Peak has just started at Jade Mountain Academy.
| Peak stood outside the cave entrance. She’d never been around this many dragons before. Her mother had raised her away from the palace, to keep her far away from Ex-Queen Scarlet. Queen Ruby had sent her to school to take Flame’s place. Her mother hadn’t wanted her to go, considering what happened with a certain giant NightWing animus that should’ve been dead for two thousand years. She’d only agreed to let her go when Peak promised to write every other day and to come home if there seemed like there was any danger.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Sunrise asked her, with a note of concern in her voice.
“Yes, Mother, I’m sure.” Peak tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice. She and Sunrise were watching the other dragonets arrive. It seemed like everyone already knew each other. I feel like such an outsider, at least for right now. I’ve always made friends easily, so I won’t be an outsider for long. Hopefully.
“I’m just worried about you, that’s all.” Her mother wrapped her wing around Peak. “I don’t want you to be overwhelmed or stressed by this.”
She wriggled under Sunrise’s wing. “I’ll be fine, Mother.”
Sunrise started talking about how Peak could come home whenever she wanted, but she had stopped paying attention. Peak was busy watching a group of Seawings that were going inside the cave. A small, wiry male was darting around, checking the shadows.
“It’s all safe, Princess,” he reported, coming back to stand in front of a small, grayish-pink dragonet.
“Why wouldn’t it be?” she said with an eye roll. “You’re acting so weird, Pike.” She pushed past him and walked into the cave.
“But Princess! Remember what happened last time?” he protested, following her into a cave.
The princess winced, “Darkstalker is dead. I have nothing to worry about.”
“That’s not entirely true, Anemone,” an emerald green dragonet spoke up. “There are still other things that can hurt you.”
“I know that, Turtle. But not at school. Tsunami made sure this place was completely safe before Mother would even consider letting me come back,” Anemone shot back.
“Are you even listening to me?” Sunrise jolted her back to where she was.
“Huh? Oh yeah, of course, I was.” Peak absentmindedly picked at the grass.
Sunrise followed her gaze to the Seawings, who were finally walking into the cave, as Pike had found it up to code.
“Why don’t go you go talk to them? Make some new friends?” her mother asked as she nudged Peak’s wings.
“Why would they want to be friends with a Skywing? They probably hate us, remember, Queen Ruby bombed their secret palace,” she sighed, staring at her talons.
“That was a while ago, plus I’m sure they’ve forgiven the Skywings, otherwise they wouldn’t be at school,” she said dismissively. “Go on. I can’t keep you under my wings forever. I’ll see you later, ok?” Sunrise wrapped her wing around Peak for a moment before letting her go. “Goodbye my little sunbeam.” Sunrise unfurled her wings and then flew off.
Now that it was time to actually walk into the school and talk to others, Peak was a little bit nervous. She’d never had to approach a dragon by herself; her mother or one of her new friends had always been next to her. Ugh, I’ll never make friends if I can’t even walk into a cave on my own. On that note, she marched into the cave, where she immediately collided with grayish-blue scales.
“Hey! Watch it!” the Seawing growled at her. It was Pike. He must have been heading back out to go fishing or something.
“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t see you,” she stuttered out.
“Whatever, just stay out of my way,” he snarled and then flew off.
That went well, Peak thought with an eye-roll. Shaking her head, she continued into the cave.
“Hello! You must be Peak!” a voice cried out to her side. “I’m Fatespeaker!” A Nightwing handed her a scroll. “This tells you your schedule and where your cave is.” Fatespeaker puts her talons on her head and scrunched her eyes, concentrating for a moment, before pointing at one of the tunnels that led out of the cave. “I foresee that your cave is in the first tunnel on the left, second cave on the right,” she grinned at Peak and held up another scroll, “it’s also pretty helpful that I have a scroll right here that says where everyone’s caves are.”
Peak put on a sweet smile to hide how flustered she was. She looked down at the scroll in her talons and then to the tunnel the Nightwing has pointed at. “Thank you so much! This is really helpful,” she said before rushing off to the tunnel. Peak could feel Fatespeaker’s eyes one her as she walked away.
When she got to her cave Peak noticed two ledges, one covered in moss and the other covered in seaweed. A Seawing? she thought, it’s probably one of the ones I saw outside. Were all five of them there? She couldn’t remember. She set her scroll down on the rack next to the moss-covered ledge. She started to arrange the moss into a nest shape. When she was a young dragonet her mother had always made a nest for her to sleep in, and Peak just never felt like trying something else; a nest had always worked for her. She thought it was normal until one of her new friends stayed over for the night and made fun of her.
“What are you doing?” a voice demanded behind her. Peak jumped. She hadn’t heard anyone come in.
“Oh, I’m, umm, making my bed,” she mumbled as she turned around, coming face-to-face with a blue-gray dragonet with a scowl on his face.
“Into a nest?” Pike snorted as he peered around her. He then scanned her, as if checking to see how dangerous she was. He looked amused and annoyed at the same time.
“Um, yeah, I grew up sleeping in nests because my mother wasn’t around much.” Her mother was often hunting or keeping watch while Peak slept, so she would make a nest for comfort. “I’ve been told it’s weird. I’m Peak, by the way. What’s your name?” she said, suddenly remembering that she was supposed to be making new friends. Of course, she already knew his name, but he didn’t need another reason to think she’s weird.
“Yeah, it is weird,” he said as he stomped over to his sleeping ledge. Peak tried to hide the fact that she was a little bit disappointed. She hadn’t expected him to tell her his name, but she was still wishing he had. Pike looked back at her and shifted at the look on her face. “Um, I’m Pike,” he said slowly. He then shook his head as if he was confused before storming out of the cave.
Peak sighed. She started looking through the scrolls that were in one of the racks by the cave entrance. She pulled one out, Scavengers’ Strange Qualities. Peak had mentioned once to Starflight that she had never seen one but had always found them interesting. He must’ve chosen this scroll especially for her; Pike didn’t seem like the type to be fascinated by scavengers.
Peak took the scroll and curled into her moss nest. She unraveled the scroll and started to scan the drawings. There were so many little details: creases in the furs they were wearing, individual strands of fur on their heads, wrinkles in their delicate skin. As she started to read through the scroll, she was surprised by how in-depth, and downright strange, the information was. According to the scroll, some scavengers could change the color of the fur on top of their heads, although it showed no connection to emotions, as it does for the Rainwings.
Peak continued to read until she got about halfway through the scroll. She decided that she should explore the caves a bit before classes started. She marked her place in the scroll before setting it on the rack next to her sleeping ledge.
As she walked out of the cave entrance, she looked around the tunnel before stepping out. It wouldn’t be too good of an idea for Peak to run into someone on her first day. She glanced around before setting off in the direction of the main entrance cave.
Peak was about to exit the tunnel before she heard a screech. She jumped back in surprise, falling over her back talons. A pair of red claws flashed in her view before retracting again.
“Ach! I’m so sorry! I really should watch where I go. Though, so should you. I mean, really, you can’t just go walking around the place without paying attention to who’s around you! I mean, what if I ran into you? That would’ve been disastrous.” Peak looked up to find that it was another Skywing.
“I-I’m sorry. You’re right, I wasn’t watching where I was going,” Peak said, as she stood up.
“No, you’re good. I guess I just wasn’t expecting another dragon to get so close to me. Especially another Skywing! I’m used to you guys giving me a large girth whenever possible.” The dragon laughed before looking down at Peak. “Hey, you’re new here, aren’t you? I don’t remember seeing you at school before.”
“Umm, yeah, I’m new. I actually just got here this morning. My name’s Peak,” Peak quickly regained herself. She held out a talon for the other dragon to shake. She just laughed.
“Wow, have you been living under a rock your whole life? You don’t even know who I am?” The other dragon looked down at Peak with an incredulous look. Oh, no. Was there another Skywing princess? Maybe she’s Queen Ruby’s daughter. Have I already offended one of the most influential dragons in Pyrrhia?
“Pardon me. My mother raised me away from the kingdom, so I don’t really know many dragons.”
“Ohh, that makes sense. I’m Peril. I would shake your talon, but unless you want to die a fiery, painful death, I think I’ll avoid doing that.”
Peak looked up to Peril, a confused look on her face. Did this dragon have bodyguards? Peak glanced around, looking for other dragons, but was unable to find any who looked remotely like a bodyguard for a princess.
“Oh, that’s right. You don’t even know about that. See, I was born with this condition, where if I touch anything, it burns up. My scales are basically fire.” To prove her point, she poked a scroll that some student had dropped. It immediately burst into flames. Peak jumped back slightly. Peril sighed. “Yea, that’s how most dragons react.”
“That is so cool.”
“That is so neat! I mean, you can just touch anything, and it bursts into fire! Sure, it probably makes hugs a bit awkward, but who cares? You are the coolest dragon in Pyrrhia! Well, not the coolest, I guess. The most awesomest!” Peak exclaimed.
Peril looked a bit taken back. “Wait, you actually think it’s cool? Most dragons are terrified by it. Usually call me a monster or something along those lines.”
“Well, who cares what they think? I think that is so awesome.”
“Really? Well, thanks. Hey, since you’re new here, do you want me to show you around? Actually, you’d probably rather someone else, like Clay or Sunny, do that. I know I’m not the most hospitable, and I’m often told I can be a bit rude and that I need a filter or whatever.” Peril offered before starting to ramble off.
“Actually, I would love it if you showed me around!” Peak interrupted her. Peril looked down at her as a smile broke across her face. “I don’t really know my way around, and I’d much rather have someone show me around rather than have to try to figure out where everything is on my own.”
“Alright, then. Well, follow me.”
“And here’s the prey center. I don’t normally like to come here, cause it’s usually pretty crazy in here, with all the animals and dragons running around.”
Peak peered around Peril at the packed cave.
“Wow. That is a lot of food,” she had a sort of awed tone to her voice. She wasn’t sure if she had ever seen so much food in one place. There were piles of fruit & nuts on the opposite side of the cavern, right next to a fast-flowing river. There were a few sheep running around the room, fleeing from dragonets who chased them, and birds flying around. Chickens & pheasants flapped around the room as dragonets gleefully shouted out to friends.
“Yeah, I guess. They used to keep more, but that was just a mess. Dead animal heads & legs were flying everywhere. It kinda freaked the Rainwings out, though, so they cut back on the amount of animals that they keep in here. Anyway, I’ve got somewhere to be. I’m supposed to meet with one of my friends. I’ll see you later, right?” Peril looked hopefully towards Peak.
“Yeah, of course.”
“Alright, see you!” Peril turned and walked off.
Peak peered into the cave. Might as well make some more friends. She glanced over at a couple Rainwings who were sitting by the fruit piles. Maybe it would be best to start there; they seemed friendly enough. Peak walked over to the river, carefully avoiding the chickens that were running around. As she got there, one of them looked up.
“Hello! Can I help you?” the Rainwing asked in a friendly tone. It didn’t come off in a mean way though; it seemed as if she just wanted to help.
“Uh, yeah. I’m new here, & I don’t know many dragons. I was wondering if I could hang out with you guys,” Peak began nervously. She had no idea if it was even proper for Skywings & Rainwings to be friends. Of course, she knew the whole school thing was meant to bring the tribes closer together, but she had no idea if there any animosity between the two tribes.
“Oh, you must be the Skywing they sent to replace Flame! I’m Kinkajou, & this is Tamarin. She is the Rainwing who’s in your winglet,” Kinkajou bounced up & down as she gestured to the Rainwing next to her. Tamarin glanced towards her & waved towards Kinkajou.
“Well, Peak, it’s nice to meet you. Do you need anybody to show you around? I’d be happy to. Well, after we finish eating. We just got here. Hey, do you want some fruit?” Kinkajou picked up some sort of melon and handed it to Peak before pausing, “Actually, since you’re a Skywing you probably don’t want it.”
“Actually, I was raised outside of the mountains, so I ate fruit a lot growing up.” Peak took the melon from the Rainwing and started to slice it up. “Peril showed me around before dropping me off here.”
“Oh, you’ve met Peril already? She’s pretty cool.” Peak nodded. “Anyway, Tamarin, as I was saying, Glory told me that if I didn’t stay at school this time, then I was gonna be in big trouble. What’s that even supposed to mean? I didn’t mean to leave school last time; it just kinda happened. Why should I be in trouble for something that isn’t my fault?”
“Well, you didn’t have to leave the school. You could’ve just stayed behind.”
“And miss all the fun? That would’ve been so boring. School is exciting and stuff, but if I can be out adventuring & stopping world-wide disasters, why should I stay at school?”
“I think she wasn’t too happy about you almost getting killed in the process,” Tamarin didn’t look up from the banana she was peeling as she chided with an amused tone.
“Well, I wasn’t too happy about that either, but it’s an occupational hazard when it comes to saving the world.” Kinkajou turned to Peak. “So, if you weren’t raised in the mountains, where were you raised?”
“My mother hid me away in one of the forests surrounding the mountains. She didn’t want me near Scarlet while she was queen, so she ran away.”
“That makes sense. I wouldn’t want any dragonet of mine near Scarlet either.”
“Thinking of having dragonets, Kinkajou?” Tamarin said with a smile.
“No!! Not yet. I’m only four. Three moons, why would I even be thinking of having dragonets yet?” Kinkajou had turned a bright pink. She turned to Peak, trying to tone down her scales. “How old are you?”
“I think that’s how old Qibli is. He’s this really funny & smart Sandwing. Look’s kinda like this.” Kinkajou changed her scales to a sandy color. A scar and a few freckles appeared on her snout as well.
“You know, you could’ve just asked me to come over here.” Peak jumped. She looked over and saw a Sandwing who was slightly bigger than she was. He had an amused look on his face as he looked at the Rainwing who looked like himself. He turned to Peak, “Anyway, I’m Qibli. Hope Kinkajou hasn’t been talking your ear off.” He nudged the other dragon as she shifted to a yellow as whirls of hot pink chased after each other.
“I do not talk dragon’s ears off! Just because I talk more than the average dragon doesn’t mean that I talk too much,” Kinkajou’s frills turned to an indignant red as she huffed at Qibli.
“Alright, sheesh, I’m sorry,” he laughed before turning back to Peak. “So, what did you say your name was again?”
“Oh, I’m Peak.”
“Well, Peak, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He turned to Kinkajou, “I’m gonna go find Moon; she said she wanted to talk to me about something.”
“Ok! Tell her I said hi!” Qibli turned and flew out of the cave.
The first class of the year for the Gold Winglet was a group discussion class. The other winglets had no need to have one, but since Pike & Tamarin were the only dragons who had been in the winglet before, the heads of school thought it would be best for the winglet to get to know each other. The entire winglet, as well as Clay, was gathered in a cave that was open on one side.
“Alright, now that we’re all here, why don’t we introduce ourselves? I know that most of you are new here at the school,” Clay said. “Who would like to go first?”
“Well, I’m Cactus. I have a sister & brother from the same clutch, and I grew up in the Scorpion Den,” the Sandwing of the group started out.
“Great start! Who else?” Clay looked around.
A boisterous Mudwing spoke up, “My name is Bayou. I have 5 brothers & sisters. I may be new to the school, but you can bet that pretty soon I’m gonna be friends with everyone.” Pike snorted. Tamarin nudged Pike before speaking up.
“I’m Tamarin. If you didn’t know already, I’m blind, so if you try to get my attention by waving or something, I won’t be able to see you.” Oh, she’s blind. Poor thing.
“Is that where you got those scars from?” Bayou pointed to the long, faded scars along her sides. The Icewing standing next to him nudged him as Pike glared daggers.
“Yeah,” Tamarin’s frills turned a light pink, “It took me a while to figure out how to fly around the rainforest. Sometimes I would accidentally walk off a platform or fly straight into a tree. But I’ve gotten better at it now.” Tamarin’s scales shifted between light red, to green, before settling on a calm blue.
Clay glanced out the open side of the cave before looking back at the winglet. “I actually have someone I need to meet up with soon. I guess we kinda forgot about it when deciding who would supervise this class. Why don’t you guys continue talking about yourselves? Once everyone has been introduced, pick a subject to talk about. I’ll see you all around!” With that, Clay walked out of the cave.
“Do the teachers normally walk out in the middle of class?” the Icewing asked with an amused tone.
“No. But then again, Clay doesn’t usually teach classes like this. And this isn’t really much of a class,” Tamarin said.
“Well anyway, I’m Lynx. I grew up in the Ice Palace. Umm,” she turned to the Nightwing, “I’m sorry if attacked you or your family in the battle.” She shifted awkwardly on her talons. The Nightwing looked up in surprise, not expecting anyone to address her.
“Oh, that’s alright. My family stayed in the rainforest instead. I’m Casanova.” She tucked her wings behind her, attempting to take up less room.
Peak spoke up, attempting to break the awkward silence. “My name is Peak. My mother hid me away when Scarlet was queen, so if I’m not up to date on any events that happened over 2 months ago, that’s why.”
Bayou looked around the cave before he stopped at Pike. “What about you?”
Pike snarled, “Pike.”
“Alrighty, then,” Lynx said.
“Well, now that we have all been introduced, why don’t we talk more about ourselves?” Pike did not look pleased at Bayou’s suggestion. “Like, what do you guys like?”
“Long moonlit walks on the beach,” Casanova immediately inserted, before wincing slightly, as if she hadn’t meant to say that.
Peak burst out laughing. Pike’s head jerked up at the sudden noise, before scowling at her. Peak nudged the Nightwing, who looked as if she had relaxed a little bit. “I like climbing into trees & hiding in them. Sometimes I’d pretend that I’m a squirrel as I jump from tree to tree, collecting nuts. The record for the amount of nuts I’ve held in my mouth at one time is 23,” Peak said proudly, before erupting into giggles. Pike snorted. Peak looked up, “Hey, if you had no one to talk to for 5 years of your life, except for your mother every few days, I think you would’ve done some strange stuff as well.” His sneer softened for a moment, before he turned his head away.
“I once tried to eat a Bouncing Toad,” Bayou said.
“Even I know better than to do that,” Peak laughed.
“Hey, in my defense, I didn’t know it was a Bouncing Toad until after it was already in my mouth!”
“There was one time when I was trying to catch a seal for Queen Glacier’s banquet, but as I swooped down to catch it, it noticed me & jumped into the ocean. I didn’t have enough time to stop, and I slammed into the ice before skidding in after the seal! Let me tell you, going for a swim in the ocean is refreshing when you’re prepared, but if you suddenly crash into ice before you fall in, it isn’t all too fun. I couldn’t fly straight for a week!” Lynx said as she rolled her shoulder around, remembering the pain.
Pike looked around the cave with a sneer on his face. Peak could tell that he was not thrilled to have them as his new clawmates. He caught her eye, and she smiled at him. He rolled his eyes before looking away. Peak looked to the rest of the dragonets. Cactus was busy recounting the tale of how she almost ate a live scorpion before her brother had snatched away from her. Casanova looked over at Peak & smiled. Peak nudged her shoulder before rejoining the conversation.
“That reminds me of the time when my mom had tried to eat a piranha that had swum up the stream next to our camp. It bit her before she bit it, and she screeched so loud, I wouldn’t be surprised if Scarlet heard it. She flung the thing at me as I ran into the clearing to see what had happened. It may have been out of the water, but that thing was vicious,” Peak laughed as she pictured her mother’s face. Bayou was shaking so hard from laughter, he almost fell to the ground. Peak beamed as she looked around the cave. See Mom, there was nothing to worry about. First day of class, & I’ve already got friends.
Peak was laying in her nest, reading one of the scrolls about scavengers, when Pike walked in. He climbed onto his own sleeping ledge. They sat in silence for a while, before Pike spoke up.
“Why did your mother raise you outside of the kingdom?”
Peak looked up. “To hide me from Scarlet.”
“Yeah, but why?”
“What do you mean why? She wanted to hide me away from Scarlet,” Peak looked to him in confusion.
“But wouldn’t it be more dangerous to raise you outside the kingdom? If you were ever found, then you both would be punished for running away, right?” Pike pointed out.
“I-I don’t know. I never questioned it. She just told me that we were hiding,” Peak picked at the corner of the scroll.
“Why do, why do you care anyway?”
“I don’t; I was just curious.”
Peak turned back to her scroll, but not actually absorbing any of the information. Why did he care about why she wasn’t raised in the mountains? It didn’t affect him, so why did it matter?
The silence lasted a couple minutes before he spoke up again.
“What about your father? You haven’t mentioned him at all.”
“Why does it matter to you?” Peak huffed.
“It doesn’t. I’m just curious.”
“It’s not important.”
“If it’s not important, then why can’t I know?”
“Maybe because you don’t need to know.”
“What if I want to know?”
“What if I don’t want to tell you?”
“Why don’t you want to tell me?”
“Can I just go back to reading?” Annoyance had started to creep into her voice.
“What are you reading about?”
“Scavengers are boring.”
“To you maybe.”
“Only dragons I know who are interested in scavengers is some weird Nightwing & a stuck up Icewing.”
“Well, add me to the list then. What adjective do I get?”
He thought for a couple minutes, studying her. Peak huffed & turned back to the scroll, not caring for an answer. As she read about the eating habits of scavengers, Pike stood up to walk out of the cave. Right before he left the cave, he said one word.
Peak walked into the library. She had to ask Kinkajou where it was because Peril had forgotten to show her. As she walked in, she noticed a resigned looking Skywing curled up on some moss in the corner. As Peak looked around the room, she saw that there were cubbyholes along each wall, all filled with scrolls. The windows were covered with leaves, giving the entire room a green hue.
“Who’s there?” A Nightwing head popped up from behind the desk in the center of the room.
“It’s Peak.” The other Skywing looked up as she said her name, before shyly smiling at her.
“Oh, hello, Peak. I’m glad you were able to find your way to the library. Are you settling in well?” Starflight beckoned her over to the desk. He started to rummage around in the drawers.
“Yes, I think so. I’ve just kinda been wandering around, trying to memorize the tunnel pattern.”
Starflight looked up before handing Peak a stamp and a leather bag. “It gets easier the longer you stay here. The stamp is for whenever you want to check out a scroll; once you’ve returned the scroll, I stamp your record with your stamp to show that you’ve returned it.”
“Oh, thank you.” Peak put the stamp in the bag before wrapping it around her arm, effectively making a bracelet.
Starflight nodded before turning to the Skywing in the corner, “Peregrine, are you still there?”
“Yes, sir,” the Skywing spoke, not looking up from his scroll.
Starflight sighed, “I’ve told you time & time again, there’s no need to call me sir.”
“Right, sorry,” Peregrine glanced at Peak, “I just- it's a sign of respect.”
“Well, I’m glad to know you respect me, but it makes me feel as if I am an old professor who has been teaching for far too long,” Starflight laughed before turning back to Peak. “Anyway, is there anything else I can help you with?”
“Oh, right. I was wondering if I could just have some basic history scrolls?” Peak picked at the edge of the bag. “I’m not really caught up on current events.”
“Oh, of course,” Starflight touched the edge of the desk, as if to orient himself, before setting off in a direction. “I’m going to give you a scroll that talks about the Scorching to start off. Unless you know about that?” He turned towards Peregrine.
“Umm, I kinda know a little bit about it, but not a lot.” Starflight turned to where Peak was, rubbing his head sheepishly.
“Ok, so I’m gonna start you out with that,” he handed Peak a scroll to hold as he continued ‘looking’ for other scrolls. “I’m also going to give you one about the Dragonet prophecy. If I recall you were still in hiding during then.” Peak nodded. “Since you didn’t say anything, I’m going to assume that was a yes.” Starflight motioned for her to follow him as he headed back to the desk.
“Oh, umm, yeah, sorry. Yes, I was still moving around at that point in time,” Peak said as Starflight stamped her record with the scrolls’ stamps.
Starflight chuckled, “Here you go. You can bring these back to me when you’re finished with them & I’ll help you find something to read next, alright? You can stay in here & read or you can go back to your cave to read. Wherever you feel comfortable.”
“Got it! Thank you,” Peak said. She waved to Peregrine, who hadn’t been so subtle in his staring, before heading back to her cave. She passed the art cave on her way there. Bayou & Casanova were inside.
“Hiya Peak!” he shouted as he bounded up to her. “Whatcha doing?”
“I’m heading back to my cave to do some reading. I’m not really caught up on current events, so I’m researching.” She held up the scrolls.
“Oh, neat! What are you reading about?”
“Starflight gave me scrolls on the Scorching & Dragonet Prophecy.”
“Oh, ok. Well, when you’re done reading you can come hang out with me & Casanova. I mean if you want,” Bayou offered, gesturing to the Nightwing who was busy painting a scene of what looked like two monkeys fighting over a mango.
“Sure, I’ll think about it,” Peak said before she continued on her way. She made it to her cave & then curled up into her moss nest to read.
Peak unrolled The Scorching: What Actually Happened. As she continued to read, she became more and more confused. According to this scroll, scavengers used to have control over Pyrrhia. But that didn’t seem possible! Scavengers are so small & tiny. How could they have possibly ruled over dragons? I mean, we can just eat them in one bite. Peak simply couldn’t imagine a world where dragons weren’t the prevalent species. The scroll didn’t seem to know how exactly the scavengers came to power, but it was certain that soon after their near extinction, they lost all of the prowess that they had held in order to maintain control of the dragons.
“Three moons, are you really the type of dragon who just continually reads?” a voice spoke from across the cave.
Peak looked up to see a scowling Pike. Big surprise. “What’s wrong with reading?”
“Nothing. But there’s gotta be better things to do than have your nose stuck in a scroll.”
“Well, sure there are. But I need to learn things. Once I finish these,” she waved her talons to the two long scrolls laid out before her, “I was gonna go to the art cave with Bayou & Casanova.”
“You’ll be stuck in here for a week then.”
“I read fast.”
Pike sighed in annoyance. “What are you reading about?”
“The Scorching.” He snorted. “In case you’ve forgotten, I was raised in isolation, meaning I don’t have the same basic education that you do.”
“No, no, no, it’s not that. I just think it’s funny that you’re trying to learn about the Scorching through one scroll.” When Peak looked at him in confusion, he continued. “There are a lot of debates about the Scorching. Some scrolls say that scavengers ruled over dragons peacefully, while others say that they tortured them. Some say that scavengers had elaborate devices, that not even we have today. Some are just complete made-up fairytales it seems.” He walked over to her & glanced over the scroll she was reading. “This one looks like it read all the other scrolls and decided on the most plausible theory. Still, I would read some other scrolls about it, just so you know all the different theories.”
“Well, what to do you think happened?” Peak questioned.
“I think that scavengers used to control dragons, but for a short period of time. After that, they almost went extinct. The scavengers we have today are probably different than the ones from back then, so the scavengers from today couldn’t take control over dragons. But perhaps their ancestors could.” Pike shrugged his shoulders. “That’s what I think. Who knows if it’s right or not.” He turned to go back to his bed.
“Wait, what are some of the other theories?” Peak called out. Pike turned & stared at her, before sighing and continuing to his bed. Once he settled down, he started to talk again.
“Well, there are some theories that say that scavengers were never in control, and that the Scorching was just a made-up fairytale that some dragon made up. Not many people believe that one, because there wouldn’t be so many scrolls about it, and what happened after the Scorching, for that to be true. Other theories say that scavengers aren’t from this world, that they came to this world from another world, which is why they don’t seem to fit in. I think that theory is a load of total squid ink. I mean, that one doesn’t even make sense. The fairy-tale theory makes more sense. Other dragons say that scavengers used to have incredible devices that let them beat dragons into submission. No proof of that. There are even some who go as far as to say that scavengers were never in power. It was some other creature that completely disappeared after the Scorching, and that scavengers just rose in their place. Not sure how much I believe that one. Anyway, there are plenty of others, but those are the main ones.”
“How big are scavengers anyway? I’ve never seen one in real life,” Peak said, trying to wrap her head around all the information she had just been given.
“Oh, they’re not very big. About the size of your forearm,” Pike gestured to her arm.
“Well, then how did they dominate Pyrrhia?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I assume their ancestors were bigger though. I mean, after being in hiding for thousands of years, you’re bound to change a bit,” Pike shrugged. “Anyway, that’s about all I know. After the Scorching, it was a couple hundred years before the tribes got their stuff together and actually became tribes. Constant warfare, determining territory & who’s gonna be queen, that kind of stuff.”
Peak glanced down at the scroll. It didn’t mention anything about what happened after the Scorching.
“Well, I should let you get back to reading. I find that bookwyrms don’t normally like it when I interrupt their reading,” Pike said wryly as he got up.
“Did you just call me a wyrm?” Peak wrinkled her snout.
“Maybe,” Pike gave her an askew smile as he exited the cave. It was kind of cute.
Peak shook her head. Cute?
Peak bounded through the hallways, trying to remember where the art cave was. She had decided to take a break from reading after she finished the scroll about the Scorching. In all honesty, Pike had given her more information than the scroll had. As she rounded the corner, she almost collided with red scales.
“Woah!” Peak smiled up at Peril. “We really need to stop meeting like this. One of us might end up hurt.”
“Mainly you,” Peril pointed a talon at her. “I can’t really get hurt. You’re the one who would die a painful, fiery death.”
Peak laughed. Peril smiled down at her.
“Anyway,” Peril continued, “why were you in such a hurry?”
“Oh, I’m just trying to find the art cave. I left my map back in my room cause I wanted to figure it out on my own, but then I got lost.”
“Oh, that’s cool. I can show you where it is if you want. I was just looking for someone to go hunting with.”
“I can go with you!” Peak exclaimed. “That is, if you want. Unless you’d rather go with one of your other friends.”
“Wait, really? Wouldn’t you rather go to the art cave? I think I remember seeing your friends in there; they’re probably waiting for you, since you got lost.”
“Probably not. I was reading, and I told them I might join them later. But the scrolls were pretty long so they probably aren’t expecting me. And anyway, you’re my friend too! I want to spend time with all my friends!” Peak moved to brush her wings against Peril’s before jerking them back. Peril looked at her with a funny look.
“We’re friends?” Hesitance was clear in her voice, as if she didn’t want to get her hopes up.
“Of course, we’re friends! Just because we can’t touch each other doesn’t mean we’re not friends.”
Peril beamed down at Peak. “Well, then, friend, I would love it if you came hunting with me.”
Peak grinned at the other dragon before glanced around the corridor they were standing in, then spoke with a laugh, “But umm, you’re gonna have to show me the way out.” Peril chuckled before motioning Peak to follow her.
The two Skywings flew around the mountains, scanning the rocky crevices for animals.
“So Peak, why were you raised outside of the kingdom?” Peril asked.
“My mother told me it was to keep me away from Scarlet.”
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense. She kind of raised me, so I can see why your mother would want to keep you away from her,” Peril muttered the last part.
Peak looked up to her in surprise. “Oh, three moons, I’m so sorry! I had no idea.” Talons & tails, she really is a Skywing princess. And I just told her my mom hid me away from hers. Maybe I can take my words back? Tell her I’m sure she wasn’t as bad as my mom said? Oh, moons above, a Skywing princess. Now she’ll never want to be my friend, and she’ll tell everyone else & no will wa-
“Oh no, you’re fine. She wasn’t my mother or anything. She actually kinda forced my real mom to kill my brother & then tried to kill my mom before taking me and raising me to be a, uh, how did Qibli phrase it? Oh right, a Dancing Monkey of Fiery Doom. So, yeah, she wasn’t a good dragon. Your mother had every reason to hide you away,” Peril waved her talons dismissively. Peak calmed down a bit.
“Oh, I’m sorry about that. I was worried that you were a Skywing princess,” (at that Peril snorted), “and that you were going to tell everyone to not be friends with me and then I’d be alone again,” Peak rambled.
Peril laughed. “No, I’m not a Skywing princess. And nobody really listens to me anyway. In fact, if I told someone I didn’t like you, they’d probably try to become best friends with you or something.”
Peril hesitated before answering, “Well, let’s just say that I’ve done some pretty bad things that make me not everyone’s favorite dragon.” Peril spotted a mountain goat climbing up a wide ravine. She dived for it.
As Peril flew through the ravine, Peak caught sight of a falcon. She soared through the air towards it. As it caught sight of her, it dived. Changing course, she shot through the air, heading straight towards the bird. Catching it in her claws and then snapping its neck, Peak swung around before flying into the mountain. Turning around, she saw Peril carrying the charred corpse of the goat. Flying over to her, both dragons started to head back to the school.
“Why did you go after a falcon? Why not wait for a better bird?” Peril questioned.
“Hmm? Oh, well, my mother always said to just go after what you can find. And I don’t mind falcons that much,” Peak said.
“But they’re so tiny. I mean, there’s not much to eat. And the one you caught is definitely on the smaller side,” Peril gestured to the bird.
“I don’t really eat a lot. This is plenty for me.”
Peril nodded as they made it back to the school. They both landed in the Great Hall, neither wanting to eat in the Prey Center. As Peak started to pluck the feathers off the falcon, she glanced over at Peril. The other Skywing was already starting to eat. The shaggy coat of the goat had turned to ash, so only the charred body still remained.
“Have you ever eaten anything that isn’t burned?” Peak asked.
“Turtle gave me raw fish once. He threw it in my mouth, so it didn’t touch my scales. It was disgusting,” Peril wrinkled her nose in disgust.
Peak laughed, “Well, that’s because it was fish. I don’t like raw fish either. Too slimy for me.” She shook her head.
“Yeah, well, I decided that I don’t like raw food anyway.”
“Alright, your preference.”
They continue to eat in silence. After they finished, they disposed of the bones. Peril turned to Peak, smiling brightly.
“Well, this was really nice. I haven’t really been able to hang out with other Skywings at all. Everyone kind of avoids me, so it’s nice to be able to talk to another Skywing who doesn’t hate me.”
“I don’t get why everyone would hate you. I mean, I think that you are super cool & you’ve been super nice to me & you showed me around & stuff. So what if nobody can touch you? There are different ways to show affection,” Peak smiled at Peril.
“I’m not the nicest dragon. I’ve been nice to you, because I didn’t want a Skywing who isn’t automatically terrified of me to be scared of me in the end, but overall, I’m not actually that nice. And like I said before, I’ve done some pretty terrible things.” Peril shifted on her talons.
“Have you done anything terrible recently?” Peak questioned.
Peril hesitated before she shook her head.
“Well then, I believe you are getting better & everything else is in the past. Dragons should move on & get over it.”
Peril laughed & shook her head, “It’s not as easy as that. But I’m glad that at least you’re not afraid of me.”