Both Astaroth and Castien glimpsed at Azure before shouting in unison:
“HE DID IT.”
“SHE DID IT.”
Azure gritted his fangs and stepped closer to the two, prying them apart. His soulless dark eyes both peered over at the two, perplexed.
Castien’s muscles were tense as his eyes darted between them. “I swear I’m telling the truth,” He exclaimed, out of breath, “I saw the look in her eyes, she was lying when I asked if she had done it.”
Astaroth shook her head, “You couldn’t believe him. He was with Flarius for a long time.” That was the best excuse she could come up with. She wouldn’t mind if he died, he was just a nuisance. “Just think about it, he likes her. He lived with Flarius and he just wants your throne. That’s what he’s always wanted.”
Castien growled, “Me? Want his throne? I wanted Flarius’ throne. I’m an agent, I wouldn’t be a traitor unlike you. You acted so suspiciously when you were with Azure.”
They both gave uneasy glances towards him, preparing to strike at each other once again. Astaroth was shuddering wildly, afraid that he’d find out the truth.
“Castien, get over here.” Azure barked and the dragon slowly slid towards him. Astaroth was relieved as she sighed and slipped down to the floor.
He whispered something into Castien’s ear and glared over at Astaroth. She tilted her head and slowly backed up.
Castien tapped his talons together, nodding. “With pleasure,” he said graciously and lunged towards Astaroth, his fangs bared.
“What?” Astaroth roared, backing up and sliding across the floor. Her heart was panicked, beating as fast as it could.
He turned around and slithered closer, climbing onto the ceiling. Castien bent his wings down, clinging to the wall and he observed her movements. Her eyes widened with fright as she ducked under him and started to sprint down the opposite way and deeper into the hallway.
Castien launched himself at her, dragging her to the ground as his wings draped over her eyes. She struggled and tried to slam him against the wall, failing as she was blinded. She shivered with fear and wandered aimlessly, bumping into a wall.
Castien laughed triumphantly, hitting her head against the wall repeatedly and she fell to the floor. He sat on her back, awaiting his next command as his talon slid down to lay across her neck, assuring that she couldn’t move. “Plot twist,” he whispered down to her softly.
Azure scoffed and approached the two as Castien beamed happily up at him. He cackled as his voice became distorted. “Do you really think I’d believe you?” he asked as Astaroth tilted her head in confusion.
He picked up Castien by the scruff of his neck tightly, his talons slowly sinking into his flesh, blood dripping onto the stone floors. “Astaroth, do what you want with him,” he exclaimed, carelessly tossing Castien to the floor in front of her.
Astaroth felt a quick pain of guilt sweep through her, but it quickly vanished. She narrowed her eyes down at the dragon, remembering that she could have died because of him.
She picked up Castien carelessly, crushing his ribs in her talons. “I’m going to enjoy this,” she hissed down at him and dragged him farther into the hallways, a trail of blood being left behind.
Azure was still displeased with both of them but was angry with Castien for lying. He was just like Valkryne in several ways and assumed that they must be somehow related.
Meanwhile, Astaroth was dragging Castien down the hallways by his tail, a sly grin waking in the corners of her mouth.
“You are a liar, you insubordination.” He roared up at her helplessly, sobbing from the pain in his ribs. His began to writhe in pain and agony, making the situation even more uncomfortable than it already was. A trail of blood was left behind as evidence of the fateful day.
Castien let himself be dragged, knowing that he didn’t stand a chance against her, especially when she was this angry. All he could do was wait and hope that his death wasn’t too painful.
He howled in pain as he spotted a small copper dragon who was working on a project, studying for the next battle that’d occur. He had to arrange different plans since Cielast had escaped.
Cousin…Castien whimpered in his mind, knowing that if he were dragged into this, he’d end up dead, too. He slowly turned away, feeling like a ragdoll.
She glared back at him, her grip tightening. “You made a big mistake.” She snarled, snapping him out of his thoughts.
“I do wonder what you’re going to do.” He admitted as they approached the entrance and out onto the grass, which was a seemingly softer terrain. The pain in his back eased as blood trailed off onto the stalks of green.
They quietly traveled for a while, only the faint whistling of the breeze whisking past them. Astaroth looked angry, her blood pulsing through her veins with fury.
They then came across another rocky surface and he gulped, they were in a familiar area, but he couldn’t recall where they were and assumed it was a cliff with the rocky terrain. The trees started to disappear to behind him and he awaited his death. He struggled as wildly as possible in her grasp with a howl of agony and she stopped and glimpsed back at him.
“This is the price you’ll have to pay, you idiot.” Astaroth hissed down at him and took his wings, bringing them forwards. He yelped as the bones snapped and wiggled beneath his flesh. His eyes widened as she picked him up once again, her claws sinking back into his puncture wounds.Believe that he’s the culprit, you won’t feel so bad this way, she told herself.
He roared furiously at her, a hiss of fire rising up his throat rapidly. He cursed under his breath and she flung his deep scarlet body over the edge carelessly.
Castien closed his eyes with a deep sigh as he plummeted towards the ground. Memories flashed through his mind as pain pulsed through his aching bones.Sicrith, father… I’m so sorry.He whimpered in his mind, taking one last glimpse up at Astaroth before his eyes closed.
His screams echoed through the canyon and cut off far before she heard the crack of him hitting the rocky bottom. He hadn’t hit the very bottom, he landed on a cliff but he would bleed out sometime. His body slowly crippled into a spiral, twitching with pain.
She took one more glimpse down at him with a smirk, seeing his corpse shriveled into a spiral, his tail crippling at the tip. Her green eyes shimmered in the sunlight and she began to walk back to the castle, a quick jolt of guilt writhing its way into her mind.
Breathe, Astaroth. She told herself internally with a nod, feeling her chest tense with the fear of Azure. She imagined the sinister, angry expression on his face if he found out.
She kept her head up and her eyes straight,this will all pass over time. Nobody will know of this.
Another part of her mused, but if he does find out, what will I do? I’ll be ripped to shreds, my father’s authority won’t matter in that moment.
She snapped out of her thoughts and approached Azure’s throne, slithering up the wall and back onto the top of the cage where she paused, her tail slowly curling.
She perched, her claws grappling around the metal bars as. Her feelings slowly withered back to guilt and she swallowed hard, looking down at Azure who seemed to be quite pleased with himself.
“Astaroth,” he called. Each time he spoke, it gave her chills. “We’re going to have another battle between two prisoners. Pick up the ones in cell three and in cell eight.”
She glanced down at him and nodded, tumbling down to beside him, crawling through the hallway.Cells three and eight, three and eight…She repeated to herself, tapping her talons against the walls to keep rhythm.
When she finally got to the cells, she glared at all the cells as she passed, hissing silently. Her mind whirled as she stopped at the third cell, peering in at the dark red dragon who was slouched over.
Astaroth noticed that this was the cell beside Cielast’s and winced, carefully taking the keys and unlocking the cell door. “Wake up,” she barked, stepping into the cell. The dragon’s eyes snapped open and he slowly glared up at her, but it wore off as soon as he recognized her.
“Thank you,” he whispered, putting his talons in front of him. She tilted her head and stared at him, confused as to what he meant. “For saving my... friend.” He answered almost as if he had picked the thought right out of her head. She nodded with a slight smile and chained his talons together.
I won’t free him, I can’t. I refuse to let another go and get me into more trouble.She promised to herself and took him out of the cell as gently as possible. She mouthed the words, “I’m sorry,” and dragged him down the hallway, stopping at cell eight. Inside, there was a light blue dragon who was hanging from the roof, pulling himself up and down as he snarled at her.
“There is no way I’m coming with you.” He growled, but she rolled her eyes and grasped onto his talons tightly. Her sharp glare made him feel weak as he whimpered and stepped down. The two dragons gave each other uneasy looks, gulping slowly.
Astaroth dragged them out and into the preparation rooms, pushing them into the next cells which were even more crowded than the others. She nodded and patted them on their backs, sending the pale blue dragon to the other side of the battlefield.
“Good luck,” she whispered to the other dragon and backed out of the room. Afterward, she slithered up to the bleachers, navigating her way to sit near Azure.
The crowd was already roaring with chants, clapping their talons together excitingly. Hydrax was already rising from the sands, his wings extending and glittering in the sun rays.
“Welcome everyone to yet another battle!” he announced, twisting around to get a glance at everyone around. Their excited faces beamed right back at him as he nodded as a response.
“Yes, yes, welcome everyone. We will have two prisoners facing off against each other, Skorian and Rydren, to celebrate finding the dragon who freed our special guest, Cielast. I dedicate this round to Astaroth, if you can see her over there, for finding the culprit.” he pointed towards the blue dragon whose eyes were widened as she saw all of the cheerful faces that beamed at her.
“Now, are we ready…? Fight!” he shouted and pointed towards the gates as they slowly rose from the golden sands below. The two prisoners slowly exited from their cells, their hearts racing wildly.
The scarlet dragon’s mind was stinging him like a bee as he gulped and rose to his talons.I’ll win this and go back to what’s left of my home and maybe meet Cielast again.
He got his mind focused on the arena ahead of him and his wings slowly bent towards the sands. He narrowed his eyes and approached his opponent. They both nodded to each other and struck, grappling onto each other violently.
They both rolled around in the sands, their talons ripping each other’s scales apart. They both roared in each other’s faces as Skorian kicked his opponent to the side, rolling over to rise again. His wings extended as he took a step towards him.
Rydren hissed and writhed, kicking at his ankles furiously. The wounds in Skorian’s legs gushed crimson red blood but he didn’t flinch and instead he narrowed his eyes and flung his long, pale body into the lava. The crowd stopped cheering as shouts of disappointment filled the arena.
Azure frowned. “Well, that wasn’t exciting.” He remarked and rolled his eyes boringly.
The sizzling scent of burning scales soon started to linger through the battlefield and everyone started to get off of their seats and leave. Azure snorted out a puff of smoke and sank into his throne comfortably.
Skorian pushed the sand to the side and brushed the blood off of his scales carelessly. He rolled his eyes and returned back into the small cell, planning his escape plan. He’d see his family again to tell them that he was alive someday. He wanted to escape the prison once and for all.