Chapter 21: Darkness Fall and Fire Burn

Chang stood on a rooftop in dragon form, waiting... A few minutes later, she saw the black dragon flying towards her out of the darkness.

"Master..." She bowed low to him as he landed in front of her. "Were you successful?"

She looked up as his eyes met her's. "It is done." he said, "Did you bring the items?"

"Yes Master." said Chang, pulling lengths of unicorn horn chains and a piece of white chalk from a sack at her side.

"Excellent." He smiled coldly. "Now follow me." He took flight again, leading her into a dark alleyway between two abandoned warehouses on the outskirts of the city. It was long and narrow, with red brick walls. A puddle of water was at the base of the back wall, and there were no street lamps anywhere to be seen. There would be no one to disturb them... When they landed, the black dragon took the chalk from the sack and went up to the wall at the end of ally. He began chanting in a strange language and drawing symbols in a large circle with the chalk. As he spoke, the symbols turned black and began to glow with a strange pulsing light. When the circle was complete, he went back over to Chang and pulled the chains from the sack. Handing the chains to her, he held out his wrists and said, "Now, use those chains and bind me."

She seemed puzzled by this. "Master? I'm afraid I don't understand. How is this part of our plan?"

"Once the portal is reopened and I return to the mortal realm, I will no longer be able to possess the American Dragon." He smiled slyly as he continued, "And I don't want him escaping just yet."

Still puzzled, Chang did as she was told. The dragon lay down at her feet and held still while she bound his claws and wings. When it was done, he said, "Now, we wait..."


"The portal cannot opened if certain conditions are not met..." he explained. "For instance, tonight, there is a very rare eclipse that happens only once every two millennial. That, combined with the ancient runes, and a little help from you, will open the gateway to my return..."...

Lao Shi hovered there, numb with shock at what had just happened. The scene playing over and over again in his mind. The black dragon's attack, the male griffin, knocked from the sky by the blow, Rose, falling helpless into the river below, the dragon's cruel laughter before it flew away...

Fu Dog, for once, was speechless. As the truth of what had happened began to sink in, the old dragon descended into the trees in search of the griffin. They found him lying in a glade below; his mate and chick already at his side. The mother griffin was bending over him, keening for her fallen mate. Loa Shi went up to them, pressing an ear to the male griffin's chest. A sigh of relief escaped the old dragon as he heard the steady pulse of the griffin's heart.

"He still lives." said Loa Shi, looking at Fu Dog. "Did you bring a healing potion?"

The Shar Pei started digging through the wrinkles in his fur, and came out with a small potion vial. "You're in luck." said Fu, "This is my last one." Loa Shi took the potion and gave it to the griffin. After a few minutes, his eyes opened and the griffin raised his head slowly. He looked around at them all, then squawked something at his mate.

"What did he say?" Loa Shi asked Fu. The old dog shook his head sadly.

"He's askin' if Rose is alright."

The mother griffin bowed her head, then came over to Loa Shi. She ran her beak over his scales, as though trying to preen him. The old dragon let her. As odd as it was, the gesture seemed to comfort him. The father griffin seemed puzzled by this. Then he looked around at the others and saw the sadness in their eyes, and guessed what had happened. He too came over to Loa Shi, and bowed his head in sorrow. The griffin chick also came up to them. They stayed like that for a few moments, grieving for Rose. Finally, as the moon slipped behind the treetops; the griffins took flight, heading back to their nest.

"Come, Fu Dog." said Loa Shi as he crouched down. Fu Dog climbed onto his back. Then, they flew back towards the shop...

"Do ya think... she's really gone?" asked Fu as they flew onward.

"Fu Dog..." said Loa Shi sadly, "We both know she couldn't have survived that fall..."

"But- but what about Jake? Do you think he...?"

"No, Fu... If he could have, he would have been there to save her..."

"You- you don't think he's..."

The old dragon didn't answer. But Fu saw his head drop lower, and his shoulders slump.

They flew onward in silence...

When they finally reached the shop, they found Jake and Rose's families, along with Spud, Trixie, 88, and 89 waiting for them...

The half moon slid out from behind the clouds, casting an eerie light into the alley. The moonlight streamed toward them, until it reached the far wall, bathing the circle in a silvery glow. The dragon began chanting again. As he spoke, the puddle of water at the wall's base began creeping upwards, until it covered the circle. The water stayed there, as though it were stuck fast to the bricks, though the runes still shone through it. Then, the moon began to turn red...

The dragon smiled. "The eclipse has begun..." The alley that they were in had also begun to turn red. The dragon watched the pool of water which still hang on the wall like a mirror. And when it had turned as red as blood, he looked at Chang and said, "Now, breathe your fire into the pool and open the gateway!"

Chang looked down at him, uncertain. Then, taking a deep breath, a huge jet of flame shot from her mouth heading straight for the water. When the fire struck water, a strange thing happened... The water didn't turn to steam as it normally would have. Instead, it writhed and boiled, swirling until it became a vortex. Black lightning and fire lashed out from it's center; expanding to the edge where it formed a blazing ring; taking the water with it. As the water and fire moved outward to the edge, a gaping hole was left. The blast of air that came through it was a blazing inferno. Purple mists swirled through the darkness inside... The gateway had opened again...

Suddenly, a strangled cry came from the chained dragon. Chang looked down at him, stunned by what she was seeing. The burn on his chest was pulsing again. Black lightning was racing across his scales, turning them red again as the blackness retreated to the star shaped mark. He writhed, snarling in pain, as the transformation took hold. Finally, when the darkness from his scales had completely disappeared, it torn from the burn in his chest, rendering him unconscious. The darkness took form as it left him, becoming a great winged shape... A phantom dragon...

The phantom raced through the portal and vanished, as the moon disappeared completely.

Jake slowly open his eyes, groaning in pain. "What- What happened to me?" He looked up, and saw Chang standing over him. "Chang?! But- But how?! Everyone thought you were dead!" The young dragon tried to move, struggling against the chains that bound him.

"You would do well to save your strength, Jake Long." said Chang, giving him a wicked smile. "You should consider yourself lucky that I'm letting you live long enough to see this moment."

"What?" asked Jake, "What are you talking about?"

Just then, the flames and lightning erupted from the portal, blasting both dragons with intense heat and ash. And as the smoke drifted away and the moon reappeared, Chang raised her claw and pointed. "Behold!"

The ring of fire and lightning still blazed, but now there was something coming towards them out of the darkness...

Gleaming eyes stared out at them... scales blacker then midnight... huge and terrible as the smoke swirled around him in the moonlight... The Dark Dragon had returned...

To be Continued...

Be on the look out for Fireheart: Part III in my Dragonfire saga! I'm sorry this took so long to post, but I had a huge case of writer's block these past few days. A big Thank You to all my readers, my teachers, and my parents; without whom I won't have gotten this far. You know who you are:) Special thanks to KaliAnn for the plot ideas, Queen of Spar Oom for trying to give me criticism, and Wheeley for helping me get over my writer's block:) Also: Big news today everybody! I'm announcing the first ever ADJL Fanfiction Podcast, hosted by Wheeley and myself! We need the help of voice actors, Authors, and anyone else who wants to help, please head to savetheshows. com and let your voice be heard! Don't forget to subscribe!