The sword was whipping around in front of her face, her hair flying everywhere, her panting the only hint that hinted she was even there, in the recesses of the forest.
Rakeya was perfecting handling the sword. Lukas had taught her how to fight and now she aspired to become strong in the art. She used to practice sword-fighting with him; pretend-fighting; twirling round and practicing the strokes she was doing right now: thrusting, pulling it back, slicing the vines off the low-hanging trees. But now, this wasn’t pretend: she was feeling rage. A pure, fiery rage. She should have stuck her sword into him instead.
He was a traitor. She should have known. She had been too blinded- she finally had someone to match her age, who played with her, talked to her, went on adventures with her and never let loneliness dwell in her heart.
True, Crystal was always there for her; she had been there ever since Rakeya had turned five. Crystal had been a gift to her. They were both the same age, too. They were the best of friends; even sisters. She was the orb of light in Rakeya’s normally dull life. But Lukas had stolen all of that. Crystal never felt jealousy; she could not. She was raised in an environment which inculcated in her the values of being open-minded and agreeable. These two traits matched Rakeya’s.
Now, she finally lowered her arm and looked back, the hair that had come loose from the knot behind her head sticking to her face because of the sweat trickling down her forehead.
There she was: the bright, white, moonlit scales, lighting up the already-moonlit forest; the long tail, the smooth snout, the gentle purr arising from her throat. In Rakeya’s mind, Crystal was the most beautiful dragon in her part of the world. The majestic pose in which she had put her head down; she was like a queen. The long eyelashes; the slender neck. All other dragons and dragon-owners envied her beauty.
Presently, her icy but warm eyes followed Rakeya’s slight figure as she walked over to a narrow stream flowing behind them in the clearing. Rakeya waded into it and submerged herself in it to wash off the sweat, dirt and anger. She came out wet and shivering- it was quite warm in the day but frigid when night settled. She reached Crystal’s side and sat down, her hand caressing the smooth neck. Dragons usually had rough scales, which cut their owners’ hands. But Crystal’s scales reminded Rakeya of a pillow and made her think Crystal had descended from the heavens as a feather and landed in her lap.
“I’m sorry, dear,” Rakeya said presently. “I never listened to you. You were right about him. All along. And I trusted him more than I did you. I truly regret it- you have to believe me. I ask for your forgiveness.”
Crystal purred and shifted as if to say that she forgave her.
Rakeya smiled sadly. “Do you feel sleepy? I do. Good night, White One.”
And she lay down beside the great beast. She was grateful for when a sparkling white wing closed over her to protect her from the biting wind, which was even more severe because she was damp. She was still thinking about how Crystal had known from the very beginning that Lukas was no-good but had never paid attention to her, when she heard the soft, sweet music playing beside her and realized Crystal had already gone to sleep. She was bound to; they had had a long day.