"I wish you had told me before." Spyro sighed as Cynder finished her story.
"Believe me Spyro, I wanted to." Cynder apologized as she rubbed his cheek sympathetically with her paw. "But I was afraid you'd try and stop me if I had told you."
"She has a point there buddy." Sparx pointed out.
Spyro was about to say something when Tremor interrupted him. "I don't think there was any 'good' way of going about it. It needed to be done. I guess." He looked down at the slash marks that remained on his chest. The wounds he had received were still very fresh. Candice noticed the look on his face and rubbed against his neck in hopes of comforting him a little bit. Cynder noticed and looked at Spyro who gave a slight smile. The black dragoness smiled back and nuzzled him under the chin.
"But what I don't understand is how Spyro is losing his powers to begin with?" Ember continued.
"I think it has something to do with that crystal shard Malefor used on Spyro beck when he attacked the dragon city." Cynder pondered aloud. "From what I've heard from the wolves, anyone who comes into contact with these crystals gets possess by the Dark Master."
"So we have to find all these things and destroy them?" Flame asked with an exhausted sigh.
"That's the good news." Cynder shook her head. "You remember all those black dragons that went missing from the Eastern City?" The other guardians nodded. "Malefor has possess their minds as well. So that will save us the trouble of having to search out the crystals."
"How do you know?" Tremor raised a brow suspiciously.
"Because Malefor is building an army." Candice piped up. Every head turned to the ice dragoness. "Think about it. He recruits the wolves as his new foot-soldiers. The attack on the dragon city was to gain the power of black dragons on his side, because obviously Malefor doesn't want to rely on the wolves too heavily."
"But the wolves just seem to be getting stronger." Ember pointed out.
"Yeah." Tremor nodded. "I've got the wounds to prove it."
"Anyways," Candice continued. "Malefor must be planning something big. He needs Spyro's powers to do it. But he knows since Spyro is a purple dragon that he's going to need immense amounts of power to bring Spyro down. He's not going to waste his time on small fish, he's going to go for what he wants."
"So what do we do now?" Tremor cracked his neck; it was something he did whenever he was restless.
"We stop Malefor before he has a chance to drain Spyro of his powers." Cynder stepped forward with a determined fire burning in her eyes. "Spyro's power is depleting by the day. There's nothing we can do about that. But if we can keep him from stealing what's left of Spyro's powers then we won't have to worry about him regaining his true power."
The guardians all nodded in agreement. The plan made sense to them but Sparx wasn't fully convinced.
"Cynder, this plan sounds all well and good. But what do we do when Spyro's powers are gone? Hope that Malefor loses interest in him and decides to take a vacation? I don't think he's going to take that very lightly."
"Sparx, I'm far from helpless." Spyro pointed out before anyone could say anything. "Even if I can't use my elements, I still have the power of convexity on my side."
"Yeah." Flame nodded. "I can help you out too!"
"Flame?" Spyro raised a skeptical brow. The fire breather seemed rather energetic all of a sudden.
"I mean it." Flame continued. "We all have our own special abilities. There's no way that Malefor could stand up against all of us at once."
"You guys..." Spyro smiled. He began to feel a warmth from deep inside. He felt stronger and more sure of himself. "Thank you. For everything."
"Hey, what are friends for?" Tremor laughed.
"Shush!" Candice hissed.
"What..." Tremor was about to protest when Candice slapped a paw over his muzzle.
"Listen..." The dragons froze but only heard the sound of the fire popping beside them.
"I don't hear..." Tremor started again and Candice clapped both paws over his mouth. She breathed a cloud of ice over the fire and put it out. The dragons listened in the darkness for a moment. Then a low rumble could be heard in the distance.
"I hear it." Ember whispered.
"What is it?" Flame asked, his tail twitching in anticipation.
There was another loud boom and the dragons all looked at one another. "It sounds like thunder." Candice hissed as she recognized the sound.
"Wait, thunder?" Spyro looked at Flame. The other guardians caught on to what they were thinking.
The black dragons swarmed after the lightning guardian in a flurry of wings and hisses. Stella shot low over the ground in hopes of gaining speed and distance in her dive. She had been flying as fast as she could for nearly three and a half hours. Her muscles ached and her lungs burned from the constant exertion. She had outflown the black dragons for nearly sixty miles but they had caught up to her. Their numbers made them look like a dark cloud of locusts against the night sky with eyes and teeth shining in the moonlight.
Stella banked to the side as another black dragon dove at her, slashing with his claws. The dragoness gave a quick cough, stunning the dragon with a bolt of lightning. The dragon fell towards the ground but was able to regain his composure just before colliding with the tree tops.
"Damn it!" Stella cursed to herself. "Either they're tougher than I thought or I'm getting weaker." She beat her wings faster, ignoring the burning pain that coursed through her muscles.
Another dragon dove at her and breathed a cloud of black fire. Stella screamed as she took a direct hit on her left shoulder. The dragon laughed as she began to fall. As she plummeted towards the tree tops, she turned around and released a chain of lightning bolts up at the dragons. Several managed to dodge them but others only succeeded in bumping into the dragons around them causing more dragons to get electrocuted.
Stella cried out as she spread her wings again. The wind cooled the burn as she whistled by above the tree tops. The dragons charged her. Stella banked upward and rolled spraying them over and over with light charges. The dragons shrieked and shrank back, allowing the dragoness to press onward. Several of the black dragons unleashed a shower of dark lightning all around her. Stella banked and pitched between the bolts, just narrowly missing them.
Up ahead Stella could see lights rising up from the forest; two purple, two red, one blue, one green. The other guardians were coming to her rescue. In a last desperate attempt to push back her attackers Stella climbed higher into the night sky. The dragons clawed and slashed at her tail as she passed them and followed after her, ignoring to other dragons coming to aid her. At the peak of her climb Stella let out a roar and lightning burst from her body. The lightning manifested itself once again and Stella dove towards the other guardians. The black dragons dodged her as she whisked past them.
"Here she comes!" Spyro called as Stella closed in on them.
"Give her some support!" Flame shouted. The guardians all drew in deep breaths and released their power in a devastating wave of energy. Earth, fire, ice, shadow and lightning all combined into one attack. Stella banked hard as the beam shot past her. The black dragons scattered, snarling and hissing in surprise.
"Stella!" Ember called as the dragoness rushed straight for them. The golden dragoness was going to fast to slow down properly.
"Tremor!" Stella shouted as she took aim for him. The earth dragon only had a moment to get his bearings before his friend flew into him. The earth dragon rolled backwards through the air but managed to catch himself, holding Stella around her chest. "Thanks for the catch." She panted heavily as she dangled from his arms, ignoring the stabbing pain from her broken ribs.
"Anytime." Tremor nodded with a goofy smile then turned his attention back to the black dragons above. They hissed and spat angrily at having lost their prey to the guardians.
"Allow me!" Cynder shouted over the roars overhead. She began to glow with convexity and her body began to grow. The other guardians backed off as she continued her transformation. High above, the black dragons watched with jaws dropped as Cynder's elongated head and beady red eyes leered up at them. A growl formed in her throat and the sound struck fear into their hearts. Cynder thrust her head forward with her jaws opened wide. A thunderous roar rolled across the sky and the guardians all had to cover their ears, except for Tremor who held his head close to Stella's.
The black dragons shrieked and hollered in pain. When they looked down at the black dragoness before them, Cynder hissed and spat venom at them. The black dragons scattered and fled. Cynder spread her wings wide and took off after them. The dragons, seeing that she was chasing them, began to panic and beat their wings faster, trying to get away from her. After a short chase, Cynder stopped and let their cries disappear into the distance. As she glided back to her friends she reverted to her normal state. The guardians drifted to the ground and Candice helped Tremor lower Stella onto her feet.
The lightning dragoness was a tired mess. She was covered in minor cuts and bruises, the worst of which being the burn above her shoulder next to her wing.
"Hey, where did you find her?" Sparx commented as he flew up to meet them. He looked at Tremor, then to Candice then back to Tremor. "I thought you already had a girlfriend. Now you're picking her up too?"
Tremor's cheeks burned for a moment then a smile spread across his face. "I didn't pick her up, she threw herself at me." He gave Candice a wink; the ice dragoness just rolled her eyes.
"Stella, are you alright?" Spyro asked worriedly.
"I'm alright." Stella gasped. She was suddenly hit by another wave of pain and her legs buckled. Tremor bucked down and caught her on his back just before she hit the ground. He gently set her down and scraped up a mound of soft earth for her to lay her head on. "I got worked." She whimpered as she let the force of gravity sink in. She cringed as her ribs throbbed even more. Tremor felt her shudder through the ground and began to pat the earth beneath his feet. Stella felt the ground she was laying on soften from Tremor's patting. She sighed, glad to finally be at peace for a short while.
"Are you comfy enough?" Tremor asked as he leaned down to nudge her cheek with his snout.
"I'm well for now." Stella sighed as her exhaustion began to take over.
"Well if you need anything... just ask."
"Thank you..." Stella whispered as she began to drift off to sleep. Tremor sighed and stepped back beside Candice. The ice dragoness glanced at him sidelong for a moment then turned her attention back to her friend. Ember walked over and rested a paw on Stella's side. The lightning dragoness's side heaved from the contact but she wasn't planning on waking up any time soon. Ember's paw began to glow as she started to heal Stella's wounds.
"She must have managed to escape wherever she was being held." Flame pointed out.
"And that says a lot." Cynder nodded. She felt bad that her friends were having to suffer so much because of her. "She really is an amazing dragoness."
"I agree." Tremor nodded and Candice bobbed her head once.
"Where do you think those other black dragons are fleeing to?" Spyro asked as he turned to Cynder.
"They probably are heading back towards..." Her voice trailed off.
"Towards what?" Spyro pressed her a bit more.
"I'm sorry Spyro!" Cynder gasped and turned away from him, I need to go. Now!"
"Wait! Cynder." Spyro jumped in front of her. "I don't understand. What's wrong?"
"I have to head back to the wolf's village. There's a prisoner there I need to take care of. He's the reason I've been able to acquire this new power. He's the one helping me to protect you."
Spyro hesitated for a moment. He hated not having Cynder at his side. But he knew what was at stake and he nodded reluctantly. "Alright then. Be careful."
"Thanks. You too." Cynder nodded. Before she could go Spyro pressed his lips to hers. Sparx and the other guardians averted their gaze; the dragonfly just shook his head.
"My little brother is growing up." He chuckled to himself.
"Good luck Cynder." Spyro gazed into her teal-colored eyes that seemed to be shining like crystals in the moonlight.
"You too Spyro." She blushed slightly as she spread her wings and leaped into the air.
"Call me if you need me!" Spyro hollered after her as she disappeared into the night. He flew up just over the tree tops and watched as her silhouette began to shrink in size.
"I will!" The dragoness's voice was already faint. Cynder let loose an energetic roar as she transformed again. She spread her massive wings and beat them harder against the wind. She would have to move fast if she was to get to the village and free Exile before any of the other wolves began to catch on.
"I just hope there's enough time." She whispered to herself.