It felt really odd, being back with my parents, after long years. A lot of emotions flooded me at that precise moment and to admit the truth, I had a gut feeling that more adventure was to come. After all, who would want to live in a world of black and white after seeing rainbows? The thought of the future scared me a little, to tell the truth. I wanted everything to me this way; I really wished that time would stop. But I had to face the truth though: I would have to take the responsibility of my wish. Still, the adventure was over, though there were lots I didn’t know. If Sird was innocent from the start, how did things turn out like this? How did the spores manage to thrive in a place where normal plants would’ve refused to grow? I just didn’t know… What about this Soul Fragment and the dragons? It was just like a huge jumble, even though I wanted the jumble stay as it was… I stared across the horizon. The sun was rising through the horizon where waves churned in treacherous waters. Millions of scales shone in the sunlight, like dozens of glass shards, each giving a different light. I stared at those around me. Ma, Pa, Serge, Sird, Prof Herman, Zephyr, William, Finnian, Nyra as well as Arielle and a woman I didn’t recognise. Then the circle of 5 dragons, Kerstra, Queen Miasma, Frost, Magma and Gaia. Kerstriar and Kerstran were smiling.
“Dawn awaits, Silver.” Nyra whispered into my ear. The thought of separating frightened me a little. The bonds built over this time… would be gone in just a whim. I didn’t want to leave them.
“Nah, we won’t be separating.” Serge answered my question, as if reading my mind. I smiled. Then I remembered the ball of fur in my arms. Harpy was fast asleep. He reminded me so much of Finnian. At least if I get to keep him, I’d have a memento of Finnian…
“We’ll be heading back to our territories now. Kerstriar and Kerstran will ferry you back.” Queen Miasma answered as the other dragons acknowledged her words and took off in a flurry of wings as well as shining scales. As their silhouette became smaller over the horizon, I waved them away and a part of me did not want to part with them.
“Ma… can I stay with Silver? Please?” Finnian asked and I turned to their direction.
“You can if you like, dearie. We’ll be staying at Windchime estate so visit us if you have the time.” William answered and he turned to the three of us.
“Ah, hello. You must be Chris and Cristiana, brother and in-law of Herman. I’ve heard much of you, as well as Silver here. I believe he did well in this situation, right?” Pa nodded. Pride welled in me almost instantly, despite not being with my parents for years. I turned to Ma. Her eyes shone with pride, unlike those lifeless eyes I had seen a few years ago. That time, by the hospital bed, I could feel as though her soul went with Pa’s. Her world crumbled soon after. The town’s little government crumbled as she left. She had left with her so called fiancé. My family crumbled, just like that. But deep in my heart, I knew better. There was something, just something out there. Something that could bring back this family, something that could mend broken bonds and bring together lost souls. I had the knowledge with me, even though I had lost my way in darkness. I knew what to do, what happened, even if some part of me refused to believe. I had known what to do from the start, like second nature. I felt like a lost prince, far away from his supposed kingdom. But the other part of me refused to believe, thus sealing away the memories as well as the knowledge. This was my supposed kingdom, even though I didn’t recognize it anymore, I felt that I was home. Right where I belonged.
“What about Nyra?” Finnian asked once again, coming forward to cuddle with Harpy. William seemed deep in thought, but he peeked in Zephyr’s direction. Zephyr had nodded. He broke a smile to Finnian.
“She can stay if you’d like. However…” He stopped short in his sentence. Finnian instantly started to stare at his long lost father with puppy eyes. William sighed and clapped to get everyone’s attention.
“Alright! Gather everyone!” He declared and almost immediately everyone stopped short in their actions and gathered near him.
“I’m sure you have witnessed the abilities of a Seer through Silver here, am I right?” There was a ripple of nods that passed through the small crowd.
“Well, once three blue moons, a Great Seer game is held, with its components changing every time. There will always be 3 events in each Game. If I remember correctly, the component for the Game cannot be predicted and the grand prize is often decided at the last moment, so you may never know. A few years back I received the invitation to the Great Seer Games, but had to skip the previous. So, I thereby announce that Silver, Nyra and Finnian will be participating in the Games! Good luck to you all. Now get packing!” Finnian gave Silver a hug as William smiled at the trio. Harpy squirmed in Silver’s grasp and broke free, waddling its way to William and nudging him lightly in the ankle.
“Oh, and yes, yes! For the upcoming Games, each participant has to have an animal companion; the choice is entirely up to them. However, there is a certain standard that these ‘familiars’ must meet to. First, they cannot be mutants, meaning that Tag, Acnolgia and Heren are disqualified. Second, they must have some form of power. Third, no use of mythological creatures, excluding dragons. Serge and Herman will explain the rules to you. From the information I have received, the three events will be…. The first, Tournament. Second, Scavenger Hunt in different dimensions. Last but not least, Bits n’ Pieces Island.” Finnian sighed immediately. Dimensions were confusing, very much like different worlds where there might be 180 degree changes in everything, sometimes defying logic. He took a glance at Professor Herman. Prof Herman cleared his throat and at once, heads turned eagerly at the speaker. Everyone was excited about the Games, even the dragons. Seeing that he had everyone’s attention, Prof Herman cleared his throat and started explaining.
“I know that some of you might be confused, but listen to me. First, there are two types of seers, natural seers like Silver and artificial seers like Seraphim. Most artificial seers choose to enroll into Seer Academies, where they learn to sharpen and polish their skills. These Academies are scattered throughout the world, even in Silver’s town. Next, the ‘familiars’ that Prof William mentioned. These creatures normally have the ability to talk, ranging from small mice to dragons. There is actually no limit to the number of familiars a Seer in the Games can have, but they must be of the same family or species. Seer Academies usually have acquaintances with familiar families, such as the Sorciano family for the mice. A typical Academy Seer starts off with a single familiar and is able to deploy more and more with the increment of his power, thus being unfair to powerful Seers as normally familiars have capacities, so more from its family would have to be deployed to unleash a certain attack. That rule does not apply to dragons, who gain power from training or from bloodline. After getting a familiar, it can be summoned with an item, a necklace, ornament or bracelet, so watch out for these. For dragons, their summoning item comes in the form of a charm bracelet with charms related to dragons, most preferably Italian charm bracelets or rings with patterns inscribed to be worn around the wrist. Why am I telling you this? Because Silver’s familiars will be the dragon triplet, Kerstriar, Kerstran and Kerstra. Familiars have their own elements, sometimes up to 4 which can be mastered, while for destiny dragons, it is unlimited. Academy Seers may have their preferred element, usually their strongest. Harpy is also a familiar, quite a rare one that has no limits to the elements it can master or use. In the first event, Seers can either participate in group battles or solo in the Tournament House. There are a total of 35 healing kiosks scattered throughout the tournament tower. Every one set of three battles won will lead to a group battle against another team. Each battle will take place in one room and healing kiosks can only be found at certain levels. In urgent situations, after a battle, participants can head over to the teleportation pad if there is no healing kiosk present in that level to be teleported to the nearest healing kiosk present. There will be a total of 34 sets, one set on each level. Throughout the tournament, encounters with other groups will only take place during group battles. That does not include the last two sets, namely the first event semi-finals and finals. The groups that emerge as champion will move on to the second event the very next day. During the games, participants will be provided with accommodation, a shared room in a nearby hostel within the vicinity. Amenities will be provided free of charge at the hostel. Each participant will be given basic gadgets for all three components. The first will be the 6th Gen Electro-Journal that can be strapped on as a watch and the second will be the 5th Gen Electro-Journal that can call as well as receive messages. The 5th Gen can be used for both the Scavenger Hunt and the island while the 6th Gen is only for the tournament only. You get to keep both as a gift after the Games, whether you win or not. Your devices are not allowed in the vicinity, for your information and so are any of the items or animals from the Spore Forest or Petrified Forest. Transportation to the venue will be provided and participants cannot have any other persons accompanying them, excluding their familiars. A person being invited to the Games automatically has the choice of choosing 3 other people to join the games, excluding the person himself. The venue is only accessible through the invitation card and contact with those not invited is only possible through telegram as well as communication seals. You will be heading off immediately but don’t worry; there will be PCs available at your lodging, so good luck!” Three heads turned immediately to Serge, who was the one to give the next instructions. Instead, Sird spoke up.
“Good luck. But before that, Nyra will have to get her familiar if Finnian was to go with Harpy. And Silver, don’t forget to get your Dragon Ring first! The year I participated, it was really fun. That year was a cookie baking contest where one would have to gather the ingredients needed in a vast forest dimension and make the best batch of cookies! Points were given based on the smoothness, flavor, ingredient choice, creativity, originality, quality as well as the appeal of the cookie. It was really fun, though I think Serge knows more about battling and tournaments than I do. After all, I’m a Seer Academy graduate!” Silver was a bit shocked, but nevertheless, he listened for what Serge had to say.
“Academy Seers don’t really have the power as Natural Seers do and I’m not technically a Seer. I spent some time at a Seer’s Academy once and researched extensively on the topic. Academy Seers have a curriculum that develops the basic element mastering and a maximum of forty groups of pupils would be entering the Games, ten groups from each level. You can easily spot Academy seers from their dress code: sparrow tail coat, yellow sweater vests, striped tie and lastly, ridiculously high platform boots. It’s their basic school attire, though some choose to alter it. I once participated in their scavenger hunts and from what I know, a hunt will involve fights and meeting with characters in that certain dimension, which can sometimes take forever. If a participant chooses to simply give up or is defeated during a battle, he is disqualified but his group may carry on. However, there are certain items in the scavenger hunt that may affect Natural Seers, sometimes personality change, inner demon release, curse marks. That of course, does not affect Academic Seers although the same can occur to them through encounters with mythological auras, but when it comes to the inner demon release, most either become paralyzed, blind or die due to their bodies not capable of containing the power. Despite the risks, many seers often train past the Northern Gateway in dimensions containing mythological creatures to awaken their inner demon as a shortcut to getting powerful. However, the power that they obtain from such training is tainted and must be sealed upon the entering of the Games. The Northern Gateway is a gateway created by seers to allow others to visit their dimensions, usually created by the Seer Senate members. However, this dimension is accessible to only a chosen few. Well then, onward to the Northern Gateway!” Serge almost immediately got out a giant key and thrust it into a tunnel of light that emerged when the key came in contact with the air.
“You know, I got my familiar in the Seer’s gathering, but that was last time. It really helped, having a familiar to find ingredients. Do you think we should take a walk in Silvanus’s Forest? I think he should be able to find a rightful familiar for Nyra.” Sird cheerfully suggested and Silver was surprised to discover her cheerful side. Serge nodded calmly before molding some of his aura into a key engraved with leaf patterns.
“Very well. But I’ll have to check if I still have the Pan Flute. He won’t answer even if we tear down his shrine unless we play it.” There was anxiety in Nyra’s eyes as they landed in the green forests of Silvanus’s living. His shrine was straight ahead in the middle of the clearing and Serge fumbled through his pockets in search of something as they neared the small hut. It was the final moment to testify. To be almost frankly, Nyra was excited and nervous about meeting her familiar. They stopped right in front of Silvanus’s Shrine. Serge simply played the flute and an old man appeared from behind the shrine.
“Long time no see, Serge and Sird. Are these new seers? What do you seek then?” He looked inquisitively at the trio.
“This lady here would like to hear your advice for finding a suitable familiar. Sorry for interrupting you, Silvanus.” He simply shook his head before gazing into the greenery behind him, running his hand through his beard. Then he turned abruptly and cleared his throat, gaining the attention of the small group.
“Very well. But there is something that I’d like in exchange for the advice. With that condition, are you willing to comply?” He turned to Nyra, who nodded. “I see. But first, I would like to ask you a question. What are familiars to you?” Nyra closed her eyes and thought for a moment.
“To me, they are like family. They are my friends, my comrades.” Silvanus seemed pleased with her answer.
“Well, well. Here’s the thing I want you to get: one of Aphrodite’s potatoes!” Nyra was confused, but nevertheless she nodded.
“Don’t you think it’s a little too much, Silvanus?” The voice of a lady came from behind. “Never mind, I so happen to have one of her potatoes with me. Here, take it, the name’s Athena.” Athena was accompanied by an owl and handed Nyra the potato.
“Thank you… Now what must I do with this?” Nyra thanked Athen and turned to Silvanus.
“Sow it in the ground before you and your familiar will appear.” He simply instructed before disappearing into the forestry. Athena sighed before smiling at Nyra.
“Do as he says, Nyra. He probably knows more than I do even though he might be cranky sometimes; old age does that to immortals.” Nyra bent down and gently thrust the potato into the soil. The potato felt odd in her hands, cold and hard like a rock and fizzing with retained energy. A spasm shook the ground and a small golem appeared. Nyra picked it up and orange embers flickered in place for its eyes upon Nyra’s touch.
“Athena, can I ask why the potato felt very odd when I touched it just now?” Nyra asked, fondling the golem as Athena cracked a smile. “They say that Aphrodite is the goddess of love and all things but her gardening doesn’t live up to her name, notably her potatoes, which are believed to have died but are teeming with unreleased energy. The reason behind that is that due to Aphrodite being the goddess of love and so on, creatures of the ground tend to show up and manifest in her garden, taking form of crops, even though in reality, her gardening skills are bound to turn a waterlogged marsh into a desert. Once they are returned to the earth, these creatures often choose to accompany seers as familiars due to the seer releasing them from their captives. The golem is one of them. If you are wondering about familiars, each of them has a name that is only revealed to the seer if their bond is strong enough. If that happens, they can assume their human form and expand their powers.” Nyra nodded as the playful golem trekked up her shoulders and rubbed its head against her neck. “What familiar do you have, Silver and Finnian? Do not fret, for I know each of your names beforehand.” Finnian and Silver heaved a sigh of relieve upon Athena’s explanation. “This is Harpy. Sergio says that he is quite a rare thing, though I don’t know much. He was given to me by Queen Frost while we were in the Dragon’s world.” Finnian stated with enthusiasm as he held out Harpy. Silver briefly glanced at the ornaments that decorated his hand, thinking over what to say. You always have been so shy, haven’t you, Silver thought, running his finger through the bracelet for confidence. “These… are the dragon triplets. Kerstra, Kerstriar and Kerstran from the Dragon world.” Athena nodded and the owl on her shoulder gave an amused hoot. “Ah, dragons and seals are rare ones. Golems are uncommon since the majority of Aphrodite’s harvests are either nymphs or insects. I wish you good luck then.” She gave a wave before disappearing as sudden as she came.
“That’s some of the Greek gods for you. They form part of the senate, under the deities sector, even though they do not have much power.” Serge waved them over, handing them a small electronic device. “Here is the 6th Gen Electro-Journal, with different colors. Your gear is also here; you need not change it for the other events though and almost all the passes are registered in your Electro-Journal. Here are your gears, one for each one of you; a cross, a charm bracelet and a lucky charm. You’ll be getting to use them soon, as you travel through Xenda or even Eon.” Serge handed them said items with an extra pass, earning quizzical from the trio.
“It’s time to get going, we’ll have to check in to the Lodge.”