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~ Previous Chapter ~
Confrontation (at last).
YULLIK LAUGHED AS the dragons panicked and ran. He felt the magic sweeping over them, a power that burrowed under the skin and tweaked right into the heart of one’s oldest instincts.
Clever. He felt it brush against him, but he’d been guarding himself from the twins’ influence for over a year. He was an expert in ignoring them. The panic slid right by him, trying to latch onto his kaz-naghkt instead.
“No.” He tightened his control on his pack’s minds and they obeyed him without question. Which is why when the dragons ran, his kaz-naghkt chased, their blood running high, their baying shrieks eager. They were his best batch yet, bigger, stronger, fiercer, more intelligent. They had Wingborn blood. Yet they were still kaz-naghkt. They lived for the kill and he was happy to give it to them.
Stepping aside to let them pass, he looked around but could see no sign of the twins. They wouldn’t be far, he knew, unable to miss seeing the results of their handiwork. He wondered just how they’d convinced the dragons to trust them enough for them to work their magic, then dismissed the thought. He didn’t care how. He only cared that it had worked, and his prey now fled like the mindless monsters they were.
All except one.
“You.” He eyed the pale dragon who was short and slight and so fragile. Unless one looked into their rainbow-coloured eyes.
The unmistakable Goryal Clan Starshine. Yullik’s parents had told him all about this one.
“Yullik ses-Khennik,” they said in their distinctive chiming voice. “Your parents would be sorely disappointed in you.”
“My parents?” Yullik replied softly, even as a haze of gold settled over his vision. “What do you know of my parents?”
Goryal tilted their head to one side and smiled sweetly and sadly. “Less than I hoped, yet more than I once thought. Perhaps, after all this time, I understand them now.”
“You understand nothing,” Yullik snarled, fire burning in his veins, gathering in his hands.
The Starshine elder smiled. “I understand everything,” they promised in a voice as deep as thunder. Their eyes flashed white, but Yullik was ready.
Magic collided, gold to white, and the tunnel beneath the mountain exploded, cracking the floor and throwing Yullik back into the wall. It collapsed on top of him, burying him in rubble and dust and weight, until his light faded and all was still.
But this was his mountain. It had guarded and treasured him for almost two centuries. In return he had filled it with his power and given it life. So instead of crushing him, the mountain cradled him, keeping him safe until all was calm. Then it released him.
Yullik ses-Khennik shook off the boulders and rubble and stood, the golden light of his magic burning the air around him. Goryal Clan Starshine likewise stepped unharmed from the wreckage of the tunnel to face him, blazing white like the full moon.
“Interesting,” the elder said. “Your parents never taught you that.”
“My parents taught me everything.” Including how to deal with insufferable know-it-alls like this one.
Pulling on his connection to the mountain, Yullik opened a hole beneath Goryal’s feet at the same time as lunging towards them. Distracted by their stumble, Goryal had no time to react when Yullik slammed into their chest, punching out with the golden fire of his father’s legacy.
The Starshine dragon fell onto their back with a glass-shattering shriek, a white flash of power exploding out of them with enough force to sear Yullik’s skin. Fierce talons slammed into his shoulders, holding him close, stopping him from escaping, while his fire went one way and the white light flowed the other. Locked together, screaming, they tumbled along the wrecked tunnel and into the cavern beyond.
~ Next Chapter ~
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