Everything slowly settled down in the fields of Galde near Landalsta. The soldiers had cut their losses and returned to the city. Sunny and Emerald tended to Cress’ wounds, while them and Shard waited for the brothers to return. When it seemed like Ark and Pyren would never come back, two voices came from the sky. “Hey, guys!” yelled Ark. From his back came the other voice. “We’re back!” yelled Pyren. Sunny and Emerald lit up with joy, Cress gave a soft smile, and Shard merely rolled his eyes. Emerald dropped everything just to dive into the unsuspecting Pyren in a hug. “Whoa! E-Emerald, c-calm down!” he said, practically being smothered by her love. “Thank goddess you’re okay! I was so worried! There was that black dragon, and this strange fire, and, and, and-” Pyren cut her off. “It’s okay. Everything’s over. We won,” he told her. The cat brushed her long hair out of her face as she started crying. Everyone watched the two lovers reconnect in each other’s arms. “E-Emerald, s-stop! Everyone’s watching!” exclaimed the folf, being squeezed. “I don’t care! I’m just so glad to see you back!” she cried. Pyren gave in and hugged his girlfriend in return. They felt each other’s warm fur rub up against each other’s bodies, only adding to their pure love for each other.
Landing just behind them was a slim female red dragon that none of them had seen before. Immediately, Shard and Sunny were put on edge and prepared for a fight. “H-hey, hold on there, she’s friendly!” said Ark, trying to calm everyone down. “So, who is this broad, then?” asked Shard, rather rudely. Ayli piped up, upset at the bat’s comment. “B-broad? My name is Ayli!” she exclaimed. The group still gave her nothing but strange looks, causing the red dragon to look down at her appearance. “Oh, I suppose I should give myself a more fitting look, considering where I’m going,” she said. Ayli said a few words in the draconic language, and suddenly, in a burst of light, a candy red colored tiger was standing before the group. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked when the strange looks hadn’t subsided. “Y-your chest is showing…” said Sunny, stunned by the odd woman. Ayli’s cheeks flushed as red as her new coat of fur, before she turned around at light speed and quickly conjured a shirt for her to wear. “S-sorry… I’m not too used to Fur culture… Now, where were we?” she said, flustered. Everyone, even Ayli, had a good laugh at the awkward situation.
The sun began to rise on the plains, and a new day began. Everyone was given a potion, free of charge. Even Cress, who was too wounded to be affected by the weaker concoctions, was given a tonic that would speed up his recovery time. “Normally these things go for up to 70 Kor, but I’ll make an exception just this once,” said Ayli, rather generously. Ark stood by, arms crossed as all of his friends laughed and hugged. “How come you made yourself look like a fur?” he asked. “Well, If I’m going to be living in the city, I may as well look the part,” she said, smiling eagerly. Ark gasped as the tiger waved her new tail around proudly. “The city? You mean you and the twins are going to Landalsta?” exclaimed the dragon. “I figure it’s about time they get back with their own kind, and now that I’m confident enough to hide, why not go too? I mean, I’ve already been there once, even though it was technically a kidnapping. How about you? Where are you going?” said Ayli. Ark bit his tongue. “I dunno. I think I’ll stay with them for now. After learning my father was so misguided, I think I should stay with my real family. The ones that care about who I am, rather than what,” he explained, gesturing to the furs joking and having fun behind them. “That’s good. You have a nice group of friends. It’s people like them that give me hope,” said the tiger. “Hope for what?” asked Ark. Ayli closed her eyes and smiled, before turning to Ark and opening them. “Hope that we no longer have to be two peoples.”
“Did you hear that, Cress? The nice dragon lady said you’d be better in two weeks!” exclaimed Sunny. The wolf lying supine chuckled softly as the sunlight started to hit his face. “That’s all well and good, but I don’t think anyone is gonna carry me all the way back to Andea,” he said. Sunny put a paw to her chin, thinking. “I don’t really wanna go back to Andea, though,” she said. Emerald squinted. “How come?” asked the cat. “I wanna help rebuild Vele,” responded Sunny. Everyone, even the antisocial Shard, gasped. “R-rebuild? Where are we gonna stay?” asked Cress, astonished. Sunny was waiting for him to say that. “Let’s go to the big city!” she exclaimed, proud of her idea. “Isn’t that convenient, that’s where Pyren and I were headed!” said Emerald, throwing her hat into the ring. “W-what? We were?” exclaimed the folf, confused. Emerald then tilted her head and gave her boyfriend the cutest smile she could muster. “Of course! I was thinking about going back to school and studying to be a teacher, and where else to go but the biggest city around!” she exclaimed. Sunny cheered and wrapped her paws around the two. “Yay! We can be neighbors!” she exclaimed, squishing Pyren and Emerald together in a hug. “You better let them go, or you might scare off your new neighbors,” recommended Cress, with a chuckle. Sunny frowned softly and let her friends go. “Awww, Sunny, I’d love to be your neighbor!” she exclaimed, lifting her off of her paws and returning the hug.
“So, what are we gonna do about your place back in Andea? Not to mention that I-” Pyren was cut off when Emerald spoke up. “Oh, right! We gotta go back and get my stuff!” she exclaimed. Pyren sighed and turned towards the mostly silent Shard. “Where are you going?” he asked the bat. “I haven’t really thought about that. I guess I’ll keep wandering,” he said, a bit glumly. Pyren tilted his head. “Why not go live in Andea? I’m sure they’d be welcoming. It would at least be better than going back to being a nomad,” he recommended. Shard got up off of his butt and stood as tall as he could, spreading his wings. “You know what, I think I will. Maybe I’ll join the defense force, or something. Thanks for that, Pyren,” he said, unexpectedly. “Huh? You aren’t normally this… agreeable. What happened?” asked the folf, wagging his fluffy tail. “I… I’m just glad you aren’t treating me like your personal hug toy. It’s nice to have some respect. I really appreciate it,” he said, flying up to place his paw on the folf’s shoulder. “Well, in that case, no problem. Happy to be of some help,” said Pyren, paws on his hips, grinning proudly.
From the back, Ayli’s voice caught the six’s attention. “I’m heading back to pick up the kids! See y'all later!” she said, waving her red paws. “Thanks for everything, Ayli. We couldn’t have done all this without you,” said Ark as she passed by. She shot him and Pyren a wink, before waving once more and walking off. “Well, I guess that’s my cue to leave as well,” said Shard. “Byeeee, Shard! Cress and I will be sure to visit!” exclaimed Sunny. The bat tensed up and flew back a bit in terror, only stopping when Pyren came to say goodbye. “Glad you could get over your fears. If Emerald or I are ever in the area, we’ll stop in and say hi,” he said, offering his paw for a fist bump. “See you guys later!” shouted the bat, giving Pyren his fist bump, waving to everyone else, and flying off. Emerald, Sunny, Pyren all looked down at Cress. “Alright, big boy, let’s get you out of here,” said Pyren, cracking his knuckles. Emerald piped up as he said this, looking back towards Sylvi’s body. “Can you two take care of him? I have a little bit of unfinished business to take care of.”
While the two foxes hauled off their wolfy friend, Emerald returned to Sylvi’s body. She retrieved the bloodred dagger from its spot in Granz’s chest and held it out in front of her with her psychic power. Focusing her power, enough to make her strain and have to close her eyes, she tightened her grip on the blade. After a few seconds, it began to crack, and soon enough, it shattered. The cat breathed heavily, and turned back to Sylvi. “No one needs that kind of power,” she muttered, before using her power to pick up her friend. “Come on. Let’s go tell your family what you’ve done,” she said to herself. Emerald set off into the land past Landalsta, map in paw, in order to fulfill her promise. The lilac-colored cat walked for a few hours until she reached a wooded area, similar, yet extremely different than the quiet and tranquil Neven Forest her boyfriend had visited. “This is it. Jugal Woods,” said Emerald, as if she was letting Sylvi know she was home. Only a few steps in were the structures in the dark and shadowy trees made visible. It only took a few steps up the ladder for someone to notice her. “Halt, outsider!” said a rather old sounding male voice. Then he noticed the corpse Emerald was carrying. “Sylvi!” he yelled, allowing her to continue. There she was, standing in front of the family of the dead girl she was carrying, yet Emerald wasn’t scared. Well, maybe a little. If anything, she was angry. “Are you the one who killed my daughter, outsider?” asked the old badger who had stopped her. Sitting around him were three younger badgers, two girls, and one boy. They were younger than even Sunny, and many times more scared. “No,” responded Emerald, telling the truth. “Then why do you bring her body to me?” asked the dead badger’s father. “She died in combat with a dragon. She and he felled each other in a single moment,” said the cat, composed as she could be. “She finally completed her duty, eh. My first son would have done it without even a scratch. Get her out of my sight,” said the old man. Emerald growled. “She gave her life to protect us! The least you could do is give her a proper burial!” she exclaimed. Several older badgers pointed their assorted weapons at the cat for her insolence. “No, no, put those down,” said Sylvi’s father, sighing. “If it really is true that the first female dragonslayer in our family’s history felled a dragon on her own, then I suppose we’ll give her the burial she deserves,” he said. Emerald’s face lit up. “Thank you, sir!” she said, handing Sylvi over to her father. Emerald left the treehouse fulfilled, and looked off into the distance at the city that would be her new home. “Here I come, guys. Wait for me,” she said, before running off towards Landalsta.
In the passing months, peace ensued for both furs and dragons alike. Sunny and Cress raised funds for the Vele Restoration Effort, and reconstruction began immediately, with many furs from across the city pitching in to rebuild the destroyed town. Sunny was awarded quite a bit of money for her father’s contributions to Fur society, part of which she used to help in the Restoration Effort, and part of which she used to secure her and Cress a nice apartment that they shared. Cress had also signed a few papers to officially become her legal guardian. The fennec fox and wolf decided to become partners in dragon research, taking after Sunny’s deceased father. Shard relocated to Andea, taking Pyren’s advice and moving into Emerald’s now empty house. He joined the nighttime defense force, to help prevent the actions that occurred in Vele, in addition to keeping the citizens safe. Ayli and the twins, Lyle and Liza, quietly moved to Landalsta, deciding to live in the same building as Sunny and Cress. There, the tiger-disguised dragon aided the two by supplying them with her knowledge of dragon technology, in hopes of bringing the two societies closer together. Ark hung around for a year or so, staying with his brother and his girlfriend in the shadows. He disappeared one day, only leaving a short note to let his friends know he was going. Pyren and Emerald moved in together, with the cat going to school to become a teacher, and the folf joining the military academy to hone his sword skills. He, of course, was going to need a new sword, but something as silly as that wouldn’t stop him from becoming stronger than ever before. Emerald gave him nothing but her love and approval as she journeyed to help those like Sunny. Even with Ark gone, it seemed as if everything had gone wonderfully after the defeat of Igneus and his Extermination Hex. Everything quieted down, and normal life resumed, at least for the time being.
But of course, it couldn’t be that easy, could it? Perhaps a moment of quiet was well deserved after such an adventure, but the puppeteers of the Magistral Empire had no time to rest. After the destruction of Vele, there was no other option but to tighten the strings. “Grrr… First Andea drops contact, and now we get word that Vele was completely destroyed! We’re losing control!” shouted a rather weaselly voice. Said voice came from one of five: the five that masterminded not only the city but the whole empire. The boardroom these five robed furs sat together in was dark, only lit by the sunlight coming through the stained glass windows, but the intentions of the shadowy rulers would become clearer as the meetings went on. “Three is indeed correct. If we aren’t careful, everything we’ve worked for could come crumbling down,” agreed an inquisitive second voice. Hearing this, a sinister grin spread across the muzzle of the cloaked figure sitting between the two voices. “While it is true that the destruction of Vele has set us back, we haven’t shown our entire hand. The dragons have been driven back, and Vele shall be rebuilt. As for Andea… well, I believe what Five has put forth seems like an excellent plan…” he said, cunningly keeping his calm in the light of the dangerous news. “Indeed. With the Dragon Army distracted, it is imperative that we quell this rebellious phase in Andea. If putting our paw down is what it takes to deliver the Goddess’ will, then it shall be done,” said a fourth voice, the same one the third had referred to as ‘Five.’ “Then that makes annexing Andea our first priority. The citizens can be funded and relocated to Vele. Sending three platoons to take the trade town should be all that is necessary,” noted the fifth and final voice. “Well, you guys really have all this figured out, don’t you?” piped up Three, the first voice. “Yes. Now, the stage is set. Once Andea is under our control, expansion in the Jugal area will be our next step. It was dictated so many millennia ago that we shall subdue this planet, and by the will of the Goddess, subdue we shall,” finished the sinister middle voice.
While the defeat of Igneus indirectly spurred on a dangerous new challenge, the heavenly entities were not blind to the events that had occurred. The translucent space glowed with the shine of the stars and galaxies outside as two voices argued, their figures obscured by the many lights. “He did it. The dragon did it. He stopped his father,” said a soothing female voice. “So what? You sway one of my more stupid children and you think everything will be all lovey-dovey from now on?” said a gruffer male voice. “No. But I do think it means that there’s hope. Just look at that dragon and his brother. Or, for that matter, the lynxes and their adoptive sister. They love each other. Don’t you think they can all be like that someday?” said the female voice. “Not a chance, girl. Put one of yours and one of mine in a room and they’ll be at each other’s throats in minutes!” said the male voice. Sighing, the female voice gave it one more try. “Why don’t you give them a chance? If the blood dragon and his friends can avert one more catastrophe between our children, would you be willing to let them mix?” it said. The male voice pondered and came to a conclusion. “Fine. If that blood dragon and his stupid furry buddies can save the world a second time, I’ll let our children mix. Not that that’s ever going to happen,” said the male voice, confidently. Then the female voice smiled, knowing she had won.
Epilogue of Chosen of Fir: Mementos From a Distant Father.