The Legend of Spyro: Path of Delusions Book IV Chapter 7

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63 of The Legend of Spyro: Path of Delusions


Chapter 7

Cynder stopped in the air at the sight of the raising walls of the Dragon City. She wasn't really fond of it, people treated her there like an enemy, the more understanding ones as an unwelcome guest at best. Yet their hostility and mistrust didn't bother her that much, every return to Warfang she treated like another day of work in a job you don't like very much.

It sucks but you'll bare through it.

However things have changed after Boven, she could smell it from here, when you're surrounded basically daily by aggression and hate you learn to distinguish the barely noticeable, for everyone else, waves in the air.

It was no longer tiny tendrils of smoke, leaving misty trails in their wake like some kind of road along your nose can walk. Now it was a fully developed, blazing fire with heat emanating from it in pulsing, almost searing beats like from an extremely hot stove.

This oven was a huge one.

It was called Warfang.

The winged dots like small flies circling above the city's towers reminded the dragoness of her position in the people's eyes.

She's nothing more than shit to them.

Among those winged dots was the lord of the flies, a beast hidden deep within the walled, somewhat industrial land. His name was Capro.

For a brief second she heard Mole-Yair's words in her head, relived the struggles with the dragons in Boven and then remembered how Dark Spyro killed all of them. It happened all at once, flashes of snouts and incomprehensible sounds. All of it created a numbing havoc in her head.

For the sake of everyone she has to get out of here.

"Cynder? What's wrong?"

It was Spyro, it was his voice.

She was surprised that the sound didn't cause her to have a heart attack, or didn't force the air out of her lungs. She remembered all that happened between them, it was short, innocent and probably didn't mean a thing.

But...but she somehow knew, she just knew that something great happened, something clicked in the right place. The door to her fool's paradise she imagined so long ago in the Valley of Avalar had opened.

Her heart was stretched to its limits and it still kept on going, the sensation was agonizingly painful. But it was one hell of an agonizing glorious stretch.

And yet...

The sight of Warfang was a literal killjoy. A hole draining all the good that happened in her accursed life.

"Wrong?" Cynder replied, quite shocked that her voice was depraved of all emotion "Nothing's wrong"

Spyro appeared in front of her nose the moment the last word came out her throat. He examined her with his huge, worried and....somewhat crazy amethyst eyes of his.

"Are you sure?" "You look rather pale"

"I'm fine Spyro"

He vanished from her sight and started to circle her around.

"You didn't hurt yourself during the flight?"

He appeared in front of her again.

Cynder watched him quite dumbfounded by the idiotic question.

"No..."

"It's the leg, right? It has to be the leg"

"My leg is-"

Before she could finish what she tried to say Spyro dashed down, she felt his breath on her bandaged paw.

It tickled.

"Are you sure it didn't get infected? It might have"

Cynder jerked her wounded leg away, notably embarrassed by his creepily cute, intrusive attention.

"It's healing Doc. No need to worry"

He raised up again.

"What about the choker? You're wearing it around your neck all the time. Doesn't it bother you?"

Cynder furrowed her brows with a slight backward jerk of her head.

"No...it doesn't bother me"

She impulsively covered the bracelet with her paw.

"For the record, don't question a girl's jewelry. It might end badly for you"

She offered him a teasing smile.

Spyro stared at her white sharp teeth, like he wanted to drill through them and look inside her throat.

"Maybe you ate something?"

The smile was gone from her snout. She impulsively ran her tongue across her teeth.

"Your tongue!" he exclaimed right in her snout , the yell forced her to pull her head away from him.

"It changed color. Show it to me!"

Due to shock caused by his strange behavior she opened her mouth unconsciously, only when she felt her tongue sliding across the sharp daggers that were her teeth she woken up from the dazzle with a shake of her head.

The tongue returned back to her mouth with a quiet slurp.

"Listen Spyro, I appreciate the attention, it's flattering, really, but ease off the trigger there gunslinger, alright?"

He acted like he didn't listen, he started to circle around her again, his eyes sizing her up.

"I know you, something's wrong I can tell, you just don't want to tell me"

Cynder shifted nervously, feeling his gaze on her "Spyro...just..."

The open air suddenly became very tight, and irritatingly hot.

"I won't leave you like I did in Munitions Forge, I'll find whatever is bothering you and take care of it"

The dragoness wrapped her tail around her dangling hind legs and started to slide her paws along her body awkwardly as if trying to cover it with invisible sheets, just like somebody would barge in into her room and ogle her naked body.

"Stop it" she muttered bashfully "You're making me uncomfortable"

He returned in front of her snout, at first her weak protest didn't have any effect on him as he continued to look her over with addicting worry.

The longer he stared at here the lower her head went down with her body becoming smaller and smaller as she tried to curl herself into a draconic ball.

"Hey dude!" Sparx yelled "Move your butt to the city, being in the open, under the sun doesn't really help with your headache"

Cynder raised her eyes at him, not high enough to wrap the image of his whole snout but enough to get a glimpse of his eyes.

"You're ill?" she whispered shyly

"He's SICK!" the dragonfly chimed in before the dragon could answer, if he wanted to say anything at all that is. He pronounced the last word with an exaggerated seriousness in his voice. His glowing body appeared practically in between the two draconic noses.

He began to wave his hand between himself and his brother, gesturing at them both with calculated pulses of air "We're Swampers. We come from the Swamps, we're different than other people"

Cynder raised her eyebrows suspiciously, the embarrassment slowly being pushed to the side. Alertness for Sparx' lies waking up instead.

"Oh yeah?"

The dragonfly pressed his hand to his heart "Honest, did I ever lied to you?" he turned to his brother "To any of you?"

Their meaningful stares spoke volumes.

He raised his hand defensively "Don't answer that" he cleared his throat "Anyway as I was saying, as Swampers we inhaled some really disgusting fumes during our younger days. They had all sort of crap in them, that I don't even bother to name them. Let's just say that when you think about them, healthy isn't the first thing that comes to your mind"

"What?" Spyro blurt out flabbergasted "There was no such thing"

Sparx noticed a shimmer of tiredness and monotony flying across Cynder's emerald eyes. She wasn't believing in this ruse the moment he started speaking, Spyro only made the situation worse.

"Are you sure bro?" the dragonfly turned to face his brother with a meaningful glance

"Yes I'm sure"

"Bro concentrate, remember what they were teaching us about the fumes"

"I do remember and I don't recall our teachers saying anything about the fumes being toxic or anything. They were a pain when we were kids, ok, but never more than that"

Sparx cleared his throat "Are you SURE?" he put as much allusion in his tone as possible

"Of course I'm sure! The-"

"They have some long term consequences! Don't you remember?" the dragonfly cut in "Especially dragons like you are vulnerable to this as we found out later. All the lessons were about the effect they have on dragonflies. You are a dragon, you deal with this stuff differently"

Spyro frowned, eyeing his brother "What the hell are you talking about?"

Sparx threw another glance at Cynder, she was observing the scene with slight bewilderment.

"I'm talking about the chemical reaction that makes you go all crazy and do stuff that you won't normally do. They called it...umm..." he pretended to remember the name, but in fact was trying to make one up "...semufhizing"

"What? That's not even a word!"

"Hey!" Sparx exclaimed with fake indignity "It's not like I made this just up! Blame the eggheads. Whatever, point is that it's an illness and you're sick with it"

"I'm not ill" the drake protested confidently

The dragonfly folded his arms on his chest "Yeah? Does the name LOVEptospirosis mean anything to you?" he made sure to put enough emphasis on the word love

It worked, his brother's eyes widened in horror and every notion of arguing his point died deep within his throat. He definitely got the hint this time.

"Or wait!" Sparx scratched his chin thoughtfully "I got it wrong, maybe it was called genLOVElleosis?

Spyro swallowed hard, his terrified eyes kept jumping from Cynder to Sparx and back.

The dragoness observed the scene with her head cocked to the side.

"Nothing? Damn, I got the name wrong again. How about diphLOVEria?"

"I-"

"No? Then maybe it was tuLOVEremia?"

The drake gulped again, beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.

"PertuLOVEssis?"

Spyro backed away slowly, throwing a quick glance at the city far ahead.

"LOVEprosy?"

"I...I...need...to..." he rubbed his forehead hectically

"BruLOVElossis?"

"The SUN!" the dragon shouted loudly, releasing all the boiling horror in his voice and gaining the attention of the one dragoness he didn't want to attract at this time.

He chuckled nervously seeing her shocked stare. He pointed one of his claw's up, towards the clouds above, smiling idiotically.

"It's all because of it, when...when I work hard and spend too much time in the air...I....I...do all sorts of creepy stuff...and the like"

He cackled nervously once more and began to scratch his neck fervently "So....." his eyes shifted towards Warfang, its walls were suddenly extremely alluring

"I really need to get there" Spyro started to shift his body towards the direction of the Dragon City. I really, really need to get there...be...before this gets any worse"

He licked his lips, they were painfully dry. His amethyst orbs once more moved towards the city, for him it felt like he was flying towards its walls for ages and yet Warfang wasn't any closer than before.

Spyro wanted to buy more time, spit something, anything, it didn't have to make sense, he just had to start talking. However he was out of breath, it was like his voice forgot how to articulate words. Panic clouded the last bits of sane judgment that were left.

"See ya there!" the dragon yelled and darted towards the city, he was gone in seconds, he shot towards Warfang so fast that the two companions that stayed behind could see trail of smoke left by his wings as he sped towards the Dragon City. Like in some sort of cartoon.

Both of them stared at the shrinking form of the purple dragon with their mouths hanging open.

"Well..." Sparx huffed "...seems like my bro lost some pounds"

"What just happened?" Cynder uttered in confusion

"You don't want to go that way, believe me"

"I never seen him acting so weird"

The dragonfly shrugged indifferently "We all have our own crazy, and my bro...you've seen for yourself. He has problems dealing with new stuff"

The dragoness frowned "What do you mean bynew stuff? And don't tell me about some strange illness because I don't believe he's sick"

Sparx smirked "Oh, but he is and so are you"

Cynder furrowed her brows "What's that supposed to mean?"

"You know" he sung out endearingly

"No" she replied confidently and with all honesty "I do not"

Sparx grinned "Whatever you say"

She frowned "Between you and Spyro, at least I can find a name for your craziness. You're delusional"

The dragonfly shrugged "Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm the only one that can show Spyro around through his crazy state"

"Which is...?"

Sparx waved his hand dismissively "Don't you worry, he has his more intelligent brother to show him the ropes"

Cynder's eyes widened in a fake surprise "You have a third brother? How come I never met him?"

Sparx folded his arms indignantly "Very funny smartass"

"Seriously, I would really like to meet this intelligent brother. A change would be nice, you grew quite boring lately"

"Shut up" he blurt out sternly

Cynder snorted in amusement.

"Laugh all you want, it changes nothing. I'm still my bro's voice of reason when facing the unknown"

"The same voice of reason that told him that kissing a wet brush is just like kissing a girl?"

Sparx grinned "He told you about that? Oh man" his eyes clouded a fog of yearning "Those were the times. Regret that you didn't see it, he was so into it" he laughed at the memory "I should mention that this was a brush that our mother used to clean the house, when you live in the Swamps much dirt and the like gets inside, it's really hard to get rid of it. The brush managed somehow, but after some time it got so dirty that Mom just couldn't clean it, some muck always stayed on the bristles"

Cynder's smile started to grow wider, she has never seen Sparx acting like that, but it didn't matter right now. His joy was addicting, she didn't even knew when she started to giggle, listening to his merry narration.

Another dose of laughter escaped his throat "It all changed when Spyro sucked to it, he really believed that this was great practice before the real thing. And the sounds! You should have heard the sounds he was making! Wild animals don't smack and slurp so loud!"

By now the dragoness was laughing with him.

He laughed hysterically "When he was finally done, and it took quite a while, the brush was SPARKLING! It's been in our house for weeks and Spyro managed to make it shine! I swear you could take it to the market and sell it as a brand new product. After some one on one with my bro nobody would tell the difference"

Another dose of laughter filled the air, a mix of female and male tone like dancing partners of completely different styles and yet when joined together they make something special, something nobody would believe they were capable of. The dancing partners included.

But damn it felt right.

Cynder managed to regain some composure after a while of almost choking laughter that ravaged her lungs and vocal cords.

She directed her shimmering with tears emerald eyes at the glowing dragonfly who by some indescribable instinct met her gaze in the same bashful manner she did his. This was the true Sparx without the mask of wit and sarcasm he's constantly wearing.

Such an unusual sight.

It was obvious that he misses the naïve Spyro from their younger days when he believed everything the dragonfly told him, there's no surprise there, everyone misses something. That's how THE memory lane is created so you can take a trip down its non-existing tracks. For better or worse.

The strange thing was that he opened up to her, her, the evil chick. Of course she knew that time changed his opinion about her, she saw all that when they returned to Warfang after defeating Malefor, he didn't really bother to hide it anyway.

They became friends and they didn't deny it.

However that doesn't change that he, deliberately or not, let her in into his personal space so to speak, a space where even his draconic brother is a rare, and most likely sole, visitor. When the door opened she walked right through their doorstep, not hesitating even for a bit and thinking about what she finds there, or the consequences of such action. Nothing of that mattered, because...because...

It felt damn right.

In any other situation she would try to exploit the gap Sparx left in his defense. The opportunity was perfect to throw an innocent tease here and there to rile him up a little. However such a thing didn't even cross her mind.

Partially because the story Sparx related concerned the only dragon she has any romantic feelings for and out of curiosity of a secret lover she just had to learn everything she could about Spyro. No matter how stupid it was.

The other reason had nothing to do with Spyro, it was strictly connected with this odd sensation of acceptance, just like someone would invite you to a circle where the most important gather and whisper, a circle you never expected to find yourself in, but couldn't just walk away when the opportunity to join presented itself.

The two brothers were a part of such circle, but they weren't the only ones forming it, their mother and father also belonged to it. Sparx deliberately or not opened the door for her, she knew that, she could feel that.

And so did he.

The broad merry grin vanished from Sparx' face when their gazes clashed with each other. The smile was replaced by an awkward grimace of sudden, unwelcome enlightenment. A sign that he carried himself away.

"What I'm trying to say..." the dragonfly cleared his throat "..you like my bro?" he asked with a defeated shrug

The question caught Cynder unaware "Happens sometimes" she announced with that hint of sarcastic mischief whenever she dealt with Sparx

"If you want it to stay that way you'll need to pretend that nothing happened. Ignore the crazy"

"I don't understand any of this"

Sparx shrugged "You don't have to, now let's get to the city. Using my brain cells on you feels like such a waste"

"Ok" Cynder replied with a smirk and instantly dashed forward towards Warfang's walls

From behind her Sparx cleared his throat audibly.

The dragoness turned towards him with an endearing smile "What's wrong? Aww, wasted too many brain cells to keep up with me?"

The dragonfly snorted "I still have plenty left"

She smirked "Good for you, let's see if they make you fly faster" with that she renewed her flight towards the city

"Crap" Sparx sighed tiredly

*

Spyro arrived in Warfang way before his brother and Cynder finished their little banter. He landed in front of the main and only gate, directly in the middle of the marble circle, the one with a pair of draconic wings carved on its stony surface. The green patches of grass growing on its edges were like borders of a stage and the circle that he was currently occupying the spotlight. The image was misgiving, but it wasn't that bad.

Much worse was the sensation that the stage was unending and the spotlight eternal.

The massive gate behind him was opened, split in half, two separate sides were pressed to opposite walls of the city. Yet even from there he felt two artificial eyes leering at him from the fabricated dragon's head that served as the main solution of reinforcing the gate during a siege.

Judging from the itchy scraping at the back of his head, Spyro sensed that the cold draconic snout reinforced something entirely different than the gate. As he looked around he saw people looking his way, their stares were empty and bleak like by some unexplained means the head reinforced their souls, making them solid as a rock. It was clear that they were prepared for a different kind of siege and it had nothing to do with the apes, golems or anything else banging at the city walls.

There was hostility hanging in the air, the smell of it was so thick that if he would extended his paw and clench it he would surely feel it pulsing against his scales.

No one approached him, no one wanted to know how it go, if he's alright or if the danger is gone. People were walking all around him, circling him, but keeping their distance, as if the ground where he was standing was radiating some kind of poison, which would affect them if they got to close.

Just like it affected him.

He was sick to them.

That realization made Spyro's heart bleed, they were looking at him like he was some kind of victim, a casualty of war. He impulsively began to scratch his neck, exactly in the place where the magical chain bonding him with Cynder was, exactly in the place where, not so long ago, they both agreed for it to become their invisible shackles.

He looked behind his shoulder, way past Warfang's walls, looked at the sky where in the distance he saw a black dot approaching the city. He realized that if people knew what happened they would say that he made a deal with the devil, maybe even some of them sensed the change, maybe they knew that for him there is no turning back now.

They sealed the deal with a kiss.

If she would be truly the devil he wouldn't care. If it was up to him, he would sell his soul all over again.

Minutes passed and some people started to look differently at him, there was a glimmer of hope in some of those eyes. For those couple inhabitants the imagined poisonous barrier that surrounded him was dispersing. They started to make their way towards him, in that moment he was once again the untainted hero that saved countless lives in their eyes.

"What's the hold up?"

It all changed when Cynder's cheerful voice echoed in the air and her feminine black paws touched the ground gracefully just next to him.

The approaching people jumped back with startled gasps. Spyro could swear that he heard hissing when they backed away from the two of them, just like monsters afraid of the ominous glow emanating from his friend's black scales

"Someone's happy to see us" Cynder commented sarcastically, already aware of the mood polluting the air

Between a couple of stalls with flowers on them the dragoness spotted a female cheetah observing her intently.

"Hi!" Cynder waved at the feline

The cheetah snarled rabidly.

"Whoa" the dragoness blurt out with a jerk of her head "I think that my bladder just gave away"

"I don't like this" Spyro muttered anxiously "Something changed"

The serious tone of his voice killed whatever notion of trying to deal with this situation with some dose of pitiful humor. Of course something changed, she knew that even before they left the village behind. It just had to change.

"If you care about the people you are with, you will go your own way"

She has to get out of here.

"Let's go" Spyro urged

"Aren't you forgetting about someone?"

The purple dragon frowned as he looked at his friend, at first not knowing what she is talking about but then realized that their little group lacks that specific yellow glow.

He began scanning the surrounding area. There was no sign of his brother.

"Where is Sparx?"

Cynder grinned "His ride ditched him"

Spyro looked in the direction from which they came, a glowing yellowish orb was quickly approaching them.

"He isn't a big fan of long trips without something he could rest on"

She pressed her paw to her chest with a fake worried and regretful gasp.

"That poor thing! I had no idea"

The dragon shook his head.

"You treacherous poor excuse of a dragon!"

Cynder giggled menacingly at the sound of the angry, almost choking yelling.

Sparx joined the two of them, panting heavily.

"So...how was the flight?" the dragoness asked playfully

"You're in...some big...trouble missy"

He rasped and unconsciously looked around, driven by that peculiar feeling that he is being watched. His gut was right, people were gaping at them. Of course they have to stare, they are looking at their heroes, destroyers of evil. Their return only meant one thing, they were victorious.

"Hello world!" Sparx exclaimed with renewed vigor while raising in the air so everyone could see him and from where he could see them.

The smile that rose on his face with the joyful shout vanished the moment he locked eyes with one of the inhabitants. He began to turn around, practically everyone was looking at him, at her, the same way. He was certain that the only thing holding them back from throwing themselves at Cynder with pitchforks and torches is Spyro.

"You're in...some big...trouble missy" he muttered to himself

"Alright guys, I don't how about you but I want to get out of the streets" Spyro chimed in "Let's go"

Cynder followed him without a word.

"You guys go. I have something to do, I'll catch up to you later"

Both dragons threw the dragonfly surprised glances.

"YOU have something else to do?" the dragoness asked in disbelief

Sparx folded his arms while narrowing her eyes on her "Yeah I do, but I'm beginning to have my doubts about this, it might not be worth the effort"

"What is it?"

"A secret" the dragonfly smirked

"Come on, you're making this up. Spyro is just over here, we all know that-"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever" the dragonfly cut the dragoness off with a bored mumble "You have your job, I have mine. End. See you later" and with that he flew away

Both drakes observed the shrinking glowing dot that was Spyro's brother.

"Did I just offended him?" Cynder muttered with palpable surprise and a bit of regret in her voice

"No" Spyro comforted her, yet his voice was filled with uncertainty "I mean...I don't think so. You know Sparx, he can be weird sometimes"

They renewed their walk, heading to the only place where they could find some understanding

"Any idea what this work of his is about?"

The purple dragon shrugged.

"No clue"

They made their way through the rest of the street and towards the stairs to the higher levels of the city in silence. Not because they didn't have anything to talk about, they didn't talk because their heads were wrapped in something else.

They didn't talk because impulsively their instincts kicked in, they were struck by the feeling of misgiving and itching nervousness, just like they would be passing through enemy territory.

In one of the alleys Spyro spotted a dragon and cheetah staring at them with four murderous eyes. In truth they were gawking at only one of them, but for the purple drake it didn't matter, if they have something against Cynder they have something against him.

By the look of it, they had more than one issue.

On closer inspection Spyro spotted tiny tendrils of flame wafting from the dragon's nostrils. The feline's body language so to speak showed the same signs of hostility. He was turning a stone between his fingers, every now and then he clenched his claws around it as if wanting to hurl it at them, but never made the move. The stone always renewed its dance between the cat's fingers.

Unknowingly Spyro sped up their walk almost to the point of a small scamper. Cynder followed in his wake, not caring that her leg is wounded, not caring that she limped the whole time. She just wanted to get out of here.

As they climbed the stairs instinctively they feared that soon everything will go to hell, the enemy will gather at the top and greet them on the next level with spears and magic ready to throw in their snouts.

They reached the top and were greeted only by the sound of splashing water coming from the fountain in the shape of a coiled dragon. Even the peculiar serenity of the flowing water wasn't enough, they were still on edge. They exhaled the nervousness when they noticed that there is someone familiar sitting by the fountain. Two cheetahs, one older and one much younger and yet they knew both of them

Amela's ears perked up at the sight of the two young dragons. Her trained eye and nose momentarily located the poorly bandaged leg of the dragoness.

"Sweetheart, you too!?" the feline exclaimed and instantly sprang on her legs from the cold surface of the fountain. The sound of her joints cracking pierced the air like little thunder. She didn't seem to be care since she instantly dashed towards the dragoness, as fast as her old legs could carry her.

Cynder observed the cheetah dropping on her knees in front of her with wide eyes.

"Amela it's good, you don't have to-"

The cheetah jerked the injured leg up forcing a painful hiss from the young female.

"If it would be good I doubt I would hear that hiss" the feline started unwrapping the pitiful bandage carefully

"How are you darling?" Amela asked without interrupting her work

Even if she didn't look at him Spyro knew that the question was addressed to him.

"Only tired"

"Words fail to describe how glad I am to see you both alive"

Hunter stood up from his sitting spot that was the stony hind leg of the artificial dragon and bowed to them respectfully when they set their eyes on him.

Spyro who recently inspected injuries and played a doctor instantly noticed that one of the feline's arms was covered in dressing.

"What happened?"

The cheetah followed the young dragon's gaze and looked at his bandaged arm. He winced at the sight of it as if it was the most embarrassing thing in the world and instantly hid it behind his back. He scratched his chest nervously with his other hand.

"Nothing of much importance, delicate injuries are the fate of every scout"

He smiled.

"Those are bite marks!" Amela exclaimed in horror when the last twig holding the bloody leaves dropped on the ground

"Made by draconic teeth no less!" she gently turned the wounded leg around

Cynder smiled precariously "It's nothing"

"Oh no" the cheetah blurt out and swiftly pressed her forefinger to the girl's mouth, making Cynder's eyes go wide inspection surprise

"I don't want to hear any of this! I can recognize a dragon's work when I see one. Whatever golems you were fighting can't make such a wound so don't say that it's nothing"

Spyro frowned "How do you know about this?"

Amela pointed an accusing finger at Hunter "First he comes back with his arm ruined by your new feathery friend and now this!"

Cynder raised her gaze at Hunter, she immediately knew who this new feathery friend is. Anger heated her blood when she remembered that stupid snout.

"Iris did this to you? I'm going to kill that..." she swallowed, not really sure why she held back the only word that perfectly described that feathery slut. It just felt inappropriate.

"She acts like attacking people is a normal thing. Who the hell she think she is?"

The healer rubbed her forehead.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have say anything, its just that so much has happened lately, too much for old me to handle calmly"

She sighed sadly.

"Your leg Sweetheart is a perfect example how this world is wrong. Whoever bit you almost torn your paw off"

"It's not that bad. I'll pop a gem and I'll be as new"

After that both females began politely arguing what is bad and what is not, what is good for Cynder's health and what is not. Spyro lost interest, not because he had better things to do but because he knew that the worst is over and the care for Cynder's health fell on more experienced shoulders.

"How much do the people know?" Spyro asked straightforwardly and sat next to the feline scout

Hunter rested his bones once more on the cold surface of the artificial dragon. The cooling aura of the splashing water quenched the burning and itching of his flesh underneath the dressing.

"More than any of us would wish for"

"I felt something wasn't right, I usually had crowd of people on me whenever I got back to Warfang"

He sighed sadly, remembering the massacre in Boven and the bunch of dragons that escaped from his dark claws

"Should have expected it"

"There's only so much you can do my friend"

"That's the whole point, I didn't do anything, that portal is still open. I only got people killed"

He aimed his radiating with depression eyes on Cynder.

"And risked the life of my loved ones"

One of the cheetah's ears perked up, with calculating gaze of a scout he examined the dragon's eyes. There was hurt and depression shimmering from them, yet at the same time they had that specific dreamy touch that sometimes occur when you drift off into your own imagined world.

Hunter smiled, everything was clear to him, same thing couldn't be said about his purple friend, he was unaware that perhaps he jus betrayed his most valuable secret. The cheetah didn't even think about mentioning that to him. He just smiled.

At least something is going as it should be. He still has to find someone more deserving happiness than those two.

"How bad is it?"

His blue eyes fixed themselves on Cynder at the sound of the dragon's voice. She was smiling, a remnant from an earlier laugh. He was enthralled by the picture, it reminded him how unjust the world can be.

"The words I heard are far from being optimistic. Golems and portals are one thing, they're troubling, but in my modest opinion stories about a dark powerful dragon creature are far more concerning"

Spyro fidgeted uneasily.

It didn't escape Hunter's attention.

"You cannot allow your emotions take hold of you my friend. You let truth slip through the cracks, an experienced eye will have no troubles discerning the signs"

Spyro looked at the cheetah with scared and alarmed eyes, he was intelligent enough to know when to read between the lines.

"Cynder has nothing to do with this. All the consequences are on me"

Hunter raised his palm defensively.

"Creatures like me are below you, I'm in no place to judge you and give advice. My sincere apologies"

" What? You're a scout and a good friend. We're equals. No, not equals, your better than me, I'm a stupid dragon who betrays secrets and can't see the obvious. I need your advice, help me please"

Hunter nodded with a smile, politeness demanded to acknowledge the drake's modesty. The truth about who is more important to this world he decided to keep for himself.

"I've grown up in a village full of traditionalists, following the path tread by our Ancestors. In a life like this a certain pattern has to be followed, if you step out of it, you will get lost. Perhaps it's the order of things, some are meant to see behind the curtain, others aren't"

"A similar pattern of life was forced upon Warfang's people. The city was born in times of war, people learned that the world isn't safe, that there is always someone out there that wants to ruin everything. They were taught that there is always an enemy responsible for their misfortunes"

"This is their tradition"

Hunter looked at Cynder, remorse glimmered in his eyes.

"Sadly the road from enemy to scapegoat is a short one"

Spyro shook his head.

"This is so stupid"

"From our point of view maybe, others might see this differently. For some this might be a window, desperation and sorrow are easily bend underneath the right touch"

The dragon's eyes flared up with raw fury.

"Brill. I swear if he tries anything I will-"

Hunter put his hand on the dragon's tensed shoulder.

Spyro understood, he let go off his anger with a loud sigh.

"A well placed word from the shadow is just as dangerous as open accusation"

"Perfect, more trouble, that's what we need right now"

Spyro rubbed his forehead wearily.

"Ok, keep cool and we get through this. Don't do anything rash and extremely stupid and you'll be alright. Did I get that right?"

Hunter nodded.

"Is there anything else that I should know of?"

"There was an explosion recently"

Spyro frowned "Explosion?"

"An entire house was turned to rubble, two mole families dead in total. Badly secured explosive materials most likely were the cause of this disaster"

"By the Ancestors" the drake shook his head in disbelief "Moles and unsecured explosive materials. I can't simply believe it"

The scout nodded gloomily.

"I share the same doubts"

Spyro scratched the ground with his claw anxiously "I just hope that this was some terrible accident and not some disgusting way to infuriate people even more. If this is some kind of game for someone we're in so much trouble"

Game.

Hunter rubbed the side of his neck, feeling a pair of imagined holes beneath his fingers.

"We all are my friend. We all are"