Seraphine focused on the exhilarating feeling of the wind under her wings. She was a mere glittering streak as she raced toward the lake, the monster-dragon on her tail. As she neared the body of water, she twisted sharply so that she flew straight up. The enemy continued on the same trajectory and passed beneath her, but quickly veered back and followed her into the towering heights.
Torthai's fearful cry reached Seraphine's ears. The sound caused her heart to plummet even as she mounted higher and higher, far higher than she had ever flown before. The human in her talons was having trouble breathing. Even Seraphine's lungs burned.
As she bent backward to loop over her pursuer, her sharp eyes peered through the mist to where Torthai was being held by the second hunter. "Put Ophelia down or else!" the human yelled threateningly. Arcstorm landed nearby to confront her.
You don't want me to put her down right now, Seraphine thought grimly as she completed her loop and dove straight down. The black dragon was on her tail in a moment, spewing globs of burning magma at her. Some hit her wings, hardening gradually, but she didn't attempt to loosen it.
The shimmering expanse of the lake stretched out below her. Almost there... At the right moment, Seraphine flared out her wings in a risky maneuver, rising past the plummeting dragon until she was above him. His size and weight would make it nearly impossible for him to keep from smashing into the lake, but Seraphine had to be sure.
As the enemy realized her strategy and opened his wings to slow his descent, Seraphine smashed into his left wing, causing it to buckle. The lake rushed up to meet them. Seraphine couldn't recover in time. She turned so that her spine was toward the water and her wings were protecting the hunter from the worst of the impact.
The enemy dragon hit the water first. Seraphine felt a momentary satisfaction that she had put out his fire, at least for now. Then she smashed into the waves.
Water diffused through her scales, quenching their radiant glow and stabbing her with jagged knives of cold. The pain was tremendous, but Seraphine didn't have the breath to cry out. She drifted in the depths for several seconds before she recovered her senses. The hunter was gone; Seraphine must have released her after the impact. The black dragon was thrashing in the water near her.
Get out of the water, a voice in her mind admonished.
Yes, Seraphine agreed. That's a good idea.
But she was too weak to move. Darkness closed in all around her, trying to extinguish her flame once and for all. What a cruel irony that a fire dragon would die in the shimmering waters she had always loved.
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