A/N: Ah, so we're finally making some progress after four Chapters! More Characters, main or sub, are starting to reveal themselves?
On a side note, I have a beta now! So there should be fewer mistakes; grammar and spelling wise. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this Chapter! ^_^
Chapter 5: Unknowing Help
- Miles from Dawn Castle, 13th March, 20XX
He groaned, trying to blink away the dizziness that enveloped him. The first thing that registered in his mind was scent. The smell of blood was thick, filling the air with its copper taste.
The second thing that he was aware of was pain. His chest burned with it. Every breath he took had sent a stinging pain that shot through his entire body.
The third thing that he was aware of, if ever so faintly was the bright red lights in the distance that decorated the night sky; and the sounds of shrieking- too high for that of a human throat.
He cringed as another wave of pain washed through him, this time he was faintly aware that the pain was also coming from his hands. And something- or someone- was also painfully tugging at his arm.
"Matt… get up… hurry!" He blinked when the familiar voice reached his ears.
And it all came back to him; he was Matt, a fifteen year old swordsman, who, eight years ago was captured by Youth Stealers and brought to Dawn Castle. He had a friend, called Cat, who was also captured along with a group of other children. Eight years later both found out the Ordeal and his four Generals were behind the raid. Both knew they had to escape- and partly succeeded in doing so with the help of Xenophon- also another one of the captured children. The half dragon had helped them get down the outer walls of the Dawn Castle, and told the two to start running.
Then things got ugly.
The two friends had begun to run. Eleven minutes into their escape they barely avoided the rescuers. Thirty minutes into their escape they have been spotted by the Youth Stealers. Thirty minutes and roughly fifteen seconds into their escaper the two find themselves dodging fireballs left and right, and, at the same time, drawing a lot of unwanted attention to themselves by altering the rescuers of their presence.
And thirty six minutes into the duo's escape, the force from one of the fireballs manages to knock Matt off his feet- resulting in him flying back from the force and sliding of the edge of a cliff which, in return, had him falling roughly ten feet through the air, and landing heavily on his back. The shock from the fall dazed him, and the heat from the blow ate away at the fragile human skin of his hands- the stray flames also managed to graze his face- causing him to bleed out from his wounds- which was pretty much what was happening. Right now. At this very moment.
He let out a strangled cry and sat up the best he can as the sudden flow of memories hit him, like how a wave would burst a dam open. Upon opening his eyes, he came to face his friend, Cat, who was doing the best she can to urge him onto his feet and resume running.
"Matt! Get up! Hurry! They're closing in!" Cat cried desperately as she tried to haul Matt onto his feet. Matt groaned as he stood up, head still spinning, but thankfully, the pain on his chest had died down into a light throb. The huge roar of another fireball colliding against a tree was enough for him to snap wide awake.
He started to run when he felt Cat do so, the other almost dragging him behind her. He quickly caught his own footing, and began to quicken his own pace, and, at the same time, catching up to Cat.
He cursed, though, when a tree was blasted down, nearly crushing the duo in its wake, and Matt was sure that there was no way that the rescuers hadn't heard that, if they haven't heard them already from all the Fire Blasts caused by the Youth Stealers.
A dragon with ice-frozen wings falling from the sky and ramming into the tree before them, bringing another tree down in the process marked the rescuers presence, and, of all the things he could have thought of, the word, "****" was what came out of his mouth, and he earned a disapproving glare from Cat for that. Cat always decided against swearing- no matter how bad the situation at hand seems.
And right now, saying that the situation was bad was an understatement- their situation was downright horrible and there was no way it could get any worse.
And then it did- The Youth Stealers started dive bombing at them.
"Duck!" Cat screamed when the first Dragon missed the duo by mere inches as the two ducked to the side, the dragon leaving behind a torn trail of soil as it shot back towards the sky.
Others soon follow.
Talons outstretched, the furious reptile made a screeching sound, before it shot towards the two, its eyes glowing bright red, as if a monster wanting to tear the two teens apart limb by limb.
Matt dodged to the side again as another one or two of the Dragons attempted to catch him in their huge claws, successfully avoiding the dragons' assault.
Cat wasn't so lucky- after successfully getting away from the first two dragons, the third dragon had dove at her from behind, catching her completely off guard as the dragon had her dangling in midair from its clawed hands in one powerful down stroke, Cat screamed as she realized that she was being carried away by the terrifying reptile…
And Matt screamed when the very same dragon was shocked with an expert thunder spell before falling a few tree tops from where he was.
Matt really wanted to run over to his friend. He had an urge to rush over to her side, pick her up, and run away to escape from the dangers. But one look at his friend convinced him otherwise- Cat's face was bloodied, even though her beautiful red locks covered most of her face, it was clear to Matt that no one would be able to survive a Thunder Shock that powerful. The Youth Stealer didn't, so what chance did Cat had?
Matt turned and ran. It was actually easier to get away now, as the Youth Stealers were busy with the rescuers, and that the rescuers were too busy trying to identify his friend to pay much attention to him.
Matt tried to focus on running, or at least, focus the best he can. He tried shoved his emotions to the back of his head, trying to avoid any distractions, if possible. But as he continued to run, he found that his mind constantly drifted back towards the horribly clear image of Cat's dead body, no matter how hard he tried to ignore those thoughts. And it almost came to the point where he found no reason to continue anymore. He felt his legs giving out, felt tired of running, felt so light headed to the point where he almost fainted.
But he knew he had to continue, despite how he thought so otherwise. At the very least, he had to fulfill Xenophon's wishes. After what the hybrid had done for them… him.
It was just himself, now. Cat was dead.
Roughly another thirty minutes later, Matt finally reached the end of the island. He let his feet splash into the freezing water as he tried to regain his breath.
Matt coughed for a while, before looking around. His vision was blurred by the sweat that trickled down his forehead and his eyes while he was running. Matt rubbed his eyes before taking in his surroundings; Trees, some rocks, sand, and a lot of water.
His heart sank. Of course, how could he forget? Not even Xenophon had been sure if there was even a way to get of the damned island. He didn't know what he had been hoping for, but he thought that maybe he would have been in luck. Alas, all his efforts were in vain.
He sat down onto the sand and felt like falling over to his side and crying. He didn't even know what he should do now. He suddenly found the whole situation painfully hilarious- he never knew what do to. He never did. It was just now that he realized that the reason he got so far was the help he had gotten from his two friends. And now, without his friends, he was lost, uncertain, and confused of what he was to do.
Without his friends, he was basically useless.
The truth hurt. A lot. But He wasn't mad at himself for relying too much on his friends. He was mad at himself. How could he? How could he be so weak to not be able to save his friend, when the other had done so much for him? It wasn't fair- she deserved so much more than he did. But since when was life really fair?
He was about to cry in frustration when he noticed a spark of light emitting from the sea. He quickly snapped his head up, thinking that he was found by the red-eyed dragons and he was about to be buried by dozens of fire balls. But instead, he saw nothing. The trees were still singing as their leaves rattled with the wind, and the ocean still looked dark and miserable as when he had first set eyes on it.
Wait… was what that?
Matt frowned and stood up to get a better look at the object. It was quite far away from the shore, just floating above the surface of the water. It was dark, but he could barely make out the shape of the floating object-
It was a boat.
Matt didn't even bother to wonder why there was a small boat floating in the ocean, near an island probably no one knew. All he did was swam out to it and got onto the boat gratefully, quickly falling into unconsciousness, due to his wounds and his lack of strength from excessive running.
-Red Ore Kingdom Docks, 14th March, 20XX
A figure walked across the shores of the Red Ore Kingdom. He was a young man in his early twenties, with spiky white hair and angelic wings. But if one looked close enough, they could see that the wings composed of both feathers and fur, which were white as the winter snow. His long robes were a light shade of grey; its sleeves were black and decorated with white, spiral like patterns. The same thing could be said with the black belt that was tied around his waist.
The male had been patrolling these shores for the last eight years, ever since the first incident with a new race of dragons everyone had come to name the 'Youth Stealers', for they stole children. And people have yet to find out what on earth they had done with their children.
Skyloids like him had tried to fly after the Youth Stealers in an attempt to catch them, or to at least find out where they were heading. Unfortunately, the winged dragons were a lot faster than they were. Their dark colored feathers, well hidden within the night only proved the Dragons to be a pain to track down, if even possible.
He sighed as he thought about the Mothers and Fathers who must be sick with grief when their children had been forcefully taken from them, but he quickly turned his attention back to the shores. Scales, feathers, tracks- anything. Anything that could help them know more about these reptiles could be proven valuable. This was why he was walking along the shore, trying to find even the slightest hint that had been left behind by the dragons, but so far, he had found none.
A padding sound coming from behind him caught his attention, and he spun around to identify the new comer- A large wolf- nearly as tall as himself- donned in white fur that carried a hint of silver. Its black eyes dark as coal, with the occasional patch of light blue fur in contrast of its white fur, creating patterns and symbols from its forehead down to its bushy tail. Most people will run immediately if this huge canine was sighted. Yet, the figure did not flee, but smiled warmly as he extended his hand out to the wolf, his fingers stroking the large mammal's fur.
He turned around and continued to walk, signaling the large wolf to follow. Of course he wasn't afraid of the over-grown canine- why would he be anyways? The two's history went a long time back, but in short, the wolf and him were like best friends- brothers, even. If he wasn't mistaken, he had met the large mammal when he was barely a Down- the equivalent to a human toddler.
When he was young, he used to live in his homeland, Skylandia, which was also every other Skyloids' homeland anyways. It was kind of like a Kingdom that existed in the sky. Some people know about it, but none had been there actually. But that didn't matter, that was where he had met his large canine friend that he, ironically, had named 'Wolf'.
He chuckled lightly at the memory but then mentally kicked himself for being so distracted easily. Now wasn't the time for trips down memory lane… The case of the Youth Stealers had been so confusing it had the Order of the Red Ore Kingdom worked up, his 'eaglet' being one of those people. Other Skyloids had tried to help in search of possible tracks that the dragons might have left behind after their raid, but so far, none of them had been quite successful.
That was another mystery- it was quite clear that the Youth Stealers know magic. That was how those red-eyed dragons have been able to breathe fire. Yet, they left behind no trails of magic that could be picked up by the Skyloids or Mages in the kingdom. Or did the dragons simply use another trait of magic that they could not pick up? Either way, it was another interesting fact about the Youth Stealers that was worth thinking over.
Another hour of scanning the shore searching for tracks and possibly energy signals later, the Skyloid was about to give up and head back to the Order and to report his findings, but Wolf started clawing at the soft sand and barking at… the ocean?
"Wolf? What's wrong?" he asked as he walked closer to the wolf, his hand reaching out to touch the large creature on its snout. But the canine only gave him a brief glance before he continued to growl at what appears to be open water.
The Skyloid frowned, and he, too, looked towards the ocean as well. At first, he saw nothing but miles and miles of deep ocean blue. He was about to tell his canine friend to snap out of it when he spotted something. It was quite far away, but he saw it, nonetheless.
Swiftly, he spread his wings, and with a single powerful down stroke, he went air-born. He quickly flew towards the tiny object he had just saw in the ocean, and as he neared said object, he could tell that it was a small boat judging by its outline.
He wasn't quite sure what to make of the appearance of this boat, but he quickly realized that there was a person on the boat. But that didn't explain why Wolf acted the way he did- the large canine was sensitive to a Skyloid's scent, not a human's- unless, this person was a Skyloid's 'eaglet'…
He started to take in the person's features when he descended onto the small wooden boat. The person was a blond- that was quite clear- that had hair reaching past the shoulders. The Skyloid took a while to debate whether the person was a male or a female in his mind, but finally decided that the person was probably a boy, judging by his build. The boy was probably around the age of fifteen, wearing light clothing which in some places were torn and burnt. The boy was currently unconscious, sleeping on his side; most of his face was covered by his bags and the boy was completely unaware of the Skyloid's presence.
Eyes wide, he stared at the out cold boy curiously. Where did this child come from? According to the maps from the castle, there was no land beyond this shore- just miles upon miles of water! Unless, he had traveled along the shore of the Kingdom, but the Skyloid immediately realized that the boat was too far away from land for that to be a possibility.
Similarly, concepts and assumptions were created and discarded in the Skyloid's mind. But he still could not make up a possible and logical guess of how the child had got here. He scratched his head. If there was nothing he could come up with, he might as well inform the Order right now…
Noticing the thick rope that was sitting in a heap on the front of the boat, he picked it up and discovered that it was connected to the wooden boat itself. Good, that will make it easier for him to bring the boat to the shore without moving the boy- he didn't really feel like moving the child until the Order decided what to do with him.
Slowly but steadily, he brought the boat to the shore by pulling the boat behind him as he flew with the help of the long cord. As he reached the beach, Wolf padded near the small boat and started growling, but the Skyloid stopped him.
"Wolf, look after the boy for me. I have to inform the Order about this child," He said to the large canine, and received a somewhat hesitant nod as a reply. Knowing that that was probably the best reaction he could get out of his large canine friend, he spread his wings once more and shot into the air, flying towards the Red Ore Castle.