It was almost time. The joust started in just two hours, and Kado and Rachel were speechless with excitement. For it was no ordinary joust, it was between the two greatest lance-users in the entire human community. The joust was to take place in the courtyard of Castle Schrade, an ancient castle which had been partially destroyed by a great dragon several decades ago. Humans and dragons alike had gathered to watch this great joust, the one that would decide once and for all, the greatest lancer in all of Minegarde. The smell was horrific; some of the humans had clearly not washed in a long time. Kado had never been too fond of humans, or even other dragons for that matter. Kado liked to keep to himself; he was a Chameleos with simple needs. A Chameleos is a purple dragon with the ability to turn invisible at will. Kado's life had changed quite a lot recently, when he met Rachel. Rachel was a cross-breed between a hedgehog and a wolf, and as of only a few weeks before, she was Kado's girlfriend. Kado and Rachel walked across the courtyard, looking all around them. The castle was in ruins in some places, but looked perfectly fine in others. It was as if the great dragon had spared the parts of the castle it liked. A tour guide walked over to them.
"Welcome to Castle Schrade." He said to them "I really hope you enjoy your time here." He then stopped, and looked at them. He recognised them, and they recognised him.
"Naruga?" said Kado "Since when did you work here?"
"Ever since the emperor introduced a tax for people without life insurance." Naruga explained "It sucks! They don't let you do anything fun! It's just saying hi to people all day!"
"Rough…" said Rachel "Well, I hope you don't have to spend too long working here."
"Hah, me too." Naruga laughed
"Well? You gonna do your job or what?" Kado asked. He was trying to taunt Naruga, and it was fun. Naruga sighed.
"Fine." he said "Castle Schrade was built many ages ago by the humans, but was destroyed about thirty years ago by a great black dragon." Naruga continued to go on about the castle, with Kado and Rachel barely hanging onto his every word. Finally, after about ten minutes, Naruga said something interesting.
"They say this castle is haunted."
"Haunted, yeah, by the ghost of a soldier who lived here all his life."
"Ha, no such thing as ghosts." said Kado
"You tell that to Harry Wheeler." said Naruga
"A tourist from the mainland, he came here about a month ago, left the tour, went off on his own. He was never seen again!"
Rachel looked a little bit scared now. Kado simply laughed.
"I guess this means we have another case to solve, eh Rachel?"
Rachel still looked scared, but she managed to force a laugh, and nodded.
"We'll find the ghost, and scare it off!" she said.
Kado, Rachel and Naruga began searching the castle. Looking inside all the rooms, hoping to see the ghost behind any one of them. It was not until about five minutes after they began their search, that they found something interesting. The company who owned the castle and exploited it to tourists had fixed lights into the inside of the castle, but the lights in a corridor up ahead were flickering on and off. They walked towards the corridor, and saw a door at the end. It was ajar, and pitch black inside. Kado walked over to it, and opened it. The terror overwhelmed them. The pure horror of seeing the one thing they had hoped to never see again. The sheer terror of the sight froze them all to the spot, too afraid to move. All they could see in the pitch black room was a face staring at them. A horrifying, pale white face. The eyes were colourless, just tiny black pupils set against milky white. Blood trickling from the eyes down over the cheeks, and off the face into nowhere. It was a face they had hoped never to see again. It was the living shadow, Shaft.
Kado threw the door closed, and with Rachel and Naruga, ran as fast as he could back down the corridor and out into the courtyard. Shaft was back… impossible… Shaft had attacked them once before, encircling the entire city of Dondruma in darkness. They had managed to lure him away from the city towards a soda factory on the outskirts, and had blasted him with coke. His one weakness. Shaft was the ruler of the dimension of nightmares, a whole other universe where your worst fears come to life. Kado straightened up, still in shock from seeing Shaft. One thing was certain Harry Wheeler was dead.
"He's still alive…" said Naruga "That bastard is still alive!"
Naruga's sister had been killed by Shaft, and ever since, Naruga had hated Shaft.
"Not for long…" said Kado "Rachel, I need you to go to the gift shop and pick up a bottle of coke. The bigger, the better, okay?" Rachel nodded, and ran towards the gift shop.
"I'm gonna go back to Dondruma and buy a pack of mentos." said Kado. He spread his wings, and flew into the distance.
Naruga's mind was whirring. He could assist Kado and Rachel in defeating Shaft, or he could strike a deal with Shaft to get his sister back. Finally, after a lot of thinking, Naruga decided to do both. He walked back to the corridor with the flickering lights, and opened the door. Shaft was still there, his creepy smile chilling Naruga right down to the bone.
"I'm here to make a deal with you…" said Naruga "I want Kuruga back…"
"And what do I get in return?" Shaft's voice seemed to echo, as if one hundred of him were speaking at the same time.
"I will give you half of my lifespan…" said Naruga "One hundred and fifty years, which you can convert into pure energy." Shaft smirked.
"You have a deal, my furry friend!" he said. A black beam connected between Naruga's heart, and Shaft's eyes. Naruga could feel his life being drained away, as he saw Shaft growing stronger and stronger.
"Forgive me Kado…" said Naruga, as Shaft became more and more powerful by the second. Finally, the beam broke. Naruga felt no different, but he knew he would now die much sooner.
"A deal is a deal…" said Shaft. Naruga looked up at him, and saw a figure standing behind him. A Nargacuga, just like him. Female. Her black fur looked as smooth as silk. It was Kuruga.
Kado and Rachel met up in the courtyard. Rachel was carrying a two litre bottle of coke, while Kado was holding a packet of mentos.
"Ready?" Kado asked. Rachel smiled.
"Always!" she said. She twisted the top off of the bottle, as Kado tore open the packet of mentos. Ready as they would ever be, they walked towards the room where Shaft was hiding. They stood outside the door; Kado put one hand on the doorknob, and the other holding the mentos just above the coke. Rachel opened the bottle, and Kado emptied the packet. The coke began to fizz out of control.
"Now!" Rachel yelled.
Kado threw the door open, and Rachel fired the coke right at Shaft. The coke soaked him, but for some reason it was not harming him at all. Once the bottle ran out, Shaft laughed.
"I have absorbed the life energy of Naruga Cougrex!" Shaft explained "He gave it to me in exchange for his sister's life."
"Kuruga's alive again?" said Kado. At least that was good news.
"Good luck stopping me…" said Shaft "Oh, and… stay out of the dark."
The sky had turned black. It had been mid-day, but it looked like midnight. No stars, not even the moon was visible. Shaft had taken over, encircling the entire castle and maybe even the village around it in total darkness.
"I have been waiting here for too long!" Shaft screamed into the night.
"I killed you!" Naruga yelled "I used the coke to make you solid, and I cut your head off! How the hell did you survive!?"
"When I die, I am sent to the dimension of nightmares!" He explained "And since I am in charge of it, I am spared the eternal torture!"
Kuruga winced at the mention of the dimension of nightmares. It was an alternate universe where Shaft's victims were doomed to spend eternity facing their worst nightmares. When Shaft had claimed Kuruga's soul, she had been sent to the dimension of nightmares, and even the thought of the place chilled her to the bone.
"I waited here, in the darkness." said Shaft "Harvesting human energy from my victims! Sending stray tourists to the dimension of nightmares, and feeding off of their life-force energy!"
There was no hope. Shaft was too powerful! His weakness to liquids counted for nothing, he was too strong to be affected by them. A roar came from the roof of the castle. They all looked up at the source. It was Lao! Flanked by his brothers, Shen and Moran. The three Fatalis brothers. A Fatalis is a dragon with enough power to wipe out entire cities at a young age. It had three forms, black, crimson, and white. Legends tell that when all three forms unite, they create another. The legendary Golden Fatalis! The three of them stood in a triangle on the castle roof.
"Fatalis ancestors! Hear our call!" They chanted "Three forms gather, only to make one!"
"Calamity! Black!" Yelled Shen, as his black scales began to glow.
"Anger! Crimson!" Yelled Moran, as his red scales also began to glow.
"Destiny! White!" Yelled Lao, his scales glowing brighter than any other.
"When three unite, three become one!" They chanted "By the power of the Fatalis ancestors, WE ARE ONE!"
A bright light encircled the roof of the castle. Kado, Rachel, Naruga, and Kuruga shielded their eyes. The light faded, and where the three brothers had once been, there was a massive golden dragon. The Golden Fatalis. It spoke, its voice sounded as though all three brothers were talking at once.
"Light defeats darkness!" It roared "And we are the light!"
The Fatalis blasted a beam of light from his mouth directly at Shaft's face, connecting with his nose and spreading to his whole face. Shaft screamed a horrible scream of a thousand tortured souls.
"Enjoy your victory!" He yelled "I have cursed the lances of the joust! Once they connect! Every living thing will be sent to the dimension of nightmares!"
The beam of light began to crack through Shaft's face.
"You're gonna burn with me! BURN IN HELL!" He roared as he exploded.
Shaft may have been defeated, but it was not over yet. The joust was set to begin in five minutes! The Fatalis brothers divided back into three, and flew down to join them.
"What do we do!?" Kuruga asked, almost panicking.
"We have to find the lances!" Lao explained "Then we can break the curse"
They ran across the courtyard, climbed up a rope ladder, and into the armoury room. The lances were propped up against the left wall. Kado approached them cautiously.
"How do we do it?" Rachel asked.
Kado placed his finger on the side of the lance, and was instantly zapped by pure dark energy.
"We need to draw the dark energy out of it" said Naruga "Into someone else."
"But that's suicide!" Yelled Shen.
"It can't go into another object!" Said Lao "It has to be a person!"
"I'll do it…" said Kuruga.
"No…" Naruga walked up to her "I've already lost you twice… I don't want it to happen again…"
"But that's just it!" Kuruga exclaimed "I should be dead! I died the night Monsterbane shot me! I only came back because you saved me from the dimension of nightmares…"
Kuruga walked up to the lances. Naruga tried to stop her, but Kado put a hand on his shoulder.
"She's right…" he whispered to Naruga.
Kuruga put one paw on the red lance, and her other on the white lance. The dark energy crackled, running through her. She screamed in pain as the dark energy flooded out of the lances into her body. Finally, Kuruga disappeared in a puff of black smoke. The curse was broken, but Kuruga had died.
The darkness was gone. It was daylight again. Naruga was sitting on his own on a bench in the courtyard, his eyes filled with tears. Kado sat down next to him.
"I'm sorry about Kuruga…" said Kado
"It's okay…" Naruga replied "Like she said… she died that night she was shot… all those years ago…"
"If it's any consolation, her spirit had been broken free by the dark energy." Kado explained "Meaning she hasn't gone back to the dimension of nightmares."
Naruga looked up at Kado, his eyes filled with hope.
"You mean…?" He began, unable to finish the sentence.
Kado knew what he meant, and nodded. Kuruga was at peace at last.