“To manipulate ice, you have to possess a heart of ice itself.“
A heart of ice wasn’t Lia’s cup of tea. In fact, she was one of the most caring and kind-hearted Guardians in the Tower. But for every Guardian of Water, ice manipulation was compulsory.
“Ice is just another form of water,” her Master had explained. “What kind of Water Guardian are you if you can’t control another aspect of your element?”
So Lia had reluctantly complied, but she could not master it. “A heart of ice! If you want to control ice, you have to understand it! Become it!” her Master had instructed.
Mentally, she refused. Why should she pick up a skill that she knows she won’t be able to succeed in? The whole situation had seemed entirely ridiculous.
And now, her partially-mastered ice manipulation had placed them in this situation.
“Lia!” she heard Allora’s voice, snapping her out of her trance. “We need ice!”
A roar and a stomp rumbled Lia off her feet and onto the rocky ground. She felt jaws clamping onto her collar, dragging her up.
“Lia.” Her brown eyes met yellow canine eyes, as she locked gazes with her Guardian Spirit. “My powers aren’t strong enough to keep the golem away. And I’m tiring out fast.“
“I know,” she sent back telepathically. Her frustration began to seep in. “But you know I can’t do ice magic! …What do I do?”
Her Frost Wolf, Iceheart, just stared back. “You have to. You just have to, Diallia.“
No one called her Diallia ever. Ever since she decided to keep it short and sweet with a simple “Lia”, everyone chose to call her by the latter. Lia bit her lips as she turned back to the battle.
The golem was a towering mass of boulders stacks irregularly to form a mutated creature of some sort. It had a huge, ever-gaping mouth and rows of sharp thick stalactites. Three stubby fingers reached out to grab out at the other three Guardians–Allora, Madeline and Sassie– who were buying Lia some time to build up her ice magic.
Magic that she haven’t mastered. The moment they reached the entrance of the golem’s cave, they had already planned to encase in ice, and then defeat it from there. And Lia had “forgot” to mention that she was still in process of mastering her ice manipulation.
“Firecrest!” A scream rang out. Lia saw a golden-brown blur fly past her and slam onto the walls of the golem’s cavern. Allora rushed to her Guardian Spirit’s side as it glowed and returned to its dormant state, mewing with pain. The rest weren’t doing so well either. Sassie rode on her Guardian Spirit, a Storm Griffin, which had limited space to fly about. To make matters worse, its attacks weren’t doing much damage at all. On top of her Forest Stag, Madeline was trying to make it dizzy, jumping around the circular-based cavern.
“Elce! Gaia’s Wrath!” Madeline’s voice echoed from afar. At her command, her Guardian Spirit pranced atop a rock and reared its head, as its eyes glowed green. The ground beneath the rampaging golem exploded with green vines, binding it tightly as it fought furiously. It gave another roar of fury as a thick vine snaked around its head, cutting it off.
Elce’s eyes glowed as more vines arose, wrapping around the ensnared golem. Madeline closed her eyes, pouring her nature energy into her Forest Stag. A green aura surrounded the two of them as they concentrated their powers together.
That was the way of the Guardians. To become one, a Guardian Spirit and its Guardian must work together as a team. Without the Guardian Spirits’ ability to project the Guardians’ magic and energy and vice-versa, defeating foes would be deemed impossible.
“Good job, Maddy!” Sassie called from above. “Alright, Tempest! Whirlwind!”
Tempest’s eyes glowed a greyish-white as the air swirled around the trapped golem, securing the vines. Beads of perspiration dripped from Sassie’s forehead as the two of them struggled to contain the wind, that seemed to go out of control at any moment. If they lost control, there would be disastrous consequences, especially since the cave was quite tight.
“Lia!” Again, her sister’s hushed whisper drew her attention away from the battle. “Why aren’t you using your ice powers?”
Lia sighed, as her fists clenched with indecisiveness.
“Allora…” she began. “I can’t do ice magic.” She bit her lips again as she imagined Allora’s disappointment. Nothing could have prepared her for her sister’s response.
“I know that! But why aren’t you using it?”
Lia shot her puzzled look. “Haven’t you been listening? I can’t do– wait, what? You knew?”
Allora heaved an exasperated sigh. “Must I remind you I’m your sister? I saw how frustrated you were when you were practicing your ice magic. You didn’t behave like that when you were practicing your water magic. You look peaceful and calm….not frustrated.”
Lia went red. “Then why didn’t you tell the others?”
Her sister shrugged. “Same reason why you didn’t.”
Lia groaned. “Look where that got us! I can’t freeze that huge ass of a rock! I mean, look at it!”
“Well, this could have been solved the moment we agreed on the plan! Why aren’t you using your powers?”
“Allora, you don’t make any sense. I told you–“
“–you can’t do ice magic or won’t?” Allora interrupted harshly, running her fingers through her long brown hair. “Look, I know you’re bad at it, but Lia, you’re not even trying! How do you know you can’t do ice magic if you don’t try it?”
“Because I tried!” Lia finally snapped.
“Really tried?” Her sister countered quickly. “Given it your all like what you do for water? Think carefully, Lia. I know the right answer, and deep down, you know it too. Your choice will decide our fate.”
She turned her attention back to her wounded Guardian Spirit, whispering words Lia couldn’t hear. She saw the ginger cat struggling to stand on its feet, as Allora stroked it tenderly. The cat limped forward and hissed.
“So be it,” she heard Allora murmur.
With a sudden horror of realisation, Lia cried out, “Allora, are you insane? Firecrest will die!”
Allora stepped forward, positioning herself beside her dormant Guardian Spirit. She shot a smile towards Lia, a grim line on her dirtied face.
“We won’t,” she said firmly. “Because you’ll be ready.”
Then she ran forward, yelling, “Firecrest! Guardian, Awakened!”
The limping cat seemed to have forgotten its pain as it leapt into the air, with red-hot curls of fiery aura exploding from its orange pelt. It grew with size as flames burst from around its head and the end of its tail, dancing in the air. The aura faded as soon as it landed on the ground, solidifying into its powerful state, roaring– the Flame Leo.
“Furnace Blaster!” The Flame Leo paused in its stride as it widened its jaws, inhaling deeply. Orange embers swirled into its mouth as it accumulated into a ball of fire.
“Maddy, Sassie, Firecrest’s coming up!” Allora called out. The effect was instantaneous. Elce and Tempest snapped out of their trances as they hurried to get out of the range of fire. With a swing of its mighty head, Firecrest launched the huge fireball at the cocoon of vines. [A/N: I’m so punny at times haha!]
The fire did pack some decent damage, although it looked superficial, thanks to the golem’s stony build. Only water and ice could deal serious damage, and Lia knew that. She hated how Allora had so much faith in her when she had none in herself.
“They believe in you, you must believe in yourself too.” Iceheart told her, his voice as gruff as ever. He nuzzled her, and she appreciated his presence.
Heart of ice…how does one obtain such a prize? Lia sat herself on the floor, cross-legged, readying herself in a meditating position. Meditation was a way of focusing, in order to search deeply within herself for the answers she so desperately needed.
Iceheart sat directly opposite her. She raised an eyebrow, her famous questioning look. “Iceheart…?“
“They don’t call me Iceheart for nothing.” His lips were childishly curled into a wolfish smirk.
Grinning herself, she shut her eyes.
Churning, strangely tilting
A fierce heart thrums within
Burning with a wild passion and desire
How can one quench this fire?
The answer lies in oneself
How much you are willing to sacrifice yourself
How much of yourself you are willing to give up
A decision must be made before their time is up
Everything. I will give up everything for them.
A power hidden so deep in the trenches of the ocean
Almost beyond the reach of creation
But remember: the answer lies in a frozen heart
That nothing, not even steel, can cut
How do I obtain such a heart?
Start with your soul; warm and unlike cold
It is a heart of ice you must hold
Lose your moral self, lose your merciful character
And then you may possess, the gift of ice and frozen blizzards
A bluish white light pulsed.
Lia knew nothing when she awoke.
It didn’t even seem to register in her mind that she was floating. Her eyes glowed a light blue.
As soon as her feet regained their footing, she took a step. And another. And another.
Iceheart trailed beside her, his eyes glowing as well.
They approached the ongoing battle slowly and cautiously, with their rhythmic pacing hauntingly similar. Once they reached the chaos, the temperature dropped.
Sassie noticed it first, being the Air Guardian, which included the weather as well. “Um, guys,” she swallowed. “I think we better clear off.”
The three Guardians hastily backed away from the golem that was rampaging about, and the cave shook, ocks plummeted to the floor from all the violent vibrations. It gave a screech of defiance as its eyes landed on Lia and Iceheart.
At the sidelines, the Guardians nodded to each other in unanimous agreement. It was all up to Lia now.
Iceheart growled, leaping in front of Lia protectively. Lia rested a palm on Iceheart’s forehead, her skin emanating a aquamarine glow, as the glow in her eyes faded.
“Ice Entrapment, Frozen Glacier!” she summoned loudly. The Frost Wolf’s ears flicked once as he projected his Guardian’s aura. The ground suddenly froze over, and crystal webs crawled their way towards the golem, who was rearing up in surprise, raising its legs above the ground as it tried to avoid the ice.
That was only the beginning. Iceheart raised his two front legs, howling, and then crashing them onto the ice-covered ground. Crystal ice blocks shot out of the cave floor and slammed together with the golem in between, almost as if it was some ice coffin.
The golem could be barely seen; a huge brown shadow. Lia didn’t budge and the temperature dropped even lower, and snowflakes started to flutter down. She turned her head towards the three other Guardians, her lips twisted into a strange smile and Allora suddenly realised that something was very wrong.
Suddenly, webbings of ice started to crawl towards them, making Madeline shriek in fear. Despite being the Earth Guardian, whose powers included the manipulation of nature herself, she didn’t like arachnids and the ice that was creeping their way towards them definitely reminded her of those creepy crawlies.
“Allora!” she shrieked. “Do something!”
The Fire Guardian didn’t need to be told twice. At her command, Firecrest’s fiery mane blazed red. Immediately, the ice began to melt as the temperature increased steadily.
Lia’s eyes narrowed.
A flurry of snow spiralled in their direction, but collided with Firecrest’s Flame Funnel. It was a battle between fire and ice, the two conflicting elements that were usually kept at equilibrium.
“Lia!” Allora shouted. “What are you doing? Snap out of it!”
“Oh sister dear,” Lia purred, which was so unlike her. “Where’s your faith in me? I thought you wanted this ice magic!”
Iceheart blasted a stronger spiral of snow at them, and Firecrest almost faltered.
“What’s wrong with her?” Sassie cried. “What have you done with Lia?”
Lia shot her look. “But I am Lia!”
Allora cursed silently. “It’s her personality,” she said, her eyebrows furrowing deeply. “Her heart….to manipulate ice, you have to have a heart of ice, and that’s what she has right now.”
The three of them looked at Lia, who was clearly enjoying the fact that she was destroying her sister and her two best friends.
“What do we do?” Madeline asked, fear creeping into her voice, as if the webbings of ice had touched her physically.
Clenching her fists, Allora said grimly, “Leave it to me.” Firecrest glanced at her knowingly. His mane burned brighter as his spiral of fire grew in strength and power.
And Allora ran like the wind to her sister. Iceheart would have stopped her, if Firecrest wasn’t occupying most of his attention with his powerful attack.
She silently thanked her Guardian Spirit, but she knew he wouldn’t last long. She would have to make this quick.
“Lia!” she screamed over the noise of the clashing between fire and ice. Her right hand stretched out, and she jumped. Her palm felt hot as she pressed it against Lia’s chest, directly over her heart.
An inhuman wail ripped out of Lia’s throat as she crumpled to the ground.
The snow died and Iceheart crashed onto the ground, reverting back to his dormant form: a Siberian husky.
Allora did a quick inspection. Aside from a scratch, Lia looked fine. Iceheart was unconscious, laying limply on the frozen ground.
Exhausted, Allora fell back on her butt as she heaved a sigh of relief.
Everything was finally over.
They could go home now.