Miles east from Sollune’s palace, the Sol shone upon floating islands as mist blanketed along the streaming water from each island’s peak. Every island had green with lives and mountains on its’ top while the bottom was a rocky cone-like. There were some islands which had rocky mountain and some even higher islands were covered in snow.
Igniswing was the largest island, having a mountain which looked like a dragon’s head. It was the home to the redragons. They had scales of crimson red which looked like blood; vicious and savage was as their inner nature. The redragons were the strongest and the most fearsome Cyaians in the eastern land.
The Sol shone above the Igniswing’s mountain; a redragon stood mightily before his fellow redragons. He was Rouge Ti, stood on two feet, his huge pair of red wings grew behing his bulky, thorny and spiky body, thorns grew where his eyebrows should be. These marked Rouge Ti as the strongest redragon and the tribe’s chief. The redragon’s strength was showed by such features that it was obvious that the other redragons had lesser spikes and thorns, and none could even come close to Rouge Ti’s greatness.
Rouge raised his muscular chest as he prepared to speak.
“Today is the annual hunting festival. This hunting is the tradition of we redragons as it has passes through hundreds of generations. This is where we hunt to pay respect and tributes to our God, Igniswing. This is what we should do, as the sons and daughters of Igniswing. Our God will will bless the us, the males with strength and the females with fertility, so that we redragons can live through the coming winter and continuing our tribe. Those with largest hunt, will be honoured and glorified! But remember, we must return before dusk, before the Sol sets! Now, let the hunt begins!”
Thousands of redragons roared as they flapped their wings; the wings caused strong gale of air which blasted trees below and the redragons flew with tremendous surge of adrenaline.
Rouge detected a slender redragon whom wasn’t as enthusiastic as the many redragons who was looking into a crystal-clear lake.
“Argh, it’s Chi Myst’wing. When will she ever learn?” said Rouge, irritated. “Maybe a sarcastic remark will motivate her,” Rouge thought, facing Chi. “Ah, Chi Myst’wing… a redragon that never learn to fly.”
There some of the redragons stood along with Rouge; they were the elders who had grew too old to fly and they were laughing at Chi silently.
The remark and the laugh fall on Chi’s deaf ears as she was bewitched by a reflection of a redragon on a crystal-clear lake. The slender redragon had eyes like those of the phoenix and her wings were rather unusual: a glowing mist as the shape of her wings rather than a fleshy wing of a redragon. Her mother had it too. Was her father having that kind of wings too? The redragon on the reflection flapped her misty wings whenever she flapped hers. She swung her tail and the redragon ditto. Out of curiosity, she asked the redragon on the lake surface. “Who in this redragon body? Is she really a redragon? She doesn’t like any redragon. Redragon can hunts, she can’t. And she has the wings the redragons don’t have.”
“Chi Myst’wing,” said Rouge, snapped Chi out of her day dream. “What are you doing here? Go to the hunting!”
Chi glanced behind her shoulder, looking clueless at furious looking redragon. “Great chief, me don’t feel like hunting. Never do any hunting right. Me always fail.”
“Chi, when you will grow up like a redragon?” said Rouge, “It’s an honour to hunt for our God! And so, you must follow the tradition!”
“Is it truly my nature? But me always can’t get hunting right,” said Chi, shaking her head.
“Chi!” said Rouge, “this is your nature! Your nature is with your body! Redragon! Your nature is fierce, and you must follow the tradition to do the hunting.”
“Me nature is fierce? Then, why me always have that feeling whenever close to hunting? Whenever me about to kill? This makes me really think who am me actually.”
“You are helpless. You can’t even adapt to your bodily nature. It’s your very nature. Look at yourself! You are a redragon. We all breathe fire! I simply can’t understand why you act according to your nature!”
“Life is not just about hunting, great chief,” said Chi, “there are more to it”
“Like finding our purpose here…”
“Our purpose here is to hunt,” said Rouge.
As Ti spoke, some redragons gave Chi a contemptuous look, shook their head and flew away.
“Great chief, hunting is not our purpose here. We haven’t…”
“Enough!” shouted Rouge. He tried hard not to rolled his eyes despite feeling irritated at Chi. “Go hunt now and back before dusk!” said Rouge as he spread wide his wings. “If you don’t bring back any hunting, it’s you, who will be sacrificed!” said Rouge as he flapped his wings and launched himself off the mountain.
Chi widened her eyes, her jaw dropped. She couldn’t imagine what would be her fate if she failed to hunt. But, the hunting was really contrary to her nature.
Chi’s mother, Sunu Myst’wing, came near, looking at Chi. “Dear, it’s a great honour to hunt for the God. Now, your age is ripe and you are now allowed to hunt. Dear, do make your first hunt a happy one. Alright?”
“Mama, Chi believe there is something more than hunting. Not just hunting. Something more matters than hunting. Somewhere, there’s a higher way of living than scuffing the tracks of others.”
Sunu looked suddenly grave.
“Dear Chi, you sound like your papa,” said Sunu, “this is dangerous. For now, abandon the thought of life purpose. Please just be a redragon and go to hunt.”
“My papa?” said Chi, sounding excited so sudden. “Papa also talked about like that? What papa did?”
“Chi, not now. In future, mama will tell. Now go with the hunt.”
“Mama, Chi never like to hunt…”
Sunu grinned. “Just go hunting, Chi.”
“Me will try to hunt,” said Chi as she spread her wings wide, flapping it and she swiftly rose from the ground.
There she flew, descent from the Igniswing island, looking at the islands below. There could be many islands with different life and each of it could had a redragon in it, hunting. Chi searched for an island that may not had any redragon on it but Chi never had any desire to hunt, yet alone to kill; she had no purpose and destination in her mind. “Me don’t feel like hunting. What’s the purpose of doing something don’t even feel doing it. It’s pointless.”
A hoof sounded on the grass island below.
Chi glanced below upon a flock of antdeer on the grass plain. The antdeer had a body of a mane and it had a mouse-like head, leaping about in a graceful manner. She landed before the flock of the graceful creature.
The antdeer was shocked and leapt at scattered direction. Chi pursued one of the antdeer until it stopped before a cliff where it could no longer run. The antdeer shrieked in fear that tears welled in the its’ eyes.
The tears soothed Chi’s heart that she felt she couldn’t hurt the antdeer anymore. She knew a feeling of compassion radiated within her; she always had that feeling whenever she tried to hunt. Consequently, Chi flapped her wings and flew away from the antdeer. “Can’t even do any hunting. It’s just not me nature,” she thought.
Now that she had gave up hunting, she flew without any purpose… without any direction. Perhaps she could enjoy a landscape of sky and greenery. Chi now had already flew far from the floating islands and she had no idea where she was. This was the first time she flew so far.
She spotted a billowing smoke – something terrible could possibly happen.
Chi flapped her wings stronger to reach faster to the location. As she flew toward the smoke, it happened to came from a village. As Chi flew closer, smell of burning wood and the cries became stronger…
She finally reached the village, startled to see it was under attack by a redragon – Emberfist. The cries came from some goatmen, covering with fear and lying on the ground injured.
It turned out that Emberfist was involved in a battle with a wingless greendragon who was fighting Emberfist to protect the goatmen. The greendragon with his hind legs, jumped from a village roof and he launch his rooster-like talon to Emberfist…
Emberfist effortlessly evaded the greendragon’s talon… but got hit by the greendragon fist. He howled in pain.
The greendragon landed on the ground and kicked several rocks toward Emberfist.
Emberfist tried to evade the incoming rocks but they were so fast that he had to hit them with his red-glowing fist… manage to hit every single rock except for the last one… it hit him. He got got more furious that he roared, shaking the whole village. His fist burst with fire… and he launched himself toward the greendragon…
The greendragon saw the flaming fist coming toward him… but he just frozen on the spot.
Something had to be done. Chi couldn’t let the greendragon be killed by Emberfist. She sprinted toward Emberfist with all her might that her misty wings could flap, pushing Emberfist away.
Emberfist crashed on a burning village hut. Standing, he looked startled at which Cyaian dared to offend him. It didn’t took him long to realised it was Chi. His golden eyes now glowed more brightly.
Chi felt relieved that she had saved the greendragon from the fury of Emberfist. Glancing below, she even more relief when she saw the greendragon pulling the goatmen to safety.
“Be careful!” said the greendragon, looking alarmed and pointed to her right.
“Chi! It’s your fault that I lost my hunt!” Emberfist spitted.
In a split-second, Chi felt a hot and hard punch hit right on her stomach. She shrieked, the impact from the punch threw her to the ground that she blacked out on the spot.
Soon, Chi gained consciousness and realised her surrounding was dark. The only light sources she could see were the torches and the golden eyes of hundreds redragons. It seemed that the hunting festival was over.
She tried to move but her movement was restricted by something warm that she looked down: she was bound at a pole by a glowing red chain… and she was almost breathless when she saw a pile of woods piled beneath her. It was obvious that she had done something unforgiven… and she was about to be executed.
A loud voice spoke her name. She turned to the voice… Rouge had spoken her name while he was chanting before a huge stone statue of an ancient dragon; it had similar features with a redragon – wide wings, thorns and spikes. It was the god of the redragons – Igniswing. Chi jerked her head and shocked… never had any redragon see it; Igniswing’s face was demon-like unlike any redragon; it filled Chi’s heart with terror.
Having finished chanting, Rouge turned to his redragons.
“This redragon, Chi Myst’wing, had saved goatmen and a dragon of another tribe, and attacked her own tribe member! And this is a weakness, a disgrace, a disrespect of the hunting festival and the tradition. God Igniswing displeases and has taken away her blessing of fertility. She had no more worthy forf her bloodline.”
Chi felt the words spoken were contradict.
“Dear chief,” said Chi, “Me thought the God Igniswing will bestow me with the fertility if have delivered the hunt. Now the God has taken away my fertility?”
“Yes,” said Rouge without looking at Chi.
“How could something be taken without even granted?” said Chi.
At a moment, Rouge gave Chi a sudden wrathful look which resembled Igniswing, shocking Chi.
“How could you have said something disrespectful like that?” said Rouge.
Then, he turned back to his fellow redragons.
Chi saw her mother standing among the redragons, looking terribly grave; her looks seemed as if wondering what would happened to dear Chi.
“She had showed disrespect and even heresy to our tradition which was founded by God Igniswing! The God is displeased with the disgraceful redragon!” said Ti, pointing to Chi.
“Is it wrong that me just to follow my heart?” said Chi.
“Follow your heart to save other?” said Rouge, “A redragon never save other being rather than own tribe. You had disgrace the redragons! You even muttered disrespectful words toward our God!”
Every redragon now bellowed in anger at Chi.
“Surely, there’s only a way… to cleanse her soul…”
Every redragon paused, looking at whom had spoken.
Emberfist walked out from the masses of redragons; he approached Ti and he brought his head close to Ti’s winged and spiked ear, whispering something.
Ti nodded and switched to Chi.
“God Igniswing displeases at you, Chi… but the God’s willing to forgive you if you willing to betrothed yourself to Emberfist, since he had defeated you and bring you back as his hunt.”
Chi saw every redragon shaking their head; some even put their head down. Clearly to everyone, it was really a disgrace.
Emberfist then walked towards Chi.
“As following the tradition, you are now belonging to me, since I had knocked you out earlier. So, I have every of my rights on you!”
Chi looked as if she couldn’t find any more words to argue but she was so despaired that she finally spoke, “Me do not belongs to anyone and you have no rights!”
The words angered Emberfist. “This is the tradition! You stubborn moron! Why can’t you understand? Just accept it, and you can survive!”
“There’s no point for me to betrothed to you,” said Chi, “and how could you know God Igniswing is displease?”
Everyone gasped in terror; they quickly kneed toward the Igniswing statue and begged for forgiveness. Then, they all turned their wrathful gaze to Chi.
Chi browsed across every redragon; every of them was outraged at her and she realised she had crossed the line. She felt fear of the punishment, believing that it’s going to be heavy. There was no forgiving for her now. She couldn’t hope for anything now, seeing all redragons bellowing in rage. She had a glance of her mother. Her mother looked startled and speechless, and she was at a verge of tears.
“She had committed a heresy. Burn her!” One of the elder shouted. Then, the whole tribe shouted that too.
Chi was appalled. She would soon meet her fate. Her mother was appalled too. She couldn’t believe that her dear Chi will be killed here. Chi looked at every redragon, everyone looked at her in disdained eyes. To them, whoever who question the God must be burned.
“My fellow redragons, God igniswing still can forgive her. There’s still a…”
“Great Chief, her soul is now sinful. The only way to cleanse her soul is by burning. Otherwise, the God will be displeased.”
“Burn her!” The redragons shouted together.
Rouge sighed. He seemed trying to save Chi, but there was nothing he can do. “Alright. Burn her!”
Sunu immediately came to Chi. She was now wet with hot tears and she wrapped herself around Chi. “My dear… why you’re so idiot?” Sunu said, “Why… don’t you just pretend to accept the tradition?”
“Sorry, mama…” Chi felt tears now flowing from her eyes.
“Chi… you’re the only left… Mama… couldn’t lose you….”
“Take Sunu away,” said Rouge Ti, said hesitantly.
Few redragons came to separate Sunu away Chi. Sunu embraced Chi so tight that it took them some time to do so; and Sunu was being dragged away instead.
Sunu darted to Rouge Ti and held his hand, wiggling the chief’s hand. “Please… please… great chief… please lighten the punishment. Any punishment is alright but not death sentence.”
“Proceed with the punishment!” said the elder.
Chi suddenly felt her surrounding was like an illusion.
As a redragon carried a torch moved toward Chi, Sunu jumped forward, she grabbed the redragon’s tail and with all her might, slammed him away. She slashed the chain binding her dear Chi, breaking it and set her free. “Chi, fly away, now!”
Chi was startled at what Sunu had done. “Mama, let’s fly together,” said Chi.
“Chi, fly now!” Sunu said, impatiently.
The redragons were half-appalled and half-furious at Sunu’s action; they hurried towards Sunu and Chi.
Sunu, with the Ignium chain held in her hand, swung with all her force and threw flame from her mouth to keep the redragons at bay. “Dearest Jing, please help me protect dear Chi,” Sunu said in a low tone. “Chi, mama will fly after you!”
Chi never saw Sunu was powerful like that before. Her mother was usually gentle. Probably, it was a motherly instinct that made Sunu fierce in order to protect Chi.
The army of redragons were overwhelming. Sunu couldn’t hold it much longer. Not long, the surrounding redragons rounded up Sunu, binding her as she struggling herself from the redragons.
“Chi, fly!” Sunu shouted from her remaining strength.
The force manifested from Chi as a violent wave of air blasted the redragons away.
All the redragons that lay on the ground jerked and gaped unintentionally at Chi whilst her mother face looked as if she had met her loved one. She grinned slightly and muttered, “Thank you, Dearest Jing.”
Chi hurried to her mother and pulled her up by her shoulder.
“Mama, let’s fly together!”
Sunu nodded. Both spread their wings and rocketed off.
The redragons had already recovered from the shock, stood and ditto – spread their wings and rocketed.
Some redragon were excellent flyers that they were closing in Sunu and Chi.
As a redragon was about to grab Chi’s tail, Sunu spit a flame from her mouth to the redragon’s hand. The redragon groaned in pain and withdrew his hand.
Sunu kicked the redragon with all her might; the redragon was tossed back to where he lifted off.
A redragon grabbed Sunu from behind. Sunu resisted to break free and more redragons came to hold her back, slowing her down. Without Sunu to help Chi, the redragons were gaining on Chi easily.
“Fly, Chi. Fly!” That was the support Sunu could do.
As some redragons were about to reach Chi, whistling sounds suddenly pierced through the dark sky, and the redragons howled painfully.
Chi halted and turned to see what had happened; she realised the redragons had been impaled by large bolts. Who dared to attack redragons? And Chi turned her head to every direction to scan for the source of the attack. “Who’s attacking?” said Chi to herself. She saw her mother being dragged as she struggled.
“Mama, here me come!”
As Chi was about to fly back to save her mother, more redragons were coming… and more bolts whistling toward the redragons. Chi had to fly to safety and think of another way to save her mother, at the same time she wondered who had saved her.