Seraphine was lost in the fog. Something more than just her quest for Torthai drew her onward; a glimmer of light shone in the distance. I'm chasing moonbeams, she thought.
The forest was unfamiliar. Brittle branches reached down to claw her. A deep, heavy darkness seemed to crush her soul.
"Torthai?" Seraphine asked again. She stopped. The trees were glowing—no, not glowing. The glow was something beyond them, in a small clearing. An inexplicable hope urged her to go on, to find the source, but the voice in her head chided her for even considering the thought.
A loud, concussive explosion rocked the earth. Seraphine gasped. Torthai? She stood stock-still, her wings quivering as she scented the air. The fog was thinner here.
Go back and find Torthai. She's in danger, the voice urged. Forget about the light. Torthai is more important.
Seraphine started to turn around, but a thread of amethyst mist floated out of the darkness, glowing brighter than the fog ever had. Enthralled, she took a cautious step closer. It was a friendly sort of mist that made the voice diminish.
She spotted Arcstorm out of the corner of her eye. A moment later, Torthai ran up to her. "You-ou... you're here-ere!" the little dragon cried. “I’m so glad I fou-ound you...!"
Seraphine was so relieved to see Torthai that she nearly cried. She wanted to curl her wings protectively around the youngling and never let her go. "What happened, little one?"
"I think-ink I blacked out... or something... and there was this blast.. an-and I thought it was from... from me-e! And it might have been... I don’t know! But... whe-ere are the o-otherss...? I though-ought there were more dragon-agons. And what happened to the hu-hunters?”
"They were captured by the hunters. We have to..." Seraphine trailed off, her eyes drawn to the amethyst light again. Was this the cure at last? "Do you see that light? I have to find out what it is."
"What about Everest?" Arcstorm asked.
"I agree that we have to save him, but how can we do anything while being controlled by fog? That light makes the fog diminish. I can feel it. Will you come with me to see what it is?"
When both dragons nodded, Seraphine approached the thread of mist again. It went before her, leading her to a small hollow surrounded by thick, twisting briars. In the center was a glowing purple flower with a halo of mist all around it, protecting it from the thorns. Seraphine flinched as the mist touched her scales. The purple light revealed the dirt and grime, scars and scrapes, and every tiny imperfection. Seraphine was ashamed. She had always prided herself on her bright gold scales, but now she saw them for what they were: dull, dusty, stained, and scuffed.
Get away from the light, the voice in her mind hissed. You can go back to how you were before—perfect, whole, and beautiful.
But I'm not, Seraphine countered. I have always had the scars and scrapes. Even if my scales were untainted, my mind would not be.
You can do nothing to fix it. The voice sounded weak and desperate. Get away from this condemning light. You must save Everest before it's too late.
Seraphine hesitated. How could she live the same way having discovered the truth? Yes, it was painful. The perfect light had exposed her flaws...surely it could also heal them. She looked at her leg again and was surprised to find that the wound had closed. Her wing, too, was whole. For the first time in as long as she could remember, the voices in her mind were gone. Though still dusty and scarred, she had been healed.
"I knew there was a cure!" Seraphine rejoiced, her sky-blue eyes full of thankful tears.