Laughs echoed acrossed the oceans’ shore, small Shadowmane kits wrestling and chasing after each other, water splashing everywhere.
The golden forest of the Shadowmane camp met its end at this small rocky beach, leading out to miles and miles of dark blue water as far as the eye could see. It was morning, and according to Orbit, they had no training today. Forest had himself sitting on a giant fallen tree, scraping his dangling claws acrossed the pebbles littering the ground. He could hear Rust nearby, and when he looked up he spotted the fluffy Deinonychus playing around with some small Shadowmanes about his size. He couldn’t see Spark anywhere, and he didn’t see Crimson either, until he turned his head and noticed her sitting alone, a bit farther away, where the forest met the beach.
“How you doing?” Spark asked from his other side. Forest screeched and topped right off the log, landing painfully on the rocks. Spark stretched her head over the log to look down at him.
“Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” She said.
“I’m fine,” He said, popping up from the ground. “What about you?”
“Mostly stressed,” Spark sighed.
“Yes,” Spark said, quicker than she needed to. “I mean, it has been two days. But I’m really just wondering what all this… Shadowmane stuff is leading to. Like, what are we gonna do, just stay here?”
Forest paused to think about that. It’d never really occurred to him whether or not they should do something about being kept in the camp. It was safe here, wasn’t it? A picture of home flashed through his head, and he looked up at Spark. “I don’t know,” he said. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“But yes, I am also worried about Nyx.” She said.
“Me too.” Forest said.
Spark met his eyes. “You like her a lot?”
Forest tried to interpret the strange tone in her voice. “She’s a really good carnivore,” He said, slowly. “I do like her. I want to be friends with her… Rust doesn’t really talk to her, Crimson hates her, as far as I know, and I’ve just been trying to— give her some comfort.”
“She must have been so overwhelmed,” Spark pondered. “So excited and lively when we first met her, but secretive. Hey, don’t look at me like that, she did hide the whole truth about the rune from us when she could have said something. That kind of tipped her vibe though, I think, judging by how quiet and tense she was after that. And then… what. She just— poof. Runs away from the problem.”
“I hope she comes back.” Forest said.
They went silent for a bit, and Spark quietly jumped up on the log to settle herself down in a scrunchy sitting position that looked a lot like a funny little dove. Forest took a moment to look around again, at all of the talking and sitting and playing Shadowmanes around him. Adults were teaching their kits to swim in the small pools, diving in and tossing their muzzles to flick the water off their faces. He looked up and saw Moonbeam coming down from the camp, where she padded right up to Crimson and asked her something. Crimson said something back, and Moonbeam sat down next to her.
He turned around to see that Rust was now laughing as a dull blue and green Shadowmane fumbled to get their claws on a grey fish, flapping wildly acrossed the rocks. Rust jumped forward to help her and nearly stumbled acrossed another Shadowmane as he grabbed it.
But then a terrified scream split acrossed the rocks, and Forest jumped and whirled around to the noise.
“Riverbed?” A female Shadowmane called. “RIVERBED?”
“He was just here,” someone yelled.
There was another panicked cry, and the Shadowmanes pivoted their heads to the shore.
“He’s in the water!” Another snarled.
Everyone was up now, alert and scanning the waves. Forest saw the tiny kit almost instantly. He was rather far out, being sucked farther and farther away no matter how much he scrambled to swim back. Forest stepped forward and hesitated, unsure of what to do.
And then there was a flash of red to Forests’ right, and in an instant, before the Shadowmanes could do anything, Crimson leapt into the waves.
Sandman looked around the swamp. It had become strangley calm lately, not nearly as vicious. A figure flittered across the moon, its shadow swimming through the shallow water below. Sandman grinned, "Ssso," it said as it looked down from its tree, "It'sss done then?" Corvi stepped out from under the shade of the trees nearby. "They're gone," she said without inflection. The titanoboa laughed and lowered itself from the tree to the ground, leering over Corvi. "Now you underssstand? I did what I did all those yearsss ago for a reason. Silvermane was fast enough, but he would never believe me." Sandman turned its head and peered at Corvi with its last eye. "So I killed him... to get to you."
"Your brothers were weak, but you were a fire, the fire to purge the Island of the weeds the blind ones were. And now look, I was right wasssn't I?" Corvi glared silently. Sandman laughed, "I wasss. Well then, go on. You didn't just come here to tell me we won. You still want revenge. I had hoped that seeing the true purpose behind my actions would kill your little grudge, but obviousssly I was wrong." Sandman lowered its body to the ground, resting its head in Corvi's feet. "I won't fight," it sighed and grinned. "I've done my job. In the end I still won." Tired of listening to the boa's endless chatter, Corvi snapped a sharp branch from a tree. As she walked back towards the boa, it hissed mockingly, "Congratulationsss. You're a hero." Its laughter was cut off as Corvi stabbed the branch into its head.
Corvi jumped back as the boa gobbled up one of her brothers. The remaining hatchlings shrieked for help. Corvi looked up to the sky. Her father had left a while ago to find food. He had to be returning soon. As if on que, a screech filled the air, and in the blink of an eye, a large silver figure dropped down on the serpent. Corvi and her siblings hopped to the edge of the nest and watched their father and the boa struggle on the ground.
I really wanted a bat- then I realized I had to go in a cave (something I’m not prepared for at all) so every time I soar by a cave I start debating if I should risk it for a bat- bu5 in the end - I’m to lazy.
One stood outside the cave. Inside there was a swell of squeaking. The Máng Nù were hungry; they had to be for this to work. She looked behind her. Her strongest tames were all here. The rexes, Mars and Mercury, and Jet the allo, all eager to avenge Venus. The wolves, all ten of them this time, Goon the yutyrannus, and even Makunga the thyla. They were all positioned there as a clean up crew. None of the onycs would be allowed to escape, all of them had to be killed to ensure the island's safety. Red shivered on her shoulders, the bat skin covering all but her face. One looked at Corvi who was ready for her cue. This was it. She stepped into the cave, stopping for a moment to let her eyes adjust to the dark.
As she walked further, the squeaking got louder. It wasn't long before she could see movement on the roof. Glowing rocks and mushrooms lit up the ceiling, revealing their squirming, restless bodies. She stepped closer and immediatly they dropped onto her. She held in a scream as they crawled on the skin draped over her head. Red froze as they sniffed and crawled over her. If they suspected for a moment that they weren't Máng Nù, they would be eaten before they got the chance to run. They were desperate for food. After what seemed like hours, the onycs were satisfied with her disguise. and flew back up to the ceiling. There were a lot here, but the heart of the colony was further back. She took a second to let her heartrate slow a little and walked further back towards the middle of the huddle.