It was a trap!
All at once, Finn understood that these fire drakes had led them into an area where it would have been impossible to sense the presence of both.
The glowing red crystals in the center of the cavern continued to pour out an excess amount of ambient fire energy, making it nearly impossible to discover that there were actually two of these beasts roaming these tunnels.
There wasnt any time to waste! Finn roared loudly, grabbing the attention of the two humans who had already begun moving to engage the first fire drake.
Hearing Finn's roar, the duo stopped for a moment to glance behind themselves before they made eye contact with...
Chief Orn felt a sickening sense of dread wash over him. Upon seeing a second fire drake, both father and son glanced at each other, worry reflecting in their eyes.
"We've been deceived! We have to flee!" Orn whispered to his son sullenly. The decision was as quick as it was easy. This was far beyond their capabilities. Even one fire drake would've been a difficult battle, two was nearly insurmountable.
Inwardly, Orn cursed the cleverness of this beast. He had planned for everything except the possibility that there were two. How could he have possibly known that?
"Dad, how are we supposed to get past both of them?" Hein felt his breath catch in his throat. This situation was far worse than he could have ever imagined. The other fire drake was blocking the entrance they came in from.
"I don't know..." Just as Orn replied, he noticed that a ball of darkness was beginning to form over Finn's mouth. It grew bigger and bigger, catching the attention of both the fire drakes and the humans.
"What's it doing?" Hein watched in confusion. Orn, however, was quicker on the uptake. Putting his arm around his son's head, he covered his son's eyes and turned away.
As the first fire drake watched with one good eye, it turned away, having seen this trick before. However, the second fire drake that had snuck up from behind was less aware.
Finn continued to pour energy into the black sphere. After realizing that they were cornered with no way out, Finn quickly came to the conclusion that they had to run. Having used this tactic before, he was hoping it would work a second time.
The black sphere hovering over Finn's mouth grew to a massive size. Then, all at once, Finn released control.
A brilliant flash of light exploded out, covering the entire cavern in brilliant white luminescence. The light reflected off the ruby red crystals, creating a blinding and confusing display of light fragments.
The fire drake that had snuck up from behind let out a terrible roar of agony as it was blinded by the intense and unexpected flash. Having been used to only the faint glow of the cavern, the sudden burst of light stole its vision temporarily.
Having seen the intensity even through his closed eyes, Orn knew this was their opportunity. Grabbing his son by the collar, he dragged him in the direction of the cave they came from.
"Run!" Orn yelled as they both picked up speed, passing by Finn who was waiting for them. As they ran by, they carefully avoided the blind and rampaging fire drake who was smashing the area around itself in a fury.
Finn was about to run to follow, when he heard a loud shout from up ahead. Looking up, he saw Hein pointing at something to his right, and when he turned to look, he was greeted with a large wall of red, approaching him fast, too fast.
Finn felt his world rocked as the large tail from the rampaging fire drake slammed into him with the force of a truck, sending him hurtling sideways as he stumbled and crashed into a stalagmite, destroying it.
Finn had gotten quite unlucky, as the fire drake had managed to score an accidental hit with its tail in its random thrashing.
Dazed from the blow, shards of broken scales fell from his head and neck as Finn struggled to reorient himself from the impact as his own internal energy went to work repairing the damage he suffered.
However, there wasn't any time to wait! Finn looked up to see the massive drake approaching his location, its eyes still sealed shut.
Finn tensed up as he stood perfectly still. He watched as the fire drake craned its head and sniffed deeply through its nostrils. All at once, Finn realized that although its was temporarily blinded, the fire drake was not helpless.
Letting out a low growl, the fire drake stomped closer and closer to his location. Then, as if it suddenly sensed something, its head snapped in the exact direction Finn was sitting still. It opened its mouth.
It can smell where I am? Finn felt terror wash him as a bright glow started forming in the fire drake's maw. He knew what was coming.
However, before the fire drake could breath fire, a blueish-white beam of light struck the fire drake in the neck before releasing a discharge of energy.
Immediately rearing back, the fire drake roared as electricity danced along its scales. Looking closer, Finn could see a pole sticking out of the point of impact.
The Chief's spear! Finn recognized it right away. Struggling to stand, Finn could see the two humans yelling in his direction.
"Finn! Run away!" Orn bellowed at the top of his lungs. Having seen the peril Finn had found himself in, Orn had made an executive decision. Seeing Finn regain his footing and begin heading over, Orn pulled his son by the shoulder and continued to move towards the exit.
"But...but dad! Your spear!" Hein had watched with great reluctance as his father threw away his most cherished weapon, and all for a magical beast no less.
Still running, Orn gritted his teeth and responded with, "It's a small price to pay for our lives..."
Truthfully, Orn was just as reluctant to leave his spear behind as his son, but there was no way he was going to abandon the being that saved his daughter, even if it happened to be a magical beast. With that in mind, he had made his choice.
Finn, still recovering from the devastating blow earlier, finally managed to catch up to the two fast humans. Together, they headed for the entrance they came through.
However, before they reached it, Finn heard Orn roar something before grabbing his son and diving to the ground. Finn felt his senses trigger as he heard a loud whistling sound overheard.
Looking up, Finn saw a basketball sized smooth orb of fire flying overhead in the direction of the cave entrance. Despite its minute appearance, Finn could tell that there was a massive amount of compressed energy contained within that small sphere.
Acting on instinct, Finn turned away and covered his head with his claws. An earth sundering boom resounded throughout the cavern as dust blew all around.
Glancing back quickly, Finn saw where the attack came from. The first fire drake was standing by the fire crystal pillar, chewing on something as glowing red liquid seeped from its mouth.
Oh no! Finn's eyes widened as he realized that the fire drake was apparently eating those fire crystals to help bolster its power.
A loud cracking sound coming from the entrance made Finn turn his head back towards the humans, who were just beginning to stand.
When the three of them all heard the same sound, they all glanced in the same direction. A worrisome sight greeted their gazes.
Above the entrance they came in from, a massive crack was forming in the rock, which was clearly spreading, creating more and more cracking sounds.
The entrance they came through, it was collapsing from the blast!
In that moment, Finn, Orn, and Hein understood at the same time what the goal of the fire drake was. To prevent them from escaping!
"Go!" Orn shoved his son towards the entrance as he took off in front. Hein broke out of his stupor and quickly followed. Finn moved after them, slower than usual.
As they got closer and closer, the cracks above the entrance continued to propagate. Bits of rock started falling from the cave entrance's ceiling.
Move faster! Finn found himself much more sluggish than usual. He still hadn't recovered fully from the blow earlier, and his stores of energy were beginning to run low.
Just before Orn and his son reached the entrance, a final unnerving snapping sound resounded from the rock above, and a huge chunk of the ceiling came crashing down, big enough to cover the entrance and seal them in.
"NO!" Orn roared loudly. Rushing in a final mad dash, he gathered earth energy throughout his body and jumped underneath the falling rock. Hein watched, stunned at his fathers actions.
A sound like two massive rocks crashing into eachother spread throughout the cavern. When the dust settled, Orn was standing in the middle of the semi-collapsed entrance, using all his strength to hold up the fallen ceiling.
Hein, without hesitation, slid through the gap his father had created by holding up the collapsing rocks.
Finn, having seen everything as he struggled to catch up, heaved a sigh of relief. With renewed energy, he bolted after the two humans.
However, when he at last reached the entrance, Finn discovered a critical problem. He was too big!
Finn struggled with all his might to squeeze under the gap that Orn was creating for him, but it was no use. Orn was beginning to lose strength, and his breathing was becoming ragged from holding up such immense weight.
What can I do? What can I do? Now more than ever did Finn curse his bigger size as he darted back and forth, trying to think of a way to fit, but it appeared hopeless.
With one final growl of agony, Finn forced his body as far as he could go through the gap, only to find himself nearly stuck. He could hear the labored pants of Orn and the screams of Hein yelling something he couldn't understand.
Gah! Finn yelped as a sharp and terrible pain eminated from his tail. All of the sudden, he found himself being pulled out from under the gap.
In that final moment, Finn dug his claws in the dirt in an effort to prevent what he knew was happening. He managed to make eye contact with Orn, who gave him the most desperate and helpless look he had ever seen from the man.
Then, the strength of the pull on his tail overcame all resistance. Finn found himself drug out from underneath the rubble while leaving trails of claw marks and thrown into the air. For a brief moment, Finn felt weightless, until he smashed into the cavern wall.
After watching Finn being drug away, Orn hit his limit. With a final heave he tossed the rocks above him and dove out of the way. The rest of the ceiling collapsed, sealing this entrance forever.
Orn and Hein managed to escape, but Finn had been trapped in the process. With shaky legs, Orn attempted to stand. Hein reached out to help stabilize his father. Both looked at eachother, then at the pile of collapsed rocks they had just come from.
After a brief moment, Hein couldn't help but ask with great uncertainty in his voice, "What now?"