If there was one lesson that I was taught in my youth, it was that certain occasions could draw out our greatest strengths. With the holidays, in particular, creating so many stories with so many beautiful people. Let's once again focus on those special people in the second part of our tales.
Value is often more literal than figurative. The problem is often deciding which is which. After my son, Aphele, left the house this past couple of months have been hard. And by that I mean it's hard to keep up with all of this fun! For months my empty nest syndrome has been dealt through partying, one night stands and more dangerous jobs. Honestly, half the time, I didn't know where or when I ended up. Except on this particular day in which I wake up to the most disturbing sounds in all of existence: an alarm. Even with the feeling comparable to a hammer to the head, I recognized soon enough the purpose of said alarm. For today was Christmas Eve, and I realized that I didn't have a gift for my son. Realizing my fault, I quickly get my clothes on me and try to wake up my "guest."
"Hey, I need you up in my out."
"Hmmm, And when you say what do you mean the little guy or me," The man asked with a cocky grin.
With such a cringy line hanging in the air, I give my appropriate response by kicking him out after he didn't take the hint after the first 50 times. And right after his departure, I put back on my most prized possession: my wedding ring and return all of my families pictures to their proper place in my living room. With the final picture being one of the happiest times of what seemed like a lifetime ago. And I knew that no amount of men could ever replace my husband Logam(metal in Malay).
Back in my heyday, I was a lone specialist, a pretty powerful one if I do say so myself. For years I bounced myself from place to place like a tornado until I finally found myself at the bustling city of Metallo where I was to secure the safety of a painting which was made by an up and coming artist. And when I first saw my future husband, he was nothing special. He was relatively a skinny, dark-skinned man who had his unkempt curly black hair and brown eyes. But I didn't love him for his superficial features, everything else about him, however, caught my eye. He carried himself with both formality and kindness with a voice that resonated a curious nature. Once he handed the package to me in the form of a bronze box, he stated.
"I know this might sound like an insult to someone of your skill, but please be careful. I've put my heart and soul into my work."
Realizing that I never found out what the package was, I got curious.
"You sure I can't get a little peek? Just between us?"
"Oh, sure! It's probably going to be in some rich dudes mansion anyway. Take a peek."
At his command, I opened to lid, and I saw a sight that took my breath away. It was an ultimately still image of the final battle between the Elementals and the tyrant Granius made of bronze. Each figures respective armies were also displayed as their elements appeared in jagged fire, spiraling wind and pulsing mystical energy. My expression said it all.
"My Terra, this is amazing!"
"You think so? I thought I could have done a lot better if I got more time, but some of us need to make a living right?"
"If you don't think this is perfect I'd love to see your favorites Logam."
"I would like that very much Mrs. Crimson."
And just like that, we knew each other. Logam was my complete opposite in almost every fashion. My abrasive and spontaneous nature was answered with a calm yet an ambitious man. That beautiful mind of his was always working, always wanting to improve, always creating the next unique thing. And when my mind was made up about being with him, I didn't bother wasting any time and locked him down both figuratively and sometimes literally. Living with Logam made every day special but unfortunately for him like any good artist he just had to peak. I remember we had intended on going to a fancy restaurant but because of an unexpected rainstorm. With no wind and water specialists in sight, we decided to stay in. So imagine my surprise when in the middle of watching tv in the fanciest thing I ever wore, my boyfriend proposed to me with a bracelet that said a quote printed in my memory.
"Let, our fates be ever intertwined," the quote said in fancy cursive.
Too many I don't think it would have been the best of times, but for me it was perfect. All I remembered from the next few months onward was a whirlwind of bliss which all ended in a welcome surprise: my son Aphele. And let's say that 9-month transition was hard for a girl who had been used to travel most of her life. And despite preparation, I still nearly burned down the hospital in my labor. But still, despite all my gripes and complaints, I knew that Aphele was the greatest gift I have ever gotten. And I felt blessed with what I'd gotten. Seventeen years ago, that all got ripped away. And while the event itself was from long ago, the flashes were still clear as day as I ran into the city to find my family. I fought through dozens of enemies until I finally made my way home. When I returned, all I could see was my ravaged household, ransacked pictures, and a severely burned Logam. And with his dying breath, he said to me with tears flowing like a stream.
"Please, take Aphele, be careful."
"I'm not leaving you, Logam; I'm not leaving you to die!"
"I'll only slow you down Crismon, and I'd much rather die than let my heart and soul get hurt. I'm begging you."
Surprisingly it wasn't losing him that hurt the most; it wasn't the fact that no justice came for those bastards as those who told the story were killed off promptly. The hardest thing was seeing Aphele grow up knowing what he had missed. He is so much like his father, and so much like his father that I do think he was our "work."
So if there was anything I wanted to give him this holiday season, it was to remind him of how much he was truly loved. Because I knew that with the path he's on, he was going to need all the help that he can get. So with my mind made up on what I wanted I wrapped up the only thing I took from my destroyed house all those years ago and sent it to him — hoping that one of the last photos of our family would get the message across.
The holidays can be a very desperate time, and with the right gift, it can turn sadness to happiness. And for the giver, they would do anything to achieve that.
These past few months have been a whirlwind of decisions. To escape our enemies, we were forced to trek across the world of Terra from our ancestral home. And after months of travel, we were forced to seek asylum in the Nature province. But I didn't stay long at my past home because with the Province serving as a haven for civilians, not soldiers. And I realized that with the growing threats all around, I realized I had been too easy on the development of my people. With morale at an all-time low and the holidays being such an oppressive time, I realized that my people needed a symbol to look up to. I knew that even to appease the Forbidden One; I needed an army so powerful that it would stand long after I'm gone.
For weeks I turned the strongest amongst us into the same wretched training that brought me to the king and awakened my element. While many from our race still couldn't achieve it, others could help with the regiment birthing 100 strong. But before my goblin attack force could reach full force, I knew that I needed allies in my quest. But unlike before in which I would simply capture and control the beasts, I knew I had to earn their respect. And I can think of no better creature to aid my cause then the unexpected Chimera.
Years ago, Lord Granius was one of history's most evil anti-monster supporters. While he had many supporters to his cause, his most terrifying man was one that made scars in history: Doctor (plague in Basque). Even to this day, people think that he was more machine than a man for how cold he was. For years under the reign of Lord Granius, he captured and experimented with various monsters to make the almighty chimera. Like me it was a creature not made for this world and during the rise of the elementals it had escaped to reproduce rapidly with other creatures and become an invasive species that haunted Terra for years to come, causing multiple factions to surface.
Using my connections, I managed to find out the location of a particular subset of chimera that I had been looking for. It was a long struggle, but I managed to track them down into the fire province, which was conveniently right next to the Fire province. Particularly on one of the small islands of Obsidia which provides much of the region's products. However, with the influx of winged chimeras there and the war, there were no strong enough specialists in lending a hand. With 50 of my strongest goblins, we quickly trudged across the island in various groups to plant our secret weapon. And while my brethren advanced on the ground, I took to the skies to prepare for the battle ahead.
Across these past few months in my new found campaign in fate, I realized I need to be a better king, a stronger king. I realized that my Yggdrasil inventory required to evolve into something far more adaptable and beyond the branch. And with the spoils of my victory in the forest of trial, my sword and cape became part of my arsenal along with my new arm. And with the newly woven grass in between my cloak has now become as effective as an appendage. So with my Yggdrasil inventory Winged Weeds where I rode the thermals far above the sky and saw the chimeras circling the sky near the long-dormant volcano. And finally, when I saw my target. I made my move.
"Commence the attack."
Upon my command, dozens of sniper blasts blew the chimera's ou of the sky as from the heavens I descended with breakneck speed. Right before I touched down I coiled my cape around me and using the tough fur of Lupi I reach a gilded yet hard fall. Using my new appendage, I made multiple vital vines my pin the beasts to the ground. With my path unabated my charge eventually got answered by the boss itself. With an intense roar that shook the ground beneath my feet, I look above to see the High Chimera of this particular group. It was a sight to behold indeed with parts of many ancient beasts long dead. With a body slightly larger than a car it was equipped with the body of a feline, talons, demonic wings and a spiked tail with horns that twitches uncontrollably. But I think the thing that drew most of my attention was its eyes that blazed with intelligence. In an instant, it managed deduced my purpose for being here. And as we both prepared for battle, I still had to ask.
"Are we going to do this the hard way or the easy way?"
I get my answer in the form of a plasma blast that nearly destroyed my bark barrier in one shot. Even still I'm able to recover fast enough to use my new arm to latch on to a nearby rock and avoid raging talons that would've slashed me half. Using my sword, I was also able to parry a tail swipe that sends me flying. Before I'm sent falling from a couple of hundred feet, I activate my winged weeds to maintain a stabilize flight. Realizing that the power of my opponent, I instantly flare my mana to the extreme as with a tremendous slash, I cut another plasma blast in half.
With my right hand glowing an emerald hue, I wave back on him to come one. Answering my challenge, we engaged in our battle in the skies. The Chimera charged at me with another plasma blast in kind I slash the blast in half once again while also unleashing a volley of splinter spears that throw it off course just enough to divert its path. Next few minutes are spent in a stalemate of high-velocity projectiles. I was smarter and smaller, but he was faster and more agile.
Each near-miss made my body became heavier due to heat. Ever still, the heat also provided me with a much-needed updraft that I needed to gain proper distance. While the chimera rocketed up at a scary pace but I blinded him with my Yggdrasil Inventory leaf screen. And as he went up, I went down until we both reached terminal velocity. While wind whipped at my face and goggles, I still felt the heat of an incoming plasma blast. Sensing the power, I pulled my wings back to get right behind the chimera and latch my Yggdrasil arm into my throat.
The chimera struggled with his burning throat; the ground got desperately closer. Too bad that I frankly underestimated the flexibility of the high chimera. Using its sharp talons, it was capable of tearing through the vines and dynamically flipped me over him and hit me with his spiked tail that hits my unplanted arm and nearly tears it off. I'm sent flying to the ground my will nearly shattered. Emphasis on the nearly as with my Yggdrasil arm, I redraw my sword and plant it into the ground to steady myself for plan B as my opponent started to charge up another, bigger blast.
For eons, Yggdrasil acted as a blessing to every plant that touched its ground. Time and time again, I've proven my will can overpower a fraction of Yggdrasil's might. And over time as my possessions grew all the numerous due to the power of the tree, I asked the question. What would I be without it? Where would the world be without the presence of such a primordial force? And upon my revelation on fate, what better way to steal from Terra then to turn its greatest giver into its greatest thief. With my will, I called upon the various seeds I had placed around the island. Once I saw the pulsing life that teemed with every beat, I used every fiber of my avarice and turned them into receivers of that ambition. The bountiful water lost color, the plants their lives the sea creatures they're youth as I used the young saplings to devour everything, including their purpose. All that stored up flowed through my Yggdrasil arm as it morphed into a cannon. Pain seeped into my very veins like I was being pulled in every direction at once. And when I thought the weight was too much, I remember the reason why I started my quest, to give my people a world wheres no goblin would ever have to live a life such as mine to gain such power. And with my cause noble and mind just, I took my shot.
"Yggdrasil inventory, Corpse blossom!"
Green laser meets plasma blast in a climactic but short struggle. I wish I could describe the explosion that took place, but by that time, I had already fallen to the ground in convulsing pain. Unfortunately, Corpse blossom is a double-edged sword in the right moment it can steal the lives of my enemies, but it also, unfortunately, steals my life as well. Maybe a year or three at the most. But I knew very well that I would do it again in a heartbeat. Because I knew if I was destined for hardship, for tragedy then at the very least I will not wither like my love. If I die, it will be as a blaze of glory so great that my goblins will live like kings long after. And with my new chimera Thorn and his subjects, I knew that goal is now one step closer.
Before there was darkness, before there was Terra, there was the Forbidden Realm. A place of endless darkness, chilling cold, harsh air, and oppressive heat. The only essence of life was the void itself with what little sentence it had. Bored from an eternity of boredom, the void in anguish flew into a mighty rage that shook the realm itself. But from that, pressure and power came something new. A light in the eternal darkness was formed, women formed with a golden light appeared from the reaction. And with the first moments of her existence, she gazed upon the horrifying realm.
The realm noticed what he created and gazed upon what he created. The baby girl quickly evolved at a breakneck pace while the realm kept gazing; he had never before created anything resembling life before. He had always been alone, supreme, in control. But before he could even get to know the girl, he was hit with the radiant and hidden power from the newly born force. It was unlike anything he had ever witnessed, and that terrified him. Instantly he locked her way into the deepest abyss he could think of. For Eons the girl laid in wait with only the dark, dank abyss being her only home. But even with the prison constantly surrounding her power still grew more powerful by the day, yet even more lonely. And in a string of emotions that were fast and powerful, the same pressure as before she created life. But unlike before the creature was fairly weak. It could handle a fraction of her power.
The little insect-like creature happily floated over her shoulder ejecting streams of fire and with the girl ecstatic she created life after life, making her power all the more concentrated and greater. Until in a bellow of pure unrestrained joy, she accidentally tore into the fabric of the realm, revealing nothing more than a black scape, different from the dark abyss a place where she and her friends could spend all of eternity.
And right when she was about the cross the edge the Forbidden realm in rage over his wound, he ripped her and her allies from the abyss. With his devilish imagination, he created terrors beyond comprehension to end the monstrosity he created. But unlike before the girl had now evolved into a woman, and her allies by her side, she fought to escape the reach of the realm. The war between these gods was a battle that warred on for an eternity. Both entities were equally matched, but the woman summoned the last bit of her strength to unleash a robust series of blows while in a definitive escape, she once again ripped the Realm open. Every ounce of her focus turned to the nothingness that laid below but in that proved to be her greatest mistake, and her last one.
The Realm summoned all his hate that he could muster and laid a fatal blow upon her escape! As the woman laid they're in the nothing, noticing her fading light, she realized how ironic it all was. Centuries of fighting all too die, living for eons but still being afraid, leaving one emptiness for another. Still, even at the end, she held the kindness she had as a mere babe. Just because she was dying doesn't mean a new unburned life could spring forth in the nothingness. Her body slowly started to fade, the dying embers creating stars, galaxies, planets, and a special place that cared for her legacy each day. While the people of this place never knew about her, while they held a fraction of her infinite power, they still honored her name. Terra, the woman that gave her all so that we must experience life as we know it. And what better way to honor the one we sacrificed so much than by enjoying the holidays with the people we cherish?