Sorry I took so long to upload this, but here it is! :3 Enjoy!

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Chapter 2

I fall in a bottomless space,

That has no end.

I dream of my future

And see darkness within.

Morning came faster than expected, waking each Sarachoo from its slumber. They gathered, in Human Form, within the middle of their village and waited for his majesty to confront them with tonight's plan of action.

A rush of silence overcame the gathering as Bremeg made his appearance in Human Form and stepped upon the stump he and the previous Kings had used over the centuries. He looked proud, ready, assured that his plan would work – but with a price. "Many of you will die," Bremeg didn't want to sugar-coat the truth. "Many of you will be injured," he began with the bad news to make sure their spirits would be raised in the end, "And only one of you will become the Savior." The blue Marcroo looked over his people, seeing the worry in their eyes, flooding their faces. "For many a millennia, we have watched our species be eaten and nearly become extinct. Fate has blessed us with the glory of the Savior." Bremeg looked behind himself to smile at his wife – his Queen, his son – his heir, and his daughter. He turned back to continue his speech, lightening the mood, "But tonight, our lives will be saved by ourselves; it is time to allow the Savior to rest forever – to create a stable peace within our land. No more shall we die off to please a far more devilish species; no more shall we fear time; no more shall we cringe at every dark cloud. Tonight, we gain our right to live!" Bremeg thrusted a fist into the air, cuing the Sarachoo to cheer and throw their fists up as well. It was a sight to remember; a sight to make one's heart flutter with hope; a sight that deceived all.

By noon, the Sarachoo gathered for their own feast; they danced and cheered, drank water and ate Beglons, hay, carrots, and other forms of large insects that resembled grubs. Games were included – simple mathematical games. One in particular was a gambling game with wooden dice, sweets, and twigs. It was simple, yet fun: there were three dice – one with the four main math symbols, two with six sides for the numbers. When one would solve the equation, a subtraction or division would take away that many sweets from that player and gain that many twigs, with addition or multiplication, they would gain sweets and subtract twigs. Each player would start off with fifty pieces of sweets and fifty twigs. Once a player has only twigs, it was game over for that player.

Other games were played, of course. The Marcroo tended to have eating and running contests. By evening, things got serious – the Sarachoo practiced out timing to release the large wooden spear traps and familiarized themselves with the areas that the spears were buried; this way, they wouldn't be caught in the crossfire as easily.

During the Sarachoo feast, a Crimp spy, merely a youngling, had landed outside of the village and witnessed the celebration. Have they forgotten about the Feast? Have they last track of time? His small stature made it effortless to stay out of sight. No matter, they are fattening themselves up for tonight – in the end. The youngling slithered his frail looking body into the forest and soon found his way out of the canopy and into the sky, heading back to Farroon Marock to report what he had seen.

"The Feast shall fill our tummies well, Lord Cyfro," the youngling landed next to his alpha, who was perched on his usual spot atop the mountain.

Cyfro didn't respond, though his stomach gave a pleased reaction of rumbling. The youngling was only as large as his Lord's foot, which he perched next to, gripping the rocks like a desperate predator. A Crimp's scales were slick and hard to detect by the naked eye. This effect allowed the black texture to glisten in the sun – not beautifully – menacingly. It was dangerous for a Crimp to sit out in the sun, however; their bodies would overheat. Cyfro didn't mind, though – he was far more interested in finally experiencing the Feast.

The youngling leaped and glided into a cavern below, leaving his Lord to himself.

As agreed, Freero left the village behind after saying his goodbyes; it was filled with hopeful smiles, but hope isn't always one to trust. The green Contle spread his wings and lunged toward a clearing, soon taking off as a powerful gust of wind blew against him and lifted his equine body. He didn't say where he was going, and he didn't tell Honesah why he was leaving – Freero didn't want to meet up with her until she had gotten much older. Doing this would allow her to teach herself her own strength, which would make her far stronger than someone always training her. There was a plan in mind, however, and Freero was determined to protect not only his sister, but the village as well.

A few hundred miles from the Sarachoo Village, Freero made it across the edge of the Deschanc Ka Blatru and soon reached a small human village, mostly vegetated by a few scattered trees from the forest and dry grass. The green Sarachoo landed in a small gathering of trees nearby and began his Forming back into Human, which only lasted a minute. Afterward, Freero strolled out and walked into the village, his tail neatly tucked away into his pants, his ears would be explained, if anyone asked. He searched the village, asking random people about different blacksmiths in the area and getting their opinions to find the best one. After about thirty minutes of questioning, he decided on the smith he wanted - a large man, standing nearly two feet taller than Freero, which equaled to about six feet, and a complexion of a gruff type. His hands and face were tainted black by all of the smoke an coal he worked with. The man didn't have a beard, but a mustache that reached around his top lip and curled inward. His hair was brown, curly, and reached below his ears; more than likely, he was unable to grow it any longer than that.

"What business do you have, boy?" The smith greeted Freero, though it wasn't as welcoming as the Sarachoo had hoped.

Even with the unwelcoming tone, Freero answered, "I have come here searching for a sword, one that can slice through any opponent."

A faint smile curled on the man's lips, "Well, then, my boy, you've come to the right place! My name is Jebec. My wife, Senica, is somewhere inside the house. Now tell me," he looked around his workshop. "What style of sword are you looking for? Heavyweight, lightweight, short, long; I can make you any sword you'd like."

Freero thought carefully; he would need a sturdy sword - one that would be able to handle much damage, and plenty of length to keep away from the blood. "Heavyweight, longsword. And," he paused in a pleased set of thoughts, "add a slight curve to the blade. Maybe a vine design on the hilt?"

"Ah, it sounds like a fine sword. I'll have it done in two days."

"Ten hours."

"T-ten hours?" Jebec was appalled. It took quite a while to craft a sword, and when other orders were to be made, it would take even longer.

"I need it by tonight. It is a very serious matter." Freero tossed a small clothed bag to the blacksmith. It was green and gold trimmed, and jingled with the sense of a full belly. "This is all I have. I will not need money where I am going."

Jebec pulled the drawstring, untying its lacy form, and poured the coins into his other hand, some of the gold forms dripping out of his hand and onto the ground. "All of this gold? Where did you...?" He stopped himself, studying Freero's forehead and ears, his green hair and kind orange eyes, then realized just who he was dealing with. "A Sarachoo."

"You have heard about us," Freero smirked.

"Only a Sarachoo could have so much gold and toss it around so freely." The man put the gold in his hand back into the bag - he would pick up the ones in the ground later. "Come," he ushered the green Sarachoo toward the door behind him, which lead to the inside of his home, "we'll finish this discussion inside."

At this point, Freero was able to meet Senica; she wasn't thin or fit, but she wasn't obese either - a healthy figure, with a pretty face framed by straight, shoulder length, light brown hair. Tea was served, a warm, soothing flavored tea, which worked perfectly against the winter chill. Freero studied the living room area: three chairs, a large bookshelf filled with books, and a few wall decorations here and there. The couple's home was simple and welcoming.

"I know a lot about your kind," Jebec began the more serious discussion, "I do a lot of hearing from customers about creatures they've fought and come across. Only a handful have ever seen strays of the Sarachoo."

Freero nodded, "We seldom leave the village."

"Is it finally that time again," Senica questioned, "the time of the Feast?"

Again, he nodded, "So you have learned this much."

"Why didn't you have your own blacksmith forge a sword for you?" Jebec eyed Freero curiously. Surely the Sarachoo forged metals.

"They do not know I am fighting. It was – a last decision." Freero looked down to the wooden floor; it was worn and old, but sturdy and soft to the eyes – a deep brown color, polished when the house was first built.

"It'll be another hour before my furnace is heated again, so we have time to chit-chat," Jebec said, reclining back in his makeshift chair.

Freero took his seat in one across from Jebec and nodded as he was handed his tea. The sweet smell was welcoming and soothing. "So you will have it ready within ten hours?"

"Eight hours."

"But you were stressing over the ten hours just outside."

"I only did that because I'm already overwhelmed with orders as it is." The blacksmith paused, sipped his tea, and continued, "However, considering the circumstances – and the pay – I'll make your request first on my list – decorations and all."

Hope filled Freero's heart just as the tea filled his body with warmth. He would be able to fight against the Crimps with his people and ensure his sister's safety – more importantly, everyone's safety as well. "I will make your name valuable under the Sarachoo village."

Jebec laughed and looked at his wife, "Do you hear that, Senica? The docile Sarachoo will honor our names!"

"What are you implying," Freero arched a brow.

"Nothing, my boy," he chuckled. "I take it quite seriously, but your people aren't known to fight very often – you tend to remain in hiding."

"That does not mean we do not practice with them."

An inspiring love-child between a smirk and a devilish grin molded onto the blacksmith's face. They continued to talk and entertain each other with questions about their lifestyles and backgrounds, their foods and family, passing the hour by rather quickly until it was time to get to work.

Jebec pounded on the long steel pole that was glowing red with near melting heat. He flattened and shaped the edges, heating and cooling as many times as the process required. The sword reached about four feet long from base to tip. While he formed the blade, Senica was making the decorative attachments that she would soon put on the hilt. She heated and cooled the hilt as needed, etching leaves, vines, and berries into the steel and attaching the cross-guard, which took the form of further vines that curled and twisted in the fashion that wouldn't harm the handler. There was so much detail and effort put into the sword, one would swear they had spent days creating it. Jebec had finally sharpened the blade to a spectacular glimmer and matched a sheath out of the large selection he had made during his free time.

"It is beautiful," Freero balanced the sword in his hands and gazed at its wonder. "Truly a sword made by absolute masters." He thanked the couple and was soon on his way back to the village. There, he would wait near the edge of the forest until the Crimps appeared, and strike with his people.

To pass the time, the Sarachoo continued in their leisurely activities, trying not to think about the terror that would soon follow by midnight.

Honesah and Allo sat by the frozen lake in their Natural Forms, its icy surface already starting to heal itself itself from melting during the daylight. They didn't talk much, unsure of how to be happy when almost sure death was on its way.

"Maybe we should escape, too," Allo suggested. "We could get out of here together and find Freero."

"But father said that I must stay here and witness the Feast," Honesah said. "He did not tell me why, but it will be useful to me in the future." She tapped the thin ice that crept up the bank with her fore hoof, "I am suppose to escape at some point, but I have to be here to know that it really did happen."

With a nod and a smile, Allo accepted this and answered, "Then we will escape during the Feast – both of us. And then we will find Freero and help him become the Savior."

Honesah stretched out her wings and shook her gold and sapphire mane. "Then let us make a promise to stay alive – to stay together forever and always be there to protect each other."

Without a word, Allo bent his equine head and shoved his horn deep into the snow and earth; he tilted his head, bending the curled yellow horn until it snapped into two about half its length down. "I want you to keep this with you, in case we are ever separated." Allo lifted the horn piece with his mouth and offered it to Honesah; she took it without question and Formed back to Human, placing the horn into her pants pocket.

"I will make a necklace out of it as soon as I can," Honesah smiled. She didn't know why Allo wanted her to keep it, but she adored and trusted him fully – it wasn't as if the horn would protect her or something. As much as Honesah would like to admit it, she couldn't – but she more than adored Allo – she loved him. They were so young, yet she couldn't help herself from feeling this way. Sometimes, Honesah wondered if Allo had similar feelings – or were they just mere friends to him? Time would tell, however, because age tended to lie on the subject of romance.

That night, the Sarachoo village laid silently in wait; they crouched behind every trap-trigger, the Cotlies hid in an underground chamber – all except Allo and Honesah. The two were hiding with Bremeg and Crooton; Allo's mother had agreed to let Allo stay with Honesah after being told their escape plan. It would be sad to die alone and not be with her son in the most frightening of times, but she knew that she would see him again once the Savior restored the village.

Almost every Marcroo had a trigger; those who didn't were assigned as scouts to signal for when they saw the Crimps on their way. Clouds were quickly building in the sky, blocking out the bright and twinkling stars as they darkened to the color of the night. There was no rain, no lightning, only wind – strong gusts of wind. Bremeg looked up to the clouds and searched for the glow of the moon, barely able to see it – but he did. "Midnight," he said.

At that very moment, a piercing cry broke the rushing winds' woos and dramatically ended with a low, rumbling, unnatural tone. With this battle cry, the Sarachoo's ears began to bleed from the high-pitched scream, then shook from the vibrato of the rumbling tone. Bremeg waited for the scouts' signals – torched cloth balls slung in the air. He knew it wasn't yet time – not until the third cry. Silence returned to their ears, accompanied by the winds. It wasn't long until the second cry resounded, causing the Sarachoo to fall to their knees and emotions break from the tremendous pain ringing in their heads. Silence returned and remained for a good five minutes.

Their red eyes formed in the night's blanket, glowing with menacing hunger. The scouts lit their torch balls and slung them high into the air from their tree perches. As the fireballs rose into the air, the Crimps increased their flight speed and snatched the torches one by one, swallowing the fires into their dark bodies. The third and last cry rang out, and immediately after, fire so hot that it was black, burst from the lungs of the carnivorous Crimps. They landed, ready to begin the Feast, but realized that there hadn't been any screams at all – not even a tiny stir. Cyfro was far too large to sit in the village with everyone else, so he hovered about – his powerful wings adding to the strength of the wind. "Burn everything down," he commanded. "If they aren't here when we're finished, search the forest!"

Another torch ball shot into the air; before the Crimps could react, they were scoured by many large spears that burst from the ground below them. Those with direct hits died immediately, but there were still Crimps who were unscathed. Out of sheer anger, the Crimps still alive began to breathe their dominating fire and whip their tails over the buildings, easily obliterating them, as they cried, "It's a trap! A trap!" Their destruction frightening the Sarachoo out of hiding – the Feast began.

By the mere glance of a Sarachoo, the Crimps were instinctively triggered to snap out and attempt to devour the pure mystical beings. With most of the Crimps killed off, the Sarachoo had a better chance to fight – which they did; Bremeg ordered his people to take up arms, or rather, horns. All Sarachoo were in Natural Form, dashing and swooping under the Crimps to pierce their bellies as many times as it would take until the Black Dragons bled to death. There was only one problem – once a Crimp's blood is exposed to oxygen, it immediately turns into a powerful acid. The ground was boiling as it was being digested, forcing the Sarachoo to remain in flight.

Within the chamber where the Cotlies were hidden, there was certain death. The young Sarachoo huddled against the furthest wall, watching a red liquid begin to drip from the ceiling door. It only took a few seconds for that drip to turn into a stream, then a thick pour, and finally, the door gave way and swallowed the Cotlies before they could even scream.

"Come on, Honesah," Allo called over his shoulder to his Princess, both of their wings flapping as strongly as possible. "They dodged the oncoming Crimp tails and bursts of flames, barely escaping many. So close to the edge of the village – once they reached the tree line, they could disappear into the snow and vegetation. Allo made an easily avoidable mistake, however; he looked behind himself again, not hearing a response from Honesah – she was crying.

It was the last thing he would remember about her – about anything. Honesah, though, would remember the chomp and crunch, crunch of her dearly beloved, watching as his body was so easily devoured by the Crimp. Once it had swallowed, the Crimp sneered and eyed Honesah's frightened, saddened, and almost frozen body, "So they were right – Sarachoo are far sweeter than sheep!"

Her brain told her to escape, but her wings wouldn't do more than allow her to hover. Honesah's wide pink eyes glistened and ran with tears. As the Crimp reared its head back to strike, her senses returned, and Honesah managed to dodge the razor sharp teeth within mere inches. She dove down into the tree line, quickly blending into the thick white snow. The Sarachoo Princess flew and flew as fast as she could, brushing against merciless branches from the many pine trees. Finding a fair branch to rest on, Honesah changed to Human Form, barely able to allow the process to go through – hopefully, the Crimps wouldn't recognize her this way; and, she hoped, the pine would be a cover for her scent.

The pain of losing young love was even more excruciating then what her body was feeling. Honesah reached into her red pants' pocket and pulled out the horn tip from Allo.

Then we will escape during the Feast – both of us.

His cheerful suggestion echoed within her mind, bringing up the questions of why Fate would be so cruel to ruin their plan; why did love hurt so much; why should such an innocent romance be broken? She leaned herself back, relaxing against the tree trunk as she sat up on the thick branch. Feeling dizzy, the Cotly decided it would be acceptable for a short nap and closed her emotionally swollen eyes. The las three things she remembered were the crunching of her body falling deep into the snow, the pain of something sharp sinking into the center of her chest, and a boy proclaiming, "That's not what I shot at."

Yay! But, le gasp, what is this? I'm not posting any further chapters? D8 Why not? Well, I plan to publish this book in the near future and allowing people to download the entire thing on here would just be too easy. You have to see the cover and its beauty, too! lol Sorry, I'm not trying to be greedy, but publishing the book is the only way to actually get it out there. XD
Thank you, everone for reading and replying! I greatly appreciate it! Please be on the lookout for the official release of "Once Upon a Cloud"!