Jeopardy had seen the layout of the palace. He had seen the bends, twists and turns in which the hallways snaked and he knew where the guards were posted. This was thanks to his cleverness he’d developed at a young age.
He was the bastard son of two menacing parents who desired nothing more than to brawl, and inherited his mother’s cunningness as well as his fathers’ swift thinking. Jeopardy the NightWing/RainWing hybrid was to be feared.
He had midnight black scales with a steel-colored underbelly, a small frill behind his ears and two menacing fangs. His tail was long spiraled into a lighter gray, matching his limbs with unique swirling patterns. He also had a pair of two long wings where various grays and faded yellows splattered against the membranes.
Thunder crackled from everywhere around him as he found himself situated in a bleak cell that oozed moss from every corner and crevice. His long tail felt the deep scars between stones, restrained only by the many fireproof cuffs that held him in place. He sat on his haunches with his arms wrapped in long chains and legs tied to the floor. He was placed in a cell within the palace for a more exciting reveal when he was announced as another firescales dragon.
Searching for an escape, his stare grazed every surface and eventually landed on the two guards posted before his cell. None dared to look into his eyes which were a peculiar blazing yellow that crackled like the fiery depths of the underworld.
Not even his own mother dared to stare for too long, but Jeopardy never got lonely. He was born a twin in his egg, absorbing his brother’s life before they hatched, along with his NightWing fire breath. He was born with too much fire like Queen Scarlet’s fierce champion, which made him a deadly killing machine. But, unlike her, he had a ruthless taste for blood sated only by winning Scarlet’s pride. He wanted to be feared for what he could do, and soon he would be.
Jeopardy would compete with his firescales foe in the queen’s arena after a few warmup battles, and who ever lived, would rise as the new (or succeeding) Champion. The new (or former) Champion would face off against the five Dragonets of Destiny.
The hybrid wasn’t afraid of them; to him, they were a gang of measly worms born into a faux destiny. Easy prey, therefore he didn’t waste any time worrying about them, and instead focusing on the more… difficult opponent. Peril the SkyWing and Queen Scarlet’s Champion of the Arena.
Jeopardy had only seen her once, taking his time to assess each and every weak point she might have without getting too close. He had to admit, she was a mystery. But not for long. This afternoon, they’d spar and he’d destroy her and devour her flesh before the audience. A beautiful sight indeed.
Outside, the clapping of talons emanated and he knew he was about to face her. Then he’d dispose of the idiotic dragonets and be crowned champion. His blackened heart drummed in his chest.
Two burly guards swiveled to face his cell, fear in their eyes as they opened it wearily. The bars screeched from the buildup of rust. Jeopardy inhaled the crisp scent of smoke that wafted into the cell. Oh, this’d be magnificent.
The cuffs clanked as they fell to the stone floor and a venomous grin spread across the hybrid’s face. He was led from his cell carefully, tail bound against his neck so that he wouldn’t burn his escorts. They led him down the winding halls, inching ever closer to the arena.
He enjoyed the way that they regarded him with terror in their eyes and how they stayed as far as possible to avoid the heat that radiated off of his very scales. Just how his life should be.
The announcer, Vermillion, began to speak in the arena. His voice was muffled from behind the thick stone walls, but the SkyWing was loud enough that he could make out a few words. ‘Fierce’ and ‘exciting’ were used at least a few times.
Jeopardy turned the corner, then another, and saw the blinding glow that greeted him into daylight. The sky was a pristine baby blue that glowed against the scales of the crowd who gaped at the entrance to the arena, anxiously waiting his appearance. Jeopardy cleared his throat and flashed a toothy grin when the clamps around his legs were slowly unlocked.
Snap. Snap. His tail wiggled in the free room he was allowed when two of the cuffs clattered to the floor. Next, his arms had enough space to move, and then he could walk instead of shuffling. At last, the uncomfortable restraints around his jaws were removed and he stretched them as wide as he could, eliciting a crack from the muscles. His escorts’ eyes widened at the sight of how wide they opened; almost ninety degrees like a snake’s, thanks to his RainWing genes.
She will beg for mercy as her wings are severed from her body. Peril, you don’t stand a chance. He plotted silently and listened to Vermillion’s voice shout above the cheering cloud.
“—Jeopardy, the firescales Night and RainWing hybrid!”
Claps thundered from everywhere at once and he stepped out into the arena. The smoldering sand sank in between his talons when he walked; feeling pride, glory and excitement all at once. Jeopardy’s eyes flicked towards Queen Scarlet. She was a lean SkyWing with jewelry that wrapped around her ankles, neck and horns. Below her was a small tree with a RainWing displayed between the branches, giving off a magnificent display of colors. His gaze then floated toward his opponent.
Peril had metallic-orange scales with startling blue eyes that stared back into his. He saw the underlying nervousness in those eerie orbs that questioned whether this battle would be so easy. He grinned maliciously to reveal a set of two venom-tipped fangs and let out a hiss of smoke from his nostrils.
Above them, the five Dragonets of Destiny watched in awe as the two came to battle in blood and smoke, armed to the teeth with fire that could kill another dragon with a gentle touch of a claw.
Somewhere in the sand, off to the side, lied the corpse of a dead SandWing with ugly burns that marred his pale scales. The sands lapped over his arms and legs, making him appear limbless.
In a subtle, surprising movement, Jeopardy lurched towards the SkyWing and flared his dappled wings in a fierce distraction. Peril leapt slightly and backed further against the wall, her tail lashing.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Jeopardy taunted. “Are you afraid?”
Her arctic eyes flared, but he elicited no reply from the female. Only a hiss of smoke from her scales and a flicker of her forked tongue.
“I’d reckon you are.” He sneered and approached with caution. His eyes studied each and every scale on her body. “My, my, what a lovely coat of scales you have…”
“Stop,” she crowed in a desperate attempt to mask her fear.
“Listen, dearie.” His voice lowered to a whisper. “I’m not as bad as you think I am. I’m clever; I could help you escape. You don’t have to live this way.” Come a little closer.
In the distance, Scarlet’s brows furrowed, unamused. Her tail slithered against the back of her throne impatiently.
“Don’t you want to flee? Don’t you want a normal life without the killing? Sure, you can’t touch other dragons but at least you’d be free. I have a plan.”
Peril swallowed, hard before she narrowed her eyes. “I don’t need your help to escape. I love killing.”
“No, you don’t, Peril. Come here. Let me tell you my plan.”
The SkyWing’s gaze faltered.
“Peril, you are not a monster.”
Her eyes snapped a little wider. Desperate. Clawing at something. Jeopardy knew he’d struck the right cord.
“I know you, Peril, just by looking at you. You’re just afraid.” As if this couldn’t get more clichéd. “I will aid you. I know you don’t know me, but—…”
“I didn’t come here to see a chitchat! Get fighting!” Queen Scarlet roared.
“Let’s pretend to go at each other. This way, we’ll know what our firescales do when we go up against each other and we entertain this… queen.”
Peril nervously took a step forward and leapt at Jeopardy’s scales hesitantly. He pretended to dodge, but cut his movement short and allowed her to touch him. He felt her talons sink into his scales but didn’t feel the burn that he expected to sizzle off of them.
Terrified yet ever-so-thrilled gasps emanated from the audience as they watched with wide eyes.
Perfect. Jeopardy thought to himself. A fair fight.
A stuttering gasp escaped Peril’s throat and she instantly stepped back, looking down at her perfect talons. Her chest heaved.
“See? We can escape together.” Jeopardy said. “We can destroy our enemies. You don’t have to be alone anymore, Peril the SkyWing.”
Those words struck her heart; it was obvious in the way her mouth twitched. Jeopardy disguised his maliciousness in a charming, quirky grin and offered her his talon. “Come with me. I’m here for you.”
Her claws slowly touched his. They felt warm, as they should, but did not scald his flash. He looked down into her eyes. It was pathetic. Only a few words could lure this dragonet into his grasp? What a lame firescales.
And then she gave him that look. The look of you’ve-been-everything-I’ve-ever-been-waiting-for. It was a look of gratefulness and love and compassion. Something that cracked Jeopardy’s perfect complexion for just a moment as he pulled her into his warm embrace. Her heartbeat thundered against his chest. She was so warm and so petite, seeming to fit right into his arms and wings. Safety… right?
Oh, Peril. If only you’d been like me. His scales gripped onto her back before he slowly sank them into her flesh like the grip of a crocodile’s jaws. She shrieked, muffled by his large wings, and he spun her away when she tried to attack.
Jeopardy let out a bellowing laugh while he bobbed his head. The crowd cheered. “Thank you, thank you, it’s my absolute pleasure.”
Peril’s eyes were as wide as dinner plates. She felt her back with her long tail, smearing the blood from the puncture wounds. Tears sizzled against her face and evaporated within mere seconds. “Y-you…”
“Darling, you’re oblivious. Stop living in a dream. Nobody’s going to love you.” Jeopardy said nonchalantly while wiping blood from his talons. “I’ll give you a head start to run. Better hurry.”
A venomous grin crossed his features for the hundredth time that day when he realized that she was launching at him. He had to admit, she was nimble and could probably slip through his grasp if she was smart enough, but unfortunately she was always blinded. Blinded by trust or anger, and therefore would always make wrong choices.
Peril’s lean figure dashed between his enormous wings and launched towards his underbelly. He slammed her down against the sands with his claws, being much larger than her, and threw her away. She skidded across the burning ground, blood smearing against it, and let out a quiet sob. While incapacitated with emotions, the SkyWing was much weaker.
Standing up on wobbly legs, she inhaled a long breath and exhaled a huge plume of fire. Jeopardy countered it with his own green-tinged flames and they circled each other slowly. Being half-RainWing, his fire ran out quicker and when his extinguished, he was met with neck full of fire. Having firescales didn’t mean he was completely fire resistant, so they charred and left him with a burn that marred his perfect complexion. Jeopardy scowled and leapt to the side when another plume reached for him.
Jeopardy rubbed his throat, feeling the wound when Peril leaped at him again. Her claws pierced the soft flesh of his stomach, eliciting a curse from him. He fought claw-to-claw with her for a few moments of hissing and sputtering action before throwing her to the sands again. This time, he pursued her.
When the hybrid landed with his claws planted on her wing membranes, he felt disappointed and craved more. The Dragonets are going to get the worst of it, he told himself with a curt nod and slowly leaned his long neck down towards the SkyWing. Her throat glowed with a bright orange and he quickly clamped her snout shut.
“Peril, you are so painfully idiotic. That’s what’s a little… cute about you, you know?” His talons grappled around her jaws and began to squeeze. “If you’d have been smarter, I’m sure you’d have stood a chance. It’s a shame to see you go this fast.” He felt the heat of her fire pleading to escape, but held tighter. Her talons began to slice at his stomach, but he was too tall to reach. Only a few claws collided with his arms and he ignored the sting.
Crunch. He broke her jaw and felt it crackle within his death grip. A muffled shriek of pain emanated from her. “But before you go, let’s have a last bit of fun, shall we?” His charming eyes studied her.
The mess was brutal and bloody and when Jeopardy finished, he didn’t feel as good as he thought he might’ve. Though Peril’s body was mangled beyond recognition, he wished she would’ve lasted longer. Jeopardy licked his wounds and picked the remaining bits of flesh from his teeth. The crowd was still cheering minutes after the event.
“My new Champion… how thrilling! A wonderful thing indeed.” Scarlet cheered, sadistic excitement crossing her features. “You’ve exceeded my expectations and I’m thrilled to crown you.” She clapped her claws together.
Jeopardy dipped his head, now gnawing on a stray haunch. “Thank you, my Queen. It is my pleasure.” His eyes strayed towards the rock spires where his eyes met with a MudWing’s who fearfully watched him with tear-filled eyes. He cracked a toothy, flesh-ridden grin. You’re right, Scarlet. It’ll be very thrilling.
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