„Here you have the Dark Dragon, your Great Dragon. That's right, he never died. Still a very respectable leader of our entire race, and you have him at your mercy!"
„I think we could arrange a deal."
Those words kept repeating themselves in Jake's head. He was still like 70% sure this is a mistake and it will cost him his, his friends' and sister's lives, but the talk he had with the Huntsman gave him hope. Maybe he's an honest dude.
The enormous body hit the ground.
The entire arena trembled when it did.
Even though the Dark Dragon woke up a long time ago and seemed to regain some of his strength, he was still nowhere near being his former powerful self. He fought like… an average dragon would.
Haley looked away and grabbed Jake's scaly hand when the blood poured on the ground. With all the commotion that was going on, it wasn't hard for her and Trixie to sneak out of the kitchen, put on some Huntsclan masks and find the others.
Rose blinked at the dead body, then turned to Jake with a bewildered expression. „Jake, what the hell?"
He didn't answer her. He just kept watching the Huntsman, who was wiping off the blood on his staff. It didn't take long until the Huntsman noticed.
„You!" he thundered, and his voice echoed through the entire arena. „American Dragon!"
Jake closed his eyes for a second, then outstretched his wings and flew towards him. He heard his sister gasping surprisingly, but tried his best to ignore it.
Jake landed in front of the Huntsman. He felt pretty uneasy, standing there in a giant arena with him still having his blood smeared on the weapon. The dead body next to them didn't help to calm him down.
Jake heard Rose also leaving the stands and going after him. He turned to look at her. Her hardened expression made him think that she's getting ready to fight the Huntsman and all his present men if he attacked Jake.
The Huntsman grunted, threw the staff on the ground next to the Dark Dragon, and then turned to Jake.
„Thank you for this gift."
Jake forced himself to laugh, but it came out sounding too nervous. „I-it was nothing."
The Huntsman bore his eyes into him and asked: „You're speaking for your entire species, now that the Great Dragon was killed?"
Jake lifted his head proudly. „Yes."
He swore he could feel the dubious looks Haley and Trixie on the stands behind him sent him.
The Huntsman looked to one of his advisors, who made his way over to them, eying Jake warily. They whispered something to each other so quietly Jake's dragon ears didn't recognize the words.
The Huntsman then glared back at Jake. He lifted his hand which was holding the staff a few moments ago.
„Then I hope you and the other beings are no longer any threat to us, humans, anymore."
Jake breathed a quiet sigh of relief. He felt a sudden urge to dance, but tried to control it.
„You got it, pal," he said and shook his hand.
Now I'll just have to go and run this by the Dragon Council. Easy.
„And about you," the Huntsman's voice turned disdainful again when he looked at Spud. He now stood few meters behind him and seemed to be trying to make himself look as small as possible. „Even with the relatively good potion you made, you're still the worst wizard this place has ever seen. After setting my fur coat on fire, consider yourself lucky I'm letting you go."
Jake stifled a laugh, reminding himself that this is a serious situation.
„Huntsgirl!" barked the Huntsman.
Rose passed by Jake with her hands folded behind her back. „Yes, master?"
„Do you have any explanation for this?"
Rose glanced at Spud with an unreadable expression before replying: „He must be a master of deceit. He really made me think he's a talented wizard."
Spud dutifully nodded.
The Huntsman stared at Rose for a few seconds without either of them blinking.
Then he declared: „Well, it is obvious that you were an accomplice to all of this. You're fired. Get out with all your little friends and be grateful I'm in a good mood. But you better hope I don't ever see your face again."
„Yes, master," answered Rose. It was clear she was having trouble trying not to sound cheerful.
Jake coughed. „Ehm, I got a question."
The Huntsman seemed to be losing his patience. „Yes?"
„From what job exactly are you firing her? I mean… if the Huntsclan now kind of… ended?"
The Huntsman narrowed his eyes at him. „We will still work as a military organization aiming to protect humans. Does anyone have any other question?" He raised his voice with the last sentence and looked around, daring anyone to have a question.
„No one? Really? Then get out," he concluded, turned around and left the arena. His advisers followed him, a few of them throwing Jake dirty looks, clearly disagreeing with how this turned out.
Rose's whole face lit up when he was gone.
„YES!" she sang out and threw herself around Jake's scaly body.
„I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!" roared the Huntsman from wherever he was.
„Thank you," she whispered into Jake's ear, ignoring her former boss' shout.
Then she ran out to change into her normal clothes. Spud threw off his cloak. Haley and Trixie came over to them and tossed away the Huntsclan masks they were wearing. Trixie stuck out her tongue at some former hunters who were still glaring after them. They left.
No one said much during the long bus ride back to New York. They were all too tired and overwhelmed by what happened to talk about it.
Rose spent the entire ride peacefully sleeping next to Jake, who had the urge to close his eyes a few times, but he never fell asleep. Trixie read at least five magazines and spent a while chatting with some random passenger next to her about horoscopes. Spud sat in the back of the bus, quietly playing with a magic wand he must've taken somewhere in the headquarters. Haley watched him, sometimes giving him advice, sometimes just admiring how talented he already is.
When the ride was finally over and they took the subway to get to Lao Shi's electronics shop, which was empty, the first thing Jake did was slump on the sofa. Then he pulled out a phone and called his mom to let her know him and Haley are okay. Haley grabbed his phone when he was in the middle of a sentence and started chattering with their mother herself. Jake rolled his eyes.
While Haley was still talking (about dance classes, apparently) and Spud wrapped one of Lao Shi's robes around his shoulders to see how it looks with his new wand, Rose came over to the still lying Jake.
She gently nudged his chest. „Hey. Talk to me. Please."
Jake's mouth twitched. „It's okay. I just needed some time to myself."
Her eyebrows rose. „One would think you'd have enough of yourself by now."
„Er, you have a point."
Trixie sneered as she peered at them. „It's so disgustingly cute how much the two of you are in love."
Jake's eyes snapped open and he quickly sat. „Love? What? No… It's-it's eh… sort of different - it's not…" He looked at Rose and his face reddened.
Rose smirked at Trixie. „Yeah, we know."
Jake smiled blissfully to himself and laid back down.
Fu Dog chose this exact moment to burst the door of the shop open.
His eyes scanned over the entire scene. Spud twirling around in front of a mirror with a wand and Lao Shi's robe. Haley cutting off mid-sentence while speaking to someone on the phone. Trixie and Rose smiling smugly at each other at some inside joke. And, finally, Jake lying on the sofa looking dead.
He pointed a paw at him and yelled: „What did you do, kid?!"
Jake jumped to his feet. „Me?!" he retorted. „I just made a peace treaty with the Huntsclan. Where were you?!"
Lao Shi walked into the shop and pushed the dog away on his way in. „Fu, stop shouting at him. That's my job."
Jake breathed a sigh of relief when he saw his grandpa. He'd been nervous since the Dark Dragon said he left him in Detroit. He leaned down to hug him.
Fu meanwhile looked at Trixie and Spud. „We met two guys from the Dragon Council on our way here. They said they know you."
Trixie and Spud glanced at each other.
„What did you tell them?" asked Trixie.
„They had the nerve to show us Jake's photo while asking where he is, so Lao Shi, my hero, started screaming at them in Chinese until they ran away."
Spud whistled. „Nice."
It took a while until they all told each other their respective stories (there was a lot of screaming and near-fainting involved).
Lao Shi then got up and said he still needs to go deal with the Dragon Council. Jake blanched, honestly completely forgetting about that. Right. He's technically a fugitive.
Well, just wait till they hear what he did why they were being completely useless (suddenly he understands his older self's frustration with them).
Lao Shi took Haley home on his way. She has been rambling about needing to do her homework for almost an hour by then, but at the same time refused to leave, insisting that she is a part of this.
Jake said he needs to go clear his head, so he, Rose, Trixie and Spud headed to the skatepark. It's not like any of them had skateboards, but that didn't matter. It was already dark, and they all felt the fresh summer air around them. Spud was still hanging on to his new wand, and he was now trying to make light with it.
They leaned against the ramp and stood in comfortable silence for a while.
Trixie, unable to stay still for long, nudged Jake in the arm and asked a simple question.
„Hey, Jakey… could you just… not become a jerk?"
Jake laughed and winked at her. „You know, they say some things are just written in the stars."
„Ah, well, they have no idea what they're talking about."
Spud for a few seconds stopped waving with the wand and nervously coughed. „Wasn't he… kind of right though? I mean, if there was supposed to be some big war in the future…"
„No, he wasn't," responded Jake without having to think about it. „There were million better ways to handle this than to… stop a war with… an another war."
Rose looked down and nibbled on her bottom lip. Then she stated: „Jake, but all we did was arranging a peace treaty with someone who we think may be able to prevent the war from happening. The Huntsclan, or whatever they'll call themselves from now on, existing and being on our side is the only difference from the… original timeline. We don't even know how will people find out about magic or when will that happen. So it'll most probably happen again and we could still end up dealing with a war."
Trixie raised an eyebrow. „Wow, aren't you just a ray of sunshine," she said drily.
Jake didn't seem bothered. He glanced up to the sky and smiled. „Well, at least we know how to not act if the war happens."
Right as he said that, a single shining star rose up. They all froze and watched that little beautiful thing just floating in the air right in front of them.
„It can't be already written in the stars if we make some new stars," declared Spud, sounding very smug and still waving his wand to keep the tiny star floating.
Trixie stared at him. „Spudinski," she said slowly. „That was so deep."
Rose leaned forward to the new source of light. „It's beautiful," she whispered. She felt tears beginning to sting her eyes and quickly wiped it off.
Magic and humans don't work together well. Conflicts will occur. They just saved the near future, but God knows what happens next.
As he thought about that, Jake got yet another stupid idea.
„Hey," he spoke. His eyes were still watching the star, even though looking at the bright light for that long wasn't comfortable even to his enhanced senses. „What if we controlled the destiny a bit? The stars? I mean, like, if we right now went to a TV studio and revealed that magic is real?"
Trixie scoffed. „Yeah, that's a good one…. oh wait, you're serious."
He just laughed.
Author's Note: So why don't we reeewrite the stars? Maybe the world could be ouuurs… tonight.