Frozen Waves – Chapter 6

It was another few hours before Avocet returned, holding in his talons a collection of fruit for Hydro and a few large birds for himself. Hydro nodded silently, nibbling on on one of the mangos. Avocet looked at her curiously, noticing her silence.

“Whats up?”

Hydro visibly flinched as the silence between them was broken by Avocet’s voice.

“Woah, hey calm down.” Avocet said. “What’s the matter?”

“M-Matter? Nothing! Nothing’s the matter!” Hydro said quickly, with far too large of a smile on her face to be natural.

Avocet didn’t buy it for a second. “Hydro.” He said sternly, his eyes narrowing.

Hydro turned her head away. “It’s nothing, Avocet.” She grumbled.

Avocet looked at her for a moment longer before shrugging. “Fine, don’t tell me. I won’t pry.” He said. “But whatever it is, deal with it fast. We gotta get moving soon.”

Hydro nodded, quickly forcing the rest of the fruit down. The sun was setting as she swallowed the last of the food, and a massive yawn escaped her maw.

“Tired?” Avocet chuckled. “Go ahead and sleep, I’ll take first watch.”

Hydro nodded, curling up to sleep. Avocet sat on a branch outside, his gaze locked on the forest around him. Hydro sighed, closing her eyes and falling asleep.

 

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“Hydro, wake up.” Avocet’s voice cut through Hydro’s sleep. Hydro opened her eyes groggily, looking up at Avocet standing over her.

“It’s almost midnight, your watch now.” He said. Hydro nodded and stood, stretching and shaking her head to rid it of the last remnants of sleep.

Climbing out of the treehouse, Hydro used the hooked claws on her wings to hang from a tree, then swung down and perched herself comfortably on a branch. She let her gaze scan the canopy of the trees, her eyes narrowing as she looked through the darkness for any sign of danger. For several hours, there was nothing but a few birds. Hydro used her tail to pluck some fruit off the tree, taking a bite. Her eyes left the forest for just a moment as she reached down to grab the food.

In that instant, she was tackled off of the branch. She let out a grunt, but it was muffled by her attacker’s talons around her snout, making it hard to speak or breathe. Hydro fought against her attacker’s grip as they spread their wings, taking flight and carrying Hydro along with them.

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Art by A Flame That Is Amber on Art Enhances Amino

Hydro’s squirming and fighting, however, made her near impossible to hold on to mid-flight. The dragon holding her dropped her, preparing to loop around and get a better grip. Hydro saw and took flight, letting out a roar.

“Avocet!” She screamed. Instantly, the SkyWing was up and alert, darting out of the treehouse with a dagger clutched in his talons.

“Hydro! What’s going on!” He asked, scanning the area. The attacking dragon seemingly vanished, but Hydro was alert.

“I was attacked, someone tried to kidnap me.” She said. “Probably a RainWing so be on the lookout. They could pop out from anywhere.”

Avocet nodded, the two of them facing away from each other and watching each other’s backs. The forest around them was deathly silent, aside from the noise of wings beating.

Dozens of wings beating. Too many.

In an instant, several dozen RainWings materialized around the duo, all glaring directly at Hydro.

“Hydro Vortex.” A single, deep voice rang out. Hydro’s eyes widened as she looked up. There in front of her was a pale yellow and orange RainWing with blue spots on his wings.

“Marco.” Hydro hissed.

Avocet looked between the two. “Who is this?” He whispered.

“Some would call him my stepdad.” Hydro said. “Though being disowned by him really just makes him a dragon I hate with all my being.”

Avocet glared at Marco.

“Hydro Vortex, you are under arrest.” Marco announced.

“For what?!” Avocet argued. “We’ve done nothing wrong!”

“Maybe not you, SkyWing,” Marco said. “But Hydro has been wanted for several weeks now.”

“For WHAT?”

“For murder.”

Avocet froze and turned his head towards Hydro, who was glaring at Marco solemnly. “Marco, I’ve told you, I’m not the killer. It may be my fault, but I’m not the one who killed Current. His blood is not on my claws.”

“Woah, woah, woah, hold up a second.” Avocet interrupted. “What are you two going on about?”

“Ah, so you haven’t told your friend here?” Marco smirked. “Well, now’s the time to tell him. In fact, tell us all! Tell us how you killed Current!”

“I didn’t!” Tears were welling up in Hydro’s eyes. “I-I was swimming out in the ocean, and a shark attacked me! I didn’t know how to fight so i fled, and Current came in to save me! The shark got a lucky bite to his neck, that’s it!” Hydro blubbered. “I tried to save him, but I couldn’t get him to the palace in time!”

Before Hydro knew it, Marco was in front of her, slashing his talons across her face. “LIAR!” He roared. “YOU STUPID, IMPULSIVE, PUNY CHILD!” Marco screeched in rage. “You drove Lush in to insanity killing Current!”

Hydro stiffened at the mention of her mother’s name. “Lush exiled me for ‘killing current’ in a fit of rage. She never stopped to think of the consequences. She’s no mother of mine.” Hydro hissed.

Marco growled, his teeth bared. “Guards!” He roared. “Get them, and take them both to the palace!”

As one, the dragons surrounding the duo charged, all prepared to grab them. Hydro’s small frame made her harder to grab, and she managed to weave between the guards and escape the cloud, a few of the guards following her. With a hiss, Hydro spun around and spat venom at them. It struck them across their wings and chest, sizzling away at their scales. They shrieked in pain and turned, diving into the forest in hopes of finding something to save their scales.

Hydro turned and saw Avocet struggling against the guards. His larger frame couldn’t slip by them, and with so many around, he couldn’t efficiently fight. He clutched his dagger in his talons, slashing at any dragon who got too close, but he couldn’t hold it up forever. Hydro turned towards them, signaling to Avocet with her scales lighting up. “DROP!” She screeched.

Instantly, Avocet let his wings go limp, falling towards the trees before catching the wind in his wings and speed gliding along the canopy.

At the same time, Hydro flew over the guards, venom spraying from her mouth like a rainfall. It splashed against their scales and wings and faces, and screams of pain began to rain out from the crowd. The guards began to drop into the forest below or take off in different directions, screeching and running into each other in their desperate attempt to escape the pain.

With a flip and a dive, Hydro flew away, hoping to leave the guards to their chaos. She didn’t make it very far as, for the second time that night, she was tackled by Marco. The two of them went plummeting into the trees, branches whipping Hydro’s back as she glared into Marco’s eyes.

Reaching out a wing, Hydro grabbed a branch with a claw and swung herself, stopping her fall rather suddenly. Pain shot through her wing, but she ignored it. The sudden stop had shaken Marco off of her. She wouldn’t have long before he’d be up and on her tail again.

Spreading her wings, Hydro ignored the shooting pain on her right side and began to fly. She shot through the leaves and emerged above the canopy. Avocet spotted her instantly and flew over, grabbing her talon. “Come on, we gotta go now!” He said. Helping to pull Hydro along, Avocet led the two of them past the treehouse and deeper into the forest. They dove down into the trees and hid in a small cave, hoping they hadn’t been followed.

“That was… intense…” Hydro gasped for breath, her wing pulsing in pain.

“Yeah, okay, gimme a second here.” Avocet said. “Can you explain what in the name of the moons just happened? Cause I have NO idea.”

Hydro sighed. “It’s… a long story.”

“We have all night.” Avocet pointed out.

Hydro nodded. “Better get comfortable.”

Avocet and Hydro both layed down, and Hydro took a deep breath. And slowly, she began to tell the story.

 

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Splashes and bubbles floated up to the surface of the water as a dragon sped by. Hydro, just a few years old at the time, swam throughout the ocean, enjoying the cool water and colorful marine life. Wisps of sunlight filtered down from the surface, making the world around her seem to glow.

Spreading her wings, Hydro propelled herself forward, riding the currents of the ocean as she went. She dove deeper into the water, moving farther and farther down into the depths of the ocean. The light began to fade as she went deeper, and she lit up her scales to make it easier to see. The light shone off of a collection of shiny shells and stones, and she swam deeper to examine them.

She didn’t notice the dark figure creeping up on her from behind, hundreds and hundreds of teeth gleaming in its mouth like silver daggers. She turned just in time to see the massive shark lunging at her. Her eyes opened wide and she whipped around, pushing herself with her wings and webbed talons. She barely managed to stay ahead of the shark, and already she could feel herself tiring.

I can’t keep this up forever!” Hydro thought fearfully. Her scales flashed bright, sending out the signal for help. But when none came, she began to lose hope. “This is it. This is where I die.

Suddenly, Hydro felt a rush of water surge past her. She spun around and saw an aqua green SeaWing charging at the shark, talons extended and teeth bared.

DAD!” Hydro flashed in aquatic, turning to help her father.

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Art by A Flame That Is Amber on Art Enhancers Amino

GO! NOW!” Current flashed back, slashing at the shark. The shark veered towards him, opening its mouth wide. Current slashed again, making a gash in the shark’s face. The shark turned to make space between the two. Current took the chance to look back at Hydro.

“Hydro, go! Get back to the city!” He flashed.

But dad, I can’t just leave you!” Hydro replied frantically.

NOW, Hydro! Go!

Hydro couldn’t argue anymore. Turning tail, she fled from the battle. She glanced back one last time to see her father turning around to face the shark…

And shock plastering his face as the shark’s teeth clamped around his neck.

DAD!” Bubbles escaped Hydro’s mouth as she screeched the word. The two dragon’s eyes met, and Current managed to weakly flash in aquatic “Go…

Hydro shook her head, her eyes wide in shock. She turned and fled, swimming faster than she ever had in her life.

 

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Hydro looked at her talons, fresh tears streaming down her face as the memories resurfaced. “After word of Current’s death reached my mother in the RainWing kingdom… She went into a fit of rage. She began to think it was my fault that Current had died, that I myself had killed him. She told that story to every dragon in the kingdom. The only one who believed that it wasn’t me had been Bamboo…”

“How did your mother tell everyone that?” Avocet asked gently. “Nobody would listen to a ridiculous story like that.”

“Lush is pretty high up on the social chain.” Hydro explained. “She lives in the palace, and knows Queen Glory personally.”

Avocet nodded. “Continue.”

Hydro sighed. “So, finally, when Lush had enough of me… She sent the guards to capture me and lock me up. Bamboo and I were out flying together at the time when the guards tried to capture us. I barely managed to escape… Bamboo wasn’t so lucky.” Hydro’s voice became hoarse. “She spat acid at the guards to distract them and told me to run. And… I did…” It came out as barely a whisper. “And I heard Bamboo screaming as I flew away… They… They must have killed her and it’s m-my f-fault…”

Avocet embraced Hydro with a wing, holding her close. “Hydro… I’m so sorry…”

“Don’t be.” Hydro said weakly. “It’s not your fault. I don’t need pity…”

“It’s not pity.” Avocet pulled back, looking Hydro in the eyes. “It’s sympathy.”

Hydro stared at him for a moment longer before bowing her head, her eyes drooping. “I need… I need to rest.”

“Okay.” Avocet nodded, letting Hydro lie down. “I’ll keep watch.”

Hydro would have acknowledged him had she not already been sound asleep.

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