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WNTCCover

wow this looks crap

warning, do not read if you are sensitive to death, romance, or slight violence) There will only be slight profanity, (if you even count them as bad words) (No strong curse words would be used)

(However, the main character does have some bad habits, like smoking and such. It will later on be revealed that it is destroying his health. His lesson will be learned and he will come off clean. I am not in any way encouraging the use of cigarettes) But hey if any admins are not okay with this please contact me through my message wall. I will remove those parts and rewrite it. 

Also if you like laughing at edgy stuff be sure to check this out lol. This has a TON of edge. (this fanfic is actually a test fanfic to help with improving my romance writing skills) Cya! Have fun. 

Characters

Too lazy to explain them here so just read their pages (or not if you're feeling lazy as well)

Wisp Nox: The main character of the story.

Skye Timbers: Another important character

Willow the Spiralflare: Willow is Wisp's dragon.

Whirlwind: Skye's dragon.


You Have to Know

My name is Wisp Nox, my father, who was a noble dragon racer disappeared when I was around 9. My mother is a skinny and fiery person. Her cheers can light anyone up but can burn you down into a pile of ash just as quickly. Both my parents are hardy, tough, and brisk with me.

After my father was declared missing and never coming back, my mother had to raise me up all alone. It was hard for her. I was a terrible child, an rascal you would say. However, even after all my actions, my ma still forgave me. I knew her love for me was endless. I let her spoil me, I was letting her down. All these sacrifices she made for me, but yet I still can't repay them? But then, her warm rings of fire quickly faded, leaving me with only smoke. She let the silence and loneliness punish me. 

I've seen enough.

Everyday I walked out of the orphanage, scratching along the paved roads. The stones always glimmered and shined so brightly white. They laugh and cheered with their bright sheen, everything will be alright. Hmph as if. No one cared about me leaving, so I had my ways and I could do whatever I wanted outside. This was my soulless routine for 3 years straight. I wake up, eat my share of meal, leave the orphanage, wander, and come back, eat, then sleep. I'm surprised I stayed sane, but I guess I do have my ups in an orphanage full of weaklings.

My mother and father both handled dragons, so I had extra knowledge and understanding. My mother also trained me with fighting and punching techniques, something I found very handy. 

I remember picking a fight with a boy two years bigger than me. I socked him in the face, his bleeding nose made me feel good, like I can actually do something. Getting up, he clawed me in the eye. Weakling thinks he can beat me. I punched him in the guts, instead of falling down as usual, his arms fling-ed at full speed with a chair from a nearby desk. My head felt like it was hit by a bullet, I sputtered blood out of my nose.

I collapsed.

My body twitched, a pool of blood gathered at the base of my face. My brain was screaming and my eyes were losing color. It was painful, but my spirits told me no. I was a cauldron of rage. A group of people surrounded me, they made a tight circle, and looked down upon me, whispering something. Nobody helped me.

The sounds faded.

I waked up to bandages on my forehead. I was prohibited to talk with other people. They thought I was a ruthless brat. An insane child. They planned on moving me to an asylum. How dare those people, I knew I was perfectly normal and that I don't need any mental help. Thinking about being caged in a tiny, gray, and enclosed space made me retort in disgust.

Spiral and the Flare

Word has said a madman lit a fire inside the town

...

Interesting

...

So many guards, yet all killed by one maniac

...

So much blood

......................It's fun isn't it?

"Quick! Get the water buckets!"

"Save the children first!"

"It's falling! No it's falling!"

The building fell and creaked, its mass thudded heavily onto the ground causing the rumble amidst chaos. The pieces of foundation shattered and sealed the fate of the people like a lid on top of the coffin. The people were screaming in agony, their homes were being raided by the flames. Fire burnt bright like the stars, the heat waves surged the small town.

I was let out.

And I ran from them.

The green forest was silent, unlike the vicious fire. The sunlight split between the leaves of the trees. I scanned my surroundings. I can't see any smoke, so I must be safe. Sitting down, I wondered what would happen to my, small, burning town. Most people would be dead of course, then where would I go?

I complained, and cursed, running away was my worst mistake. That damned man, at least let me have a place to stay. I'd sock his eyeballs out just right about now if he were here. Walking further, I saw a field. The sea of grass swayed in the wind, some parts I recognized looked like Dragon Nip.

A small and grey Spiralflare was lying in the grass.

I gagged at the sight of blood. The small dragon was bleeding. It looked at me weakly. My cursing immediately stopped and turned into pure terror. Whatever it was that hurt it, it must be out here somewhere. It will try to kill me as well.

...............I-I don't wanna die.

The claws honed into my back. It tore painfully into my flesh. The flying Shriker shrieked its spine chilling cry. I was being lifted higher and higher. I screamed in anger and pain, my fists shot up the foe's stomach. It shrieked once again, threatening to drop me from the tall heights onto the ground. Eyes narrowing, it swooped upwards.

Crack! I forced by fingers around its small neck and snapped it like a stick. It continued to fight, its crooked neck looked unnatural on its hunter body. Swiveling around, I was losing my grasp. The Shriker is losing control. It swiveled around in the air, ready to drop dead. The impact will kill us both.

The Spiralflare shot up from its wounds. With its jaw, it grabbed me by the shirt, and we toppled down with the Shriker.

Tumbling onto the grass, we first landed on the Shriker, who was already dead. Its twisted neck and blood spurting maw made me feel sick. I was wrapped around the Spiralflare's wings, it had saved me.

I got up and uncoiled myself from the wings. The Spiralflare closed its eyes, it was dying. My hands moved without me noticing. I grabbed the dead carcass of the Shriker and forced out masses of black goop from its mouth. Shriker goo is very thick and hard to get rid of, it is used by the dragon to stick its prey to place. The goo does not heal wounds as fast, but it does stop bacteria infections so that the prey item could live longer and stay fresh while being consumed. Fetching a handful, I walked back to the wounded savior. I smeared it across the bleeding claw marks, the blood ceased its speed and calmed down to tiny red droplets. Now that the wounds are being sealed by the Shriker goo, bacteria and bleeding wouldn't be too big of a deal. Now all it needs is comfort and a bit of rest.

...........

I inched out my hand and goo smeared fingers. I hesitated to place my hand upon its snout. I don't know why, but how it saved me, it was unbelievable. Any other dragon would've left me for dead. My hands flowed down, it came in contact with the smooth grey scales. Willow. Like the Will o' in Will o' the Wisp. That will be your name.

5 Years

(now the story will come in from a third person kind of view)

5 years. 5 years since the day Wisp has ran from his town. 5 years since he has saved Willow from the crazed Shriker. 5 full years he spent racing his life away in Phann city.

...

Wisp stepped up to the porch, he can see the racing tracks directly below. It was morning, and the people have all waken up from their slumber to watch the race begin. Resting his hands on the rail, he admired the bright light reflecting upon the vast city that covered the roofs of houses with a golden shine. The wind rustled his grey hair, that flowed in soft tufts. Willow sat behind him, the grey dragon gurgled and shifted its wings slightly, he knew that time was up. Looking back, Wisp walked down the spiral stairs.

When he reached the end, he flew on Willow to the racing stadium. The crowd of racers gasped when he arrived. Excited and worried murmurs came from the crowd. Their scale racing armors shifted around as they continued to whisper to one another.

"It's Wisp Nox? You warned me about him earlier right?"

...

"Yes, yes, I've heard of him before he's a top racer he's-"

"The racer from blue flames..."

"What! he's here! Why didn't you tell me! It's impossible to win with him around."

...

"This is going to be hard with him around. He'll beat me for sure."

"Certainly, his Spiralflare can fly surprisingly fast despite only being a Stoker class dragon."

Wisp grinned, he liked his fame. Oh god, my competition are a bunch of losers.The feeling of being better than everyone had always fueled him. He made a big show of placing his helmet on top of his head in front of everyone while telling Willow to follow him to prepare before the race starts.

Another racer watched him closely. A hand was placed on her ocean green shoulder pad. The man had a cigarette in his mouth, and he grinned at the girl racer. His suit was tucked neatly, and he appears to be incredibly wealthy. He talked to her in a rough, hoarse, and demanding voice, "Remember, you are hired and trained by me to do this." His eyes shined not prettily, but evilly, "Win." Looking back at Wisp in an unsure manner, she nodded at the man.

The stadium blasted with noises, the people who have came to watch the race are filling the air with excited chatters and screams. Posters and banners can be seen through the crowds. Clothing dedicated to racers were seen everywhere. Salesmen happily introduced their merchandise to the seated viewers, who bought their food, drinks, and items. Drums boomed into Wisp's ears, the races were always this grand. The racers stepped up to the line, the rows of dragons took their place. A large speaker type of instrument was hauled up to a high point crafted by wood and metal. The presenter made his announcement. The stadium quiet down considerably.

Wisp moved his head around to see a girl racer parked beside Willow. She was riding a wind dragon, a Skittering Swiftsky. It was light green in colour, a soft jade, with a long neck and body. The girl peered back.

She sighed and spoke up. "Hey, it's nice to see you here, my name is Skye." When he didn't answer, she changed her attitude. "So you're the quiet type huh? Wow, considering how prideful and such a dirt-bag, I'd thought you'd be a loudmouth!" Wisp grinded his teeth. Who does this girl think she is? "Not to mention how drab you look. Ha, that suit looks like some poor man on the streets made it for you."

Wisp snapped. His jaw contorted into a mean snarl, " You watch your words brick-head!" Skye gaped back like a tiger, "Who you calling brickhead? Looks like your mother didn't teach you much manners." Wisp's face was practically pouring steam, his eyes were widened and crazed with anger. "I'll burn you down in this race and you'll lose like the wimp you are!"

Skye spat, "Yeah right, I blow you off your dragon ten miles with Whirlwind!" "I'll win and you and your stupid grey dragon can go fly into oblivion."

"I'll make you regret it, and then you'll eat those words back miss-"

Wisp hadn't even finished his sentence when the horn was blown. The race has started.

One by one the racers took off on their brightly colored dragons in a swift rush. The crowd cheered. Skye managed to take lead, to Wisp's utter dismay. He squeezed his fingers around Willow's racing saddle, as he rushed in a fury to catch up with the annoying new rider, he started thinking. He has never been out-sped like this before, his anger rises. His face darkens into rage, he swears under his breath.

That blasted girl.

I didn't waste five years just to eat dust.

Race Blazing

The wind was singing into their ears like the songs of a crazed siren. The heat from the fire hoops were blazing, grower brighter each time a swift figure swiped past them with their fast wings. The crowds were equally loud, they cheered and chanted like they've never before. Willow twisted his body, he kept his eyes on the ocean green dragon, who was only a few meters in-front of him. Each time Wisp almost caught up with her, the dragon would add to its speed. It seems almost impossible to keep up. He has already heard several remarks about him being in second place when he was always first in previous races from the race announcers. "Seems like the new comer has beaten the racer from blue flames! What a shock!" Wisp is growing more and more stressed. This is not what he had expected. If only he could have a cigarette......

They have been racing for god knows how long, but something happened. An announcement shot from the the speaker-like instrument. "Attention, we are now getting closer and closer to the end of the race!" "Let's hope our racers all manage to get a good place. Too bad this grey guy is going to get dethroned." Wisp adrenaline coursed, he wasn't about to lose. Especially after promising that he'll beat the annoying new rider.

Willow's eyes narrowed, his maw poured bright orange sparks that flickered and faded into blue hell flames. The river of fire licked the surface of Wisp's helmet, creating a bluish demonic glow. Sitting close, the fire emitted through the Spiralflare's wings, causing a calamity of bright blue, propelling the rider forward.

Whirlwind listened to his rider's orders and released a gale force of wind. Catching up close, the blue and the storm collided, the massive giant swirls of beautiful blue covered and rampaged the stadium. In this whole mess, the two riders both fell off onto the ground. The trails of dust followed the seer marks.

The whole stadium was silent, they waited for the dust and smoke to clear out.

...

The people stretched and craned their necks. They were on the edges of their seats, the tension and excitement cannot be contained any longer. Their eyes were narrowing and pointed down to the trailer of the dust.

...

The smoke continued to run. A faint blue glow can be seen from within.

...

The smoke cleared

...

Murmurs and confusion arose from the crowds. Both trainers were passed out on the back of their dragons, who were also unconscious.

The announcer's voice clashed the still and tension filled air. Many people broke out of their trance with a jolt.

"It seems that both our racers are unconscious, we will declare this as a tie. Nearest emergency, please send these two personnel to the hospital."

The riders were put onto wooden stretchers and sent off. The race has ended, but it had no clear winner.

The Burden

Wisp woke up in a large building, he can see the bright lights shining above him and curtains surrounding his small area. A glass of water and a tin of food sat on the other side, just in hands reach. He grabbed the glass and drank viciously. Letting go of the glass and leaving a sigh, he looked around him. The cloths were white, the bed sheets were white, and even his own clothes were white. One of his arms had a casing, he realized that he had probably broken it when he fell with Willow.

A nurse walked into the blizzard-like room. Her.Clothes.Were.White

Jeez can't you all have some color other than white? Maybe grey or blue would be nice, because seeing the same color over and over again is just going to make me feel worse.

eh not to be racist or anything

(clearly Wisp knows nothing about how hospitals work :/)

He sighed, at-least the casing is blue.

The nurse walked up to Wisp with a clipboard clasped in her hand. She held a pencil and started scribbling something for around a few seconds. Finally, she lifted up her head. Giving a cold, emotionless glare she said, "Ah you're finally awake. I suppose you should be fine and able to recover your broken arm within a few weeks. You will be able to race later but for now you are currently unfit to participate." "Your dragon is still recovering due to the more fatal injuries." Wisp's heart nearly dropped from his rib-cage. He swear he heard a strong thud and the sudden feeling of chills running down his spine. Oh no, he thought. Racing brings him joy, but mostly money but you know what he means. Through all these crawling emotions trying to pry through his jaw, he only managed a weak, "okey."

The nurse handed him the keys to his locker, where all his racing clothes were stored. It hit his right hand with a soft clink as he curled the small and cold object tightly. The nurse then proceeded to leave the room.

Damn, not even a smile or goodbye?

Nurses are cold man.

He moved past the curtains and revealed the other areas. There were other spaces that were surrounded by the bright curtains that looked like silky hail. Wisp assumed that there were other patients in there.

He swerved down the white hallway, where he can see the special clothing storage room just to the right. His feet pattered onto the ground. He was feeling shaky. His craving for a cigar was getting stronger. The urges are sky high, and his veins uprooted in frustration.

With his hands he clasped his heart, as he felt like his skin was being split into a million bloody pieces and his organs all set on fire. His chest felt bound and tight, it was getting hard to breath. Then he remembered. He had a pack of cigarettes in a pocket on his racing clothes.

He struggled closer and closer towards the room, each step he felt like doom.

...

Almost there.

Wisp barged the key into the lock and jammed it as his fingers and hands shook violently. Finally, he reached his pocket. The smooth surface of the cigar box lay in his hands, as he gingerly pulled a single cigar out. Then, he'd forgotten that he had no lighter. Just then a man walked into the room. He looked familiar, almost as if he was there at the start of the race.

His small footsteps echoed through the dark locker room. "Why Wisp, up so soon?" His arms were in the air, as if about to hug Wisp. Wisp flinched, his hearts was beating. The pain was coming back.

"Li-lighter p-please."

The man looked at him as if he were a strange entity. "Well if you say so." His hands moved into his pockets to retrieve a lighter. Then he paused and looked up,"Hey you know Wisp, I was wondering how you're going to race after..." His eyes darted to Wisp's blue casing. Wisp clutched his chest in agony, his eyes were maddening. He struggled to hoist himself up and tried to balance himself by hanging onto the edge of the locker door. "Just give me the lighter!" He barked.

The man looked at the panicking dragon racer. His face displayed a smile as he walked circles around the shaking Wisp, pacing like a jaguar waiting to pounce on its prey. Wisp had no time to watch him pace around, he was screaming in raw pain. The trembles are rattling the metal lockers and he toppled to the marble ground, still shaking vigorously.

"Heh, listen kid. If you want the lighter, you'll have to beg then." Wisp gargled a few words that sounded like gibberish, he was in a complete state of shock. The man placed his shoe on top of Wisp's head, he said something menacingly, "Now beg then will you? Say, Grimwell Dean, please give mercy and hand me the lighter? Say, oh I am a terrible little scum and that I will never attempt to race against his racers ever again."

Wisp's lips quivered, his muscles jiggled and the forced some words out of his mouth, "Pl-p-ple-ease, pl-"

Grimwell grinded his foot harder onto Wisp's head, sending Wisp to shout in pain.

"Say"

"It"

"Faster"

Wisp then begged, something he does not normally do. His feet slid across the ground as he moaned in pain.

Grimwell tossed the lighter near Wisp. It landed with a little clank and Wisp scooped it up immediately. Lighting the cigar, the relief rushed through him as he breathed in the smoke. The pain seemed to fade away instantly, but Wisp was still in shock. His eyes were misty grey like the smoke.

Grimwell walked towards the door. "Ah, why live if you must endure such pain Wisp? Don't you realize that no one is here for you?" Wisp only stared back in hatred without saying a word.

Grimwell tossed him a black sack. As Wisp opened it to see a coil of rope, Grimwell spoke tauntingly, "I suggest you hang it up on your ceiling, it will be good decoration until you decide to join it." With a cruel laugh the man disappeared from the door into the hallway. The light from outside bounced onto Wisp's face, reflecting through his half soulless eyes. His mouth was agape and he fell down to his hands and knees, still clutching onto his cigarettes and the coil of rope.

These items disturbed him greatly

These items are a burden

A grave burden

Skye Timbers

*switching to the perspective of Skye

I groped my way down the hall to pick up Whirlwind. Luckily, I didn't suffer from any major injuries. That rider on the other hand, I have no idea what has happened to him. Sigh, I'm so stupid. Letting Whirlwind blow up that storm was a crap idea, like it would do any good if I blew him away anyways. Now I'm in the hospital and having to deal with this extra business. Mr. Grimwell hired me to race for him. He said that I was "talented and the perfect racer," which I always thought was true, because I could beat any racer. Many times me and Whirlwind could knock out all the other racers Grimwell had hired. I proved worthy, and he knew that I was incredibly valuable. But this time, he managed to make it a tie. Something unique surrounds that rider, unique like his bright blue flames...

I stopped by to see the room Whirlwind was held. Once I opened the door, Whirlwind excitingly bounded towards me. He chirruped and licked my face. This is why I love him. His green scales slid past my shirt as he hopped up and down cheerfully on his claws. I led him outside the door and towards the hallway.

Skittering in front of me, he peered back and paused to wait for me to catch up. Heh, he was always this energetic.

We walked out of the hospital, the trees and the air was refreshing, considering that I have been unconscious for a bit already. The bright blue sky welcomed me outside. Whirlwind stretched his wings, but they limped. I realized that he still needs to recover from the incident. He frowned, disappointed that he can't fly yet. I rubbed his snout, "I know, you really want to fly, but you gotta rest first okay bud?" Whirlwind gurgled and leaped around me in circles until he stopped and stared into a certain direction. I followed his gaze.

...

The rider from blue flames... he's

Well he's surprisingly less intimidating now with a very visible blue cast on his arm. I also noticed that he was alone and had no dragon. If I had one word to describe him, it would be idiotic.

He was holding his jacket and helmet in his arms and looks slightly-no very distressed. His eyes look like someone literally suck out his soul. I didn't see his face very clearly at the start of the race since he was wearing his helmet.

Grabbing a close look, his face was as pale as the moon and his grey eyes squinted at the penetrating daylight. Hair flowed down his head in soft, grey, tufts, as if they were charred and made with smoke. His leg armor were on, they looked jagged and scary, with claw like talons at the end.

He noticed me and paused. Does he know who I am? Or is he just pausing to take a break? God, if he recognizes me, he's going to be hella mad. I better skedaddle.

I tried to look normal and walk away, but my feet were glued as he approached slowly. His eyes looked mad and crazed, he didn't look very normal.

...

Whirlwind bounced up to the male rider, licking his face. Whirlwind seemed happy to meet him and the rider was petting him? "Whirlwind! Back!" I said as, Whirlwind ignored my instructions and continued to stick with the boy with a blue casing. He stared back at me while petting MY dragon. What the hell, Whirlwind was supposed to listen to ME. Since when did he become a dragon master?

The smoky and charred voice sliced the air, "This is your dragon?" I took a while to answer. "What, are you mute?" He patted Whirlwind and sent him running back to me. My racing dragon curled up on a tree near my left. Whirlwind looked between me and the rider from blue flames. I realized that I haven't answered yet.

"Uh yes, this is my dragon." My voice sounded unsure, and even a bit shaky. How am I scared of a rider I nearly beat in a race? He is an idiot, I reminded myself. Grimwell told me all the things about him, that he's greedy, selfish, and an overall scumbag. Yet, the legendary rider, he seems, well, fine. I stared at the ground without meeting his sight.

He scoffed, "What, how are ya suddenly silent? Weren't you bragging about beating me a day before? Or are you scared or something?"

Oh god, turns out he is a jerk after all.

Leaving a glare I spat," How ridiculous of you, thinking I'd be scared. Wasn't I the one who almost ended your whole career? Or is it just that you're so much of an idiot you don't understand."

Scoffing, he gave me a mean look, eyes like a storm, "Don't be so pathetic stupid girl. You know that without your dragon you are nothing, your skinny legs and arms show that. Be careful, or else somebody might just scrape your whole face off with a tree bark."

Stupid idiot, I wanted to go up and snap his neck and sew his mouth up, but everything he said was true. I'm a very scrawny person, It's just in my blood, and I know that I wouldn't stand much of a chance in an actual fight, which is why I choose to race instead.

I scowled, "Well, too bad you're still a scumbag. If you weren't so full of yourself I doubt Grimwell would've targeted you-"

And that's when I slipped. I got so into the argument that I let out my secret. Now this obnoxious jerk knows. Great, just great.

...

"So you're telling me that son of a-.... is targeting me?"

I can only stare away, pretending to take interest in the sleeping Whirlwind, who had tuned out on our heated conversation.

He turned away, "It certainly was awful knowing you, so next time I see you, stay the hell away from me and Willow."

I glanced at the legendary rider, upset and angered, walking down the path. Oh god, what am I going to do?

Light Shines Through

I let the grey dragon heal in that field, bringing it some food once in awhile and building it a small shelter. The queer looking Spiralflare always looked odd to me, because all Spiralflares in the wild were white in coloration, and they had split wings that operated like sails. Willow's wings were joined together, similar to that of a normal wing. His muscles and everything looked fine, but he just didn't look much like a Spiralflare.

I wonder if he could be a hybrid, but I shook it off.

Hybrid or not, he's my friend now, and I gotta take care of him.

Within a week, he quickly regained his strength. Licking his recovering wounds, I sat and watched. Swiveling his head, his deep blue eyes crossed my soul, we locked eyes, as if swearing to protect each other no matter what happened.

The day after that, he walked out of the small shelter, he stretched his great wings and yawned. Sniffing the fresh air, he feels happy to be able to walk and move again.

With small steps, he gingerly tapped around the grass, trotting along. Staring at the sky, he suddenly looked back at me.

His face lurked of sadness, I can tell he doesn't know what to do next, to leave me or to stay. In this already small world, a boy and a dragon looked minuscule.

The queer and unusual dragon stepped forward, then hesitated to come closer.

He feels sorry

Wiping my face with my sleeve, I said goodbye to him, to the creature who saved my life.

Time seemed so still, none of us moved, only the breezy wind rustling the tall grass. The golden sunset illuminated onto the dragon, creating an outline of bright golden light around his figure.

I reached out my hand to say my final goodbyes.

...

Rustle rustle, the sound of a moving dragon.

He touched my hand with his snout, I opened my eyes to see the dragon standing in front of me, his muzzle placed on my palm. It soon opened its eyes as well, like two giant blue pearls, shiny with emotion and gratitude.

Then, it gurgled, as if saying, I won't leave you behind.

"I won't leave you behind either then."

"What do you say we go rule the world?"

The dragon let the small boy climb on his back, and took off. The sunset blaring.

In the end....

Light shines through

The Socket

He trudged along grumpily, heavily disturbed that this ignorant rider had been hired by Grimwell to target him. Targeted or not, I'm going to bring him down.

The harsh sunlight beamed into his eyes as he continued to lumber back to the dragon hospital, they glowed with more rage and anger. How come this stupid girl with her stupid green dragon ended and ruined his life? Sure, he had come a long way, but right now it certainly did not help him in the slightest. Who even knows what condition his own dragon is in?

Once I get better, I'll knock that piece of crap straight to hell. Grimwell...no I'll end the girl too.

It's her own fault she got us in this mess.

Finally reaching the area, he grabbed the cold door handles and yanked them open with a brute force. The atmosphere was silent and heavy, it reeked of disease, injury, and death. Squinting his eyes, he forced his already short spanned attention onto a man sitting at the end of the room. The light by the window cast his shadow, that stretched along the floors of the enclosed space, and he seemed to be treating something similar to that of a clump of bandages.

Beckoning him closer, Wisp seemed to see something flash in his eyes. Was it distrust, hatred, disgust, or maybe even sympathy?

The doctor sat uncomfortably in his chair, clasping his hands tightly, he began to speak in a formal manner.

Sighing, he said," Your dragon is in a very serious condition. Some of his bones are shattered, and will take a few weeks to heal, but."

The silence seemed to drag on, nothing seemed to move, except for the exceptional bird that chirped by the window, creating small flickers of shadows and small sounds.

Looking back at him helplessly Wisp replied, "But what?"

Without a moments hesitation, the doctor had answered his question," Your dragon's eyes are damaged, and there will be a narrow chance that he can gain his vision back."

"Narrow chance?"

"Yes, it is possible, but mostly impossible, his left eye was pierced with metal scrap, probably picked up from the stadium's filth and garbage."


"How can we fix him then."

"We are going to operate a surgery for your dragon, his right eye has a chance of becoming blind as well, but it may end up fine. It's hard to tell. We just want to ask if you're willing enough to let us operate."

"Fine."

...

"Do it."

 Everything Comes Back to You

"Hey kid, are you new around here? I've never seen your face before, where are ya parents?"

I stopped after I heard the man in dragon armor call out to me. I held the leash for Willow around my hand and didn't turn around.

"Hey, can you hear me?"

"Jack, just leave him be, he might not want to talk to strangers."

"But look he's got a dragon, and he might be lost?"

"My name is Wisp. My parents are somewhere in another town, I've been sent here to learn the arts of dragon racing."

"Is that so? Do you have any other family members traveling with you, or is it just you and your dragon?"

"Just me and Willow sir."

"Well then, you said you're here to learn dragon racing right? Well we are dragon racers! If you want, you could join us and we'll teach ya everything."

I walked towards the group of dragon racers, and they raised me as if I were their own. They taught me how to race, and I was improving each and everyday. I have to admit though, my ego was definitely stroked a little too much, and well, I guess hanging out with dragon racers can plant some bad habits. I myself got this bad addiction to this strange cigar. It wasn't any normal cigar, since I later learned that if you don't get enough for too long you will tremble and every point in your body will crack with tremendous pain.

Of course, I regret that decision, but I assume it is too late now.

Around a few years later all of those racers either retired or moved to different cities to catch better business. I was the only one who stayed behind. Though, even with the company of Willow, I hate to admit that it gets lonely.

Sometimes I just like to stare out of the balcony, imagining that those few people would come back. They were like my family, and I miss them.

The smoke though painful reminds me of them, and every time it's there, everything comes back to you.

...

That was the feeling I felt when I sat upon the same balcony again later that night. Willow has to stay at the hospital, and therefore couldn't come home with me. The houses and huts below all shone with their warm yellow lights as the cold blue night sky shimmered with the tiny stars. 

No matter how big my city is, I still feel very vacant. I feel it everyday, every year, and I've always lived alone with Willow. I've felt it so much that I should've gotten used to it, but tonight, my heart grows cold.

Staring into the starry skies, I let the night wind drift past me, all the nighttime sounds flood me, yet all I could think of is Willow and the others.

I hate to admit that, I'm not exactly perfect. I may have fame in racing, I may have almost anything I need, but to be truthful, I am a scumbag. A lying scumbag. Someone who doesn't even deserve to live on this planet anymore.

My best friend, who had been with me for five years in total has been treated like a tool by me. Living a peaceful and famous life is what I wanted but I realized that everything will come to ruins as soon as you step into the darkness.

I let out a sigh and forcefully shoved the cigar pack deeper into my pockets. This thing I hate yet I love, I'll have to do something about it, yet I can't stop. I still can't stop thinking about the good things in my past.

...

Hanging my coat I left the balcony to go to sleep.

...

I'll check on Willow tomorrow.


Missing

I awakened to knocking at my door in the morning.

Who could it even be? It's not like anyone actually knows my address, we have to keep it a secret most of the time, so it couldn't possibly be a fan. On the other hand, it might be delivery services, but I haven't ordered anything at all.

The knocking continued, then a voice, "Hello? Messengers from the hospital here."

Messengers from the hospital, could it be news for Willow? I wondered as I paced forward to open the door.

There faces were grave and monotone, it couldn't have been happy news. I waited for them to speak as I noticed a thick paper folder that held something inside.

"We have bad news regarding your dragon Mr. Nox."

"Your dragon, who was named Willow is now missing. We assumed that a thief or dragon hunter of some kind must've broken into the hospital at nighttime and stole your dragon. The doctors and nurses guarding him were all killed, and we can't find who the culprit is."

They seemed to wait for me to speak, but my mind was blank trying to process all of the information.

"This is the refund for your dragon's surgery," the man in the middle held out the paper folder into my hands as I just stared blankly without saying anything.

"We're terribly sorry for the events that happened."

I just shut the door slowly.

My dragon is gone.

Someone took him.

Why do these things keep on happening to me?

...

Must be that bastard Grimwell.

He had been the one who was targeting me, HE must be the one who planned all of this, along with that damned girl.

I need to go ask where he is, I'm going to track him down.

...

  • In the view of Skye

Slam!

The metal wall behind me was hit with a vicious pang. The menacing Rider from earlier placed his sharp and armored hands and cornered me. His eyes filled with fury and rage whilst I cowered in confusion. His tall and dark shadow loomed over.

He glowered, "Tell me where Willow is."

"I don't know what your talking abo-"

"TELL ME WHERE HE IS."He roared.

"I don't know. I honestly don't know why you're asking me. Isn't he is the hospital?"

"No you piece of yak dung, I bet that bastard Grimwell took him and now he's telling you to not tell anyone, am I correct?"

This genuinely angers me. I have no idea who this guy is, and now he's blaming me for not knowing where his stupid dragon is. I know since even if Grimwell hides things from me I will always find out somehow. You think all my years spending time with shady people hasn't raised my awareness scale? There was no doubt that Grimwell DID NOT take his dumb dragon.

I shoved him backwards and replied coldly, "Look, I genuinely have no idea what you're talking about. I have no idea why you think Grimwell took your idiot dragon. And didn't you say you don't want to see me ever again? So why the hell are you here, out of all people, in front of me?

The rider in front of me staggered slightly, as if he was struggling to keep standing. His fists clenched and his head hanged low.

He moved his hand up to his face as if he were wiping something. It was tears. I would never expect this kind of person to cry out of all people, expected him to be much tougher.

"He isn't just some dumb dragon."

"He's my friend. He saved my life."

His face welled with sorrow... soon it got hard to stare directly into his eyes. His same grey and pearly eyes, ones that I thought were cold and lonely, but turns out were filled with care after all.

The way he said that...he does actually care about his dragon. It immediately reminds me of Whirlwind, and suddenly my heart was assaulted by a wave of guilt.

"I just need you to tell me where Grimwell took him, please."

...

"I beg of you."

He's begging...I can't stand this anymore.

Without thinking, I sprinted and ran away from him and didn't stop even after I heard him yell for me to come back.


I wasn't paying attention, and slipped before coming to the realization that I was going to fall into a pit where the ground had split. It was too late to call for help, and Whirlwind was all the way back in the stables.

This is it, I'm going to die just like this...

To my surprise, a hand caught mine at the last moment. Looking closely, it was the hand of the rider's. He slowly pulled me up the side.

...

"Man that was a close one. Heh, who's gonna tell me where Willow is now if you're gone? Now speak up will ya?"


Chase

  • Wisp

The truth is, Wisp was just glad that the annoying girl didn't fall, since if she did he would count as the last person who saw her, and therefore being quite suspicious. He does sort of care for now, since he's not entirely heartless, but he isn't going to forget the fact that she kinda messed his life up that easily.

Life isn't fair, and as far as he knows, he's going to get Willow back no matter what it takes. Either with help, or entirely on his own.

The two dragon racers sat atop the side of the cracked earth, the rustling grass near them looked like there were waves as the wind blew the green sea of vegetation. The blue sky was blocked with the occasional white clouds, and as one made a shadow over them, Wisp was determined to get an answer from her.

"So, are you going to tell me where Willow is?"

...

The girl just stared right into his eyes without looking away.

"I've already told you. I don't know where he is. I speak the truth."

...

"If you don't believe me, I can help you try and find your dragon."

"Willow, his name is Willow."

"The things you said earlier, you really do love Willow don't you?" she asked after she sighed.

"I admit that I'm not the best rider around, or nearly a good friend in fact, but I just want to repay Willow back just this once. He had saved my life when I was in need."

...

"He was my first best friend, and always will be."

"Just like me and Whirlwind..."

The two didn't say anything for a few seconds, they just stare out into the horizon as the wind whistled past them and the grass.

"..."

"I apologize for earlier. I did not mean to call your best friend stupid, it's just that  I thought you were being rude and I got a little defensive. It's just a part of me now. I can't help but snap back at everything without thinking whenever someone insults or hurts me." She hesitated before saying all this at light speed, Wisp assumed that she was embarrassed or something.

Wisp was a little bewildered that she was apologizing, he really thought she'd act immature and just not say anything else. Turns out she might not be so bad despite all that has happened to him.


"Fine, I'll believe you," he said as he rose up from the grassy ground.

"If you really want to help me get Willow back, then I guess you're not lying. But," he paused.

"I need you to actually check up on Grimwell for me, there is still a chance he could've done something y'know? There's always a bigger picture, don't forget that. I'll give you around a week."

"If you find something tell me immediately, send me a terror mail and we'll meet here," He held out a map to to Skye, where it had a red lable that told her to go to a cave. "Don't you dare delay anything or else I'll find you and you will suffer consequences."

He then turned his back to walk away before being stopped.

"May I ask what your name is then?" Skye needed to know his name, since it was awkward just calling him, "the rider."

He didn't reply for a bit, keeping his back turned to Skye, and then as he left he muttered something, "My name is Wisp Nox, like the wisp on the will o' wisp. Don't forget it, and don't forget on what we agreed on.

"Okay, well my name is Skye. Skye Timbers." the girls said after a nod.

Wisp then walked away without looking back, his grey figure slowly disappearing into the distance...

Skye didn't know what to think other than being angry. She disliked that fact that she just let this, "Wisp," guy threaten her and act all cool and crap. Hmph, as if she was scared of him. But, she is a girl of her words, she promised to help him, so she can't back out any longer.

...

"So, Wisp, tell me does your parents ever send you mail? Or even anything?"

"They're too busy to send me stuff."

"Ah I see."

"..."

"So do you write letters to them?"

"..."

"I do."

He lied.

"Man, I imagine they must miss you a lot, I haven't seen my ma for years, I wonder if she's still doing okay. Sometimes she sends me sweets n stuff, hehe and just yesterday I got this box of coco cakes, you want some?"

He held out a large delicate box, with a sash on it that roped a small card. It read, "I miss you Flint, love from Mom," the rest were cursive lines of sentences that the small Wisp could not make out. The coco cakes were perfectly shaped like triangles, and had a vanilla filling. Detailed frostings covered the shiny and tempting surfaces like the lace you see on fancy clothes.

Wisp knew that these were made specifically for Flint so he thought of manners and passed.

"Thank you Flint, but these are for you, not me."

"Awww cmon dude! I love sharing with ya, don't need to be so polite! Here, take as many as you like and don't worry. You said your parents are too busy to send you stuff right? Well take these cakes and imagine that they are from them. I know they love and adore you Wisp, I bet they miss you so much right now they just want to leap all the way here and hug you."

Flint placed the small cake slice on Wisp's hands.

"Here, try them, you'll love it!"

Wisp took a mini bite out of the cake. The sweetness of the vanilla contrasted the bittersweet of the dark chocolate. The frostings melted in his mouth like ice and he felt all warm and happy inside.

It feels...

It feels like love...

It feels like home...

The home I never had...

Though the others would never know...

"So do ya like it?"

Wisp paused, his head was hanged low and he was shivering.

"Hey hey, are ya alright over there? Is it really that disgusting?"

The small boy broke into tears, he sobbed and hiccoughed as he finished the rest of the cake. His parents are all dead, and he was hiding it all from the rest of his riders, but this feeling. This feeling, the cakes that weren't even from his own, brought him some sort of harmony, like someone actually cared for him. He was ever grateful for Flint and the others...

"Woah there! Steady dude, steady." Flint said as he patted and comforted Wisp as the small child continued to drown in his tears of joy.

The sun begins to set outside Wisp's window, and the moon soon begins to rise. The small Wisp that has now calmed down was placed in bed by Flint.

The last thing before the burning lamp turned off was Flint's kind smile, and the creaking of the stairs as he ascended.

The box of coco cakes lay on Wisp's desk with new words written on it.

"Enjoy these for me, Wisp."

Deadline

*Skye

Crap, it's already been three days and I haven't been able to find anything. I've search everywhere around the camp, and I even have a blueprint of all the hidden chambers near Grimwell's camp. Of course he didn't give it to me, I just happened to see it and pick-pocketed my way through, since I thought I could've used it to sneak to the kitchen at midnight whenever I got hungry.

I've been to all of the cellars, every underground basement, every room in this whole damn place and I still found nothing.

Nothing at all.

The thoughts rattled through my head.

This isn't going to be pretty.

If I don't find it in time that idiot Wisp is going to get rowdy again, and I can't let that happen. I want to stick to my promises, and if I can't keep up I always declare myself a loser and wimp. The thing is, I always stick to my promises.

Then...there is only one place left.

Grimwell's chamber.

I'm forbidden to go in there, and if I were to be found out I'd be punished, severely punished.

...

Damn wimp.

I didn't live all my life just to be a chicken teriyaki sandwich.

That bastard Wisp asked for this, and heh, I deliver it to him fair and square.

...

Later that evening I waited just outside somewhere close to the room. I managed to steal Grimwell's keys and made copies from molds. Once Grimwell leaves his camp to do business, I will be free to strike.

I paced around waiting like a panther, sooner or later, the man himself walked out. I made sure that he was far out of sight before I approached the door. After he was gone and done for, I turned the keys into the key hole. It was an abnormal door, it looked very ancient, with brass rings that you used to knock. The edges of the enormous door was plated with detailed silver and golden linings, carved in the shapes of ancient Greek and Japanese dragons.

I can't help but feel those colorless little eyes were all staring at me.

Turning the key into the golden key hole, it clicked almost immediately. The opened door lead to a spacious room with a dome shaped ceiling. The atmosphere was dark and grim, an eerie silences plagues the queer room.

Shelves meticulously stacked from tip to end with books and weird organic creatures stored in jars of weird liquids.

In the middle of the room was a large rectangular table, which was placed under a deep scarlet rug, to the sides a set of comfy armchairs surrounded the table.

To the far left, a large desk filled with tools and files sat below a board filled with strange scribbles. Taking a closer look, the scribbles were just plans and other important business stuff. Of course, none of them involved the Spiral Flare, and the contents were so boring Skye decided that she wasn't going to read on.

I pawed through the drawers and the files, and one by one I read them at light speed. In the end, I found some files that I could potentially proof read for more information. The time on the clock made its sharp ticking sounds, the room was too silent, way too silent for my liking. The grueling area made me feel anxious and sick to the bone.

Tick tick tick...

The clock continues to tick as the occasional bubbles pop up from the strange jars.

It was so quiet that I could only hear the clock and static.

...

I crooked my head slowly back at the clock, which has suddenly stopped ticking.

Its arms frozen in place, barely moving.

I stood paralyzed. Is it just a malfunction? Or did I get too anxious I'm now imagining things?

Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I opened my eyes once more.

Tick tick tick...

It's ticking again...I guess I'm just imagining things

I took one of the files and read through them.

Nothing.

Next one...

...

Still nothing.

Why the hell would Grimwell want to hide information on stealing a dragon so bad? Well, maybe because he didn't steal Willow in the first place. Or maybe I've missed some spots on the map I'm sure...overall perhaps the base is bigger than it seems.

Damnit, a week isn't enough!

I vigorously pulled out the next file, expecting dumb business stuff, but finally found a page that caught my eye. The paper was filled with paragraphs of small texts, the tiny black worms that are the words stared back into me. The pictures on the page where...well to be honest horrifying.

(GORE WARNING: The text below has detailed descriptions of how the nurses and doctors died, skip if you don't like gore)

A picture on the far left was of dead corpses lying on the ground. The background looked like something from a hospital. Their throats were all slit, and some of their faces were cut in half, it was terrifying. Their faces though dead twisted with anguish and agony, as if they were still in pain even after they had deceased.

As I moved my thumb to see the picture I was covering, a picture of the exact same Spiral Flare Wisp rode showed up. It was a picture of Wisp standing with Willow outside some sort of stadium. They weren't looking at the camera in the photo, so obviously this picture was shot without them knowing.

The words say something about the Spiral Flare being targeted by someone, or something. A symbol that looked like an Echoer being impaled by an arrow was circled with a red pen. After reading a few lines, I didn't know what the meaning of all this.

Was Grimwell really targeting Willow, or was he just trying to investigate?

Either way, I'll have to bring this with me.

Grimwell won't be coming back for days, so when I'm done I'll just slip it right back here, easy peasy.

Tick tick tick...

I then shoved the file into my pocket, it doesn't really matter I can just flatten it out later.

Speaking of which...

The clock again...

I could've sworn it was 3:26 when I last saw it, but now it's hands twisted to 5:43. Did I really take around two hours?

No, it can't be, I swear I just read three files or so, so the longest it would've taken was probably 30 minutes.

Something's not...right?

Clink, tick!

Clink, tick!

Crank!

Clinkclin

Tick tick tick...

I shivered slightly.

The arms on the clock then began to twist and furl as if they were alive and sentient, the numbers melted slightly as the black ink like substance spurted out from the seeps of the clock as I backed away in alarm.

The hell is wrong with this thing?!

Next thing I knew, the clock's hands stretched out like long bendable strings and coiled around my arms and neck. The cold metal cut gashes in my skin, and it was hard to breath.

What the hell is this?! Why is this clock attacking me?! This is a dream, this is a dream, wake up, wake up!

The metal continued to coil around me like venomous snakes, my throat was completely blocked off, I couldn't breath any longer.

This thing is going to strangle me to death if I don't think faster.


The light suddenly felt like it was fading darker and darker, oxygen was becoming scarcer and scarcer, my eyes feel like they are losing their color.

...

Skye stopped moving, her eyes lost color. The clock let go of its grasp and set her limp body on the ground.

The long twisted metal arms bend and morphed back into the normal clock silently.

...

Tick tick tick...

......

A few seconds pass, the clock continues to tick as if it were normal and nothing had happened, Skye lays lifeless on the ground...

Or is she?

She opened her eyes, good her heart has calmed down...

Obviously Grimwell installed some kind of security measure inside that clock...I would've never expected something to be like this.

This is extremely advanced technology, I've read it somewhere in a book before. They call them "Fear Binds, " basically coils of rope that detect heart beats and adrenaline levels. They can sense it to detect if your house or property has intruders, and will only stop attacking after they think the person is dead. Basically, if they sense signs of fear they will then track the location of said thing or person and coil around them, the more they struggle, the longer the strings get.

Luckily I managed to remember and stopped my breath and slowed my heart beat, or else I would've been dead.


Now that I know what this thing is, I just have to stay calm, and I will be able to reach the door and get out. I stood up cautiously as I eyed the weird clock. It wasn't making anymore moves or acting weird, but I still gotta be careful.

I carefully inched my way to the entrance...just a few steps ahead.

...

Almost there...

...

A small sliver of green light flashed from a corner of the room, and as I turned my head around, it was gone.

Crap, it's probably another trap of some sorts.

I ran straight for the door, no time to inch around like a worm, I need to get out of here fast or else I'll probably end up like minced meat.

A searing pain shot into my left shoulder. I howled in pain as I saw that my left shoulder had a shallow hole, it was only bleeding a little bit, but it hurt like hell. It felt as if my shoulder joints were being dislocated and torn off from my body. The hole simmered and sizzled as small fumes of smoke poured out from it.

Then, another appeared on my leg, I crumbled down to the ground.

At this rate, I don't know how to fight back, my wounds from the clock's fear binds were starting to sting and bleed. I felt weak all over.

The light from the corner glimmered again, and a small dot of light pointed to my forehead.

...

If it hits my forehead it will break my skull and kill me.

I shouldn't have done all this.

I shouldn't have helped that idiot.


...

The light was charging up, the small ball of green light was getting bigger and bigger by the second...

Sooner or later it's going to shoot, and then I will die.

At the last moment I grabbed a metal tray from the table, and as the green ball of light fired it hit the tray with a sharp pang and bounced all around the room.

Seems like it can't burn metal? But this thing burned a hole through my shoulders, how is it unable to burn metal?

I need to experience more.

I saw the green ball of light charge up again in a different corner.

Sprinting with a jump, I took cover behind the couch as the ball of light shot to the spot I was previously on.

This thing seems to shoot from corners, so if it can't see me, I should be fine, right?

I was proven wrong when all of the corners lit up at once,  bright lights all aiming at my face.

What are these things?!

From the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a claw, and then a slick black head of a dragon that was tiny, about the size of a finger.

The outer walls of the room began making symmetrical cracks, this is a trap after all, Grimwell had secret dragon roosts hidden inside the walls!

The wall once open was clearly visible, with masses of these tiny black dragons huddled together, almost like clumps of cockroaches. Their wings shivered as they all pointed their attention toward me; they think I'm an intruder.

One by one dozens upon dozens of their mouths lit up with the small green energy balls.

Oh Thor, what am I going to do?

I picked up the tray from earlier to cover my head again, this time the balls of energy ricocheted even harder across the room, the tray was starting to dent...

Cmon...

Think...think...

I don't have anymore trays, and this is the only thing I see that can protect me...

Another blow and it might break...

I did the last and dumbest thing that came to my mind. It was going to be humiliating and stupid, but I only have one choice left. My last card on board...


...

Like a total buffoon, I dropped my tray and face planted into the ground as my arms flopped alongside me. Then all I need to do is stay completely still.

I can't believe I'm doing this, I, Skye Timbers is playing dead in front of some puny security dragons.

Once I get out of here I'm so gonna make Wisp pay for this...


I kept a small slip of my eye open to see if they do anything funny, and as the small dragons approached, their line suddenly split. They all neatly stood at the side, and from the middle walked past a larger version of the smaller dragons. It had more vibrant markings, as well as a head crest,  I assumed this individual must be important to them...

It awkwardly scrabbled to my body, and then proceeded to sit on my face.

This is getting annoying...

I'm going to take a chance...assuming that this must be an alpha of some sorts.

With a sudden yank, I grasped the dark dragon by the throat and neck, preventing it from firing at me or moving. Its little legs waggled furiously as its tail whipped back and forth...like that little temper tantrum would stop me.

Holding it up, the rest of the black dragons froze and began to hiss and growl. They weren't attacking though, which means I have a hostage now.

"If you dare attack, I'll drop kick your alpha, and I mean it!"

Then, the dragon in my hand seemed to roar something, and the rest of the little dragons ceased their aggression.

Slowly, I inched my way to the door once again, with the tiny alpha in my hand.

After I reached the door, I launched the alpha like a rocket back into the room, slammed the door and ran as fast as possible never looking back. Ever.


The Promise

  • Wisp

I looked to the sky from my balcony again. It's been nearly three days, and only two more until it's the deadline. I wonder how Skye is doing. Eh whatever.

I suppose she's probably laying around in her room, eating snacks she stole from the kitchen and totally ignoring what I've said. I wouldn't really imagine that someone like her would get the work done for me. Obviously I can tell that she's mad.

She's a hot-headed girl, and loses her temper pretty easily, though it just makes more people pity her. A person that tries to be scary and assert their authority, but instead just makes people shake their heads in shame.

If she doesn't do anything I'll just make the move myself.

The windows fluttered, something was banging the glass quietly. It was a Terrible Terror, and it had a note.

She actually did it...

Well, great job Skye Timbers...you managed to blow my mind.


...

Wisp traveled his way to the cave that they promised to meet up at, as he walked, he couldn't shake the feeling that somebody was following him. He always had this feeling ever since she talked to the girl, like somebody was always watching him through the shadows.

Well who cares, it's probably just a hunch. Plus, I've been losing some sleep because of the overload of stress, it might just be my consciousness acting up.

The deep woods seemed to bend around him. The trees all hang tall, casting slender shadows as the faint moonlight basked down upon the earthy ground. A starry night sky soon began to show, as the feeling that he was being watched grew more and more substantial.

Wisp broke into a cold sweat, something felt wrong. But, he continued to walk as his paranoia got even more out of control.


He halted all of a sudden, something cold was on his shoulder.

He turned his head to see...

...

Nothing.

Nothing at all.

Just the silent trees, the earthy night smell, and the occasional coo of an owl.

Nothing?

Was it really nothing?

I guess it was just me...

"So you're finally here," a familiar voice called out.


It was the girl, she sat on the rock in front of me with her arms crossed, and a firm expression. She was wearing normal clothes instead of her usual racing armor. Looks like the cave idea was discarded as well.


"You said you wanted information right? Well I found some."

She held out the paper as if inviting Wisp to grab it.

As he stepped forward to, she pulled it away at the last moment.

"Not so fast," She taunted.


"Look, I know you're mad, but just give me the paper and we're all good," Wisp said, a little bit annoyed she's still doing this.

"Well, aren't you just some Sherlock Holmes? OF COURSE I'M MAD! YOU SEND ME ON SOME CRAPPY MISSION YOU SHOULD'VE DONE YOURSELF AND YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO ACT ANNOYED IN FRONT OF ME?!"

The girl screamed as if she were a bomb, and her words were like explosions...except they were all aimed at Wisp.

"Calm down, you might attract attention. I just felt as if someone where following me a moment ago." Wisp said as he rubbed his shoulder, which was still cold.

"Calm down, calm down? You're telling ME to calm down? You expect me to calm down after suffering?"

Suffering? Wisp didn't understand what she meant, all she needed to do was find some information, perhaps her head hurts when she processes any complex things.

She pulled up her sleeves to reveal a long cut that was bruised and all purple. Bits of dried up blood were still inside the cracks.

Wisp still didn't comprehend what had happened.

"You, got hurt?'

"Well yes, what does it look like?" She snapped before looking away, huffing angrily.


To think that she got hurt just to gather information...Wisp did not expect this, and then the realization hit him.

She obviously searched in places she shouldn't have.

I burdened her by forcing my own desires onto her.

...

He didn't know what to say except for staring into the ground as the girl continued to glower over the rock.

"Are you...asking for an apology?"

She snorted, "Apology or not, you don't forget what you did."

"Why did you get hurt for me?"

...

The girl on the rock turned her head, her figure was like a shadow, only her bright green eyes shone like a cat's in the nighttime, "It wasn't for you. I did not get hurt for the sake of you."

...

"It was your dragon, and also my pride. I can't stand knowing that a dragon who dearly loves his rider is being separated from them. I can't stand it since if I were the dragon I know I'd be in pain and agony. I want to do something that at least helps a tiny bit, to honor a being that has love and friendship to offer."

"As for my dumb choice to help you and no give up, I'll just be short with it. I.never.bail.out.on.promises."

"I promised to help you, so here I am now, and I did it."


...

"Well, where's my apology? Are you just going to stare at me and expect me to count that?"

...

Wisp's eyes widened as he saw a blurred and half camouflaged figure behind Skye. Its light claw placed nimbly, but clasped her shoulder.

It seemed to open its eyes, and two blood red eyeballs floated in mid air as a white and sharp array of teeth were uncovered.

"Skye, something's behind you-"

Before it was too late, Skye ducked just in time before a claw appeared out of mid air and cut a slash before disappearing again. If Skye didn't dodge, her neck would've been split open.


Something darted beneath the trees as the dead leaves shook with the wind it left. Skye backed up near Wisp, both were scouting all around them to see where the thing was.

"Did you just see that?" Skye asked tensely as she circled simultaneously with Wisp, her eyes darted back and forth worriedly, still on guard.

"Yeah, I did, it must be a dragon of some sorts, last time it touched me my whole shoulder was numbed cold." Wisp replied as the two were stuck in back to back position, surveying past the trees closely.

Squinting his eyes, he saw the figure again, except it was slightly visible, like it had some sort of invisible barrier around it and its surroundings were just reflected by it. Another dart and it was gone again, Wisp lost track of the attacker. In night times, it would be even harder to spot the enemy.

"Keep on guard, it will strike again soon, I'm sure of it."

A shrill, blood curdling screech echoed loudly through the woods. It startled both of the riders greatly as the dragon continued to growl. The dragon from earlier was taken down by something, it had ropes tied to it and it stopped struggling.

A mysterious hooded person stalked out from behind the trees as if they were a shadow, their faint steps looked like they were walking on air. With a gigantic crossbow on hand, he approached the downed dragon. He seemed to not notice the two until he looked up. A mask and dark goggles obscured his face.

He muffled something through his dark mask, "You two, are you injured?"

They both shook their heads. They didn't say anything and just watched the bizarre stranger checking on the dragon.

"These are ColdClawers by the way. They're invasive species. They have the ability to become invisible and attack their prey when they are not detected."

"I've been tracking this one for a few days now, and looks like I finally caught it. You're lucky I came in time, or else you two would've died."

"Who knew there would be two random couples hanging out in the wild wild woods in the middle of the night." He muttered.

Couple?

"Look, don't get us wrong, we are nothing of the sorts." Wisp explained.

"Oh?" He teased, "Then why are you two out here, in the middle of the night, all alone?"

"Shouldn't you two be on a date or something-"

"THAT.IS.NONE.OF.YOUR.DAMN.BUSINESS! Skye boomed as she pounced to try and punch the mysterious person. Wisp had to pull her off the hooded guy, or else it'll never have an end to her hollering.

"Keep your words to yourself, idiot, or else I swear I will tear your face off. Who the hell are you anyways?" The still fuming girl croaked.


The hooded figure who was sitting on the ground chuckled softly. The chuckles then began to become louder and louder, soon forming into maniacal laughter, like that of a psychopath's. He held his sides as he toppled over onto the ground, rocking himself back and forth while giggling creepily, repeating something along the lines of, "Too easy, way too easy."


"Oi oi, what are you trying to do laughing like that huh? Trying to be a clown, Mr. Hood face? And what the heck's so easy? Answer me now." Skye demanded, this guy has seriously pissed her off.

The mysterious person tried to hold their ever lasting laughter while standing up. Holding his chest, he panted and had an uneven breath. He took off his mask and goggles, the items plopped onto the ground creating a small trail of dust as the moonlight shone on his face.

It was a scary face, half of his face is scarred and some of his teeth were showing, since the flaps of skin that were supposed to be his lips were torn off. It looked like an ugly patchwork that you see on badly made quilts. The white teeth all stood out individually against the pink gums, it bore a creep and uncanny smile. 

A smile you would get from an insane person.

Wisp watched in silence and alarm.

He finally calmed down and seemed to catch his breath.

He grinned, "I don't ever show my face to anyone that's alive, but tonight I'll make an exception for you miss."

Skye gazed, she seemed out of breath as well, and stood frozen. Her iris fixed upon the man's face.

He laughed slightly again and snickered, "Oh how pretty you both are, I admire people like you. Fame, money, a beautiful face, almost anything the world could offer you, while poor lil o' me has to deal with living in shame and agony."

He pulled out a knife as he held it close to Skye's throat. In his other hand, he held up the file that Skye found in Grimwelll's room earlier, his hands trembling as if he were about to break out into another laughing fit.


"W-what, how did you-" Skye trembled in fear and disbelief as she spoke, the knife already making a small cut on her neck.

This isn't good...Skye's being held hostage by him...Wisp thought to himself.  But how did he steal the file from her so easily?

"That's why I said it was so easy miss, it was because of your poor and brash decisions you easily fell for my trap. As you came to try and punched me you were so blinded by rage that you didn't even notice me taking the file from your pocket." The man sneered, his eyes filled with intensity, as if this were all a fun game to him.

"W-why you..." Skye muttered in hatred. She was being cornered by someone she absolutely despised, this is something she would never allow someone else to do to her.

The man cracked up slightly again. He felt so powerful being able to trick those that he taught where above him and place them under his feet to make them taste the dirt. Make them feel what he feels. The thought of being able to kill two famous dragon racers pleased him greatly.

"Let her go."

"What's that, you say to let her go? Eh, pretty boy?"


"Let her go now, or I won't hesitate to hurt you."

"Oh ho! My my, how scared I am! You say you're going to punch me? With those little kid fists of yours? Adorable. Now I'm going to be nice and just let you do it then, after all kids all need something to practice on before getting better right?"

"Come on then, hit me juuuuuuuuuust right here, square in the face, make it light alright, cause I am soooo scared of you!" The man teased. Just by looking at Wisp, he thought he was a weakling. He was wrong.

Wisp threw a square punch that landed straight into his face, and it looked as if his skin was pushed back. His hand made a print, and the man plummeted onto the ground at least three meters away. Blood spewed from the man's broken jaw and Wisp grinned as he saw a few teeth fly out.

Skye scrambled away from the man immediately, grasping her neck to feel her small cut.


Wisp flicked some blood off his pointy glove armor, "Well, you asked for it, and I delivered it just like you've ordered."

He stooped down to the injured man, who was still bleeding, "Now, you don't mind telling us who you are and who you work for, do you?"

"D-d-drats! How the hell are you this strong?! Aren't you supposed to only-" he was cut short when Wisp gave a menacing glare, signaling that he should cut the crap and get to the point.

The man cowered again, this time trembling out of fear, he then positioned himself to bow down, "P-please forgive me! Don't hurt me anymore! Somebody paid me to do this, it wasn't my intention of hurting you two! P-please, I'll do anything, please show mercy!"

Wisp and Skye stood silently judging the man.

...

A smile appeared on the man's face once again. Wisp furrowed his brow, just what could he be up to?


"Hehe."

A cold sensation glossed over Wisp's shoulder...

It can't be...the dragon must've freed itself. Turns out it wasn't just some wild dragon, it was part of his plan all along. While he distracted us by pretending to admit defeat, he was buying time for the dragon to break free and cloak itself again.

That means...


A claw swiped out of the air in a swift flash, the dagger-like nails cut deep like knives into Wisp's back. Blood spewed from the cut wounds as Wisp faltered and soon crumbled to the ground. The man laughed, seeing people in pain has always brought him joy, others' suffering was his delight, and their demise was his triumph.

He chortled madly, "This is perfect! With this dragon I am invincible! Now you three will perish! The lord will reward me greatly for this!"

"You three, what do you mean by you three? There are only two of us, you don't plan on killing yourself do you?" Wisp spat blood as he croaked.

"Hehe, silly, soooo silly! You don't realize that I was tracking both you and that girl huh? Now I even know where her dragon lives, this is perfect!"

"Don't you dare touch Whirlwind!" Skye roared in fury.

"Oh ho, we'll see about that. Too bad your stupid dragon is in the stables right now, last time I saw him he was curled up sleeping, like a cute lil' kitten. Too bad once I kill him that beautiful fur mane is going to the markets, ehehehehe!" He snickered evilly.

"Now," he snapped his fingers, "Finish them."

From in front of the man, a small slit opened, and then another one. One by one, the dragon's blood red eyes appeared as if they were floating in mid air, its sharp and creepy set of jaws glinted white with tiny teeth. Wisp was sure he saw a snake like tongue flicker through all those sharp teeth.

It hissed, and then as its jaws widened they turned into a snarling roar that shook the woods and echoed, causing a few birds to flee into the horizon. An owl stared intensely from one of the nearby trees as the two injured riders were cornered by the menacing beast.

A high pitched yowl appeared behind the trees as a yellowish glow lit up a tremendous burst of black fire. The shadowy flames scorched the ColdClawer right in the neck, and a jade green Skittering Swiftsky pounced from the shadows, unsheathing his claws and swiping at the enemy fiercely.

The Swiftsky's eyes were filled with rage, as he wouldn't tolerate anyone to hurt his rider, no matter what happened, he would promise to protect Skye until the day he dies. The ColdClawer, which lost focus lost its cloaking ability, and soon its whole body was visible to everyone.

With his whip tail, he pinned the ColdClawer still and began to scratch at its hide, making deep gashes and cuts. The two dragons sparred furiously, biting and slashing at each other like wild dogs.

The man watched in shock as Whirlwind opened up his wolf-like jaws and snapped off one of the ColdClawer's horns, and slashed through one of its eyes.

The whimpering ColdClawer who was covered in gashes and wounds, fled with terror, its broken horn a  shameful reminder of its defeat.

"Whirlwind!"Skye leaped up to hug her dragon across the neck as the Swiftsky purred, licking her face affectionately.

The man on the ground was then faced by a very angry Wisp and Skye, who both promptly beat him up, taking the file from him and ignoring his begs for mercy.

The man was then dragged away by some random dragon that happened to see it on the ground. Wisp found it funny since this species captured prey to use as toys for their offspring. Looks like this guy isn't going to come back for a long time. 

After reading the file more carefully, Wisp was able to determine that Willow was probably being shipped around the world to different places before reaching somewhere. The next stop should be Arjaaq, where he could hopefully track down where Willow is.

...

On the walk home, Wisp apologized to Skye, which she accepted. Whirlwind bounced just up ahead.

"Heh, I thought you'd never apologize to me."

"And I thought you'd never even complete the task for me."

"Well, I am a girl of my words, I don't like making broken promises, that's just not me."

...

Wisp suddenly felt lonely all again. The words to say goodbye somehow got stuck in his throat, but he knew he had to depart from now on.

"Well, thank you, thanks for the information. You can go back to your life and do whatever you want now. I'm going to be packing up and leaving to Arjaaq the day after tomorrow. This might be the last time we see each other."

"So goodbye." Wisp said as the two split paths and left. The cold nighttime air and his blood still stuck behind. The moon still shone brightly like a white disc, stretching along the trees.

The truth is, Wisp knew that no one would help him on his journey and that he would be all alone. He knew that it would be impossible to track some illegal organization down just to save Willow. But, he does what he will, and since has set his mind on it, giving up is not an option any longer.


Dear Phann

  • Wisp

I stood at my balcony once again, this time admiring the cold and cool morning. The sun is just rising above a peak, and its golden rays illuminated the cold dark blue left over by the night, slowly fading it into the morning light. The small houses below still all silent, except for a few early risers on the streets, riding their dragons to get to work.

Dear dear Phann, I'll be leaving you today. You were the city I grew up in for five years, and today I'll be setting off on a life or death journey. Your memories will be something I cherish until death, and I hope no harm comes to you anymore while I am gone.

The luggage I have been packing yesterday were all neatly placed beside my feet, the brown suitcases reflected the sunlight as the leather surfaces glimmered. I checked my back, the bandages were doing well so far, I think I'll heal pretty quickly.

Unfolding the file, I read the words I have underlined. "Boat possibly headed for Arjaaq." Willow is definitely in that boat, I need to go save him.

I'll need to chase after them, but they got a head start from me. There are no shortcuts to Arjaaq, and I could only travel the normal way for now.

I sighed, and I looked behind me. Sometimes I would look behind me and expect a grey Spiral Flare to sit and smile its toothy grin at me, but now every time I look behind, there is no one. No one but me.

Hang in there Willow.

I'm coming to save you.


...

As I opened the door, I noticed someone standing there.

It was Skye, and Whirlwind. The girl stood as the front porch as her jade green dragon chirruped when it saw me.

To be honest I was happy to see them, but she's probably just here to say goodbye instead.

"Oh hi, are you here to say goodbye?" I asked casually as if the journey I'm about to take is the equivalent of going to the grocery shop and buying milk.

"Goodbye? What are you talking about? I'm coming with you." She just said all of a sudden as if it were no big deal.

"Come with me? Why would you want to come with me? This doesn't even involve you."

"Because I understand how you feel. Plus, he targeted Whirlwind, I'll make sure the root of evil is cleared for good so nobody else will get hurt again. Have you even heard the news? Dragons all over the place are getting robbed, people's dragons are disappearing. I want to go stop them." She said, determination and worry in her voice.

"Are you...are you sure you want to come with me?" I didn't know what she was thinking, why would she still help me out of all people? Couldn't she just plop back into her home and listen to songs on the radio all day instead?

She nudged my arm with her elbow, "Well I said I'm doing it so now I'm coming. If you didn't hear me it doesn't matter, I'm determined to end this."

Before I knew it, she climbed onto Whirlwind's saddle, "So, Arjaaq was it? Are you coming or what?"


Hmph. You know what Skye Timbers? You've got major guts.

...

After around four hours of flight, we soon found a landing spot near the outskirts of Arjaaq. The walk to the actual city shouldn't take too long. There, at least we could start investigating. We could ask around the harbors to see if there were any boats similar to the one Willow was on, and where it might be leaving to. Then, we would be able to track it down, and hopefully follow it to the next destination.

Whirlwind landed on the red dirt, the tall dome-like buildings towered in the distance, their bright golden roofs stood out against the red canyons that shielded the city. That city was Arjaaq.

It was said to belong to an ancient Indian King who fled and led his people to peace and safety. In the ancient times, they found shelter within these red canyons, and built a vast city here. Though the temperatures can reach to blistering levels, Arjaaq is described as one of the most unique cities you will ever see.

The red dirt was fabled to be the blood from the fallen Gods, higher beings that sacrificed themselves to give life to the once barren waste-land.

We scratched along the dirt roads, a paler trail split from the original deathly red dirt. It was a wide and busy road, with many merchants and travelers holding up bags and luggage on their dragons. The dry dust flew near their knees every time their claws and feet took a step.

They all trudged along slowly, walking steadily towards the city. It was honestly grueling, the heat was driving Whirlwind insane, and they soon got impatient.

They took a run, and sprinted across. On the way, they accidentally bumped into many people, and caused quite a ruckus. Soon, a few patrol officers with Dune Diver dragons appeared.

They explained that the traffic has to travel slow and steady, or else it will be corrupted and everything would be an unorganized mess. This law was enforced to avoid accidents, such as precious items and food items spilling onto the ground and going to waste.

They were let off the hook this once, and they trudged along for a solid 30 minutes. Though it may seem short, to them it felt like forever.


...

After the long walk they finally made it to the entrance of the city. It was a grand and tall wall with a large opening that allowed people to go through, though there were always people checking at the front for passports and luggage, in case anybody tried to sneak in anything illegal.

As they passed into the city the first thing they laid their eyes on was the vast streets. So big, yet so crowded with people. Masses of humans and dragons walked along the dirt roads as if they were like a colony of ants, like a wave full of heads and sounds. Tunics, carts, and stands were laid along the sides as crowds of people stood in line to wait for business. Foreign languages can be heard in the background, the chitter chatter of gossiping women, the high pitched yells of merchants trying to sell off their merchandise, and the occasional squabble of a dragon rose from the active mobs.

There were even musicians on the streets, playing their trumpets and drums, as dancers beat to the rhythm. The audience would clap and cheer as they rewarded money. Small children chasing after baby dragons with their friends cheerfully ran past the stands as their parents called out after them angrily, trying to summon them back.

The most striking things were the color, and the smell. The stands that piled up mountains of vibrant spices had steaming pots and flaming pans. Sticks pierced with tenderly chopped up meats were roasted on a fiery grill. Sweets and street food were being given out by the handful to those that were hungry, the men and women who worked at the stands seemed to effortlessly scoop up spoonfuls of soup and food into packages with serene grace and fast speed. It felt like you would miss a thousand things if you even blinked.


Speaking of food...the three were famished, especially Whirlwind. Just then Wisp saw from the corner of his eye that the jade green dragons was slightly drooling when he saw the roasted lamb.

Wisp walked along, "What do you say we grab something to eat real quick? Your dragon seems to be thinking so."

"Well, I am sort of hungry, so let' go then." Skye agreed as she scouted around for any possible food stands.

From afar, they saw a stand with a fewer line of people. When it finally reached their turn, they ordered two kebabs, and a large skewer of meat for Whirlwind.

  • Kebab: A Middle Eastern dish that consists of various cooked meats, sometimes cooked with the spare vegetables. They are usually served hot, on skewers, sometimes in loafs of bread or flat bread depending on the recipe. In China, it is called Chuan, and it is a very popular street food.

Whirlwind happily licked at his piece of meat before digging in, ripping chunks off and devouring it. The fibers of flesh dripped meaty oils as he smacked his lips. His tail wagged as he expressed content and satisfaction.

"Whirlwind your manners are terrible as always," Skye jokes as she took a bite out of her food.

We continued to walk West, where the harbors where. Arjaaq though a hot and arid city is located just near a deep blue sea. The sea has been named the blue eyed sea due to standing out against the red dirt from the land. Mappers from above would describe as the view as striking, two opposing colors clashing, the blood red land and the cold blue waters with crystal clear waves.

There are also many coral reefs in the shallow waters, perfect for watching sea dragons and examining certain wildlife. The sea-life is actually very rich and diverse, having over around 200 known species living in one system.

We just needed to ask some people who were the conductors of the harbor. They should know which boats set off and sail at a certain time, so if we ask about the boat Willow was carried on we would be able to track it down.

The waves crashed into the pillars holding up the wooden planks that were covered with masses of grey barnacles. Small boats could be seen in the horizon, drifting on the sea, with their white sails hoisted up to catch the mellow wind.

The bright sunlight seeped onto the metal sides of the boats, glimmering as they walked past asking for directions. Warmth basked onto their bodies, the middle of the city was hot, but by the sea they were always accompanied by a cool gust of wind.


A woman who basically harbor stood near the two riders as the green dragon was distracted, trying to paw at the waters.

"A boat like this one?" She asked, examining the photo.

"Oh that one actually comes quite often. Yesterday it came in to have some repairs done, so they took a bit longer to take off." She explained.

"So can you tell us when it took off and where it's heading?" Wisp asked the woman who was readjusting her coat.

"It took off today around 2 hours ago, and it should be heading to Nash and taking a small stop there. It's just West from here, it's basically an island used for people on vacation, but the occasional boats would stop by to load cargo or take a rest."

"Thanks for the time, let's get going then Wisp." Skye thanked the lady she whistled to Whirlwind and the energetic dragon leaped towards its rider.

...

They flew across the back of Whirlwind across the sea, following the directions of the woman. The high gales of wind lifted Whirlwind's pitch black wings as he gurgled with the light sensation. Flapping them in sync, Skye told him to view around him for any boats.

There was still nothing yet, nothing but the arcs of light sprinkling the dark blue waves, he whisper of the wind, and the faint roaring of the sea below.

Whirlwind flapped forward sprightly, the muscles on his pinions rippled faintly, as he twirled and spread out his wings. His legs tucked close to his body as he and the two riders drifted.

In the horizon, the island's outline was starting to appear, a shadowy piece of land stuck out from afar. The sun just set behind it, making the sky a rich blend of rosy red and fiery orange. It was about time too, since Skye could feel Whirlwind tiring out from all the flying.


They landed on the coast, which had a path that led straight to the center of the island. Lush foliage and vegetation littered the island.

After they made their way to the island's center, they began to search around the harbors for any signs of the boat.

The wooden planks creaked beneath them as they skittered across in the darkness, checking and inspecting each and every one of them.

Down the fifth row, they finally found the ship they were looking for. It was huge, capable of fitting at least 20-30 people easily. The metallic sides of the boat were marked with a sign, the head of a Fleet Fighter dragon appeared as bright blue symbols.

They searched around for any signs of people, and sneaked into the boat once the coast was clear. They looked underneath the ship's bunkers, and any hidden chambers they could open. They finally reached the dungeon cells where they usually caged dragons in. Wisp lit a torch as they viewed their surroundings.

There was nothing but empty cells, and the stacks of hay within them, obscuring the deathly gaze of the snow-white skulls.

Willow was not there. Willow wasn't anywhere.

...

Whirlwind suddenly perked up, his eyes slitting, and then he crouched down and growled as his snout faced outside.

People were coming back onto the boat.

Shushing Whirlwind, Skye knew they needed to hide fast, or else they'd be discovered and killed. They stood in silence, panicking as their eyes darted for anywhere to hide inside.

A few footsteps echoed down into the cellars. Someone is coming.

Their breath fastened, at this rate, they are going to be discovered.

The door opened as a man held a lit lamp and strode into the room. Turning his head and lifting his lamp to illuminate the corners, he squinted his eyes.

No one was there. He made a, "hmph," sound and swiftly turned around, hobbling to the door and giving it a slight slam.

Below the boat, the three hid silently, huddled underneath. Luckily they were able to spot a trap door and hid inside in time. 

Though they didn't get discovered, they can no longer leave the boat. Everyone will be on guard, and they will soon be sailing out to sea. They'll get spotted for sure, and they'll have nowhere to run.

For now they have to stay hidden inside the boat and make absolutely no sound. Until the boat reaches land again, they can't do anything.

The worst thing that happened was that Willow was not on this boat. Could they have made this boat as a distraction?

No, it can't be. They shouldn't know about us.

But yet...that hooded figure from a few days ago said he was being paid to kill us.

Wisp shook his head, he needed to get it clear, but he was getting too drowsy. All the endless traveling has tired him out. The fluffy jade green dragon curled up on the other side, with his rider, who had fallen asleep.

I'll just sleep for a tiny bit... and then I'll try to sort it out. He closed his eyes as he laid down on the floor, the last thing he thought about was his home back in Phann. He had dreams about racing, and meeting up with his older tutors. The roaring of the sea swelled faintly in the background as the rough waves rocked the boat like a cradle.


...

Wisp woke to a loud banging noise, and then the whole ship began to shake and rumble. Skye and Whirlwind tried hard to keep in one place, the but boat kept on rocking back and forth, and the three kept on sliding across the unstable floor. Footsteps and the sound of yelling men could be heard from above. It's obvious that the people on the ship were panicking, but why?

Is the ship being blown by a rough storm? Or maybe it hit some sort of object in the water. Perhaps the boat has a hole and is starting to leak?

Skye held on to something, the boat continued to rock furiously, Wisp could feel the heavier crates thumping heavily onto the sides of the boat. Metal chains above them rattled as they rolled. Scraps of hay flicked back and forth.

Suddenly, Wisp could sense the seams of the boat being punctured with a blast, an orange and yellow shockwave pierced the ship as a shrill and eerie siren call loomed. It was an Echoer attack.

(Slight gore warning)

Whirlwind snatched Wisp up and curled both him and Skye between his long body to protect them. The shockwave burst, and hit Whirlwind straight in the rib cage as the Skittering Swiftsky toppled down, whimpering. Skye let out a desperate cry upon seeing her dearest friend getting hurt.

Wisp and Skye were luckily unharmed, but the jade green dragon shuddered in pain as Skye and Wisp tried to hold the dragon up from its wobbling legs.

He seemed out of breath, the air all gushed out of his lungs. His eyes were woozy, and as he coughed a spring of blood sputtered from his throat as the edge of his lips twisted in pain and agony, his teeth showing like white daggers smothered in his own warm blood.

Skye panicked as she held her face close to her dragon, she whispered something along the lines of, "Just hang in there Whirlwind, everything will be alright bud. Just please don't leave me." A few streams of tears dripped down from her face. Skye doesn't cry often, but Whirlwind was about to die, even Wisp could feel it.

Another hair-raising cry came from above, this time it managed to kill thirteen men, the electrical shockwaves bursting their bodies into bloody pulps.

As the three struggled up above the ship, Wisp saw at least seven Echoers soaring above, circling like hawks. Then from the sky, a blood red Echoer landed on the ship with a sound thud. The wooden planks on the ship seemed to creak and some parts cracked and broke under its weight.

Upon closer inspection, Wisp noticed that the Echoer wasn't one from the wild. It had a human on its back, trapping it with metallic chains around the neck and mouth.

The brute beast roared, ready to attack at any moment.

Whirlwind snarled back with no signs of fear, his eyes turning into slits and his breath huffing powerfully. AS the bellowing Echoer stood in front menacingly, Whirlwind summoned the last of his energy to leap towards the enemy dragon fiercely.

With a yowl, he bit and scratched with all his might. He managed to land a slash to its left eye. Howling with pain and anger, the person above had to tug the metallic chains to cease the Echoer's painful screams. With a whip-like gesture, the hard chains hit the back of the Echoer harshly and caused a mark that was quickly starting to bruise.

With a single roar, the Echoer grabbed the motionless Whirlwind and tossed him straight into the ocean. That last thing Skye saw was Whirlwind's limp body crash into the waters. Her screams and cries being muffled as she and Wisp were knocked out instantly and captured.


We Were Never Welcome Here

Wisp jolted up to a start, the icy cold sea water being splashed onto his head. His damp face, that smells like sea salt and rusty metallic blood rose from the ground. His fingers slipped, the floor was also moist, it was hard to stand up.

He hadn't even noticed that his hands and feet were chained until they clanked slightly when he moved. Skye and Whirlwind were nowhere to be seen, he was in a damp and dark cell with the only sunlight coming from the bars that were too high for him to reach.

Wisp asked himself where he was, trying hard to remember what had happened last time. His head was sore, probably from something hitting him. Then he remembered, the boat they had been trapped on got attacked by a bunch of rogue dragon riders on Echoers. Whirlwind is....

All these memories made him shake in pain against the slippery floor. They didn't even find Willow, Whirlwind was lost because of their decisions, and now they are being held captive in God knows where.

He resisted his beastly urges. His veins feel as if they were about to burst, the pain in his blood and flesh were screaming, his eyes aching, and they all continued to shudder violently.

His hand slammed into the floor, but it didn't do much. His eyes slit, he was losing control.

He gave in and lit a cigarette, the lonely smoke filled him with grief and despair.

Why did all these things happen to me?

Why does this have to just happen to me?

I just wanted to live a normal life racing and sustaining myself, hopefully one day dying peacefully, but ever since Willow got injured things have just done downhill.

He clutched his own head, his arms burying his face as he continues to wonder how he could ever be so unlucky.

Just then, the crank and creaking of the cell door was heard. A yellow light came from the exterior and faded into his small cell. A man's shadow loomed above, it looks like he was holding some sort of candle in a specialized tray.

Wisp saw through an opening in between his arms, stayed unresponsive and motionless, staring at the man angrily.


"Get up, he wants to see you."

...

He walked into the cell and tugged at the chains until Wisp fell, "I said get up!" He forced the young dragon racer to get up and follow him out of the cell. The dim passage-way being lit with wooden torches on the metallic handles. Hundreds upon hundreds of other cells plagued along the walls in rows. Wisp was pretty sure he saw the rotten hand of a dead body sticking out from under one of the doors. The stench was unbelievable.

Their footsteps echoed down the passage as the puddles of filthy water splashed beneath them.

Soon, Wisp was lead to another dark room, this time he could tell it was spacious, but it was unlit. He couldn't see anything as his eyes haven't adjusted to the darkness. It's obvious that this is where,"he," would be, whoever he is.

"He's here now," the man hissed like a snake, his hoarse voice channeling across the room that remained silent and dark, as if they were in an abyss, an underwater trench.

As soon as a few seconds passed, the man slinked back into the shadows, disappearing, leaving Wisp all alone in the dark.

...

Then from afar a small light lit up from the corners of the shadows. Then one by one, consecutively, the bright orange, red, green, yellow, and blue lights appeared across the chamber. The edges of the Echoer mouths flickering with the jolts of sparks, the bright vibrant color of their supposed shockwave attacks.

The light soon filled and lightened up the whole room, but some places such as the far corners still appeared shadowy and dark.

Rows upon rows of messily arranged Echoers stood around the center of a throne. The riders on the backs of their dragons watched attentively as they held onto their captive dragons' chains.

The masses of light flickered to and fro, lighting up their faces unevenly like the fire from a candle.

The center of the throne still appeared dark. Wisp couldn't see anything, but he knew that there was somebody sitting there.

...

He was correct. In fact, a beastly growl and a small shrill siren call grunted. Wisp saw the menacing figure of the red Echoer from earlier slither from the shadows and slowly hang his head high above the throne, his wings holding the sides of the throne as if to protect it. The rest of its long body coiled behind and faded into the abyssal darkness.

Its mouth sparked, and created a bright blinding light right above the throne and illuminated the person sitting upon it.


It was the man from earlier. He wore some sort of clothes similar to that of a pirate. His cloak was from the skin of a juvenile Seashocker, the two heads stared vacantly as they were placed on the man's shoulders as decoration. His hat was made from the head of an Echoer, it was deep blue in coloration, and all the eyes have been hollowed out, leaving only a husk of what once was a living creature.


He sat crossed legged, smirking. A tray of fruits was placed beside him by one of his minions. He took a grape and popped it into his mouth barely caring about Wisp before speaking up.

"My my, look what we have here. I've never really seen a dragon racer up close, especially one that's well known. What was it again? Hmmm? The Rider From Blue Flames? Or should I say, the Fool From Blue Flames."

Wisp didn't say anything. This guy really ticked him off, but he needed to know where Skye is, and get the hell out of here.

"If you're thinking about getting away you better think twice," the man held his arms behind his back and relaxed, spreading across his throne.

"If you see my guards over there, they are specially trained to hunt and trap people down with their Echoers. Even the faintest breath from you could tell them where you are."

He sighed, "Aren't these dragons just gorgeous? They're so powerful... yet so submissive...to me at least."

He chuckled as he stepped off the throne, walking towards his people and raising his arms up as if he were about to announce something, "I, am the master of these seas! No one dares to enter my territory for their foolishness marks certain death!"

He paced towards Wisp," These Echoers, no matter how fierce will always be in my control no matter what."

"I know, since I killed their mothers and fathers in front of their very own eyes. I let the smell of blood and violence teach them the ways of life. In this world, it's big fish eat small fish, and they are the small fish."

He pointed to the red Echoer, "Not even the mightiest can challenge me. I killed this one's mate and cut their flesh into tiny cubes."

"Now, boy, tell me what do you think I did with those cubes of meat, eh?"


Wisp just stared into his eyes with rage and fury. This man is a monster.

"I fed those very pieces to that Echoer. I did a good thing, after all, if she didn't eat it she would've starved to death." He sneered, "Now they can finally be together."

"You scumbag..." Wisp muttered. He never imagine how anyone could be this cruel...

"Oh my name isn't just scumbag you know. Oh please don't mind my manners, I forgot to introduce myself. I go by Tusk, not a shabby name but could've gone for something better. And I assume yours is...Nox was it? Wisp Nox, hmm? Am I wrong?"

Wisp didn't bother to answer.

The man clapped his hands, "Well, I might as well take that as a yes. You know Mr. Nox, it's very impolite to not answer somebody's question, don't you think?"


"Well, now, let's celebrate your arrival shall we, or should I say, you and your friend's arrival." He snapped his fingers.

A limp girl in chains was dragged into the room from the far left. She wasn't moving and her body was limp.

The right guard holding her kicked her in the stomach, which caused her to curl in pain. She spat water and fell down again, her hair all damp and flattened, sticking to her face.

"What are you going to do to us?" Wisp asked, trying to hold back his urges of punching this Tusk in the face.

"Oh don't you worry, we don't do anything bad to you of course. I just find you two really interesting. Perhaps I'll even keep you two around for awhile." Tusk taunted.

Skye suddenly woke up, her trembled as she struggled to stand up. She refused to act weak, with burning fury in her eyes, she stood up from the ground panting.

"Where the hell is Whirlwind, and what did you do to him." She demanded, standing in front of the Echoers' lights.

"Ohhhh looks like princess is up! Or Queen, should I say, the Queen of Gales in fact." Tusk chuckled to himself.

"Oh don't worry princess, your dragon is fine. Actually, he's right here." He snapped his fingers again.

From the far right, the rows of Echoers moved to reveal a severely injured jade green dragon lying on the ground, his feet, head, and mouth chained to the ground. Whirlwind was breathing, but he was unconscious, gashes and cut marks that weren't there before appeared all across his body.

"Whirlwind!" Skye shouted as she desperately tries to run over to her dear dragon, only to be held back by Tusk's minions. She threw a few punches their way and struggled, but couldn't do anything. She watched in defeat as her arm still stretched out to her dragon.

"As I said, I won't be doing anything bad to you guys. But," he stopped after he had said but, a finger raised in the air.

"I won't guarantee that you won't die. If you try anything funny, that is."

"So, how about this? I'll give you some time to join my side or die. It's your choice, become one of us, or rot in a cell."

"Take your time," he said threateningly as his face stuck a few inches away from Wisp's. He could see the lack of empathy and emotion in his steely eyes, that were blue and green in coloration.

"Well, take these two back to their cells! We'll give them a few hours to think." Tusk exclaimed as his guards dragged them away. The figure of Whirlwind growing ever smaller and further.

"And remember, if you try to escape, I will kill you," Tusk remarked as he glared back at Wisp sneering, his mouth grinning and his finger slid across his throat as if to symbolize the cutting of their heads.


...

Wisp sat around his own cell pondering on what he could possibly do to escape this situation. They were being trapped in an unknown area, filled with hundreds upon hundreds of well trained minions and aggressive Echoer dragons. They either have the choice to join this disgusting man's side or rot inside this place for all eternity. Wisp wonders if he would really have to spend the rest of his life being a horrid pirate or dragon trapper, living life on the run and constantly being chased around by enemies, never being able to sleep peacefully.

He thought over and over again, no matter how much he doesn't want to join their side, the other choice was to die. If he were to decline it's not like Tusk would actually need extra minions. He'd probably just keep us around for decoration, or maybe put us in his pile of, "collections," before disposing of us once he got bored. Wisp knows what type of man Tusk is, and he isn't a good one for sure.

Wisp knows virtually nothing about the area they are being held captive in. So far he only has access to the view of the throne room and some sort of cellar area, the place he is stuck in.

...

"Anyone there?" A voice asked, half muffled by the walls.

"Who is it?" Wisp asked back. He thought the cell beside him was empty, but apparently it wasn't.

"Wisp, is that you?" The voice asked again.

"How do you know my-" Wisp said as he realized. That voice belonged to Skye.

"Skye? Is that you?" Wisp said, intrigued.

"Wisp! It is you! It's Skye! I think they put me in the cell next to you."

"Why would they do that though?" Wisp questioned, obviously if they didn't want us to plot anything they would've separated us....or maybe they're just super confident that we won't escape.

"I don't know, but at least we can still talk to each other this way." Her voice echoed from the other side of the wall.

"Have you thought of any solutions yet?"

"No...nothing unfortunately. I can't seem to think of anything. The area is full of minions and we know nothing about this place at all."

"I don't want to join their side."

"I don't want to either. But if we don't we have no choice but to die in here. I don't think this Tusk guy is going to let us go anytime soon."

A sigh could be heard from the other side, "Then what are we supposed to do?" It sounded like despair, Wisp knew that is was a difficult decision that may end up risking their lives, and Whirlwind's as well.

"We'll try to figure it out. The first thing we need to do is to not get ourselves killed. That's the priority."

"I think we should go along with what Tusk says for now, since the other way is inevitable death."

"What? Are you out of your mind? Have you seen what he does with those dragons? He's a monster! I would never do what he says..."

"I know, but if you and Whirlwind want to stay alive, we will have to play along with what he says. I'd hate it if I had to work for him, but at this point we do not have any other choices. It's do or die."


"Huh...But....do you think we'll become cruel and morbid like them? Will we morph into monsters?"

...

"Trust me on this, Skye. We'll escape, you, me, and Whirlwind, all together. We won't give in, no matter what. After all, you never give up. Whirlwind would never give up. I know he hasn't given up hope yet either."

...

"I'm sure of it, and I hope you will be able to think the same." Wisp uttered through the walls.

Somehow, Skye was able to trust those words. She was stuck in an unknown place, being held captive in a cell,  and coiled by icy cold chains. Her dragon is severely injured and kept captured by a psychotic man that enslaves dragons for his own pleasure and gain. Yet, those words gave her some sort of comfort, like it was all going to be alright, it gave her warmth from the bottom of her heart, melting the cold strings that clutched her despair.

Though they are in a life or death situation, Skye brings herself to trust the words of someone who isn't even sure of how to escape themselves. 

"Listen, I have a plan, but you just need to do one thing."

"What is it?" Skye asked, intrigued on what he could've came up with.

"I made an assumption, a mere assumption that may or may not end up totally incorrect, but I have a hunch." Wisp croaked, his voice sounded slightly parched.

"And the assumption is?"

"Haven't you noticed the throne room?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"The thing about it was that it's a throne room, and we don't see that very often in normal houses, right?"

"Wait, you can't mean-"

"Exactly. Judging by what I have seen, the throne room is like a long hall, but it is very dark. Though, I actually caught a glimpse of pillars in the background. They looked somewhat old and ancient, and I feel like they certainly were not created by Tusk and his people. They look like something you'd find in a castle, or fortress."

"But how could this information help us? Even if we know that it's a castle, how could we ever get out? Castles don't all look the same Wisp, and plus, you heard Tusk earlier, if we manage to get lost his minions would be able to catch up in no time. We'd be doomed in minutes."

"No, that's not my point, Wisp objected."

"You see, castles like this are very very old, and if I were to estimate, this one would probably date back to at least 800 years ago. The thing is, in the old times they used to make castles out of the strongest materials they could find, like stone and such, but they were still very weak and are not built to last, so some kings would entirely encase their castles within stone. They would carve out the rocks, and hold the castle together within foundation. At that point, it didn't matter if no one could see the palace, since the best thing a castle could have at the time was durability, as well as evasiveness."

"So you're saying that they hid entire castles within mountains and stone, and nobody could find out where it is?!"

"Yes, that was the point. Enemies trying to storm the said castles would often wound up confused, usually seeing no palace. The castles are so well hidden inside the stone that no one bothered to search further. However they do have a single weak point."

*DISCLAIMER. All of this information is false and merely made up by me to add interest to the story, as well as aiding the plot. Real castles in the past DID NOT hide themselves within stone, and castles in the past were usually very durable, so do not take anything on here as fact. This is only because the world my characters exist in is actually a different timeline and universe to our normal world. Many things and history would be mixed up, and most of them are created by me and not real. Do not take any of them seriously as I am writing a fantasy world, not the real world.


Skye listened intensely, she needed to know why this would be of so much importance to them. The side of her face was near the wall, her ear being the nearest trying to hear more of the plan.

"These types of castles usually have two parallel foundations fixated on each foot of the castle. These foundations gather and filter air from the outside, allowing cool air to come in when it reaches summer months. Each foundation has a lever-like mechanism that allows a person to pull on them and create a wider gap at the feet of the castle. This was originally an entrance for the castle, but it has many uses, as well as another very dangerous yet important one."

"The use is....what?"

"..."

"Self destruction."

"What?"

"Self destruction. If we manage to break or clog the levers, then the mechanism could possibly break off original pieces of foundation from the rock, and destroy part of the castle."

"But why would anyone do that? Why would they have a self destruct mechanism? And plus, wouldn't we be trapped inside?" Skye blinked nervously.

"We'd be the first to escape if we're near the entrances. The Echoers shouldn't have problem bursting through the rock, but their riders would obviously die."

Wisp changed his position and placed his face closer to the wall, "We're going to accept his offer for now, and immediately after please don't act suspicious. We'll need to gain his trust, and soon, we will ask for a tour around this place so we could at least know what it's like. If my prediction were right, this place should be a castle or a fortress."

"And then when the right time comes, we would strike and leave?"

"Yes, exactly."


Tumble Castle

"How long has it been Spur? Do you think they've made up their minds yet?" Tusk sat on his spacious throne, cross legged and playing around with a small dagger. Twiddling the sharp blade delicately in his fingers, he sat up waiting for Spur to answer.

"Yes master, I think it should be enough time, we'll get them here in around ten more minutes." Spur hissed, his words slick and hoarse like a snake.

"Good. The lord will be pleased. He instructed me to kill them immediately, but I don't see the hurry. After all, it's just two idiotic brats trying to do something impossible. I'll just have them die slowly, it wouldn't hurt to have some fun before they wilt away, will it?" He chuckled, twirling around his knife again in his left hand, his head resting on his right arm.

"But master Tusk, don't you think the lord will find out? He does not take lightly to being disobeyed." Spur said, as if he was scared, though he would never admit it.

"Oh Spur," Tusk purred, "You don't have to worry about such things~"

"The lord, won't be displeased. These brats wouldn't do anything dramatic, I'm sure of it. They're only children, and they have probably already been filled with despair ever since they've got here."

"Plus, our lord has the boy's dragon. And what's a dragon rider without a dragon? Nothing. He is nothing. Nothing but a weakling, struggling to stay alive in a world where he is destined to die. That is his fate, that is his destiny."

"Though, if he does try to do anything..." Spur watched in amazement and slight shock as Tusk sliced a small cut on his own arm. His silver blade's edges being tainted by his blood.

Tusk let out a small laugh and grinned. He then proceeded to lick the blood on the blade, "I will make sure they die slowly...and painfully~"

...

Their cells were opened once again, and both riders were retrieved and let out, walking along the same corridor they have walked earlier. Wisp gave Skye a determined look, and she nodded once back at him. They were going to get out, no matter what.

They were brought back to the main room, where the throne sat, this time, it only had a few Echoers left, surrounding the area. Skye and Wisp assumed that the rest were probably doing quests or guarding the location they are at.

"So," Tusk asked patiently," Have you made up your minds? Are you going to join my side, or rot in a cell? I hope you two have at least a single brain cell to figure out which choice is smarter." He taunted at them, the red Echoer above him stayed motionless, continuing to perform its occupation of keeping the throne lit. It didn't dare shift its wings once or tremble, it almost looked like a statue, like a Sentinel or a Gargoyle.

The only sound it was allowed to utter was the faint crackling of the sparks that emitted from its glowing jaw.

"We've decided to join your side." Wisp said bitterly without any hesitation, his cold grey eyes piercing and his voice echoed throughout the grand chamber.

"Good, verrrrrry good. Smart children, a very smart choice from you two-" Tusk was then interrupted by Wisp again.

"But. I think you should give us a tour around this place, as if we are unfamiliar we would be mediocre when in terms of completing tasks." Wisp just stared intensely into Tusk's eyes, he, though scared, wouldn't try to show fear in front of such a disgusting and vile person.

Wisp's eyes peered back and locked Skye's for a brief moment before looking back at Tusk, who was silently judging from above his seat.

Not yet Skye, we need more trust before we could rescue Whirlwind. The time will eventually come, you have no need to worry. The boy thought.

Tusk stared into the ceilings for a few seconds as he contemplated. He knows that it might be a risk showing them around, but he thought it over again.

Why am I even hesitating? These two are just brats, merely children, there's no way they could figure anything out at all. And yet something still feels wrong to me. Something feels out of place and I don't like it. I can't believe someone like me is getting all anxious over a few brats, hehhhh well I might just be over thinking this...

He finally made up his mind, thinking that there was nothing to worry about,"Very well, I shall grant your request." He gestured to a servant on his right, beckoning him to come closer.

The man stood in front of Tusk and turned abruptly to face Skye and Wisp. He wore clothes entirely from dragon pelts, armor made from Sand Wraith scales covered all over his deep blue outfit. His mask being made out of the hollowed-out head of a Sliquifier.

As the minion stood motionless, awaiting his master's orders, Tusk gave out his introduction.

"This is Spiller, one of my most skilled minions. He was able to wrestle a Sand Wraith hand to hand, as well as snapping the neck of a Sliquifier with little to no problem at all."

"He is a talented hunter, his tactics are flawless and marvelous, he has never failed a hunt and never tires out. Every enemy he faces he will win and carve their bellies, spilling their guts, that's how he got his name."

Tusk decided that he will scare the two slightly for good measure, in case they did plan something funny," On top of all this, Spiller knows every crook and cranny in my place. He could get to any room or hidden chamber within minutes-no sometime seconds. If you even defy my orders for once, even if it was accidental, he will find you, and dispose of you."

Tusk got up from where he was sitting and started leaving the room his last words were instructions for Spiller.

"Spiller, do me a favor and show these newbies around. If they do anything funny kill them immediately."

Tusk then disappeared into the darkness. The Echoer above his throne seemed to disable its own breath and swept back into the abyss, two white pinpricks still shining in the distance, which were its eyes.

Tusk never got a response from the queer servant. Spiller lit a wooden torch, looking behind, calling the two riders to follow him, all while being eerily silent. This Spiller guy kept entirely silent, even his footsteps were quiet, and made virtually no sound.


Skye looked back into the abyss one more time, pretending that Whirlwind was out there somewhere, and that she'll soon be able to save him.

Their feet padded along the floor, the slightest sounds echoing down all the corridors whilst the Spiller in front was silent as ever, the only sound he made was the burning embers that flickered from the torch.

The fire cast their dark shadows, growing taller at times and decreasing to lower levels as they moved around. Wisp took the time to scan his surroundings. He was indeed correct, they were definitely in a hidden castle somewhere near the coasts. The walls and rooms all looked very old, segmented with rows and rows of bricks. Small ticks or rectangular holes appear along the sides, probably to prevent further erosion.

Spiller stopped in front of a certain room all of a sudden. Spiller finally spoke, his voice sounded nimble and quiet.

"Hold your breath, and whatever you do don't take a single breath of air."

"Why is that?"

"You will soon see. If you don't want to die you will listen to me."

Spiller then proceeded to blow out his torch, smothering the light into darkness. Wisp and Skye who have not adjusted, were grabbed by Spiller and tugged forward.

"From now on do not breath until I say so, prepare yourself."

Taking a deep breath of air, they held it while Skye wonders why they needed to do this. She couldn't see a single thing...though she thinks it would've been better if they didn't see anything.

Something creaked below them as they walked. It was wooden, and had a springy feel to it.

Could it be a bridge?

Wisp continued to walk, each step continued to creak beneath him. He couldn't help but feel like there was something below, otherwise they should be able to breath if this was a normal bridge.

...

"You may breath now," Spiller finally said after what felt like forever.

"What's the deal with back there anyways?" Skye asked while panting.

"You do not need to know that, we will finish the tour and soon you will start doing tasks. Though if I were you, I'd keep my questions minimum and my mouth shut at all times. Tusk does not need obnoxious loud-mouths."

Skye was caught off guard by Spiller's response. She seemed to stare vacantly into the floor before finally realizing that he had insulted her. But at that point she couldn't do anything, as they have already moved on to the rest of the castle.

"This is our supply safe. We keep all of our food and other medicals supplies here, though they are split into two different rooms. Each room has several different openings and cabinets. They aren't labeled, so you'll have to figure it out yourself."

"If I were to guess, this should be where you two would start off working. Tusk does not like disgusting and poorly cooked food, so you must learn until your skills are of utmost perfection. You won't receive any breaks until an advisor says so."

He continued to ramble on with his monotone voice. No signs of happiness, instability, or tease came from that voice of his. It was ghostly quiet and stable, with no emotion whatsoever, some may even describe it as dead or calm.


They soon moved on from the supply chamber and came across a passage-way filled with at least 10 split paths. Each entrance looked dark and gloomy, and were only wide enough for a person or two to go through. A dragon or anything larger evidently wouldn't fit.

"These are our split paths, each path leads to a different room. The path on the furthest right leads to your rooms, whenever you are granted a break you are allowed to stay in there. The room on the furthest left leads to the weaponry, and the rest there is no need for you to know, as you will soon be accustomed to it all."

"Where do you go to gather resources?"

"If you need something, you have to ask for permission to enter the storage, where you may gather what you need. If you take a thing that you did not mention you were going to take, you will be punished. There is also a time-limit, once you adapt to this place, you should not have any problems finding what you need efficiently."

"No, I meant how do you get all the stuff in the first place."

"We gather them from outside."

"Is there an entrance or exit where you can go outside?"

"You do not need to know that. Your only job currently is to do what you are assigned to. You would not need to know of places you are not going. This goes for everyone. Only the most trusted scouts and Tusk are able to leave, you however, cannot."

At that moment, Wisp knew that Tusk might seem wary of them already. He obviously set rules so that they wouldn't even catch a glimpse of the outside world. It sucks to know that he will have to find another way to figure out the entrance, but at least he knows one thing. Tusk is scared.

...

Spiller then lead them to the kitchen, or the cooking place. Various pots and pans hanged around, some half rusted. Each pan's surface glinted a bright copper, and some forks and knifes shone a moonlight silver. Many spices hang from the ceiling, Skye noticed garlic, hot peppers, and some random mushrooms she had never seen before. They gave out a weird and out land type smell, which honestly wasn't really pleasing to experience for both Skye and Wisp.

The grubby kitchen, though slightly dirty, was very big. Obviously a castle's kitchen needed to be big, or else the amount of food will not suffice for the amount of soldiers and royals. Ovens that require firewood to operate where lined tightly to the sides, near the drab tiled walls.

"This is where you will be working from now on. You cannot do anything else other than take supplies from the supply room. Your only task is to cook. You may not leave the kitchen unless an advisor allows you to."

"Your tasks will start tomorrow, today you will be given time to prepare, so you must go to your rooms."

Before they knew it they were stuck in a small room squeezed with at least ten other people, all of them sleeping and snoring more loudly than a damn Screaming Death.

Great, just great.

...

Wisp woke up at midnight, his senses still a haze. Peeking around, he could see the shadowy figures of the rest of the minions sleeping around him, either on the ground or on spare benches anchored to the walls. He noticed Skye who was in a far corner, he noticed that she has positioned herself as far away as possible from the others. Though, her back was turned, and Wisp doesn't know if she was actually sleeping.

He could imagine that she probably wasn't, knowing that her own dragon is being enslaved by the worst scum possible to exist on the planet. Wisp still couldn't understand why she would go with him just to suffer, as well as risking Whirlwind and her own life.

Looking down at his hands, he had somewhat hoped that all that happened was a bad dream, and that next time he woke up he would be in his own bed, and Willow would still be recovering peacefully in the hospital. He knew it was childish to hope for such a thing, but he really did hope that what he wanted to happen was really true, and that everything bad that has happened to him was all fake.

Though tired, he could not sleep, since everything told him that he could not do so, at least peacefully. He thought about Willow, and Whirlwind, and how he could possibly free them. His worries and images of failure haunted him. Clutching his wrist, his doubt and worry got larger and larger.

He kept on thinking the worst scenarios that could happen, failing to escape in time and being captured again, probably sentenced to rot in a cell for all eternity. Not only himself, but Skye as well, a good person that actually tried to help him, but ended up being dragged into misery alongside him.

He knew that he was supposed to look confident in escaping, always having a plan or trick up his sleeve, but this time he was truly scared. And he hated it. He hated that he was scared for his life when he himself vowed that he would risk his life to go find Willow, he hated that he has promised that they will escape no matter what, but ended up regretting himself.

I can't let it happen.

Or else innocent people will die because of me.

He took a deep breath. Then, he stepped off the bench he was sitting on, feet on the stone cold ground, eyes still a haze, looking bewildered, yet determined. He decided that he was going to sneak off in the middle of the night, with no guidance, all alone, hopefully trying to find the gates, or whatever it was that could get them out. He knew it was a stupid idea, but he had to do it.

Just a few meters away was the entrance, the dark passages beyond the door way was obscured by the night. He weaved his way through the masses of sleeping hunters, and took one last look at Skye, who was huddled at the corner of the room, her arms holding herself tightly and shivering.

Without thinking, he slipped off his jacket and covered Skye as if it were a blanket. Wisp didn't know why he did it, but he felt a little better when he noticed that her shivering decreased.

Taking one last look from the door way, his figure disappeared into the gloomy night, the edges of his fingers smoothly slipping from the exit.


...

He crept through the hallways, trying hard not to make any sound. Stopping by corners, he snooped around trying to see his way or which paths he should take. The passage-ways were very wide, wide enough for dragons to enter and pass, unlike the ones near their resting rooms. The hollow and vacant space made him feel uneasy, he stood out like a sore thumb, and if Spiller or one of those Echoers catch him, he would be done for.

Moving along, the hallways were sometimes anchored with antique paintings, sometimes trophies and goblets appeared on stands near the side. There would also be metallic armors and suits, like the ones you see on medieval knights. Their stillness still gave Wisp a creeped out feeling, like he was being watched. The eerie silence has never really bugged him before, but in this case it had a whole other meaning.

He proceeded downwards, since he knew those foundations were at the foot of the castle. He halted at the face of a very ancient door. It had several trinkets and different key-holes on it, as well as being sealed off with a barrier of strong wood, underneath a coat of powerful scrap metal. Obviously Wisp wasn't able to get inside, even if he wanted to, the wood and metals would be too difficult to break in one night.

Though, he does wonder what might be inside such a locked and secured room.

At the end of the room he found a spiral staircase and as he saw below, there it was.

One of the foundations, being guarded by two guards with an Echoer, as expected. Wisp didn't know how he managed to get this far without getting discovered, but he did it.

He finally found it.

With one of the pens on his pockets, he used the ink to map out the way underneath his right bracer, it would be hidden from everyone's view, so they don't get more suspicious. One of the foundations will actually do the trick, since it is also connected to the other one at all times.

If they break this one, the other will eventually break as well.

Now, all he needs to do is to make his way back to the sleeping rooms without being noticed.

It shouldn't be that hard, right? After all, I made it all this way without being discovered.

Heh, I guess sooner or later we will be able to get out again.


Tumble Castle Pt 2

Now that I've found the place, all I need to do is get back to where I left from. Taking a sideways glance at the gloomy hallway, I know that I must be getting close. After all, I'm sure that this hallway is the same one I traveled past to get to where I was.

I stopped by one of the corners, waiting for a few scouts to pass by. Luckily I had a wall to hide behind and they didn't bother to come and check. After waiting for them to pass, I knew that if I were to be spotted in the hallway, I would be doomed, but I wasn't as worried. There would probably be no one, just like before, and I would be able to get past.

...I'll return to Skye, help her save Whirlwind and then escape from this dreadful place...

...

I paced on ahead, turning my head once in awhile. This hallway is very long, and it'll take me a solid minute or two until I get to the end...

PANG!

Something metallic fell with a sharp crash, creating the most heart wrenching thing you'd ever hear if you wanted to stay quiet and out of trouble.

"Hey what was that noise! Check the main hallway, it came from there!"

I peered down...

I stepped on the trigger...and it dropped something.

The tile beneath me was pushed lower down into the floor... it must have trapped things to the ceiling..but once you step on it something crashes down and alerts the guards...

Panicking...I thought of something to do... but thought of nothing...all that was left inside me was fear and desperation.

Nowhere to run nor hide, like a mouse cornered by a cat...the tiny specks of hope dying...

Just then I felt a figure or something heavy stir from above...

Is it a boulder?

...I hope it crushes me before they find me, so at least I could just die without any pain.

...

It was ready to fall... I could feel it.

The mass of shadow thudded onto the ground, and on top of Wisp...

To his surprise, he was not crushed by the boulder, it was as if it had gaps between it and missed.

Feeling around, Wisp was immediately taken aback as the thing that feel from a celing was far from a boulder.

It was a living, breathing creature. It had muscles, skin, and a body structure, the body still feels warm to the touch.

It was a dragon.

Crap, now this dragon is going to tear me to pieces before they even get here...

...

The red Echoer sniffed the air, and puffed a few rings of smoke before turning its triangular head towards Wisp.

Its hollow white-eyes looked as if they were dead, yet they shone so deathly white in the midnight, as if they were two glowing pearls from the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean. It locked eyes with the young boy, while Wisp awaited his death.

With a fell swerve, the dragon shielded Wisp behind her wings just as the guards approached the hallway. They came around the side, holding their crossbows surveying around, and then stopping to only see the Echoer standing in the shadows.

"Oh it's just the dumb dragon. Guess we shouldn't have been that on guard."

"No, something's obviously wrong, why would that Echoer be here if there was no one?"

"Calm down you muttonhead, you always over think things. You saw it, that dragon stepped on a damn trigger tile, and it probably hurt its head trying to process what happened."

Wisp looked down, the Echoer had purposefully kept its talons on the trigger tile to make it seem like she had stepped on it by accident.

"Well..."

"Come one, just leave it be. Doesn't even matter, as soon as we finish our job we'll get our supper reward, let's go."

And with that, the few guards with their crossbows left the hallway as the Echoer stayed immobile, watching the guards with its glinting white eyes until they were no longer visible.


Then, it stepped away from me, not even casting one last look, only walking away as if nothing had happened. Its sharp talons skimmed the stone ground, wings folded and its long and flat tail dragging behind. Soon, the tail of the Echoer disappeared behind a corner as it flicked.

As soon as it was gone, I ran full speed ahead back into the rooms, the people were still all sleeping. Skye seemed to stay deep in slumber, my jacket still covering her. Settling down on the bench once again, my back and head pressed against the cold walls...all feels so hazy.

...

I woke up to Skye shaking me, she was telling me to get up or else all the breakfast will be taken.

"Get up get up, we gotta go or else we won't have anything to eat until noon!" She said nervously.

I stood up, trying to remember what had happened last night. Then I finally remembered that I had actually found one of the foundations.

"Listen, I need all of them to leave and then I can tell you something."

"Uh Wisp?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Uh, okay?"

"Why was your jacket covering me yesterday night?"

"I don't know so stop asking me." I lied. I don't care if she's suspicious, all I need her to know is that we will be able to leave soon.


Once all of the other servants have left, I took off my right bracer and revealed all the notes and paths I took just to get to the foundation.

Skye looked amazed, "You found it in one night!?" She was so surprised that she almost forgot to be quiet.

"Shhh, be quiet, we don't want them to find out," I said hastily.

She lowered her voice to a whisper, "So how are we going to get out and when?"

When it is time for us to work, we will sneak into the main throne room and save Whirlwind, and then we will bust out of here.


"Just like that?"

"Yep."

"Without any idea of where we are?"

"Yep."

"Without being discovered?"

"Yep."

"What if we get caught?"

...

"We won't."

...

Skye can't bring herself to trust those words now. She knows that she used to, but now she is riddled with anxiety and fear. Her senses are sky high and almost everything is filled with dread, but she asked for this, she asked to go along on this journey. She does not know what will become of everything, but she hopes that what he said...would actually turn out to be the truth, that is, hoping that he also isn't lying to himself in the process.


...

The two spent majority of their day working inside the kitchen. It wasn't very easy, as both riders were frankly, absolutely terrible at cooking. They made it till noon, and took a rest eating their share of food. None of them were allowed to speak too much, and they were only allowed to say things associated with their work, and nothing else, not even small chats or conversations.

As the night drew closer, the two started building up more hope.

Skye thought to herself, 'Whirlwind, I'm going to save you and break out of this place.'

Though she was unsure whether or not it was going to work or fail, she knew that it was do or die.

Wisp was silent, something at the back of his mind clutched on to his fear and loneliness. He anticipates the coming of the night, yet he fears what could possibly become of them if they were to fail. Trying to keep his head clear of those negative thoughts, he stumbled upon a very important thing that has always bothered him from the start.

Skye was with him, and also Whirlwind. He knew that he should've declined them from the start so they could just go back to their normal lives. If they didn't come along, none of them would be in pain or near death. He doesn't mean to be rude, but they don't belong with him.

All this drama, and pain, Skye's own dragon who never deserved this...they don't belong on a journey like this. Sooner or later...they might die. He couldn't imagine another person dying because of him.

Yet...the fear of losing them has also put him in a dilemma. He imagines the situation if they did choose to leave him all of a sudden. Traveling on days on end all alone, probably ending up getting lost in a desert, slowly turning insane due to the hopelessness and despair, and sooner or later, death will knock at his door.

But, he knew that it was going to be selfish of him to make thme stay...selfish like how he used to be.

...

He has made up a choice now...

...


They finally moved when midnight struck. The people around them were all in a deep slumber, not a chance for them to wake up now. There are still guards patrolling in the hallway, as usual, but they decide that they might just wing it.

Get discovered?

Just kick them in the crotch.

Simple as pie.

If it's a break for freedom, then you'll have to make your effort their all, or else you're never getting out. Wisp told Skye to follow the map and reach the foundation, and then he will go back and lead Whirlwind to where they will be waiting. They split paths, Skye following Wisp's map and Wisp going off into the main throne room.

Walking down the winding path, Wisp sped up, his heart beating. This is it, tonight we are going to escape from here.

Waiting around corners and dashing around, he finally found the main throne room. It was all dark, with barely any light. It was vacant, no people were there, at least he couldn't tell if there were actually people there.


Something swirled around in the darkness, and a whimper came from the shadows.

"Whirlwind?" Wisp called out, hoping that it had belonged to the jade green dragon.

His voice echoed throughout the chamber, nothing replied, only silence.

He stood there in the shadows for what felt like a few seconds, until he heard another whimper.

Wisp could feel it, this must be Whirlwind.

He stepped closer and closer towards the place that emitted the sound. His footsteps resonated into the air, "Whirlwind I'm coming, just hand in there a little." He assured.

Then suddenly, the whimpering turned into intense howls and snarls, as if Whirlwind was forbidding him to come closer. Wisp stopped in his tracks, he knew that something was wrong. Scanning his surroundings, he panicked, as all he could see was darkness. However, if Whirlwind was giving him a warning beforehand, then that must mean it's a trap, or ambush. Eyes darting around, Wisp tried to think of solutions.

With no hesitation, he let out a yell, "Come out! I know you're hiding there! Show your cowardly faces and we will settle this!"

Silence...

Then, sounds of clapping came from the darkness. A voice rasped out, it sounded taunting.

"Good. Verrrry good. I originally planned this as a surprise, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell you early. After all, you're quite the impatient one, aren't you?" The voice spoke out. Wisp instantly recognized it was Tusk's.

Lights illuminated one by one, soon lighting up the dark room.

Rings of Echoers with riders commanding them stood behind Tusk, motionless, only the faint crackling of their sparks were mobile. Tusk stood, sneering and grinning before them, Whirlwind lay at his feet, his body sprawled out and back facing Wisp. The green dragon seemed immobile, but he could tell that he was still alive. The faint rising of the chest and the stirring air meant that Whirlwind was still living.

"You know, you're really lucky, I originally planned to not give you any surprises and just have you wait out until the verrrry end." He teased, "But now that you arrived so early, I'm more than pleased...to imagine that you would make your move so quickly..." Tusk squatted and started glossing his palm over Whirlwind's rich black mane, stroking it as if he were petting a cat.

"Don't-touch-him." Wisp threatened. He really hated this man's gut. And to think he was just egotistical and arrogant, oh boy was he wrong. Somehow, this maniac was smart and cunning enough to figure out his secret plan. Who knows what else he has up his sleeves.

"Oh, don't worry he said slyly," continueing to pet the laid downWhirlwind despite Wisp's warning. He smiled foxily at Wisp, who stared back in anger. "I won't hurt your little friend~"

He cooed as if he were talking to a baby lamb, his words soft yet so taunting and cruel.


"Well then, I suppose you're here for him right? Good, I'll allow you to have him fair and square, that's if you are brave enough to come and get him. Any moment now, Skye will find the foundation, and soon she will try and destroy the lever. If you don't make up your mind in time, you will die here, with this dragon."

"On the other hand," Tusk grinned menacingly," You could leave him here with me, and escape with one of my Echoers. You can take it and go wherever you want, and I promise we won't follow you."

With the snap of his fingers, a turquoise Echoer was brought out from the crowd, its trainer controlling it with the metallic chains.

As Wisp stood, Tusk grinned, his fingers tapping along to his dragon armor as he waited. An Echoer carried the limp body of Whirlwind into the center, just between them and Wisp.

Wisp knew that he couldn't leave. It would be cowardly, yet, he knows that even if he got Whirlwind, they wouldn't be let off the hook so easily. It feels so much like a trap, but the more Wisp eyed the still body of the Swiftsky, the more big the urge to go save him was.

He stood breathing.

Then his posture turned into a run, and soon a sprint.

From the corner of Tusk's eyes, he let out a satisfied smile.

He fell for it.

Wisp, who ran up to Whirlwind immediately held up the dragons head, trying to wake him up. But it was useless, the dragon seemed deep in lost consciousness.

Tusk, who watched intently from the shadows continued to smile wickedly. He held up his hand silently as Wisp was occupied checking Whirlwind's health condition.

The next thing Wisp knew, the floor split up and seemed to open, the original floor opening up into a rectangular hole. The limp body of Whirlwind started to slip, his head lopsided and started gathering weight. Wisp dangled helplessly, grasping onto Whirlwind's neck. Gravity finally struck, and pulled them down into the black abyss. The two plummeted downwards.


Wisp held on tight to the falling dragon as the wind whistled past his ebony dark mane. Wisp's hair and clothes felt pushed back as they dropped deeper and deeper into the shadowy pits. Whirlwind's snake-like body twisted and furled in the gales, the fur ruffling and wings held upwards, just plummeting down, down, and down.

Wisp tried opening his eyes, but the intense friction from the winds forced them shut, howling into his ears. From that split second his eyes were open, he had felt tiny red eyes watching from within the darkness, millions upon millions of shadow creatures.

Unable to open his eyes, Wisp hoped with all his might, and screamed for Whirlwind to wake up. The wind was muting all of the sounds from him, and his screams were unheard, but at that moment, he screamed as loud as he could, wishing that Whirlwind would hear his words once again.

The jade green dragon just kept on falling, and soon, the pits seemed to start and reach an end. Shadowy masses of tentacles and fleshy tendrils stuck out as the dark clumps formed millions upon billions of tiny red eyes. Their claws and hands reached outwards, trying to grab onto anything they could get their paws on.

Whirlwind fell into the mass, the hands moved as if they were like waves, simultaneously, one by one, they grabbed and wrapped around Wisp and the Swiftsky, engulfing them within the ocean of darkness.

Wisp let out one last whisper into Whirlwind's ear, as the hands wrapped around his head, taking away his last gasp for breath.


...

The two were entirely obscured by the masses of dark matter, not even a trace was left behind. Tusk stood by, satisfied with himself, as Skye was shuddering as tears rolled down her eyes. She had witnessed her own dragon being thrown into a pit. She wanted to break down and cry harder, but she could not, she could only silently weep as an Echoer squishes her harder with its claws. She feels as if she can hear one last cry from Whirlwind as her eyes were starting to fade and lose hope.

...

The Echoer stopped as the rest of the guards listened in unision. Tusk's face was like he had just witnessed something impossible.

The masses of shadows burst open as a jade green Skittering Swiftsky burned them with a fuming blast of pure black fire. Whirlwind reared up furiously, his eyes entirely white and hollow, the only thing beside his jaw glowing in the darkness. And with his claws and fire, he twisted his way up while hacking and slashing everything in his path.  As his large wings flapped like hurricanes, a thunderous roar emitted from him, and it shook the caverns, echoing throughout the castle.


"Quick quick! Close the gap!" Tusk said as he panicked.

The floor then began to close up slowly. Skye, who had broken free from the grasp of the Echoer knocked down one of the men and took over his dragon. Riding the Echoer, she shot a pulsing shockwave at the lever that controlled the entrance of the pit. 

The orange surges of electricity hit the lever with incredible accuracy, destroying it instantly. The floor stopped closing up. Several guards then cornered Skye, but the Echoer she was riding seems to have turned against them, helping her fight and knocked out many of them. In the process, she unchained many of the other enslaved Echoers, who have all turned against their original abusers and started fighting alongside Skye.


A blast of wind rose from the pit, accompanied by the jade green dragon. They scanned the battle field, the Echoers were rampaging free, biting and snapping the men, fields of electric surges plagued the area. Roars and shouting ensued, and as Wisp and Skye rode their dragons in the air, they scanned below in search of Tusk. 

From the corner of the room, they caught of glimpse of him escaping on the back of the red Echoer. The same red Echoer that saved Wisp's life.

Swooping down, they flew into the corridors chasing just behind Tusk, the red Echoer taking tight turns and evading the falling debris.

"Where did all this debris come from!? I didn't destroy the foundation yet!" Skye asked, bewildered.

Wisp rode Whirlwind alongside her Echoer, "I don't know, maybe the shockwaves are crumbling the castle?"

"Well we need to get out in time! Follow him! He must know where an exit is!" Skye hollered, flying after Tusk, knowing that he must know an escape route somewhere.

They flew past, a large boulder dropped from the ceiling and the Echoer and Whirlwind promptly combined their fire to blast it to smithereens. The black fire melted the rock instantly and the shockwave burst it into billions of pieces, dropping down like it was raining stars.

They finally flew into an open chamber, where Tusk was no where to be seen. The room was empty, and behind them the castle rumbled even more, it was tumbling down like lightning.

To Wisp's total shock, the tangles of black matter spread from the hallway, and traveled past like schools of fish. They swerved and covered the walls, and obscured everything, making everything look black. They leaped forward to try and catch up to them, and just in time, the Echoer and Whirlwind shut the large doors as the tiny black claws tried to pry through the seams of the doors.

They slammed into the door, trying to budge their way in, and Wisp and Skye could only watch. The room had no openings, or windows, nor did it have any doors or other hallways. They were trapped, with nowhere else to go.

Wisp and Skye had to help Whirlwind and the Echoer keep the door back, but it was only temporary. They could feel the masses trying to force their way in, violently bashing into the door.

The red Echoer then fell from the ceiling, with Tusk on top, Wisp could tell that it was struggling, as it was trying to tear free from the cruel man sitting on themselves. Tusk smiled as he unlocked a lever, creating an exit in the wall before them. Tusk laughed, he knew that they couldn't let go or else they would die instantly by the hands of the shadows creatures.

"Ha! Fools! You think you can escape and try to kill me! Now you will die, and you will never ever reach your goal!" He boasted.

Wisp had trouble holding back the door, it kept on banging forward, trying to pry open.

"Have fun dying...the Lord won't forgive me I suppose, but at least I made it alive. Well, at least I can gladly tell them that the two pesky flies are now dead, without a doubt. All I need to do is to head towards the northern caverns..."

"N-northern caverns? The stalelands?" Skye asked, over hearing Tusk giving out the so called Lord's location.

"Oh oops! Guess I let that slip," Tusk teased without any signs of worry," Well I suppose telling you won't matter. Maybe you can visit there after you die I guess." He jokes again.

"Now...goodbye forever." He said as he commanded his Echoer to fly out.

The Echoer snarled, flapping their wings.

...

It smacked hard into the ground by its own, and rolled around, finally getting Tusk off her back. With her jaws she snatched Tusk by the clothes and forced her body onto the door, holding the shadow creatures off.

She struggled beside Wisp, and looking into his eyes, she whipped her tail at Whirlwind, Skye, the Echoer, and Wisp. They landed near the exit, freedom just in eye's view.

Looking back at the Echoer one last time, her white hollow eyes told them to run and escape, and to never come back...

Boarding their dragons and finally taking off, the door bashed open and the shadowy masses crept into the room fast as lightning. The red Echoer closed her eyes as the masses of shadow tangled her, and soon wrapped entirely around her figure, swallowing her into the darkness.


The Choice is Yours

They stared back at the wreck that was once a castle, they were near the seas and coasts, definitely, and the sun was just setting beyond the horizon. The flock of Echoers from earlier managed to escape, flying in a huddle with Wisp and Skye.

The castle tumbled behind them as they soared through the sky. The seams and the stones broke and shattered, crumbling to dust. Soon, a whole chunk of the mountain side slid down the sides, engulfing everything. Looking back, they remembered what had happened, almost everything flashed back and replayed inside their heads.

That Echoer... why did it choose to kill itself?

...

Wisp felt Whirlwind's body start to sag beneath him, his wing beats seemed to slow down as well. Flapping tiredly, they spotted a cliff where they will decide to land. The Echoer Skye rode was massive and its gargantuan wings lifted itself directly above Whirlwind.

They finally landed, Whirlwind's soft pads skimming the neat grass, which was rustling in the wind. Whirlwind immediately laid down and curled up into a furry ball after Wisp got off his back. 

The Echoer Skye was riding soon flew up to the flock after Skye has gotten off their back.

Their wings flapped harmoniously under the sunset, their bodies moving and twirling in a cyclone formation, finally tasting the joy of freedom after so many years of confinement. They are free, they are finally free.

They let out their shrill calls, swooping and diving like they were dancing in the air. They are no longer chained down, they are free to go wherever they may reign.

As Wisp and Skye stared out to the flock that was flying just above the deep blue sea, Wisp found something hard stuck in his jacket. 

Taking a close look, it was a scale piece, a blood red scale piece, around the size of a small sand dollar. Holding it up to the sky, the sun across the horizon illuminated the scale, creating an orange-ish hue. It glowed faintly, and Wisp wishes the Echoer's soul well on its way to Valhalla, where it will rest in peace for eternity.

The Skye's Echoer croaked, and met a very large albino Echoer in the crowd. Squawking, they touched heads and licked each other's snout. It seemed that they might have been mates.

Skye's Echoer peered down at Whirlwind and the rest, who were clearly exhausted. Gurgling affectionately at her mate, the male white Echoer swooped down and landed on the cliff.

Skye watched in awe as the albino dragon stooped down lower, as if inviting them to climb onto its back. Whirlwind, being the lazybutt he is, immediatley scooted onto the large dragon's back. Luckily the albino Echoer was very large, so Whirlwind doesn't seem like a problem for him.

With its ruby red eyes, it let out a low growling sound, except it wasn't meant to be aggressive. It was more like a reminder, telling Wisp and Skye to board the ride and get going.

One by one, they sat atop the white Echoer, its smooth scales felt cool and relaxing as they huddled beside each other. Skye's Echoer landed near the cliff and nuzzled one last time, purring something to her partner.

With a roar, the albino Echoer took off, as if saying good-bye. Its massive wings folded and fanned out, soaring into the horizon.

...

They passed through the clouds and glided gently among the stars. Nighttime was showing up and the faint midnight gusts started appearing. As Skye looked up to the moon, which radiant white beams were showering upon the Echoer's scales. She turned her head to look at Skye, wondering how he must feel at this moment.

Wisp was just sitting straight across her, resting on the clear white scales. He looked to be lost, staring below, into the Earth. Skye wondered what he was thinking.

...

The truth is, Skye herself did not understand why she wanted to join him on this journey. She was always used to brashly making decisions, and then having no other choice but to go down with them. But, there was always this thing about her. Whenever she saw something that was not right, she had a burning desire to do what was right. This feeling had been there ever since she was a little girl.

Though, she does believe that this feeling makes her look like a righteous idiot, willing to throw away her life for mere things that do not and should not matter. She would always ask herself: Why would I risk my time doing something that nobody else bothers to do? Is it truly that worthless, or hopeless? Why am I the only one willing to use my time for things that need it?

Why does...everyone think I'm a hopeless low life destined to die just by being a goody two shoes?

Why does...nobody seem to think for others?

She had pondered this for years. And one day, that feeling finally died out and was left forgotten inside her heart.

Obsessed with her job and providing money for her family, Skye felt that it no longer mattered to help or care for others, unless she gets some benefit from the result. She tried and tried to reignite the feeling, but it was dead.

It was no use.

And she gave up, miserable.

Well, until Wisp showed up.

The thing is, Wisp is weird, like really weird.

At first, Skye thought of him as an egomaniac, someone who only cares about himself and his own fame. She thought that he was a scumbag, someone who wouldn't care about anything regarding others.

Well, she thought so because he was rude to her in the first race (well to be fair she started it) and he had also blamed her for helping Grimwell, "steal Willow."

But now, she realizes that he is not like that. Something surrounds him, like an aura of sadness. She sees that slowly over time, no matter how long you hide behind a mask, people will find out how you truly are, what you truly feel.

Speaking of which, she assumes that Wisp must have lived a long time together with Willow. And only now has he started to acknowledge him, after the thing you always had was gone.

Skye knew, Wisp did something that he regretted. He made a bad decision that affected him in the long run... and now he is trying to reverse it...just like her.

Though...he sort of already helped her reverse it.

Over the years, Skye kept on trying to find out that righteous feeling she had, but it faded into nothingness. She tried and tried but it was no use at all, everything in her life at the moment had made her feel dead on the inside.

But, after seeing how he is willing to save a dragon and risk his own life...

Skye realized...that Wisp was like her all along... and that he has finally awakened. And now, he has awakened her as well.

Skye finally found out why she wanted to stay on this journey.

Everything had opened her eyes to make her see the truth.

By finding Wisp, she found something that she had lost a long time ago.

And now, she decides that staying will keep this passion alive. She finally finds what she was looking for, and she will not let it die that easily.

She finally feels at ease.

Even if they were on a journey that seemed so very impossible.

In a world that looked ever so lonely.

But after all, the choice is yours to who you want to be, and Skye has made a choice to keep her fire burning.


.. a few hours later the Echoer had landed, and with its shrill siren it woke them up from their deep slumber.

Allowing them to climb off, it pointed far away, towards a seaside, and Wisp was able to see tons and tons of houses. The Echoer obviously brought them off to a place with more humans, so that they could regather themselves and refind their route. Thanking the Echoer by patting its pearly white scales, it gurgled as if bidding them farewell.

It took off as it lifted its great wings, probably going back to rejoin his mate. Wisp and Skye then began to progress towards the small town. Along the way, they found an easier path, but it was still covered with many vegetation, as the trees and surrounding shrubs plagued the silent forest.

As they walked, small streams of water could be seen trickling down rocks. The occasional chirp of a bird rang through the silence. It felt so weird to finally be out in the peaceful forest again, after being caged in a damp and moldy castle for God knows how long.

Whirlwind, though still tired was ecstatic, leaping around the bushes, and climbing up and down trees, and most importantly trying to splash water onto both Wisp and Skye. Skye smiled as she watched her dragon hop from place to place, it must feel nice for him to visit the forest again and finally having a breath of fresh air after being terrorized for days straight. She looked around as she walked gingerly behind Wisp, who never even looked behind him once.


After half an hour of walking in silence, they finally reached the small town. They walked through the streets, which were fairly lively despite not having as much people back in Arjaaq. Children are playing with a ball near the backyard, and some women were hanging up their clothes to dry on a line. They decided to ask around to see if there were any restaurants, since they were hungry and didn't have proper meals these past days. 

Whirlwind was especially happy when he heard that they were getting food, he jumped all around and tried hugging both Skye and Wisp at the same time. Let's just say that didn't end well.

In the end, they found a nice little Italian restaurant and settled down there. Whirlwind ended up eating more than enough pasta that would have solved world hunger, and Skye had to give up several meatballs just to keep him happy. Though, she felt that Whirlwind did deserve it, afterall he had been carrying and protecting them for the past few days, and nearly died. It's safe to say Skye just really likes to see her dragon friend happy and lively.

After asking around they finally pinpointed a map shop. After asking if they had any directions for the Stale lands, the shop owner said that it's just their luck, that the Stale land maps are currently being mapped, but it is said that the mappers would be coming back sometime tomorrow. 

Wisp and Skye, deciding that they will have to wait somewhere tonight, tried to find a hotel. They found one near the center of the town, and Whirlwind was sent to the hotel stables to rest up. They each had their own individual rooms, and setting down, they thought to themselves.

Wisp thought about the journey, and how he was ever going to find Willow again. His hope felt dead yet still alive, like something that just won't fade away. Closing his eyes, he rested upon the wide bed, remembering memories from his childhood.

Skye on the other hand thought about her far away family, wondering how they are doing now. She knows that she had little to no time for them, and rarely visited. She missed them, ad wishes to see them well again. All of her early life was literally spent living in a poor old town enslaved by the dragon hunters. It was essentially a garbage dump, and things were tough in her neighbourhood.

Bullies picked on her siblings constantly and she would fight them off.

Day and night her father returned home with very little money.

Day and night they starved, and the only food they had was basic hard bread.

The day was arid, and the night was bitter cold like winter winds.

She sat down and was forced to study, to study for a better future, for a greater good. Because they were poor, they had to focus all their money on her and her only. Skye remembered how bad she felt when her parents would not eat any good foods and only give it to her. Saying that she was their hope and that if she was working hard for them like this, then she should have everything good.

The sheer heartbreak and self hatred she felt and she realized that she was being lazy and ungrateful. All the hope and paths that her parents wanted her to walk, she just threw it in the trash, and nonetheless, she failed. She had failed to succeed, and they began to live more and more in agony.

Until one day she had been accepted into dragon racing. Her parents at first were worried, as it was a dangerous job, and actually many people have lost their lives because of it.

But it still gave her money, and at least she can feel like she can redeem herself once again, and pay back all the bad choices she has made.

In the end, she had gained her family money and decent wealth, but at what cost?

In the end, Skye realized that she took the path they would've never wanted for her.

A blind path.

A truly blind path.

...

It was the morning and Wisp walked out from his room after locking the door. He had planned with Skye to meet at the breakfast room, where the hotel served their customers breakfast and just food in general. Stepping down the stairs, he saw a few other tourists sitting at the tables, enjoying fresh cups of coffee and plates filled with what looked like to be eggs or different kinds of meat.

Little baskets filled with those crusty bread thingies were also there. A few tables were empty, and had the neat silverware and napkins placed down upon the pinkish cloth.

Wisp eyed some soft armchairs that were far away from the rest of the diner. They had those ugly patch patterns of vomit green and darker bits of undigested food bits, which Wisp certainly did not enjoy looking at.

But assuming that this must be some sort of waiting place he took a seat down on one of those horrid chairs. It creaked slightly as he settled down. Folding his arms and crossing his legs, he sat down and waited.

...and waited.

........Aaaaaaand waited.

He abruptly looked up at the clock situated on the wall straight across him, and realized that it was way past the scheduled meeting time. Sighing in annoyance, he trudged his way back up the stairs to go find Skye.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Skye was actually awake for awhile, before noticing that it was a little too early. So she promised to only sleep for five minutes, but ended off drifting into another deep sleep that definitely lasted more than a few mere minutes...

After navigating through the hallways, Wisp finally found Skye's door, which had the number 43 engraved on a golden sign.

He knocked on it....in which there was no response.

Okay...then he tried knocking again..this time louder.

Still no response.

At this point, Wisp would've thought maybe she died of a heart attack overnight, because there is no way in hell a person could be this heavy of a sleeper.

With all of his patience drained, Wisp raised his leg, and kicked at the door with all his might. Turns out that was a terrible decision, and the only things that proceeded with that kick was an unnerving 'bang' noise that definitely disturbed many people and the painful sensation of his knees being obliterated.

To add insult to injury, as Wisp was cursing like a sailor under his breath, Skye Timbers was still sleeping like a dead pig and Dear Thor, he wished he could just yeet her off a cliff next time he saw her.

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