Spyro was in the arena, trying out a new type of breath that he had got when he traded an old rock at the Fountain of Life. This breath was bullet breath. It shot bullets and silvery wisps of mist at enemies.
Spyro had decided that he liked this breath a lot better than the others. The arena wood suddenly had holes in it. Spyro coughed. His dragonfly, Sparx, tutted. "Spyro. You shouldn't use coughing as an excuse to use a breath."
"I know," Spyro said in his high-pitched voice, and glided down to the ground. He hated the area being two metres in the air because he was afraid of heights. He was alright when gliding but it was when he was alone, on a platform or a cliff, that all of his troubles started to show.
"And dragons shouldn't be afraid of heights," Sparx continued, fluttering around his head. "Especially young dragons like you who the elders rely on to keep the Realms safe from Ripto."
"I know," Spyro muttered.
His claws sank into the mud and he treasured the feeling for a few seconds, until Sparx brought him back from his dream world with a rather violent stabbing attack. "It helps to keep focused, Spyro."
"I can keep focused without you stabbing me with your tail, Sparx," he whispered without taking his eyes off the ground. "I just wish my parents were here to teach me. Why did Ripto take them?"
Sparx didn't say anything because he couldn't. His eyes were too wet from tears. Dragonfly tears.
- - - - -
Hunter was shooting apples in a tree when Spyro came to visit him, a short hour after the young dragon had been testing his new breath. Hunter was a cheetah and a good friend for Spyro. Not many people had believed Spyro when he said that he had stopped Ripto from carrying out his evil plans, but Hunter had always been there for him and believed everything he said.
It was these characteristics that made Hunter such a brilliant friend.
"Hunter, can I confide in you?" Spyro asked. Hunter put down his bow and arrow to make sure he was listening to what Spyro wanted to tell him. "The thing is, both my parents are missing and I think Ripto took them away to his cave. The next thing is that I have no idea where to find the cave."
"Ripto?" Hunter spat. "Where is he? Why has he taken your parents to a cave? Why do you want to find out where the cave is?"
Spyro frowned. So much for Hunter understanding and respecting him. Hunter had no idea what he was talking about. "Same as always, Hunter. I want to defeat Ripto. And I want to find my parents."
"Ripto is far too dangerous for a young dragon like you to fight," Hunter told him. "I think you should stay where you are, or at least let your parents fight him instead. Do you understand?"
Spyro froze in his tracks.
Why was Hunter being like this? Was he perhaps replaced with a robot that Ripto had constructed?
"But all those years, you helped me," Spyro yelled. He clawed at Hunter's foot in frustration. "You helped me defeat him by showing me fighting moves, and now you tell me to stay put?"
"Yes," Hunter said.
"But Hunter, my parents can't fight him for me. They're trapped with him. I've got to save them." Spyro's tears were trickling down his face. When they touched the ground the tears turned to ice.
"You're too late," Hunter said. "They perished two days ago. Maybe if you had learned of their capture earlier, you could have saved them. There is nothing you can do. Just go home."