Only Hope 2: Slave Town

With the lives of her friends at risk, Arigen and her dragons must somehow free the prisoners of slave town before they all have to fight to the death in a battle ring. But the slaves are not the only things Arigen has to worry about. Because the dark armies are closing in...


6. First Match

The arena had changed since I had last seen it, when Alvyss and Kallias were supposed to be facing off. Now, the arena had a roof formed of strong metal bars, all crossed over so that escape was impossible. The announcer, the man speaking through the horn, was standing on a podium just to the left of the arena. There was people standing all around us, cheering and screaming.

"Our first team - the two fake rangers and their stolen beasts, the crafty silver hunter*, and the so called dragon rider, who must have forced those poor beasts into slavery!" the announcer called out to the excited crowd. I bit my tounge to prevent myself from screaming at the announcer in rage. How dare he call us fakes? I can't really remember, but I think I was probably trembling in rage.

"And now," continiued the announcer, "Are their opponents! The poisonfangs, the most feared of all sabre-toothed creatures. Only the strongest can survive their jaws, let alone their poison!" he laughed. Right. Laugh while we die. Thanks, announcer. Thanks. I had only heard of the poisonfangs from my sister. She had told me... She had told me that poisonfangs were feared by all warriors. They were fast, deadly and cruel. If their sheer strength and speed didn't kill you at first, their poisonous fangs probably would. Even if their fangs scratched you just a little, the poison would eventually work its way to your heart, and you would die. A fearsome roar brought me back from memories of my sister, telling me all about creatures which could be extremely dangerous to me if I ever decided to leave home. Well, now look at me. Another roar rippled from the tunnel opposite us, striking fear in my heart.

"Arigen, fly as soon as the announcer tells us the match beggins. Burn them, and shoot them from above. Please, Arigen!" Alvyss begged me, his eyes so pleading and desperate, even more so than before, in the tunnel. I sighed, and nodded. Emberstorm spread her beautiful wings, ready to fly.

"Thankyou." he replied with a smile of gratitude. I just nodded, knowing that I wouldn't stay in the air if he needed my help.

"Ashwing, stay in the saddlebags." I whispered to the little dragon. He made a nervous chattering noise, and climbed into Emberstorms saddlebags.

"Avoid their fangs, you can't let them corner you. Most definately use their speed against them, and attack from behind. Arigen, your use of flames from the sky will be incredibly useful. Serena and Alvyss... please avoid killing each other." Kallias said firmly, as the first of the beasts burst from the tunnel into the daylight.

"Yeah, just don't get in my way," Alvyss spat, as he and Serena mounted Frostfang and Shadow.

"Of course, ranger, I'd have to be careful to leave at least one of them to you, just so you don't throw a tantrum after I beat them all myself," Serena growled back.

"Stop fighting yourselves, and focus on the enemy!" Kallias growled, as Emberstorm spread her wings.

"Let the match begin!" the announcer yelled, and Emberstorm sprang into the air. Shadow, Jet and Frostfang leaped forwards, their claws and fangs slashing with an untamed fury. Emberstorm darted above, spraying fire over the first of the poisonfangs. They screeched, running back towards their pack, setting the fur of others on fire. Serena slashed at the nearest poisonfang, her blades reflecting the flames that Emberstorm sent forth to burn the creatures. Her wolf opened his jaws, and a cold, frosty ice powder seeped from between his fangs, freezing the poisonfangs in their tracks- literally. The ice, though beautiful, was deadly, keeping the poisonfangs immobilised until Serena or Frostfang could kill them. I couldn't focus on her for too long, though. I had to kill my own poisonfangs. Nocking an arrow to my bow, I loosed, striking a poisonfang through it's heart.

"Serena, I want you to freeze the poisonfangs. Me and Alvyss will kill them, and Arigen will keep the rest of them back so we don't get overwhelmed!" Kallias yelled out.

"Okay," I called back, as Emberstorm swept down to keep back the main mass of the poisonfangs with her flames.

"I won't work with rangers!" Serena yelled defiantly, as I struck down a stray poisonfang with an arrow. Shadow swiped at three, narrowly avoiding their fangs as one lunged forwards. Jet, however, slaughtered it from behind. I sighed in relief. That thing had been so close to killing Shadow...

"Fine then," Kallias retorted. "You can die alongside two. And trust me, that will be worse for your reputation than if you fight alongside one."

Serena growled, but eventually agreed. Emberstorm sent forwards more flames to stop the poisonfangs from getting to our friends, as Frostfang covered more of the poisonfangs in ice. Shadow and Jet, running behind him, smashed up their frozen enemies, claws glinting cruelly. A stray poisonfang broke free of the flames, and I slew it with my arrow. Serena sliced up any poisonfangs who drew too near to Frostfang, as Alvyss and Kallias used their bows to help their own mounts. A good plan, and, as they progressed, Emberstorm let more poisonfangs go to fight them, her fire burning the creature's hides as she fought on. And then, came the moment of faliure. Frostfang suddenly swerved to avoid a poisonfang, and, as he did, Shadow slammed into him, already at full pelt.

"Quit trying to get me killed!" Serena screamed at Alvyss, her blue eyes furious. Alvyss glared at her, forgetting about killing poisonfangs in his second of rage.

"Then don't get in Shadow's way!" he yelled back. Poisonfangs charged at them, their deadly venomous fangs ready to kill.

"ALVYSS!" I yelled out, shooting as swiftly as I could. But my arrows were not enough. Shadow and Frostfang lashed out to protect their riders, but they were surrounded in a matter of seconds. Jet dived forwards to help, as Emberstorm's flames scorched whatever enemies they could find. Alvyss gasped as a poisonfang dived at him, it's eyes gleaming maliciously. My heart stopped. Not Alvyss- my first friend since the death of Oragyn. No. Not him. In that moment, Shadow turned, trying to protect his rider with his own body. And then, a blur dived from the saddlebags, a blur than I realised to be my helpless little dragon. Ashwing was entering the battle.



*The announcer didn't need to say that Serena was a fake silver hunter, because the silver hunters were not respected, due to the fact they stole things, and generally weren't very nice. The dragon rider, however, was seen as a hero, and so were the rangers, who were much more friendly and helpful than the silver hunters... So if you are wondering why the announcer called Arigen, Alvyss and Kallias fakes but not Serena, that's why!!!!! XD XD

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