.  On the other hand, the arrows will hit with more force, penetrating deep because of the smaller arrowhead, and set the target on fire.  In this instance, the fire arrow can light the way.  Breaking the seal on the end near the head, I let some gel slide down onto the groves for it on the arrow.  And then I scrape the head against the ledge to light it.

         First, I test how far down is it off the ledge.  I do draw the arrow on my bow, but release with only enough power to shoot the arrow, but no more.  I fire and we watch it gain speed on its descent.

         The arrow disappears!

         Vixxen and I look at each other with the realization:  You fall off, you are not coming back.  My heart starts beating faster.  I am cautious but Vixxen boldly steps onto the bridge.

         Then I think, “With the sarcastic humor this mystery has had to this point, what if the message was not referring to the bridge but something in the near future but was only meant to scare for the present.  If it is the latter, it certainly worked.”

         I follow Vixxen as she slowly works her way across the bridge.  Turns out… It is just a bridge.  It is a long bridge, about fifteen yards.  But a plain, ordinary bridge.

         At the foot of the bridge on this side, another message greets us, but a lot shorter, “There is more than one way to solve a mystery.  The choice is yours.”

         There is an opening in front of us, though a wooden wall ahead of the opening with two more wooden walls beside the opening.

         “It’s a real maze,” I observe and then thought to myself.  “…like the maze under Berserker island?”

         Vixxen starts to pick the right route but I extend my right arm in front of her and state, “Why not go over?  ‘There is more than one way to solve a mystery.’  If our clues lead to one place, then you don’t have to go in order, one through four.  If you can’t figure out three, skip it, and four may be the one to tell you where to find and solve the mystery.”

         We both have the same idea as we both take a few steps back.  We then run and jump onto the seven-foot wall, grabbing the top edge, and pulling ourselves up.  The top of the wall is flat, a foot and a half wide.  We see how we would have had to do the maze.  But all we have to do is walk along the top, jumping over gaps, only two to three feet wide.  Only five minutes are needed for us to reach the other side, thirty yards later.

         Bending down, I look to make sure there is some ground for us to jump down on.  There is, so Vixxen and I jump down.  Our eyes are now used to the darkness, so we vaguely see the ground around us which is in stark contrast to the pitch black of the pit around us.  The gr0und looks to be quite a large circle with a very tall pillar in the center.

         Vixxen questions, “Is this what you had to do at Defenders of the Wing Island?”

         At first, I think how she knew it, but she is Vixxen, she knows everything; I reply, “Not exactly, but similar.  Everything about this mystery is different but similar.  It reminds you of something but challenges you in a different way.”

         From this point to the center pillar is about twenty yards.  All these distances and lengths from where we started, we have got to be in the middle of the mountain by now.  We walk towards the pillar and the closer we get, the taller it is.  Once at the pillar, the pillar is about three yards wide, but another twenty yards up.  The pillar itself looks like a stalagmite but with a variety of rock faces, juts, holes, limbs, branches, and more on the pillar itself.  We can use these as hand and foot holds.

         “So, we climb?” Vixxen asks.

         I nod.  I test the rock type and it is that solid rock.  I will not be able to use my grappling hook as a safety line.  This will have to be a free climb.  I can do these kinds of climbs, but with my slight fear of heights, free climbs always scare me a bit.  Funny thing is, I have a slight fear of heights, but flying on a dragon, I do not feel the same way as just climbing.  I guess, when one has a fire breathing reptile with wings, there is not a whole lot to fear.

         Taking a deep breath, I start my climb.  Vixxen starts on the other side as we both climb upwards.  We each take our time, but move steady.  The thing about free climbs is you do not want to rush and miss step, yet you only have so much stamina and endurance to work with.  With what my dad had us do with sailing without our dragons and learning how to do things without our dragons, I have trained for this.

         About twenty minutes later, going around three feet a minute, we reach the time.  Oddly enough, I still feel fine though a bit more winded.  Normally, I would be more tired at this point, but I think this cavern is more than meets the eye from a physical stand point to who is in the cavern.

         The top of the pillar is also three yards wide with only a strand of something coming off the top going straight up.  Vixxen and I pull ourselves up to sit on the side of the top edge of the pillar.  Vixxen is wondering what to do next and is a bit disappointed at what we find.  But after reaching out with my right hand and feeling the strand, I know exactly what I need to do next.

         From my quiver, I take out another fire arrow and drain out a tad amount of gel, then I put the arrow back.  Though I do not want Vixxen to know of my hidden blade, I reach behind my back as if to reach for where a knife would be, retract my hidden blade, and take it out of my bracer.  With my knife, I create a spark near the gel.  It ignites the strand and the fire shoots straight up.  It keeps going… And going… And going… Until it hits the ceiling… And starts lighting other strands.  Within a few seconds, Vixxen and I see a pattern appear with the lighted strands.  Before long, we know what is going to happen.  I put my knife back in my bracer, but the same way I did when I got it out.  While the lighted strands continue to ignite other stands, we make our way back down the pillar.  With each minute that the strands keep lighting others, the cavern slowly becomes lighter as it goes, but still, not very light.

         Once we are down on the ground, we look up and we see a grand picture immerging.  Within a few more minutes added to the twenty minutes it took to go back, I see what depicts a battle of some sort.  But not in terms of pictures but in symbols and outlines of lands.

         “Oh my… Oh…,” Vixxen says quite shocked.  “This… This…”

         Speechless of not knowing what to say, it occurs to me and I answer, “This is the battle of what tore away and shattered your home.  This is that civil war.”

         Looking back up to the ceiling, I see the islands where we have found our clues and puzzle pieces with the corresponding symbol, roughly in the position where they would be if the ceiling was a map of the Barbaric Archipelago.

         “But this can’t be right,” Vixxen said.  “The clues said I could reshape a land, turn a generation, and change the future.  But where is this power?”

         I heard what she said, but something is a bit odd of where some strands are and from where they are coming from to where they are pointing.

         Thinking to myself, “So, if the islands are about where they are physically, starting with Mystery, going southwest to Aberdeen Island, northwest to Berserker Island, far northeast to Defenders of the Wing Island, and then from there, far west by northwest to Shadow Mountain.  But the thing is, there are two more islands to the far north.  The one to the south is a bit smaller than the one to the north, but each are massive in size, probably twice or even three times the size of Shadow Mountain.  What I thought, is that Vixxen’s home is one land with a civil war happened on it.  With the backstory Klarp told me, she was trying reunite her home.  Something doesn’t add up.  I mean, Klarp even said that the backstory he said wasn’t all true.  Maybe Vixxen wanted Klarp to ‘spill’ some of her backstory, but with my honesty towards Klarp and Vixxen becoming more unstable about this mystery hitting close to home, some of the truth slipped through and made the backstory seem a bit off.  Vixxen has always been out for power, never thinking of anybody but herself.  To hear that she was once good, I always hoped for, but doesn’t fit.  The war depicted in the artwork on the ceiling seems to be more than just a civil war; more like two rival enemies going at it.  There are x’s acting as like ground troops, but there are larger x’s with even squares.  Maybe larger units?  Then there are also two very large circles.  Have no clues as to what those might be.  It couldn’t be dragons… Could it?  Nah.”

         Staring at the lines and artwork for a few more minutes, it dawns on me.  Dawns on me like a herd of yaks coming at me.

 

         The Mystery of Shadow Mountain, better known as The Legend of Shadow Mountain… There is not no treasure nor power to be hold here at the end of the mystery.  The Legend is not a who… But a what.  That “what” is a map to Vixxen supposed home.

         “But I would stake my reputation on the fact that Vixxen doesn’t know where her ‘home’ is,” I continue my revelation.  “If she did, why in the archipelago is she looking for a way to get back when she grew up there?  She says she is looking for this ‘power’ to unify her people.  But if her backstory has any truth to it, then she missed her opportunity to save her people, at least in the sense to restore her people to their former glory because they are scattered and have no want to go back.  Furthermore, I trust what I see above more than what Vixxen says.  The ‘Legend’ of Shadow Mountain is like the legend on a map.  This legend is leading the to Vixxen’s home.  It is just Vixxen is too caught up over the fact that what she thought she would find, isn’t what the truth of the matter.  Vixxen wants power.  Whoever made this whole mystery, left a map to find their land.  If Vixxen doesn’t know where this land is and she is affiliated with the Dragon Hunters, I wonder if the Dragon Hunters attacked Vixxen’s supposed people in an attempt to get whatever is on that island; and Vixxen acting as if she was part of the victims in the matter.  Maybe she fed the Dragon Hunters information about the people she was with, gained the Dragon Protectors trust, but betrayed them, and it all went downhill from there.”

         As I am studying the ceiling, Vixxen takes notices and asks, “What do you see?”

         I am silent, she continues, “Don’t play dumb with me.  I know you know something.”  Of what I just thought about, I play a hunch, and continue to be silent; Vixxen rages, “TELL ME!”

         I look at her, she looks at me.  She draws her sword and charges me!  I just barely draw my own sword to block her attack down.

         Vixxen presses down with extreme pressure and it takes all of my might not to back down, but I do drop to my right knee; I comment, “So, it was all a lie?  Me helping you, me being the example, me showing grace to you, and what do I get in return?  You putting up an act to let my guard down to get the ‘power’ of the mystery for yourself.  But when the end of the mystery is not what you expected, you did not know what else to do.”

         “You know nothing about me,” Vixxen says very angry with a menacing look.

         Me talking this little bit, let her ease her pressure, so I fall backwards, letting the pressure she was exerting on me take her back behind me.  I keep my sword on her sword to guide it away from me.  Vixxen does go flying behind me, yet she does a control somersault, and while facing me, slides on her left knee with her right hand on the ground and her left holding her sword.

         Vixxen charges me again me again, swiping down, and I block down as well.  She proceeds to swipe up, I dodge backwards and block her sword away from me.  Vixxen lunges forward at me with her sword, I step to the right, simultaneously swap my sword to my left hand, throw a sucker punch to her stomach, and with the same hand, send an uppercut to her chin.  Vixxen is dazed and I lean back and use my right foot to kick her in the side, sending her stumbling backwards several feet.

         “My turn,” I declare.

         Vixxen is enraged right now, but I have control on my side.  While I do rush her, I do not run but swiftly move towards her.  With both hands on my sword, I start a swipe down, which she blocks, but I do a combination attack by swiping back up, and swing my sword right.  She dodges and parries with a swipe from her right to my right, I bend down into a twirl, extending my right leg, and knocking her legs out from under her.

         “You’re getting sloppy Vixxen,” I state.  “You are not yourself right now.”

         Vixxen stands back up and we both raise our swords to an “on guard” position; Vixxen answers back, “You’ve been a pain in my side long enough.

         Vixxen and I now change sword stances to the more formal approach with our dominate hand on our sword and one hand back, we both hold our swords with our right hand.  Now we wait, probably for the other to make the first move.

         Just about the time I am figuring Vixxen to make the first move, she lowers her sword.  With the ceiling now fully lighted with the pictures it shows, there is a light orange glow to the room.  Vixxen looks terrified.

         I quip, “I didn’t know I was that intimidating,” I smile.

         Vixxen starts running backwards.

         “Hey come back,” I mock.  “I wasn’t done.”

         Rhetorically and sarcastically pleased with myself, “Ah, it happens all the time.”

         Vixxen calls back, “I would run if I were you.”

         Coming down out of the clouds, it comes to me, “Don’t tell me.  There is someone behind me.”

         Vixxen does not need to answer me as something breathes on my neck.  Slowly turning around, I see that it is one of the Foreverwings.  But from behind that one, the three others follow.  To say they are not happy, is putting it mildly.

         Eyes wide and heart sinking, I “joyously” welcome them, “Hey… guys… How’s it… going?” While I start I slowly start to walk backwards.  “Sorry that you missed your shot earlier.  Well, I’m not sorry, but it worked out for us that you hit your head instead.  How did you guys get in here?  Is there another way in?”

         By this time, I am ten feet away from the dragon and now just take off running.  I hear the dragon breathe in behind me, and I dart to the left as the dragon fires!

         Lava spews forward but because I went left, I bet the dragon will follow me, so I turn back and go the opposite way of the dragons.  Glancing behind me, the dragon did in fact do that, but stopped firing after that point.  The other three Foreverwings start running after me!

         The nearest one to me rushes me, but I roll dodge to my left just in time, as the dragon runs past me and then falls off the edge of the ground we are on, only to fly into the air.

         Vixxen comes up behind me and I say, “Oh, hey.”

         I am greeted with a swing of her sword from her left to right, I duck and exclaim, “Watch it.”

         “No, you watch it-,” Vixxen starts but I interrupt and point behind her.  “No, look out!”

         One of the other Foreverwings comes in from the side, trying to bull us over, we both run to the center where the pillar is, as the Foreverwing runs past.

         At the moment, Vixxen is not fighting me now, so I declare, “For being as big as they are, they do not have much control over their movement.”

         Because we are now in the middle, the dragons start to circle us.

         “Great,” Vixxen declares.  “You moved us to the middle and now we are trapped.”

         The moment she said that, the Foreverwings froze and then immediately launched into the air and flew away into the darkness.

         “You were saying?” I reply.

         Before anything else could happen, Vixxen and I hear an extremely loud and bone chilling… rrrrRRRROOOAAAARRRRR!

         I quip, “Excuse you, Vixxen.  What did you have for breakfast.”

         “That wasn’t me,” she answered, though I knew the answer to what that is.  “That was something else.”

         The roar came again followed by a massive thump of something under which causes the ground to briefly shake violently, knocking both Vixxen and I to the ground.  Vixxen and I still could not see anything.  A few more thumbs came.  While the orange tint of the scene around us lets us barely make out a few things, we could see the edge of the cavern dome.  Then another blood curdling roar came and a gigantic shadowy figure block our view of the cavern wall.

         Beyond that, I spot two large, yellow, glowing eyes.  Once I saw these, my heart dropped into my stomach and all feeling in me left me for a few moments.

         Vixxen observed this, “What dragon is this?  Do you recognize it?”

         I laugh as I repeat the question, “Do I remember this dragon.  You wouldn’t forget the dragon that nearly wiped Berk off the face of the map.  I would remember those yellow eyes anywhere…”

         The dragon proceeds to turn and look directly at me, seemingly at my soul; I announce, “That is a Purple Death!!”