A cold shiver shot down Viper’s spine as the last of the copper sun sank below the horizon, the bright oranges and purples fading along with it, the night sky now littered in endless stars. Slowly the three pale moons rose into the sky after one another, finding their place in the dark blue canvas.
Slowly the two dragons began to glide toward the ground, their wings fanned out around them slowing they're decent.
Viper watched as Nuddia tucked her wings in and dived towards the grass floor below. Before she passed the canopy she sprouted her wings out slowing her fall again. The small scales on her wings now a pale color in the light of the three moons.
Diving after her Viper shot through the moonlit leaves sending the small feather-like greenery gliding down to the leaf-littered floor. Wings shooting out from his sides Viper glided down to the soft earthy floor. Landing on the grass-covered floor, Viper watched Nuddia glide onto a tree branch just up ahead, she quickly wrapped her tail around it to keep herself staple.
Looking out to the edge of the forest Viper could see the dark tunnels leading into Twisted Caves, their black gaping holes sending cold shivers down his spine. Attached to the gray rough rock were clumps of moss, the small leafs draping over the hard surface.
Jumping down from her branch Nuddia walked up to the larger cave opening, “We should take this one.” Nuddia said turning to face Viper.
Quickly nodding Viper walked up to the opening, the dark shadows coming from it encasing him in shadows. Cold shivers ran up his body as he thought of the myths the elders had told him when he was a dragonet. The stories of panther-like animals living in these caves, though it is only a myth, he did wish there was another way into Onyx Valley. But they didn’t have time to fly the long way.
‘Here goes nothing’. Viper thought as he walked further down the tunnel. His footsteps suddenly feeling heavy as he slowly walked towards the opening. Viper knew that this was the only way to get to Onex Valley without being detected by other tribes.
Nuddia sniffed the air in the cave, her eyes brightened, looking at Viper she said. “I can smell something in there.” With that she slipped into the cave, her tail fading into the darkness.
With a sigh Viper slowly followed after her, he cringed at the silence that lurked in the cave. He looked around for any sine of Nuddia. But the dragoness was out of sight. With a hiss of frustration Viper quietly called. “Nuddia!”
“Viper come on!” A softer voice called out to him.
Viper could tell that she wasn’t too far ahead, but a bit too far for his liking. Breathing in a large breath he let it sit in his throat until he could feel a burning sensation and slowly the tunnel he was walking through began to light up, as the fire sparked in his mouth. Slowly adjusting to the light he began to slink forward.
He could see Nuddia’s shadow dance along the lowly lit walls. Her nose pressed to the ground as she followed a sent. Quickly Viper hurried after her, when he was next to her he slowed his pace.
“Nuddia I don’t think now is the best time to be hunting.” Viper hissed at her. While flicking his tail like a cat ready to pounds. "Don't you remember the stories the elders used to tell us as dragonets?”
Nuddia looked over her shoulder and gave Viper a frown. “You said you would hunt later, and those were just silly myths. It isn't real. These caves have only been a danger back in the first and second wars. Besides the animals that used to live here in that time are dead." She shook her head, the long black horns on her head shining in the glow of the fire in Viper's mouth. “Look over there.” She jerked her head right, pointing towards a dark shadow.
Turning his head in the direction she pointed in Viper almost jumped back in fright. The orange glow of the fire in his mouth lit up a pile of bones their rough white surfaces untouched. On but further from the pile on bones was the scull, large white teeth spiked out of the open jaws, the small sockets seeming to still hold the look of evil in the animal's face. Quickly looking away Viper walked after Nuddia again.
When they got a bit further into the cave Viper just happens to look done at the ground when he stepped on a stick. What he saw only made him more worried, a nest of large sticks. He leaned down to sniff them, but instead of having a sent hit his nose, some sort of wet substance did. ‘What the?’ Viper thought touching it with his talon. Shaking his head he breathed the fire out of his mouth onto the nest, picking up one of the sticks he carried it in his mouth so he could catch up with Nuddia who had walked further ahead.
As Viper walked he began to notes more stick-like nest along the floor just like the one before. There was just enough space for him to walk without stepping on any of them. Fear began to tug at him as he took a closer look at one. It had small round white eggs in it, the frail things were covered in small sticks to keep them warm and out of view.
Gripping the rough stick harder in his mouth Viper walked up to Nuddia who was also eyeing one of the nests. “What do you think this is? Do you think it could be an old nest form back in the days?” she asked.
With a shiver, Viper shook his head. “I doubt it. I saw eggs in one of the other nests.”
Nuddia’s eyes widened. She knew what that meant just as much as he did. “Are you sure they weren't dragon eggs?” she asked looking down the dark tunnel they just came from.
Viper nodded. “Yes.” Without another word he walked right past the shocked dragoness and carried on down the path they were taking, still holding onto the burning stick with his mouth. He was glad that he had another thing to worry about so he could take his mind off of the mission.
Viper sniffed the air again. He tried to hold back a gag as a revolting smell hit his nose. With a shake of his head, he kept on moving, hoping the smell would pass. Nuddia close behind him. She must have smelt it too, he could hear her let out an ungrateful groan.
“What is that?” she asked as she shook her head and the rest of her golden scaled body.
Shrugging Viper turned down another path, with a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach he kept on moving. Something wasn’t right, they should have gotten out of the caves by know. Where they going round in circles?
‘I guess the caves are a lot bigger than it looks.’ Viper shook his head. Hoping that would help him keep a clear head. They could make it through this, they just had to get through the mountain. Which is a lot easier said than done.
“We should pick up the speed.” Viper called over his shoulder, the best he could with a stick in his mouth. He slowly began to pick up the speed. Having a feeling it was about midday outside.
It felt like hours had passed when Viper finally began to feel like they were almost at the end of their walk through the caves. As he had been walking Viper couldn’t shake off the thought of what the nests he had seen earlier meant. Was there living things in this mountain, or was it what Nuddia had said, were they just old nests from back in the day? Though somehow he didn’t think that was the case.
With a sigh of relief, Viper made his way towards the dim light now flooding into the tunnels. He was just glad that they will make it out… alive anyway.
As Viper stepped out one of the many openings to the caves, he scrunched his eyes closed as the blinding light hit his coal eyes, the fresh air coming from the forest a few miles ahead of them now blew past his face, soothing his aching body.
Viper sighed as the warmth from the sun touched his cold golden scales. It felt like they had been in those caves for years. But he knew they weren’t even in there the whole night. ‘Now that I think about it, it wasn't too hard getting out of there. But I still have the feeling we were being followed.’ Viper shook his head, whatever it was won't follow them out of the caves, but it was best he kept a lookout.
“Come on Viper we should keep moving,” Nuddia said to him, as she walked passed him, her tail wrapped around one of his front legs and pulled him along with her as she walked.
Viper almost tripped over his talons as Nuddia pulled him along. “We should keep an eye out for some pry, we haven’t eaten in hours.” As he finished what he was saying his stomach grumbled out in protest.
Nuddia just gave him a nod, as she kept on moving. Both dragons slowly began to pick up speed as they weaved through the trees, their leaves shaking and falling to the grassy ground below as the two dragons passed. Stopping Viper began to sniff the air, the faint scent of rabbit filling his nose. Going down into a hunting crouch he began to stalk through the undergrowth. But not before he signaled Nuddia to follow him. As he crept through the long grass, he could feel Nuddia stalk away from him and go in another direction. Knowing what she was doing, Viper kept on moving like a panther. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest as the thrill of the hunt began to run through his body. He could hear the small animal moving through the grass, nibbling at it, as it moved.
His eyes turning into slits, he slowly edged further into the undergrowth. The smell of the rabbit filling his nose even more. He could also feel Nuddia's presence close by. It all happened in an instant. He lunged at the fury white animal his talons reached out ready to pin it to the ground. He could see Nuddia's dark eyes on the other side of the small clearing, she was waiting for the rabbit to make a break for it. And just like that, the little hear ball dashed in Nuddia's direction. And then it was all over in an instant. Clamping her jaws shut she quickly killed the helpless animal without a sound.