"Why do they think Amani is helping the rouge dragon?"
"I do not know, they must have found a connection."
"Will she be safe with the elder dragons?"
"We have not told her the secret. She should be fine. Amani just needs to learn our rules." I pressed my ear closer to the door. A connection to the bodies? They are connected to me?
"Eavesdropping?" I spun around to face Ladon. His eyes held both amusement and warning. I decided there was no point in lying. Why else would I have my ear pressed againt the door?
"Yes, and I apologize, but I think I can help," I stated with confidence. He nodded, waiting for me to continue. I quickly explained my plan. Once I finished, he thought about my idea. Ladon opened the door and waved me in.
Ryuu and the purple dragon stood in the middle of the room. Ladon strode in and walked up to them. He explained how I could help. The purple dragon's face creased with worry.
"Are you sure about this Amani?"
I smiled, "yes, and I know the rules. Ladon told me before. All I need to do is perfect them." Ryuu studied me closely.
"You have changed quite a bit since we first met you. I am impressed, did you act so bold before?"
I blushed and looked down, "no. Well, maybe. I always did what I thought was right. It didn't matter if someone agreed.with me or not." Ladon smiled at me. I returned the gesture before looking at Ryuu with a sigh.
"Let's just get this over with." The next few hours were spent planning and prepping. While the dragons talked about the plan, Ladon instucted me on how to behave. It was tedious, so many rules for humans. I was to keep my head down unless asked otherwise, not speak unless asked otherwise, never look at a dragon unless asked otherwise, and I had to listen to my dragons before the other ones. Those were just the major rules, I felt like a child again.
"Ladon," I asked shyly. He decided to take a break and let the lessons sink in before giving me more. "Why am I learning all of these rules now? If they are rules for the dragons, why didn't the ones here teach me earlier?"
"I told you, these ones are different. In my opinion they are nicer than the others."
"I agree, that silver one terrified me. Do they all act like that?"
"Pretty much, some will be nicer than the others but they are all stubborn about the rules." We fell back into silence. The thought of meeting more dragons was terrifying, but I had to do it if I wanted the murders to stop. I also knew that if I obeyed the rules, they wouldn't kill me. I belonged to the dragons that lived here, it was their decision what happened to me.
My thoughts also wandered to my parents. How were they dealing with Mira's death, did they still think it was me? Or do they miss me? What about Peter, how did he feel about all of this? I stood up and started to walk around. The gate happened to be close by. I walked over to the stone and looked at the village below.
Everything seemed normal. I could make out people below, doing what they always did. Kids were playing in the field, fathers working in the gardens, mothers cleaning and gathering water. The hunters were most likely searching for deer and wild pigs. I scanned the rooftops, a few had black arrows on top. They signaled that their loved ones had died in a war. I found my house and sucked in a breath as I looked at the arrows, one was white for Bells, signaling she had died early, and one was red. Only black and white arrows were used in my village, red's meaning was unknown to me.
Ladon called my name and I walked back over. Ryuu stood off to the side. He was looking at the mountains in the distance.
"Is that where they are?" Ryuu nodded, still focused on the mountain.
"Yes, it is very far away. Maybe a day's walk."
I turned to Ladon, "we don't have that much time"
"Exactly, the only option is for you to ride." I took a shaky breath.
"I can do that." Ryuu turned to face me. I could see the surprise in his eyes. I turned to Ladon to see the same expression. "I want this to be over with. If he kills every night, we should talk to the elders before that."
"Very well. Climb on my back then." I turned to Ladon.
"Are you coming?"
"I am afraid not. Tanith and I are not allowed to the elder home. We will meet you on the way back though." I said my goodbyes and sat on Ryuu. He lifted off the ground. Not sure where to hold, I almost fell off. I could hear his chuckle.
"Hold anywhere you like, it does not matter. Nothing will hurt me." I grabbed onto the edge of a scale. He turned and I gripped on tighter. From the corner of my eye I could see the two other dragons.
Feeling sick, I rested my head against his neck. I could feel his scales move. It took me a moment to realize he was laughing. In responce, I held on tighter.
"Relax child, we are almost there." The green dragon had moved closer to speak. I looked up to see the top of the mountains. I turned back around to try and find the castle. I realized how fast he had moved. Dizziness overwhelmed me again and I closed my eyes.
With a small jolt, we landed in front of another castle. I slid off in time to see the silver dragon come through the doors.
"You trust her enough to let her ride on your back, Ryuu?"
"She does not know about that either."
"Is there anything she knows?"
"She knows the rules. As do I, do you think I would tell a weak human like this all of our secrets so freely. Just because I do not believe she is the killer, does not mean I trust our secrets to her."
I felt a nudge from behind me. Resisting the urge to find out what was there, I followed the command and walked into the castle. A small laugh came from behind me.
"Child, it is fine for you to look up." I did and my gaze rested upon a white dragon. He had scars around his muzzle, war scars perhaps.
"What is you name," he asked.
"A-Amani," I choked out. My forgotten fears came rushing back.
"That is a nice name. It means 'one who shows the path' correct?" I started to nod before realizing my mistake and replying.
A rustle caused me to turn around. Three more dragons stood, their gazes on me. I quickly dropped my eyes back to the ground.
The doors opened and the other dragons walked through. The silver one started the questioning.
"Do you know how many people were killed?"
"If we show you, could you recognize them?"
I was confused, did they plan on showing me the bodies? "I think I can."
"Balthazar, show her the humans." The white dragon beside me pressed his nose to my cheek. I gasped at the images flashing before my eyes. The colors settled into one picture, my sister.
"She is my sister, Mirabella." The colors moved again. A boy stared back at me, his brown hair and freckles standing out oddly with his blue eyes. I concentrated for a moment before it hit me.
"He lives in the next town over. I was supposed to marry him. I think his name is Guy." I was starting to feel light-headed but I pushed on. The colors once again moved. Another boy stood before me. He had light blond hair, pale blue eyes, and large front teeth. A gasp escaped my throat.
"His name is Timothy. I watch him sometimes while his father works." The dragon pulled away and I fell to the ground. My sight was blurry and my stomach rolled.
"Was that necessary?" A dragon helped me up to my feet. I stared at green scales.
"She said she wanted to help." No emotions could be heard from the silver dragon. I could feel she scales below me shake.
"You could have warned her." Suddenly, I was pushed back onto the ground. The silver dragon had one foot gripped tightly around his throat. The green dragon struggled for a moment.
"Respect your elders boy!" As the dragon ran out of breath, he started to shine, similar to a rock when light hits it. The glow disappeared and in place of the green dragon was Ladon.
The silver dragon stood up, "much better. Learn your place." I stared at Ladon in horror. He glanced up at me.
"Amani, please listen-" the doors burst open and I could hear someone calling my name. Someone pulled me towards the door. With one last look at Ladon, I turned and ran out the door.
After the person that rescued me found a safe place, we stopped. It crossed my mind that I had no idea who it was. I turned to face whoever had saved me. My breath caught as I stared at the hazel eyes.
"Peter," I breathed.
"Why do they think Amani is helping the rouge dragon?"