Dragon Order Of Flame - Volume 1 - Chapter 2.1
Chapter 2 (Part 1) - The Meaning of Solvent
There was a moment of silence before Luke finally opened his mouth and broke it.
’’Dead? So does that mean you're a ghost? If that is the case, why have you chosen to speak to me? And what in the hell is this sort of situation?’’
<Luke Astal, where exactly do you think my voice is coming from?>
At that question, an unsettling chill came over him.
It could only be that. Because the voice could not be heard by anyone or from anyplace other than from inside his head.
’’You, who the hell are you?’’
<I am at a loss for words, Luke Astal. All these years you have made it your only goal to kill me and now you say you do not have any memory of me or know of me. I. Am. At. A. Loss.>
’’You say I wanted to kill you?’’
<Go ahead. Sift through your memories. Try to remember. Do not give up just because it gives you a bit of a headache. If you do not find them now, those memories may be gone forever. The time you have with those memories is limited.>
’’I do not understand anything you are saying. Get out of my head immediately.’’
<Trust me, young Luke, I would if I could. It is unfortunate, but such a thing is just not possible. In any case, since it seems you are having a hard time recollecting any remnants of your past, I will give you my name to serve as a nudge of some sort. My name is Volkar.>
The moment he heard that name, an almost unimaginable revulsion began to stir from every fiber of Luke's being. But just as suddenly as it began, the feverish anger dissipated in the next moment. Strange. Luke knew he should be seeing red, but he just could not remember why. Why?!
Luke dropped down to the bed while gripping his head in two clenched hands in an effort to draw out his memories with sheer willpower alone. But the more he tried to grasp at those elusive wisps, an insistent and piercing ache starting at the base of his skull began to magnify into a painful throb. If it was just a moment ago, he would have given up, but the name Volkar was a game changer. He needed to know why that name made him feel such burning hatred.
For quite some time, he remained in that position working up a sheen of sweat trying to remember. Remember something. Anything. It was then, when he thought he would never remember, that a feeling much like the bursting of a dam overwhelmed him. He knew.
He knew the name Volkar. He knew who the name belonged to. And he knew the reason for his revulsion.
’’Volkar! How is it that you are speaking so freely in my head? What sorcery is this? I should be dead! Have you cast some sort of evil spell to trap my soul?! Is that what it is?’’
Dragons, known as the Guardians of the physical world, were supposed to stand watch but Volkar instead had unleashed a devastation upon humankind.
It was because of Volkar that Luke had not only lost Grayson, a beloved mentor, but also two women he loved one after the other. This unbearable loss left Luke no choice but to risk his life in an ill-matched attempt to kill the powerful dragon. But he had failed. He had failed himself and the three most important people who had ever entered his life.
How is it that he was not dead? How is it that he awoke to find himself in an eerily familiar room with Volkar chattering about in his head?
Volkar answered with light annoyance tinged in his voice.
’’Stupid human. You are well and breathing but you still cannot believe you are alive?’’
’’Do not try to trick me with your words. Do you think I am ignorant of all the ways magic can be used? I know there are any number of spells that can be cast to manipulate a person's dreams or even shatter one's sanity beyond recognition. And there is no f*king way a dragon such as yourself cannot cast them, yet alone not know of their existence.’’
At the face of such a logical argument, Volkar remained silent while Luke frowned at a sudden foreign emotion niggling his consciousness. No matter how he looked at it, this unnatural and alien feeling could not be his own. It almost felt as if someone invaded his mind and accidentally left behind some of their own emotions. Then he realized what it was...or to be more specific - who it was.
’’Telepathy? Are you using telepathy on me?’’
Telepathy magic was often used in battle to tie in the consciousness of fellow comrades, allowing them instant access to streams of raw emotion and thought. This naked access of unsuppressed emotion felt exactly like telepathy.
After a brief pause Volkar spoke.
<...It is something...well...very similar...>
’’So this isn't telepathy...?’’
<Hm. There is no way it could be telepathy now can it?>
’’You are a piece of work. But from your tone I guess I can only take what you are saying to be the truth.’’
At Luke's words, Volkar immediately responded.
<You are alive, that is the truth - my soul is just sharing your body.>
’’Your f*king soul...is in...MY body..?’’
Luke felt his skin crawl all over. To think that the soul of his nemesis was residing in HIS body! Without his permission!
At the same time, however, Luke knew Volkar was speaking the truth. He could not explain how he knew it was true. He just did.
The moment Luke came to accept this, a sudden thought came to him. Volkar would have panicked if he was privy to this little revelation.
'I guess the only solution now is to commit suicide. I would need to do it pretty fast if I do not want him finding out and doing anything to prevent it...'
As Luke took the notion and began mulling it over into a real possibility, Volkar interrupted his thoughts.
<It is only natural for you to be a bit shocked by all this since you are just a human. As I am of a generous nature, however, I will explain it in a way that even you can understand it.>
’’Rather than a generous nature, is it not that you just have nothing better to do than hear yourself speak?’’
<...For instance, the entity you knew to be Volkar and the one you are speaking with at this moment are the same but also different.>Volkar continued speaking over Luke's mocking words until Luke finally said with a frown.
’’What kind of game are you playing at? I am in no mood for riddles.’’
<I am not playing any sort of game. You probably already know that the dragon is considered a guardian of the physical world?>
’’I do. They are trusted with the task as ancient watchmen between the Underworld and our world, pledged to watch over the cracks between dimensions so that none can invade this world. But this is not to protect us - which has led to countless confrontation between dragons and humankind. But I can also say this much, there has never in history been any dragon who has killed so much of our kind as you have Volkar.’’
Luke was no normal human. In his quest to defeat Volkar, he had obtained power. Enough to pose a threat to a dragon. And in the process of obtaining such power, Luke had also gained access to hidden secrets;some of those secrets being the hidden history of dragons.
<True. But that was not my intent. Unfortunate as it was, I was controlled by a sorcerer's evil will implanted into my mind.>
’’A sorcerer's will?’’
At this bombshell Luke's eyes rounded in almost cartoonish shock. Volkar continued.
<Unless deliberately invading my territory, I have no reason to hold any ill will towards humankind. To be honest, I never paid any mind to humans in all my life. The only evil intent I have seen from any humans were from the sorcerers who have tried to overthrow me in their attempts to pass through the cracks in between dimensions in the past thousand years. Failing to overthrow me in physical dominance, they resorted to invading my mind. I was mentally held captive. It was me, but not me.>
Hearing Volkar's story, Luke gave a snort.
’’Hmph! Are you asking for my pity? Tell you that you did a good job in protecting this world from sorcerers for the past thousand years? Tell you you are absolved of everything you did because you were not in your right mind when wreaking havoc on mankind?’’
Luke began to grind his teeth. Waves of uncontrollable anger passed through his body and he began to shake with the force of it all. If only Volkar was standing before him. He would love nothing more than to knock every single one of his teeth out with a punch to the face.
'Was there really no other answer than suicide?'
Just the fact that Volkar's soul was able to enter his body meant that he could at any point decide to try and take over entirely. He could not figure out how it was he came to remain alive but, seeing as he was alive, he would never allow this dragon to take control of his body.
Not realizing the morbid seriousness of Luke's thoughts, Volkar continued to speak.
<I am not that senseless. I am just trying to state the facts as they are so even you can comprehend them. Do you remember your last moments before losing consciousness?>
’’Well...we suffered a devastating loss to you. And you were preparing to destroy everything with an ancient spell.’’
<But before that, you succeeded in reaching me. Out of the thousands on that battlefield, that was a feat you alone were able to do.>
’’Yeah. But I was only able to touch you. That was it. I couldn't even hurt you.’’
<What you say is true. But I cannot deny that that one feat was nothing short of a miracle in itself. And it proved to be our saving grace. The ridiculously oversized force field you humans had cast to trap me not only confined me to my human form, it also weakened the hold of the sorcerer's intent. My human form and dragon form have slightly different personalities, and splitting into my human form destabilized the sorcerer's magic just enough to make all the difference. The final miracle was the touch. With that connection, I was able to perform a spell of my own.>
’’So you saved my life? With your spell?’’
<In a way.>
’’In a way? What is that supposed to mean?’’ Luke frowned.
Again. It was a day of frowns.
He should be dead. Even now, at this moment he knew we was breathing. He could feel the textures of the things about him. He knew he was alive. But Volkar's words brought back a sense of doubt in this seeming reality.
Volkar paused in thought for a moment before saying.
<What I used on you was a Time Reconstruction Spell. Just as the name suggests, this spell rewinds the time to a point in the past. Star of Annihilation? That ancient and powerful spell I tried casting? That spell is mere child's play compared to this spell I had cast. The Time Reconstruction Spell is a spell even the Gods have a hard time casting. I will say honestly it was a gamble. There was a high probability of me failing, but it was the only option I had.>
’’Time Reconstruction Spell? The past?’’
Luke stood frozen in amazement.
<Yes. It was a success. So you were technically not revived. You were just taken back in time. You should know this is true from having stood in front of the mirror. Do you know how many years you were taken back?>
Luke was at a loss for words.
He was back in the past?
He was already well aware that a dragon's magic was beyond the human imagination. Add to that the memory of the most powerful of human Archmages who fought against Volkar being swept away like toy soldiers...he knew such a spell was not entirely impossible for this dragon.
But no matter how powerful a dragon may be, the ability to turn back time was still hard to believe.
Luke sat in deep contemplation for some time before again raising his hands to touch his face once more. No matter how much he stared at his face in the mirror or touched the unblemished skin of youth, nothing changed. He was still a boy.
And until just before he didn't realize it, but there was definitely a different feel in the way his body moved.
'I am missing the strength of steel I worked so hard to obtain.'
Luke had undergone extreme training to hone his power until he acquired an almost superhuman strength. He was able to leap onto a tall building in one bound and turn boulders into mere pebbles with his bare fists.
But now he could not feel any of that power. Nor could he feel the sixth sense he had been so used to.
After checking and rechecking the mirror and his tawny child's body until he wore himself out and upon going through countless possibilities in his head, he came to a single conclusion.
’’F*k! I guess there is no other explanation, Volkar!’’
Volkar immediately responded.
<Are you finally able to comprehend and accept what has happened?>
’’To be honest, it is still a bit hard for me to swallow all of this. But what else can I do? To think I have actually returned to the past...’’
Who would have even imagined something like this could happen. The inability to turn back time or know the future were two accepted facts of life. But Volkar had single-handedly upended all logic and accepted facts. He had made the impossible possible.Volkar spoke.
<There is one more thing.>
’’What is it?’’
<The Time Reconstruction Spell definitely brought you back to the past.>
’’Yeah, you already said that.’’
<But there are two significant points. You still have memories of events that have yet to happen, for one. And secondly...>
’’Spit it out.’’
<Well second is the fact that my soul is residing in your body. The fact that I am stuck in this sort of a situation is not something I want either.>
’’Oh! Is that right? Then I give you permission to take your f*king leave, yeah? Now that you so generously explained everything, I have no more need for an extra voice in my head.’’
<If only I could, I would have done so a long time ago. No matter. There is surely the Volkar of the past in existence in this reality. What do you think that means?>
’’Are you trying to say that that there are two souls...the soul of your past and soul of your future coexisting in the same reality?’’
<Affirmative. That means the Volkar whose mind will be infected by the sorcerer is here in this reality and doing all of the same things we already know happened.>
’’I see. So...I guess you know what it is I must do without me having to explain it.’’
Luke said as he nodded - to which Volkar responded.
<What is it you are thinking of doing?>
’’I must kill the Volkar of the past before he can begin his rampage. From what I know, you were sealed until four idiots decided to release you. I just need to find them before all of that happens and put a stop to it all.’’
Luke clenched his fists in firm resolution. If he is, in fact, really breathing and living a life from the past, he had the power to undo all the tragedies he knows awaits him. He knew this was his final chance to kill Volkar and make it all right.
<It seems our goals are aligned.>
<Part of the reason I cast the Time Reconstruction Spell was to use you to rectify the wrongs I have done to you. Luke Astal, you must stop me and my infected mind from unleashing those horrors.>
In that instant, Luke truly understood. This was the reason Volkar had used his final spell to bring Luke to the past. They were on the same page and, for the first time, Luke felt a commonality with this ancient dragon.
Chapter 2 (Part 1) - End.