Chapter 2Mature

 Malikai stood on one of the highest cliffs in Drankos. The winds were ruffling up his dark brown hair. Just a few kilometers above him were dragons. Their large bodies were casting shadows over the grassy cliff. He glanced up and saw his own dragon flying among the others. It was black with beautiful bright ice blue scales peeking out every now and again, it was one of the rarer dragon species; which made sense- a dragon lord had a ninety percent chance of getting a rare dragon. The two made eye contact, his dragon’s cat like eyes as familiar as his own hazel eyes. His dragon let out a noise of complaint, stating his own boredom.

            “I know, Fafnir,” Malikai sighed. “They’re late.” The silent, “again” hung between the two companions. Another sigh, “Maybe we should just go on our own.” The beautiful sea of green below was teasing him just as much as the sea of blue and white above him. He formed his lips to let out a low whistle but was interrupted when the sound of laughing girls filled his ears.

            A flash of blonde hair on his right dark brown on his hair was the last thing he saw before the two girls threw themselves off the cliff. “You’re late!” he scolded as they rose with their dragons beneath them. He backed up a bit, picking up momentum then surged forward and flung himself off the cliff.

            He dropped a few yards, the wind whipping his face, his heart caught in his throat, his stomach in knots. All the air left his lungs when he landed on his dragon’s back-then came back all at once. It was a feeling that his body had gotten used to. He learned very quickly that the best way to land on a dragon’s back was to land chest first, arms wide as if he was going to give his dragon a hug and then slowly bring himself up to a sitting position. It was better for his crotch that way. Sadly, that was a lesson that he had to learn firsthand. Riding a dragon was riding a horse bare back. If the horse had scales the size of his head, and if it’s spine protruded from its back and came to a point.

            “Late!” he scolded once more as Fafnir flapped his large wings, lifting the two of them above the clouds. The dragon leveled himself with that of his friends, though Fafnir demanded more room than that of Malikai’s companions. Fafnir was one of the giant Western dragons, something that was never seen; and was a rare species of dragons: ice; hence the scales.

            “When are you going to stop being surprised?!” Nycole, the brunette with the long and thick hair cried as she was tying her hair into a long braid to prevent it from slapping her face. “We’ve been late for the past five years!” she added. She shot him one of her famous smiles that often brought boys their age to flush scarlet and look away. But Malikai was not one of those boys-he grew up with the girl.

            Olivia, the girl with shoulder length blonde hair laughed. She pushed back some of her wavy hair behind her ear, a silent laughed etched onto her beautiful face. “Seriously Kai!” she laughed. “We’re always late!” she added proudly, a grin on her face.

            Kai rolled his eyes. “That’s not a trait to be proud of.” He muttered to Fafnir, who nodded in reply.

            This was a tradition they started after graduating from the academy. They would come and meet at the cliff once a day and go for a quick fly. It was also a good way for them to have fun and patrol the borders. Kai would have preferred it if they started on time-but that’s what he got for being best friends with the two girls in the entire world to be unbelievably late. They’d be late for their own funeral.            

            “At least we get to go out for a flight, right?” Nycole asked, scratching her dragon, Toothless right behind his ears. The dragon got its name because the dragon had gotten his teeth late. So she decided to name him Toothless. The dragon was a Fae dragon (not to be confused with the Pixie dragon), though just a little larger than its actual size-mimicking Nycole’s small stature. The word “fairy” only stuck with his size, he looked nothing like how a fairy dragon actually looked. There was nothing dainty looking about him. He had black scales that turn into an almost lightning blue/purple whenever he got into a fight or became aggressive. Toothless had green eyes and black pupils that showed his ever changing mood. The dragon also either acted like a dog or a cat-depending on its mood. He had an odd personality, but no one on the ground really complained.

            Olivia nodded in reply. Like most dragon riders, Olivia adored being in the air. It was a sense of release, a sense of freedom. Her dragon was a Celestial dragon or Lung Tien in its origin. Adalinda was a Wyvern. She was serpent like with her front legs being attached to her wings. Like the running color scheme between the three of them, Adalinda had deep emerald and black scales. Being a Celestial dragon, she was wise beyond her years and was one of the few dragons to actually be able to communicate telepathically. It made for interesting conversation whenever Olivia and Adalinda argued. Despite the fact that Adalinda was younger than Olivia, she often took a motherly or elder sister role between the two.

            Kai was enjoying the silence for a bit; he loved taking in the sun’s warmth. What brought him back to reality was Adalinda’s very soft but firm voice. Kai? It appears that we have company. He told Fafnir to slowly descend from the clouds and see who it was. It was just a small group of people, roughly two or three. “Hey!” Kai shouted bringing himself to stand on Fafnir’s head. He turned to Olivia, “You go tell the guards that we have unknown guests.” She and Adalinda hesitated before disappearing in the clouds. He then turned to Nycole. “If there’s any sign of trouble, you run.”

            She nodded and kept close as their dragons flew them closer to the group that was idly floating on a dragon in the sky and watching them. “What business do you have being in Drankos?” he demanded, squaring his shoulders, trying to seem like he had authority-which he did, but no one seemed to believe him. They looked at him with smirks on their faces and his blood ran cold. “As one of the living dragon lords, I, Malikai Shaw demand that you tell me what your business is!” he exclaimed, staring at the visitors with hard eyes.

            One of them, a rather buff man with dark olive skin and tattoos for days pointed at Nycole and the girl paled significantly. Next to him, the other two, one guy and one girl-well, Kai thought it was a girl; their hair was significantly longer than the rest, but maybe he just really liked long hair-began to chant. “Nycole.” He said slowly, making sure that the others couldn’t hear him. “I’m going to buy you some time… You find Olivia and hide. You hear?”

            Nycole’s warm brown eyes widened. “No!” she hissed as Toothless made a noise that also voiced his opinion on the matter. “I’m not leaving you with these people! Look, Olivia will be back and we can handle them together. We’re not damsels in distress, Kai.” She protested.

            He shot her a dark look that caused the brunette to flinch. “I’m not questioning your ability to fight. I’m your Guardian first and your friend second; if there is danger I’m not going to think, “We can kick his ass! Let’s go.” I’m going to think, “Get them out of the danger zone.” Now go when it’s time, okay?” he said, as the chanting got louder. She looked at him with a stubborn look on her face and he took a deep breath in, “Nycole.”

            “Fine. Fine.” She grumbled. “Be careful. Come back to us in one pie-Ah!” a scream left her lips when a ball fire came between them. The pair looked over and saw that the really buff man holding his hands out with another ball of fire forming; his friends looked at Kai with a smile on their mouths as they continued to chant. Why use a spell when you had a dragon?

            In retaliation, Fafnir snarled and released a mix between breaths that covered things into ice and spears of ice at them. Kai moved to take his place on Fafnir’s back while Toothless flew away with Nycole on his back. “Give us the girl.” He growled, staring at Kai as if he was a piece of meat rather than a formidable enemy. “Give us the girl and we won’t unleash our dragon you.”  He said, tapping his foot on the dragon’s back.

            Kai blinked. Did they not realize that he dealt with dragons day in and day out?  He squinted his eyes to get a better look at the dragon and blanched. “That’s extinct. He’s extinct.” He breathed, his entire body shaking. “Where did you find him?! What did you do?!” he demanded feeling all of the warmth leave Fafnir. “We need to get out of here-now.” He told his dragon under his breath.

            The dragon was an Old Norse myth, besides for dragon for greed, Fafnir, Níðhöggr was known for being trapped underneath the World Tree, and he was known for gnawing at the Great Tree and the corpses guilty of oath-breaking, adultery, and murder. He was dangerous and if he were to escape, it meant that Ragnarök- the end of the world- was coming. But that was just a dragon’s tale. Was. The dragon cocked his head to look up at Fafnir and Kai, its large red eyes shaking the pair to their core. Why didn’t Kai realize it before? The dragon was snake-like, clearly not a celestial, yet it was flying. Its body had no large protruding scales like most dragons do. Its skin was a deep almost sickly purple and it looked as if his eyes were large rubies rather than being actual eyes.

            Fafnir cried out in fear before turning around and flying as fast as possible. Kai turned around and saw a large fireball heading their way. “Faf-” he tried warning just before the fireball swallowed up Fafnir’s tail and hind legs. His dragon let out a wail just before another fireball surged towards them and slammed into his dragon’s wing. Fafnir wavered before beginning his plummet to the ground. “Fafnir!” Kai shouted as he fell off, Fafnir thrashing wildly in the air, obviously in pain.

            Kai started to claw at the air, trying to get to his unconscious dragon. “Fafnir!” he yelled, forcing himself not to look at the ground. The wind rushed past him, hurting his ears and he had to fight the air currents to get to his dragon before they both hit the ground. “Fafnir! Buddy! It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay!” his dragon was always a wimp when it came to anything that was blazing hot. Ironic. “It’ll be okay! Fafnir! The pain will go away! Buddy!” he cried, feeling his own panic start to swell. His fingertips grazed his dragon’s scale before he looked up to see Níðhöggr flying past them.

            The last thing he saw before everything went black was a flash of deep emerald green.

            “Not fair.” Nycole grumbled for the fourteenth time as she and Toothless sat in their hiding place. Olivia had gone to find Kai and when Nycole pressed on coming along to help, but the blonde used her powers of compulsion to follow her. She knew that it wasn’t because they feared that she’d be a nuisance-they had faced several moments where there was danger. It was because they didn’t know the danger and she was the youngest. It was an odd big brother/big sister thing that they had over her.

            Toothless made a soft noise-scolding her. “I know. I know.” she sighed, slowly rising to her feet, another noise. “I didn’t say we were going anywhere-just need to stretch my legs.” She snapped, pushing some hair behind her ear. “Can you hear anything anyways? Like, what’s going on?” Her dragon pressed an ear to the ground and shook his head.

            She sighed and sat back down, bringing her knees close to her chest. “You need to learn how to mentally have a conversation with me.” She told her dragon who was curled up into a ball of warmth besides her. “That way I don’t feel crazy talking to myself.” Nycole added, waiting for a sign of her friends coming back. She hated waiting. She hated it when they were children and she hates it now knowing that her friends could be fighting something that they weren’t ready for.

            “That’s it.” She grumbled, jumping to her feet. Toothless looked at her with a rather confused look on his face, his claw was suddenly over her right foot. “What?” she asked her dragon, smirking. “Olivia told us not to follow her. She didn’t say that we couldn’t go for a walk.”

            Toothless gave her a hesitant look before jumping to his feet and following her. He kept close just in case there was any signs of danger. “Should we take to the air?” Nycole asked her companion, in reply he shook his head.

            The forest was quiet. Far too quiet. Even Toothless seemed to sense that as he attempted to awkwardly step around any fallen twigs or leaves in an attempt to maintain the silence. “You goof.” Nycole teased, patting her dragons head. When the two heard a twig snap, Nycole hid behind a tree, feeling the tree’s life underneath her fingertips. Next to her, Toothless froze in place. Toothless!  

        “Come out girl.” A deep voice said, and she knew that it was the unnaturally buff man from before. Toothless’ ears pressed against his head, letting out a protective growl. “We know your powers, you can’t take anything from anyone here.” He added she could picture him smirking.

            “Wanna bet?” she snarled, mentally apologizing to the tree whose life she was about to absorb. She took a deep breath and started to slowly sap the life from the tree. Nycole could feel the wood start to rot and the leaves start to fall around her. With her free hand, she touched Toothless. “Grow.” She mouthed and the dragon nodded, taking what life force she had just given him and manipulating it accordingly.

            When she looked over, the man’s face had paled significantly. Besides her, Toothless had grown, he was about the size of Fafnir by now. His scales had become a bright purple-almost the shade of lightning, and his features had gone from his playful demeanor to a more feral look. “Try me.” She snapped, as Toothless opened his mouth, a large ball of lightning forming and let it go. The ball of lightning hit the man and smoke erupted everywhere. “Let’s get going.” She stated, the two backing away. Before they were able to start their retreat, the man surged from smoke and Nycole’s widened in surprise.

            He was no longer a man. Well, he was, but his flesh was now steel. “What the hell?!” she cried, pulling out the short sword she had on her at all times but Toothless had jumped in at that moment, his large body slamming into the man’s. “Toothless!” she shouted but the dragon shot her a look that told her to run. Her fear kicked in at the moment, she needed to find something stronger to give to Toothless, Nycole broke out into the opposite direction.

            All of a sudden, Toothless was thrown into a boulder. “Toothless!” she cried out, suddenly feeling powerless. When she turned around she saw the man sprinting towards her, a bulbous, glowing orb growing on the palm of his hand. She screamed before dodging the ball as he swung forward. It seemed as if every bit of her training kicked in and she stuck her hands out, waiting for the next swing. When his hand made contact with hers, she clamped around it and started to absorb whatever energy he was releasing.

            The man paled and looked at her as she held out a glowing orb and glared. “What do you want with us?” she demanded, trying to sound menacing. It was hard to sound menacing when one was short and looked twelve, even harder when one’s dragon was small and not really frightening at first glance.

            He straightened and gave her a malicious smile, “Lord Leonard needs the five of you.” He snapped his fingers. “Rejiciuntur.” The ball in Nycole’s exploded, sending her flying into a fallen tree. A groan left her lips as she tried to bring herself to her feet, her head throbbing. “Balor said that he wanted one of the girls, but he didn’t say that they had to be in one piece.”

            Another ball of light appeared on his hand and Nycole glared. She knew that she should have forced herself onto her feet, but her body wasn’t like a werewolf’s or a vampire’s, it took a bit longer to heal. And right now, she was positive that her back and the backs of her legs were bruised and her hands were broken-or seriously sprained- from that hit she caught the punch. “Dammit…” she groaned, trying to push herself onto her feet as the orb became larger. Was the pain getting worse? With her luck, it probably was true.

            Nycole didn’t know what happened next. She just saw a blur of light and then her body decided to pull her into unconsciousness. 

The End

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