I FINALLY got over my writer's block! Yay! :D Hopefully now I can update Fireheart soon!

Strange Alliances

Chapter 3: The Deal

Rotwood slowly opened his eyes...

"Where am I?" he asked.

"Well, well, well, looks like he finally woke up..." said a voice.

Rotwood looked up, to see two boys standing over him. It didn't take him long to realize who they were. They were the same two he'd seen trying to capture the baby unicorn.

One of the boys was tall and skinny, with a pale face and oversized front teeth. The other boy was short, stocky and had dark skin. Both of them were dressed in red and black uniforms and both wore red masks. Rotwood looked closer, and noticed a bright red symbol on the foreheads of their masks and on their belt buckles. It was shaped like a double-headed ax blade.

The professor pushed himself up off the floor, and sat there, rubbing the back of his head and looking around. He seemed to be in some sort of abandoned... well, he wasn't really sure what to call it. The closest thing he could think of would be "lair", but that couldn't be right? Could it?

"Are you ok?" asked the tall boy, "That's a pretty bad lump on your head. You're lucky we were there to rescue you."

"Rescue me?" asked Rotwood, puzzled, "Rescue me from what? Who are you two? And where am I?"

"Rescue you from what?! From the dragon, fool! What else?!" snapped the shorter boy.

"I'm 89," said the taller kid, "this is 88." He pointed to the shorter kid. "And you're in the Huntslair."

"I see..." said Rotwood, glaring suspiciously at them. "Do you have any aspirin or something? My head is killing me."

89 handed him an ice pack. After placing it on his head, Rotwood asked, "What exactly happened to me? I didn't see any dragons."

It was 89 who answered him. "Well, you see we're dragon sla- ow!"

88 quickly elbowed him in the ribs and said, "Dragon scientists, and we were, uh, studying the magical creatures who live around here. Right?" He gave 89 a glare.

89 caught on, and winked at him. "Yeah, what he said, and last night we were, uh, studying the nocturnal habits of pixies!"

"Yeah," said 88, "And we saw you up on that roof, and then that old blue dragon, you know, the long skinny one, he came sneakin' up behind ya and WHAM! Conked you on the head with that big tail of his. Would've finished ya off too, 'cept we showed up and chased 'em away." 88 puffed out his chest, glancing at Rotwood and 89 with a smug look on his face.

"You don't say..." said Rotwood, slowly, still glaring at them. "You didn't seem so brave the last time those dragons showed up."

"That's cause there was two of 'em!" snapped 88, "We'd of had that unicorn if they hadn't shown up!"

"What did you want with that unicorn anyway?" asked Rotwood.

88's face went blank. "uh... we, uh..."

"We wanted to study it!" 89 said quickly, "You know, bring it back here, see if it was healthy, cut off it's horn to sell on the magical black market..." He stopped, realizing what he'd just said.

Rotwood raised an eyebrow at him.

"I'm kidding!" said 89, with a nervous look on his face, "Kidding! Who'd wanna do that to a unicorn? Not us, nope, no way..."

An awkward silence followed...

"So..." said Rotwood finally, "Are there any adults around here that I could speak with?"

The two boys looked at each other, then 89 spoke.

"No," he said, with a sad look on his face, "Sadly, we're all that's left of the Huntsclan," At this, both of them bowed their heads, "ever since... that terrible night..."

He suddenly turned his face away, and made a show of sobbing hysterically while 88 patted him on the back and said, "You'll have to excuse him. He, doesn't like to talk about it."

"What happened?" asked Rotwood, in mock sympathy. It was obvious the boy was faking his sobs, but the German was still curious as to the fate of their "Huntsclan", so he decided to play along.

"It was that dang American Dragon's fault!" said 88 fiercely, "Him and his Huntsclan-traitor girlfriend Rose! They sent our whole clan straight into a vortex! Well, actually it was Rose's fault, but she got sucked into the vortex to, so we can't really blame her. But that American Dragon was the reason she did it! He was the slimy snake that charmed her into betraying the Huntsclan!"

"Jake?!" said Rotwood, shocked, "He would never do such a thing!"

"Oh, so that's the dragon's name is it?!" said 89, turning back to look at Rotwood, "Well he sure as heck did do it."

"I think," said Rotwood carefully, "you'd better tell me the whole story."

So they told him all they knew, changing it to fit their sob story of course, and emphasizing their own "heroic deeds" while they were at it.

Rotwood listened quietly while they spoke, and once their story was finished, he said, "That was a very... interesting story..." he paused, then asked, "So, what do you two plan to do now?"

"Get revenge on the dragon, of course!" said 89 excitedly.

"I meant how do you plan to do it?" said Rotwood.

"That's the part we haven't figured out yet..." said 88, "We were hopin' maybe you could help us, seein' how those dragons have messed up your life to."

"I see..." said Rotwood, "Well, I have a better idea then revenge. I myself have been trying, without success, to expose Jake Long, and the rest of the magical world, to the publics attention for years now."

"Say," said 89, "That's a great idea! What better way to get our sweet revenge then to expose that dragon for what he really is! WAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

88 and Rotwood stared at him with weird looks on their faces.

"Ok..." said 88, "Problem is, we don't know where to find 'em." Both boys sighed heavily.

"If only we knew someone who knew more about the dragon..."

"Yeah, someone who knows his name and where he lives..."

"Someone who could lead us straight to him with no problems whatsoever..."

They both eyed Rotwood thoughtfully.

"I can see where this is going..." Rotwood said flatly.

"You know where he lives," said 89 "We know how to catch him. So what do you say? Do we have a deal?"

Rotwood thought about this carefully. These boys may have been lousy actors, but he had to admit that he could use the help in exposing the young dragon. And these two, despite being cowards, might just know something useful.

"Very well," said the professor, "I suppose I could lend you my assistance, if, and only if, you promise me, on your word as fellow magical exposers, that no harm will come to Jake Long, or any of his friends and family! I may be out to expose him," said the German proudly, "But I still have respect for the boy. He was one of my students after all. A trouble maker, yes, but still, I feel a certain responsibility to for him. Well, that, and his mother would probably kill me if anything happened to him."

88 and 89 looked at each other, then 89 said, "Oh don't worry. We won't harm a single, uh, scale, on his head."

"Yeah," said 88, "what he said." They grinned pleasantly at Rotwood, while crossing their fingers behind their backs.

"So," said 88, "Do we got a deal or what?" He offered his hand to Rotwood.

The professor looked at it, hesitantly, then looked 88 straight in the eye, grasped the boy's hand and shook it firmly.