After a long, tense, pause, Ardor took the swords away, and then sheathed them, keeping his eyes on the opponent all the while. When he did, his possible father sighed with relief, and set in a more comfortable position. After a little hesitation, Iris followed him, putting the sword on the ground beside her, and then Ardor sat down too, preparing to listen. - "So... what happened back then? I know we've been fighting. You've tried to kill me. You've left these scars on me!"
- "You truly don't remember anything, do you?" he sighed again "Then I'll have to stat from the very beginning..."
- "Beginning? What, my birth?" - Ardor asked skeptically.
- "Have patience, young enderman! The story begins before your birth... It begins with your mother."
- "My mother? I think I'm starting to remember you, but I don't recall having a mother."
- "And you wouldn't. She died while giving you birth."
- "Yes, it was hard for both of you, and, even though, you have survived, the doctor who delivered you, said that you will survive for only a few months at best."
- "Oh!" - Iris realized something suddenly - "This story sounds familiar! I think my dad told it to me, after my mom... was gone.... What was the name of the doctor who helped you? And do you happen to be Pr. Demens?"
- "Yes I do! And it was Indigo. Oh! And you must be Iris then! Of course, now I know why you look familiar. He talked about you a lot the last time I visited. He also told me about your friends, and that's.. well, that's how I've heard about Ardor... But he never talked about your mother.. Though now I see why he has changed so much. Back then he was cheerful and full of energy, trying to support me however he could."
- "What's going on here? How did it all get so interrelated? Were we connected from the very beginning, somehow?" - Ardor looked at Iris, puzzled."
- "Yes, it's in fact very interesting, but let me continue the story."
They all nodded, and Demens continued - "So... Dr. Indigo tried to help as best as he could, but he was powerless, and my son was going to die. You must understand - he was all I've had left, after my wife died, so I decided to take a disparate step."
- "That doesn't sound good to me" - Iris put in - "What did you do?"
- "I remember..." Iris and Demens turned to Ardor, who was holding his head in his arms, thinking hard - "of course! Now it's all rushing back!" - he sat upright, and looked at each of them in turn, stopping on Iris - "He told me about it after my first fight! It was the first time I understood why I was always rejected by everyone! In an attempt to save my life, he hacked my DNA, adding strong genes, from other creatures. He chose Blaze and Enderdragon, as, supposedly, a very strong combination."
- "That is a very primitive, unscientific explanation, of a very delicate and hard process, son, but generally you're right..."
- "Blaze I can understand... Enderdragon though...?" - Iris was puzzled.
- "You must understand... It was my last hope, and I couldn't take chances. But... something went wrong, and Ardor... well, he didn't grow up as an ordinary Ender-child. He was... different." - he looked at Ardor apologetically.
- "Well, I like what I look like!"
- "And so do I Ardor, but there were too many who didn't..."
- "Though I can't see, I doubt you look any bad..." - Iris said, comforting.
- "Yeah... I guess... Thank you." - Ardor blushed again, despite himself. Meanwhile Demens coughed and continued - "You must understand though, I don't know what went wrong - I was too overflown by grief and desperation to think logically, and even when he began to change, I still didn't see where it's going at the moment."
- "I know what you mean" - Iris said - "I myself had to keep my dad from trying to clone mom after she disappeared."
- "Anyways..." - Ardor took the story from here - "As I've mentioned before, I was rejected by other kids, and adults alike. I've tried hard to be kind and friendly, but it didn't make it better. So I've started to try other ways to make people notice me. Any means, however disparate. At the time, I've also noticed that I'm stronger then other ender-kids, and even adults. With four arms, and fireballs-throwing ability, I've become feared even more. Until I... ended up in a fighting club..." he looked at Demens, who sighed deeply.
- "I was too busy with my work. Especially with genetics, trying to find a way to make Ardor's life easier, but, by not spending more time with him, I only made it worse. When I've heard about the fighting club, I was shocked." - Demens sighed again.
- "It sounds illegal" - Iris put in - "Where was that club placed?"
- "Well, because, as you said, it was illegal, the club didn't have permanent location - the battles were held in different places every time. Abandoned facilities, someone's basement, a dark alley... Everyone in the underworld knew about it, and was always informed regarding the next "meeting". I got in, and immediately was noticed, both due to my skills and looks. I was finally noticed. People cheered for me, bet on me, shook hands with me, and challenged me to battles, acknowledging my power. I was happy, but then the problems begun.
When I was in the younger league, I was a profitable attraction, but when I started to climb to the top, getting dangerously close to the places that were already paid for, and reserved for the three "favorites", the authorities begun to worry."
- "At first he was naive, and clueless, blinded by fame, failing to see what was going on around him. But, fortunately, this was when I've started to notice things. Hear talks on the streets. And then some odd accidents started to happen - rocks falling from the roof, when Ardor's passing under them, barely dodging in time, his food going toxic, and one time there was water spilled all over the floor of his room!"
- "I still thought it was just accidents. I begun to realize too late. But by the time I did - the semi-finals were close, and I wasn't about to give up, no matter what."
- "The day before the semi-finals, terrible news were spread around the town - a store on one of the streets was rubbed and burnt down. And there were witnesses who claimed to have seen Ardor doing the deed. It has reached the Enderdragon himself, and guards were sent out to arrest him. Somehow all the citizens also knew about the illegal fight, which, for a change, was planned to happen in an open field, where Ardor was already preparing for the battle. And there he was found by the angry mob and the official guards."
- "When I realized what was going on, and what I was accused of, I was really angry, just as the plotters have planned, and when a guard asked me to come with them, I've lost control, and challenged to an open battle anyone who thinks that I'm guilty. I didn't realize I'm inviting an angry mob to tear me apart."
- "I was there too, and when Ardor made that horrible mistake, I saw only one option. I've had to answer his challenge, in order to save his life. And so, while everyone was still hesitating, I stepped forward. I knew that Ardor won't go back on his word, no matter who stood before him. I also knew that I've had no chance to overpower him, but he would be shocked by seeing who opposes him, if only for a moment, and I could use this opportunity. Everything went exactly according to my calculations, and so, I've clawed him across the face, without warning, making him lose coordination and sight for a short while, and then I drove him closer to an End portal, and pushed him out for good, by clawing him at the chest." he looked at his modified claw, gleaming coldly in the dim light. - "It's a special metal, you see. Very strong."
- So, that explains how Ardor got his scars, and the trauma was probably the cause of his amnesia."- Iris concluded -"But what happened next? How did this place become a desolation?"
- "And here we came to the saddest part..." - Demens began, his voice slightly trembling - "shortly after Ardor was pushed out, the Enderdragon himself has arrived. He saw through the plot, and his agents were collecting evidence, that would be sufficient for arresting the criminals. They made it almost in time, but "almost" doesn't count. They tried to convince the mob in Ardor's innocence, but, unfortunately, the owners of the fight club have had great influence on many of the people, and so, a battle started. People have split into those demanding "justice" over the "accursed monster", while the others supported their wise leader, the Enderdragon. Emotions raged, and certain individuals saw an opportunity that they couldn't dream of - they've had a real chance to overturn the governments, and take the Enderdragons place, and that resulted in a great bloodshed. There were no victors in this battle. Only broken and tired survivors who, after a while, had had to leave that, once, peaceful place, which was now turned into a mass grave of their friends and relatives. And their good ruler - the Enderdragon..." a heavy silence fell, when Demens finished the story. All the while Ardor was sitting with his face in his hands, but when the silence fell, he teleported away, without telling a word.