Once Trowa recovered from his
ordeal it only took the traveling party a few days
to reach the edge of a majestic emerald forest. The
travel would have taken longer, but it was agreed
among the group, thus they didn’t waste much
time sleeping during the night for there was a great
need to hurry. By cutting back on the amount of sleep,
despite the Fire Mage’s constant grumbling,
they had arrived by early daybreak.
According to Thea, this was where Wufei was to find
the God Protector of the Lightning Mage, Shenlong.
Jumping from his horse’s back, Wufei prepared
to enter the lush forest. He could feel the faint
presence of the God Protector, deep within it and
that knowledge sent a slight shiver over his skin.
Thea having long since disappeared left this part
of the trip for the five behind to search alone.
“If I must destroy this
forest to free the God, I will.” The others
heard the Northern Mage say with determination in
Trowa spoke up sounding troubled by the Lightning
Mage’s words, as he began climbing down from
“And why should I?”
Wufei asked slightly annoyed, by the slight growl
in his voice while narrowing his dark eyes. “Must
I not reach ascension to free my Gundam?”
“Yes, but by destroying
such a beautiful forest?” Trowa replied once
again but still as calmly as he could. The Water Mage
stepped between the determined Lightning Mage and
the forest’s entrance. “This forest is
one of the oldest in all of the Five Kingdoms. I can’t
allow you to do this.”
“You’re now telling
me what I can and cannot do?” Wufei angrily
shot back, bringing up an accusing fist as if Trowa
was robbing him of something destined to be his.
Quatre started to say softly, as his voice carried
with it an air of worry, “…what do we
do?” Heero raised a hand to Quatre, motioning
for him to just wait and observe what would happen
“I will not let you harm
even one tree or beast.” Trowa answered sternly
after a pause, as he spoke the entrance of the forest
was suddenly blocked by a pack of wolves.
The pack leader whined and stepped
toward Trowa, who kneeled to greet the beautiful animal.
After a moment of silent communication between the
two, Trowa stood up again and the wolf pack melted
back into the forest. Turning back to Wufei, Trowa
apologized for his interference.
“I have withdrawn my request
to my friends. You may proceed as you wish in obtaining
your God Protector. I should not have interrupted
you. But be aware, this forest is a living entity.
It can hear and feel and speak in its own way. If
you try to hurt it, it will defend itself.”
Wufei eyed Trowa closely as
the taller Mage walked fluidly back to his mount and
waiting patiently with the other Mages. The Lightning
Mage nodded slightly as if agreeing that Trowa had
been wrong to stop him. His focus was now attuned
to the immense power he felt sleeping within the forest.
He quickly began his journey, ignoring the sharp thorns
and twigs of the underbrush that scratched and pulled
at his clothing.
The four other Mages followed after him slowly, allowing
him to blaze the trail. After several hours, Wufei
came across a sense of otherworldly magic. It wasn’t
his sleeping God Protector, but the energy was strong
and all around him. Nevertheless he ignored the feeling,
and pushed on ahead.
Wufei eventually entered a grove
where a stream had broken off into a myriad of little
streamlets that created quiet laughter at the base
of the forest trees, which they flowed around. There
was a sense of peace and tranquility here, which Wufei
ignored. The Lightening Mage plowed through the streams
and jumped from tree root to tree root making his
way towards his Gundam. At the center of the glade
Wufei came to a large tangle of trees that blocked
his path. He tried squeezing between two of the smaller
trees, but only managed to rip his jacket in the process.
“Looks like somebody’s
takin’ a few lessons in fashion,” floated
Duo’s chuckling voice over the quiet laughter
of the brook. The other Mages’ voices sounded
strangely detached as they hushed the cocky Fire Mage.
Wufei snarled slightly, but ignored the men behind
him, for his focus was on something more important
then Duo‘s idiotic banter. Looking around he
could see no way of passing the mass of trees. Such
a roadblock only further angered him as he closed
his eyes while choosing his target and let a single
blast of lightening crash into the heart of it.
The bolt of lightening effortlessly
ripped through foliage striking a sapling, nearly
tearing the young tree in two. As the echoes from
his strike died away it soon became apparent to Wufei
that all sounds in forest had completely stopped.
Not a bird chirped melodically, the wind didn’t
rustle the leaves gently in the trees, not even the
water laughed anymore as it moved among the tree roots.
Wufei confident that he opened
a proper path, turned back toward the others, “We
can go through here…” To his surprise,
all of the Mages were gone, as he continued to scan
the area and beyond realized that they were nowhere
behind him. He couldn’t even hear Duo’s
voice as much as he strained to listen.
Turning back around, he found himself staring into
the eyes of a young woman. She had long green willowy
hair and paler green skin from which shown large sapphire
eyes. As he looked into those eyes, he felt that he
might drown in them. The young woman glared at Wufei
and realized that she was much older than she seemed.
Her eyes… so much
“You have violated our
trust, intruder.” The woman spoke with annoyance,
her soft voice sounding very much like the wind in
the trees. “We allowed you to enter our forest
and yet you betrayed us. For that we will have our
revenge.” So saying, the young woman stepped
back toward a tree and melted into the bark as if
it were water.
All around Wufei a breeze came
up and roared through the trees. The sounds of a thousand
angry voices assaulted his ears as he was pelted with
small twigs and stones.
“I will not be detained!”
Wufei yelled foolishly with pride, “I will free
my God Protector! There are more important things
than a tree. You will not stop me!”
A large branch cracked above
Wufei hitting him on the back of the head, dropping
him to the forest floor. Slowly his vision swam back
before his eyes as he slowly recovered from the attack.
When his vision finally became clear again, his eyes
were wide with surprise. All around him in every tree,
a small girl with green or brown hair and pale green
skin glared at him with vengeance in her eyes. Again
they began pelting Wufei with leaves, rocks and twigs.
The wind whirled around him
and clouds covered the sun turning the forest shadowy
and dark. All of the strange girls’ faces were
twisted in rage and they bared fangs and wicked looking
Battered from all sides, Wufei
could not move in any direction without suffering
branches slapping into him or claws raking at his
exposed head and arms. His fury rising again, he brought
up a cracking blue electrical shield around himself,
which effectively blocked all the girls who attacked
Wufei gathered three electrical
balls around him and threw them into the trees. They
crackled and flashed as they impacted with each tree
they came in contact with causing them to burst into
flames. The three balls bounced and ricocheted from
tree to tree. Some of the girls screamed and tried
to put the fires out. While others jumped down to
the forest floor surrounding Wufei. Vines whipped
through the air entangling the Mage and the sky grew
black until Wufei’s lightening spheres were
the only source of light in the grove.
With a twitch, Wufei destroyed
the vines. An aura of blue light radiated from his
body. Three of the girls ran towards him shrieking
and before he could blink one had latched on his forearm,
sinking her teeth into his flesh. Another just grazed
his cheek with her claws. Wufei spun around wrenching
his wrist from the biting girl’s jaws and upon
completion of his spin he backhanded her to the ground.
Grabbing the last girl as she flew past him, Wufei
caught her by the throat and threw the green-haired
girl to the ground, pinning her beneath him.
She snapped and snarled at
him, her soft feminine features shifting too more
animalistic and vicious features. Vines twined up
and around snaring him from every angle, but Wufei
was prepared for that. He lowered his hand to hover
just above the girl’s throat. It glowed, an
eerie blue and he glared at the growing ring of blue
sapphire eyes that surrounded him.
“Stop!” The voice
sounded like a snapping branch. The young woman who
first spoke to Wufei stepped forward. “You’ve
won this battle and we request that you harm no more
of our kind.”
Wufei slowly backed away from
the girl he had thrown to the ground. He stood guarded
and ready for any trick these ‘women’
might throw his way.
“Look and see what you
have done murderer!” The blue-eyed girl said,
and as she turned she waved her hand above herself.
The clouds parted in places allowing sunlight to stream
down in small shafts of light that lit up the damaged
forest. Centered in each beam were battered and bleeding
green girls. They sat in trees or on the ground and
their muffled weeping grew louder and more heartrending
with each new beam that broke through the clouds.
Wufei was caught off guard
by what he saw. His energy ball should have done nothing
more than stun the strange green girls. But the injuries
he saw were much, much worse.
“Look at my daughter.”
The young woman told Wufei. Tears made of golden sapling
streamed down her face and all the other girls wept
with her. Underneath the brightest patch of sunlight
at the base of a ruined sapling was a child, no older
than seven or eight of age. She lay upon the ground
in a crumbled heap. Dark blood pooled around her still
form and dark burns marred her pale green skin from
head to toe.
Wufei shook his head in horror.
“No, I did not do that!” He insisted.
“None of my attacks were lethal. I could not
have killed that child!”
“You aimed straight for
my daughter’s heart and dealt a blow intended
to destroy her, murderer!” The older girl darkly
shouted as she pointed towards him with a cold look
upon her face. “And we know that you could destroy
us, so we will not challenge your passage through
our forest. But know this... vengeance will be ours.
You will be the only one to walk out of our forest.”
The ethereal woman raised her hand and flung it behind
her as if to show the mage what she meant by her words.
The Lightening Mage looked
behind the green girl and saw four more young ladies
and just beyond them was the four missing Mages, each
entangled in a web of vines. Heero and Duo were unconscious.
The vines of the forest wrapped around their arms
and legs, lifting them off the forest floor. Quatre
and Trowa were still conscious, but only barely. Vines
wound themselves around the two Mages bodies, entangling
about their wings holding them fast.
“I don’t believe
you. It’s all an illusion!” Wufei shouted
with a mix of fear and horror in his voice. He couldn’t
believe that he had killed the child before him nor
would he believe that the other Mages were so easy
The green girl shot her hand
out behind her once more. “An eye for an eye…”
Four green spikes shot from
her hand, extensions of her fingers. One struck Trowa
in the shoulder. He barely made a sound as the spike
cut deeply into the trapped Mage’s shoulder.
But the other three struck Quatre in his chest with
deadly accuracy. The Wind Mage screamed in agony and
quickly fell silent. Trowa looked over at Quatre and
bowed his head in despair. A single tear fell from
his usually visible eye.
“…A life for a life.”
The woman continued coldly as she sneered slightly
in a bitter contempt that it wasn‘t Wufei‘s
life she was taking.
Wufei screamed for her to stop
and ran toward his fallen companions, but as he began
to reach them a vine web came up from the forest floor
between him and the other Mages. He struggled to get
past the living wall that separated him from his companions
but to no avail.
“Your friends will pay
for your crimes, unless you are willing to make up
for them.” The young woman still spoke coldly
and watched the lightning mage struggle to get closer.
“They suffer because of your selfishness and
Tears streamed down Wufei’s
face as he shouted to his comrades from the edge of
the barrier. All he wanted was the God Protector to
save people and protect those whom he could consider
worthy allies, friends even. His body shook in horror
at the mere thought that it could all end so swiftly
before any thing could really happen.
“Trowa, why didn’t
you stop them?” he choked out noticing that
the Water Mage was breathing still.
Trowa lifted his head weakly
and looked at Wufei with a deep sadness in his eyes.
“I apologized for interfering already. I will
not interfere again. I warned you, the forest would
fight back if you tried to hurt it. The Dryads are
the Guardians of the forest. Their word is law here.”
Having spoken those words, Trowa lowered his head
once again, and resigned to his fate so that he may
join his companions.
“No! You must fight!”
He shouted in vain hope of reawakening a fighting
spirit in the still living mage. “How can you
let Quatre’s death go unanswered?” Trowa
said nothing as his body went limp within the tangle
of vines that supported him. Wufei turned back toward
the young woman and prepared himself. “Your
fight is with me! Leave them out of this!”
“It is far too late for
that!” She snapped bitterly, “You should
have thought of that before you attacked my daughter!”
“I… I didn’t
know.” Wufei softly choked in defeat.
“You didn’t listen.”
The young woman snorted out firmly.
“What must I do to amend
this tragedy?” He asked not looking up to face
“Bring my daughter back.”
The young Mage’s head
popped up in surprise by this request. “But
I am not a healer. I can’t.”
“You will.” The
spirits tone was cold as her eyes remained locked
on the mage.
* * *
Wufei concentrated on maintaining
the steady electrical field around the child’s
body and the body of the broken sapling. His arms
and back ached from holding the same position for
so long, but he knew he must endure. Thinking back
to his youth, the young mage remembered that he once
held similar forms while training with his master,
but never for such an extended period.
The sun had long since set
and the moon was at midpoint in its trek across the
sky before he began to see the results of his efforts.
The sapling began to heal and grew into a split trunk,
while the child’s wounds were healed at a much
slower pace. There would be scarring on the child’s
body that no healing could ever repair. Eventually
the child slowly awoken then stood up swiftly making
her way to her mother who embraced the child with
As Wufei watched the reunion
with relief that he was able to accomplish such a
difficult task, he soon felt a sharp twinge in his
back. He wasn’t sure at first if it was just
his back aching, but then the feeling continued to
grow. The Mage allowed the pain to sweep over him,
accepting what he felt and after enduring for what
seemed like an eternity, he was gifted wish a pair
of white-feathered wings that unfolded slowly from
his back, leaving him with the tattered remains of
“You have earned your
award.” Wufei heard the woman say before looking
up slowly. And as she spoke, the tangled mass of trees
nearby seemed to part on their own. Hidden deep within
the grove of lush greenery was the God Protector -
Shenlong. As Wufei stumbled toward the impressive
figure, he watched as more vines pulled themselves
away from the resting God. The moon’s light
radiated down on the Mage as he prepared to fly to
the God Protector. The chest plate opened slowly welcoming
Wufei as he neared the Protector. Wufei paused before
the entrance, reflecting on the events that had unfolded
nearly hours before.
What did it matter now that
he had his God Protector? He wondered to himself still
staring at the protector as it laid in wait before
him. Quatre was dead and without all Five Mages there
was no chance in defeating their enemy even if the
remaining Mages found their Gundams. Regretfully,
the Lightening Mage entered his.
* * *
Wufei landed gently beside the
sapling and looked up at Shenlong. It was finally
completed, his task finished but at what cost? He
had completed his ascension, yet there was no pride
in this, he still felt miserable for what he had done
and for what had happened to the other Mages. Touching
the gem he wore, the God Protector vanished. Once
it dematerialized, Wufei dropped to his knees in defeat,
his wings draped heavy over his shoulders as if he
bore the weight of the world upon them.
“Why do you weep speaker
of spirits?” The Dryad asked curiously.
“I let my desire to find
my Protector overwhelm me. Blinded to what was around
me. I do not deserve this… I have brought shame
upon myself and my Master.”
The Dryad reached down and
cupped Wufei’s chin, raising his face so she
may look at him. He looked exhausted and his face
held many lacerations. “You are worthy of such
an honor. You have done well and passed our tests.”
“What?” He said
somewhat stupefied, as he began blinking away his
“See for yourself.”
Wufei glanced slowly from side
to side, finding the forest grove peaceful and tranquil,
as it was when he first saw it. The damage he had
caused gone. The brooks once again sounding like children’s
“I don’t understand.”
Wufei replied in a state of shock. “The sapling…
“Yes, you killed her.
She knew the risk, but you did bring her back. Only
one worthy could have. You have learned a powerful
lesson in humility.”
“Then… my companions?
The Dryad gently turned Wufei’s
head to look behind him. Just beyond the opening of
the grove, he saw the other Mages. They stood and
sat around a small campfire enjoying the night and
plotting over their next move. “Your friends
are safe.” Wufei wiped his eyes of tears with
the back of his arm to hide his tears incase they
“They were never in harms way, besides how could
we hurt one of our own kind?” She said gently,
looking toward the waiting Mages, her eyes falling
upon the Fire Mage as he laughed. For a brief moment
Duo turned his head in the direction of the Dryad
and their eyes met. The Mage’s eyes flashed
a deep violet as if he knew she was speaking of him.
He gave the forest maiden a quick smile and a wink
before turning his attention back to those around
“But, I saw… heard…”
He stammered as the maiden slowly helped him to stand.
“Wait… what do you mean one of your own?
Who do you mean?”
“You saw and heard what
we wanted you to see and hear.” The Dryad gently
pushed Wufei toward the others ignoring the rest of
his questions, “No more questions now. They
are waiting for you.”
Wufei turned back to thank
the maiden and found the grove empty. All he could
hear were the sounds of the brook and the chirping
of the crickets. He slowly made his way back toward
the other Mages but had not fully forgotten the maidens’
The Northern Mage slowly walked
out of the corral of trees and headed back toward
the others. Every few steps he would stop and look
back into the trees, trying to spy any of the maidens
in the grove. As he reached the makeshift campsite,
Wufei turned around one last time. He closed his eyes
and opened his heart and mind to the whispers of the
forest around him.
Thank you. He thought.
You are very welcome.
He heard back softly.
Trowa spoke first as he looked
up past the fire. “Here he comes.” Quatre
sat up from where he was leaning against Trowa’s
shoulder and rubbed the sleep from his eyes and yawned
into the back of his hand. Heero stood like a statue
and watched as the bedraggled Mage walked back toward
their camp. Duo, on the other hand, stood grinning
like a madman as he looked from behind Heero.
“Well?” Heero calmly
asked as if waiting for confirmation.
Wufei looked up at the Blood
Mage and spoke wearily right before collapsing into
Heero’s arms exhausted. “Shenlong has
exclaimed in surprise for not noticing sooner. The
moment he was able to get to his feet, the young Wind
Mage rushed to the fatigued Mage’s side, as
Heero gently laid him to the forest floor.
* * *
That night the group rested
in the forest under the dryad’s watchful protection.
Trowa leaned against a tree. It was his turn to watch
over the group that night. Closing his eyes, he listened
to the songs of the spirits as there otherworldly
voices drifted into his ears. Eventually he sat down
and continued to listen. He was so relaxed and at
peace with the music that he didn't notice Quatre
until the Wind Mage snuggled in against him to sleep.
They had remained for the night solely to let Wufei
rest from his ascension. Duo slept near the fire muttering
in great annoyance about the cool air of the night.
The Water Mage watched as the Fire Mage nearly wrapped
him-self around the campfire, and for a second believed
that the rowdy mage would end up sleeping on top of
the flames. Heero slept off to the side and away from
the others. Trowa opened his eyes again. It had soon
dawned on him that there where only two God Protectors
left. And they belonged to Duo and Heero.
By the morning, Thea arrived
like he usually had done so in the past. Bright and
early with new supplies for the Mages along with a
map of where they were headed next.
Thea excitedly spoke up with a giggle in his voice.
“Today we find your God Protector.”
Duo smiled at the thought of
his own God Protector and replied, “Wonderful!”
“I wouldn’t be
so sure of that.” The young Ranger warned.
“Your Ascension will
not be as easy as the others.”
“What are you talking
about?” Duo protested with much foolish pride.
“I go off by myself, free my God Protector,
and get my wings. How much more simple can I explain
it to you?”
Thea laughed light heartedly
as he watched the Fire Mage scowling slightly. “You
think it is that easy? My, my… you haven’t
been paying attention at all, have you?”
That just seemed to make Duo
angry as he narrowed his eyes giving off a fierce
coldness to them.
He yelled in defiance of the thought that he wasn‘t
as prepared as the others, “I’ve been
paying attention! I know what is expected of me!”
“No… you haven’t
truly been watching.” Thea replied with a sigh
before standing before Duo and gazed deeply into his
violet colored eyes. “Yes, there.” The
young Ranger stood on tiptoes as he continued to look
directly into Duo’s eyes. “I wasn’t
sure at first, but I am now.” Thea tipped his
head from side to side continuing to look into Duo’s
eyes as if expecting something to happen.
“Hey! Cut it out!”
Duo reacted, backing away quickly from the boy. There
was something about the look that didn’t settle
right with him at all. “You don’t know
what you are talking about.”
The others did nothing more
then look back and forth between the pair. Speechless
and having nothing to really say on the subject, packed
their supplies up and readied their mounts for the
“Oh but I do.” Thea
smiled. “Your Ascension is to be shared.”
“Hey man, you’re
starting to creep me out.”
“Heed my warning Fire
Mage,” he said, “… this new power
you are about o receive comes at a high price.”
“Excuse me Thea,”
Quatre chimed in interrupting the young Ranger. “Is
Duo’s life in danger?”
“Yeah, is it?” Duo
“You misunderstand me.
His life will be fine. It is the gift of the God Protector
that concerns me.”
“How so?” Heero
“A God Protector’s
power is share by the one who pairs with it. But you
Fire Mage are quite unique.”
“You can say that again.”
“Will this keep him from
ascending? Heero asked again.
“It shouldn’t, though
it will be up to Death Scythe to accept him or not.”
The braided-hair man chirped. “Is that my God
Protector’s name?” Thea nodded his head.
“It’s even got a remarkable name!”
Trowa softly sighed
catching Quatre’s attention. He watched as the
taller man shook his head at Duo’s antics.
that their next location was a half-day’s journey
into swamping lands. Their horses would have to stay
behind once they entered. The swamps and marshes there
were dangerous and were known to swallow animals’
whole in mere seconds. With that knowledge parted
to them, the five Mages and their guide headed off.
As the day went on, Duo grew evermore excited about
his impending ascension with Death Scythe. Reaching
the outer lands of the marshes, Thea bed them goodbye
and quickly disappeared vowing to return again come
Trowa spoke to the horses before
letting them roam free. He had explained that they
would return again once their business within the
swamp was completed. The neighed their various responses,
the horses went back to their grazing.
Their trek through the swamp
was an unpleasant one. Slime and mud caked their foot
ware making it difficult to walk. While with each
step of muck carried to their shoes, their clothing
didn’t fair as well as mud splattered up on
them. At one point both Wufei and Quatre became stuck.
Instead of asking for assistance, they called forth
their wings and pulled themselves out with minimal
mishap. Quatre lost a boot in the process and had
to go back and retrieve it.
They continued their march
through the soggy soil. After a while Duo help up
his hand and told the others to stay behind. The presence
of the God Protector was close. Finding a small patch
of dry land, the others took refuge as Duo went on
The Fire Mage made his way through
the bog filled swamp they found themselves in, using
his scythe as a walking stick. It wasn’t a lack
of sleep that caused him to behave like this. But
the soggy and wet earth that threatened to pull him
under if he didn’t keep walking had. He grumbled
to himself as he did however, for it had seem that
the muck from the area some how had gotten into his
boot. To the mage it wasn’t’ fair that
only he had to trek around in this ill-gotten area.
But Thea warned and insisted that the others had to
remain behind on a small island, while he went in
search of his God Protector.
“Stupid Thea and all
of his stupid rules…” he growled beneath
his breath still bitter from the events a few days
earlier. Stopping briefly he scanned the murky area
for any signs of his God Protector, growling to himself
once again as he saw nothing, Duo continued forward,
“I bet this isn‘t eve-… ”
He stopped short, pausing in
his words and unable to complete his grumbling, as
he glanced towards what his scythe had bumped against
beneath the dark, murky waters. Duo’s heart
raced in his chest as he caught his first glimpse
of his God Protector peering out at him. His right
hand gripped tightly on his scythe’s staff when
the first wave of pain hit him. The usually boastful
mage suppressed a cry of pain even as a second wave
wrecked his body violently.
Dropping to his knees, instinct took over as his hands
pushed out forward to keep him from hitting the ground.
This action caused him to let his weapon fall beside
him in the water. Duo was momentarily worried about
his ‘precious’ scythe as he noticed that
he had now become slightly covered in the murky filth.
Duo scrambled after it not wanting his only gift to
become lost in such a place. But just as his fingers
where barely able to brush over its metal shaft, a
third more powerful wave of pain struck against his
toned frame causing him to sprawl full length into
the brine filled swamp.
Wufei remembering Duo’s
mocking ways the first time he saw one of them stumble
caused him to choke out a slight laugh. Though as
quick as he realized that this was no laughing matter,
he tried to hide and suppress his laughter when Duo
fell into the slimy waters of the swamp for a second
time. Glancing over to the side Wufei’s body
stiffened slightly and quickly silenced from just
a single look from Heero. He knew the Blood Mage wouldn’t
tolerate such behavior, he knew this was important
to not only Duo but for them as well.
From the safety of the little
island a several yards away from the struggling Fire
Mage, the other Mages looked on with concern. As the
Ascension gripped Duo, each remembered their own ascensions
and how arduous they had been. Quatre gasped. He wrapped
his arms around himself as though he was reliving
it, as a result his wings materialized. The others
turned their attentions away from the Wind mage just
in time to see Duo’s back split open over his
shoulder blades. Duo belted out a scream in agony
that nearly sounded inhuman as he fought to push himself
up out of the water. His cry echoed throughout the
swamp in an odd tone.
Once able to steady himself upon his knees, Duo wrapped
his arms around himself, as twin streams of flame
erupted from his back raining flamelets out into the
water and vegetation. Through the flames two wings
grew out and slowly unfurled. When they were fully
formed and hanging over the sides of his body, the
flames died away revealing a beautiful pair of ebony
feathered wings. Heero and the other three winged
Mages stood staring at Duo, and knew that his ascension
Quatre asked in surprise by what had transpired. Blinking
he turned towards Heero and asked for the older mages
guidance, “Is that normal? IS this what Thea
was speaking about?”
Heero was still staring himself
when the question was asked and slowly he shook his
head. “No… It’s not normal. I...
I’ve never heard of wings coming forth in such
a fashion. In all the legends, there has never been
a set of black wings on a Protector. This is highly
“So is Duo.” Wufei
pointed out as if the color of his wings was only
a reflection of the mage himself.
“But he is no different
from any of us where it matters though. He is just
a person.” Quatre responded in slight defense
of the newly ascended mage. “Right?”
“What does this mean?”
Trowa asked, ignoring the question of Duo’s
“I’m not sure.”
Heero answered still unsure of what this could mean,
“I don’t understand why he could be any
different. At least, he seems to be all right though…
now all he has left to do is claim the God Protector…”
Duo reached out and picked up
one of the embers from a small brushfire beside him.
He shaped the hot ember into a fireball and concentrated
on enlarging it. The fireball grew in his hand and
suddenly turned white hot. There was a new power within
him as he let loose and fired the living inferno at
the water filled sinkhole before him. There were ‘booming’
and ‘hissing’ sounds as clouds of steam
billowed up around him.
Through the massive clouds of stream, the Mages saw
numerous fireballs being created and thrown into the
water in quick successions. After a moment the steam
faded away revealing the God Protector Death Scythe
set free of its watery prison, with Duo standing on
the Gundams shoulder laughing like a maniac. One hand
rested on the ‘face’ of the God Protector
while the other held his scythe.
The Fire Mage continued to laugh
as he did until the chest piece of the mighty giant
creature opened up to allow the smaller being inside
of it. A new wave of concern passed through the Mages
that a waited on the island as they watched Duo become
one with his Gundam. For there had been something
they all found unsettling within the Fire Mage’s
The group traveled into the
night and fell asleep in the next forest they came
across. By the next morning Trowa rose to find himself
caked with dirt from the swamp and his clothes dirty.
Hating the feeling of the added weight, he calmly
scanned around the area careful to not awaken Quatre
or the others. He soon found a small lake leading
out to a small river with a waterfall at its opposite
Quietly discarding his clothes, he slipped into the
cool water for a refreshing swim. He dived beneath
the surface and came up behind the waterfall. There
the water came up to Trowa’s waistline, which
was fine by him. Walking directly beneath the falling
water, the young man closed his eyes and let the water
wash over him getting out whatever dirt or filth had
clung to him during the night.
Quatre had awoken sometime
later, being that is was the moment he had felt that
the warmth he was getting from Trowa’s form
wasn't there anymore. Gracefully he got to his feet
and made a face from noticing how dirty he really
was. He thought and inwardly hoped that perhaps Trowa
had felt the same way and left to go find him. After
walking a short distance away from the camp, he noticed
the pile of clothing by the lake.
Grinning to himself the Wind Mage quietly made his
way toward the water, stopping only at the clearing’s
edge to watch for Trowa. He sighed when he spied the
Water Mage’s slender form, glisten with water
completely freed of both dirt and clothing. Quatre
slowly moved back and leaned against a tree with a
soft sigh as he gently wrapped his arms across his
chest. Trowa looked so relaxed by the water’s
edge. It was almost foolish to pass up the opportunity.
Looking back toward camp, the other Mages were still
resting and that gave Quatre an idea. Lightly pushing
off the tree he started down toward the water and
“Come on Thea! Join us
in the water!” Duo yelled from water’s
edge happily enjoying getting the muck off his body
as he kicked his feet and splashed water everywhere.
“No, that will be all
right.” The young ranger answered back with
a hint of shyness in his voice. “I will wait
at the camp for you.” Thea cheerfully replied
as he turned to leave but, didn’t get too far
before he heard the sound of splashing water and felt
wet hands grab his shoulder and arm.
“What are you so shy
about?” Duo asked chuckling as he spun Thea
around. “We’re all guys here.” It
was at that point Thea’s eyes went wide as the
rowdy Fire Mage tugged on both shirt and vest then
skillfully pulled them up and off of the young man.
“How dare you!”
Thea screamed, as she spun around to backhand Duo
with a closed fist across the face.
Duo held his cheek in surprise
as he continued to stare at Thea’s chest as
the ranger quickly moved to cover her chest back up.
He was almost at a complete loss for words. “I...
I… didn’t… know…” He
“Well now you know my
secret!” Thea yelled more angry than upset at
the Fire Mage. The rangers face was red from embarrassment
that all of the mages present had most likely gotten
a good look at ‘his’ body.
“Why did you try to hide
this from us?” Quatre asked feeling a little
undressed all of a sudden, as he quickly pulled on
his pants behind the covering of some near by foliage.
“The Elders of my village
did not want to send me. There were afraid that…
worried that… my mother’s fate would be
mine as well.”
“But you are not following
us into the final battle, like your mother did with
me.” Heero pointed out, as he too got dressed,
along with the others to save the female ranger any
further embarrassment. “You are only here to
guide us to the God Protectors and nothing more.”
Thea looked down ashamed that
she had kept such secret from those present, especially
when it was from someone who had known her mother
so well in the past. “I’m sorry. I did
not mean to deceive you. I only wished to help.”
“And you have.”
Wufei replied reassuringly, while tying off his tunic.
It had been exactly two months
worth traveling for everyone to finally gather they’re
God Protectors. But now the group had finally reached
their destination, the Sanq Kingdom. They reached
early enough that they had time to change and freshen
up a bit more before their audience with the Empress.
Time marched on quickly as the five Mages now dressed
neatly for the occasion, soon found themselves standing
before the Empress once again. Though this time it
was different, all that had been a part of the court
at the Sanq Palace had also been in attendance as
“We have returned and
have found four of the Gods.” Heero announced
respectfully to the Empress and those of her court.
“And what proof do you
have.” Relena asked gently as she held back
her excitement with their success. Her chief aid,
the woman known to many as the Goddess Lady Une, waited
patiently beside her for this moment. While the mages
had been away the Empress was informed by her aid
that asking for proof had been part it being ceremonial
for those in Court.
Heero turned to the others
and nodded his head towards his fellow mages. One
by one, Fire, Water, Wind and Lightening concentrated
and from their backs immerge their large feathery
wings. The only proof that anyone needed to know that
they were the Protectors of the Five Kingdoms.
Murmurs of excitement and awe
rippled through the court at the sight of the angelic
visions before them. The Empress’ voice gentle
cut through the low chatter like a knife silencing
them for the time being.
“And what of you, Heero?
Where is your proof?” Relena asked curiously
as inwardly she bit back her nervousness that the
legendary mage was unsuccessful in his mission, “Have
you found you’re God Protector?”
Lightly closing his eyes the
young man looked down as if he where about to deliver
to the Empress of the Five Kingdoms, news that would
sadden her greatly. “I know where mine is. As
to proof…” A pair of majestic feathered
wings gleaming white slowly emerged from his back
as the Blood Mage spoke. The other four Mages could
only stare at their comrade in disbelief and wonderment
at the site. Heero opened his eyes and looked up towards
the Empress, “I have already gone through my
Ascension. Therefore is no need to go through it again.”
* * *