Kingdom Rivalry


8. Vlll

“Phoebe.” I turned my head to look down to whomever called me. My mother stood in the middle of my room, looking around for me. “Yes?” I pulled myself up from my cloud. I stretched my wings out and hovered down to her. She watched me land ahead of her and smiled “Two things.” I sat down looking at her “One, I am proud of you and how you handled the races. Second, your father and I have to have a word with you.” She turned and walked out of my room, flicking her tail for me to follow. I trotted to catch up to her. I felt my shoulder begin to act up and slowed down. My mother slowed down. My mother slowed down when she noticed this “Again, I am sorry about Yang. I wouldn’t have let her train you if I’d known what she’d felt against me.” I nodded “It’s alright mother. But I am still confused on the burning fire thing.” My mother glanced at me and stopped suddenly. I stopped and she began to look around. She leaned in closer to me. “Phoebe. You mustn’t tell a soul about that.” I tilted my head to one side. She stepped back and I watched her. She blinked and her eyes were no longer amber but an icy blue. She extended her wings and instead of feathers, there were sharp ice shards. “Feel my hair Phoebe.” I stepped toward her and lifted my paw to her hair and quickly withdrew. “It’s freezing mother!” She shook herself and pulled her wings into her sides. “Sh! Phoebe please. Chris and Joy know nothing about this. You must keep this to yourself.” She blinked her eyes again, turning them back to the original amber. I nodded and she continued and I followed her. “Come Phoebe.” My mother called before opening her wings and leaping off the edge. I blinked as she did. I quickly opened my wings and followed her. “Where are we going?” I shouted loud enough for her to hear. “You will see dear.” She called back. She leveled herself to glide close to the ground and I quickly leveled behind her. Soon she pulled herself back and landed on the ground. I stopped quickly and landed near her. “Mother?” I looked around us “Yes dear?” She turned to me. “I thought we weren’t supposed to come down to Jacaranda.” I noticed a building covered with vines and surrounded in the trees. “This is the area apart from the mountain that is neutral ground. There’s no need to worry, we’re safe.” She looked around before walking toward the building. I followed close behind her. “Phoebe?” She called behind her “Yes mother?” She flicked her tail “Are you alright?” I inhaled quickly knowing full well what she meant. I lowered my wings slightly to cover my stomach from the sides. “Y-yes, I’m fine.” I noticed her glancing back at me and I smiled “I’m fine mother. Don’t worry too much about me.” She stopped suddenly and I nearly bumped into her. “Phoebe, you have to be more careful now. You can’t just throw yourself at anything now. You have to think.” She turned and continued walking. I continued following her. We came to the door of the building and she stopped at the door. “Stand here dear.” She flicked her tail to a place just to the right of the door. I moved and as I did so she lifted her paw. My father then landed next to her making me jump slightly. “Jeez, father. You have to stop doing that.” He chuckled sitting down next to my mother. He quickly lifted his paw as well and they both placed their paw on a grayish plate on the ground, I somehow missed. “You’ll do just fine Phoebe.” My mother said before they both pressed the plate down. I was dropped suddenly into a dark room and quickly opened my wings and caught myself. The opening that I fell through was still illuminated but was closing slowly. I looked around, blinking for my eyes to adjust. I slowly lowered myself until I felt the tips of my feathers gently graze the floor and I quickly landed. As I did so I heard a low rumble “Hello child. From which kingdom, do you travel?” I looked in the direction of voice, it was comforting but also intimidating all the while. “I am Princess Phoebe of Autopia.” I slowly sat “Ah, Kathleen’s oldest daughter. I have wanted to meet you for quite some time.” I nodded “I’m sorry but my mother has said nothing.” I wrapped my tail around my hind legs to cover my slightly expanded stomach. It was knowingly noticeable now. “Do not worry child, for I already have knowledge of your pup.” I felt my fur heat up before I realized the sudden flame. I didn’t move as a large bowl behind me lit up. Smaller torches lit on the walls that led around the room. The light illuminated long claws and a large scaly body. It’s wings like a bat and it’s eyes like a cat. Its scales were dark but still a shiny grey. It’s eyes a cloud white. “My apologies but what is your name?” Its eyes turned to slits. “I am Peripeteia. I am here to aid Jacaranda and Autopia.” I tilted my head slightly “Why? Don’t dragons usually live in the mountains?” He nodded slowly “Yes, only one who live here. Only one speak wolf talk.” I nodded “I understand.” His eyes widened again “Do you have more question child?” I thought for a second. “Why do Autopians have wings?” I looked up and into his white eyes. He shook head slowly. “Apologies child, no knowledge of first ancestors.” I nodded “Must do now.” He looked up and an opening in the ceiling expanded enough for moon light to pour inside and over me. He stood up slowly and walked around me. I shifted to move out of his way. “No move.” He grumbled quickly. I planted myself back to my place as he circled his body around me quickly. I felt a sharp pain in one of my wings but held in my yelp by biting my bottom lip. There was an opening in the floor and a small bowl came up. There, Peripeteia dropped a small grey silvery thing in it along with a small bright green leaf. I watched on as he burned them both, his scale quickly curved within itself engulfing the leaf which looked untouched. Once the scale stopped tightening together, Peripeteia leaned close to it examining it with one of my feathers held between his teeth. I noticed a little blood on the end of it. I opened my mouth to say something but quickly closed it when he glanced at me. He nodded and gently dropped the feather onto the small red ball. The feather stuck to it quickly and left a mark on the front of it, where it had landed. When I looked back to Peripeteia, he held another leaf but this one was bigger. He released one end of it and water poured out and into the bowl. A lot of steam and a hissing came from the small ball. I sat back as he grabbed the ball. The leaf was still inside. He placed the ball at my paws and walked back to where he originally lay. He lowered his head and picked up something. Once back in front of me he presented the treasure on the floor. He pawed the ball into the small hole in the center before I suddenly realized it was a crown. He picked up the small treasure between his teeth and looked at me. I took a deep breath and quickly lowered my head. I felt him lower it past my ears and flinched inwardly. “Pick your head up child.” I did so looking up at him. “A queen should never have her head lowered.” He smiled looking at me, pride shining in his white eyes.

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