Greetings friends! Today I wanted to do something fun. This story is canon in the “Vampire Wars” universe, and takes place about a year after the first graduation of Cobratongue University. Sam & Darcia primarily feature in The Kingdoms of Blood series.
Throughout this short story, some words will have links to my species. This can be read as a standalone, perhaps an introduction to the series, though will have spoilers with regard to relationships bigtime. If you don’t mind that and plan on reading my series, carry on!
There will be some minor worldbuilding, but not as much with species, since I have all of that lore here for free on my website, and I don’t want to bog it down with repeating details. Therefore, if there is a species here you see mentioned but don’t know about from my lore (as my creatures are written differently from traditional lore), you can click on the link to read more about them!
I hope you enjoy this short story! It has more of a happy, relaxed tone (even though there is some action!) than most of my work. I wanted a sweeter-tasting story this time.
HERE IS THE NARRATED VERSION!
How to Train your Mortals
“Hold still. SAM! Hold still, it’s just a dress.”
“But Darcie, my wings keep getting stuck!”
“Well, if you held still, that wouldn’t be an issue,” the shifter replied, several wavy strands of her onyx hair falling into her face. Darcia Deville adjusted the tight black dress on her friend, reaching out with a black claw to snap several areas of the cloth in place. Some fresh scars dotted the moon-pale flesh of her half-dragon friend as she tried adjusting her crimson-scaled tail. Business as usual, of course, given Sam often had to fight enemies trying to disrupt the city’s harmony.
Darcia, defender of the forest here in Elapid Kingdom and leader of the resident shapeshifter pack, also was covered in scarring on her midnight-toned skin. Though her right eye was glazed over with a cut across it, she still could rend enemies to a pile of bone, blood, and flesh pulp. That, of course, would not be the focus of tonight.
The women were in their mid-twenties and would be intent on celebrating Halloween for the rest of their lives. The holiday season had rendered less battle, at the very least, and there were no reports of recent attacks tonight. If there was, the resident vampire gang The Crows would take care of any messes within Elapid City. For now, the night was theirs.
Finally getting her half-dragon friend to stay still long enough, Darcia zipped the dress up and reached over to help Sam stretch her wings. Normally, the half-dragon would only have dragonic wings from her upper back, black straight horns from the top of her head, and a thick reptilian tail, but today her body was dotted with patches of bright red scales.
Darcia stepped back and admired her best friend for a moment, pulling out her brush and running it through the woman’s silky ruby hair for a few moments before giving her own the same treatment. Sam regarded her for a moment, chuckling, “Your hairstyle looks kinda like Ares’s, Darcie.” The shifter rolled her eyes in response, her woodsy-brown eye glittering with amusement.
“That buffoon? Tch, I’ll always look far more badass. Though these side braids took a while, they were worth it,” Darcia replied, turning away and grabbing the last pieces of her outfit. They had crafted ebon costume armor with the texture of flat pebbles for the illusion of dragon scales. Tonight, she was going as Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon, while Sam represented her dragonic best friend. The preparation took hours, but at least the friends had each other to help.
Finishing up, Darcia took out her phone and studied it, a smile widening on her face to display a full set of knife-like teeth. “We’re just in time. The boys are waiting for us outside. Guess your lover got a limo to the Fae Faire. How fancy. Does Goliath ever know how to uh… tone it down?” she asked, letting out a laugh.
Blush tinged Sam’s cheeks as she let out a soft chuckle, patting her friend on the shoulder. “Guess my counter to that is if yours ever knows how to be less edgy. I mean, does he carry that knife in his mouth sometimes just for the fun of it?”
The shifter bumped her friend with her shoulder, laughing as she exited the bathroom. “Touché.” The scent of pine wafted into their faces as they wandered through the mansion-like home of the shifter pack. Various shifters of many types of animal wandered about, as this pack was unusually mixed. Darcia gave a nod to a few of her pack mates, still smiling brightly. She passed by several paintings of woodsy scenes dotted with small fauna, as well as the game room where people were playing intense matches on consoles.
Soon, she arrived outside, taking a deep breath and looking at the full moon. A cool breeze tickled her cheek as she turned to look at Sam, tilting her head. “They’re going to meet us on the road at the edge of the forest since it obviously doesn’t extend to here. You still up to flying us?”
Sam flashed her fangs in a grin and chuckled, giving a nod. “Of course! I’m your dragon best friend in this dynamic, aren’t I?!… Hm. Wait. How is this different from normal? I suppose your viking haircut is different. And you don’t really wear armor.”
Darcia replied, “No, it’d inhibit my movement too much. I suppose it’s not different from usual. We need to explore more, Sam. Put aside time from our leadership duties and get out there. Maybe take over a kingdom or five.” Sam’s eyes glinted as she nodded vigorously. She looked in the direction of the city, and with a flash of blue light, was suddenly a large serpentine dragon with razor-sharp scales patterned like a snake’s going down her body. Two jet-black horns jutted out from the top of her head. Her venom-green eyes rested upon Darcia as she motioned with her claws to get her friend to hop on.
The half-dragon spoke in a growl-like hiss. “Well, we’re becoming more accurate to the movie by the minute. Though you lost an eye as opposed to leg in our ultimate battle, and I still have my tail intact,” Sam said, staying still as Darcia climbed on her neck and held onto her horns.
“Yeah, well, we can always change that,” Darcia replied as they took off, earning her a snort from the dragon. Soon, they were flying through the night, stars passing by in a blur as they made their way toward the city. Skyscrapers lit up in a gorgeous display of twinkling rose into the night as they drew closer to their destination. In no time, Sam began circling the pavement below, angling toward a long black vehicle where their lovers awaited them.
Sam touched down, letting out a billow of smoke as she waited for Darcia to climb off. Once her friend was set, she shimmered and morphed back into her half-dragon form, keeping her random patchwork of scales as per her costume. The women’s eyes fell upon two gentlemen emerging from the limo, dressed up in quite the similar fashion to them.
Goliath Elapid, the king of this general area ever since snatching the city from an evil tyrant several years ago, had a long reptilian tail quite like Sam, but with deep ebon scales. Horns similar to Sam jutted out from the top of his head, and his ivory flesh was littered with black scales on top of scars. He didn’t bother to move some of his shoulder-length silken black hair away from his face. The vampire king was in his typical red suit with black pants, a hat in one clawed hand, the other bare, and held out to Sam. He grinned, displaying a dangerous array of dagger like fangs as his lover accepted the gesture. After gently planting a kiss on the back of her hand, the vampire said, “My, you look delicious tonight, love. We appear to match this time. How lovely.”
Sam blushed as she glanced away from Goliath, running her tongue over her fangs. “Hmph. You don’t look so bad yourself. You’d make a great half-dragon.”
Meanwhile, the other gentleman approached Darcia. He was in a similar costume to his lover Darcia, though his was a deep dusky blue as opposed to an ebon. His white hair was slicked back as usual, his glowing crimson eyes inspecting his lover with admiration. The pale of his face had fresh slash wounds, some faded and in the same areas as Darcia. The shifter could sense through the bond that he was brimming with happiness even if his very slight smile betrayed little.
Robert Smoke arrived before Darcia and wrapped his arms around her torso, resting his chin on her shoulder for a moment, having to lean down a bit because of their height difference. He whispered into her ear, “You look beautiful, darling. I’m damn ecstatic you decided to take a break for once and have fun.”
Darcia rolled her eyes and turned her head when he let go, planting a kiss on his cheek and staring at him with her one good deep brown eye, giggling just slightly. “You’re giving me a hard time when you obsess over training? Please. Come on, we’re ready for some fun.”
The group approached the limo, intent on heading to their destination. They got into the car, nodding to the driver, who was a vampire dressed in the royal reds and blacks. Soon they were off, heading down the city streets as lights whisked by.
Consisting of vampires, shifters, the occasional lycan and fae, the nightlife was incredibly active tonight, though this was no surprise given the day. Elapid City residents loved Halloween, and they could celebrate it peacefully despite the takeover of vampires from humanity several years ago. The city was one of the few areas of harmony, after all.
No one flinched as humans with glowing red bracelets occasionally were jumped by vampires to get bitten. They opted into it, after all, and had full health/magical coverage to recover quickly. Not to mention, they were paid an immense sum of money for opting into the marked program. Granted, both Sam and Darcia were well-versed in vampire bites, judging by the ever-showing marks on their neck.
“So, how did you get Ares not to join us for shiny fae shenanigans, anyway?” Sam asked Goliath, tilting her head. Their friend, a vampire gang leader who guarded the city, usually was all over this sort of thing. Goliath chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Well, love, I promised him time. Specifically, at least 5 months,” the vampire king admitted, causing Darcia to gasp.
“He made you attend 5 months of Dungeons & Dragons sessions for not coming to the faire with us?! Doesn’t he know you’re a king and have responsibilities?!” she asked, shaking her head and facepalming.
“Well, yes, but one night a week will not kill us. Besides, I don’t think he cared. Given I do not feel like facing his sad-puppy reaction to not joining us, well… I also told him it was imperative to city safety for him to stay back. The carnival will be here for a few days, so he can enjoy himself with Cecelia tomorrow night there,” the vampire king explained. Sam placed her hands on her hips, letting out a sigh.
“I suppose I’ll need to join you too? Darcie, are you joining us as well, then?” Sam asked.
“Sessions for FIVE months? Alright. Fine. But I’m bringing Sir Rat here along too,” she said, shooting a glance to Robert Smoke. The human-turned-vampire rolled his eyes and grumbled under his breath. Darcia added, “He won’t mind, given he’s secretly best buds with that excitable Crow.”
The jabs and joyous conversation continued as the limo drove along. A little while later, lights sparkled in the distance, notably different from the city’s. Gleaming reds, yellows, blues, and golds, along with a menagerie of other colors, glided across the sky, some in loops, some spinning, some in circles. The fae carnival was in full swing, and the excited humanoid monsters within the limo were ready for some fun!
The excitement in the air was palpable, the gleaming grins showing off sharp teeth upon the face of everyone here. Darcia leaned up first, a serious glint to her woodsy brown eye (just one, given the other was glazed over and sightless). “Alright. Now we need to keep in mind to be careful despite the fun. Obviously, we have a deal with the fae, and no one can truly get hurt. They can be tricky, however, and are obsessed with stories. Be prepared for mischief,” the woman warned. A prominent professor at Cobratongue University, she knew her way around the various species inhabiting all the realms.
Sam gave a serious nod, her venom-green eyes glowing in the soft light within the car. “I haven’t met many of them, so am glad for the warning. Think I was resting at the time of their inquiry for bringing the faire to Elapid.”
Goliath muttered under his breath, “You mean shedding at the same time as your period hit, love.” This prompted Sam to look over at him dangerously, though she only received a sheepish grin and a bow. “Rest assured! They brought extra chocolate for my rather fiery dragonic love.”
“Isn’t she always fiery?” Smoke muttered, causing Darcia to elbow him. This, of course, didn’t prevent a chuckle. Sam grunted and cracked her neck.
“How about I set both of you on fire?!” she growled, smoke billowing from her nostrils despite her obvious humanoid form.
Smoke laughed, “What? I was right!”
Shortly after this comical ‘argument’, they arrived at the Faire, no doubt a marvelous sight to behold. Carnival rides like the carousel and Ferris wheel were whirring along, dotted with their typical lights but also with an ethereal golden glow. They were powered by myst, magic from the fae realm. The scent of fried food wafted through the air, causing Sam and Darcia’s mouths to water, as their diets were not strictly meat. The melting of chocolate and spinning of cotton candy caught their eye as they stepped out of the limo.
Faeries with butterfly and moth wings glided around the place, ensuring the safety of their guests. These humanoids were particularly eerie. Those who ate primarily plants had their skin morph to the textures of said plants. The flesh-eating fae had skin that seemed fit for a normal humanoid… but they had dagger-like fangs as impressive as those within the mouths of vampires. Regardless of faerie, they had no eyes–only sockets, within which glowing orbs of various colors could be seen. Somehow, most could see everything around them, likely by magical means. Some were taller than six feet, and some were as small as large bugs, depending on the form they took.
Stomp… Stomp… Stomp… A gigantic humanoid made their way through the faire, towering at just a tad shorter than a giraffe. Their skin was the color and texture of cement, and they had somewhat of a gut jiggling as they walked. Impressive tusks, like those of a boar’s, jutted out from the creature’s lower jaw. Large rounded ears accompanied small beady eyes, and spines went down their back.
The humans cowered away from one of the fae realm’s tallest creatures, an ogre, though he seemed unbothered Mostly because there was an equally giant cone of cotton candy in his meaty hand he was munching on happily, of course. To humans that would listen, he shouted cheerfully, “Galumph help transport some! Just ask, just ask!” Some brave souls did… and, well, the ogre transport process was in full swing. Luckily, he was entirely harmless.
Anyway, the faerie hosts of the carnival were lively, doing spins and flips in the air as if they were seeing the world for the first time. Several faeries in their miniature forms fluttered around the new arrivals, excited chatter billowing through the air at the arrival of royalty.
“The king and queen have arrived! What a story, what a story!”
“Theirs is one of my favorite.”
“The shifter’s story is more interesting to me. More, I want to see more!”
The new arrivals exchanged glances and ignored the attention for now, answering several questions flung at them before a male faerie in large form flew in front of those taking on mini-forms at the moment, letting out a huff. He has deeply tanned tawny skin, a wispy black haircut, and glowing red orbs in his hollow eye sockets. His skin wasn’t bark-like at all, rather, it was fleshy. When he spoke, they could see dangerous fangs showing his diet of flesh. “Now now. Let us leave the guests alone. Come along, darlings. There is much fun to be had at the faire, after all. My faerie friends will watch from afar to learn more of your stories.” He wore a loose black robe, possibly emulating the grim reaper considering the scythe in his clawed hand. From behind him fluttered pitch-black moth wings with white stripes.
The other faeries grumbled and whined, but eventually dispersed, allowing Sam, Darcia, and their loves to finally have peace for exploring the faire. Darcia shot the faerie a grateful look, who gave her a nod. She said, “Thanks Nishakar. I owe you one.” The faerie grinned, delighted, as Darcia bit her lip regretfully.
“I will remember that,” he said in a sing-song voice. With that, he fluttered off. Darcia looked at Sam and shrugged; he wasn’t a threat, given he was part of the host’s crew, Gaelira. That faerie was on the side of Elapid simply because she liked happy endings to their stories. They thanked their lucky stars for that…
Anyway, Darcia led the group onward, pointing a claw toward several games and approaching them for a bit of fun. Sadly, no one came out successful, but a few fails had the faerie manning the booth rolling on the counter laughing. Eventually, Goliath tapped Sam on the shoulder and said, “Love, I do think Smoke and I have sent each other enough dirty looks. We would like to compete for who can win their lover the biggest plushie. Therefore, we might break off so you two can have your fun, and I can take the day.”
Smoke snorted, sneering toward the king. “Oh. Hilarious. You think you have a chance against me, batbrain? Very cute. We all know rats are far more intelligent.” Goliath bared his fangs in Smoke’s direction, causing Sam to burst into laughter. She looked toward her best friend and pointed toward several rides.
“Well, the men want to fight for our love. I say we let them. Wanna ride the coaster?!” asked the half-dragon, to which Darcia gave a vigorous nod.
“You bet,” the shifter said, turning to plant a gentle kiss on Smoke’s cheek. He blushed and let out a ‘hmph’ as his lover added, “Don’t let the fae here trick you too much, alright?” With that, the two women bounded off into the night, approaching a speedy rollercoaster and letting out excited squeals.
Before long, they were strapped in, and Sam let out a huff. Darcia gave her friend the side-eye, raising a brow. “You can’t seriously tell me you’re nervous, Sam. You’re a dragon. We’ve flown together in rough winds,” the shifter said, unable to help but smirk. Sam shot her a glare, her venom green eyes glinting sheepishly.
“This is different, okay! We–EEEEP!” The rollercoaster jolted to a start, wasting no time in accelerating. Darcia put her hands up and let out several yells of joy while Sam’s knuckles paled even further when she clutched the safety bar! Her expression was twisted in to an excited, open-mouthed scream, though no sound came out. Her red hair flew back everywhere, like Darcia’s ebon, though unlike her friend, she didn’t put her hands up. The descent was even more breathtaking as Sam let out a roar-like scream on the way down!
Darcia laughed for the rest of the ride, placing a hand on her friend’s shoulder as they got off. “You alright?” the shifter asked as the half-dragon smoothed out her hair. After a long pause, Sam nodded.
“… I would do it again,” she admitted, prompting more squeals of laughter from her friend.
Several rides later, the two needed a break, and therefore approached something peculiar. A flashing sign of neon reds and purples read ‘Fae Funhouse’. A long, maze-like building of obsidian rose behind the sign, ominous and intriguing. The jet black sides of it reflected the dancing lights, forcing it to rely on the carnival around it for a brighter skin. Statues of carnivorous unicorns guarded the entrance, their saber-fangs bared as they reared up toward the moon. The onyx gemstones that made their eyes gleamed with such a light that they almost appeared alive.
A faerie stood at the entrance, the gentleman Darcia had spoken with before–Nishakar. He bowed as they approached, still in his gigantic form, looming over seven feet tall. His socketless eyes with red orbs in the depths of them fell upon Darcia as she took lead. “Well well well! Are you brave enough to enter our funhouse, pretty things? You look brave enough. I would hate to be proven wrong.”
Darcia furrowed her brow, tapping a claw upon her chin. “Hm. What does this place entail, anyway?”
“Ever been to a funhouse at a carnival?” the faerie practically sang. “Oh me, oh my, it’s nothing like that. Care to give it a try?”
Darcia glanced toward Sam, who rubbed her arm briefly before shrugging. Not minding being the decision-maker tonight, the shifter grinned. “Tch. We can take it. I’m curious to see what’s in store. Besides! We have a deal with the fae here. No one will actually get hurt. We’ll be careful.”
Sam shot her best friend a glance, recalling her warning in the car. Though… she had a point, and it wouldn’t do to show a lapse in bravery now. Impressing the fae was always a good thing in the grand scheme of things outside of fun. Therefore, the half-dragon nodded. “Alright. I suppose it’ll be another adventure.”
They entered the funhouse, eyes barely adjusting. Darcia and Sam walked side by side, linking arms to help guide one another along. They could see various pools of light, with no discernable source, as they passed. The reflective obsidian surface displayed the women’s faces, twisted into both wonder and fear. Whispers met their ears every so often, but of an ancient fae language that neither Sam nor Darcia could discern.
Sam whispered, “This place gives me the shivers. How are you feeling?” They wandered down a dark, winding hallway, darkness swallowing everything a few walks in front of or behind them. Thank gods they were together, or the feeling of isolation would be unbearable.
Darcia glanced over with her good eye, studying Sam’s expression and realizing that she was just as off put. After a few more echoing steps, she muttered, “Same as you. I don’t think I regret it, though. We have a deal with the fae. Nothing… bad can happen. Right?” Now she sounded a tad bit unsure.
Sam laughed nervously as they walked along. “Right…” she said, running her black claws through her hair. The darkness dissipated, fading into a kaleidoscope of colors all around them. They were walking through a rainbow of floating prisms, crystals enchanted with myst that caused the woman to pause and observe. The stark change in setting caused them to stop dead for a moment to take everything in. The ceiling and floors were like glass gleaming with thousands of gemstones. Sam reached out to touch one of the prisms, but Darcia grabbed her wrist.
“Might be a bad idea, no matter how pretty. Who are you now, Ares?” the shifter joked, earning a look from the half-dragon. Sam abandoned her quest to touch one, and soon the two were walking toward an arc at the end of the gleaming room. The doorway swallowed all light, giving away no hint of where they would be next. After exchanging a glance, the two women proceeded, eager and afraid, as evident by their clenched fists and slightly tilted heads.
Upon arriving at the door, there was no more information they could figure out yet still. They were no closer to solving this mystery than they were when they entered the room of rainbows–they’d have to take the leap. After letting out a sigh, Darcia muttered, “Now or never, Sam. Ready for another adventure? My instincts tell me that something intense is about to happen.”
“Well. We will face it together, like we always do, Darcia. Let’s do this,” Sam replied, grinning to flash her serpentine-like fangs. With that, the two women went through the black, portal-like door to see what awaited on the other side.
What a sight it was to behold! Bright lights assaulted their senses, though that did not take them as off guard since they emerged from a bright room of colors. Chairs of glimmering blues, reds, and yellows, glowing with an ethereal light but cushioned comfortably, were set up in a massive circle, forming an arena. A gigantic field of flat dirt was at the center, where Sam and Darcia had entered from the dark arch.
Sitting within hundreds of those chairs were faeries with a wide variety of butterfly and moth wings. Some had skin the color and texture of various plants, like trees or roses. Others had fleshy skin tones of every shade, and they gnashed their jaws with excitement as they flexed their claws. Loud cheers rang out as the new arrivals made their way into the arena a bit more.
A faerie with wings the color of midnight accented in gold, at normal size quite a bit taller than most humans, flew down to the center stage with a floating microphone in front of her. Her skin was dark umber, fading into a mahogany with bark-like texture toward her hands. Her fingers were spindly, wrapped in thorny evergreen vines, and her hair formed a curly mane of autumn oranges and reds. She wore a dress made of leaves that were dyed the color of pumpkins and golds, no doubt in celebration of the holiday. Her hollow eye sockets had glowing green orbs within them that, despite not being eyes, could see all. A wicked grin was planted on her face, showing dagger-like fangs that would impress even a demon.
Darcia recognized the faerie immediately, letting out a huff and placing her hands on her hips. “Gaelira! What is the meaning of this? Where are we? Is this some of your trickery?!”
The faerie ignored her for a moment and turned to the crowd. “Ladies, gentlemen, every manner of folk between and/or beyond! Welcome to the Game of Stories! Our participants today are a royal half-dragon and Tasmanian Devil pack leader. IF, in fact, they accept the terms! We will see in one moment. Thank you so much for joining us today!” The crowd went wild in one second, but then dead silent in the next… it was rather eerie.
The fae woman turned, providing her entire attention to the two baffled mortals. “Welcome, mortals. Thank you for joining us. You will fight epic battles for us, showing us your story. Your own movie, in a way. There will be no permanent damage. Maybe a bruise here… a scratch there. You battle-hardened warriors can handle these games.”
Sam lashed her tail and rolled her eyes. “So we opt into this? What’s in it for us then?!”
Gaelira’s grin widened, and she turned to the crowd. “Our participants would like to know what is at stake here! I am so glad they asked! Enter the GOLEMS!”
Sam and Darcia simultaneously gasped as their eyes beheld among one of the most wondrous treasures they’d ever seen. From another door in the arena emerged a gigantic fluffy raccoon of greys and striped blacks. There were glossy eyes made of onyx gemstones. The thing was larger than lifesized, more like five times the size of a true raccoon. Clearly, this was a plushie.
Next to the raccoon slithered a fluffy serpent, light brown with splotches of deeper tawny scales. There was a scale pattern made in its fur, and a yarn tongue flicked out from its maw. This serpent’s eyes were rainbow, made of gemstones like the raccoons’. This serpent was as large as an anaconda, but being stuffed with fluff, likely far lighter.
Gaelira chuckles lowly in delight and mischief at the expressions of awe on the women. “If you take part… you get them. And if you win, my lovelies…. you also get this.”
The last thing that entered the arena was a unicorn made of pure onyx. Ruby gemstones made the statue’s eyes. Its horn, like other unicorns, was blade-like. The moving statue snorted, smoke billowing from its nostrils. Darcia and Sam couldn’t help but squeal. Darcia exclaimed, “We win all three if we… play this game and claim victory?!”
Gaelira nods, giving them a wink. “Yes. You will suffer no mortal or substantial wounds, again, aside from bruising and minor cuts. Win or lose. But we would like a story, poppet. You must give us a good one. You will fight against a villain, and you must win. Put on a show for us.” The faeries roared in cheers as the golems moved to the side of the arena, tantalizing and tempting for the two heroes.
Sam pondered matters, narrowing her eyes and letting out a chuckle. “This is an offer we can’t refuse. And apparently… we have to win. So… let’s put on a show for the fae.”
The crowd went wild, some standing up and pumping their fists into the air. Golden dust flew everywhere, and some fae just plain got out of their seats and did spins in the air before settling down. Then, suddenly, the lights went dark, and the entrance at the opposite end of the arena from where they entered lit up with a red glow. Mist of a crimson color spilled from the archway, and from it emerged a tall male faerie that Darcia immediately recognized.
Nishakar sneered as a spotlight of unknown origin fell upon him. He spread his arms, his claws pointed toward the sky, the red glowing orbs that replaced any sort of eyes glowing brighter. A headset rested on him that allowed him the effortless ability to speak into a microphone in front of his mouth with no issue. He said in a silky, smooth deep tone, “Well well! They have agreed to our terms, and they will be in battle against ME!”
He flapped his wings, taking to the sky, the spotlight with no source still upon him. He said in an excited tone, “Being in Gaelira’s beautiful flock, I only like happy endings, like the rest of you. But there are no stakes here. Just fun. Therefore, I will play the villain here. Look at me. Gaze upon my glory! Why, I make a wondrous, dark villain, and I have been practicing my laugh. Our story tonight will be a fun one, because I am the enemy!” He threw his head back and let out a deep cackle, which, admittedly, was impressive.
Darcia and Sam exchanged glances, having to smirk and roll their eyes. He was dressed up in torn black robes, holding a scythe in one hand. There were holes in his outfit for free movement of his wings. His orbs settled upon the two as he landed again, pointing his scythe at them. “Allow me to set the scene.”
His tone grew dark as he said, “That dragon is mine, and I will use her to take over the w–“
Gaelira growled, “Ash Elapid already tried to capture Sam Viper in her first book for nearly exactly that purpose. Give us a different reason. You make a terrible villain because you’re practically a teddy bear, Nishakar.”
Nishakar gasped and focused upon the leader of the flock, crossing his arms and rolling his eyes. A few hushed whispers were exchanged between the observing fae before he yelled, “FINE! MY TARGET IS THE DRAGON RIDER! YOU SEE, I will use her for my nefarious purpose of training dragons for my army! I will force her against her will to command the dragons, and then I can bleed the world of its wealth all for myself!”
Following a bright flash of red light, his outfit morphed into something entirely different! Deep black robes were untorn, accented with golds and reds. He had a crown with rubies and onyxes, and his black claw tips were gilded with gold. Nishakar pointed a curved blade toward Darcia and Sam, bearing his fangs. “You. will. be. MINE!”
Gaelira nodded from the shadows of the audience, having taken a seat and crossed her legs. “That’s better.”
Darcia looked toward Sam, who shrugged. After a flash of blue light, Sam was in her serpentine dragon form, though she could still speak through a growl-like voice. “Let’s get it,” she said. The ‘dragon rider’ climbed upon Sam’s neck and held onto one of her horns. Gaelira tossed something into the arena, which Darcia caught out of surprise. She blinked, hesitant, but then sighed and pressed the button.
A hollow blade sprung from it, and after a pause, it lit itself with a glowing blue flame, though something enchanted to not burn her. Darcia grinned and said, “Not everyday I don’t have to use my claws. We have the world to save and some golems to win.”
The fight was on, and the weapons had slammed into each other fiercely. Nishakar’s crimson orbs stared into Darcia’s good eye. He took this moment to smirk at her, holding his blade there for a moment. The shifter, of course, sneered threateningly back, suddenly jerking her hand back and stabbing the sword toward his shoulder. He yelped as a sizzling sound rushed through the air, his face twisting in pain as they forced him to fly back in a momentary retreat.
The shifter was relentless, however, as was Sam. Darcia pointed a claw forward, and Sam lunged at the faerie’s leg, clamping down upon it and ripping him from the air. He gasped and fluttered his wings erratically, suddenly exploding into golden dust as everything went completely black. Darcia’s blade was only out momentarily, however. She lit the sword by pressing the button on the center, raising it as a torch and searching for him.
“… Is that it?” she asked. She got her answer as several golden-tipped arrows flew toward her from the shadows. The spotlight without a source was on her again, and the crowd was treated to an arc of blood spurting out of Darcia’s shoulder. This caused resounding gasps to ring out through the crowd. An arrow landed in Sam’s leg, causing the dragon to let out an agitated roar. Darcia snarled, “I thought we weren’t going to get extremely wounded?!” She reached over and pulled the arrow out of her shoulder, glaring toward Gaelira.
The faerie smiled at her, patient, as suddenly the wound knitted itself back together… mostly. There was a tiny gash that bled a tad, but nothing that truly inhibited the woman. Sighing, Darcia muttered, “No pain, no gain. Eh Sam?” The dragon had healed in the same way, though had shed a scale. Sam let out a snort and snapped her jaws, eager to find the damn faerie.
More arrows flew out from the sides, but this time, the serpentine dragon was prepared, and practically slithered through the air to avoid them. Darcia dodged a hit by jerking to the size, narrowly missing some piercing damage. A dark figure floated in the arena’s corner, wings flapping behind them. Spotting the enemy, Darcia pointed a claw and tapped Sam on the jaw. With that, the dragon flew closer, letting out a series of growls.
The faerie expected them to come charging in, teeth gnashing and claws flexed, so stood his ground, ready to use the sword against Sam. However, Sam had a different plan. She wasn’t about to deny the fire-breathing-dragon part of this story, and so reared her head back and let out a billow of flames toward him. Nishakar let out a groan of pain as the tips of his wings lit on fire, and he had to retreat toward the other corner of the arena, which gave him a disadvantage.
As he was fleeing, Sam took this opportunity to lunge, but this is exactly what he wanted. Suddenly, Nishakar whirled and flapped his wings, sending himself straight over the dragon’s head. Darcia hadn’t been expecting this, and suddenly she was hurtling to the ground! She wasn’t alone, either–the Faerie had her by the throat, and seconds later she was slammed upon the ground.
The fall had been roughly two stories, but Darcia found her limbs did not hurt from the impact…. despite her hitting it so hard that she left an indent in the ground, with little cracks forming like veins. A look of confusion crossed in Darcia’s brown eye as she stared up at Nishakar, concerned for one moment. All was silent as she flexed her claws, still held by the throat but pretending as though nothing was happening. She rolled her shoulders, adjusted her legs….
“STORY TIME!” the fae man yelled, bringing his sword up and holding it up to her chest. “You will obey me, dragon rider! Do NOT count on your friend to save you, either!” he said in a sing-songy voice. He wasn’t wrong, either. Golden rope had formed around Sam’s arms and legs. Her wings were rendered useless as it tightened, and after a few mere seconds more, SLAM! she was grounded.
There was too much at stake here. Darcia wanted that unicorn golem along with the living plushies and therefore bared her fangs up at Nishakar. “You won’t win this. I’ll make damn sure of it.” Her muscles flexed as she took a deep breath and, with a flash, was a Tasmanian Devil. The burly marsupial with rounded ears, pitch black fur, a ferret-like tail, and a white stripe across her chest was still in the fae’s grasp. However, since shifters retained their mass upon shifting… she 120 pounds of pure fury yet still.
She threw back her head and let out a scream equivalent to the sound of nails ripping down a chalkboard, which startled the male fae. He let go and stumbled back, holding his ears. This moment of hesitation was all she needed. Darcia launched at the Fae, but he flew upward far too fast for her to get to him now. Snarling loudly, she turned to look at Sam, who appeared dazed but fine, just like her.
She ripped through the ropes with her claws and teeth, freeing the dragon and receiving a grunt of thanks. Another flash, and she had returned to her normal form, her armor entirely unchanged because of the typical instant spell she used when shifting. Sam shook her head several times, letting out a serpentine hiss. As laughter, no doubt Nishkar’s, rose into the arena, Darcia frowned and focused on her friend.
“Come on Sam. We’re so close. We can get him this time,” she said, holding out her hand. She raised her palm toward Sam’s snake-like muzzle, tilting her head expectantly. Sam paused, letting out a huff, slowly leaning toward her hand. When the tip of Sam’s nostril touched Darcia’s palm, the crowd went ballistic.
A screen floating there from seemingly out of nowhere, as the fae usually do, displayed the scene and replayed it. Meanwhile, Darcia climbed back upon Sam and flexed her claws. She’d lost her sword in the chaos, but she didn’t need it. “Let’s get it.”
Sam flew higher to discern the source of the laughter, and soon the dragon was heading straight toward the faerie. He tried lunging up again, but Sam wasn’t about to be caught twice! She snapped her jaws onto his arm, letting out a puff of smoke in his face as blood spurted from his flesh. Like the two fighters, he wouldn’t truly be injured, but gods, it hurt.
Nishakar yelped, trying to pull his arm away and actually doing so successfully. So successfully, however, that he did a flip in the air unwillingly, having to right himself with his wings. That’s when Darcia struck. She stood up on the back of Sam’s neck with impeccable balance, crouched, and leaped, flying through the air before grabbing the fae’s shoulder with her claws. Then, with her other claws, she struck at his moth wings, burying her claws into them and ripping downward.
Tears sprung into Nishakar’s eyes at that pain. He threw back his head and screamed with agony, no longer able to fly and dropping off toward that side fast. Darcia used his body to ricochet off and toward Sam, who flew under her to properly catch her. The faerie landed on the ground, writhing in pain. Sam landed before him, slamming her claws upon his torso to hold him there.
Darcia leaped off of the dragon and kneeled down before him, a trickle of blood gliding down the side of her face, likely from that impact before. “Yield,” she commanded.
“No! I will never–” the fae protested, but Darcia threw back her head and gave a devilish yell. All was tense and quiet as her one good eye fixed on the orbs of Nishakar.
“I said yield. NOW!” the shifter said with intense energy. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath before Nishakar turned his head, exposing his neck as a sign of submission and defeat.
“… I yield.”
The crowd collectively lost their minds, several throwing themselves into the air and just doing spins. Others whooped and cheered, some shouting reassurances to Nishakar, whose performance was amazing. Nishakar sat up, rubbing his arm and looking down at the ground. Darcia and Sam reoriented themselves, recovering from the battle. Sam returned to her normal half-dragon-half-human form, letting out a sigh and gathering her bearings.
Seeing Nishakar unsure of himself, Darcia approached him and held out a clawed hand. A kind smile rested on her face, displaying her knife-like teeth in a non-aggressive manner. “Hey. You did great. Will your wing be alright?” she asked.
He nodded, staring at her hand and finally accepting it, pulling himself up. The rips were, thankfully, already mending. In fact, any major pierce or bludgeon damage was healing to just minor cuts and bruises, just as Gaelira promised. Nishakar said, “Hm… well. I did great, didn’t I? I was aggressive, just like a villain should be. Or should I have been more reserved? I must practice more for the next show, yes. And… the heroes won.”
Suddenly, a big goofy grin spread across his face. “The heroes WON! YES! WHAT A STORY, WHAT A STORY!” This caused the fae to cheer even harder, and Gaelira was gliding around as well, doing spins of happiness at this outcome. The faeries wanted this ending, no doubt, but did not try to stop Nishakar. The story needed to be real, at least in some fashion.
Darcia chuckled, her eye twinkling. She returned to stand next to Sam, giving her friend a big hug. “Looks like we kinda got our own movie, didn’t we?” the shifter asked.
Sam grinned happily, returning her friend’s hug. “You bet. That was a fun adventure, and now…we get golems!” The half-dragon woman squealed with delight, looking toward the plush snake brought to life by magic. She lashed her tail, adrenaline dying down and replaced with a more relaxed posture.
The leader of this fae flock approached them, giving a bow. “What a story that was!” Gaelira exclaimed, giving a chuckle. “These golems will be active for ten years on the current myst. To restore them at that point, simply contact me. Or… I will return myself. I can remember, yes. I love visiting and hearing your stories, dears. Now then. Keep this our little secret, yes?” The faerie winked. “I do not want the surprise to be spoiled! Do send your honeys here if you get the urge. I want them in a similar story.”
Darcia chuckled, giving a nod. “It’s a good thing I shut off the bond when getting to the faire so he wouldn’t be flooded with so many emotions.”
“What a relief! Well. I will see you darlings later. Tah!”
With that, Sam and Darcia left the arena, their new golem prizes skittering, walking, and slithering behind them obediently.
They met up ten minutes later with their lovers. Goliath was holding two little dragon plushies, while Smoke was angrily holding a single Tasmanian Devil plushie–but it was larger. The two were arguing about who won their battle. Could it be the one with more plushies, or the one with the larger plushie?
The approaching women interrupted their thoughts, and their jaws dropped. Hearing the tail-end of their conversation, Darcia said, “Think we won, guys. But nice try. Dawww… those are wonderful.” Sam nodded in agreement, walking up to give Goliath an enormous hug.
Then she looked toward a cotton candy stand and grinned. “Wanna split some?” She asked her best friend, to which Darcia nodded. The two wandered over to get a big helping of cotton candy before returning to the other two. Sam hesitated in taking a bite, however, suddenly having an idea.
She turned toward Darcia, then motioned toward a random fairegoer. “We need to get a picture. All of us!” After inquiring the person, who was more than willing to help with the photos, they stood together.
Several photos were taken, one of which had Sam and Darcia as the focus, with Smoke in his rat form, and Goliath in his bat form in front of the moon. The picture they took was simply glorious, as was the rest of their Halloween night.
THE END! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Interested in more of my writing? Read the Kingdoms of Blood series! CLICK HERE!