Moon Type Chapter 12– Fall of Sird

                Sometime after aimlessly stargazing, I fell asleep. I could hear Serge snoring lightly while Finnian fidgeted in bed. Roger was having a nightmare, apparently, as he thrashed about, trying to run away from some invisible enemy. I closed my eyes momentarily. I could hear the faint buzzing of hearts nearby. I gazed at the canopy ahead. Ghostly moonlight flooded in and I could almost see the gnarled roots of the tree at the entrance, holding the soil together. When I was too tired to continue my futile attempts in trying to see with my Seer sense, I let exhaustion take over and fell back into the clutches of sleep.  When I awoke, beads of dew had formed on my face, chilling me wide awake. My eyes snapped open and I could see myself, my very own silver-gray eyes staring up right at the ceiling, panting hard. A bead of dew dripped down my tear troughs, cleansing away tear stains from the previous night. Another bead balanced perfectly on the tip of my nose. I heard a slight cranking as the sleeper on the top bunk stretched. It was Nyra. She got off the bunk and made a beeline for the toilet, emerging refreshed from the lavatory. She caught my eye and beckoned me over after I had finished my morning business. We walked around the facility in silence and ended before the walk-in closet.

“I’ll show you something, Silver.” She opened the closet. It was quite modern-looking and neatly organized with rows packed with various weapons and spores. In the middle was a chair accompanied by a small drawer. Nyra headed for the row on the west. She browsed through numerous glass cases before opening one and taking its contents to the drawer top. She settled the contents onto the drawer top and felt underneath the table for a button and almost immediately a small blender emerged from beneath. She dropped the oddly-shaped berries into the mixer and started the heat, stirring the mixer at a moderate speed until it seemed to harden. She turned off the heat almost as once and slowly stirred the mixture to avoid it getting burnt or become a solid. After a while she emptied the mixture into a small translucent container and loaded it into a horn-shaped lighter. Then she handed the lighter to me.

“It’s a classical memory lighter. The type that we use to gain entry to places in here. This is like the one used in the Petrified Forest entrance, making the green flame you saw. It is actually because of the blended spores that produce this effect. Furthermore, the flame can be controlled by only you and you. The flame can be ‘read’ by only few permitted people. I know you have one in your device but it would be better if you had the traditional kind. It has benefits that you would never know. You can play around with the berries to create the mixture that suits you but just a note, remember, someone still has to replenish the stocks. Here you go.” Nyra handed me the memory lighter and I flicked on the light, watching the flame flicker slowly before burning. It was the color of my eyes. Beautiful, just beautiful. A few moments later it turned slightly blue and I looked at Nyra with a questioning glance.

“It’s made of the Moon Berry. Thought it would suit you. Let’s choose one for Finnian, shall we?” I nodded. It would be fun experimenting with berries and lighters long before the rest had awoken.

“First you’ll have to know the berry names and nature. The nature is its firmness, flavor, smoothness and all that stuff. Otherwise saying, it is the feeling you get when you pop it into your mouth. Of course, we can’t afford to have people tasting each berry for their nature so we have specially made berry powder that brings out the entire flavor in a certain berry. Let’s see… there’s a chart over there stating where certain natures can be found. They are arranged in alphabetical order, so no worries if you can’t find the one you prefer. There are plenty of alternatives to a nature and you can check the e-catalogue if you did not find your first choice.” We headed for the said catalogue installed to the wall and I browsed through the categories, searching aimlessly until I noticed the Nature calculator.

“Uh-huh. He’s carefree, sometimes moody and is a Virgo.” The calculator starting working almost immediately and Silver watched the results in awe.

“Carefree nature. Let’s see… the twelfth row from the right…” I made my way and removed the contents from the said container. Nyra nodded faintly before ushering me to the table.

“Now to teach you how to prepare the mixture. First you’ll have to get the blender and start up the heat.  Pop the berries in once you have done so and gently stir the mixture but not too fast or it might either overflow or turn into a solid quickly. Make sure that you keep the mixture thin and as translucent as possible unless you are making seals and also prevent it from burning by stirring at a moderate pace. Do not rush in the process or the product might turn into something you might not want. Got it? I’ll let you stir but I’ll take over if something goes wrong. If you did not get your desired product, you can ‘reset’ or ‘recycle’ it and try to mold it back to the item that you want. “I took my position at the seat, gently stirring the mixture as instructed. Nyra watched intently as the mixture turned slightly tangerine before I turned off the heat and started cooling the mixture. She got the container and we attached the container to a new memory lighter. Nyra got up and was now examining one of the shelves.

“Do you know that you can modify weapons to suit you? For example, a lean-built person can modify the heavy trapper to suit his size and a left-handed person can modify a weapon suitable for the right-handed to suit himself. Here you can experiment with several weapons, puppet arms included.” She was about to explain something else when a small alarm sounded and the rest came bounding into the room,  slipping on their gears and equipment, still weary-eyed. I geared up as fast as I could, hopping onto my bike to follow Serge.  The bike proved to have excellent speed and agility, allowing me to go over a few large mushrooms and some loose pebbles on the path. A sudden leap over a ledge put the bike to a test and quite thankfully, it passed with flying colors. Serge slowed down his bike and I noticed that we had just entered a clearing with no canopy above. A large cloud of dust was lowering our visibility and I had to slip on my aviator goggles to shield my eyes from the brewing sandstorm. Only when the dust cleared I noticed a looming figure overhead of us.  We gingerly approached the center and I gasped mentally at the way obstructing plants had been uprooted and strewn in a mess around the center. Light was pouring in from above and I squinted to see what the cause of the catastrophe was. 

                   A giant pill bug with fourteen red eyes was lumbering around, its tentacles strangling a poor boy. Serge gave a brisk nod to me and I leapt into the air, brought forth by instinct and set my trappers in a kite formation around the rampaging bug. During that time, I noticed that Finnian was hiding behind Serge and Nyra as well as Roger was rooted to the ground, spellbound by the scene. I landed a few meters away and launched my seal right at one of the bug’s centermost eyes. The launched seal cowered the bug and a few characters in moon type appeared before landing onto the giant bug, instantly emitting a blue light and the bug appeared to shrink a few times before lumbering away, its eyes sapphire blue. Serge came up to me and gave me a pat on the back.

“Not bad for a new one.  Now let’s see, how did this happen?” The boy looked at Serge, dazed for a moment before answering Serge’s question.

“I accidentally squashed a bug on me way here, sire.” He answered in an odd accent. Serge nodded.

“How big was it? Which squad are you from, my boy?”  The boy thought for a moment before answering.

“It was the size of my fist, sire. My name is Quentin and I am a messenger from Squad 0309. They say they will arrive any time soon.  Are you of Squad 0107, kind sire?” Serge took in the details and nodded.

“What news do they have for me, Quentin?” Said boy thought for a moment before replying.

“They sent me to seek a few things. I am not familiar in this place, sire. They would like to seek shelter and probably some training. Not many men in my squad, sire.” Serge’s expression was even more serious now.

“How many are still surviving, Quentin? And who sent you here?” Quentin held up his fingers and started counting.

“Five, I think, sire. Nadia sent me here, sire.” Serge nodded.

“Who is this Nadia?” Quentin pondered for a moment before replying.

“Nadia is the sub-captain. Our captain, Aran, is sick. Nadia looks after him. She sent me here. She is nice, not like Aran. Nadia says we can do what we think is right. Aran says me must follow his rules. His rules are bad. He says we cannot destroy the bugs when they destroy us. Nadia says that he is bad. When Aran got sick, Nadia took over instead of Sarah. Sarah is not as bad as Aran but she is not good like Nadia. Nadia lets us destroy the bugs when they crawl into our base. Now they seek help, sire. Please help us, sire. If you cannot save the rest at least save Nadia. She is a good fighter. She will help you very well. You are good too, sire. Help us!” Now he had turned to me and was begging me.  I read his aura. He had been brainwashed by this Nadia. He had chosen to be brainwashed and had almost been killed by his beliefs.  Serge dragged us to somewhere Quentin would not overhear us.

“We shall investigate this case. We go to check out the area. Let’s get going.” We turned back to Quentin and picked up our bikes, following Quentin. It was odd. Quentin didn’t have that much gear as we had.

“They’re the recruits, you know. Gear and whatever items that can be scavenged are usually taken from the copses. I strongly suspect of Nadia. Aran is still alive, that’s what I know. Sarah died from an infection three weeks ago. Quentin just so happens to be a scapegoat, as you can see. Aran is not that bad. It’s Nadia that has brainwashed them. I apologize for the lack of humanity but we will only be scavenging what we can and saving only Aran. The others have been brainwashed.” Serge whispered to us and Nyra gave a brisk nod before signaling us to speed up.  Quentin was riding ahead on an old and tattered scooter, going around quite uncertainly. Serge sped up and led the way. We were greeted by a torn-down facility with a few lone figures wandering around. A dark-skinned woman sat on a throne and Quentin bowed low on his knee to greet her.

“Lady Nadia, your humble servant has brought forth the people you have enquired. Lady Nadia is the savior of this squad. She has saved us from the evil-doers. All hail Nadia!” He raised his hands to praise her. Nadia gave a swift wave of her hand to dismiss her.

“Welcome, dear guests. We are privileged to have you here. The bug hunting will start sometime soon. I hope you have a pleasant stay here.” I was sure that she was turning her nose at us. There was a manipulative aura seeping from her, so no wonder she was able to brainwash all of them. We were dismissed almost immediately and instead of taking a tour of the facility, Serge led us to a small cavern a few meters away from the base, far away from prying eyes.

“Set traps around here, Finnian. Hi there, Aran. This is Sergio.” A brown-haired man with stubble on his face appeared from the cave, his clothing torn.

“Ah, Serge! This is terrible, Serge! Nadia… someone must stop her!” He approached us and motioned to a few freshly-dug spots in the ground.

“They go bug-hunting almost every day. Our precious recruits die almost every trip. I faked my death and escaped because of this. They use a random person every trip as bait! This time it should be a messenger… but I remember the only one is Quentin.  The bugs in the area are slowly getting mad. They will blow their top soon. Please stop the bugs the best you can. And also, Nadia is actually Sird. Beware of that! Good bye!” He hopped back into the safety of his cavern and Serge gestured to a large dust cloud. Items had been neatly decked on a pile nearby. We stored them away before proceeding towards the dust cloud. It was a Wood Giant all right. But it was even bigger than before. Bodies were strewn everywhere on the clearing and the ground was dyed slightly red. There sat Nadia, sitting on a throne lifted by two grunts, before the rampaged Wood Giant. The Wood Giant’s tentacles had a hold on the small figure of a girl. Sarah. Nadia’s slim fingers reached for the edge of her face and cleanly ripped a mask off. Sird.

“Do you remember me, Wood Giant?” The Wood Giant flinched momentarily before letting out an agonized yowl. The limp body of Sarah fell to the floor, dying it blood red. She was dead.  A figure stood behind us. Aran. Tears were coming to his eyes now.

“So it was you who organized the coup d’état! Look how many recruits have died under you!” His voice was cracking.

“Shouldn’t you be calling me ‘boss’?” Sird replied, the edges of her lips curling to reveal pearl-white teeth.

“Why would anyone want to? Look at how many people died!” Aran charged towards Sird, harpoon in hand.  Sird turned towards the Wood Giant and waved a finger at Aran.

“There you go, boy.”  The Wood Giant charged towards Aran just as he pounced on it, piercing through him with one leg. The sharp point went exactly into Aran’s body and he choked out blood before being flung into the hedge with a bone-chilling snap. His harpoon lay on the ground. Aran was dead. I felt some new energy in the area. Serge was getting fired up. He nodded briskly to the three of us before advancing towards Sird. Nyra leapt into the air while I set trappers. Finnian loaded the ammo and once all was set, we got into battle stance. Nyra was wielding her Trap launcher, Finnian his seal launcher and I was wielding my memory lighter. I had cast a dome over the area so no one would interfere.

“On the count of three…” Nyra hissed as we positioned ourselves.

“Two…” Finnian counted.

“One!” I yelled as the traps were launched. I lit the struggling bug ablaze after Finnian calmed it. It was over, finally. We plopped to the floor, panting hard.

“That felt great…” Finnian huffed, trying to catch his breath.

“We still have Sird to worry about…” Serge gave me a brief signal I was wanted there.

“Cheer on me, Finnian!” I yelled before positioning myself a few meters behind Sird, in the hedge.


              Serge placed a finger on the exposed area of Sird’s dress, running his fingers through the skin. He was enjoying Sird’s flushed facial expression. A woman was still a woman, after all, unable to resist against the charms and temptations from the opposite gender.  Seduction, it was called. Flirting, the nicer term to use. He ran the pads of his fingers across her porcelain white complexion, watching in sadistic delight as she shivered against his touch. No matter whom they were, women always fell for his charms. Serge knew that. Simply ruffling his hair would get long queues of stalkers ready to attack him with cameras in hand. That was why he had chosen the quiet and peaceful life of a detective, enjoying privacy to the limit. Furthermore, his skills would come in handy; no woman had swayed him before. Serge had found himself pondering how long Sird would hold up against him.  It appeared that she would not hold long. It took him only one touch for her to crumble under his calm and stern gaze. Gone was the ambition in her eyes, now replaced by a deep longing, as if it had been buried years ago and recently surfaced. It would be fun, very fun indeed.  He already had Silver as a sniper, positioned quite a distance away. Only a kiss was what it took to distract her from her impending doom. Even a fierce vixen lowers guard for charming foxes.

“Do… you know what they used to call me in high school?” Serge whispered huskily into her ear, blowing at her neck. She tensed almost instantly and Serge could almost see her melting under his gaze. His blank eyes never failed to make females melt and make their imagination go crazy.  His response was an inaudible mumble.

“Womanizer, milady.” He wasted no heed in evading the shoot from Silver. Serge drew his knife and stabbed Sird in the stomach before painfully removing his knife. Sird fell to the ground, not moving. She was dead.

It took me another moment to realize that it was her alter-ego, another innocent person she had brainwashed and taken over. I had seen this before, only once. The user gets to gain complete control of a certain person as well as mask their aura by inserting their ‘will’ into that person’s mind. The person then becomes the ‘alter ego’ and thus would be rendered impossible to control their bodies once more.

I grabbed the nearby harpoon and hurled it at the ground a few meters away from the body. However, this technique had only one slight con. The user had to be somewhere nearby to be able to control it.  Almost immediately I saw the mask crumble off the corpse’s face. It was a dark-skinned girl, alter ego of Sird. Serge had a shocked expression on his face. I felt the ground crumble under me as I was flung into a separate dimension created by someone.

           I landed neatly on fours, staring at the endless darkness surrounding me. I reached for the ground underneath me. Nothing. So I was in an antimatter world. The ‘ground’ beneath cracked and spewed lava. I leapt into the antimatter to dodge the lava and whipped out my memory lighter, lighting it up.

“A smart choice, boy. But no, I will not allow use of this junk in my world.” Sird’s voice came from somewhere before me. A slash went before me, missing the tip of my nose by mere inches and snuffed my light out. I checked the container. It was frozen solid. There was no use thawing it in this place.  I glanced at the source of sound. There, sitting on a throne illuminated by will o’ wisps, several large hounds at her feet. I immediately recognized the hound of Baskerville and made out the faint silhouette of another five creatures.

“You’ll have to win in this ‘dungeon’ before you get to save your dearest friend Finnian…” Sird smiled before I was teleported to a tower of sorts.

“I’ll be waiting for you at the top.”  She disappeared and I was whisked to a room. I was handed a recording device and a manual. There was no time to stop. A monster appeared before the door and I pounced towards it. On the way, I picked a few items and shot a bullet straight at the beast. It was gone with a whiff. I looked at the item on my hand. Ammo. Nice. I proceeded up and further up, defeating the beasts present as well as stocking up on items. It was a few minutes later I noticed a floor plan lying on the ground. I was at the 21st floor. I stepped on the teleportation pad. Up and up I went. The items came in handy but I was advancing a bit too slow. The beast roared. Fire flared at its nostrils. A hit was all it took to bring it down. It’s black fur rippled and it vanished, leaving a card in its wake. There was a hatch with a tag lying out instead of an entrance or teleportation pad. I waited a moment and stared at the sunlight gushing from a nearby window. I was trapped in a virtual world. Who knows what might happen when I’m out. A shudder went through my spine at the thought. I examined the card once more. A bath token. No… it was a rectangular token with two black stripes horizontally and a yellow rhombus above the stripes.  I attached it to the tag and almost immediately the walls crumbled.

“Hehe. I thought you were going to do something else with that token, boy. Very well. I’ll be waiting.” I checked again. I was at the 79th floor. 3 more sets of 7 streaks to go. I had a bad feeling indeed.

“Boy, do you know? If you die here your body will die too… Hehe.” No wonder.  The first beast that appeared was the Hound of Baskerville.  It bared its white fangs at me and made its way to me, charging headfirst. I loaded a bullet and shot it at the hound. It yowled and fell back a few paces. But that did not stop its assaults. Almost immediately a beam of fire went at my face, missing me by mere inches. I did a quick land on the ground before transforming my guns into scythes. When the hound came at me once again, I drove the scythe into the hound’s jet black body. A tiny chill made its way to my sweating palms. It was dead all right. Then came a warm wave of energy as the chains trapping its soul were released.  A great pit of darkness entered forth as the walls crumbled to reveal the second room. Next on was a werewolf. 

             Eerie light reflected off its pelt as the wolf charged at me, fangs out and arms already forming. Ice crystals formed at where its deforming paws had stepped on. A face was forming from the snout and skin was showing beneath the hide. Drool was continuously dripping from its bared snout and its eyes gleamed. Muscles were forming at its belly and its lean shoulders were becoming even more muscular. 

“Ah… Finally.” The beast howled, billowing ice crystals as its cold blue eyes scanned me. It lumbered towards me, claws digging out shredded meat stuck between fangs. Its tail had becoming longer now, causing tremors as it flicked the jet black tail from side to side. I rose by scythe and drove through its rough hide, not at all flinching when the blade tore out blood and arteries bled. The beast  fell to its side as a thin cloud formed around it. I had defeated it. The walls once again crumbled and I could feel heat from the next room. I checked again. Two down.  I shuddered a little, relishing the coldness of the melting ice left behind.  Perhaps a hellhound might be a little better.

          Embers flickered and its yellow eyes burned its way to my soul, shaking my very foundations. This was only the third beast yet! What else could wait?  The hound locked its eyes with me once again, another two heads emerging from its neck. With quick steps, it bounded towards me and I drove my scythe into its body, flinching at the sound of sizzling. Magma spurted from where the cut had been made and slowly the skin healed. This was going to be tough indeed. It retreated a little before coming at me again, this time with lava oozing from where its paws had landed. I made a simple shoot at where it was to land and it glared a little at me, taunting me for another attack. It came my way, lowering its neck and glaring me down. Now was the chance! I snapped my fingers and a large geyser devoured the hound whole. It gave a chilling yelp before disappearing. The platform I stood on started to submerge and before I knew it, I was sent to the depths of Hydra’s cavern.

                   I knew very well what was ahead. I also knew that time could not be spared on this beast, no matter how challenging it could be. I had to defeat it and defeat Sird. I had to get myself out of this dimension, back to where Serge, Nyra and Finnian are. My grip on the scythe tightened. But I knew better. I transformed the scythe into another scythe and changed into stealth gear.  With my heart in my chest, I entered the room. There was Hydra, with her numerous heads and venom, awaiting me.

“It has been long… Are you the second coming of Hercules? Should he come, I would destroy him.” The first head spoke, glaring in my direction.

“Long it has been! So what are you going to do? You lost us the previous time, huh?” The second head responded to the first’s speech and mocked the glaring first.

“But hasn’t he come a bit too earlier? He doesn’t look like Hercules. His hair is different.  Furthermore, he does not seem strong like Hercules.” The third noted and a fourth nodded.

“If he is not strong, why don’t we eat him? Isn’t that the will of mother Echidna?” The fifth responded. The first raised a scaly eyebrow at the fifth.

“Do not speak of her name, fifth.” A sixth one chimed in, raising its head before all.

“Vvvvery well… let usss deal with himmm…” The first slithered   and the rest nodded in approval. Two sickles now replaced the scythe in my hands.  I made my way towards them. Energy was fizzing at the blades of the sickles, burning the flesh of the heads. In less than half a minute, majority of the heads had been cut off. I had cut off a few of its limbs and made sure to drown them in their very own venom. The last and final head slithered towards my face but I slit its throat before cleansing my hands. The water had been dyed a bloody red. I checked once again. Fourth down. One more to go before I would get to settle matters with Sird. I knew what to expect. Something just out of this world. The platform raised once again and I found myself in a small room, with a door leading to a bigger one. On the door was a plaque that read: Rest well before thou meet thy dragon.  I noted a small booth by the door. A red roof clearly indicated a healing station, according to the manual. I entered and rested my weapons before wolfing a few energy bars I had saved from earlier on. I checked my calendar. A week had passed… Weren’t they going to search high and low for me? Finnian could be anywhere now. How much time did I spend in the lift? Then it dawned on me. I had passed a timeline. Surprisingly, I didn’t suffer from jetlag. They probably had an excellent wireless system. It would have been two months here while two days would have passed in my town. Odd. I sighed as I continued eating my food. It had been preserved almost perfectly. I shuffled to the PC nearby, surprised that they had one of them. Then I reminded myself that this was Sird’s dimension and she could have anything anywhere. I nodded faintly to myself before opening the door.

             A large dragon waited me at the back of the room, its black scales perfectly reflecting the pools of magma that surrounded its throne of thorns. It was incredibly lean and it had wide wings suited for flying. The dragon was perfection. Above the rules of symmetry and perfection. At the same time, it was the perfect killer, destined assassin and a long list of nice sounding words.  Its beady eyes clashed with mine and I felt the extreme chill from its glare. The scent of death was overwhelmingly strong.

“Didn’t think you would make it this far, boy.” The dragon scowled at Sird’s voice.

“It’s been a long time since I fed you anything, huh?” Sird asked the dragon.

“It has been long, missus.” It growled.

“Ah, I think you know of my next command.”

“Fight it must be.” The dragon replied.

          The dragon roared and came forward circling me. I looked forward and almost immediately, it attacked me, knocking me off balance and grazing my cheek with his wingtips. Blood oozed thinly from the cut. I looked up. Tiny drops of tears pelted down from above. Then I noticed what really was happening. Sird was controlling this dragon. An idea suddenly came to my mind. I took out the memory lighter that Seraphim had given me and raised it to the air. A large dragon immediately came forth.

“You summoned, sir?” The dragon rasped, eyeing the dragon in flight with some feeling in her eyes.

“Yes. Can you take me to where the dragon up there is?”

“Sure. But can you promise me another thing?” Her eyes had worry in them. I nodded.

“Free the dragon for me.” I nodded while clambering on.

“Kerstriar, I am.” She took off into flight, wings flapping soundlessly into the sky.

“That one’s Kerstran. He’s my twin. That’s why I want to save him. I can’t help to lose another person, ever.” I nodded. We were nearing the dragon now.

“I’ll attack from here. All we need to do is to get the person off the dragon, right?” Kerstriar nodded as I prepared my weapon.

“Kestriar, can you launch fireballs or something like that? I’ll have to need your power for this.” She nodded once more as we neared the duo. I could make out Sird, wearing a cloak.

“On the count of 3…” We circled the flying dragon and I could see the blankness in the dragon’s eyes. I faintly remembered what I would do when I saw such eyes. Shoot. I knew it wasn’t right. But I didn’t know what was better to do? Perhaps… this time… I won’t make mistakes. I won’t regret this time, to save one for once. I… should apologize to Nyra too… A faint light shone its way to Kestran’s amber eyes.

“2…” I knew that this was Sird. But I saw, this time, through Seraphim’s lighter that I still held in my hands, a different Sird. Trauma and experiences can change people, this I knew. But was there any choice to kill this Sird and let the old Sird live? I… didn’t know. But deep in my heart came a silent vow. This… will be the last time that I’ll do such a thing. Not more will I regret. Not once more.

“One!” That one moment, a fireball aimed at Sird as well as a bullet going for her chest shoved Sird into the magma below.  The flame flickered a little as Sird plunged down from the dragon’s broad back, her eyes closed, lips in a small smile. It was a smirk. It was a genuine smile, coming deep from the depths of her heart. People change. That wasn’t exactly true. People change the way they appear to others as well as themselves. The change is to hide their true self, merely an illusion. People never change. One person will still be the person they were born to be. No one is completely bad. It’s just their choice to be. Even for a person entirely devoured in darkness, there will still be light and warmth, though little, but enough for that soul to start anew. After all, we have many leaves to turn over in this lifetime. The flame was gone and for a moment, my heart fell with Sird’s body, plunging into the depths of my own self-pity. I… won’t have regrets…

“It isn’t nice to lie to yourself, you know?” Kestriar told me, ignoring my surprised expression.

“We can read your mind if we want to.” Kestran stated, playfully doing a backflip only to receive a cuff from Kestriar.

“You shouldn’t do that! Remember when you hit the stalagmite sometime back? You couldn’t fly for a month after that!” Kestriar reminded the playful dragon sternly, though she was smiling.

“We’ll take you out of here now. Feel free to visit if you want to. The key’s in that lighter of yours. We can be summoned almost anywhere, so call us up if you need a flight anywhere, okay?” Kestriar gestured to a shaft of light coming from a few meters away.

“What’s your name?” Kestran asked me while diving under his twin.

“Silver.” I… won’t lie anymore. I won’t lie to myself… I won’t lie to the people I hold dear.

“That’s a nice name. Pass that tunnel is where you came from. See you again!” The two dragons yelled in unison as Kestriar set me down on a rock platform. I nodded and waved to them until they were out of sight. Once they were away, I kept the lighter and muttered a word of thanks to Seraphim before dashing through the tunnel, feeling wind moving under my feet, as if I was in a hurricane.

“Bring me back to Serge, Finnian and Nyra, please!” I yelled to the tunnel and almost immediately it whirred, the light becoming brighter and brighter until it seemed to swallow me whole…


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