She didn't think it was worth running over, but Rixet found herself running for her life as the phoenix flew behind her, gaining ground swiftly. Gasping for air, she debated on stopping and just surrendering. She always claimed that she would rid herself of the orb in a heart beat, but it was as though her legs were mechanic and she couldn't find the off switch. Despite that, she was far too slow to outrun an airborne beast. It was so close to her that she could feel air being pushed on to her by the flapping of its wings. She was sure that it was the end for her, or at least she was hoping it was.
"Duck!" Deir shouted and in the heat of the moment, Rixet lunched forward and rolled in the snow and ended up on her back in time to see the phoenix crash directly over her, so close that stray embers burned her face. She wept softly before rubbing her face in the snow to relieve herself from the heat. The phoenix took out a few trees and was trying to regain its composure.
Before Rixet could decide what to do, she was scooped up by Deir's talons and he took off faster than he thought he was capable of. With her small hands wrapped around his talons, she couldn't keep her eyes open because the wind attacking her made them lose all moisture. The wind seemed to almost be trying to peel her long eyelashes off of her.
After a few moments, Deir scolded her, "See what you've done? You brought him here and I have to clean up the mess. Thanks a lot."
She remained silent mostly because he wouldn't hear her anyway because the wind would most likely drown her out and she doubted if it would matter if he heard a half-hearted apology. "See that cave over there?" She pried her eyes open and saw they were approaching it. "Stay there until I return. Don't you dare come out. Not even to peek."
"What do I do if you don't come back?" she shouted as loud as she could, not expecting him to hear her.
He grunted in response, "Do as I say." He swooped down lower to the ground and without a warning, he released her. She failed to suppress a cry of shock, but was muffled by a deep snow pile which succeeded in breaking her fall. She pushed herself up and shook the flakes of snow out of her hair and brushed off her clothes as she walked to the cave. She stood at the entrance and watched Deir fly off, but rushed further inside once she heard the phoenix approaching.
She felt like her heart was going to burst out of her chest and she never thought that she would be so glad to feel anxiety, but after facing nothing but boredom and heartache for years straight, she was relieved to feel the excitement even though her life was being threatened.
"Are you really as strong as they say you are?" inquired the phoenix. The two squared off in the sky, muscles tense and ready for battle. Deir answered with a grunt accompanied with a glare. "I've wanted to take you out ever since I heard about you and once I kill you I'll be a hero. You can only imagine what the Nalevians will reward me with."
Deir informed him, "You'll never get a reward. Once they have what they want, they'll dispose of you in seconds. Only a fool would believe their promises."
The phoenix laughed in mockery and said, "Maybe to someone like you. You're a traitor any way with no horns." A dragon's horns was it's prized possession and indicated how powerful they were determined by the length. When a dragon disgraces its tribe, traditionally the horns are torn off. "Before you're dead, tell me this...Why protect that Malycean runt? Don't tell me. You're waiting to kill her to have the orb all to yourself. Clever"
A nerve was hit and Deir tackled the phoenix and they went spiraling toward the ground, breathing fire as they did.
Rixet hid in the cave in the early morning and after the sun went down she was still there with no sign of where Deir was. Her adrenaline faded and was replaced by that numb feeling as she replayed the events in her head to keep herself entertained. She didn't realize it but she was also worried about his well-being. Not because she liked him as a person, but because she knew it was impossible to live without him. He was her only source of communication daily and she knew without him she would have lost her sanity.
She ended up falling asleep, but was awoken when she heard someone enter the cave. "So you're alive," was how she chose to greet him. She was too embarrassed to express the relief she felt. He had to duck his long neck in just so that he could fit inside.
"Shut your mouth!" he boomed, making the entire cave shake. Rixet stumbled back in alarm. He never yelled at her before. "I was out there defending you and that's all you have to say?"
That was when she noticed he was wounded. He had a gash on his stomach and there was blood everywhere. She stated the obvious, "You're hurt..."
"Tell me something I don't know," he hissed. Instead trying to help him, she sat down across from him and only stared.
"You know, you didn't have to do that. If I died back there...I'd be okay with that," she admitted.
After staring at her for a long moment of silence, Deir barked, "You really don't care what happened to yourself, do you!"
She snapped, "Why do you!"
"Because I-" Rixet awaited an explanation, but he never did finish. It was like someone grabbed his tongue to hinder his speech. "I'm out of here..." he muttered, giving up. Rixet was so close to begging him to stay, but her pride stopped her like a brick wall. He stumbled to get out of the cave and took flight once he was out. Rixet left the cave to watch him go. Looking down at the trail of his blood in the snow, she could only hope that he would return.
"That runt is getting in my way. She'll get what's coming to her, you'll see." After returning to Atlica for the night, Deir hid in a volcano where he could be comfortable. In the daytime it served as a playground for young dragons, but at night there was nothing but lava. Deir just wanted to be alone and think things over, but a girl found him. Not just any girl, a Nalevian known as Nyless.
"Whatever," Deir grumbled before taking flight to go to a different area of the volcano, hinting he didn't want a conversation. He landed on molten rocks and looked up to find her jumping on rocks to reach him.
When she was close enough, she looked down at him with her hands on her hips. "She's nothing but trouble. What did you say her name was, Raxit?"
"Rixet," he corrected and just uttering her name made him feel a weight on his back. "Leave her alone. She didn't do anything ot you..."
Her red hair which looked like an upside down ice cream cone flared like a bon fire. "She didn't do anything? You're stupider than I thought! She has the orb, genius!" Deir glanced up to find the shackles on her wrists and ankles rattling.
He retorted, "Well she didn't do it on purpose..." Deir despised being so passive toward her but he knew if he stood up to her, she'd probably end up killing him.
"What's really making me mad is that you actually seem to care about that disgusting Roxit thing! She's a Malycean, so you know she doesn't want you at all. She's using you and that reminds me. You killed the strongest phoenix we could find. Nice going. He was this close to tearing her head off!"
Deir remained silent, hoping that she'd become bored and leave. He heard the shackles cease rattling and the next thing he knew, she was sitting on his neck, grasping what remained of his horns. He shook by her touch, sensing her power. "Here's something you can't refuse...Me. And all want you to do is bring Rixet to us."
She jerked his horns causing his head to snap up. "You're not hearing me, are you? I said that you'd have me. You'd be mine. Do you know how many would die for this opportunity?" She leaned in closer to his ear and whispered, "Think about it. You'd have all the power. You'd be a hero. It could change everything for you."
He wasn't an idiot. Like he told the phoenix, they only wanted to use him for their own benefit and he did do what they wanted, he'd be dead in the next week. Losing his temper, he spat as he snapped his neck as far back as it would go, causing Nyless to slide from him. "I'm not a slave to you people!" Knowing she was more than likely to retaliate, he spread his wings to fly out. Once in the air, she had no chance of attacking him. Nalevians were strong ground fighters, but could do nothing in the air.
She yelled after him, standing in the same spot, "You're losing everything to that Malycean! I'll give you one more chance! Bring her alive to us within the next six days and I'll give you everything I promised!" She reacted calmer than he had anticipated.
"Fine, I'll do it," Rixet surrendered with a pout. "What do these humans look like?" Deir returned to her the next morning with his wounds fully healed as though it was a normal day.
He responded by dropping a magazine before her. As she flipped through the pages, her lips curved in to a grimace. "Is this really what they look like?"
"Hey. You shouldn't be talking," he countered. "But yes...Can you pull this off?"
"Maybe..." She drew the orb from her pendant and Deir couldn't pry his eyes from it. All he could think about was what Nyless.
Rixet looked at the cover of the magazine thoroughly before closing her eyes in concentration. After a few minutes, she put the pendant in its place and released a sigh. "Did it work?" she asked anxiously.
"It's about time you used it for something useful. Now the easy part is finding a place for you to hide. You want to go somewhere warm? You're looking a little chilly."
Being cold-blooded, she never actually felt cold but she had goosebumps on her skin and her teeth were chattering. It was a foreign feeling to her, but she assumed it was an after effect of the orb. "There's these places where they have sand. It almost feels like snow. They call it Los Angeles."
He mocked, "You've been on this planet for how long and you're still clueless. Now how do you plan to get there?"
Since she was unable to harness any of the orb's many powers, she couldn't find a way to get there by her own means, so Deir carried her in his talons. Knowing he'd cause an uproar, he dropped her off far from civilization, leaving her to walk about a mile.
"How long will I have to stay here?" she asked him with her stomach crunching into knots.
"Probably forever. Unless you can find a way to take out the Nalevians and anyone else who wants you dead. These kind of problems don't disappear over night. Your only options are to run and hide."
"Well that's easy. I've done that my whole life..." He was just about to take off in the sky, but Rixet rose her quivering voice as she questioned, "Will I see you again?" He was the only one on the planet she trusted so of course she was weary of him abandoning her.
"I don't know." Reality slapped her across the face. She expected him to lie to shut her up, but the honest answer hurt more because it made her more aware of her predicament. "If I don't see you again, I just wanted to tell you-" Just like in the cave, he stopped speaking abruptly as if it would be painful to finish his sentence.
"Just don't get yourself killed," he snarled and took before she could even say goodbye.