Chapter Two: New Recruits
Cynder followed Spyro to where the Core of Light was located. When she saw it, it was amazing. It seemed to contain the powers of many different sorts of elements.
“What’s in there?” she asked him.
He looked back at her. The hood of her cloak was still drawn over her face, but he could see her eyes. He smiled.
“It’s the eight elements,” he explained. “Magic, Undead, Fire, Air, Life, Water, Tech, and Earth. I’ll explain later for you, but for now we need to listen. This could be news we’ve been waiting for.”
“What do you mean?”
“Many of us have been wanting to go into the field and help the inhabitants of the Realms. I definitely do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.”
She sighed. Although she didn’t want to admit it, he was right. She wanted to redeem herself for what she had done in the past.
She was about to speak to him again when the whole crowd suddenly hushed up. She looked back up at the Core and noticed that a man had gotten up there. He seemed very old and withered, but his brown eyes shone with his youth.
“Hello, friends,” he greeted. “It is good to see that we have started expanding. Many of you have gone around Skylands and have brought back some that we believe can be made into great Skylanders! Now, before I move on to that, I must tell you the sad news. There has been a threat on the lives on the Mabu inhabitants, and I believe you all know who made the threat. Yes, once more, it was Kaos.” Eon sighed. “Soon, when we’ve finally gotten the right amount of Skylanders, we shall go over to the mainland. We have around 15 at this moment, and I would like to know how many have come that have not been sorted just yet. Count them up, please!”
Spyro smiled at Cynder.
“At least I only brought one. How does this feel so far? Are you ready to become a Skylander?”
“It feels different, but what do you expect? I haven’t been around these sort of things almost my whole life,” she said. “I’m happy I came with you now, though.” She smiled this time.
Every time he saw her smile, it made him smile. He still couldn’t fathom all she’d gone through and still was, but he still wanted to help her with it.
Seeing that his first suggestion wasn’t working, Eon decided on something new.
“Alright, instead, all those who are new, come up here so I can count you,” Eon said out loud. “It would be much easier for me to do.”
Cynder’s eyes widened. She didn’t want anyone else to see that she was there. But then came the thought that she was planning to join the Skylanders. If she did that, then they would know her more than now.
“Just go,” Spyro said. “It’ll all be over before you know it. When it is, we’ll see about your leg.”
Cynder, not taking off her hood, limped her way up to where Eon stood. He was staring at her strangely. There were 4 more who were wanting to be part of the Skylanders. One was a Dragon who seemed to be made out of gems. Then there was an archer who wore a red blindfold, a blue yeti with four arms, and finally a soldier wearing blue and yellow armor. Seeing that his arms and legs were pure bone, as well as some of the other parts of his body, Cynder guessed he was undead.
“Good! We have 5 wanting to become Skylanders!” Eon exclaimed to those who had either already become Skylanders or had not yet been initiated. “Now, we will ask you what your name is and where you are from. We will start from the other end first.” Cynder sighed, releasing all the breath she’d held in; she wasn’t the first in line, but she would be coming soon. There were only 4 others in front of her. The gem Dragon was first.
“My name is Flashwing,” she said. “It is thanks to Bash that I am here, although it was sort of a rocky start. I hope to help all those that I can, no matter what the cost.”
The Skylanders cheered and clapped. It was the undead soldier’s turn.
“My name is Chop Chop,” he said. Some of the Skylanders laughed. “Yes, it’s a funny name, but mess with me, and you won’t want to be coming near me again! It is thanks to Trigger Happy that I am here today. I will work with the Skylanders no matter what happens, no matter what attempts are made on my life.”
Then it was the archer with the blindfold. Despite it covering his eyes, he seemed to know where he was going.
“My name is Flameslinger. I have come because of Sunburn, and I am ready to attack my enemies as hard as I possibly can! And of course, to also help out my friends,” he explained in a surfer-like voice.
Then it was the Yeti with the four arms.
“My name’s Slam Bam. It is thanks to Gill Grunt that I have come here, and now I am happy to be with the rest of you all. Please accept my gratitude for allowing me to be here and to possibly become one of the next Skylanders.” He said it all in an uninterested voice, but his yellow eyes glowed with glee.
Cynder realized it was now her turn, which scared her. She didn’t know if any of the others knew who she was - or had been, for that matter.
“Would you like to come up now?” Eon asked. “You are the last one.”
As she limped her way over, she looked over to where Spyro stood. He smiled and nodded at her.
Just as she was about to speak, Eon told her, “You must take off the hood so we can see who you are.”
While still fearful, she took it off, which caused whispers to break out among the others.
“My name...is Cynder. It is because of Spyro that I’ve come, and I hope to serve the Skylanders well. I know how to help and how to fight, although my broken leg doesn’t help too much right now.” A few of the Skylander recruits smiled and laughed. “I hope that you trust me and believe in me. Thank you.”
As she finished, she limped off the rock and hurried over to Spyro. He nudged her slightly.
“Don’t do that!” she hissed. “It’s not like we’re mates or anything!”
“That wasn’t a loving nudge,” he replied. “It was more of a ‘well done’ sort of nudge. How do you feel?”
“I’m surprised nobody realized who I am,” she told him.
Before he could reply back, Eon began talking again. “Now that this is over, we shall break for about an hour. When the hour is over, we shall come back together and discuss what our initiation missions shall be.” He smiled, and then left the rock. He disappeared from sight very quickly.
As Spyro and Cynder walked away from where the others were, he turned to her.
“Cyn, you’re not who you once were, you know that,” he said.
“I told you to never call me ‘Cyn’! Sure, if I ever have a mate, then I’ll allow them to call me that, but that’ll probably never happen! Look at the crap I did! I’m not sure I can keep going through with this! It’s so much pressure!” She growled. Spyro could see tears in her blue eyes. “You’ve had so much luck, but I haven’t! I just want everything to be simple for once!”
“It will be, if you allow me to help you,” he told her. “You’re an amazing friend, and I won’t stop thinking of you as one. I know it wasn’t ever your fault when it came to Malefor, so you don’t need to worry at all, okay?”
She gave a small smile back. She then looked down at her leg. She gasped as it suddenly throbbed painfully.
“Ow,” she said. “I hate it when it does that.”
“And that reminds me,” he told her. “Let’s go over to the healing tent. They can probably heal your leg very quickly. I remember when I sprained something a few days ago, it only took a couple of hours, and now it’s no longer sprained.”
Cynder allowed him to lead the way. She limped across the ground, glad that she wouldn’t have to deal with the limp much longer.
It had broken after Spyro had succeeded in returning her to normal. Malefor had gotten angry and dashed over to her. He’d stomped on her leg and clawed her in the side.
While she still had the scars, which had once stung with unfathomable pain, it was her broken leg that pained her most of all. She was ready for all of the pain to go away.
As she looked over at Spyro, he looked back, and there was a small twinkle in his eyes. Cynder had never truly thanked him for helping her, and she wished that she had the strength. However, her only problem was the fact that she was still shy, and that she felt something inside of her that she wasn’t ready to share.
When they reached the healing tent, they found someone who resembled a lynx, although Cynder could that she wasn’t of that species.
“Hello, Spyro,” she greeted. “Who is this?”
“This is Cynder,” he said. “I brought her to join the Skylanders. But there’s also something we need you to check out.”
“And what’s that?” Cali’s eyes were almost the same color as Cynder’s, but just a little darker.
“One of her legs was broken a small time ago, and we need you to take a look at it,” Spyro explained.
“Okay. Can you jump up on the bed, Cynder?”
Cynder did so, despite pain in the broken leg.
“How did you break it?”
Cynder blinked, as it was a question that caught her off-guard. She would need to lie again.
“I was traveling, and I tripped over a vine. I fell into a hole and broke it when I landed hard,” Cynder said, hoping Cali would buy it.
“Strange. Aren’t Dragons good fliers?”
“Yes, and I am one, but I wanted to explore on the ground. I’ve been limping ever since.” Cynder smiled, happy that Cali was believing her.
“Alright. I can heal this quickly. And luckily, it doesn’t need to be bandaged. If it were one of your feet, then I would, or if your leg was broken much more recently, such as, say, last night. But of course, it wasn’t, so there’s no need.”
Cali made her way to a cabinet, and returned with a strange-looking substance. Cynder recoiled, not knowing what it could be.
“Um, what are you doing with that?” she asked. Cali saw the fear in her eyes and kept smiling.
“Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, and it doesn’t hurt,” Cali explained. “It’ll subdue the pain and stop it from hurting for a while. Besides, you’ll need it to. Tomorrow, I believe, is when Eon will split all of you up into groups of 3 or something. I mean, there are 20 of us, so I’m not too sure about that. But each group will go somewhere and eliminate some sort of a threat. I know it sounds bad, but it needs to happen, because when you’re a Skylander, you might not get much sleep anytime during the day or at night, unluckily. That’s why you’ll be needing sleep, the both of you. Not enough might result in something bad, and nobody wants to deal with that.”
Cynder’s eyes had widened when she heard there would be missions in different places...and that they would be the very next day!
“What in the heck?” she exclaimed. “But I just got here! How is that even fair?”
“Hey, don’t worry,” Spyro said. “You still have some power inside of you, I’m sure. For all you know, we might be going somewhere together.”
But Spyro wasn’t making her feel any better about the situation. She guessed she would be needing to go to sleep as soon as possible when night fell, or it would be very dangerous for her the next day.
“Here you go,” Cali said, holding out to Cynder a cup filled with the mysterious medicine. “I’ll keep it in my hand and you can just drink.”
Cynder drank it all down. It tasted sweet, but it also had some sort of a bitter aftertaste.
It was then that Eon walked into the tent, along with Hex. The Dark Elf Witch looked at Cynder strangely, almost as if she already knew her. It made Cynder feel a little uncomfortable.
“My dear, what happened?” Eon asked Cynder. “Well, I did see you limping, so that might have to do with this.”
“Yes, it does,” Spyro said. “She was injured a short while ago. But the good thing is, it should be completely healed by now. Wouldn’t you say so, Cali?”
“It should be,” Cali said. “Try walking on it, Cynder. See what it feels like. If you still limp, I can do something for that as well, so don’t worry.”
Cynder got down off the bed and attempted to walk on her leg. Amazingly, it did not hurt anymore, and she did not have to limp anymore.
“Wow!” Cynder said. “Thank you so much, Cali!”
“No problem,” Cali replied. “If you ever have another injury or something of that sort, come to me, and I will heal it for you as well as I can.”
“Yes, thank you very much, Cali,” Eon said. “But for right now, I must have both you and Hex leave this tent.”
“Why?” Hex asked. “I thought we were having a discussion.”
“I will join you later to speak more of that problem, Hex, but for right now, I must speak to Spyro and Cynder. I am sorry if it seems rude, but I am not trying to be so, Hex.”
“I understand,” Hex said. She and Cali left the tent, but Cynder could have sworn she saw Hex look at her with a confused expression, leaving her to wonder what the reason for that was.
When Eon had made sure they’d left and were not in hearing range, he turned back to Spyro and Cynder.
“Would you mind telling me your story, young one?” he asked Cynder.
But she recoiled.
“Wait, what?” she exclaimed.
Spyro knew what to do though. “Cynder, please, he’s someone we can trust with the secret,” he told her. “I know it’s a little hard, but you don’t need to worry about a thing.”
Cynder stared at him in a strange way for a minute, and then sighed, knowing that Spyro would never lie.
“Okay. So you want to know?” she asked Eon. He nodded. “Well, it’s dark and depressing, just so you know. When I was an egg, the Dark Master, also known as Malefor, took me, and when I hatched, he corrupted me, causing me to become much larger than any normal Dragoness my age. For years I spread terror and darkness throughout the Realms, with him by my side. But then one day, Spyro came and found me. That was in Shattered Island. But the thing is, I tried to kill him there. After a while, he found me and Malefor in a Realm known as Convexity. It was there that we had a huge battle, which resulted in me being injured, hence the broken leg, and being returned to normal, which I thank Spyro for doing. But Malefor succeeded in escaping, unluckily, and I went unconscious due to the pain of my injuries. When I woke up, I was there in Shattered Island, having my injuries healed. Spyro wasn’t there. He found me again only yesterday.”
Silence fell. Eon then broke it after a short while.
“I see. Have you dealt with any problems since then?” he asked Cynder.
“I’ve counted myself as an exile, if that’s what you mean. But otherwise, no. I haven’t. One thing I have told myself is that if I ever see Malefor again, I want to destroy him.”
“There’s no need for that, Cynder,” Eon said. “I trust you very well, as of this moment. When I’d first heard of you, I did not know what to believe, as there were so many stories, but now, hearing you talk of it leads me to the point where I believe only yours. Just to be safe, was all of this true, Spyro?”
“Yes,” Spyro answered.
“Good. You have nothing to worry about, Cynder. I believe you, and I will make you a Skylander. But now, tell me, what are your powers?”
“I can control shadow and some other elements, but I prefer my dark electricity more than anything,” she explained. “I can become a shadow and go through small openings, as well. But those are my main two.”
“I see. I will think about what your Element might be. But for right now, I want you to find somewhere to rest. Tomorrow, I will be holding challenges for you and the others. During these challenges, you must be wide awake. As there are now 20 of you, I might split you into 4s, but I am not sure. Anyway, thank you for telling me what I needed, and just to let you know, I trust you very much, Cynder. If Spyro trusts you, then I know I can.”
As they left the tent, Cynder looked over at Spyro. “Thank you for this chance,” she said.
“No problem,” he told her. “You’re an amazing Dragoness, Cyn, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Yes, there have been things that have happened, but everyone has that at some point in their life.”
“Once again, do not call me ‘Cyn,’” she said back. “It makes me feel weird. Otherwise, thank you.”
Spyro smiled at her. He had something he wanted to say, but didn’t know how he was to say it. It was such a large thing, and he didn’t believe the time was right for it. But when it was, he would tell her.
“So where do you think you’ll sleep tonight?” he asked.
“Probably out here, near the Core,” she replied. “I know it’s not going to rain, so I don’t need to worry about that. Where will you be sleeping?”
“I have a treehouse. If you ever need me, I’ll be there. Just come and find me when something happens, okay?”
As he left, Cynder realized she still had that one feeling in her, but for some reason, she was still unable to speak it. She wished she did.
Cynder did not know what she was to do. She wanted to sleep, but the only place was at the Core. And the problem with sleeping there was the fact that many of the Skylanders came there at night, or so she’d heard.
But it was the only place she could think of sleeping. Spyro had a treehouse, but she didn’t want to sleep there. It made her feel weird, and she wasn’t as ready as she wanted to be.
But soon, hopefully, she would have the strength she wanted to say what she wanted to say.
As she arrived at the Core, she found Hex floating there, watching it.
“Hello, Cynder,” she said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Thanks, you too,” Cynder replied, feeling weird. “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting something, but I don’t have anywhere else to sleep tonight.”
“There’s no problem with it,” Hex said. “I’m sorry if I creep you out at all. It wouldn’t surprise me. I creep out everybody around here.”
“You wouldn’t be the only one,” Cynder said. “I know what that’s like.”
“It turns out, I was never supposed to be this way.” Hex sighed. “A monstrous Dragon forced this curse upon me, to be a Witch. I hate it so much! But he should be gone now. Or so I hope. He’s hurt so many, and I’m glad no one has to worry about him.”
“Who are we talking about?”
“Malefor. The Undead Dragon King.”
Cynder’s eyes widened. She couldn’t believe it. It didn’t seem right. But somehow one of the Skylanders knew who Malefor was. And according to Hex, she’d defeated him once and for all.
“You know who Malefor is?” Cynder exclaimed.
“Yes. Does that surprise you?” Hex asked. And then her pure white eyes widened. “Wait...your name is Cynder...You were once the Terror of the Skies.”
“Please don’t say that out loud!” Cynder pleaded. “I can’t take it. I was that monster. But I’m not. I know I’m not. Spyro snapped me out of it.”
“Don’t worry, Cynder,” Hex said. “I’ll keep your secret safe. Who else knows about it?”
“Spyro, who should, since he saved me, and Eon, who I think I can trust.”
“Good. My backstory is different. I fought Malefor down in the Underworld, and during the fight, I became one of the Undead. I hit him with one of my dark abilities, and he was bleeding badly when I saw him last. I don’t know if he’s still alive now, but I most certainly hope not. And now, of course, because of what happened, because of him making me join the ranks of the Undead, I’m feared by everyone.”
Cynder nodded. “I know what you mean. When I knew him, I was corrupted. He took me as an egg, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I was the ‘Terror of the Skies.’ But I’m not who I once was. I’m different; I’ve changed. I just want others to see that! Spyro understands me, but if anyone else knew, I’d be ridiculed and forced to leave the Skylanders. Nobody would like me. I’d become an exile or an outcast once more.”
Hex did not smile, but Cynder could see she was being understood. It made her feel safe. She felt tears in her eyes, but with Hex there, she felt safe.
“You don’t need to be sad, Cynder,” Hex told her. “I know how it feels, to reveal secrets you don’t want known by anyone else. And I will keep it safe. No one needs to know it. If you tell anyone else, then make sure they’re someone you can trust.”
Cynder smiled at her.
“Thank you for helping me, Hex. I’ve been needing help for a long time. And I’m sorry for what happened to you. I, too, know what it’s like to be feared. I just hope no one around here learns anything.”
“They shouldn’t, and I’ll make sure I don’t allow them to.”
Hex went away, leaving Cynder to wonder.
And then she saw Sonic Boom. The Griffiness came over to her with a smile on her face.
“Hi, Cynder!” she greeted. “How are you doing?”
“Good, I guess,” Cynder answered. “I’m just a little scared.”
“Are you going down into the Underworld?” came Sunburn’s voice. He walked up to Sonic Boom’s side.
“Yes, and I’m scared so much. I’ve never been down there, but I’ve heard the many stories, and thinking of it doesn’t help very much. I’m not sure who I’m going with.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. As soon as I saw you, I knew you were going to be powerful. What kinds of abilities do you have?”
“My primary is this dark purple Electricity. But I can also become a shadow and go right underneath enemies and into small cracks,” she explained.
“Well, the skeletons down there hate Electricity, so you should be fine,” Sonic Boom said.
“And that shadow thing should be able to protect you from a lot of enemies,” Sunburn told her.
“It sounds like you’re all good, Cynder,” Sonic Boom said. “But I understand if you’re still scared of something, then you can come to us or someone else.”
“But you seem like you’ll be one of the best Skylanders there will ever be,” Sunburn complimented.
“Won’t surprise me,” came a voice. Cynder turned around to see Spyro coming towards them. “I see you’ve got some friends helping you.”
“Yeah,” Cynder said, laughing a little. “I guess I’ll need to take off this cloak soon, before I go down there.”
And so she did. When she’d finally taken it off, she felt more free than she had in a long time.
“Hey, how’d you get the scar under your eye?” Sonic Boom asked.
“It was a fight,” Cynder explained. “I won, but I allowed the one fighting me to escape. They won’t be coming back to fight me anytime soon. Or so I hope.”
“I hope it heals soon,” Sonic Boom told her. “It doesn’t look as serious as it could be, at least. That’s the good thing. But as a Skylander, I heard there are chances we’ll be injured possibly in some fights. But don’t listen to me, because I’m never always sure.”
Cynder laughed and felt good for the first time in forever. It felt great, but her mind was still on what Hex had told her. Hex was now the second person she’d told her story to. Eon had been the first. And Spyro had learned it already.
“Hey Cynder, could I talk to you?” Spyro asked.
“Sure.” Cynder walked away. When she and Spyro were farther away from Sunburn and Sonic Boom, Spyro turned around and looked at her seriously. “I found out who you’ll be going with.”
“And?” Cynder asked.
“Whirlwind and Hex,” Spyro explained. “You already know Hex, and Whirlwind is a Hybrid. A Unicorn-Dragoness Hybrid, to be exact. But you should be fine with them.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”
“Good. Now, I just want to know how scared you are.”
“Why would you like to know that?” Cynder exclaimed.
“I’m trying to make sure. I want you to be careful,” Spyro told her.
“Why? It’s not like we’re mates! It’s not like we’re ever going to be mates! What in the heck is the matter with you? If you even thought that, then wipe it out of your mind and get something new in there!”
She stormed away, leaving Spyro to wonder.
Cynder found that Sunburn and Sonic Boom were still standing there.
“Would you guys mind leaving?” she asked. “I’m really sorry, but I can’t take this right now. I really need sleep if I’m going into the Underworld.”
“We understand, Cynder,” Sonic Boom said. “I wish I was going with you so we could talk, but I guess I’ll see you when your mission’s over.” She smiled. Cynder felt understood when that happened. For a long time no one had ever smiled at her. And now Sonic Boom, Sunburn and Spyro were smiling at her as if she was a friend.
“So you’ll be sleeping out here?” Sunburn asked. “Not the best place, but...”
“I’m only doing it because I don’t have anywhere else to go,” Cynder explained. “Where do you guys sleep?”
“We sleep in separate treehouses,” Sonic Boom told her. “I mean, we are in a relationship, but it’s best to keep from being in the same treehouse for now. If you want, you can come join me. Fortunately mine was made before everyone else’s, and so there are two beds in there.”
Cynder thought of it, and on the inside she was suddenly smiling. “I would like to join you, then,” she said. “I just need to go somewhere.”
“Then follow me.”
As they left, Spyro came over to Sunburn.
“Hey, why does Cynder never smile?” Sunburn asked.
“It’s something I can’t talk about for now,” Spyro said. “Only if something comes up. But the secret stays between me and her. Let’s just say, she’s gone through a lot.”
Meanwhile Sonic Boom and Cynder were talking at the treehouse about how everything would be happening the next day.
“So where are you going?” Sonic Boom asked.
“The Underworld,” Cynder said solemnly. “I hate even thinking of going down there. I’ve gone through a lot in my life, and I recoil when I even hear of the Underworld. So many terrible things have happened there. But at least I’ll have Hex with me.”
“Oh, so you’ve met Hex?”
“Yes. She’s really nice, or so I think.”
“She is a good friend. Some of the Skylanders think she’s insane and evil, but I trust her.”
“I’ll probably be the least-trusted out of everyone. I’ve kept so many secrets in my life, and the one I’m holding is one I can’t say. It’s hard for me. I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying.”
“I do,” Sonic Boom said. “I’m sorry you’ve gone through that. I already think of you as a friend, and I haven’t even known you longer than a day. That’s how amazing I think you are. And when it comes to me, that’s a big compliment.”
Cynder still didn’t smile, but Sonic Boom could tell she was in some way.
“I’m going to sleep, Cynder,” Sonic Boom told her. “I hope you’re able to sleep well. Good night!”
Cynder took off the iron jewelry around her ankles and neck, being careful with the spikes. She still winced when it came to her front left leg, but it wasn’t as bad as it had once been. It had been much worse originally, and now it was healing, much to her relief.
When she was done, she curled up and attempted to sleep.
Come, Cynder. Come and join the side you were born for. Come and find your destiny!
Come and understand that you are meant for something greater! Something that will destroy the Skylanders!
Join me again, and you will become my general once more. You have no friends, and you will have no need of them. Kill them all. If not, then I must kill you...
Cynder woke up, sweating and panting. She started coughing, and then looked over to the left to see Sonic Boom staring at her with worry.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“I’m sorry,” Cynder said, finding herself crying.
“About what?” Sonic Boom was obviously trying to help. “What happened? Did you have a nightmare?”
“Yes,” Cynder answered. “I can’t take it anymore! These nightmares hurt me more than anything!”
Sonic Boom climbed onto her bed and hugged her.
“It’s okay,” she comforted. “It’s okay. There’s no need for you to worry. You have a friend here who cares about you. I may not know your past, Cynder, but I know for sure that you’re meant to be something amazing. You’re probably the most beautiful Dragoness I’ve ever met. And from what you said tonight, you’re possibly the most powerful Dragoness I’ve ever heard of. You don’t need to be scared. Yes, I know you’re going into the Underworld, but just think of your friends. Think of those who care about you.”
Cynder realized she was right. She closed her eyes again and fell asleep. Sonic Boom smiled, and when she was sure Cynder was okay, she went back to sleep, knowing that Cynder would become the greatest friend she’d ever have.