Scourage of the Terrablossom
Chapter 10: Acid Reign
“Come on Gash!” shouted Edge, “We surely haven’t got much time before Tyrune finds his next target! We need to go now!”
“All right! All right! Just coming….”
If Gash doesn’t hurry up, thought Edge, then it’ll be too dark to go after Tyrune. Night time isn’t exactly a nice time to wandering, or even flying, around this part of the world. Most monsters go to sleep, but the really nasty ones wake up. Or so he had been told…
Gash walked up to Edge and Spirit.
“I was just looking one more time for any survivors. I couldn’t find any. All the buildings are gone, just as you said. There was one curiosity though….”
“The place we built to plant healing herbs, made out of this new material created about 3 years ago. It’s still perfectly intact. And get this. There is terrorblossom lying on top of it.”
“What? So why hasn’t it melted away like all the other buildings?”
“Huh. Who cares? I never liked herbs anyway. Why couldn’t some of our people be living in that building instead? I’ll admit it’s a bit hot, but….”
“OK, Edge. We’ll go.”
Tyrune was bored.
He grumbled to himself, “This life thing’s really boring when you aren’t blowing stuff up.” Admittedly, Tyrune wasn’t doing any work. He was just resting on the top of the Terrablossom monster, the one part you could touch without being burnt. The monster was just recharging it’s batteries, to speak, by sinking it’s tough roots into the forest floor. Eventually it would be ready to blossom again.
“Hurry up, you stupid drone!” Tyrune screamed at Arc’engal, knowing that there was no way Arc’engal could hear him, “Tell me what to destroy! Random destruction isn’t much fun. It’s the organised stuff that’s really good.”
“You think so?”
Tyrune fell off the Terrablossom, and only got back on the monster by flapping his wings ridiculously fast.
“Took you long enough.”
“For your information, Tyrune, I’m not stupid. If I was stupid, you’d still be stuck in your own grief in the Shadowworld. You know that and so do I, so let’s get down to business, shall we?”
Tyrune, much to his own disgust, bowed his heads. Arc’engal was right. If it wasn’t for him, then Tyrune would still be…. unalive, let’s put it that way, he thought.
“So, where to now?”
“There’s a little town to the west, where an ex-seeker named Paet lives. It’s called Tadcaster.”
Tyrune made a rather rude noise.” There is no need to worry about Tadcaster. I levelled that place yesterday.”
“So, random destruction IS fun then?”
“Not AS fun as organised stuff. It was good fun though. Even had a fight with this other dragon….”
“You and another dragon fought? Who was it? Ilak from up northways?”
“No, it was some dragon I didn’t recognise. There was something very interesting though. There was a kid with him that really looked like the Divine Visitor…”
“The Divine Visitor? …That is rather disturbing news, Tyrune…How did you do in that duel?”
“I won. No opponent is any match for my crimson lightning strike, heh heh. I let it live though, in case he grew up into a”, Tyrune put on a very childish voice, “big, strong dragon.” His voice returned to its usual 60-a-day tone. “That way, he might actually give me a challenge.”
“I see. You are aware of Pandra, of course?”
“The Dragon Leader of Meccania? I remember him. He was the fastest dragon to ever live.”
“Speed isn’t everything, Tyrune. Pandra was felled by a dragon HE had spared in an earlier battle. Don’t make the same mistake…. Go after Tadcaster. If you really did level it, crush it under the sand. And while you’re at it, practise your accuracy. He’s been watching you and he isn’t impressed.”
The simple word “he”, in this context, brought terror to Tyrune’s heart.
Arc’engal shook his head. “He thinks you could do better. Concentrate more on the actual hit, rather on what the hit can do, if you know what I mean. I’ve got to go back now. Do not dare to return until you have completed your mission. Hear me?”
“All too well you bloody…” Tyrune muttered.
“What is that under your dragon’s wing?”
Edge looked at what Gash was talking about. It was the tattoo the dragon had…taken on, that was the best he could do, in the Garil Desert, while they were on their way to Tadcaster.
“Nothing, Gash. It’s just a tattoo.”
“Funny design though. Two arcane symbols inside two circles…. funny tha…. Edge! What the hell did you push me off for?”
Edge’s mind had been grabbed by the word “Two” just as “He” had made Tyrune anxious earlier. “Two symbols? There had been three earlier! The mushroom is gone! Where’s the mushroom gone?”
“Mushroom? Edge, did you sample any of the drinks back in that bar?”
“I don’t drink! There used to be a symbol right…here.” Edge pointed to his dragon’s tattoo. “Now it’s gone! And the other symbols have moved! There used to be a triangle formation, and now it’s a straight line between the two! What the blazes…?”
“Oh come on, Edge! You must have just imagined it.”
“Yeah, probably. Although I could have sworn…forget it. Let’s go.”
“Ok you stupid plant thing,” Tyrune gracefully (!) shouted at the Terrablossom, “Let’s go and toast us a village. As well as an ex-seeker.”
The Terrablossom made a noise like wind blowing then uprooted itself. It started to glide above the trees in a very strange way, like a flying saucer, but one covered in lilac blossom.
“It’s not pink yet?” shouted Tyrune, “You’d better hurry up, Terrablossom. If you succeed, you and me both receive the greatest rewards we’ll ever have the chance to get.”
“Can’t this thing go any faster?!” yelled Gash over the gale force winds.
“Be patient! Spirit’s only just been reborn! He can’t fly that fast, yet! In fact, it’s a miracle he can carry both of us!”
Gash smiled. “His color scheme is a bit dull, isn’t it?”
“Does it matter what kind of colors he is? If he can fly and he can fight, he is still of some use to us.”
“Ok, a lot of use to us.” corrected Edge.
“Edge, give me that book that Paet gave you. I want to look up this dragon’s species name.”
“Never knew you to be a scientist, Gash.”
“Kid, there’s a lot you don’t know about me. Come on, give me the book.”
Edge frowned at the wind blowing his hair well out of place, reached into his pocket and took out Paet’s book, containing knowledge of all the new monsters and the Brotherhood of Sestren, as well as some theories and research on dragons. Edge passed the book to Gash.
“Thanks. Let’s see here. Grey color scheme…Short wings…. Ah, here it is. That friend of yours is pretty good at organising books, isn’t he?”
“I suppose he must be!” shouted Edge over the hurricane.
“Says here that Spirit is a Dusk Wing dragon, a dragon particularly acclaimed by…can’t read that handwriting…. It’s really the first stage of a dragon’s development into….” A gust of wind flew past, grabbed Paet’s handbook and then dropped it into the endless forest below. Oooh dear. A one of a kind book has just been thrown to the wind. Gash’s face froze. Maybe he could bluff it, Edge wouldn’t guess. Surely.
”…into a whole new type of dragon.”
“Edge?” Gash almost whimpered after he figured out Edge knew.
“Where’s the damned BOOK?”
“Watch your language, kid!”
“Never mind my bloody language, where’s the damned book!?”
“The wind just knocked it out of my hand!” yelled Gash.
“Great! Just great! How am I supposed to deal with any new monsters I see now? I can’t! And do you know why?!”
“Because you just lost the bloody book!”
“I said I was sorry, kid! If that isn’t good enough for you, TOO BAD. I can’t exactly dive down there and get it, can I? I can’t fly!”
There was a long pause, broken only by a sigh from both Edge and Gash.
“You could fly if I pushed you off Spirit. At least, I hope you could, for your sake,” said Edge.
“Yeah, kid, but what would you do without me? Huh? You’d be lost without me, kid! You have a dragon, and you think you’re Mr Big! You know I’m the real reason why you’re so successful!” One last pause. It lasted for about 15 seconds, before being broken up with raucous laughter from both riders. It was all Edge and Gash could do not to fall off Spirit, especially with both the wind and their own laughter messing with their balance.
“You’re great, Gash.”
“You’re not so bad yourself, kid. Now let’s go find that Terrablossom!”
“Everything is going according to plan, my lord.”
“Excellent work, Arc’engal.”
“There is one thing, m’lord.”
“Uh…….. Tyrune mentioned something unusual. A dragon that isn’t on our side. It’s grey, it’s got a hunter riding it, and Tyrune said that…the hunter was the Divine Visitor.” Long pauses always occur within a short time of each other. Another one came, and went.
“Are you sure?”
“Interesting…disturbing, but interesting…. I wonder why they came back….?”
“Why who came back?”
“Then I’ll be going, M’lord. I have a few personal matters to attend to, if that’s ok by you.”
Arc’engal turned around from his path towards the chamber exit.
“Just in case this dragon decides to interfere, send him a little welcoming committee.”
“Sorry m’lord, is that a WELCOMING committee, or a welcoming COMMITTEE?”
Then came the laughter. The kind of laughter you would expect to hear in one of those dreams where you’re running along a corridor, trying to get away from something, but you don’t know what it is and you don’t want to know what it is.
“On a more serious note, Gash, how big is this damned forest?”
“I don’t have a clue, Edge. We always used to get food imported: wheat, straw, oats. We never went into the forest.”
There was a humph of satisfaction from Gash. That was the right answer then.
Tyrune’s ears, all six of them, moved slightly in the wind.
“I don’t believe it! That dragon’s following me! Didn’t he learn ANYTHING when I kicked his….”
The ears moved slightly again, almost tuning into a frequency.
“Heh heh. Sounds like he isn’t the only one though. There’s six of them I think. Dunno why He sent six of them. Two does it for anything! Oh well. On, Terrablossom, on! To Tadcaster!”