Bird in the sky
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HoGW BK V, CH 5: Unchained Spirit

Chapter Five: Unchained Spirit

Valerian delighted in his transformation. Only in this form did he truly feel complete. It wasn’t just his body that changed. His aura did so as well. He became one befitting the title of Monarch of the Heavens. He was the conqueror who rewarded his followers and slaughtered his enemies. He was king of everything that fell under the shadow of his wings. He was the Great Raptor, The Wind Lord, The Golden Winged Sovereign and his authority proclaimed it to the world.

Perhaps this was why Lady Bloodworth’s comment had him taken aback.

Stupid? STUPID FOOL? 

Valerian’s hawklike eyes narrowed, a predatory gaze falling on the one who would ridicule him to his face. Who did this geriatric think she was? She was the fool if she thought that she could disparage him out of hand just because of their relationship. If she noticed his displeasure, the old lady made sure to ignore it. She leaned forward in her chair, staring at him with eyes that seemed to look into his soul.

“Yes!” she said, speaking as though she were pronouncing a judgement of some sort. “This would explain it. The pieces fit together much better now.”

“So you believe me now?” he asked sarcastically, his imperious will challenging her to say differently.

She shot him a look then. If he had described the first as soul searching, this one was soul-piercing. Then she tsked and shaking her in disappointment, she mumbled something under her breath. Valerian caught it, of course, his senses were sharper than any had right to be and even if he hadn’t, the wind, his dutiful servant would have borne it up to his ears.

‘Such a waste of time!’

The wind stirred at this new affront buffeting the room and tossing around everything in it. A waste of time? Is that what she thought of him? She wouldn’t dare! She had to have been talking about something –someone else.

Lady Bloodworth frowned. “It is worse than I thought”, she said shielding her side of the room. 

Turning to her servant, she asked him, “Was he like this the other time as well?”

The man stared at Valerian in a much more befitting manner, equal parts awe and fear. “I’m afraid not, milady. It wasn’t anywhere near this intense.”

The nerve? Speaking of him without first addressing him. 

HEY!” Valerian announced, seeking to remind them of the fact they had overlooked. “I am right here!

The old lady shook her head sadly. “No. You’re not!” 

“Change back Valerian, we have much to discuss. Hopefully, we can salvage this before you cause more wanton destruction.”

The old lady’s eyes swept her study or what was left of it. It wasn’t just his wings cutting through the walls now. The winds he had summoned tore through the room in a localised tempest and every metallic implement in his range practically whizzed through the air, borne up by his essence. 

Valerian saw none of this, rather he took a single floating step back as if physically struck by her dismissal. She didn’t!

The old lady looked up at him with a growing frown. “Can you hear me, Valerian? Change back!”

She did! he realised with stunned disbelief.

She actually dared give him orders. HIM! 

His imperious will descended with crushing force, magnified by his authority and bolstered by his monarch intent. The room was wrecked before. Now it was flattened by the pressure of his power and will. Internally, his phantasm wailed, begging him to stop but Valerian paid the daemon no mind. They had to be shown the folly of their actions.

Abruptly, Valerian’s heartbeat stilled in apprehension, as his peng instincts screamed at him to flee. He never got that chance. Everything went froze as all colour and life were seemingly leached from the world around him. He recognised the trick as one Lady Bloodworth had pulled on him before but it was already too late. Valerian was already frozen in place, or was he? His wings, his true golden wings shone bright and true, tearing through the restriction placed upon him. The faded world cracked with an eerie, bone-chilling sound. 

Valerian nearly fell, a sudden sense of weakness coming upon him. He must have used up at least four-fifths of his essence reserves on that one move. There was no way he was pulling that off again. Thankfully, his subconscious worked faster than his conscious mind. He was already moving to eliminate the threat before it strike again. The golden wings flapped again, swinging at the impassive woman. Unexpectedly, her servant put himself in their path, raising his hands to block. 

For the first time, his sharp eyes caught a hint of panic in Lady Bloodworth’s expression as she reached out and pulled her butler away. 

Valerian frowned as the edge of his wings cut through whatever barrier the butler put up but failed to touch the man himself. He almost went in for another attack but his blaring instincts prevented that. This was his best chance to get away. Not sparing another second, he was off.

[Soaring through the Heavens]

Within a single wingbeat, he was on his way. A part of him lamented the fact that he was unable to harm his detractors. That would have to wait another day. When he came back he… PAIN!

Without warning, he was jerked back into the same room he just left. Against his better judgement, Valerian glanced back and saw a frowning Lady Bloodworth with a couple of golden feathers in her hand. he didn’t have to guess what happened. She caught him by the tip of his left-wing only for his feathers to give way to the force. Now, he was back in the study and she was in front of the door.

“CHANGE BACK NOW!” she yelled at him.

Valerian dared not comply. Every instinct for self-preservation he had was going haywire. This wasn’t even about his injured pride anymore. He had to get away from here. If his ascended self stood no chance what good would his base form do? Pushing himself to his limits in his desperation, he dove through the shattered study windows and into the manor gardens. Unfortunately, for him, he did not make it far. 

A foot slammed into his back, sending him sprawling onto the floor. Valerian tried to stand but his newfound passenger refused to budge, keeping him pinned. The wind shrieked around them but not even it could free him. The indignity was beyond mortifying. The Monarch of the Heavens grounded and crushed underfoot.

Valerian craned his neck back to face his foe with a snarl, resolved to fight his way out. Only to falter at the sight of something decidedly inhuman staring back. Something in that gaze made even the peng quiver in fear. As the pools of flame stared back at him, he was quickly reminded that the woman on his back shared the same bloodline as his teammate. Her eyes glowed with an unearthly light. They had a strange, hypnotic quality that drew people in, even as they sensed the danger that surrounded her. His own eyes shone bright, peering behind the curtain at the foe that assailed him. It was a mistake. Valerian bit back a scream as his mind was tormented with visions of her power. 

A world of fire and nothing but fireMountains. Rivers. Skies. All of it, flame and at the centre, a glorious temple palace of fire and gold surrounded by trees that bore flame fruit

Fiery figures dancing in a circle as they praised their queen, offering themselves and their warmth to her. Some were consumed by her fiery power, their bodies writhing in agony as they were engulfed in rapturous flames. 

Enemies that simply vanished, leaving behind nothing but a pile of smouldering ash at a single touch of annihilation

Jewels or were they stars? Bound flames? Lives? A startling embryonic …

The visions were cut abruptly cut short by a tyrannical will. Valerian stared unseeing, mind still aflame as the creature atop him gave him chastising look that would not be out of place on his own grandmother. However, when it spoke, it revealed a hint of the terrifying creature that lurked beneath the human guise, “Okay then, let’s try this again!” 

“Change back, now!” she said in a voice like the crackling of flames, her words carrying a subtle, but unmistakable command that bore down on Valerian’s mind and soul. 

Wings of gold broke apart into motes of light and disappeared, avian features quickly receded as Valerian’s transformation was dispelled however unwillingly. His eyes rolled back in his head as the backlash hit. The last thing he heard as he slipped into unconsciousness was the screams but whether they were his own, the raptor or his phantasm, he could not tell.

“This foolish boy.” 

Already, the manor was stirring. The commotion had not gone unnoticed. Bundling up her charge, Lilian handed him over to her shell-shocked butler and beckoned him after her. 


As Valerian slowly regained consciousness, he felt a heavy weight pressing down on him, like a lead blanket had been draped over his body. His eyes struggled to open, and the world around him swam in and out of focus. He tried to sit up, but a sharp pain shot through his head, and his muscles refused to obey. He felt incredibly feeble like he had been drained of all his strength.

Every movement felt like a herculean effort, and he could feel his heart beating erratically in his chest. A strange taste lingered in his mouth, metallic and bitter, and his stomach churned with a sickly sensation.

He closed his eyes again, willing himself to stay calm and steady. However, the darkness that surrounded him felt oppressive, like a heavy weight on his chest. His breathing grew shallow, and he could feel his body shaking uncontrollably.

As his strength slowly returned, Valerian managed to sit up, leaning against the back of the chair for support. Even that small effort left him gasping for breath, and he could feel his muscles trembling with exhaustion. Whatever happened to him was not just physical. Valerian could scarcely call up any essence. The moment he tried, he felt a deep-seated ache that threatened to overwhelm him. It took but an instant to trace this ache to his apertures, strained like he never knew was possible.

At first, he wondered what had happened to him, what had caused him to feel so weak but as the memories slowly trickled, he felt a deep sense of dread and horror creep over him. Recollections of the events in the study played themselves back in his mind.  

“No!” he croaked, his throat feeling cut up and sore.

Even as he grimaced at the pain, Valerian found himself shaking his head, worsening his condition. As his vision swam and his throbbing head threatened to send him back into unconsciousness, he kept repeating to himself, ‘No. No. No. No!’

Valerian dearly prayed he was wrong, that this was all a trick his mind was playing on him. He can’t have. There was no way. If his memories were correct, he destroyed the study. Worse, he attacked his teacher. How…

The sound of footsteps caught his attention causing him to turn and come face to face with the one person he would rather not see. 

Lady Bloodworth! 

“You recover quickly but I suppose that is to be expected”, she said offering him a large cup. 

Valerian stared at his teacher, his mind awhirl. “Please”, he croaked. Please what? 

Not even Valerian was sure at this point. Please forgive me? Please don’t kill me? Please don’t throw me out? Please help me? Please let me go?

She frowned. “Save your voice, child and drink the elixir”, she said pushing the cup into his hands. “You’re not in trouble. Not yet at least.”

Valerian opened his mouth to speak but before he could say anything, she threw a pill into his mouth. Choking it down, he nearly missed what she said next. 

“I’ll have your precious dagger come tend to you. So rest up and heal quick. We have a lot to discuss.”

“With any luck, we can save you before you end up killing yourself”, she said as a parting remark.


Author’s Note:

Hands up if you expected this! The seeds have been there since the near ascension during the trials after all.

10 cookies to whoever can figure out what’s going on.

3 Comments

  1. I’m guessing when Valerian transforms into the peng it hurts his other bloodlines. It’s not normal to have 3 bloodlines. 2 Daemon one Human. They’re probably fighting one another. Either that or Valerian also has a Kunpeng Phantasm.im guessing his mom had a purer bloodlines than thought.

  2. It’s the same thing as when he dove into the roots of his Steel Monolith bloodline.
    Only the Peng was manifesting physically as well instead of just mentally, meaning that it took over his body instead of just knocking him out.

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