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Her Elemental Dragons: Shake the Earth: Chapter 26

AURIC

After hours of flying we reached the rendezvous point, a cave near Salt Creek Tower where the Resistance had gathered. Brin and Leni hopped off and removed the supplies from our backs, and then we shifted into our human forms again. I popped my shoulders, which were always a bit stiff after using my wings, while the others checked their weapons. Even though I was likely to remain a dragon for much of the battle, I strapped on my own long, curved daggers, a gift from my father that had been in our family for centuries, passed down from the brother of the first Golden Dragon.

A somber mood had settled over all of us, both from leaving Kira and the others behind, along with the upcoming battle we were about to face. Brin and Leni laced their hands together and spoke in quiet voices, though I had no doubt they’d be ready to fight. Brin was an excellent warrior, and I’d heard she’d been helping Leni train too. If Leni was half as dangerous as her brother, she’d be a formidable force.

“The Earth Realm sure likes its caves,” Jasin muttered, as he strode toward the entrance. Brin and Leni followed a few steps behind him.

I kept pace with him. “Perhaps that’s why the Resistance has the largest presence here. Easier to hide from the Dragons.”

Jasin shrugged, and we stepped inside the damp, dark cave. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I took in the sight of dozens of warriors gathered, with more stretching back into tunnels and out of view. Parin had promised us a hundred men and women, armed with bows, axes, swords, and more.

Faya pushed her way to the front of the crowd. Last time I’d seen her she’d worn slim, simple dresses, but now she was geared for combat in silver armor with a large sword strapped to her back. After visiting the quiet town she’d grown up in, I could see why she had felt stifled there.

“We’re ready to begin moving out,” she said. “At your command, we’ll begin the attack.”

We quickly went over the plan again, clarifying a few things, while Jasin and I chugged water and shoved food into our mouths for energy. Once we were ready, we moved outside of the cave, while the fighters began to head toward the fort.

I turned toward Jasin and clasped his hand in my own. “Good luck today, my friend.”

“You too.” He drew me in for a quick embrace, and we gave each other a tight squeeze. “I’ve got your back out there.”

“And I’ve got yours.”

As we pulled apart, I keenly felt the connection between us, even without Kira here. And from the way he met my eyes, I knew he felt it too.

I turned to Brin next, then wrapped her in a close hug. My oldest friend, my former fiancé, and now my close companion on this strange journey. I had no idea if this thing with her and Leni would work out, but I was happy she’d found someone who made her smile. “Take care of yourself, okay?”

“I always do,” she said with a wry grin. “Don’t get yourself killed either.”

I chuckled softly. “I’ll do my best.”

I gave Leni a nod, and then the two women joined the ranks of the other warriors. I’d be watching for them from above, trying to keep them safe, and I knew Jasin would be doing the same.

I became a dragon once more, feeling my body shift and grow, along with the rush of power that came from the transformation. My skin became scales, my hands became talons, and my teeth became fangs. Great, golden wings spread from my body, and with a mighty roar I launched into the air, with Jasin at my side.

Together we flew toward Salt Creek Tower to begin the assault, while the Resistance’s fighters surged forward. According to Faya, she’d already sent a few men and women to sneak into the fort itself, and they would open the gate for us. If they failed, Jasin and I would have to get it down somehow.

The fort came into view, consisting of a few stone buildings with a large wall around it surrounded by a narrow moat. Onyx Army soldiers in their black armor lined the top of the wall, and they let out a shout when they saw us coming. Our fighters spread out in front of the wall, while the soldiers inside the fort prepared for battle.

Jasin gave me a nod, smoke already coming from his nostrils, and then flew forward. I hung back and circled low over the Resistance fighters. We’d decided Jasin would lead the offensive, focusing on taking out as many of the soldiers in the fort as possible, while I’d help defend our own people. Partly because his magic was better suited for an attack, and partly because I’d never been in a battle like this before, while Jasin had seen plenty of them. I was no stranger to combat, but warfare was an entirely new experience for me.

Jasin glided over the fort and let out a loud, terrifying roar that hit me all the way in my bones. I opened my mouth and released one of my own in response, signaling the attack was to begin—and hopefully sending fear into our enemies.

The heavy metal gate at the front of the fort opened, and our fighters surged forward into the keep with a loud cry. At the same time, Jasin unleashed a stream of red hot fire, taking out a line of soldiers on the wall. The ones he missed launched arrows at our people, but with a blast of air I sent them flying back to the archers.

Below us, people met in battle with a clash of swords and the spilling of blood. I caught sight of Brin and Leni fighting back to back, cutting down their opponents with ease. When a man leveled a spear at them, I dove down and caught it in my talons, then drove it through his chest. My tail whipped around, knocking two other soldiers down, and I began slashing with talons and teeth, while blasting out air strong enough to knock others back.

I don’t know how long this continued, or how many we killed or lost in combat. My scales and claws grew slick with blood, but I kept fighting while Jasin continued to set the fort on fire all around us. And then I heard a terrible screech overhead that stopped me in my tracks.

I glanced up to see two dragons swooping down to oppose us, one with blood-red scales and the other’s the deepest green. Just as I’d expected—Sark, the Crimson Dragon, and Heldor, the Jade Dragon. The ones who’d destroyed Kira’s town with lava, earthquakes, and fire. And now we had to hold them off as long as possible so Kira and Slade could finish the bonding.

As I flew up to meet the other dragons in combat, I opened myself to my bond with Kira and sent her a single, frantic feeling: Go!


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