5 years later…
With a sudden jolt, Cielast and Pyra woke up, their backs pressed against each other as they gazed around the cell that they were in. Golden sun rays filtered through the bars, illuminating Azure’s large figure in the doorway. “You’ve been terribly boring,” he frowned, gesturing his talons to a guard beside him. The dragon flicked a lever and the gate slowly rose up above Pyra’s head.
The young mother immediately sprang up from where she sat and launched herself at Azure viciously, but he countered her attack and threw her to the stone floor. Cielast watched in horror as her mother tried to tackle the brute.
Pyra picked herself up off of the ground, her fangs bared angrily as she slowly rose to her talons to prepare to strike at Azure again but instead found her neck in a rope. She snapped at it to no avail as one of the guards dragged her out of the cell and into the arena outside. Pyra howled in agony and reached her talons towards her daughter painfully. She whispered, her voice crackling desperately, “Cielast...”
Azure glanced at Pyra in utter amusement and snatched Cielast up in his talons roughly. She scrambled in his grasp and whimpered as he held her close with a quirky grin on both sides of his mouth. “Hush now,” he hissed as he carried her out of the cell.
She clawed his back desperately, reaching out towards the faint figure of her mother who was being pulled down a hallway ruthlessly.
“Enough.” Azure snapped at her again, his voice slick and eerie as he spread his wings and launched himself into the air towards a small cage that was strung with chains. It creaked noisily as he unlocked the prison door with his talons and carelessly tossed the young hatchling inside, slamming the door shut.
Both Azure and Cielast watched the arena sands carefully as Pyra crawled from her cage within the arena, her bones shaking weakly as she coughed up blood. Crimson red droplets splattered onto the golden sands as she entered the arena. Pyra growled deeply and poised her wings in a striking position, similar to a viper.
The gate across the arena started to open slowly and two blood red eyes glared into the battlefield. The dragon inside sprang out into the arena as soon as the gate had opened. Sand spurted up behind him, leaving a trail as he slithered towards her at a rapid pace. His opponent roared furiously and parried his attack with her tail, spitting plumes of golden flames at him.
The dragon rose into the air and swirled in a ball of flames, then shot down towards her like a bullet, plunging into the sands. Pyra hissed and swerved around his talons with a menacing bellow.
He took a fierce swipe at her side and she blocked it with her tail, feeling blood begin to drip from a wound.
“We don’t have to end it this way,” she whispered to him and calmed herself, frowning.
He shook the sand out of his eyes, ignoring it and swiped his claws, a scar being slashed across her snout that started to trickle blood down her scales. Her eyes narrowed and glittered, dark like obsidian and she sprang up suddenly towards him, slithering up to his back.
The dragon roared and snapped his jaws as they both swiveled into the air and dove down towards the burning sands. She seized his tail with her talons and bit down on his scales, blood dripping down onto the sands. Pyra gulped and grabbed his shoulders while he was distracted, then she took a deep breath and everything seemed to move in slow motion. Her eyes widened as she took his neck and snapped it cleanly, the sound echoing through the stadium as her wings drooped.
Everything fell silent for several moments and then the roaring cheers of dragons in the bleachers rang in the background. The corpse below her sat in an awkward position in her talons, its neck spilling blood onto the golden sands.
The cage swung back and forth as Cielast huddled close against the cold steel bars, watching her mother down below who had just killed another of her kin. The sight was horrifying for the young hatchling, she gripped the bars helplessly and saw her mother sobbing beneath her. That was just life in a nutshell… death setting as a painful reminder that nothing truly lasts forever.
Feeling the blood trickling through her talons, Pyra looked up with a horrified expression on her face, opposing the crowd that cheered and clapped.
She gazed down at the corpse, its neck was arched to the side, the bones snapped. “I didn’t mean to do this…” she muttered to herself, putting her head down in shame and sobbing.
“You’re a monster…” she heard whispers from the peacekeepers, the innocent souls that wanted to stop the war and she had betrayed them. The ones who craved peace had been wrapped up in chains and forced to watch constant death.
Those three words made Pyra’s blood curdle, she killed to protect Cielast. Her eyes slowly followed up to the writhing dragon that made her kill one of her innocent kin, Waves.
He stared down at her, seeming very amused and pleased with himself.
“I’m sorry…” she whispered softly under her breath, putting the dragon’s tail down on the blistering sand.
The crowd around the peacekeepers was cheering loudly from the bleachers, clapping their talons together with delight.
“Brilliant,” Waves mused, coiling his tail around a pillar. “This was an excellent idea, Azure.” He nodded to the dragon that was sitting beside him, his wings poised.
Azure, Waves’ second-in-command, looked proud, he had his chest puffed out and a sly smile on his face. “Are we ready for round two?”
Pyra laid defeated, her wings draped over the corpse as she sobbed. She had thoughts racing through her mind and couldn’t imagine Cielast’s disappointed stare from above, Pyra didn’t dare to glance up at her daughter. She couldn’t imagine what horrible thoughts were going through her head.
Perhaps I can escape with her, she might forgive me then. Pyra thought to herself, slowly pushing the body over. Its mangled head was arched towards her and a stab of guilt struck her. I’m sorry. She thought to herself reluctantly and swiftly turned her head towards the gates and scanned the area for an escape route. There wasn’t one guard that stood behind the next dragon that’d exit that cell.
“I’ll escape,” she mumbled to herself and kept herself low to the ground. “For Cielast.”
“Send out the next prisoner,” Waves gestured his tail and yawned, losing interest in the arena.
The gates slowly started to rise and Pyra had her eyes fixed on the opening entrance. A scrawny dragon limped out of the cave, he was shuddering with his tail wrapped around himself. He was pale, seeing Pyra’s intimidating gaze turn his way and he was oblivious to the fact that she wasn’t staring at him.
Pyra took a deep breath and bolted past the dragon, sand flying in all directions from behind her. The gates started to close slowly, she tucked her wings in and swiftly slid under the bars. Azure slammed his talons down on the side of Waves’ as he witnessed the prisoner slip out of the arena.
Pyra ran through the hallways hoping that she had made the right choice. Torches went out behind her at the quaking force of her movement.
“Come on…” she whispered to herself, maneuvering her way around at a rapid pace. Her sprint didn’t last long before she came to a dead stop at a wall, her eyes widening as the blood in her veins turned to ice.
The sound of talons clanking echoed through the hallway and Azure came down the hallway, his tail flickering in anger.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he growled, flaring his wings to block the doorway. She backed against the wall, cornered with her talons unsheathed.
He took a step towards her and prepared to strike, Pyra’s heart was drumming in her chest and she quickly slashed at his eye with her talons in self-defence. He hissed and instantly covered his eye with his talons.
While he was distracted, Pyra fled as fast as she could through the maze of hallways. Her heart was hammering against her chest as she scampered up the stairs, almost tripping in the process. Behind her was a roar of fury, probably Azure’s, but she didn’t dare look back.
Blood glistened on her talons, dark red. She felt a sudden jolt of guilt. “What have I done…?” she questioned herself, sighing as she continued to navigate herself through the hallway.
Pyra could hear Azure storming closer by the moment. “Just let me go, Azure, I don’t want to kill anymore. Leave me be,” she sped up through the tight hallways, her wings tucked close to her sides.
“Leave you be? Hah, do you remember what I did?” he sneered, flickering his tail.
“Azure, haven’t you caused me enough pain? Why do you make me do such detestable things? I don’t want to be like you, you’re a disgusting monster.” she turned a sharp turn and hoped that the exit was near. If I get out in the open, I’ll stand more of a chance…
“Enough pain? You wish.” He snickered, approaching closer by the minute.
“Azure, don’t make me hurt you anymore. I won’t hold back next time,” she saw the light of the hallways getting brighter. I did it, I’m almost there. Hold on, Cielast…
“And I won’t hesitate to snap your neck, similar to what you did to that poor, helpless dragon.”
Pyra ignored his voice as her vision started to get blurrier. She gasped and flew out of the hallway, spreading her wings. “Azure, I will never forgive you.”
He smirked slyly out of the corner of his mouth and cackled. “Wait until I get hold of Cielast.”
Her eyes narrowed as she turned back towards him, trying to pounce on Azure as he exited the hallways. Her tail swung towards him and missed, sending a surge of panic through her body.
He roared furiously and slammed Pyra into the wall, “How dare you?”
She growled in response and kept fighting. “No, how dare YOU?”
They both started to circle each other, their wings flared. She swung her tail at his and snapped at his foreleg. He growled and breathed a plume of flames into her face, grumbling to himself. She blinked as she was temporarily blinded then slashed her claws at his injured eye.
Azure poised his wings and snapped jaws at her wing, muttering from the pain of his eye. She slashed at his throat to distract him and whipped her tail against his ankles but he didn’t flinch and instead attempted to slam his gigantic talons into the side of her snout but swiped at the air instead.
Pyra chuckled to herself and swiped at his side with her tail, blowing fire at his eyes again.
He shook his head violently, “You are pathetic.” he muttered, swiping his talons at her, slamming her against the wall.
She gasped and backed up, limping slightly. “Azure, I won’t give up on defeating you…”
He smirked, “You’re right, you won’t give up. But I’ll make sure you stop whether you like it or not.” He slammed his talons onto her chest and pulled her upright against the wall.
She growled and slashed at his stomach restlessly with her hind talons while snapping at his snout. His eyes blazed as he stabbed her chest with his talons deeply. She gasped and breathed fire, clawing his stomach continuously.
He blocked the fire with his wings, “Have any last words?”
She grinned, “Should have tried to get information, Azure, but you messed up.” She swung her tail at his legs powerfully.
“I don’t need information from you, you’re useless to me,” He growled.
They both clashed horns suddenly, growling at each other. Azure hissed, “I’ve had enough of this child’s play. After I’m finished with you, I’ll go after Cielast.”
She pushed against his horns, breathing fire on his snout and clawed at his stomach once again. He blocked his stomach with his wings, taking her by the neck and shoving her deeper into the wall.
Then he slashed across her chest, blood drops splattering on the walls. She clawed at him weakly, her eyes filled with sorrow. He leaned down and snapped her wing, smiling evilly.
“Good luck with reuniting with your daughter,” he snickered and walked back down the hallway, disappearing into the darkness. Pyra roared in agony and went limp, she started to slowly claw her way from the hallway as her vision got slightly blurrier.
The moon started to rise above the trees as she curled up, her tail wrapped around herself. She whimpered, “Cielast… please… forgive me.”