Sarah stares over Sapphire’s shoulder, her hair whipping behind her as the dragon flies with ease. She can hear the wind loudly in her ears but also the great beast’s wings as they flap. Sapphire keeps her eyes forward, urging the dragon forward unaware of the danger that is nearly less than two and a half-day behind and gaining quickly.
Towns and a castle pass under them, Sarah knowing that they are close to another Elf tribe to the West but doesn’t know if she could get to them if she can escape Trent’s castle or escape the City of Dragons. Sapphire glances over her shoulder at Sarah, her eyes a swirl of black and blue as she fights herself in taking Sarah to Trent.
“Time for a stop,” Sapphire says, nudging Laeros to fly downwards.
They sit on the ground and munch on some more fish and crackers, neither knowing what they should talk about.
Sapphire clears her throat, “When we get to the castle, it will be night so your meeting with Trent will be short since he will want you to get plenty of rest for the wedding. It will happen tomorrow at sunset, his favorite time of the day. I will be your bride’s maid as well as hairstylist, makeup artist, and he already has your new dress and ring.” Sapphire grows quiet as she nibbles on the cooked fish before she continues. “Once the wedding is over, Laeros, my family, and I will leave to return to our home. Then my family and I will be safe.” She gently fingers the necklace, flinching as if the ruby has seared her fingertips.
“You don’t have to do this, Sapphire,” Sarah says, putting her food to the side and moving closer to the fairy. “I will help you in any way I can to free you, Laeros, and your family, I promise.”
Sapphire looks up, her eyes still swirling with black and blue as she continues to fight Trent’s control and the fear that spirals through her veins. Sarah kneels in front of her and gently hugs the fairy, making sure to not touch her wings. Sapphire hugs her back then pushes her away then hugs her again as she continues to fight. Finally, she pushes Sarah away, her eyes the blackest of blacks as Trent’s hold intensifies and the poor fairy can no longer fight against his hold.
“It is time to go,” she says, tossing the rest of her food to Laeros, who catches it without delay, cleans up the area around them, and packs her stuff before climbing back on his back.
Sarah groans in frustration and stands, grabbing her food and tossing it to the dragon to eat as well before taking her place back behind Sapphire. She almost had the girl on her side, but it seems that Trent’s magic is stronger than she has anticipated and that scares Sarah. Will she have to wear a choker like Sapphire’s for the rest of her life? She knows she will fight the man before she will marry him so the only way would be if he put a spell on her as he has done to both Laeros and Sapphire and who knows how many countless others. Sarah lowers her head and allows herself to cry, the wind from the flying dragon blowing the tears away as soon as she allows them to fall from her eyes.
“Eric, please hurry!” she thinks to herself, wondering if her love has found his way onto the right path to get to her. She finishes crying as she feels the dragon begin to descend. “Are we there already?” she asks as she looks back over the woman’s shoulder.
“No, it is time for another stop,” Sapphire tells her as the trees race up to great them.
Sarah looks at the sky, shocked to see that it is already late in the afternoon, wondering how long she had been out of it.
As if reading her thoughts, Sapphire says, “You fell asleep for a while. Thankfully, you didn’t slip off.”
Sarah looks surprised since it hadn’t felt like she had fallen asleep. All she remembers is crying and hoping that Eric finds her dress so he knows where they are going, though her hope is slowly dwindling the closer they get to the castle.
Somewhere off in the distance, they can hear the sounds of dragons hunting, letting Sarah know that they are getting closer to her prison. She shudders at the thought of having to stay in a huge castle, spelled to love a warlock, and her memories of Eric slipping away with each passing day. The last thought made her heartache and her desire to run compels her to leap from the dragon’s back as soon as he is on the ground, landing with silence and grace onto the grass. She glances over to see Sapphire turn to look at her questioningly, her mouth open to say something to her.
But before Sapphire utters a word, she watches Sarah break into a dead run, racing back the way they had come with incredible speed. Sapphire hisses and leaps from Laeros’s back, commanding the mighty beast to take to the sky and track the Elf from above. Laeros rises into the sky, letting out a small puff of smoke escape from his mouth, irritated that he has to chase the Elf woman now.
Sapphire curses under her breath as she drops her cloak, letting her wings spread free, and jumps into the air, instantly shrinking to fairy-size. She darts here and there as she flies after Sarah, only a streak of black following the fairy, her own light muted by Trent’s spell.
Sarah glances back to see Sapphire flying as fast as her wings can carry her after her. Above Sarah, she hears Laeros trying to find her, the dragon sounding quite irritated. She leaps into a tree with ease and begins to leap from tree to tree, trying to hide inside the tree leaves. She stops running, slowing her breath as she hears Sapphire growing closer, the sound of the fairy zipping in between trees below growing louder. Laeros has grown quiet as he has flown higher so he can see if his eyes can pierce through the dense foliage to spot Sarah.
Sarah makes herself small against the tree trunk as she watches Sapphire’s fairy light flash past her tree. She peeks around to watch Sapphire continue to fly through the forest looking for her. Sarah then lifts her eyes upwards as a shadow falls over her to see Laeros swooping past the top of the trees, feeling the power behind his wings as the wind caused by them nearly knocks her off the branch. She clings to the trunk and waits until the dragon is further away before she slips out of the tree and begins to make her way West towards the other elves, ones she knew would surely help her.
As she walks, she hears an annoying buzzing sound speeding towards her as she carefully makes her way through the forest. Sarah hides in some tall brush and a few moments a black light flies by further behind her and more to the East, the light is obviously frantic as Sapphire searches for her. Sarah waits until Sapphire disappears again before she begins to quietly pick her way through the brush, ignoring the bush as it pulls on her hair. She freezes again when she hears the dragon swooping down close above, roaring and puffing out smoke, frustrated that they have yet to find the Elf woman. Sarah glances back over her shoulder, keeping an eye out for the frantic fairy but there is no one there.
Sarah faces forward and screams, leaping backward and toppling over a raised tree root. She hits the ground hard and the force causes her to let out a grunt as the air hisses out of her lungs. She gasps for her lost breath as she stares up into the crimson eyes of a man wearing a deep blue cloak and leaning against a staff with a dragon on the top with its mouth open. The dragon on the staff seems to glare at her with its own deep maroon eyes. Sarah scoots backward as quickly as she could, gasping and shaking at the sudden figure in front of her.
Behind her, the sky begins to darken slowly as large angry gray clouds roll over the sun. Sarah hears the sound of Sapphire zipping toward them, but her eyes never leave the man’s scarred rugged face. He smiles at her, cocking his head to the side as he looks her over. Sarah continues to back up until she is pressed up against a tree that sprang up behind her by his magic, blocking her from being able to escape.
Sapphire scurries in front of the man, springing up to human size, and kneels. “Master, we were just stopping for a quick bite then we would be by to see you tonight.”
Sarah raises an eyebrow when she hears Sapphire call the strange man master, realizing that he is Trent the Evil Warlock who has had her kidnapped to marry him.
“A bite to eat? Then why is Sarah here running to the West?” Trent’s low husky voice asks the trembling fairy.
Sapphire stumbles for words, trying to think up a lie so she will not get into trouble for having lost his Elf bride.
“My legs were cramping so we went for a walk before we were going to eat. But we lost each other somehow and I thought I had been going East towards her. I am not familiar with this area as I have never been here before,” Sarah tells him, standing up and brushing leaves off of her pants. “I heard Laeros flying this way so I assumed Sapphire was over here too.”
Trent raises an eyebrow at Sarah then looks at Sapphire, “Sapphire, next time make sure you don’t lose her.”
“Sorry, master, I could have sworn she was beside me. We were going to race up a tree too, just to see who is faster; a flying fairy or a climbing elf.”
Trent looks amused, “I would be interested in seeing that race but first let us get back on trackback to the East. Laeros is waiting with Dalinda.”
To make her lies more believable she points past him, “If that wasn’t Laeros, then who was I following?”
Trent turns his gaze behind him just as a shadow of another dragon swoops past, growling, and huffing before it turns back to the West, soaring higher into the sky and vanishing from sight. He looks back at Sarah and shrugs, “Seems that another dragon is out enjoying itself, but that isn’t Laeros.”
Sarah does her best to not look too surprised as a dragon has shown itself, making her lies even more believable. Sapphire walks over to Sarah and takes her by the arm, the two following close behind Trent, his cloak billowing out behind him and gently slapping their legs. Once they return to the spot, Laeros turns to glare at Sarah but stops as soon as he sees Sapphire slightly shake her head no. Laeros bounds over like a giant puppy and sits in front of Trent. Trent laughs and gently pets Laeros on the tip of the nose.
“We will not eat here. We will head back to the castle and eat there,” Trent tells them as he walks over to a beautiful black dragon with crystal blue eyes. “Sarah, you will ride with me this time.”
Sapphire glances quickly over at Sarah before she lets the girl’s arm go so that she can join Trent. Sarah looks back at Sapphire as she walks over to Trent, scared for herself and for her fairy friend. Trent seems nice but she can sense something under the nice behavior, something dark and dangerous. Trent takes her hand gently, his skin silky smooth, and helps her climb up on his dragon’s back, his dragon turning her head to watch them closely.
Sapphire quickly climbs onto Laeros’s back and sits down, ready to fly, her heart beating fast since she had lost Sarah a few minutes ago, but for some reason, the Elf had lied for her. Then a thought hit her, her eyes turning a shade of blue as her thoughts came through the murkiness of her mind.
“Master, how did you know we were here?” she asks, staring at his back.
Trent’s back grows stiff when he hears the fairy question him, “I saw it in the waters of the castle. I thought I would surprise you and join you in flying the rest of the way home, so I left early and have been waiting for you two to show up.”
Sapphire is about to ask him another question, but she stops when she feels as if a hand is tightening around her throat. She reaches up to try and remove the hand but there is nothing there.
“It is best we leave. This part of the forest is not safe to stay in as the sun goes down and we want to be back at my castle tonight, don’t we, Sapphire?”
Sapphire chokes out a small yes and then gasps as air fills her lungs again as soon as the magic disappears. Both dragons flap their massive wings, lifting them upwards and away from Sarah’s chance of escaping. Sarah does her best to hang onto Dalinda instead of around Trent’s waist but Dalinda shifts in the sky which makes Sarah feel herself slipping backward so she instinctively grabs around Trent’s waist.
Trent looks down at her hands and grins, patting his dragon since he knew that she had done it on purpose to get the Elf to grab onto him. Trent urges the dragons forward, the sun setting behind them to the West. Sarah turns to watch the sunset and her chances of being safe from the Warlock vanishing with the colorful sun rays, the dark clouds from earlier nowhere in sight.