The Outlaw and The Legend

Chapter 1.

1870 Indianapolis, Indiana

Huddled in front of a small sputtering fire in the prairie sat a tall rail-thin boy with brown pants, a light brown shirt and a pair of moccasins. A sudden shuddering in the ground made him look up and he spotted a large herd of bison with a few antelopes running by. He was wondering what would make such large creatures run suddenly in a panic when he heard a loud screech. He looked up into the starry night sky and saw an impossible sight. A large eagle-like creature made entirely out of fire was flying low enough into frightening the other animals into running around. Thrusting its tail about it killed a large male buffalo, killing it in its fiery talons instantly. He watched as the creature consumed its kill, then shivering, he turned to look at his fire only to find it nothing but glowing embers.

"Oh, no! I will freeze," he said.

Plop. A large piece of buffalo meat fell in front of him. Then, a small flame appeared in the embers, flared, and leaped to life as a full-fledged fire in front of him. Billy gulped, then looked around. He soon saw a girl with her hand in the embers, looking at him with eyes of pure silver. The girl pulled her hand out of the embers and sat down.

Billy pulled out his gun, pointed it at her and said, "Who are you, what are you, and what do you want with me?"

Looking at him calmly she said, "My name's Areana, and you don't have to fear me."

Putting away his gun, he said, "I don't fear anyone, you just startled me is all."

Looking to the fire he said, "Thanks for restoring it, and the buffalo." He then took out his knife, sliced off a hunk, put it on a stick and began to cook it.

Billy looked at her and said, "You still have not told me what you are."

Looking at him, she smiled and said, "You have not yet told me your name."

"My name is William. William H. Bonney."

She looked at him and said, "Nice to meet you William," and said, "I am a phoenix, and am often confused for my cousin, the thunderbird, by the local natives."

Eating his buffalo meat, William looked at her and said, "But why are you here, and why help me? Not that I'm not grateful," he added quickly.

Looking into the fire, she said, "One you would have froze to death out here, and two, you are all alone which is intriguing. Why are you out here all alone?"

"Mom is going to marry a man I don't like. He seems too strict for my liking."

"Why? Where is your real father?" the phoenix asked.

"I don't know, he just up and left; disappeared."

They sat until sunrise and she left as a herd of gazelle went by. William awoke, saw she was gone and dousing the fire, went back to his family.

1874 Silver City, New Mexico

Four years later...

"Billy, look, a freak show!" said Sombero Jack, Billy's best friend.

"What?" said Billy as he looked at the passing Circus wagons on their way to set up.

He saw a familiar girl in a cage of iron, furiously trying to melt an iron shackle on her left ankle. Turning, she saw Billy and let her eyes flare silver again, and then return to normal. As they passed, Billy's friend said, "What a freak," and started to go back to work.

Billy stood for a second, and then turned to his friend and said, "That is no freak, that's a living myth and she once saved my life."

Chapter 2.

That night...

"You! Fire monster! How do you like your new home?" said a short bearded man as he laughed and prodded her with an incense stick. "Come on," he drunkenly said, "Turn for me you ball of smoke, ha,ha,ha."

"Stop jabbing me you fat loser," said the phoenix.

Angered at what she had said, the fat man said, "I'll do what I want!" He lit a smaller stick and threw it in and fanned the smoke right on her.

Giving an angry shriek, she lunged, sparks popping and spitting all over the cage but was stopped just shy of the man by the iron shackle.

"Ha, ha, ha, not so tough now!" he spat.

"Neither are you!" said a voice behind him.

Turning around, the drunk man said, "You little brat, that'd be 50 cents, now!"

"I did not come to gawk at her, I came to free her," said the boy, leveling the gun at the man. "Now let me friend go!"

The fat man laughed at him and said, "You don't know how to shoot, that's for men like me not little boys like you, hahaha." The drunkard was laughing so hard he stumbled backward against the cage bars.

"Agghh!" gasped the Freak Show owner as the phoenix wrapped her hand around the glob of fat that he called a neck.

"Now you will suffer an indescribable amount of pain," hissed the ancient bird, and ripped the keys from the necklace around his neck, unshackled herself and unlocked the cage. Then she pushed the man away and climbed out.

"Hey! You can't do that, you're mine, I own you!" he shouted.

At that, the phoenix erupted in a furious blast of fire to reveal a 12 foot tall bird with an eagle-like beak and flames that were like feathers on her body.

"I belong to no one! Least of all a drunken boozing money grubber like you," and made him burn from the inside out.

Returning to a more human form, she turned to him and said, "Thank you for saving me."

"You're welcome," Billy said. "You saved me once, and now we are even."

"Yes, and now I will find the loathsome rat who put me here."

"Who was it?" asked William with curiosity.

"The medicine man of the Navajo tribe, Singing Wolf," and just saying the name made her so angry that she set the hay in the cage ablaze.

"I'll help," said William solemnly.

Looking at him she said, "Again, my thanks."

Just as she started to leave, he grabbed hold of her wrist and said, "Wait, I'm working on a ranch and they have a barn you can stay at for a day or two while we try to find this man named Singing Wolf."

She looked at him and said, "Why do you want to help me? Not that I'm not grateful, of course."

Billy looked at her and said, "Well, you're interesting."

She said, "Very well. But if we do find him, no interfering, and no quarter shall be given. Got it?"

William looked at her and said, "Okay, I get it."

Chapter 3.

The next day, as the phoenix slept at the top of the barn, Billy's friend Sombrero Jack came over and said, "Is that your friend?" He asked, looking at her in awe.

"Yes, but be nice, okay?" said William.

Jack looked at him and said, "I'm always nice, especially to the señioritas."

Later in the evening...

Billy and Jack were having dinner and they brought some to the phoenix, just as she was waking up.

"Thanks, that's appreciated, but I'm going out hunting, I'll be back at dawn."

Climbing down the ladder and walking out in front of the barn a few steps, flames burst out around her, then when they settled, a majestic creature with flame-like feathers and silver eyes stood before them. She then turned, and soared off into the night.

"Oh Billy, I fear your friend is a demon, like El Chubracabra, only worse."

"No, she saved my life and she could have killed the entire Freak Show but she didn't, just that horrid owner," he said in disgust.

Meanwhile, the phoenix was chasing a springbuck and slamming into it, killed the animal with her 7-inch talons. As Areana was eating the animal, a tall young warrior sat in the dark and watched as she ate like a starving man. He watched as she took down three gazelles and a small buffalo and was finally full.

She turned into her human form and turning to where the young warrior was hiding said, "You might as well come out and un-knock that arrow from your bow."

Standing up, he walked over, arrow still in his bow and said, "You are the cousin to the Great Thunderbird and yet you killed three warriors from my tribe, and threatened us. Why?"

Looking at him she said, "They were trying to control me and I did not threaten anyone but Singing Wolf. You can save a lot of grief for your people, just tell me where he is," she practically growled.

"No, I will not betray him, you will not have your revenge, fiery bird."

Glaring at him she said, "Yes I will, they tried to kill me but instead locked me out long enough to be put into a Freak Show, and for that he will pay. Tell him, I will catch him and he will suffer." She then turned back into her true form and flew off.

Chapter 4.

Six weeks later...

"Run! The bird of fire is here!"

People ran screaming in fear, gathering this way and that like rats in a sinking ship. Then, the men came and drew their arrows, pointing them at the strangers. The phoenix sat on a grey horse, Billy sat on a brown horse, and Jack was on a white horse with a brown spot on his left flank.

Looking at the men, she said, "Tell me what I want to know," in a calm voice, her pupils glowing silver.

One of the men rode forward and said, "You will not threaten my people anymore. I have your weakness." The young warrior took a stick of incense and lit it. He then held it up and said, "Now go, and give no more thought to vengeance." He then threw the stick at her. It missed and landed on a small bear-patch behind her.

"I'll get it," said a five year old girl, and ran over to pick it up.

"No, Little Running Bird!" yelled the warrior and got off the horse to run to his daughter.

Picking up the stick, she walked over to the ancient bird, looked up, smiled, and in broken English said, "Hello, my name is Little Running Bird, what is your name?"

Reaching down, she picked up the girl and placed her on the horse. "My name is Areana, and it is nice to meet you. You have manners, something your dad needs to work on." Taking the stick, Areana said, "Thank you for this, now go to your dad." Placing her on the ground, Areana watched as she ran to her dad, who hugged her tightly.

"You spared my daughter, why?" he asked.

"The girl is innocent, and she does not need to pay for her father's stubborn refusal to give me Singing Wolf."

"No! Do not give into her demands," said a warrior with a red feather on his wrist. He sat glaring at her.

Glaring back at the young warrior, she said, "And who are you that dares to try denying me of my revenge?"

Riding forward to stand with the first warrior, he said sitting up proudly, "I am Screaming Wind, son of Chief Thundercloud."

"Great, the Chief's son. You can't touch him now," said Sombrero Jack.

"He is not the one I am going after, but he knows where that backstabbing medicine man is," said Areana coolly.

"Why do you not like Mr. Singing Wolf?" asked the little girl innocently.

Looking at the girl, the phoenix said, "Because young one, he broke his word and hurt me very badly." Then she looked at the girl and said, "What is your father's name?"

The little girl looked up to the woman on the horse and said proudly smiling, "It is Laughing Fox."

"Thank you," she said and then turned to the girl's father, and let her eyes flare again. Looking as serious as a tornado she turned to the girl's father and said, "You know what I can do. I won't do it here and you can thank Little Running Bird for that, but you have until the next time the noon turns to night and then no more mercy."

They turned, and as they were leaving, one of the young warriors broke away and shot her in the back. Calmly, she reached around, pulled it out and turned and said, "What's your name?"

Sitting proudly he said, "It is Joseph Eagle Feather."

"Well Joseph," she snarled, "Next time it will take more than just incense and a child to protect you."

Facing forward again, the three rode out of the village. After half a mile she had Billy hold the stick. Looking at it, he said, "Why not drop it if it hurts you so much?"

Holding herself up, she said, "I am trying to build an immunity to it, and it would burn the scrub brush to ashes."

That night, flying high over head, enjoying the freedom of the night sky, Areana felt an odd coldness where Joseph had shot her, and realized he had mixed in ashes from the medicine man's blessing bag with the arrow. Falling swiftly, she barely managed to land without breaking anything, or setting anything ablaze. Turning human, she reached back and could feel the arrow tip lodged in there, but could not remove it. Letting out a screech of rage, she tried again to rip it out. Unbeknown to her, though, a warrior and his medicine man father were riding towards her.

Chapter 5.

"Where is she? I thought she was always back before sunrise," said Jack with a puzzled frown.

Looking around, William said, "Normally, yes. She must be out enjoying the morning sunrise though."

Meanwhile at an Apache tribe's camp...

The phoenix lay out cold in an iron cage.

"What do we do with her?" asked a young warrior looking at the cage.

"I will tend to her wounds," said a tall older man of 60 years.

"No, she will kill you!" cried a girl in horror.

"Worry not, sister. Father has seen what will happen and if we help this immortal being now, she will help us later."

Her father looked at her and said, "First, Summer Moon, you must make this potion. It will help her heal but keep her in human form for three days, and she will be most vicious during those days."

"Then we'll keep her in the cage," said the warrior seriously.

"No, she must trust us," his father said, just as seriously.

Looking at the cage, the warrior said, "What is wrong with the fire bird?"

His medicine man father said, "She was hit with an arrow made of a branch of a scrub brush plant and mixed with objects like ground rabbit bone and what the missionaries call holy water: sage, dust and incense."

Meanwhile...

"Billy look! Light scorch marks and hoof prints!" said Jack.

"Yes I see that, and they lead to that Apache camp, the one not far from the town's water supply."

"Yea, I know that one. Come on, let's go."

"You don't think they would hurt her, do you?" asked Jack.

Billy shook his head and said, "It's more like she might hurt them. She has a temper sometimes."

Jack looked at his friend with a smirk and said, "Would you say...it's fiery?"

Billy just rolled his eyes and groaned.

Toward mid afternoon...

Blinking her eyes, the phoenix tried to move her arms but found them chained to the cage bars in front of her. Instantly, a screech of rage ripped from her throat. She tried to change but found the shackle prevented it, although they did spark a lot.

No! How did they find me? How do they know this metal can hold me and why did they not dispose of me yet?

In anger, Areana tried one more time to change, but only a small amount of flames appeared, then her energy was spent and she could no longer keep up the thin veil.

As Areana lay trying to recover a woman's voice said, "You are awake, that's good."

Looking up, she saw a tall young girl of 18 or 19 years holding a small tub of something and smiling kindly at her.

"Release me, I have done nothing to you," Areana said carefully.

"I'm sorry, but we are trying to help you. You have an arrow tip lodged in your back. It has ingredients from a blessing bag on it and is slowly killing you."

"What is your name?" the phoenix said warily.

"I am Summer Moon, daughter of Frozen Lightning and sister to Mountain Thunder."

Glaring past her, the phoenix let her eyes glow silver and said, "So you sent in your own child to do your dirty work."

A tall muscular man of 60 walked in. He looked at her and said, "You know I am a medicine man, and you know I can help you, but will you help us?"

Giving a fierce hiss, she yanked backwards but the shackles held rattling like the dry bones of dead animals in the wind. "Let me go now!" she screeched in rage, and tried again to change, but only made sparks dance like ferries across the cage. When she was spent, she could feel the cold increasing its grip.

Frozen Thunder looked at her and said, "Will you help us or not?"

Glaring furiously at the medicine man she said, "With what?"

"We have a common enemy. His name is Singing Wolf."

Glaring at him, she said, "But what's the catch? You're a medicine man. You don't help those outside the tribe without a payment."

Looking at her, he said, "The catch is you will temporarily lose your ability to change form between human and what you are."

Growling in fury she glared at Frozen Thunder and said, "You think I am stupid? That would leave me almost able to do nothing!"

In walked a tall muscular boy of 19 or 20 who was clearly a warrior and he said, "The tip of the arrow is killing you every time you use your powers.

"You can't get the revenge you desire if you die," said Summer Moon with a sad look on her face.

I'm growing weaker, they are correct about that, Areana thought bitterly.

"Fine," she said.

Summer Moon walked forward and said, "It will heal you, but also make you sleep—just for now. You will awaken at sunrise tomorrow."

"Worry not. We wish to have a trust between us," said Mountain Thunder.

Taking the cup, Areana drank the contents in one gulp, gave it back to the girl, and looking at Frozen Lightning she said, "If two men show up, one white tall and skinny and his name is William, and his friend, a medium sized Mexican named Jack, they are my friends, make sure no one hurts them."

They all sensed the implied threat and Frozen Lightning said, "No harm will come to them if they arrive before she awoke."

Soon the phoenix was asleep. Opening the cage, Frozen Lightning pulled out an Eagle's feather to see if she was truly asleep. Seeing that the fire bird was truly under the potion's effect, he felt for the arrow's tip and pulled out a knife made with iron fitted with a handle made from a springbuck's antler. He cut the flesh around the tip and was immediately hit with a blast of heat from the creature's back.

Looking at his two children he said, "Hold her, she may be under the potion's effects but she could still be dangerous."

Chapter 6.

He found the arrow's tip, and cutting delicately, removed it. Patching her wound back up, he cleansed it and uttering a prayer to the thunderbirds for her recovery climbed out and said, "Close the cage door and let the ancient one rest."

Looking at her father, Summer Moon said, "What will she eat, what could we possibly feed her?"

He looked at her and said, "She's a predator, so she will eat meat. We will teach her to hunt like we do until she can regain her true form."

"Will the firebird help us?" said Mountain Thunder, eyeing the sleeping Phoenix with skepticism.

Turning to look at the Phoenix, and then back at his son, said, "She will."

The next morning...

"Look Billy, there it is, the Navaho tribe that lives by the river."

"Yeah, Jack, and if they hurt my friend, I'll make them pay," growled Billy.

Riding into the village, Billy and Jack saw children working on baskets with their parents or playing and looking up at them with careful uncertainty. Women looked at them with open curiosity and watched as they passed by. The two men saw a Teepee in the middle of the village with a picture of a thunderbird on it and rode toward it.

"They must have her inside," said Jack.

Billy nodded his head and said, "Yea, let's go take a look."

As the two got closer a beautiful woman came out holding a bucket with a wet rag in it.

She stopped startled for a few minutes, seeing the two men on horseback. Billy tipped his hat and said, "Sorry to scare you miss."

Jack bowed and said, "Didn't mean to scare ya."

She blinked and then said, "You two must be the ones the firebird told us about."

From off to the right, a voice said, "They are." Frozen Lightning and Mountain Thunder came walking out of their Teepee.

As the sun rose Frozen Lightning introduced Summer Moon and Mountain Thunder, his son and daughter, to Billy. Billy and Jack in turn introduced themselves to the three natives.

Looking at the Teepee, Billy said, "So why is the Phoenix in the tent? She likes to be outdoors."

Mountain Thunder looked at Billy and said, "It is for her own protection."

Billy looked at him and said, "What do you mean 'for her own protection'?"

The young man glared at Billy and said, "She had an arrow tip in her back that had been dipped in a blessing bag and it was killing her. My father gave her a potion to make her sleep until sunrise this morning, until he could get it out. When she wakes, she could still be dangerous, and the others might fear her too much to allow her to be awaken."

Jack looked at the tent, and then looked at Billy, knowing how loyal he was to his friends. He wasn't sure how Billy would take this. Just then the sun crested over the mountains, flooding the area with bright blinding sunlight that shown up past directly into the Phoenix's cage.

Chapter 7.

Vwwoosh! Flames erupted within the cage, engulfing the firebird and the tent. The flames danced and twisted but did not move beyond the perimeter of the tent.

"No!" shouted Billy and Jack as they leapt off their horses, and started to run toward the cage, only to be restrained.

Just as Billy was going for his gun, the Phoenix woke up, shook off the flames, yawned, and looking at the small group standing in front of her, she casually asked, "Is it morning already?"

Letting Billy and his friend go, the natives watched as Billy walked over to the cage and said, "Are you okay?" He was in shock because she looked completely unharmed.

Looking at Billy, she said, "I'm swell. This one can be trusted."

After cooling the cage off, they let Areana out. She stood up, and Jack said, "Are you hungry?"

She said, "Famished. What's for breakfast?"

Four hours later, she was full, after eating a large buffalo, two impala, and two rabbits. Walking up to her, but still cautious, Frozen Lightening said, "Now that you are full, will you listen to what we need to tell you?"

The Phoenix looked at him and said, "Okay."

She, Billy and Jack sat down to listen. The medicine man explained what he had done to help and then explained why he needed Areana's help. At the end of it all, Billy said, "So he was your friend, and once part of this tribe, but he got consumed by a need to have power, and tried to kill the family?"

"Yes," said Mountain Thunder, who was also sitting with his father and sister. His eyes were bright with remembered betrayal.

"So what does that have to do with the Phoenix?" asked Jack as he chewed on a piece of buffalo.

Turning to look at Jack, the Phoenix said, "He used a spell to summon me and tried to kill me so he could gain my abilities—to take my power. When that did not work, well, you already know what he did," she hissed in anger, he hands reflexively twitching, as her talons would be.

"So where is he?" Billy asked.

The medicine man looked at him and said, "I don't know, but now is a time of vulnerability for the firebird, because for the next three days she will not be able to turn into her true self."

The two men looked shocked and Jack said, "How can she defend herself in battle?"

Billy said, "She'll be completely helpless."

Areana rolled her eyes and said, "Not completely, I do know how to fight without using my abilities and I can use a weapon if necessary."

Jack looked at her and said, "How do you know how to fight like a human?"

Looking at the Mexican and the sombrero hat she said, "I've seen enough kings and leaders fight and train to be able to hold my own," she said with a grin on her face.

For the next two days, Billy, Jack and Areana learned how to track and hunt the way Frozen Lightning's people did, and at night sat around the fire listening to stories, especially those of the thunderbird.

Chapter 8.

Upon sunrise of the third morning, a familiar brash young warrior snuck toward the village. Looking around, he spotted the firebird standing just outside the village. She was facing the sun, eyes closed, letting the light shine on her and would not be able to react quickly enough, if he attacked her. As he got close enough to attack her they both heard a voice shouting, "Look out!"

Reacting in a microsecond, Areana turned and grabbed the man, her eyes glowing silver, hissed, "Your boldness is exceeded only by your stupidity," and broke his arm.

Screaming in agony, the warrior said, "You are a violent creature, you will never get Singing Wolf! He was right to try and steal your abilities!"

Grabbing him by the throat, she said, "There are those that wish to talk to you, be grateful for that." She dragged him back to the village.

"Look! She has a Navaho warrior!" said Billy as Areana and her captive came up to them.

With a snarl, she dropped him at their feet, and gave him a good vicious kick in the leg.

"You! How dare you come back here!" Mountain Thunder said. Grabbing the young man by his hair, hauled him to his feet.

"Hey, that's Joseph Eagle Feather!" said Billy as the young native was thrown on the ground in front of the group again.

Turning to Summer Moon, Areana said, "Thank you, if not for your intervention he may have gotten in a lucky strike."

Spitting on the ground, a curl to his lips, Joseph Eagle Feather said, "You were looking at the sun, and did not even twitch as I got close. With your lack of focus, I know you have no powers," he laughed.

"Silence!" said Frozen Lightning in a low angry tone. "You tried to kill the firebird and brought dishonor upon what was once your clan. Now, tell us where Singing Wolf is."

"Never! Never will you or this creature know where he is!"

Glaring at the man, the Phoenix said, "What if we fought for the information hand to hand, no weapons, no interference from others."

He looked at her and said, "The first one to go down loses, and if you win I will give you the information."

What no one noticed was another warrior crouched down between two boulders listening to the conversation. He got up and in a crouch ran back to his horse, which was just outside the village, and rode to give the information he had to Singing Wolf.

He thought to himself, so the firebird is helpless. This will interest Singing Wolf very, very much.

Chapter 9.

Later that afternoon...

"Be careful, he is very dangerous," said Jack nervously.

"We'll be right here if you need us," said Billy, testing his gun's weight.

Looking at the two men, she said, "Thanks, but this is a fight that I need to win on my own."

Mountain Thunder came in and said, "It is time."

They all walked out of the Teepee and Areana walked into the fighting circle. Joseph Eagle Feather was already there, smiling nastily. Pointing at her, he said, "Now we shall see who's truly stronger. What can you do without your powers? You are weak, ancient one."

She glared at him and said, "I seem to recall snapping your arm like a dried twig."

They fought and even with one arm, he managed to almost bring her down a couple of times, but she always pushed him back and fought with all the moves she had mastered over the centuries of life.

He grabbed her behind the back and said, "Give up, you are too weak to stop me."

Snapping her head backwards, she hit him in the mouth making him lose his grip. She turned around and grabbing him by the throat said, "You are in no position to talk." She pushed him back, grabbed his good arm, pulled him forward and punching him in the mouth hard, made him fall to the ground with five broken teeth.

Both combatants were covered in blood and dust. Looking down at him, she said, "You lost. Tell us now."

He said, "No. Singing Wolf will defeat you easily without your abilities." Then he stood up, made like he was going to attack her again, and charged. At the last minute, he pulled out a hidden onyx blade and threshed it into her shoulder. Snarling in rage and pain, she flipped him out of the circle in front of everybody, making him land on his already broken arm.

She walked over and said, "Like grandfather, like grandson," and then snapped his wrist on the other arm.

He screamed in agony and said, "No! I can't let you get your revenge! All he ever wanted was to keep everyone safe from you and the thunderbird!"

Everybody looked at them with curiosity. Areana said, "That old legend was started by a crazy warrior who ate way too much peyote. And that was 300 years ago. The idea of the thunderbird and I going insane and trying to take over the world is laughable!"

They put the Navaho in the Phoenix's cage and Frozen Lightning said his injuries would keep him in agony for at least a month.

"You beat him!" said Billy jumping up and down with glee. Looking over at Jack, he said, "Come on over, she's not gonna hurt ya!"

He congratulated her and realized Billy was right, that she was nothing like a chupacabra or a demon.

Looking back at Joseph, Mountain Thunder said, "Now talk to us, or when she regains her abilities we will let her consume you."

Realizing he was defeated the Navaho warrior said, "Singing Wolf is out in the desert."

"Where?" asked Billy sternly.

"Away from the tribe, but he knows about your weakness," he spat and grinned at the Phoenix.

She smiled at him coldly and said, "Today's the last day that holds true. And as for your partner, I'll make sure he burns to a crisp."

As the sun set, Billy said, "Before we do anything we have to get that blade out of your shoulder."

Chapter 10.

The Phoenix looked at the blade and glared. She could feel it in there and knew that it would eventually kill her if it didn't come out.

Frozen Lightning approached and said, "May I examine it?"

She said, "Yes."

Looking at the onyx blade, he said, "It has the same effect the onyx blade would have on us, except it turns her blood to smoke long enough for a lot to spill out."

"But what do we do now?" asked Jack.

"We will perform a healing dance," said Frozen Lightning.

"Will she survive it?" asked Billy.

"That remains to be seen," said Frozen Lightning.

Half an hour later a large fire blazed in the center of the village, the natives danced and Frozen Thunder grasped the handle, chanting he said, "Ready yourself!"

He pulled hard, extracting the blade. Areana let out a screech of pain and rage and flames danced in frenzy all over her, then died down.

"Look, your blood!" said Jack with a look of horror. Smoke poured forth from the wound in copious amounts.

"Quickly! She needs the wounds closed!" said Summer Moon.

The woman gave Areana a cup filled with herbs and the blood of a buffalo, a springbuck, and a rabbit. "There is no time," she said, "Please trust us."

Giving an icy glare, she drank the stuff down, and the blood smoke immediately slowed to a small trickle. Working quickly the medicine man sowed up the cut, stopping the flow. Pulling the string out, he sealed it shut with an ember from the fire. Then, stepping back he said, "By tomorrow you will be your normal self, will release the potion, and then find our common enemy!"

The next day...

The suns rays struck the village, lighting it like a crystal chandelier lights a fancy room. The Phoenix burst into a great flame, like a brush fire. The flames died down as quickly as they came, and there she stood, a true firebird once more. Then, as Frozen Thunder had said, she released the potion into the fire pit.

Billy saw this and came running over and said, "Areana, are you alright?"

Standing up, she wiped her mouth and said, "Oh yes, I am quite good." Her eyes glowed silver and then back to normal.

"Good, you are yourself once more," said Frozen Lightning. "Now it is time to go after our common enemy."

She turned to him and said, "I may not trust all medicine men or their children but you three have earned some measure of my trust."

She exposed her neck. Frozen Lightning placed an onyx blade on her throat and then after a minute of two he removed it and Areana straightened back up again. They got on their horses and raced off to find Singing Wolf.

Chapter 11.

After three days of searching and hunting one of the neighboring tribes pointed them into the direction of what's known as the Singing Scrubs. It was almost sunset, and there in front of them stood Singing Wolf, Chief Thundercloud, and Screaming Wind.

"So you have found me," he said, "But you will not defeat me."

"You have a chief who does not know that you sent three of his warrior to try to kill or control me, knowing they would die!" she hissed.

"So it's true what the thunderbird told me in my dream last night," said the Chief.

"Now for what you did, and how you tried to use me, and how you tried to call the thunderbird as well, just so you could rule the world? Now you will suffer," she said in low, blood chilling tones.

He laughed and said, "No, now I will control you both," and through a pinch of blinding powder that created a temporary flash the horses reared up and naiad.

Billy and Jack tried to control them. The Phoenix leapt off her horse and immediately burst into flames, showing her true form. With a shriek of rage, she flew in the air, and then dove down, talons extended. Singing Wolf ducked under a large scrub brush bush, which burst into flames as she grabbed it. He scrambled out and ran. She followed moving as fast as an ember in the wind. She slammed him into the ground and then turning back into her human form started squeezing his neck. Small bouts of flames scorched his shoulders.

"Ahhh!" he screamed, and slashed at her with his obsidian knife but she jerked backwards avoiding the blade.

Screaming Wind lifted an arrow, pointing at the Phoenix and Billy said, "No you don't!" and shot his hand making him drop the bow and arrow.

Grabbing him, she said, "I will leave you to my cousin's justice."

There was a rumble of thunder, a spine-cracking boom, and then bolts of lightning shot down, slamming into Singing Wolf and Screaming Wind. Singing Wolf was killed. Screaming Wind was burnt all over his mid section and his leg, but he lived.

Then saying to the Chief, "You weren't a part of this. Now take your son and go. Don't worry about vengeance. It has been satisfied." Turning back to Billy and the others, she grinned and said, "Thank you." She looked at Billy and said, "You are a good friend. I wouldn't mind tagging along for awhile if you'd have me."

Billy said, "I'd be pleased to ride with somebody like you. You can stay as long as you wish."

They got on their horses and rode off together.

The End.

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