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Shadow's Rising Chapter 9 (part1)

by dragonight9


Chapter 9

Surge left later that day, meanwhile both Shadow and the dragonets planed how best to achieve their goals while she was gone.

Shadow spent the next day looking for white death berries and capturing prey to use as bait. He had to keep the prey fresh but didn’t want to take the chance of not finding any in the morning. So, even though it pained him to do it, he crippled the young deer he had caught and laid it in dragon valley so no other predators would eat it. He kept watch for Shear who also went hunting that day but never saw her. By the evening Shadow had collected more than enough white death berries and had even gotten over his fear of them. That night the dragonets had gone to bed early, so he hadn’t been able to listen in on their thoughts.

Now, it was morning on the day of the dragonet’s potential freedom. Shadow decided to forgo his training just this once to listen in on the dragonets in case their plan had changed. The morning air was fresh and crisp as Shadow landed in his listening spot. The grass was full of morning dew and the morning sun made everything shine. Shadow could hardly imagine the dragonets waking up in their cold, dark cave every day. They deserved to breath in the fresh air and watch the beautiful sun rise. As he noticed these things Shadow resolved once more to help the dragonets in their escape attempt. Then Shadow took a deep breath and started listening in again.

“I promised to help and I’m not backing out now.” Aurora said in a determined voice.

“I know that. I was just saying that nobody would blame you if you couldn’t fight your best against Shear.” Gale said contemptuously.

“We’re all going to try our best, GALE.” Tempest retorted.

“We’re all going to have to work together which means following a plan.” Hailstorm began. “I think that first we should have-”

“I don’t want to follow your plan.” Gale huffed. “You just make everything too complicated, and we’ll all end up forgetting what were supposed to do and-”

“Well, it’s better than having us tangling up our tails with no plan at all!” Hailstorm retorted.

“Can’t we just…” Aurora started but she was drowned out by Hailstorm and Gale’s arguing. She looked at Boulder who sighed. It was about time to stop the argument. He stepped up to Gale and Hailstorm who were too busy arguing to notice the larger dragon standing over them.

‘Crack!’

“Ow!” Both Hailstorm and Gale howled as their heads were slammed together. Aurora and even Tempest cringed at the sound while Shadow winced as he felt the pain in the minds of the once arguing dragonets.

“You done arguing now? If so, then let’s have a reasonable talk about how we’re going to do this. We only have about an hour before Quake goes out hunting. We’ve got to decide what to do before then.” Boulder said seriously. Gale and Hailstorm got up both rubbing their heads and begrudgingly agreed.

“Good. Now, I think Aurora had and idea.” Boulder said gesturing to Aurora.

“Oh, um. Thanks Boulder. Yes, I do have an idea. It’s just that we need a plan and not a complicated one right? So, we should just have everyone who can’t use magic from a distance like me, Boulder and Tempest all fight up close while Hailstorm and Gale use their magic to attack whenever they can. That way we don’t get in each other’s way.” Aurora explained nervously. Boulder nodded right away and after a moment of thinking the others all agreed. Though Shadow noticed that Gale still didn’t like being outdone.

“Alright, I guess it’s decided. We’ll wait for Quake to go out hunting and take down Shear. Then we surprise attack Quake when he gets back,” Boulder said as he looked at the others to see if anyone disagreed.

“We should wait a little bit just in case he comes back right away.” Hailstorm added meekly. Boulder nodded.

“Anything else?” He asked. Nobody said anything.

“Good. Let’s all rest and get ready. I’m going to go get something to eat,” Boulder said as he walked over to the eating cave.

Shadow nodded to himself. It was time for him to get everything set up for his trap. He had to be careful that Quake didn’t suspect anything was wrong. He had to cover up his scent so that Quake wouldn’t smell him near the body. Then he had to kill the deer and smoosh the berries into it just before Quake left so the scent would be fresh. He had to be close enough to the cave entrance to ensure he found the deer first before he hunted anything else, so he’d eat it. And lastly he had to make sure it worked by listening in on Quake’s thoughts while staying far enough away that Quake wouldn’t notice his presence. It seemed simple but if he messed up and Quake caught him that would probably be the end of Shadow’s story. Still, it was worth the risk for the dragonet’s freedom.

Those dragonets deserve to be free, and I’m going to help them. Shadow thought with determination.

He flew to a small muddy patch in a ditch that always filled with rain so that it never dried and was full of yucky decomposing muck. Shadow had to cover his nose as he stood over the pit. Again, he reminded himself that this was all for the dragonets and jumped into the pit. The smell was all around him and made him want to retch. He quickly rolled around and got himself completely covered in the stuff. Getting out was difficult and with every squelching step he sank up to his knees in the disgusting mud. When he finally escaped from the mud’s grasp the smell lingered all around him which he both hated and was grateful for. Then he flew back to listen in on the guardians. It didn’t take long for Quake to tell Shear he was going hunting and that he’d be back in a little while. Shadow quickly flew back to dragon valley, released the poor deer from it’s suffering with a single claw strike and carried it to a spot near the cave entrance. Then he took out the white death berries he had brought with him and gouged out a hole in the side of the deer, careful to make it rough like a wolf or bear had done it, then he squashed all the berries inside. By the time Shadow finished there was disgusting mud all over the clearing and a bit on the deer, but it was too late to clean it up.

“Hmmm. I wonder what I’ll find today. Hopefully my first snack is a little bigger than a rabbit. Maybe a bear or deer. Yeah, that would be nice.”

Shadow could already hear Quake’s thoughts as he began his hunt. Shadow scrambled away and fled through the forest. Hoping to keep enough distance between himself and Quake not to be noticed. As he ran Shadow wasn’t paying much attention to Quake’s thoughts until he said, “Hmm. What’s this?”

Shadow froze. He couldn’t tell what Quake was looking at and all he could do was hope that it wasn’t him.

“Quite the smelly catch I must say. Though it seems someone else got to you first little deer. Too bad they didn’t stick around to become my appetizer. Just brush a little of this mud off and… Mmmm! Delicious! The young ones are always so tender. They’ve got nothing like THIS back home. They’re missing out. Mmmm. Alright, what’s next? If I get a bear for the brats, and a couple of rabbits for Shear then maybe I’ll be able to have another bear or deer all to myself.”

Shadow was ecstatic! He could feel Quake’s mind moving away so, quietly, Shadow followed. Soon Shadow felt the berries take effect as Quake’s mind blurred slightly.

“Hmmm. My wings feel… heavy. I guess the brats must have drained me… a lot more than I… thought,” Quake thought as he landed.

“Maybe I should just take a quick nap. It’s not like… anyone would… know. I’ll just… lay… here…” Quake’s thoughts slurred more and more as his mind began to shut down. Then at last they went silent.

Shadow was elated. He had taken down Quake! Shadow paused for a few minutes to make sure Quake was well and truly passed out, then he moved in. Slowly. Watching his mind for any signs of stirring. Then he spotted Quake’s body in the trees ahead.

He was a lot bigger than Shadow had thought. His back was probably as tall as Jarid’s house if he was standing, and he could have spread out one wing and almost covered its roof. But right now, he was just a pile of scales with his legs, wings and tail sprawled awkwardly on the grassy floor of the forest. His mouth was slightly open, and his tongue was flopped out on one side, drool slowly dripping off. His body rose and fell slowly with his breathing and his face looked so docile Shadow almost felt sorry for him. Shadow shook himself. He shouldn’t hang around. He had accomplished his goal. Now he could finally get this disgusting muck off him.

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Wed Sep 27, 2023 7:21 pm
Ventomology wrote a review...



Heyaaa back again.

So I've got two things for you this chapter.

First, thanks for the reminder that dragons have good noses haha. I think if that is a significant part of their sensory experience, then it might be worth mentioning smells more often throughout the novel, not just when it becomes relevant to a strategy. Like: if Shadow has a smell, how has no one picked it up while he's been snooping around forever? How has no one picked up traces of it around the forest that they all share? Additionally, smell is always a really fun thing to stick into your descriptive writing, like when characters enter a new place or meet new people. In some of the earlier chapters when Shadow does his training in the mornings, does he enjoy the sunrise? Does he like the smell of dew? This sensory difference is difficult to keep in mind, but using it more regularly will really help with both the quality of your descriptive writing and with the feeling of being a dragon.

Also... there are lots of great, underutilized smell words out there! In this chapter, I'd encourage you to find a more specific description of the mud smell than just stomach turning. If it's rotting, then is the smell sour? Is it acrid? As a camp counselor one summer I had to jump in mud once a week, and the smell was this horrible combination of decaying fish and and the unwashed bodies of hundreds of people.

Second thing: I think it will help you to break up some of those long paragraphs. When you get to a certain length, they become unwieldy and difficult on the eyes, but they also lose focus. There is an especially long one in this chapter, the one where Shadow lays the trap for Quake, and it could be like three paragraphs--the mud, placing the deer, and roughing up the scene. Shorter paragraphs might also help you vary up the length of action sentences to better control the pacing and the speed of reading.

Other than that, great work. It's nice to see Shadow's plan in action, and I'm seeing a good balance of action and description--even places where they happen in the same sentence. Let's see how the rest of the plan goes!

Hope this helps,
-Vento





Writing is like love: the real thing is a lot less romantic
— dragonfphoenix