Chapter 3-There's a Spy in Our Amist
We left the next day for the Enchanted Volcano in the Jungle. It took us three days because we still had to walk. Yet I didn’t mind as much. It gave us more time to talk and think.
“I wonder if all six clan crystals equal the power of the Dragonstone?” wondered Rockstorm.
“That’d be cool,” I shrugged.
“The records in the Enchanted Volcano say that the Robed Ruler’s sons formed the six clans. I wonder if he had any daughters?” remarked Firesong.
“If he did, why didn’t anyone write about them?” mused Rockstorm. “Surely something like that would have been recorded,”
“Well, maybe it is recorded, it’s just not well known?” I countered.
“I bet the runes would say, but we can’t read them. We can only read the hieroglyphics,” sighed Firesong.
When we arrived at the Enchanted Volcano, we placed the Earth Clan Crystal next to the Plant crystal. Firesong lit torches as we scoured the walls for answers about our questions.
“Hey guys!” called Firesong from another row of hieroglyphics, “I think I just found out!”
We ran up to her.
“Alright then, let’s find the beginning...here we are!” declared Rockstorm.
At the beginning of the tale, the wall depicted a man dressed in a purple robe holding a staff with a pink gem in it. Around the gem were lines carved into the stone to show its importance. Underneath the man was the world of Aranthalas.
“Uh-huh. Here are his six sons going to start the six clans. Then...there’s six girls...are those his daughters?” I inquired.
“Yep, they have the same markings as the sons and the Robed Ruler...and they’re wearing purple like the sons are,” pointed Firesong.
“Right, so the six daughters had jobs too by the looks of it. The eldest of the daughters, Sunstar, controlled the sun, the second, Moonstar, controlled the moon. The third daughter, Timestar, was responsible for time. The fourth daughter, Seasonstar, was in charge of the seasons. The fifth daughter, Starwind, governed the weather. The sixth daughter controlled...um...it’s blotched out. It doesn’t even say what her name is,” I explained.
“That’s odd,” marveled Rockstorm, taking a closer look. “This substance that blotched it out is brown and old,”
“Let me see,” added Firesong. “Oh my! Why, it’s blood! Dried up blood!”
This was unsettling for all of us. Blood covered up the sixth daughter’s name and responsibility. Coincidence, we thought not and we all wondered why.
“Maybe that’s why we need to save the world? Or unite the six crystals?” I suggested.
“I don’t think so. She’s not the threat, Red Blood is. Besides, she’s up there with the other sisters and brothers and the Robed Ruler. She was probably...gone or something like that,”
We left and walked up the stairs to the outside of the volcano.
“Do you think there is anyone who can still read runes? There’s rooms and halls filled with runes in there,” I wondered out loud.
“People took up the alphabet and handwriting we’re using now, so they stopped using the old method. Yet I’m sure there’s some decoder we could find,” replied Firesong.
“Ok, so where are we going to find one?” asked Rockstorm.
“It doesn’t really matter right now. What matters is going to Fire Clan, stealing their crystal, saving the children if we can, and saving the world. When this is over, then we can take up rune reading,” said Firesong simply.
“It’s just, maybe reading the runes would help us on our mission?” continued Rockstorm.
“Perhaps, but we need to get to Fire Clan ASAP, because right now, all the clans are practically defenseless against one enemy: Fire Clan. So let’s get moving,” decided Firesong.
We reached the outskirts of the Jungle by nightfall. The following day we crossed the Deep Dish River and camped on the other side of it. On our fourth day we were close to Firewood Forest. We stopped for lunch in a field of tall grass. It was so tall that none of us could see over it. We had been walking through the forest of tall grass for hours. Yet the trail to Firewood Forest ran right through it. I climbed a huge rock to see over the grass. I was hoping to see how close we were to Firewood Forest. I saw that we didn’t have many miles to go, yet that wasn’t the only thing I saw. A black thing was bobbing through the tall grass. I was about as tall as me and trampled on everything in its path.
“Uh guys? We’re not alone…” I called wearily down to the other two.
“What do you see?” asked Rockstorm.
“Something big and black by the looks of it. I can’t make out what it is exactly..it’s probably some big animal,”
Firesong climbed the rock too and pulled out her slingshot.
“I see it,” she whispered as she aimed for it.
“I’ll see if I can scare it off!” suggested Rockstorm.
“Fine, but if it doesn’t work, I’ll shoot it,” agreed Firesong.
Rockstorm started making loud noises with whooping and hollering. I couldn’t help but laugh. Firesong and I saw the creature stop for a bit to listen, then it started charging right for us!
“Rockstorm! Stop! It’s coming to attack us! Climb up the rock!” shouted Firesong.
Rockstorm did and he and I pulled out our daggers. Yet when the creature came out of the tall grass, we found out it wasn’t an animal at all. When she saw us with our weapons, she got scared and tossed a stick at Rockstorm.
“Hey!” he snapped. “What gives?”
She was a pale, tall, athletic-looking girl for her age. Her hair was short and black and tied in a bun with two thin, silver stilettos to hold it up. I noticed she had already received her true potential. No clan’s hair color was black, which meant that she was a spy. She wore gray and black: black leather pads on their thighs and arms. Then dulled iron pads for her shins and forearms. She wore two brown straps to carry any luggage on her back. Her weapon was a battlestaff.
When you become a spy, you touch the clan crystal after saying the oath. When you do, it changes the looks of your wings so it doesn’t give away what clan you’re from. Hence, spies have wings that don’t look like their elemental power. Instead, their wings look like dragon wings. Spies had to change their name as well, because their original names give away which clan they’re from. They have to dye their hair black and not use their elemental powers to hide their identity in case they’re captured.
“I heard someone call me a big animal! Rude!” she hissed.
We hopped off the rock.
“Sorry about the confusion. We didn’t mean to offend you,” I apologized for the three of us.
She looked at the three of us, but Firesong she looked in disgust with. Fire Clan citizens are looked down upon because many are known for being evil and tyrannic, except Firesong. As soon she showed disgust for Firesong, Firesong decided she didn’t like the spy either. Rockstorm and I could tell by the obvious scowl on Firesong’s face.
“So...what are you doing out here?” I asked her.
“I’m a spy in training,” she smiled proudly, “I was given a mission, and if I can complete it, I get to become an official spy.
“What’s your name?” inquired Rockstorm.
“Swiftstreak, I’m fourteen,” she responded.
So she was the same age as us.
“Aren’t spies supposed to be secretive?” questioned Firesong stiffly.
“Firesong, come on, she’s a spy in training, and besides, no one is perfect,” countered Rockstorm.
Swiftstreak smiled at Rockstorm gratefully. Rockstorm blushed. Then she looked over at me and smiled broadly and winked.
Oh no. She’s one of those girls.
“What or who are you spying on?” I asked.
“Classified. I’m not supposed to give away anything,”
“And why do you have such short hair?” fired Firesong.
“We cut it so it doesn’t get in the way or so people won’t pull on it to their advantage,” answered Swiftstreak hotly.
Rockstorm and I could see the clashing going on between them. They stared at each other, silently daring the other to make the first move. Rockstorm quickly got in between them
“Now, now girls, we unite, not fight. Just because we play different roles and are from different clans doesn’t mean we should fight,” he assured.
The two of them stepped away from each other.
“We better get going, if you don’t mind Swiftstreak,” I added.
“Oh! Mind if I come with you three? I’m on my way to the Firewood Forest as well,” replied Swiftstreak.
“How did you know we were going to Firewood Forest?” fired Firesong.
“Isn’t it obvious? When you said you had to get going, your body pointed east in the direction of Firewood Forest, which is where the end of this trail leads,” explained Swiftstreak.
“She’s good,” muttered Rockstorm to me quietly, then turning to Swiftstreak, “Sure, you can join us!”
Swiftstreak smiled and winked at him as she turned her head to the side.
As we walked, Swiftstreak sided with me and began a conversation.
“Hi! What’s your name?” she asked in a friendly tone.
“Ok Gey, can I call you Gey? Anyway, is little miss sourpuss always like this? She’s kind of hot headed,”
I could smell smoke, and I turned behind me to see Firesong a few yards away fuming with smoke trailing out of her ears. Apparently she had heard what Swiftstreak had said. Swiftstreak took this as a victory and stuck her tongue out at Firesong.
“Firesong is pretty tough, but she’s really sweet once you get to know her. We used to fight a lot when we first met,” I replied to Swiftstreak.
“Really? Aren’t Water Clan and Fire Clan arch enemies or something?”
“Yeah, but I believe we don’t have to be,”
“How long have you known Firsong?”
“Um...over two months,” Then to change the subject I added. “What’s it like being a spy?”
Rockstorm joined us and walked on the other side of Swiftstreak. My question got Swiftstreak going, I tracked with her conversation most of the time. I was mainly trying to figure out which clan she was from. They had done a good job hiding her identity. The battlestaff had no magical ability to it. However, her clothes didn’t appear to be fire or water proof, which was a hint that she wasn’t from those two clans. Yet if she was from Water Clan, it would explain why she disliked Firesong. Yet again, Firesong seems to be good at making enemies with people, she’s naturally very...fiesty.
Another device Swiftstreak had was a magnet pole. Another weapon she had was a crossbow that could shoot a grappling hook. Another one of her devices could unlock any lock. She also had smoke bombs.
That night we slept by the fire since winter was coming and it was growing colder. Yet Swiftstreak didn’t want anyone to see her face in the firelight in case a stranger spotted us, so she slept away from the fire.
Strangely enough, the next morning, she was gone.
“She must have left to finish her mission?” I suggested.
“Good riddance!” fumed Firesong. “I don’t trust her, how do we know she’s not here to spy on us?!”
“We don’t, but I trust her, she seems nice,” argued Rockstorm.
“Why did you have to give her the benefit of the doubt? These days we’re wanted all over!” continued Firesong.
“Just because she won your little argument yesterday doesn’t mean she’s a bad person, Firesong,” I replied calmly.
Firesong grew quiet. Her quietness spread and we traveled in silence the rest of the day. By nightfall, we could tell she was still upset.
Two days later we arrived at Fire Clan. We were going to split up. Firesong would get the crystal while we checked out the cave near Fire Clan for Red Blood. Maybe we would find the missing children? I was rather nervous, we were in our arch enemy’s territory and we would be in a possible encounter with Red Blood. What if we messed up?
Rockstorm and I scouted out the cave the next day. To our shock we saw Red Blood in his dragon form sleeping in the cave. Behind him were many children sorted into five groups. One group for each clan, except fire clan, no children from Fire Clan were kidnapped. In total there were now around 70 children from all ages. They were all chained up and looked frightened. No one spoke. They looked jittery, wide-eyed, and scrawny. They all hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. Some barely had no realization of what was going on around them, some were fading out. They just stared off into the distance, as quiet as the grave. There were no guards, because Red Blood guarded the door. Firesong had scouted out Fire Clan and told us that all the Fire Clan Warriors were training in the Clan and were planning to wipe out all the clans with Red Blood and their secret weapon. If Red Blood in dragon form wasn’t their secret weapon, what was it? Rockstorm and I planned to dig a tunnel to the back of the cave to save the children while I attacked Red Blood and Firesong stole the Fire Crystal. I was to attack Red Blood because water was the most effective against fire. Rockstorm could dig faster than the two of us combined. Firesong would blend in better with Fire Clan than the two of us, yet she was an outcast, if she was found out, she would be punished greatly. So Rockstorm started digging and a week later he had finished the tunnel. That meant it was time to strike!