My alarm blared through my sleeping quarters when I awoke. It was game day. Dara had organized us all to head up to the armory to get us all some gear and I was one of the first to be fitted.
I flapped my wings lazily, slowly heading up the tower to the armory floor where I was met by a particularly strong looking vulture morph. ''Morning! You must be Zorath. My name's Keith and I'll be your smith today.'' he said in a rough American accent. ''Now lets see what we can do.'' he pulled out a tape measure and began measuring my body. ''Been hearing a lot about you kid. Something about a scroll if the rumors are anything to go by.'' I chuckled. It was funny being slightly famous.
''yeah. A thing called the scroll of harmen, dusty piece of paper that turned me into a lizard.'' I joked, getting a laugh out of the bird.
''whatever the case you sure can fly. I saw you yesterday and even after only being changed for a short time you show some serious skill'' he reached behind me and pulled something onto my head. ''hold still a second. Right there.'' he removed the device and pulled his tape measure back in. ''Got everything I need. I'll have the basics done by noon and then send it to sparky for the electronics.'' I got to my feet and stretched, glancing at the giant furnace in the center of the room. ''Thanks Keith. I'll head off now.''
''ok kid. Just make sure you're back here for 11. I'll need to get the last bits fitted directly.'' with that I waved goodbye and began to float down to the bottom floor for some food.
''Morning everyone!'' I said as I sat at a table with them all. While me, Abria and Rex were all sat on chairs Arakod and Rob had been given a large space to simply stand. Everyone was tucking into their breakfasts and I quickly moved to join them.
''All sorted then are you?'' Rex asked, taking a large chuck out of his steak. ''Well I have to go back at 11 for the final touches but pretty much yeah.'' the blue dragon chuckled slightly ''whats so funny?'' I asked, unsure as to why final touches was funny. ''oh I won't ruin the surprise. As I was saying, your parents have been moved to a more secure location Abria. Don't want them getting hurt do we?'' That explained their absence from the room. ''And once your done Rob you should head up for your measurements.''
breakfast was great. I had myself a large plate of smoked bacon with a selection of different sausages. Never before has bacon tasted so good. By the time I cleared my plate Rex had returned to his office to prepare for our little trip while the others had all gone up to either get their armor done or relax in the Recreational room. I checked the time on my Z-gear. It was 10:56! I launched from my seat and jet for the armory floor.
''And here I was thinking you were still eating'' Arakod said as Keith measured his wings. ''All done now. Once I'm done with Abria come on back for the final fitting. See you later!'' Keith said and Arakod jumped down to the Recreational room. ''now then. Lets get your armor finished up.'' the Vulture morph put on some heavy duty gloves and slowly opened the giant furnace. He pushed a button and a large tray pushed out, revealing a myriad of different armor pieces. He grabbed the leg coverings first. ''right this may sting a little'' he murmured before attaching it directly to my leg still near molten!
It was at this point I would have screamed in the past but it instead came out as a bestial roar. While my scales did protect me from most of the heat it still let some through and made my legs feel like they were inches above a barbecue. ''Don't worry kid. Will be fine soon.'' sure enough the heat melted away quickly, dulling to that of a nice summers day. ''there we go. All set in position now. All we have left is the rest of the set!'' I growled with frustration
this would be a long hour.
''Last piece now. Take a deep breath and close your eyes.'' I held my tongue as the searing metal covered my face to create my helmet. A few other smiths had taken the other pieces of armor and were now sculpting and painting the set. ''Right that should be it. Good job'' the Vulture morph said as he removed the final addition. A hawk came over, taking the helmet over to an anvil and began to hammer on it. ''All done now kid. Sparky will give you a call when he's finished it all up.'' He gave me a pat on the back before we shook hands. ''thanks Keith.'' I said before diving down to the recreational room where everyone except Rex were resting or watching TV.
''Hey look! Zorath's back!'' Rob called, resulting in the three of them crowding around me. ''from all the roaring we heard we thought someone was torturing you!'' Abria said, giving me a hug. ''I'm fine. Molten metal on the scales is just a bit shocking to begin with.'' all of their eyes went wide. ''molten metal!'' Arakod repeated. ''yeah. Easiest way to get it fitting perfectly on dragons. At least it will look nice when its done.'' from above a voice called. ''Get up here Rob! We need to finalize your armor.'' the black dragon gulped. ''wish me luck guys.'' he said before taking to the armory floor.
It was now around 3 in the afternoon and the tower had been filled by the roars of me and my friends. Arakod had just rejoined us, now realizing why we had roared so loudly while we had our armor done. Abria had gone to the technical department or laboratory for her armor set an hour ago and had not yet returned. Our idle chit chat was then interrupted by a beeping from my arm. ''hold on a second guys.'' I said, checking that it was a message from a person named sparky, asking me to go to the tech level. ''seems like my armor set is done. See you later guys.'' I said and headed down.
''Ah. There you are.'' A voice called as I entered the sterile looking floor. ''My name is Quin but most call me sparky.'' the voice revealed itself to be a green dragon wearing a pair of goggles. He was unlike myself though. He was much longer and thinner, not to mention the antlers and whiskers. He must be a lung dragon. ''I see my appearance interests you'' he said, bringing me back to reality. ''As you can probably guess my family can trace its roots to northern Japan. Now if you would.'' he beckoned me to the far side of the room where just my helmet sat.
Keith and his team had done a fantastic job on it. The piece had holes for all my horns and a few metal ones to add to my fearsome visage. Not to mention it was a lustrous gold in colour. It did interest me that the rest of my armor wasn't here. ''try it on.'' the Lung suggested. I picked up the head gear and put it onto my head. As soon as it contacted my scales it fastened itself to me, a display appearing over the two holes for my eyes.
''we have developed the best technology for defensive purposes. Our combination of science and magical knowledge allowing us to store an entire set of armor in a helmet.'' Sparky explains as the covering for my back appears over my scales, strong but lightweight. ''we've also added some optional extras to the suit for different scenarios'' I could feel the metal cover the membrane of my wings. ''like our wing shield setup to provide defense when not flying.'' the remainder of the normal armor appeared, a deep red to match my scales. ''and the readout through the display you can see will give you an accurate reading of your current condition as well as providing extra information on your enemies, radar, infrared and a dynamic map of the area.'' The map appeared on cue showing the interior of the tower as well as outlines of the others in the tower.
''this is incredible.'' I said as the armor completely covered me. ''another satisfied customer then.'' Sparky replied, a grin on his face. ''there are some extra features but I'll let you find them out yourself. Have fun!'' he waved to me and I returned back to the recreational room, armor receding back into just the helmet.
I explained all the functions of my armor to Rob and Arakod who both sounded excited by what they would be getting. On cue there was a familiar call from Sparky and Rob went down to be fitted.
Soon all three of us were set up and we ventured to the ground floor to show off our gear to Rex. Unfortunately he wasn't in his office. ''So both Rex and Abria are missing. Where could they have got to?'' we wee answered by a thud from the front of the tower.
''thats not fair Rex! I still need to work these things out.'' came the call of my sister as she dusted herself off. She looked awesome. Her Armor was more of a battle suit or something from halo. From her rear sprouted her tails covered in a silver shell. Two metallic wings graced her back, two rockets on their ends.
''Oh come on I hardly touched you!'' came the call from Rex, also wearing his armor and circling us. ''not to mention the enemy won't play fair. Oh look! More to join the fun. Care to join our little game of tag?''
for the next hour or two we flew around the tower, tackling each other and practicing with our new suits. They did add some weight but not enough to reduce maneuverability. We were so caught up we were quite surprised by Dara calling us to come down. It was time to go.
Dara had organized a transport portal for us. It would let us out just on the outskirts of Paris, giving us plenty of room to get into position. I threw the green crystal into the wall and the circular hole in space appeared, giving us a view of a cafe. ''lets do this!'' I said as the 5 of us jumped through.
End of chapter 9...
We stepped out of the French cafe quietly, checking for any unwanted attention. Turns out nobody was around. Strange. An odd smell permeated the air as well, like when meat had gone bad. I put it to the back of my mind for the time being. I heard another item come through our portal before it sealed itself. It was two large containers. I pried the first open with my tail and its contents spilled out.
''Well Dara is certain we will run into some fun.'' Rex commented as he picked up an assault rifle from the many guns that now lay on the floor. I grabbed myself a sniper rifle and a set of pistols while Abria grabbed the shotgun.
Rob had already made his way into the second box to reveal two large guns that looked to be built for tanks. ''so thats what the slot is for.'' Arakod said, getting a confused look from me and Abria. The brown dragon picked up the quad barreled weapon and pushed it onto his back with a metallic click. His armor had a slot to hold big weapons? Now that was impressive. Rob grabbed the other, a dual rocket launcher, and we headed for our checkpoint about half a mile away.
We only made it halfway down the street before an explosion goes off. Right in the middle of the road another portal opens and what I recognize as an Aston Martin Vanquish flies through. Its driver slams on the brakes as a fireball shoots out behind him.
''Stupid Others'' the driver muttered, stepping out of the car and staring right at me. ''you've got to be kidding me. Another? How many versions of you are there?'' He exclaimed. I recognised this boy. Grey eyes, light brown hair and a duster made of some sort of scales. It couldn't be... ''Blake?''
''And this one actually knows me too!'' Blake said as he made his way right in front of me. ''And I thought you were made up by some guy in Australia.'' I said as he drew his smith and wesson. ''Nope as real as you are. Now by the look of you lot you're going to attack something yes?'' We all nodded our heads as a glint crossed his eyes. ''Well you just got yourself some extra help.''
for th next five minutes or so as we made our way through the deserted streets of Paris Blake chatted with everyone like they were all already good friends. I guess he must have met them all in other timelines. I turned the next corner and froze, letting Rob bump into me. ''whats the...''
It was awful. Along the street I could clearly see the bodies of hundreds of morphs. Thats what caused the smell. ''oh god'' came the voice of Arakod behind me. Blake just shook his head while I approached the bodies.
It was disgusting. There were entire families lying in their own blood, babies with a bullet through their head. Some of them must have been just going through the transformative process, bodies partially covered in fur or scales. One of the little children, a deer morph sat with her teddy clutched tightly against her, eyes wide with fear. A lone bullet placed right through her heart. A tear traveled down my muzzle as I closed her eyes.
We walked on, everyone effected by the horrors we now walked beside. A faint moan brought us out of the sadness though as Rex spotted movement to our right, signaling for us to get down.
''shut up you filthy animal!'' a man yelled as I peaked around from our hiding spot. Just down the road from us stood two armed humans, both pointing their guns at a bound family of four dog morphs. ''please spare us! We are but simple people! We just want to go home.'' the wife of the family said. The second man grumbled ''He said shut up!'' he brought his rifle to the womans head and pulled the trigger, blasting it clean off. The children screamed as the father went berserk. ''you monsters! We did nothing to you and yo killed my wife! I will'' his rant was cut short as he too was put down. The boy continued to scream while his sister backed away. The boy received the same treatment of his father from the first man while the second snatched up the little girl.''Mangy mutt'' he muttered before slicing her neck open with a knife.
That was it. My anger surged through me like electricity. These people had murdered innocent people. Even children! How could someone even do that? Even in war civilians were not to be harmed and these beasts were slaughtering every last one of them. I could faintly hear the shouts of my friends as I strode towards the men.
They turned to face me, looks of horror on their faces. They leveled their guns at me and began to fire. Their bullets did not bother me. Nothing would stop me removing this filth from the world. Their terrified expressions intensified as I continued towards them, unrelenting. One turned to run. He only managed a step. By the time his body hit the floor from my massive meteor blast the second was in my grasps taking his last breath.
I turned to watch my friends emerge slowly, the same terror on their faces. Why were they scared? The only enemies nearby had been taken care of. Only Blake seemed unfazed. I moved towards them slowly, confused. ''whats wrong guys?'' I asked, noticing that exact thing. My voice sounded twisted, evil. Rex just pointed at me. I brought my hands to my face and gasped. My entire form had become a shadow, pure black energy. I shook myself in horror before falling to the ground.
I awoke only a short while later with everyone looking at me with concerned faces. ''you ok man?'' Arakod asked as Abria helped me back to my feet. ''I think so. What happened back there?''
''I can explain.'' Blake chimed in. ''that there was your shade. Seems every Zorath I run into can use it when they feel extreme pain, anger or sadness. While in that form you become almost invincible but you loose control with out proper training as you did on those two.'' he pointed to where the men had been standing. Instead there was now a pile of blood soaked bones and an ash pile. ''your rage consumed you and that happened.'' I was shocked and scared of myself.
''I did that?''
''yeah. Scared the lot of us.'' Rob said, trying to comfort me. ''Blake explained everything.'' I sat back down, staring at my hands. ''I'm a monster'' I whispered. Blake stepped back up to me and looked me right in the eye. ''you are no monster. You just did what you thought was right. You might have done a horrible deed but you did it unwillingly. The ones you killed however did out of their own free will. They are the true monsters.'' I took a deep breath and calmed myself. ''thanks Blake''
we finally arrived across the road from the military base. The building had been a warehouse once but it was teeming with soldiers now, armed to the teeth to stop anyone who wanted entrance.
''Hold on one second.'' Blake said as he tossed something to the far right of us. A small explosion soon followed which gave us a great distraction to get into the main hangar. According to our instructions there should be some sort of computer around here that controlled all the rockets. Rex signaled for us to split up, me and Rob ending up together on the right side of the room. The whole place was stocked with crates which were probably filled with weapons.
While our search had yet to turn up anything we seemed to be free of guards. Well that was until one rounded the corner when we did. Before he even got up Arakod had roasted him with his fire breath, leaving no time for the man to make a sound. That near miss might have gone horribly wrong but it turned out that he was guarding the actual computer and we managed to find the control unit. We called the others over and Rex went to work shutting it down.
Turns out we had got it too easy. The second Rex began a series of click echoed around us as the guards trained their guns on each one of us. I tapped my distress beacon to summon our reinforcements as the first man spoke. ''Pretty clever for animals aren't you?'' Rob was about to protest but received a bullet to the head, pinging off his scales harmlessly. ''shut up. Now your friend there is going to get his claws off our computer or I'm going to blow all your heads off.'' Rex stopped his hacking but Blake motioned for him to continue. ''so they're your little pets then kid?'' the guard jeered until Blake shot a blast right into the mans chest, leaving him paralyzed on the floor.
All hell broke loose then. Our reinforcements arrived in the form of bear, lion, horse and bull morphs charging through the room with miniguns and massive shotguns. Our group took the opportunity and launched our attack. I ended up slashing through people with my claws for the majority of the time, stopping every so often to take a shot with the sniper at distant foes. Arakod was shooting away with what seemed to be supersized shotgun rounds while Rob had proceeded to blast a hole in the wall where a group of humans had rushed in.
''All done! Lets move!'' Rex called, getting us all moving for the front door. We rushed out and into the fresh air as the attack squads continued to clear the base. ''well that was fun'' Rob said, panting slightly from the heat of his launcher. ''Excuse me are you Rex's squad?'' a wolf morph said as he came to a halt before Rex. ''yes whats wrong?'' the wolf pulled out a small tablet device. ''Dara said you needed to see this.'' the screen began to play a video. It looked like someone else transforming, grey scales covering his form. ''who's this from?'' Rex asked. ''Its from a person called Edge.'' Quite a few eyes lit up at the realization of who it was. What happened next was unexpected though. A large group of armed guards burst through the windows and began to attack the newly changed dragon. While he seemed uninjured Edge grabbed the camera and shot out of the window before the video finished. ''Apparently he is being moved to the tower as we speak after being treated for a few bullet holes in his wings.'' We all thanked the messenger who rushed back from where he came. Rex took out the port crystal and threw it to the ground, a portal opening shortly afterwards.
''Lets head home team'' Rex said as we all stepped back through. I paused before I stepped through though, looking to the piles of bodies. We had to stop this. I shook myself and stepped back through the portal.