A cold dawn crept over the still sands of the south coast of Megalonia, casting golden rays of light across Zoltar’s scaly wings. He stirred as the sun warmed his back, driving away the damp cold of the night. Yawning, he looked around, confused. He quickly got to his paws. Where was he?
Then like a giant wave crashing upon the shore, the memories of the previous night flooded over him. The Wisp Talon chase, the race through the maze, the narrow escape from the Death Grippers and the quiet talk on the beach with Felistia. He was on the Moon Talon Coast.
Breathing a quiet sigh, he settled back onto the sand, staring out at the endless horizon of azure blue water. It was a beautiful day, perfect flying weather. If the sky stayed clear they could make it to the Ice Talon Kingdom by early morning tomorrow. They needed to get going though. It might not stay this good the whole day and he wanted to clear the Sulphur Swamps before then.
Getting to his feet, Zoltar walked up the beach towards were he’d left Emerald the previous night. He almost tripped over her before he noticed her perfectly camouflaged shape almost buried in the sand. He half smiled while thinking about how that situation would have played out. Though it was probably a good thing he hadn’t tripped over her. Who knew how she’d react to being woken up like that. He could have ended up with a tail full of her venom be accident. Probably best to wake her softly. The last thing he needed was to bitten by a startled Wisp Talon.
Carefully moving up the beach away from her tail, he gently stroked the tip of her snout. His legs were ridged, ready to spring him out of danger at a moment’s notice.
Emerald didn’t’ move, her slow, even breaths continuing. Gritting his teeth, Zoltar tapped her a little more forcefully on the nose. He leapt backwards, almost tripping on a buried tree root as Emerald shook her snout.
Sneezing twice, Emerald opened her golden eyes, “Zoltar,” she yawned, as he scales settled from flashes of white down to a soft green, “What are you doing?”
“Just thought I should wake you,” Zoltar said, shaking one of his wings. He’d somehow managed to shower himself in sand while jumping back from Emerald, “We need to start flying south to the Ice Talon Kingdom while the weather’s good.”
“Ooh,” she mumbled, blinking sleepily, “Okay then.”
“I’ll leave you to wake up. I need to check on Felistia and Shiraku,” Zoltar said, walking towards to rise Felistia and Shiraku had disappeared behind the night before, shaking his tail and head as he went. He’d never been a big fan of the beach.
He hoped Felistia was in a better mood with him this morning. Last night she’d seemed bitter for some reason. He presumed it had to do with him mentioning the Ice Talon Kingdom. She’d never talked about it much on the island and when she had, she’d always been evasive about the subject.
Upon reaching the top of the dune, he was met with an empty beach. Felistia and Shiraku were nowhere in sight. He walked further, scanning the beach and waves. Had they left?
“Morning sleepy claws…. how’s the day?” a slick voice hissed from behind him. Resting on the sand, half hidden by the shade of the trees was Felistia. She looked hot and kept glaring up at the sun in an irritated way.
Zoltar breathed a soft sigh of relief. Of course she wouldn’t be lying directly in the sun.
“Pretty hot a guess, especially for you,” Zoltar shrugged, stretching his wings to full height, so that they gleamed and shimmered like polished crystal. “Have you tried the sea. It would help you cool down?” Zoltar suggested, pointing at the sparkling blue water as he moved over to sit by Felistia.
“I hate salt, it sticks to my scales and makes them itch terribly for days before I can lick all of it off.” Felistia hissed, shaking her head.
Just then Emerald appear over the dune. Her scales had shifted to a mixture of ivory and spring green swirls. She quietly walked up to Zoltar, standing next to him as she sat down onto the golden sand.
“Hey,” Felistia said, waving a wing at Emerald, “You feeling better?”
“Yes, thank you,” Emerald said a little shyly, “Thanks for helping me yesterday.”
“No problem,” Felistia shrugged as she began to lick the sand off her ice blue claws.
“Hi guys! Glad to see you up,” Shiraku yelled, leaping onto the beach. She shook the sea water off her scales, sending it splattering over Zoltar, Felistia and Emerald.
Hissing angrily, Felistia sprang back from the shower of salty water, bumping into Emerald and sending the two of them tumbling onto the butter yellow sand.
“Oops, sorry Felistia,” Shiraku snickered, watching the two dragons untangle themselves “I brought some fish if anyone is hungry? There are huge shoals of them out there.”
“Well you are certainly in a good mood,” Felistia growled, shaking herself dry.
“I can swim again. Do you know how long it’s been since I had a morning swim in the ocean?”
Felistia rolled her eyes, “I have a feeling we’re about to find out.”
“It’s been months and you can’t count the swims in the lake. It’s not the same as salt water. There’s something about the way it tickles your gills and the currents pull at your tail. Oh, I have missed it.”
She padded back into the water and dragged out two massive silver tuna.
Zoltar’s mouth watered at the sight of the two fish gleaming in the sun.
Felistia turned up her nose, “I’m good thank you.”
She proceeded to lick the drops sea water off her scales, occasionally casting glares at Shiraku, who took little to no notice at all while she tucked into her fish.
“No thank you,” Emerald replied quickly, her scales turning a pea green, “I’d prefer a squirrel or something.”
She hurriedly rush into the forest, melting into the shadows.
“Something tells me she doesn’t like fish,” Zoltar wrinkled his snout in amusement.
“Well, I love it,” Shiraku said as she sliced a ruby red piece of fish off and popped it into her jaws.
“I kind of like it, though I personally prefer deer,” Zoltar replied, thinking back to when the Shadow Lands had been a paradise for dragons and animals alike. He hoped that the Wisp Talon Island would be similar once his tribe had moved in alongside Emerald’s tribe. He’d just have to wait and see.