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Her Elemental Dragons: Shake the Earth: Chapter 10

KIRA

The river was wide and flowing fast, and farther down it something large flailed about in the water as if drowning. I couldn’t make out what it was—an animal or a big man perhaps—but it seemed to be fighting against a rock, or perhaps holding onto it. No, I realized as it drew closer, the thing splashing about was the rock.

“It’s an elemental!” Auric said with a gasp.

Jasin immediately summoned fire into his palms. The only way to stop elementals was with magic—we’d learned that when a group of water ones had attacked our boat while we were at sea. But this elemental didn’t appear to be attacking us—it seemed to be in trouble.

“It’s small for a rock elemental,” Slade said.

As its stony head burst above the water and tried to drag in a breath, I realized why it was so small. I dashed toward the river, leaving the others no choice but to follow. “It’s a child!”

“What are you doing?” Jasin asked, as he trampled through the brush behind me.

“We have to save it!” I called over my shoulder. The small elemental was clearly drowning, it’s body too heavy and dense for it to stay afloat. It must have fallen in the river, and there didn’t seem to be any other elementals around to rescue it. If we didn’t help, it would die.

We reached the edge of the river where the elemental struggled against the current. My mates spread out around me, still wary, while I tried to figure out a rescue plan.

“This isn’t safe,” Slade muttered.

Auric nodded. “If there’s one elemental here, there must be others nearby.”

“For all we know this is a trap,” Reven said, crossing his arms.

“I don’t care. We have to help it.” I knew I was taking a big risk, but I wasn’t letting a child die on my watch, whether it was human, animal, or elemental. “Reven, use your magic to rescue it.”

He scowled, but made a lazy gesture toward the river. The water changed from rushing past us to slowly creeping forward. While the current brought the elemental closer to us, Jasin and Auric watched the trees for an attack. I waded out into the river and tried to grab hold of the elemental’s rocky body, but it let out a terrible sound, like steel scraping against stone.

“It’s okay, we’re trying to help,” I told it. I had no idea if it could understand me, but hopefully the sound of my voice would show I wasn’t a threat. The elemental’s glowing eyes widened, but when I reached for it again it didn’t fight back. But I couldn’t move it on my own—the elemental was nearly as big as I was and a lot heavier than I expected, even though it was small for its kind. Slade jumped into the water next to me and grabbed the other side of the elemental, and together we heaved it out of the river and onto the grassy banks.

The elemental coughed and water ran out of its mouth, its eyes still huge and glowing bright gold. I tried to pat it on its back, but wasn’t sure if it had lungs or not—it seemed to be made entirely of thick, gray stone. Now that it was out of the water I could see it had a large, rounded chest that made up most of its bulk, along with two thick arms and short, stumpy legs.

“You’re all right now,” I said to it, as I kept patting its hard back. The elemental was shaking, but it didn’t try to escape, so it must have sensed we weren’t going to harm it. The others kept their hands near their weapons, but they wouldn’t attack unless they thought I was in danger.

Movement caught our attention, and four much larger rock elementals emerged from the trees down the river. They moved surprisingly fast considering their squat legs, and their glowing eyes fixed on us with obvious malice. Brin and my mates tensed beside me, sensing a looming fight, but Enva’s words last night gave me the idea to approach this differently. If the elementals weren’t working for the Black Dragon, that meant they didn’t need to be our enemies…assuming I could reach them somehow.

“Don’t attack,” I said to my mates quietly. “I want to talk to them.”

“Talk?” Jasin snorted. “Elementals don’t talk. They attack.”

“I want to try.”

I helped the elemental child to its feet, making sure it could stand on its own. It suddenly spotted the other elementals and let out that strange sound again, then rushed toward them. The larger elementals quickly surrounded it, as if making sure it was all right. I walked toward them slowly, waving for my mates to stay back. This would have to be handled carefully, or it would all go wrong…and we would likely only have one chance.

One of the elementals broke apart and faced me. Its face was stony and incomprehensible, with a gaping mouth full of jagged rock and those eerie glowing eyes. We stared at each other without moving, and then it asked, “Why did you help him, Spirit Dragon?”

The voice that came from the elemental was like the deep rumble of an earthquake, and the words were spoken slowly, as if it wasn’t used to our language—but it was speaking. My heart leaped at the knowledge we could communicate with them.

“I didn’t want him to drown,” I said. “We mean your kind no harm. We only want to talk.”

“We are no friend to the Dragons,” he grumbled.

“We’re not like the other Dragons. We want to stop them and restore balance to the world. A world where both humans and elementals can live in peace together.”

“Perhaps,” the elemental said, obviously unconvinced.

The other elementals were now watching us, and the small one made a sound I didn’t understand. One of the others replied, and they carried on for a few seconds in their gravelly language while I looked on. The leader rumbled something back at them, before turning to me again.

“We are in your debt, Spirit Dragon.” The elemental did not sound pleased about that, but it was hard to tell with its strange voice. I was too surprised to respond immediately, and then it was too late, as they all stomped back into the forest.

“That was incredible,” Auric said, moving to my side. “I had no idea the elementals could speak our language. I need to record this immediately.”

Jasin put out the fire in his hands. “It was still risky helping them. They nearly attacked us even after we saved that little one.”

“Yes, but it was worth it,” I replied. “Now we know they can communicate with us, and if they hate the other Dragons as much as Enva said, we might be able to convince them to become our allies.”

“That seems unlikely,” Reven said.

Slade rubbed his beard. “It’s worth trying.”

“Kira will make it happen,” Brin said. “Especially now that they owe her.”

I stared after the elementals for another moment, then turned toward my team. “We’ll worry about that another day. Right now we need to find the Resistance.”


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