" Wh - what do you mean?” Sunny asked taking a fearful step back moving out of Darkstalker’s looming shadow.
“ D on’t try to hide it, I never told you or your friends where the N ight kingdom was,” Darkstalker growled taking a step closer to Sunny.
I can’t, I can’t Sunny thought closing her eyes and shaking her head lightly.
“I can read your mind,” Darkstalker growled pushing into her mind. "Y ou can't hide the truth from me.”
“ Darkstalker !” Foeslayer shouted projecting her mind into her son’s. "Y ou said you’ll show me that you're a great ruler. What you’re doing now isn’t what a fair ruler would do.” Show me you can live up to my expectations.
Darkstalker gave a light growl and stepped back, still glaring at Sunny who looked like a terrified dragonet. Enchant Sunny of the Sand and Nightwings to tell me willingly , how she found out the location of the N ight kingdom , Darkstalker thought.
Sunny looked at F oeslayer then back at D arkstalker , but stayed silent. Why isn't it working? Darkstalker thought. Foeslayer gave S unny a small friendly nod and S unny smiled back unsurely. The faintest movement of her face caused her ear to shift into the light of the library’s windows causing her amber earring to shimmer. Agh ! She has one of those earrings too , Darkstalker thought angerly. Of course, she has one! She was probably one of the first dragons to get one. That Qibli is making things hard for me.
" Sunny,” Darkstalker said, this time in a friendlier tone. " You are half Nightwing yourself. I need to know where you got the information of the N ight kingdom's location. For the sake of our tribe,” Darkstalker said us ing his kindest tone .
“I- I… I can't,” S unny said shaking her head and taking a step back. “I'm sorry D arkstalker but if I told you things could become bad,” Sunny said then she hit herself mentally. Why did I say that? Sunny thought scolding herself.
Darkstalker gave a slight inner smile and pictured Sunny’s thoughts and wrapped her thoughts into a large ball. " Sunny, why can’t you tell me who told you the location of the N ight kingdom ?” Darkstalker asked hoping to stir the surface of the water of her mind. But to Darkstalker’s annoyance Sunny managed to keep a still mind with a glass barrier around it.
“I can’t. I won’t,” Sunny said bravely glaring at Darkstalker a blazing spark of determination lit in her green and gray eyes.
“Enchant all the books in this library to form a dome around Sunny of the S and and Nightwings and me,” Darkstalker growled ignoring the stern shout coming from his M other .
All the books from the shelves of the library flew off the shelves in a stunning speed forming a large dome around the two N ightwing hybrids. The books formed a dark dome that let in almost no light.
“I don’t want to resort to violence, but if you are working against me to help an opposer to the N ight kingdom I will have to deal with you myself. Is that clear?” Darkstalker growled lowering his large head to Sunny’s height. He opened his mouth summoning a warm storm in his chest. A warm glow from his mouth lit up the dark space caused by the enchanted books.
Darkstalker ! Clearsight thought forcefully thrusting her mind into his. Darkstalker stumbled back and the flame he held in his chest flickered out. Drop the spell, she ordered with a savage anger behind her th o ughts. Clearsight thrust her mind into Darkstalker’s again like someone would thrust a dagger at a dragon. Darkstalker stumbled back again after the second attack on his mind.
Darkstalker dropped the spell and pushed a talon to his throbbing head. A painful reminder of what pain felt like. The books from the library fell to the floor almost burying Darkstalker and Sunny. Darkstalker shut his eyes and dragged a large talon over his head in a vain attempt for the pain to go away.
Darkstalker heard the shuffle of wings and he suspected Sunny had taken her advantage and left. When the pain had reduced to a dull ache Darkstalker lifted his head and glared at Clearsight . " W hy did you do that?” Darkstalker roared.
"Why did you do what you did?” Claersight returned, a blazing flame in her deep purple eyes. Darkstalker opened his mouth to defend himself but Clearsight held up an elegant wing stopping Darkstalker . “No, it’s my turn. Since I’ve gotten here, I've been watching you. Asking dragons what they think about you. I can tell you want to do the right thing, but you’re doing the wrong thing,” She lectured.
“ Clearsight , there’s not always a peaceful way. If I try to do things the way you want, the Nightwing s won’t get the life the deserve,” Darkstalker said doing his best to keep his tone even.
“I can think of ways to do things peacefully! I can see every path!” Clearsight shouted. " Y ou said I could get a say in every choice you make. So far you insist that what you’ve done was what needed to be done!” her wings flared.
“I can see the paths that you see, I know that even if I-”
“Exactly! Its only you, all you say is I, not us!” Clearsight shouted crouching down and taking off. She paused as she was about to exit the library she said, " T hink about it,” then she darted out of the library without giving Darkstalker another glance.
Darkstalker started to go after her a Foeslayer stopped him. " S he need time alone. Let her be, right now you have Icewings to attend to,” her tone, as Darkstalker noticed, was unhappy.
" Am I really thinking about myself?” Darkstalker asked his M other quietly.
“If I know you, then you don’t mean to think only about yourself. You're trying to do the right thing but for you, you need to take the path that works best for you. Son, you need to give C learsight a voice, if I follow up on what’s happening then you promised her leader ship as well from the looks of it, you haven't given it to her.”
“I- I’ll give her authority after this crisis is resolved,” Darkstalker said.
“I think there’s some Icewings you need to attend to,” His M other said spreading her wings and leaving the large library.
Darkstalker sat down and sighted dramatically. The large library seemed empty, and the dust that had stirred when Darkstalker , Clearsight and his M other had been in library started to settle. Flakes of dust landed on Darkstalker’s closed eyes. What did I do wrong? Darkstalker said straining to hear even the barest sound . “Exactly! Its only you, all you say is I, not us!” Clearsigt’s voice shouted in Darkstalker’s head. Darkstalker opened his eyes and looked around the empty library, faint orange and gold light from the broken roof lit up the grand building.
“I think there’s some Icewings you need to attend to,” his M other 's voice rung through his head. Darkstalker lifted himself up and shook off the dust off his night black scales. A spark lit a blazing idea in Darkstalker’s mind. A plan ran through his mind, maybe I can make things right, I can do what Clearsight asked me to do.
Darkstalker excitedly left the library in a hurry sending up a cloud of once settled dust. When he was at the entrance of the library, he took off creating a large storm of wind.
Darkstalker quickly made his way to the large court yard where the I cewing s were waiting. His shadow swept across the court yard causing sharp spikes of fear to emanate from the Icewing s below. Darkstalker landed at the fount of the I cewing s where they could all see him.
That monster! I'll rip his throat out myself! A furious thought from the crowd broke above the rest. Please don’t kill us, please don’t kill me another thought from the crowd; If my sister didn’t survive the battle what will happen to our dragonets?
" S ir, what should we do with the Icewings ?” a Nightwing who was watching the Icewings with a furious glint in his eye said.
" W e let them go of course,” Darkstalker said to the Nightwing evenly.
He stared at D arkstalker , mouth open. Does he understand? What they’ve done to the N ightwings ? “I don’t mean to offend you, but do you know what the I cewing s have-”
“I’m well aware of what the Icewings have done, it’s you who doesn’t understand what the Icewings have done to the Nightwings ! ” Darkstalker snapped at him.
He looked stunned and took a moment to gather his thoughts. " S orry your Majesty, do what you need to do.” he bowed deeply and hurried away.
He's even cruel to his own subjects, a thought from the I cewing s caught Darkstalker’s attention. Calmly Darkstalker took a deep breath. Who’s thought was that?
Suddenly Darkstalker’s world became grey despite one brightly colored glowing dragon in the crowed of Icewings . Bring him here. The dragon was lifted from the mass of Icewings once Darkstalker’s vision returned to normal. The Icewing opened his mouth in a silent scream, he withered in the spells grasp.
" Y ou aren’t getting out of this spell,” Darkstalker said with an ominous hint of humor. " Y ou're going be the first.”
The first? I'm going to die! I’m going to die, the I cewing thought frantically, his breathing became faster and panicked. He threw his whole body’s weight around, the spell kept him s t ill.
"O h no, quite the opposite,” Darkstalker said looking into the dark eyes of the panicked Icewing . “Release this Icewing from any spell I've put on him,” Darkstatlker enjoyed the look of shock and the confused thoughts raging around in the Icewing’s mind.
" W h... why did you do that!” the Icewing shouted as the spell holing him up let him down. His tone was one of fear, anger, confusion, relief and so much more.
"O h, I almost forgot,” Darkstalker paused for a moment returning the glare the Icewing gave Darkstalker . “ E nchant this Icewing to pass through the barrier of the N ight kingdom unscathed, but after that Icewing passed through it can’t go through the barrier again.”
“I...” the Icewing said his voice sof t ening . Suddenly he glared at Darkstalker and growled. Almost instantly he leaped at Darkstalker , claws pointed at his eyes. Shocked Darkstalker raised his wings to protect the only vulnerable part of him. The Icewing slammed into Darkstalker’s midnight black wings. When Darkstalker lowered his wings the Icewing lunged for Darkstalker again.
Have to kill him, this is every Icewing ’s goal in life; to kill this monster! The I cewing thought as Darkstalker batted him to the ground again. The I cewing quickly scrambled to his feet and gave a undragonlike hiss.
Why do the I cewing s hate me so much! Darkstalker thought angerly. “Enough!” he roared, his large voice audible throughout the castle. The I cewing startled for a moment, in that moment Darkstalker pinned him with his large talon.
“I let you live, I let you free of my spells, I also got rid of the plague destroying to Icewings ,” Darkstalker growled. " A nd how do you thank me? You attack me! I'm trying to help; I’m trying to make peace.”
" We don’t need your peace! We don’t need your help! All you do is try to kill us!” the Icewing stopped to catch his breath before one final shout. " Y OU KILLED OUR QUEEN!”
Darkstalker closed his eyes and took a deep breath. I know it isn’t the right thing to do, but sometimes I wish I could kill all the ungrateful Icewings . "Y ou think you know me, but when your enemies are the ones to tell your story, then they paint you as the bad guys. What if I told you that the Icewings of the past weren’t the way you thought of them? What if I told you that the war between the Icewings and Nightwings from two thousand years ago was started by the Icewings ?”
"W e started it to get our prince back after you Nightwings stole him!”
" WE DIDN’T STEEL HIM!” Darkstalker roared at the Icewings beneath his talon who shrunk and cowered away from him. “ M y father,” Darskalker growled. “ L oved my M other , they left together willingly.” Darkstalker looked at the Icewing again. “I’m as much Icewing as I am Nightwing .”
Darkstalker could tell that his words had impact on all Icewing . I'm not exactly one of you and I'd never want to be, but I'm as much of you as I am of your enemy. " T hink about it, and maybe tomorrow I'll try to release you again,” Darkstalker said. Enchant this Icewing to obey my every command, Darkstalker lifted his talon off the Icewing . And predictably the Icewing leapt at Darkstalker .
" S top.” the Icewing froze suddenly and fell to the ground with a painful thud. " S it with the rest of the Icewings .” the Icewing walked over to the mass of Icewings and sat down, glaring at Darkstalker the whole time.
Darkstalker glared back at the Icewing for about a minute. " That’s better,” Darkstalker said then turned to the Nightwings . "Y ou can go now, the Icewings won’t attempt to escape, they won’t even think about it.” the Nightwings bowed to Darkstalkere and took off in different directions. "A ll Icewings in the N ight kingdom must stay in this court yard and not move until I tell them so. You will not escape, and you will not think about escaping.” Darkstalker surveyed the Icewings , he walked up to the one who had attacked him minuets ago. " What’s your name?”
“ Muskox,” he growled obviously trying his hardest not to say anything.
"W ell Muskox, we’ll see each other again and next time I hope you behave better than you just did,” Darkstalker said lowering his head to look straight Muskox’s eyes. "T rust me you don’t want to fight with me.”
For the next few hours Darkstalker looked around the castle for Clearsight , he thought she might be in the library, but she wasn’t there. Darkstalker looked for her in her room, but after three hours Darkstalker considered using magic to find her, but he was sure Clearsight wouldn’t approve. Eventually he gave up . I’m sure Clearsight will find me once she’s cooled down, Darkstalker thought as he made his way to the throne room.
The throne room was dark, but that didn’t bother Darkstalker due to his night vision. The smooth marble floor was cool under Darkstalker ’s talons. Tired after the day’s battle Darkstalker laid down and closed his eyes. I can rest ... for a bit .
When Darkstalker opened his eyes, the sun was just starting to peak out from the behind the mountains. Good, I didn’t over sleep . Darkstalker thought as he slayed out his large wings and stretched his front talons out in front of him.
“Hello son. I see you’ve woken up.” a familiar male dragon voice said. Darkstalker froze, he looked around the room franticly.
" W here are you!” Darkstalker shouted.
“I didn’t know you cared,” the voice said. Darkstalker noticed the voice came from the throne. Sud den ly the air around the throne darkened and turned to a black mist which then faded to a light silver before revealing a dragon in the mist. It was Arctic of the Icewings .
Darkstalker stared at his father for a long moment, Arctic just returned a glare. “Father, you're dead,” Darkstalker finally spat out . This must be a dream or the product of a spell he cast in our time .
"Says who?” Arctic took a step closer, then another until he was in front of Darkstalker . Darkstalker realized that A r c tic was two thirds of his side. "And who are you to say?” he growled barring his teeth in a way that made even Darkstalker stiffen. "You’re a monster, you kill to get your way. you say it’s the only way and even the dragons you’re around tell you to stop; but do you?”
Darkstalker took a deep breath - which sounded like a scared hiss- to gather his thoughts. “I-”
“NO! You don’t and you never will!” Arctic hissed, the cold of his breath sending shivers down Darkstalker ’s spine.
"You’re no different!” Darkstalker burst out shooting a blast of flames at his father that Arctic dodged with astounding ease .
“I admit that I would do what you did if I had no self-restraint, but at least I'm noble enough to admit it,” Arctic said, then he took a step back and took a deep breath. "B ut I didn’t come here to scold you.”
"O h?” Darkstalker raised an eyebrow. "T hen what did you come here for? To send me to my room? To fight me? The kill me? You know how well that worked out the last time someone tried to kill me.”
"Oh yes it did. It resulted in you being imprisoned for two thousand years by your lover , the person who tried to kill you escaped unscathed and the Nightwings lost their power and home and many of them died. Maybe if that’s the outcome I'd try to kill you more often.”
“I can’t tell if that’s one of your evil jokes,” Darkstalker said sarcastically.
“I don’t have evil jokes,” Arctic growled clearly getting annoyed with his son. “I came here to talk to you, talk to you about the Icewings you have imprisoned here but more importantly something else.”
“I already know your loyalties lie with the Icewings and not the Nightwings , not Whiteout, not Mother!” Darkstalker paused growling in a low growl. " W hy would I ever trust you let alone do what you say? I know you’re going to ask me to let the Icewings go, I’ll ask why, and you won’t tell me anything!”
“How dare you!” Arctic roared. “I loved Foeslayer ! I loved your sister. But I won't lie so I say this: I hated you and I know from the moment you hatched you wanted to kill me.” Arctic glowed at Darksalker .
“I get the impression you didn’t come here to tell me that you were a good parent. I think you came here to say something else.”
“I d o , come with me.” Arctic spun around and headed down the hallway that connected the throne room to the rest of the tower. I shouldn’t follow him, it’s obviously a trap. But the inner curiosity of Darkstalker said something else. What will he show me? Maybe I'll figure out how he’s using a projection of his past self. Besides, animus magic besides my own won’t work on me.
Darkstalker reluctantly followed his father down the mirrored hallway of the N ightwing caste. I don’t remember why Vigilance had so many mirrors in the castle, it makes the castle feel crowded. Arctic seemed unfazed by the bright colors of his scales reflecting off the mirrors. Arctic led Darkstalker down the hallways and down stair cases in seemingly random directions. Darkstalker wasn’t sure how Arctic knew the castle this well, even Darkstalker didn’t know the castle as well as Arctic seemed to.
" W here are you taking me?” Darkstalker asked looking at Arctic as if he could stab Arctic with his gaze.
" S omewhere.”
Darkstalker waited for something more but it seemed that was all Arctic wanted to say. Darkstalker would've looked around in Arctic’s mind, but there were no thoughts to be heard. This only further confirmed Darkstalker ’s suspicions that the Arctic that Darkstalker was seeing was an illusion or projection.
Arctic finally stopped in front of an old looking door. The door was old and made of plain wood instead of the lavish wooded doors or marble doors that the castle normally had. Old spider webs hung from the corners around the door.
" W hy have you brought me here?” Darkstalker asked. “It’s just an old room, probably a storage closet. What a waste of my time!”
"O pen the door.” Arctic said plainly.
" W hy? Do you want me to see what’s in a storage closet?” Darkstalker shouted. Arctic just glared at Darkstalker in silence. “Fine,” Darkstalker growled. Arctic stepped to the side as Darkstalker reached out one of his large talons and opened the door.
Darkstalker recognized M oon’s voice instantly and her expression was filled with worry. “I’m having visions of a young N ightwing . A N ightwing -R ainwing hybrid who loves to pick strawberries. I don’t know who this is, but I think it’s who-”
" W hy would this help us? We don’t have time to find a Nightwing-Rainwing hybrid when Darkstalker is around,” a voice from the Icewing growled, presumably to one named Winter.
Darkstalker waited for them to notice him but they didn’t. Darkstalker looked to Arctic expecting an answer.
His father just stared at him with his scorn filled expres s ion. “I didn’t come here to show you this for questions, just watch and listen.”
Darkstalker opened his mouth ready to give a sharp retort, but Arctic gave a warning hiss that silenced Darkstalker . Growling Darkstalker looked around the room it had no windows and was lit by a small torch on the wall farthest from the door. Moon sat in front of the door the Icewing that was with them sat to the right of M oon and Qibli a colorful Rainwing was in the room Darkstalker couldn’t see who was in the shadows of the room. Whoever it was, was a Rainwing with black scales or a Nightwing ...
“I- I think this is Darkstalker ,” Moon’s voice.
What? Darkstalker recoiled at that theory. How could Moon think I could be a R ainwing N ightwing hybrid? What does M oon think I am? The first R ainwing with animus magic that chooses to pretend to be... well me!
“I know what you’re trying to say, and I think you’re partly right I can see this future but it’s quite unlikely. It's hard for me to see Darkstalker as this dragon.” Clearsight ’s voice.
“ Clearsight ?” Darkstalker whispered. No response and no thoughts. Darkstalker finally understood who the black dragon in the room was . He broke into a quiet chuckle that escalated into a roar of laughter. " T his is just a dream, you’re just a product of my imagination. And for myself to think that I was having a vision or that you were actually visiting me from the afterlife!” Darkstalker laughed as he glared at the dream version of his father.
“If I said yes , would it matter?”
" What do I care,” Darkstalker laughed as he raised his right talon. " When you killed yourself, I thought I wouldn’t get the chance to kill you with my own talons,” old rage at his father boiled in Darkstalker’s veins. " Y ou have no idea-”
"B ut yes, I do believe we have to stop Darkstalker before he destroys something, before he destroys time itself.”
Darkstalker paused and Arctic gave him a smug grin. “Looks like you have bigger things to worry about than my annoying spirit haunting your dreams.”
Darkstalker froze in shock. Why would Clearsight work against me? Why? WHY! Darkstalker thought. "Why are you making me see this?” Darkstalker growled.
“I'm not showing this to you for fun. This is a warning to stop what you’re doing and to put thing back to the way they were.” Arctic growled back .
"A nd how do you expect me to do that? If I returned Clearsight to our time she would still remember all this,” Darkstalker waved a talon around the small hall. " W hat would you want me to do? Besides everything is still the same after I brought Clearsight back so what does it matter?”
“It may not affect much here but in a land far from here it's very different than what could have been if C learsight wasn’t taken from her time.” Arctic’s cold glare seemed to stare into Darkstalker’s soul. “If you continue the path that you are on it will only lead to destruction.”
" W hy should I change my ways, for all I know all this is just a dream.” I sure hope this is a dream if not and this is a vision of Clearsight conspiring against me than I don’t know what I'll do.
"This is a warning and I hope you’ll take it... S on,” Arctic said.
The last word of Arctic's words startled Darkstalker . As Darkstalker opened his mouth to say something, anything, the world around Darkstalker spun into a color less burl.
Darkstalker jolted awake- at least he thought he was awake- his heart pounding. It was just a dream, it was just a dream, Darkstalker thought repeatedly to himself. But what if it was a vision. What if Clearsight is working against you? The more hidden part of Darkstalker’s mind thought.
Darkstalker got up quickly and grabbed a piece of paper from off his impeccably neat desk. “Enchant this piece of paper to tell me if Clearsight is working against me,” Darkstalker growled half of him dreading the answer and the other half eager to know where Clearsight’s loyalties lied. Slowly parts of the paper started to darken into the word that Darkstalker feared: Yes .