I was flying.
Around me were flashing, swirling colours that faded, blended, only to come back. I was a part of the colour, in the middle of the tunnel they made, and I felt nothing. It was like I was dreaming, but the surreal feeling wasn't there. There was no twinge of consciousness, no limbs to move, nothing to breathe with. There was only the colours, and somehow knowing that I was travelling upwards, to elsewhere.
I somehow knew that there was a destination, and I had to get there. So upwards I rushed, and like galloping horses, the colour-tunnel dashed before me. It was like a race, and with every second I passed the other contestants. The tunnel's end came in sight, a bright, white light. And every m, the bits and pieces left of me began to fade away.
"No!" I suddenly shouted. My voice reverberated off the walls, melted, and became a part of the colour.
I felt that I could not continue going towards that light. I felt, period. I knew I must turn around.
I began to fall, but the gravity reversed. I had to push forward to continue moving. And it was a race again, but this race was deadly. The white light was tugging on me. I wanted to become a part of the colour, but even more than that, I wanted to get away. Faster, faster, I went, until I could see the end approaching. I could see my limp body at the end of the tunnel.
My colours began to take form as I neared the end of the tunnel. I could feel my arms now, and I reached one out. My wings, still made out of light, beat the... no, there wasn't air here. They beat the space. I stretched out my arm as far as it could go, and as I did, a bright, purple light filled my vision. I yelled out and pushed myself forward.
I gasped for air in the manner of a person who had been underwater for a long time. My body tingled painfully, but I could feel it. I jumped to my feet and stumbled, but managed to stay upright. My labored breathing began to slow.
"You're alive!" I turned to see Spyro, staring at me in shock. "That's not possible..."
"What do you mean?" I asked. I shivered... I was cold. And my pounding head only made it worse.
"You weren't breathing," Spyro replied.
"You mean I had...? So that's what that was."
"I don't know. That convexity blast... the shock must have been too much. I was dying, and I felt like I had become colour itself. I was flying inside this tunnel, going somewhere but I don't know where, but I managed to turn around and get back here." I was speaking so fast that I could hardly keep up with myself. I stopped for breath and saw Spyro was staring at me.
"Just... never mind. I'm alive. That's all that matters." I sighed with relief. "But what about Kori?"
Spyro shook his head and motioned to the side. I saw Kori there. He lay still in the grass. I walked over to him an touched his chest, but there was no beat.
He looked somehow... peaceful. Eyes closed, he seemed as if he were only asleep, except for the lack of breathing. I stepped away from him.
"The world's a better place without him," I murmured contemplatively. "Even in death, may the ancestors look after you." I turned away and plodded back over to Spyro, who took off into the air.
He circled around the clearing for a few minutes, then flew off to the north. A few minutes later, he came back and landed beside me.
"Warfang's just to the north of here. Come on, if we're quick, we'll be there before dawn," Spyro informed me.
So, after recovering the journal that had thankfully been out of range of the convexity blast, back into the forest we went. After about an hour of walking, the trees began to thin and spread out. I looked to the west and saw that the moons had sank behind the trees, with only a little bit at the top sticking out over the forest. To the east, the sky was light grey and I could see the clouds outlining it. In front of us, Warfang was near.
"What are we going to do once we get there?" I asked, disturbing the silence.
"Let's just see if we can slip in and get to the council house unnoticed. If we can keep the members quiet, we may be able to get our point out and have you a second trial without attracting any attention to yourself," Spyro replied.
I glanced at the journal that I held in one paw. "If that's your plan, we can't get through the gates and I obviously can't fly. What am I supposed to do, climb over the wall?"
Spyro's eyes twinkled, but he said nothing. I stopped in my tracks and stared at him.
Spyro landed carefully, touching down perfectly on the grass. With a cry and a flailing of limbs I landed on the group near him with a thump. Luckily, Spyro had taken the journal from me.
"Not funny," I muttered irately, ignoring Spyro's suppressed laugh. I stood up, brushed myself off, and walked forward.
"Let's just hurry up," I said, glancing back at Spyro, "before the guards—" I turned back and found myself staring at the tip of the blade. "Find... us."
"Halt!" the owner of the blade, a mole, said.
"Wait, wait, I can explain! We have evidence that proves her innocence. We just need a second trial," Spyro protested, walking forward.
The mole glanced at Spyro, but didn't drop his stance. "Even if this is the case, she still needs to be interned at the courthouse until that trial. But that's impossible. Just follow me, you—no sudden moves."
I stood stock still, afraid of what would happen if I even breathed. I glanced at Spyro, who gazed back at me helplessly. I took a few cautious steps forward and followed the mole.
"Spyro, I cannot be put in another cell," I said, shuddering at just the idea.
"Don't worry. It won't be for long. I'm going to get you out of this," Spyro replied.
Once we reached the main part of the city, three other guards surrounded me. People stopped what they were doing and stared incredulously at me as I walked by, head bowed.
"Is that really..."
"The one who killed all those people..."
"Escaped the prison yesterday..."
I could hear the whispers. Finally, unable to take it anymore, I swept the people gawking at me a scornful look and they were silent.
After a few minutes of walking, we came to the courthouse. It was just as I remembered. The walls were a bit more worn, but it was still only one story high, made out of the same stone, with the same large doors and the same tall staircase.
The crowd behind me dispersed as the guards, Spyro, and I ascended the stairs. The doors opened and I was led through the courtroom and into the back area, where the cells were. After I was placed inside the cell and the door locked, the guards left.
"This isn't as bad... as Barrin's Keep. But I don't know... how long I can stand this." I had to take deep breaths to keep from completely losing it. After all those years of being in a cell, and finally having a taste of freedom...
"Don't worry. I'll get you out of there," Spyro promised. "Just give me some time. I'm sorry, that was stupid of me, bringing you here... I should have just gone myself, but I was afraid to leave you alone."
"It's alright. Just, please hurry..." With that, I backed into the wall. Spyro turned and left.
"Wake up! Time to go!" I cracked open one eye and saw two dragons standing before me, guards judging by the armour they wore.
"Where?" I asked, standing up and stretching. I was unable to tell how long I had been in the cell, but it had definitely been more than three days.
"Outside," the one who had spoken before, an earth dragon, said. The side of his armour gleamed and flickered in the torchlight. He pulled the door open and I reluctantly stepped forward.
"To the trial?" I asked as we made our way through the hall and past the cells.
"Something like that. We know as much as you do," the dragon behind me answered. She was female and sounded young.
I stepped forward quickly. I thought, Weren't the trials supposed to be held inside? As the double-doors swung open, I shielded my eyes with a wing until I could adjust to the bright sunlight. When they did, I was amazed at what I saw.
Before me was the whole of Warfang's population. Hundreds, thousands of individuals in a clamoring crowd, all shoving to try and get to the front, and all being pushed back by guards. They stood around a large stone dais, and on the dais were ten dragons. Two were guards, and one was Spyro.
The guards led me to the crowd, and both fell back to either side of me. The crowd cleared out of the way and stared at me as I passed. I stared back, and a few shrunk into the crowd. Some gazes hardened into a glare, some were neutral, and others stared at me with big, frightened eyes. I was confused, afraid. What was happening?
I stepped up onto the dais and the crowd melted back into the hole it had made. The guards followed it. I stared at Spyro, hoping he would say something, but he didn't. I glanced at the crowd, then forward again. Before me were seven dragons in an ordered group.
One of the seven dragons before me cleared his throat. "Attention," he said. A wave of silence instantly swept over the crowd. The dragon paused before continuing. "This court will now come to order. Today we will be re-reviewing the case involving Crystal and the massacre at Altonfield. Crystal, how do you plead?"
I glanced at Spyro. He gave me a reassuring look. "Not guilty," I said firmly.
"Good. Because the court had already reached a verdict," one of the jurors said.
"Wha—?" I asked, but I was interrupted.
"We have gone over the evidence prior to this meeting. This is the diary of Kori, the late prosecutor." The dragon who had spoken held up Kori's journal. "I will read it aloud for the benefit of all in attendance."
And so he did. As everybody listened, the only sound was the occasional drawing in of breath. Kori, apparently, had been found in the wilderness at a young age. For many months, Malefor had tried unsuccessfully to give Kori many elements and turn him. Finally, Malefor cast him aside, but kept him around to do small things rather than killing him. The story continued on for a while, becoming increasingly unintelligible, until it reached the part Spyro and I had read. The juror read this part very slowly, enunciating every syllable. And then that was the end.
The dragon took a breath. "The handwriting in this book matches previous samples of Kori's writing. In addition to this evidence, we have been given a confession by one of the mentioned suspects, Whirlwind."
One of the dragons, a female shadow dragon, stepped out of line. She turned towards me. My heart rate sped up and something welled up inside me.
"Crystal," the dragon said, "we hereby pardon you of all crimes imposed thus far." She looked around at the crowd before stepping back with the other jurors. "Court is adjourned."
My face had changed emotions many times while she was speaking. First it was neutral, then it turned to amazement, and now joy was creeping up onto it. Free... I was finally, finally free.
The crowd began to disperse. The guards and the jurors left. But still I stood there, awestruck and dumbfounded.
"I can't believe it," I said to Spyro, who stood patiently near me. "I can't believe it. I'm free." I laughed.
"What are you going to do now?" Spyro asked, smiling too.
"That is the question," I agreed. I thought for a moment, and I realized, exactly, what I was going to do now. "There might be one thing..."
I paced back and forth outside of the courthouse. The guards who were guarding the doors gave me irritated glares, but I ignored them. Finally, I settled for sitting against the wall.
Calm down. Everything will be alright, I thought. I sighed and drummed my claws on the concrete and shifted my weight. I just couldn't sit still.
"Would you calm down? You're driving me crazy." I shot a glare at Sparx.
"You're one to talk! You've been flying around in circles for the past two hours," I said flatly.
"Knock it off, you two," Spyro said absentmindedly. "It has to be nearly over."
The doors suddenly opened. I looked up expectantly and breathed a sigh of relief.
"How did it go?" I asked. There was a long pause. My heart sank.
"They said forty years was a long enough sentence."
"So you mean...?"
"Oh, Jay!" I sprang to my feet and just about knocked him over with a hug. Jayred grinned and I beamed back.
"Well, there, now that's off my checklist," I joked. Jayred chuckled and walked down the stairs. Everybody followed him as he headed down to the streets. "So now what?" I asked.
"I don't know. I have to think about it," Jayred said. "I have to start over."
"I know the feeling. Ugh, was I really in that prison for twenty-four years?" I shook my head to clear it. "Well, it doesn't matter. Kori is gone, forever."
We were all standing on a hill now. I looked down at the city, at the buildings beginning to dim in the twilight. I sighed contently. It was all over. I was free, but at a great cost. My childhood had been snatched away from me. I would never fly again. The world had changed around me and I could never catch up.
But these troubles all paled in comparison to the joy I now felt. Jayred was free. I had been reunited with Spyro and Sparx, my brothers. I would never have to so much as look at a cell again, for I had freedom. And somewhere out there, friends and family were waiting for me to return home.
I looked around. Jayred, who had been my comfort, a light in the darkness, was looking at me. I smiled and he smiled back. Sparx was looking up at the sky. He had never doubted me for a second, and that meant more than the world. Spyro was gazing up to the sky as well. Even after I had pushed him away, he still kept coming back. He never left me behind no matter what happened, and he set me free from the torment.
I gazed up at the darkening sky. Stars began to dot it, twinkling with all their might. I knew it wasn't true, but I somehow felt that they were shining just for me. The night breeze began to set in. I closed my eyes as it brushed my face. Suddenly, for no reason except being unable to contain my happiness any longer, I laughed.
"We did it," I whispered. "We did it." The wind carried my words away. Even after they had faded, they continued on, dancing forever across the world.
And everything started to fall back into place.
That's all of it. I'm hoping this will be the last Crystal spin-off. Even though they are fun to write, I'm kind of giving her Barbie Doll Syndrome here by throwing every plot I come across her way. XD Anyway, I hope you enjoyed And Everything Started to Fall. Seeya soon! :D