Winx Club Forever
Love and Duty is the seventy-fourth issue of the Winx Club Comic Series.
The rebellion over on Eraklyon has reached its worst possible stage as the rebels have launched an attack on the Eraklyon Kingdom with the support they got from a neighboring kingdom, and the attack was so severe that the king, queen and what was left over from the Royal Court had to seek refuge in a remote area. Everything seems to get worse and worse as Sky and Brandon end up being attacked by rebel soldiers while remaining completely unaware of the state of their home realm and, when the Winx try to step in, they are rendered powerless. Luckily, they have help from a new ally, but the two Specialists must return home to help aid in the fight against the rebels for the sake of the kingdom.
The news reports that the rebel uprisings supported by a neighboring kingdom has launched another attack on the Eraklyon Kingdom. King Erendor, Queen Samara and the rest of the Eraklyon Royal Court were able to escape the attack and have taken refuge in a safe place. However, the rebel forces, reinforced by regular troops from the neighboring kingdom of Karunda, have already captured the kingdom's capital.
Bloom begins to dread the news as Flora tries to assure her by telling her that they knew nothing about it until now. She asks if Sky had told her but Bloom suspects that he may not know either. She tries to call him but there is no response and it claims that he is inaccessible. Tecna decides to try and get a hold of Timmy and, luckily, she is able to do so. He tells her that Sky and Brandon went out on a training mission this morning and that he did not even know about what happened until Tecna told him. Timmy then reveals that he lost radio contact with Sky and Brandon's shuttle so he is unable to warn them. He promises to call Tecna back once he gets news as he is waiting in the control room and Tecna thanks Timmy for the bit of news before ending the call. Tecna relays what Timmy told her to the rest of the Winx and Stella fears that Sky and Brandon will rush straight for Eraklyon once they get the news. She pouts over how their weekend plans have been ruined and Bloom urges for her to get more serious, telling her that it is only natural that Sky and Brandon return to Eraklyon in a situation this serious. Stella apologizes for what she had said until Tecna lets the girls know that she got a message from Timmy. However, the message is far from a positive one as it reads that the two boys have gone missing in the mountains.
Stella tries to ask Tecna what the message means but Tecna only knows what the message says. Bloom suggests that she call Timmy again but, when she tries to get a hold of him, there is no response. She suspects that Timmy may be busy in the control room and Aisha suspects that he may have sent that message in secret. She asks the girls what they should do now and Bloom is quick to claim that they need to get permission to leave from Headmistress Faragonda. Stella agrees and the girls head for Faragonda's office. When they arrive, they find Faragonda just exiting her office.
It turns out that she was just on her way to their dorm and so she invites the girls inside her office, asking if they know anything about the attack on Eraklyon. Bloom confirms that they just caught a news report on it and Faragonda tells the girls that Codatorta thinks Sky and Brandon's disappearance may be tied with the rebellion. Codatorta, who is already in a video-call with the headmistress, tells her and the girls that the two boys still have not returned from the mission and had to make an emergency landing somewhere in the mountains. Stella rushes towards the monitor on Faragonda's desk and starts prodding Codatorta with questions like what happened to Brandon and if he is hurt. While they still do not know what happened, Codatorta reveals that they are getting an emergency signal from the mountains, meaning that Sky and Brandon's shuttle is still intact. Unfortunately, they still need to supply another shuttle so they need more time before heading out. Stella then demands that Faragonda let them leave and Bloom clarifies that they initially came to get permission from her. Faragonda gives them permission and advises them to keep in contact with the rescue forces. Codatorta tells the girls that the emergency signal is coming from the Valley of the Wolf, north of Mount Windy, and promises to have some Specialists meet with them there. The girls then leave Faragonda's office as Faragonda wishes them good luck.
Once they are out on the courtyard, Bloom asks the girls if they have enough energy to fly and after all of them get ready, they go into their Believix forms to fly off in the direction of the Valley of the Wolf. However, as they are flying off, a man dressed in army camouflage hiding just outside the Alfea gates reports to someone via walkie-talkie that seven fairies are flying in the direction of his comrades and warns them that they have three hours at most to finish up.
As the girls fly in the direction of Mt. Windy, Stella asks for Tecna to call Timmy, which she is already trying to do. She gets in touch with Timmy, who tells her that they will be taking off in the next ten minutes. Just then, Bloom points out Mt. Windy and lets the girls know that the Valley of the Wolf is just on the other side. Once they make it closer to the Valley of the Wolf, Timmy's shuttle is also headed their way. Timmy tells the girls that the emergency signal is coming in the direction of 2-8-0 and has the Winx follow the shuttle. Musa is beginning to get tired and Bloom tries to encourage her to keep going as they will be riding on the shuttle on their way back to Alfea. Soon enough, the shuttle lands and the girls land next to it.
As the Specialists exit the shuttle, Stella asks Timmy where Brandon and Sky could be since they are nowhere near them. Timmy, who is using a device that receives radio signals, cannot understand what is going on because the device is telling him that the signal is coming from right where they are. Aisha comes across a radio hidden in nearby rubble and Timmy realizes that the radio she found was being used to send out a fake distress signal. Bloom asks if this means that the radio was pretending to be one from Sky and Brandon's shuttle, to which Timmy confirms this but does not know who put it there or why they did so. Bloom fears that the two boys may really be in danger. Stella asks why she thinks so and Bloom explains that the enemy may have forced the two boys to make an emergency landing. With the hidden radio, the enemy would make sure that rescuing forces would not come quick enough and, while the rescue is sitting around wasting time trying to figure out the story behind the radio, the enemy would have enough time to kidnap Sky and Brandon. Musa asks Bloom if she knows who could do such a thing and, while Bloom does not know, she suspects that it may be related to the rebellion on Eraklyon. Stella urges them to look for the boys before it is too late and Timmy proposes that they will go off in search of them in three different groups. He, Helia and Riven will go north towards their friends' last known location, meanwhile, the Winx will split up and search in the other directions. Bloom, Stella and Flora decide to search towards the east while Tecna, Musa, Aisha and Roxy will search towards the west.
As Bloom, Stella and Flora fly off, Bloom marvels at the beautiful view of the mountains. Stella, however, is not interested in any mountain views as she desperately wants to find Brandon. Flora points out a small cottage by the base of one of the mountains and suggests that they check it out as there may be someone who lives there who might have seen something. The three of them land near the cottage, when a young man has just stepped outside.
Bloom asks the young man if he lives at the cottage but the young man is more mesmerized by the Winx's wings. He asks if they are from Alfea as he has heard of girls going there to fly and do things "out of the ordinary." Bloom confirms this and introduces herself, Stella and Flora to the young man. The young man introduces himself as Jordan and Bloom asks if he has seen a shuttle fly passed his cottage. She specifies that the shuttle would most likely be one from Red Fountain that their friends were in and Jordan claims to have seen one fall right on the mountain closest to his home, leaving behind a trail of smoke as it fell. He further explains that he was gathering his equipment in order to check out the crash site and Bloom asks if Jordan is a climber. He confirms this but claims that he usually does not bring rope with him. Stella interjects, telling Jordan that they will go on ahead, and then asks him if he knows which way the shuttle went. Jordan points towards to twin peaks just on the horizon and the three girls fly off ahead.
Happy that they finally have a good lead to go on, the three of them fly towards the twin peaks until Flora comes down with a sudden headache. Bloom latches onto Flora to support her and asks her what is wrong. Flora does not know exactly what happened but suddenly feels tired and Bloom also begins to feel dizzy. She suggests that they land until Stella points out that there are some people walking on the mountain ridge just below them. She suspects that they are soldiers of some kind and begins to realize that they are the rebel forces looking for Sky and Brandon's shuttle.
Suddenly, all three of them cannot seem to stay in the air and Flora is even beginning to faint. Bloom starts to get an idea as to what is going on and reveals to Stella and Flora that these effects are similar to the ones they would feel when under the influence of the Shaab Stone. The influence is still as strong as ever, as it is able to force the three of them out of their Believix. Bloom suspects that the rebels are carrying fragments of the stone and advises Stella and Flora to remain hidden now that they cannot defend themselves with magic. The rebels are also armed which would make stopping them even more difficult. As the girls try to stay hidden, the rebel men continue their trek, angry at how their comrades made their part of the job more difficult. The leader of the group still claims that they are lucky as a rescue group has not arrived yet and he urges his men to move faster as the device on his wrist is telling him that the shuttle is less than 50 meters from their location.
The girls follow the rebel troops from below the ridge until both groups come across Sky and Brandon's shuttle on a mountain ridge just between them.
Brandon peers down from the cliffside after hearing Stella's voice and Stella waves at him from the bottom of the ledge, excited that he is alive. The rebel troops begin shooting at the Winx with orders to keep them away from their targets, so the three girls scramble for cover. Sky manages to exit the shuttle and demands to know who is firing at them. Brandon points out the men on the ridge above them and notices that they look like soldiers.
The leader of the group of rebel troops orders three of his men to kidnap Prince Sky as the others will stay and cover them. The two boys quickly notice that the soldiers are headed their way but they still do not know who they are. That is until Brandon suspects that they are mercenary ninjas working for Yoshinoiya due to their uniform.
Bloom, Stella and Flora are still stuck having to hide behind boulders for cover. They notice that the rebel troops are going to capture them and Stella urges that they warn Brandon and Sky as they do not even know about what has happened on Eraklyon. Stella leaps from her hiding spot to warn Brandon that the men closing in on them are from the rebellion on Eraklyon, which annoys the troops and causes them to shoot at Stella. Luckily, Bloom is able to get Stella out of the way and asks if Stella got hit by the bullet. However, Stella complains over how hard Bloom tugged at her arm. Flora asks Bloom what they should do since they are stuck but Bloom points out that Brandon and Sky are also stuck and they cannot fight back.
From the highest ridge, one of the rebel troops takes notice of how the fairies below them cannot transform and the leader of the group expresses his confidence in the pendant around his neck as he reminds his subordinate that the Shaab Stone is the ultimate weapon against magical creatures.
As half of the rebel troops scale the mountain wall to get to their targets, Sky remembers that Stella mentioned a rebellion happening on Eraklyon. Brandon realizes that a rebellion would make sense of their shuttle crashing as he believes that the engine suddenly giving out like it did could not have been natural. Luckily, when the engine gave out, Brandon tried to steer back to Red Fountain. If he had not done so then it is likely that he and Sky would have already been captured. Sky claims that they will still end up being captured since they do not have weapons to defend themselves with, but Brandon claims that Sky's way of thinking is not really true. He shows this by throwing a rock at one of the rebel troops which almost makes him lose his grip on the rope. The two boys then turn it into a friendly competition over who can get the most hits on the rebel troops and they begin pelting the men with rocks.
One of the troops on the highest ridge aims his gun at their targets but the leader stops him, reminding his subordinate that they have been ordered to bring the prince and his squire back alive and unharmed. He is confident that a few rocks will not be able to stop his men and that they will ultimately capture Prince Sky.
Bloom, Stella and Flora are stuck having to watch from their hiding place as they try to come up with a diversion. Just then Jordan arrives and asks them how everything is going. Stella explains the situation to Jordan, who immediately springs into action.
One of the rebel troops shoots at Jordan but he misses all of his shots. Jordan then uses the rope to climb up to the ridge above by using a blind spot. The troops' leader then urges for his men to hurry up before Jordan reaches them. One of the rebels is having a tougher time than the others easing himself down the ridge. Brandon takes this as an opportunity to pelt him with a rock, which causes the rebel troop to fall off the mountain wall and land on the ridge below. Just as he believes that he made a safe landing, Brandon approaches him and punches the rebel unconscious.
As that is all happening, Jordan continues to scale the mountain wall barehanded. Bloom and Stella watch on in amazement as Jordan does not have any difficulty climbing the mountain side.
Soon enough, Jordan makes it to the mountain ridge and alerts Sky and Brandon that he has a rope with him. Sky tries to ask Jordan questions like who he is or how he knew that they needed help, but Jordan insists that he can answer those questions later and simply tells them that he is a friend of their fairy companions who are waiting just below. Jordan asks the boys if they can climb down a rope and advises them to make it to the bottom before other enemy troops arrive. Brandon assures Jordan that they can climb down a rope as the two of them tie one end to a nearby boulder.
From the highest ridge, the troops' leader can see that Jordan will be able to get Prince Sky away from them with the rope he brought and he urges his subordinate to shoot. His subordinate, however, believes that he cannot shoot otherwise he would risk shooting Prince Sky.
More men successfully make it to their ridge and Sky urges that Brandon climb down the rope first since the enemy troops cannot risk shooting him. Sky then fights back the enemy troops as Brandon is the first to escape.
As this is all happening, Stella decides to call Timmy to tell him of their location. Once he puts in their coordinates, Timmy tells Stella that he is on his way.
Meanwhile, Jordan fights back any more rebel troops as Sky makes his way down the rope. Frantic, the troops' leader orders the rest of his men to give chase.
Brandon makes it down safely and Stella runs towards him, relieved that he is safe. Both Jordan and Sky make it down as well and Bloom embraces Sky. The troops' leader screams at his men to give chase but it is too late as a Red Fountain shuttle has already arrived to rescue Prince Sky and his squire.
Later, at Red Fountain, Codatorta expresses his relief for Sky and Brandon's safety as he thanks everyone involved. He claims that if Sky were captured then the college would be dishonored as Eraklyon's future would have been jeopardized. Sky insists that it is all thanks to their friends at Alfea and Jordan, who risked his life to save him. Jordan claims that he found it all to be fun, to which Codatorta asks if Jordan finds risking his life to be casual fun. Jordan insists that there is no risk in things one knows how to do and is glad that he was such a big help to everyone. Codatorta then offers to let Jordan into Red Fountain as a Specialist if he ever wants to enroll but then switches the subject by asking Sky if Timmy explained everything to him. Sky confirms this and reveals that, according to the latest bit of news, his father is hiding in the mountains with an army unit that still remains loyal to him. He insists that it is his duty to fight alongside the remaining troops and requests that Codatorta give him and Brandon permission to return to Eraklyon right away. As Codatorta grants the two boys permission, Bloom overhears it all.
Codatorta tells Sky that there will be a shuttle prepared to take them to Eraklyon in an hour and leaves. Sky thanks Codatorta and, once he has left the room, Bloom asks Sky when he thinks they will see each other again. Sky does not know but he is certain that his place is on Eraklyon, fighting alongside his people and his father. He then confesses to Bloom that he does not know how the war will end or if they will ever see each other again.
Stella watches as Bloom and Sky hold each other close and Brandon hugs her from behind, promising that he will return after a short time. Stella asks Brandon if he really means this and Brandon reaffirms his promise by telling Stella that will be back very soon.
Timmy tells Bloom that they will all be headed down to the cafeteria for lunch and that he will be bringing them back to Alfea afterwards. Bloom thanks Timmy for telling her as Sky pulls her outside so that they can spend some time together before he has to leave. While outside, Bloom asks if Sky can write to her and Sky agrees to do so as making e-mails and phone calls can be easily tracked. He hopes that he will be able to do so as he is still scared of what he may have to face, and Bloom promises to write back to him as well. Bloom then jumps into Sky's arms, begging for him not to leave her, but Sky promises that he will not be gone for long. As they embrace, the two of them share a kiss.
However, an hour passes by all too quickly and Sky and Brandon are flown off to Eraklyon. Stella begins sobbing as their shuttle takes off and Bloom tries to comfort her, however, Stella has a sinking feeling that this will be the last time she will ever see Brandon. Timmy alerts the girls that he will be taking them back to Alfea and as all of them make their way for his shuttle, Bloom tries to calm Stella down.
Days go by without any word from either boys until Tecna comes racing into their dorm one day with letters in hand. She tells Stella and Bloom that letters from Brandon and Sky have just arrived and the two girls excitedly accept them. As they open the letters, Musa, Flora and Tecna try to get a peek at Brandon's letter for Stella but Stella playfully insists that these things are private. Bloom reads from her letter from Sky and lets the girls know that they are fine but things are looking to be more complicated than they had hoped. Sky has already taken command of the eastern border and the war will take longer than he expected.
Suddenly, a news report comes on and more bad news seems to keep on coming. The rebellion has extended towards all known regions of the planet and any and all plans to bring peace have ended in failure. Despite the future king having a large loyal following supporting him, interference from other kingdoms have prevented all attempts at negotiation. Communications have become increasingly more difficult and only a small handful of merchants have been able to slip past the blockade. With all of this in mind, many of the planet's people fear that the war will go on longer than expected.
After hearing this, Stella begins to worry that this will make things impossible for Brandon to send anymore letters and starts crying again. Musa tries to assure her that it is only an announcement based off of speculation and Bloom leaves the room as she has to go to work. On her way out, she is stopped by Faragonda, who claims to have another letter from Sky. Bloom thanks Faragonda for the letter as she rushes for work and Faragonda believes that it will be good news. Making her way to the bus stop, Bloom decides that she will read the letter in a quiet place.
At the White Horse, Bloom reads the letter in the empty cafe and quickly becomes disheartened. It reads that communication is becoming increasingly more difficult as their letters could be intercepted at any point, which could cause Sky's location to be found out by enemy forces. This could also put Bloom in danger, so he believes that it is best that they stopped writing to each other. As he is uncertain when or if they will ever see each other again, Sky writes that Bloom is free from their commitment; their relationship is over. Bloom begins to cry as she looks out the window, but she is quickly interrupted by Jordan, who happened to be passing by. Noticing that she is upset, Jordan tells Bloom that he can come back at a better time, but Bloom insists that he can stay with her for a bit. Taking her up on her offer, Jordan tells her that he happened to get a job in Magix and that he will still be able to climb all he wants. Jordan proposes that they meet up sometime so that, maybe, he could teach her how to climb but Bloom cannot hang out today because she will have to work soon. Jordan claims that they can meet up whenever she is free and waves goodbye as he makes his way out.
Later that day, the White Horse seems to be busier than ever and Bloom cannot seem to keep up. Greta proposes that Bloom take a break, so she does not overwork herself, but Bloom insists that working keeps her distracted from thinking about other things. Greta tries to ask Bloom what is going on and advises her to take a break. Bloom tries to say that she is fine but Greta makes her take a break, assuring Bloom that she and the bartender can handle things just fine. Bloom decides to accept an early break and heads out to the lakeshore to watch the sun set. At the same time, however, Jordan arrives and the two wave at each other, with Bloom obviously being exhausted.
- Throughout the issue, the Winx's Believix wings appear to be more simple and do not retain a lot of their inner designs. The shape of the wings will also change in some instances.
- On page 8, as Timmy's shuttle is in sight, Flora is missing her bracelets.
- On page 9, as the Specialists leave the shuttle in order to track the signal by foot, Helia's uniform is all blue.
- On page 12, as the Winx split up in groups of two, the girls' Believix outfits are missing some things:
- Aisha's bracelet is place on the wrong arm.
- Flora's bracelets are missing.
- Tecna's fingerless gloves and the blue from her shoes are missing, making it seem like she is only wearing socks.
- Stella's orange knee-high socks are also missing.
- With a clearer view of the three groups splitting up, Roxy is nowhere to be seen, despite leaving with the Winx at Alfea.
- On page 13, both Bloom's gloves and Flora's bracelets are missing. However, Bloom's gloves reappear in the last panel.
- Also, Flora's shoes look like ankle-length boots as opposed to their usual appearance.
- On page 14, as the three girls fly ahead of Jordan, Bloom's shoes look like knee-high pink heeled boots.
- On page 15, as Bloom tries to keep Flora from falling, Flora's boots look like simple lavender boots instead of being pink with lighter pink knee-high socks underneath.
- On page 21, Sky and Brandon's Specialist uniforms are all blue in the bottom panel.
- On page 35, as Bloom and Sky kiss, Sky's glove is completely white.
- The Winx
- The Specialists
- Alfea Staff
- Red Fountain Staff
- Rebel Forces
- Yoshinoiya (mentioned)
- White Horse Staff
- Much like My Friend is a Dragon and Pirate Island, this issue references the Shaab Stone Arc of the comics series.
- This is the only instance where Bloom and Sky officially break off their relationship, due to them being uncertain if they will ever see each other again.
- This is also the only instance where Yoshinoiya is ever mentioned in the comics.