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7 Secre7s

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Two years after Darkstalker is defeated by the Jade Winglet:

Peacemaker was on a mission. So were two of his best friends in Phyrria, but he suspected that he was most enthusiastic about it. They didn't like strawberries as much as he did, after all. But where strawberries are, so are dragonfruit and kiwis. So, one could say that all three dragonets had their own personal motivation. The dragonfruit for Kiwi, and the kiwi for Void. Ironically.

"Peacemaker, if you don't stop marching as though you're about to save the world or something, I will personally smash every mango next to me down your throat and force you to swallow." Void was obviously resenting the fact that they had permission to go fruit-hunting, and that there was a very low risk of injury in any way. But that was just Void. Rude, creative with her threats and insults, and possibly the most reckless dragonet Peacemaker knew. If life were a story, she would have been the brooding antihero.

"Well. Honestly Void, I thought you figured that out already!" Chided Kiwi. "We..." he announced dramatically, "are saving the world from a fruit shortage!"

Void stared at her two best friends with her weird green eyes, then snorted and flew off into a tree, the black-and-silver tiger-like stripes on her wings and back shining like the moon on a clear night. Looking down at the two younger dragonets in a superior way, she said, "Come on. Let's get this over with." and swooped off into the jungle.

Grinning at Kiwi, Peacemaker rolled his eyes and asked, "Shall we?"

In a mock pompous voice, the currently green-and-gold Rainwing turned up his nose and said, "Of course, my good dragon. The fruit awaits!" and both swept off together in perfect unison. It was an acquired skill, that came from having to fly in sync to carry Void whenever she got too hurt to fly, or ate too many smokeberries or did something else weird or stupid. Both Peacemaker and Kiwi tried to convince her not to do those weird and/or stupid things, that it only made the rest of the two tribes' opinions of her, the odd-looking dragonet that looked like a cross between a jungle cat and a Nightwing, worse.

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Three dragonets, two black and one green, flew into the area between the Rainwing treehouses and the Nightwing village, which was their usual rendezvous point, and were surprised to find what looked like almost all of the dragons from both tribes gathered there, talking excitedly among each other. Spotting his mother, Hope, standing next to Void's adoptive parents, Orchid and Mangrove, along with Moonwatcher and Secretkeeper near the front of the crowd, Peacemaker readjusted his leaf-bag of strawberries and called to the others to follow him. They did, with some grumbling on Void's part, and landed next to their parents.

"Where were you? You almost missed Queen Glory's announcement!" Hope cried, smoothing down her son's spikes and untying the bag of strawberries around his shoulders and putting it on the ground next to her. "Honestly, you wouldn't want to miss finding out who is going to Jade Mountain this year!"

Tuning in, Peacemaker turned and looked to the raised platform at the Queen and her bodyguard Deathbringer.

"There are two new winglets at Jade Mountain Academy this year. This means that four lucky dragonets from my kingdom will join, two Nightwings and two Rainwings." Queen Glory was saying. "In the Quartz Winglet, we have Bee and Earthshaker ." A red, orange, and yellow female Rainwing and a stocky male Nightwing with golden eyes and a single spot of iridescent golden scales on his chest across the clearing from Peacemaker both were bowled over by exited parents and friends of theirs, and Queen Glory paused for a moment to allow the excitement to die down.

When the noise lessened, she announced: "In the Obsidian Winglet, we will have..."

The entire situation suddenly put its whole weight onto Peacemaker. There were only two spots, and there were three of them. From the suddenly shocked expression on Kiwi's face, and the silently resigned look on Void's he could tell that the same realization had shown itself to them as well.

"Kiwi." Kiwi jumped slightly, then his face lit up in a smile. Peacemaker knew that he had always wanted to meet the rest of the tribes.

"And.." Void and Peacemaker's eyes met for a moment, and Peacemaker could see that she had given up hope. They were still looking at each other when Queen Glory finished her announcement with "Peacemaker." Void's eyes dimmed, the way they always did when she was disappointed. But she smiled, and nodded at Peacemaker in a way that implied that she was glad for him. Still, he felt that he had taken a chance away from his best friend. Clearing her throat to silence the chattering crowd, Queen Glory said, "Congratulations, all four of you. The year starts in three days, counting the exploring day for any first years." then turned away and flew off into the forest, Deathbringer taking off after her.

The jungle exploded with the voices of friends and relatives congratulating the new students and their parents, words of condolences to the former hopefuls who hadn't been chosen and would be going back to their normal schools. Peacemaker was searching the crowd for Moon to ask her what in Phyrria was an exploring day and did it, by any chance have anything to do with strawberries when he was knocked to the ground by a bright gold, yellow, and green Kiwi. Who promptly started bouncing up and down and changing colors like a firework display.

He was joined by Void, who, if she had been a Rainwing, would probably have been pale blue at the moment. "Ey, good job, both of you." She said good-naturedly. "I should thank you."

"Huh?" Asked Kiwi, pausing his bouncing. "Why?"

Swiping her wing at the two of them, she teased, "I won't have to put up with you two. Obviously." She sounded lighthearted enough, but the currently very faint glow of her eyes was a dead giveaway of her true mood. Whenever she was truly happy or mischievous, they were like green flames.

"Um, Void?" Asked Peacemaker. "Are you okay?"

Suddenly defensive, she glared at him. "Why would I not be?" she snapped. "Everything's great! You're going to Jade Mountain, we have lots of fruit, and you'll be out of my scales for once! So, everything's great." When Kiwi, who had been listening in, opened his mouth to protest, she said, quietly so that none of their parents could hear, "Don't tell Orchid and Mangrove, but I didn't actually send that letter to the Queen and JMA anyway."

"What?!" whisper-yelled Kiwi and Peacemaker in unison, identical looks of shock on their faces, and, in Kiwi's case, acid green stripes.

"Void-"

"You wanted to!"

"Sure I did, but it was impossible for me to get in anyway."

"That's not true!" Gasped Kiwi. "Hybrids are allowed! Princess Sunny herself is one. It wouldn't make sense for them not to be allowed in her own school!"

"That's the thing. I don't think I'm a hybrid at all." sighed Void. "I mean, what tribes can you think of that can breathe fire, can see in the dark, can hiss acidic smoke, and look like cats?"

"I can think of several for all of them except the cat bit." deadpanned Peacemaker.

"Yeah, but what combination of dragons can end up looking like this?"
said Void, pawing at one ear, which was large and triangular with pale silver tips, yet another part of her that was unusually catlike. "The answer is almost none."

"So, what else?" quizzed Kiwi. "Moon says that the Lost Continent's tribes all either have four wings or look like leaves." Squinting at Void, he smiled, and whispered "You don't look much like a leaf to me, to be completely honest."

"Ha! I'm glad to hear that." Laughed Void, smiling for real this time. "But what if there is a third continent? A continent with dragons like me? Or some islands? Or- or a secret tribe here on Phyrria! Or-"

"Void."  Sighed Peacemaker, for once being exasperated by her and not the other way around.

"Right, sorry, but-"

"Void! It's time for your class. Come on!" Shouted Orchid, beckoning with one of her shimmering wings. The class in question was an anger management course of sorts, that also dealt with recklessness and post-traumatic stress.

Void attended mostly because (a) of her recklessness and slight anger issues, and (b) because she had to. Sighing, she half flew, half stomped off, waving her tail as a goodbye at Peacemaker.

"Odd, isn't she?" Commented a voice that sounded suspiciously like Kiwi. "Nice, but still kinda weird." Yep, definitely Kiwi. "And also kinda cute."

Peacemaker stared at the suddenly appearing pale pink Rainwing, whose yellow-green eyes were wide. "Oh, moons, did I actually say that out loud."

"That you did!" Laughed Peacemaker.

"You won't, like, uh, tell her, right?"

"My snout is sealed."

"Oh, good." Said Kiwi, looking relieved.

Changing the subject, Peacemaker and Kiwi walked off to congratulate Bee and Earthshaker.