We all waited for a long time. The stars were starting to shine through the thick heavy clouds. It’s funny how war was always fought when the sky was filled with gray clouds, as if the universe knew destruction was near, and didn’t want to sun or moon to witness it.
We watched the Creepers from afar.
One of the lords in King Helmut’s militia was checking them through binoculars. With their enhanced sight, the shifters and dragons didn’t need to use binoculars. Every creeper, every shiver it made, we saw and heard every movement.
My heart was bouncing of excitement now. It wasn’t just life sustaining me, it was adrenaline too.
Then the first explosion went off. It was the sachets carrying all of Elena’s blood formula. They shivered, but that was about it. The second explosion never came.
“What happened? Why didn’t the bombs go off?” someone yelled, and more people started to voice their concerns.
“They won’t be able to win this war without us.”
He was right. They wouldn’t. There weren’t enough troops stationed on the other side to win this war all by itself, and Blake had given me specific instructions, to make sure that Samantha would come out of this alive. That was all he wanted from me, and now I couldn’t even get through those creepers.
“Just wait, it will go off,” the lord answered. I could never remember their names.
My father’s chimera figure stepped forward.
“That bomb would’ve gone off by now. Sir Robert made sure of it. Something is wrong.”
“They won’t win this war without us.”
Panic struck through again. More people started screaming and shouting at the same time.
Tabitha stepped toward me. She was a bit smaller than my eagle figure. “Is it real?”
“What?” I asked, not knowing what this crazy chick was yapping on about now.
“The dent. Is it real?”
I got what she was saying. “He didn’t explain what it was, but he told me that it wasn’t a spell, that it was real. It’s solid, Tabitha. He is happy.”
“Please, make sure he stays that way.”
“Why are you telling me –”
She didn’t let me finish my question and she stepped through the ocean of warriors with Peter lodged on her back. Whatever their plan was, Peter was already in on this and he tapped her softly on her white neck. “Do it,” he said softly.
She turned her head around and stared at me one last time. “Never let him stop playing, Isaac. Tell him I will always love him.”
She lifted off with the speed of light, flew toward the Creepers and picked up one of the nearby barrels with bombs attached. They were the ones that would go off last. Peter wielded his frost.
They disappeared into the Creepers. They were still as deadly as ever, a bit delayed in their actions because of the formula, but from Tabitha’s shriek, we all knew they hadn’t made it.
We all stared at them in utter shock. What was she thinking? I bowed my head.
Then the tremble came. It shuddered the earth slightly, a mere vibration, and then the explosion ripped through all of us.
Some of the troops lost their balance and fell over. Some of the smaller shifters fell over too, but the big ones, like me and my father, and the dragons, stood their ground.
I watched in shock as parts of the Creepers fell to the ground, but their sacrifice wasn’t enough. I wanted to go next, but my father and a few of his men stopped me.
“You are the last of your kind. Please, son,” he begged, and through the corners of my eyes, eight more dragons lifted off with their riders, charging the Creepers. They all picked up a barrel and flew into different parts. They vanished into the Creepers that were on alert. Then more screams filled the air, and after a few seconds, more explosions came. This time it was louder, stronger, and it felt as if it was going to break my bones, but we were far away from harm.
When the dust settled, we all looked up and heard the loud cracking of Creepers breaking, dying and they came crashing down to earth.
“It worked!” one of the men screamed nearby, sounding extremely happy. This wasn’t a happy moment. Nine dragons and their riders had sacrificed their lives, because of one brave dragon and her rider’s actions. They were way too young.
She was a Snow Dragon, a coward, who had died as a brave hero today because she loved another she would never have, and she couldn’t live with that. I would make sure her sacrifice was always remembered.
I lifted off with all the speed I owned, and charged to the Creepers. The rest was following. Shrieks, growls, animal hoots and sounds filled the air as we passed the Creepers.
The other side turned into forests. We all looked around as they destroyed so many parts of Etan. An entire shifter village was lost.
We ducked and dived as Creepers still fell to the earth, like a thousand giant beanstalks falling on one heap.
The night sky started to kill Etan’s day that Goran wielded, and true light shone through; stars filled the night sky. More chaos erupted as people ran around, screaming, killing and plundering.
Night time started this war, and night was going to finish it.
My father gave orders right behind me and a number of airborne dragons stayed behind to help calm the chaos below us.
Our orders were Sovereign, to find the king and make sure Sammy was safe.
Wyverns appeared out of nowhere. It was time to do what I was made to do, kill the enemy.
My scream echoed through the dark pit. My heart had never beat this fast in my entire life, and I knew that this was it. Goran had a huge smile on his face as he watched me descend. He was growing smaller as my arms flapped in the air.
The walls of the castle still shuddered and then it was as if a bomb went off.
Goran was no longer watching.
Boulders came rolling down into the pit and my eyes caught on a humungous one that was definitely going to be the end of me. I saw a white flash and realized it wasn’t a boulder at all.
I connected hard with his leathery torso.
“Hold on!” Blake growled, and although I couldn’t feel anything apart from my leg that was aching with Goran’s spear, I could tell by our shaking and tumbling that we’d just collided with something big. It carried on like that for a few more minutes and my heart was still beating like crazy as I tried to get out of this alive.
His paw suddenly opened and I fell about five feet down onto something hard. I rolled and hurt my injured leg even more.
My scream from the pain echoed off the walls. My head collided with rock and connected hard with cold cement.
It all finally stopped. I was still breathing, but I’d never experienced so much pain in my entire life. I tried to look up but the dizzy pain in my head rushed through my body, telling me I was in rough shape. I was stuck in complete darkness, whether my eyes were open or closed. It didn’t matter.
When memories start playing through my mind, I knew that I had passed out.
I didn’t know how long I lay there, but I had some sweet thoughts before reality came crashing back to me.
I thought about my perfect life, well how perfect it had become in only a few months.
The nightmares were finally gone, the awful memories from that night, well they’d been replaced with a wicked-ass dragon who incinerated each one of them on the spot. I wasn’t scared anymore.
My friends were happy, I was happy, Blake was happy.
My father was going to come home. My father is dead.
At once everything came back. I jolted up and took a raspy gasp. I grunted at the pain and coughed hard at the same time until I spat out bile. I had a strong taste of iron in my mouth. Blood.
That wasn’t a good sign but I would heal. I had to heal.
My head ached, but not as badly as my leg. None of it mattered anyway, as I had to find Blake. The picture in my head wasn’t good. It was of a heap of dragon lying somewhere in the darkness, unconscious.
I pushed myself up and took breathed deeply as the pain was seriously starting to overpower everything. My breathing felt painful and heavy.
I lit up my finger with a soft pink flame and held it close to my wound.
The spear’s one end had broken off and it barely stuck out of my thigh, but I had to get it out before I could let it heal. I grabbed one part and let my fire die as I rested with my hand against a huge boulder.
I retreated into my thoughts, and took off my belt first. I held it up and bit down on it. This is going to hurt like hell.
I took a deep breath, got ahold of the side sticking out the back of my thigh where the spear had gone straight through and tightened my grip.
I took a couple of breaths, and then I held it in and yanked as hard as I could.
I grunted into the belt, which echoed through the pit again, and fell down against the wall.
Mother… I grunted and tried to control my breathing.
I coughed again and spit up more blood.
Heal, Elena, heal. I thought but the tingling sensation didn’t come.
I wanted to pass out but I knew I had to stop the blood seeping from my wound. I lifted up my head again even thought it was spinning and aching like mad. I opened my belt again and tied it right above the wound.
Please just heal, I begged softly.
Blake, I have to find Blake.
I struggled to open my eyes but I knew I had to find him. We had gotten split up once, and it had been the biggest mistake of this entire mission.
My hand lit up again, and it outlined the scene in front of me.
I struggled to move but I forced each step. I’d never felt this heavy my entire life. Movement didn’t come easily at all.
I had to stop every five seconds to find more strength.
“C’mon, Elena you can do this!”
I stabilized myself against the wall again and pushed forward.
I’d reached a dead end. The light flickering off the flame in my hand reflected on boulders upon boulders with no way out on the right. I turned to the left. It was the same thing.
There was no sign of a way that could lead out.
My heart started to beat heavily as my mind raged with madness.
Please, he can’t have been crushed by boulders… He is the Rubicon, for crying out loud. “Blake!” I yelled and started to cough again. I sounded like someone who was really sick. It was raspy, and it hurt like hell every time I coughed.
I heard a grunt from above. I looked up at once, and lifted up my hand as I could only see more boulders. I remember falling. I fell as I looked back to where I’d woken minutes before.
I looked up again. “Blake!” I grunted. “Wake up,” I begged. I couldn’t get to him.
He grunted again, and it felt as if I could finally breath.
I slid down one boulder and rested my head against it.
Please be fine, just be fine, I begged again, and he stirred. More rocks came tumbling down, and I cried out. I missed all of the big ones, which was a miracle all in itself.
“Elena!” he growled.
“Down here, but be careful please. This entire place is going to cave in. You need to transform back,” I said.
I could hear the shift from dragon to human.
“Mother fucker!” He screamed. It was his human voice again and he was in pain.
“What is it?” It barely came out.
He took a couple of deep breathes.
Please be fine, please be fine, I prayed softly.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’ll live, you?”
“Just give me a couple of minutes.” He grunted again and then I heard him suppressed a scream as something loud clanged to the floor.
“What was that?” I yelled.
He didn’t answer.
“I’ll live.” He finally answered through heavy breaths.
He started to move. I didn’t like it, as Blake hardly made a sound when he moved. He was badly hurt. Of course he is hurt, you idiot. He dove down into a dark pit trying to save your ass.
This was all my fault.
“You okay?” His voice was right above me and I looked up.
I couldn’t see him, until a flame in his hands lit up his figure looking down on me. I nodded, and at that moment I started coughing uncontrollably. I rolled over and pushed myself up with my palms as I spat up some more blood.
He was at my side at once. How he’d got down, I didn’t know. “Elena.” He sounded worried.
I lifted up my head. “It’s going to be a miracle if we get out of this one alive.”
He hugged me gently and stroked my back. He then shook something and a neon light lit up the space where we were.
His white suit had crimson blotches on the side of his torso.
“What is this?” He was bleeding.
“It’s nothing. We need to get out of here. And soon.”
“Lead the way.”
“I can’t. If I transform, everything will cave in.”
“It could be our only way out, Blake.” I was tired and my eyes closed again. I felt so hot and cold all at the same time.
“No, no, no. You stay with me!” He touched my face hard. “Stay with me,” he growled.
I opened my eyes and his eyes closed as he laid his hand on my chest. He pulled me into his warm body which made me just want to sleep even more.
His lips lingered on my head. I could feel his breath. “Just don’t close your eyes. It’s all you have to do and keep breathing. I’ll get us out of this.”
The warm tingly sensation where his hand touched my chest started to spread through my heart and down my lungs.
“Just stay with me,” he kept whispering.
The wheezing in my breath started to grow silent then disappeared, and I couldn’t help but chuckle softly. He was busy healing me as my own abilities still sucked.
The cold disappeared slowly with the warmth, and I started to feel a bit more like myself.
Then a soft clucking noise from something big rippled through both of us. We became like statues as we just stared at the darkness up ahead.
“What is –”
“Shhh,” Blake said.
I tried to reach into his mind again to understand what his speculations were but it was closed. I’d heard him. I knew I had. He’d warned me it wasn’t Helmut, that it was Goran. His voice yelled frantic inside my head then, but right now, I hear nothing.
He was silent again.
The clucking continued and Blake got up slowly.
He grabbed my arm gently, but firmly, and pulled me up. I grunted slightly, as my leg still ached.
“Okay, I was wrong. You need to do a bit more than just keep your eyes open. We need to get away from here.” He looked around at the dead end. Up was too high and he couldn’t transform, he couldn’t even try in his human form to get us there, as he was hurt as well.
I looked at him and nodded fast. “What…”
I didn’t have to ask what that was. I knew what it was. It was the Saadedine.
O shit, shit, shit. We can’t die. We are supposed to be the heroes and save everyone. What sort of heroes were we going to be if we couldn’t even defeat the Saadedine? What was the missing ingredient? Nothing was coming to my mind. Nothing.
Breaking my father’s promise was seriously biting me in the ass. I didn’t want to die, and I didn’t want to sacrifice anybody I cared for anymore. I couldn’t even think about it. I wouldn’t make it.
Blake pressed hard against his torso again, grunted softly, and took another deep breath. He then placed his arm around my waist and carried half my weight. We started to move without the neon light because it would give us away.
Blake’s night vision was one of the best, and the only direction we could go was toward the clucking sound. He spoke the words, and I could see a bit of green light, my eyesight became sharper.
“No.” I put my fingers over his mouth, as he was still speaking the spell. “You need all of it. I trust you. Just get us out of here.”
My sight turned normal again, everything became pitch dark as we moved at a rapid pace, even with all our injuries.
I was suddenly pushed into a tight opening in the boulders with him right in front of me. Our bodies faced another, and he was pressed tightly against me. His breathing was warm, soft but fast.
My heart was the only sound I could hear. It was going to give us both away.
I closed my eyes as the clucking came nearer and a sneeze-sort of breath lingered right outside our hiding spot.
Blake held me tighter and wielded his shield. The clucking was right next to us then it disappeared as I buried my face in his shoulder. He smelled like boulder dust and blood. His dragon smell lingered beneath but it wasn’t as strong as it usually was when he shifted back. I felt as if I was going to throw up from all the adrenaline.
We both stood tight against one another in silence, which felt like forever, and then the noise came back. Blake lowered his shield. The Saadedine moved away. Rocks fell again and I could tell he was where both of us had been minutes ago.
Blake moved first, slowly, and I hated that I couldn’t see what he did.
However, the darkness enhanced my other senses.
More boulders fell, and the image in my head told me the Saadedine was walking up to where Blake had landed.
When the boulders stopped, Blake grabbed my hand tightly again, and we started to move out of our hiding spot and farther down into the dark pit.
I trusted him one hundred percent. He was my eyes now and I knew his was going to get us out of here, he just had to.
Don’t think about it, Elena. You will make it, and he, he’d better make it.
We turned left, walked more then turned right. My head was showing me a maze, but how to get out of here was still the riddle we needed to obtain.
The pain in my leg pounded like crazy, and I started to move slower.
Blake eventually stopped and pulled me down to sit on the ground. Something shook in the night again and another neon light lit up the darkness. We were in some sort of cave.
He looked tired and crawled over to me. “Let me see your leg.”
He touched it softly then tore the part covering my leg. I flinched as pain rippled through me.
“I can make this better, but I don’t know if I can heal it completely.”
“Just wait, take a couple of breaths please. Sit with me,” I begged, and he obliged.
His back crashed against the wall and he let out a huge breath.
He opened his arms and pulled me into him again.
“Was that what I thought it was?”
“Yes, your father was right. We should’ve never come.”
“Well, it’s too late now. We have to get out of here.”
“We will,” he said and kissed me softly on my lips. “I promise we’ll get out of here.”
I smiled and looked at him again. I couldn’t stop thinking about the missing ingredient, without it…
“What is it?”
“It isn’t us, is it…”
“It was stupid to make all of us believe that, Blake. We could’ve searched more.”
He chuckled quietly. “Then what? Spend what could possibly be our last night on earth going through more books? No, we searched. It wasn’t in any book.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I searched and searched. I didn’t find it. You will not die, I promise you.”
“You can’t fight him in the condition you are in. I can hardly stand on my own.” I felt like crying.
“You are not going to die.”
“Don’t you dare. Neither are you!” I shouted. “I’m not going to live in this world without you.”
A smile tugged at the corner of his lips.
“It’s not funny.”
“I know, it’s just that I never thought any of this would actually come true.”
“What are you talking about now?”
“Now you know how I feel.”
“You can’t die. I mean it.”
“And neither can you, so we just have to make it, both of us.”
Easier said than done.
I looked at his wound again. That part of his suit was soaked with blood.”
“Can’t you heal yourself?”
“It doesn’t work like that. It has to come from the inside, and right now, nothing is happening.”
That was not what I wanted to hear.
“Hey, stop worrying. I’ll be fine,” he said. “Now, let’s take a look at that leg of yours before he comes back.”
“What makes you think it’s a he?”
“The testosterone he is releasing. It’s something like don’t piss on my spots or you’ll die.”
A tired laugh escaped my lips.
He put his hand on my leg, and my entire body pulled from the pain.
“I know it hurts, but it will get better,” he said quietly.
The tingling sensation started. It was weaker than before. He was weaker. I couldn’t do this to him, as it would only drain him more.
“Stop. It’s not that. You will grow weaker, and we don’t know what is ahead. Please. I’ll be fine.”
He just looked at me. “You’d better stay alive,” he eventually said and untied the belt, retying it tighter than before.
He fell next to me again and I lay with my head on his lap.
I closed my eyes.
“Don’t close your eyes,” he ordered, and I opened them again. I looked straight at him. “We will make it. I will –”
The clucking noise was close to us again. I jolted up as Blake crawled past me kill the neon light.
It happened so fast.
One minute he was at the neon globe, the next a huge, snake-like talon reached him and snatched him out of our hiding place, leaving me and the globe behind.
I was in shock, I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t cry.
I heard his screams in the distance.
The Saadedine was moving fast and I had to save him.
I just had to save him or he was going to die.