Jade had disappeared until evening, so Crescent couldn't find her. It wasn't until later, when she was finishing dinner, she even heard of the apprentice. Silvo had apparently been stealthily keeping an eye on her and reported that she'd been training around the border's of the clearing.
The Master Elementalist had easily tracked her down by the different-colored trees she'd hardened with various layers of precious gems, gold and silver in her wake. As she tapped her sword point against a stump that had once been an Ironwood and absorbed the slick diamond cover encasing it's mangled bark, she heard the talking.
Sheathing her sword, Crescent homed in on the sound until she found herself surprisingly back in the clearing. She crept up to Sage's tent and peeked in through the flap.
She tried to smother the gasp, but it slipped out silently anyway. Jade was sitting down next to the black-and-white Wind-Driver, brushing her fingers softly over his forehead and speaking soothingly to him. At first Crescent thought she was speaking to herself, but then Hurricane's closed eyes flashed gold for a moment, and suddenly he inhaled loudly and began coughing. Wounds that had been criss-crossing his arms and stomach faded and disappeared.
A healing spell? Crescent was bewildered. For one, Jade had made it clear she couldn't care less for this PureDragon, so why was she nursing him back to consciousness?; for another, Jade was a Gem-shaper, and by no means a skilled Plantspringer or a Leader, like Silvo or Sage, the only two who could use an enchantment like that. So there were more secrets to this girl than Crescent could of ever fathomed...
"Better?" Jade asked to herself, but Hurricane mumbled weakly in response, something like 'uh-huh'.
Then the apprentice's eyes darkened moodily and she grimaced bitterly. "There, we're even now. I don't owe you anything anymore."
"Ye-ye-hes you do," Hurricane murmured. Jade rolled her eyes.
"No, I mean in the 'Saving-Each-Other's-Butts' tally, not the other score you're keeping, which you can forget about."
Jade skulked away, sighed, then walked back again, placing her hands on either side of the fellow reptile, who grinned nervously. She lowered her head down until their noses were touching, narrowed her eyes and growled hotly, "Don't even think about it, big shot. I still hate you."
"Okay, so you hate me, but you have to admit I'm so adorable you like me at the same time? Just a little bit?" He flashed a smirk, and Crescent was pretty sure those were going to be his last words, but Jade just let out a another sigh, shook her head and sat back down on the chair.
"Shut up." she hissed, but it was almost like it was more painfully sad than angry.
"I'm still willing to tell you the secret, you know," Hurricane said after a long pause. Jade's breath caught and she winced, then her expression turned remorseful.
"I don't care. I'm not going to betray them."
"You belong with us, Jade. They aren't your family. We are."
"They are my family!" Jade snarled, whipping up and unsheathing her claws. "More of a family than those stupid PureDragons will ever be!"
"You can't deny it. Just because they added you in doesn't mean they accept you. You're an outsider, still. Don't you want to feel accepted, Jade? Don't you want to belong?"
"I do belong!" Jade choked, voice cracking. "I'm part of the DragonCounsel, no matter what breed I am."
"Look, we've got a lot in common. I'm a half-breed, you know that. And I chose Golden Eyes's side. But you're full-breed, and we will accept you as one of us. Trust me."
"I trusted you once." Jade growled. "But never again. I might be a PureDragon, but I'm no traitor."
Outside, Crescent's mouth hung open in shock. But before she could scream 'What?!?!', Jade spotted her, narrowed her eyes, walked over and dragged her into the tent.