Ch. 32: Broken Souls
The sun was started to show itself over the horizon when Spyro and Cynder reached the Cheetah Village. Many of the villagers started cheering and crying out, “There’s Spyro, and Cynder!” They started waving their paws as soon as the two dragons flew over the border of the small inhabitance, Hunter leaping over the wooden wall that surrounded the village. Chief Prowlus came out of one of the hastily built shacks to see the two dragons.
The village seemed even more desolate than before when Spyro, Cynder and Hunter were kidnapped by order of Chief Prowlus. There was no more than a dozen cheetahs in the village at the moment. Spyro and Cynder landed by a pole with a metal lock on it. Immediately, Chief Prowlus came up to Hunter and bowed down, his front paws leaning on his large metal sword.
“Please forgive me, Hunter. I should not have believed that these two dragons weren’t able to defeat Malefor, and I send my apologies to you, Spyro and Cynder. I hope that you can forgive me.” Chief Prowlus kept his head down until Hunter stuck out his right paw, motioning him to rise.
“I forgive you, Chief Prowlus. You were brave enough to help our cause in the raid on Dragon City.” After a moment, Hunter said, “You shouldn’t be asking me for forgiveness, you should be asking Spyro and Cynder. They were the ones that defeated Malefor. Without them, the whole world would’ve been destroyed. We have much to be thankful for because of these two dragons.” Hunter looked at Spyro and Cynder, who were somewhat surprised at the kind welcoming that they were receiving here. They looked at him for a moment, and then Hunter said, “Why don’t we all thank Spyro and Cynder for the impossible task that they achieved?”
The villagers applauded very quickly and rose up some walking sticks into the air. They started cheering Spyro and Cynder’s names. Chief Prowlus even joined, but rose up his sword soon after, and the small group stopped their applause.
He walked over to Spyro and Cynder and said, “I am sorry for doubting you, and treating you poorly on your first visit here.” He turned to face the group of cheetahs and raised his voice, saying, “Let it be known that Spyro and Cynder will always be welcome here, and that we will do whatever we can to help them in the future.” The cheetahs let out another burst of applause, and quieted down as Chief Prowlus asked Spyro and Cynder, “Do you need help with anything?”
Spyro calmly said, “No, but thank you for the offer. We need to be on our way to the Dragon City.”
Hunter walked up to Chief Prowlus and said, “I will help them open the Forbidden Tunnel, but I plan on coming back after that.”
Prowlus asked, “Are Spyro and Cynder not staying here?”
Cynder said, “We’d love to, but we must go to the Dragon City and see the Guardians, and Sparx.”
Prowlus asked, “Was that the dragonfly that was with you two?”
Spyro replied with, “Yes. We better start going. We have a couple of…errands to attend to.”
“Despite your short stay, it was nice to see you and know that you two are alive and well.”
Before Spyro and Cynder left, a few of the cheetahs walked up to Spyro and Cynder, asking questions like “What did Malefor look like?” and “How is it like to be a purple dragon?”
While Spyro and Cynder were answering questions and talking to the cheetahs, Hunter walked over to Prowlus and signaled him away from the village with his paw.
Prowlus asked, “Is there something bothering you, Ignitus?”
Hunter’s face became serious and his mouth straight as he said, “There were many blue lights and glowing objects in the Enchanted Forest. And Spyro told me that he heard…the Song of the Earth. What does this mean, Chief Prowlus?”
Prowlus was shocked at what Hunter said, but he managed to put his sword back into a cover on his belt. “This is not a good sign, Hunter. The Song of the Earth is only heard in a great time of distress and danger. Perhaps there is something that Malefor has that we don’t know about. We should be very cautious. The earth is trying to tell us that something bad is going to happen.”
Hunter wasn’t very pleased with the answer, but turned around, looking casual to Spyro and Cynder. They looked at him, and tried to answer a few more questions, but Hunter asked, “Are you ready to leave, Spyro and Cynder?”
They were relieved when he asked, and quickly said, “Yes, we’re ready to go now.”
Chief Prowlus quickly said, “May luck be on your side during the trip.”
Spyro and Cynder said goodbye to Chief Prowlus and the other cheetahs before jumping into the air to fly away from the village, toward the Forbidden Tunnel. They flew slowly through the Valley of Avalar, looking down at the crack that was in the middle of the valley. There was very little water flowing in the river that flowed through the center of the valley, because most of the water went down into the split in the earth at a certain point, when the crack and the river intersected.
Spyro was looking down at the crack when he said, “It looks like it goes pretty deep into the Earth. It was probably formed when the earth split apart.”
Cynder, noticing that there was only a small stream of water flowing in the river said, “I wonder where the river flows to. There must be many people that rely on this water.”
“I hope the earth shifts back together and closes it. Or maybe the water will fill it up and the river will start to form again.”
“I hope so too.”
Hunter ran like the wind, jumping and scaling elevations in the ground and the ditch where the river was. He was able to keep up with Spyro and Cynder, running quickly with catlike grace, not losing his balance even when running over a log that connected two separate pieces of land together.
The two dragons caught a gust of wind blowing with them and sped up to a small open pathway that led to the entrance of the Forbidden Tunnel. The entrance was marked with a pawprint. They waited for a few seconds for Hunter to catch up and use a secret body movement to open the pathway.
Hunter, ready to go back to the Cheetah Village and help said, “I don’t think I need to accompany you two on the trip to the Dragon City. You can make it without me, right?”
Spyro, eager to see Sparx, looked up at Hunter and said, “Yes, we’ll be fine. Thanks for the help, Hunter.”
“I hope that we will be able to see each other soon.”
Cynder calmly said, “It was nice to see you Hunter.”
They exchanged goodbyes and soon went their separate ways. Spyro and Cynder entered the dark stone tunnel that led directly to the Dragon City. But they did not know of the ape that had secretly heard the conversation between them and Hunter. Worr came out of the shadows of the trees that were near the entrance of the tunnel and looked around.
He looked quite similar to his father, having shaggy purplish hair around his body, large broad shoulders, a thin lower body, short legs and a very long face. His tail held a glowing green staff, and he had some metal armor on his chest and head. The head armor concealed almost everything but his mouth and eyes. Unlike his father, he still had both his eyes, which were a deep blue.
He waited, looking up near the sun in the sky and the fast moving clouds and squinting his eyes. ‘I better make sure that they don’t see me, or else I’ll be Toasty.’ The entrance started closing, and he quickly ran inside the tunnel, his tail and staff almost getting caught between the stone door and the wall of the tunnel. He was breathing heavily when he ran inside.
Spyro and Cynder stopped in their tracks, suddenly scared. It was nearly pitch black in the tunnel.
Spyro asked, “Did you hear something?”
Cynder nodded and then quietly whispered, “I definitely heard something.”
Worr started to panic. ‘What if they come over here? Then what do I do? Evren never said what to do if they confront me.’ Spyro and Cynder turned around and started walking slowly back towards the entrance. ‘Oh, please don’t notice me. Please don’t notice me.’ He slowly turned around and grabbed the staff from his tail, making sure that they could not see it glowing.
He quickly tried to remember what Gaul had taught him many years ago, and touched the glowing top of the staff with his right hand. The green glowing substance, which may have contained an Element, started to wrap itself around his right arm and started to dissolve into his skin. He closed his eyes and suddenly became invisible. Even the staff, which he carried in his arm, became invisible.
Spyro and Cynder walked over close to where Worr was standing, but couldn’t see him. They stood quiet, trying to listen to any sign of life in the tunnel. Worr started to hold his breath, trying to stand still and not make any noise. The two dragons listened but couldn’t hear anything.
Spyro, satisfied with their observation said, “Come on, Cynder. I don’t think anyone is in here right now. Maybe we just heard something outside.”
Cynder, a little more hesitant, replied with, “Alright.” Spyro turned around quickly while Cynder stood waiting with a watchful eye for a few more seconds before turning around and following Spyro.
Worr waited for about half a minute before letting out a large breath of air and breathing in again very heavily. He quietly whispered to himself, “That was too close.” He quickly took the staff and touched the top of it. The green glowing substance flowed out from his skin and twirled around back into the staff. While it left him, he slowly became less transparent, until he was completely visible. He slowly started walking, making sure to let Spyro and Cynder walk faster than him so they would never see him.
During the trip, Cynder stopped multiple times to look back and see if there was anyone following her, but she never saw anybody. As they got closer to the Dragon City, more light entered the tunnel, which became wider and taller. Since it was easier to see, Worr would often sit down and wait for a minute, fiddling with his staff, while Spyro and Cynder walked on ahead.
Worr often looked around, out of boredom. He saw that there were many large stones that made the entirety of the tunnel. They were neatly placed and connected together like bricks. They didn’t bear any symbols, however, so Worr got tired very quickly of looking at their plain brown and tan surfaces.
A few hours passed, and soon there were windows in the tunnel. It was slowly transforming into a building. Outside, Worr could see sunlight and many other tall buildings surrounding the tunnel. He stared at the structures in amazement, since he had never seen so buildings so close together. He began to wonder, thinking, ‘How many people live here?’
When he was close to the Dragon City, he saw a cheetah walking toward him. What immediately popped into his mind was, ‘Oh no, I don’t have enough time to turn invisible. What if he sees me?’ He looked around desperately for any means of escape, and to his luck, there was a hole in the right wall of the tunnel, a few feet off the ground. He quickly jumped and managed to crawl into the hole, turning the staff so it didn’t get caught in the entrance.
But it wasn’t a hole. It was a tunnel. ‘How did I manage to get myself into another tunnel?’ He stood still as he heard the cheetah walking by, and waited for a few moments before going deeper into the tunnel. ‘I wonder where this goes. It looks like it was dug in less than five minutes.’ The dirt was not very level, but rather piled up in many places, making it hard for Worr to work his way through. His shoulders barely passed through the tunnel, and he had to crouch to prevent his head from touching the top of the tunnel.
There was a steep incline after Worr had traveled a few steps, and it became very hard to keep going deeper. He had to start clawing out dirt that was in the tunnel so that he could get through. But he looked forward and saw a light. It was fairly bright. He decided to go to the end of the tunnel and see what was at the end. He continued to claw his way through the loose dirt as he slowly made his way up the tunnel. When he was close to the top, he could see clouds and sunshine, but he had no idea where the tunnel would lead him.
Once he was at the top, he slowly poked his head out into the open and quickly looked around. He was up on top of a hill, overlooking the entire city. There was a dense patch of trees behind him, but he waited for a minute before he quickly crawled out of the tunnel and ran towards the trees. ‘Did anyone see me?’ He looked around, and saw all the buildings of the Dragon City. Moles walked around on the streets, appearing as small dots in his viewpoint.
It didn’t take long for Worr to realize that he had stumbled upon one of the greatest hiding spots to view the entire city from. In fact, he started jumping up and down with joy. He calmed down quickly and said, “Surely I was meant to look after Spyro and Cynder. This looks like the best spot that anyone can have to look over the entire city. Now I will now for sure when Spyro and Cynder leave.” He started smiling at his own luck, revealing a glowing red tooth surrounded by yellow front teeth.
Slightly earlier, in a dark castle:
“So you’re telling me that I can make a barrier of space to protect myself from objects?” asked Drake, astounded at what his mother had just said.
“Yes. It will slowly drain your element, but you can keep it up for a period of time.”
Drake was desperate to try this new power, but first asked, “How long will I be able to keep up this barrier?”
Evren, with a straight face said, “For your first time, you may only be able to keep it up for a minute, but with practice, you can hold it for hours.” Evren thought for a moment before saying, “let me retrieve some green crystals quickly.” She disappeared from Drake’s sight, leaving him alone in the large room. There wasn’t very much light in the room, but Drake could make out the markings on the floor. He sat down and calmly waited for his mother.
Evren quickly came to her favorite place, a very tall platform overlooking the Valley of Avalar. She could see the smoke rising from a fire in the Cheetah Village, and if she got closer, she would’ve seen some cheetahs working on some wooden structures. She quickly ran out of the view of the village and into an open but shaded area, where some green crystals stuck out of the ground for the taking. She quickly dislodged the crystals from their places with her mind and traveled back to Drake, where she dropped the crystals onto the ground.
“Do you remember what I told you, about how to form a barrier?” asked Evren, intent that her son would recall what she had told him earlier.
“Of course. How could I forget?” He extracted a very small amount of element from inside him, channeling it through his arteries, and forcing it to come out onto the surface of his body. He allowed it to gather up in his paw as a small black ball, and with a majestic movement, flung his entire self up into the air, curving his body and throwing his element around him until the black element could not be seen anymore. Now he focused.
“Are you ready, Drake?” Evren slowly showed him his favorite ball hovering in the air.
“Yes.” Drake was already slightly tired of the training, because it was both physically and mentally draining. He started to long to be in his room and rest, or sleep.
“I’ll start off with some easy throws.” Evren slowly threw the ball without her paws at Drake with an upper hand motion. The ball curved as it slowly flew through the air, creating a small arc. But once it got within a few feet of Drake, it stopped and bounced off his barrier. Evren quickly brought the ball up to her paw and prepared to throw it again. Drake slowly but firmly breathed in and out, focusing on keeping the barrier up and sensing where the ball would hit this time.
Evren threw the ball slightly faster, this time with an overhand motion, so the ball arced downward. Once again, Drake was able to deflect the ball from penetrating his barrier, and the ball bounced off it, the floor, and slowly rolled back to Evren. She decided to wait for a few seconds before throwing the ball one last time. Drake was starting to wonder if a minute had passed by. It felt like it, since his barrier was becoming weaker, his mana slowly draining from his body.
Evren threw the ball for the third time, with more force so it flew in a straighter path at Drake. He quickly felt the ball hit the barrier and focused his mana on that point, so the ball didn’t penetrate the elemental barrier. The ball bounced back to Evren, who swiped her paw to grab the ball in the air.
Drake could feel the barrier starting to collapse. Evren asked, “Are you starting to run out of mana?”
“Just about.” He began to stick out his paw and absorb the elemental barrier again. As the element got closer to his paw, looking like it was being sucked back into his body, it became more visible, until it was black again. Then it went into his veins and traveled back into the core of his body.
“I want you to know that I am very proud of you, Drake. You are making a lot of progress very quickly. Perhaps with more training, you can master what I have taught you so far.” Drake stood breathing in and out, tired from keeping the barrier for only a minute. Evren quickly got some crystals and moved them toward him. He quickly struck the crystals, shattering them into small bits until he absorbed them. He could feel his mana slowly returning back into him and began to breathe regularly.
“I feel so much better with the crystals.” He struck most of them, but left a couple of large chunks on the ground, so that he could absorb them later.
“It’s always a good idea to have some spare crystals lying around, just in case you need to use them.” She smiled when he looked at him, but was quite sad when she didn’t show her face towards him, because she knew Drake’s fate. It started to bother her, to the point where she didn’t want to see him anymore, because of her guilt, so she asked, “Do you want to train anymore today, Drake?”
Drake would’ve liked to say no, but he didn’t think that response would please his mother very much, so he calmly said, “Maybe just a little more.” He looked at his mother, who looked somewhat uneasy and sad, not able to hide it anymore. “Mother? Is there something wrong?”
She tried to contain herself. ‘Perhaps he won’t have to die. Maybe I can train him so well that he can kill both Spyro and Cynder before they take his life.’ “It’s just…it’s just…I’m worried for you, Drake. You’re going to be going against the strongest dragons this world has ever seen. No one has been able to defeat the dark master, except for those two. I feel like no matter how much we train, you’ll be unprepared for the battle.” She almost started crying, but simply let out a loud sigh and put her head down.
“Don’t cry, mother. I don’t want to see you cry. Everything is going to be alright. I know that you will do your best to train me, and I will do my best when I go against them. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Trust me.” He managed to smile a little at his mother, who raised her head and smiled back.
“Alright. I’ll train you and teach you everything you need to know…and more.” She thought for a little, wondering what else she could teach him. ‘Perhaps I should teach him one of the strongest defenses…or attacks.’ “Why don’t I teach you one of the best ways to defend yourself in battle? It will probably prove to be very useful in the future.”
“Okay. I’m ready to start learning.”