Fang: He is smart and witty and is a fantastic sight to watch on a battle field. He has blue scales, and two horns that angle backwards.
Fearless: She is strong headed and stubborn. Has white scales with blue strip markings and a pink under belly, with four horns on her head.
Claw: He is fast and always quick to lie himself out of trouble. He has silver scales and blue markings.
Coal: She is smart, quiet and not aggressive. Has black scales with blue swirls.
Its amazing how these guys became friends.
Fight! Grab the chicken and eat it! Coal's mind roared at her. I don't care if they look like they might want that chicken for seconds. You haven't eaten anything yet! Another part of her mind quietly whispered, don't do it. They want the chicken.
Coal whimpered and shrunk into the shadows more, but her blue patterns stood out like a glowing beacon. Once again it looked like she's be listening to the serene part of her mind.
Fang looked up and spotted her. "Hey Coal." The taller hatchie greeted. "Do you mind if I take the last chicken? Secret said I might turn into an adult through the rite of passage today." He explained.
Yes you do mind!
No you don't, he can eat it if he wants to.
"N-no. Its okay with me." Coal stammered.
Not if you starve to death! Her kind screamed hysterically.
Secret lifted her head and the guardian dragon nodded in agreement.
"I'm h-happy for you, F-Fang."
"I am too! Because that means tomorrow Fearless will have her rite of passage into adult! Then Claw! Then you." Fang looked happy.
We can't have an adult rite of passage if you keep letting everyone eat your chickens, cows and goats! You'll be to weak and die! Coal's mind screamed. She relized that for once the aggressive part of her mind was correct.
Coal sobbed and rocketed out of the cave.
Claw looked angrily to Fang, "What did you do?!"
Coal skidded around a corner and into her sleeping cave.
I will not die. She thought fiercely.
Instead she tried thinking of other things. Like when she could finally be able to fly as an adult... but she wouldn't be able to fly if she died.
Suddenly her claws seemed to interest her a lot as she studied them closely. She peeked up and saw Fearless slide past her cave. Coal sighed with relief and her paw flopped onto the smooth floor.
"Knew it!" Fearless's head poked around the corner. Coal jumped back with a yelp.
"F-Fearless!" She cried.
She should be killed for startling you.
No. We should hear her out.
Coal sighed and relaxed again. "Knew what?"
"That you are upset. We hardly hang out so the least I can do is ask if your alright." Fearless said, grinning down at her.
Coal looked up, ending up following where Fearless was actually looking.
"When was the last time you ate, Coal? Your so skinny." Coal shied away from her. "I do eat!" She protested when Fearless poked her rib cage harshly.
Fearless wore a shocked expression. "Now that I'm thinking about it... I've rarely ever seen you eat! Did you eat your chicken tonight?"
"Yes." Coal lied, pretending to look casual.
"Okay then come with me. I've been working on a mystery. When we get one chicken each, that means four chickens since there is only four of us hatchies under this rock, I've seen Fang always end up with two instead of one." Fearless said, puzzled.
"Same with when we get four cows, pig, goats and deer. Wait no, no no. Not pig he never has any pig seconds."
Fearless wasn't known very well for her brain. Fang was smart, but not as smart as Claw was.
Coal flicked her ears back. She loved pig.
"Fearless. Maybe you should give this mystery a rest already. Maybe try work out a new mystery, like when all of us hatchies are gonna try leave the caves." Coal said.
"Yes! I'm gonna tell the others! We'll meet in your sleeping cave once the guardians and guards have gone asleep." Fearless whispered.
"Okay then" Coal agreed.
*** Time Skip ***
"That's a terrible idea. Do you know how many guards and guardians they have to watch over just four hatchies?" Claw pointed out.
"Nearly adult hatchies." Fang snapped.
"Your right! In the morning I saw like ten guards swap over with five guards for day watch." Fearless agreed.
"And we're too unskilled to fight our way out with brute force." Claw added. "So that's not an option either."
"But it isn't impossible to escape! Just annoyingly difficult. But I do know one thing: I want to leave these god forsaken caves!" Fang cried. "I know that I can fight once I'm an adult, but you guys!"
"Me too." Coal added. "But maybe we can wait until we're all adults. Then we could try escape together."
"That's a plan I'm looking forward to." Caw agreed.
A white dome suddenly in cased Fang. Coal could hear him screaming in panic. "Whats happening?!"
"Sh! Quiet! You'll wake the adults!" Caw whispered harshly, pouncing into the white dome.
"Your going through the adult rite of passage!" Claw was flung out of the dome.
"It hurts." Fang called softly with a small growl of agony.
"That's the main idea, I think. Your scales are shifting so that you can turn into an adult, and your wings are stretching to grow bigger." Claw explained.
Fang's dome started to look like it was shrinking in on him. His wings stuck out, no longer small, but as huge as the sleeping cave itself. His tail was long and huge. The dome disappeared, leaving his blue scales to glitter in the torchlight.
"Oh wow," Fearless breathed, her eye lashes batted in surprise. She heaved forward and seized his talons with her tiny claws.
"Fang... Your huge!" Fearless swung her tail happily.
Coal stared at Fang in astonishment. The dome had left vibrations in the rocky ground and she felt it in her claws.
Along with foot steps coming their way.
"Hide!" Coal hissed. She jumped onto them and made it look like she was sleeping in an odd position while cuddling a rock.
Secret swept into the cave with an unfamiliar bright orange dragon with deep red swirls.
"This is one of the hatchies. There. Is that proof enough, Scarlet?" Secret hissed at the orange dragon.
"You don't need to see the other three." Secret said.
"No I don't." Scarlet said. "But I do have to bring them to her majesty once they are adults."
Secret's ears pricked up, but she didn't say anything.
Coal stopped peeking under her wing and decided to act like she was just about to wake up. She made her tail twitch and her eyes twitch like they were about to open.
She opened her eyes and yawned, by the time she turned around, both dragons were gone.
"They're gone guys." Coal slithered off the pile of hatchies below her.
"Smart move." Claw commented.
"Yeah," Fearless agreed, "pretty fierce Coal."
Not fierce at all. Coal thought sadly, her wings drooping.
Fang heaved all the smaller hatchies off him.
"Wow I really am huge." He grinned.
"I bet I can fly!"
"Don't be ridiculous!" Claw snapped. "There's not enough space for flying in the caves!"
"Well I think there is." Fearless argued.
"Then your more stupid then I thought." Claw said.
Tell them to get out. Your tired.
No. Don't. Just silently go to sleep.
Coal curled into a ball, her blue markings sticking out like a beacon. Claw stopped to stare at her silently, possibly calculating what he was doing in that smart brain of his.
Fang looked up, his shiny blue scales flickering in the light.
"I'm off to bed. Night everyone." Fang slithered out of the cave.
Coal inwardly sighed. They would make it out of the caves. She won't if she was going to die.
Coal felt a tear slide down her cheek. She sat up and hunched over with her wings swept out before her, her tail neatly curled over her talons.
Coal didn't feel ready to die. She wanted to live or at least see beyond the caves.
But this was the last line for her. She could see it now; the first dragon to of not made it past hatchie stage. That was her. She was going to die.
Coal woke up with a start, her ruff flared and tears were stained on her scales. Her stomach heaved and her chest wheezed.
She coughed, a scratchy feeling had started up in her throat an her blue scales seemed to glow more than usual, lighting up her sleeping cave in an eerie way.
Her chest heaved again and with another cough blue glowing acid erupted from her fangs.
Her wings wobbled in their tense folded position. They became limp. Coal got up on her wobbly paws, her claws digging into the rock to create a scratching sound.
Coal opened her mouth to call for one of the guardians or guards, but her legs collapsed beneath her and she ended up sliding across the polished ground.
She tried to get up and managed to struggle to the study cave. Claw gave her a concerned look, then a red color seeped into his cheeks and he looked away.
Coal didn't notice him as she entered the study cave. Her wings flopped beside her and she fell again, sliding into one of the big brown wooden chests.
She shook her head furiously.
Get up you big loaf, your making a scene.
Coal scrambled up again and sat, her wings flopping lazily at her sides.
Onyx, one of the guardians walked in just as Coal coughed and more glowing acid shot out of her fangs.
"Coal! Get up you lazy biped! Studying is not in your schedule for today! Its your turn for battle training!" Onyx thundered.
Coal flicked her ears back and grimaced. Onyx was always trying to set the hacthies on fire. But Fang finally had a chance to not get blasted since he's an adult now.
Onyx seized her claws harshly, ready to heave Coal to her feet. She froze and pulled back her talons in shock.
She turned tail an ran out of the cave, hollering for Secret.
Coal collapsed to the floor, heaving up acid again.
Secret bolted into the study cave, scanning the scrolls and wooden chests, her eyes finally landing on Coal... and the blue lumps of acid surrounding her.
"Coal! Follow me!" Secret said excitedly. Coal weakly lifted her head, a defiant look in her eye.
"Oh. Right." Secret slid Coal's left wing over her shoulder and helped Coal to stand. The big adult dragon supported most of the younger dragon's weight and mostly carried Coal out of the study.
"Coal?" Claw squeaked bounding forward and gently took Coal's claws in his. Secret threw up her wing to shield Coal from view just as acid started to foam around Coal's snout.
Coal quickly flicked it off with a claw.
Secret continued to walk, Coal flopped over on her back. Coal felt weak, like she was merely a sack of cows that Secret would haul in every Sunday.
Onyx was waiting for them in a cave. Inside the cave was a huge mirror.
Onyx tapped on the mirror with a talon and harshly whispered something to it.
The mirror started rattling violently and an image of an orange dragon appeared. Coal recognized it as the one that visited last night.
"What? I'm in the middle of an audience with the queen!" Scarlet hissed furiously.
"One of the hatch lings of hope is sick!"Onyx said, roughly grabbing Coal from Secret.
She held Coal's limp body out to the mirror for inspection.
Scarlet hissed and looked up hurriedly, then back down.
"Looks fine to me." Scarlet snorted.
"Wait for it." Onyx said impatiently, shaking Coal roughly.
Coal coughed again and the acid fell to the ground at Onyx's talons.
"See?" Secret said to Scarlet smugly. "She's sick."
"What do we do?" Onyx asked Scarlet.
"I don't know." Scarlet hissed.
"Is there a problem, Scarlet?" A voice asked.
"Um, no your majesty. I-I got it under control." Scarlet said confidently.
"It doesn't sound like it, and may I remind you that if you let one of the hatchies die I'll have your head chopped off." The queen's voice said cheerfully.
Coal's eyes widened in alarm.
They'd really kill someone if they fail? She thought unhappily.
Duh, that's what you should do. Not her.
No way, she's not doing that.
Scarlet's face visibly paled and she waved a claw at something not in view of the mirror. "If you'd like your majesty. Would you like to see one of our future heroes?"
The queens voice chuckled deeply.
"I would Scarlet. Oh, I've been waiting years to see." A face appeared next to Scarlet's. The queen looked down her golden slender snout at the dragons on the other side of the mirror.
"Hello there." She purred.
Coal's ear twitched and her weirdly shaped ruff flared, her eyes narrowed into slits, a bubbling purring sound erupted from her throat.
The queen took a step back away from the mirror.
She growled sharply. Her tail lashed and her wings flared up.
"When does she have the adult rite of passage!? Tell me!" The queen roared.
"In a few days!" Secret cried in response.
"NO! You fools! That is the last symptom! Have you guys been watching her at all?" The queen thundered.
"We watch the hatchies all the time."
"Not closely enough." The queen sighed dramatically.
"Do you guys recall the scrolls? The ones about the legendary new species of dragon. We all thought the scrolls were all lies because there is only one race of dragon and that is us. I don't think much of those scrolls, but as queen I still have to study them. And I know enough from those supposedly 'lying' scrolls that your hatchie here is one of the new species. If I hadn't of had the dragon who wrote the scrolls executed we'd know more."
"Your majesty, but how can you be so certain?" Scarlet asked.
"Onyx, have you noticed anything strange about your hatchie here?" The queen asked pointedly.
"Well, she hardly eats. And when we had to haul all our treasure into a different room she didn't eye it down like the others. And she would never fight when Fang tried to take her food. It was like she didn't have any of our dragon fighting instincts at all or our natural crave for gold."
Coal looked up. Am I really that different?
The queen hissed. "That confirms it."
Coal spat out more blue acid. "Aw, this is bad news for us. What are we gonna do with her?" Secret fretted.
"I'm right here you know." Coal whispered to herself.
The queen had an amused look on her face. "Now I know why she's sick. It means that she's going through the adult rite of passage early."
"But that's impossible." Scarlet said.
"I'm your queen. Nothing is impossible if I say so." The queen grinned smugly, her snout turning into the air.
"The hatchie is too weak. It will die." Secret said, a concerned tone in her voice.
"I'll try not to die your highness." Coal piped up, pushing out of Onyx's hold. "I feel much better already, and I'd rather not die than die."
"I like this one. I sense much respect in her. This is good." The queen said.
"So it must of been a temporary sickness. I can tell she's getting better. She just needs rest." Scarlet suggested smoothly.
The queen turned her unfriendly eyes onto Scarlet. "Why don't you get back to your flowers Scarlet."
"But flowers aren't as important as a matter like this, your majesty." Scarlet said.
"No, they're not. But doing as I tell you or I'll have you executed, is." The queen said.
Secret stepped forward. "We'll keep her in the medicine room until she's fit, your highness."
Secrets talons wrapped around Coal's small waist and she was lifted into the air as Secret padded out of the cave.
Outside Fang, Claw and Fearless were waiting for them.
"Move." Secret ordered, scurrying past them.
She put Coal down on a soft patch of dry moss. "That will have to do." She said to Coal.
"Secret? Why am I so different?" Coal asked, latching her tiny claws onto Secret's huge talons.
"Your not different. Just think of it as rare. Like the odd rare black rock standing out in a hoard of treasure. Your not different. Just rare." Secret explained softly.
"My name is a black rock." Coal said unhappily.
Secret shifted her wings and said," dragons are named all sorts of things things. Take my name for example. We can't help it, we take pride in our names. Just like how we take pride with the knowledge that there may be a dragon with the same color scales, but never the same marking or color markings." Secret prodded Coal's black scales in example.
"I've never seen a black dragon besides from you. So that's why your name is Coal." Secret grinned warmly.
"Well how are we supposed to know that? We're not aloud outside." Coal pointed out.
Secret entwined her tail with Coal's small one.
"The world is a terrible place out there. Our cities have fallen under fire and ashes, our noble dragon race has gone in to hiding," Secret shook Coal's shoulders, "We never let you outside because the air is polluted. Hatchies die every day because of it. And the adults there are terribly sick."
"But what about the scrolls? They say our cities were beautiful, with grass and trees! Not what you describe it to be!" coal exclaimed.
"Its nature. We thought nothing would harm us, that we were invincible and our cities would never fall. Our past foolishness was brought apon the next generations and our island of Skalkaar is now nothing but volcanic rock. We've forbidden anyone to leave, for we feel that we deserve this punishment."
"But what about the other hatchies out there in the world? Don't they deserve protection as well?" Coal asked, her ears flicked forward hopefully.
"They do, but you guys are special and we have to protect you." Secret said.
"We're all special." Coal protested. "Why are we really looked after differently?" She pushed.
"B-because your meant to be our future heroes, you'll s-save us one day." Secret said.
"How? How can four hatchies save a race of a thousand or more dragons?" Coal demanded.
"Because our prophets said so," Secret began to talk in a voice that sounded like she's recited it over and over again.
"When the dragons left to escape Dralk to find shelter in Skalkaar, four eggs will fall from the sky.
They'll hatch together and share their life under a cave,
Then they go out to see the world they see whats wrong and right,
And help the dragons bring the light."
Coal looked into Secret's amber eyes and snorted. "Was that supposed to Rhyme?"
"No idea." Secret laughed.
Coal shook her head and lay down on the dry moss.
"But still. It can't be that bad right? I mean there's still trees and grass right?" Coal asked.
"Yeah, But the air is terrible, believe me, I know." Secret sighed.
"Well dragons still live out there so its habitable." Coal pointed out.
"Yeah, but dangerously its getting worse." Secret said.
"I've heard about that in the dragon scrolls. Coal you should really stop reading the other races' scrolls."
Secret whirled around. "I thought you were too old or stalking games." Secret hissed.
"I'm not stalking!" Claw's cheeks went red. "I just wanted to check on Coal. I was really worried about her after I saw you carry her out of the study cave with Onyx shouting at you."
"Well it was a false alarm." Secret's eyes darted around. For some reason all the adult dragons seemed to have a soft spot for Coal, but if it was the other hatchies they'd get mad.
"So go back to..." Secret scratched her head with a talon. "Its your week for geography right? Go back to your maps."
Claw snorted. "Fang got hurt in battle training. Personally I think he should of aced it because he's been through the adult rite of passage. Fearless is helping him over here."
Coal grinned at him. "T-thank you for coming to check on me."
Claw left, his silvery tail disappearing around the bend.
Secret grinned at Coal.
"tell me when you feel rested." She walked off after Claw.