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A dark form lurked amongst the humungous boulders, crouched to spring. Its yellow, normally slitted eyes were now dilated for maximum visibility in the dark, moonless night. The only illumination came from a few weak stars. The formless shape shifted uncomfortably. It had been waiting for too long...The target had to be here by now...And then its silver, feathered ears shot straight up. Was that a rustling? Or just the wind...? But then the creature heard it again. "For sure this time," it growled to itself, crouching to spring. "It won’t get away from me ever again." Just as the silhouette of a human man appeared, the silver-feathered monster sprung. Its lean, winged body shot into the air, foot-long claws gouging the boulders on which it rested.It spread its large, feathered reddish wings to help it stay in the air. With a screech of triumph, the creature tackled the man, holding him to the ground like a mere sheet of paper. The man was too surprised to draw his sword or run, so the beast, who was, of course, SilverShard, THE SilverShard, grabbed him in its huge claws and sprung off the ground with its powerful lion’s hindquarters, flying to its cave. The Silver Griffen had found its prey.
I stalked silently through the Hungral Forest, close to my home, in the Neplum Crater. My dragon, FireSides, was hunting with me. FireSides was young, about as tall as me at the shoulder with a fairly long neck, reddish-brown scales, and claws at least six inches long. He had yellow eyes and vibrantly green wings. FireSides could breathe red fire, and he was about the size of an elephant, not including his wings, neck, and tail. FireSides was intelligent and witty, even more so then most dragons. He had a comfortable “leather pulling harness” around his chest and shoulders, and attached to that was a small, heavy wooden cart on Krystal wheels.
Anyway, I was hunting for something to sell in the black market. Anything would be fine, really, a crystal, a fat, juicy Edu Bird, or even a saber-toothed squirrel-dog. so far I had been lucky, managing to shoot a black and purple-speckled FuzzFurr just as it was at the high point of puffing up. (A FuzzFurr is about the size of a loaf of bread, with tight fitting skin and buck teeth. When it senses a threat, however, the small creature would puff up until it was about the size of a small dragon...or a large elephant. The pelt was beautifully thick and full at this point.) I tied the FuzzFurr skin to the wooden cart. After this, we had about enough room left in the cart for a watermelon (or a medium-sized dragon-egg). I clicked my tongue to FireSides, and he turned around, heading back to the city in the Neplum crater, The Black Market, and my Home.
"I’ve gotta head back to Neplum Crater," Thought the griffen, SilverShard. "That’s where the black market is...and the power Krystals. That double-crossing Goldie has hoodwinked me for the last time..."He padded silently over the tops of the tallest of the Monstezop Cliffs, overlooking the Hungral forest and the Neplum Crater. The wind picked up, and he had to squint to make out the signs of civilization in the Crater. He scanned the Neplum Crater, and finally the "abandoned" old building that was the black market. With a screech of triumph, SilverShard flung himself off the edge of the highest cliff. He spread his great red wings and began his long flight to Neplum.
I sat on a saddle on FireSides’s head, bow in hand, surveying the forest around us for any telltale sign of danger. So far, our journey had been uneventful, but one could never bee too careful. All I had seen was a pair of Saber-Toothed Squirrel Dogs, and that was not at all out of the ordinary. Suddenly, I felt the presence of FireSides in my head. This, too, was normal. Dragons and their Riders shared a telepathic bond.
“We have had a good haul today, have we not?” Purred FireSides smoothly. His voice flowed like silk through my mind: calm, cool, and assured.
“Of course, FireSides,” I replied gently. “If this FuzzFurr pelt sells for more then fifteen galleons, We’ll be able to buy ourselves a few mugs of ButterBeer.”
FireSides gave a short, dark grunt, “If the Government has suddenly become non-corrupt, which I do not think it has, then we can buy some ButterBeer...that is not dragon-blood flavored.”
His words rang with truth as they slid through my brain. Our government had become overrun with Dark Riders in these past few years, and they were milking the land for all it was worth. They were organizing “amusing” fights for their pleasure, and randomly kidnapping people and creatures at sword-tip use in their experiments.
“I suppose you’re right, once again,” I whispered sadly into his vast brain, and Firesides gave an audible sigh as he severed our telepathic connection.
SilverShard soared high above the Hungral Forest. His icy breath created frost crystals on his nostrils as he flew. As he glided, he saw a flock of Edu Birds, slightly below him, headed his way. Without any warning, the silver he-griffin tucked his wings into a power dive and snatched five Edu Birds. He got four of the plump, fatty, 12-pound, rainbow birds in his front and back talons, and one in his razor-edged beak. The Edu Birds were each about the size and shape of what 2nd dimentioners would call a “Turkey.” SilverShard sliced their necks quickly, to avoid gamey, tense meat, and ate them at his leisure in the air. The neon blue and red feathers formed a colorful cloud behind him.
“This is what I’ll do to that terrible Golden Griffen,” He growled to himself as he brutally ripped a leg off of an Edu and stuffed it into his beak, crunching noisily.
TO BE CONTINUED