Do not read this if you have not read Wings of Fire. PLEEEAAASE!!!
Moon, Qibli, Winter, and Kinkajou were walking through the forest. Winter snagged his wing on a branch and tugged it free, growling. “Do you like it here, Winter?” Kinkajou asked pleasantly. “Of course I don’t like it here!” Winter growled. “Are you telling me that everyone who lives here enjoys it?”. “Well, not EVERYONE,” Kinkajou replied, bouncing up and down and grinning ridiculously. Bizarre, Winter thought. At least I don’t have to live here. Walking forward was like schlepping through quicksand. Mud clang to his scales like they were seal meat, getting grit stuck in the gaps and weighing down his talons. “The mere fact you despise it means you realize it, and to realize it means that you are slightly fond of it,” said Qibli. “Quiet,” Winter snapped, shaking his dirt-spattered claws at the Sandwing. Qibli leaned back, grinning. Moon froze in her tracks and turned around. “Guys, look!” she said. The other three dragonets whipped their snouts around to see the pack of four scavengers scurrying towards them. “Ooooh, Scavengers!” Kinkajou exclaimed, vibrant shades of pink and yellow running through her scales. ” I like scavengers! You know, we Rainwings have sloths they’re kind of like scavengers I wonder if we could keep them can we keep them?! And then we can give them names! That’ll be Daisy, May, Sharpy, and you can be Teeny,” she added, poking a tiny scavenger that was only up to the necks of the other three. Winter frowned. The small Rainwing had said all this without pausing or taking a breath. He was surprised she was not turning blue. ‘Sharpy’ whispered to his friends, and they all pulled out blowguns and darts. They looked like- ” Hey!” Kinkajou yelled. “You stole those from my tribe!” An indignant orange flickered through her ruff. Immediately, a small feathered stick appeared in Kinkajou’s, Moon’s, and Qibli’s neck. One thudded above Winter’s head. “Papaya fishsticks silver sure I’ll have a leaf gooooood going” Kinkajou slurred, spinning on one of her hind legs and falling on her back. Winter took off, flying through the canopy, ignoring the twigs that tore at him. I have to save them, he thought, panting. Moon and the others. I can’t leave them. He wheeled back, following the squeaks of the scavengers.
Winter crept silently between the trees. Why would scavengers want dragons? Why do scavengers do anything? He answered himself. Finally, he saw a dancing light through the mahogany trunks. His friends were tied up in a heap of rope, next to a towering structure. I had no idea scavengers had a settlement in the Rainforest. Stop thinking and get them free. He scolded himself. As he waited for the scavengers to turn away, he realized they had a projectile weapon- a giant spear as long as a dragon. Finally, they went up the structure and turned their backs so they could tend to the weapon. Winter snuck up next to Qibli. Upon closer inspection, he realized the dragons were gagged with some sort of canvas. He frowned. Winter had frostbreath, not fire. He couldn’t burn the gag off. Instead he tried wriggling his claw under the gag, then stopped when Qibli yelped with pain. Winter had accidentally scratched the yellow dragon’s snout. So not cutting it free. Maybe I could slip it off if I got it wet. Suddenly Moon started making a commotion. When Winter looked at her, she pointed behind him frantically. “Lrrrk bnanb yrrr!” “What?” Winter asked, leaning in. “Llork beenind yrrr!” “Look behind me?” Winter turned around. There, barely the length of a talon in front of his snout, was the sharp end of the projectile. “Oh, seal guts,” Winter said, then dove. The weapon pierced the rope that constricted Qibli’s front talons. He immediately grabbed the spear out of the ground and began sawing at the ropes that bound his legs to his tail. One scavenger- Sharpy, he believed, the one who seemed to be the leader of the pack, yelled something that sounded like,” Gerble!” and they went down into the structure, presumably to get another spear. While they were occupied with that, Winter bent down to study Qibli’s gag again, the only shackle the Sandwing hadn’t gotten off yet. “Can you burn through it? Winter asked, that being the logical explanation to him. Qibli shook his head. “No?” Winter sat back, dumbfounded. That explains why Moon and Qibli didn’t burn through it first thing. It’s also probably inorganic, that way Kinkajou couldn’t melt it with her venom. How do I get it off, then? Suddenly, a loud rolling sound came from inside the structure. The scavengers were coming. As soon as they got back on top to fit the projectile in the launcher, a copper and grey blur dropped from the sky and thudded beside Winter.
“What in the three mo-” Winter cut himself off as he realized who it was, then had to register it again, because he couldn’t understand what he was seeing. Standing next to him was a copperish red Skywing, with flashing electric blue eyes and heavy clouds of smoke obscuring her face. The ground around her was burned and cracked.”Peril!?” I asked incredulously, but it came out as more of a squeak. “You shouldn’t be here! I thought Queen Ruby had Imprisoned you! Go away. Now, monster. You shouldn’t be free.” “I just wanted to help,” Peril replied.” Also, Ruby decided to let me free, after heavy convincing.” “Threatening, more like,” Winter retorted.”As for helping, yeah, right. I wouldn’t trust you if Queen Glacier came and gave me the kingdom, then pleaded for me to marry a Nightwing. All the more so now she thinks I’m dead.” Peril looked surprised at this pronouncement, then fixed her face.” Are you sure you don’t need help?” she asked, gesturing to the situation. Kinkajou picked up a stick and wrote in the dirt Yes! Please save us! Qibli, halfway through untying Moon, pointed to Kinkajou and nodded. Moon’s vote of yes finally persuaded Winter to agree. “Fine, all right. Give it a shot,” he grumbled. The scavengers, too scared to come out now that the arrival of a second dragon had manifested, could not be seen. Peril stepped up, looked at the structure, then turned to peer at the gags. Her tail whipped and smacked a tree. “No!” Winter yelled, but it was too late. However, the tree didn’t shrivel up and die. It was perfectly fine, except for the small dent where Peril touched it.” How…?” He asked, confused. Then he realized that Peril was wearing something that hadn’t been there when he last saw her, about two months ago. It was an amulet, carved out of ruby, with gold circling it, and a gold chain. Peril, noticing where his gaze was going, touched the amulet self-consciously.”This is an animus enchanted necklace. When I wear it, only inorganic things get burned.” Aha, Winter thought. Ruby let her go because she did not want to threaten Peril, but still wanted a way to constrain her. On one talon, his experience with animus enchanted objects had not been great, but on the other, maybe this would help.”Just get them free,” he said, shoving every confused thought out of his head. The Skywing put a talon on Kinkajou and Qibli’s face. The gags began to sizzle, and a moment later, they dropped off, and Peril bent to do Moon’s.”Hurry up,” Winter said, glancing at the building. The scavengers had begun to overcome their nervousness, and were fitting the wooden projectile back in place. After what seemed like an eternity, Moon’s gag fell. At that same moment, at least ten more scavengers scurried towards the dragons, outnumbering them. Winter swallowed, and the five of them instantly made a ring around a tree. This will be our last stand. He realized. Killed like Queen Oasis. Peril couldn’t use her burning scales with her amulet on, and she couldn’t take it off, lest the forest burned in a fiery wave. There was no way to escape. They were trapped.
“This is great,” Qibli said, arching his tail over his back.”This never happens in the Ice Kingdom.” “You’re right,” Winter responded.”In the Ice Kingdom, you would have been gagged again.” Qibli grinned at him.”There is no way I’m going down this easily,” Peeil muttered.”Well, think of a way to escape, then,” Winter snapped. A scavenger darted in and delivered a blow to Kinkajou’s talon, then retreated quickly. Another went in to attack, but Winter breathed a small amount of frostbreath on the ground, and the scavenger slipped and fell backward. There was an angry muttering of squeaks, and two scavengers dragged him into the tower and quickly came out again. One down, fourteen to go. Qibli crouched low, waving his barbed tail as if it had a life of its own. Kinkajou spread her wings and twisted her open mouth, prepared to spray venom. Moon crawled up a tree for a height advantage. Peril stepped forward, smoke rising from her clenched fist. Winter readied his frostbreath. However, it wasn’t enough. The scavengers outnumbered them more than two to one, and all of them had some sort of pointy claw or spear. Winter and his friends were only dragonets, and the scavenger’s heads were at their thighs. According to the scrolls, a lot of dragons had to wipe out most of the scavengers. The story of Queen Oasis also showed that only two or three scavengers were needed to kill a full grown dragon. Even if two more dragons showed up, the statistics of survival were the same. Not for the first time, Winter wished he had camouflage scales like a Rainwing.”I just wanted to say,” Winter said with a lump in his throat.”Qibli, Moon and Kinkajou. You are the only dragons I feel at home with.” Somehow, that sounded cheesy. Kinkajou, however, turned a warm pink, and Moon and Qibli both smiled at him.”Oh, now we are spilling out all our deepest secrets before certain death,” Qibli replied.”I guess you did the right thing. That’s what happens in every action scroll I read.” Winter scowled at him, and Qibli’s smile widened.”Aww,” Kinkajou said. All four of them wrapped their wings around each other in a hug. Peril stood aside, looking awkward and left out, but Kinkajou put one wing around her shoulders too, so the five of them were all still in a ring around the tree. Then it started raining dragons.
Winter quickly started up in surprise as the dragons plummeted from the sky and landed between them and the scavengers. There were six Rainwings, five Nightwings, seven Seawings, six Skywings, six Sandwings, five Mudwings, and five Icewings. All the Jade Mountain Academy students had come to help them, even the ones that Winter didn’t like. There was Tamarin, Onyx, Pike, Flame. Winter also saw Changbai, Sepia, Fearless, Boto, Ostrich, Anemone, and Thrush. Yet more were Alba, Marsh, Mindreader, Coconut, Pronghorn, Snail, and Peregrine. Still more were Ermine, Newt, Mightyclaws, Siamang, Arid, Barracuda, and Garnet. The scavengers backed up in a hurry as the dragons advanced, creeping towards their shelter. Winter prepared himself to fight, then realized he didn’t need to. The scavengers were so outnumbered, the statistics completely flipped on them. With one fearful look behind them, the scavengers picked up their unconscious comrade and ran away, maybe to flee the forest. When the trees finally concealed them from sight, several students roared,”Let’s get the structure!” and most of the dragons cheered and ran towards it. Winter, Peril, and his friends slowly walked away, their wings drooping with exhaustion. It had been a long day. The students had come to help them, and they might even get a chance to say hi to Turtle. Now was a time to rest. Winter laid down and closed his eyes.