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Book 2, Excerpt 4

Good morning everyone! Today is Saturday and I have another excerpt for you. I forgot to do one last week, sorry about that. I had been visiting family over the weekend and had planed to do one on Monday to make up for it, but never ended up doing it. Oops. Oh well, what's done is done. Here's the next segment. You'll notice it's not labeled. With my comb through of this book under way I've been removing chapters, combinging others, and adding some in. This jumbles up the chapter numbers and will result in some reshares of chapter numbers with different content. I don't want to confuse you guys so not labeling is the best way I came up with. But many of you might have expected that since it's known these chapters I'm sharign will get edited and fixed as time goes on.

Anyways, here's a segment.

The breeze was light and the afternoon sun's rays filtered through the think canopy casting dancing light spots across the forest floor. Song birds sung happily as if there were no evil in the world.

I stood in the shadows of a large tree. I wasn't sure where I was. Nothing looked familiar, but that didn't worry me at the moment. I was too preoccupied with watching a tiny Black Dragon playing all by himself. I didn't understand why he was alone. Shouldn't he be playing with other Dragons his age? Brothers or sisters; cousins or clan friends even?

He seemed oblivious to the fact he was alone. I watched him circle a flower and then pounce on the unfortunate plant. He looked at the trampled plant triumphantly and then was distracted by a violet butterfly. I expected the little Dragon to reach out and attack to poor insect but he just followed it curiously. Intrigued by the Dragon's actions I followed him.

The little Dragon hopped around happily as it followed the fluttering insect. I remembered Raikidan telling me Black Dragons didn't care much for any life but their own but watching this Dragon it was hard to believe that was true. If they weren't born with that attitude, what made them think that way later on?

The little Dragon put his front legs on a tree when the butterfly landed on the trunk. He looked up at it and whimpered. The more he whimpered the more I felt bad for him. He seemed to really like this butterfly and it was just out of reach for him.

The little Dragon placed his front legs back on the ground and walked in a tight circle a few times before looking back up at the butterfly and whimpering again. Then the butterfly suddenly fluttered off and the Dragon happily tried to follow it but stopped. He turned around and jumped a few times before scurrying off in the new direction he was looking.

I watched as a large Red Dragon moved into sight and bent its head down. The little Dragon squealed happily and touched his nose with the larger Dragon. I covered my mouth so I wouldn't giggle. The sound was cute, but I couldn't figure out what a Red Dragon was doing with a baby Black Dragon. It didn't seem like Dragons adopted. Their bad relations with each other would deter that. But this Red Dragon didn't seem to care and I wasn't sure if it was male or female.

The wind picked up slightly, shaking the canopy leaves and scattering more light over the floor. That's when I noticed something on the baby Dragon. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I blinked to make sure I wasn't crazy. The little Dragon had a small red striped down the center of his back that started near his eyes.

Raikidan? I shook my head of the thought. It couldn't be him. Could it? Was the stripe he had unique or did all Black-Red Dragons have them? Whatever the case was, this Red Dragon was obviously related to this little Dragon and, if this was in fact Raikidan, that would make this Red Dragon his mother.

The Red Dragon turned and headed farther into the woods. The little Dragon started to follow but stopped and looked back to where the butterfly had disappeared. The Red Dragon turned her head and called to the little Dragon and he reluctantly followed after a few moments of hesitation.

Curiosity tugged me to follow, but as I did the world around me blurred and when it stopped I was at the edge of a clearing next to a large cliff. The Red Dragon and small Black-Red Dragon came out of the forest near me and started to climb a small path that led up the cliff. The two stopped when the sounds of loud growls and roars irrupted from the top.

Above them, two Black Dragons thundered out of a cave onto the crag ledge. They were acting aggressively but as I watched them neither inflicted any wounds on the other. It occurred to me these two were arguing and one of them wasn't a full Black Dragon at all. As he moved, I noticed red scales that were in a stripe-like pattern all along his body. That indicated Half-colors did have unique patterns that also meant this little Dragon I'd been watching really was Raikidan. But I didn't understand why I was seeing all of this. What was the purpose?

The Red-Black Dragon roared at the Black Dragon and then took to the skies. As he did Raikidan scampered up to the top of the cliff and ran to the ledge where the other Black Dragon stood. Raikidan called out to the fleeing Dragon but his small cry went unheard.

I watched Raikidan hang his head and slowly retreat into the cave the two older Dragons had come out of. I felt my feet move on their own and climb the path to the cave entrance. Peering inside I watched little Raikidan stare angrily at a cave cricket as he lay facing a cave wall. I half expected him to snap at it when it hopped too close but he just continued to glare.

I looked around the cave. There were no other Dragons in here. It didn't make sense. Why was Raikidan the only baby here? Raikidan sighed and fell over on his side. He no longer looked mad. I knew the look on his face. He was sad and alone. He wasn't oblivious to the lack of others baby Dragons around him. He just made the best of it because he had to.

Kneeling down next to him I couldn't help but reach out and touch his head. I blinked when a strange feeling rushed through me.

"Why did he have to break the promise her made to his brother?"

I looked up when I heard the feminine voice. It was rough, as if it were partially growling. I watched the Red and Black Dragon and they sat next to each other. The Black Dragon had his neck draped over the Red Dragon's neck and his head rested on her shoulder. I recognized that posture. Raikidan had done the Human equivalent while we had danced at the club.

"He has never been good with keeping promises," the Black Dragon stated.

I blinked. I could understand them. That must have been what that weird rush had been.

The Red Dragon sighed. "But now Raikidan is alone."

"He has Corliss," the Black Dragon said.

"But they do not come over often thanks to you fighting with your brother," she accused.

I looked down at baby Raikidan. He had told me about Corliss once but he had said he was a friend. I wondered why he didn't say Corliss was his cousin.

The Black Dragon sighed. "We are going to have to manage. You had insisted on keeping his egg warm for a century and a half longer, knowing full well this would happen."

I blinked. A century and a half longer? How long did these guys stay in their shells?

"Hush!" she hissed. "You make it sound like we should not have done it and he can hear you."

"I am not saying that," the Black Dragon growled. "I am merel saying we knew what would happen if we kept hoping. His siblings grew up without him. That is the simple truth."

She sighed. "Yes, but why could they all not have just stayed?"

"Because they have the instincts of Black Dragons," the Black Dragon replied. "They do not want to live in small clans or large colonies."

"But it would have been safer!" the Red Dragon cried. "Most of them would still be alive if they had just stayed…"

My heart sunk. Raikidan told me it was a hard life for Half-colors but from the sounds of it, they were killed in cold blood which he had never mentioned.

The Black Dragon looked as though he was planning to respond but a roar echoed from the sky. Curious, I ventured out of the cave to take a look. Ascending from the sky was a massive Black Dragon and a beautiful Emerald Green Dragon. The two Dragons on the ledge moved, allowing the two Dragons in flight to land.

When they landed I noticed a squirming green and black bundle of scales in the Green Dragon's mouth. The Green Dragon lowered her hand and she barely managed to open her jaws before her precious bundle scampered off into the cave.

I turned to watch the little Green Dragon bowl over Raikidan. Raikidan, instantly forgetting why he was sad, happily wrestled with his new companion. I smiled as I watched them. They were so innocent. I noticed the interesting pattern on the little Green Dragon's body as they played. Although his scales were mainly green he had black ones scattered across his body like stars in the sky.

I wondered if this was Corliss. Raikidan never mentioned to me he was a Green-Black Dragon but as I looked over at the two Black Dragons who were sizing themselves up against each other in front of their mates I could see the resemblance between the two. They were practically identical. It would also explain the choice in different colored mates but I didn't know enough about Dragon mating habits to know for sure.

The two little Dragons chased each other out of the cave and down the path leading to the woods. Not wanting to lose sight of them, I followed. As I did the world around me changed little by little and the two wrestling Dragons grew older each time. By the time the two split apart they were enormous. They couldn’t be less than three times my size, but I could tell by Raikidan's size neither were full grown yet. Or at least, not to the size of his current age. Raikidan was easily three times this size now, if not more.

The two Dragons sized each other up but just as they went to lunge at each other, a roar pierced the sky. Corliss sighed and flicked his tail before jumping to the skies and flying off with his parents. Raikidan exhaled through his nose and headed up the path to the cave. Once he reached the top he was greeted by his mother.

"It is time for your shifting lesson," she told him.

Raikidan sighed. "Do I have to?"

I blinked at the difference in his voice compared to what I was used to hearing. It was higher, not by much, but enough for me to notice.

His mother chuckled. "Yes. Now shift into a Human."

He groaned. "Can we do a different shape? I hate that one."

She sighed. "You have been listening to your father again."

"There is nothing good about Humans."

His mother snorted. "And how would you know? You have never met one."

"Father has."

"And as have I. And your father is wrong. There are nice qualities about them. Your father just refuses to see them. Now shift."

He sighed and moved to the edge of the ledge. Closing his eyes he forced himself to concentrate and his body reacted. The process was slow, much slower than what I had seen when I first watched him shift, but eventually he made it into his Human shape.

He was much younger than I expected. He looked no older than seventeen. No wonder he has such an attitude.

"You should allow me to cut your hair to a more acceptable length," his mother teased.

Raikidan snorted. "I will pass."

"Your shifting needs work," his father chided as he immerged from the cave.

Raikidan sighed and then looked bored. Obviously that wasn't what he wanted to hear from his father.

"He is still learning," his mother objected.

His father snorted. "He has been learning for the past few years and still he has not mastered shifting to the most basic creatures."

"You need to go easy on him," his mother insisted.

"I did not go easy on the others and he will not get any special treatment," his father growled.

"And they resented you for it!" She turned to head back into the cave. "As do I."

Ouch. Raikidan's father looked completely unfazed by her words but his body posture said otherwise. Even Raikidan seemed upset by her words.

I looked around frantically when everything suddenly started going dark. I felt my blood run cold when I heard a gunshot and Raikidan's mother cry out in pain.

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