When night set in and the sun dipped below the mountains, Hydrax silently crept below the coat of darkness. A flash of copper darted past the doors to Cielast’s palace as the stealthy assassin searched for an entrance.
Hydrax’s eyes scanned the windows before finding one half open and he nodded to himself, beginning to climb up to it. His claws gripped the small crevices in the stone and within moments, he reached the frost-rimmed window. Slipping inside, he felt a cold breeze waft over the room.
He cautiously snuck down the hallway without a noise, spotting a small figure lying on a bearskin. A sly grin grew across Hydrax’s face and he slid towards the small hatchling, lifting him up slowly although his move was foolish.
Yuko, Cielast’s son, woke up with a sudden jolt and spotted his captor. He immediately screeched and writhed in Hydrax’s grasp, earning him a rough knock on the head which made him unconscious.
It wasn’t long before he heard the young dragon’s parents climbing up the stairs, and Hydrax made his retreat. He slid up the windowsill, perched for a moment while spreading his wings, and glided off into the night.
Cielast woke up with a sudden jolt, awaking from a terrible nightmare. Her eyes were widened as her claws clung onto the wolf fur bed she lied on and a gust of wind blew in from one of the windows along with a chilling voice, you have failed, Cielast.
She twitched, tilting her head, and thought that she was still dreaming. Take a look around, the voice sneered in a somewhat familiar tone.
Cielast slowly slid off of her resting place and crept down the halls, immediately questioning herself whether Yuko was okay. Through tired eyes, she scanned the room, her gaze landing on an empty resting place.
“N-no...” she gasped, her heart now pounding in her chest wildly. “T-this can’t be...”
The queen looked towards the window, observing that it was half open, and saw a small figure distantly flying under the moon’s silver glow. She twitched, “I recognize that figure anywhere... Hydrax.”
In the early morning, Azure waited with a pleased and calm expression on his face. He tapped his claws together, awaiting the unsuspecting visitor to arrive.
“This plan is brilliant,” Hydrax complimented quietly while pacing the floor. “Oh so clever...”
From above, Grimble scouted while perched on a windowsill. He tapped his talons together, spotting a bluish silver figure in the distance.
“Well, well, well.” He squinted, “Look who it is.”
“W-where is Yuko?” Cielast roared, her voice cracking with both fury and despair. “I know you s-stole him.”
“Perhaps you’d like to come in and maybe we can discuss events of the past,” Grimble smirked and guards cranked the gates open. Cielast stormed inside, slamming her tail against the walls in anger.
Inside of the citadel, her eyes darted from wall to wall in a panic, desperately searching for her son. She called, “Yuko?”
How wonderful that you could make it, the same frigid voice said, piercing her ears. She narrowed her eyes silently with a low growl.
A shadowy apparition of Azure formed in the middle of the citadel. The king sneered, “Oh, hello there, Cielast. How have you been these past five years? I’ve been too busy to plot my revenge, being dead and all.”
Before she could respond, he continued, “but it is of no matter now. The important thing is that you’re here, and now I know all of your tricks. I’ve been around... observing, and don’t worry about your son, he’s safe... for now.”
“Where is he?” she shouted furiously with her claws gripping the stone floor.
“That is of no importance, the important thing is that I’m back and this time, no one will stop me.” Azure cackled with a grin.
“I w-will if it means getting my son back,” Cielast snarled, a glint of anger in her typically calm eyes.
“You underestimate me, Cielast. Heh, for a long time I considered sparing your miserable life and settle for just killing your son, but now he shall witness your dismemberment.” He swayed his tail back and forth calmly.
A shadow claw slowly rose from the ground, shrouded in royal purple mist. It grabbed Cielast, holding her in place as she struggled and roared, snapping her jaws. Out of the corner of her eye, she witnessed Astaroth who had snuck through the gates, stopping at the entrance with her eyes wide.
“Now, Hydrax, you may have the honor.” Azure smirked as the copper dragon slid towards Cielast.
Astaroth’s claws skidded across the floor as she began to run, pausing between Cielast and Hydrax. She panted and her eyes met Azure’s.
“How dare you interrupt this?” the king bellowed.
Astaroth kept her ground, aggressively posting herself between the two with a menacing expression on her face.
“Fine,” Azure growled. “She may not be killed. I can, however, drag her down to the shadow world.”
“Haven’t you had enough terrible experience with different worlds?” snapped Cielast.
“There is nothing to lose, even now I’m dead.” He laughed a distorted cackle and smirked.
Cielast struggled to find a response and a few moments later, spotted a small brown figure in the corner of the room. She shouted, “Yuko!”
“Heh... Now, it’s been fun and all, but I’ve got some business to take care of.” Azure sneered as the shadow claw descended below the floor, dragging her into the shadow world. Her eyes widened as she took a worried glance around the dark area.
“Now to you, Cielast. Killing you is hard, I’d even say it’s a waste of time with all my efforts, so I’ll banish you to another realm. Weird and squishy creatures who call themselves “humans” rule there since they’ve gone extinct here. At least there you won’t cause me any trouble.” He waved to Cielast, cackling distortedly. “Farewell, should you ever find your way back to this realm, I’ll probably rule it. Enjoy the rest of your pitiful life alone.”
In the citadel, Astaroth had Hydrax pinned to the ground with her wings spread as she let out a menacing hiss. He clawed at her underbelly to no avail, struggling beneath the bigger dragon’s grasp.
Azure frowned as he ascended from beneath the floor, “It seems as though Hydrax has disappointed me again.”
“I’m not a very strong fighter,” growled Hydrax as he gnawed on Astaroth’s arm.
“In that case, I’ll do it myself.” The king then blasted Astaroth off of him, sending her flying into a wall.
She hissed and narrowed her eyes, “Still overly violent, I see.”
“What do you expect? I don’t treat traitors lightly.” He shrugged.
“I was forced to follow in her orders,” Astaroth explained and fluttered her wings in an attempt to get the small pebbles from beneath their folds.
“Then explain to me why you stopped the execution of Cielast,” Astaroth raised a brow, his purple eyes blazing.
“We became friends in a way... more of acquaintances...” She smirked to herself and said mockingly with her voice quieting down, “but that is of no importance.”
Azure ignored her imitation of him and observed, “First, I need to fix everything that little idiot Hydrax messed up in my kingdom.”
The copper-scaled dragon glared at the floor while mumbling to himself quietly. His voice quieted down, “Little idiot…?”
The king continued calmly, “Hydrax, how could you take charge of my kingdom? There is no command but mine, and you aren’t such a good leader either. You couldn’t even lead a parade... even Grimble would have done a better job than you.”
Hydrax glanced at the floor as Astaroth crept up behind him, launching herself at the small copper-colored dragon again. She laughed triumphantly and sank her talons into his scales.
“But you did manage to capture Cielast’s son, so I’m going to spare your miserable life.” Azure said, rolling his eyes.
“It’s hard to remember that Azure isn’t your father,” Hydrax snapped, glaring up at Astaroth.
“Now, if you two aren’t too busy killing each other, there are some things to do. We need to find the Deathseeker to get me out of…” The king gestured to his shadowy self, a glint of disinterest in his eyes, “this predicament.”