Something stirred in the darkness of the den.
Blaze heard it through half-pricked ears; something heavy, but sounding as if whatever it was was trying to be quiet. The dragon curled her lip at the thought of anyone sleeping through that racket. She slowly opened one eye, and as discreetly as she could, swept her gaze around the small den. There was a flicker of movement against the dark tree roots, and she held her breath. Something had just broken the soft stream of moonlight flooding through the entrance. Whatever it was, it was trying to be sneaky
The attack sent the intruder reeling back against the wall, gasping in surprise. Blaze snarled, checked and lunged again.
Prepared this time, the creature shied to the side, eyes flashing- not with anger, but mild amusement. She could easily evade this dragon's attacks; after all she'd grown up with them.
Blaze pulled out of the lunge and turned to renew her assault, spitting fury.
"Calm down Blaze, it's only m-"
Heavy paws slammed down on the speaker's shoulders, knocking her into the dirt and cutting her off (so much for evasion!). Moonlight revealed her features- deep blue scales and glittering cyan eyes that were now slightly out of focus.
Blaze's jaw practically fell off.
"B-Blade?? Oh, geez!" She removed her paws from her friend and backed off, ears flattened in shock.
Blade sat up and grinned at her. "Yeah
She watched with amusement (and a little guilt) as her denmate tried to regain her composure.
"What the hell do you think you're doing, sneaking around in the dead of night? I mean, you might've been a wolf, or a rogue, or..." She tailed off after that, not having the breath to list all the things Blade might have been.
Blade shrugged apologetically, knowing she'd scared the crud out of Blaze.
"Heh, sorry. I heard a weird noise outside, and thought I'd investigate."
That perked Blaze's interest. "What did it sound like?" A breeze blew in and she shivered. It was chilly for a full moon.
Blade cocked her head, remembering. "Sounded like a growl, but it was probably nothing." She dismissed the idea with a yawn. "Well, I'm going back to sleep." She didn't want the entire pack on alert just because she, a young adolescent, had heard a noise in the night.
" Blaze watched her pad back to her nest, then shivered and lay down herself. She peeked through slitted eyes out at the night; black and breezy. Clouds scudded low, setting the pines down in the forest rustling ominously. With a final shudder, she closed her eyes and blacked out a minute later.
Blade pulled her sleeping friend deeper into the cave and settled protectively beside her, feeling safe enough to fall back into a doze. If there was anything out there, her keen senses would detect it before it posed a threat.
Whimpering in her sleep, Blaze sensed the warmth of her denmate and instinctively snuggled closer. Blade smiled in her sleep and draped her wing over the other dragon to keep her warm. They stayed this way for several hours in a comfortable sleep despite the chill outside, nightmares and evil a long way from their dreams.
In the forest, something stirred. Blade heard it through the haze of her dream and awoke, heart pounding in her chest. She froze stiff for a second, then steadied her breathing and willed herself to calm down. Her instincts alerted her to more movement and she extended her gaze out to the dark mass of the forest, sure it had come from there. Blaze slept on (amazingly!) and after a moment's contemplation, Blade decided not to wake her. Eyes scanning the treeline, she caught another movement now and stared. Something was perched on a high bough at the edge of the forest. About to look closer, a soft growl from Blaze distracted her. For a second Blade thought her friend was warning her to be careful. But Blaze was still fast asleep so, with a small shrug, Blade crawled out the entrance hole, leaving the safety of the cosy den.
The creature took flight. Very fast.
Without stopping to think what she was doing, Blade took to the air, unfurling her wings and beating them hard and fast to gain height. The creature was already a good fifty metres ahead, and she pushed herself harder. The frigid air stung her nose and eyes, but she could see the dragon (it was a dragon, right?) losing ground to her, and hissed triumphantly. The dragon turned to see its pursuer, realised she was gaining and flew faster, incredibly fast. Blade struggled to keep pace but drove herself on as her quarry dipped and disappeared into the dark mass of trees. Breath ragged from the cold, Blade plunged after it. She was gaining- she could see the creature getting closer, closer
And it disappeared.
"Wha-" Blade's cry was cut off as a serpentine blur appeared on her left, then burning pain lanced her eye as sharp claws met the fragile socket. The next moment- gone again.
Blade slowed down until she was hovering in the air, twisting around furiously as she expected the assailant to return for another go. The forest was still and silent as death.
"What was that
?" She muttered, then winced. "God dammit, my eye
" Blood was welling in the wound now, and it throbbed like crazy despite the cold.
Flying carefully on account of her eyesight, Blade wormed her way between the solid black trunks, finally emerging out in the open again with a sigh of relief.
Crawling once again into the warm den, Blade staggered to a nest and fell asleep a nanosecond before hitting the soft grass-bed. She wouldn't be going out again tonight.