Frozen Waves – Chapter 2

Dark water surrounded her, but Hydro didn’t care. She swam aimlessly throughout the open sea, exploring the coral reefs and underwater mountains. She didn’t notice the monster creeping behind her, its jaw open wide, hundreds upon hundreds of teeth ready to clamp down on to her very soul…

 

Hydro awoke from her dream with a start, sitting up and breathing frantically. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and her head spun as she peered through the darkness of the dorm. She yawned and sighed, quietly crawling out of bed. There was no way she was getting any more sleep after that nightmare. Exiting the dorm, she began to walk out into the hallway, her scales changing color so that she was practically invisible. She snuck out of the school without anyone noticing, exiting the caverns and taking flight into the cool night air. She glided along the ground and over the lake, barely making a sound as she lifted just above the treeline and spiraled upwards.

 

Eventually, Hydro baked back towards the mountain, landing atop the snow-capped peak and laying on a nearby flat rock. She let her prehensile tail dangle down from the stone, resting her chin on her paws as she looked up at the night sky. The stars twinkled in the expanses of space, cold and indifferent, oblivious to her struggles. She sighed and looked at the three moons in the sky, a small yawn escaping from her jaws. Each of the moons were just beginning to kiss the horizon, and the sun caused the sky to blush a warm pink as it began its slow ascent. Hydro stook and shook off a few loose pebbles that had gotten stuck between her scales, then spread her wings and glided down to the entrance of the school. She entered the caverns and quickly returned to her dorm, noticing instantly that both Ice Shard and Copperhead were already awake. She smiled and waved at the both of them. Copperhead waved back, but Ice Shard simply nodded before turning and walking out of the dorm. Hydro watched him go for a moment, then shrugged, turning away and making her bed. As soon as she had finished, she and Copperhead exited the dorm and headed down the hall towards the scent of food, their stomachs growling in unison. They both laughed, then raced ahead, entering the Preycenter before most other dragons in the school had left their dorms.

 

Quickly grabbing themselves some food, the two dragonets sat on the far side of the Preycenter where it was a little quieter. They began to dig into their food, Copperhead with a camel and Hydro with several fish and various fruits.

 

As they talked, Hydro couldn’t help but notice Ice Shard staring at them from afar. However, whenever she turned to look at him, he would turn away and continue eating. Hydro pointed this out to Copperhead, who suddenly stiffened at the mention of the IceWing.

 

“Ice Shard? Oh he’s nothing to worry about. He’s just, uh, weird and all.” Copperhead said vaguely, waving a talon. Hydro looked her in the eyes, her gaze hardening. Copperhead stared at her for a moment longer, the two locked in an intense battle of willpower, before Copperhead suddenly stood and spread her wings. “I-I gotta go!” She said, flying away before Hydro could stop her.

 

Hydro stared in confusion, her eyes betraying how hurt she was. She sighed and looked over as Ice Shard suddenly leapt from his seat and followed Copperhead out of the preycenter. Standing, Hydro spread her wings and silently flew after them. “Something is going on between those two…” She thought. “And I’m gonna find out what.”

 

Blending into the walls, Hydro followed Ice Shard’s pale blue form into an empty classroom. Digging her talons into the ceiling and wrapping her tail around nearby rocks, she listened in on Ice Shard and Copperhead’s conversation.

 

“… And you’re jeopardizing it!” Ice Shard was yelling.

 

“What, I’m not allowed to make friends?” Copperhead demanded.

 

“With our mission? No, you can’t! It could put the whole thing in danger!”

 

“What if I don’t care about the mission?”

 

Ice Shard froze for a moment. “We were raised our whole life for this… Acid taught us for years for this mission. You’re gonna let that all go to waste?!”

 

“Well… no, but… I don’t see why I can’t make friends. If we do the mission efficiently, nobody will know it was us. We can keep our friends and not worry about anyone finding out.”

 

“That’s just it, you can’t do it efficiently! You’re useless!”

 

“N-No, I’m not!” Copperhead stuttered. “I-I can do this, I swear! I just… don’t wanna be alone…”

 

Ice Shard scoffed, turning around and stalking out of the room. “We both will always be alone, Copperhead. Always.”

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Ice Shard and Copperhead’s Faceoff (Drawn by A Flame That is Amber on the app Art Enhancers Amino)

And with that, Ice Shard stalked out of the room and left a teary-eyed Copperhead in his wake. Hydro silently slunk away, fading back into vision as she exited the room and ran down the hall. “Mission? What mission are they talking about? And who’s Acid?” A million thoughts ran through her mind as she raced away from the room. She barely heard the bell ring and quickly veered down the hall, entering her next class. She was entirely unable to focus as her thoughts consumed her. “What does it all mean…”

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Hydro found it hard to focus most of the day, her gaze continuously moving towards Ice Shard and Copperhead as the day persisted. She watched as the two went about their classes, seemingly normal, as if they didn’t discuss some big important mission from a mysterious dragon earlier that day.

 

The night also gave no answers, as Ice and Copperhead simply went to sleep without saying much to anyone. Hydro watched Copperhead for just a moment longer before she too laid down to sleep. Nobody noticed as Ice Shard slowly slinked out of the dorm and into the halls, a sharp, glittering object in his talons.

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The sounds of chaos and yelps greeted Hydro as she was startled from her dreamless sleep. The sun had barely risen, but all throughout the halls, dragons ran around to and fro. A SandWing squeezed through the crowd and stumbled into Hydro’s dorm, quickly running over to her. Hydro rubbed the sleep from her eyes and realized the SandWing was Cactus.

 

“Hydro! We have an emergency, you HAVE to get over to the infirmary NOW!” Cactus said, shaking Hydro’s shoulders to wake her up more.

 

Hydro quickly got out of her bed and stood, wrapping her scarf around her neck. She ignored the tired, quizzical looks of her wingmates as she followed the SandWing into the crowd and towards the infirmary. They managed to squeeze through, and emerged into the infirmary. While it was noticeably emptier than the hall, there were many dragons crowded around single table, obscuring the view of what was laying upon it.

 

“Move it!” Cactus yelled, and the dragons instantly cleared the way for him. Cactus and hydro approached the table, revealing that there was a SeaWing laying atop it. The SeaWing, male from the shape of his face, was deep green with royal blue scales on his belly. The most noticeable feature about him, however, was the large wound running from his tail all the way up to the middle of his neck. The wound was fresh, slowly oozing blood which dripped down onto the table. Hydro gasped, standing beside him. “What happened?!”

 

“He was attacked last night. We don’t know who it was, but we know what the weapon was.” Cactus explained. “The attacker dropped it when they tried to flee. Bass here,” He gestured to the SeaWing, “Must have seen the attacker carrying this knife.” He pointed to a knife on another nearby table. “He confronted the attacker and got injured, and the attacker fled.”

 

Hydro processed all of the information, looking down at Bass. “Bass, Bass… Where have I heard that name?” She suddenly realized. “Oh! He’s one of the teachers here, isn’t he? He teaches Mathematics?”

 

“Yeah, the attack happened just outside his classroom.” Cactus said. “We still need to figure out who the attacker was, and who their original target was.”

 

Hydro nodded. “Alright. But before we do that…” She looked over the wound on Bass’s side. “This is a big wound, but not too deep.” She said. “It should have clotted by now if it happened last night. So why…”

 

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.” Cactus approached Hydro’s side with worry. “If it doesn’t clot soon, Bass could lose too much blood.”

 

“Was it wrapped up?” Hydro asked.

 

“We had it that way up until this morning. When we went to take off the bandgaes to check on it, it hadn’t healed at all. I thought you may know something, anything, that could help us.”

 

Hydro looked over the wound again, her brain searching for some kind of answer. “Hmmm…” It suddenly hit her. “Hejuphus Grienfield!” She suddenly announced. Cactus looked over at her like she was crazy. “Um… What?”

 

“Grienfield, it’s an herb in the RainWing Kingdom!” She said. “I’m looking over at Bass’s wound, and I can easily tell that blade had traces of RainWing venom. That’s why it wasn’t healing! But Grienfield directly counters RainWing venom and can heal wounds. It’s a little known secret that the RainWings keep, in order to use within our own tribe should someone get hurt by our acid.”

 

Cactus gasped. “So what you’re saying is, we need to go to the RainWing Kingdom?”

 

Hydro nodded. “Exactly.” But even as she said that, she shuddered. “We” sounded an awful lot like it involved Hydro. She’d only just left the RainWing Kingdom. Could she really face going back so soon, if ever? She shook her head. If it meant saving someone’s life, she’d do it in a heartbeat. But that didn’t stop her scales from losing some of their vibrancy.

 

Cactus didn’t notice, too busy acting quickly and ordering the staff around. “We’ll have two days.” She said to Hydro. “Two days should be enough time for you to fly to the kingdom and back with the herb. Take Avocet with you.”

 

Hydro did a double take. “Umm… Who’s Avocet?”

 

Cactus pointed to a SkyWing nearby. Her bright crimson scales and golden crest on her head stood out amongst the grey-brown cave walls, making her easy to spot. “She’s the battle teacher, and a fast flier. You two will go together in two days to the RainWing kingdom to retrieve the herb.”

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“Um… Is there anyone else who can take my place?” Hydro asked nervously. “The RainWings… aren’t exactly happy with me right now.”

 

Cactus shook his head. “You’re the only RainWing here,” He gestured to the room, where indeed, there was only one RainWing, Hydro. “You’re the only one who knows where this herb is, you have to go find it. Don’t worry, Avocet wont let anyone hurt you.”

 

Hydro took a shaky breath and nodded. “Okay. In two days, we go.”

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Hydro quickly returned to the Gold Dorm without a word. She began grabbing a few essential things and packing them in preparation to leave.

 

“What… are you doing?”

 

Hydro turned around to see Copperhead staring at her quizzically. “Um…” She didn’t want to worry the poor SandWing. “I’m going to visit family for a few days.” She finally said. It wasn’t totally a lie, she was going back to the RainWing kingdom. Just not willingly, or to purposefully see her family.

 

“Oh. When are you leaving?” Copperhead asked.

 

“In two days or so,” Hydro said, trying to act casual. She noticed out of the corner of her eye that Ice Shard was glaring at her and Copperhead, and a sudden idea surfaced. “Their ‘mission’…” She remembered. “Could they have been sent to… to kill someone?” She quickly turned away and grabbed her bag, darting out of the room. “Let’s not jump to conclusions yet.” She reasoned. “If someone wanted someone else dead, why send two young dragonets to do it? Why not themselves?” She managed to calm herself down as she entered the preycenter, managing to not look like a crazed lunatic trying to solve a murder case. She grabbed herself some food and sat down, ignoring the confused look from Copperhead and angry scowl from Ice Shard as they entered the Preycenter as well.

 

Hydro wolfed down her food before Copperhead could come sit with her and quickly flew off down the hall, the sound of the school bell echoing in her ears. It was noon; time for Orientation.

 

Gliding down the hall, Hydro landed at the indoor auditorium and entered. Several other dragons had already taken seats on the stair shaped rocks, likely dug out by use of RainWing acid. Hydro grabbed a seat near the left side, a bit closer to the back, and waited.

 

Soon enough, other dragons began to file into the auditorium, and the cavern was quickly filled with many different voices that echoed off the walls. A lone MudWing stepped on to the stage up front and spread his wings, and the room soon fell silent. “Thank you all for coming to orientation.” He began. “My name is Clay, and I’m the headmaster of the school. We’d like to thank you all for coming to the academy this year, and for helping the world reach peace through cooperation.”

 

“Three years ago, as many of you know, there was a war between Blaze, Blister, and Burn, the three SandWing successors. When the queen was killed, civil war broke out to determine who the new queen would be. A faction formed in the midst of this fighting, known as the Talons of Peace. The Talons raised me and several other dragonets to learn how to live in order to fulfill a prophecy that would end the war. The prophecy, in the end, was false. But it was still fulfilled.”

 

“With the help of my four closest friends, we ended the war and brought peace to the land. Together, we established this school to allow us to teach others the ways of peace and prosperity. Please welcome the rest of the dragonets of destiny!”

 

Four other young dragons stepped out onto the stage. The first was a large, female SeaWing with remarkably unique glowing patterns along her wings and flanks. She gave off an air of assertiveness and authority. The second and third were a small SandWing, who was guiding along a NightWing. The SandWing, remarkably, was missing the scorpion-like barb at the end of her tail. Nevertheless, the SandWing helped guide the NightWing on to the stage. It was then that Hydro realized the NightWing was blind.

 

Finally, a RainWing came on to the stage. She wore several pieces of golden jewelry, and Hydro recognized her instantly. Her pupils shrank, and she hid her face as the RainWing’s eyes scanned the crowd.

 

“In order of appearance,” Clay began. “Tsunami, daughter of Queen Coral. Sunny, the most cheerful friend you could ever have. Starflight, our resident librarian and the smartest NightWing in the school. And Glory, queen of the RainWings.” Clay introduced. “Each of them played a vital role in stopping the war, but we’re all as different from each other as night and day. This is what we’d like to pass on to all of you,” Clay turned back to the crowd. “From the oldest teacher to the youngest student, each and every one of you are important and unique. You are all vital to this school and this world in your own way. Rather than harm and harass each other, we strive to bring together all of the dragon tribes in a land of peace and harmony. Thank you.”

 

The five dragons left the stage and an IceWing took their place, beginning to explain the rules and requirements at the school. Hydro finally lifted her eyes to look back at the stage, relieved that Queen Glory was finally gone. “I have no idea if she knows what happened…” She thought. “But better safe than sorry.”

 

As orientation ended, Hydro quickly exited and returned to her dorm, sitting on the bed and thinking. “Now I just need to find out how to get back to the RainWing kingdom without being spotted…” She sighed, laying her head down. “Maybe I’ll think of something while I sleep tonight.” And with that final thought, Hydro closed her eyes and fell asleep.

 

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