It was early dawn. The last of the moon’s silver light streaked across the cobalt sky. The suns yellow razes was just starting peak over the mountains, a ribbon of red and pink waves steadily climbing up the sky like the tide drifting up a beach.
The wind whistled in Zoltar’s ears as he soared over the island’s marigold orange forests. Emerald evergreens were dappled all over the carpet of amber trees like stains in a tapestry. Flocks of wild geese could be seen leaving the island and flying south to lands outside the continent of Megalonia. Zoltar sometimes wondered what else was out there, beyond the horizon.
His heart was racing with an unknown excitement and everything around him seemed to be vibrating with joy. Now that the sun was up the whole forest seemed alive and the night’s fears had just washed away with the coming light. He was so relieved that Emerald had agreed to work with him. Now if only Felistia and Emerald would do the same.
In front of him pillars of rock towered over the jungle as he neared the coast.
“We’re nearly there,” Zoltar shouted, spotting the cave ahead. If Shiraku and Felistia were inside he'd bring them out to meet Emerald after he explained the reason for him being on the island. If he could, he'd really like it if he could get them to come with him on the quest, but that was a maybe for the moment. He still had to wait for their reactions to his news.
“Finally,” Emerald panted, her now sky blue scales shimmering in the new light, “Now hurry up. We need to get off the island quickly. The Fangtar will be looking for me once they notice I’m missing.”
“Wait here. I'll be out in a second,” Zoltar explained, swooping in through the vines covering the cave entrance. He tucked his wings and rolled away from the opening before springing back up. There was a loud thud behind him as dragon scales hit hard rock.
“Hey, that’s not fair,” growled Shiraku, lighting up her scales and filling the cave with turquoise light.
“I told you he wouldn’t fall for it again,” Felistia said from behind Shiraku.
Shiraku snorted irritably.
“How did you know I was coming?” Zoltar asked as he tried to contain his relief at seeing Felistia and Shiraku safe. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his chest.
“I could hear you’re noisy wing beats a mile away and see you through the vines. Have you seen how blatantly your black scales stand out against the sky? You look like a freaking bat flying around the Ice Talon kingdom. You should really work on your stealth skills during the day and talking about your stealth skills where were you last night. Why didn’t you come back last night for thunder bolts sake! You had us up all night worrying about you and then you come in here like nothing happened,” Shiraku roared, catapulting into Zoltar and knocking him to the floor. “You owe me a big apology,” Shiraku hissed, holding Zoltar down with her paws.
“Okay, I’m sorry,” Zoltar laughed. He was so happy that Shiraku and Felistia cared about him enough to stay up worried, though he preferred Felistia’s approach by not pinning him to the floor.
“Get off him Shiraku. I’m sure there was good reason for him to have stayed out,” Felistia walked over the Shiraku and gently pulled her off Zoltar.
“Well he’d better explain it then,” Shiraku said, dramatically adding, “I’m all ears.”
Shiraku and Felistia’s eyes grew wider and wider as Zoltar told them the whole thing, the shadow lands, the Exltron, the Fangtars and finally the quest.
“You what!” Shiraku thundered when Zoltar had finished. Felistia quickly grabbed hold of Shiraku’s tail.
“Hey! Let go, I want to bite him, I want to get him!” Felistia held on without a word and Shiraku had settle with glaring at Zoltar.
“Yes, I am afraid I lied to you. I had to, it's Shadow Talon rules not let anyone know Shadow Talon plans. Felistia, you must understand the situation I’m in and the sacrifice I have made be telling you this.”
“Yes Zoltar I do understand, but it still hurts to be lied to,” Felistia sighed.
“But I trust you with the information, so it proves that you are my friends,” Zoltar started, but Shiraku glared at him and he sighed, “I understand if you don’t what to be around me anymore.”
“I didn’t say that, I just said that I’m a little wounded,” Felistia said.
“Well I am more than hurt, I’m infuriated. Ooo I really want to bite you right now!” Shiraku roared, pulling at her tail, but Felistia didn’t let go.
“I’m really, really sorry, okay. Make the choice over some dragons I just met and my tribe is hard.”
“SOME DRAGONS!” Shiraku thundered.
“Let me rephrase that,” Zoltar quickly backpedalled.
“SOME DRAGONS!” Shiraku lunged at Zoltar, breaking free of Felistia’s grip.
Zoltar yelp and twisted away from her. Shiraku charged after him, all the while yelling, “I am not some dragon, you squid breathed pin head!!!”
“Shiraku, stop that right now!!” Felistia yelled, swinging her tail to trip Shiraku, but she leapt over it and carried on running after Zoltar, shouting out threats about ripping his wings off.
“What is going on in here?” Emerald roared, swooping in through the vines and catapulting into Zoltar.
"Oh no," Zoltar cringed, staring at the still and silent Felistia and Shiraku, "here comes more yelling.”
“Who is that?” Shiraku spat, her ocean green eyes trained on Emerald.
“I should say the same thing,” Emerald growled back much to Zoltar’s surprise. “You’ve been terrorizing the Wisp Talons in my village and I do not appreciate it. What sort of dragon goes around scary other dragons and then stealing the prey they’ve caught? For heaven’s sake Zoltar, you could have told me that you were staying the two dragons that have been rampaging around the forest for the last four months.”
“Sorry,” Zoltar apologized, holding up his paws in protest, “How was I supposed to know that you guys have been getting on each other’s nerves?”
“Because I told you about them the first day we met!” Emerald yelled, waving her wings in exasperation. Rippling rivers of crimson and gold were rolling over her scales with the occasional splotch of pink.
Zoltar remained silent. He remembered now. She’d mentioned rampaging dragons to him while he’d been pinned to the forest floor. He hadn’t been paying attention to her at the time and had been more focused on saving his head.
“Well, can’t you guys make up and forget about it?” Zoltar asked after a few seconds. He really wanted to see if he could get Felistia and Shiraku to come with him on the quest. He was sure he had a few good reasons to get them to come with him.
“No!” shouted the combined forces of Emerald, Shiraku and Felistia.
“Okay then,” Zoltar backing away with his eye brows arched in surprise, “you guys work it out then, but hurry up. You said we had to get off the island as soon as possible.”
With a snort of irritation, Emerald turned away for Zoltar and face Felistia and Shiraku, “So I take it he told you his plan.”
“Mmm hhhmm,” Felistia and Shiraku growled, giving Zoltar a quick glare.
“Thought so after all that yelling. Look, I don’t have time to sit here shouting at strange dragons all day. I’m sure you had a reason for stealing the food and frankly it isn’t important enough that I’ll stand around shouting all day because of it. Zoltar and I have to leave the island as soon as possible. The Fangtar will be looking for us. There will be search parties all over the island looking for strange dragons. I’d highly advice you come with us, so can we just set aside our differences for now and sort them out after we’re off the island?" Emerald offered, shooting a significant you-owe-me-big-time look.
Felistia went silent as look of concentration crossed over her face, her eyes darting this way and that as she thought. Shiraku didn't bother with any thought process and simply roared, "NO! Absolutely not!"
Emerald rolled her eyes and cast a long look at Zoltar as if asking how on earth he had put up with this dragon. Zoltar shrugged and grinned. Shiraku was a pain, but she was nice when you got to know her a bit.
Felistia huffed a sigh and glared at Shiraku intently, "Come on Shiraku. What good does it do to carry on fighting with the Wisp Talon? She’s offering to help us."
"I like fighting. Haven't you be around me long enough to know that," Shiraku snapped back, her spines bristling as she hissed at Emerald, who looked as unfazed as a dragon could possible look. Felistia didn't reply to Shiraku's backlash and simply hissed at her in warning, her tail raised threateningly. Shiraku took a quick step back, a look of surprise on her face before growling, "Ok.....fine."
"I'm starting to like you," Emerald commented, offering her paw to Felistia in greeting.
"Just doing what I have too," Felistia replied, "Now Zoltar tell us more about this plan of your and why...umm."
"Emerald," Emerald said quickly.
"Ah okay...thanks. Why is Emerald coming with you?"
"Well. She was kind of the one that wanted to come along. I didn't really have much of a choice. It was either she went or my head went," Zoltar explained, grinning at Emerald, who giggled and shook her head, “I was hoping you guys would come along and maybe, if you want to, come live on the island once this is all said and done."
Felistia's face remand solid as stone, though Zoltar was sure he saw her eyes light up. Shiraku huffed, rolling her eyes.
"Come on. If you want, you guys can go back to your own tribes once we leave the island. I just don’t want you to stay here and get caught," Zoltar exclaimed. He still really hoped that they'd come, especially Felistia. He was starting too really like her.
"Okay, fine. You have me. Just so long as you promise to let us go our own ways if we want to," Felistia agreed. Shiraku nodded in agreement.
"Sure. Anything you want."
"Then it's settled," Felistia said, shaking paws with Zoltar to confirm his promise, "So when do we leave?"
Suddenly a great howler echoed though the forest below and the blood curdling sound of many voices penetrated the still air. The Fangtar were coming.