Valkryne narrowed his eyes and slowly wheeled around to see Azure. “Oh what a pleasant surprise,” he gestured his talons and fixed his eyes on Azure with a frown.
“Hah, talk all you want. Your words are nothing but meaningless blathering to me.” Azure said, approaching him further.
His claws slowly extended as Valkryne gave a warning hiss. “Ahem,” he coughed and glared back at his guards slyly. “Rrrgh...” a puff of steam streamed out of his nostrils as he got into a defensive stance.
Azure laughed loudly as he turned, looking at every dragon who was present. “Is anyone really going to stand in my way?” he asked, sending a burst of ice breath through the entire area, crushing a few pillars.
The dragons all around stood as still as a statue, their eyes widened. Valkryne mumbled to himself silently, “Worthless… I should’ve known.”
“I thought so,” Azure snorted, turning back to face Valkryne. Then, continuing, “I’ll give you one last chance to back down while you still can and maybe if I’m still in a good mood I might consider sparing your miserable life for a few more moments.”
He took that offer into consideration, but the thought of launching at Azure and taking the throne for himself tempted him.
He snapped out of his thoughts and slowly backed away, his fangs gritted. “Fine,” he snapped up at the dragon with a growl, then proceeded to launch off of the ground and into the skies.
Astaroth gave Azure a triumphant grin that was hardly noticeable through the sea of dragons. She then gave the guards a sharp glare, who didn’t dare budge.
“Hmm… If he thinks I’ll let him live, he will be mistaken. No matter what choice he would have picked, it would always end in his destruction.” Azure laughed, he knew exactly how to manipulate both enemies and allies. He had control of nearly every situation, knowing exactly what to say to manipulate how they feel, respond and think.
The crowd had their eyes fixated upon Azure whose wings were spread out, his claws gripping onto the tip of a tower. He had his claws clasped together and a devious grin across his face as if he had evil plans that were about to lay out before him.
Meanwhile, Cielast and Jade were exploring the forest, away from Flarius’ castle. They were afraid and curious as to what would happen to the castle.
Cielast’s lip quivered as she stepped past bushes, sticks crackling underneath her claws. She felt guilt, remorse and sorrow especially towards Jade who had lost both of her parents in such a short span of time. The young blue dragon was traumatized at how much death she had been introduced to and it all seemed so sudden.
Another crackle of a twig made her leap, folding her wings around herself in fright. She shut her eyes tightly, imagining Azure’s cold, soulless eyes staring into hers the way they had earlier. The echo of his laugh rang throughout her head like a bell and she hated every bit of it.
Gulping, Cielast slowly trekked forwards and shuffled closer to Jade who didn’t seem as afraid as her despite having lost a large amount of family members.
She must be hiding her emotions, Cielast thought to herself, opening one eye to see her friend. Her emerald green scales glittered brightly in the golden sunlight.
Her thoughts started to drift away as if they were clouds as she sighed and closed her eyes for a few moments. And then, out of the corner of her mouth, a blissful smile graced across for the first time in an eternity.
But it had quickly faded away, that one peaceful moment vanished within an instant and brought all those painful memories running back to her. She knew that happiness was far too good to be true.
The leaves tickled their snouts as they walked past, the trees towering over them. They were the tallest trees Cielast had ever seen and had huge trunks. Jade grumbled to herself with a snort, glaring at all the trees around her as if they were dragons waiting to strike. Cielast wandered around with her, glancing up at the trees brightly.
Jade could tell by the expression on Cielast’s face that she was thinking to herself about what had happened earlier and what will happen next. An amused grin awakened on her face but quickly vanished as she too began to think about Flarius and his safety. Cielast glanced over at Jade, then back ahead of the pathway, she seemed as if she was entertained…
They both came across a large pathway that stretched across the forest floor, the plants pushed aside and grown outwards, spiraling up the trees. In the distance, there was a clearing before the yawning entrance of a cave could be seen faintly. “Hmm,” Jade slowly peered over at Cielast, then at the cave again.
Cielast snapped to attention and stared towards where she was looking and approached the cave. Jade launched herself into a tree and followed close behind, wriggling her way through the snarling branches above.
“It doesn’t look very friendly,” she observed, talking almost as if the cave were a living animal. Her eyes glared deeply into the abyss suspiciously. Cielast nodded in agreement and glanced at Jade, then back at the cave, her eyes squinting. “It really doesn’t…”
“Not at all,” Jade’s voice had an odd hiss to it as if she despised Cielast when she spoke. She slowly approached the rocky ledge, peering down curiously into the blackened hole that led into the unknown.
They slowly veered into the cave, the sounds of their talons tapping against the stone bouncing off of the walls and echoing through the vast caverns. “Are you sure about this?” questioned Cielast, gulping and staring over in Jade’s direction, all she could see was the darkness of the cave. “No,” stuttered Jade as she realized that they really weren’t prepared to venture off into an unknown cave. Thoughts began to swirl around her mind as she thought about the old tales that Fyriah had told her when she was a hatchling.
One, in particular, was about a huge fiery dragon named Pyroxia who terrorized all the dragons, killing anyone and everyone who would stand in her path. The necromancers had no choice but to trap her in the flames to keep her from killing off anyone else and rumors said that she’d be awoken one day to get her revenge.
Shuddering at the thought, she continued to advance through the cave aimlessly, searching for anything that would be interesting. A spark in the back of her throat appeared as she sent a burst of flames deep into the cavern, it lit up wonderfully. There was nothing really up ahead that she could see, aside from a few rocks, nothing special.
Cielast brushed her wings against Jade’s, she was terrified. This was not a good idea at all, she had no clue why she went into the cave and wanted to go back immediately. She anxiously glanced into Jade’s direction with a gulp and whined, “Can we go back now?”
“Fine,” Jade snapped, wanting to go forwards more. She was quite curious as to what was in the cave herself and was a princess, she could do whatever she wanted. But since nothing was pleasing her within the caverns, she’d go back. Her fangs bared as she stormed her way backward seeing the dimly lit entrance in the distance.
But when they looped back around, there was an odd shape that appeared to be a copper rock, but there wouldn’t be any copper around here… She snorted suspiciously and approached said figure, not taking a look back at where Cielast was. She eyed it suspiciously, it definitely wasn’t a rock. It was another dragon.
“Uh,” she gulped, staring down at the dragon who was soundly asleep, his snores drifting through the cavern. Cielast approached close behind and her eyes widened, the dragon didn’t look so friendly and it was blocking their path… They must’ve stepped over it when they entered, but they were too fearful to do it again. “What do we do?” asked Cielast, gesturing her talons towards Jade. “I don’t know,” she grumbled back, seeming careless.
“Let’s just jump over it again, it won’t be a big deal.” She snorted, unimpressed as she held up her wings and leaped over the dragon who seemed to grumble loudly as her tail snaked over his back. Jade crumpled to the ground as she landed, his scales were so hot… “Come on,” she barked at Cielast, pointing towards the ground anxiously.
To her surprise, Cielast shook her head and backed away. “I can’t just- You almost woke him up!” she snapped back at Jade, gesturing her talons at the dragon as if to say “just look, I can’t do that!” She rolled her eyes with a half amused snort and flicked her tail at the dragons’ back. “See? He’s not awake. Nothing to worry about.”
Cielast’s expression seemed to drain from her face as she gulped, backing away from the figure. Jade tilted her head in confusion, “What’s wrong?”
She pointed towards the sleeping dragon desperately as its bright yellow cat eyes snapped open.
“Who goes there?” it bellowed as it rose to its talons with a furious roar. Cielast slowly backed away from the dragon, but soon realized… The dragon was rather small and an odd copper color, he didn’t seem too scary.
Jade soon noticed this and fell back with laughter, watching as Cielast’s expression on her face withered into confusion. “Oh Fayre!” she laughed uncontrollably, “You should have seen your face!”
“That wasn’t funny!” Cielast yelped frantically as the small copper dragon glanced at both of them. “Huh?” he snorted, gathering his wings whilst his eyes narrowed. Jade swore she was going to die with laughter as she sat upright with a smile.
“That was hilarious, when we get back we have to tell them about this.” She then approached the small dragon and picked him up by the scruff of his neck. “Who are you, anyways?” her voice was now in a more serious tone, but she couldn’t hold back the grin that slowly appeared in the corner of her mouth.
The little dragon wriggled around in Jade’s grasp, “My name is Hydrax!” he snapped up in a furious tone, still struggling wildly as he flopped around like a fish. “Cute,” she teased and then dropped him to the floor with a thud as she gave Cielast a devious grin.
“I am not cute!” he barked up at both of them with a growl as Jade could sense the laughter returning to her. She snickered softly and approached Cielast, still keeping an eye on Hydrax.
Hydrax grumbled to himself, his talons outstretched as he growled loudly back at Jade. “You’re an idiot,” he scoffed. She slowly turned towards him with her eyes narrowed, “What did you say?” her voice got increasingly louder as she spat out her words, enraged.
“Wait until you see how dangerous I really am!” Hydrax snapped and spread out his wings with a loud snarl. She hissed back at him and to her surprise, his shadow seemed to get increasingly bigger and tower over both Jade and Cielast. Hydrax roared as loud as he possibly could before realizing this and to their surprise, he stepped back in fright, noticing that this wasn’t supposed to happen.
A large shadow of a dragon seemed to form behind him, its wings closing as a cackle was heard. Cielast’s blood froze in her veins as she stared, her eyes widened and her body petrified. It was Azure.