Here you go, enjoy the story. It's done!
This is written by Betta herself. This isn't her most formal piece of work, but it works!
Part 1: By Chance
I woke up, it was a normal day by my standards. The palace was flooded with light, the white columns in the center that twirled upwards were practically glowing with the golden sunlight pouring through the green canopy above. I opened my eyes, the pupils retracting to adjust to the lighting. A slight grin lit my snout, my small teeth glinting dully in the dim light of my cave. I opened my gills, flaring them for no particular reason. A long yawn escaped my maw, my lips pulling back into a deranged smile. I stretched my wings as far as I could in my cramped cavern, the jagged red edges folding against the walls.
After finally getting sleep out of my system, and after watching the newborn dragonets learn to swim, I decide to leave, as I do every day. Every day, I leave the palace to go to my favorite Scale, the Scale I call the Seven-Hundred-Seventy-Seventh Scale, because seven is my favorite number. I go there to write every day, no matter the weather, like I am now.
I stood up, forcing any remaining grogginess out of me. I leapt from my cave on one of the higher levels of the palace to the tiled ground. I landed with a thud, my bones shaking slightly from the impact. I shook my head, I was out of it today, and being outside will only help. I smiled, already thinking about the next chapter of my current novel. I was excited, even with my increasing age. I am not that old, but old enough to hurt when I jump, meaning I’m fourteen. I know, not too old, but I sure feel old.
I strolled to the exit to the palace, passing many dragons, a few from the council. Shark glared at me as he always did. I was never a fan of him. Once I reached the pool that marked the exit, I dove in, feeling the cool rush of the salty sea creep into the gaps between my scales. I beat my powerful tail once, propelling me farther into the pipe that lead out of the palace. I ignored the breathing holes, since Blister was the only one who used them. I didn’t like Blister. She always looked like she was thinking about something else when she looked at you, very distracted.
It was then when a boom sounded behind me, followed by some form plowing through the water at an alarming rate. I yelped out bubbles, pulling myself to the edge of the tunnel, pressing myself to it as hard as I could, I was afraid of the speeding projectile.
As it whooshed past, trailing bubbles, I was able to make out what it was. Coral. Her dark blue scales flew past, her stripes flashing something quickly. I barely made it out, but it was like “…t the deep palace. I need to ask Moray if-” and she was gone, the slim shape of Anemone trailing behind the queen. And, even more surprising, Whirlpool was following them, flashing something like “…need to ask if I could make a new manuscr-” and he disappeared with her, off and out of the tunnel. I sighed inwardly, I missed him again. I wanted to ask Whirlpool to help me edit my novel, I know he would find something.
Alright, I admit, I have a slight crush on that green SeaWing. Fine, scratch that, a big crush on Whirlpool. He is just so smart, and friendly, and…handsome. We would make the perfect couple, we both can write and make a living. We would live happily ever after.
Problem is, I don’t even have the courage to say hello. I should probably just stay on my Scale, write out my sadness and wallow in my loneliness…just kidding. I’ll be fine. I always have been. I returned to the middle of the tunnel, looking in the direction Whirlpool went. Should I go after him?
No. I need to work on my novel. Priorities, Betta, priorities! Writing is more important than love. Always.
I continued swimming, leaving the exit, pushing past the golden tentacles at the entrance. The ocean suddenly dropped off, the deep palace barely visible through the darkness, only the glowing lights were possible to see. I looked away, trying to remember how to get to my Scale. A small school of green fish speeded by my snout, too small to put a dent in my morning hunger. I ignored them, searching the underwater geography again. I decided it was useless to search from the water, so with a few strong beats from my wings, I rose from the seawater, water trailing on my limbs as I ascended. Once I reached a high enough point so I could see the Third Scale, or what I called the Third Scale, I circled around, probing for my island. I found it.
Feeling stupid that I had missed something so close to the palace. It was a small island, enough for a couple trees, a pretty big beach, and a deep cave system under it. I dove downwards, tucking my wings in tightly. It took a few seconds to reach the ground, considering I had to slow down greatly to keep my bones intact. I hit the sand, landing softly enough, and proceeded to the noticeable entrance to a cave in the side of a tiny rock outcropping on my Scale. But, as I took a few steps inwards, I heard someone talking.
It sounded like it was right behind me.
I whipped my body around, assuming the most terrifying pose I could muster, which is nothing. I opened my eyes, I had kept them closed while flipping around. There was no one there. Just the dark ground of my island. The few tree trunks there were must be hiding the dragon speaking. Do I go after him? Do I hide in my cave and hope he doesn’t come down? Why does this happen to me?!
I decided to go with the first one, surprisingly. I was not the brave type. But, I had to be like Asagi, the main character in my book. He wouldn’t back down. I wobbled to the beach on shaky legs, fear making it impossible to remain still. Whirlpool would think I’m so lame if he saw me right now…
A twig broke in the tiny forest. I wanted to scream right then, but Asagi would scold me, so I bit my tongue. Literally. I tasted the terrible taste of metallic blood, noting everything about it for future reference in case Asagi got into any scuffles. I was a mess. Look at me. Noting how blood tastes so I can write about it. I’m weird…
Then, I saw him. His black scales absorbed all of the light around him, acting like a reverse light bulb. I practically crumpled at the sight. NightWings are not supposed to be on my island! They hide and stay antisocial. That’s what they do. At least, until now. The NightWing saw me I think, as his eyes fell onto mine. They were a red darker than blood. But, strangely, they weren’t murderous. They seemed…Lost. Alone. Sad even.
I felt pity. What was he doing here, lost and sad? Was he lost? Did he need help? I think I ask too many questions of myself, maybe it’s a writer thing…
He slowly took a single, tentative step in my direction. I sunk lower in my posture, but remained motionless. I had a feeling we both thought each other were dangerous. Well, for one, I’m practically harmless, I don’t know about his guy, though. He saw I made no effort to flee, and advanced even closer, breaking the dark tree line. His snout was only in the sunlight, the black scales brightening a little, but remained dark nonetheless. Finally, his whole body was in the sunlight, standing in front of me. He was tall, but not too tall. Taller than me, and Whirlpool. His wings were giant, and his tail was rather thin, but he wasn’t a SeaWing, so his tail was going to be thin anyway. His horns were slightly curved backwards and tined faintly silver. All in all, an impressive dragon. Perfect for a character in my story!
He opened his mouth to say something, but quickly snapped his jaws back closed. I found it ironic that such a large dragon could be scared of a tiny, old SeaWing. A lonely, tired, hungry SeaWing. I decided I would help him out, but I needed to summon my inner Asagi…Moons, I need a life.
“Umm, hello. Wha…what are you doing…here?” I asked, nervous that this dragon would attack.
“Hi, I am…um…lost.” He said after some thinking.
“Lost? Do you need to be somewhere?” I asked, relieved he didn’t say ‘I’m here to take your soul.’ Or something ridiculous like that.
“Umm…no.” it sounded more like a question.
I cocked my head, a small smile showing, “Well, what are you doing here?” I asked again
“I…need somewhere to live, for the time being, that is.” He added the second part on quickly. I thought his was a little fishy, maybe he was a spy, or some kind of terrorist! But then again…
“You can live here, I guess, just follow my rules. Come on.” I relented, too soft to say no to anyone. I need to fix that.
He looked surprised, “Oh, really?! Wow.” There was a pause, “My name is Hero by the way.”
“I go by Halfmoon, but you can call me Betta.” I replied, trying to be friendly and social, though I was never good at either of those. Maybe that’s why Whirlpool doesn’t like me.
“Two names?” he asked.
I chuckled inwardly, I forgot to tell him. “Halfmoon is my penname. I am an author, well, want to be an author. I still have to finish my first scroll.” I blushed slightly,
“Cool! Can I read it?” he asked
This surprised me, making me blush harder. I was so humbled, no one even spoke to me, I would never even think anyone would read my scroll. “Sure, it’s not done yet, but you can if you want. It still needs to be edited.” He nodded, smiling. This dragon was really nice.
“Okay, did you get that?” I asked the NightWing who was curled up in a ball on the fllor, his nose in the scroll. He didn’t respond. “Hero!”
He looked up innocently, “What?” I sighed.
“The rules.” He shook his head no. “Okay. Firstly, don’t. Touch. Frill.” I said, pointing to a glass bowl on my writing desk. The bowl had a small fish with green fins way too big to be useful. “I will be here daily if you need anything. Secondly, Don’t. Touch. My scroll. You may only read it, any alterations and you are out. Next, Stay inside. Don’t leave the island. I don’t want any trouble for keeping an NightWing in my cave.” I smiled. He probably still wasn’t listening. Oh well. At least he like my story. Maybe he could help with the plot…no, I need a real writer for that. Like Whirlpool.
I continued to think about Whirlpool for a few minutes, drifting to my chair to sit down. He could help me so much with my story. Character development, plot development, setting, mood! Oh, I need to see him. These thoughts continued for a little longer…
“Okay.” Hero spoke up, peeling his eyes off my neat, pointed and thin handwriting, he looked very in the mood for annoying me, “who is Whirlpool?” he asked. I blushed instantly, rushing to the scroll. I read frantically, panicking.
“Did I mention him? Where?!” I was in hysterics. He was chuckling. I dropped the scroll and looked at him, puzzled.
“I’m a NightWing, remember? Mind powers? Ring a bell?” he said. When he mentioned mind powers, he did a hand movement that demonstrated perfectly. I felt stupid, again. I decided I would tell him about Whirlpool, but leave out my crush on him.
When I was finished, Hero looked at me thoughtfully, “I would ask him.”
“You think so?”
“Okay, I will. I’ll go see him now.” I rushed out of the door, feeling as powerful and happy as Ginrin, another character in my story. I kicked sand up from the beach as I leapt into the ocean, the cool water a welcoming sensation. I slapped my tail hard on the water’s surface, shooting me downward. I searched the bottom of the ocean, eventually finding the Deep Palace since I have no sense of direction. I entered the algae coated archway of coral and stone, entering the building. I frantically flashed my stripes, “Where is Whirlpool?”
I repeated the message over and over until Herring flashed back “Summer Palace.”
I sighed. I was there earlier today! I flashed a thank you and swam swiftly out of the sunken castle. I rushed to the major current, catching it and doubling my speed.
It took a little bit, but I eventually spotted the golden reeds to the entrance. I crashed through them too fast, ripping many out, having them wrapped around my wings and snout. I stopped abruptly, trying to relax and peel the yellow weeds off me. I took a deep breath though my gills, trying to calm down and regain my composure. When I felt normal, or as normal as I could be, I swam slowly and carefully out of the tunnel, popping out into the palace. I searched the upper levels of the hollow island, but didn’t find him.
Eventually when I reached the top, I almost forgot to flap my wings I was so shocked. Coral was in her throne, Anemone in her miniature version beside the queen, Whirlpool was practically next to me, but we were all staring at a massive, muscular, powerful, and did I mention big dragon. The thing that shocked me: his scales were black. I almost stomped over and scolded him. But that wasn’t Hero. It was some other NightWing, some impressive other NightWing. Coral shook her head no and the NightWing hissed in annoyance. “Fine. If you see him, tell me immediately, I have a feeling…” he said, his deep and powerful voice filled my ears. Whirlpool was beside me, he seemed intimidated, but we all did. Poor Anemone was practically cowering in the dragon’s shadow. I wanted to do the same. Why couldn’t I just be like Asagi?
The NightWing turned, his golden eyes locking on mine for a minute. There was a feeling of extreme supremacy that passed through me.
I am really great at reading eyes, you know, finding emotions by looking into someone’s eyes? I saw in his eyes that he was desperate for something, very desperate. I also noticed a hint of anger and annoyance, but not too overpowering. But masking all of this was a secret, a big secret he refused to tell anyone. He seemed like an interesting character…maybe he could be in my scroll too…
The dragon opened his starry wings, they enveloped the entire sky, darkening the room. He dove from the edge of the platform to the water, clearly despising the water touching his scales. The four of us SeaWings sat in silence and awe for a minute, the Whirlpool fled, retreating to a cavern in the walls of the palace labeled ‘Library’. I followed him, gliding to the entrance. I saw his green scales hide behind a bookshelf, so I strolled over. There he was. He looked at me, his eyes looking up slowly from the scroll he had just removed from the shelf. It was the scroll about the missing princess, the name escaped me, but that didn’t matter. I stopped dead in my tracks. I blushed, even though I had said nothing. Moons, I am terrible at this talking stuff…
“Um…Hi.” I started, mentally slapping myself for the stupid start.
“Hello, can I help you find anything?” he asked, his earring bobbing as he placed the scroll back.
“Err, no. I need help…writing something…” I stuttered. Moons save me now…
“Writing something? Aren’t you too old to be in school?”
Great, he thinks I’m old. “No, not for school. I am trying to write…a-a novel.” I said quietly.
He looked pleasantly surprised, “Really? I thought I was the only SeaWing who could write! Well, this is great! What do you need help with? And, what’s your name?”
I practically exploded with delight, he likes that I write! Yes! “My real name, or my penname?” I asked.
“Whichever you feel comfortable. I just need to know who else the Moons have sent me to help write scroll!” he sounded ecstatic. I was ecstatic.
“I’m…” I was debating on whether I should tell him…, “Halfmoon. I need you to help me with it in general. It’s a fictional piece. I have a good plot going on, but it needs more…” I was embarrassed he wouldn’t like my real name.
“Drive?” he offered
“Yeah. How did you know? Oh, wait, you’re an author too, I forgot.” I did another mental facetalon. I had no idea how well I was ‘mingling’ as Hero had called it.
“So, did you bring it with you?” he tried to look behind me as if I was hiding it behind me back.
“Oh, no…it’s written on normal parchment…maybe you can come to me island and edit it there.” He nodded in agreement, his green scales brighter than my dark blue ones.
By then, my curiosity had peaked, “Whirlpool, who was that NightWing that was talking to Coral? What was he doing here?” I asked.
“That,” he sounded so smart, “was Morrowseer. He was the dragon that foretold the Dragonet Prophecy years ago. He was here to ask if we had seen the Dragonets, since they had escaped, killing Scarlet as they did. And he wanted to know if we had seen a certain dragon around here. He said his name, but I forget it…” he thought for a second, “Something like Savior, maybe it was Power…No, it was Hero! He wanted Hero.”
My stomach dropped to my talons. He wanted Hero? Why? Maybe Morrowseer was some part of a gang and wanted Hero, since Hero wouldn’t hurt a fly. Yeah, that’s it. Morrowseer is evil.
“Okay, Hero. You need to hide. Or leave. Either one works. Whirlpool will be over in a few minutes, he can’t see you.” I said, after working like a maddragon on my story. I was getting closer and closer to the climax of the story. Hero looked at me, like ‘I am not leaving’. He decided he would hide deep in the caverns, out of hearing range. I insisted he be far away.
“Why? I know I can’t have him see me, but why do I have to be so deep in the dark?”
“I thought you like the dark, NightWing. Besides, I need to speak with him…and…I don’t want to spoil anything. You have read up to where I left off.” I pointed out, blushing. Hero agreed reluctantly, heading to the crooked natural stairs that lead deeper into the ground. When I could no longer hear his footsteps scraping on the stairs, I sighed heavily and plopped into my chair. I gently stuck the tip of my claw into the water in Frill’s bowl, twirling in a leisurely circle. The little green fish wiggled up to the surface, taking a single nip on my ivory claw. When he realized it wasn’t edible, he swam back down to his little leafy plant. I sighed again, he should be here soon. Now, I wait.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long. As always, the royal scribe was right on time. I should have expected that. I heard him splashing out of the water and landing on my beach. I kicked my chair away forcefully, rushing out to meet the SeaWing’s green scales. He showed little emotion when he saw me, but that didn’t mean anything…right? I called him over to the entrance to my writing study. He walked over, his gills pulsing from the sudden change from them to lungs. He entered the darkness of the study, blinking his lights on to brighten the room. When he walked in, he stopped beside my desk, looking at the giant scroll curled up and bound tightly. Next to it was Frill, looking at the SeaWing with matching green scales. They locked eyes for a minute, I was standing there awkwardly, waiting for him to stop staring at my fish. Whirlpool must have noticed my discomfort, because he stood back up straight, his talons itching to hold parchment. “So, the scroll? Is that is?” he asked, pointing to the massive scroll. I nodded, picking it up and handing it to him. He was the second person to read it, I hope he doesn’t butcher it…I would like to keep most of my plot ideas.
It took about an hour and a half, and Whirlpool was a fast reader, for him to finish it. He had a thoughtful look on his snout. A good sign? I hope so.
“I read it.” He stated, glancing up to my eyes. “It was…”
I practically died with suspense, how can he leave me hanging like this?! Well, good writers use suspense…
“Pretty good! It’s hard to impress me with any work that isn’t mine, so well done! I love the introduction, a great hook into the story.” He said, pointing on the document where the intro was. I died. He lived it! I was literally walking on air. Oh yay! He likes it!
“But,” oh no, there was a but, “The characters could use some work. Asagi is very flat, and a little too…perfect. Maybe add some weaknesses. I do like Tancho, though. He seems like the perfect dynamic character, one that everyone will love. Kumonryu, he seems like the perfect antagonist. I like your views on ‘evil’ and making him seem powerful, but not too so. He is…genuine.” He said, placing the scroll on the floor to talk to me. I nodded, he liked my views?! I am not quite sure what he means, but I’ll take it! “I need to know, how do you come up with names? They are so original! I was amazed by the amount of fantastic names in the story. I have to know how you come up with these!”
That surprised me! “Umm, thing is…I have an…obsession.” I started, another awful start. My forehead will be bruised with the amount of facetaloning I’m doing. “I love fish. I don’t eat them…I keep them. Like Frill over there,” I pointed to Frill, “I have more fish. Koi fish. The names of the characters are breeds of Koi fish. Koi are very rare, which is why you probably haven’t heard of the names.” I explained. The scribe seemed interested.
“Fascinating! Also, what are you planning for later in the story? I do think you should continue. If completed well, this could be a new required reading for the dragonets.”
I died again. Required reading? Required reading?! All of the dragonets would read my work?! Yes please. “Really? That would be awesome! I was thinking that I would have someone important die. Who should it be? And I want to be different. Since Kumonryu isn’t that evil since he wants to create a democracy, I was thinking he should win the war. It would be a major plot twist, I don’t know if it would be too major though…”
“I say yes on the death. I think it should be Chaogi, since Ginrin has a great relationship with him, which would cause a character change for Ginrin, which would make her a dynamic and round character. As for Kumonryu winning, I’m not too sure. I’m sure some dragons will love him, others will hate him. But, this is part of being an author, sometimes you have to take risks. I say, do it.”
Cool. Antagonist wins. Finally!
Whirlpool and I talked for a while, just gossip and ideas. Normal stuff. I could barely stand it. I just wanted to blurt out that I liked him, but how would he react? Badly, that’s how. I continued to restrain myself well, long enough to be enough. Whirlpool said he had to go, the queen needed him to go to council. I was relieved, and sad. I escorted him out, leading him to the beach. He waved goodbye. I shouted farewell to him just before he was underwater. What he didn’t hear was my muttering the words “I love you” as the splash drowned them out. I watched the place he left for a minute, waiting for him to wade back out and repeat my words. That never happened.
I trudged back inside, Hero was standing by the entrance, staring wistfully in the direction of the mainland. I walked past him, brushing wings. I picked my chair back up, turning it right-side up and back on its feet. I pushed it into the desk, walking away glumly. I wished I knew…
“He doesn’t love you.”
I whipped my head in Hero’s direction, seeing that he hadn’t moved at all. His eyes still fixed on the ocean. He turned his head fairly, his red eyes fastening on mine. I was confused…
“He doesn’t. You want him to, but he doesn’t.” Hero said, not taking his eye off me. I was confused how did he know? Wait…
“Get out of my house. Leave my island. I don’t want to see your stupid black scales here ever. Go away while you can.” I raged calmly, trying to not snap. Hero looked confused.
“What? Why?” he asked. Stupid NightWing, he knew exactly why. He can read me like an open book, literally.
“Does ‘I’m a NightWing, remember? Mind powers?’ make any sense to you? How dare you read mine or his thoughts! Go away, I don’t want to see you ever again.” I was fuming, but trying to act calm. It was hard.
“What? Why is that wrong? Everyone does it in the night kingdom!” he tried to use a lame excuse. Not going to work, Hero.
“Does it look like you’re in the night kingdom? Does it look like I’m a NightWing? Does it look like it’s okay to read minds?” I shouted. I snapped. I couldn’t hold it any longer. I was flashing my stripes in the most terrible insults I could think of, which is very few since I’m an honest and shy dragon. He couldn’t understand anyway. He looked a little intimidated. Good.
“N…no?” he squeaked, “But I need…”
“Go. Before I call Morrowseer.” I threatened. This was the last straw. I’ll turn him in if I have to. Hero stopped, a look that said ‘how did you know that?’ covered his snout. He gave up then, flying out of the cave and into the sky. I didn’t even want to watch him go. I don’t care. I don’t care if Morrowseer rips his heart out and crushes it with his massive bulk. He deserves it.
Part 2: Finally
Weeks, possibly months, went by. I still hadn’t seen Hero. Great, I don’t want to ever again. At least, that is what I have been telling myself. It was lonely in my study. I haven’t left in a while, since there was no reason to.
I was almost done with my novel. It was going well so far, everything has gone as planned. I still haven’t had Whirlpool finish editing it yet. I haven’t seen him since a week ago, when he rushed from the deep palace after Coral. He said something about the Dragonets of Destiny and the missing princess. I was just confused. We were in the middle of discussing writing. We have been talking much more, recently. He is so nice, I don’t know why Anemone hates him. Even Coral approves of him. Oh well…
I had been sitting for most likely five hours, unmoving. I don’t know what happened to me. Ever since Hero left…he was only here for around a week…I haven’t been the same. Maybe it was some NightWing curse or something. Something easily explained. Something besides what I think it is. I was holding my feather pen, the tip placed on a sheet of parchment. The sheet was blank. I was thinking, thinking hard. Not about my novel. Not about Whirlpool. Not about the Dragonets or Coral or anything. I was thinking about nothing. I was just sitting. Existing. Taking up space. Space that could be used more efficiently. That’s me. A waste of space. A waste of food. Water. Thought.
With one long movement, I dragged the quill across the parchment, a long black mark trailing behind it. I repeated this process, drawing lines blindly. I barely paid attention to what I was doing, only thinking. I glanced at Frill, who was drooped on the bottom of his tank. He must feel the same way. I lost focus on the fish, looking now at my distorted reflection on his glass. I looked at myself, hard. Evaluating.
I was ugly. How could anyone even bear to look at me? I was a mutant. A mistake. A waste of space…
I looked down, staring at what I was drawing. On the parchment, there was random various lines, seemingly of no pattern. I heard a silent splat, a single tear hitting the paper. I was overly emotional. I pushed my chair back, standing up. I took a deep breath, trying to hold back the emerging break down. It failed. I cried like a dragonet. I was weak. I was stupid. I was worthless.
No one liked me. Whirlpool didn’t like me. I didn’t like me.
Before I knew it, a knife was in my hand, prepared to do as it was told. I was scared. Should I? Could I? Why? More tears fell, like an endless waterfall. I didn’t know what to do. If I was gone, no one would miss me. No one would care. Should I?
There was a metallic clatter as I dropped the knife to the floor, crumpling onto my desk. A long incision sliced through the scales under my arm. Dark, red, hot blood leaked out, red trails leading down my arm, landing on the drawing I made. Tears mixed with the blood, I cupped my wound to my chest, the pain excruciating. I suffered. Why?
Because I had no need to exist. I was better off dead. No one loved me. No one cared about me. A total of two dragons knew I existed. I ruined my relationship with both of them. I was better off dead, those two would be much happier. I would be much happier.
I looked to the floor, a massive amount of effort to open my eyes through the pain and suffering. The knife lay there, my blood dripping off the end, into a small, growing puddle. Should I?
A new shock of pain jolted my body as I moved my arm to examine the cut. I collapsed back onto my desk, my eyes forced closed. After a few seconds, the pain subsided enough for me to open my eyes barely. In my view was Frill, staring at me. His little fins were beating furiously at his sides and his tail wavered behind him. He looked concerned. I placed a claw into his bowl, moving slowly so I didn’t hurt myself anymore. He always calmed down when he knew I was okay. The little fish seemed to relax, turning and wiggling away to my claw, nipping it friendlily once. I cried more. Blood ran down my arm and dripped into his water, the red liquid dispersing rapidly, like smoke. I cried more.
My vision started to haze as another pang of hurt made its way to me. The edges overcame me, dark blackness taking over my study. And I welcomed it. I wanted everything to end. I wanted it all to go away. I wanted to die.
I felt like I was going to throw up. I didn’t, but I was pretty close. I opened my eyes, which were crusted with salt, most likely dried tears. I lifted my head, awaking a quaking headache. I recoiled a little, but rose my head all the way up. My hand had fallen out of Frill’s bowl, which was now filled with pinkish water. I looked down at my desk. The picture I had drawn was gone, on the floor presumably, I was just staring at black wood. And a dried blood slick. I peeled my arms out of it, the sticky substance clinging to my dark blue scales. I was confused. Where did it all come from? Then I noticed the cut on my arm again. It was scabbed over, my body trying it’s hardest to repair the damage it did to itself. I wanted to cry again, but forced myself to be strong. I stood up, taking in the look of the room. Everything looked normal, except for the knife on the floor, caked with my blood. I leaned over with great effort and retrieved it, bringing it outside.
The sunlight was blinding. It was around noon. I wanted to cry. I held it back and walked slowly on unsteady legs to the shallows. A small red crab skittered out of the sand, rushing to the safety of the water. I paid him no mind, kneeling down by the ocean and cleaning the blade of the knife. I washed my wound while I was at it. It stung awfully, but it needed to happen. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.
I walked back into my study. On the dark floor was a yellowing piece of parchment. I picked it up, examining it. It was covered in random lines, no order whatsoever. I liked it. It was like me.
I held it out farther, like my mother had done with her paintings, and squinted at it. I don’t know why she did that, but I felt I needed to. Then, I saw it. It was amazing. I couldn’t forget it now. I don’t want to forget it now.
The random lines I had drawn weren’t random. At least, now they weren’t. The lines crossed over each other unaccountably, creating intersections and crosses. But, when you don’t focus on the problem, the answer is clear. My mom always said that. Now I understood. The random lines made in image. An image of a dragon. An image of a beautiful dragon.
An image of me.
I couldn’t believe it, but it had to be me. It wasn’t Whirlpool, there was no earring or eyes ridge stripes. No, it had to be me. And I looked better. I was blotted with blood and tears, but I was still beautiful. I was inspired, suddenly.
Maybe what I thought was true. Maybe…
“Betta?” asked a familiar voice behind me. I jumped, dropping the drawing. I twirled around, ripping my wound back open. I yelped silently, unable to stop my spinning body. I landed reversed, staring at the entrance of my study. Staring at the very dragon I wanted to see most.
“Hero!” I exclaimed, my emotions going berserk from seeing the traitor.
“Betta...what…what happened to you?” he asked, creeping closer to me. I didn’t flinch.
He must mean my cut, “Oh, it’s nothing, I just…” I tried to act normal and not huddle it close to me. It was difficult. “fell.” I replied simply. Hopefully, he didn’t pursue the topic.
He didn’t. “Oh, well, I came to tell you something.” He looked nervous.
“Yeah, I want to say…” he paused, “that Whirlpool might like you. I don’t know. I didn’t read his mind. Or yours.”
This surprised me, “Really?” I felt bad now for kicking him out…
Oh, there was more.
“And that…he may not…but…” he looked into my eyes. His red ones a swirling pool of emotion. “I do.”
Now, I was really shocked. He likes me? He continued, not taking his eyes off mine, “I love you Betta. I understand if you like Whirlpool more, bu-” he was cut off abruptly. I kissed him. I don’t care. Whirlpool doesn’t like me, I could tell by his voice, eyes, expression. Hero did though. He loved me. That’s all that matters, right?
Part 3: Making Matters Worse
After what seemed like a week, but was really a month, something major happened. But let me backtrack, so you understand…
After I kissed him for the first time, I was empowered to write and finish my story. Hero helped me a little, creating a new character that joined in named Koromo, who fell in love with Kohaku, a character I created with a personality similar to mine. I eventually finished, but still hadn’t sent it to Whirlpool, as it sat on my desk collecting dust.
I hung the picture of myself up on my walls, bloodstained and smudged with tears. I liked it. It made me feel closer to my mother, Arrowana, who was an artist. Hero said he had no family left, though he showed no emotion. I found that sad in itself. Then again, I had no family left either, unless you count my step-father, Shubunkin. He was in prison. I never met him, but I don’t ever want to. He murdered someone from the council a while back.
Today, I left my study to go to the Summer Palace and see if I could find Whirlpool to give him my story. I placed it in a waterproof case and I said goodbye to Hero and waded into the water, beating my tail to force myself into the powerful current that lead to the palace. As I traveled, I saw something, something strange. Something scary.
In the ocean, underwater, there was a dragon. It wasn’t a SeaWing. It wasn’t dead. It was a female, her image would forever haunt my vision. She was giant, taller than Hero, with dark scales. The darkest black I’d ever witnessed, they seemed to absorb the light around it instead of reflecting. Her eyes were a glowing green, staring at me. Chills ran down my spine. The dragon had green spines on its back, thin and pointed. The dragon was also covered in jewelry and piercings, in just about everywhere, including through her throat. The dragon opened its mouth to reveal the inside’s skin to be the same sickly green as its eyes and spines. She charged at me, prepared to rip me apart. I didn’t fight, I knew I was going to die.
I was surprised when I didn’t. I didn’t even feel anything. I opened my eyes, my gills closed shut as well, to see that the dragon wasn’t there. Did I imagine it? Probably. I shrugged it off, though I knew I would never forget the dragon. Her dead eyes staring, unblinking.
I tried not to think until I reached the entrance, shoving the reeds aside as I plunged into the tunnel. I slowed down and popped above the surface. The palace was awake, but there was little to no dragons out flying around. It was weird. I jumped from the water and headed to the ‘Publication’ cave that Whirlpool ran. I flapped my wings hard to reach it, though Whirlpool was just jumping out, getting in my path. I screamed just before we crashed, alerting him. I don’t think it helped. We both recovered after a second and landed on one of the levels of the pavilion in the center of the palace.
“I’m sorry, Halfmoon. I didn’t see you!” He exclaimed. I was confused for a second, forgetting my penname.
“Oh, no. It was my fault. I have my scroll. It’s completed. I want you to do a full editing, make notes or whatever, make sure it’s perfect.” I said, I was getting better at communicating, but was still awkward. I hated that about myself…I still didn’t tell Hero I tried to…he doesn’t need to know…what would he think…I’m weird…that I have problems…focus, Betta, focus. Listen to Whirlpool.
“Oh! Great! I’ll start as soon as I can. I’ll send you a letter when I’m done.” He said, snatching the scroll greedily. I smiled secretly, he liked it. Yay.
“Alright, hope you like my ending!” I added, already fleeing. I waved goodbye, turning and diving for the exit. I sighed in relief. There was no tension from him. Only me.
I didn’t know anything anymore. I thought I like Whirlpool, but I like Hero. I thought I was an awful writer, but I’m actually good. I thought I was hated…never mind. I didn’t allow myself to think about that anymore. Hero loves me. That’s all that matters.
When I returned to my island, I was greeted by Hero, standing on the beach. He was looking at something on the sand. I walked over to him, water running off my scales. Half buried in the sand was a curved object. It looked like a tooth, but it was stained black. Hero was staring at it, dumbfounded. I tried to pick it up, but Hero seized it first. He looked at it then threw it into the ocean, panic in his eyes.
“Hero? You okay?” I asked, reaching my talon to stroke his shoulder. He shied away,
“Irmfine.” He mumbled, not blinking. He was not fine. He was worried. About what I had no clue what for.
“No you’re not.” I tried to look him in the eyes but he stared over my head. Stupid me, I’m too short. He pushed me aside roughly, I landed in the sand, and took flight for the mainland. I was confused and hurt. Why wouldn’t he listen? Was it my fault? I stood back up and watched as his black form disappeared to a speck in the clouds. I sighed, hoping he would return. I hoped, hoped so hard, that my Hero would come back. That my Hero would come back and save me again.
I got a letter after about a month. It was from Whirlpool, about my scroll. I’ll write what it says…
I finished the story. I would like to know if you came up with a title for it yet, or if you couldn’t. I can gladly assist in that process. On a different note, I found the story to be very likable. I edited a few minor issues, but nothing majorly plot-changing. I found certain characters, like Chaogi, Hi, and Kikkoryu to be very likable. I also enjoyed the many plot twists that intertwined throughout the entirety of the novel. I adored the ending and I like the lovely twist of having the antagonist have a happy ending. It would be divine if I could start the copying process the instant my edits are accepted. This story will definitely be a required reading for the dragonets, if, that is, you accept.
Also, those characters Koromo and Kohaku, they were my favorite. Especially Kohaku. She was the perfect mix to the story. I personally felt she deserved better, more like Ogon.
It was a pleasure to read your writing and I hope to hear from you soon.
It made me feel weird. Especially the second paragraph. Kohaku was me, with different scales. Koromo was Hero as a SeaWing. And the strangest part; Ogon was supposed to be like Whirlpool himself. I wondered if he picked up on that, or was just talking about the story. He was probably talking about the story. I hope he was talking about the story.
I wrote back to him, I told him it would be awesome if he could make it a required reading and he can start the publication. And I told him to title the story Lost and Afraid. I don’t know why. It didn’t really have anything to do with the story, but I felt that was what I felt when I was writing it.
I must have mentioned something about my depression or hinted at it because the next day I got another message from him. It said that if I was feeling sad, he was always there. And said that I could always see someone. I felt bad to make him worry about me, so I sent him a letter. I included my real name. Maybe that was what was causing me so much stress; I was lying to him the whole time. It did feel great to lift it off my shoulders, but not enough.
I still haven’t heard anything from Hero, and I was getting worried. Was he okay? Was he hurt? Lost? I think I’m overreacting. I do that too much. I need to stop.
I talk to myself. Is that weird? Wait…I just did it…oh well.
I was still waiting for Hero after a few more days. Whirlpool sent me a copy of Lost and Afraid, printed on waterproof parchment and ink. I read it over. I liked it, but it could be better. Whirlpool definitely has a magical touch, because I read it over before I gave it to him and it seemed pretty choppy, but now it was smooth and flowing. Like water. It was amazing for me, my best work.
“Well,” I muttered, placing the scroll down after reading it for a second time, “onto the next.” I walked over to my desk, my arm still scabbed over and hard to maneuver. I plopped into my chair, scrapped raw from my navy scales, and found my feather quill. I pulled a piece of parchment over, preparing to brainstorm. I decided to write a story, but I didn’t know what it should be about. SkyWings? No. SeaWings? I just did one, I’m out of names. RainWings? Maybe…
I can make a story for that. NightWings. Oh, this will be good. I could include…Throatslitter? Jawcrusher? Weaponbearer? Thorngatherer? Yes. I like those names. Weaponbearer can be the prota-
My thoughts were cut off by a dull thud outside. I strained my neck to see if if could make anything out from my chair, but to no avail. I shrugged, ignoring it. Bu after a few more minutes, it thudded again. I was aggravated now, the sound made me mess up my letter O. I shoved my chair back with a loud rattle and stalked over to the entrance of my study. There seemed to be nothing outside, so I took a step farther out. I was a little nervous. I walked all the way out onto the beach, looking over the ocean. There was nothing.
But that was a mistake. I didn’t see the two dark shapes hovering above me. I was oblivious to their plans. Their terrible plans.
All I felt was a heavy force hit my back with bone-crushing force, sending me collapsing to the sand. My vision faded rapidly, but I made out the shape of a black talon land by my head.
Part 4: Truly Lost and Afraid
Again, I felt like I was going to throw up. My head hurt. My back hurt. My legs hurt. My brain hurt. I wanted to sleep forever. I didn’t want to wake up and find out what happened. I didn’t want to know where I was. I just wanted to be innocent.
But I was forced awake. Something prodded my side, poking at my dark scales. I rumbled and rolled over, hoping the annoyance would disappear. It didn’t. I growled and opened my eyes, trying to adjust to the dim light of the room. It seemed like I was in a…cave…but one wall was solid glass. On the other side were six black shadows. One was practically pressed against the glass. It was a little unnerving, that this guy was so eager to…I don’t even know. I don’t think I want to.
A light flickered once and then flashed on the other side, with the shadows. It revealed the six dragons there. They were all NightWings. I made a mental note on what they looked like, to keep for my upcoming story. I did a mental facetalon, why was I thinking about that when I should be worrying about my life. That story may never happen.
One, the one pressed against the wall, had oversized blackish purple scales with black underscales. His snout was crooked and a broken pair of glasses rested on his snout. His orange eyes were fixed on me intently, hungry for whatever he was going to do to me. On his snout, from his right horn to his nostril, a ragged scar trailed through his eye. He seemed blind in the eye that was shredded. His tail curled next to him, it was unusually thick, like my own.
To his right, looking stoic and impatient, a regal NightWing stood. His scales were dark midnight blue with silver underscales. He was glaring at the other dragon angrily, shouting something inaudible through the glass. He wore a thick, cobalt plate over his chest, it looked as if it was made to fit only him. His icy purple eyes locked on the one with glasses.
Behind him was another dragon. She had dark scales covered in miscellaneous spots of lighter grey. Her spines on her back were painted a bright, painful pink. She looked bored, like she just wanted to leave and commit felonies or something. Not the dragon I would like to be on the same side of the glass on.
To the left of the purple dragon, another purple dragon stood. She had paler scales, and more purple than grey. Her underscales were an even lighter purple, slightly pinkish. She looked confused and like she didn’t want to be there. She kept glancing at the blue dragon impatiently. Eventually she sighed and crossed her arms, rolling her eyes. I smiled, finding it funny.
And, to my great discomfort, behind the blue NightWing, stood a familiar dragon. She had pitch black scales, including her underscales. Her eyes were locked on me, green and unblinking. The five studs sticking through her throat were unmistakable. It was the dragon from the ocean. I was confused, but I was more intimidated. She was by far the largest dragon in the room, able to see clearly over the pile of dragons collecting on the glass. Her neon green spines shook as she shivered, never taking her eyes off me.
But, certainly the most horrifying dragon there: Hero. I gasped out loud when I saw him, standing among these…others. What was he doing here?! This didn’t seem like a desirable place to be, even for NightWings. I collected myself as far from the glass as I possibly could, staring at the wall. How could he be here? Where am I anyway? Who are they? What do they want? I continued to ask myself questions until the screech of a microphone turning on. I winced, covering my ears. The microphone was tapped three times, then was filled with the strangest voice I’d ever heard. It sounded…insane.
“Miss SeaWing, welcome to our fabulous facility! This is my wonderful laboratory in which I plan to use to enhance the NightWings as a species!” The grey-purple dragon spread his arms wide, grinning happily. He continued to speak, “I am the head, and only, scientist. I am known to many as ‘that insane lunatic’, but you can call me Longscar.” The blue dragon next to him showed no emotion, ignoring the silent conversation the bright purple dragon was trying to uphold. “You, Miss SeaWing, will be a major step in the betterment of our species. No harm shall come to you, if you obey.” His grin snapped back to a stoic countenance. Fear ran down my spine within seconds. Obey? What were they-?
“Now,” he started again, cutting me off. “I shall send in Eon. She shall fetch you and pull you out of the Glass Room and into my Office.” Longscar pointed to the black and green dragon, signaling her to ‘fetch’ me.
But I didn’t want to obey.
Again, I was in a deep state of depression. I had lost Hero, who I still don’t know the deal with. Was he good? Bad? I don’t know…I didn’t care about my health anymore, I knew I was a goner. I knew I was dead. So, why should I listen? I know, I’m not like that at all. I’m the ‘goody two shoes’ character who always tells the truth, always is kind, and is always selfless. But let me tell you something, if you were in this situation, would you sit there and let them test on you? Let them hurt you? I sure hope not…
The massive dragon entered, I don’t know how or where from, but she was advancing towards me. I was so scared, I could have just fainted. Right there.
Think like Asagi, I told myself, be brave. Don’t let them take you. I was then filled with adrenaline, it rushed into me, exciting me for no reason, I launched at the NightWing, catching her by surprise. I latched onto her snout, clamping it shut with my talons. I swung my body, much less than gracefully I must add, onto her back, letting go of her mouth and trying to scratch her gem-like scales. She roared in protest, heaving my off with a twist of her sinewy body. I landed on the rough, hard floor, sliding a few tail lengths. I struggled to stand back up, but I was pinned back down before I could. Eon’s cold talon rested forcefully on my throat, pure fury in her eyes. She looked like she was ready to kill me then. I could barely breathe, the pressure over my windpipe building.
“Eon!!” Someone shouted, the weight lifted immediately. The black dragon whipped her head around, snarling. The grey dragon with the pink spines stomped over, looking terribly irked. “Eon, we need this dragon. You can’t kill her,” She looked down at me, “no matter how much I do too.”
“You can’t tell me what to do, Silhouette,” Eon stood up, dwarfing the other NightWing. Silhouette didn’t react, “I am the strongest out of all of us. I protect us. I defend us from Morrowseer, Battlewinner, and Mastermind. If you want to question me, then walk right out of that door,” she hissed in her face, pointing to the way she came in to the glass room, “and get your sorry butt out of my sight. I can crush you. I will crush you. Now, go away before I singe your- Hey?! Where do you think you’re going?!” she shouted at me as I tried to slink away during the argument. She grabbed my wing, crushing one of the bones inside. I yelped in pain as she dragged me out of a hidden door, followed by Silhouette, who was grumbling curses under her breath.
“Now, Miss SeaWing,” Longscar started.
“I have a name.” I hissed, angered by the nickname he had given me.
“Excuse me, what?”
“I said ‘I have a name’.” I repeated, glaring at him.
“Oh, yes. I know. You don’t need a name here, you are the only SeaWing for miles.”
That upset me. Much more than it should have. “That doesn’t give you a reason to call me ‘Miss SeaWing’.” I retorted in the most mocking voice I could muster, “If you want to call me that, I’ll just call you ‘that insane lunatic’. Or NightWing number 3.”
“No, you will call me Longscar.”
“I will call you Longscar, if you even bother to ask what my name even is!” I snapped. Could you tell I was in a bad mood? Really? How did you know?
“That information is irrelevant.” He commented, averting his eyes from me and looking at the machine before him. I practically had smoke coming from my ears. I glanced at the sensors stuck onto me, checking my nerves and pulse. With one exaggerated movement, I tore each of them off, standing defiantly in the center of his office tank: a smaller version of the glass box. He looked up, then noticed the cords on the floor and how they weren’t connected to me. His face contorted in fury, “How dare you defy me! What is the meaning of this rebellion?! You are here to help the NightWings!” he shouted, pounding on the thick glass.
“Why do the NightWings need help? I thought you guys were ‘all-powerful’ and invincible. Why do you need the help of some old, helpless, useless, stupid, ugly SeaWing?!” I shouted, lashing my tail against the wall.
Longscar looked baffled, his eyes shifting around. He looked away, biting his lip, “Um,” he said, “we need…some DNA for…a…new prophecy.” He said, though it sounded a lot like a question. I wasn’t going to say anything about it though, I just wanted to leave.
“If I give you some of my DNA can you let me go?” I asked, preparing to cut myself again.
“No, you must stay here. I cannot have you telling the SeaWings about our island, even though I don’t agree with the NightWings, I have to keep us safe.” He said stubbornly.
“What other NightWings?” I asked, then remembered a name, “Do you agree with Morrowseer?” I asked.
He looked dumbfounded, “Uh, no, we don’t. He thinks that Blister is a good ally. He thinks she can make everything alright for us again. I doubt it, though. He spends too much time with her anyways. She seems…shifty.” He rambled, “Wait…how do you know about Morrowseer?” he asked, turning back to me.
“I met him. He seems very powerful and not easily beaten. I doubt Eon could protect you from him, he’s even bigger than her, and older. He could crush all of you at once.” I threatened.
“Well, Blackheart wouldn’t allow that. No one can even come close to this island, not even the other NightWings. We have a secret island off to the north of the main island. He keeps everyone away from here.” He said proudly.
I scoffed, “Wow you are bad at keeping secrets.”
I could tell he did a mental facetalon, just by his wide eyes. He was sputtering and blubbering like an idiot now. It was funny.
“Can I go now? I have things to do.” I growled impatiently.
“No!” Longscar shouted, strutting towards the door, “Hero!! You’re in charge of the SeaWing.” He shouted on his way out, the wooden door slamming behind him. There was an expectant minute while I waited for Hero. I would finally get to talk to him.
Eventually he entered, his body first, his head was still out in the hallway, shouting something about getting a decent meal. He turned around and saw me standing pathetically in the glass box. I stepped closer to the glass, touching it with my talons. It was cold.
Hero slowly moved closer, sitting in Longscar’s chair. He stared at me with his dark red eyes, and I met his with mine. I didn’t know what to feel, happy? Sad? Angry? Relieved? Betrayed? Honestly, I didn’t really care right now. I just want to talk to him.
“Hero,” I croaked, breaking the silence, “I need to know.” I choked. He sat up straighter in the seat. “Who are you, Hero?”
A smirk lit up his face. “Well, Betta, I’ll tell you. I think you deserve to know.” He said, leaving onto Longscar’s desk, prepared for a long speech.
“I am not who you think I am, Betta. I am not wonderful. I am not caring. I am not strong, smart, friendly, passionate, loving, or whatever you think of me as. I am just…desperate.” He admitted. “All I’d ever wanted was to get away from the main tribe, Morrowseer, Battlewinner, and the rest of the dying dragons. When I heard about Blackheart, I was still young, only nine, and I wanted so badly to be cool like him.” he pounded the table, looking down at the pale wood, a single tear falling, “You don’t know, Betta,” he looked back up with his tear rimmed eyes, “You don’t know how bad. I was desperate. So very desperate. I committed crime after crime, trying to get him to notice me, take me in. He never did. He never knew I existed!” Hero cried, hitting the desk again. I stood there, just accepting the information. Attempting to process it all. “And, as an act of pure hope, desperation, insanity, any of those names work, I murdered Scaleplacer. That got me in some serious mud, so I fled the kingdom, arriving eventually, with you.” He said, I think getting past the emotional part or the back story. “I lied to you Betta. Everything I said to you was a lie. I don’t love you. I never did. I don’t care about your novel. I don’t care that you tried to kill yourself. I used you. I used you to get here, with Blackheart.
He said that he needed a dragon to help him with something before I left the night kingdom, and he said that the dragons who received a black talon would be able help him. That is why I left. I came here. I told him about you. About how I could get a SeaWing easily. So, I sent Eon over with me to get you.
I believe we are all up to date, now.” He finished, staring blankly at a strange machine in the corner of the room. Again, I didn’t know how to feel. But one thing stood out before all of the others: pain. It was in the center of my chest, and it was the only thing real. It bloomed slowly, but when he said ‘I don’t care that you tried to kill yourself’, it exploded. I staggered back, clutching my talon onto my chest. What was this pain? Why did it hurt? Did Longscar do something to me?
It was Hero.
He did the most sinful crime one could do.
He broke the heart of an innocent.
I never knew he was using me. He never acted like he was until he left me before I was brought here. I let go of my heart, slowly rising my gaze from the floor to the smug NightWing outside the glass. The pain was replaced with fury and depression, a vicious turmoil of horrible emotion. I collapsed against the glass, tears streaming once more. I cried terribly, not hiding the screaming sobs like normal females do. I wanted Hero to see my pain, I wanted him to feel the hurt he had caused.
He made me trust him. He made me love him.
Now he had made me hate him.
“Rise and shine, Miss SeaWing!” Longscar called over the intercom. I was already awake, laying on the floor of the original glass room, cowering against the far wall. Ocasionally, Hero would pass by the glass, not looking at me to see the awful glower I was shooting at him.
Eon walked by the glass, strolling past to somewhere more important. I had come up with a stupid, distressed idea last night. I didn’t sleep at all, I was ironing out all of the imperfections. And now was the time to execute my awful, dire plan.
I flashed my stripes as bright as I could, all of them at once, shouting something about everything all at once. Like I had hoped, she stopped in her tracks, confused by the sudden outburst from the SeaWing. I flashed them repeatedly, slowly walking to the glass. The massive NightWing lumbered over to me as well, staring at me with her unsettling, unblinking eyes. I shouted as loud as I could, hoping she could hear through the thick glass, “I need to speak to you! Come here! I promise I won’t hurt you, I doubt I could even land a hit!” I complimented. A smirk attempted to break her stoic face, just a slight twitch of her lip. I was relieved inwardly, again. She walked over, out of view, then the hidden door opened with a crack. She stepped in, leaving the door slightly cracked. She looked angry, but I think that was just her snout.
I held my talons over my head in a sign of truce. She did the same. She came closer, and I was in her shadow. I was short for a dragon, too, so this didn’t boost my confidence or self-esteem.
“What did you need me for, SeaWing? If you are trying to escape…” she growled, showing her menacing teeth.
“No. No. I wouldn’t, especially with you in my way. Why would I even ask you to escape? You are too smart for that.” I tried more flattery.
“Okay, it was nice the first time, but I get it. Enough sweet talk. What do you want me for?” she asked flatly. I dropped the act, hoping she could still act ladylike.
“I just want to talk.”
“What? About what?”
“I need to talk about…Hero.” I said, not able to look at her. I hoped she would speak.
“Hero? What about him?”
“I…um…what do you think about him?” I asked, trying to start the conversation of easily.
“I like him. He’s okay. He’s very handsome, though.” She said, her blank snout breaking with a bright blush. Good, she actually acts normal.
“Oh, he’s very handsome. I fell in love with him, you know, the whole deal. We kissed. All of that.” I mentioned. Eon gasped,
“Really?” she exclaimed, suddenly reeling herself in afterwards, “That…that…what happened? He…he brought you here? I thought I…I thought I liked him…”
I felt bad now. Could you imagine? I’m half this dragon’s size, and I feel bad for her, even though she could crush my skull in a heartbeat. “I don’t know…” I looked to the floor, “he just…” I ontinued, telling the entire story from when I met Hero to now, leaving out my suicide part. I was ashamed of that, but I felt close to that feeling again.
After I finished, Eon was thinking, it looked like a struggle. “I’m sorry. I never feel that way, but it sounds like that really hurt. Something similar happened to me, but different…” she said, tapping unconsciously on a piercing on her right wrist. She looked like she had been waiting to actually talk with another female forever.
“Oh, I’m sorry. You don’t need to say it, but sometimes it helps the pain.” I tried. I was actually become friendly with this dragon. And the best part: I wasn’t dead yet.
“No, I’ll tell you. I think it will help.” She took a deep breath in, slowly exhaling, closing her eyes. She opened them after a minute, ready to tell. “My dad, Woundmender, ironically, got terribly sick. I was always with him when I was a dragonet. We just…connected. He was kind, loving, caring, smart,” Eon continued, tears brimming her eyes. “And he was the best dad anyone could have. One day, I came into his study, he had been acting strange the entire year before, he was more reclusive and antisocial, and so I went in, and he was lying…lying on the floor.” She inhaled sharply, sobs caught in her throat. “I didn’t know what happened because I was only little, but I tried to wake him up. I shook him. I cried. I screamed. I did everything I could.”
I wanted to cry now, too.
“The scientist, Mastermind, and other healers examined his body, and in a few days they figured out what had killed him.” she looked to me, crying heavily now,
“It was Thyen” was all she said, before breaking down crying. I opened my wings, welcoming her into a hug. She accepted, squeezing me tightly. It was a little overwhelming, but I let it go, since she really needed some support.
Thyen, or Thyenosentile, is an old disease, it is extremely rare, but extremely fatal. A dragon is born with Thyen, but it cannot be carried or transmitted to offspring. So you don’t know if you have it ntil it’s too late. It is an awful disease. Many speculate that when the symptoms appear, the disease becomes contagious. The disease itself is a disease of the blood and internal organs. It causes a decrease of oxygen in the bloodstream and the gradual deterioration of the vital organs.
Common symptoms of Thyen are loss of blood clots, labored breathing, less physically active, pain in the abdomen, loss of appetite, vomiting, chest pains, heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and loss of sight or hearing. As I said, it is a terrible disease, once the first symptoms appear, an infected dragon can only wait, as there is no cure to Thyen.
I felt terrible. Losing a family member the Thyen…that must be awful. I hugged Eon back, trying to convey the feelings I felt. After another minute, she released me, wiping tears from her eyes. A smile cracked her expression, “Thanks. I needed that.” She said, standing up. “But don’t think I can just let you go now that we’re friends.” She said, leaving the glass room. I was dumbfounded. I had a friend? That’s a first, since I don’t even know what Whirlpool counted as. An acquaintance? Yeah.
My plan was a fail, since I was still here, but I was happy. And that’s all that matters, right?
Part 5: Down by the Bay...
“Ow!” I shouted, recoiling from the needle that was stabbed into my soft underbelly. The tube attached to the needle filled with a dark red liquid. I hissed, pushing Longscar away. He was taking my blood to get the DNA that he wanted. He weirded me out. She grinned at the liquid inside, gazing through it. He rushed away, squirting my blood into a small vial. He was weird, no wonder he didn’t agree with Mastermind, Mastermind isn’t crazy, at least I hope. If Mastermind was crazy, that would make Longscar normal, which would make me weird. I mean, I am weird, but I’m a decent weird. He is a crazy weird, a bad weird.
“Can I go now? You have my DNA. I’m no use anymore.” I complained. The scientist paid me no attention.
“Come here, everyone! I believe we are done with my experiment.” He shouted, calling the other rebels.
Eon entered first, followed by Hero, which made my breath catch in my throat, and after her came Silhouette, the blue dragon, and the purple dragon. They all gathered around my glass box, Longscar in the middle.
“But Blackheart, I don’t want to do this! It’s boring and it doesn’t help me at all!” The purple dragon complained to the blue dragon, who I suspect is Blackheart, the leader of the rebels.
“Havocwreaker, just…” Blackheart looked like he was through with her selfishness, “…listen. I’ll take you out to eat later, okay?” he asked through clenched teeth.
“…Okay!” She replied cheerily, smiling as if she was the most interested dragon on Pyrrhia. I shook my head in glee. Blackheart must have seem my gesture because he grinned slightly. I blushed, but remained silent in my box.
“What is this, again? It has been so long since you could successfully capture a dragon of another tribe.” Silhouette replied hotly, staring at me intently. I shivered beneath her gaze. I caught Eon’s eyes, I smiled and she smiled back.
“This,” Longscar hissed, “is an immensely important attempt to better the NightWings as a species. I am going to combine the DNA codings for this SeaWing’s bioluminescent stripes and gills and combine them with a recently fertilized egg of a NightWing. This should allow the two DNA strands to attach to the NightWing’s and create a NightWing that can breathe underwater, glowing the dark, and breathe flames!” he shouted, and I was half expecting an evil laugh to escape his maw, but it didn’t happen. “The NightWings will finally have a helpful ability!”
I was confused again. “Wait. Helpful? Mindreading isn’t helpful? Foretelling the future isn’t helpful? What is wrong with you guys?!” I shouted.
The room went dead silence, all of the NightWing’s eyes flitting to one another’s. Had I said something wrong? Probably.
“Excuse me? I hate to interrupt this awkward silence, but I need to go to the bathroom.” I blurted out. I just wanted to break the tension. Eon smirked, the silver stud on the corner of her mouth glinting in the dim light of the rebel island settlement. Silhouette gaped, her mouth slightly ajar. Blackheart chuckled slightly, earning a jealous scowl from Havocwreaker. Hero was unresponsive, staring vacantly at the space to my right. Longscar’s eye twitched.
“Fine. You may use the bathroom.” He allowed me to exit the glass box, escorted by Eon.
“Eon,” I said, turning to her before I entered the restroom.
“I just want to say goodbye. I am going to attempt to escape. This is my last chance.” I admitted. I trusted her now.
“No, you can’t do that. Two reasons, you’re my only friend, and I’ll get in trouble if you don’t return.” She said, worry clouding her eyes. I placed my talon on her shoulder, I had thought out my plan.
“No, you won’t. I’ll leave a note in the bathroom, trust me. It will say that you didn’t help me. As with our friendship, you are always welcome in my home. If this place doesn’t work out, come the SeaWing kingdom. Send a SeaWing to fetch me and I’ll bring you to my home.” I grabbed her talon, she looked sad.
“Okay. I will if this doesn’t work out.” She said, not smiling.
“And one last thing,” I added, opening the door to the lavatory. She looked concerned, “if my plan fails and I am faced with death or capture, I want you to end it for me.” I said, tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it, we only spoke once, and I was trusting my life in her talons. Wow…
“I can’t do that…”
“You have to. Or I’ll do it myself.” I urged, stepping into the bathroom. Eon nodded solemnly, accepting her fate. I felt terrible to have forced that upon her, but neither of us would be able to deal with the guilt if I was captured.
I stepped into the bathroom. It was gross, but all of them were. I ignored everything, pulling a piece of parchment from a niche in my scales, a scrap of paper for just enough. I didn’t have any ink, though. I looked forlornly at my wrist, debating. I decided for it. I raked my claw into my scales, drawing blood. I gasped at the pain, but it was nothing compared to when I…never mind. I dipped my claw into the blood, etching a short note onto the slice. I said that Eon didn’t let me go. I said that I hated this place. I said that NightWings were stupid. And I said that I hated Hero.
I dropped it on the floor, silently inching the door open. Eon was waiting on the other side. She helped me out, read the note. She smiled when she was done and nodded.
“I need you to chase after me while I escape, otherwise they will think I lied.” I whispered, and she nodded. I nodded ready and the great black dragon roared loudly, signaling me to run for my life. I dashed as fast as I could down a long hallway that split at the end.
“Right.” Eon whispered loud enough for me to hear. I was hoping she was letting me out. I turned sharply, hearing the other rebels dashing down the hallway after Eon.
I smiled when I saw the exit. I blasted out of the doors, sliding onto the exterior of the island. It was a sheer drop, at least ten dragon lengths down into dark ocean. There was something glowing red on the horizon, but I ignored it, baffled and stunned by the sudden cliff. I heard shouting in the direction I came, the rebels were almost here. I wasn’t a strong enough flyer to keep myself aloft longer than they could. So, I did what any ridiculously insane SeaWing would’ve done: I jumped.
I regretted it within seconds of the gut-wrenching feeling of freefalling.
Wind rushed past my snout, tearing at my wings and scales. It was almost painful, but not quite. I wanted to scream so badly, but I didn’t for fear of alerting the NightWings. I was dark scaled against a dark ocean on a dark, cloudy day. It would be hard for them to find me anyways. I hit the water with a huge splash, I knew I had revealed myself, but they couldn’t capture me underwater. I beat my tail powerfully, propelling myself forwards through the murky and restless water. There were no fish here and the bottom of the ocean was undiscernible. It was horrifying. I could barely see anything past my snout. I took one deep breath of the water and almost choked, it tasted gross, like it was filled with sewage. It was difficult to intake. I was miserable. I just wanted the warm, white sand and cerulean waters of my home.
I was lost. Which way was the right way? I was never good at finding my way anywhere. I was stupid. I was useless. I wa-
No. Stop. You don’t need to think that now. You need to figure out the right way. I whipped my head around, the drag of the heavy water wearing on my weak muscles. I was tired from running, swimming, and still in shock from the cold water and escape, not to mention my wrist was still leaking my blood into the ocean. I was just feeling weaker and weaker by the second. Maybe I could just take a nap? A short break?
Yeah. I need one. I swam down, and found the bottom was shallow, covered in a strange black sand. I thought it was weird, but I didn’t really care. I floated down, resting on the plush bed. The ground was warm, which was weird, but comforting. I drifted to sleep, a trail of blood trickling past my eyes, reaching for the surface.
Part 6: The End
“Betta?” someone was shaking me. I was waking up slowly, my head was not cooperating. I wanted to wake up and see what was going on. I was scared. I couldn’t though, I was trapped in fatigue. Eventually I managed to open my eyes.
Hanging over me was a set of eyes, and dark green scales. A worried expression on his snout. When he saw my eyes open, he smiled greatly. “Betta! Oh, I’m so glad you are awake!” he said, embracing me in an awkward hug. I was lying in a cot in the healer’s hut in the Summer Palace. I managed to mumble one word:
“Whirlpool.”, my mouth would barely open, but the word was understandable. He smiled immensely, his small teeth white and sharp. He hugged me again. I didn’t remember anything after…I bolted upright, knocking Whirlpool off, who looked astonished. I quickly surveyed the healer’s hut, in it were two terribly ruined soldiers, one of them was already close to death’s doorstep. Thankfully, there was no one I was looking for. I sighed in relief, sinking back to my bed. Whirlpool returned to my bedside,
“Betta, what’s wrong?” he sounded genuinely worried.
“I…I just thought…never mind.” I tried to wave it away, but Whirlpool insisted. “Well, it’s just…” I was trying to think, but my brain wouldn’t work. “I think I was just seeing things.” I lied. He nodded, easily relieved.
“Well, I know you aren’t in the perfect shape at the moment, but…” he said, trying to hide a flood of excitement, “the students read Lost and Afraid, and they loved it!” he exclaimed, almost jumping up and down. Just him being happy made me happy. I grinned and he leaned closer, holding more joyous news. “And, they requested a sequel!” this time he actually did jump up and down.
A medicine dragon with teal scales scolded him, then turned back to tend to the wounded soldiers. Whirlpool froze, then returned to normal position, a bright blush overpowering the green of his scales. He scratched the base of his skull, grinning an embarrassed smirk. I laughed and got scolded too.
Then we both laughed and couldn’t stop. Eventually, the healer decided I was fit to leave and sent me on my way, telling Whirlpool to come with me to make sure I was fine. The two of us made fun of the teal dragon when we were out of hearing reach, imitating her facial expression and voice and failing terribly. I said it was because we were having too much fun.
And Whirlpool said it was because she was ugly. This struck me as odd, but I didn’t mention anything to him, as I was trying too hard to think. “Whirlpool, I need your help. If the dragonets want a sequel, can you be my co-author? It would really mean a lot to me.” I said, turning to face his snout. His golden earring caught on the sunlight that flooded green through the jungle canopy above the stony island in which the palace resides. He gawked at me and I wondered if I had said the right thing. Had I been too blunt? Could he tell…?
“Yes!!!” he shouted, throwing himself at me, clasping my shoulders with his talons. I was surprised, but didn’t complain. He looked into my eyes with his, both of us unable to stop grinning wildly. I was so happy and giddy, I could just…
He let go of me, looking away. I sighed inwardly, but the release was probably for the better, I might have just…and who knows how terribly that would have done me. I could end up dead this time. “So, should we start now?” he asked, the tension breaking.
“Yeah, let’s go to my study, unless you want to write it here?” I suggested. He agreed to my study because it was more private. Again, this was strange. Did he feel…? Maybe…hopefully…
The two of us exited the palace, and I found to my great dismay that I was an awful swimmer. I had never swam beside another dragon to compare myself, but I was bad. He had to wait for me a bunch of times, as I dragged behind, weakened by the lack of food I had received for weeks. I was even struggling to breath, despite the crystal clear water and warm sun. I felt like I was dying when I reached my Scale. I beached myself on the sand, gasping for breath. Whirlpool looked concerned, “Are you okay, Betta?” he asked, sitting down next to me. I nodded,
“I’m just…hungry.” I croaked. He nodded determinedly and set off to bring me some food. I struggled to my talons, limping lamely over to the cave I write in. As I entered, I was hit by a wave of sadness: Frill was dying. He was hanging on the surface of the water, his gills beating weakly and seldom. I rushed to him, cupping his bowl in my talons. I started him awake and he slowly swam over to me, his little unblinking eyes happy to see his lost friend. I had missed my little me. I rushed outside, Frill clutched under me, and jumped to the air. I beat my heavy wings a few times to gain height and soared to the nearby island, the Eight Hundred – Twenty - First Scale. I landed clumsily, almost smashing Frill’s bowl. I trekked into the thick wood line of the Scale, searching for the one thing that my betta needed.
I found it. Whiplash River, I named it, like everything out here, and I rested Frill on the rocks beside it. I turned to a tree to my left, pulling up a stone that had a strange cupped shape in the center. I filled it with clean water from the river and plucked Frill from his bowl gently and placed him in the stone, as I had done countlessly. I dumped the water from his glass bowl and replaced that as well. I picked up a small stone from the riverbed, it was soft and covered in green algae. I stuck it in the glass container, and promptly dumped Frill back into his rightful home; clean water did everyone a little good. And the little stone was enough food for his lifetime. I carried Frill back, forgetting about the quest I had sent Whirlpool on until I saw his green smear on the beach, calling my name. I did yet another mental facetalon. I forgot him.
I landed next to the scribe, and received a decent amount of useless scolding. “Where were you?!” he asked, “I brought you this,” he gestured to a huge yellowfin flopping on the dry sand of my beach, “to eat and you were gone! Where did you go?!” he asked again. I giggled. He was funny.
“I was just going to take care of my fish.” I tried to sooth him, but it was no use, I just confused him.
“Wait…you have a fish? Are you like…growing it? Like scavengers grow wheat?”
I gasped, “No! I have him as a friend. He keeps me company while I write.” I said, entering my study and placing Frill where he needed to be. Whirlpool followed me in, his head turning slowly to grasp all of the clutter and confusion. I wasn’t the most organized SeaWing out there. I hope that didn’t put Whirlpool off…
His eyes stopped on the picture I drew when I was…sick. He trod closer, looking closely. “What is this?” he asked, cocking his head to the right.
“It’s me. You need to stand back to see it.” I protested, grabbing his talon and pulling him back to show him the SeaWing in the lines. “You see it? In the lower right?” I pointed to it, but he didn’t follow.
“What is that?” he asked, horrified. He meant the red dots and the blotch covering the picture and the small, wrinkled patch where water had fallen.
“Oh, I just…spilled some of my mother’s paints.” I lied again. My Moons did I hate lying, but I didn’t want Whirlpool to know my shameful past. The green dragon seemed to accept that answer. I wanted desperately to break the tension between us, “So, what should we do for the sequel? Same characters? A prequel? A trilogy?” I asked, throwing ideas around.
“How about we do something different. A brainstorm for now. If I can influence the story in anyway, I only wish to have one thing.” He said, looking at me intently. I was worried. I knew what I wanted to happen, but what did he think?
“Oh? What is that?” I asked, dreading what he was going to or not going to say.
“I only want Kohaku and Ogon together.”
I think I died. How many times have I died so far? I think this is the third time.
Whirlpool wanted Ogon and Kohaku together?! Oh I’m sure he knew the connection of the characters now. He knew I was Kohaku. He knew he was Ogon. I was so happy I can’t even express it. I was dreading he would say something other than what he did. “And let’s get rid Koromo.” He continued, “He doesn’t deserve a dragon as great as Kohaku.” He commented. He hadn’t moved his eyes, they were locked on me, seeing if I reacted. Whirlpool didn’t know who Hero was, but he perfectly matched them up. I was so blind when creating Koromo. He’ll have to act like Hero does now…
“Yeah. Koromo can go die.” I said, loving the idea of killing Hero, but I knew I would never be able to. “And,” I continued, “I think Kohaku liked Ogon the whole time…” I said, grinning.
The scribe looked stunned. Had I just said what I thought I said? Did I seriously say that!? What was I thinking? I sure hope I’m sleeping, a crazy dream. I hope I didn’t just embarrass myself this terribly…I wished I was a turtle…
“Do you think she really did?” he asked, blushing. I nodded. He looked nervous, wringing his talons together, “What…what does she like about him?” he asked tentatively. I blushed now too. How was I supposed to put it?! “Well, I think she likes…how honest he is. And how smart and competent he is. He is kind, caring, loving, helpful, and not that horrible to look at.” I added on the end with a chuckle. He laughed as well. “Well, Ogon likes Kohaku, too. He thinks that she is magnificently intelligent, creative, talented, humorous, exciting, and adorable.” He added, blushing. Oh Moons, who am I kidding, we were both as red as a SkyWing, gigging like lunatics. This was just an awkward moment for the both of us.
Whirlpool reached out and took my talon, squeezing kindly. He was so sweet. I waited for him to talk again, it was only chivalrous for the male to confess first, or that was how I viewed it. But, I could see that it wasn’t going to come easy: the green dragon looked like he was choking on his words, stuttering and pausing to redo what he said. I tilted my head to the right, a light grin on my dark blue snout. I rustled my red-tipped wings uncomfortably.
Sooner or later, he found the courage to admit. “Betta,” he began, attracting my instant attention. There was a short pause.
“Betta, I…I think I…love you…” he said, he acted as if asking if the sentence was satisfactory. His answer from me: a kiss.
“Kohaku watched as the dramatic events unfolded. Blood. Gore. Death. War. This is the end. The end of sanity. The end of happiness. The end of the SeaWings.” I recited, looking up after the final sentence. A green SeaWing was sitting in a chair opposite mine, taking in the words I had read. “I think,” said Whirlpool, “that that was an awesome opener. The perfect beginning to the story. A nice hook, exciting and depressing at the same time. You are a fabulous fiction writer.” He applauded. I blushed. I did that too much. Especially when he talked to me. My Moons, I was literally a tomato when I was with him. He normally kept his cool, which I loved. It balanced us out, considering I was insane and cluttered and annoying.
“Why, thank you, Whirl. You are too kind. So, you want chapter one, and then we alternate from there?” I asked, placing the scroll down. On the top was the neat scrawl Lost and Found, the title of the sequel. We were going to make a trilogy. Lost and Afraid, Lost and Found, and Lost Forever. I was in charge of the prologue. We still hadn’t had any ideas on what to do for the novel, so I just randomly created the first sentence, seeing if that would do anything.
We sat there for a month, not ideas hitting us. We just sat and enjoyed each other’s company. That just made me love Whirlpool more. And made me hate Hero more.
Eon. I often thought of her. I hoped she would come, I wanted to see her. I wanted to talk to her, to help her. I felt terrible about her father’s death. I wanted her to know that I was there for her. That I could help her.
But she never came.
Her life must be fine over at the rebel base. I hope Morrowseer doesn’t hurt her if he finds them. I don’t really care what he does to Hero, or Longscar. Kill them for all I care. Sorry I sound awful, but after what they did to me, they don’t deserve my respect. Would you agree?
Whirlpool, though. He never did anything bad to anyone. He was kind to everyone. He helped me when I was looking for it. He protected me from depression. He was a hero. Not Hero, a hero.
He saved me.
I was saved by a hero.
And that’s all that matters, right?