Shadows of Evil
by Luna Manar


"Yes," said Flammie, "Yes, I can speek hu-hum-huumon."

"Good!" praised Aldora, "Good! Now, try; 'My name is Flammie.'"

Aldora had been teaching Flammie to talk human for the past month, and he was coming along quite well (for a dragon).

They were at the base of the falls near Potos, had come with Malina, had come just for, "quiet reflection."

At the rate Flammie was going, Malina doubted she was ever going to get a moment's rest again. Much less quiet.

She sighed, pushed those thoughts away. She waded through the shallow water of the falls to a solitary stone that stood in the center of the pond.

This is where it had all began.

She had never been there personally, but from what she heard, the initial pulling of the Mana Sword had made for quite a light show.

The stone was empty now. Peace had been restored. There was no more Thanatos, no more Mana Wars, no more chaos. The Pandora castle was being rebuilt. Her parents had survived the attack of the Death Beast.

But there was no more Mana. There was no more magic. The Mana Palaces had vanished into thin air. Sage Joch and Luka had vanished, too. There were no more hideous monsters.

Only one thing remained.

Strangely, the Tree Seed had not vanished. It had remained on its island until some Tasnican soldiers found it and brought it to Pandora, where they had given it to Malina. She held it now, in both hands.

She knew what she was going to do, and she questioned herself whether it was right or not. But she was doing it anyway, right or wrong. Next to the stone that once held the Mana Sword, under the water, she buried the Mana Seed. There would be no safer place for it. No one would find it there, and should it choose to grow, it would grow and bring Mana back to the world. If not, well...

Something caught the corner of her eye. Malina looked up to the falls where she thought she had seen something. Nothing.

There it was again.

She saw it more clearly now. It was a faint, faint light. Seeming to be formed from the spray of the falls itself. A large rush of water suddenly washed over, creating an even larger spray. It did not last long, but it lasted long enough. For an instant, he was there. He smiled, winked at her, then was gone with the spray of the waterfall.

Malina smiled.

Perhaps he wasn't completely lost to this world after all.

She turned from the falls and motioned to Flammie and Aldora.

"C'mon, you two, let's go home."

But Flammie had another idea in mind.

"You kiddeeng? Me not flone in owers. Aldora go home. Me, I go finde sumtheeng to do."

With that, he spread his majestic wings, and soared high over the land, and was soon gone from sight.

Malina let loose a joyful, contented laugh.


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