- Character Call
Finding the Golden Scales
"You know, you could just kill it."
Juno rolled her eyes at her friend, Nell. "Maybe you can be quiet. I'm trying to focus."
The NightWing and SandWing looked at a small scavenger, looking around. "I want you to know that you're terrible."
"Oy," Juno growled in a whisper. "I'm not the best, that's for sure. You know, no one's perfect."
The SandWing frowned. "Whatever," she said. "It's just a scavenger anyway."
"By The dragonets of destiny, these things are SO boring!" Juno said, annoyed by the mere esistance of the tiny two-legged creature. "Honestly, I hope someone would just kill off the rest of these things and they won't cause dragons anymore trouble."
"How would you feel if something did that to all the dragons?" Nell protested.
"Nothing ever would."
"Just saying. What if-"
Juno finally jumped to shut Nell up, and stabbed the scavenger in the gut so quick that it didn't have time to scream. Nell sighed. "It won't be enough for dinner, thats for sure."
Juno split it in half, and gave one to Nell. "It won't, but it'll be enough for a good, tasty snack!"
"Sorry, Juno, but I have to get back home. My parents will kill me if they find out I've been killing scavengers with you. See you tomorrow!"
Nell ran off back into the woods and out to the desert without taking her half of the scavenger. "You know you can't be a vegetarian if you're a dragon!" Juno called after her. She looked down at the split in half corpse. "Oh well, more for me!" And she ate the scavenger's whole body in one snap of her huge jaws.
"Alright," she said, looking up at the orange and pink sky ready to put the sun down for the day. "Time to get home." She flew up into the air and through the clouds. Once she was near the area of the sky where it got dark and was going into outer space, she was home. She saw all of the buildings of the Night Kingdom floating on the clouds, and the NightWing Queen's Palace shimmering in its silver. She flew over to her home, where she went inside, and found her parents.
"Where have you been?!" Her mother snapped. "We were worried sick!"
"Just with Nell," Juno replied. "Hunting."
"Oh, well I suppose you brought back dinner for the family then." Her father said.
"Not exactly," Juno said in her usual tone when she was trying to squeeze out of trouble.
"Fine," her mother said. "We caught a few birds today. You know, Juno, if you really weren't out there for anything you should have stayed home."
"But Mom! I was out with Nell!"
"Well, maybe you shouldn't be seeing Nell anymore."
At that moment, Juno felt a rush of rage flow through her bloodstream faster than a SkyWing on fire. "You witch!" She thundered.
"Excuse me?!" Her mother said astonished. "Go to your room and don't come out until I say!"
"Fine with me!" Juno shouted and stomped to her room. She jumped on her bed made of wole and thought. "No one tells me what to do," she said. "No one."
Just then, a a shooting star went across the sky. "I wish life wasn't so boring," Juno grunted, rolled over, and fell asleep.
"Hello! Hello!" Juno heard a faded voice, as if it were in the distance.
"Five more minutes," Juno muttered, nuzzling her pillow.
"FIVE MORE MINUTES?!? THE QUEST CAN'T WAIT FIVE MORE MINUTES, THREE MOONS YOU ARE AS LAZY AS A DRUGGED RAINWING!"
Juno's eyes suddenly flew open, as if someone had dumped a bucket of water on her head. She sat up and looked around, her heart racing with fear. She swung her head around so fast that she had to return it to look at the thing she was searching for. Or the dragon.
"Oh," she said. "Just a SpecterW- AHH! A SPECTERWING!"
"Gosh, that's offensive," said the long-bodied ghostly dragon in front of her. His long whiskers waved behind him and his horns had twisted patterns on them. "Honestly, I was a happy SeaWing swimming in the ocean when a big whale came up and split my spine! Not I'm here, alteringyou of what happens next in your life! Just great!"
"L-listen, if you're here to suck my brain out with a straw or something-"
"Don't be silly," he said. "I don't even think that there is a brain in there."
The NightWing frowned. "Don't be so sure," she said.
He gave her the classic oh really? look. "Don't be!" she repeated, this time in a harsher tone.
"Yeah huh," said the SpecterWing. "Anyway, back to what I came here for. The oh-so-great SpecterWings have told me to come here and alert you that you have a job to do. So... will you?"
"Here's a bit more detail for your non-existant brain," he said. "My name is Urchin, and I came to tell you about a quest that needs to be done. The SpecterWings have been watching you"-Stalker-ish, Juno thought-" And they want you to fulfil the journey. They need you to find a SandWing who has been murdering dragons all around Pyrriha."
"Because they think that you are brave and strong and all of that good stuff."
Juno thought. This was a pretty big thing he was talking about. Maybe she should...
"JUNO!" her mother called her in the morning. "Come on! You slept the day away!"
Juno sat up in her bed. Urchin was gone. Gone. But yet, she was left with the empretion that she had actually seen him rather than it just be a dream. She knew it couldn't have been a dream.
"OKAY! I'm coming, you psycho!"
"Don't talk to me like that, Juno!"
Juno rolled her eyes and looked out the window. "Alright, Urchin," she said in a whisper so quiet she could barely hear it herself. "I accept. Just let me get my friend." She darted out the window at lightning speed, with time to spare before she heard the stomping of her mother through the entrance to her room.
She dove down, crashing down to the earth below her, and balanced herself in the air just in time for her to not break every bone in her body. She landed her talons on the ground, and looked around. She saw where she was with Nell the day before, the rainforest cutting off to the desert. She saw the SandWing trotting along on the sand, looking happy, coming towards Juno. "Good afternoon," Nell said.
"Hey," Juno replied.
"You seem..." Nell said. "I just can't put my claw on it... Not so impressed with yourself that you might fall over and die."
"Very funny," Juno said sarcastically. "Maybe you could go be a stand-up comedian at a bar or something."
Nell said nothing, just looked very happy about something. "What's up with you?"
"Wrong?" Nell said. "Nothing!"
"What's wrong with you?"
Juno knew Nell would think that the response, "I saw a SpecterWing in my dreams and he told be that we have to find a murderer" would be so scary she would fly off into the distance and never come back. She had to think of something quick.
"Hey, wanna go for a flight?"
"To where?" Nell said, looking off into the distance. "So many places in Pyrriha, so little time."
"We have a lot of time, crazy," Juno said.
"Yes we do."
"Honestly, make up your mind," joked the NightWing.
"So, where are we flying to?"
Yet another thing she had to think up fast. Where would they start? There were millions of dragons in Pyrriha. This wasn't going to be easy.
"Um... The Kingdom of the Sea."
Oy, wasn't the best idea, Juno thought.
"Ok," Nell said. "Let's go!"
Nell hoped into the air and flew away before Juno could say her name. She spread out her wings and went after the SandWing dragonet. She caught up with her, but Nell was still flying faster than her.
"Slow down!" Juno called after Nell.
"Speed up!" Nell shouted and few through a cloud. Juno beat her wings harder, and that helped a little bit.
After about an hour of flying, they made it to the Kingdom of the Sea. The Bay of A Thousand Scales glittered in the sun's rays, and soft waves washed over the shores. They landed on a small patch of land, barely big enough to house the two of them. Nell got on her hind legs, spread out her arms, and took in the Sea's air. Juno was still panting for breath from the long and hard flight."Where did you get those super powers of yours?!" Juno said, astonished. "Usually you are like me! Really tired!"
"Oh, Juno," Nell sighed. "I've been working out. It's getting easier for me."
Work out shmerk out, Juno thought. The last time I saw you do that was when... Oh yeah, NEVER!
"Lying, are we?" Juno said.
Nell turned around. "Would I really lie to you, Juno?"
"Yes," Juno said. "You just did."
"Ha ha," Nell said. "Whatever. You're a hypocrite because you lie to me on an every-day basis."
"Yeah, but I'm Juno," Juno puffed. "I'm allowed to."
Nell turned around and shook her head, smiling. All of the sudden, a huge wave of water came thundering onto the two dragons. Nell shook furiously, determined to get the water off of her scales. SandWings hated the water more than any other tribe. Juno didn't mind, though. She liked the water, but didn't like random splashing. The two looked back at the source of their attack, and saw a turquoise head looking angrily up at them from the water. "Oh, so you think just because the war is over means you can come trotting along into SeaWing territory as you please?!" He said.
"We don't want any trouble," Juno said. She looked back at her SandWing friend, still shaking. "But if you do that again, I'll slash you until there's nothing left but scales!"
The SeaWing's eyes widened with surprise. "I've never heard such talk from a girl before!"
June's eyes narrowed and her mouth hung open in offence. "Oh, that's not all a girl can do!" she snarled.
"No, please!" Said the SeaWing, going so deep in the water that only his eyes and snout stuck out. "I meant no disrespect, NightWing. Please, let me take you to the Sea Horse Palace."
"I have a name," Juno said. "Juno, nice to meet you...?"
"TigerShark," he said.
Juno looked down at him in confusion, and he cured her by showing her his stripe pattern, much like a tiger's, on his back.
The SeaWing looked at Nell as if she were one pathetic creature. "I think you're dry," TigerShark said.
"I'll tell you when I'm dry, Blue Boy," hissed Nell.
After Nell was so tired from shaking that she stopped, TigerShark lead the two to the Sea Horse Palace. It was one of the highest structures in Pyrriha, not afraid of attack with it's stone walls and roof, which were organized into huge torrents. Surrounding the Palace were statues of former and current royals, such as Tsunami, Queen Coral, Orca (while the rest of the statues were white with blue or green jewel eyes, Orca was black with red eyes), and, of course, the current queen, Queen Anemone, who's statue was white, but had pink along her horns and wings. Her statue sat above the huge entrance doors, looking off into the distance.
"So," TigerShark said as they entered the Palace. "Where are you off to?"
"Just cursing, for the most part," Juno lied.
"In enemy territory?"
"Now, now, the war is over, after all."
"Hmm..." TigerShark grunted. "Well, just to be sure, you'd better be careful. There are still dangerous dragons out there."
"Sure," Juno said. "But I am very big and Nell has that lovley weapon of hers." Juno pointed to her friend's poisonous barb.
"Don't think you can get in trouble on purpose and excpect me to save you everytime," Nell warned.
"You'd really just leave me behind? And here I was thinking we were best friends."
"I wouldn't leave you behind."
"TigerShark! Who are these dragons?"
Juno and Nell looked up, and saw a huge SeaWing sitting in front of them on a throne made of golden stone. "They were wandering our kingdom," TigerShark said.
"Hmmmm..." Anemone pondered. "Not a big problem, unless of course-"
"We're not spies," Nell pleaded. "Please, we mean no harm."
Anemone sighed. "I would never hurt dragonets," she said. "I was once a dragonet. Everyone I know was once a dragonet. So, what are you doing here?"
Juno was getting stressed like she never had been before, but she knew that the entire Kingdom of the Sea needed to know about the killer before anyone got hurt. So, she took a deep breath and spoke. "We... Nell... There's a murderer on the loose and we're trying to look for him or her the best that we can, but..."
"What?!" Gasped the queen, Nell, and TigerShark at the same time.
"Yes," Juno said, relieved that she didn't have to say the whole thing herself.
"I thought that we were just-"
"You would have thought I was crazy!" Juno said to Nell. "I had a dream... A SpecterWing came and told me-"
"A dream? A SpecterWing?" Queen Anemone said. "Ridiculous!"
"Guards! Hold them for a night!"
Two guards came up and snatched Juno and Nell. Nell looked terrified, but Juno tried to wriggle out of the guard's talons. "You'll be sorry!" Juno felt brave saying this to a queen.
"You beat me to it," hissed Anemone, and she waved a talon to signal their exit.
At night, Juno was kept warm by Nell's blazing-warm wings. In the SeaWing's dark, damp, cold, stalactite-filled cave prison, the two had no choice but to huddle together for warmth.
"I'm sorry," Juno said softly to Nell, who was trying desperately to drift to sleep.
"Hmm..." Mumbled Nell. "Sorry doesn't cut it. Our lives have been chiseled with a criminal record."
"Oh, please," Juno said. "Dragons kill each other all of the time in other kingdoms! In your kingdom!"
Nell sighed. "I am not mad at you," Nell said. "But I'm not pleased with you at the moment."
Juno felt a twinge of relief that Nell didn't completely hate her, but the small feeling of happiness fell when a small droplet of water hit her head and made her frown at the spike-covered ceiling.
All if the sudden, a guard screamed. Juno and Nell's heads shot up, trying to look for its source. From the torches that lit the prison halls, they saw a shadowed figure it a guard with its tail, making the guard fall over and shout in agony. The figure looked frightened as it looked around to see if the cost was clear. As it approached, Juno felt hope shine in her. As the shadows suddenly faded from the figure, familiar feature started to show as Juno suddenly recognized him... TigerShark!
"What are you doing here?!" Juno gasped. "You'll get in so much trouble!"
As TigerShark unlocked their cage, he ignored Juno's protests. "Well, lets just say I have a SpecterWing story of my own."
Juno looked interested as her and Nell stepped out of the cave. "When I was a very young dragonet, I saw an IceWing SpecterWing named Hvitur come to me, and tell me that my family was in danger. I was so afraid that I ignored it, although the ghost didn't hurt me. After three days, my mother, Eddy, died of battle wounds."
Juno's jaw dropped. Those things aren't kidding, she thought. If there is a killer out there, we shouldn't be wasting our time on things like Anemone.
"Stop right there!"
The three spun around, and saw guards charging for them.
TigerShark looked afraid, but a flash of confidence rushed over his diamond-shaped face. He slammed his tail into them, whacking them backwards, and to Juno's surprise, red started to leak onto the floor before them.
She looked at TigerShark, frightened by his power. How could he make them bleed if he only hit them with his tail?
TigerShark, noticing Juno's fear, put his tail before her. She stepped back, startled at first, but then looked closer. Tiny spikes running across his tail sides were stained with blood. "Step back," he told the two.
They obeyed, and watched as the spikes shot out, growing ten times their length. "What the-"
"Anemone thinks I'm half sea urchin," chuckled TigerShark, but he seemed more afraid of what they'd say about him.
Nell examined the bone-like spikes, and tapped them lightly with a talon. "Unlike anything I've ever seen before," she said.
"STOP IN THE NAME OF QUEEN ANEMONE!"
More guards charged, this time in a group of at least twenty. They cornered the three, and they stood back to back as the guards circled them. "You never stop, do you?!" Juno growled.
The guards ignored her comment and enclosed on them. One grabbed Nell, who screamed, and dragged her off to a cave. "Nell!" Juno shouted in fear for the poor SandWing.
TigerShark started hitting the guards with his powerful tail, showing is spikes and slashing. Juno tackled one to the ground and bit his horn, much to the SeaWing's agony as he screamed.
After nearly ripping the horn off, Juno went for another. She jumped, and her talons implanted in the water dragon's gills. She ripped at them, but she clawed Juno in the face. A spiked tail whacked the SeaWing's head back to the cold ground. Juno looked up and saw TigerShark standing above her. She gave him a smile and continued to fight.
And then, out of nowhere, a loud shout came from a cliff. Juno looked up, and her eyes lit with terror. A cloaked figure stood over the fight, wearing a golden mask. Juno could tell that it was a SandWing because a barbed tail waved in the air behind her. Her forked tongue slipped in and out of her mouth as she laughed. "Foul creatures!" She hissed. "You dare imprison me? Well, we'll see about that!"
With a flick of a talon, all of the bar gate-like doors of the cells came crashing down to the stone ground violently, and the prisoners all flew through the hole in the back of the wall, out into the starry night. "Abandon me?" Said the masked sand dragon. "I think not!"
With another wave of a talon, all of the dragons came back, dull-faced and glass-eyed. She hypnotized them! Juno thought in amazement.
The dragons, including SandWings, SkyWings, SeaWings, IceWings, MudWings, and one or two RainWings and NightWings all came crashing down on the guards and dragonets. It was hundreds to twenty-three. There was no chance for them, so Juno made a final decision. They would escape.
"TigerShark!" Juno shouted over the sound of clashing talons and ripping scales. "Follow me!"
Juno looked around, looking for a hole, but there was nothing in sight on the right side. The young dragons would have to go through the raging battle, a suicide attempt... For anyone who wasn't Juno the NightWing.
She pointed to the left side to signal TigerShark, but he looked at her in extreme doubt. "Are you CRAZY?!" He shouted.
"No, just confident!" She promised. "Follow me! And keep your spikes out!"
TigerShark glanced at the battle, and his face shaped into confidence. "Okay," he said finally. "Let's go."
They soared. It was as bad in the air as it was on the ground, and they had to desperately try to fly through the fight. Juno felt hopeless. This was useless. Of course there would be no easy way out of a prison. But then, as a SkyWing pushed a SeaWing to the ground, there was a suspicious-looking rock in the corner of the prison. Juno shot for it, and saw that it was a lot larger then it seemed from far away. There's no way TigerShark can move this while I go to get Nell, she thought. He didn't look very confident, despite his rare weapon. She walked over to the scared-looking SeaWing, and linked her tail with his. "You can do this," she told him. "I know you can."
He smiled at her, and stuck his tail out. She took off, and looked for the masked SandWing. She had disappeared. But then, she saw a cloaked figure clawing a SeaWing and raced faster than ever to Nell.
She found her SandWing best friend, looking terrified out to the battle. "Nell!"
Nell looked up, tears starting to form in her eyes. True terror had never been so radiant in Nell's orange eyes. "It was a mistake to-"
"I know!" Juno said. "But please! Lets go!"
They swooped down to the bolder with TigerShark, how was trying desperately to move it. "It's... IMPOSSIBLE!" He puffed.
"I doubt it!" Juno challenged, and she began to push on the huge stone. "Um, a little help here!"
Nell and TigerShark pushed as hard as they could along with Juno. It felt like it was slipping slightly, but not hard enough to fall over. "Harder!" Juno ordered.
All of them pushed harder then ever before, at least for Juno. She could feel it really slipping now... And then-
The bolder had fallen to the ground, but what they saw was not exactly what they had hoped for. A dark cave ran far, far further. "We need to get the bolder back over the entrance," TigerShark pointed out.
"Oh, really?!" Nell said sarcastically. "Because I just thought we could leave it wide open."
"We have to pick it up," Juno said. "And remember. Your lives depends on this. Pull as hard as you can!"
The dragonets struggled pick up the stone, but when it got a few feet off of the ground, they got under it and pushed it back up against the wall, leaving just enough room for them to squeeze in.
They entered, but just as TigerShark was more than half way in, a big, golden talon snatched his tail, making their hearts miss a beat. But after a few minutes of struggling, the talon let go, bloody in its departure. TigerShark squeezed in the rest of the way and they closed the entrance up.
With a sigh of relief, they sat down. "Um..." Nell said, "I hate to be a bother, but can we get a move on? I don't like having to listen to those screams."
"Sure," Juno agreed. "TigerShark, are you hurt?"
"No," replied the SeaWing. "Just a flew little cuts, but they're not even bleeding."
"Good," Juno said. "Then lets go. I don't like that noise either."
They started down the cave, guided by TigerShark's glowing markings, although it only helped a little. The floor was cold, and the cave had a draft constantly going through it that made them shiver. No one said anything. Juno felt her heart sink as a thought came into her mind, making her throat tight and her eyes feel like they were on fire. I wonder when I'm going to see my mom and dad again. I miss them... so much.
"We're far enough away," Juno lied. She just wanted to try to get the others to sleep so that they couldn't see her sadness. "I... I'm just... Tired. Really tired."
"We should try and get out of here as soon as we can," TigerShark advised.
"I agree," Nell chimed in.
Juno let out a low growl. "Come on," Nell said encouragingly. "We can do this. Together. We've always done it that way."
Nell's warm talon landed softly on Juno's shoulder. Juno didn't look up. She felt better, knowing that her best friend was there with her, but didn't show it. They kept on moving, much to Juno's disliking, and seemed to do so for the whole night. Then, finally, it seemed like the end. A huge stack of rocks was piled up on a small section of the wall, which cut off at a dead end. Juno stepped forward, and began to climb the mountain of stones.
"What are you doing?" TigerShark said.
"What does it look like I'm doing?!" Juno said, beginning to pull he rocks down and chucking them every which way.
"Here, come down," TigerShark insisted.
"Listen, NightWing! This is going to be faster if it works! Now get down!"
Juno looked down at him, puzzled. After only knowing him for a day, she could tell by the look on his face that he was surprised with his outburst, too. She slowly climbed down, and stepped away.
"Thank you," he said, and he began to pull a huge stone out of the way. Within seconds, the whole mass collapsed.
"Wait!" Nell said, pulling the others aside. "What will we do?! The SeaWings will want to impale us by this point!"
"Good point," TigerShark said. "But don't worry. Just keep low. Nell, you're not going to like this, but-"
"No!" Hissed the SandWing without hesitation.
"You have to, Nell!" Juno said. "Come on, swimming isn't that bad. I like it!"
TigerShark looked over to Juno. They seemed to be thinking the same thing. "Ok," Juno said. "We'll just have to fly then. Nell, you go first."
Nell stepped forward, over the ocean around the Palace, and looked pleased that she didn't have to swim. TigerShark winked at Juno, and the two pushed Nell off of the cliff and into the water. It was too late for her to react, and she plummeted into the water.
"Ha ha ha!" TigerShark roared.
"SHUT UP!" Nell shouted louder than Juno had ever heard from her.
"Oh, calm down!" TigerShark called.
They swam, although when they got far enough away from the Sea Horse Palace, Nell flew, shaking water off of her scales. TigerShark had to slow down for Juno, who was not as good at swimming as the SeaWng. Although he urged on, Juno saw him multiple times looking back over his shoulder. Juno frowned, and smiled at him. "It'll be okay," she said. "You'll get to go home soon."
"And then what? Execution? Sounds fun."
Juno sighed. "Maybe Anemone will be merciful."
"The last SeaWing who thought his queen would be merciful ended up with a barb in his tail!"
Juno's eyes widened. Yes, she knew the story of Webs, but she didn't want to think about it, for the sake of TigerShark. "Once we kill whoever is wearing that mask, maybe you'll go back and they'll say you're a hero!"
TigerShark smiled back at her. "You'll really take me with you?!"
"As long as you behave," Nell said in a babyish way.
"Pfffft, I'll be the most well-behaved dragon you've ever met."
"Doubts fill my head, Stripes," Nell said.
"So where to?" TigerShark asked.
"Hmmm..." Juno said. "Before we go to any more kingdoms, I think we should have a talk with the all-so-important SpecterWings."
Nell gulped. "Ghosts!" She said.
"Afterlife council, actually," Juno said.
"So where do they live?" TigerShark asked. "I don't remember Hvitur talking a about where their kingdom was."
"They don't have a kingdom," Nell pointed out. "I read. They are apparently everywhere."
"Well, they must have a meeting spot or something!" Juno said. "Urchin, the SpecterWing I saw, said that they all made the decision on whether or not I should carry out the mission. They may live alone, but they act as a tribe."
"Well, we should probably go to them first," Nell suggested. "Since they're everywhere, it shouldn't be to hard to find them. At least one."
"Hmmm..." TigerShark pondered. "Maybe the Sky Kingdom?"
"I don't know," Juno said. "Remember the story of the dragonets going to the Sky Kingdom? They had to be pitted against each other."
"Yeah, but since Scarlet died of old age and Ruby was killed in battle, maybe Queen Auburn be nicer."
"Sure, SeaWing. Bloodline really tells us that the family are the nicest dragons on the continent," Nell said sarcastically. "Just like the Dragonets thought that Queen Coral would be nice."
TigerShark hung his head. "Well, other than the Mud Kingdom, which we all know is currently in a cival war, the Sky Kingdom is our next option, because we're heading straight up the Diamond Spray River."
Juno sighed. The SkyWings did sound vicious. As much as they had their gruesome stories, she hadn't heard her mother or father talking much about how they needed to clean up their act. Juno didn't know. Maybe they got fed up and knew that their insults were worthless or maybe the SkyWings had gotten worse and her parents just wanted her not to hear such brutal stories. Oh, well. They had to find a SpecterWing. They also had to find somewhere to wait. Wait for the Masked Dragon to attack and unmask him or her.
"So, the Sky Kingdom?" Juno asked.
"The Sky Kingdom," The other two said. Nell seemed a bit reluctant.
"Oh, the Dragonets are coming, coming to save the day!"
"Shut up!" Juno ordered Nell. They had made it to the shores of the Diamond Spray River, and could see the SkyWing Palace. It was about a mile away, so they could easily fly there within a day.
"So... What's going to happen?!" TigerShark asked. "Could we just hide in the bushes? Or find a little den that looks haunted?"
"That sounds reasonable," Nell said sarcastically. "Just let the SkyWings go uninformed that their kingdom is in danger. Bravo."
"Maybe we can just tell one passing by," Juno said. "You know, find a nice one? Who will tell the queen and we won't have to risk getting in trouble. As long as we keep hidden and don't let anyone know our names."
"Alright," TigerShark said. It was now late in the afternoon of the day, and they were all very tired from swimming, and in Nell's case flying, to the Sky Kingdom. "Let's get some rest."
"Okay, find a bush or something," Juno said.
That night, the three kept close together in a bush. They were not sleeping, however, as they were determined to find a SkyWing to take their message to Queen Auburn. Then, during dusk, they heard the distant sound of wing beats over the mountains. Their heads shot up, and they stuck their eyes out from the bush.
A copper- coloured dragon slammed the ground with her powerful talons. Her lightning-like horns and blue fire eyes made her look fierce, but it looked as if she were very tired. A SkyWing!
She lay down in the cold ground, and yawned. Juno felt sorry for her. She looked as if she had no place to go, no family, no friends. The SkyWing sniffed up a tear and closed her eyes.
"Ok," whispered TigerShark. "We'll just ask her without coming out."
Nell and Juno nodded. Then, Juno spoke. "Hello," she said.
The SkyWing jumped up, looking around for the source of the voice. "Do not fear us," TigerShark said. "We only come to ask you a favour."
"A favour?!" Spat the SkyWing. "A FAVOUR?! D you even know what I've been doing for most of my life?! Nothing but favours, and now because I have to much fire I was banished by my own tribe! My own mother doesn't want me!"
As the SkyWing began to cry, Juno, Nell and TigerShark looked at each other. The SkyWing looked as if she wasn't going to hurt them, but if she wanted to, she could. Juno had heard of fireborn dragons, but only in the Wings of Fire legends. There was once a SkyWing fireborn named Peril, who fell in love with the MudWing dragonet Clay. It was a rare and unwanted condition among the SkyWings. If this dragon touched them, they would be burned.
"We only want you to send a message to the Queen."
"No," the SkyWing said plainly. "She said if she sees me again, she'll have me killed."
Juno thought this was enough. She wasn't just going to let this dragon be scared and alone. She stepped out of the bush, and looked into the fireborn's eyes. "We are coming to save Pyrriha," Juno said. "That means saving you. You may travel with us. What is your name?"
The skyWing stopped sniffing. "Falcon," she said, calming down.
Juno smiled, and didn't care about Nell and TigerShark's worried eyes on her from behind. "What a nice name," she said. "We ran away from our tribes, too."
Falcon was calm now. "Really? I've never met anyone like that before. I've only ever seen prisoners."
Juno reached out for Falcon's shoulder, but quickly remembered her condition when the heat from her scales reached her talons. "Ow!"
"I'm sorry!" Falcon said, jumping up and stepping away. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
Juno smiled again. "It's just a little burn. Nothing life-threatening."
"But I-I... I hurt you," Falcon said, tears forming in her blue-fire eyes again.
"No no no! Don't cry! I'm fine, I promise."
Falcon tried to fight her tears yet again. A little fragile for a SkyWing. I thought they were suppose to be, I don't know, loud and violent. Juno thought.
"Listen, I have to go," Falcon said. "I am no longer a dragon in the Sky Kingdom." She began to walk away, her wings drooping and her tail dragging behind her.
"Wait!" Juno cried. "You may not be here, but you can come with us!"
Everyone stared at Juno. Nell and TigerShark popped out of the bush, giving her a jaw-dropped look. Falcon ran over to Juno and bounced up and down with joy. "Really?!" She asked in astonishment.
Juno turned to the others, and gave them a harsh look that told them to shut up. "Of course you can," Juno said, ignoring the two arrogant dragons behind her.
"THANK YOU!" Roared Falcon. She flew up in the trees with joy and ignored the others while they talked.
"What. The. HECK?!" TigerShark shouted.
"No, what the heck at you, blue boy?!" Juno snarled. "How could you two be so horrible?! She's alone, and so are we. I say she can come with us, and if anyone wants to argue, face my silver talons!" She roared, flashing her claws at the two and making them jump.
"You can't just do that every time someone argues with you!" Nell protested.
To make them even more angry, since they deserved it, she flashed both talons at them. "You mean like that?"
TigerShark and Nell both sighed.
"Oh, go be girlfriend and boyfriend somewhere else," she hissed. "Falcon! We're not just random runaways! We have things to do!"
The copper-coloured dragon swooped back down. "Oh, okay," she said, landing.
"See?" Juno whispered to the others. "Why can't you be more like her?"
They narrowed their eyes.
"I'm hungry," Juno said as they stalked through a forest. "Maybe we can find a few bears or something."
"Maybe there's a few around here," TigerShark said. "Do you know this area well, Falcon?"
"No," Falcon said. "I always stayed near the palace in the Sky Kingdom. Far from here."
"There!" Nell exclaimed, spreading her wings and forcing the others down. She winced in pain at the heat of Falcon's scales. "Ow!"
Juno saw it. Behind a bush, a body of some kind. Nell jumped for it, and blood splashed. Nell looked down, surprised and scared-looking, and pulled the body over. It was a SkyWing dragonet.
"Nell!" TigerShark said.
"I didn't mean to kill a dragon!" Nell pleaded. "I thought he was a bear!"
"Oh my-" TigerShark looked away, looking sick.
"Uh," Juno stuttered. What were they going to do now? But more over, Juno couldn't help but feel disturbed. She wanted to, but didn't want to think that her best friend had done such a thing. "We... Alright. Nell, you didn't know. We have to leave the corpse here, maybe, um... Burry it or something."
"Good idea," Nell said, starting to dig a hole with a sorrowful look on her face.
That night, Juno and TigerShark sat side by side in front of the fire Falcon had started for them. The young SkyWing dragoness snored softly behind them in the bushes, sending out small spurts of fire from her nostrils. Nell had finished digging her hole, and had gone on a walk to think to herself as she put it. "So..." TigerShark began, looking out into the starry night. He heaved a frustrated sigh after a few moments and turned to face his NightWing friend. "I'm sorry. I know you and Nell are really close, but I still can't get my head around the fact that she killed another dragon!"
Juno turned her snout directly to TigerShark, and for a moment the SeaWing seemed to shrink. "It was an accedent," she growled. "It was impossible to tell that dragonet's scales and a bear's fur apart from that distance. Nell would never willingly kill another dragon."
"Well, I'm not so sure..."
Juno felt her heart sink as she heard this. "What makes you feel this way?!" She demanded.
"I don't know..." TigerShark was obviously lying.
"Spit it out, Fish-Boy," Juno encouraged.
TigerShark let out another sigh. "Nell and I were standing almost in the exact same spot. And I could see the horns on the dragonet's head."
Juno's green eyes flared, and she stared at the ground for a moment. "No," she finally choked. "That's not Nell. That's not my best friend. She would never do something like that on purpose." She got up, and strolled off, feeling TigerShark's yellow eyes on her back.
The wind whispered through the trees as she walked, like dragonets at play in the trees. The bank of the lake they stayed sheltered at was slowly being bedded and stripped with soft, black and white water. An owl was heard off in the distance. This sorrowfully reminded Juno of her father, who's name was Owl. The moon that shone in the night sky reminded her of her mother.
Suddenly, something jumped onto Juno's back. "LET ME GO!" She screamed as she rolled over and tried to crush the creature, but it only gave it an opportunity to thwack Juno off, causing her back to collide with a tree.