It was a peaceful day in Portico and Alex couldn't help smiling as he basked in the sunshine with his friends. Lizzy or Elizabeth, as her mother called her when she was angry, lay on her side and closed her eyes. Their dragon companions chased each other in the sky and swam in the cool river beside the bank.
"This is perfect. I wish the world was always this quiet."
"It will be one day. I promise you the world will be innocent before I am gone."
" Oh Alex, you say that all the time. Even Dracus and the other dragons know you cannot deliver on your promise. The evil forces are too strong for you."
"It's true. Leviticus is too strong for us. We cannot give up. I won't give up because I am our people's hero and they are relying on me to defeat him. I know you won't give up either dearest Elizabeth because you believe in justice just as much as I do."
Lizzy had been his friend for as long as he could remember. Alex couldn't help gazing at the beautiful woman who he'd known since childhood. They'd laughed at each other's jokes, read the same books, played childish games, and sang folk songs as they watched the sun sink in the heaven-filled sky. They had also fought all the dangerous demons everyone else feared. They were too young to be knights, yet they dared to hope they would wear the famed armor trained adults wore. They both loved dragons. They had saved Dracus from his family because they feared his green and gold wings. He was rare. Few dragons had the gold cross on their head or the green stripe on their back. Dracus was so grateful, he never allowed them to forget their kindness to him. He was loyal to them. His fires were stronger than his fellow dragons. They spread further than another dragon's and they caused lasting damage which was almost impossible to fix.
"Hush Alex, I hear them."
"I know dear friend. I do too."
"We must warn Lizzy. They will capture her if we don't."
"No they won't Dracus, I'm here. Sweet, green-winged Dracus, you forget my hearing is sharper than most people's."
"Green and gold wings Lizzy. That's true you do. I keep forgetting you have cat's ears."
"We need to consult the book of knowledge and spells. Come on you two. We need to hurry before it's too late."
Dracus picked us up and flew towards the tower we knew so well. Within minutes of landing on the cold floor, Lizzy picked up the book and put it on the ancient table. No sooner had the three friends rubbed the book, when it flew around the room and flipped to the page we needed. No one knew how the heavy volume found what they wanted. They just took it for granted that it did. We gasped as we saw the words flying along with the yellow page. It told us we were ready. We were ready to defeat our enemies once and for all.
We stared at the dusty objects in the room, then at each other. We weren't ready. How could a book know we were ready? We didn't have the skills or the capability to use them even if we did. Our weapons were too weak to be a real threat to them. We only had our belief that we could beat them, yet even that wasn't strong enough to beat them.
"Words are powerful. You will win if you believe them and in yourself. You are ready Alex. You beat them, you can."
"Who are you? What makes you think I can win?"
"I'm sorry Alex. I should have helped you before. I just wanted to make sure you were the chosen one before I revealed myself to you."
"Me the chosen one? Who are you? What is your name?"
"My name is Xavier. I am the all-seeing, all-knowing one."
"You left the book here knowing we would find it. Mum told me all about you. I wasn't sure I believed in the legends at the time."
"I know she did Elizabeth. I told her to tell you everything about me She brought you up just as I instructed her to. You're our guardian. Man and woman as one. Ah Dracus, I haven't forgotten you. I saw your pain and called Lizzy because I knew she would help you."
They stared at the figure in front of them. He'd protected them all their lives and he would help them to the bitter end. They didn't know how to thank him for everything he'd done for them. Alex felt an inner strength he'd never felt before. He was a hero and he would prove it. He gazed at the woman he'd loved forever and he knew he couldn't beat their enemies without her. He would never forget they had used their simple weapons to fend off their dreaded demons for days. The had almost won. They needed something and Alex realized what it was. He needed to use his mind and the powerful weapons he knew his teacher would give them. They could not forget Dracus. He had used his love and strength to help them when they'd needed it most. He and the other dragons had helped them to escape from all kinds of strange places over the years. They had grunted and growled as Dracus talked. Only Dracus had the gift of speech and he used it to save everyone whether they wanted him to nor not.
"Hush. They are here. They know we are here. Oh, Xavier what are we going to do?"
"You know the answer to that my child, as well as I do."
"Do I? Alex and I have so much to learn. We need you. Please help us, we can't win without you."
"Yes, you can. You could have beaten them long before now. You both lack faith in yourselves and the powers you possess."
They didn't have time to question their protector further as two creatures jumped through the small hole and stared at them. Their weapons were even more powerful and sophisticated than usual. Alex glanced at the simple weapons they had and grimaced knowing they couldn't win. The scene was something you envisaged in your worst nightmare. They turned their strange sticks into snakes only this time they reared their ugly heads and attacked him. Alex held his sword in his hand hit them with it. Sparks flew around the room and the world was a blaze of light. Demons were known for their aggression. They were confronted by evil again, Lividicus was evil itself and the trio knew he was there. His demons were there doing the dirty work for him; however, he was there somewhere.
There was a loud crash and Elizabeth heard a strange scream coming from her mouth as she saw the orb shatter has it had never done before. It was their life force. It gave their quiet community the strength it needed to survive. The world began to wither and as it did, Alex felt himself sinking into the ground. He'd failed. His home and the woman he loved were gone. He hadn't protected her as he vowed he would. She was his reason for living. Dracus was his lifeblood. He was always there whenever he'd needed him. Xavier must have been wrong. He, Alex was not a hero. If the truth is to be told, he'd never wanted to be a hero. He'd tried to fool himself into believing he was one of the many great men who'd triumphed over all kinds of mythical creatures, yet he wasn't. He was a boy. He was a boy who'd wanted to grow up too soon.
"Don't give up. There is still time to restore our world to its former glory."
"No there isn't. Look around us. Our world is a skeleton of its former self. How can I, or anyone restore it to its former self?"
"I'm not wrong Alex. You are a hero. You just don't know it yet. You don't have faith in yourself."
"How can I possibly have faith in myself or anything else when everything goes wrong?"
Just as he was about to walk away, Alex felt a family tail on his shoulder. He couldn't believe his eyes as he turned around and saw Dracus staring at him with his usual obedient stare. There was something about his faithful friend which made him return the stare with a quizzical look on his handsome face. His heart filled with the home as it dawned on him, his beautiful soul mate was very much alive. He thanked god as he felt a pair of soft hands rubbing his neck as they had done countless times over the years. She knew him and she cared for everyone. Dracus loved her too and it wasn't hard to see why. She'd doted on their scaly friend as much as he doted on her. They were inseparable. They both loved Dracus, although Alex knew he hadn't made his sentiments clear as Lizzy had.
There was something about her which made Alex realize he'd never known her. She was taller and braver than he was. She was sure of herself as she'd never been before. She understood what he had not dismissed. She was a heroine. She would rule their people and he would be her humble servant. The thought of allowing her to rule made his sad and if he was honest, a bit jealous of her. He wanted to sweep her up in his arms and tell her he loved her. He couldn't tell her how he'd always felt about her if she ruled the land and everyone living on it.
"Come on Alex hurry up. The whole village is burning. Dracus has tried to put it out. It's too strong for him. The other dragons are doing their best, but they can't stop the blaze on their own. We need you. I need you. Please help us."
"You need me? I caused this. How could you possibly need me? Everyone loves you. You can help our people without me."
"No, I can't. I need you. I've always needed you. You're me. We belong to each other."
"Really? Do you really need me?"
"Yes, I do. I love you. I always have. Now please bring everything you need and help us."
"I love you too. I'm coming and I promise you we will win even if it takes a lifetime to beat them. We'll do it together."
Their world was burning before their eyes, yet they weren't afraid. They had each other and with Dracus as well as the other dragons, they would build a strong foundation for future generations to enjoy. The sky was red, the trees were red, the river was red, everything they knew and loved was red. Xavier looked on from his secret cave and gazed at the pair with ancient eyes. Part of his prediction had been realized. His pupils had voiced their feelings for each other which had been clear to him since their chance meeting all those years ago. No, he reminded himself. It wasn't a chance that brought them together. It was their destiny which led them to meet and fall for each other as they were always going to do. They were young and Xavier knew they had a long road ahead of them and he, Xavier would be there to help them until he left earth for his eternal bed. The old man smiled as he saw Dracus soaring into the red sky with something in his mouth. All the dragons would protect the young couple as he'd instructed them to do all those years ago.