Wings of fire book four.., p.23
Wings of Fire Book Four: The Dark Secret, p.23Tui T. Sutherland
Sunny was dumped onto the ground, mud squishing between her claws and splattering her tail. She sprang up and hissed at the dragon who’d been carrying her. He barely glanced down at her before turning to the other two.
“Now what?” he demanded. “The whole plan is ruined. I’m not staying here to kowtow to a RainWing dragonet.”
“Me, neither,” said one of the others, a female who was little more than a dragonet herself. Sunny guessed she was about nine years old. She was bedraggled, wet, bony, and hunched over, and yet when she snorted a burst of flame, Sunny could see her eyes gleaming with stubborn ferocity.
“Where are we supposed to go?” hissed the last dragon, another male, much less brawny than the one who’d been carrying Sunny. He had a few missing teeth and his tail was bent at the end, as if it had once been broken and then fixed incorrectly. “We were promised the rainforest. This is where I want to live, but not as second-class dragons. Imagine, RainWings telling us what to do!”
“Well, we’ve got her, like you suggested,” the big male said to the dragonet, flipping one wing toward Sunny. “So what do we do with her?”
The NightWing dragonet lashed her tail and narrowed her eyes at Sunny. “We use her as a bargaining chip. We can hold her hostage until they take our whole tribe to the RainWing village and make one of us queen.”
“Like who?” said the other male. He spat a small flame at the branch that was dripping onto his head. “Greatness is weak and won’t fight for it. Queen Battlewinner had no brothers or sisters and no other daughters. There’s no one else to claim the throne.”
“I’ll take it,” said the dragonet. “If that RainWing can be queen, why not me? I’m bigger than her.”
“True,” growled the big one behind Sunny.
“They won’t give you anything in exchange for me,” Sunny spoke up. “I’m nobody. Just a weird-looking SandWing with a useless tail.” She snapped her mouth shut. She’d been saying things like that her whole life, but she’d never felt awful about it until today. If there was no prophecy — then that meant she really was just weird looking and useless.
No, that’s not how it works. I’m weird looking because I have a destiny. There’s a reason I’m like this. There has to be.
The NightWings regarded her with skeptical expressions.
“That would be annoying,” said the big one. “I’d be pretty angry if I carried this little thing through the forest and got my scales scratched up for no reason. Fierceteeth, I thought you said she’d be worth something.”
Fierceteeth! Sunny remembered what Starflight had told them about the dragonets he’d met while he was trapped in the NightWing kingdom. Wasn’t Fierceteeth his half sister?
“She will be if she’s who I think she is,” said Fierceteeth. She jabbed Sunny painfully in the ribs. “Aren’t you Sunny? Starflight yapped on and on about a Sunny whenever he was asleep.”
Sunny blinked at her, too startled to answer.
“Yeah, this is her,” Fierceteeth said. “My brother’s totally in love with her. He’ll agree to anything to get her back.”
That might actually be true, Sunny thought with alarm. Does he really talk about me in his sleep? Only a few hours had passed since she’d stood in the rainforest clearing, in the middle of dragons preparing to invade the NightWing island, and Starflight had told her he loved her — that he’d always loved her.
But it was Starflight … her sweet, smart, anxious friend … and she’d never thought of him like that. It was still hard for her to believe that he meant it. None of the other dragonets took her seriously. She’d always assumed he was the same way — that he thought she was too little and cheerful to be worth listening to.
Focus. Don’t let them use you to hurt your friends.
“Didn’t you see Starflight’s injuries?” she said. “He’s too wounded to have any say in what happens next. And Glory couldn’t care less about me. Face it, you can’t use me. You should go back and rejoin the other NightWings.”
“Nice try,” Fierceteeth said.
“What if she’s right?” said the NightWing with the missing teeth. “What if they don’t want her? What if we expose ourselves and then they just kill us?”
“Strongwings won’t let them do that,” Fierceteeth said, stepping closer to the burly dragon.
They’re a couple, Sunny realized. A really strange couple. Strongwings was nearly twice the size of Fierceteeth, but he kept turning toward her and ducking his head like he was waiting for her to order him around.
“I know how we could find out,” said the other male. He drew something flat and shiny and oval-shaped from under his wing. In the moonlight, it shone like polished black glass and fit neatly between his front talons. The rain seemed to swerve to avoiding falling on it.
“The Obsidian Mirror,” said Strongwings with a hiss of admiration. “Nice work, Preyhunter. I wondered if someone would think to save it.” He leaned in and touched the smooth surface with one claw. “No surprise that it wasn’t Greatness. She was more worried about saving her own scales.”
“She never used it anyway,” snorted Preyhunter. “Even when we needed to know what the RainWings were up to. She said she didn’t trust anything that came from an animus. I don’t think the queen knew she wasn’t checking it.”
“It doesn’t work as well as it used to,” Strongwings said. “Everyone thinks Stonemover did something to it before he disappeared.”
“What is it?” Fierceteeth asked.
“A really old animus-touched piece of treasure,” Strongwings explained. “This was one of the most important things we had to save from the treasure room when the volcano erupted and buried that part of the fortress, back when I was a small dragonet. We use it for —” He stopped and glanced at Sunny. “Hmm.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll kill her before she can tell anyone anything important,” said Preyhunter.
Go ahead and try, Sunny thought fiercely. No one else has managed it yet.
TUI T. SUTHERLAND is the author of several books for young readers, including the Menagerie trilogy, the Pet Trouble series, and three books in the bestselling Seekers series (as part of the Erin Hunter team). In 2009, she was a two-day champion on Jeopardy! She lives in Massachusetts with her wonderful husband, two adorable sons, and one very patient dog. To learn more about Tui’s books, visit her online at www.tuibooks.com.
Text copyright © 2013 by Tui T. Sutherland
Map and border design © 2013 by Mike Schley
Dragon illustrations © 2013 by Joy Ang
All rights reserved. Published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Publishers since 1920. SCHOLASTIC, SCHOLASTIC PRESS, and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Sutherland, Tui, 1978– author.
The dark secret / by Tui T. Sutherland.
pages cm. — (Wings of fire ; Book Four)
Summary: When Starflight, one of the dragonets of destiny, is kidnapped by the NightWings he finds that the kingdom of his birth is a miserable place, full of terrible secrets — and that, with his fellow dragonets too far away to help, the fate of two kingdoms rests in his talons.
1. Dragons — Juvenile fiction. 2. Prophecy — Juvenile fiction. 3. Identity (Psychology) — Juvenile fiction. [1. Dragons — Fiction. 2. Prophecy — Fiction. 3. Secrets — Fiction. 4. Identity — Fiction. 5. Adventure and adventurers — Fiction.] I. Title. II. Series: Sutherland, Tui, 1978– Wings of fire ; bk. 4.
813.6 — dc23
First printing, November 2013
Cover art © 2013 by Joy Ang
Cover design by Phil Falco
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, de
Table of Contents
MAP OF PYRRHIA
A NIGHTWING GUIDE TO THE DRAGONS OF PYRRHIA
THE DRAGONET PROPHECY
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tui T. Sutherland, Wings of Fire Book Four: The Dark Secret
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