When you opened your eyes, it was already dark. You must’ve blacked out when Emil threw you.
“Emil!” you cried and shot up out of the water. Immediately, you stood up to start your search for the dragon, but a chill wind blew through your wet clothes freezing you to the bone.
“G-Gr-Great-t-t…” you shivered and sank back into the water. Now you knew why the servants back at the castle always said the nobles took a long time in the baths—it was too cold to want to come out, but you knew you had to get out eventually. Then again, how far would you make it with your messed up ankle?
Suddenly, a different wind blew at you but from above. When you looked up, you could distinctly see the shape of a blue dragon gliding down towards you. It must’ve been Lukas. He was going to be furious with you.
“Lukas!” you shouted and waved a hand to signal the dragon over. Soon enough, he spotted you from above and began to make a slow descend to your location. However, when you looked closer even against the darkness, you were able to see that this dragon’s scales weren’t exactly a dark sapphire shade of blue; instead its scales were a light greenish blue shade with glittering jewel-like scales that couldn’t have belonged to your familiar dragon.
By the time you realized all of this, the dragon had already landed at a cluster of rocks right beside the hot spring you were sitting in. It was a cold night, and even though your lower-half of your body was submerged in the heated water, your head still felt the cold—but it was nothing compared to the temperature drop you felt when this dragon came walking towards you and extending its neck out to your reach.
“So you’re the human the Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames and Mathias were talking about,” it said with an oddly friendly sounding voice as compared to the Golden Sentinel atop Eldur Mountain.
You blinked a few times before gathering your information together.
“And I take it you’re the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard?” you assumed.
“That’s correct,” the dragon replied with a single nod. “The Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames has been looking for you and the Wings of the Opal Skies.”
Your face fell. “About that…Emil isn’t here anymore.”
The turquoise-scaled dragon looked confused. “Isn’t he the reason you were able to leave the mountain in the first place? Shouldn’t he be with you then?”
“Yes, but when we were about to return to the peak, a group of humans…” You swallowed. “A group of humans got to him.”
The dragon remained silent for a while. Your eyes were starting to sting from the tears that were ready to leak out. You couldn’t believe it. Emil was gone. It was just in the spur of the moment, a quick decision, and yet that simple decision in that small time frame had cost him his life. Dragonheart or not, you felt that in the time you had spent with the dragon, you could have called him your friend. It didn’t matter if Lukas disagreed or not.
“Dragonheart, let’s return to the peak. You can tell us exactly what you saw then, alright?” the dragon softly said.
You sniffed and nodded. After getting out of the hot spring, the dragon urged you to get on his back.
“I d-don’t mean to-to-to be rude, b-bu-but you’re very cold-d-d…” you chattered through your teeth. The winds of Dragonfall were not kind.
“Ah, it would feel that way from a distance, wouldn’t it?” the dragon said. “But I assure you: once you get on my back, everything will be fine.”
“Are you sure?” you asked feeling as cold as ever.
“Yes, I’m sure,” the dragon replied. There was something about his manner of speech and his calm nature that conveyed a sense of trust that hadn’t been immediately apparent in the other dragons.
Once you got on the dragon’s back, you immediately noticed how warm the surface of his scales were as compared to the icy air that had surrounded him earlier. Needless to say, it was all very strange, but Lukas had mentioned something about dragons being born of fire so it wasn’t too surprising.
“Are you ready to go?” the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard asked looking back to check if you were alright.
“Yes,” you answered holding onto his neck for extra security. Out of all of the dragons you had encountered, you had to say that this was the smallest one. It made you wonder if he was also the youngest.
“If you’re ready, we can take off now,” the dragon replied and shot off into the air without the slightest aid of extra momentum. In a matter of minutes, you were back in side the warm enclosure of the crater atop Eldur Mountain. From below, the other two dragons plus Mathias were all waiting for you to return. You could only imagine what sorts of things Lukas would say to you once you delivered the bad news.
Sure enough, as soon as you landed, the Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames charged straight at you to the point where he could have snapped you right up in his sharp fangs if the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard didn’t bar him with his tail.
“Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames, know your place,” Berwald said without any faltering on the dragon’s long title.
Lukas withdrew his fangs and snorted causing small whiffs of bright blue flames to spark alight.
“Where is my brother, you wench?” was the first thing he asked in a hostile snarl.
“Hey, hey, Lukas,” Mathias jumped in walking in front of his friend, “easy there.”
“Answer me!” Lukas roared.
“Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames,” the Eye of the Topaz’ eyes narrowed into thin slits.
Lukas backed away once more and impatiently awaited your response, his breath coming out in fuming quick bursts of hot air and blue fire.
You swallowed. “Emil was…Emil was captured by some humans,” you said in a wavering voice.
There was nothing but silence for what could have been somewhere between ten seconds to three minutes. As dragons, there was a significant lack of facial expressions you could have studied. Where they angry? Confused? Upset? Most likely even an entire bundle of negative emotions slewed into one gigantic mess.
Everything was a blur after that. You remembered there being a flash of blue, a loud roar, the sound of scales shuffling, and a splatter fest of thick purple liquid that came out of nowhere. When you dared to open your eyes again, you saw Mathias’ arm completely crushed between Lukas’ powerful jaws. The purple stuff, you realized, was dragon blood.
“Mathias…” you breathed stunned the dragon would do something so noble.
Lukas must have awoken from his phase because immediately after you said Mathias’ name, he released his friend from his grip and stared speechless.
“Dear, dear, dear,” the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard sighed. “It looks like we’re going to have to patch you up, Mathias.”
“It’s no big deal…” Mathias grumbled, but from the way he clenched his teeth together, it didn’t take a genius to know he was in real pain. The entire time, Lukas refused to say anything let alone apologize for what he had done.
Berwald snorted. “You should be lucky Mathias did that, Dragonheart. Had he not moved in your way, both you and the Wings of the Opal Skies wouldn’t be breathing.”
This got Lukas to straighten up. “What are you saying? Is the human still connected to my brother?”
“Not spiritually anymore, no,” the golden dragon said in a calm voice. “But I should remind you that your brother happens to be the dragon that has bonded with the Dragonheart. Their emotions and powers are tied together like an invisible chain. If the Dragonheart died, then I would undoubtedly believe that your brother would have died of heartbreak.”
Lukas uttered a low growl in his throat. “What makes you think my brother still lives? Did you not hear the human? She said he was captured.”
“She said captured, not killed,” Berwald reminded the dragon. “In any case, she can still understand us, can she not?”
“Why is that important?” Lukas asked his eyes still filled with lingering flames of anger.
“Because the Wings of the Opal Skies has granted her a share of his powers no matter how few those may be. As long as she retains her ability to communicate with our kind, then we know that your brother is still alive”
“Then…” you dared to speak up. “We have to find Emil. The humans couldn’t have gotten too far. We need to save him before something terrible happens to him.”
“I agree,” the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard spoke. “The Wings of the Opal Skies has always been something of our dear little brother. And with him having the honor of being the Dragonheart’s dragon, there’s no telling what potentials they could have together.”
Well, that cleared up any questions about the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard being younger than Emil.
“Mathias, you are staying here,” Berwald said before the wounded dragon could open his mouth. “You wouldn’t be of any use, and your big mouth will slow down any progress.”
“But it’s Emil we’re talking about!” Mathias protested. There was blood still visibly oozing out of the wound Lukas gave him.
“Yes, I know he means something to you, too, but there’s nothing you can truly contribute. Until you recover, the Eye of the Topaz and I will remain here with you.”
You blinked unsure of whether or not you heard that correctly. “You’re not coming? But that means it will only be Lukas and me.”
“And for a good reason,” Berwald added. “The Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames is a powerful asset, and perhaps in the window of time the two of you are rescuing the Wings of the Opal Skies, you will be able to make up for your differences.”
I highly doubt that… you thought biting on your lower lip.
Lukas didn’t sound too happy with the idea, either. “I have no doubt that I can retrieve my brother, but having to worry about this insolent human is something I’d rather not deal with.”
“I have a feeling you will be needing the Dragonheart’s help,” Berwald refuted. “Like you, she now shares a special bond with your brother.”
“I don’t need or want her help,” Lukas insisted.
“If you really want to think that way, then consider bringing her along as punishment for what you did to Mathias,” Berwald said with a heartless light in his eyes.
At this, the sapphire dragon winced and looked over to his injured friend. Alas, his dragon’s pride still prevented him from openly apologizing to his human-transformed friend. Then, without another look at Mathias or the other dragons, Lukas bent down and gave you a long, hard stare-down. In the time elapsed, you could see your entire reflection in his burning sapphire-blue eyes. You feared that if you blinked, it would have definitely been the end of your life, but finally, after many long seconds ticked by, Lukas spoke.
“Get on, human,” he snarled. “And no matter what, listen to everything that I say.”
“Y-Yes…” you stammered and scrambled clumsily onto the dragon’s back taking care not to press too much weight onto your bad ankle.
Not a moment after he felt you sit atop his back in front of his wings, Lukas immediately leapt into the air and took off with a powerful burst of energy no doubt coming from the anger and determination he felt at saving his brother. You didn’t even have time to look back at the other dragons and bid them farewell before the mountain peak was out of sight and your vision became blurred by a sea of clouds. Whether the humans had managed to take Emil far or not, you had a feeling this was going to be a long journey.