Written by Luster, it's done!! :D
One year, six weeks, four days
Her lungs burned and her legs threatened to give up, but she pushed on. She ran past trees and a few startled animals, darting to safety. The rainforest was much thicker than Ouroboros had told her. Now, where is that key? It was supposed to be in the palace…but I already checked there and set off the alarms…so I can’t go back. It was Shimmer’s, so it must be with her. I need to find her pavilion, or I will surly return to the Stronghold empty-handed. Moonchaser thought, rushing to put as much distance between her and the soldiers hunting for her. She stopped in a clearing, her lungs raw and legs aching. She caught her breathe for a minute, then set to her task: Find the queen’s pavilion.
Using her consciousness, she searched through the minds and memories of everything around her, racking their brains for any information. Everything was a useless animal, no smarter than a rock, but then she came upon a mind much more evolved. A Rainwing. He seemed to be looking for her, but he was alone and seemed to be unarmed. Well that is strange. I will go check this out. She thought, silently stepping toward the Rainwing. In the night, the only thing giving her away in the shadows was her starry scales that covered her entire body as opposed to only on the wings, her brandings, and the scar that twisted from her forehead, down through her eye, and curving back up to form a crescent shape. Her black eyes now staring at the dark colored Rainwing. He was emanating a sense of fear, and strangely, longing. She decided to play up this act, while he still didn’t see her. Silently, she stalked over to the trees behind him and raked her red stained talons through the bark, sending the Rainwing jumping at the sound. He turned quickly to see the marks, but never the Nightwing responsible.
“Oh Jeez, Oh jeez, Oh jeez…” the Rainwing repeated in his mind, freaking out. Moonchaser just barely managed to stifle a laugh. She, now in the brush beside him, quickly lashed her tail into his clearing. As soon as the Rainwing noticed her tail, she whipped it back into the shadows. The Rainwing started to sob. “Pl-please…just-just l-lea-leave me alone. I don’t w-want any-any trouble.” He stuttered. Moonchaser didn’t even try to hide her giggling this time, letting it come out as a sinister laugh. Now facing the dragon, staring him in the eyes, yet him not knowing it, she leaped out of hiding, causing the dragon to scream. She pinned the writhing form to the grass beneath their talons, pressing her red fore-claw to his throat. He stared wide-eyed into the eyes of his death.
“Now, I need some information. Give it to me or die.” She demanded, staring into his pale green eyes.
“W-what is a Nightwing like yourself doing in these woods. We are against you and I could call for my reinforcements.” He countered.
“No you won’t.” She said simply. He seemed scared by that remark. “Tell me where the key is, and you will live…probably.” Moonchaser added to scare him even more. He waited a while before responding.
“Please don’t kill me. I have a family I need to take care of. They need me. Don’t you feel compassion?” he asked, avoiding the question’s topic.
She stared into his face with a glare that would have drilled holes in his eyes, “Don’t even try to tell me that. I can read your mind like an open book. You ran away from your family, angry they didn’t give you enough attention, which was for your sister, Jaguar. Five years later you returned to find them not even know who you were. You were devastated and ran again, this time to the soldiers, which you were trying to find when I…attacked, to have them kill you anyway. I’m not stupid. Don’t insult me!” She spat, angered by his lie.
He shrunk and hissed under his breath, “Why don’t you tell me where the key to the vault is and, who knows, maybe you will die like you wanted, I could bring you to live with me, or just let you go…” The black dragon continued, raising her free talon to the waning moon above them, allowing their sickly color to reflect.
The Rainwing paused, “Alright…the key is with the queen, she is in her pavilion in the highest tree in the forest. Just please don’t tell her I told you.” Moonchaser thought this through, it wouldn’t be smart to continue this quest tonight. I will take him back with me, as to not be empty-handed. I will continue tomorrow. She settled. She looked back at the dragon cowering under her gaze.
“I will ask your opinion, do you want to die?” she asked, surprising him with a choice. He sighed,
“No…but I don’t want to be here…” he never finished. She got off him and gestured to him to follow her. He seemed confused but nodded, reluctantly heading into the dark tree-line.
She was headed to her camp with the Rainwing, but when they were approximately half-way there, there was a rustle in the trees beside them and shouts of soldiers. They found me! Moonchaser looked to the dragon next to her, who was quaking with fear at the thought of being caught. “Can you fight?” She thought, mentally asking the Rainwing.
“Yes, but not great…as you saw…why?” he thought. She only replied by pointing to the spot where the sound came from, revealing the soldiers. The Rainwing nodded reluctantly.
“Let’s see how many we can scare off.” She thought to the Rainwing, he nodded and they split to encompass the group in a circle. “Watch this…” Moonchaser thought to him. She felt him pay closer attention to the group of soldiers as she pulled out her knife, nicknamed Doradus for its curved shape and patterned blade. She whipped Doradus into the group, hitting a tree one of the soldiers was standing next to. It barely brushed his shoulder. His eyes widened and he pulled his sword out of its sheath, staring into the night. Moonchaser felt the Rainwing she was working with’s approval. “Do something to freak them out…you saw what I did to you…now it’s your turn.” She said.
The Rainwing chose to do what freaked him out the most. He stepped behind all of the soldiers and scraped his claws on the jungle bark, leaving deep incisions after a loud screeching sound. The soldiers froze and turned slowly to see the marked tree.
“Watch what I can do…” the Rainwing said to Moonchaser. She felt him turn completely invisible, and slowly walk to the leader of the soldiers, who was alert, but not enough. He stepped to the leader until he was right in front of him, then slowly whisper in his ear, “Get out!” the leader ordered his dragons to leave, but before he could escape too, Moonchaser pounced on his back, spreading her wings to darken the moon’s light. The leader stared at the Nightwing with recognition,
“You?! You are the one we are hunting?! The prin-!” he never finished, before he could reveal her identity, she slit his throat, so dark blood rushing out of his mouth was the only answer. She got up, hauling the limp form onto a branch to show, and called to her partner. She retrieved Doradus before he got there. His face was horrified when he saw the leader.
The Nightwing ushered the Rainwing to her camp, which had a small fire flickering happily at their arrival. Moonchaser destroyed the fire and ripped off her necklace, muttering a few inaudible words. The Rainwing stepped back when a dark, black hole opened where the fire was. The gaping fissure was as dark as the Darkest Night, and it seemed to never end. The Rainwing gazed down to the hole. “Hop in.” Moonchaser said, nudging his back. He stared, horrified, at the idea. “What? I can’t jump in ther-!” he shouted as she shoved him into the hole. The Rainwing saw the sky move, only to realize it was just the Nightwing jumping after him. The hole above them closed, and almost instantly, they hit the ground with a hard thud. Moonchaser was on her feet, scowling at him.
He stood up, aching all over, “By the way, I never caught your name?” he said, staring the Nightwing in the eyes, her black ones boring holes into his pale green ones.
“Moonchaser…but there was a reason I didn’t tell you.” She said, “Now, what is yours?” she asked, gravely.
“I’m Cedar.” he replied curtly. He looked around, they were somewhere. It was cold, dark, and damp, with only minimal lighting, provided by pale purple flames flickering in small glass lanterns. After a minute, Cedar’s eyes adjusted to the dim light and saw that they were in a long corridor, with small hallways branching off, the corridor seemed to never end. And, bustling in and out of the smaller halls, Nightwings of all shapes, sizes and shades crossed, but when they saw, Moonchaser, each bowed and let her pass. They all eyed the Rainwing as he passed, giving looks of hate and fear. Cedar felt the same way towards them.
Moonchaser continued down the hall unfazed, unlike the Rainwing. “Come on,” she thought to Cedar, “We must see my mother. She will know what to do with you. Just…when talking to her…try not to be rude, respect her, or have my knife in your throat, it’s better than what she will do to you.” He gulped, already afraid of this dragon. They walked for a while, in the darkness of the tunnel, until they stopped before a great pair of ebony doors, guarded by a pair of soldiers. The Nightwing lifted her right forearm to reveal a number branded on the midnight blue scales. It said ‘777’, and whatever it meant, she got instant access to the room behind the doors. Moonchaser felt the Rainwing beside her tense, He really needs to relax. No one can hurt him if he is with me…no one would dare mess with me, the most successful assassin ever created. The heavy doors squeaked reluctantly, revealing a dark room beyond. Only one thing was visible, a pair of glowing purple eyes.
One year, six weeks, four days
Cedar crept into the room alongside Moonchaser, who was undaunted by the sight of the eyes in the dark. They continued as the doors slid closed behind them, sending the room into complete darkness. I wish I was a Seawing, the dark purple Nightwing heard him say quietly. Then, from the far corners by the doors, flamed torches sprang to life, following each other like dominoes. Finally, they reached the end as the two dragons did. The torches did not illuminate everything, but they showed a dark throne, carved from obsidian and roughly chiseled, it was a plain throne, but it had a dark affect. Moonchaser bowed, lowering herself onto her knees and lowering her head. Cedar followed, a little confused. The purple eyes, which were right in front of them, blinked slowly in recognition. Then a smooth purr broke the eerie silence.
“I see you returned, Moonchaser. I hope you didn’t come empty handed.” Said the voice in the direction of the eyes.
“Mother,” Moonchaser started, “I come with a prisoner and information, but I do not have the item you seek.” She winced at the sharp hiss that escaped the throne’s inhabitant. The eyes lowered their gaze to Cedar, the Rainwing paled and shivering with fear.
“Allow me to introduce myself to our guest.” Said the voice. A small ball of light appeared, the same color as the flames, clutched in the dark talon of a Nightwing. Scales of dark, dark purple ran from her talons to her forearms, and down her flanks. Her under scales were a blue like the sky and her claws a shining silver. She had a row of darker of scales along her spine and was at least twice the size of Cedar. Her massive bulk rest in the black throne, curling her tail around the base. Her head was triangular and more pointed that most dragons and her eyes were set slightly higher. Two massive, thick horns jutted out of her skull and shone with the same silver of her claws. Her glowing, purple eyes showed her sickening smile, with teeth sharp enough to draw blood with a simple touch. Her wings were outstretched behind her, the membranes a swirling torrent of colors, shifting constantly. Small stars appeared and disappeared and waves of blacks and greys sifted through occasionally. She was also covered in golden bangles and earrings. She also had a strange branding on her shoulder, the same as the one on Moonchaser’s.
“This is my mother,” said Moonchaser, “This is Ouroboros, queen of Pyrrhia, ruler of night, and mother of darkness.”
Cedar shuddered. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier she was your mother?!” he thought to the young Nightwing.
The queen was the one who answered, “She didn’t tell you because it would endanger our tribe to you, idiot! If you knew she was the princess of Pyrrhia, she would be an instant target. Now, since you know our plans and location, you must be disposed of. Moonchaser! Take care of this problem.” She hissed to her daughter. Cedar looked to Moonchaser desperately, a look that said, “Nooooooo! Save me!”
Moonchaser nodded, “Mother, I have worked with him on the field before bringing him here. He is trust worthy and a pretty decent fighter. As a Rainwing, he is a definite asset to our tribe. Maybe I could use him as a partner?” she asked. Cedar didn’t actually mind her offer. It would be kind of awful to attack his own tribe, but they don’t even remember who he is. And he can just be invisible.
“Hmmmmm…fine, but he only gets one mistake. He better live up to what you say he is…” said the queen, darkening the room in conclusion to the conversation.
The two dragons walked out of the Queen’s room, Cedar was happy to be alive. Moonchaser looked into his eyes and smiled, a true, happy smile. “Well, now you need a new name, a scarier name than a tree. Possibly something less…Rainwing…” she said, thinking for herself what his name could be. Cedar instantly knew his new name, it would call for a complete new scale set, but it would definitely fit this Nightwing’s bill.
“My new name will be Monochrome.” And with the utterance of his new name, he changed his scales to colorless shades of gray. His wings were black and he had swirling patterns of darker gray over his shining pale gray scales. The only color on him was his pale eyes. Moonchaser stared him down, taking in every feature of the new dragon before her.
“Well, you Rainwings can sure clean up nice.” She said as she continued down the corridor, heading the way they came. Monochrome was surprised by her words, his frill flaring out and flushing slightly pink. He chased after her, standing taller than the Nightwing once next to her. She likes him? A princess! A princess likes poor old forgotten Cedar, I mean Monochrome. He smiled as they took a right into a new hallway lined with doors marked with numbers. They were weird numbers though. There was a door labeled 1, 11, and 111. Then, there was 2, 12, and 121. They went on until the highest number was reached at the end of the hall. The number on the two doors at the end were 776 and 777. Moonchaser pushed through the door of 777, holding it open or Monochrome. They stepped inside to a richly decorated room with a blue canopy bed and gold furniture with quartz pillars in the corners.
“Welcome to my bedroom.” She said, throwing her knife onto the bed and going into her nightstand’s drawer and pulling out a pair of glasses. She placed them on her snout and smiled at Monochrome’s shocked face. “Yes, even assassins need to wear glasses, do you have a problem?” she asked sarcastically.
Monochrome smiled and shook his head, “No, I used to wear glasses too, you know.” He said.
“Really?” Moonchaser asked, actually interested.
He smiled, “No…” he hung his head, still unable to hide his smile.
Moonchaser laughed. “Well, for now, tonight, you will have to sleep on the ground until I can get you a number. You don’t mind? I can sleep on the floor.” She said, but she was shushed by the Rainwing, he kept smiling.
“I will sleep on the floor, a princess needs her beauty sleep.” He said.
“Hey, what is that supposed to mean?” Moonchaser chided.
“Well, you don’t need beauty sleep, it’s just…” he blushed.
Moonchaser laughed, “I am just kidding! C’mon, relax.” She said, nudging his shoulder. He relaxed a little, but still was a little tense at being in the same room as a successful assassin.
“Is there a specific space for me to sleep?” Monochrome asked, answered with a shake of Moonchaser’s head. He was tossed a blanket and settled in a corner of the room, opposite the bed. Moonchaser removed the minimal jewelry she had and crawled into her bed, nestled under the warm blankets. He lasted probably a few minutes before sleep coaxed him. His eyes closed and waited for the next day, a smile permanently resting on his snout.
Four weeks, three days
The night’s cloak of blackness had settled upon the scavenger den. The wooden buildings were alive with the warm flames of their fireplaces. Friendly shadows danced across the windows and laughter rang throughout the village. The den had an old stone wall about the height of the single story houses, it protected the town like an old friendly neighbor.
But outside the walls, the snap of a twig is heard, but no scavenger was outside in the cold to hear it. A quiet hiss was the response to the sound, and two dark eyes appeared. Moonchaser hissed again at her partner, who was clumsy enough to actually break a stick. The space beside her, what was once empty, became a dragon, concealed by his charcoal scales. His green eyes opened to see the angry Nightwing glaring at him. He smiled and raised his shoulders in a gesture of ‘Oops’. Monochrome, if must, I will have to send you home. Do I make myself clear? She thought. She saw him nod and he returned to his invisibility. She smiled and shook her head, emerging from her crouched position.
She signaled behind her shoulder to Monochrome, the Rainwing followed her up to the stone wall that was probably the same height as himself. He stretched his neck to peer over, and he saw the scavengers in their homes. Nothing seemed to be amiss. He looked to Moonchaser and nodded, “The coast is clear.” He mouthed to her as she pounced onto the wall and perched. He joined her and they sat together, watching the festivities.
Why are we doing this again? Monochrome thought, looking to Moonchaser.
Because, we need to. Don’t question the Queen, follow her. She replied mentally.
Oh…okay, that works for me…he thought
Moonchaser all of a sudden jumped off the wall and landed silently in the den with her wings slightly opened, surprising Monochrome into doing the same. They hid in the shadows behind the buildings as to not be seen.
So, what are we doing?
C’mon, I told you a million times, Monochrome! We are here to burn down this village!
I don’t know!! We just need to do it!
Fine, but I can’t burn anything you know…no fire…
Yes, yes, but there are torches outside the buildings.
Moonchaser playfully punched his shoulder and he smiled at her, making her blush. Thank the moons for the darkness! She crept over to a building, catching Monochrome’s eye. She showed him a torch on the wall, grabbed it and threw it at him. He caught it, but sustained minor burns on his talons. Moonchaser smiled at him just before she breathed a plume of flame onto the wooden house. The walls caught fire immediately, sending tongues upwards to spread to the roof. Monochrome crept over to another small house and threw his torch onto the roof as Moonchaser set yet another ablaze.
Scavengers started to come out of the houses, screaming and moaning. One pointed and squealed at Moonchaser, who was just finishing a house. She stared at the scavenger, debating on what to do.
Moonchaser, no, there is no need to kill a hatchling. Thought Monochrome
But, we could get killed!
Better than a helpless child.
Moonchaser sighed, she snapped her wings open and crouched low, preparing to launch into the night. Monochrome was right beside her when she screamed and toppled over onto him. He was panicking now, scavengers were screaming, dragons were screaming, and the fire was laughing. Moonchaser looked herself over to spot what had caused so much pain and saw an arrow pierced right through her wing, blood dripping from the ragged slice. She didn’t seem worried about it, but it made Monochrome want to destroy whoever I was that hurt her. He searched the sky, looking for any ambushes, but saw nothing. Still panicking and fueled by rage, he spotted a lone scavenger, holding his bow down, staring at the dragon he had just shot with greed. Monochrome rushed towards the arrow-man, but was stopped in his tracks by a searing pain in his neck. He looked back to see a shallow gash carved out by a dagger that was meant for Moonchaser. He had blocked it, as he saw it lying uselessly on the ground.
On the wall of the village, a female scavenger looked confused, scratching her head and staring at the dagger. That was when Monochrome realized he was still invisible. Using this new knowledge, he rushed over to Moonchaser, who was ready to pounce at the nearest threat. He landed right next to her, brushing her with his wings, she didn’t flinch, but she knew he was there. He took off, flying away into the night and she felt his wing beats blow the sand from the ground by her talons. She also, reluctantly took off, but not without snatching one last torch and tossing it onto he roof of the largest building she could find.
Once in the sky, Monochrome revealed himself, and his new wound. “Monochrome! When did this happen?” she asked, examining the gash in the dim light of the three moons.
“Well, I actually got it from some scavenger who was throwing the knife at you. It hit me instead…” he said, fading off.
“Well come on, let’s go home.” He said, his tail noticeably drooping at the thought
“You want to go home now? I really don’t want to tell Mom that we failed and we were both injured by some scavengers! Why don’t we go somewhere…Somewhere only we know.” She said, thinking
“What do you mean?”
“I mean let’s go have some fun! Don’t you want to do something other than kill every once in a while?” She asked, a new wild look in her eyes that the Rainwing had never before witnessed.
“Um…sure. I think I know where we could go.” He said.
Moonchaser smiled and followed him. They flew over half of the Sand kingdom and dove into the kingdom of the Rainwings. The air was humid and heavy, weighted of the impending downpour that was always existence in the forest. The strange calls of exotic birds echoed throughout the night. The kingdom was asleep, and so were the creatures. Monochrome led the way, since he knew the most about the kingdom of Rain, and he flew straight over acres and acres of trees. The endless, plush blanket of leaves was all that could be seen besides the night sky’s inhabitants.
Monochrome located a tiny opening in the trees and dove downward, moonlight catching on his scales. Moonchaser followed, diving to the incredible speed of free falling. They broke the tree line, cracking branches and ripping leaves in the process, and landed in an empty clearing. The grass between their claws flattened under the wind pressure of flapping wings and colliding of dragons onto the forest floor. Monochrome looked around briefly and then settled down in the clearing. Moonchaser smiled at him and also looked around at the clearing, confused. The Rainwing patted the ground beside him, calling Moonchaser over. She sighed and laid down next to him, and he awkwardly stretched a wing over her like a blanket. There was barely any sky visible through the canopy of the trees, but both still looked up to see the heavens. Only one moon was visible from their view, “The moon,” Moonchaser had told him, “that Ouroboros calls ‘Night’s Eye’, after her great ancestor, Queen night.” They sat, just enjoying each other’s company for a while. No one spoke. It was blissful silence.
“Where are we?” Moonchaser asked. She didn’t recognize this place in the Kingdom. There was nothing around. It was just some empty clearing.
“You don’t remember?” Monochrome asked, shocked by her forgetfulness.
“No, I have no clue where we are! Do you?”
“Well of course I do! You should too! Must I remind you?” he asked
Moonchaser nodded, causing Monochrome to sigh deeply. He stood up, folded his wings in properly, and crept over to a tree. He stood by it, just standing there and staring at Moonchaser, beside some knobby old tree. He jerked his head, signaling her over. She reluctantly reared up and walked over to him, noticing, as she always did with pity, the number branded on him. He was only number 556.
“Why don’t you look at this tree? Maybe it will bring back some memories.”
Moonchaser looked at the tree, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. She smiled, “Mono, are you making this up to make me look like a fool?” she asked, turning on him. He looked dismayed,
“No, no I would never do that! Well, maybe I would, but I am not. This place is special to me, and I hope it is special to you too.” He said, sounding actually emotional.
Moonchaser felt bad, had she hurt his feelings? “No, um…I meant…it is…” she said awkwardly, “It’s just…I’ve never been here.” She said, her head was bowed as to hide her shame.
“Oh, yes you have! Look at the tree, like I told you.”
“No. Look at it.”
She turned once more onto the tree, the same boring old tree. What was it about it that made it special to him? Was it a childhood memory?
She examined it, staring at every chink in the bark. The pattern was continued down the entire tree, unbroken like a dragonet’s scales. But wait…
There was something wrong. There was a line, no four, going down the side of the tree. It cut around some scales in the bark, broke through others. She took a step back and looked at the whole picture. She clasped her talons to her mouth and gasped. She had been here before. And so had Monochrome. They weren’t natural imperfections on the tree, they were Moonchaser’s claws. It all came back to her then, the night she had first met Monochrome, he was still Cedar then. The night she met her partner.
She whipped her snout to the Rainwing behind her, smiling. He smiled back with his trademark grin. The grin that couldn’t be wiped from his face. He walked over to her, standing side by side, he was still taller than her. He extended his wing over her again, this time, a little less clumsily. Moonchaser leaned her head on his shoulder, staring up into the night’s sky. Monochrome looked down at the Nightwing. Her dark eyes sparkled like a sea of diamonds. She was beautiful.
“Moonchaser, I-I want…”
I want to-to…just say…say that…” He stumbled, making her smile.
“I want…I want to tell you that I-I…”
He never finished. He found himself unable to speak as Moonchaser rushed at him, ending with a kiss as she stretched her neck up. They stayed like that for what seemed like days until she finally released him. He beamed, his grin etched onto his snout. He blinked and looked down at her, staring into her eyes as she did the same.
“You know, I like you better with glasses…”
Four weeks, two days
The sun shone right through the hole in the tree’s protective enclosure. It was noon. Moonchaser woke with a start, she was not one used to sunlight. Monochrome was beside her, curled in a ball and snoring peacefully. She smiled at him, he was perfect. She had loved him since she saw him in the woods that night, which was why she didn’t kill him like he wanted. But when his name and appearance changed, it threw her over the edge. She wanted to be with him forever.
It was then when she remembered her mother and their failed mission the other night. She panicked and woke up Monochrome, “Mono, hey. Gray? Wake up.” She said, shoving his shoulder. He groaned and rolled over. Moonchaser exhaled angrily. She punched him hard in the side, startling him awake. He moaned and rubbed the new bruise,
“What was that for?”
“Well, you wouldn’t wake up…sorry!”
“So you punched me?”
“Well what is so important?” he asked, seething with anger. He was always grumpy if woken up.
“What are we going to tell my mother about last night? Should we lie? We could say that the scavengers knew we were coming. That they were ready for our attack.” She rambled. Monochrome sat up and thought, his head cocked to one side. “No. We need to tell the truth.” He said, returning his head to normal, but jerking it to punctuate each word. Moonchaser twirled swiftly, staring him in the eyes, she looked actually scared.
“Monochrome…If I tell my mother that we lost to a few scavengers…we - we would be without heads…” she said. She didn’t blink as she sat down next to the Rainwing, her head leaning on his shoulder again.
“Moon, you need to trust me. I know what to do. I will tell her I wrecked the attack. I messed it up. You did as you were told, and I blundered. I will take my chances with your mother…” he trailed off.
“No, I can’t let you do that. She will kill you remember? You had one chance, one mistake and it’s over. If anything, I should take the blame. She wouldn’t kill her daughter…I hope…” she whispered the last words morbidly.
“Well, since it seems neither of us will let the other die, we shall die together, as we should.”
“Monochrome, I don’t want to die…” she said, looking up to him. He smiled wryly down to her.
“Well, I sure hope you wouldn’t! Pretty sure you would be dead by now if you wanted to die.” He said, chuckling at himself.
“Well, you know…you asked me to kill you right in this very spot, didn’t you?” she asked, walking over to the center of the clearing and thumping the ground with her talon.
Monochrome walked over to her and stood beside her, staring at the plush green grass, “I’m glad you didn’t.” he said, smiling as he always did
“Mother, I can explain!” Moonchaser shouted, trying to be heard over the Queen’s rampage.
“Then explain it to me!” Ouroboros snapped.
“Well…” she stumbled, tripping over her own thoughts. Monochrome intervened,
“She means that I messed everything up. I missed my target and alerted the scavengers, she was doing everything perfectly.” He lied. The Queen turned her gaze onto the paling Rainwing, suddenly feeling less confident in front of the Queen’s scrutiny.
“No. That isn’t what happened!” Moonchaser jumped in, grasping her mother’s back to attract her attention. “I messed up, completely blew it! I started to raid the houses…”
“No, she didn’t! I made too much noise and startled one. It’s my fault.”
“No, it was me!”
The argument was ended with a concussive roar by Ouroboros. Each dragon fell silent. The Queen smiled, “Thank you. Now, I need the truth. What happened?” she asked, slowly saying each word.
“Well, to tell the truth, it was just that we…” Moonchaser started, not able to finish out of shame.
“We were spotted and attacked, see?” Monochrome gestured to the new scar located on his neck, “And so…we…we fled.” He said, ashamed at his own words.
“Is this true, Moonchaser?” The queen asked, turning to her daughter. The young Nightwing nodded. “Then, what shall I do with you two? I could…decapitate you…incinerate you…rip you apart…” with each suggestion, Monochrome flinched, “Or…I could…let you go.” She said, offering it up. “Yes, you will face no punishment greater than a missed dinner.” She said. Monochrome bowed, almost crying, he would live.
“Hold on, Rainwing, you’re not off the hook. Moonchaser, you are dismissed. You, Monochrome will face the punishment of death for failing to carry out the queen’s orders. You shall be executed in the morning.” She said with finality.
Monochrome felt faint. He is to die. He is to die. He is to die alone…
“Wait, Mother!” Moonchaser pleaded, “Let him live! I need a partner!” Ouroboros shook her off, walking to her throne.
“You can get a new partner anywhere!” she spat, not turning around, “I have heard a dragon from the bloodline of Night Herself has been trained in combat. He could be your new partner.”
“No, he can’t. I can’t have him as a partner assassin. I need Monochrome as a partner. He must be my partner!” The princess begged.
“Why?” the queen turned once in her throne once more, “Why must you have a Rainwing as your partner?”
“Monochrome is a powerful dragon, and you know it! He is venomous, invisible and is an excellent fighter on the battle field.” Moonchaser said, “And-and he saved my life in that scavenger den. If he wasn’t there, I would be a pile of scales being sold by scavengers.” She sniffled, “And if it wasn’t for him, you would have no heir, and Night’s glorious bloodline will be forced from the throne once more.” She said, smiling at the hatred in her mother’s eyes. The most important thing to Ouroboros was her pride in her heritage. She is of Queen Night’s blood, and she would hate to let the throne be overthrown by one of a commoner’s bloodline. The queen hissed and looked from Monochrome to Moonchaser.
“Fine, he shall live, but only for the glory of Night.” She made clear. “Now leave, go! I must have Queen Scarlet’s chest, the ancient Skywing monarch. Bring it to me. There is important cargo inside.” She said, extinguishing the purple flames of the torches.
Once out of the Queen’s room, “Thank you so much, Moon. I would be dead without you.” Monochrome said, smiling and nudging Moonchaser as they walked to his set cavern for the night.
“No, I would have been dead without you.” She said, poking a claw at his chest and chuckling. “Weren’t you listening at all? I just persuaded the Queen of the Nightwings to save the life of a Rainwing. Think I did pretty well.”
“Yes, I was listening. And, now that you bring it up, were those the only reasons you want me alive?” he said, raising his eyebrows expectantly.
Moonchaser giggled, “No, but you know we can’t say anything about us in front of her!” Monochrome smiled again.
They approached a door labeled, 556, the wooden door less expensive than Moonchaser’s. Monochrome slid it open and crawled inside. His room was…okay. It had bright scarlet walls with wrought iron décor. The bed frame was of the dark metal, it twisted like the vines of the forest Monochrome once called home. The sheets of the bed were a dark crimson with white pillows. There were mahogany furnishings. A small wooden nightstand contained the famous scroll, A Nightwing’s Guide to The Dragons of Pyrrhia, among others. It wasn’t perfect, but it was home.
Moonchaser poked her head in, “Okay, good night Gray.” She said, closing the door, almost before Monochrome could reply.
“G’night Moon!” he shouted as he door closed. He sighed, “Last night was great…” he said, thinking of the clearing in the darkness. He loved Moonchaser since he set his eyes on her that night, the last night he was Cedar. The only reason he didn’t die that night was because she would either kill him or let him come with her. And then they became partners. They worked together for over a year. He wanted to be with her forever. He wanted to be with her until the end.
That was why he went to see Xenon, the dragon with the largest collection of diamonds on Pyrrhia, just a few days ago.
Monochrome was quaking with fear as he stood before the ebony doors of the Queen’s room. He realized he would have to get used to her, but now was not the time. This was the most nervous he had ever been in his entire lifetime. It was finally the day he had to man up and ask permission.
He knocked on the doors and they slid open before he could even knock twice. The immense blackness of the room was still astounding, though he had seen it a million times. The queen’s eyes store at him with pure intense expectance, he felt he would break down and cry right then, but that would leave a bad impression, again. He entered the cave slowly, creeping over to the dark throne that was, he found out, taken from the original Nightwing Underworld settlement, the same throne in which Night sat in Herself. The queen shut the doors with her magic, lighting an orb of light to make up for the usual torch light. “What do you want, Rainwing?” she spat degradingly at him, making him wince.
“Well, I was wondering about…about your-your daughter.” Monochrome faltered
“Borealis? What about her?” she asked, shocked at the appearance of her lost daughter.
“No, no…Moonchaser…well…I was wondering if I…if I could ask for-for her talon.”
“You want her talon?! What are you going to do with that?!” she sounded horrified.
“No, I meant that I wanted to marry her.” He said, angry at himself and at the queen. Ouroboros growled menacingly,
“You think I would let a Rainwing marry my only daughter?” she said, seemingly disgusted.
“Well, actually, I was hoping…” Monochrome said, ashamed by her assessment.
“The answer is no, you can’t. It is illegal. Now get out of my sight before I kill you.”
“But…” he tried,
“Go!” the Queen shouted, opening the doors with a slam, making the Rainwing jump. He sulked out of the cave, feeling the doors slam shut behind him. “Well this is awful.” He said to himself, “What am I going to do now? I already bought the ring, I can’t give it back now…Ugh, I hate my life!”
“Mother? Have you seen Monochrome?” Moonchaser asked, opening the doors before the Queen could.
The queen smiled friendlily at her, “Um, actually, I just did, he just left! I need to tell you, I am going to get you a new assassinating partner. That other dragon I told you about the other day, its him.” she said, trying to change the topic.
Moonchaser scowled, “Mom, I told you, only Monochrome. Now where was he? What was he here for?”
“Well, funny you should ask!” the queen tried and failed to change the topic once more.
“Mom, what did he come here for? Must I find out myself?” she said, gesturing to her head.
Ouroboros sighed, “He, he came to ask my permission…my permission to marry you…”
“And?” Moonchaser said, feeling giddy at the thought of Monochrome’s wish. Married! She had always dreamt of getting married to her own Prince Charming. Now it was coming true.
“I told him…no…” said the queen, scratching the back of her head and looking away.
Moonchaser was devastated, “You did what?!” she screamed. “Why?”
“It is illegal!” argued the queen, “Only the queen can make and brake laws.”
“Mother…” the princess threatened “I will marry him.”
“You don’t have the authority!” Ouroboros shouted, finally having something against her daughter.
Moonchaser smiled, “I can get it.” She said, scraping her blood-stained talon on the stone floor. The queen stopped. She lost.
“Moonchaser…you wouldn’t.” She said, changing her position slightly to a more defensive stance.
“I would for Monochrome. Mother, go find him and take back your words.”
The queen sighed and nodded, accepting her defeat. You can never argue with an assassin. Her daughter would marry a Rainwing.
Monochrome was in his room, sitting on his bed and looking at the ring he had bought Moonchaser for their engagement. Anger burned inside him for the queen, “Why must she always ruin everything?! Why can’t I just marry Moonchaser and live ‘happily forever after’ as the scavengers say?” he growled, clenching a fist around the ring. There was a faint knocking on the door, so quietly it wouldn’t be heard if he hadn’t stopped mumbling then. Interested, he stood up and walked to the door, turning the nob to see the face of Ouroboros staring at him, in full light. He had never seen her whole body in light, and it was more impressive than in the dark, though she was much more intimidating in her quarters. Her eyes also didn’t glow in the light.
She looked nervous, angry, and strangely, ashamed. “Um, Monochrome…I decided…” she choked on her words, noticeably hating every syllable.
“Yes?” he asked, wondering why the queen had come from her room to see him.
“I needed to tell you that…that you have permission to marry Moonchaser. I…I just wasn’t thinking straight.” She said, not looking him in the eyes.
Monochrome couldn’t believe it. He would marry his one true love. He roughly shook the Queen’s talon, smiling from eye to eye, “Thank you! Thank you!” he said, repeatedly.
The queen jerked her talon from his grasp quickly, then felt bad about her manners to her new son-in-law. She smiled in a way the seemed to be sweet.
“Good luck, I will hopefully see you at the wedding.” She said, pretending to be glad.
Moonchaser was in her room, the blue of the comforter reflected in her eyes. She was excited. Ecstatic even. She shall soon be married. She was busy planning the wedding at the moment, alone in her room. “I want there to be very few dragons,” she said, writing it down on a scroll, “And my mother will have to attend…I have to decide what to wear…what was that scavenger’s saying? ‘Something borrowed, something new. Something…something and something blue’…” she said, thinking and forgetting the third ‘something’.
“For something blue I can use my sapphire bracelet…borrowed, maybe my mother’s necklace of blue amethyst. Something new, I can trade to get. That other thing…oh well!” she said, too excited to worry about anything. She was getting married!
Three weeks, one day
There had been no activity after Scarlet’s Chest for Monochrome and Moonchaser to do, so they did nothing. They spent more time together, enjoying each other’s company. Monochrome had no idea Moonchaser was waiting eagerly for him to get on one knee.
“Monochrome? Where are we going?”
“Somewhere.” he said, not looking back at her.
“Well, I figured that out!” she said, exasperated, though she had an idea what was going to happen today, and it involved a ring…
“Be quiet and follow me!” he said, his smile the only giveaway that he wasn’t serious.
“Fine, but I get to walk beside you.” She said, advancing on him. He sighed and agreed.
They were walking down a hallway, a long dark hallway without enough torches. The floor was clean and unmarked, but still seemed old enough to be original, it was like no one was down this wing of the castle, since there was a layer of dust for them to trudge through. There were no doors branching off the corridor, nor was there any forks in it. It was just a dark, straight, long hall. The two lovers walked side by side, but Monochrome was leading the way slightly. He was dreadfully nervous and anxious. “Today is the day.” He thought, trying to make it unnoticeable to his Nightwing partner.
They continued down the hall until it ended abruptly at a pair of doors, smaller than Ouroboros’s but larger than Monochrome’s and Moonchaser’s. They were painted a dark black, similar to the walls of the stronghold. There were golden knockers on each door, though they seemed too high up to reach. Monochrome looked at Moonchaser, as she seemed too quiet during this venture. She smiled back, making his heart leap. “Yup, she’s the one!” he thought again, trying to think quietly. He pushed the doors open to reveal a room.
But not just any room, this room was very special. This was the brightest room in the entire palace, Monochrome found out. There was a skylight in the ceiling, letting in fabulous daylight shine upon the center of the circular room. On a raised tier in the middle, was a quartzite Gazebo, similar to the columns of the old Summer Palace of the Seawings. They twisted, assisted by animus magic, up to the roof of the pagoda, forming a white dome, carved with images of dragons and scavengers with wings. It was a beautiful room. Rays of warm light shot through the skylight, giving the cavern a friendlier atmosphere than any other room in the palace.
Monochrome felt giddy, light headed even. But nothing he felt compared to the emotions Moonchaser was hiding. She had to keep reminding herself that she wasn’t supposed to know what was happening, that she hadn’t read ahead. Monochrome slowly walked up to the white structure, keeping an even pace. He stopped when he reached the first step up to it. He glanced behind him at his soon-to-be-fiancé. She smiled again, and he gestured for her to come up. She walked, seemingly excited, to Monochrome. He continued up the steps once the princess arrived, standing elegantly under the dome. Moonchaser followed. They met eye to eye in the gazebo, both new what was about to happen.
And, as expected by the assassin, the gray Rainwing knelt down, on one knee. He looked up at Moonchaser with loving eyes, “Moonchaser,” he started,
“I need you to know that I loved you since I first saw you that night, that night when I was nobody. You saved my life. You brought a happiness into my world I never knew could have existed. You accepted me, remembered me, and comforted me. For that I shall be forever grateful.” He said, tears welling in his eyes as he spoke, “And now I ask of you…” he said, reaching behind him, pulling out a diamond ring, “Will you marry me?” he smiled, pleadingly.
Moonchaser was crying already, she had felt the same way about him, and he summed it up perfectly. She nodded, smiling and laughing and crying at the same time. This was her greatest moment, the day she married her king.
Monochrome slipped the ring onto her claw gently, not breaking his perfect smile. He returned to his feet, taller than his wife once again. He took her talon within his, smiling down at her face. It was then when he leaned down and kissed her.
Finally, their perfect relationship was perfect.
Two weeks, six days
“My Queen! My Queen!” a Nightwing stumbled in the room as the doors opened beneath his weight. He was pounding on the doors when they suddenly swung open. The black dragon dashed forward, making sure he bowed deeply before Ouroboros. The queen looked down on him with disgust, he was of impure blood, a decedent of an ancient troublemaker who had caused oh so many problems for her kingdom, a hybrid who lived at the time of Intensity, another spectacular queen of Ouroboros’s own ancestry. The dragon before her went by the name of Depth. He sighed, out of breath.
“My Queen,” he said once more, looking up to her, “I have a vision.”
The queen perked up, rarely did her citizens tell her their visions, as they should be doing. “Yes Depth, I shall hope you bring tides of good fortune.” She said, raising her eyebrows skeptically.
“Unfortunately, I don’t…I think. I am not totally sure of the genre of this vision. Strange it was, your Majesty.” He said thoughtfully. The queen imagined what this future event could be in order to have confused such an intelligent dragon.
“Well, repeat it to me.”
Depth nodded, still bowing, “There was a dragon, I’m not quite sure which tribe, but it was gray. It was hurt. It was crying. It was also covered in an acidic black liquid. There was a female scream and sobbing. That was all, your Majesty.” He said before he was dismissed. The queen was not to be disturbed when deep in thought.
Something bad was going to happen to her son-in-law. The worst part of it was, Ouroboros didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. She did not want to see her only daughter go through depression, but she was archenemies with the Rainwings. “This is a dilemma…” she said to herself, slightly chuckling.
“Oh, Monochrome…” Moonchaser said. She was alone, sitting on her blue bed, staring at the wall. She just had an awful nightmare. Monochrome was in it, and so was she. Monochrome died. In the dream, the last thing Moonchaser remembered was his face, tears streaking down his green eyes. When they lost focus on her face… “No. Stop. Nothing will happen.” She assured herself falsely, “That couldn’t have been a vision. It was only a dream…no nightmare. Everything will be fine. Besides, you are the worst Future-reader mother ever saw. You couldn’t predict anything, but where your knife would hit next.” She chuckled. “And, now you are talking to yourself. Great!” she crawled back into her bed, flipping the pillow over as to not sleep in a puddle of tears.
“Nothing will happen. Monochrome is fine. We’re getting married! Nothing can go wrong.”
Monochrome was fast asleep. Curled up in his red comforters, he snored peacefully. But things were different inside his mind.
Moonchaser was dead. Cold, stone dead on the floor. Tears were running down his snout, his beloved had died. The cold gray of depression was closing in, filling his heart with the reality that he would never be happy again. Monochrome looked up to see a red Skywing, he was smiling insanely at the body of the Nightwing he had slain. Depression was instantly replaced with anger and hatred at the sight of the bloody foe. The Skywing launched into the dark, cloudy sky soundlessly.
“I shall save you, Moonchaser. I will kill your assassin. I shall bring his body to you, allow you to watch as I burn it, burn it along with this evil weapon.” He vowed, holding the Skywing’s sword in his talons, it was stained with his wife’s blood. He hissed and dug it into the soil. Monochrome roared at the top of his lungs, “I shall kill you, Skywing! I shall kill you! Even if I must destroy your entire empire, you will die!” he shouted, hatred killing his brain.
Monochrome awoke with a start. He sighed, it was only a nightmare. He wasn’t a Nightwing, either, so there was no chance of any of that coming true. He smirked, “Not if I can help it…” he said, falling back to sleep on his tear soaked pillow.
Two weeks, five days
“Mother, was there anything different about last night?” Moonchaser asked, walking into her mother’s room with Monochrome by her side, “Monochrome and I both experienced nightmares, and so did half the kingdom.” The queen called to Depth, her chief astronomer.
“Was there any difference in last night’s sky?” she asked, peering down her snout at the cowering heap of black scales,
“Why, actually, there was, your majesty. It seemed as though one of the moons, nicknamed Arc, was tinted to a color that seemed almost red. It was quite miraculous, I’ve never seen anything like it! It was the first time this has happened to any Pyrrhian moon. We astronomers have predicted the next, most recent one to be in the next millennia.” He said, shoving his glasses up his snout as he spoke.
“Make that a new date, tell Etch, my scribe to call it Light’s Bane, the night in which nightmares wreak havoc on the planet of Pyrrhia.” She said, adjusting in her throne. Depth nodded and exited the room.
“Just out of curiosity, what did you dream about?” Ouroboros asked, looking from Moonchaser to Monochrome questioningly.
“We both dreamt of losing each other.” They said simultaneously.
“Oh, really? Wow...” said the queen, it seemed that dreaming of the death of Monochrome wasn’t just Ouroboros and Depth alone…
“Well, how fares the wedding? Still going to happen?” the queen asked, still disgusted by her daughter’s husband.
“Yes, plans have gone just as expected. The date is estimated to be in about three weeks.” Piped Moonchaser, smiling.
“Yes, Moon has been up every night making sure everything goes perfectly. I personally think she needs more beauty sleep…” Monochrome chimed in, smiling and chuckling at his own joke immaturely.
“Yeah, yeah…so funny! You should be a comedian.” The princess stated dryly.
“You think I could do it?” he laughed, “but all my jokes are about you! It wouldn’t make sense to anyone in an audience.”
Moonchaser looked at him, making him zip his mouth shut. You want to start? She thought to her husband, urging him to continue. He shook his head no.
“So, do we know the theme? Dragons invited? What you’re going to wear?” Ouroboros asked, ignoring the Rainwing.
“Well, I was thinking the wedding could just be a normal, theme-less wedding. I was going to only have a few dragons at the wedding and reception, like only family and the ambassadors of the tribes. Monochrome, do you have anyone to invite? Like family?”
Monochrome shook his head again, a sad look in his eyes.
“I’ll tell you what I’m wearing later, Mono isn’t supposed to know.” Moonchaser giggled, earning a disapproving look from her mom.
“Remember, you are representing the Nightwings, nothing too…you know what I mean.”
“Mom, I know! I can’t believe you would even…” Moonchaser blushed
“I was just-”
“Never mind mom. Never mind…”
Monochrome smiled, “Yes, please, nothing too…revealing.” He said, earning yet another death stare from the princess.
“Moonchaser!” Monochrome called. The Nightwing rushed to his side,
“What? What is it?” she sounded worried. Then Monochrome explained that he just need help picking out what to wear to their wedding.
“Well, I’m thinking something like this.” He pulled a white piece of fabric out of his closet, holding it out to Moonchaser.
“What is this?” she asked, tentatively taking it and holding it out in front of her.
“It’s a cape.”
“Just no. I will not have you wear a cape to our wedding.”
Why not? It is the only fancy thing I’ve got!”
Moonchaser looked at him, “Really? You do have money you know.”
Monochrome shifted uncomfortably, “’bout that…”
“What?!” She snapped, hissing quietly.
“I used all of my money on the ring. I only have a few bucks.” Moonchaser sighed,
“Then go see Bane, she will make you something. Just tell her I’ll pay for it. I can’t believe you…”
Monochrome smiled sheepishly and shrugged. Moonchaser shook her head and left his room, shutting the door softly.
“Oh, Excuse me! Would you happen to be Bane?” Monochrome said once the door to the tailor’s room opened abruptly. Standing inside was a gorgeous young dragon, her scales a dark gray with painted pale blue markings. Her under-scales were a similar blue to her eyes, a deep navy blue. She was covered from snout to tail in various jewels, all of them ranging only in the cool colors. She frowned.
“Of course I’m Bane. Might I ask why a Rainwing wishes to see me?” she hissed angrily.
“Well, I’ Monochrome, Moonchaser’s fiancé. We are to be married-” He halted when Bane raised a claw in silence.
“You, a Rainwing, are marrying the princess? You seriously think I am that gullible? I believe I have the right to kill you know, Rainwing.”
“No! Wait! I can prove it!” Monochrome shouted desperately. Bane shifted her weight onto one leg, rolling her eyes,
“Okay, well, if you could call Moonchaser…”
“Fine, only to prove you wrong.” She snapped.
There was a short pause, “She is on her way.”
The two dragons waited in awkward silence until Moonchaser’s talons could be heard scraping the floors of the palace. “Are you causing trouble?” Moonchaser scolded Monochrome.
“What is this about?” she asked Bane.
“This Rainwing claims he is your husband.”
“Well, is he?”
“Why, of course!” Moonchaser smiled and winked at Monochrome. Bane blushed,
“Oh, I’m sorry to keep you waiting. And sorry for any inconvenience.” The gray Nightwing apologized to both of them, allowing Moonchaser to continue with her day. “So, what are you looking for?” she asked, leading Monochrome into her room. It was filled with fabrics, threads, and jewelry.
“Actually, I was seeking your advice on what to wear to our wedding...”
“Oh, mother, what do you think? Too flashy?” Moonchaser asked, twirling in front of a mirror.
“Well, maybe if you lose the crown…”Ouroboros suggested to her daughter.
“Alright,” the princess said, doing as her mother told. “Yeah, much better. Oh wait!” she gasped, rummaging through her nightstand. The queen rolled her eyes,
“There we go.” Said Moonchaser, smiling at herself. She was wearing her glasses, they had grown on her since meeting Monochrome.
“So, you think this is…presentable?” She asked her mother and received a nod of approval.
“What do you think?” Monochrome asked Bane. He was in the tailor’s house all day. It was getting late. “Will she like it?” he was worried, since he obviously didn’t have a sense of style, (he still thought capes were in! Silly Monochrome!)
Bane looked him over, scrutinizing every detail of his outfit. She nodded, “If I know Moonchaser, which I have for many years since we are best friends, she will love this. All it needs is a little…bling.”
Monochrome sighed, “But I don’t want ‘bling’. I think it looks fine!” he looked in the mirror again. Bane clucked her tongue,
“Can I at least pierce your ear? It will make you look cooler!” she pleaded, eager to stab this annoying, worrying dragon, even if it was only his ear.
Again Monochrome sighed, “Fine. But only one ear!”
“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Moonchaser asked, turning her head towards her fiancé.
“Of course I am! Why wouldn’t I be ready? It is the most important day of my life!” he said, trying to keep his head turned slightly to the right to avoid having Monchaser learn of his new ‘bling’.
Moonchaser grinned, “Good. So, did Bane help you out with your outfit? Please tell me it’s better than that old cape!” she laughed. Monochrome did the same,
“Yes, I promise you its better, that is, if I know you. I am pretty sure I know you well enough.”
“Oh really?” she smiled,
“Well, of course! I know pretty much everything about you!”
“Really? Show me.” She challenged. Monochrome sighed, smiling widely,
“Well, you are twenty-three years old, you are a female (obviously!), you wear glasses, your favorite color is blue, but not just blue, a pale blue “like the morning’s sky” I believe is exact, Umm…you are not great at ‘future reading’, your best friend is Bane, you are the second princess of the Nightwings, and…” he said, “you are the most beautiful dragon I’ve ever seen.”
Moonchaser thought for a second, “Yup, that’s pretty much it, though you forgot I am an assassin. Now, you. You are twenty years old, you are male, you have green eyes, your favorite color is teal, but it has some weird name doesn’t it?”
“Skobelloff.” He said.
“Yes, that’s it. Now, where was I? Ah, you have terrible venom aim, your best friend, besides me, is Immortal, that Nightwing who was supposed to be my new assassin partner, you used to be named Cedar before I made you change it, you smile way too much and…” she grinned, “you are terrible at playing the flute.”
Monochrome snickered, “Hey, it was only that flute! I am really good at playing flute! I had one when I was Cedar.” He retorted, laughing too hard to be taken even the least bit serious.
“No, it was a perfectly good flute, you just have no idea how to work one. You press the buttons on top…”
“No, I always used a wooden flute, they do not have buttons. They are also much cheaper and are replaceable. Unlike you and your metal flutes that cost hundreds!”
Moonchaser smiled, “Okay, okay! You win! Metal flutes stink.” Monochrome nodded his head,
“Of course they do! Anything dragon-made like metal is bound to be problematic.”
Moonchaser shook her head and started to leave, “you played it wrong.” She said as she left earning an angry Rainwing pursuer.
“Are you ready, Moonchaser?” Bane asked, her eyes lined with striking blue paint. The two dragons were waiting in the backside of the castle, awaiting the signal for them to walk out, followed by the few bridesmaids the princess had chosen.
“I think so, but I’m nervous. I’m afraid I’ll fall or make some mistake.” She worried, looking in the mirror in front of her, seeing the maid of honor in the back ground. Bane walked closer, patting Moonchaser on the shoulder, smiling,
“Moon, you will be perfect. Our dragon weddings are so much simpler than those strange scavengers. They take forever and say a bunch of stuff before they even get to the vows. ” She encouraged, hugging her friend.
“Okay, I trust you…just help me with something, well, two things.”
“Of course! What do you need me to do?”
“First, I need you to help me remember my vows. Secondly, I need to tell me if I look good enough for Monochrome.”
Standing up here, with the priest Ouroboros had assigned to the wedding, Monochrome felt a little intimidated. The entire rank of Tribe ambassadors sat before him, waiting anxiously for the bride to emerge from the back of the castle. Ouroboros sat in the front row, glaring strangely annoyed at the Rainwing. He shivered, glancing back to his best man, Immortal. He was the only dragon he could find who would fulfill the role willingly. The Nightwing smiled and signaled a thumbs up. Monochrome nodded thanks and returned his eager gaze to the set of doors where Moonchaser was supposed to emerge. The entire room was silent, making Monochrome uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the few dragons present.
Finally, the tension broke when the doors creaked open and many young female Nightwings walked out, dressed with fine jewelry and fabrics draped over their wings, horns, or backs. Monochrome couldn’t identify any of them, feeling awkward and stupid. All of these dragons must be Moonchaser’s friends, and yet he knew none of them. But he recognized Bane at the end of the long line, keeping a measurable distance away from the others. She was decorated even more extravagantly, though that was to be expected from Bane. She was painted with blues and purples, spots and stripes riddling her body. A long strip of pale blue silk was wrapped around one horn, draped down to her shoulder, wove around her wing tips, and spiraled down her tail. She looked stunning, but nothing compared the dragon that came out next.
It was Moonchaser.
She was garbed with shining silver necklaces, at least twenty thin silver threads layered over each other. She wore no paint, except for a slight shade of lighter purple above her eyes. Her dark eyes glittered in a glassy way, resembling her scales. They looked like they were painted with a clear coat, creating a glossy sheen that shone even brighter on her small silver scales. A white and blue veil was pulled to the side of her face, allowing her purple snout to be shown. A single strip of blue silk, similar to Bane’s, was wrapped around her wings, arms, legs, and tail making a look of elegance and class that Monochrome knew she wasn’t a particular fan of. She was more of the kind dragon with the less is more attitude. Nonetheless, she looked gorgeous.
Slowly she made her way up the aisle, following her Maid of Honor, Bane. The other dragons all parted to the side of the alter when they got close enough, all except for Moonchaser and Bane. Bane took the steps up the raised stage Monochrome stood on, wheeling over to the corner, opposite Immortal. Moonchaser followed, her fabrics flowing up the stairs like a waterfall, and took her place in front of her groom. The large black dragon priest, who went by the name of Pitch Monochrome found out, lifted his forearms, signaling the audience to shut their mouths. He looked at the Rainwing with his deep brown eyes, telling him to begin the wedding with his vows. Monochrome nodded, scarcely breathing.
“I,” he started, staring into his wife’s eyes with passion overflowing, “Monochrome, take you Moonchaser to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” He said, trying to hide his grin during the entire thing.
“I, Moonchaser, take you, Monochrome, to be my beloved husband, to have and to hold you, to honor you, to treasure you, to be at your side in sorrow and in joy, in the good times, and in the bad, and to love and value you always. I promise you this from my heart, for all the days in my life.” She says, her eyes smiling as widely as Monochrome himself.
Pitch pulls from behind himself a dark fabric pillow, on it rested the rings. Monochrome’s was a bland, silver loop, not decorated with anything other than the symbol 爱, a scavenger’s symbol that meant ‘love’. To go with Moonchaser’s already expensive and beautiful diamond wedding ring, a less decorative ring studded with aquamarines, small enough not to be noticed instantly, unlike the main ring she already wore on her scaly talons. Pitch picked out Moonchaser’s, placing it ever so gently on her claw with the other. He then turned, and did the same for the groom, though slightly less smoothly.
The two dragons rested their talons by their sides and planted firmly on the ground. They turned to Pitch, who was about to say something. “Do you, Monochrome, take Princess Moonchaser as your lawfully wedded wife?” he asked. Monochrome faced his wife, the decision painfully simple.
“And do you, Princess Moonchaser, take Monochrome as your lawfully wedded husband?”
The two dragons faced each other, locking eyes for the last time as friends. “Monochrome, you may now kiss the bride.” The giant Nightwing said, bowing his head slightly and taking a step back from the happy couple. And Monochrome did as he was told. The entire room burst with cheers and claps and wild applause and happy shouts. When the two lovers were done kissing, their eyes met the spectacle and watered, they looked at each other again.
“Is that an earing?!” She shouted, surprised. Monochrome, in a panicked state, just kissed her again.
====Two weeks later ====
“Where to next?” Monochrome asked, the slight slivers of moonlight rained down on his snout, casting the appearance of extra scales placed on top of his original set. Moonchaser couldn’t help but notice,
“The queen’s pavilion.” She said. Ouroboros had given them little to no time for a honeymoon, and now they were back out in the field. The forest to be precise. They were searching for another animus touched object that the queen had recently acquired.
“Ah,” he said, “Then let us be on our way!” he scampered off into the dark part of the forest, leaving Moonchaser guessing as to where he went. She followed the sounds of the underbrush sweeping the ground, hoping it was her beloved husband and not a threat. As she followed the sounds, a bird made the mistake of flying too close to a dragon’s mouth, earning the Nightwing a welcome and feathered meal. She kept moving, chomping away on the bright creature. Eventually she found him, his dark scales blending in with the trees. His white frill was the only giveaway. She snuck up next to him, an attempt to frighten the jumpy dragon, but to no avail.
“Moon, you see it? He asked, pointing up to a strange tree house, vines and flowers cover the whole thing. Moonchaser shivered with disgust, she could barely handle a diamond ring, and she thought she was being too girly. Nothing compares to the Rainwings. She nodded, thrusting her wings down to shoot her lean form up to the house. Monochrome made a weird noise that sounded like something between a hiss and a yelp, though she ignored it. She flew up the giant tree to peer inside the open windows. There was no one home.
With a silent victory, the princess entered, slowly making sure to be as silent as possible. She made a beeline for the back of the room, which was occupied by a giant chest. The dark wood was held shut with a platinum latch. Surprisingly, it was open. The dark purple dragon waltzed over, overly confident in herself now that everything has gone her way since the scavenger raid so long ago. She placed her talons between the lid and base, preparing to lift the heavy cover to reveal the secret item inside. She heaved upwards, but the top didn’t budge. She cocked her head to the side, shrugged, and tried again. The same results. She released the trunk, scratching her skull when Monochrome arrived in the doorway, partly invisible and crouching low.
“Come help me with this.” Moonchaser insisted, kicking the chest for extra measure. Monochrome fell completely silent, frozen mid-step and staring horrified at the chest. Moonchaser sighed and swung her head back to face the chest, though now she saw Mono’s fear. Shimmer was curled up on the chest, her scales a boiling red and amused gold. Moonchaser jumped and took a step towards Monochrome, taking an extremely defensive posture. Shimmer grinned manically, loving the power she had over the ‘all powerful Nightwings’. Such a difference compared to ‘the lazy Rainwings’. She laughed,
“Well, well, well, what is it you need help with? Could it possibly be, oh I don’t know, getting the Moons out of my forest!” she shouted, sliding to the floor, her scales shifting to a dark, foreboding black, maroon flashed though like bloody lightning. Moonchaser took another step back, inching closer to Monochrome. Shimmer took the sight in, examining every detail on these foreign dragons, even…
“You two are married?!” she hissed, arching her neck in surprise at the rings on their talons. “And even my own tribe, why would you do this favor to such a revolting tribe, all dragons need a Rainwing’s beauty in their lives, but the Nightwings are not worthy, they have killed too many.” She screeched, blaming Monochrome. Oh no, Moonchaser thought, this mission in another fail. I cannot get through to retrieve the artifact. We need to escape. She signaled Monochrome with her tail that is was time to go, slowly backing for the door, as much as she hated to leave a fight. With a rapid movement, the married couple was out of the door and scurrying down the ground. The Rainwing queen roared in fury, chasing them down and pursuing them with unknown speed. Monochrome was behind Moonchaser, he looked back to see the bright red form of his partial queen, rushing towards them with surprising speed. He picked up his pace, matching the Nightwing’s now, but the queen was creeping closer by the second.
“Come here!” she screamed, her panting now becoming evident. The coupe was also becoming tired from this run, fear not helping the situation. Monochrome dared a look backwards again, to see the queen’s jaws flared, her fangs bared horrifically, prepared to acidize the nearest dragon. He distinctly saw the black liquid shoot out, closing the gap between Moonchaser and the queen at a startling pace. So, Monochrome did what any love struck husband would do; he jumped in the way. The venom hit him square in the back, splattering onto the majority of his left wing. He lost his footing and tumbled, finally catching Moonchaser’s attention. She turned and skidded to a halt, Shimmer nearing at a dangerous haste. The Nightwing rushed to her injured husband, who was screaming in pain from the venom across his back. Moonchaser panicked, not knowing what to do in this situation, the queen coming even nearer.
“Go, Moon. I’ll be fine. I can make it. She won’t kill me. Go!” he shouted between gasps. When she tried to protest, the queen was already there, standing over the body of the Rainwing. Moonchaser, quickly stared into his eyes, assuring that he would return home safely. She ripped her eyes away, tears already streaming, she dashed away, unable to bear the sight of her husband in pain. She knew he always kept his promises.
She looked back, once in the shadows, to see the queen spitting more acid onto his body. She tore her eyes away, unable to bear the sight anymore. She trudged home, knowing her prince was dead.
Two years, one week, three days
Moonchaser stood in her room, waiting by the door, her eye pressed to the keyhole. The door went, knock knock knock, Moonchaser smiled. She gripped the doorknob with pride, turning it and yanking it open to reveal the dragon entreating entrance to her room. A small dragonet stood by the door, no more than two years old. She grinned wide and hopped into the room, a ball of energy, as all dragonets are. She dropped her bag onto the ground and flopped onto the bed, breathing heavily, staring at the ceiling.
Her scales were a dark purple, though they seemed rainbow with the sunlight from the window Moonchaser had installed in her room. The dragonet rolled over, facing the princess.
Mom, she thought, why am I different?
The poor thing was completely deaf, so she communicated by telepathy, What do you mean, honey? She replied, worrying about where the conversation would lead.
I mean I look different than all of the other dragonets. Today was her first day of school, and Moonchaser took it she liked it, though this seemed to bother her.
Everyone looks different. She tried to avoid the conversation.
I know, but I’m really different. Why am I rainbow in the sun? No one else is.
She sighed, It had to come at some point, Tattoo, Come here, I need to tell you something.
The small dragonet obeyed, coming to her mother and being embraced. She looked up, her green eyes almost painful to her poor mother, Tattoo, you…you have your father’s eyes…Your daddy, he was a different dragon. He was a Rainwing…She trailed off, withdrawing from her daughter’s mind so she didn’t have to hear her mentally breaking down.
I thought Rainwings were evil!
Moonchaser gasped out loud, Who said that?!
The teacher! Rainwings, Skywings, and Icewings are all evil!
No, they are not. No dragon is evil, ever. Never forget that. Your father was a great dragon…hold on…Moonchaser let go of her daughter, rummaging in a wardrobe full of linen sheets and fabric strips. Here, She thought, This is us at our wedding. That’s me, and that is your dad, Monochrome. He was a very funny dragon. You remind me of him…
What happened to him?
He…….he was killed…….But he was very brave and saved my life with his. He was perfect. She felt hot tears piling up behind her eyes, fear of her daughter seeing her cry not enough to prevent it. She cried.
Mom, are you okay?
Yeah, I’m fine…..
Mom….I think daddy was a good dragon, he made you happy….
Moonchaser laughed a little, Yes, he made me very happy. She stroked the picture of him, tucking him in a big hug. She embraced her daughter as well, crying with depression of her husband’s death, but thankful for her daughter’s life. She missed her prince….