Oct 11

Element World | Chapters 28-32


Chapter 28

    After we explain everything to Emma, I leap to my paws, only to collapse on the stone from the terrible pain in my throat. Fresh, red blood flows over the crusted dry blood. I moan in pain. I gaze around. Just me and my friends are in the cave. But it feels empty. But why? I think for a few minutes, and then it hits me. “The dragons!” I choke out. “We need to find the dragons!” I rasp. The effort of speaking makes even more blood flow from the wound in my throat. I start to get dizzy, and my tail jerks wildly. The world is a blur- and then all I see is black. 
    “I don’t know...She’s lost so much blood!” The voice of Emma echoes in my ears. My eyes slowly flicker open.

    “Oh thank goodness! Everleigh!” Anabelle says, relief flooding her gaze. I open my mouth.

    “Don’t speak,” George says, her voice dry. But I’m thirsty! I think, and I growl. My tail lashes. I don’t care. I’m thirsty! I’m not going to die of thirst!

    “I’m thirsty!” I say, irritated. My voice is far from its usual smooth, calm tone. It comes out rough, and cracked, and broken. Anabelle flinches.

    “I’ll go get some water,” she says, and runs off. 

    “I’ll go with her, just in case,” Harley says, and runs after Anabelle. I’m left with George and Emma. 

    “How are you feeling?” Emma asks gently. Thinking quick about how to answer, I transform into a human, and give her a thumb in the middle instead of being up or down. Emma nods, slowly.

    “Need anything?” George asks softly. I shake my head. Blood trickles out of my neck. “I’ll fetch cobwebs,” George says briskly. I’m left with Emma. Frustration burns my pelt. Why do I have to be treated like I’m 100 years old? I think, biting back a snarl of cold fury. Then I remember. The dragons are still missing. My eyes widen.

    “We need to-” I cough. “Find the dragons!” I gasp, coughing out blood. Emma nods. 

    “As soon as you are feeling better, we will,” she says. Anger sears through me. And how long is that going to take? Days? None of us know how to gut, and cook food! In the wild! I don’t say this, though. George then runs back into the cave, and presses the cobwebs against my neck. Harley and Anabelle come back in, carrying dripping wet moss. Harley squeezes some into my mouth, and I have to keep myself from snapping my jaws shut. I feel useless! I feel 100 years old! I don’t let them see my frustration, though, no matter how much I want them to. Once I’ve finished “drinking”, Anabelle leaps up. 

    “Wait! This will get infected!” She says. Fear prickles through me. Infected? Uh-oh. “I know just the thing! In Warriors, those cat books, they use marigold so the wound doesn’t get infected! I think it will actually work!” she says. And runs out. Emma runs after her. Apparently, they find marigolds easily, because in about 30 seconds, they are back with five marigolds. 

    “Do we use the flower?” Emma asks, her finger positioned to pluck the flower off the stem. Anabelle shakes her head.

    “No, the leaves.” She easily picks the leaves off. She then crushes them, and the juice drips from her fingertips. When it hits my neck, it stings. I close my eyes shut tight, and wince. I feel more sting, and then it stops. My eyes fly open, and I try not to look angry. 

    “Thanks,” I say, trying to sound actually thankful. Anabelle nods.

    “Yup.” I am so tired right now. So I curl up in a little ball, and go to sleep.

Chapter 29

    When I open my eyes, the sun is high in the sky, and Emma is standing over me. “How are you feeling?” She asks gently.
    “Better,” I reply, and my voice does sound better. The wound looks like a simple cut- the dry blood is gone, and when I talk, blood doesn’t flow. “Where is everyone?” 

    “Hunting for animals, and plants,” Emma says. “But we still have some leftovers. Hungry?” My stomach rumbles in response. 

    “Okay, then!” Emma takes meat out of a wooden basket weaved with reeds. She plops some meat in front of me. It’s cold, but that’s okay. As a wolf, I gobble it up quickly. “Cookie?” Emma offers. I smile.

    “Sure!” Emma pulls a random cookie out of the basket. Frosted sugar cookie! I turn into a human, and eat it slowly, savoring every bite. 

    “Thanks,” I say, just as my friends come into the cave carrying some plants, two rabbits, one squirrel, six fish, and one large bird. 

    “Wow!” Emma says. “You got a lot!” 

    “Yeah,” Harley says. “And look who we found!” Dove walks into the cave, her talons clicking on the stone floor. My eyes widen. Dove

    “Dove!” Emma gasps, running over to the dragon, and giving her a hug. Dove wraps her tail around Emma. “What happened?” Emma asks. Dove’s face darkens.

    “Raven,” she growls. “Knocked us out with some weird dart, and dragged us into another cave. Kept us prisoner. She won’t let us go. I escaped. Tonight at dusk she’s going to kill Ash.”

Chapter 30

    Anabelle’s eyes widen in horror. “What?” she snarls. “She can’t do that!” This is bad. Ash needs to be rescued. 

    “What do we do?” George asks. 

    “We need a plan, that’s for sure,” I say. 

    “Yes, and you’re just the one to make it,” Anabelle agrees. I nod. I think for quite some time, and George has to remind me to answer. 

    “Tonight, just before dusk, I’ll pretend to be severely injured, and pretend that you guys ditched me. That’ll bring Raven out. Then, the rest of you, go and rescue all the dragons,” I say. Emma’s eyes widen.

    “I’m not going to let her kill you!” she says, shocked.

    “I won't die, chill!” I say. But fear still pricks at my pelt. “Dove, can you show us where the cave is?” The feathered dragon nods. 

    “Come on,” she says, and runs out of the cave. We follow her for a little bit, and then we stop, about 200 yards away from a cave. I put my finger to my lips.

    “This is it,” Dove whispers, quieter than a sigh. I hear a roar of fury, and Harley grips Anabelle’s shoulder to keep her from running to her death. I motion with my hands for us to head back to our cave. Once we’re out of earshot from Queen Raven, I glance at the sky. About three hours before dusk. Thinking carefully about our next move, I decide on this, which the Hunger Games has taught me. 

    “We need a new place to sleep,” I say. “Far away.” Anabelle nods. So do Harley and Emma, but George puts her hands on her hips and scowls.

    “So, are we moving ahead, or behind Queen Raven?” she asks.

    “Ahead. If she comes for us again, she has a fifty-fifty shot. I think ahead. It will get us closer to the palace, too.” George sighs in relief. I quickly transform into a doe. I want to try out these new legs! 

    “Turn into the animal that fits the most with the forest, or blends in,” I say. Anabelle turns into her snake. It is small, and well hidden. Harley transforms into an otter, as it is her only option. Emma turns into a chipmunk- the best one of all. And poor George’s animals aren’t very good, but she settles on a horse because the tiger was what she was in front of the queen. I nod, satisfied. 

    “I didn’t have any good options,” George says, flicking her tail from side to side. 

    “That's okay,” Harley says. “You’ll be fine.” We all move silently through the forest without saying a word. We steer clear around the cave where the dragons are being held captive, and we keep running until we find a second clearing. After quite a few tries, Anabelle and Emma make a fire, and George keeps yelling jokes at us to keep us laughing. They aren’t very good, but they come from George, which makes them funny. With Harley’s help, I build a roof out of sticks over a patch of trees with grass in the middle. I do this as a human, of course. Then, as a wolf, and Harley as an otter, we collect moss, and lay it in the center of the grass patch. Emma takes out all the fish, and two pieces of meat, and roasts them on sticks. Anabelle picks leaf plates, and starts laying out plants on them from the basket. She places one cookie on each leaf. Emma pokes the meat a few times, then thwacks them on the leaves. 

    “Dinner is served!” she calls. We all run over, but I let everyone else pick first. I take the plate with two fish, mint and berries, and an M&M cookie. I eat the plants first. Then the fish. Then the cookie. Emma is still nibbling on the cookie after we all finish the meal. I turn into a doe. This is how I want to sleep tonight. 

Chapter 31

I fluff out my fur, glancing around our little shelter. We’re forgetting Ash! We can’t go to bed! “Stop,” I say, as my friends try to lay down. “We need to save Ash. Let’s put our plan into action!” We all nod, and gulp nervously. 

“Yep. Let’s go.” 

Chapter 32

    We all run silently through the forest, until we come upon the cave. “Everleigh, be careful!” George whispers. I ignore her. This is no time for being careful. The very life of a dragon is at stake. I pad silently in front of the cave. I slash a cut deep enough for blood in my hind leg. Then let out a moan of pain (not that I really have to try), and drag my leg behind me.

    “Help, somebody help!” I groan. I see the face of Queen Raven poke out from the cave flicking her smooth black hair behind her shoulder. She smiles. 

    “Oh Everleigh, my dear! What is it?” Raven asks, smirking.

    “They...They abandoned me...My friends...They thought I was dangerous…” I let my voice trail off. Raven smiles viciously.

    “How nice!” the shadow queen says. She pulls a dagger out from a belt around her waist. I motion with my ears for my friends to go now. I whimper, and start to back away, trying to make myself look like easy prey. Then, Raven hurls the dagger at my head I flip over, and leap for the Queen, hooking hy claws deep into her chest. Quickly turning into a panther, she shakes me off. Snarling, I rain blow after blow on her head, until she backs away. But I’m not done. I’m going to make her pay. For everything. I leap, and land a whisker away from Raven’s flank. She spins to defend herself, but I hook my claws deep into her flank, tearing away chunks of fur. Raven screeches, and twists to grasp my shoulder in her teeth. I let go of the Queen’s flank, and try to shake her off, but her grip is tight. I feel her teeth sinking deep into my shoulder, and I howl in agony. I didn’t know I could howl. I twist around, but can’t reach. I shriek in pain. And howl some more. 

    “Get off her!” This is a new voice. Male. I feel the teeth ripped from my shoulder, and blood wells out. I spin around, to see a wolf- a midnight black one, with blazing green eyes. The unidentified male meets my eyes, and nods- just once. He leaps for Raven, hooking his claws into her leg. Raven screeches, and the male slices her ear as she flees from the clearing. Panting, he looks at me. I narrow my eyes. Do I trust him? Yes, of course! He saved you. 

    “Who are you?” I growl.  

    “My name is Moon,” the wolf says. “The alpha of the pack.” 

    “I’m-” 

    “I know who you are. We all do,” Moon says. I narrow my eyes. Doesn’t he know it’s rude to interrupt a queen? Oh, whatever. I don’t really care.

    “Then tell me. What’s my name?” The dragons exit the cave, fanning out behind George.

    “Queen Everleigh. The queen of earth,” Moon says. He flicks his tail towards a bush. Out from the shadows, seven wolves pad out. My eyes widen in surprise. Then all my friends run out, the dragons behind them. George’s eyes make slits when she sees Moon.

    “Who are you?” she demands, in her horse form.

    “Who are you?” snarls Moon, glaring at her with his green eyes.

    “I am the queen of air, so you’d better respect me!” snaps George.

    “George! Stop being mean! What’s going on?” Anabelle asks.

    “He saved my life,” I say quietly. 

    “He-YOU ALMOST DIED?” shrieks Harley. I nod. 

    “Raven almost killed her. I saved her,” Moon says. “We’ve been watching you. Are you lost?” the wolf asks.

    “No,” Anabelle replies briskly. I can tell she doesn’t trust Moon. “We’re fine.” Emma nods. 

    “Our dragons know the way,” she says. Suddenly, out from a bush, two, black furred wolf pups stumble out, swiping at each other’s ears. Oh, they're so cute! In an instant, I’m reminded of babysitting. I miss it. I turn into a wolf, and pad over to the cubs. 

    “Hi!” I whisper. 

    “Who’s that?” One pup whispers to the other. 

    “I dunno,” The other replies. I smile, because I know exactly what they’re saying. 

    “Want to play a little game or something?” I ask the pups. 

    “You don’t have to,” a voice says, and I look up. A golden colored wolf stands just behind them. 

    “Please, Thorn?” begs one of the pups.

    “Please? I wanna play a game!” wails the other.

    “Alright, you two. Fine. This is Dusk,” Thorn waves her tail to the male pup on the left. “And this is Cherry,” she finishes, waving her tail to the female pup on the right. 

    “Try and get my tail!” I say, and wave it around. I beam as the pups leap up trying to swat it. We play for a few more minutes before Anabelle speaks.

    “Everleigh, we should probably get going,” she says. I sigh. 

    “Fine,” I say. “Bye, guys!” I add to the pups. 

    “Bye!” They squeal. 

    “Queens, it has been an honor to meet you. Good luck on your journey,” Moon says.

    “Thank you,” Emma says. She shoots me a glare that hisses, tell him thank you! He saved your life!

    “Oh, and uh, thanks for saving my life,” I say quietly. Moon smiles, and waves his tail for the pack to follow him into the shadows.
 

sprouted

Element World | Chapters 33-35

Chapter 33

    I run over to Sequoia, who, other than a few scratches, looks fine. Ash, on the other hand, has a steady flow of blood dripping from her neck, and the other dragons are fine.