In that village of apes, each ape had their own hut, and depending on the ape themselves, the huts could be small and humble, or it could be bigger and fancier. It was something that could vary a lot depending on the ape, and this was true including the king.
Gaul had his very own hut in that village, and it was a hut that looked like something fit for the one that was widely recognized by the apes as their king.
This hut was the bigger of them all, looking like it could easily house a family of ten. The walls were made of wood covered with special tissues, but nothing too fancy, since Gaul himself was not very much of a fan of fashion. The roof was made of special water-proof leather, which served to protect the house in case of rains and winds, and it made a very good job. The windows and the doors were covered with tissues as well, and they had no doors, like most of the huts in there. The apes came from a long tribal tradition, so they were used to the lack of doors or windows, once everyone knew and trusted everyone, and so, there was no need for locks or secrets. Maybe it was because Spyro was a dragon and not an ape, but he didn't particularly like the idea of living in something which anyone can come in at any moment. He felt like he didn't had privacy, especially now that he was a young teen.
Still, Spyro had to admit that he was glad to live in that house. The inside was devoid of most decorations, since Gaul had more of a Spartan style. There weren't paintings in the wall, and neither there was any fancy decoration, like expensive vases of colored glass or of exotic shapes. Instead, nearly all of the objects in there had functions. The carpets were in there to soften the ground, the chairs to sit, the table was for sitting and eating. The one thing that called attention, however, were the books.
There was a good deal of books in the hut, gathered in corners on the ground of beaten earth, with a single rug over it to prevent the dirty from ruining them. Some of these books belonged to his father, but most of them had been acquired because of Spyro.
Ever since he had learned how to read, the books had become a gateway to the young dragon. He rarely went out of the tribe, except in the case of some trips in which his father would take him. So, the books were his best and most effective way of having contact with the outside world.
There were all kinds of books in there, provided by Gaul with the resources that he had. A good deal of them were works of fiction, like for instance: "Destiny of Fire", the narration of the legend of the first fire dragon; and "Knight of the Stars", which was a book about a dragon who gained the power of the great stars above and used it to spread life and hope into the world. Of course, there were also other books in there, like for instance: "Poems of Laughs", a collection of comedic poetry that was written by an author of the tribe of the bunnies (that one was a favorite of Spyro when he was having a bad day and needed a good laugh), and also a very interesting book that Spyro has come to like very much: "The Adventures of Crash Bandicoot".
All of these were good readings to pass time, however, now that Spyro was back home with the rest of his guard, he was picking up a different section of books. All of them had plain covers and only showed their titles in the front, titles like: "Mathematical Theory", "Flowers of Medicine", "Stars of Our World", "Beasts of the Wild", "Geography for Beginners", "History of Magic Crystals", and "Populations Around the World".
These books were all educative and informative in nature, and they had not been picked as a way of passing time. Gaul had arranged those books exactly to "help into Spyro's development". Gaul wanted to make sure that Spyro would know all that was needed, and apparently he thought that it was something that he would not learn just from being around the apes. So, he provided all these kinds of books for Spyro to be able to study all the kind of information that could be possible for someone to need.
So, when most apes his age were going around and hanging out with their friends, Spyro was usually following the study regimen that his father prepared for him and was reading and re-reading these books to be sure that he would never forget this information.
Spyro understood that his father made that to make him smart, and he was even able to understand why it was important for him to know about math and about the kinds of flowers in the wild that could be dangerous and that could serve as antidote for the bite of a snake, as well as the kinds of animals that lurked in the jungles. However, he still failed to see how it could be important to know the name of the constellations of the sky and the kind of traditions that were the most common for a tribe that he never saw before in his life.
Still, Spyro accepted this, for it helped him to focus, and it actually helped him to pass his time as he read it. Besides, Spyro thought to himself, as he picked up one book and started to read. It is not like anyone my age would like to hang out with me, anyway well, besides Sparx. He sighed as he sat on the ground and started to read the teachings of the book about math, and he was pretty sure that he had already memorized most of the formulas
Spyro was familiar with all of that, and it was easy for him, more so than it would be for most other apes of the village. Not only the ones of his own age, but also most of the adults. Spyro felt like he would ace most of them if there was ever a quiz to this. Still, Spyro doubted that it could actually have a use in his immediate future
"Man, this is so boring!" Sparx said as he floated around on his back, as if he was laying around, but his wings still buzzed and allowed him to float in the air. Two guards were inside the tent, and they were keeping a close eye to Spyro. The other four were distributed across all of the entrances of the tent, as if to make sure that no surprise attacks would come over the young dragon while he was studying.
"Yeah, I have to agree." Spyro said. "I hope dad brings more books. I already read all of the new ones that he had brought."
"You seriously want more books?" Sparx said to the young dragon. "I mean, every normal teenager would want a mascot, or a skateboard, or some sick accessory to impress the ladies."
"Yeah, but I'm not a normal teenager." Spyro said without taking his eyes off the book. "At least not in this village."
There was a silence following this, as Sparx realized, too late, that he had touched the wrong subject. The guards only shared a look among them as they continued to watch the young purple dragon. Spyro focused on the book for a while, before he moved on to another book.
Followed by another, and another.
It was all for a while, and all the time, Spyro focused himself in the words that were written on his books to prevent himself from thinking at other subjects. Books were like a refuge to Spyro, for they helped him escape from the problems that troubled him, and they allowed him to forget what he constantly faced living among a tribe that was afraid of him.
However, his reading was interrupted when someone's voice resounded in the outside of the tent.
"What do you want?"
It was one of the guards, and by the tone of his voice, it seemed that he had stopped someone who just came. This caught Spyro's attention, as he raised his head and started to hear with more interest.
"Relax, man, we don't want trouble." A voice said, a younger one, who owned that voice was probably a teenager, but not much older than this.
"Answer the question." The guard said once more. "What is your business here?"
"We came here to see Spyro."
Now that really caught Spyro's attention.
Someone had come to see him? And they were referring to him by his name, instead of calling him "the dragon" or "that purple reptile"?
"What is your business with young Spyro?"
"Well, we'd like to see if he wanted to hang out with us." The young voice said. "We heard that he didn't have anything planned for today, so we decided to come see him and ask if he wanted to spend some time with us."
Spyro could barely believe what he was hearing. Someone had come to invite him to spend time with them? That hadn't happened since ever!
Spyro left the book in the ground, having already forgotten about it as he dashed in direction to the entrance from which the sound was coming. By getting out, Spyro could see what was going on.
One of the guards had his weapon in his hands, and he seemed as if he was ready to fight. In front of him, Spyro could see a group of five apes, all older than him by two or three years, and among them, was a particular ape with greenish-brown fur on his body, and with the fur on his head parted in a way that it seemed to be a Mohawk.
Spyro knew that ape! He was Zeggor. He was an ape who had some fame among the rest of the young apes in the village. He was famous for being quite a rebellious ape and for being good in nearly anything that he did. There were stories all around the village about him, telling that he had once collected around three hundred heart cashews all by himself, that he once won a battle with a river snake, that he once was able to sneak all across the swamp and come back in one piece.
The guy was a legend! He was the most popular young ape from the whole village. All of the girls in the village let out lovesick sighs when he came near, and all of the guys in the village wanted to be him, Spyro himself included.
"Come on, now." Zeggor said. "We just want to see Spyro! Hey!" The young ape said and waved to the purple dragon as soon as he saw him. Spyro was paralyzed for a moment as he looked at him, unsure of how to answer. All he could do was raise his paw and wave back.
"Dude! I was hoping to see you before you left for some other place." He said to the young purple dragon. "I was hoping you had not, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to invite you to come to the forest with us."
Spyro blinked, and he looked at the ape in front of him.
The most popular ape of the village. The ape that all of the young apes wanted to be with and of whom they all wanted to be friends. The ape who was so popular that he and Spyro never actually talked to each other before in their whole lives.
He was in there, and he was asking for Spyro to come and to hang out with him and his crew.
"Huh..?" Was all that Spyro was able to mumble, and Zeggor smiled at him.
"Yeah, dude! We are going to the forest to spend some time in our spot. We were wondering if you wanted to come with us, right guys?" He asked his crew, and they all agreed with him.
"Y-you want me to..?" Spyro said, starting to get a grip on this, but still having some problems to actually believe it.
"Yeah, so, you wanna come?" Zeggor asked again, looking at Spyro expectantly. The purple dragon continued to look at him for a few moments, before he finally seemed to realize that he needed to say something, and he started to speak.
"Yes!" He nearly blurted out, but he now was trying to be a little more composite. "I-I mean I-it would be really nice. I mean Sure, I want." Spyro finally said, adopting a position and tone that he considered to be neutral. Zeggor smiled at him, as if he approved.
"So, let's go?"
"Sure, lead the way." Spyro said, and stepped forward, but he was stopped on his tracks when the guard stepped on his way.
"Young master Spyro, what about your studies?" He asked, and Spyro looked at him, and back at Zeggor, who was looking back at him with a raised eyebrow. "King Gaul was very clear that you should not slack on anything during his absence, and this includes your studies."
Spyro looked up at him, and he gave a look back at Zeggor, who was now shrugging.
"Oh well, I guess you are too busy then." He said casually as he turned around. "Maybe another time. Let's go guys." He was starting to leave, and his whole crew along with him. Panicked surged on Spyro at this.
All his life, he had never been invited to anything by someone who was his own age. Even less by someone who was so popular like Zeggor. For him to actually be invited to anything was something that was new to him, and Spyro heard enough around the village to know that if Zeggor invited you to something you could not turn him down.
He was the coolest ape of the tribe, and if you just were with him, you could become cool by association. For Spyro, that was a chance of actually starting to become popular, a chance of finally being accepted among the other young apes, like he never was before on his life. That was a chance that he could not let slip through his claws!
"Zeggor, wait!" Spyro shouted, making the ape turn to look at him, along with his crew. "I I can go with you! Right now!"
"Master Spyro " The guard started to say, but Spyro cut him off.
"Look, I already read those books many times, and I'm pretty sure that I have them all memorized, and if you try to make a quiz to me about anything on any of them I know that I'll ace it. I have been on this routine for how long now? I have never slacked before, and I have pretty much stayed in home a good part of my days without having anything to do. I think I do deserve a little break to hang out with someone who actually came here to invite me for something. So, today I'm taking a break from studying."
"But king Gaul " The ape tried to say, but Spyro cut him off again:
"I'll talk to dad when he comes back and tell him that it was my decision to skip study. You can leave for me to deal with him."
There was a silence as the guards shared looks among them, and there was a lot of expectation as the guards seemed to ponder on letting or not Spyro go. Luckily, Sparx quickly came to help.
"Come on, dudes!" The dragonfly said as he attracted the attention of the guards. "Spyro spends his day in here, bored beyond belief, and he is supposed to just refused someone's invitation to have a good time so he can continue bored? I don't know about Gaul, but I would not be very satisfied if I knew that the guys I hired to protect my son were forcing him to be miserable."
There was another brief silence, and one of the guards said: "Well, young Spyro indeed has always been diligent with all of his studies and compromises."
This seemed to be enough.
"Okay, I guess you can go." Spyro smiled at this, but his smile was short lived when the ape said: "We are going to accompany you, as always. And this is not up for discussion. King Gaul was clear about we going with you anywhere."
Spyro looked at Zeggor, and he was expecting the ape to actually make some kind of excuse for not taking Spyro, once he probably would not want some adults coming with his crew, especially if they were Spyro's bodyguards, who were so efficient and diligent in all that they do. No one would feel comfortable with big and armed apes watching their every move.
However, Zeggor only looked at Spyro expectantly. "So, you coming, Spyro?"
Spyro looked at him.
"Y-yes. I'm coming."
"Great! Let's go." He said, and Spyro was actually able to smile again.
"Yeah! Finally, something fun to do!" Sparx said, and soon, the guards were getting ready to follow Spyro in another of his adventures outside of the tent.
It took only two minutes, but soon, Spyro was walking out of the tent, with his guard following him from behind, Sparx buzzing by his side, and this time, he was actually surrounded by apes who were close to his own age and who had asked him to come with them.
Spyro looked around at the apes who were smiling at him and even talking with him about things. They were mostly questions about how were things, and about what was like to be the son of King Gaul. However, no matter how trivial these questions could see to anyone who heard them, to Spyro they meant a lot.
As they walked and talked, they moved away from the village, and they were now starting to walk in direction to a nearby forest. It was around the same direction of the trees that gave the heart cashews, but it was also a different path, one that led to a great mass of trees from many different species and very close to each other. It was a true forest, right outside of the small village.
That forest was the kind of place in which apes would go in groups, for it was said to be filled with all kinds of wild beasts that would not hesitate into pouncing into an unsuspecting creature that was going there. Not only that, but the great mass of trees made it somewhat easy to get lost in there, as much as it was in the swamp where Sparx lived. There were even rumors about that forest being either cursed or haunted, or maybe both things at the same time.
Anyway, it was not the kind of place where someone would come on their own only for the shake of it. The hunters went in there, of course, to get some meat for the village, and of course, some other apes went in there without any hesitation and without any kind of fear. Gaul, for instance, said to be the biggest ape who ever lived, and also famous for his bravery and strength, when Spyro was younger, he used to think that his dad could do anything, what was, of course, normal for any young kid who looked up at their fathers.
The forest was serious business, of course, and the younger apes tended to stay away from there and not go in there alone, if not for any confirmed danger, than just for the rumors that went about the forest and the things that happened in there. Of course, Zeggor was not one of these apes. One of the reasons he was so popular in the village among the young apes was because he seemed completely unafraid of going into the forest, and he had always come back from it unscratched, always with some amazing story to tell others about an adventure that he had lived in there, like for instance, one time that he was forced to fight for his life with two big saber lions and was able to escape right under their muzzle.
Spyro himself had never been in there, but he heard all kinds of stories that were related to the forest and to the things that Zeggor had lived and done in there, and about how he was able to escape to live another day. Spyro found these stories amazing, and he often wondered what would be like to be able to be with Zeggor during these adventures, even though he knew that he would most likely be of little use in these situations.
" so, as the son of the king of apes, that technically makes you a prince, right?" one of the apes who was with the group asked Spyro. "That gotta be awesome."
"Yeah, well I think it is." Spyro said to him. It was kind of a new thing for him to have someone talking to him like that. "I mean I never got royal treatment of anything. Dad is not much into this 'royal privilege' thing, I guess he don't want me to become one of those spoiled brats."
"Still, being the son of the king must have a few perks." Another ape said. "You can probably get your father to bring you anything you want when he comes back."
"Yeah, dad does bring me some gifts when he returns." Spyro said, "But it also has some small things " he added, and looked over his shoulder, looking at the guards who were following the group of teens right behind. "Like have a full-time team of babysitters following your every move."
"Yeah, I noticed that." Zeggor said. "By the way, I wanted to talk to you about this." Zeggor added as he approached the young dragon and started to whisper, as if he wanted to be sure that the guards were not going to listen.
"You know, we kind of like to do things without anyone telling us we can or can't. We like to move free. To walk how we want. To go where we want. We like to do whatever we want without someone patronizing us all the time. After all, we are not chimps anymore, right?" He said to Spyro, and the purple dragon looked up to him.
"So, having these guys following us would kind of cut our fun short, because they surely will want to prevent you from doing anything 'dangerous' because your father asked them to."
Spyro could not help but agree with every word that Zeggor had just said. Of course that these apes were not going to let Spyro do anything that they would consider dangerous, as they tried to prevent him from getting the heart cashews earlier (well, Spyro had been badly spanked by vines due to daring to do that, but that was not the point), and Spyro knew that he could not be cool if he had this group of apes following him and treating him like a baby.
"I mean, sure your father worries, after all, he is a father." Zeggor continued to say, "But you gotta admit that it is not cool being followed like that. These guys surely would not let you do anything fun." He spoke, and Spyro immediately agreed with all that he was saying.
"So if you want to walk with us, we gotta find a way to get those guys off our heels." Zeggor spoke, and Spyro knew exactly what it meant. He also knew that he had no other choice but to find a way of losing his guard if he wanted to have a chance to hang around with Zeggor and his crew.
"I know." Spyro said back to him immediately, "I really can't stand these guys all the time. We gotta lose them." He said, and then another voice came in with a little buzzing of insect wings.
"I totally agree!" Sparx said, getting the attention of the two. "Those guys really don't know much about fun. We need to get them off our tails, and luckily, my dear purple-butted friend and me have some techniques for this "
The guards continued to follow the group in front of them for a while, and they all noticed that the group in front of them suddenly seemed to be getting full of secrets, and that was something that made them quite suspicious, especially when they saw the golden, glowing point that was Sparx floating along with Spyro and seeming to join the little whispering that was going on
They continued for a while, and then, the little flying, glowing dot that was Sparx suddenly moving away.
"Man, I'm hungry!" Sparx said, "I'm gonna grab a few berries, be back in a few!" He said and flew away, and the guards shared looks among themselves.
"Just how much that little thing can eat?" One of the guards asked.
"I don't even know where he puts that much food." Another one said.
"This smells fishy " Another one said, and this one had a suspicious expression on his face.
There was a brief moment of interlude, a few minutes actually, before they suddenly heard a very loud sound piercing the air. It was shrieking, but it was a scream, of that there was no doubt.
It was Sparx.
"Sparx!" Spyro cried out as he immediately rushed to the place where the scream had come for, what startled the whole group. The teens stayed where they were, but the guards wasted no time and started to follow the purple dragon as he nearly dived into the vegetation.
"Young Spyro!" The guard called out as they started to move across the vegetation and the many trees that there were on the way. "Young Spyro, wait!"
"Didn't you heard this scream!?" Spyro called, panic on his voice as he continued to dash across everything on his way. "Sparx is in danger! I gotta help him!"
"At least wait for us!" The guard said, as the six apes continued to move after the young dragon, passing with some difficulty by the vegetation on the way and dodging the trees. Spyro was far more agile than they were, and he was able to open a good distance between himself and the apes who were following him. Not only that, but the dense vegetation of that part of the forest also made it hard for the apes to follow his movements, and they had actually just lost sight of him.
That was just perfect.
Looking behind and seeing the guards so behind of himself, Spyro smiled. He looked at his side, and saw Sparx, well and glowing, buzzing by his side as he smiled as well. They just needed to nod to each other to start off their plan.
In that moment, Spyro dodged and hid behind a tree, while Sparx continued to buzz his way, making sure to hit a lot of vegetation, to mimic the sounds that a young dragon would do while running across that dense vegetation.
"Spyro, wait for us!"
The voices continued, and Spyro remained as still and silent as he could as he pressed his back against the tree he was hiding, and soon, the guards passed by him. Spyro knew because he saw glimpses of them as they dashed right past his hiding spot, completely failing to notice his presence in there, and chasing the sounds that were being produced by the runaway Sparx, thinking that the purple dragon was making them.
Spyro waited until they were out of sight and out of hearing, and he sighed, before chuckling a little. Spyro knew that he was going to make them very worried with this, and that they were not going to be happy when they discover that they had been tricked. Still, Spyro could not help but feel somewhat proud of himself as he had managed to trick the six adult apes into doing what he wanted.
Spyro smiled as he got out of his hiding spot and he started to make the travel back to the path where he had come. It took a while of walking, but Spyro was easily able to find the path even among the dense vegetation, mostly due to his good senses. Soon, he was approaching the point from where they had first departed.
"Are you sure about this, boss?"
"I sure am!" Said Zeggor's voice as Spyro approached. "Just you guys wait and see, it will be great!"
"But, are you sure that we need that-"
Whatever the other ape was going to say was lost, as the young purple dragon emerged from the vegetation, making the group turn to him.
"And this is how you lose a babysitter!" Spyro said proudly, and the group all looked at him, and Zeggor had a great smile at his face.
"Awesome, dude!" He said, walking to Spyro and patting his shoulder. "That was a great plan! Almost as good as my own plans. And the way that you pulled it off, flawless!" He said as he placed an arm around Spyro's shoulders, and he turned to the group. "Come on guys, he made awesome! Give him some clapping!"
The group was lost for a moment, but soon, all of the apes in there was clapping at Spyro, as if he was a main character who just did an amazing scene on the stage.
Spyro looked around, barely believing that this was all for him. He could feel his face heating, and be was truly hoping that the scales that he had were helping to hide his blush.
"You were truly amazing, my purple friend." Zeggor said as he continued with an arm around the purple dragon's shoulders. "You have potential, that much I can say! Walk with me and you might learn a few more things that will make you nearly as awesome as me." He said, and the purple dragon only looked at him and give him a kind of dumb smile in answer, and the ape finally let go of his shoulders. "Well, since we lost those guys, I think we better go now, before they find us again."
The group agreed, and they were all getting ready to leave. Spyro was about to follow their lead, when he remembered one thing.
"Wait! We can't go yet." He said, making the group stop and look at him. "We need to wait for Sparx."
"Who?" Zeggor said, and suddenly he remembered. "Oh, the dragonfly."
"Yeah, we have to wait for him. He will be losing them and then he will come back to meet us."
Everyone in the group shared looks among themselves, and after a while, Zeggor decided that it was better to just say it.
"Yeah, about that I think we cannot wait for him."
"No, we can." Spyro said. "Sparx probably won't take long to lose them, and they will take a long time to find the trail again. Sparx is really good in-"
"Okay, let me stop you there." Zeggor said. "You are not quite following, so I better explain. Okay, you see, the thing is that, we are not the kind of crew who walks with bugs."
Spyro looked at him, as if he was trying to understand what Zeggor just said to him. "Look, is not like I have a problem with the little buzzing guy, or with you being his friend." Zeggor quickly added in his defense, "But is just that, that guy is not the kind of guy who would be cool enough to walk with us, and we need to keep a certain standard in the ones who come with us to hang out, and the little guy don't reach the standard, not like you."
Spyro looked at him, and he was starting to get a grip on what the ape was saying. "Wait so, if I start going out with you guys I need to stop seeing Sparx?"
"No, of course not." Zeggor said, "You are a free ap- dragon, and you can hang out with however you want on your own time. I just saying that, if you are hanging out with us, that little bug can't come along. I mean, he might be your friend, but he doesn't belong in our crew. You on the other hand, surely does."
Spyro blinked at him, and he took a while to say something. "So if I want to walk with you guys, I can't bring Sparx along?"
"You catch things fast, dude." Zeggor said to him with a smile. "Look, we all know that up until today, that little guy was your only friend, but you got new friends now, and you can hang out with us on one day and with him in another, but you can't hang out with all of us at the same time. That is how it is. I'm sorry, but you will have to stop spending so much time with the buzzing guy." He said to Spyro, and the purple dragon looked at him as he offered him his hand, and smiling to Spyro. "So, let's keep going?"
Spyro only looked at the ape, and after a few moments, Zeggor retreated his hand, and causally shrugged. "Of course, if you have problems with this, I totally understand. Well, I guess not everyone wants to hang out with us, anyway." He said, and was now starting to walk away, and in this moment, Spyro panicked.
"Wait!" Spyro blurted out, and Zeggor stopped, looking over his shoulder at the dragon, who stood in there for a few moments, and he started to say:
"M-maybe I have been spending too much time with Sparx I-I mean " Spyro said, barely believing that these words were actually going to come out of his mouth. "I guess I can stop being around him that much. I-I can explain to him later. He is my friend; he will understand I think "
Zeggor smiled as he continued to look at the purple dragon over his shoulder. "Of course he will." He said to him, "After all, friends are for things like that right? So, let's go?"
Spyro looked over him. He looked over his shoulder, as if he was expecting Sparx to show up from the woods at any moment, but the little dragonfly didn't come. Spyro turned back to Zeggor, and he spoke: "Y-yes. Let's go."
Zeggor smiled at this, and soon, the group was moving away from that spot. As they moved, Spyro could not help but continue to look at the place they were, and he was really starting to feel bad because of this.
Going out with Zeggor was a chance that Spyro was having of maybe becoming more popular within the tribe, and to finally start to be accepted. Still, the young purple dragon never imagined that, to become popular, he would actually need to jeopardize his first and, currently only friend. The young purple dragon had made that decision in a rush, and now it was starting to make him think that he should have gave it a little bit more thought.
However, Spyro knew that, in the long run, it would be good for him. He would not stop seeing Sparx, he would just not spend as much time with him as before. He would also hang out with Zeggor, and this would make his life in the village a little better. Besides, Spyro was sure that he could talk with Zeggor a little better over this subject, and he knew that he could convince the ape to at least give Sparx a chance. After that, maybe he could be hanging with both his old and new friends in a single gang. It sounded like a good plan
As they walked, they moved deeper and deeper in the forest, and the sounds of it were getting more intense as the forest became more and more alive around them, and the trees were becoming more numerous, with then light now having some difficulty to go into the place, casting it into a near-shadowy environment, that made it look somewhat weary, making it kinda scary.
However, the apes in the group continued to walk as if they were just making a walk into the plains. It seemed that they had already come in there before and gone back unscratched, was what Spyro thought. He, on his end, never come to that part of the forest, for it was "too dangerous". His father made it clear for the guards that Spyro was supposed to avoid that part of the forest, as well as other places that could be dangerous to him. Of course, the guards obeyed diligently and prevented Spyro from going into the deep woods.
However, the guards were no longer there, and Spyro was left with the crew that soon would become his own. They walked in direction to the deep woods, and Spyro felt scared, but he also felt somehow trilled for being in there. Even though he was mostly scared Maybe 65%.
Spyro continued to follow the group, and the silence was broken when Zeggor spoke loud enough for Spyro to hear:
"So, Spyro." He said, making the purple dragon perk and look at him. "We are all really glad that you came here with us."
"Y-you are?" Spyro asked, sounding almost like a child.
"Of course." Zeggor said to him, offering a smile. "We are the coolest lot, so we should only be glad that someone cool like you are with us, right guys?" He asked, and the rest of the crew all agreed with him.
"I-I am cool?" Spyro asked, barely believing it.
"Of course!" Zeggor said once more. "You are the son of our king, and you are the kind of guy who is never afraid of anything! That is the very definition of cool on my books." He explained as he continued to smile at the young purple dragon. "A guy like that, who is so cool, surely belongs with a cool group. That is why we want you to hang out with us more."
Spyro looked up at him, and a spark of hope was on his chest. "Y-you are inviting me to be one of you guys?"
"Well, yeah." Zeggor said. "Like I just said, a cool guy belongs into a cool group." He repeated, and he continued to walk. "All you need to do is pass by your initiation."
"Initiation?" Spyro asked, looking at him.
"Yeah. It is a thing that everyone of our group has to do to prove their value. It is like a baptism. Of course, since you are so cool, it is merely a formality."
"R-right! And, when it is going to be this?"
"Now." Zeggor said, and this surprised the young purple dragon. "Why do you think we are coming here for? Your initiation will be right in this part of the forest."
"O-oh. Right." Yeah, it made sense kinda "And what will it be?"
Zeggor only smiled at him, and said: "You will know as soon as we get in there. For now, you just need to know that it will be a proof of your bravery and your wits. Do you have those things, right?"
"Of course!" Spyro said automatically, and Zeggor only smiled back at him. They resumed walking in silent, and as they walked, the forest around them became even darker and more ominous, and Spyro felt a creeping feeling in the back of his head and all the way to the tip of his tail. Still, he steeled himself and continued to walk. He had to prove that he was as brave as them, otherwise, it could ruin his chances of becoming member of the group.
"Here we are." Zeggor said as he came into a halt, and the rest of the group followed suit. Spyro didn't knew where they were now, but he knew that it was deep in the forest. The area had many trees, and it was somewhat dark due to the canopies of the trees blocking the light, and Spyro looked around, and he could notice that they had stopped very near a cave, which looked big and dark.
"Spyro, this is the place of your initiation." Zeggor said.
"Oh, here?" Spyro asked, looking around. Zeggor pointed to the cave.
"Well, in there, to be more precise." He explained. "For your initiation, you will have to go inside that cave."
Spyro looked at the cave. It looked a little intimidating, and that was something that Spyro could easily notice. Still, it didn't seem all too bad as long as the cave was empty.
"So, I just go in there?" Spyro asked, and Zeggor answered:
"Yeah, pretty much. Oh, but I recommend you to do it carefully, because there is an owlbear living inside."
Spyro felt his heart skipping a bit as he heard these words. There were all kinds of beasts in the world, and in these regions, the owlbears were known to be among the most dangerous. They were big predators who were famous for their aggressiveness and for being extremely territorial. They were said to maul anything that was foolish enough that came to their lair, and they would never stop until the thing was either dead or too far away for them to chase.
All of the hunters and gatherers knew that if there was an owlbear around, then you should be careful to never get on their territory or between them and what they wanted.
Most of all: you should never, ever, ever, EVER enter the cave where they lived.
"A-a-an o-owlbear?" Spyro stammered as he took another look at the cave.
"Yeah, an owlbear. Don't worry, the guys are nocturnal, it is sleeping now. You just have to sneak in there without waking it up."
"B-but is an owlbear." Spyro said, "I-if it wakes up " The urple dragon didn't had the courage to finish that sentence, and Zeggor only waved it away.
"Well, it would not be your initiation if it was something easy to be done. Also, you don't have to worry, we have all done that already."
"We have?" Someone said, and this person soon said: "Oh, yes, of course! It was so long ago that I forget it sometimes, hah!"
Spyro continued to look in between the cave and Zeggor, and the ape was looking at Spyro, expectantly. A mental battle was going on the purple dragon's head, and after a few moments, it seemed that one of the sides had won:
"I I'll do it." Spyro said, trying his best to sound brave and determined. Zeggor smiled at him.
"Great! But you have to go into the very place where the owlbear is, deep inside the cave." He explained to the purple dragon. "You won't believe how many guys only go a little in the entrance and come back claiming to have complete the initiation. You will have to prove to us that you went to where the owlbear is."
"H-how do I prove it?"
"You see, in that cave there are a lot of glowing gems. They are in the deep, where the owlbear sleeps." The ape explained. "To prove to us that you went all the way, you will have to take one of the gems out of there and bring it back to show us. Can you do that, buddy?"
Spyro looked at him, and once more he looked at the cave. Every instinct of his body was telling him that this was a bad idea. All that he read and was taught told him not to go into the cave of an adult owlbear. The feeling on his guts was telling him that it was not worth it, and that he should turn tail and leave that place.
However, there was another voice that talked to him. A voice that told him that this could be his chance of finally having someone other than his father wanting him around in despite of his purple scales. His chance of walking around with other apes his own age and to actually make some new friends. His chance to be seen as something more than just a purple dragon who had been adopted by the king.
His chance of being accepted.
That voice had a very powerful influence on Spyro.
"A-alright!" Spyro said, and Zeggor only smiled in return.
Soon, Spyro was standing right in front of the cave, and he was trying to prevent his body from shaking, even though the movements of his tail betrayed his emotions.
The purple dragon looked at the entrance, and he looked back, at the apes who were gathered behind and looking at him. All of them were looking with expectation, and Zeggor was the one who had a smile on his face as he gave Spyro a "thumbs up".
Spyro nodded at him, and turned his head back at the cave, which seemed even darker and more ominous up close. Swallowing the lump that was forming on his throat, Spyro gave the first hesitant step ahead.
Spyro was actually going to do that. And his good sense was promising to kick his tail for that.
The purple dragon gave one step after the other, as he started to walk in direction to the depths of the cave. The only light came from the entrance, so Spyro found himself in a darker and darker environment as he dwelled deeper in that cave.
Spyro could hear his own breathing and his own heartbeat, being even more aware of them than he normally was. His breathing seemed to be louder than he remembered, and Spyro was now trying to control it, as if a single exhaling could be heard from several miles away. His heart was beating a bit too loudly too, Spyro was now asking himself if the hearing of the owlbears was good enough to hear a heart beating too hard
It didn't help that the darkness of the cave made his hearing all the more sensitive, and Spyro was only even more aware of himself as he kept moving.
The darkness was near total, and Spyro had difficulty to see anything more than a few inches beyond his snout. Still, he continued to walk forward, and the sound of his claws tapping the floor at each step he gave sounded almost like a battalion marching to his ears.
Soon, Spyro started to see something ahead.
There was something glowing deeper into the cave.
His head perked as he saw that, and he started to move a little faster, but still being as silent as he could as he approached. That distant seemed to take an eternity to be crossed, and as Spyro approached, that glow grew in intensity, and Spyro could notice that it was somewhat ghostly and eerie, making it look almost like something that was not from this world.
Still, Spyro only cared about approaching more. He knew that it was probably the gems that Zeggor had spoken about, and Spyro had to get one of them to prove that he had been in there. It was the only way that he would pass and effectively become a part of Zeggor's group. This was what was going to make his life in the village better. This was what would prove to everyone that he was not just "the purple dragon". This was what what
What was that smell?
Spyro got distracted by the foul smell that was on his nose, and he stopped just about he was to trip into something. Something big, and furry
Spyro felt his blood freezing in his veins as he looked over and saw the creature who that appendage belonged to. It was a big and bulky creature that dwarfed Spyro in comparison. The creature was possible as big as his father, or maybe even bigger! It was covered in dense and thick fur, and underneath it Spyro assumed that it was mostly muscle. The figure moved very slightly as it was breathing, and Spyro now was asking himself if that loud breathing that he had been hearing was this one or of the owlbear.
Spyro felt himself trembling, and beads of sweat were running down his features. He moved as carefully as he could, placing one leg after the other above that outstretched limb, and he tried his best not to touch it, and not to make a single sound as he moved. He even held back the sigh of relief when he passed by the limb without touching it.
Spyro was still shaken, but he remembered himself of the reason why he was in there, and he turned back to the source of the glow.
What he saw was something quite breath-taking.
The walls and the ceiling of the cave were decorated with these many glowing gems. They were in colors that ranged from light-blue to the violet, and each one of them had their own glow. For a moment, Spyro asked himself if they were some of the magic crystals that dragons were famous for using, and which his father sometimes brought as spoils from the battles. However, Spyro soon saw that they were different. These gems did not give him the same feeling that the crystals did, even though Spyro had the feeling that they were special on their own.
The light that they shone was phantasmagoric, and it gave the place a hint of supernatural. Spyro could not help but think to himself how lovely the light that they had actually was.
Spyro needed to get these gems to prove that he was in there.
Walking to the walls, Spyro looked at each individual gem, and as he looked, he noticed that the gems glowed in different ways, with some having more intense glows, and others being subtler. Some of them even glowed as if they were forming shapes inside of them. Sometimes it seemed like a half-moon, and others it looked as if it had stars inside.
Spyro eventually found one that really caught his attention. It was one of a violet-blue coloration, and if you looked it the right way, it was almost as if there was a swirl of mist in the inside.
That one really caught Spyro's attention.
It was the one that he was going to take.
Nudging the gem with is paws, Spyro saw that it was stuck, but he was determined to take it out of there.
When one paw was not enough, Spyro balanced on his hind legs and used both of his front paws/hands to grab and pull at the gem. It seemed to be really stuck in there. It would take more effort to pull it out.
Spyro huffed and grunted as he pulled and twisted, trying to get that glowing stone free of the wall. He barely noticed that he was making increasingly more noise.
Finally, the gem came out.
Spyro tumbled into the ground as the gem just popped out of the wall, making quite a noise as the stone wall broke and the purple dragon went to the ground.
All this noise made the creature that was sleeping in there move and stir.
Spyro was getting up when he saw that the owlbear was getting up as well.
Spyro felt as if his heart had stopped, and he looked at the owlbear that rose. Spyro could, for a moment, take a glimpse of the features of the bear, which made it look somewhat like an owl.
The creature raised and let out a sound that you would expect from an angry animal. That sound resounded in Spyro's guts, and it made him shake even more, as he expected the creature to turn at him and attack.
However, it seemed that someone up there liked the purple dragon. For the owlbear, as if not even noticing Spyro's presence, just moved its body, and laid itself lazily on the ground once more.
Seconds become minutes, and Spyro convinced himself that the creature had somehow just went back to sleep.
The purple dragon was barely even able to believe it. For a long moment, he just stood in there as he had seemingly forgotten about what he had come to do in there.
Spyro remembered as soon as he looked at the gem he had on his paw, round and with that ghostly mist in the inside.
Shaking it off, Spyro finally returned to his quest, and now, he was moving to get out of there. As silently as he could.
Spyro even held his breath as he passed by the owlbear again.
As he walked in direction to the exit, Spyro could not help but give occasional glances at the gem that he had just recovered. It was something really beautiful. Maybe Zeggor and the others will let him keep it after he showed it to them?
As he walked, Spyro could see the light of the gems fading, and then there was darkness. However, the glow of the one gem that he held was giving him an illumination that he didn't had before. He continued to walk, until he could see the light of the day in the other end of the tunnel.
Spyro felt himself giving a sigh of relief, as he could see that light.
He had done it.
He had actually done it.
He went all the way and was coming back with his proof.
Spyro could barely contain himself to just run forward and scream to his new crew that he had done it and was now one of them
"I told you that purple lizard was not going to make it." Spyro hears someone say, and it made him stop for a moment to hear.
"Maybe he is still coming back with one gem."
"Did you heard the sound? Surely he awoke the owlbear and it probably is eating him now. Not that it is a bad thing, though."
Zeggor clicked his tongue. "Yeah, I really thought that the purple lizard could do it. I guess he was just useless anyway."
Spyro continued to hear, and the apes were none the wiser that he was listening to them.
"Well, now I guess I'll just have to find something else to give to my girl." Zeggor said as he stood.
"Well, the idea of trying to use the purple dragon to get one of these gems was good." Another ape said, "too bad that he got himself killed."
"Yeah, I'm even surprised on how easy it was to convince him." Zeggor said. "Man, that lizard really thought that we were going to let him walk around with us."
"Yeah but, wouldn't he had gotten mad when he found out that we were not?"
"So what? He would be in so much trouble with the guards and with king Gaul that he would not have chance to get revenge on us. And if he said anything, we would just deny it. After all, how would believe in the word of a purple dragon if a lot of apes said otherwise?" Zeggor said, and he punctuated it with a laugh, and the other apes followed his suit.
Spyro felt numb as he heard that. He just stood in there as the apes laughed, unable to think or to react as his mind trying to take a grip on the revelation that he just had. As soon as he processed what he found out, he felt a surge of fury starting to build up on him, making him feel like a volcano ready to erupt.
"You. Bastard!" Spyro said, startling the apes and make them all turn to him, all of them with surprise expression on their faces.
For a long moment they just looked at him, as the dragon looked back at them with hate on his eyes.
Zeggor was the one who was able to break the silence as he spoke:
"Spyro!" He spoke as he opened his arms, as if welcoming him, and he had on his face a big smile. The fakest one that Spyro had ever seen. "Man, we were all getting worried with you! When we heard that sound we thought the worse! It is so good to see your face again!"
Spyro felt his rage rising even more at how fake that ape was.
"You think I didn't hear?" Spyro nearly growled, and the smile disappeared from Zeggor's lips. "You were using me!"
Zeggor now looked somewhat afraid, along with the other apes. They started to give steps forward as Spyro started to give steps on his direction.
"All that talk about wanting me to join your crew! It was all a lie! You just wanted me to go in there and get a gem for you!" Spyro said in anger, his voice raising in volume with each sentence.
"C-come on now." Zeggor said, as the other apes were starting to gather around him in fear. "L-let's not jump to conclusions, dude."
"You were using me to get a gem that you could gift to someone!" Spyro nearly shouted. "You were not brave enough to go in there yourself, then you found someone else to go into your place! Of course! Why would you risk your fur getting in the cave of an owlbear when you can just convince a purple dragon to go in there for you and let him be mauled to death!"
Spyro was screaming now, and the other apes continued to look at him as he advanced against them, and maybe it was the fact that Spyro was a dragon coupled with the hatred on his expression, but all of them seemed to be genuinely afraid of the purple dragon.
"That story of 'initiation' was just an excuse to make me go in there!" Spyro shouted in outrage. "You just wanted me to get in there to do something for you since you didn't have the guts to do it yourself! And to think that people actually think you are cool! That I thought you were cool! You. Filthy. Liar!" Spyro shouted, a shout that almost sounded like a roar, and it echoed all around the forest.
The sound of his voice continued to resound into the forest around them, and Spyro was standing there, panting after his small tirade, and he continued to look at the apes, who were all gathered in there, looking at him in fear. None of them noticed that Spyro's tirade had also echoed inside of the cave that he had just came out of.
At least not until they heard a loud bellowing sound coming from the cave.
The apes and dragon all froze when they heard it, and Spyro slowly turned his head to look at the cave, and the sounds of something coming could be clearly heard.
They all watched as a great creature emerged from the cave, and stood in two legs. Its big eyes staring at them as none of them dared to move. After a few moments, that felt like hours, he creature opened its beak and let out a guttural, roar like sound that denoted how much angry it actually was.
A small fact about owlbears: they are exclusively nocturnal creatures, and there is absolutely nothing, nothing, that they hate more than when someone awakes them from their slumber in the middle of the day.
That owlbear had been awoke in the middle of the day by the angry shouting of a young, outraged purple dragon.
As you could expect and guess, it was absolutely furious, and ready to take this anger in something
"Oh, crap." Spyro and Zeggor said at the same time.