Bleeding Eyes

Hallo just a few things

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"Italics" Mind Speech

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Vanya; Hey I'm still alive! I'm SO SORRY this took so long! Please forgive me! This chapter was a real bitch; I had to write it THREE times before I was happy.

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BLURB; For thousands of years there has been a brittle peace through the Dragon Riders. But when the elves are left with no Rider to represent them the playing field is shifted and a strange bargain has to be made for the greater good…

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Chapter 14- At the Gates of Change

Ryou tossed restlessly in his bed, rolling onto his side to stare out the open windows of his chambers. He sighed deeply and pondered; why would anyone want to start a war?

Shaking his head he rolled onto his back and tried to get to sleep. After a few minutes he snorted, scrunching up his face with diastase at the strong smell of smoke.

Smoke?

The prince lunged forward in bed, bolting out from under the sheets to the windows across the room gazing in horror as huge black plumes of smoke and ash rose up from the distant trees of the border.

His jaw fell slack and his knuckles turned white with his grip on the wooden frame as he called out to the guards barking orders to wake the riders and the troops.

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Yugi gripped Atem's waist tighter as Szikari rose higher, Midoru and Tsucho struggling to keep up with his pace while the elven soldiers scrambled bellow to put out the flames.

"I don't see any human warriors" Malik commented, standing in Tsucho's saddle to get a better look.

"Those aren't normal flames, either" mused Joey coughing slightly, examining the blue tinge to the fire.

"Agreed" muttered Atem as they circled the heart of the blaze again, Yugi squinted leaning off Szikari's side, blinking smoke out of his eyes as he looked down.

"Do you see that?" He asked without pulling away.

"See what?"

"There!" called the elf pointing down. Atem's keen eyes followed the direction of Yugi's hand, catching a glimpse of something moving amongst the trees, something big.

"What is that?" Mused the demon prince, staring at the dark blue object bellow them while the thing turned slowly, limbs lashing out to topple one of the ancient oaks.

The three younger riders pulled upwards as an un-godly roar erupted from the beast moving through the flames.

"It can't be" Hissed Malik shaking his head

"It's enormous!" whispered an amazed Joey.

"A dragon" muttered Yugi, gripping Atem.

The group watched numbly as the creature rose up, its huge wings beating lazily and body twisting in the confined space.

"We meet at last" it called, voice rippling across the minds of the others.

Szikari snapped at the blue dragon, bearing his fangs, Tsucho and Midoru backing him up with a chorus of grunts and hisses, all three dragons raising the spikes on their bodies to make themselves look bigger and more intimidating. It was a defensive instinct that often reminded onlookers of peacocks or cobras.

The blue dragon just gave a raspy hiss and charged at the three smaller beasts. Malik and Atem pulled their dragons away, letting the wind fill their scaly wings in an attempt to gain some distance from the massive creature.

Joey was not so lucky.

Gripping Midoru's saddle he tried to evade the attack. The green dragon twisted desperately, its wings not large enough to evade the charge completely.

Taking the brunt of the hit to his flank Midoru screeched, shaking a confused Joey as he convulsed in pain. His wings retracted in reflex sending them spiraling down while the spikes dug into his rider's legs.

Yugi watched in horror as Joey crashed through the trees falling a good hundred feet into the hard growth below, foliage from the more prominent trees blocking the elf's vision.

Malik and Atem searched the sky for the blue beast, Malik calling out Dwarf gibberish (1) and pointing upwards. Atem watched as the human dragon rose in the atmosphere before turning to dive down at them again.

Opening its jaws a brilliant blue light bubbled at the back of its throat foaming forth and bursting out in a jet of flame. Tsucho did his best to avoid the blast, flames seemingly sliding off the scales of his clawed feet.

Szikari, trying to maneuver with two passengers, wrapped his wings in front of his snout like shield, light dancing on the other side of the membranes, Yugi and Atem simply clung to Szikari as they lost altitude.

The red dragon descended dangerously close to the tree tops before unfurling his wings and gliding up again on the air currents ignoring the blood that dripped down his body as Yugi and the others looked around trying to stay in flight.

"I think it's gone" muttered Malik panting heavily.

"Yes" rasped Atem, surveying the sky with alert eyes one last time.

"Joey!" screamed Yugi, forgetting his comrade in the fight "He could be dead!"

"We have to get back to the city. Szikari can't hold on for much longer"

"Take him back to the capital and tell the elves, I'll search for Joey." Ordered Malik rubbing Tsucho's neck "I think the fires are almost out too"

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Malik pushed through the bush around him in frustration, Dwarfs weren't made for forests, mountains were much simpler to move through and provided so much more visibility. However, he understood the elves motives; the thick canopy of trees protected the location of their city from many prying eyes.

Looking up he surveyed the broken branches, Tsucho lumbering behind him loudly, this must be where Joey had landed.

Pushing into a clearing he hissed under his breath in sympathy. Joey and Midoru lay twisted amongst the broken wood and dirt. Joey had fallen out of the saddle and was lying on his side near one green wing, blood trickling down the holes in his legs and staining the undergrowth.

Midoru let out a pitiful moan raising his head to look at the dwarf. The poor beast had a gouge running down the side of his face blinding him in one big brown eye, probably for the rest of his long life.

"Let's get you two back." It was all Malik could manage to spit out.

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Yugi sat cross-legged in the courtyard of the palace, crying softly while he rubbed Szikari's snout holding the red head in his lap.

Atem threw off the saddle and his gloves to run his fingers over the red membranes of the wings as they bled.

"Can you heal him?"

"He's received a lot of damage. A dragon's two most vulnerable spots are their underbelly and their wings."

"I know," grunted Yugi "It's because the underbelly isn't covered in scales and between the bones of the wings all is flesh and nerves"

Atem glanced at Yugi who was sniffling lightly

"With the help of your magicians I'm sure he'll be fine, he's strong" assured the demon, kneeling down "Are you alright?"

"I've never seen anything like that. It was just so strong and violent," Yugi paused, taking a deep breath "We didn't stand a chance."

Atem wrapped an arm around his mate's shoulders comfortingly. "At least we now know what we're dealing with" he commented trying to be optimistic "Yugi?"

The elf didn't answer, but was clutching his head in his hands.

"Yugi? What's wrong?"

Pulling the elf closer Atem tried to look for a wound. Yugi looked up at him for a minute trying to say something.

"Yugi!" whispered the Halfling starting to panic.

Yugi's hands held his head tighter, but his eyes began rolling into the back of his head as he passed out on the grass (2)

"Yugi!"

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Malik is so scared he's talking in dwarf (forgetting to translate)

Yes, Yugi was not injured in the fight something else is wrong with him people!

Vanya- Is Midoru or Joey handicapped?

Deyja- How long until the blue dragon returns with soldiers?

Vanya- and what the hell is wrong with Yugi!

Thank you again for being so patient! And a BIG shout out to YamiYoukai for Beat-Reading this chapter!